Need Help on Cities of Gold Intro

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SirGarnet
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Need Help on Cities of Gold Intro

Post by SirGarnet » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:09 am

Nik, I'd be happy to put together an intro, only the vision of the story line hasn't been obvious to me. A lot of the list and regional detail is already in the text, so should not be repeated, just referenced and tied together into an engaging way to stimulate interest from the person skimming the intro. Following are my notes -

If you and others can add items to include - bullet points or text - please do!

I can try to integrate them all together.

So my collected notes thus far... (the outline headings are (A) through (K))

(A) GENERAL INTRO
The Portuguese were ambitious explorers probing towards India and China in the 1400s
CAPSULE DATES through 1500
1494 Treaty of Tordesillas based on a Papal settlement that, as it turned out, gave Portugal only eastern Brazil and Spain everything to the west, but did achieve the goal of keeping Spain away from the route to Asia.

Joined by the other Atlantic powers - Spanish, Dutch, French and English - in the 1500s and 1600s, with conquistadors and other explorers seeking treasure, glory, and new lands in the newly discovered Americas, along the coast of Africa (its environment, and particularly the interior, was inhospitable and often deadly for Europeans, as often were the warlike inhabitants of its often sizable states and empires.

This book includes the armies of these regions, including some in areas which did not know of Europeans until the 1700s or later but had their own wars. It also includes the armies of the European colonies, often including a mix of European regular troops, militia formed from settlers of European origin, and native auxiliaries.

(B) AMERICAS: DISCOVERY, CONQUISTADORS, SPANISH CONQUEST
Capsule dates in the Spanish conquest of the Americas and arrival of the other powers.

Maintaining control was Spain's primary challenge, against incursions by the other powers, revolts, and neighbouring tribes, and the borders expanded north and south to Argentina and Chile to the south and California to the north. The Spanish treasure fleets, loaded with silver and gold, were legendary and a key support for Spanish ambitions in Europe (and also created inflationary pressure that helped weaken the stability of the social order through Western Europe and facilitate the Reformation.

(C) EUROPEAN RIVALRY IN THE AMERICAS - COCKPIT CARIBBEAN
European powers focused on acquiring the wealth of the Caribbean and adjoining Spanish possessions, with North America a low value sideshow. Dutch knocked out of the contest and English and French expansion in the 1600s while Spain focused on holding its ground.

Buccaneers, pirates and state-sponsored privateers, prospering amid these episodic struggles, their era fading at the end of our period, and the French and English North American colonies beginning to assume economic importance, often hard country but healthy and with ample resources.

(D) COLONIAL NORTH AMERICA
In No Am France opposed England, but it was a complex multi-sided power game among them and the numerous Indian tribes, including confederations such as the powerful and politically advanced Iroquois. Indians warred among themselves, hereditary enemies being established over generations, and Europeans could strengthen their position by intervening or assisting one side or the other. (But "what if" they had realized the long-term danger and determined to ally to expel the invaders?) Some tribes changed territories under pressure, while some were wiped out by war, or disease.

String-cite the north American wars (routinely England vs. France), but emphasize things didn't get very serious until late, and into the 18th C.

Colonial commanders routinely faced a chronic shortage of troops, particularly good troops, and relied heavily on raw recruits, militia, or auxiliaries, which presents some challenge for their commanders.

(E) AMERICAN WEST
Figure out what to say about the rest of North America north of Spanish encroachment. Typical mix of alliances, frequent low level hostilities and raids, occasional massacres, and eventually adapting to European encroachment or invasion of tribes displaced from elsewhere.

(F) AFRICA IN GENERAL; EXPLAIN WHY IT WAS NOT OVERRUN LIKE AMERICA
In Africa, the Europeans did not get much past coastal bases except in North Africa. Most of the continent was suitable for trade, but not for colonization during this time, except in South Africa with a temperate climate and weak native opposition. There were different factors at work. They did not have the same vulnerabilty to European diseases, and the climate and fauna were unsuitable to support others. They lagged technologically, but had established access to ancient trade routes which, although limited in scale, reached in from the Mediterranean and Indian seas, and they had substantial local resources they were able to put to use to make metal weapons and in time even firearms. American topography tended to separate neighbouring peoples more than that of Africa, where larger states and empires formed more often and more varied warfare and relatively broader dissemination of tactical as well as technical knowledge meant more capable adversaries. Spread of firearms usage.

(G) NORTH AFRICA
The best known African campaigns of this period were in Morocco/Algeria - thus European control of the Barbary Coast was deferred for more than 2 centuries.

(H) EAST AFRICAN COAST
The Portuguese were the Europeans most involved in Africa, actively intervening in local wars and seeking to displace the Arab traders who had dominated on the coast for centuries.

(I) AFRICAN INTERIOR In the interior, discuss picked major developments and trends in the rise and fall of powers in sub-Saharan Africa, mentioning the armies without duplicating the text. <input>
Mossi like the Tartars of the Steppes to their neighbours.

(J) ADDRESS REPRESENTATIONAL ISSUES: ARMY SIZE, CLASSIFICATION AND CONQUISTADORES
There are two major issues in representing the armies and battles in these regions. One is the size of the forces involved, and, particularly in sparsely populated North America, important battles often involved as few as hundreds of men. As discussed on page 15 and 162 of the rules, Field of Glory Renaissance represents each army as a coherent whole for the right shape and feel, allowing scaling up or down for "what if" encounters as well as representation of small and large historical scenarios.

The other issue is the technical gap between Europeans and native armies, one which grew through this period and beyond. It was nothing like the crushing gulf in military capabilities of the 19th and 20th centuries, and in the period covered by these rules Western-style armies could still face a formidable challenge in the face of local troops with capable commanders. Europeans had advantages including steel weapons and armour, the horse, gunpowder, and tactical knowledge.

Heavy body armour, firearms, the availability of horses, and tactical formations are modeled by the troop classifications and formations, army list composition, various combat points of advantage, and the combat rules. While the inclusion of steel weapons with bronze, obsidian or wood ones in a single classification, such as Swordsmen, may seem overly broad, these classifications are based upon fighting style (and skill is substantially transferable over time to upgraded weapons of similar style) and encounters between armies within a single book or theme, although attention is also given to "what if" matches against anachronistic opponents. Quality is rated based on aggressiveness and fighting spirit as well as effect on historical adversaries, which is why the Spanish conquistador battle groups leading armies of native auxiliaries are routinely rated as Superior (these battle groups may be disproportionately large relative to their actual numbers, but this is to represent their historical effect in the early conquests).

(K) ADDRESS TACTICS AND COMPETITIVENESS
Table tactics for natives against gunpowder armies rely on terrain, support, pinning and double-teaming battle groups, outwinging the enemy, deeper warrior blocks with some third rank bases to absorb attrition, emphasis on getting those ++ overlaps in close combat, flank charges.

nikgaukroger
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Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:03 am

Mike, that outline looks fantastic to me.

The only change I'd have is to drop the last section on tactics, etc. We have never had this in the FoG list books (IIRC), and I always think that they are a bit condescending to the players and hostages to fortune if what you say turns out to be wrong (or just downright daft as in the case of a certain Phil Barker's tactical advice :twisted: ). Richard may disagree, and as he has a better grasp of what the original FoG concept was I'd say go with whatever he thinks on this.
Nik Gaukroger

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If he does not, why humiliate him?" - Canon Sydney Smith

nikgaukroger@blueyonder.co.uk

rbodleyscott
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Post by rbodleyscott » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:27 am

nikgaukroger wrote:Mike, that outline looks fantastic to me.

The only change I'd have is to drop the last section on tactics, etc. We have never had this in the FoG list books (IIRC), and I always think that they are a bit condescending to the players and hostages to fortune if what you say turns out to be wrong (or just downright daft as in the case of a certain Phil Barker's tactical advice :twisted: ). Richard may disagree, and as he has a better grasp of what the original FoG concept was I'd say go with whatever he thinks on this.
I have to agree with Nik. Save the tactical advice for the web - where it can be surreptiously modified if you find it has struck the wrong note.

SirGarnet
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Post by SirGarnet » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:30 am

nikgaukroger wrote:Mike, that outline looks fantastic to me.
So now all that's needed is content :!:
The only change I'd have is to drop the last section on tactics, etc. We have never had this in the FoG list books (IIRC), and I always think that they are a bit condescending to the players and hostages to fortune if what you say turns out to be wrong (or just downright daft as in the case of a certain Phil Barker's tactical advice :twisted: ). Richard may disagree, and as he has a better grasp of what the original FoG concept was I'd say go with whatever he thinks on this.


This is in there because the classification and competitiveness issues are more salient with this book than any other. Like principles of war, the items I listed range from the safe to indisputable (they play out in Warrior vs. Pike and Shot engagements), and filled out I think can avoid being trite I don't think any are condescending). The weakness of late pike and shot is being in shallow formations that don't turn well and are vulnerable on their flanks, so concentrating to punch a hole using overlaps is a sound strategy as it might not be against other opponents (and works in game, painfully so). Items that from caution I omitted include ideas about flank marches and use of skirmishers and any reference as to how to use firearms or Western-style troops, as these can easily go bad.

What would be better is couching these in historical examples from the region. Or maybe this could go in a closing footnote or end note instead?

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