Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

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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Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:18 am

I am looking for brainstorm ideas for making the heavy weapon anti-armour effect more logical as we move into the Medieval period.

One possibility would be to have it cancel 50% of enemy armour advantage, rather than completely cancel it.
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by Morbio » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:48 pm

Richard,

It would help me, and maybe others, if you could explain the sort of effect you want to achieve. What was the particular strengths and weaknesses of heavy weapon troops? Also, what's wrong with the current system, are HW units considered overpowered?

I've not noticed that HW units in games to date are massively over powered, indeed I'd generally go for offensive spears if given a choice.

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:12 pm

Morbio wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:48 pm
Richard,

It would help me, and maybe others, if you could explain the sort of effect you want to achieve. What was the particular strengths and weaknesses of heavy weapon troops? Also, what's wrong with the current system, are HW units considered overpowered?

I've not noticed that HW units in games to date are massively over powered, indeed I'd generally go for offensive spears if given a choice.
They certainly aren't overpowered, but some people feel that Unprotected heavy weapon troops (Falxmen and Norse-Irish Foot) may be too cost-effective because of the heavy weapon effect, whereas armoured ones get very little benefit. Also, Romans get no benefit from adopting additional arm armour as a counter to Dacian falxmen, as they did historically.

By the early 15th century, the majority of dismounted men-at-arms and non-archer infantry were armed with "Heavy Weapon" - e.g. poleaxes, bills, halberds etc.

We would like fully armoured dismounted men-at-arms to get some armour advantage vs, for example, retinue billmen, and not have to rely entirely on their quality advantage.
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:38 pm

A reduction instead of cancellation could be good, though it might require changing some unit costs.

I think one of the main items of importance is making sure that, in a clash between two equally armored units in which only one has heavy weapon, that that unit still gets some benefit from wielding anti armor weapons. Right now in WatG, axe armed huscarls don't really get anything out of being heavy weapon armed, as few troops are more heavily armored than they are.

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:43 pm

Before anyone suggests it, we would need some convincing that adding a new category for polearms such as bills, halberds etc. is necessary, and that the effect of these weapons cannot be encompassed in the Heavy Weapon category - as they are in the tabletop game. The idea that halberds and the like were effective anti-cavalry weapons is given the lie (despite their having a spear point) by the Swiss feeling the need to switch from halberds to pikes, after battles against armies primarily based on mounted men-at-arms. Multipurpose weapons are pretty much never as effective as specialised weapons for the primary purpose for which the specialise weapons are intended.
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:46 pm

SnuggleBunnies wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:38 pm
I think one of the main items of importance is making sure that, in a clash between two equally armored units in which only one has heavy weapon, that that unit still gets some benefit from wielding anti armor weapons. Right now in WatG, axe armed huscarls don't really get anything out of being heavy weapon armed, as few troops are more heavily armored than they are.
Good point.
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by MikeC_81 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:50 pm

SnuggleBunnies wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:38 pm
A reduction instead of cancellation could be good, though it might require changing some unit costs.

I think one of the main items of importance is making sure that, in a clash between two equally armored units in which only one has heavy weapon, that that unit still gets some benefit from wielding anti armor weapons. Right now in WatG, axe armed huscarls don't really get anything out of being heavy weapon armed, as few troops are more heavily armored than they are.
We talked about this at length in several beta forums. I am still of the opinion that the easy simple fix is to have heavy weapons simply knock down opponent armour classification by 2 levels when calculating PoA.

I don't see a reason for any new weapon type to be added.
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:05 pm

MikeC_81 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:50 pm
I am still of the opinion that the easy simple fix is to have heavy weapons simply knock down opponent armour classification by 2 levels when calculating PoA.
But we don't want to give HW too much of an advantage, so I would suggest limiting this to a maximum of 25 POA armour advantage in favour of the HW (unless the HW unit's actual armour advantage is already higher)

Note that the game does not actually have stepwise "armour levels" except as UI strings. Armour protection levels are in fact a continuum from 0 to 300. However, typical values are Unprotected = 0, Protected = 50, Armoured = 100, Well Armoured = 200, Fully Armoured = 300. On this scale Romans with extra arm armour might be 150.

Armour advantage grants POA equal to half the difference in armour protection levels.

In which case the anti-armour effect of HW would become:

1) HW reduces enemy armour protection level by 100 before calculating armour advantage.
2) If this moves the armour advantage into the HW unit's favour, the resulting POA cannot be more than 25. (Or their existing armour advantage without HW effect, if this is higher).
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by Gaznak » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:26 pm

Somewhat concerned about thracians beating up hoplites under proposed new system.

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:54 pm

Gaznak wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:26 pm
Somewhat concerned about thracians beating up hoplites under proposed new system.
Good point. But it is hard to see how any changed rules could make Axe-armed huscarls have a (small) advantage vs Spear-armed huscarls, without Thracians having the same advantage vs hoplites, since the relationship between the two unit types is identical.

Unless the potential +25 only applies if both sides are Armoured or better protected troops.
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:58 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:05 pm
In which case the anti-armour effect of HW would become:

1) HW reduces enemy armour protection level by 100 before calculating armour advantage.
2) If this moves the armour advantage into the HW unit's favour, the resulting POA cannot be more than 25. (Or their existing armour advantage without HW effect, if this is higher).
I am not happy with how this affects the interaction between Unprotected Irish HW foot and Armoured axe-armed huscarls.

Back to the drawing board.

As usual, it is easy to come up with simple solutions, but the devil is in the detail. Although the game includes some abstractions, it is not an abstract game, and there are a lot of historical interactions that need to work in a historically plausible fashion. And that includes ensuring that historical outcomes are the most common outcomes, theoretical considerations notwithstanding. (Top-down design, not bottom-up design)

Do we have evidence that Thracians with rhomphaia had the advantage vs hoplites - definitely not. Do we have evidence that axe-armed huscarls had an advantage over spear-armed ones - not really, we are just assuming so from the change in weapon preference.
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:15 pm

If we need to keep pole arms and much shorter “hw’s” in the same slot I would propose this:

*only heavy foot with hw get the poa vs Cavalry @ impact.
(So Thracian mediums arnt as good as a Swiss halberd column). Perhaps not needed as unsure how mounted knights will be portrayed poa wise...

*hw remove 50 % of better armor poa.

*If the hw unit counts a full level of better armour, then In melee only, the enemy gets a -1 cohesion modifier. ( a poa modifier just doesn’t appropriate, but I can’t imagine dueling with pole axes without gauntlets vs an opponent in gothic plate....)

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by MVP7 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:08 pm

My suggestion: HW reduces opponent's armor POA advantage by percentage or by fixed minimum amount, whichever is larger and up to 25 POA, as long as the HW using units doesn't have Armour POA advantage larger than the fixed amount.

This would give HW units small advantage against opponents with similar armour but no HW (like spearmen and swordsmen).

If the reduction was 50% or fixed 10 POA for example (numbers here refer specifically to Armour and HW POA):
>>Protected(50) HW vs Fully Armoured(300) - opponent's advantage would be reduced from 100 POA to 75 POA (by % up to cap)
>>Protected(50) HW vs Well-Armoured(150) - opponent's advantage would be reduced from 50 POA to 25 POA (by %)
>>Protected(50) HW vs Armoured(100) opponent would reduce the advantage from 25 POA to 12.5 POA (by %)
>>Protected(50) HW vs Some-armour(75) opponent would reduce the advantage from 12.5 to 2.5 POA (by fixed)
>>Protected(50) HW vs Protected(50) - HW unit would have advantage of 10 POA from HW. (by fixed)
>>Protected(50) HW vs Lightly-protected(25) - HW unit would have 12.5 POA advantage (no HW effect)
>>Some-Armour(75) HW vs Some-Armour(67) - HW unit would have 4 POA advantage from armour and HW would increase that to total of 10 POA***

*** Vanilla game has fairly few values like this though, armour difference is usually 25 or more. With fixed minimum of 10 it would be very rare for better armoured unit to get benefit from fixed reduction vs less armoured opponent. 75-67 is the only gap where this could currently happen and there's currently no HW units with armour value of 75.

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by MVP7 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:18 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:54 pm
Gaznak wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:26 pm
Somewhat concerned about thracians beating up hoplites under proposed new system.
Good point. But it is hard to see how any changed rules could make Axe-armed huscarls have a (small) advantage vs Spear-armed huscarls, without Thracians having the same advantage vs hoplites, since the relationship between the two unit types is identical.

Unless the potential +25 only applies if both sides are Armoured or better protected troops.
Maybe the Thracian armour could be reduced from Protected to Some-Armour. They do have shields but the Rhomphaia would have to be used two handed for best effect. With the system and values I suggested it would leave then at 2.5 POA disadvantage vs hoplites.

>>Lightly-Protected(25) HW vs Protected(50) - Hoplites armour POA advantage of 12.5 would be reduced by 10 from HW leaving 2.5 POA advantage to hoplites.

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by MikeC_81 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:15 pm

MVP7 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:18 pm
Maybe the Thracian armour could be reduced from Protected to Some-Armour. They do have shields but the Rhomphaia would have to be used two handed for best effect. With the system and values I suggested it would leave then at 2.5 POA disadvantage vs hoplites.

>>Lightly-Protected(25) HW vs Protected(50) - Hoplites armour POA advantage of 12.5 would be reduced by 10 from HW leaving 2.5 POA advantage to hoplites.
rbodleyscott wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:05 pm
But we don't want to give HW too much of an advantage, so I would suggest limiting this to a maximum of 25 POA armour advantage in favour of the HW (unless the HW unit's actual armour advantage is already higher)
Gaznak wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:26 pm
Somewhat concerned about thracians beating up hoplites under proposed new system.
All these concerns are putting the cart before the horse. So right now there is a major anomaly so to speak in how HW work as a mechanic. Namely that if two units which are otherwise identical meet each other in combat but one has HW and one does not, the unit that has to pay for HW gains no advantage in combat outside whatever PoAs modifiers HW give or don't give vis a vis various other PoA modifiers. This inherently doesn't make sense. A side effect is that you get corner cases like Unarmored HW units you mentioned going up against fully armored units and are exceptionally cost effective at doing so.

Two possible solutions to this. One is to make HW knock off armour points prior to PoA calculations. The numbers can be tuned but the broad idea still applies. Thus two armored opponents with one having HW now carries meaning instead of HW being some strange "on or off" modifier that generates strange circumstances like what has been mentioned above. If you are worried about Thracians vs Hoplies, HW and Off Spear PoA can be modified as those are more specific and granular than the broad subject of HWs in general.

A second solution is to decouple HW as an independent "weapon" and add it as a weapon modifier. That way you can have different varieties of HW units. IE. Huscarls could be Swordsman with HW which follow all Swordsman PoA rules but now has an added HW element which you can tune to your liking. IE Thracians are Swordsmen with HW so they get Swordsman PoA but their opponent's armour level gets modified prior to calculating armor advantages. Or you could have polearmed halberds in tight formation as Off Spear with HW for example.

We shouldn't be worried about what armour the HW unit has. If both are "protected" and one has HW and one doesn't, then the guys with HW *should* have an advantage here.
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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by Bladeheart » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:32 pm

I have followed this discussion throughout the afternoon, but have not had the opportunity to comment sooner.

As the various points in the posts above have been raised I do wonder what is the definition of Heavy Weapon and, given that we are discussing the late Dark Age, Feudal and beyond, whether it should now be divided into 2 classes; perhaps one as it stands an another more suited to increasing predominance of heavy weapons in these later periods?

One thing that has always struck me about the Dacian use of a falx, is that if it was so good, why was it not subsequently copied, it certainly did not require the amount of training to be effective as other weapons. Also after Trajan's legionnaires facing the Dacians started wearing armour on their sword arm, why was it not continued (they still continued to defend to the front and thrust to the right). It was I suggest only when technology improved that could make better quality armour more readily available that the demand for 'heavy weapons' grew. If the blow from a single handed axe incapacitates an opponent as easily as a two handed axe, why expand the extra effort.

A pole-arm gives the infantry man the opportunity to engage cavalry at a distance, be it the adapted bill or specifically designed halberd. Where the pike enables the infantry man to 'reach' engaging cavalry before it reaches him. A halberd will at best be a simultaneous hit, but it is far more effective once cavalry and infantry intermingle. However, a pole-arm does not require as much training to master and wield in close order then a two hand axe or sword.

Finally, perhaps the cost effectiveness of a troop type in an army list does not always consider the ready availability of that troop type. The arquebus was certainly not as effective as the longbow, but it was a lot easier to equip and train then the latter.

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by TheGrayMouser » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:04 am

Lot of good points made. I’m going to list some things that I believe to true to illustrate the hurdles to rolling every kind of “Hw” into 1 weapon slot.

*all hw’s barring true Renaissance two handers and simple smashing weapons like clubs, were based on tools and agricultural equipment, that just happened to be pretty good at killing people. Ie they don’t necessarily merit special properties, gamewise.

*in the earlier periods, it doesn’t seem hw types would have been in large homogeneous units. The big fierce guys whom chose to yield a two handed ax or falx were likely mixed in with “regulars” ( light spear types) It’s also hard to see how such troops would be effective massed with like armed men, such weapons can’t thrust and thus requires constant and aggressive offensive moves by the individual to stay alive. So not really a weapon that an average person would chose...

However it is possible to argue in the later periods that hw’s could be homogeneously armed: billmen levies, Swiss halbediers etc. obviously these weapons were longer And pointier which suggests better defensive ability especially vs Cavalry.

*when armor post 1300’s became more expansive, swords became more thrusty and used in half swording method. Eventually short axes became popular( pole ax). In contrast to earlier short weapons like the falx, they were used to combat heavy armor... also it seems unless you were very well armoured youself, a short weapon like a pole ax would not be your first choice vs men with plenty of armor. Again , just trying to compare similar weapons that possibly had different origins. How much armor did a 8th c Viking need to contend with that would warrant a 2 handed ax?

*There does not appear to be a lot of direct descriptions of later hw’s vs Cavalry. Certainly the Swiss ambushed Austrian knights in the alps, but rapidly switched to pikes when they ventured into the plains of northern Italy. I’m not aware of any large scale battle where billmen had to face knights in the open. Bottom line is just because a later hw was long and pointy, could it have deterred contemporary lancers?

There is of course the battle in the 11th c, where the crusaders took on a Fatimid? Army. The fatimids had high quality heavy foot, but they were armed with maces and it appears the knights swept them away with ease. So the shorter weapons, with no pointy bits seems to not merit much Cavalry deterrence at all.

If the above things are generally true, having ALL hw occupy 1 weapons slot seems like a tall order. Some ideas:

Change the lists and get rid of homogeneous hw units where appropriate. So a shield wall might be 20% hw, 80% Off spears, or whatever, huscarls a higher portion and better quality. Falxmen mixed hw and light spear. The poa’s would need to be coded so that only the % of weapon the unit actually has comes into play for both impact and melee.

The downsides: list changes, costing and balancing head aches. Also, perhaps would be too granular and players would feel there are less distinctive units...

Or simplify by:
perhaps just get rid of any armor cancelling ability altogether.

Instead simply look thru current poa’s and tweak if needed to average out the suspected qualities of early and later hw, s. Nothing radical, for example hw would only get a 50 poa’s vs mounted instead of the current 100. Would seem reasonable if comparing contemporary armies. Perhaps a slight boost vs non steady pikes or spears? Mounted in melee?

And then , if we need hw to be unique give them the ability to force a cohesion penalty when they win a melee combat vs any enemy. Does any weapon get such a bonus in melee? ( impact foot and lancers get it in impact combat.. ).

Downside: it is possible that everyone is so vested in armor penetration approaches that it’s too big a shift to consider.

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by Geffalrus » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:39 am

I want to jump in here to buttress Bladeheart's point about how armor piercing are the actual weapons we're talking about.

The Thracian Rhomphaia was - NOT - an armor piercing weapon. While, yes, it was a long piece of metal, it was not designed to deliver a concussive blast in the same way that maces, hammers, clubs, etc would. Instead, it was an excellent cutting weapon and a decent stabbing weapon. It was particularly effective against horses because the inward curve of the blade would work with the momentum of the moving horse to cut/chop even more effectively. You can lop off a rider's leg, arm, lacerate his torso, lacerate the horse torso/neck/leg, etc. Such a weapon makes a lot of sense when you view it in it's geographical and cultural context. Thracian warriors operated more as individuals than the disciplined Greeks, but also had to deal with a higher concentration of cavalry (Daican, Skythian, Macedonian, other Thracian, etc). So an individual would find the deadly, wide swings of the Rhomphaia as something rather useful against marauding horsemen. Especially when said warrior wasn't operating as part of a disciplined heavy infantry formation. (Disclaimer: not all Thracians would have been individual fighters and there were disciplined units, but for the most part, the Thracian polities lacked the organization necessary to field the large amounts of heavy infantry you find farther south in Makeon and Hellas)

So the Thracians with Rhomphaia should not be Heavy Weapon units. A better manifestation of them would be to make them Impact Foot/Swords. This would better represent the potency of their charge. They'd still be reasonably effective against most cavalry units. This would also keep them differentiated from Thureophoroi for Greek factions. Currently, there are few, if any, reasons to bring Thracians instead of Thureos, since Thureos do better (or the same) vs. most units. But throw in the anti-infantry flanking potential of medium impact foot, and you'd have some situations where you'd want them instead of Thureos.

------

As far as Dane axes are concerned, it should be mentioned that the axe blade itself was not that heavy. The concussive force of this weapon was, again, not on par with maces/hammers/etc. Like the Rhomphaia, the Dane Axe was probably an innovation to increase the reach of the Huscarl, which would have anti-infantry and anti-cavalry ramifications. So I'd view them as better manifested as armored, superior, impact foot - again, this would give them different utility compared to their Off Spear predecessors. And thus a reason for the player to pick Later Vikings instead of the Early Vikings, for example.

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by melm » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:53 am

If we don't want to change too much the current mechanism, but allow a little armour advantage, I suggest to cancel 3/4 current armour value first,i.e. 75%, before puting armour into POA calculation. Currently, we cancel 100%. I think of canceling three quarters, instead of 50%, because it is closer to our current in-game unit performance without needing too many price changing.

So to answer the concern between Roman Legionary and Falxman, Irish Axeman and Huscarl.
1. Roman Legionary armour 150(as RBS said) vs Falxman armour 0, difference is 150. Falx cancels 3/4, giving Roman legionary 37.5 armour advantage, then half that giving 18.75 POA advantage. We can round it to 19 POA. Although it may not reach RBS's desire 25 POA, it gives Roman legionary a little edge than before in armour.
2. Irish Axeman vs Huscarl's case is about the same. The armour difference is 100, quarter it to 25, then half it. The result is 12.5 POA advantage.

The case between Dismounted Knight vs Retinue Billman. I don't know Billman's armour level. Suppose it is protected like Thureophoroi.
3. Dismounted Knight (300 armour) vs Billman(50 armour). Difference is 250, quarter it to 62.6, half it to 31.25 POA. Then Knight's armour offers it's master about 31 POA in advantage. I don't know whether people are happy with this result or not.

For the Hoplites vs Thracian Rhomphaia case,
4. The Hoplites and Thracian Rhomphaia has the same armour level. Difference is zero. So not change.

Correct me if I am wrong. I recall that we have already made the armour cheaper in the previous patches. We don't need to make armour very effective again against the armour price reduction change already done.

If we think cancel 3/4 is too much, we can try cancel 3/5,
cancel 100%
armour POA = 0 * armour difference

cancel 75%
armour POA = 1/8 * armour difference

cancel 60%
armour POA = 1/5 * armour difference

cancel 50%
armour POA = 1/4 * armour difference

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Re: Heavy Weapon anti-armour effect revamp

Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:25 am

MikeC_81 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:15 pm
We shouldn't be worried about what armour the HW unit has. If both are "protected" and one has HW and one doesn't, then the guys with HW *should* have an advantage here.
Why?

(Historical evidence not gut feeling)
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