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Javelin armed cavalry - and why they need some love

 
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 2:36 am    Post subject: Javelin armed cavalry - and why they need some love

So I have been preparing for Historicon, looking at armies and am once again astounded how we consign armies to never be played by giving the cavalry javelin, they fight one rank and are as rare as rocking horse droppings on battlefields.
In fact I don't believe they are capable of performing in period as well as they did, nobody would ever have ridden a horse -so we change lance to rank and ahalf, but the same justification could be used for Javelin. I would argue without it evry troop that gets rank and a half monted should go up in points by 20%, or just make the game more interesting and historical by giving mounted (MC/HC etc and maybe lights) rank and a half - it makes more armies competitive, while lancers still ride them down most of the time.
we play with other stuff- but why not expand the list of playable armies by this simple expedient - the deep south already does - maybe get their input.
Just so many lists you never see, because their mounted is just a target -thoughts?
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Todd Kaeser
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:23 pm    Post subject:

I am in favor of a little love being shown to javelin armed cavalry as well.

I think Derekcons address javelin armed cavalry in their tournaments.

If more LC Jls,Sh fought rank and a half then it would open up a ton more armies to be used tournaments - IMO

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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:54 pm    Post subject: Jls armed cav

So I only play tournaments any more and would love to see more diversity, plus the folks who just play the armies they love would not be at as big a disadvantage against those of us who play armies that do well- and which we like. Romans, early British, Spanish , many more biblical lists and dark age lists become playable - we may actually see Carthaginian in nationals again etc
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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 9:03 pm    Post subject:

If I were inclined to propose an adjustment to the rules in this area, I would propose the following:
* No change to the points system.
* An element of cavalry armed with JLS behind another element of cavalry armed with JLS contributes one additional figure to the number of figures fighting when charging, counter-charging, or pursuing.

This would have the effect of having LC with JLS fight rank and a half, and MC / HC / EHC armed with JLS fight with 4 figures out of a 2 element unit. So equal to L for LC, and better than current JLS but worse than L for loose order cav.

Having said that: I'm not inclined to mess with the rules in this area in anything other than an X-rules context.

We are, of course, free to mess around with whatever X-rules we like at a local event. Derek does this all the time. We've dabbled in a bit of it, and could certainly do so for something like Fall In or Council of 5 Nations, or maybe the mini at Cold Wars. But I would oppose bringing a change of this magnitude to our showcase open events (Cold Wars Doubles and the Historicon NICT).

I have two reasons for this:

(1) You are arguing from the perspective of game balance for open tournaments matching up ahistorical opponents. Scott and Bill are curating a set of rules for historical play against historical opponents. There is a resulting "church and state" separation between these two points of view, and I've come to think over the years that this is a healthy thing.

No system is going to be perfect from a game balance perspective. I've watched everyone from Wizards of the Coast to Riot Games struggle with this issue with mixed success at best. And if they were successful, we might very well dislike the result. We might get a game that's perfectly balanced, but as sterile as Chess or Go. And I don't think either Scott or Bill has any appetite for, nor should be subjected to, endless arguments about why some player's pet view on game balance is better than theirs. We've all see these kinds of debates play out in a very heated manner with other game systems, and we should not go down that road.

And don't even get me started on the points system. It was never the declared purpose of the points system to accurately reflect value of a troop type in an open tournament, ahistorical context, and the system clearly does not reflect such. MI and LMI units that are shielded are more valuable than HI and LHI units that are shieldless, and such MI/LMI units are also cheaper. Elephant bodies that have generals are superior to elephant bodies that do not, and also cheaper. I could go on, but this is just part of our system. You can't pull on this particular thread without unraveling the whole sweater, so just don't. It isn't the declared purpose of the points system to begin with.

(2) I don't think you'll win an argument from history either. Scott and Bill have put a lot of work into this aspect of the game and rightly take a lot of pride in it. The period where JLS-armed cavalry predominated is not my specialty, but it certainly appears to me that such troops did not rely on deep formations aiming for a breakthrough charge, in contrast to later lance-armed troops. There are other differences. Lance-armed cavalry tend to be (though not always) from a later period in which the size of the horse was just greater than in earlier periods, which has consequences for the formations and associated tactics that were used.

The rules stated purpose is to encourage the use of historical formations, and unless it were glaringly obvious that "Warrior" gets this wrong on some basic point, I don't think there's much of an argument. In this case "Warrior"'s treatment of JLS-armed cavalry seems at least roughly consistent with historical formations. It does not seem glaringly wrong, or necessarily wrong at all.

If you're not comfortable with the resulting game balance, well, then I'd refer you back to (1) above.

Sorry to be the conservative preaching for the status quo, but that's where I stand on this one.
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 2:05 pm    Post subject: Jls cavalry

interesting comments Mark, but I do not agree on a number of levels - my belief is that you want people to use units and troops in ways that match history to some degree, and to alllow armies to be playable in a format that covers class to 5000 years -
If armies that were historically very effective are not in the rules - you have it wrong
There are a short list of a armies - mainly in that list because of the cheese they get - I am arguing to make all heavy cavalry somewhat effective. Everything I read says that cavalry were the elite of almost any army - and dramatically changed battles - often in frontal assaults but also on flank charges - Jls cavalry that fights one rank does not do either of these competently. So if you went to rank and a half- what do you get- HC vs lance HC is a push - every oth cavalry the Jls cav loses . Against foot Jls one rank hc can sometimes beat li but pretty much lose against anything else except no shield hw or pow infantry - so 5000 years of armies used high resources to maintain cavalry that is useless, or we are not enabling troops to fight as they historically did. Ie we are intentionally building a flawed game system. But frankly I care more about enjoying a wide range of armies and allowing those who love armies to play them and have a shot of winning - for most of us we only play in competitive tournaments - so how can we enable people to play armies that they historically love? I donít think the top armies change - I do think we see more armies that people love- but which are not viable with current rules - I want to see as many people playing as possible - and playing armies they love. I would also like to see troops having some utility at least to match history- remember we moved to rank and a half lancers for exactly the same reason - I hear no-one complaining any more
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Todd Kaeser
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 11:33 am    Post subject:

Mark - LOVE the idea of Jls armed cavalry fighting an additional figure.

LC option allows for a lot more armies to be used.

HC allows for some use of JLS armed HC beyond just a command element. There are not a lot of Jls armed cav this would affect IMO

Nice Idea Mark!

Todd

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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 12:01 pm    Post subject:

Quote:
If armies that were historically very effective are not in the rules - you have it wrong


I love this point because it really gets to the heart of the problem, and an aspect we seldom discuss.

My words were chosen carefully, and I stuck to "historical formations" rather than speaking about armies as a whole. Our games are very limited:
* We play only open field pitched battles, which represent a narrow subset of battle types. Historically battles were intended to be decisive, and if two armies met on relatively equal terms then one or both general had made a mistake. Consider Poitiers, where the French chased the English all over the French countryside with neither side showing much enthusiasm for direct engagement. On the morning of the battle, each side realized they had mistakenly camped too close to the other the night before, and thus if either army attempted to break camp and withdraw they would be subject to a rear attack by the other. They had no choice but to fight. No, far more common is a lot of operational and grand strategic maneuver designed to present one side with an overwhelming tactical advantage once battle is actually drawn.
* We play only very narrow objectives -- destroy the enemy force in the bloodiest manner possible. In fact armies always had other objectives to consider -- seize a key piece of terrain (bridge, ford, oasis, hilltop, etc.); encircle a town; screen the supply train as it traverses across open country; scout out and determine where the heck the enemy actually is.

I mention these two points because of you look at the broader operational picture and ask what troop types are more useful or versatile for the full range of operational maneuvers and the full range of engagement types then it becomes much more obvious why armies that we typically don't play have the composition they have.

For example: lance-armed cavalry are generally terrible for foraging or small skirmishes between opponents spread out over many miles of countryside. Light cavalry are also not perfect in this role -- great for scouting and foraging, but still relatively weak in even a small skirmish. By contrast, MC with JLS -- a troop type none of us would ever voluntarily take -- excel in this role. Almost as good as light cav in scouting and foraging, and just sturdy enough in hand to hand combat to play the small skirmish role competently.

So I agree that the composition of armies that did well historically often does not resemble the composition of armies that do well in Warrior tournaments, but I disagree about the cause. I think it's because we focus on a narrow set of battle objectives and battle types, not because we under-represent the power of certain troop types in an open, pitched battle to the death.

For what it's worth, I wish that in local tournaments we would experiment not just with rules, but with types of battles and types of tournaments. I have lots of ideas about how we could bring some of the operational aspects to bear in a tournament context, as well as how we could vary battle objectives and still have a playable tournament. That, perhaps, is a discussion for another thread.[/list][/list]
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jamiepwhite
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:14 pm    Post subject: L vs JLS cav

I think the current Derekcon rule for JLS cav is that JLS cav fights rank and a half against foot but not other mounted. This was intended to give better ability to ordinary JLS cav but still preserve the advantage of L cav or Huns that have a list rank and a half rule.
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 7:19 pm    Post subject: JLS cavalry

A lot of good points, and with the risk of descending into specific armies, the Carthaginian and Roman cavalry - were decisive in multiple battles against good Heavy infantry - fighting each other, the numidian light cavalry was regarded as the best of its era, and for both you will not see them on the table in any competitive battle(except for minimums).
I remember folks who used to play, loved armies that had no cheese, and now are just friendly faces at conventions, I would love to give them a reason to come back. This might help
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Frank Gilson
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: JLS cavalry

lilroblis wrote:
A lot of good points, and with the risk of descending into specific armies, the Carthaginian and Roman cavalry - were decisive in multiple battles against good Heavy infantry - fighting each other, the numidian light cavalry was regarded as the best of its era, and for both you will not see them on the table in any competitive battle(except for minimums).
I remember folks who used to play, loved armies that had no cheese, and now are just friendly faces at conventions, I would love to give them a reason to come back. This might help


I of course have my perspectives...and have done a little reading of history.

Denser mounted (MC and up) was not super happy about frontal charges into formed infantry (MI/HI and such), particularly those with spear and/or missile weapons. Instead they looked for flanks given their high maneuverability and speed compared to infantry.

Our rules (and most others) do not take into account the frequent feint charges that occurred...whereby an impact mounted unit would charge straight at formed infantry looking for a 'morale failure' or cohesion problem and peeling off if they did not find it. That's actually what wedge and rhomboid formations were really for NOT dense mass of cav behind a single point, no, but the ability of the front man/men to signal result/intention by continuing a straight charge OR peeling off at the last moment. Instead, WRG 7th reflected the incorrect function of these formations with a combat bonus...or perhaps that was alright as the intent was that the mounted were trying to get an advantage and Barker didn't want to reflect break offs before contact.

We turned that into 1.5 ranks for certain weapons and troops (some JLS or other cav get 1.5 ranks).

I am no Roman/Carthaginian expert, having not read a single source on the Punic Wars...but HOW did the JLS cav decisively defeat HI? What state were the HI in? I'm pretty sure no JLS cav frontal charge into formed, ready HI was successful. Something had to be 'wrong' with the HI, disorder, shaken, hit on the flank, something...which of course would not be reflected in various historical sources given that it would have been such a micro-detail.

Frank
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 2:53 pm    Post subject: Re: L vs JLS cav

jamiepwhite wrote:
I think the current Derekcon rule for JLS cav is that JLS cav fights rank and a half against foot but not other mounted. This was intended to give better ability to ordinary JLS cav but still preserve the advantage of L cav or Huns that have a list rank and a half rule.


We do this at DerekCons to increase the number of viable armies for people to bring. Otherwise, we tend to see the same half dozen armies over and over again.

Ultimately, this is a game. For tournament play, anything that increases the number of different armies that appear is a good thing.

Steve
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 2:07 am    Post subject: JLS cavalry

Frank - its been a while but my memory was that they drove poff the lights then hit the flanks of the legions - in current game unless the unshileded flanks - jls cav bounces off most foot 3 @5 =12 run away tired
but there are people who know the history better - my point is they were an integral part of their armies, and one they useless under our rules, and 2 it might encourage more diversity of troops, and perhaps bring back some players, while making it more fun for all of us, and thats really why I play - to have fun
Others may play for other reasons (I doubt it)- but thats mine, and so more and different matchups are highly desirable in my mind
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 10:07 am    Post subject:

Other players fled for other rules sets, some covering other periods (Flames of War), primarily.

One can look at the UK and historical miniatures gaming there and the players who moved from WRG to DBM/DBA to DBMM to Field of Glory and now to ADLG (the latest craze).

Some adherents stuck to DBMM and to FoG so the UK typically has 3 rules sets in play at events.

ADLG has the benefit of smaller tables and faster battles, a DBMM/FoG that has been scaled back and simplified.

Note that in some such rules sets (most of them?) shields are not represented, in so far as its just armor grades...Field of Glory shieldless MI would be unprotected, with shields protected, an armor grade difference far less severe than in our system. Also, being hit in flank or rear in FoG is also less bad (unless you are also fighting to the front) than in Warrior.

Some JLS cav do fight 1.5 ranks...yes most do not. We have plenty of viable armies...we really do. I don't think anyone will rejoin Warrior simply because we make JLS cav better.

Also, what are the flaws of JLS cav armies other than their not fighting 1.5 ranks?

Older Roman armies have HI HTW,Sh, even with all their special rules (Fulcum, Roman Swordsmen, etc.) can't compete...and we can't change the fact that Elephants, SHC and SHK run them over.

Frank
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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 10:48 am    Post subject:

Actually, there is one rules change out of all this that I would consider (not that it matters what I think). I think this adjustment would better represent the operational considerations of how troops were used:
"Cavalry armed with lance do not have scouting points."
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lilroblis
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 5:41 pm    Post subject: JLS cavalry

Mark - what about Lance Bow cav? Either way - I was thinking in the hypothetical - another option is rank and a half, and gets -1 facing steady lance armed cavalry - Lancers were better (especially as I read about it against armored cavalry) - which would be reflected - but this would make it much clearer -
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