Why detailed combat info sucks, and how to fix it

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Post by cothyso » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:40 pm

ok, i'm not running away, we'll discuss this.

carrhae - point is, romans were expecting that missles would ran out eventually. this means that the romans haven't really met foes replenishing their missiles during a combat in the way the parthians did. this is also concordant with the other ancient battles we know about. there were very few cases in which the outcome of an ancient battle was only decided by skirmishers continuously massacring the other side (at least until the great barbarian invasions from asia with their mounted archers hordes).

of how many battles you've heard in which the skirmishers from armies tried to shower with missiles the flanks/rear of the melee engaged battle line? if any, those would be only a few, and therefore, exceptions.

we were talking about phalanx battles, do you have any idea what was the percentage of casualties during the battle clash? read "land battles in the 5th century bc greece" by fred eugene ray, and you'll be surprised to learn the truth. there are some very interesting statistics in that study.

most of the ancient battles we know of were fought with romans as one of the participants. roman generals never fought in the frontline, nor the tribunes or other superior officers. only centurions did. there are exceptions, of course, but they are exactly that: exceptions.

i'm tending to become boring, but read the ancient sources about ancient battles. I can give you a few names, if you want to: herodotus, thucydides, arrian, diodorus, plutarch, suetonius, aeneas tacticus, onnasander, asklepiodotus, livy, frontinus, polybius, polyaenus, caesar, vegetius, dio, maurice and so on.. then read 2nd hand real historians, like kromayer, delbruck, goldsworthy, kagan, warry, keegan, heckel, sabin, ray, engels, roth, holland, wees, hanson, connolly, sidnell, lazenby, fuller and so on.. history is not what you see on Discovery Channel, or read in history propaganda or for dummies books.

be frank and answer yourself: of how many of these have you ever heard? and how many of them have you read? integrally, not just a few quotes here and there?

regarding the proposal to analyse FoG's battles, it was a statistical suggestion. all surveys on large amount of data are made using limited sample taken in a relevant way. this is the statistics science. pick a random selection of let's say 100 battles (from the few thousands or so actually we know of), and you can make an idea how the percents looks like.
Last edited by cothyso on Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:10 pm


There you go discussing Carhea again :D Have you considered that i have been agreeing with you for the most part on on the point of ammo depletion? YES I believe troops ran out of ammo! :D Also, dont the ancient sources cite (or at least find it very notworthy to recount how effective the arrows were from the Parthians? Didnt they describe how wickedly barbed the point were and, I recall completely from "hazy" memory " how they tore thru vein and tendon" Clearly the bows they were using (plus likly the skill and pure #'s) were not what the Romans were used to. Not a whole lot of tradition of horse archers or even massed foot archery in the Western Med during this time.
So I i argue that waiting for the enemy to run out of ammo possibly was NOT a common thing based soley on the fact that troops RAN out of ammo but because the main lines joined before it ever really mattered.

Basically i undertsand why Slitherine didnt include ammo levels in the PC game and especially the TT... Would it be nice to have, sure, just havent heard any opinion from you on how it would be implemented without basically tossing the entire combat system and starting over....

you wrote:
" history is not what you see on Discovery Channel, or read in history propaganda or for dummies books."

You asked me to not take offense in another post and i hadnt , but this one has me almost taking offense :? I dont watch the discovery channel, nor read history for dummies, but i do read historical propoganda , as do you since many of the authors you cite certainly had an angle, a bone to pick or a patron to impress which always puts primary sources under some scrutiny....

Statistcs? well you know what they say about those.... I really dont see how you can take a random pick from 100 battles of history (over the thousands there are, over thousands of years) and state with such certainty that whatever truism you are trying to illsutrate lies within those small examples. A true random pick might very well have 50 of those battles be in the middle ages which would support my own perception that commanders fighting in the front ranks was more common (in general) than the occasion thing, wheras if the random picks chose 50 battles in the Punic wars era or later hellenistic period your view would likly be supported.

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Post by cothyso » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:34 pm

randomly picking was meaning taking them randomly from across the entire period we're talking about, not only from a certain era, region or war.

carrhae just popped up, we can discuss other examples too. your memory about carrhae was hazy as you stated there was no survivor, when actually 25% of the roman soldiers made it back. how else would you call that?!!

the arrows were wicked indeed, but they were also not lethal. romans were not really using archers until a later period (imperial, not republican).

you say that the reason for skirmishers stopping would be the fact that the main battle lines were clashing.. yet, that was only one of the reasons.. wouldn't have been plainly stupid to have a large force of skirmishers, still having ammo, at your disposal, and not try to use them somewhere where they could mostly hit only the enemies? ie from their flanks and rears? which are the battles in which this behavior occurred?

the main purpose of the skirmishers was screening the main battleline deployment and prevent the enemys fast troops try to fall upon the still forming battlegroups. everything else was a side effect/usage.

what stopped one side to still relly on them when the other side took theirs back, an shower with missiles the slowly advancing enemy battleline, while pacing bsck to not let them close into melee? exactly the fact that when the nemy skirmishers were not throwing back, they would ran out of ammo pretty fast. and the logistics wouldn't allow them unlimited supplies of missiles.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:25 am

Well I was going to say lets agree to disagree but I cant because i dont even know what were discussing anymore :D

However no more discussion about skirmishers... Either there is a language barrier or I am an incredibly inarticulate writer. Suffice to say i agree fully with you about the useage of skirmishers in ancient battles (nor do I think i said anything that implied I disagreed, I think I even said I AGREE :) )

Carheae: well yes i forget there were survivors, you were right to point that out but wrong to continuously bring it up, for after all we were discussing ammo depletion and not "how many battles involved complete annilition". This is why I dont cite specific things: One error of something that really is not relevent to the overall discourse is brought up over and over. Cleary my mistake has caused me to lose any credibility in your eyes regardless of what i am talking about. Oh well, cant do anything about that , I am not going to quote books i have read with out discussing specific items in those books.

Would you at least consider the point i was trying to make re ammo? Which is that although ammo ran out, I dont believe it was a material factor for MOST ptiched battles. By the time one sides skirmishes were driven off or both sides had enough, they stepped aside and the main lines clashed. What did all those skirmishes go or do after (whether they had ammo or not) I dont know, nor is it likly important except that they really didnt contribute greatly after the fact. Thus you can, i think, make the conclusion that ammo didnt make make much differnce in the overall outcome AFTER the main lines clashed .
Its only in games where skirmishes can go commando behind enemy lines, run circles around cavalry and harrass the enemy ad nasueum, and it is only in games where skirmishes , if enough get caught cause an army to lose because all games have to have some kind of way of measuring defeat. FOG does it by having every unit euqal to another and when x # rout its over. Its just as good a way as any other game mechanic I have seen though , maybe better.

Now you still havnt given me any idea how you would include ammo depletion in FOG (also acknowledging that Slitherine probobly would never consider it) I personally liked how the Great battles games did it but i fear light armies would be crippled with such a rule....

Now , enough talk, dont we have at least one League game to play darnit?

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Post by Morbio » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:21 pm

Very brief reply...

1) I think the suggestions are good. Personally, the dice image doesn't add any value for me and I suspect that putting an image in a text file is not easy.

2) I rarely look at the log. Like Hidde I tend to play by feel and have long since given up trying to analyse and rationalise.

3) I think a couple of people have given a great example of how to hijack a post (I won't mention GM and Cothyso by name :wink: ).

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Post by beserko » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:08 pm

I started it with my "I shot an arrow in the air, where it lands ..... well I know not where but definitly not in a leaders hair" comment.

so sorry :} :oops:

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:09 pm

I guess I will need to add hijacker onto my list of other vices :)

So , i do like the new look of the detailed combat, but at the same time I never use it.......

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Post by pantherboy » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:19 pm

I always play with the detailed results on. For me they were an integral part of my coming to understand the mechanics as the manual wasn't sufficiently clear. Nowadays I don't need to watch the results to understand how we reach an outcome though at times I'll look over to see what numbers were rolled on the dice. One fact that still remains useful though is reading what my opponent rolled on his cohesion test. Units only roll for cohesion loss once after a failed melee and once after a failed impact and as such any further losses will draw upon those dice rolls. That means if my opponent rolls poorly and is close to a second cohesion drop then that will factor into my decision whether to charge in with more or use a second melee against them rather than another unit. e.g. if they roll 12 on an impact check then I know they won't lose any cohesion regardless what I fling at it after so I should change to a melee if I have the option. I quite like what peter mocked up and using dice images does allow me to scan quicker possibly being able to understand the dice rolls even in my opponents turn though a pause option would be far simpler. I would drop the strength check though as it is meaningless and we see the % loss drift up from the unit on screen.

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Post by peterb1201 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:22 pm

pantherboy wrote:I would drop the strength check though as it is meaningless and we see the % loss drift up from the unit on screen.
Oh, good point that this is duplicative. Quite right.

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Post by gazxtrix » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:34 am

Like it, great work.

Not fussed about the dice images. Combat losses should be % remaining. red/green works best for me.

Looks clean and is very readable, will be a great aid to Newbys and those of us who cant believe the die rolls can really be that bad.

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Post by Igorputski » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:41 am

hidde wrote:I don't play with the detailed combat info and never have. If it had presented something like the OP suggest I might have used it in the beginning. As it is now it's too much like work and I lose the immersion factor. I rather play and have fun than try to penetrate the information it gives.
I agree with this ^ guy, reading all that crap is a waste of time, just play and let GoG sort them out.

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Post by Pawsy » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:54 am

Can I just say I am in favor of the proposed changes? I am a complete beginner and I am having difficulty in understanding the information in the format it is presented in. I would welcome a clearer or simpler verbose combat screen so that I can see whats happening. Also less abbreviations option would be useful to beginners :) overall really enjoying the game. May soon buy add ons.

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Post by Skanvak » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:33 pm

I vote for the change too. It would be nice to understand what happen.

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Post by omarquatar » Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:26 pm

i think i asked this already, but can't find the answer
what is the shortcut key to see the dice rolls of the previous turn during replay?
Last edited by omarquatar on Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by PorkSol » Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:32 pm

It would be nice if there was a possibility to pause the game so you can scroll up in the replay and read what the enemy's POAs and rolls were against you.

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Post by Rosseau » Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:30 pm

Nice job by PeterB. I would forego the dice, though. I didn't know half these options existed. My first MP opponent said "What rules?", so I never bothered reading them. Shows you can still win at FoG knowing absolutely nothing.

Bottom line would be the workload on the devs and what we'd be pulling them away from. But this idea should not just be forgotten either.

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