How do you play heavy artillery ?

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
Herode_2
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How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Herode_2 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:09 pm

Ladizzz and gentlemen, regards.

Noobs question about HA, as you can guess after the title.
My point is : I tried HA several times and I don't find it very rewarding.
As a typical illustration, my last solo campaign as Alexander with HA : the single HA unit often promises attack results like "0-105" or so, lets say "0 - a lot".
But when I order it to fire, the real results are almost always on the bottom of this range, let's say in the 0-20 range.
As a matter of fact, I played HA through 2 campaigns and several single battles, and I did not manage to have a single satisfying result.

Thus, my question : how do you, experienced players, play Heavy Artillery units ?

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Ludendorf » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:12 pm

Generally, I don't. Unless you can induce the enemy to advance, it ends up useless. That said, I find a piece of it somewhat effective if I'm a foot/mixed army general defending against horse archer armies. The artillery produces a -1 debuff to any unit it fires at, meaning if you back up fire from the artillery with archer/skirmisher fire, you're much more likely to disrupt and then drive an enemy unit from the field.

While stationary, it also has the advantage over light artillery that you can fire, then reposition it 45 degrees. This means it has a certain fire and forget value; you can fire, hit a key unit, and if your objective is achieved or you have more pressing concerns developing, shift angle slightly to hit another target next turn. Light artillery (while capable of movement) cannot fire and turn.

Of course, all of this is useless if your opponent will not advance. If they hang around their side of the field, the heavy artillery becomes worthless.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by MVP7 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 pm

Heavy artillery really should be able to move slowly to have any real value for a player in most battles. Even if the deployment zone has good unobstructed spots for the artillery the battle is rarely fought close enough for them to be effective.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Kabill » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:46 pm

Herode_2 wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:09 pm
But when I order it to fire, the real results are almost always on the bottom of this range, let's say in the 0-20 range.
As a matter of fact, I played HA through 2 campaigns and several single battles, and I did not manage to have a single satisfying result.
I can't help you with how to use them effectively - I don't use them! But to address this specifically, my understanding is that artillery attacks have their damage distribution skewed to the bottom end (a miss is a miss) hence why you're tending to get poor results. I.e. it's not just a matter of luck that you're getting low damage rolls (sorry if you already knew this - wasn't clear from your post).

I guess the implication is that artillery are best used for their -1 cohesion test modifier, rather than causing any actual damage. But where I use artillery at all, I much prefer light artillery for that, since they're cheaper and more flexible.
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:16 am

MVP7 wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 pm
Heavy artillery really should be able to move slowly to have any real value for a player in most battles. Even if the deployment zone has good unobstructed spots for the artillery the battle is rarely fought close enough for them to be effective.
That would be more effective, but would be highly unrealistic.
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Herode_2
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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Herode_2 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:45 am

Kabill wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:46 pm
artillery attacks have their damage distribution skewed to the bottom end (a miss is a miss) hence why you're tending to get poor results. I.e. it's not just a matter of luck that you're getting low damage rolls (sorry if you already knew this - wasn't clear from your post).
I didn't knew but it makes sense. BTW, I don't believe in luck, at least not when a lot of rolls are implied. In such a case, repetitive bad results means either I don't understand something or me not playing properly. :)

As for cohesion tests, agreed, it's the main purpose of artillery after all - but compared to Light Artillery (when available), I would agree with Ludendorf and prefer LA by far.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Nosy_Rat » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:52 am

Problem with heavy artillery is that in open battle it actively discourages enemy from advancing at you. And if you advance yourself, you quickly get out of artillery range and it becomes just a waste of points.

If there's a defending side in battle (ie in campaign or scenario), heavy artillery could be somewhat useful to them to counter elephants and heavy cavalry.

Maybe heavy artillery should get the activated ability akin to "Form Square", that would allow it to turn into some kind of transportation mode, and then it would need to spend the turn to set up back into the shooting mode?
Probabaly still too unrealistic, though.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Kabill » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:03 am

Nosy_Rat wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:52 am
Problem with heavy artillery is that in open battle it actively discourages enemy from advancing at you. And if you advance yourself, you quickly get out of artillery range and it becomes just a waste of points.
Now I think about it, discouraging your opponent from advancing could be useful in itself. If there's some good terrain on the map, paying a handful of points to discourage your opponent from taking it might be worth it (*might*).
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by MVP7 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:12 am

rbodleyscott wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:16 am
MVP7 wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 pm
Heavy artillery really should be able to move slowly to have any real value for a player in most battles. Even if the deployment zone has good unobstructed spots for the artillery the battle is rarely fought close enough for them to be effective.
That would be more effective, but would be highly unrealistic.
But is it more realistic that an ancient army would set up an artillery piece behind a hill that blocks the sight to battlefield or that the artillery piece would be pre-deployed even when the mission is escorting baggage train etc?

One option could be having the artillery in a baggage train that could be then deployed only once. It would be a compromise between ingame usability and realism that would still prevent the heavy artillery piece from being too mobile.
Last edited by MVP7 on Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by MVP7 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:17 am

Kabill wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:03 am
Nosy_Rat wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:52 am
Problem with heavy artillery is that in open battle it actively discourages enemy from advancing at you. And if you advance yourself, you quickly get out of artillery range and it becomes just a waste of points.
Now I think about it, discouraging your opponent from advancing could be useful in itself. If there's some good terrain on the map, paying a handful of points to discourage your opponent from taking it might be worth it (*might*).
If anything I have found the artillery to be an incentive for advancing. Nothing less productive than sitting around doing nothing while you are being pounded by the enemy artillery (or ranged units in general) from a safe distance.
Last edited by MVP7 on Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Kabill » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:24 am

MVP7 wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:17 am
If anything I have found the artillery to be an incentive for advancing. Nothing less productive than sitting around doing nothing while you are being pounded by the enemy artillery (or ranged units in general) from a safe distance.
Sure, if you're already in range. I think that's just an extension of my point though - heavy artillery may not be worth a huge amount per se, but it could discourage a player from advancing (because they're trying to deny it effectiveness and staying out of range) or could encourage them to advance against a disadvantageous position because they're in range and getting hurt for nothing if they hold their ground. I.e. in the right circumstances, I can see how it might be use effectively to get your opponent to do something they wouldn't otherwise want to do, even if the actual impact it has in terms of casualties/disruptions is not huge.
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by MVP7 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:36 am

Kabill wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:24 am
MVP7 wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:17 am
If anything I have found the artillery to be an incentive for advancing. Nothing less productive than sitting around doing nothing while you are being pounded by the enemy artillery (or ranged units in general) from a safe distance.
Sure, if you're already in range. I think that's just an extension of my point though - heavy artillery may not be worth a huge amount per se, but it could discourage a player from advancing (because they're trying to deny it effectiveness and staying out of range) or could encourage them to advance against a disadvantageous position because they're in range and getting hurt for nothing if they hold their ground. I.e. in the right circumstances, I can see how it might be use effectively to get your opponent to do something they wouldn't otherwise want to do, even if the actual impact it has in terms of casualties/disruptions is not huge.
Yeah sorry, I didn't read the previous post properly and was commenting on the role of artillery in general rather than the current implementation of heavy artillery specifically. Since the heavy artillery starts (and is usually stuck) out of range, it's a very counterproductive weapon system. In my experience the damage isn't high enough to use it as area denial weapon either so it mainly just makes advancing more disadvantageous for both sides.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Scutarii » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:35 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:16 am
MVP7 wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 pm
Heavy artillery really should be able to move slowly to have any real value for a player in most battles. Even if the deployment zone has good unobstructed spots for the artillery the battle is rarely fought close enough for them to be effective.
That would be more effective, but would be highly unrealistic.
A solution could be use all action points to "limber" the HA (in deployment phase you can decide if HA starts limber or unlimber), next turn you can move, 3rd turn to unlimber arty using all action points and you can fire in the 4th turn... need 4 turns to move arty 2-3 squares is something that is not going to break the balance and at least give players the chance to find usefull arty when he want go to the attack.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Southern Hunter » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:21 am

"Limbering" artillery sounds nice...for napoleonic field artillery. How do you limber a field-built Trebuchet?

p.s. Like most people here, I think I just avoid it most of the time. It is mostly useless.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by MVP7 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:32 am

Does FoG2 heavy artillery actually include trebuchets? Wouldn't those be siege weapons?

Limbering and unlimbering would be too mobile but the ability to unpack the artillery only once during the battle would be a good compromise.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Morbio » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:02 pm

Regarding the question: How do you play heavy artillery ? Then the glib answer would be - 'badly'! For all the reasons stated in the earlier posts. I generally tend to avoid picking them now as they aren't worth the cost.

I'm so glad you asked this question, because it has been on my mind because I've never really found it effective. I have tried it on a couple of occasions, usually against armies featuring lots of pikes and warbands (since it is meant to be good against these... or maybe I'm misreading a tooltip), but in reality I find the damage tends to be at the bottom end of the scale. It does make me wonder whether the accuracy assigned to the weapon is correct, because if it is so inaccurate as the results I get tend to indicate, then why would the Romans (as an example) go through the time and effort to transport these to battles? If they are correctly ineffective then surely they should be a little cheaper? Units that are perceived as overpowered, e.g. Elephants, had their cost raised... surely the arty should have its cost reduced?

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by Kabill » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:21 pm

Morbio wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:02 pm
It does make me wonder whether the accuracy assigned to the weapon is correct, because if it is so inaccurate as the results I get tend to indicate, then why would the Romans (as an example) go through the time and effort to transport these to battles?
I guess that depends on what they are supposed to represent. I read heavy artillery as siege-weapons rather than battlefield weapons (the latter being constituted by light artillery instead). In which case, I think the answer to your question is: they didn't, at least not routinely for the kinds of battles depicted by FoG2.

On the issue of accuracy, I wonder whether artillery (of both kinds) could be made more interesting/useful by giving them a hit/damage bonus against stationary targets. You can't easily adjust artillery which makes attacking moving targets quite difficult; but stationary targets should be a lot easier to hit. This would make artillery effective against an opposing force that is holding its position and refusing to attack. (Although, now I think about it, could also lead to said opponent "dancing" their army back and forward to avoid the penalty. So maybe not.)
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by melm » Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:25 pm

Then you have to define "stationary".

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by MVP7 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:12 pm

I guess stationary would be a trebuchet or other heavy siege engines that are pretty much built on the spot, something that would not be set up for a field battle.

FoG2 heavy artillery probably includes onagers and heavy ballista that are too large to move around without taking them apart at least partially and loading on carts. The light artillery could be carroballista, scorpio etc that small enough to be moved around without any special arrangements.

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Re: How do you play heavy artillery ?

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:20 pm

MVP7 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:12 pm
I guess stationary would be a trebuchet or other heavy siege engines that are pretty much built on the spot, something that would not be set up for a field battle.

FoG2 heavy artillery probably includes onagers and heavy ballista that are too large to move around without taking them apart at least partially and loading on carts. The light artillery could be carroballista, scorpio etc that small enough to be moved around without any special arrangements.
Correct.
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