Spotlight on Games > War Games > Variants

Raiders Variant

for Empires of the Middle Ages
Copyright (C) by Rick Heli, 1991.
The raiders' success during Charlemagne's reign seemed to stem from three main causes: (1) The busyness of Charlemagne in other quarters, i.e. with the Saxons, the Avars, the Italians and in Britanny; (2) the light level of attacks by both the Vikings and the Saracens; (3) the guerrilla nature of these attacks which made them impossible to stop via obvious means.

The greater success of such raids in the time of Charlemagne's heirs seems to have stemmed mostly from an absence of attention to such matters from the heirs. Instead, they squandered troops and resources in encouraging their brothers' areas to rebel, putting down rebellions and initiating out-and out war with one another. No wonder the raiders achieved such spectacular success.

Consider how different this is from the typical Empires of the Middle Ages game. Empires almost never fight one another, or even get Ties to one another's areas, except toward the very end of the game. Meanwhile, the raiders who the real life leaders ignored, are the number one priority of the game.

Empires of the Middle Ages would be a more historical simulation if the following ideas could be incorporated.

  1. Raiders are presented more as an annoyance. Destructive, yes, but hardly debilitating, unless no measures whatsoever are taken to counteract them.
  2. Raiders cannot be directly combatted where they strike. In the cases of all the raiders, they were so swift moving and wily that no emperor ever brought them to battle directly. So empires should not be able to execute Defend endeavors to their raids. Fortification which did help and general raising of the Social State level should be considered the best method for coping with Raiders.
  3. Raiders cannot be combatted where they live. Saracens were based in hidden coves and swamps in North Africa and Provence, Magyars in the mountain fastnesses north of Hungary and Vikings in the bays and fjords of Scandinavia. They simply could not be found and even the conquest of the areas in which their base areas were located would not immediately trigger a cessation of their raids. Probably raids should cease at some random time approaching fifty years after the conversion of the raider base areas.
  4. To encourage empires to directly compete, judge victory points at the end of every round (five-year period). This should make players more aware and interested in besting their opponents as was true historically. Consider giving victory points for Diplomatic Ties on other players' areas.

Whenever Raiders are to appear, roll one die. If the roll is two through six there are no Raider attacks for the current round.

All Raider Bases are considered to be off the map. The Social State Level is always considered zero.

Players may not play Defense Endeavors against Raider Pillage attempts.

Viking Raids do not automatically cease upon conquest/conversion of Denmark and Norway nor do Magyar Raids automatically cease upon conquest/conversion of Hungary. Instead, at the end of the round, roll a pair of dice for each Raider for whom the above conditions are met. If the result is 2, 3 or 12, Raids cease for the rest of the game; otherwise, raids continue. If the above conditions are not met and for the Saracen Pirates, Raids cease for the rest of the game if a 2 or 12 result is achieved. In any case, Viking Raids end automatically after the year 100, Magyar Raids after the year 1000 and Saracen Pirate raids after the year 1100.

Copyright (C) by Rick Heli, 1991.
Mon Dec 21 22:33:38 PST 1998