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Theme Rules Playtest
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Bill Chriss
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 8:24 pm    Post subject:

For what it is worth, I agree with Mark, Jamie, and SRawls, although my agreement is based on the analysis I have read here rather than on any playtesting of my own. (Hey, how could I playtest when HCon is still 6 mos. away, and I don't play barbarian armies?!). The point about excluding double-armed troops is particularly cogent in terms of preventing a disruption of the current equilibrium among contemporary armies (to whatever extent that currently exists, of course).

However, the point about varying effects by morale class also makes eminent sense. It seems too much of an economy of points to allow 1/4 A + 3/4 D or C troops to behave, with respect to these bonuses, in the same way as all "A" units. While many lists don't allow such mixing, enough do that the others are already "underfielded," at least in open play. I would prefer to see no further incentives built into the lists/game to encourage people to mix radically different morale classes within units. I agree with those who would like to see more incentives in the lists/rules to encourage people to actually use sizeable historically accurate units that are all Reg or IRR A or B. Waver testing is certainly a big reason already built in the game to go for uniformly good morale, but particularly in the matter of "A" class units, the relative waver test help seems to be mathematically insufficient, by the estimation of most players, to overcome the efficiency of "B" class troops, or even of one-third "A" and two-thirds "C" class units. Any proposed changes should be thoroughly considered in terms of their propensity, if any, to exacerbate this situation. By way of illustration, I think most Alexandrian players would gladly buy their companions as Reg B rather than Reg A. Most Spartan hoplite players would do the same, and so on. I will, of course, leave aside the question of the effectiveness of "D" class shooters as a different kettle of fish, and water way under the bridge.

I have no quarrel with the current state of affairs, but merely wish to add to the discussion in terms of urging some caution with respect to certain aspects of changing an already good game matrix.

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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:39 pm    Post subject:

Bill Chriss wrote:
For what it is worth, I agree with Mark, Jamie, and SRawls.... However, the point about varying effects by morale class also makes eminent sense. It seems too much of an economy of points to allow 1/4 A + 3/4 D or C troops to behave, with respect to these bonuses, in the same way as all "A" units. While many lists don't allow such mixing, enough do that the others are already "underfielded," at least in open play. I would prefer to see no further incentives built into the lists/game to encourage people to mix radically different morale classes within units.


Leave it to a Greek to bring a Trojan horse into the discussion. Wink

From the outside, this looks like a comment about the problems of mixed morale classes. On the inside, though, it is another attempt to sneak in a discussion about the point system.

Having the possibility of mixed morale units, by itself, is a virtue of the Warrior system. Generally we only see four morale classes (A-D) in play, and if all units were all of one of these four we'd get very little granularity to how we simulate the various morale behaviors of different troops. Mixed morale gives much more nuance to this simulation, as in:
    Half Irr A, half Irr C: ferocious, but brittle;
    Half Irr B, half Irr C: tenacious, as long as they're winning;
    Half Irr A, half Irr D: fanatical, but unskilled;
    Irr C with one element (or a minority of elements) as Irr A: eager, but unpredictable.

I could go on, but you get the idea. None of the descriptions above is captured as well by a single morale class unit as it is by a mixed morale class unit. Having these mixed morale options thus gives us a better simulation.

What's the problem, then? Well, in tournament play you might not need total fanatics when, say, "fanatical but unskilled" will do for the role you have in mind (I'm thinking 1st Crusade pilgrims here). So you can save yourself a bunch of points by not having to buy units with more expensive morale than you need, thus achieving greater army efficiency overall.

This can be very frustrating for players who play armies where there is a detailed historical record (Greeks), and thus less flexibility afforded. Some armies get some benefit from mixed morale options simply because our knowledge of those armies is vague.

Is this is a problem? Only if you think that the point system is supposed to represent equal fighting power in an open tournament system. However, no one at FHE has ever claimed that was the purpose or should be the purpose of the point system. This has been debated endlessly on this forum, perhaps more than any other topic.

Yes, open tournament play does afford some advantage to those players and armies that can optimize points for open tournament play. Such is life. No, this fact does not mean there's something problematic about mixed morale units, and we should not lose sight of the fact that the possibility of mixed morale units is an essential tool in simulating the many historical nuances of morale.


-Mark Stone
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Rich Pichnarczyk
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 6:59 pm    Post subject: Barbarian Playtest Revision 1 question

Congratulations! From my first reading it appears that you made some very thoughtful and playable compromises on the playtest rules. I look forward to playing them.

I have a question though. With the potential of 3 march moves for Irr foot, must the unit move in the all three phases to qualify as an advancing unit for "Attack" or "Probe" order fulfillment purposes? My understanding of the rules would indicate yes.

Thanks again.

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Bill Chriss
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:01 pm    Post subject:

Mark Stone wrote:


Leave it to a Greek to bring a Trojan horse into the discussion. Wink

From the outside, this looks like a comment about the problems of mixed morale classes. On the inside, though, it is another attempt to sneak in a discussion about the point system.

-Mark Stone


No, actually, I specifically disclaimed any such intention. I generally mean what I say and say what I mean, although I am admittedly worse at the latter than the former. I have no desire to revisit past game design decisions and said so by use of the phrase "water under the bridge." For example, I uttered not a word even at the recent emasculation of my once beloved pig strategems Rolling Eyes .

On the contrary, my position is that I like the way things are (game balance, etc.). For this reason, I have had very little to say here for several months. This fundamentally conservative position cannot logically be interpreted as a criticism of the very point system upon which that game balance is based. I agree that mixed morale class units are sometimes not only necessary, but desirable, in terms of simulating some battlefield behaviors. I did not mean to imply otherwise.

I am simply underlining a point (probably a mistake) I thought pretty uncontroversial (again, therefore, I probably should have continued to say nothing), that any change should be sensitive to upsetting game balance by overcompensatiing for perceived current imperfections. I identified (or agreed with others about) three areas where I perceive a danger: 1. double-armed troops; 2. bonuses without reference to morale, such as 3. in mixed morale units. That's it. No Trojan horse. Probably mere surplusage and better left unsaid. It adds little or nothing to other people's analysis for me to agree with it.

Will get back to painting my Hoplites, Peltasts, and Achaean chariots now.

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Dave Markowitz
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:24 am    Post subject:

I think the bottom line here is that we have to wait until there is considerable feedack from playtesting. Looking at the raw numbers for matchups will not be too helpful. Why? First, because to get the maximum benefit of the rules, you must configure huge, unwieldy units. So players could pin down those big units or flank them before they roll over the enemy. Second, cavalry. Good cav will still be very tough on barbarian foot. For that reason, I disagree with the suggestion that the rule be limited to jls armed foot. My guess is that to be effective in an open tournament, you'll need barbarians with at least front ranks of something with more bite (like 2HCW with Vikings). That being said, the HTW, Jls combo (that is really a few armies) does throw things out of whack.
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scott holder
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:33 pm    Post subject:

All in answered, for now, in the Cold Wars Playtest thread here and above under the Events category. Well, at least in terms of movement, melee. The whole morale issue of barbarian foot will not be playtested at Cold Wars but as I stated in those threads, we'll probably use something from that group for the Theme at Hcon.

Yes, 2HCW, JLS is included. Yes, HTW, alone or with anything, is excluded.

scott

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Dwyight
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:13 am    Post subject:

I have now played six games using the barbarian rules and I would like to comment on some of the good / bad.

Irr Loose march 3 segments (instead of 2)
This speeds up the game and allows foot to contact faster; however, it feels unfair to regulars. Intuitively, the slower march segments for irregulars accounts for the larger number of stragglers associated with unformed armies.

Loose/Open force march for only 1 FP (instead of 2)
In the games I have played loose were not used and open were the only force marched units. Chances are these open units would have been force-marched anyway. This actually slows the game a little bit because mounted or other troops that are vulnerable to missiles wait a little longer because the force-marched missile troops tire more slowly.

Counter-charge vs. enemy foot may be impetuous
This has a good historical feel. My personal impression is that regular foot ABSORBED a charge from barbarians as opposed to charging the barbarians (Irregular Scots at Bannockburn vs. Romans in Germania).


+1 for each pair of elements over 8 in a body in HTH if charging, counter-charging, pursuing or following up
This does not work well. It negates the historical advantages of regularly trained and equipped troops (e.g., Manipular Romans). It negates the differences associated with different weapons technology because a 'strong' weapon hits as hard as a 'weak' weapon. Many units fight with values that are off the charts (Charging with factors > 'more'); this results in barbarian charges equating to 'more'.

3rd and 4th ranks of troops eligible to fight count 1/3 figures if charging, counter-charging, pursuing or following up
This requires more explanation. What does troops eligible to fight mean? The people I have played, count ANY third or fourth rank troop as eligible to fight (e.g., 'other foot' in the fourth rank).


Only 1 FP per CPF in first round of HTH
This feels right when charging or counter-charging; however, I question whether irregulars are as cohesive as regulars when taking a charge at a halt.

Bodies are eager while any friendly body within [240] [160] [120] paces can be seen to be in combat but not shaken/broken friends
I have not seen this; so, I cannot comment on it.

Bodies test for seeing routers only if they are of the same nationality [and not of a lower morale grade]
I am ambivalent about this one. I can see that troops would not care about troops of another nationality; however, personal experience in business has shown me that poor morale is infectious. Additionally, how would troops know whwta the morale grade of a units is? You might consider modifying this to account for social class rather than morale (e.g., a European knight probably does not care about routing peasants).


Bodies do not test for seeing a general in line of command killed; rather, they are eager in the subsequent round of HTH combat [does not apply if general is only routed or wounded and carried off the field]
I have not seen this but it is such a rare occurence that it probably does not matter.
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