Save the elephant

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MatthewP
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Save the elephant

Post by MatthewP » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:17 am

Another troop type that has virtually dissapeared from the gaming tables. I tried them again last night and they just disintergrated on impact and vanished. Well worth 50 points (not). I think elephants should have a -2 on the death role to help them. I know this would make them difficult to kill, but they're elephants, they should be difficult to kill!. It still means they can be broken by falling cohesion levels. I dont know the historical record but how often did elephants actually die in combat. Wasnt it far more likely that they panicked and ran. They were used by every army that had access to them so they must have been effective. This is not reflected in FOG and elephants are sadly a dying breed.

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Post by Mehrunes » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:22 am

Is that so? Elephants are on a + against nearly everything, so they get an average of 1 1/3 hits against them and they ignore 1.
Seems pretty fair to me. All else is bad play or bad luck.

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Post by hammy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:31 am

Elephants being beaten at impact is a tad unlucky but it does seem to happen rather too much. I suspect the real issue is that most of the time elephants are fighting against superior troops or at least they are in my experience.

That said when I use Classical Indian I take all the elephants I have (which is sadly only 10 but I intend to buy some more).

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Post by Ranimiro » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:31 am

If you make them less likely to dye you should also consider than more than often they tended to panic and trample their own troos. I game terms i would have preferred a tougher elephant too (although i dont run any army with them) but also the possibility of panicking them and disordering their own army.

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Post by hammy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:35 am

Ranimiro wrote:If you make them less likely to dye you should also consider than more than often they tended to panic and trample their own troos. I game terms i would have preferred a tougher elephant too (although i dont run any army with them) but also the possibility of panicking them and disordering their own army.
The problem with panic is that it would normally only affect perhaps one or two elephants in a group. In FoG a BG of elephants represents a lot more than one or two beasts. Essentially the panic is rolled into the impact of the elephants breaking when nearby friends have to take cohesion tests.

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Post by jlopez » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:39 am

hammy wrote:
Ranimiro wrote:If you make them less likely to dye you should also consider than more than often they tended to panic and trample their own troos. I game terms i would have preferred a tougher elephant too (although i dont run any army with them) but also the possibility of panicking them and disordering their own army.
The problem with panic is that it would normally only affect perhaps one or two elephants in a group. In FoG a BG of elephants represents a lot more than one or two beasts. Essentially the panic is rolled into the impact of the elephants breaking when nearby friends have to take cohesion tests.
What would be fun would be to have ALL BGs within 3 MUs of a broken elephant BG taking a CT. Most panicked elephants aren't too particular as to whom they trample.

philqw78
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Post by philqw78 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:43 am

Make them BG of three bases. Make them all poor. Improve their POA's so they are harder to hit. They then also hit things easier but re-roll a lot of hits. Count them as 2 bases each for HPB. No +1 to death roll. Do not deviate when routing, for anything. 20pts a base. 60pts a BG.
phil
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Post by hammy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:55 am

philqw78 wrote:Make them BG of three bases. Make them all poor. Improve their POA's so they are harder to hit. They then also hit things easier but re-roll a lot of hits. Count them as 2 bases each for HPB. No +1 to death roll. Do not deviate when routing, for anything. 20pts a base. 60pts a BG.
So a more expensive BG that still breaks on the loss of one base and is more likely to lose that base is a good thing ?? :shock:

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Post by philqw78 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:01 pm

hammy wrote:
philqw78 wrote:Make them BG of three bases. Make them all poor. Improve their POA's so they are harder to hit. They then also hit things easier but re-roll a lot of hits. Count them as 2 bases each for HPB. No +1 to death roll. Do not deviate when routing, for anything. 20pts a base. 60pts a BG.
So a more expensive BG that still breaks on the loss of one base and is more likely to lose that base is a good thing ?? :shock:
I did say up their POA's. If you up their POA's ++ against everything in melee and impact, then apply opposing POA as now. Most stuff will be at fives to hit them and they will be at 4's to hit, 3 against mounted. Also those that shoot at it now at evens a minus, those at +, to shoot at evens. They would be scarier but just as fragile. Also they rout and are not removed at the end of JAP. They keep going 'til they get home.

A point I missed, make them burst through all troops when routing, including enemy.

Charging them from the rear may be a bad idea if they are going to rout back towards you though.
phil
putting the arg into argumentative

lawrenceg
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Re: Save the elephant

Post by lawrenceg » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:03 pm

MatthewP wrote:Another troop type that has virtually dissapeared from the gaming tables. I tried them again last night and they just disintergrated on impact and vanished. Well worth 50 points (not). I think elephants should have a -2 on the death role to help them. I know this would make them difficult to kill, but they're elephants, they should be difficult to kill!. It still means they can be broken by falling cohesion levels. I dont know the historical record but how often did elephants actually die in combat. Wasnt it far more likely that they panicked and ran. They were used by every army that had access to them so they must have been effective. This is not reflected in FOG and elephants are sadly a dying breed.
Loss of a base does not represent death (or even, necessarily, running off) of all the individuals in the base removed.

It represents a permanent degradation of the combat effectiveness of the whole BG.

Historically, elephants in the West were usually not very effective and did not stick around for long. I don't know about India/Far East, but you get a lot of elephant BGs in those armies, so the loss of a BG due to bad luck has less impact.

IMO their behaviour in the game is about right. If no-one uses them then either they are too expensive, or the currently fashionable troop types are bad match-ups.
Lawrence Greaves

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Post by MatthewP » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:06 pm

Why do we think elephants are any more prone to rout than any other troops? All troops panic and run, its how battles are decided. Its just the consequences of an elephant rout are more severe. If they were so prone to panic and running they would not have been used so much. Hannibal obviously thought they were worth it. The Indians used them in great numbers for thousands of years. If they were such a liability why were they used by everybody who could use them. Exactly how many references to elephant routs are there? One or two from the classical period. Maybe its because they didnt happen so often and the results were so catastrophic on these occasions they were worth noting.

As far as FOG is concerned they are not so good against spear and pike and are often only at evens for many combats against foot. But I dont necesarily think this is a bad thing. They are good cavalry killers as expected and not bad on the whole against foot. But they are always liable to explode at any instant and it is this that is making them a liability and the reason you dont see them as musch as you should.

They are one of the most spectacular aspects of ancient wargaming and one of the reasons I started playing. I brought my first elephants when I was 12 years old. If things dont change I will be 112 before I use them again.

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Post by philqw78 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:07 pm

philqw78 wrote:A point I missed, make them burst through all troops when routing, including enemy.
Also there's a chance they could win the melee and still break due to base loss. Brilliant.
phil
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Post by grahambriggs » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:07 pm

Mehrunes wrote:Is that so? Elephants are on a + against nearly everything, so they get an average of 1 1/3 hits against them and they ignore 1.
Seems pretty fair to me. All else is bad play or bad luck.
True, however, they only get 4 dice, so the swings of fortune can be quite large.

In my experience a line of elephant BGs can fight well for a while, then a BG through chance loses a combat and rolls a 1 for base losses and the line unravels quickly. This sudden disintegration is perhaps not a bad representation of the poorly trained elephants at Zama. However, it doesn't seem to reflect properly trained beasts who seemed quite difficult to shift.

While bigger BGs of elephants gave issues (I understand) during trialling, the 2 base BGs do seem a little lightweight. A possible way to make them tougher could be to allow them to be the exception that can keep on fighting as a single base? That might increase the resilience of elephant lines to their historical extent? Plus you'd have more chance of routing elephants bursting through friends as they won't dissappear in the JAP.

lawrenceg
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Post by lawrenceg » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:09 pm

MatthewP wrote:Why do we think elephants are any more prone to rout than any other troops? All troops panic and run, its how battles are decided. Its just the consequences of an elephant rout are more severe. If they were so prone to panic and running they would not have been used so much. Hannibal obviously thought they were worth it. The Indians used them in great numbers for thousands of years. If they were such a liability why were they used by everybody who could use them. Exactly how many references to elephant routs are there? One or two from the classical period. Maybe its because they didnt happen so often and the results were so catastrophic on these occasions they were worth noting.
IF the Indians used them in great numbers for thousands of years then there must have been hundreds of examples of elephant routs. Unless all Indian battles ended in a draw.
Lawrence Greaves

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Post by MatthewP » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:15 pm

IF the Indians used them in great numbers for thousands of years then there must have been hundreds of examples of elephant routs. Unless all Indian battles ended in a draw.
Im sure there were lots of them but there would have been just as many human troops, horses, donkeys, flaming pigs and war monkeys routing as well.

OK maybe not war monkeys.

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Post by philqw78 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:24 pm

MatthewP wrote:OK maybe not war monkeys.
No, they fly.
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Post by hammy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:28 pm

grahambriggs wrote:While bigger BGs of elephants gave issues (I understand) during trialling, the 2 base BGs do seem a little lightweight. A possible way to make them tougher could be to allow them to be the exception that can keep on fighting as a single base? That might increase the resilience of elephant lines to their historical extent? Plus you'd have more chance of routing elephants bursting through friends as they won't dissappear in the JAP.
Allowing a single base to continue to function would be possible but is a fairly major rules shift.

Having played against an army with two BGs of 4 elephants each with their own personal commander I can safely say that BGs of 4 elephants are way too good.

Overall I am fairly happy with elephants as they are. Classical Indian is definitely on my list of armies to use some more.

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Post by Strategos69 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:41 pm

jlopez wrote:
hammy wrote:
Ranimiro wrote:If you make them less likely to dye you should also consider than more than often they tended to panic and trample their own troos. I game terms i would have preferred a tougher elephant too (although i dont run any army with them) but also the possibility of panicking them and disordering their own army.
The problem with panic is that it would normally only affect perhaps one or two elephants in a group. In FoG a BG of elephants represents a lot more than one or two beasts. Essentially the panic is rolled into the impact of the elephants breaking when nearby friends have to take cohesion tests.
What would be fun would be to have ALL BGs within 3 MUs of a broken elephant BG taking a CT. Most panicked elephants aren't too particular as to whom they trample.
I like Julián's and Ranimiro ideas. One thing I thought about trying in my games was that, when elepahnts fail a death roll or are broken, they flee inmediately in a random way.
1 straight left
2 45 degrees to the left
3-4 straight
5 45 degrees to the right
6 straight to the right

Every unit crossed by the elephants will lose a level of cohesion. I think this rule could also work for expendable charriots.
If results are 1 or 6 effects can be devastating in your line, as they are usually described in Ancient accounts of battles (another reason not to deploy them with the main line, which happened in some battles).

By the way, it also seems to me that:
there should be differences between different species of elephants and quality as troops, specially when they faced each other
elephants should have a little bit more power in impact.

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Post by Lionelc62 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:55 pm

hammy wrote:
grahambriggs wrote:While bigger BGs of elephants gave issues (I understand) during trialling, the 2 base BGs do seem a little lightweight. A possible way to make them tougher could be to allow them to be the exception that can keep on fighting as a single base? That might increase the resilience of elephant lines to their historical extent? Plus you'd have more chance of routing elephants bursting through friends as they won't dissappear in the JAP.
Allowing a single base to continue to function would be possible but is a fairly major rules shift.

Having played against an army with two BGs of 4 elephants each with their own personal commander I can safely say that BGs of 4 elephants are way too good.

Overall I am fairly happy with elephants as they are. Classical Indian is definitely on my list of armies to use some more.
Elephants are also ok for me. They don't need a fix or only a small increase of their disordering effect.
They are quite good if use well.

Lionel

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Post by MatthewP » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:32 pm

If elephants are an effective and valued troop type, why do you never see them?. Because nobody wants a bloody great hole appearing in their battle line in the middle of combat. No other troop type is as brittle or as expensive as elephants. Unles they are toughened up they will dissapear from the wargaming table and that will be a loss to the hobby.

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