FOG - 50% Skill, 50% Luck?

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stockwellpete
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Post by stockwellpete » Sun Sep 04, 2011 1:06 pm

BATTLE OF BONKERS, (Stockwell, London 2011)

I set up two armies of Swiss halberdiers (two lines of 8BG's each with a C-in-C BG behind them) on open ground.

Turn 1 (the lines come together 8 separate melees)

Results 12-1, 4-20, 15-1, 2-13, 3-13, 15-2, 5-2 and 4-12.

So 7 results were "bonkers" and 1 was "normal".

Turn 2 (a further 8 separate melees. (D) indicates that unit was "disrupted" prior to melee)

4-3, 0-11, 1-(D)2, 3-14, 13-4, 4-(D)16, 14-1 and 2-11.

so 5 results were "bonkers" and 3 were "normal" (including the two involving "disrupted" units)

By turn 3 quite a few units were getting "disrupted" but the basic ratio of "bonkers" results remained steady through the next few turns. By turn 6 the battle was over. Side A had won by 0/9 to 9/9. A truly "bonkers" result considering the sides were evenly matched at the start.

Conclusion?

The combat system is broken in my view, but will anyone fix it?

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:18 pm

Pete, I think such a test is more usefull if you also showed who "won" or lost each of those combats and how many hits were done. i assume those #'s 15-1 , for example, are the % men killed? Interestingly, if you net out all those #/%'s of attacker and defender from left to right, they are overall pretty close . ie side A's total % lost across all 8 units is similiar to B's, even though the individual combats were "bonkers" lol.
I have no issue with the game engine if one side of equal units routs when slammed into another equal phalanx that doesnt suffer any Bp's lost. Such a battle is really a 5050 proposition, and i dont think history shows that the Victor in such a combat should somehow MUST suffer 50-90 % casualties when defeating an euqal opponent.

That being said the % men killed is a sore point with many players in this game and likly has caused a few to leave as well. Statistically over the course of a game , or many games i dont think it matters as much as it seams but I could be wrong. Sometimes i think they should have just have maintained the concept of "death rolls" similar to the TT

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Post by stockwellpete » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:28 pm

Yes they are % casualties, TGM. My point is that really with two identical sets of troops charging into each other there should be a lot more 8-8, 9-9 and 10-10 results. In fact, there were none of these.

In terms of the overall outcome of the battle, I would expect two equal sides to fight each other to a stand still rather more often than one side being completely routed.

The bizarre melee scores also devalue the impact of missile fire too. I have lost count of the number of times I have patiently whittled down enemy pikes to below 90% before I engage with them only to lose 17-1 on impact, or something ridiculous like that. Makes it all rather pointless really.

Quite a few have left over this, others do not buy any more expansions. And I am now getting seriously frustrated with the game. In the past I have purchased each expansion whether I really wanted it or not in order to support its development. I am not prepared to do this any more. I will still buy "Wolves from the Sea" and "Oath of Fealty", but not any of the others.

The changes we are talking about are long overdue now.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:49 pm

stockwellpete wrote:In terms of the overall outcome of the battle, I would expect two equal sides to fight each other to a stand still rather more often than one side being completely routed.
Why do you believe that ? Everything i have read about ancient medieval combat is that the loser routs and often generally suffers 50% or higher losses (although the actuall casualties happen AFTER when the fleeing men are cut down) I dont think 2 Hoplite phalanxes , all things being equal , equally atritted eachother at the same rate and then walked away since both sides "had enough"... Why does one side break then? I have no idea , the chaos theory, tiny minutea that no game or studies of a period will never uncover. Perhaps Sergeant Xeno stationed at the extreme right of a phalanx forgot to strap on his sandel properly and in the ist moment of combat got tripped up and skewered and such was his reputation , his squad mates took such a moral blow ( after all, if the mighty Sgt dies so quickly , what chance do I have!) that they performed pooly and one thing leads to another and the entire right of the army collpases, and then the whole kit and kaboodle.

I dont think you see battles becoming less decisive and the % "gap between losses for winner loser narowing until yu get to the highly organised armies of the late musket era ( ie Napoleonics, maybe the era of Marlborough) where the higher degree of unit articulation: Corp division brigade etc meant the loser was able to slink away(breakoff) to fight another day and maintain the state of the army .

Anyway, I do think the overlpping bands of % killed for melee and impact should be tightenedup to some degree, although i think missle combat is fine as is.

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Post by stockwellpete » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:01 pm

In those parts of the battle where the troops are evenly matched then I would expect, more often than not, that troops would inflict similar amounts of casualties on each other. Why would it be otherwise? In other parts of the battle, a cavalry charge, an amush, or a sustained volley of arrows (also not well-represented in FOG) might be the decisive factor in turning a flank, or killing a leader. I agree that the greater part of the casualties often occured in the pursuit phase.

Hastings 1066 is a perfect example of what I am saying. The two armies melee-d each other to a virtual standstill and it was a missile storm (when Harold was killed) that finally proved decisive. You can also argue that the earlier "anarchy" of sections of the Saxon army contributed to the diminution of their shield wall.

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Post by Geordietaf » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:05 pm

There are undoubtedly results being thrown up in individual combats that are extremely odd and maybe it is human nature to be far more aware of those that go against us than those that favour us.

However, in terms of complete battles, I have only rarely had games that I have won or lost as a result of a tactical fluke. When I lose it is either because my army had little chance against a particular enemy in the selected terrain or, more usually, because my opponent deployed and/or moved more skilfully than I did.

If the game was really so luck driven, how do we explain the players who consistently win, even with less favoured armies, and the way that the Leagues tend not to have massive changes in rankings over time?

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Post by kilroy1 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:09 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:Perhaps Sergeant Xeno stationed at the extreme right of a phalanx forgot to strap on his sandel properly and in the ist moment of combat got tripped up and skewered
I think that Sergeant Xeno's kinfolk have been tripping up my armies as well... :D

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Post by stockwellpete » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:19 pm

Geordietaf wrote: If the game was really so luck driven, how do we explain the players who consistently win, even with less favoured armies, and the way that the Leagues tend not to have massive changes in rankings over time?
That's not really the point though, Paul. Some players are just better at this game than other players. I would say though that in games between players of similar skill then luck can be a very significant factor indeed.

But we are really talking about historical accuracy here now. The "bonkers" results are non-discriminatory, they can happen to anyone. Just look a the melee results in my "Battle of Bonkers" today. Totally absurd.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:52 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
Geordietaf wrote: If the game was really so luck driven, how do we explain the players who consistently win, even with less favoured armies, and the way that the Leagues tend not to have massive changes in rankings over time?
That's not really the point though, Paul. Some players are just better at this game than other players. I would say though that in games between players of similar skill then luck can be a very significant factor indeed.

But we are really talking about historical accuracy here now. The "bonkers" results are non-discriminatory, they can happen to anyone. Just look a the melee results in my "Battle of Bonkers" today. Totally absurd.
I guess in the end What should cause a victory or defeat , all other things being truly equal, other than luck? ( ie dice rolls?)

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Post by stockwellpete » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:16 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote: I guess in the end What should cause a victory or defeat , all other things being truly equal, other than luck? ( ie dice rolls?)
Yes, but battles are never completely equal, are they TGM? They can always be broken down into components and phases. I am saying that where opposing forces are fairly equal in a component of a battle then the outcome should be fairly even. And I am also saying that if mounted knights go charging into the back of archers or infantry then the results should be "extreme".

Let me say again - we have this statement from the main developer of the game (made in April this year)

iainmcneil wrote:
The casualties is an area I would like to tighten up but have not got round to.

So we have a certain amount of agreement here. I am not asking for something that the developers are opposed to. They agree that a change is needed. Whether Iain intends just to reduce, or remove completely, the overlap in the casualty bands is not clear to me. Some players have also talked about using a "bell curve" that would reduce "extreme results" from 10% to 5% of the total. Whether Iain agrees with that is another question as well. But, as far as I am concerned, ANYTHING that reduces the current absurdities is to be welcomed right now.

And I saying this primarily because I have written a lot of historical scenarios that would benefit from these changes and I would like to write more (for Italy and for "Eternal Empire"). I also have some campaign ideas in the early stages of development that will link my scenarios up so that gameplay will be more interesting in future.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:49 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
TheGrayMouser wrote: I guess in the end What should cause a victory or defeat , all other things being truly equal, other than luck? ( ie dice rolls?)
Yes, but battles are never completely equal, are they TGM? They can always be broken down into components and phases. I am saying that where opposing forces are fairly equal in a component of a battle then the outcome should be fairly even. And I am also saying that if mounted knights go charging into the back of archers or infantry then the results should be "extreme".

Let me say again - we have this statement from the main developer of the game (made in April this year)

iainmcneil wrote:
The casualties is an area I would like to tighten up but have not got round to.

So we have a certain amount of agreement here. I am not asking for something that the developers are opposed to. They agree that a change is needed. Whether Iain intends just to reduce, or remove completely, the overlap in the casualty bands is not clear to me. Some players have also talked about using a "bell curve" that would reduce "extreme results" from 10% to 5% of the total. Whether Iain agrees with that is another question as well. But, as far as I am concerned, ANYTHING that reduces the current absurdities is to be welcomed right now.

And I saying this primarily because I have written a lot of historical scenarios that would benefit from these changes and I would like to write more (for Italy and for "Eternal Empire"). I also have some campaign ideas in the early stages of development that will link my scenarios up so that gameplay will be more interesting in future.
Well according to the laws of of the DAG (armies purchased off the AP system) they aledgedly are :wink:

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Post by jonno » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:49 pm

This might be sacrilege, but why are we so closely tied to the TT game and using 6- sided die to calculate results.

I think the game could stay true to it TT origins, yet use the power of the host computer provide a better system for these calculations. I would still expect to see variation, but more consistency.

Cheers, Jon

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Post by ianiow » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:16 pm

jonno wrote:This might be sacrilege, but why are we so closely tied to the TT game and using 6- sided die to calculate results.
Jon, even writing this sentence is sacrilege. Burn him at the stake!

Actually you can burn me too. I think Slitherine has syphoned off all the TT players who are ever likely to try the PC version. Now is the time to take the PC game to the next level and use the power of the computer to do the stuff that the TT version of the game can't handle

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Post by Lysimachos » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:16 am

It has been written several times in the forum that a sort of "bell system" should be used to calculate the percentage of losses, in order to amplify the median range of the impact and melee results, leaving the extreme ones to be less frequent.
In fact, I think this change in the game's mechanics should be regarded as absolutely coherent and realistic and moreover would take no more than one-two hours of work to be done, but the Slitherine guys really seems to have no more time left to dedicate to this game.
The road map is only a "stalking horse" to let us think the needed improvement will be made, while it is clear now that they aren't interested in spending a minute on it!
In fact, what improvement has been added in the last 2 expansions?
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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:57 am

Lysimachos wrote: would take no more than one-two hours of work to be done
Is that all it would take, Iain? How about it then please?

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Post by IainMcNeil » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:11 am

Field of Glory is developed by HexWar and new features are limited by the time they have to allocate to it. A huge amount has been added since first release but the pace of additions has definitely slowed, but you have to expect that for a game that has been out for 2 years. They have had a really hard time the last 6-12 months and really struiggle to find time to do the smaller tasks like this which eat up time. We are looking to add some interesting things for some upcoming packs. Eternal Empire adds the scaling of armies which means almost all of your armies can be rebuilt and changes the balance across the board. We're looking for other significant features to add.

I wonder if there are any coders who might be interested in getting involved with the Field of Glory project to add all these small tweaks and polish that the team dont have the resources to add?

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:14 pm

iainmcneil wrote: I wonder if there are any coders who might be interested in getting involved with the Field of Glory project to add all these small tweaks and polish that the team dont have the resources to add?
Come on then, coders! Stick your mitts up! :lol:

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Post by RussProv » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:15 pm

jonno wrote:This might be sacrilege, but why are we so closely tied to the TT game and using 6- sided die to calculate results.

I think the game could stay true to it TT origins, yet use the power of the host computer provide a better system for these calculations. I would still expect to see variation, but more consistency.

Cheers, Jon
It's a point which had crosed my mind. I've played TT wargames where 6 sided dice were standard and it worked fine but if we are dealing with casualty percentages I woold use percenticel dice.

I'm sure that would be better suited to a game like FoG.

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Post by deeter » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:44 pm

i wouldn't call this a small thing to add when convenient. It has been a major point of contention for two years and it's a fact that players have stopped playing (and buying expansions) because of it. Fact is, randomness (such as who wins and looses) has its place, but the winner of a melee should NEVER suffer more casualties than the loser.

Deeter

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:46 pm

deeter wrote: but the winner of a melee should NEVER suffer more casualties than the loser.

Deeter
I think that is a little extreme, and the TT does allow the winner of a combat to lose a base wheres th eloser might very well pass its death roll....

Speaking of death rolls, why not just botch the whole idea of tweaking the % men lost in the ist place since I dont really know what an acceptable change would mean for gameplay and balance. You can tight up th ebands and incorporate "bell curves" and youll start getting pretty much , to some degree , fixed % losses Why not just go all the way for melee and impact combat (not missle combat)

Something like: after every combat the Winner or Tie of a combat rolls a D6 ONLY if it recieves 2 or more hits It needs to beat the # of hits with a modifier of plus 1 (sort of like the TT)
if you fail the death roll, 20% casualties
so if you win or tie a combat and had recievd 2 hits, you would trigger a deth throw and need to roll a 3 4 5 or 6 to pass (+1)
the loser takes same roll regadless of how many hits it recieved, with no modifier, if fails 20% loss

Note , even thought the PC assumes a battlegroup is 4 bases, i think 20% is better way of doing it especially since many units will have taken pinpricks from missle fire .
Note that quality rerolls do NOT apply for death throws

What this alo means is poor unit ( assuming no missle casualties) will autorout after 2 failed death throws, average and superior after 3, elite after 4 (hmm, interestingly enought , the fact that superiors and average would autorout from the same close combat "hits , if using 20%, is where the TT version 2 is beta testing right now...)


basically wining or a tie in combat in most circumstances ( this wont factor in skythed chariots or units that get the 2 xtra dice which or course are the only 2 cirumstances a unit can take more than 4 hits) will be like this:

4 hits 50% chance to lose 20%
3 hits 33% " "
2 hits 18% " "
1-0 hits 0%

the loser
4 hits 67% chance to lose 20%
3 50%
2 33%
1 18%
0 0%

currently the winner or tie has 100% chance to lose any where from .01-14%, the loser .01-24%

losing men in close combat would be an all or nothing deal with some amount luck to pass the death thow, but the liklhood of having knights los 20% to a bunch of slingers is tiny, ist of course the slingers would need to win the combat by rolling 2 hits with the only 2 dice they get, wheras the kights would have to roll horiibly and get two or less hits to even trigger a death roll for the knight , and even if that occurs only an 18% chance to fail.
Now a knight could lose 5- 14% in one round of losing to a slinger, and thats just the ist combat and likly will lose even more before dirupting and fragging etc that same slinger...


i am guessing that how to deal with caualties was the most difficult part of HExwars converting the TT to the PC game and as such was a compromise that , based on this thread many hate. Since everything else that seems to work right is based of the TT mechanisms, perhaps this should attempt to be a little closer as well?

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