Tactical Tips 01: Fighting the Bospos

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deeter
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Post by deeter » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:00 pm

HF armies simply are no match for the Bosporans, atlhough Romans being armored helps a little. MF armies fare better. IMO, anyone accepting a challenge from an HF army with Bosporans is just looking for an easy win. I admit to a heavy anti-Bosporan bias.

Here's why: yes they can be quite flexible but don't need to be. The real problem is with the bow cav. The devs decided it would be "fun" to allow them the same protection from fire as skirmishers. Shooting at them yields 25% chances on average, but shooting at other unarmored cav, like their lancers, yields about 50%. So we end up with highly effective missle/melee cav for cheap and in mass. That's just wrong!

Really, the best counter to the Bosporans is another Bosporan army. At least they're on an equal footing. On most other matchups, it might as well be Bosporans clubbing baby seals. What fun is that? When I see a challenge with the army listed, I always accept with an army that will yield a good matchup -- not with one that guarantees victory. But maybe I'm not competitive enough.... :evil:

Deeter

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:37 pm

How do you really feel Deeter :D

I think they are takable by a heavy infantry army list, just have to come up with a good tactic for dealing w them, still on the drawing board test phase.....
Irionically, i dont feel the swordbow cavalry is really all that powerful... A HI army isnt going to have much misssle power any ways.

It intersting how players clearly have a list they hate to fight.... My own gripe is vs Selucids whom i think are overpowred at the 4-500 ap levels.... Geesh, Elite lancers guarantees cavalry superiority, you can buy a solid array of average and superior pikes and have a tough battle line and still have enough to buy some mediums and friggin 12 3 ap bows to pad out your break points and give a solid hunter seeker mix to catch better quality lf.
Oh and maybe an Ele or two for kicks!

Some players like to put a screen of LF around their main battle line... Sometimes it feels like i am facing a Tercio rather than an ancient army :D

I do soemtimes wonder why they are given such a potent mix, i cant recall any major battle won by the elite cats and cavalry of the Seluicids, nor does it bode well when a Nation resorts to Gimmicky weapons of war, usually means their traditonal army is fairing poorly, i mean scythed chariots? chariots had been obsolete for hundreds of years before the Seluicids decided to reinvent them, why? especially if they have elite lancers?

My opinion is that pehaps the cavaly should be toned down, or at least they should be saddled with taking some poor quality pikes, much like the Phyrrics are.
Didnt Hannibal, while in exile, note that for all their fancy weapons and gilded armor, they were not an elite army?


oops, rant over, this is about Bosphorans!

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Post by batesmotel » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:40 pm

deeter wrote:HF armies simply are no match for the Bosporans, atlhough Romans being armored helps a little. MF armies fare better. IMO, anyone accepting a challenge from an HF army with Bosporans is just looking for an easy win. I admit to a heavy anti-Bosporan bias.

Here's why: yes they can be quite flexible but don't need to be. The real problem is with the bow cav. The devs decided it would be "fun" to allow them the same protection from fire as skirmishers. Shooting at them yields 25% chances on average, but shooting at other unarmored cav, like their lancers, yields about 50%. So we end up with highly effective missle/melee cav for cheap and in mass. That's just wrong!
All cavalry except lancers are at even POA for bows/slings/javelins, not just horse archers. Only protected and unprotected lancers have increased vulnerability compared to LH and non lancer cavalry. So your Roman light spear cavalry, etc, gets the same benefit as the horse archers.
Really, the best counter to the Bosporans is another Bosporan army. At least they're on an equal footing. On most other matchups, it might as well be Bosporans clubbing baby seals. What fun is that? When I see a challenge with the army listed, I always accept with an army that will yield a good matchup -- not with one that guarantees victory. But maybe I'm not competitive enough.... :evil:

Deeter
For what it's worth, the army that last thoroughly beat my Bosporans was later Carthaginians run by Keith. The combination of the HF drilled protected offensive spear and elephants was enough that I couldn't do much to them as they pushed me off the map. Liberally supported with cavalry/LH and LH but the HF plus the elephants was the decisive factor.

Chris
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Post by Morbio » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:53 pm

My twopenneth....

A good player playing Bosporans is really hard to beat with HF army or a combo HF/cavalry army.

The HF army just can't catch the Bosporans quickly enough before they are significantly weakened by missile attrition. If the Bosporan player keeps the skirmishers at max range then it's too costly to pin these with poor LF because it takes 2 turns for the HF to attack. By this time the unit is destroyed by the Bosporan LF/LH (especially if the LF lost cohesion in the initial attack, which is likely) - to make it worse, the destoying LF/LH doesn't follow the routed unit into the HF.

The combo armies fare little better because the Bosporan skirmishers can drag the cavalry out from the HF line (particularly if they chase a routed unit) and then the Bosporan Lancers and other cavalry destroy it with sheer numbers and/or rear charges.

The other killer is that the missile fire through sheer volume of attacks will disrupt some of the HF line as it tries to herd the Bosporans into a killing ground / edge. Once that happens the Lancers can charge and then, especially with Pike HF, the line is blown open and once the Bosporans surround the end is nigh. There always seems to be a rear-charge on somewhere, often because of following routed units or because of break-offs of own cavalry.

I've probably played my Seleucids against Bosporans 20+ times and I've rarely won and I'm not a poor player. They do strike me as more effective in FoG than history suggests they were... although I'm not that well read about Bosporans... it's just that I haven't heard of them creating an empire! Please feel free to correct my historical ignorance.... as I know you will :wink:

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:06 pm

Morbio wrote:My twopenneth....

A good player playing Bosporans is really hard to beat with HF army or a combo HF/cavalry army.

The HF army just can't catch the Bosporans quickly enough before they are significantly weakened by missile attrition. If the Bosporan player keeps the skirmishers at max range then it's too costly to pin these with poor LF because it takes 2 turns for the HF to attack. By this time the unit is destroyed by the Bosporan LF/LH (especially if the LF lost cohesion in the initial attack, which is likely) - to make it worse, the destoying LF/LH doesn't follow the routed unit into the HF.

The combo armies fare little better because the Bosporan skirmishers can drag the cavalry out from the HF line (particularly if they chase a routed unit) and then the Bosporan Lancers and other cavalry destroy it with sheer numbers and/or rear charges.

The other killer is that the missile fire through sheer volume of attacks will disrupt some of the HF line as it tries to herd the Bosporans into a killing ground / edge. Once that happens the Lancers can charge and then, especially with Pike HF, the line is blown open and once the Bosporans surround the end is nigh. There always seems to be a rear-charge on somewhere, often because of following routed units or because of break-offs of own cavalry.

I've probably played my Seleucids against Bosporans 20+ times and I've rarely won and I'm not a poor player. They do strike me as more effective in FoG than history suggests they were... although I'm not that well read about Bosporans... it's just that I haven't heard of them creating an empire! Please feel free to correct my historical ignorance.... as I know you will :wink:
i agree with you comments about a heavy foot based army vs the Bospos
My undertsanding of them historically is somewhat limit I believe they were a mixed bag of greek colonists and the local nomadic peoples north of the black sea... Somehow... they were organised under a "Tyrant" and were of sigificance due to the Grain trade in the area... I believe at various times they were vassal states/protectorates under the Pontic state and maybe Pergamum? Later they became a satelite power of Rome but likly excersised a lot of autonomy...
As for their army? I know nothing except what FOG provides!

However, I think the goal of FOg (as is most TT games) is to provide a venue that is competative between differnt army lists on an "equal" footing , ie the AP's
I doudt that a true bosphoran army would be able to field that much cavalry, especially shock cavalry in the same proportion to a Roman/heavy foot army as is seen in DAg battles...

deeter
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Post by deeter » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:14 pm

I do get worked up about the Bosporans. I play with all types of HF armies and suspect many can beat them, but in LW and the league, I am Seleucid and that army doesn't have much of a chance. As for Seleucids being a nemesis, I submit that they are just another pike army but with more toys, expensive toys at that. I.F. will probably end Bosporan dominance because there are several armies that can deal with them, including Early Seleucids who get more lancers instead of cats.

>All cavalry except lancers are at even POA for bows/slings/javelins, not just horse archers. Only protected and unprotected lancers have increased >vulnerability compared to LH and non lancer cavalry. So your Roman light spear cavalry, etc, gets the same benefit as the horse archers.

This has been an issue since beta. Non-shock cav being able to evade at all. On the TT, they would need to be in a single rank which would allow them to evade and be less vulnerable to fire, but pretty useless for melee. Devs choose to treat them as the best of both formations, but these are mostly armored so are at 25% for shooting but unprotected bow cav that gets the same defence but no liability in melee is wrong.

Deeter

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Post by ianiow » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:29 pm

deeter wrote:

This has been an issue since beta. Non-shock cav being able to evade at all. On the TT, they would need to be in a single rank which would allow them to evade and be less vulnerable to fire, but pretty useless for melee. Devs choose to treat them as the best of both formations, but these are mostly armored so are at 25% for shooting but unprotected bow cav that gets the same defence but no liability in melee is wrong.

Deeter
Perhaps when the new 'evade/stand and fight' options for skirmish troops come out it will be extended to all non-lancer cavalry, and the appropriate bonuses for being in one line or dense formation can be tied to whether they are in combat or skirmish mode.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:05 pm

Hey Deeter, I was just commenting , wasn’t critising you or anything about your undying hatred of the Bospos :D

Honestly, after playing around in the past week using the Bospos, I have come to the conclusion that they are quite powerfull but beatable
I disagree that the cav and light cavalry sword/spear guys is what make them so formidable, it is the 12 superior lancers that can attack any part of a heavy impact foot army(like the Mid repubs) The combat odds are in there favour (ie the % chance of winning the combat) heck even armies like Parthians or Armenian who you would except to have a lot of heavy cavalry only get 9 cats and need to purchase an expensive ally to get 12…

To be quite honest I am surprised the Seluecids have a tough time vs Bospos and your pike line should be able to handle lancers much better than impact foot….

As for Seluecids, sure they have expensive toys but you can still buy almost all of them @ 500 ap’s and still have a very powerfull LF force since they can buy 12 3 ap bows! No other list has this ability combined with ELITE lancers and a healthy amount of superior pikes . They are much more than a "typical pike army"

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Post by deeter » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:34 pm

I've done a lot of practice games against another practicer to find a way to win using both the standard army and a special anti-Bosporan lineup heavy on LF and pure numbers, to no avail. I suppose my frustration is in not finding a solution using Seleucids. No matter. I'm sure my coming Samartions, or whaterver, will do better.

And I would hope the devs agree with you, ianiow. But I somehow dooubt this will be addressed.

Deeter

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Post by grumblefish » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:55 pm

deeter wrote:I've done a lot of practice games against another practicer to find a way to win using both the standard army and a special anti-Bosporan lineup heavy on LF and pure numbers, to no avail. I suppose my frustration is in not finding a solution using Seleucids. No matter. I'm sure my coming Samartions, or whaterver, will do better.

And I would hope the devs agree with you, ianiow. But I somehow dooubt this will be addressed.

Deeter
I haven't fought bosporans much, but I had a fair degree of success against a Bosporan army with Seleucids; I think my opponent was Paisley but I'm not sure. He won, but our break points were almost dead even the whole fight. I think I took elephants, companions, lf archers, and lots of pikes. I basically hunkered down, and when he came within range I just broke out and just charged endlessly. In hindsight I could have played smarter, and certainly some units were a waste of money, but I didn't really feel much frustration.

Anyway, I know you're playing IF right now, and so far I'm seeing a few notable skirmishing differences. I've seen hoplites outright catch a skirmisher unit, and also chase them beyond the usual one square (and right into your hoplite line :(). Maybe these differences will help cavalry catch the bosporans; at the very least, the additional chase-distance will ensure that bosporans get pushed off the map sooner.

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Post by Morbio » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:17 pm

deeter wrote:I've done a lot of practice games against another practicer to find a way to win using both the standard army and a special anti-Bosporan lineup heavy on LF and pure numbers, to no avail. I suppose my frustration is in not finding a solution using Seleucids. No matter. I'm sure my coming Samartions, or whaterver, will do better.
That practicer was me :D Deeter and I struggled to overcome our dislike of Bosporans to play each other with shooty Bosporan armies against various different Seleucid variants to find a good strategy to win. This is where my comment of playing over 20+ games versus Bosporans comes from - we played a lot of games... and all the games (losses) versus Iversonjm and others!
grumblefish wrote:I haven't fought bosporans much, but I had a fair degree of success against a Bosporan army with Seleucids; I think my opponent was Paisley but I'm not sure. He won, but our break points were almost dead even the whole fight.
I can relate to part of that statement - a lot of my games against Iversonjm (who is very good at playing them) and Deeter (who isn't bad :lol:) were usually within a few points of the Bosporans, the problem is that they often start with 20 odd points more!

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Post by grumblefish » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:35 pm

Morbio wrote:I can relate to part of that statement - a lot of my games against Iversonjm (who is very good at playing them) and Deeter (who isn't bad :lol:) were usually within a few points of the Bosporans, the problem is that they often start with 20 odd points more!


Ah, but that's why you need to bring your groupies along to the fight. I have gotten into the habit of always taking the mobs when they're available. Then I just take all those unarmed, 2 point units and position them around the camp (thus, no need to fortify the camp). In an emergency that can fend off skirmishers, but otherwise they're there for the break point boost. In actual fact, I have an ongoing game that is on hold because I'm now playing the beta, where my mobs defended a hill and successful held back some chariots and cavalry.

Anyway, in the past I just ignored those mob units, and did not have them last time I fought the Bosporans. However, when an army list makes them available (and Seleucids can grab about 12 of them or so), then go for it

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Post by Malty666 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:49 am

I usually play Seleucids or Pyrrhic - because I like the pikes, not because I think they are unbalanced.

I have played against a lot of opponents, won a lot of games and lost a few. One recent defeat I suffered was against Illyrians - they swarmed me.

Rather than armies being unbalanced, I think that the terrain maps we play on favour certain armies over others. Some are great when you have a MF Gallic army, others are wonderful open spaces for your pikes. That helps immensely when you get a 'good' map for your army.

I think that LF/LH armies do well because they are less affected by terrain, giving them the ability to function properly irrespective of the battlefield. After all, selection of WHERE a battle was fought often won or lost the battle. Look back over many ancient battles. The 'where' is absolutely crucial.

Also the LH armies generally have the ability to win initiative and select crowded maps, helping them out further.

Ultimately, your skill as a general also comes into play in maximising the terrain and using it to your advantage to give you good matchups.

I think you need to consider that and am looking forward to seeing how the new maps in IF will change the game.
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Post by deeter » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:51 pm

Unfortunatley, terrain selectiion is broken. In a recent game of Seleucids vs. Bosporgans, I won the initiatve and selected very open terrain. What I got was Bosporans sitting on a rocky ridge behind a river amd plowed fields. I lost. On the rematch, I chose very crowded terrain to get some cover and ended up on an open plain. :evil:

Deeter

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Post by batesmotel » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:27 pm

deeter wrote:Unfortunatley, terrain selectiion is broken. In a recent game of Seleucids vs. Bosporgans, I won the initiatve and selected very open terrain. What I got was Bosporans sitting on a rocky ridge behind a river amd plowed fields. I lost. On the rematch, I chose very crowded terrain to get some cover and ended up on an open plain. :evil:

Deeter
Whine, whine, whine! I think I also chose very crowded if it makes you feel any less miserable :shock:

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Post by Blathergut » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:37 pm

deeter wrote:Unfortunatley, terrain selectiion is broken. In a recent game of Seleucids vs. Bosporgans, I won the initiatve and selected very open terrain. What I got was Bosporans sitting on a rocky ridge behind a river amd plowed fields. I lost. On the rematch, I chose very crowded terrain to get some cover and ended up on an open plain. :evil:

Deeter

It might not be broken. It's just never truly been explained how it works. I don't think winning the innitiative gives you total choice of terrain. I do wish it could be spelled out clearly.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:00 pm

Part of the problem might be how the master list of maps is categorised, after all, open , somewhat open etc are very subjective terms.....
For example, i do not consider a map with a relatively small hill with "steep" sides all around it to be an open map (especially when fighting Longbows), regardless of how many clear hexes aree on the map as a whole...

Maybe it would be better to get rid of the arbitray descriptions and organise the maps with actual terrian

for example

open plains
plains with "significant terrain feature" (which could be a series of hills or a river)
lightly wooded
heavily wooded
etc....

deeter
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Post by deeter » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:06 pm

Bates, please don't feel defensive. I didn't mention you by name, but what you say proves my point that map selection is broken. If we both chose very dense and got an open plain, why be offered any choice?

Deeter

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Post by Malty666 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:16 pm

Yeah the terrain selection is a little...ahem...unique.

I think it works on the basis that the computer takes the initiative rolls, multiples by pi, then does a square root and finally says "sod it" and just picks one at random :shock:

I can't figure it out, but have played so many games now it just comes down to "oh crap, that map again". Which is never good.
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