Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Geffalrus
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Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by Geffalrus » Wed May 29, 2019 7:26 pm

Could use some help from the experts with more concrete knowledge of the game mechanics.

Thureophoroi vs. Rhomphaia Thractions.

Both units cost 42 points, both are average, both are medium, and both are protected. The one and only difference other than max units available in certain army lists is Heavy Weapons vs. Offensive Spear. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around which is better in certain situations.

Part of that is POA, but part also seems to be.......impulsiveness in combat. Specifically, I "feel" like offensive spears are more likely to pursue evading units a number of spaces, while Heavy Weapons are more likely to stand still. This can be useful or not in different situations, theoretically. But is that actually true and/or backed up by any coding in the game?

But POA really seems to be the clear place where there are some substantial differences. According to this online manual: http://www.matrixgames.com/amazon/PDF/F ... 0EBOOK.pdf ........I found the following relationships.

- On IMPACT against any unit (except when charging shock cavalry) Off Spears get +100 POA, unless they are Fragmented or Severely Disordered. Heavy Weapons on the other hand, only get +100 POA against FOOT, but not against MOUNTED. This seems like it results in HW being at a +100 disadvantage vs. lancers and +50 against generic light spear cavalry. So that seems problematic for fighting cavalry in the open. Against infantry it seems that they are equivalent with a slight advantage to HW in extreme circumstances (Fragmented or in really difficult terrain).

- The melee POA for both is a straightforward +100 vs. all units. However, reading some of the other melee POA values points out some differences. Mounted Swords (so most heavy cavalry, I believe) get +100 vs. most foot units EXCEPT pikes and offense/defense spears. So that looks like in the follow up melee, the Offense Spears can expect to start with a +100 advantage vs. cavalry over Heavy Weapons. Foot Swords (warbands, legions, scutari, etc) also have a special penalty vs. Off/Def Spears. Instead of their usual +100, they only get +50. So against those foot units, Offensive Spears have a +50 advantage over Heavy Weapons. So when in melee with cavalry or foot swords, Offensive Spears seem the better option, at least until armor is factored in.

- Armor. From what I've looked at in these forums and in the manual, for Foot, the armor advantage POA - caps - at +50, while for cavalry, that seems to cap at +100. What that means in practice is where I run into trouble. My understanding is that an armored foot unit would have a +25 melee advantage over a protected unit (ex: pike vs. Legion). Heavy Weapons eliminate the armor advantage.......which for most foot units the Thracian faces would be just the +25. Against cavalry, the armor advantage cap is higher, and mostly seems to apply to Cataphracts (Fully Armored). My calculations for Cata vs protected foot is......+75, I believe. Better than +25, but not as good as the +100 that Offensive Spears get. And that's against a very specific unit.

So if that's all correct...........is there really any situation where Thracian Rhomphaia are better than Thureophoroi? From a POA perspective, the Offensive Spear trait seems better against most foes. The only situation where it's even is when pitting Heavy Weapon against Offensive Spear. But against most enemies the two units will face, the Thureos seem consistently better. The Fragmented and Severely Disordered clause seems far too situational to matter very much. Neither unit wants to be in that circumstance in the first place.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by MVP7 » Wed May 29, 2019 9:15 pm

As it is, 'fully armoured' armour value is 300 so Cataphracts get +100 POA even against 'armoured' (armor value 100) infantry. The heavy weapons are extremely effective against disordered cataphracts but other than that they are pretty much a gimmick weapon that removes armour from melee calculations. It's a bit counter-intuitive since historical reaction to armour piercing weapons was using heavier armour (until firearms made armour truly redundant).

Hopefully heavy weapons together with armour penetration mechanic are overhauled before late medieval period when the current interactions would get really weird.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by mgardner » Wed May 29, 2019 9:34 pm

Thanks for your in-depth analysis, I agree with your conclusion that offensive spear is a more well-rounded and general purpose capability compared to heavy weapon. It’s niche for sure, but protected heavy weapon vs. armoured offensive/defensive spearman (e.g. Triarii) has 25 POA melee advantage compared to protected offensive spearman vs. the same opponent. So that is at least one matchup where Thracian Rhomphaia outperforms Thureophoroi.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Wed May 29, 2019 9:46 pm

Heavy Weapon did gain +100 POA on impact vs cavalry in a patch, so long as they are not charging shock cavalry.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by MVP7 » Wed May 29, 2019 10:29 pm

SnuggleBunnies wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:46 pm
Heavy Weapon did gain +100 POA on impact vs cavalry in a patch, so long as they are not charging shock cavalry.
That just put them at the same line with other melee infantry. Before that they were absurdly vulnerable to cavalry especially as a lot of weapons that (presumably) fall under the wide category of heavy weapons are known to have been used against cavalry.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by Geffalrus » Wed May 29, 2019 11:31 pm

mgardner wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:34 pm
Thanks for your in-depth analysis, I agree with your conclusion that offensive spear is a more well-rounded and general purpose capability compared to heavy weapon. It’s niche for sure, but protected heavy weapon vs. armoured offensive/defensive spearman (e.g. Triarii) has 25 POA melee advantage compared to protected offensive spearman vs. the same opponent. So that is at least one matchup where Thracian Rhomphaia outperforms Thureophoroi.
!!!!!

That's a damn good point. And considering the prevalence of Armored Hoplites in the older Greek army lists, not exactly a trivial concern. I believe armored offensive spears also show up in one of the Byzantine army lists. More look to be added with the new DLC as well.

Now, the main advantage of this is that it makes the 42 point medium infantry unit more likely to survive melee combat, and thus be more cost effective. Armored hoplites are 54 points, while the Superior armored offensive spears are somewhere in the 70+ point range. Superior offense spears will still send the Thracians packing in the long run, but it will take longer on average than with Thureos. So Thracian Rhomphaia in the Thracian army lists might be the best bet for holding up Armored hoplites in the older Greek lists.

Armored Hoplites and Cataphracts seem to be the best justification for Thracian Rhomphaia so far.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by Jagger2002 » Thu May 30, 2019 1:35 am

For some reason, I sure get a lot of double posts on this forum. Deleting double post.
Last edited by Jagger2002 on Thu May 30, 2019 1:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by Jagger2002 » Thu May 30, 2019 1:37 am

Also for heavy weapons to remove the "better armor" advantage, the opponent must have "better armor". Works well for lightly armored heavy weapons units vs a more heavily armored unit as heavy weapons are removing the "better armor" advantage of the more heavily armored opponent. A positive POA shift occurs for the unit with lesser armor and heavy weapon. But, say an armored heavy weapon outfit is meleeing an opponent which has lesser or equal armor, such as unprotected, protected or armored, there is no removal of armor benefit as the opponent would not have received the "better armor" bonus in the first place. In those cases, heavy weapons offer no armor POA shift at all.

Unless I am missing something, I can't see the advantage of heavy weapons for units which have equal or better armor to most of their opponents. I am thinking foot knights with heavy weapons vs almost anybody else. Now if heavy weapons always removed armor POA up to +50 whether the opponent had better armor or not, heavy weapons would be a much more unique and useful weapon against everyone except unprotected units. Whether it would make heavy weapons too powerful, I don't know.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by rbodleyscott » Thu May 30, 2019 9:15 am

Geffalrus wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 7:26 pm
Part of that is POA, but part also seems to be.......impulsiveness in combat. Specifically, I "feel" like offensive spears are more likely to pursue evading units a number of spaces, while Heavy Weapons are more likely to stand still. This can be useful or not in different situations, theoretically. But is that actually true and/or backed up by any coding in the game?
Offensive Spearmen count as "Shock Troops" in the game, Heavy Weapon troops do not. Hence Thureophoroi will follow up enemy foot if the thureophoroi originally charged, Thracians won't.
Richard Bodley Scott

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Geffalrus
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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by Geffalrus » Thu May 30, 2019 2:57 pm

Jagger2002 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:37 am
Also for heavy weapons to remove the "better armor" advantage, the opponent must have "better armor". Works well for lightly armored heavy weapons units vs a more heavily armored unit as heavy weapons are removing the "better armor" advantage of the more heavily armored opponent. A positive POA shift occurs for the unit with lesser armor and heavy weapon. But, say an armored heavy weapon outfit is meleeing an opponent which has lesser or equal armor, such as unprotected, protected or armored, there is no removal of armor benefit as the opponent would not have received the "better armor" bonus in the first place. In those cases, heavy weapons offer no armor POA shift at all.

Unless I am missing something, I can't see the advantage of heavy weapons for units which have equal or better armor to most of their opponents. I am thinking foot knights with heavy weapons vs almost anybody else. Now if heavy weapons always removed armor POA up to +50 whether the opponent had better armor or not, heavy weapons would be a much more unique and useful weapon against everyone except unprotected units. Whether it would make heavy weapons too powerful, I don't know.
Yes, this seems to be a potentially large problem for the later Huscarls in the new Viking lists as they're armored, so few if any units would have an armor advantage in the first place. Which means that changing from Armored Off Spear to Armored Heavy Weapons will make them actually worse vs. armored sword units. Heavy Weapon really doesn't seem to have any synergy with a unit's own armor value, and it seems having no armor is vastly better when facing other armored melee units. It would probably be better if Heavy Weapons dropped enemy armor values by two levels or something similar. So the advantage in a battle between two armored units would actually go to the one with Heavy Weapons. Currently, it's a complete draw between armored off spears and armored HW, which doesn't make sense to me. The extreme version of this would be Heavy Weapon causing enemy units to have their armor count as Unprotected when in melee with the HW unit. That would give a very large advantage to Armored Heavy Weapon units, as opposed to the current situation where Unprotected Heavy Weapon units are definitely more cost effective for melee.
rbodleyscott wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:15 am
Offensive Spearmen count as "Shock Troops" in the game, Heavy Weapon troops do not. Hence Thureophoroi will follow up enemy foot if the thureophoroi originally charged, Thracians won't.
Thanks! It's good to finally get that confirmed. :)

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by vakarr » Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:29 am

I don't know if it's true but using heavy weapon troops for a flank attack seems somehow more effective than other troops (that might be biased from previous wargames rules though - a t least it's more dramatic, try it on elephants!!!). I think that heavy weapon troops might be better in difficult or disordering terrain than the long spear types, which is an important consideration for medium infantry. Overall I find the Thracian heavy weapon troops to be very average i.e. they are equally likely to win or lose most of the time. I did very well playing with the Thracian medium spearmen vs hoplites and I think they are the better all round troops in open terrain. The Thracian heavy weapon types need to be graded as "above average" at least and you can try that in the Mercenaries and Allies mod.

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Re: Armor and the Utility of Thracians

Post by kvnrthr » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:29 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:15 am
Offensive Spearmen count as "Shock Troops" in the game, Heavy Weapon troops do not. Hence Thureophoroi will follow up enemy foot if the thureophoroi originally charged, Thracians won't.
The distinction between "shock troops" and non-shock should be clearer in the game tooltips. I don't think the behavior is mentioned in very many places, other than deep in the manual.

On the topic of heavy weapon troops, I think the Falxmen are the most optimal. You lose some maneuverability but you get superior, armor negating troops. If they survive impact they'll fight on equal terms with Roman legions in melee, for 48 points!

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