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-Morale in Ancient Warfare -by Paul Bruffell-

...or better known in the game as 'Fatigue'.

Morale is at the heart of Ancient Warfare. Battles are won and lost on the state of your army's morale. You ignore the morale (battle fatigue) of your units at your peril. Just as in history, Ancient Warfare reflects the impact of battle fatigue on your troops. Typically scenarios in the game start with your troops fresh and eager for battle. Their battle fatigue is zero. When a unit's fatigue raises to 70 the remaining men in the unit rout. Once a unit routs the unit's formation disintegrates in to a fleeing rabble. Losses at this point can be seriously high from deserters and potentially those hacked down from behind by the chasing enemy. As one unit routs, the morale of other friendly unit's begin to shake. Suddenly, units that appeared to have reasonably low fatigue start to rout. Once a unit routs, it is difficult to rally and reform especially if chased by an enemy unit.

The impact of routing units and poor morale is so great on an army, that a player with Roman units, may wish to change his front line for fresh troops during combat to avoid a complete collapse of the front line units. Once retired, units can rest (no command) and reduce their fatigue. Carefully managed a player can refresh his troops and send them back in to battle fully recovered.

In order for the unit to be eligible for fatigue recovery, the unit must not move, fire or be fired at, charge or be in a melee that turn. It must also not be building/destroying a bridge or creating a palisade wall.

Basically there are 3 levels of fatigue – Low (no problem controlling units), Medium (disadvantage when in combat) and High (unit unlikely to respond to your commands, poor fighting ability, low kill rate on the opposition). A player can use the quick colour guide. Click: Menu > Display > Show Unit's Fatigue Level to show that units are suffering from low, medium and high fatigue. This works both in 2D and 3D views.

Battle fatigue (a combination of physical exhaustion and morale) occurs as the unit suffers losses:

  • +1 for each casualty suffered.


  • +2 per quarter turn moved if units are charging.
  • +2 per quarter turn moved if units are undertaking a 'Forced March'.

I suggest a player only does a forced march under extreme circumstances where the unit is urgently needed elsewhere.

A unit automatically routs if its fatigue reaches 70 but it could also rout from a poor reaction test. Having adjacent friendly good morale units helps a unit's reaction test. Similarly, having friendly unit's routing nearby can create a poor reaction test.

More to come...