Wolves from the Sea - Byzantine's hard judged

A forum for any questions relating to army design, the army companion books and upcoming lists.

Moderators: hammy, Slitherine Core, Field of Glory Moderators, Field of Glory Design

davidharvey1
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:08 pm

Wolves from the Sea - Byzantine's hard judged

Post by davidharvey1 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:06 pm

This is just one for the record when the lists come to be re-written in 2050 - lots of choices for everyone in Wolves from the Sea yet Byzantines in Decline and Fall very proscribed when the evidence leaves questions and their enemies get all choices too, (I am of course totally unbiased) for instance

early

eg Buccelari no choice between double ranked lance and bw bersus Bow * lance for early Byzantines, many early byzantines cav eaily interpreted as Bw * or Bw spear, no armoured infantry when the principle that a majoiry of mailed vikings allows the upgrade should clearly apply to Byzantine infantry

Thematic and nikephorian

all later byzantine spearman protected with no option to upgrade in any way, even for the 4000 strong Numeri; no procorastores light cavalry

Komneon Byzantine

list seems to ignore the sources eg no "Troops around the emperor" so native knight superior, no armoured kontoratoi at all - and far from enough kontaratoi or native cavalry,

Here endeth the rant , lots more examples ..... but don't want to be intolerable; I shall get round to Tabulae Novae Exercituum for FOG one day
:P

David

footslogger
Sergeant First Class - Elite Panzer IIIL
Sergeant First Class - Elite Panzer IIIL
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:50 pm

Post by footslogger » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:15 am

You have wolves from the sea?????

Nice. I was in our local shop last week and they said that Osprey told them they would have it last Friday, but no joy.

PaulByzan
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:40 am

Re: Wolves from the Sea - Byzantine's hard judged

Post by PaulByzan » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:10 am

David, I feel your pain brother. Everything you say is the truth. The problem perhaps is not so much the hard judging of the Byzantines (though this is clearly true) but the way all their historical opponents have gotten off the hook. Kind of like all Vandal (Goths, Lombards, etc.) cavalry are barbarians, so they must be nobles, hence they must be superior. Same for Sassanids. Apparently each Sassanid cavalryman was a "noble". Byzantine's being civilized people, superior warriors are of course rare and when barbarian types join the Byzantine army ie Rus/Varangian mercenaries they must be averaged-down. Don't lose faith, Richard said that we can start a thread to keep proposed army list change suggestions in. Maybe it'll only be 2030. :D

Paul Georgian
davidharvey1 wrote:This is just one for the record when the lists come to be re-written in 2050 - lots of choices for everyone in Wolves from the Sea yet Byzantines in Decline and Fall very proscribed when the evidence leaves questions and their enemies get all choices too, (I am of course totally unbiased) for instance

early

eg Buccelari no choice between double ranked lance and bw bersus Bow * lance for early Byzantines, many early byzantines cav eaily interpreted as Bw * or Bw spear, no armoured infantry when the principle that a majoiry of mailed vikings allows the upgrade should clearly apply to Byzantine infantry

Thematic and nikephorian

all later byzantine spearman protected with no option to upgrade in any way, even for the 4000 strong Numeri; no procorastores light cavalry

Komneon Byzantine

list seems to ignore the sources eg no "Troops around the emperor" so native knight superior, no armoured kontoratoi at all - and far from enough kontaratoi or native cavalry,

Here endeth the rant , lots more examples ..... but don't want to be intolerable; I shall get round to Tabulae Novae Exercituum for FOG one day
:P

David

hammy
Field of Glory Team
Field of Glory Team
Posts: 5440
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:11 pm
Location: Stockport
Contact:

Post by hammy » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:40 am

Well as someone who has never even considered Byzantines under other rules I can safely say that I really like them in FoG. Nikephorian is a really good army in period and not that shabby in open play. At Usk we used four BGs of average armoured lancers and they were very valuable. I would far rather have average drilled than superior undrilled.

petedalby
Lieutenant-General - Do 217E
Lieutenant-General - Do 217E
Posts: 3009
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:23 pm
Location: Fareham, UK

Post by petedalby » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:46 am

I would far rather have average drilled than superior undrilled.
I'll second that!

Pete

philqw78
Chief of Staff - Elite Maus
Chief of Staff - Elite Maus
Posts: 8648
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:31 am
Location: Manchester

Post by philqw78 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:01 pm

Not cavalry. Superior undrilled cav is better than average drilled.

hammy
Field of Glory Team
Field of Glory Team
Posts: 5440
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:11 pm
Location: Stockport
Contact:

Post by hammy » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:36 pm

philqw78 wrote:Not cavalry. Superior undrilled cav is better than average drilled.
Different troops, different role. The average drilled cavalry in the Nikephorians were IMO good value.

Average armoured drilled cost the same as superior protected undrilled. Which would you have?

sergiomonteleone
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Master Sergeant - U-boat
Posts: 505
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:26 pm

Re: Wolves from the Sea - Byzantine's hard judged

Post by sergiomonteleone » Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:10 pm

davidharvey1 wrote:This is just one for the record when the lists come to be re-written in 2050 - lots of choices for everyone in Wolves from the Sea yet Byzantines in Decline and Fall very proscribed when the evidence leaves questions and their enemies get all choices too, (I am of course totally unbiased) for instance

early

eg Buccelari no choice between double ranked lance and bw bersus Bow * lance for early Byzantines, many early byzantines cav eaily interpreted as Bw * or Bw spear, no armoured infantry when the principle that a majoiry of mailed vikings allows the upgrade should clearly apply to Byzantine infantry

Thematic and nikephorian

all later byzantine spearman protected with no option to upgrade in any way, even for the 4000 strong Numeri; no procorastores light cavalry

Komneon Byzantine

list seems to ignore the sources eg no "Troops around the emperor" so native knight superior, no armoured kontoratoi at all - and far from enough kontaratoi or native cavalry,

Here endeth the rant , lots more examples ..... but don't want to be intolerable; I shall get round to Tabulae Novae Exercituum for FOG one day
:P

David

Hi David,
in my opinion Komnean Byzantine is a great army.
I've played a lot with it. Try without Cv and footmen, using only Kn (superior and average), LH and LF.
Sergio

davidharvey1
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:08 pm

Post by davidharvey1 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:32 pm

Brothers, brothers - :D the point here is not how well the army plays but how its composition accords to the evidence and the reasonable interpretations that might allow; it's not just a game you know :D

PaulByzan
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:40 am

Post by PaulByzan » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:28 am

David, I agree totally with your sentiments. You don't by chance live in the New England area? It would be a pleasure to game with someone other than the anti-Byzantine Philistines who live around here. :D
davidharvey1 wrote:Brothers, brothers - :D the point here is not how well the army plays but how its composition accords to the evidence and the reasonable interpretations that might allow; it's not just a game you know :D

PaulByzan
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:40 am

Post by PaulByzan » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:51 am

Hammy, I hear you from strict tournament POV, but what does it say about the army list when the historical Nikephorian army in its decline (Post 1042)performs better under the rules than the army at its Pre 1042 apogee, because of overly rigid interpretations and restrictions, that unfairly model that army. Those of us who play Byzantines because of our historical preferences rather than only tourney considerations will continue our crusade for fairness for Byzantines! :D For the Nikephorians that would inlcude a choice of LH or Cav for the Outflankers, some armored Byzantine HF, a choice of Superiorand/or armored status for Varangian mercenaries (pre-1042) as well as some mercenary asiatic type LH and Slav MF.

Paul Georgian
hammy wrote:Well as someone who has never even considered Byzantines under other rules I can safely say that I really like them in FoG. Nikephorian is a really good army in period and not that shabby in open play. At Usk we used four BGs of average armoured lancers and they were very valuable. I would far rather have average drilled than superior undrilled.

PaulByzan
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:40 am

Re: Wolves from the Sea - Byzantine's hard judged

Post by PaulByzan » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:58 am

Sergio,

Agree, Komnenan with Kn, LH and LF only is very tough tournament army since the Kn are drilled. Very mobile and very hard hitting but not very historical. I've used it myself to hammer Ct based armies. Just wish there were an option to run a more historically themed variant.

Paul Georgian

[/quote] Hi David,
in my opinion Komnean Byzantine is a great army.
I've played a lot with it. Try without Cv and footmen, using only Kn (superior and average), LH and LF.
Sergio[/quote]

hammy
Field of Glory Team
Field of Glory Team
Posts: 5440
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:11 pm
Location: Stockport
Contact:

Post by hammy » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:27 am

PaulByzan wrote:Hammy, I hear you from strict tournament POV, but what does it say about the army list when the historical Nikephorian army in its decline (Post 1042)performs better under the rules than the army at its Pre 1042 apogee, because of overly rigid interpretations and restrictions, that unfairly model that army. Those of us who play Byzantines because of our historical preferences rather than only tourney considerations will continue our crusade for fairness for Byzantines! :D For the Nikephorians that would inlcude a choice of LH or Cav for the Outflankers, some armored Byzantine HF, a choice of Superiorand/or armored status for Varangian mercenaries (pre-1042) as well as some mercenary asiatic type LH and Slav MF.
OK, I see your point, in game terms I think that the later army may actually be better which is wrong. That said I have yet to use the early version of the army.

I am not sure that there is anything wrong with the outflankers being cavalry, I don't know enough of the history to say why the list team dodn't allow them a LH option but I am sure that it was done for good reason. Just because other rule sets have them as LH does not mean that FoG will be the same.

Protected rather than armoured infantry is based on the general way that FoG deals with formations with mixed armour. If only a small part of a formation has decent armour then the odds are that the whole formation will end up classed as protected. Look at Swiss and other late medieval pike for example, a front rank of heavy armour then a bit less and so on through the formation ends up as protected.

There is an argument for the Rus mercenaries to be armoured but as the only armoured troops in a Rus army are the Druzhina the argument would have to be that the mercenaries were rich and as a result provided themselves with better equipment than their peers.

Mercenary light horse and Slavs are not something that they have in the old DBM lists (they might in the DBMM ones but I don't have those so can't compare).

Looking at the FoG Nikephorian list it is a much better list than the old DBM one. I would never have even considered the DBM Nikephorian or Konstantinain lists, I have seriously thought about buying a Nikephorian army since FoG came out. I am not sure if armoured skutatoi or armoured Rus would attract me more or less.

philqw78
Chief of Staff - Elite Maus
Chief of Staff - Elite Maus
Posts: 8648
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:31 am
Location: Manchester

Post by philqw78 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:41 am

Armoured Skutatoi would be well hard. Perhaps one of the reasons they are only protected. As a game mechanic to stop them over-performing.

For example:

(OOPS got this a bit wrong first time now crrected)

Armoured Normans charge them. Evens at contact, same as protected. The skutatoi also get an extra dice per base in contact for support fire. In melee the Normans are now at evens, unless they disrupt the Skutatoi which is unlikely, against prtected they wuld be at +. End result Normans get a good kicking.

If the Skutatoi double up the ranks of spear, which they can, the Normans are minus on impact and taking support fire from the bow, and then minus in melee. Even more dead Normans.(assuming no outrageous dice disrupting the Skutatoi at impact)

Bow fire would have a pityfully small chance of disrupting armoured Skutatoi who would love some armoured Bow Sw cav to charge into them just to add insult to injury.

Armoured skutatoi would be a super troop in BG's of 8
Last edited by philqw78 on Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

davidharvey1
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:08 pm

Wolves from the sea and Byzantium

Post by davidharvey1 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:01 am

This debate has already been had at length on other strands, and so as not to bore everyone to death. I won't say much more. There is a good amount of evidence to allow dual interpretations throughout the byzantine lists, for instance, for the up armouring of some infantry. Beyond documentary evidence, it beggars belief that the richest economy in Europe and for much of the time the Middle East does not have any of this flexibility given to many other nationalities in economies that only just got themselves back out of the dark ages. There are also quite a few obvious errors such as the lack of light cavalry, where various military manuals give more than enough evidence for flexible interpretations.

However, at this point, I risk being seen as bad tempered, disrespectful to the team that have done an excellent job putting FOG together and, worst of all, lacking a sense of humour and a know it all!
The Komnenan Byzantine army is formidable in FOG, but only if it looks nothing like the real thing. But since the list means that it doesn't look like the real thing anyway, that doesn't matter -- oops, slipping back into grumpy old man mode.

greetings from grumpy old (Byzantium) England.

David

marioslaz
Captain - Bf 110D
Captain - Bf 110D
Posts: 870
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:11 pm
Location: San Lazzaro (BO) Italy

Re: Wolves from the sea and Byzantium

Post by marioslaz » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:54 am

davidharvey1 wrote:This debate has already been had at length on other strands, and so as not to bore everyone to death. I won't say much more. There is a good amount of evidence to allow dual interpretations throughout the byzantine lists, for instance, for the up armouring of some infantry. Beyond documentary evidence, it beggars belief that the richest economy in Europe and for much of the time the Middle East does not have any of this flexibility given to many other nationalities in economies that only just got themselves back out of the dark ages. There are also quite a few obvious errors such as the lack of light cavalry, where various military manuals give more than enough evidence for flexible interpretations.

However, at this point, I risk being seen as bad tempered, disrespectful to the team that have done an excellent job putting FOG together and, worst of all, lacking a sense of humour and a know it all!
The Komnenan Byzantine army is formidable in FOG, but only if it looks nothing like the real thing. But since the list means that it doesn't look like the real thing anyway, that doesn't matter -- oops, slipping back into grumpy old man mode.

greetings from grumpy old (Byzantium) England.

David
I agree with you. I don't know enough Byzantine, but there are similar problems with armies I know very well. The point is an army list often cover a lot of years, so what is right in a certain period, could be wrong in another one. And, of course, the army lists must be used in tournament, so if one army was too strong...
Mario Vitale

hammy
Field of Glory Team
Field of Glory Team
Posts: 5440
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:11 pm
Location: Stockport
Contact:

Re: Wolves from the sea and Byzantium

Post by hammy » Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:23 am

marioslaz wrote:I agree with you. I don't know enough Byzantine, but there are similar problems with armies I know very well. The point is an army list often cover a lot of years, so what is right in a certain period, could be wrong in another one. And, of course, the army lists must be used in tournament, so if one army was too strong...
Army lists are not hobbled because they would be 'too strong'. Classifications are however done with historical matchups in mind.

There are guidelines such as for troops to be classed as armoured then then almost all of the BG needs to be wearing armour. Where a BG had different levels of armour from rank to rank the armour is averaged out.

The Byzantine foot for example would as Phil has pointed out be too effective against its contemporary opponents if it was classed as armoured. As Skutatoi seem to have had heavier armour for the front ranks and lighter armour for the rear the end result is that it is averaged out as protected.

Looking at other lists Persian immortals are classed as armoured because they did apparenly mostly have good armour and being classed as armoured gets the correct interractions with their historical opponents. English longbowmen by the end of the 100YW could be argued to have had almost the same level of protection as the immortals but they are classed as protected because this gives the correct results in historical interractions and while the archers may have had as much armour as an immortal they had less armour than a 100YW billman.

davidharvey1
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:08 pm

If an arMariomy is too strong

Post by davidharvey1 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:25 am

But Mario, if an arm is too powerful it just costs - you don' t get many ghilman for your money and look at the amount of armour in the C14th-15th armies

davidharvey1
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:08 pm

Wolves from the sea, Byzantines and Normans

Post by davidharvey1 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:01 pm

Is there a risk of a bit of post list drafting justification going on ?

Re the suggestion that a Norman versus armoured skutatoi result would be unbalanced, the Normans never faced a high period Nikephorian Byzantine army, the first serious encounters between Normans and Byzantines were in the 1050s in Italy, when the local Byzantine army was any old unit that happened to be about except briefly for the forces commanded by Maniakes - who won. Civic militia provided much of the infantry in Italy, not regular skutatoi.

The next encounter was between Alexius 1and the Hautvilles in 1081 by which time the army of even 1060 was long gone, so we have no knowledge of a Norman versus Nikephorian skutatoi encounter or Normans versus Nikephorian battle. What we do know is that the Normans had as much trouble with steady infantry as anyone else, so what's unhistorical about skutatoi thrashing Normans knights, unless the former had been soften up by the infantry - historical or were poor quality - also historical at times e.g. in the 1080s.

Looking at the question of average armour in a unit, before the mass use textile armour for many Byzantine units in the much expanded more infantry focussed army from 950, many records show/suggest/record front rank infantry who were very heavily armoured. While that may only have happened with elite units such as the numeri; the benefit of the doubt for a 6 base unit of spearmen plus 3 archers would have been reasonable, averaging out heavily armoured front ranks, armoured middle, textile rear.

Going forward, the Komnenon Byzantines won most of their encounters against Norman type armies after 1100. One of the issues about the C12th period is the lack of the usual Byzantine military manuals which would have given us a much better idea of how armies fought and were equipped. The histories tend to talk of mounted warfare as this is what the upper classes did but the importance of siege warfare suggests lots of infantry and the contemporary artistic sources suggest they were armoured in many cases, or at least as much armoured as a Viking army with huscarls allowed to be armoured in the FOG lists would have been.

nikgaukroger
Field of Glory Moderator
Field of Glory Moderator
Posts: 10267
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:30 am
Location: LarryWorld

Re: Wolves from the sea, Byzantines and Normans

Post by nikgaukroger » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:16 pm

davidharvey1 wrote:Is there a risk of a bit of post list drafting justification going on ?
Not by the list writers, they're happy :twisted:
Nik Gaukroger

"Never ask a man if he comes from Yorkshire. If he does, he will tell you.
If he does not, why humiliate him?" - Canon Sydney Smith

nikgaukroger@blueyonder.co.uk

Locked

Return to “Army Design”