Info and data for fans of the play-by-mail games Duel II, Forgotten Realms, and Hyborian War from Reality Simulations, Inc

Q&A about the game


> Question #1:
> I matched up with Vanaheim 30 to 30 according to all the scouting
> and the “Battle” information. He appears to have actually
> brought about 60 into battle. He has done this to me 3 times now.
> How the heck is he getting the extra army into play?

The second army of thirty actually invades the turn of the battle
and marches to the sound of the battle, arriving round 2 or later.

To illustrate, a fantasy invasion of Tarantia involving IA-1 and IA-2

turn 1 – declare invasion of Tarantia
turn 2 – in the space for the invasion of Tarantia, indicate that
IA-1 is involved in the invasion, that you want a set piece
battle in open terrain
– move IA-2 into position to invade Tarantia
– declare ANOTHER invasion of Tarantia
turn 3 – hopefully things went through OK and you have a set piece,
fill out the battle section for Tarantia as normal.
– in the section for the invasion of Tarantia indicate that
IA-2 invades. Most importantly, the second invasion must
declare the terrain type that the battle is going on in.

Couple of advantages:
1) only IA-1 is hit by Black Death
2) if you only have one province to invade from, you do not have
to stack two armies in one province for two turns, only for the
turn of the set piece battle
3) second army is free for one extra turn and if not needed in the
battle, you can use it elsewhere.

1) you do not decide the battle order for the second army.
2) theoretically, the battle could be over before IA-2
gets there.
3) any archers and spell casters with the second army are not
there in time to participate in the missile and spell casting

This is one of those non-obvious things that really ought to be
in the manual. All the veterans know it, and I see no way for
a novice to figure this out from the rules. And it is very, very

Juris Baidins

From Sun Nov 3 11:17:03 1996
Subject: Other formations

The wedge is one I mentioned before. Classic formation anyway, so no
biggie. For certain kingdoms, like Juma’s, Argos, Shem, and possibly
Hyrkania, I think full lines are important. These kingdoms either have a
huge archer component, or have a bunch of mercs they don’t need anyway.
Archers need two full lines for maximum impact, and if there is a missile
shield to throw out there, all the better.
Corinthia and Aquilonia would benefit from full troop lines because of
the pikemen (archers with Aqui too). Generally, I’d consider alternate
formations for most kingdoms though.
Some of the following formations are probably crap, since the person who
told me about them wasn’t THAT great a player, and probably hadn’t tried them
himself anyway, nevertheless, here goes (all formations will be as in the
turn report. Good guys on the left. ; )

x x

This one is supposed to protect the flanks while minimizing exposure of
your troops to the enemy’s charge. The charge is supposedly “funneled”
toward that left side, could possibly give an extra edge to flanking.

xx x
xx x

This one just gives up the flank, but how often is one going to face
competent flanking? If RSI would increase the effectiveness of maneuvers
like that, this type would be creamed, as is, it supposedly takes advantage
of hill terrain to make an “unchargeable” formation. I doubt it, but it may
work. As I said before, I stick with the one formation I invented that is
the be all end all for me.

xx x
xx x
xx x

Basically, with a great commander, you are putting at total risk to archers
only your front two troops, and the second line holds them up front against
the charge, and is hurt far less by the archery phase. The third line is
cushioned again for the post charge phase, and then the enemy butts up
against solid lines of tough troops. A great commander will keep these lines
steady, and the charge of the enemy will split on the first two, hit a stone
wall on the second line, and break through that only to meet your
countercharge. This is one formation that IS time tested, well thought out,
brilliant, and effective.


Just like the ‘relative troop rating’ thing is somewhat controversial, so
also is this. There are those who feel that filling the lines is still the
best way to do things. Some of these formats are obviously reliant on
terrain type for effectiveness. I’ve met a multigame winner, probably the
best teacher I ever had in this game (because he helped me with one of the
worst kingdoms in the game), who NEVER used an alternate formation, and had
great success against anyone and everyone. I asked him about ‘alternate
formations’ and he said, “Well, sometimes I put my cav in front.”

From Wed Sep 25 22:31:32 1996
Subject: Re: Hybrian War questions from a newbie (Argos)

>1) Argos begins the game with an imperial army on defensive status.
> This army has several units with only a 2 movement. Does this
> mean that this ‘defensive’ army can only respond to attacks in its
> province or residence? If so, I assume it would be a good idea to
> detach these troops and put them elsewhere.

There is actually much debate about this issue. I’ve heard from most
sources that the defensive army response radius is actually the troop’s
movement – 2. So your heavy infantry would only respond to attacks in that
province. However, it is possible for some troops in an army to respond to
an invasion while others do not respond. This means that your faster troops
could get to the defense while the infantry may not show up to battle on time.
To be quite honest, I believe it is a moot point. I think that
Hyborian War mistake #1 is to have an army on defensive status to begin
with. Defensive armies are bad! They are troops that sit idle 95% of the
time. My philosophy is this: an active army is always better than a
defensive army because you can attack at least one province per two turns
with an active army, while a defensive army will probably only save one
province once every 10 or 15 turns, if ever. Remember, an enemy will
probably invade you with 30 troops, and most defensive armies are kept with
15, so you’re going to lose anyway…

>2) How many armies can a medium-sized kingdom with a superior
> treasury (Argos) expect to be able to raise on turn one? In
> other words, what is the maximum number of armies I can expect
> to successfully raise?

There are two answers to your question. The number of regular troops a
kingdom can raise depends on the total wealth of all of the provinces in the
kingdom. So as you expand, you will be able to raise more regulars each
turn (in my Ophir game, I raised 42 on the last warseason of the game). At
the start of the game, ALL medium kingdoms can raise anywhere from 8 to 12
regulars per warseason, assuming you have money in the treasury. If a
treasury is empty, the number of raisable regulars is cut in half. On a
peace years, the number of raisable troops is doubled. Argos, being a
medium-wealth kingdom in terms of wealth in provinces, can raise 10, or
possibly only 9, troops on each warseason. It doesn’t matter if your
treasury is poor or superior: the maximum stays the same, as long as you
don’t go broke. Other than that, it doesn’t matter if you have a poor or
superior treasury.
However (and this is the good part), for Argos these rules are not
very important. You are the biggest mercenary kingdom in the game. You can
actually have 80% mercenaries (no other kingdom in the entire game is
allowed more than 30%). Mercenaries do not obey these troop raising rules.
You can raise as many mercenaries as you want ON ANY TURN, provided that
your troop percentages stay within range. I once raised 258 troops on a
single turn as Argos.
Unfortunately, these troops cost money. A broke kingdom can’t raise
(or even keep) merceries. You have the unique disadvantage that Argos is
the only kingdom that can’t raise any troops at all when it is broke (this
is because you are required to have 10% mercenaries, and this imbalance
can’t be corrected without a treasury).
So the best strategy for Argos is to raise however many land troop
mercenaries you need each turn and then raise the maximum number of warships
(10) every turn so you quickly become the dominant sea power.
Now, in the first set of warseasons, you must be very careful about
your treasury. If the set of seasons is only 4 or 5, you should raise your
imperial army up to 30 troops and start invading the hell out of somebody
(Zingara immediately comes to mind). If your first set of warseaons is 8 or
9, you probably shouldn’t invade anyone until about turn 5. Remember, when
your enemy kills a mercenary, he’s just doing you a favor, because you don’t
have to pay dead troops. This means that Argos is the ideal kingdom for
wearing down large groups of enemy troops.

>3) Is attempting to negotiate peace with my neighbors a good idea?
> What are the ‘typical’ chances for success in a peace years turn?

Peace treaties are the most important function of a court. All other court
abilities are insignificant compared to diplomacy. Yes, you should peace
anyone who is about to invade you or might invade you later in the set of
warseasons. You should also avoid the influence of the kingdom you want to
invade so he can’t peace you. Peace treaties work only 1 way! You can
invade a kingdom and peace the kingdom on the same turn, allowing you to
invade him and cancelling all of his invasions against you. Argos starts
with 1 superior diplomat (ARGO-1) and one excellent (ARGO-6), so use them
As for your neighbors, Zingara’s best diplomat is an Adequate,
marking that kingdom as the worst diplomacy kingdom in the entire game. You
should be able to avoid his influence once and he won’t be able to peace
you. Also, try to peace him if you think he might be invading you.
One more thing. Peace treaties are completely ignored on the sea.
You and Zingara and Stygia can fight each other’s navies all day, regardless
of peace treaties. And you don’t even have to intent to invade a sea
province before attacking it.
Advice: invade a new sea province every single turn with every navy
you can put more than 2 or 3 troops in. There is no reason Argos should not
be king of the sea, no matter how good the Stygia or Zingara players are.

>4) When is hiring mercenaries a good idea? I would assume it would
> mostly be for quick army increase, or maybe they make good cannon
> fodder troops to put on the front lines? Any ideas on this?

With you, this doesn’t really matter. Basically all of your land troops
will be mercenaries. Hire as many as you need without going broke (you’ll
have to figure out how to manage that on your own).

>5) How dangerous is adventuring? What are the odds of survival for
> a hero with superior personal combat and heroism? With superior
> personal combat and adequate heroism?

Adventuring serves only one purpose: if you want to kill of an Adjutant
General or Chancellor, send them adventuring so you can get an automatic
replacement. Adventures only bring back insignificant wealth (I know your
income may be 70% adventure revenue, but compare your income to expenditures
and you’ll see that a successful adventure pays for the troop maintenance
cost of about 2 troops) and hardly every raise abilities from an
unacceptable level to an acceptable one.
But to answer your question, the survivaly chances for a hero are
dependant almost solely on (1) Personal Combat followed by (2) Intrigue. If
either of these are superior, you will most likely survive the adventure.

>6) Is actively ruling of much use? Is it bad if you choose not to?

Actively ruling is a somewhat debated issue. I believe that actively ruling
with your monarch should be done on turn 1 if at all possible. This will
give your provinces a high initial loyalty. Any other turn it can be done
is also a bonus. Province actively ruling, on the other hand, is just about
useless. I don’t even have province rulers for about 90% of my provinces.
As Argos, your going to have to use your king as a diplomat, so he won’t
really be available to actively rule much.

Gook luck,

Open field battles. You love em, but you rarely get them eh? Well, this is the ONE and ONLY manual you will ever need! A bold statement? This is time tested and Tzu approved folks! This is how you get open field (OF) battles, almost every time!
The key begins here. Most of you have been led to believe that it is military command (MC) that brings success here. Though it plays a role, not in the way you think. There is a secret ingredient to be used here, the one stat you wonder it’s purpose, the key to OF battles, heroism!

To properly explain this attribute, we have to explain the use of MC and terrain, which go hand in hand. MC is used primarily to get the ddesired terrain. In invasion sequence, from the intent to OF or Set Piece (SP) phase, let’s limit the importance of MC to just getting the desired terrain.

Of the factors that involve getting an OF battle, terrain and heroism are the two most important (and equal) factors. The type of terrain you fight in and the type of terrain available will determine what type of battle will be fought.

So, first you have to know what type of terrain is available before you can choose the type of terrain. Usually, you will want to pursue a type that has an excellent chance of fighting in, or higher (Superior). Next, you have to know type to seek, this is more common knowledge, the types of terrain that favor OF.

Desert, Forest and Hill are three primary examples for OF. Marsh, Fortified, Mountain and Open are primary examples of types that favor SP. Some terrain I’ve never fought in, let alone know where it exists, such as Oasis. Knowing what’s available and wisely selecting terrains part of getting the desired terrain, MC determines it. This is how the MC plays it’s role in OF battles.

Choosing a commander:
The commander is important, but do you choose MC over Heroism? The answer is simple, most of the time. Heroism should always be the choice (Superior Heroism should be the minimum here, but obviously the highest level available), when the desired terrain is the likely terrain. When the desired terrain is less likely, you’ll need more MC to get it. This is why the proper terrain selection is so important, you need the highest level of heroism possible.

Examples: You are ruling Cimmeria (LOTS of heroism here) and you are invading province 8, Southern Bossonia. The dominant terrains available are Fort A (Superior), Forest (Superior) and River (Superior). You select Forest, a favorable and dominant terrain. Leave it simple, no patrols, no selections for hidden movement or declining battle.

Next turn (Using a real example in 774 here) you find the battle went OF, but in Fortified Terrain (OF can occur in ANY terrain). Obviously, the lack of MC cost you the desired terrain (Aquilonia having Fort A the desired terrain, you must beat (Out maneuver) his commander for the terrain.) but heroism allowed it to go OF anyways.

You obviously then, do not need everything in your favor, just keep the procedures the same. BTW-I’ve taken 17 provinces in the first 12 turns in 774, so I’ve had huge success with the procedures for obtaining OF. The number of Imperial Armies (IA’s) involved does little to affect this, but I prefer to keep it simple, limit the number of characters involved. I try to keep it at one character per army, as I believe that multiple charactors favor SP battles.

It is commonly believed that-
*Certain nations favor OF battles
*Certain troops favor OF battles
*Patrols will help achieve OF battles
First, we look at the myth of certain nations favoring OF battles. I believe, based on the procedures for OF battles, certain nations have more assets to get OF battles, (Such as abundant desired terrain and heroism), but do not necessarily “favor” it.

As for certain troops, I’ve heard that cavalry will favor it, but NO troop type alone will EVER get you OF on it’s own. Troop type does not matter, or at least make enough impact to endorse this.

As for patrols, they are not only unnecessary, but prevent troops from showing up to battles. I’ve had such a HUGE success without using patrols, I see no point in ever using them in an OF situation. They counter ambushes, leave them to that purpose.

Commanders Discretion from Joey Davis

Commander Discretion is used to gain a specific type of terrain available in a province. It sacrifices what type of battle you will pursue (Be it open field or set piece), for your commander to focus on what type of terrain you’d prefer to fight in.


The advantage of Commanders Discretion can be used in many areas. I was first introduced to this command when I asked Steve Smith the purpose of it. His explanation was similar to the summary I have provided, but used his specific example of his Brythunian kingdom invading Turan.

Turan is full of forts in the home provinces; he negated what type of battle to fight to gain alternative terrains. Another example would be in the south, fighting against Tombalku. Tombalku has medium cavalry, which would be devastating to the typical southern infantry in desert terrain. Using Commanders Discretion to gain forest terrain would be desired, since even Kushs’ 75% loss ratio would be less valuable than the advantage of fighting cavalry in forest terrain.


You will likely fight a battle that is the province defense orders or what the opposing commander has chosen.

Choosing Terrain/Battle types

Commander’s discretion can be negated when trying to seek a terrain, by choosing a terrain that is likely in a province. Military command plays the biggest role in maneuvering to the type of terrain desired. Because it is easier to gain the desired terrain if it is dominant (Excellent or Superior chance to maneuver to it), the less available terrain is, the more likely you will use commander’s discretion to gain it.


Commanders discretion will be used when seeking a terrain that is either not predominant, imperative against a specific troop type (I.E. cavalry), or to avoid undesirable terrains (I.E. Fort A).

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