Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

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madaxeman
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Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by madaxeman » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:27 am

Protected spear are a mainstay of many armies, yet whats the point?

Pretty much everyone gets an impact POA, so at best they are evens against everyone at impact

Against anything with armour, they are also evens in combat. Until they lose cohesion, when they start to shed POAs like tiles flying off a roof in a hurricane, and their opponents usually also gain them in handfuls.

So, troops who's best chance is an evens combat - but when they start to lose, you have almost no chance of saving them. Yeuch!

Is there a place for protected spears - or are armoured swordsmen better in every situation?
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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by spike » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:39 am

madaxeman wrote:Protected spear are a mainstay of many armies, yet whats the point?

Pretty much everyone gets an impact POA, so at best they are evens against everyone at impact

Against anything with armour, they are also evens in combat. Until they lose cohesion, when they start to shed POAs like tiles flying off a roof in a hurricane, and their opponents usually also gain them in handfuls.

So, troops who's best chance is an evens combat - but when they start to lose, you have almost no chance of saving them. Yeuch!

Is there a place for protected spears - or are armoured swordsmen better in every situation?
Tim

Probably -There cheeper than Armoured foot with LS/Sw, and are much better vs mounted than LS/Sw.

Spike

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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by Ghaznavid » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:37 pm

madaxeman wrote:Is there a place for protected spears - or are armoured swordsmen better in every situation?
It depends, vs. heavily armoured opponents (say knights) they are just as good as their far more expensive armoured compatriots. I've come to the point where I always take some undrilled (ok, ok, I would take them in drilled if I could), defensive, protected spears with my Crown of Aragon. They go down last and are usually just as effective as the two BGs of drilled, armoured, offensive spears. Granted if I had only the protected ones it would not be that good. It's basically about using the right tool for the right job. Sure you can deliver Pizza with a Maserati as well, it's just no the most economic way to do it.

That aside, do you ever stop looking at everything exclusivly from the tournament players point of view? If you play in period and both sides get little armoured infantry (say Oath of Fealty) they will do ok. In a open tournament (or one with a rather broad theme) they are likely to be outclassed more often.
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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by sagji » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:41 pm

madaxeman wrote: Is there a place for protected spears - or are armoured swordsmen better in every situation?
There are many places where prot spear is better.
Against heavily armoured knights (prot spears are + at impact, evens in melee, armoured sword are - at impact, and - in melee)
Against good legionaries (Armoured, impact foot skilled swordsmen) - prot spear are - at impact, and evens in melee, armoured sword are -- at impact, and - in melee.

Swordsman suffers because steady spear and pike negate it (as well as giving a PoA) and these are common.
Armoured is only better than protected if
- your opponent is shooting - in sufficient numbers,
- your opponent is protected and not armed with heavy weapon, OR
- your opponent is armoured and you are not armed with heavy weapon.

Protected are just as good at supplying rear support, or at running down unprotected bowmen.
The reduced cost means you can have more BGs and/or, or bigger BGs - more dice in combat is as important as a PoA.

Yes spear and pike suffer more as they loose cohesion - However I think that defensive spear at +1 AP is much better value than swordsman (also at +1 AP), it is probably better value than skilled swordsmen at +2 AP.

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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by peterrjohnston » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:54 pm

madaxeman wrote: So, troops who's best chance is an evens combat - but when they start to lose, you have almost no chance of saving them. Yeuch!
I mumbled about this a while back. You can't win every combat, but the problem with protected spear is that there never
seems to be a pause in their disintegration where you can at least attempt to rally them. If they go disrupted, I've now
started moving any general away as a) even in my most optimistic dreams, he's not going to get a chance to rally
them, b) my opponent will surely throw a 10, 11 or 12 in the rout, and c) the unit next door is better off with the +1
for the CT on seeing friends rout.

They're cheap of course, half-decent against mounted and good mobile terrain pieces. But from experience, they're not
front line combat troops unless in massive numbers like Arab Conquest*, and even then you'll lose a lot of them.

Regards,
Peter
* I'm not sure why the early Arab infantry are classified as protected OffSp, especially as they seem to have been both
armoured and primarily used swords.

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Post by sphallen » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:58 pm

I used to play early crusader but I've switched to Cilicean Armenian so I can get them armored. My next army I build won't have any (or much), instead I'm going for offensive spear I think.

Steve

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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by peterrjohnston » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:01 pm

sagji wrote: Yes spear and pike suffer more as they loose cohesion
This isn't the problem for me, if everything was the same the game would be a tad boring :)

The problem is once they go disrupted it is almost guaranteed in the next melee they will go fragmented*, then the next break. So
that even within the mechanisms of the rules, you don't get a chance to stop this.


* Against Sw, you lose both a POA and dice. Which means a higher chance of a -3 on the CT (1x3, 2 difference, disrupted).

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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by Ghaznavid » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:09 pm

peterrjohnston wrote:The problem is once they go disrupted it is almost guaranteed in the next melee they will go fragmented*, then the next break. So
that even within the mechanisms of the rules, you don't get a chance to stop this.

* Against Sw, you lose both a POA and dice. Which means a higher chance of a -3 on the CT (1x3, 2 difference, disrupted).
Depends on the alternative, even disrupted they are no worse vs. sword then other sword troops. So overall they are better then say Lt. Sp./Sw. as they start notably better vs. Shock Mtd. and are also better vs. swordsmen as long as they keep steady.
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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by peterrjohnston » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:26 pm

Ghaznavid wrote: Depends on the alternative, even disrupted they are no worse vs. sword then other sword troops.
Spear lose a POA against sword as they are no longer steady. Sword vs sword stay the same.

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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by lawrenceg » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:17 pm

peterrjohnston wrote:
Ghaznavid wrote: Depends on the alternative, even disrupted they are no worse vs. sword then other sword troops.
Spear lose a POA against sword as they are no longer steady. Sword vs sword stay the same.
Spear start with one more POA against sword, so when disrupted they drop to being the same as sword versus sword.

Steady spear vs sword net +
dirupted spear versus sword net evens
fragmented spear versus sword net -

any sword versus any sword net evens.


Against armoured sword, and there's a lot of it about, disrupted protected spear will be on a total of -, but so will disrupted protected sword. Both have an equal chance of recovering.
Lawrence Greaves

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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by madaxeman » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:29 pm

sagji wrote:
There are many places where prot spear is better.
Against heavily armoured knights (prot spears are + at impact, evens in melee, armoured sword are - at impact, and - in melee)
Against good legionaries (Armoured, impact foot skilled swordsmen) - prot spear are - at impact, and evens in melee, armoured sword are -- at impact, and - in melee.
I agree against heavily armoured knights they are good - right up until the point they lose cohesion, in which case they immediately become very, very bad!
sagji wrote:
Armoured is only better than protected if
- your opponent is shooting - in sufficient numbers,
- your opponent is protected and not armed with heavy weapon, OR
- your opponent is armoured and you are not armed with heavy weapon.
Option 1 seems to occur extremely often, option 2 would apply against, erm....protected spears (!!), and option 3 also will occur a lot.
sagji wrote:
Protected are just as good at supplying rear support,
Yep, but unprotected are even better!
sagji wrote:
or at running down unprotected bowmen.
Surely protected troops will take more casualties and CTs as they charge in?
sagji wrote:
The reduced cost means you can have more BGs and/or, or bigger BGs - more dice in combat is as important as a PoA.
Armoured Average Lt Sp Swordsmen = 9 points, Protected Average Drilled Spearmen 8 points. That's not really enough to give you extra units, and is barely enough to give you 2x6paks vs 1x6pak 1x8pak. I'd still pick the 2x6 armoured every time. Evens at impact, evens in melee, but if the spearmen start to lose they lose big time, and quickly.
sagji wrote:
Yes spear and pike suffer more as they loose cohesion - However I think that defensive spear at +1 AP is much better value than swordsman (also at +1 AP), it is probably better value than skilled swordsmen at +2 AP.
Skilled swordsman is a very iffy concept IMO, never mind whether it represents good value :wink:.

But I still think that "armoured" is materially better value for it's +1 than "spearman" is.
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Post by Scrumpy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:37 pm

How would you improve them then Tim ?

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Post by dave_r » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:47 pm

Allow bigger BG's.

Normally BG's of Protected Spearmen are only allowed 6-8, if this were increased to 8-10 It has a large effect. For those that are already 8-10 increase to 8-12.

I have used large amounts of Protected Spearmen very effectively with the Scots Common, as that is all there is in the army. When I have used it in a small amount (i.e. Four BG's in a army) then they have fared very badly and I would not choose to use these again.

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Post by madaxeman » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:05 pm

Daves idea is good, playing in theme is also important.

Maybe the bigger picture is that armoured is too good? If the +POA for better armour counted

* all the time if you are 2 or more classes better
* as a tie-breaker if only one class better

it would usually give spears a net + in melee - until they became disrupted !
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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by Ghaznavid » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:19 pm

madaxeman wrote:
sagji wrote:
There are many places where prot spear is better.
Against heavily armoured knights (prot spears are + at impact, evens in melee, armoured sword are - at impact, and - in melee)
Against good legionaries (Armoured, impact foot skilled swordsmen) - prot spear are - at impact, and evens in melee, armoured sword are -- at impact, and - in melee.
I agree against heavily armoured knights they are good - right up until the point they lose cohesion, in which case they immediately become very, very bad!
I fail to see the difference to armoured spears in that regard. As to the results, they strike me as very well thought out. Spears can hold of Knights well, a long as they keep their nerves. If even a few waver they are busted. Sounds all very reasonable to me (and given how fragile Knights tend to be spears are pretty good value vs. them).
madaxeman wrote: Armoured Average Lt Sp Swordsmen = 9 points, Protected Average Drilled Spearmen 8 points. That's not really enough to give you extra units, and is barely enough to give you 2x6paks vs 1x6pak 1x8pak. I'd still pick the 2x6 armoured every time. Evens at impact, evens in melee, but if the spearmen start to lose they lose big time, and quickly.
Just that historically there been extremly few troops that can be classed as Armoured Average Lt Sp Swordsmen, especially during medieval times. Also if anything those guys are to cheap, not the spears to bad. (I always wondered why the light spear is free for infantry, who gets actually more out of it then Mtd. who have to pay for it.)
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Post by Scrumpy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:28 pm

As an aside, I would like to see defensive spear count against non-shock mounted, Light Foot, Light Spear & missile troops as well when charging, always seemed strange that LF get a poa at contact against DS, yes I know they are only 1/2 the dice, but non the less it looks bizarre.

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Post by Ghaznavid » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:07 pm

Scrumpy wrote:As an aside, I would like to see defensive spear count against non-shock mounted, Light Foot, Light Spear & missile troops as well when charging, always seemed strange that LF get a poa at contact against DS, yes I know they are only 1/2 the dice, but non the less it looks bizarre.
If you do that, you also have to cost them the same as Off. Spear though. The need for a CMT to charge while disrupted is already a smaller disadvantage then not having to test for involuntary charges IMO. Your list inludes most of what Def. Spear might wish to charge, so they are no worse then Off. Spear anymore after such a change.

That said Def. Spears are modelled after a historical behaviour of many spear units throughout the ages (keep your ground and wait for the enemy to come to you). I doubt you will find it easy to produce proof that such spear formations eagerly charged some opponents, while waiting for others to come to them. Failing such proof I see no reason to encourage such behaviour on the table.
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Re: Protected Spear - whats the point(s)..?

Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:58 pm

madaxeman wrote:
Skilled swordsman is a very iffy concept IMO, never mind whether it represents good value :wink:.
Nowt wrong with the concept - we just shouldn't have given it to all those Romans :?
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spearmen

Post by benos » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:32 pm

not sure i would state they are that bad, yes armoured would be better , since the best use for defensive spear is to block of avenues of attack , and make the enemy wary of attacking them. obviously being potentially vulnerable to missiles is a disadvantage here.
however they can be useful as a cheap terrain feature ? (though here as cheap as possible seems good here, 6 poor heavy foot with 3 rear rank arcers only cost 33 points and can fence off a fair area with a bit of thought (rear support to help the morale and a general to bost them back when needed)

that said they do require both some thought and reasonable numbers to get any milage in my view, 1 battle group will probably not be much use unless only of 4 figures and never risked (so an extra battle group) 2 to 3,8 or more base strong battle groups can be a useful refused flank.

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Post by gozerius » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:25 pm

If you don't like protected spear, don't take an army that requires them. Arguing that they aren't good enough to field is a bit silly. Most historical commanders fought with the army they had, not the army they would have wished for. Protected spear is what it is. Effective at resisting charges, but brittle. I always look at protected spear as the common grunts that they were. They are not there to win you the battle, but you can't win the battle without them.

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