What is this orb thingy again?

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Lycanthropic
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What is this orb thingy again?

Post by Lycanthropic » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:52 am

8 stand pike block in a 2x4 gets shot ...counts as 6 bases.
8 stand pike block in a 4x2 gets shot ...counts as 8 bases.
8 stand pike block in orb (now has a lot of front rank bases)......counts as.....how many bases in the front ranks????

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by bbotus » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:33 am

Page 130, V2, says Orb fights in any direction with one quarter of its bases and half of those, rounded up, count as front rank bases. So a 2x4 block would have 8 x 1/4 or 2 fighting in each direction and half of those (one) would be front rank in each direction. So you would have a total of 4 front rank and 4 second rank bases counting the facings in all directions.

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by Lycanthropic » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:20 am

So an 8 stand pike block in orb when shot only tests after receiving 3 or more hits? (Or 2 artillery shots)

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by zoltan » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:49 am

bbotus wrote:Page 130, V2, says Orb fights in any direction with one quarter of its bases and half of those, rounded up, count as front rank bases. So a 2x4 block would have 8 x 1/4 or 2 fighting in each direction and half of those (one) would be front rank in each direction. So you would have a total of 4 front rank and 4 second rank bases counting the facings in all directions.
Testing for receiving shooting hits has nothing to do with fighting in melee. So the orb rules for calculating fighting bases are irrelevant when calculating hits per base from shooting. 8 bases of pike in orb are the same shooting target as 8 bases of pike not in orb.

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by petedalby » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:35 am

8 bases of pike in orb are the same shooting target as 8 bases of pike not in orb.
That's not strictly true is it Steve? It depends upon its formation.

The rules on Orb imply that all bases count vs shooting - but it's not explicit and is open to interpretation. But I play it that 8 bases in orb count as 8 bases for shooting. Whereas 8 pikemen in a 2 wide fighting formation only count as 6 bases vs shooting.
Pete

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by IanB3406 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:45 pm

So orb ends up being a pretty good formation to resist bow fire....hmmmmm

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by bbotus » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:31 pm

IanB3406 wrote:So orb ends up being a pretty good formation to resist bow fire....hmmmmm
Maybe there should be a '+' POA for shooting at orb. But does it really matter? You can't even charge the skirmishers to chase them off. It's a formation used to delay the inevitable.

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by ShrubMiK » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:42 pm

And just why does there seem to be an assumption that Orb shouldn't be a good formationin which to resist bow-fire?

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by grahambriggs » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:16 pm

ShrubMiK wrote:And just why does there seem to be an assumption that Orb shouldn't be a good formationin which to resist bow-fire?
Battle of Falkirk 1298. Scottish circular schiltron shot to pieces by longbows

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by nikgaukroger » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:58 pm

grahambriggs wrote:
ShrubMiK wrote:And just why does there seem to be an assumption that Orb shouldn't be a good formationin which to resist bow-fire?
Battle of Falkirk 1298. Scottish circular schiltron shot to pieces by longbows

Not sure you can argue that being in an "orb" formation made them more vulnerable to archery than normal - their inability to move due to the presence of the English cavalry thus making them a static target for untroubled longbow shooting may be more plausible.
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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by dave_r » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:16 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:
grahambriggs wrote:
ShrubMiK wrote:And just why does there seem to be an assumption that Orb shouldn't be a good formationin which to resist bow-fire?
Battle of Falkirk 1298. Scottish circular schiltron shot to pieces by longbows
Not sure you can argue that being in an "orb" formation made them more vulnerable to archery than normal - their inability to move due to the presence of the English cavalry thus making them a static target for untroubled longbow shooting may be more plausible.
It is a good example of what an Orb should be though - a formation to prevent you being charged in the flank, but a static target for anybody with a ranged weapon. I think Orb is fine how it is.

The Roman Testudo was meant to be used to counteract missile fire and that would have been a fairly dense target. The fact the Scots didn't have much in the way of shields probably didn't help them much against bowmen though.
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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by Lycanthropic » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:00 am

10 BGs of Pike, each deployed in orb formation in the corner of a table is now immune to skirmisher shooting and does not have to charge.....
(Insert disclaimer for any future comment regarding the strategic implications of this, rather the tactical advantage of negating proven tactics for drawing pike out of a corner :roll: )

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by petedalby » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:22 am

10 BGs of Pike, each deployed in orb formation in the corner of a table is now immune to skirmisher shooting and does not have to charge.....
Sounds like a plan....as long as your opponent doesn't flank march. I don't think I'll be trying that any time soon though.
Pete

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by bbotus » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:44 am

petedalby wrote:
10 BGs of Pike, each deployed in orb formation in the corner of a table is now immune to skirmisher shooting and does not have to charge.....
Sounds like a plan....as long as your opponent doesn't flank march. I don't think I'll be trying that any time soon though.
Yeah, I like it. My 2 skirmish BGs holding 10 BGs of pike in a corner? ROFLMAO.

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by ShrubMiK » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:27 am

grahambriggs wrote:
ShrubMiK wrote:And just why does there seem to be an assumption that Orb shouldn't be a good formationin which to resist bow-fire?
Battle of Falkirk 1298. Scottish circular schiltron shot to pieces by longbows
That's a general weakness of Scots spearmen vs. longbows, not necessarily to do with a specific formation. As borne out by many other battles of the period...

Where orb *should* make you more vulnerable is that by being static it means you get shot at for an extended period oif time without any prospect of doing anything about. And that's what I suspect will happen under the rules. Roll enough dice for enough turns and something will happen at some point.

Pike in 3 ranks are just as well protected as pike in 4 ranks, I always assumed the only 3 ranks counting reflected either or both of:

a) "Realism": Beyond a certain depth the morale benefits to the troops in the front rows (who are sustaining most of the fire) diminishes. Thus 4 bases in 2 ranks are vulnerable to fire, 6 bases in 3 ranks are a bit less vulnerable to fire, but 8 bases in 4 ranks get no further benefit. so it is at least arguable that being in orb contributes some moral benefit similar to spreading out a non-orb formation wider and shallower.

b) "Game mechanics": An abstract mechanism to reflect the fact that pikes were slightly more vulnerable to missile fire than other troops with similar levels of protective equipment, as they were both less agile and couldn't use their shields quite so effectively. An to discourage other troop types from being employed in unrealistically deep formations for gamey reasons - e.g. get into a column to make yourself immune from fire for a truen or two because the enemy can't get enough firers in range and in arc.

But if we are going to start worrying about whether the representation of the effects of archery on various formations is handled realistically in the rules, I'll start pointing out that the presence or absence of shields is not really dealt with properly, and it doesn't make any difference whether I shoot at a formation from front or behind, whether or not they are in orb :)

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by grahambriggs » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:44 pm

Yes I suspect the scots spears were somewhat vulnerable to the archery. They did best when they could close with the English while the English cavalry were negated (Stirling Bridge, Bannockburn). I think the principle of the orb formation is quite historical, and works well. I just wish that the rules around shooting and close combat with orbs were a little more tightly written.

I think the front three ranks thing is really a game mechanic to deliver some historical reality. As it stands, a line of pike BGs can advance against shooting without a great deal of risk because each 8 of pike will only have two or three dice of shooting against it. You need 2 hits for a test and 3 for a -1 and risk of base loss. So that probably means that you'll want a general with the pike as there'll be the odd test and you don't want to be disrupted before impact. Isolated pikes or stationary ones will suffer more. the first because they'll be enough dice to cause lots of tests and the latter because they'll keep testing until the shhooters get lucky.

Imagine though if all ranks counted for the pike. 8 bases, so 3 hits to cause a test, 4 for a -1. Against a solid line of pike skirmishers and long range shooting would be completely ineffectual. And MF shooting at close range would need to hit with all three dice to do anything. In effect, the pike are invulnerable. Plus, gamey tricks would come into play. I could use my 12 of pike 2 wide and 6 deep knowing that arrows would just bounce off until I charge in (and then expand to 4 deep in the movement phase).

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by ShrubMiK » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:21 pm

True.

Pondering that makes me wonder whether there should be another restriction on orb that it can't be formed unless there is at least a 1 base wide gap either side. It would stop orb being used in a solid line, achieving that near-invulnerability to missile fire in a rather gamey way. Then you would have an effect of increased resistance to fire due to counting 8 bases offset by more firing bases being able to engage.

It might make orb less likely to be used (although since I have never seen it used it can't be any less likely in practice from my perspective!) - why would you leave gaps in your line in case you want to form orb? - but then again individual BGs forming orb in the midst of battle line seems unrealistic. Except perhaps as an abstract mechanism for indicating that the whole line is collectively forming some sort of outward-facing formation?

Agreed that orb is on the whole a not very succesful rule :)

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by bbotus » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:28 pm

It would stop orb being used in a solid line, achieving that near-invulnerability to missile fire in a rather gamey way.
Who cares. I don't know any opponent that would object if they thought about it. Orb gives up its pike/spear POA. And you can't get out of orb in close combat. It's ideal. I bring up a unit of bow, you go to orb, now i can charge you with my horse or whatever. My chances go up dramatically. Orb gives up most of the advantage of being pike/spear. All these 'what ifs' are like the elephant being afraid of the mouse.

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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by philqw78 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:34 pm

Elephants are afraid of mice, what has that got to do with FoG: some Roman bloke wrote about it
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Re: What is this orb thingy again?

Post by grahambriggs » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:29 pm

[quote="ShrubMiK"]True.

Pondering that makes me wonder whether there should be another restriction on orb that it can't be formed unless there is at least a 1 base wide gap either side. It would stop orb being used in a solid line, achieving that near-invulnerability to missile fire in a rather gamey way. Then you would have an effect of increased resistance to fire due to counting 8 bases offset by more firing bases being able to engage.

It might make orb less likely to be used [quote]

No, orb has many downsides for the person in orb already. It's only ever used in a game because while weak it's better than being charged in the flank. I think the concept is fine. It's the detail that's bad. e.g. How many bases does it count as when shot at. The orb definition says one thing, other rules another. Same for how it fights. Orb definition says one thing, combat rules another. Really just needs a clarification from the authors.

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