The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

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MikeC_81
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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by MikeC_81 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:33 am

deve wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:26 am
Geffalrus wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:11 am
deve wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:54 pm
Do you imply your opponent will be just waiting for you to do all those adjustments without even attempting to capitalize on his advantage ? To me it sounds that your advise is to outplay opponent if he has wider formation. If it always can be done why not to just double-down on depth ? Why formation width is important ? I think you must agree that in general when you narrow your frontline you definitely take a risk of being flanked or outnumbered while you lose this opportunity completely (granted both opponents are the same skill level)
Not necessarily. Simply moving one flank slower than the other creates a diagonal refused flank that can mitigate the advantage of your opponent's superior numbers. Engaging the DRF directly takes additional time, outflanking it takes even more time, and ignoring it runs the risk of being outflanked in turn.

Outflanking only works if you can actually bring your extra units to bear on your opponent. Some of that is skill, but the movement points of units can also be a limiting factor. Especially when terrain comes into play.
This same strategy is often used in TW games. But you assume that your opponent will not react and won't slow down other part of his army or even pull back while catching up with the flank where you want to delay engagement. The one who either outplays or has more maneuverable army will get better engagement but this does not negate the fact that narrow army simply has no option to outflank or outnumber on initial engagement provided that both players play equal. Anyways I think we deviated from the topic of luck being too major factor and RnG affecting battle in strange/bad way in some cases (multiple rallies far from main engagement that change battle outcome by influencing "scoreboard" and double-drops in the engagements where they are unexpected)
I don't know what to tell you other than that the strategies I have described are common occurrences in Division A play. There is the possibility we are all just chumps and are just flailing our troops around though and are only there because we are lucky.

Just fyi, your Hoplite double dropping a Pike is a 0.4168% chance outcome on any given combat roll assuming your Pikes were in reasonably healthy shape going in. In other words, a 1 in 240 chance event. If a general was in the area and conferring an additional +1 ti CT rolls, the odds of a double drop to 1 in 360. If you were to be inattentive however and say allowed things like a unit to threaten the pike's flanks, or allowed skirmishers to work over the Pike unit thoroughly lower its PoA, or didn't have a general to around, your odds could be as high as 1 in 86 chance. This is what I mean when you can actively control your luck. And saying that a 1 in 86 chance event is ruining a significant number of games or is causing skill vs luck to be out of whack....is disingenuous imo.

As to routers rallying, you can actively combat this by diverting your light troops to continue to chase them and prevent any chance of rallying. This is a good use of skirmishers especially once the opening phase is over and most of them have expended their ammo already and close combat is prevelant enough for them to lack targets even if they did have ammo.
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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by deve » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:29 am

MikeC_81 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:33 am
And saying that a 1 in 86 chance event is ruining a significant number of games or is causing skill vs luck to be out of whack....is disingenuous imo.
1/86 chance of happening for 1 particular unit on one particular turn. If you take into account number of units/turns that probability goes way up especially if you take into account other type of "unwelcome" double-drops.

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by stockwellpete » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:16 am

MikeC_81 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:33 am
I don't know what to tell you other than that the strategies I have described are common occurrences in Division A play. There is the possibility we are all just chumps and are just flailing our troops around though and are only there because we are lucky.
Of course, no-one is suggesting this at all. You seem unable to grasp that this is a discussion about the balance between luck and skill in the game and that luck can sometimes be the decisive factor. It is not being suggested that there is no skill involved or that players in the higher divisions are not generally a bit more skilful than those further down.

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by Geffalrus » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:49 am

stockwellpete wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:16 am
Of course, no-one is suggesting this at all. You seem unable to grasp that this is a discussion about the balance between luck and skill in the game and that luck can sometimes be the decisive factor. It is not being suggested that there is no skill involved or that players in the higher divisions are not generally a bit more skilful than those further down.
I feel like Mike made the argument already that the higher the skill threshold of the players involved, the more decisive luck becomes. As has already been described, there's a lot that two players can do to affect things in their favor, but assuming that two players are actually equally skilled, all those things can balance each other out. At which point, all that's left is luck.........and how skilled each player is at responding to good/bad luck.

Fundamentally, Mike's argument is that luck is a necessary mechanic to prevent matches from becoming too predictable. Of course, the argument that you and deve actually seem to be making is that certain types of bad luck (double cohesion drops involving certain units) are detrimental to game play. Is that correct?

Personally, as much as I have complained publicly/privately about broken unit rallying in game, I don't actually want to see it changed. I see it as a good type of random - and - as something that pushes me to improve my tactical options. As Mike stated, it encourages the use of cavalry and skirmishers as broken unit chasers. And honestly, once I started doing that, random units rallying became much less of a problem because I had a mental plan for how to deal with them.

And again, as excruciating as double cohesion drops are (I will definitely complain heavily about them in the future), I have a hard time separating them from all the other ways bad luck can crop up in this game. Watching a unit hold firm improbably is annoying. Watching a unit get caught during evasion by a slow unit is annoying. Watching my opponent have the perfect defensive terrain is annoying. Watching my Veteran pikes with general bounce off Kifi's Roman Legion and Disrupt is annoying. I guess I just have trouble prioritizing one form of bad luck as worse than another. But everyone else's mileage may vary.

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by stockwellpete » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:00 pm

Geffalrus wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:49 am
I feel like Mike made the argument already that the higher the skill threshold of the players involved, the more decisive luck becomes. As has already been described, there's a lot that two players can do to affect things in their favor, but assuming that two players are actually equally skilled, all those things can balance each other out. At which point, all that's left is luck.........and how skilled each player is at responding to good/bad luck.

Fundamentally, Mike's argument is that luck is a necessary mechanic to prevent matches from becoming too predictable. Of course, the argument that you and deve actually seem to be making is that certain types of bad luck (double cohesion drops involving certain units) are detrimental to game play. Is that correct?
No, it is the relative skill levels between the two players that is the crucial thing. The two players can be top of Division A or bottom of Division D and my argument would be the same i.e. the more even a match is, the more likely it is that luck will play a decisive role in its outcome.

Yes, there are particular types of bad luck in the game that could be modified, as you have indicated. But I was making a more general point about matches where the die rolls are really one-sided and affect the outcome. I reckoned that about half my matches in the FOG2DL this season were seriously impacted by luck. And I came up with this suggestion to limit the randomness in die rolls (and it is possible to introduce something like this). . .

" . . . imagine two players sitting at a table playing a game of TT FOG. Instead of rolling a die each time for combat or rallying etc, they would reach down into a bag that contained 60 discs (10 of them numbered 6, 10 of them numbered 5 and so on, all the way down to 10 of them numbered 1). When the score on the disc was fed into the game the disc would not be returned to the bag. So, if the player pulled out a 6, then there would only be nine 6's left in the bag and so the chance of getting another one for that player would be reduced a bit, and the other player would now have a slightly better chance than his opponent of getting the next 6. And so on. In this way the relative "luck element" between the two players would be moderated, but not removed altogether. Once a player had used 30 discs, the bag would be filled up again . . ."

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by MikeC_81 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:51 pm

Geffalrus wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:49 am
I feel like Mike made the argument already that the higher the skill threshold of the players involved, the more decisive luck becomes. As has already been described, there's a lot that two players can do to affect things in their favor, but assuming that two players are actually equally skilled, all those things can balance each other out. At which point, all that's left is luck.........and how skilled each player is at responding to good/bad luck.
Bolded for emphasis. The central argument I am making here is that players that account for, and plan for adverse luck and have strategies that are simultaneously resilient to bad RNG yet are able to take advantage of good RNG, are the better-skilled players. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is one of the primary skills evaluated by this game. So when I hear players say "I lost/won because of a double drop" or "I lost/won because of rallies" and then say luck was the determinant in who won the game, I am skeptical because, in my opinion, players are not taking an active hand in ensuring that such RNG driven events do not create game-deciding outcomes. Ergo, if RNG could have been mitigated, but the players failed to do so, then effectively the players left it up to RNG to decide the result for them and it is not the amount of RNG that is the issue. The real issue to random outcomes in games is the players not playing up to par and leaving themselves at the mercy of RNG.

Good examples are issues brought up like mass rallies, simply sending reserves to the wings to match width, and random double drops as uncontrollable events when I do not feel that is the case. Fleeing troops can be pursued, flanks can be refused to negate longer width armies, a small but dedicated reserve should be held in important sections of the line to combat random results. In addition, players who complain about the single devastating event often fail to recognize the small numerous good luck events which do not stand out but additively was as influential as the single devastating event that did occur and stuck in their mind.

Between the top players, games are often decided by small events or mistakes. Even in Division A play where supposedly the best players are playing, in the two and a half season I have played, there has not been a single game where I was involved in where I can say luck was the deciding factor in the outcome to the exclusion of all else. Win or lose there was always small mistakes that were taken advantage off. Things like mistimed charges or not correctly anticipating when the battle lines would meet resulting in someone having a positional advantage over the other. Take away those minor errors and the texture of that particular game shifts. As Pete has said often, form matters. Players I would beat could easily beat me if I am not on top of my game. That isn't RNG, that is just execution.

So if Pantherboy, Ludendorf, or Ruskicanuck was to theoretically clone themselves and play each other and each clone was in the exact same form as the original, then theoretically yes, the games would all be decided by luck at that point and the long run result would be that they would split the game 50/50 determined by RNG. The problem is that for people that argue RNG is too big a factor, this will remain the case until you strip any and all RNG from the game. The closer the skill and execution gap between the two players in any given game, the wider the spread of results are determined by luck. But you have to actually GET TO the skill and execution cap before it truly kicks into a level where you can just wave your hands in the air and say it was an unavoidable outcome. Because if you aren't at that cap, then there is by definition, always something you could have done better. The corollary here is that two players in division D might be equally skilled (or unskilled), but it doesn't mean their games will be determined by luck either. It will instead boil down to who made the bigger strategy/execution gaff at the worst moment (or as the joke goes, it is not the most competent army that wins wars, but the least incompetent ones).

Finally, and this is really important so I ask that even people who do not agree with what I am saying read this final part and try to really understand what I am saying here, any chit system which can alter dice rolls will not change anything. Players think it will because it allows them to influence dice outcomes in areas or cases where they feel it will be decisive. But the having a limited number of dice altering chits merely makes it another risk management tool. If we go back to the clone vs original example, each player will simply use the chits at their disposal at the best possible time and the game will still be split 50/50 down the middle. Players that are more skillful will simply pick and choose their spots better than their opponents. Players in Division D will still presumably not make correct decisions and misuse their chits.....and results will still largely be determined by factors that were already in place.

If we were to use Pete's limited 100% equal chit luck system, the result will still be RNG because there is RNG in when the 10 is pulled out. That random double drop will STILL happen. The mass rallies will still happen.

In effect, a dice altering chit system will merely add another skill that the game will test the players on. There may be some "squish" in the distribution curve but once again, it will require players to be playing at or near the skill/execution cap before that "squish" will noticeable. I don't know how else I can explain how I feel luck and skill interact in this game but I doubt many minds will be changed. But I feel I have done my best to address criticisms to my argument and I will stop annoying everyone and cease posting on this issue.
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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:09 am

Excellent post Mike. As you say, it won't convince those with fixed opinions to the contrary, but it does sum up the design intent.
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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by stockwellpete » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:56 am

Bolded for emphasis. The central argument I am making here is that players that account for, and plan for adverse luck and have strategies that are simultaneously resilient to bad RNG yet are able to take advantage of good RNG, are the better-skilled players. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is one of the primary skills evaluated by this game. So when I hear players say "I lost/won because of a double drop" or "I lost/won because of rallies" and then say luck was the determinant in who won the game, I am skeptical because, in my opinion, players are not taking an active hand in ensuring that such RNG driven events do not create game-deciding outcomes. Ergo, if RNG could have been mitigated, but the players failed to do so, then effectively the players left it up to RNG to decide the result for them and it is not the amount of RNG that is the issue. The real issue to random outcomes in games is the players not playing up to par and leaving themselves at the mercy of RNG.
I don't have a problem with this up to a certain point. Of course, players have to have contingency plans for when things go wrong and they would still need to do this in the modified system I would favour. But you are completely ignoring the circumstances in which the vagaries of RNG can completely overwhelm any contingency plan. These sorts of calamities happen far more often than you are allowing for and there is nothing the player can do to mitigate them.
Good examples are issues brought up like mass rallies, simply sending reserves to the wings to match width, and random double drops as uncontrollable events when I do not feel that is the case. Fleeing troops can be pursued, flanks can be refused to negate longer width armies, a small but dedicated reserve should be held in important sections of the line to combat random results. In addition, players who complain about the single devastating event often fail to recognize the small numerous good luck events which do not stand out but additively was as influential as the single devastating event that did occur and stuck in their mind.
Fleeing troops can sometimes be pursued, sometimes they cannot. Sometimes two melee units rally right up the other end of the battlefield causing a 9-10% swing in the battle score. Sometimes you do have to commit your reserves very early otherwise one of your flanks will be destroyed. Refusing the flank doesn't always work if your infantry is facing substantial numbers of cavalry. Very bad impact or melee results are often "uncontrollable events". Players know they may happen, but they do not know when or where. And if it happens right in the middle of your battle line right at the start of the game then you can be stuffed whatever your plan is.
Between the top players, games are often decided by small events or mistakes. Even in Division A play where supposedly the best players are playing, in the two and a half season I have played, there has not been a single game where I was involved in where I can say luck was the deciding factor in the outcome to the exclusion of all else. Win or lose there was always small mistakes that were taken advantage off. Things like mistimed charges or not correctly anticipating when the battle lines would meet resulting in someone having a positional advantage over the other. Take away those minor errors and the texture of that particular game shifts. As Pete has said often, form matters. Players I would beat could easily beat me if I am not on top of my game. That isn't RNG, that is just execution.
The issue is the balance between skill and luck in any game and how often luck is the dominant factor. In nearly every game I would expect even the best players to make some minor mistakes, or at least not always choose the very best move that they could make. But the difference in performance between two players of a similar skill level in any match is not always the decisive factor in its outcome. Nevertheless, form, and the confidence that goes with it, is important and in some matches, where the RNG is fairly neutral, it is conclusive.
So if Pantherboy, Ludendorf, or Ruskicanuck was to theoretically clone themselves and play each other and each clone was in the exact same form as the original, then theoretically yes, the games would all be decided by luck at that point and the long run result would be that they would split the game 50/50 determined by RNG. The problem is that for people that argue RNG is too big a factor, this will remain the case until you strip any and all RNG from the game. The closer the skill and execution gap between the two players in any given game, the wider the spread of results are determined by luck. But you have to actually GET TO the skill and execution cap before it truly kicks into a level where you can just wave your hands in the air and say it was an unavoidable outcome. Because if you aren't at that cap, then there is by definition, always something you could have done better. The corollary here is that two players in division D might be equally skilled (or unskilled), but it doesn't mean their games will be determined by luck either. It will instead boil down to who made the bigger strategy/execution gaff at the worst moment (or as the joke goes, it is not the most competent army that wins wars, but the least incompetent ones).
No-one wants RNG stripped from the game. What is being requested by some of us is that the balance between skill and luck is modified i.e. shifted towards skill.
Finally, and this is really important so I ask that even people who do not agree with what I am saying read this final part and try to really understand what I am saying here, any chit system which can alter dice rolls will not change anything. Players think it will because it allows them to influence dice outcomes in areas or cases where they feel it will be decisive. But the having a limited number of dice altering chits merely makes it another risk management tool. If we go back to the clone vs original example, each player will simply use the chits at their disposal at the best possible time and the game will still be split 50/50 down the middle. Players that are more skillful will simply pick and choose their spots better than their opponents. Players in Division D will still presumably not make correct decisions and misuse their chits.....and results will still largely be determined by factors that were already in place.
. . .
In effect, a dice altering chit system will merely add another skill that the game will test the players on. There may be some "squish" in the distribution curve but once again, it will require players to be playing at or near the skill/execution cap before that "squish" will noticeable. I don't know how else I can explain how I feel luck and skill interact in this game but I doubt many minds will be changed. But I feel I have done my best to address criticisms to my argument and I will stop annoying everyone and cease posting on this issue.
Well, the dice-altering chit system idea was first introduced into this discussion by you, not me. I am not in favour of it and it does not make up any part of my argument.
If we were to use Pete's limited 100% equal chit luck system, the result will still be RNG because there is RNG in when the 10 is pulled out. That random double drop will STILL happen. The mass rallies will still happen.
The system that I have suggested is not a chit system either. It would be built into the game so players would have no direct input with it at all. And if it was introduced secretly overnight then players would not even be aware of any change.

Just for arguments sake, say Player A makes 100 die rolls in a battle and scores a total of 380 pips (I believe the average total might be around 350 pips) and Player B scores a total of 320 pips from about the same number of rolls. Player A is having relatively "good luck" and Player B is having relatively "bad luck". If both players are of a similar standard and both are playing reasonably well, then it is more likely (although not inevitable) that Player A will win the battle. Of course, it will still depend on in which situations their respective high and low rolls occur, impacts, melees, rallies and so on. A player failing a cohesion test may roll a 3 or a 1, so the extra 2 pips there will be wasted.

What I am suggesting is that the range of possible pip totals for both players in this hypothetical 100 die roll game is compressed. So, if the probable range currently is between 400 and 300 pips, then it should be reduced to, say, between 370 and 330 pips. In this way the vagaries of the RNG would be suppressed because players would be rolling more equal scores during the course of the battle. This would reduce "luck" and shift the outcomes of matches a bit towards "skill" without damaging the game in any way at all.

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by stockwellpete » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:03 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:09 am
Excellent post Mike. As you say, it won't convince those with fixed opinions to the contrary, but it does sum up the design intent.
But my idea would not really interfere with the "design intent". It would just modestly shift the balance towards skill and away from luck.

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by Geffalrus » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:45 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:56 am
The issue is the balance between skill and luck in any game and how often luck is the dominant factor. In nearly every game I would expect even the best players to make some minor mistakes, or at least not always choose the very best move that they could make. But the difference in performance between two players of a similar skill level in any match is not always the decisive factor in its outcome. Nevertheless, form, and the confidence that goes with it, is important and in some matches, where the RNG is fairly neutral, it is conclusive.
Oddly enough, this is another good argument for the........ahem......replay feature (sorry). What I mean by that, is that "dominant factor" seems kind of subjective to me. For one, it's hard to know for sure how things would have played out had the "event" happened differently. I mean, to be honest, I spend most of my matches convinced that I'm doomed because this roll or that went against me. Most often for me is the Fragmented unit in melee that holds firm for a turn leaving me stuck in melee with another unit facing my exposed flank. However, as often as not, that "debacle" never seems to be that decisive. Either victory comes about in spite of my mistake, or PLENTY of other mistakes come about that result in my defeat.

Anyway - I think all the mistakes we make are fairly subjective. From our perspective with our plans in mind, things seem decisive. But from our opponent's perspective, who's focusing on a different plan, plenty of other things seem decisive. So the more perspectives examining an issue the better. Hence where a replay, or a very detailed AAR would be of great value.

Even mores so, we need more of those battle analysis videos that I believe Mr. Mike up there used to make. ;-)

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by MikeC_81 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 6:06 pm

Geffalrus wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:45 pm

Even mores so, we need more of those battle analysis videos that I believe Mr. Mike up there used to make. ;-)
No problem, if you are ok with me sending you a couple of dozen gigs of video with instructions on how to spend up to a dozen hours editing it to make an episode :lol:
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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:57 am

Just on the question of double-drops, I was looking at the results of the Themed Event quarter-finals (paired games) where two war band armies fought each other (Franks v Burgundians) in my own scenario Vezeronce 524AD. The scores were as follows . . .

70-6, 56-20, 47-13, 54-21, 39-7, 40-11, 40-12 and 55-29.

The army points were 1202 and 1240, where one army had a couple of extra skirmisher and cavalry units whereas the other army was a bit stronger in war bands. Therefore, I would have expected some of these games to be quite close, but as you can see 7 out of 8 were very one-sided, which was not what I was aiming for when I designed the scenario. All four quarter-finals were won 2-0 with the winner being successful with both the Frankish and the Burgundian armies.

I know from my own 2 matches, and from a report concerning another 2 matches, that RNG played a big part in these outcomes. The specific problem is that war bands, being impact foot, are more likely to inflict, or suffer, double drops on impact than other troop types. I think that when two shock units clash, they should cancel each other out and the likelihood of a double drop should be just the same as in other non-shock impacts. I think it would make for far more interesting battles than we get with the current situation.

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:16 am

deve wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:06 am
I and 4 friends of mine (competitive Total War players) started playing FoG2 a few months ago (in December). Initially we all loved the balance and historical realism but then 3 of them stooped playing FoG2 because we all experienced excessive effect of luck on battle outcomes. I stopped playing a little after but then came back because of Digital League (the nature of league reduces effect of luck since player play multiple battles and if player is good he will find its way to the top despite bad luck in certain battles unlike knock-out tournaments - those seems to be bogus for the game that empathizes RNG that much)
Your post prompted me to look at player retention in the FOG2DL. It is always a big concern for me to retain as many players as possible from the last season and also to recruit lots of new players so that the competition does not shrink in size. This season we did well with over 20 new players, which allowed us to start growing again after a couple of seasons of decline.

This is just a rough and ready statistic, but I looked at Season 1, which ended just under a year ago, and worked out how many players who participated at the start of the FOG2DL are still playing in it today. And the answer is around 50%. I think this is quite surprising and it is a lower percentage than I had previously thought. Of course, there can be all sorts of reasons why players stop playing a game. There are lots of great new games available each year and you are always going to get players who move on to something new after a while. But FOG2DL players tend to be part of the "hard-core" tendency of this game, so I think that drop-out figure is quite high. How much the effects of RNG in the game is a factor in all this is very hard to say, but I certainly do think that it is one of the factors involved.

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:02 pm

Well I can state that I'm not be playing in the DL this season, but I still play MP, plan to return in the future, and my break had nothing to do with rng systems.

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Re: The Rally Point (discussion and questions)

Post by Geffalrus » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:38 pm

For what it's worth, I just watched two loose order warbands break two of my average pikes frontally with back to back double drops over the space of two rounds of combat. I also watched two hoplite units survive the same situation for multiple combat rounds. This is why cohesion rolls are actually where pikes live and die, and why having a general involved in the fight is damn near crucial.

Also, pikes cost too damn much for how vulnerable they are. This is a hill I am determined to die on.

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