UK FoGR Competition scene heading for a crash?

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UK FoGR Competition scene heading for a crash?

Post by timmy1 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:56 pm

This is not anything personal against any individual. It is my opinion but it is also a warning.

The growing trend towards max-mounted armies being successful in UK FoGR competition (specifically Heavily Armoured Superior Horse but also generally) should concern everyone who participates in the UK competition scene.

For myself I am an occasional enough player that what I think about the max-mounted trend is not of itself important. However when it starts to drive away competition stalwarts it is. Martin vT has made his views known. Pete Dalby is someone who has long supported the Renaissance competition wargaming scene in the UK, indeed he is a past multiple world champion (back in the DBR days). Pete is voting with his feet (and going back to FoG:AM v2!). Unless something is done to address the max-mounted trend we risk losing other stalwarts.

I don't have a solution that is perfect and I am not trying to hinder anyone's enjoyment but from our UK player base of 130 or so we have to be careful that we don't end up where the period was at the tail-end of the DBR days where 8 was a big event.

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by petedalby » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:05 pm

I think this could be a bit premature Tim / George.

R at Warfare had 28 players I think? The strongest showing of any FoG period. And the Southern League has been a great success in 2013 with loads of new players trying FoGR in a different format.

My withdrawal from FoGR is due to a variety of different factors - changes to the Swedes / Artillery / Mounted - plus being of advancing years I've struggled to get my head around 2 rules sets and play both games well.

FoGR has got loads of great people playing in competitions and I honestly can't remember the last time I didn't enjoy a game. (Obviously that's not quite true - I have a very good memory! - but it is mercifully infrequent as it is in A&M.)

I think I've played Alasdair 3 or 4 times - I have a treasured small win when I was outrageously lucky with my terrain and been stuffed in the other games but he's a great guy to play and a real bonus to the period. If I was sticking with FoGR I'd be trying to work out how to beat him - and his imitators. :)

As an example I toyed with taking Sri Lankans to MK next weekend (Hindu Indian) with 12 Elephants plus Dutch allies - but on balance decided I didn't feel that strongly about it.

I'll continue to watch from the side lines to see how things develop.

Best of luck guys!
Pete

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by alasdair2204 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:53 pm

Thanks Pete

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by quackstheking » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:05 pm

What Pete says!!

Despite all the feedback, these are still a great set of rules, with a fantastic group of players! I will thrash the Horse Meister" (just not sure when !)

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by donm2 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:03 pm

Pete
(Hindu Indian) with 12 Elephants plus Dutch allies
No don't do it, It got me nowhere at Britcon.

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by urbanbunny1 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:26 am

How can you not love 12 elephants?

Never tried it in a comp, just love the idea of elephants and muskets

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by urbanbunny1 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:36 am

I agree that the current trend is to play mounted armies, but I've noticed that armies seem to have trends in FoGR/AM.

When I first started playing AM, heavy foot armies dominated, then it was mounted, then swarm, then skirmisher and it continues.

Mounted armies have been dominating but I've noticed a big difference in the scores.

A year ago, Alasdair would generally win a comp with around 90 points, now, it's moved to around 70+. The calibre of competitive players in the FoGR comp is getting better as people learn the rules, stick with them and play more often.

I'm with Pete, I've given up playing FoGAM competitively to focus on one set of rules, being FoGR. I kept confusing myself with the different rules sets, so, one set of competitive rules for me.

Simon

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by martinvantol » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:27 pm

My bit on Timmy's original post ...

I don't see that people are abandoning FOGR at the moment. But one day I think we might look back on Timmy's post if we don't change things.

Thinking back to DBR, DBM and FOGAM, these periods first went through a phase where players gradually abandoned historically balanced strategies and adopted the unhistorical strategy that proved successful. Currently we're at the point where we've had 1-2 players doing that, and that's now become half a dozen (add a couple more to those numbers if you include the "D&G terrain-sitters" as well). When you've had a few competitions where the basic mass of players have been doing that, people start breaking away for reasons like "it doesn't give you the flavour of the period" or "too many mismatches". So on current trends, assuming we did nothing about lists and competition formats, we're some way from that point (a couple of years, perhaps, before you get significant departures).

As for my own attitude ... well, my first way of dealing with it has been to make my views known on a forum where I usually don't contribute much and hope that provokes change. Beyond that I'm genuinely not sure what to do next ... for the time being I'm sticking to balanced armies in the hope of continuing to meet enough other balanced armies to make it an enjoyable weekend, and just won't play the bad match-ups (this'll be my approach in the next competition). I could go over to join the more successful strategy, although I'm reluctant ... this means I wouldn't have the balanced pike and shot games that I currently enjoy (I had 3 games out of 4 like this at Reading), and I would be contributing to a trend I don't like.
More likely, if there is no change I will be prepared to play something else, or at least hop out of FOGR for individual competitions if the chance of a mismatch is too high (as I have done once already in 2013). The tipping point for me is likely to be where I start getting two mismatched games in a weekend.

All the best
Martin

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by urbanbunny1 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:00 pm

I agree with the D&G terrain sitters....

field fortifications, corners and artillery

boring!

Yes, I know it gets you 10 points, but please, so boring for you and your opponent!

I took the Savoy to Britcon (insert hotel/cabbage jokes here). Yes, it's a mass shooty D&G army, only one mounted (no superior mounted so, no shame there) and no regimental guns or artillery. the only time I corner sat the entire weekend was against Lord Hoof. Well, I sat there for a while until I saw that it was going to end up very badly, so, grew a pair and started to chase Alasdair around. Still got beat, but managed to hold my army till time was called (just). Alasdiar's artillery was the key thing to get me off the table edge. Against his heavies, I had no place to hide. So, if I was going to break, might as well shoot up some of his army in the meantime.

If I had some terrain like a forest, I could have hidden in/behind it, but that would have made for a very boring game and I try my hardest not to play like that.

I'd rather give it a go, go down in flames than to hide/ask for a draw because I don't want to risk getting no points.

And yes, I have left comps with less than 10 points total, Nigel, you are not alone. :D

Simon

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by azrael86 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:33 pm

Interesting discussion. FOG has something of a tradition of being pro-cavalry, from the lists to the ease of achievieng open battlefields. Arguably FOGAM v1.x was broken due to the Ottoman Turks, who epitomise the "heads I win, tails I draw" approach. If what we are saying is that massed cavalry armies routinely beat late 17th C armies, Swiss, Tercios and the rest, with comparatively little risk of a reversal, then the implication is that either the points values or more likely the unit gradings are wrong.

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by rbodleyscott » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:37 am

azrael86 wrote:If what we are saying is that massed cavalry armies routinely beat late 17th C armies, Swiss, Tercios and the rest, with comparatively little risk of a reversal...
They don't. Except when the mounted army is commanded by Alasdair.

Of course, the quality of the generalship on the other side is also an issue in the outcome of such a match-up.

P.S. So far I have 25 teams entered for FOGR at Godendag. 18 lists are in, 3 of which might be termed mounted armies.

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by Aetius » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:22 pm

Mike Shepherd & I had a great game against Alasdair & partner in our 1st game at Usk. Tartars v Italian City States (Milanese + Swiss allies).
Yes - they trounced us 24-1 (or something like that) but we had our moments (we even scratched their paintwork with a single broken BG - "result" :lol: ).

Our two Swiss keils charging evading Tartar Cav & missing them by just a whisker was a highlight (that 4" DF move is very handy) and our mounted Gendarme wing (4 BGs + 1 x LH xbows and 1x Cav xbows - NB: we were about 50/50 foot to mtd) had him one evade move off his table edge when we collapsed along the line.
It was a great game, well tempered, totally enjoyable and tense. If there had ever been a Tartar v Milan historical conflict the Tartars would have done just what Alasdair did (& who can blame them or him). Our mistake (with hindsight) was spreading ourselves too thin on the other flank - but you live & learn :oops:
So in my eye's that's a pretty good indication of a good set of rules.

I gave up Tercio, & Gush & Newbury and couldn't stomach DBR - I'm not even a great FoGA&M fan - but FoR has totally re-kindled my interest in Renaissance and we are even considering using FoGR for ancients/medieval (adding in a Protected armour class for combat against all but firearms) as TBF I think FOGR outstrips FoGA&M by a mile (especially v.2). Usk was interesting with its 1420 AD extension (if you can call going back in time an extension). I think it had its 'issues' but they were very few and very minor.

Before going down the route of limiting cavalry heavy armies maybe try all Mtd forces in 28mm & see where it gets you :shock: Not all competitions are 15mm scale.

As somebody else has said earlier - army types come & they go. Armies have 'fads'. But in my experience it is a real mistake to tinker with a set of rules until it has had at least 5 years of extensive playing. Playing in sub-period or within book or within geography also greatly limits potential abuses. Likewise, a balanced force will usually give you a good game.

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by timmy1 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:16 am

A

If you have concerns over the earlier time period being called an extension, perhaps it it should be called a pretension...

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by puster » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:52 pm

azrael86 wrote: If what we are saying is that massed cavalry armies routinely beat late 17th C armies, Swiss, Tercios and the rest, with comparatively little risk of a reversal, then the implication is that either the points values or more likely the unit gradings are wrong.
It could also be a question of the scenario. While superior mobility can avoid any fight that is not in its favour, there still remains a main reason for battles - control of real estate.

So to give infantry armies a chance, scenarios where control of objectives overrides other considerations should be part of a tournament environment.

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by martinvantol » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:58 pm

puster wrote:
azrael86 wrote: If what we are saying is that massed cavalry armies routinely beat late 17th C armies, Swiss, Tercios and the rest, with comparatively little risk of a reversal, then the implication is that either the points values or more likely the unit gradings are wrong.
It could also be a question of the scenario. While superior mobility can avoid any fight that is not in its favour, there still remains a main reason for battles - control of real estate.

So to give infantry armies a chance, scenarios where control of objectives overrides other considerations should be part of a tournament environment.
It's an interesting suggestion, but I think it's got a lot of difficulties attached to it.

I think the right solution is simpler than this. In battles of this period the main objective was usually destruction of the opposing army, rather than the capture of a strategic objective.

This rule set is designed to depict the big pitched battles of the period (rather than sieges, raids, skirmishes etc). Army lists should therefore constrain people into fielding a historically representative army for those kinds of battles. That's the original reason army lists were brought out in the early days of the hobby: a device to enable competitions without players fielding anything too crazy..

The lists as they currently stand don't do that job and that's where things need to be changed. At 800 points most armies field 12-14 BGs. For most lists the number of compulsory BGs is 3-5. So you have a large amount of room to field something unrepresentative. If we ever get round to a second iteration of the army lists I'd like to see more like 8-9 compulsory BGs (probably with the option to upgrade a couple of those 8-9). For pike & shot armies that would constrain them to having mounted BGs comprising 15-40% of the battle-troop BGs.

If people want to build a raid/siege/skirmish scenario, they're free to ignore the army lists, of course. There's nothing in the rules that says you can't do that.

In response to Azrael ... I don't think mounted units as part of a balanced army are better than foot. On a limited frontage mounted troops are very lucky to break through steady foot with pikes, and they generally need an open flank to do their stuff on foot (which is about right). When players field balanced armies there's actually a lot of variety in this game (different types of foot and different proportions of mounted vs foot) and after 3-4 years no one recipe has proven to work best. Massed cavalry are a different matter and they disturb this whole neat balance ... the mixed army has no target it can catch, it can't cover the width of the table and the cavalry army has a huge mobility advantage which it uses to home in on a weak point.

Personally, I'm not convinced that the minimum foot per artillery rule is the right answer (and it's not being introduced for all comps in the UK anyway). I suspect there'll still be a lot of room for untypical combinations of massed cavalry and dragoons to dominate. But now people have this issue a bit more in mind I'll give it another couple of competitions this year and see what happens.

Martin

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by flamingpig0 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:26 pm

I just wonder if a a simple rule that certain armies, 30 years war etc, are required to field at least 50% of their BGs as Mf/HF foot would work?

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Re: UK FoGR Competiton scene heading for a crash?

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:36 am

flamingpig0 wrote:I just wonder if a a simple rule that certain armies, 30 years war etc, are required to field at least 50% of their BGs as Mf/HF foot would work?
Just a note on this issue. I have been studying the historical battles of the ECW and TYW for a computer game I have been developing, and in most battles the number of mounted units is actually somewhat larger than the number of foot units.

Some examples (and these are typical of other battles): [Note that Dragoons are included in the cavalry numbers, but I have not included them in the number of squadrons. They were not usually very numerous.]

1st Breitenfeld:
Catholics: 21,400 infantry in 14 battalions, 9900 cavalry in 22 squadrons.
Swedes: 14,742 infantry in 21 battalions, 8064 cavalry in 28 squadrons.
Saxons: 12,100 infantry in 10 battalions, 5225 cavalry in 12 squadrons.

Lutzen
Catholics: 9870 infantry in 12 battalions, 6900 cavalry in 18 squadrons
Swedes: 12,786 infantry in 24 battalions, 6210 cavalry in 24 squadrons

Nordlingen
Catholics: 20,000 foot in 20 battalions, 13,000 cavalry in 43 squadrons
Swedes/Germans: 16,000 foot in maybe 27 battalions , 9,700 cavalry in 28 squadrons

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Re: UK FoGR Competition scene heading for a crash?

Post by madaxeman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:18 pm

Roughly a 2:1 ratio in numbers of soldiers, but a 2:3 ratio in numbers of units.

Sounds like all Horse should be fielded in 1 or 2 base units ... :-)
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Re: UK FoGR Competition scene heading for a crash?

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:54 pm

madaxeman wrote:Roughly a 2:1 ratio in numbers of soldiers, but a 2:3 ratio in numbers of units.

Sounds like all Horse should be fielded in 1 or 2 base units ... :-)
Only if you assume that all bases represent the same number of men.

I can now reveal that, while the rule of thumb has not been consistently maintained (because of different rule writers, and game balance issues), I edited the FOG army lists on the assumption that HF/MF bases represent more men than Cavalry/Horse bases, on a ratio of approximately 4:3. It is a historical truism (at least in this period) that one man on a horse has more fighting value (and usually occupies more frontage) than one man on foot.

Therefore if the ratio of foot to horse is 2:1, the ratio of bases should be approx 3:2.

And if we are considering 6 base foot BGs and 4 base horse BGs, the ratio of BGs should therefore be 1:1 foot and horse.

So no need for horse to be in 1 or 2 base units.

And 50% foot units can hardly be a required minimum.

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Re: UK FoGR Competition scene heading for a crash?

Post by david53 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:07 pm

Hi All

Just finished reading these insightful posts.

Not that I have a lot of competition experience but I thought I would give a few of my thoughts on the subject.

The idea that the rule set leaned towards Cavalry heavy armies has been around since the begaining, do I think this could be a problem yes. If people look around competitions and see that they think they can win or not lose by using a cavalry heavy army you will see an increase in there use it is human nature.

Since there will be no rule changes with regard to this matter, I would suggest the use of themes tight or lose and restrictions on army types used would be a way forward, of course that would take the organizers to do this.

But yes in the long term this could effect the numbers playing if you use AM as an example of people walking away due to this prior to V2, if you go to an event wanting a balanced game and all you receive is mis-matchs with Cavalry heavy armies dancing about foot armies, it will not take long to see people walk away in the long term.

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