magus007 wrote:I have been playing wargames now since WRG 5th edition and played a lot of sets of rules. As a concept I like FoG on the computer as I dont have time to get figures out these days. However the game has what I will call bugs in an attempt to get someone to take some notice. It seriously effects game play and makes me just want to pack it in.
I know this is an old post, but I feel a need to comment. I come from a similar background, only its WRG 4th edition for me, LOL.
I've played alot of rules on TT and PC. Some I loved and played loyally. Some I played once. (I was never really a big fan of rock-paper-scissors as a past-time, and don't find it improved by the inclusion of painted miniatures, no matter how much hype it gets.
That said, for all its quirks and eccentricities, I love this game. I enjoy it on the table-top, but rarely have the space, time, and opportunity for a full-on miniatures battle, so this computer game is a convenient alternative. It also allows me to regularly game with people who are not a reasonable commute away...like one friend who was deployed to Iraq. I've only played one other computer wargame of this era that I think holds a candle to this one...the computer port of the Great Battles series, published in 3 volumes as Great Battles of Alexander, GB of Hannibal, and GB of Caesar. That was another turn-based, hex game with many similarities to this one. There were things I felt it did better, and things I think this game does better, but that's a whole post in and of itself.
Since I don't have hours
and I don't feel strongly about all these points, I'm only going to speak to the ones I do have opinions on...especially the ones that are "pet-peeves"! I've bolded a couple for special emphasis because they've been much on my mind recently.
magus007 wrote:1.Warband automatically destroying high quality troops in good order. Historically the best warbands managed to do was surround and disorder regular troops which fell apart only after a hard slog. A thin line of Galatians will always beat Spartans in one turn. Romans will die to warband.
One of my larger complaints with this game is that some things seem under or over powered. Mostly, when they deviate from what I would expect based on history, its in the direction of "over" powered.
More often than not, "warbands" in this game are represented by Med Foot with not terribly impressive armor. If they fight Drilled Heavy Foot on open terrain, they lose most
of the time. HOWEVER, if they manage to force the enemy to engage them on rough terrain of their choosing, they will win. What probably should happen, with "warband" type troops, is they should have alot of impact in their initial charge, but not have long-term staying power, and fail their morale checks more quickly. Which is what
tends to happen for the most part...in the standard set-piece Barbarian on Roman Legion battle, provided the Romans aren't...I don't know...marching down a road through the woods?
I think part of the power of irregular Med Foot in this game stems from the fact, mentioned by someone else, that you aren't compelled to move larger formations of troops "en masse"...with a smaller "maneuver element" lighter faster troops can more easily out-maneuver and surround slower more disciplined drilled HI.
magus007 wrote:3. Light infantry can destroy heavy infantry. When did this ever happen historically. True it is rare in FoG but has happened in on in four games.
Well, it probably didn't happen often, but its kind of similar to the issue with Medium Foot above. The capability of Light Foot is entirely situational. They can be the King of rough terrain. Since you asked for a historical example, I'll offer one...Sphacteria 425 BC...made all the more amazing because the troops the peltasts defeated were Spartan hoplites. Basically, they just exhausted them. When you're in full armor and you're chasing a guy with nothing but a wicker shield over rocky terrain, all he has to do is pelt you with missles and evade you until you're so tired you can barely stand up.
My favorite example of this situation in this game, which I found completely realistic, was this: an enemy Light Cav unit charged one of my LI javelins. On open ground he was dead meat...so he wisely evaded. But the faster cavalry caught up with him (realistic) and hit him from behind. Had it been heavy cavalry he likely would have been scattered to the four winds then and there. But the Light Cav didn't have the crunch-power to wipe him out...AND...(this is important) the evading Infantry had just barely managed to enter the edge of a woods. The next turn they faced the cavalry, and proceeded (over the course of a long battle with low per-turn casualties) to eventually rout them. It made sense to me! The Cavalry chased the fleeing infantry into the woods, where they gained the upper hand over the horsemen.
magus007 wrote:4. Regular elite troops will charge to their deaths impetuously
One of the main reasons, imho, that those Barbarian warbands are able to beat the Romans. A solitary Roman unit will charge out to face the enemy alone, leaving their position in a formation thats 1000 yards across. I don't think so.
magus007 wrote:5. Pike and spear suffer from charging. I am not sure if this is true or not... but every time I charge pikes or spears they suffer
This one bears farther study from my viewpoint. My initial impression is that such troops just tend to perform better than other troop types when receiving a charge. This makes sense to me, because they could "set" their pikes for instance...it especially makes sense against cavalry. But whether it has anything to do with movement, I don't know. I know that pike/long spear units are very sensitive to disorder from terrain, and lose effectiveness massively when disordered, and that seems historical to me.
But as for them "charging" isn't it really just a matter of symantics? My understanding was that when they advanced to attack, they did so at a kind of "fast walk" or "trot" at the most, in order to keep ordered ranks. I can't really picture someone running while keeping a sarissa at a 45 degree angle!
Whats been bothering me ALOT lately, and that I came on here to search for posts about, is a peculiarity I've been noticing, especially with pikes. It may be my imagination, but I SWEAR its true. Pike blocks SHOULD be very vulnerable to flank attacks. But when I attack a pike unit from the flank WITH a pike unit, my unit seems to always take heavier losses than the defender. Not a few more...alot. To the extent that usually I go disordered while he scoffs at my impertinence. THAT makes no sense. Whats inflicting casualties on my troops? The enemy pikes are all pointed forward! I should take few losses if any at all! But I take many more. Try it. Play a scenario with pikes on both sides, and turn off the A.I. so you can play both sides (like a hot-seat game). Move them into position and test it out. I'd be curious to hear what results others experience.
magus007 wrote:7. Medium infantry useless. Thracians with Romphia should cause problems for heavy foot... they don't. Generally troops that are armed with heavy weapons are useless.
Must respectfully disagree. See section above on "warbands". As for Heavy Weapons, my understanding is that they cancel enemy advantages for having superior armor? All I know is that I played someone's home-grown Dark Ages scenario, and I had some Vikings with 2-handed axes that were murder on Armored enemy spear and shield troops.
magus007 wrote:9. Camels are not good at taking apart horses which was historically their only use. Cav fighting elephants and Cam should automatically be disordered on contact.
I'll be honest and admit that I don't know alot about Camelry. I'd heard that their smell was not appreciated by horses, which I can understand, since I don't care for it either! My understanding was that the effect was not as great as that of Elephants on horses, which could positively spook them. Aside from that, my limited reading on the subject suggests that they were just more useful mounts in the desert... adapted to the heat and limited water, and more sure-footed in sand.
I don't know if Cavalry has always been disordered by elephants in this game, but I'm pretty sure they are now. The one complaint I have with this effect, for either elephants or camels, is that the whole thing hinged on them being unfamiliar to the horses. Armies that regularly employ both types of mounts (or all three) should not be subject to this effect from friendly units!
magus007 wrote:10 Elephants are too erratic. I have been in games where they are deadly against ordered spear or pikes and others where they have died in buckets. Historically elephants were tough and when they died there was trouble for what ever was behind them. The successors used them to break up pike blocks in a wild charge,,, however if they failed they would hang around (unlike scythed chariots which don't)
Okay, this is one of my biggest issues. When I first compiled a "FoG pet peeve list" in an email to a friend, it only had like 4 things on it, and this was one of them. I've always been fascinated by War Elephants, and I have a strongly held opinion. In nearly every battle in which they were employed in numbers, they had a powerful impact. Except, the enemy wasn't always the one they proved most dangerous to!
You find them too erratic, others have said they are too brittle. I on the other hand, find them far too predictable, even dependable. I think they perform in some ways like Super-Heavy Cavalry! I don't neccesarily object to the way their morale seems subject to random modifiers outside of the player's awareness...I think that when your weight is measured in tons, and you're being jabbed with painful, pointy things, if you just "change your mind" about being there, the plans and agendas of the little creatures scurrying around you lose all influence.
I've read many times over about the behavior of elephants in battle, and how they could stampede or go berserk. That was all rather abstract for me I think until I saw video footage of an elephant in a zoo that got perturbed and decided he didn't want to be in his enclosure anymore. It ran full speed at the gate (charged it, if you will) and went straight through it like it was made out of balsa. Pieces went everywhere.
And the unfortunate zoo-keeper who was in the enclosure with the elephant (who I think did something the elephant took umbrage with)...well picture a young person of your acquaintance having a major temper tantrum, and picking up say an action figure or a doll and whipping it around for awhile before throwing it an impressive distance. It was not pretty.
There were engagements historically in which the battle was decided by elephants stampeding back toward their own lines and routing the heavy infantry. There's a reason elephant "jockeys"
were equipped with a spike and mallet, for rendering an out-of-control elephant hors-du-combat. I don't feel that FoG adequately represents that danger. This was one area in which I feel the Great Battles game series I mentioned did a great job. Routing elephants didn't simply move toward the map edge to the rear like any other unit. They aren't people trying to escape to friendly territory with their lives. They're animals driven into a frenzy by pain and/or terror, and they're not operating on reason or logic. In that game, they would move in a completely random direction when routing, often changing direction several times. After one (or two?) turns in this state, they would be eliminated because their mahouts would kill them (the aforementioned spike in the base of the skull). But few things could ruin your day than having a war-elephant unit rout and run down the length of your battle-line, crashing through multiple pike-phalanxes from the flank! FoG should do something like this!
And last but not least...what was the most effective way to deal with war elephants? What did the Romans use against them? Thrown javelins or pilum. The ultimate elephant killer in this game should be Light Infantry with javelins (like peltasts). I don't see that being the case. Slingers seem to do nothing to them, which is fine, I accept that...their hide is thick. But light infantry, with their loose formation, should be able to avoid them...let them pass right through their porous ranks, and hit them from all sides with javelins.
Try that in the game. See what happens.
magus007 wrote:14. Luck seems to have too much influence in combat results. I blame DBM for this but there is no way that a unit of elite spartans are not going to kill someone while lose 48 in the same go. What ever random element is being used here has too much influence and prevents anyone coming up with tactics.
Agreed. I'm always a bit stunned when two equal units are battling with mostly even results, and then suddenly a turn will come when one unit will take 4 casualties and the other will take 40! What, did they just stop fighting back? It should never be THAT decisive. This is brutal hand-to-hand combat with nasty pointy things. Neither side is unarmed!
magus007 wrote:16. You can't shoot routers. Why not? The buggers can rally turn around and in a couple of turns be useful. If you can charge them you should be able to drop their fighting ability by shooting.
I would tend to agree. My take on this is that a unit that's currently routing should have a high penalty to their chance to rally if they are presently taking casualties!
Okay, thats it for my responses to Magus007, but I want to mention two other things that bug me.
Much as I feel that elephants aren't unpredictable enough (i.e., are over-powered), I feel the same way
about heavy chariots. I've got some complaints about Light Chariots too, but they're not quite as bad.
Heavy Chariots are out of control. Again with the over-powered. There is a reason that the armies of the ancient world stopped using chariots and began to employ cavalry. Ask yourself why they did that. Because cavalry was so much more effective in so many ways. More maneuverable, faster, easier to keep in tight formations...
I've complained that the creators of the game have fallen prey to ancient propaganda by kingdoms that employed Scythed Chariots. I think these, like elephants, remained in use long after they were proven tactically ineffective just because they seemed like such a cool idea
to certain rulers. Most armies quickly developed tactics to negate their impact (if you'll pardon the pun). In most games I've played, chariots are primarily a firing platform, something to ride down lights with, and something to use against other chariots (say the Egyptians vs the Hittites). But in FoG, to me they seem like tanks!
Okay...last but by no means least...my single biggest "FoG-Peeve" and major advantage of Great Battles over this game: the amount of Points lost from an army's break total for the rout of a unit...was variable! A friend of mine complains about this one thing more than any other...the loss of the Elite Royal Immortal Guardsmen affects you the exact same amount as the loss of a unit of poor quality militia slingers! What!? The answer is SO simple too...you set the rout value of a unit as equal to their point cost! My buddy growls endlessly over battles he loses because the enemy managed to ambush all his skirmishers. I can't think of a single case where an ancient army, with all their core units fresh and in good order, beat a hasty retreat because they lost second-rate light infantry that was often seen as expendable anyway!