Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

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Jagger2002
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Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Jagger2002 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:06 am

I have played a couple of PBEMs and AI games as Seleucids and Ptolomy. I have noticed and developed some strange tactics to compensate for the attack/defense ratings difference of phalanx combined with the lack of terrain defense benefit when playing in Middle Eastern open terrain.

Basically the driver is that a heavy phalanx has a 7 combat rating when the attacker and a 5 rating when the defender. The 2 differential is significant and whichever player is designated the attacker has a substantial advantage. So there is a definite cat and mouse game going on to achieve the attacker designation because the attack/defense differential is so great and there is no defensive benefit when fighting in open terrain.

In general, the attack/defense differentials seem to work relatively well with a variety of unit types when fighting in terrain which provides a defensive advantage. But for me, the strange maneuvers of phalanx heavy armies when circling each other in Middle Eastern open terrain feels off.

So I am wondering if phalanx, heavies and others which perform best in the open should have a open terrain bonus improving defense values? A bonus similar to woodsmen or desertmen but only applicable to heavy type troops fighting in the open. Something which would reduce the advantage of one army being designated as the Attacker.

With my limited experience, maybe I am missing something behind the logic of the advantage of being designated attacker with phalanx heavy armies when fighting in the open. Perhaps I may not be using proper tactics for phalanx heavy armies as well.

Anyway, something I wanted to put out there for discussion? Any thoughts? Is a heavies/Phalanx defensive bonus a good idea when fighting in open terrain?

devoncop
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by devoncop » Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:08 am

You are not the first to feel there is an anomaly here.

It to me seems logical that a Phalanx should have the same combat ability it attack and defence for a start.

As for a plain terrain bonus I am less sure about that. Plain terrain is regarded as the "default" when combat ratings are applied so in giving a Phalanx (or most other HI) a higher rating than med infantry that "bonus" is already accounted for.

Hendricus
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Hendricus » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:06 pm

The attack defence feels weird. Those numbers could be used for field and siege battles.

Southern Hunter
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Southern Hunter » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:31 pm

Yep, they are weird.

Troops could easily be given values for each terrain (Pikes 7 in plains, 5 in hills, etc, since the minute there is some elevation, phalangites can have problems). But the A/D ratings are very odd.

Jagger2002
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Jagger2002 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:15 am

As for a plain terrain bonus I am less sure about that. Plain terrain is regarded as the "default" when combat ratings are applied so in giving a Phalanx (or most other HI) a higher rating than med infantry that "bonus" is already accounted for.
My thoughts are adding a defensive bonus to heavies in open terrain would make heavies independent of the attack advantage when fighting in the open. And they would continue to be superior to regulars and mercenaries in open terrain as they should whether designated as the attacker or defender. The heavies/phalanx's would also continue having their drawbacks in terrain other than open terrain but then receive the terrain bonus when not in open terrain. The terrain bonus partially offsets the attacker advantage.

I suspect the attack/defender variances in combat value is related to terrain defensive bonuses. The problem is there are no defensive bonuses in open terrain and the 2 attack bonus of the phalanx is often decisive.

Nijis
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Nijis » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:44 pm

It's my guess that rating attack higher than defense is for gameplay - that cat-and-mouse game you mentioned. The mechanic may seem unrealistic but the effect in-game isn't too unrealistic, as it gives an advantage to having good intelligence. Think of it I guess as being able to fight the battle at a time and place of your choosing by maneuvering, say, between the enemy and their water supply. Or catching them off-guard, or gaining some other temporary advantage.

The more mechanisms that encourage jockeying for position the better, I'd say, as it makes for more interesting strategic map gameplay.

Pocus
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Pocus » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:25 pm

Nijis wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:44 pm
It's my guess that rating attack higher than defense is for gameplay - that cat-and-mouse game you mentioned. The mechanic may seem unrealistic but the effect in-game isn't too unrealistic, as it gives an advantage to having good intelligence. Think of it I guess as being able to fight the battle at a time and place of your choosing by maneuvering, say, between the enemy and their water supply. Or catching them off-guard, or gaining some other temporary advantage.

The more mechanisms that encourage jockeying for position the better, I'd say, as it makes for more interesting strategic map gameplay.
That's definitively the reason and thanks for expressing it so clearly. Indeed, this 2 points difference is not making that much of a sense from a realism perspective, but it was necessary to not make phalanx a uber heavy infantry/legion, or a weak heavy infantry soon obsolete, it had to get a specific 'signature'.

I know that several of you are not that happy with this mechanism. If you get a good idea, you can propose it, I'm all hear.
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Hendricus
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Hendricus » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:52 am

Being an attacker or defender is hard to tell in open battles. The individual unit that did not move seems the best to nominate as defender. Even during a siege the ones behind the walls can exit while the ones doing the siege keep their position. Most of the time an assault against troops behind walls makes clear who is the attacker though. I think that heavy troops , named so because their armour shield helmet and weapons make them heavy, are not happy to walk around a lot before they have to fight. So their offensive rating being higher as their defensive one is contrary to what I expected. Fighting with heavy troops should backfire against medium troops if the battle goes on and on. It's not the solution you asked for, just food for thought. You solved the Cavalry mobility very smooth. I wish you wisdom solving this.

Pocus
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Pocus » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:21 pm

Actually Geffridus proposed the solution to the cavalry and I found he has the best idea so far. That's why from time to time I won't hesitate to ask for some good idea when I'm stuck, and currently I see no idea vastly superior to the actual design to make the phalanx different from a regular HI, but not consistently weaker or stronger ... Perhaps something about them not being flanked (drawback...) compensating something else ...
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Nijis
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Nijis » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:38 am

Maybe a bonus that only applies if they are at maximum effectiveness, to highlight the phalanx's fragility? In FoG2, phalanx power drops disproportionately as they lose troops.

I like how the current system works in practice but I'll grant that it is counterintuitive.

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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Hendricus » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:58 am

Nijis wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:38 am
Maybe a bonus that only applies if they are at maximum effectiveness, to highlight the phalanx's fragility? In FoG2, phalanx power drops disproportionately as they lose troops.

I like how the current system works in practice but I'll grant that it is counterintuitive.
Or high number if they have no losses, and low number as soon as they have one or more hits. This simulates a steep drop of power as soon things go south, nicely mentioned by you as fragility.

Effectiveness losses do already chip in with their own effect.

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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Hendricus » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:38 am

Pocus wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:25 pm
Nijis wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:44 pm
It's my guess that rating attack higher than defense is for gameplay - that cat-and-mouse game you mentioned. The mechanic may seem unrealistic but the effect in-game isn't too unrealistic, as it gives an advantage to having good intelligence. Think of it I guess as being able to fight the battle at a time and place of your choosing by maneuvering, say, between the enemy and their water supply. Or catching them off-guard, or gaining some other temporary advantage.

The more mechanisms that encourage jockeying for position the better, I'd say, as it makes for more interesting strategic map gameplay.
That's definitively the reason and thanks for expressing it so clearly. Indeed, this 2 points difference is not making that much of a sense from a realism perspective, but it was necessary to not make phalanx a uber heavy infantry/legion, or a weak heavy infantry soon obsolete, it had to get a specific 'signature'.

I know that several of you are not that happy with this mechanism. If you get a good idea, you can propose it, I'm all hear.
The one with the best scouting capability could be the designated attacker. Scouting power can be different for terrain and troops. Light cavalry for open, medium infantry for forest, skirmishers for mountains.

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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Pocus » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:14 am

Hi gents,

I very much like the "took hits, less combat value" suggestion. It has several merits I would say:

a) flavorful, we know that a good phalanx needs some depth to be very efficient
b) not complicated to code (always nice given my backburner list of things never fall under 50 entries)
c) somehow subtle, not just plain bonus or malus

I also like the possible change to who is the attacker or defender... But it is quite subtle and will be difficult to apprehend to the more casual players. So this can only be an optional rule, but I like it too.
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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by bs_grom » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:28 am

I think that scouting could be based on army speed, the higher the better reconnaissance / mobility.
However, a lot of light cavalry, which is the fastest and light infantry have bonuses to defend, it can happen that better reconnaissance, which is always helpful, can harm and even lead to absurdity, e.g. create slower armies.
For me the current way is more intuitive you defend the terrain you are the defender.

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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by choppinlt » Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:04 am

I also like the "took hits" approach for phalanx. I think scouting has merits as well. Though I think one side should have a significantly higher ratio before any advantage was gained, not just a simple majority (i.e. 1 point higher).

Along these lines there has been discussion of determining attacker and defender, but why not allow for a "meeting engagement" whereby both sides use offensive ratings (and no terrain bonus)? For instance a meeting engagement would occur in those cases where there is no clear attacker/defender.

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Re: Phalanx/Heavies defense/offense ratings

Post by Sillyflower » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:02 pm

I may not be best placed to join this thread because I haven't bought the game - yet! :?
The main advantage of the phalanx was its mass and solidarity. The hoplite system required very well-trained toops relied very much on pushing ( a bit like a battering ram) and the phalanx was simply the end of that evolutionary chain. It would not simply stand still when someone charged it. On clear ground with protected flanks it was essentially invincible. If it lost cohesion due to inadequate training and/or on rough ground or hit in in the flank or rear it was correspondingly weak.

The Roman legionnary approach was to sacrifice much of that shock effect in favour of better manoeuver with smaller sub-units and addding firepower (pilum and the later lancea) which stood the test of time in the ancient world. Thiswas later replicated in the Renaissance when the re-introduction of the pike phalanx in the form of the tercio which succeedrd at first but failed again in the face of increased manoeuverability and firepower.
My point is that the answer is not to fiddle, in a fairly-meaningless way, with the attack and defence values of the phalanx but to focus on the causes of the crippling effects of the loss of cohesion.
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