Ranged units better than melee units?

Fantasy General II - Invasion is the reimagination of the strategy game classic from the 90s!

Armies once again draw battle-lines on the war-torn land of Keldonia, and a new generation of commanders will test their bravery and tactics against each other. Fantasy wargaming is back!
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El_Condoro
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Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by El_Condoro » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:04 pm

I am seeing some real advantages to having ranged units rather than melee units and am considering starting a campaign with only ranged units.

- they have a range 2, so have more available hexes from which to launch an attack
- spears do not allow a reply attack from the enemy
- they can attack flying creatures, of which the enemy has many, such as crows, bats and - dragons.
- they seem to withstand attacks reasonably well - enough to survive in most cases.
- retreating enemy do not get to retreat and annoy me

What disadvantages do you think a ranged-only approach (ranged, spears and artillery) would face? Obviously there are no meat-shields but otherwise?

Cerberus4
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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by Cerberus4 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 3:09 am

El_Condoro wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:04 pm
I am seeing some real advantages to having ranged units rather than melee units and am considering starting a campaign with only ranged units.

- they have a range 2, so have more available hexes from which to launch an attack
- spears do not allow a reply attack from the enemy
- they can attack flying creatures, of which the enemy has many, such as crows, bats and - dragons.
- they seem to withstand attacks reasonably well - enough to survive in most cases.
- retreating enemy do not get to retreat and annoy me

What disadvantages do you think a ranged-only approach (ranged, spears and artillery) would face? Obviously there are no meat-shields but otherwise?
I think you might find you lack heavy damage, particuarly against heavilly armoured units (double so if they have shields). Up til armoured slingers your defence can be neutralized by attacking once ot exhaust your defensive fire and for the rest of the turns those units are helpsless. I don't think the AI is smart enought to delieberatly exploit that, but it might happen by accident quite often.

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by Dragoon. » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:25 am

I'm not so far in the campaign but is there much Cavalry later on?
Cavalry faster speed would negate the retreat bonus from skirmishers and receive less damage from missile attacks.

In Fantasy General 1 Skirmishers where too one of the best units to have. Archers not so much as they where too slow for those large maps, especially if your moved off the road.
However you couldn't just spam Skirmisher in FG1, as the game was designed to counter imbalanced armies.
If you had too many skirmisher the AI would spam cavalry, if you had too much heavy infantry skirmisher and so on.
Does the AI in FG2 dynamically recruit units to counter players units and imbalanced armies?

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by El_Condoro » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:07 pm

I am trying the missile approach and this is my first few results. The aim is not to remove all units that melee based but to upgrade them to ranged or spear weapons when it's appropriate. The heroes will be my meat shields - they work pretty well like that anyway as they always heal all wounds (unless they die, of course).

'Thieves at Night'
Went 'Glory in Battle' and got 'Path of Leader'
Purchased: 2x Maidens
Upgraded: Younglings to slingers

'Dark Visitor'
Bought: Spear maidens
Upgraded: Younglings to slingers; Slingers to Trackers
Falirson: More Health
'Help the trolls'
Found: Amulet of Life

'Homecoming'
Upgrades: Slingers to Wolf Killers; Spear maidens to Stag riders
Lost: Wolfhounds (sob - not my finest hour)
Ailsa added with Runebound trait

'Under Attack'
Focused on north first
Found: Steel Standard; 2 armor; 2 weapons; Helmet of Protection
Upgrades: Younglings to slingers; Maidens to Javelin Throwers to Iron Javelins
Gained bear mount
This was a really tight battle - a human player would have killed off at least 2 of my units but the AI did not.

So far, so good...

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by El_Condoro » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:29 am

I am finding that being able to mete out damage and not take any in return is a huge bonus. It also means there is no unit replenishment (or very little) at the end of each scenario. I should say I am playing this on easy, so perhaps the reduction of Warrior mode difficulty is playing a part, too, but I am finding these early scenarios much easier with non-melee attacks.

Into the Trollwoods
Mercs: 2x Spear maidens; Javelin throwers; Wolf killers
Added: Tir
Found: Striding Boots, Weapons x4
Upgrades: Slingers to Wolf killers; Falirson: Tough II; Tir: Runebound; Ailsa: Ancestors' Guidance; Stag riders to Stag lancers
End: 401 GP

Battle for Heartspire
Mercs: 2x Spear maidens; 2x Slingers
Found: Weapons x1; Liquid Mana x1 (saving for troll hurlers later)
Lost: Lynnare's Spears - a great loss based on overreaching due to hubris (save-load considered but rejected)
Upgrades: Tir (Regeneration)
Recruits: Troll Pups; Spear Maidens

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by El_Condoro » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:53 am

The Old Road
(Restart Mission due to Falirson being killed)
Upgrades and recruits still only missile or spear.

The Clanmeet
(Another Restart due to Falirson being killed - he's a good meat-shield but tends to draw a lot of fire!)
Lots of upgrades and new traits.

Malric's Vale
(I have never played this before as I have always gone 'The Gap' - won the first time but lost 3 units so played again. Found the 'secret pass' and it was all AOK)
More upgrades and missile units continue to be very useful.

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by El_Condoro » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:25 am

Clanhold of Machnar
Many upgrades to armoured slingers

Owin's Ford
An easy win
More slingers

Krell's Landing
Easy again - even all the enemy bats and pegasi are no match for my arrows! :)

Now, it's into the Sunken Lands and it is there that I anticipate a harder fight...

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by OBG_primetide » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:07 am

Interesting.
I think that difficulty is a major factor though, as this determines how many and what tier units will be fielded by the enemy and swarming or flanking against missile requires a certain amount of units.
Making Fantasy General 2

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by georgioz » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:22 am

I did a couple of test in scenarios yesterday with ranged only setup with very good effect. Some observations:

- Armoured slingers have relatively good staying power but very low damage against high-end armored units. They are not as good as I thought they were and ultimately did not find a proper niche for them.

- Magic damage tier III slingers are absolutely devastating shredding through their opposition. They are also surprisingly good on the front line as the 100% damage bonus has a huge impact. I'd still not recommend it as if they kill the attacker this makes the next enemy attack free. But they work very well on frontline for mopping-up operations.

- The ability to concentrate fire is crucial. The higher range is king here. The most effective usage is to snipe out enemy hero for huge morale hit on enemy units.

- Flying units become trivial.

- Terrain is a huge advantage with large number of ranged units. Rivers become slaughterhouses and impassable terrain becomes invulnerable defense.

One weakness I found was cavalry charge. This one does not trigger fire support and it is highly effective against tightly packed ranged formation. In the end it may not be such a problem but having some charge-breaking units at least for important chokepoints is very nice.

Cerberus4
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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by Cerberus4 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:59 pm

georgioz wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:22 am
- Armoured slingers have relatively good staying power but very low damage against high-end armored units. They are not as good as I thought they were and ultimately did not find a proper niche for them.
I got items that apply curse and ahrrased so I use them as depuff carriers, works well with their infinite defensive spells.

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by Cerberus4 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:59 pm

georgioz wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:22 am
- Armoured slingers have relatively good staying power but very low damage against high-end armored units. They are not as good as I thought they were and ultimately did not find a proper niche for them.
I got items that apply curse and harrased (different items) so I use them as debuff carriers, works well with their infinite defensive fire.

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Re: Ranged units better than melee units?

Post by El_Condoro » Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:25 am

Into the Sunken Lands.
As always, this is largely a case of working out how to deal with the opening assault (someone has likened it to Omaha Beach and it does feel like the invasion is going to be crushed before it starts!). Having so many ranged units, including 2x Troll Hurlers makes this much easier.

Krell's Tower
This one confounded me for the first few tries but I 'get it' now. Again, the ranged units were indispensable dealing with the retreating lizards. Without them I don't know how I would deal with the frustration and the dragons. In the end, it was a fairly easy win once I worked out how the scenario 'works'. I intend to play the campaign with melee-focused forces and I anticipate this scenario being one of the hardest to beat with a composition like that.

I really don't like these swamp scenarios, though - 1 or 2 hex movement a lot of the time just becomes tedious. It will make the scenarios on normal ground seem so much more liberating, though.

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