Better armour PoA

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nikgaukroger
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Better armour PoA

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:46 am

Copying this from the original thread as I think it deserves some considerations.
One problem in FoG at the moment is the "better armour" + POA in melee.
This has a huge and unrealistic effect on the relative effectiveness of troops in combat, which I don't think is supported by examining the historical performance of troops.

What problems does this POA cause?

1) Creates unhistorical differences in the performance of troops based solely on equipment. This is particularly noticable with protected and armoured troops in the Classical period. I don't think there is any basis in historical research for thinking early (armoured) hoplites were significantly more effective in combat than later (protected) ones, or that Seleucid Cataphracts were more effective than Alexander's Companions.

2) Has a strong effect on the playability of troops in FoG. Players will almost always choose armoured offensive spearmen over protected offensive spearmen, as their game performance is so much better. There is a point cost difference, but it does not offset the huge difference the armour POA makes.

3) Causes troops' armour to be graded inaccurately in order to support their historical melee performance. A good example of this is Macedonian Companions. Troops wearing metal breastplate and helm, unshielded, riding unarmoured horses, and yet they are graded as "armoured" when clearly "protected" would better describe their equipment. However, if they were "protected" in the current rules they would no longer be effective against historical armoured opponents (e.g. Persian Saka heavy cavalry). Grading Companions as armoured makes them unrealistically resistant to enemy missile fire. Another example of this problem is the later Seleucid armoured pike-armed troops - because the armour POA is so important, these have to be graded as protected to avoid them being too effective against in-period opponents.

Proposal: replace the "Better armour" POA with the following:

Better armour: + : If net POA from all other factors is – or worse, unless enemy has Heavy Weapons.

We toyed with something like this for FoG:R, however, didn't really have time to look into it enough after it was suggested for that due to timescales and other rules things that needed sorting.

Personally I think it has some merit.
Nik Gaukroger

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peterrjohnston
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Post by peterrjohnston » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:47 am

I agree with the original poster's arguments. The armour POA is far more important than it should be - not that I think armour had no effect, just that now it has a disproportionate effect over and above important factors like quality. Armour is a defensive combat factor, so in essence, the armour POA rewards defence over offence.

(Yes, one could argue legionaries used their shields as offensive weapons, but that could be in the SSw factor).

However, changing it would require thinking through all of the melee interactions. For example:
Would everyone start using protected, or even unprotected, instead? Superior protected cavalry lancers would be very attractive, evens in melee against knights.
Do the foot interactions still work? I can see it improving the Sw vs Sp interaction (currently protected Sp, even superior, tend to rout very rapidly against armoured infantry if they go disrupted. The proposed change would slow this down).

Perhaps it would be better to have two armour modifications:

Better armour (one of or both?):
+ : If net POA from all other factors is – or worse, unless enemy has Heavy Weapons.
+ : Two or more levels of armour protection higher.

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Post by olivier » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:46 am

Hmm with this POA change the French knights are not better than English longbowmen in melee ! :shock:
Or Seleucid Pike are better than Roman in impact AND melee.
Whats the advantage of HA Kn with A Kn now? Specially if you make A Kn move a 5 MU :wink:

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Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:41 am

olivier wrote:Hmm with this POA change the French knights are not better than English longbowmen in melee ! :shock:
Or Seleucid Pike are better than Roman in impact AND melee.
Yes. Despite the disadvantages of the present Armour POA, a lot of historical interactions don't get the right overall result without it.

The armour POAs are one of the ways in what is a simple and very granular system of getting the right results for many important historical interactions.

The lists are written with the effects of armour POAs on historical interactions in mind.

If we could have thought of a simple way to make armour a bit less effective, without mucking up historical interactions, we would have done so in Version 1.0.

In a system with as simple mechanics as FOG, it is inevitable that some aspects will be modelled less "perfectly" than others. Our main priority was to get the main historical interactions correct (in overall result, if not necessarily in process), and this we feel we have done.

Any proposed change would have to maintain those historical interactions. Sadly, the above proposal doesn't.

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Post by peterrjohnston » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:29 pm

rbodleyscott wrote: Any proposed change would have to maintain those historical interactions. Sadly, the above proposal doesn't.
Are you saying armour is not "real" armour, ie defensive capability in the sense armour and shields. Or it's something else?

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Post by philqw78 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:34 pm

peterrjohnston wrote:Are you saying armour is not "real" armour, ie defensive capability in the sense armour and shields. Or it's something else?
It must be something else if most cavalry is "armoured". As most of a rider and mount is not and most missiles and blows fall on the unprotected bit, the horse.
phil
putting the arg into argumentative

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Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:34 pm

peterrjohnston wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote: Any proposed change would have to maintain those historical interactions. Sadly, the above proposal doesn't.
Are you saying armour is not "real" armour, ie defensive capability in the sense armour and shields. Or it's something else?
Well it isn't entirely metaphysical. However, we have erred on the side of maintaining differentials between contemporary types rather than adopting totally consistent armour class standards throughout history. Non-contemporary battles are fantasy games anyway.

This policy works reasonably well in most cases, though there are some cases which are more arguable (e.g. Early and Late hoplites).

Anyway the real issue is that we have subsumed part of the interaction between certain types into the armour POA
e.g. Protected pikes vs Armoured legions, Heavily Armoured knights vs Armoured Ghilman or Byzantines.

The + for armour advantage is an important part of these interactions as currently modelled, and, if removed/emasculated, the whole system would need to be rejigged to bring those historical interactions back into line.

I do not think we envisage such a root-and-branch reinvention of the whole POA system as would be required to achieve this.

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Post by Lamachus435 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:36 pm

I do not think that armour provides only defensive benefit to the troops. When soldiers believe that they have good protection against weapons available to their opponents or that they have better armour than hostile forces, they tend to act more aggressively and confidently. On the contrary, if warriors imagine that they are too vulnerable or that enemy soldiers are better armoured than their morale may suffer. Of course there are notable exceptions (usually among barbarians) like berserks and similar fanatics, but they are... well, exceptions.

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Post by hazelbark » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:37 pm

Other variatons of the tie breaker for better armour would be:

1) Peter's suggestion you still get + for two levels of better. Saves the later Knight interaction and the armour

or

2) Have a specific situation where better armour doesn't apply. Say spear on spear if the lesser protected is in better order than the better armoured.

So the opening melee is morelikely to start at evens.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:15 pm

hazelbark wrote:Other variatons of the tie breaker for better armour would be:

1) Peter's suggestion you still get + for two levels of better. Saves the later Knight interaction and the armour

Doesn't keep the intended interaction between ghilman and HA knights as there is only 1 level of armour difference there.
Nik Gaukroger

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Post by timmy1 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:07 pm

RBS's statement that armour 'it isn't entirely metaphysical' means that under the rules it is partially metaphysical. This concept is strange on so many levels... for those who know their Greek

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Post by hazelbark » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:26 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:
hazelbark wrote:Other variatons of the tie breaker for better armour would be:

1) Peter's suggestion you still get + for two levels of better. Saves the later Knight interaction and the armour

Doesn't keep the intended interaction between ghilman and HA knights as there is only 1 level of armour difference there.
There are lots of ways to solve this.
1) Two armour classes for foot, 1 for mounted.
2) Knights of any bettter armour count as better.
3) The return of superrheavy armor ! :P

Yes I agree this has problems.

IS there a belief that the difference between protected spear and armoured spear is generally about ahisotrical matchups? Or does the current POA difference reflect desired interaction among similar historial opponents?

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Post by Martin0112 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:06 am

The idea of having 2 armour classes between to get the POA may be a good one.
I was thinking of this also while reading the thread.
After having thought about it, I doubt it will be that good.
Easy example (next to all this KNIGHTS-pints)
Armoured Roman legionaries will be even worse vs. protected pikes, as they never get their armour counted.
Result: No more armourred roman legionaries, but even more protected one.. so the armies will grow again... Shocking :)

So maybe Peters ideaof having BOTH ideas combined (better armour count a + on 2 armour leves between OR if the net POA is -) is not too bad.

The effect on units with bad weapons but good armour is the same as before, but the armoured spears vs protected spears is solved.
Also Pikes will mostly be trated the same... single plus vs. protected spaers, zero vs armoured spears.

I'm sure I will not cover each possible matchup, but maybe we can try to do a matrix and see how many changes we get with this rule, and if the changes are acceptable or not.

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Post by Cerberias » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:53 am

Armor gives a poa if better than the enemy and if all other poa's are equal or less (i.e. the enemy are evens or up on you). Means that romans get only a single poa against barbarian foot, and stops double poa's from happening hugely often. And the double armor bonus is good also (i.e. when you're up on the enemy by two armor levels)

The way i see it now is that protected troops arent really used very often unless they're defensive spear looking to fight knights and they cant be taken as unprotected. The way things are at the moment i almost never take protected if i can take either armored or unprotected.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:11 am

IMO if there is any chance of the writers making a change of this impact in v2 any ideas put forward in this thread need to show clearly that the "touchstone" interactions are at least as well represented under proposals as they are under the current PoAs - just putting out ideas is not going to get anywhere as Richard's post indicates.

Therefore, I would suggest that if you have an idea on armour PoAs you need to detail what the impact is on, say, at least the following:

Legionarii Vs pikemen
Knights Vs ghilman
Legionarii Vs spearmen
Spearmen Vs pikemen
Knights Vs longbowmen
Cavalry Vs archers
Cavalry Vs various Chinese, etc. eastern foot (as important decisions were made on classifications here)

And I'm sure there are others.
Nik Gaukroger

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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:04 am

It is probably also worth challenging the underlying assumption of this thread that armour wasn't that important, which may in fact be a fallacy.

Pretty much throughout the Ancient/Medieval periods non-skirmishing troops wore as much armour as they could possibly afford/obtain.

If it was of such marginal value, why was this so?

It was only with the advent of gunpowder weapons capable of making armour fairly useless (in the 16th/17th centuries) that troops started to deliberately reduce their armour levels. Even then, will Shot were mostly unarmoured, pikemen retained their armour until the mid 1630s, and shock cavalry even later, which surely demonstrates that armour was clearly seen as beneficial in close combat. (And not just as a defence against missiles).

(The reduction in hoplite armour over the 5th century is attributable to reduced ability of hoplites to afford expensive armour, rather than a perception that armour was of limited value - though admittedly the other items of hoplite equipment probably made it less of a factor than with other weapon systems).

It occurs to me that the idea that armour was of relatively marginal effect may partly derive from DBx concepts, and partly from modern concepts of equality and political correctness.

Where is the historical evidence that armour was of marginal valuie?
Last edited by rbodleyscott on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

nikgaukroger
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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:29 am

rbodleyscott wrote:It is probably also worth questioning the underlying assumption of this thread that armour wasn't that important, which may in fact be a fallacy.

The assumption isn't that armour wasn't important, clearly it was, but that it is too much of a factor within the games mechanism in FoG.
Nik Gaukroger

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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:31 am

nikgaukroger wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:It is probably also worth challenging the underlying assumption of this thread that armour wasn't that important, which may in fact be a fallacy.
The assumption isn't that armour wasn't important, clearly it was, but that it is too much of a factor within the games mechanism in FoG.
I appreciate that, but if you make it have no effect at all in otherwise equal combats, you are clearly not representing history as manifest in the actual equipment preferences of the historical participants.

The problem is that it should have some effect in most circumstances, but that effect would probably be more realistic if it was half a POA rather than a whole one. Making the POA count in some circumstances but not others doesn't do the job in my opinion.

However, even it were possible to make armour only count for half a POA, this would still mess up the interaction between legions and pikes, and probably others too. These were balanced on the basis of Armour advantage counting as a whole POA, and some other way of rebalancing them would have to be found otherwise.
Last edited by rbodleyscott on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:40 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by marioslaz » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:32 am

rbodleyscott wrote:(The reduction in hoplite armour over the 5th century is attributable to reduced ability of hoplites to afford expensive armour, rather than a perception that armour was of limited value - though admittedly the other items of hoplite equipment probably made it less of a factor than with other weapon systems).
The reduction of hoplite armour to me seems the effect of many factors rather than an economical choice.

1. Hoplon was the best protection of fighter, and the use in an efficient way was likely more important than to wear a more solid armour; because a heavy armor like the original metal breastplate likely reduce the skill with hoplon, a lighter armour could improve defence skill of fighters.
2. Metal breastplate was too heavy because a hoplite could march wearing it (and, still worse, they fought in summer in hot weather conditions) so the classical age hoplites had servants who help them to carry armour and to wear it only at the last moment (likely just before start singing the peana). This behaviour is good to fight small battles between two near cities, but is not suitable to war condition in 5th century, where large forces were engaged in military operations out of their countries.
3. Armour is good against missile weapons. One of the most effective missile weapons in this era were stones (or even worse little projectiles made of lead). Against this missile weapons a 'padding' is better than a metal breastplate.

Economical reasons are not credible for me. Athens at start of Peloponnesian War was an economical power and I cannot believe they couldn't afford metallic breastplate for their hoplites if this is a real advantage.
Mario Vitale

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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:36 am

marioslaz wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:(The reduction in hoplite armour over the 5th century is attributable to reduced ability of hoplites to afford expensive armour, rather than a perception that armour was of limited value - though admittedly the other items of hoplite equipment probably made it less of a factor than with other weapon systems).
The reduction of hoplite armour to me seems the effect of many factors rather than an economical choice.

1. Hoplon was the best protection of fighter, and the use in an efficient way was likely more important than to wear a more solid armour; because a heavy armor like the original metal breastplate likely reduce the skill with hoplon, a lighter armour could improve defence skill of fighters.
2. Metal breastplate was too heavy because a hoplite could march wearing it (and, still worse, they fought in summer in hot weather conditions) so the classical age hoplites had servants who help them to carry armour and to wear it only at the last moment (likely just before start singing the peana). This behaviour is good to fight small battles between two near cities, but is not suitable to war condition in 5th century, where large forces were engaged in military operations out of their countries.
3. Armour is good against missile weapons. One of the most effective missile weapons in this era were stones (or even worse little projectiles made of lead). Against this missile weapons a 'padding' is better than a metal breastplate.

Economical reasons are not credible for me. Athens at start of Peloponnesian War was an economical power and I cannot believe they couldn't afford metallic breastplate for their hoplites if this is a real advantage.
I accept that there are good reasons why metallic armour would be less important to hoplites than to other troop types. This should not, however, be extrapolated into a general assumption that armour wasn't all that important. Clearly it was less of an issue if you also had a helmet, greaves and a whopping great shield. However, the Romans, with similar equipment, thought it worthwhile.

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