Pike and Shot suggestions

Byzantine Productions Pike and Shot is a deep strategy game set during the bloody conflict of the Thirty Years War.

Moderators: rbodleyscott, Slitherine Core, Gothic Labs

Post Reply
JaM2013
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Posts: 544
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:02 pm

Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by JaM2013 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:03 pm

Hi guys, just recently bought Pike&Shot via steam, and was pleasantly surprised how good it is, really enjoying the really close feel to all time classic Age of Rifles even thought this is a bit different game era.

Anyway, i have some suggestions/ideas, which in my humble opinion could improve the game a bit. One of the most important things for game is to link the player with his units, so he doesn't consider them to be cannon fodder but he could create some attachment to them. Whole idea of unit experience gaining through the game play is something i think Pike&Shot could benefit from. I know game focus is to portray important battles of the era, while forces in those armies rarely fought more than single major battle. Yet i think it would be possible to adjust the campaign model a bit, and instead of focusing on single battle, you could adjust it to portray the whole campaign of that particular army, so actual experience of those units could improve over time, while it would give player even a bit more control over the course of war - instead of fighting that single battle, player by controlling the entire army could end up with completely different flow of campaign so that deciding battle could happen a bit differently, based on his decisions made during the campaign.

Its like instead of portraying battle of Waterloo, player would start with french army ready to advance in Belgium, while player would be able to decide what he actually wants to do.. of course this would require a lot larger maps, where actual main clash would happen somewhere on that map (so instead of having multiple separate scenarios, entire campaign would be on that single map)
Image

rbodleyscott
Field of Glory 2
Field of Glory 2
Posts: 22492
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:25 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:19 pm

Thanks for the feedback. We are in fact currently working on just such a system, but it will take a while to be ready.
Richard Bodley Scott

Image

JaM2013
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Posts: 544
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:02 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by JaM2013 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:19 pm

that's really great to hear! cant wait ;)
Image

Philippeatbay
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 276
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:19 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by Philippeatbay » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:02 pm

The concept of units gaining experience with each battle is a somewhat canonized computer game convention. And people generally don't question canonized conventions.

I used to like it, until I read Michael Doubler's Closing with the Enemy (available at Amazon).

The book is not a tremendously easy read, and parts of it are quite tedious. But it's a very important work and you'll never look at small unit engagements in WW II the same way again (I was playing a lot of Combat Mission at the time when I read it). And unlike S.L.A.Marshall, he doesn't seem to have faked his data.

The circumstances behind unit performance in WW II were clearly somewhat different from what went into a unit's experience in the Thirty Years War. But what Doubler very effectively demonstrates in his book is that units deteriorate when they're exposed to combat, and it's not just from taking casualties. Although he didn't express it this way, PTSD seems to impact the unit as a whole just as much if not more than individuals. Units gain experience from training, but in combat they don't gain experience as much as burn out.

A lot of what's described in the book probably has more to do with how Americans ran (or used up) their units, but once confronted with the reality of that situation it's hard to take hallowed wargaming conventions totally seriously, especially for WW II.

Doubler's thesis can't be applied wholesale to the Thirty Years War. The units from WW II that he describes were in combat situations for prolonged periods of time, experiencing repeated psychological trauma for weeks at a stretch. There was a lot of nastiness in pre-modern warfare that never makes it into the history books, and small skirmishes were probably very frequent when large armies were in close proximity to one another. But I can't help remembering my surprise when I read the memoirs of Sergeant Bourgogne and noticed that his account of day-to-day life during the invasion of Russia in 1812 sounded and felt a lot like Vietnam, except that he was using a musket and the cossacks carried lances. Maybe the experience of war isn't all that different from one century to the next, which suggests that one should be cautious about granting experience to a unit simply because it fights in a lot of battles. The experienced cadre is getting progressively killed off, and if too many traumatic events (aka battles and skirmishes) occur too close together, a unit will lose a lot more focus than it will gain in battle-savvy, and won't be able to rely on the Veterans Administration for psychological counseling.

By all accounts the Thirty Years War was a prolongued and psychologically debilitating event, so maybe the Doubler model for what happens to a unit over time is more apt than it at first appears.
Last edited by Philippeatbay on Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rbodleyscott
Field of Glory 2
Field of Glory 2
Posts: 22492
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:25 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:32 pm

Interesting. Certainly the Cornish regiments were never the same again after the storming of Bristol. They had had enough.

Of course even if we do have units gain experience in battles, this will get diluted when casualties are replaced.
Richard Bodley Scott

Image

shawkhan2
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:03 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by shawkhan2 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:07 pm

The reality of warfare in is much different than the public perception.

Veteran status was usually achieved within a few weeks of being on the frontline in WWII, but lost again after about a month of continuous activity.
Rotating units out of the line after a month was the solution but not often done.

Only one man out of twenty is psychologically suited to be a full-time warrior. The other 19 out of 20 can be indoctrinated to fight but with severe limitations
on length of time in action. During WWII, only 30-40% of soldiers would actually fight. During Vietnam, this was increased to 65-70% through 'improved' training. The modern army has increased this fighting percentage further, but the fact remains that only 1 out of 20 men can handle the stress. This explains the increase in PTSD rates in modern times.

The period of Pike and Shot is not my primary area of expertise.
During a campaign season, health issues would be the primary constant, usually limiting an active campaign to 2-3 months, as after this length of time, close to half your army would be debilitated. Cromwell's dilemma at Dunbar being a pertinent example.

An interesting observation is that the strength required to use a pike was actually greater than that of musket use. The biggest,strongest men were thus usually assigned to carry pikes.

This fact also explains why the use of the longbow fell off in favor of muskets. After 2-3 months, many archers had lost much of the physical conditioning necessary to use this weapon effectively. You could be sick and still fire a musket.

In summary, veterans could be easily created, but constant use would gradually degrade them.

Philippeatbay
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 276
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:19 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by Philippeatbay » Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:09 pm

This is a bit off-topic, but I thought one of the advantages of early muskets over longbows was that it required much less skill to learn to fire a ball down range in the general direction of your target than to loose an arrow. Somewhere, long ago, I read something about French attempts to raise units of bowmen during the Hundred Years War, and how these ultimately failed because the French didn't have the culture of constant practice needed to support archery that existed in English villages. I still remember the first time I ever loosed an arrow as opposed to the first time I discharged a firearm. The bullet hit the target roughly in the center, but the arrow fell a few yards short.

I was under the impression that modern armies operated with much larger logistical tails than older ones. I'm assuming that the statistics you mention about those that fight only refer to the point of the spear.

nikdav
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 166
Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:17 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by nikdav » Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:03 pm

There are no bad soldiers, there are only bad commanders ! (Napoleon)

I think that experience of officers and NCO made 80% of units performance,
for example in WW II we can consider the performance in africa of the
italian soldiers before and after Rommel.

shawkhan2
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:03 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by shawkhan2 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:39 pm

Well, longbows and archery in general IS in my field of expertise.

English archers were developed from the age of seven or so. It required at least 7 years to build the strength and skill required to be a good archer.
Good nutrition, with plenty of protein in the diet, was necessary to build the strength required to use a longbow of 100-180 pounds draw weight.

The English peasant/yeomen class of small farmers could provide the proper diet and exercise

With the growth of the wool industry in the coming years, the English middle class was devastated, as villages lost their lands in order to raise sheep and the necessary diet and exercise was no longer available.

Learning to use the longbow was much like training to be a bodybuilder and needed certain conditions to be viable.

shawkhan2
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:03 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by shawkhan2 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:40 pm

What did the sage say?

An army of lions led by a sheep would be defeated by an army of sheep led by a lion.

jomni
Sengoku Jidai
Sengoku Jidai
Posts: 1393
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:20 am

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by jomni » Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:43 am

There are games where replacements are very low quality.

While the survivors gain experience, adding the replacements will lower the average experience. It all depends on how many survives and how many replacements you put in.

In Renaissance Era Sengoku Japan, the Takeda never recovered after losing a lot of experienced troops and generals in Nagashino. In fact as a general trend, the proportion of skilled samurai in Japanese armies is constantly decreasing. Later armies have more foot troops and more guns. They were also drilled to fight together as opposed to just trained to fight individually.

Aryaman
1st Lieutenant - 15 cm sFH 18
1st Lieutenant - 15 cm sFH 18
Posts: 833
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:12 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by Aryaman » Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:34 pm

I think it was Saxe that wrote that green soldiers were better for an assault because they didn't know what was coming.
In the period of the game most casualties were from desertion and disease, and here was one big advantage of veteran units, they suffered much less from both.
In campaign, casualties in action were light, veteran units again had a big advantage because with experience they learnt the tricks of the small war, the ambuscades, night assaults, skirmishes and raids...
In pitched battles casualties could very damaging, though, and virtually destroy entire regiments that had to be rebuild, but in real life battles were rather exceptional, many campaigns were fought without any pitched battle. The Spanish tratadists of the period especially stressed this, according to the "Spanish Science of War" (as opposed to the Art of War) pitched battles should be avoided except in the most favourable conditions, since in a battle luck and random were very important and the best army could be defeated by an inferior force, but in a campaign with a large number of small actions the best army will always prevail in the end (the implicit assumption was that the Spanish army was the best one).

JaM2013
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Posts: 544
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:02 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by JaM2013 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:11 pm

i think it is all about troop quality. For example, Napoleonic Veterans varied in quality, not all were suitable for extended service, but those which distinguished themselves, and were chosen into Guard, were like a rock. but of course, due to casualties, you lose elite men fast, so at some point you have to replace them with whatever is available. "Brave die first" was a saying i read somewhere not that long ago, so experience system if it wants to be realistic needs to take into account quality of men, quality of soldier pool available, and of course the decrease of quality of new recruits as war progresses. Yet, not all was about PTSD, casualties while sometimes quite high, were not a norm, for example in Spanish tercios, it was not that uncommon to see young 16-17 years old guys together with 60-70 year old men.. those men were practically a mercenaries.. they had no other life, so military service was all they knew.. that adds some quality of its own, even though not always in positive way. old veterans could be even damaging to a unit, as they "know what will come" which might reduce morale in certain situations.. so some sort of "people management" should be also included with the experience system. (maybe a possibility to concentrate veterans, or spread them out between units, or similar)
Image

JaM2013
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Posts: 544
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:02 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by JaM2013 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:17 pm

sorry for throwing ideas like that, but i wanted to mention this - Personally, i would like to see a game someday, that would combine grand strategy with the tactical fights. Maybe a mix of games like Commander: Europe at War and Pike and shot, where strategy part would be played on grand map with armies represented by classic hex figures player would be able to more around, while once armies engage, he would be transferred to the tactical map and would fight off the battle Pike&Shot way.. So player would be able to perform strategic moves and maneuvers, securing important points, supplies etc, but still have opportunity for tactical battles.
Image

rbodleyscott
Field of Glory 2
Field of Glory 2
Posts: 22492
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:25 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:23 am

JaM2013 wrote:sorry for throwing ideas like that, but i wanted to mention this - Personally, i would like to see a game someday, that would combine grand strategy with the tactical fights. Maybe a mix of games like Commander: Europe at War and Pike and shot, where strategy part would be played on grand map with armies represented by classic hex figures player would be able to more around, while once armies engage, he would be transferred to the tactical map and would fight off the battle Pike&Shot way.. So player would be able to perform strategic moves and maneuvers, securing important points, supplies etc, but still have opportunity for tactical battles.
This is of course the Holy Grail of wargames. Usually the reason it is not done is because the designers are concentrating either on strategy or battles. However, there is another consideration, which is the time it would take to play out a game.

For example, the Total War series attempts to do both, but the battles are relatively brief affairs and become extremely repetitive after a while. However, it is unwise to let the computer resolve the battle automatically because the result is likely to be much worse than you could achieve yourself. A full game takes several days to complete.

Europa Universalis IV is a superb game, with battles that are resolved automatically, and yet it takes several days to play a game. Think how long it would take if each battle was resolved as in Pike and Shot.

We are currently working on a more limited campaign game, which will allow a localised campaign between two opposing forces on a semi-abstract computer generated campaign map, over a few campaign years, using the army lists system that is already in the game. The battles will be played out using the existing skirmish system, but units will have persistence between battles and will suffer casualites and gain or lose Experience and Elan as a result of battles, and attrition in between battles. Obviously any Experience they may have gained will be diluted when the unit is recruited back up to full strength.

And with regard to earlier posts (WW2 data notwithstanding), veterans were generally the best and steadiest troops in field battles, at least up until post-Napoleonic times. It is possible that they might not be the best troops to use for an assault, because experience breeds caution, but it is more likely that because high casualties could be expected, it was preferable to use newly-recruited cannon-fodder rather than more valuable veterans.
Richard Bodley Scott

Image

Adraeth
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:19 am

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by Adraeth » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:13 pm

We are currently working on a more limited campaign game, which will allow a localised campaign between two opposing forces on a semi-abstract computer generated campaign map, over a few campaign years, using the army lists system that is already in the game. The battles will be played out using the existing skirmish system, but units will have persistence between battles and will suffer casualites and gain or lose Experience and Elan as a result of battles, and attrition in between battles. Obviously any Experience they may have gained will be diluted when the unit is recruited back up to full strength.

ohhh i love all of you :D

shawkhan2
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:03 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by shawkhan2 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:06 pm

Just a note on veterans. They also tended to have lower attrition from non-combat causes, and a higher survival rate from wounds. Do not offer any suggestions on how this can be factored-in however. A prime example of the Survival of the Fittest, in a way.

TheGrayMouser
General - Carrier
General - Carrier
Posts: 4673
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:03 pm

rbodleyscott wrote: We are currently working on a more limited campaign game, which will allow a localised campaign between two opposing forces on a semi-abstract computer generated campaign map, over a few campaign years, using the army lists system that is already in the game. The battles will be played out using the existing skirmish system, but units will have persistence between battles and will suffer casualites and gain or lose Experience and Elan as a result of battles, and attrition in between battles. Obviously any Experience they may have gained will be diluted when the unit is recruited back up to full strength.
Awesome!
reminds me a little of this nifty pen and paper game
http://perfectcaptain.50megs.com/SFCampaign.html

shawkhan2
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:03 pm

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by shawkhan2 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:51 pm

Any kind of campaign featuring experience gain and saved cores would work for me, as a long-time Panzer C(K)orps player, this is definitely the way to go.

KateMicucci
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:31 am

Re: Pike and Shot suggestions

Post by KateMicucci » Fri Apr 03, 2015 7:33 pm

Philippe_at_bay wrote:This is a bit off-topic, but I thought one of the advantages of early muskets over longbows was that it required much less skill to learn to fire a ball down range in the general direction of your target than to loose an arrow. Somewhere, long ago, I read something about French attempts to raise units of bowmen during the Hundred Years War, and how these ultimately failed because the French didn't have the culture of constant practice needed to support archery that existed in English villages. I still remember the first time I ever loosed an arrow as opposed to the first time I discharged a firearm. The bullet hit the target roughly in the center, but the arrow fell a few yards short.
The English archers serving in the Dutch Revolt utterly failed to distinguish themselves by outperforming the firearms. Thomas Garrard in The Arte of VVarre can think of no other use for bowmen but to harass horses. Contemporary military writers Humphrey Barwick and Roger Williams list many reasons why this was so, but training was not one of them. The archers were already trained, after all, and the caliver/muskets were still doing greater execution.

While the limitations of muskets are well known, the effectiveness of the bow is highly exaggerated. Heavy war bows of the kind used in the 16th century (not modern, light compounds) are not capable of great accuracy, and are not very lethal.

Baron Marbot's cavalry engaged Russian horse archers at Liepzig and he goes on about how ineffective and ridiculous they were. Only one man from his squadron was killed by an arrow. The famous conquistador Bernal Diaz describes over a hundred battles he fought in Mexico in his book. He often describes dozens of wounded from the first volley of arrows, slingstones and javelins, but there are rarely more than a handful of Spanish dead after any battle. Most of the conquistadors had only quilted cotton jackets as armor. This can't be put down to poor craftsmanship by the Indian fletchers either, as the Spanish considered the copper-tipped bolts the Indians made to resupply the Spanish crossbows superior to the ones they'd brought with them from Spain.

John Underhill's account of the Pequot War names several men who were saved from Pequot arrows by the knots of their hankerchief or a piece of hard cheese.

For these reasons and others I have been convinced that the decision by almost every culture in the world to abandon the bow for the musket was due to the musket's technical superiority, not due to training.

Post Reply

Return to “Pike & Shot”