Sweet spot...

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ChrisTofalos
Sergeant - 7.5 cm FK 16 nA
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Sweet spot...

Post by ChrisTofalos » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:52 am

One of the criticisms levelled at FOG-AM by a regular DBMM player at my club (MAWS) was that there isn't an 'end game'. That is, unlike virtually all of the DBMM games I've witnessed, where one army or the other broke to end the game, the FOG games I've played in hardly ever ended in an outright victory. It got to be a bit disappointing but I put it down to me not knowing the rules well enough and consequently slowing down play.

Warfare 2014 was my first comp entered in years and, although I did rather poorly, I was looking forward to this year's event, which I played in last month. I wasn't sure about the format: 750 points on a five by three and a half but, at least, I didn't have quite so many troops to paint & base. Virtually all of the games I've played in over the last fourteen months or so have been 800 points on a six by four. It seemed the norm and I didn't think much of it - until I looked at the results spreadsheets, after realising all four of the games I played in ended in army routs (two were my army collapsing but, satisfyingly, the other two were my opponents).

Last year, in the 'classical' period I entered, just four of the 32 games played (800/6x4) ended in an outright win. I was astounded after looking at this year's results. In the two FOG-AM periods played (Bronze Age & Medieval) no fewer than 35 of the 56 games played ended with an outright win. Organiser Tim Childs is to be congratulated on (a) a very well-run competition and (b) finding something of a sweet spot in the points/table size formula.

I'm a bit disappointed to see some of the comps already announced for 2016 feature the usual 800 (or even 900!) points on a 6x4 but will certainly do my level best to enter any with the 'magic formula'...

Note: I realise that game time is also a factor in whether or not there's a decisive result but, in all the games mentioned above, with two games needing to be played in a day, three and a half hours was the norm.

vexillia

Re: Sweet spot...

Post by vexillia » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:46 am

Firstly, I agree with you that fewer points and smaller tables result in more decisive, and quicker, battles. There's less scope for stalling and the smaller armies mean all losses matter.

Secondly, I don't think that points & table size are the only factors in play. Familiarity can play a part. I analysed the scores from the Northern League over four years and the average score declined as the group of players shrunk:

Image

Of course dealing with averages is always risky as they can give "too neat a picture" by hiding variation. So I had a look at the corresponding plot using the data for each round not the average for the year:

Image

As expected the plot shows far greater variation but the correlation is still apparent. At first glance I would say this plot is curved and far less linear than the plot using the averages. This is because the combined average score is constrained: it cannot fall below 20 and is very, very unlikely to be more than 25.

I tend to think that FOG AM in the Northern League has shrunk to a core group who are of similar ability and as a result are more likely to draw their games. The "shrinking" continued in 2014 & looks to have continued in 2015:

Image

I doubt that actually playing FOG AM v2 has had a direct influence on this trend as the trend is present in the FOG AM v1 data alone. Where I do think it has played a part is in reducing the pool of active players in the Northern League.

Finally, I'm not certain that the trend in the Northern League translates to the National level competitions not least because they tend to be well, if not fully, subscribed. However, if competitions like Warfare attract a large core of regulars it wouldn't surprise me if drawn games became more common and the need to change things all the more necessary.

ChrisTofalos
Sergeant - 7.5 cm FK 16 nA
Sergeant - 7.5 cm FK 16 nA
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Re: Sweet spot...

Post by ChrisTofalos » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:35 am

Some very interesting comments, conclusions - and stats, Martin!

I'm not sure why the Northern League has declined. I've only played in it a couple of times, in periods that interested me and for which I had troops. I'm tempted to say I didn't particularly like the periods or formats this year and, probably for those reasons, didn't play this year...

Chris

hazelbark
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Re: Sweet spot...

Post by hazelbark » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:13 pm

One of the unfortunate things about FOG is the determination to have 3.5 hour games. 4x6 tables and 800 or 900 pt armies.

Add to the problem breaking a foe, is some armies can be set up for a heads I win, tails we draw strategy. AKA Benny Hill phase.

In FOGv2 Beta many things were discussed and then abruptly tossed out in the rush to publish.

I played a number of 800 on a 3x5 table and it was very interesting.

The argument of "4x6, 800 is what we always do. Therefore let's not rock the boat" has not been healthy to the game IMHO.

vexillia

Re: Sweet spot...

Post by vexillia » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:15 am

hazelbark wrote:The argument of "4x6, 800 is what we always do. Therefore let's not rock the boat" has not been healthy to the game IMHO.
I agree.

I'm certain there's a conservative tendency (small "c") amongst many organisers & regular tournament players. Understandably, the former don't want to change the format and endanger their tournament. The latter want to stick to what they know and in some cases what they have practised for.

Sadly, the overall result is an insidious death by a thousand cuts as players leave one by one.

ravenflight
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Re: Sweet spot...

Post by ravenflight » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:29 pm

Most of the games I have played involve a substantial 'HeavyFoot' force, namely because the bulk of my armies are Heavy Foot (Hoplites & Vikings).

The thing I found in both DBM & FoG was my opponents with a more mobile army do the 'rush forward to try to break the shield wall, and if that fails 'benny hill' for the rest of the game.

Cutting down table depth would dramatically change that.

Point being, I found just as many draws with DBM as FoG.

pyruse
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Re: Sweet spot...

Post by pyruse » Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:11 pm

In both DBM and FoG, the solution is to play with fewer points on a smaller table (or fewer points with 28mm figures).
But for some reason players are averse to doing that; I think some tournament players are more concerned with not losing than getting a decisive result.

timmy1
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Re: Sweet spot...

Post by timmy1 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:57 pm

I get a decisive result in every game I play... Winning one (just one) would be nice...

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