Blanket application of Unprotected to Light Foot and Horse

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DBS
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Blanket application of Unprotected to Light Foot and Horse

Post by DBS » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:50 pm

Apologies if this is an old issue - but I have searched the forum and cannot find an earlier discussion.

Having just acquired FoG and Rise of Rome, the thing that struck me most when perusing the army lists was that light foot and light horse seem to have a universal application of Unprotected as their armour rating. The rules define (p129) Unprotected as "lacking armour and without or with only small or flimsy shields."

Now I have no problem with this definition, and I fully accept that making, say a Balearic slinger with a shield (leaving aside the debate as to whether it was common practice to actually carry them or be able to actually use them in a meaningful manner whilst slinging) as Protected as a Celtic warrior with a nice big/robust shield. I have more of a problem with some Light Horse, especially Tarentines and similar Hellenistic light cavalry, being listed as Unprotected. It seems to me that the difference in protection enjoyed by a Tarentine (at least of the later varieties, rather than the 4th C Taras coins) with what seems to have been a fairly standard Hellenistic large cavalry shield and a Celtic cavalryman would be minimal. Yet one is rated as Unprotected, the other Protected. They of course have different combat styles, but that should be reflected in Light Horse vs Cavalry ratings.

There is perhaps more of a finely balanced argument on those Light Foot who seem to have a shield approaching that of heavier close combat troops, such as later Roman velites - Livy suggesting that the velites were better protected by their shields than Galatian opponents and perfectly happy to mix it with them in close combat, although that may just be Livy...

And apologies if this seems a rather necky first post!

rbodleyscott
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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:56 pm

No problem at all.

The armour and other troop type descriptions in the rule book are only guidelines and not prescriptive. We have taken a top-down approach to troop classification, and have classified troops according to their relative effect versus contemporary opponents.

As there is no evidence that we are aware of that Tarentines were any more effective than (say) Numdians or Thracians, giving them a bonus for their nice big shields did not seem appropriate.

I must emphasize that despite superficial appearances FOG is not equipment based, and that the troop type descriptions in the rules are only descriptions and not definitions. Getting the right overall effect against contemporary opponents is our priority, and that sometimes means stretching the "definitions" a bit. The Protected category is the widest of all, and is a bit fuzzy at the edges. We go for what (in our opinion) gets the right effect.

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Post by DBS » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:09 pm

Thank you Richard for such a quick reply.

Fully accept that they are guidelines/descriptions only. And as you say, right not to be too equipment obsessive. I am not a competition player, so will happily experiment myself. It was simply that, on a first take of the rules, it was the only thing that seemed a little odd. I entirely agree that Tarentines do not seemed to have outperformed their contemporary opponents. But equally I suspect that the Numidian shield, flimsyish though it might have been - and I don't think we really know for sure on that score - offered a little better protection vs the lighter missile projectiles than a ++ POA for shooting would suggest.

Anyway, thank you. I will go away and see for myself how much difference all this makes in practice.

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Post by hammy » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:25 pm

DBS wrote:Thank you Richard for such a quick reply.

Fully accept that they are guidelines/descriptions only. And as you say, right not to be too equipment obsessive. I am not a competition player, so will happily experiment myself. It was simply that, on a first take of the rules, it was the only thing that seemed a little odd. I entirely agree that Tarentines do not seemed to have outperformed their contemporary opponents. But equally I suspect that the Numidian shield, flimsyish though it might have been - and I don't think we really know for sure on that score - offered a little better protection vs the lighter missile projectiles than a ++ POA for shooting would suggest.

Anyway, thank you. I will go away and see for myself how much difference all this makes in practice.
I think you may have missed a point here.

Unprotected CAVALRY in more than one rank are ++ from shooting. Numidians are light horse and along with other skirmishers you will find there are no + or - POAs that apply so shooting at Numidians or Tarentines or Parthian light horse is nearly always at 0 POA.

Levels of armour only make a difference for skirmishers when it comes to melee and in some lists skirmishers that were significantly better in melee than others often get to be protected to allow for this.

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Post by kustenjaeger » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:32 pm

Greetings

Mid Republican velites can be protected as an example.

Regards
Edward

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:28 pm

DBS wrote:Thank you Richard for such a quick reply.

Fully accept that they are guidelines/descriptions only. And as you say, right not to be too equipment obsessive. I am not a competition player, so will happily experiment myself. It was simply that, on a first take of the rules, it was the only thing that seemed a little odd. I entirely agree that Tarentines do not seemed to have outperformed their contemporary opponents. But equally I suspect that the Numidian shield, flimsyish though it might have been - and I don't think we really know for sure on that score - offered a little better protection vs the lighter missile projectiles than a ++ POA for shooting would suggest.

Anyway, thank you. I will go away and see for myself how much difference all this makes in practice.
There are no missile POAs vs LH even if they are unprotected.

DBS
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Post by DBS » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:01 pm

You are right - I had missed that point. Thank you.

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Post by rtaylor » Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:49 pm

I know of two exceptions in the Storm of Arrows book. Spanish and Portuguese jinetes (LH) are protected or armoured(!), and handgunners (LI) can be protected.

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Post by hammy » Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:50 pm

A number of pounted crossbow can be protected (or even armoured), Northern border horse were protected last time I looked, I am sure there are more out there. The Northern border horse are the ultimate skirmisher killers, protected light horse lancer swordsmen!!

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