What I hate about FOG, and hope will be fixed in new FOGs

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Post by hammy » Thu May 06, 2010 2:36 pm

Polkovnik wrote:
madmike111 wrote:I fall to see what is wrong with suggesting that FOG would benefit from having rules covering different scenarios.
Nothing wrong with a scenario or campaign book. But these would not be rules. What most players don't want (I think) is to turn up to a tournament and dice for which particular scenario you have to play out of the book, like you do with some other sets of rules.
To be fair random or semi random scenarios works well in Flames of War but I have to agree that the vast majority of Ancient battles (with a few notable exceptions) were line them up and fight affairs.

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Post by madmike111 » Thu May 06, 2010 4:45 pm

To be fair random or semi random scenarios works well in Flames of War but I have to agree that the vast majority of Ancient battles (with a few notable exceptions) were line them up and fight affairs.
An example - battle like Hastings comes to mind, under the terrain placement system you can't have a long ridge line like that battle. A standard scenario might offer the defender the option of using more terrain and the ability to place it where they want it, the attacker gets more pts and maybe a set number of turns to win by.

Consider I have brought every army book even though I will most likely never field armies out of more than 3 or 4 of the books, put out a reasonable scenario/campaign generator book and I and many like me would buy it. Most guys in my situation don't have the time to spend researching or working out balanced scenarios we want to be spoon fed. Look at the success of FOW, from what I read on other forums long time players hate it but I bet its the game most newbies to WW2 play.

If FOG wants to dominate ancient rules it needs to go down that route. If not give it a few more years and someone else will "FOW" the period and to be honest me and all the guys like me who only play a fun game every few weeks will drop FOG for the new kid on the block.l

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Post by BeansNFranks » Thu May 06, 2010 7:33 pm

hammy wrote:
Polkovnik wrote:
madmike111 wrote:I fall to see what is wrong with suggesting that FOG would benefit from having rules covering different scenarios.
Nothing wrong with a scenario or campaign book. But these would not be rules. What most players don't want (I think) is to turn up to a tournament and dice for which particular scenario you have to play out of the book, like you do with some other sets of rules.
To be fair random or semi random scenarios works well in Flames of War but I have to agree that the vast majority of Ancient battles (with a few notable exceptions) were line them up and fight affairs.

The "vast majority of historical battles" were also NOT balanced affairs, but FoG attempts to balance them with a point system to make the game more fun. In no historical battles did they employ time travel to let French Knights fight against Spartans and Vikings fight against Biblical Hebrews...

In addition many of the non pitched battles are the fights we think about today. Hastings was already mentioned, but what about the Spartans holding the Hot Gates, Hannibal's ambush at Lake Trasamine, French knights charging all day long through muddy pits at the Enrish and others. These are legendary battles that are far more interesting than just lining up and slugging it out.

I'm not saying get rid of FoG how it is now, I'm saying that IMO it lacks depth and is very limited. I think that a well written, tested set of rules (which many of us have already indicated we would spend money on) would add something to the game.

I'm sorry if I upset the true believers... :roll:

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Post by hammy » Thu May 06, 2010 8:18 pm

BeansNFranks wrote:The "vast majority of historical battles" were also NOT balanced affairs, but FoG attempts to balance them with a point system to make the game more fun. In no historical battles did they employ time travel to let French Knights fight against Spartans and Vikings fight against Biblical Hebrews...

In addition many of the non pitched battles are the fights we think about today. Hastings was already mentioned, but what about the Spartans holding the Hot Gates, Hannibal's ambush at Lake Trasamine, French knights charging all day long through muddy pits at the Enrish and others. These are legendary battles that are far more interesting than just lining up and slugging it out.

I'm not saying get rid of FoG how it is now, I'm saying that IMO it lacks depth and is very limited. I think that a well written, tested set of rules (which many of us have already indicated we would spend money on) would add something to the game.

I'm sorry if I upset the true believers... :roll:
Most of what you are 'complaining' about is not specific to FoG. Almost every published set of Ancient rules is designed with ballanced battles between ahistorical opponents as a possibility from the start. It is what Ancients players expect to be honest.

I far prefer games between historical opponents and most of my games are played like that. It is however quite difficult for one player to have a pool of armies that allow for a historical opponent to be fielded for whatever army your opponent happens to be bringing to use.

One of the great things about the 'Ancients' period is that the choice of armies is vast. Equally this is a major problem if you can only play games against historical foes. As such this means that for a set of Ancients rules to be accepted as anthing other than a super specialist nice product ahistorical matchups have to be catered for.

I said in my earlier answer that most battles were straight forward ones, I didn't say that they were all equal points. I also said there were exceptions which you have kindly named a few of. The trouble is that Ancients battles where both sides were not lined up ready to fight at the begining of the battle are really rather few and far between. Something like Flames of War works really well because at the level the game is played (reinforced company) there were all sorts of possible battle formats and most of them are reasonably believable. If you wanted to do the same in the Ancients period then 8 or 9 times out of 10 you would end up with a straight up battle and then the rest would be a bit different but only a bit.

There were very few Ancient battles where a specific piece of terrain was of any importance. Perhaps an oasis here or a ford there but even then you just don't read hostories about commander X needed to capture Y. You read that commander X sought to bring army Y to battle and defeat it.

I am sure that in the fullness of time there will be a campaign suplement for FoG. Exactly what format it will take and how it will work is something that I really do not know. Until that point there is nothing stopping people from running campaigns. Tournaments can be played with a theme restricting which armies can be used, there are even suggested themes in the army suplements (something that is by no means common with other rules sets). There are tournaments where players use different point level forces in different games so that you might end up with 700 points facing 900. There is also a tournament format that has yet to be used for FoG where a number of preset battles based on historical encounters are pre definied and players play several different games with different armies and the 'winner' is the one who did the best compared to the others who fought the same side in the same games.

I am really not sure what exactly you think is needed. A Flames of War style set of 'missions' is IMO titally inapropriate for Ancients. Campaigns have always in my experience been the pet project of the umpire and that usually means they use their own rules rather than those imposed on them fron on high.

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Post by DavidT » Thu May 06, 2010 10:04 pm

The Wargames Research Group published two books ('Scenarios for Wargamers' and 'Programmed Scenarios for Wargamers') by CS Grant back in the early 80s.
These gave a wide range of differing scenarios, some specifically for the ancients period. The forces were usually generic and could generally be easily adapted to ancients.
They may still be obtainable on e-bay or elsewhere on the internet and would be very useful for someone who wants to try something different to the normal equal points battle.
FoG would be an excellent set of rules to try these out.

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Post by hammy » Thu May 06, 2010 10:56 pm

DavidT wrote:The Wargames Research Group published two books ('Scenarios for Wargamers' and 'Programmed Scenarios for Wargamers') by CS Grant back in the early 80s.
These gave a wide range of differing scenarios, some specifically for the ancients period. The forces were usually generic and could generally be easily adapted to ancients.
There is also a series of books I bought some time ago by Peter Sides: Ancient Historical Battles, Ancient Historical Battles volume 2 and Historical Medieval Battles.

When I run FoG bootcamps I normally take a suitable historical battle and refight that using FoG. So far all these games have worked perfectly and I have not been struck by lightning for heresy.

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Post by NickBowler » Fri May 07, 2010 3:00 am

I just want to challenge the assertion that most battles were 'line-em-up' affairs. Lets look at some campaigns:

Alexander. One line-em-up (Gaugemala). Two river crossings. One small river crossing (Issus). A bloody great big siege (Tyre). Lots of assaults (not modelled at all by most rules -- unfortunately)

100 Years War -- lots of unbalanced encounters with small armies turning to fight on favorable terrain -- not a common FOG occurance.

Ceasar in Gaul -- some pitched battles. But also ambushes, surprise attacks, a bloody great big siege.

1066 -- One army unprepared but with defensive terrain they had (Stamford bridge). One affair that can be classed as a line-em-up, but certainly not on a billiard table.

Rome vs Carthage -- two line-em-up (Cannae and Zama). A couple of almost line em ups (Trebbia and the battle in Spain). One ambush.

Rome vs Macedon -- one escalating skirmish (Cynocephalie). One line-em-up on poor terrain.

Crusades -- lots of desperate attacks, attacks on marching columns, attacks on parts of armies. Armies that had to win or they lost because they were in the desert.

In the end, a scenario book could add lots of variety. At the club meet I can plan to play my mate next week, we can agree on a point total, and I can show up. We can then do what we do for FOW -- roll for scenario on the night. So our armies have to be balanced to handle all eventualities. It is a lot of fun, and all we need is an agreed framework of scenarios. The whole point of the original post is to hope that some different standard scenarios can be added to the renaissance / napoleonic books. Also, as mentioned above, a system that resulted in some nicer terrain on the table would be good!

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Post by expendablecinc » Fri May 07, 2010 8:30 am

I would probably buy a generic scenario book specific to FoG but feel that generally all this will modify is the deployment, points totals and victory conditions.

No need for particualr scnearios - as there are too many in the scale of Fog to make it commercially viable.

That said I'd prefer energy to go into a campaign supplement. Any control freak can make up thier own campaign rules, and most of them have, I just want someone to come up with a well though out set to save me the book keeping and mathematical modelling to get something reliable.

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Post by Polkovnik » Fri May 07, 2010 10:44 am

NickBowler wrote:In the end, a scenario book could add lots of variety. At the club meet I can plan to play my mate next week, we can agree on a point total, and I can show up. We can then do what we do for FOW -- roll for scenario on the night. So our armies have to be balanced to handle all eventualities. It is a lot of fun, and all we need is an agreed framework of scenarios. The whole point of the original post is to hope that some different standard scenarios can be added to the renaissance / napoleonic books. Also, as mentioned above, a system that resulted in some nicer terrain on the table would be good!
Actually, you wouldn't be able to do that. If a scenario other than a pitched battle was chosen, then there would have to be uneven points to give a reasonably balanced game. If one side is ambushed, or suffering from thirst or hunger or fatigue, then they would need more points. If one side is defending a river or a hill, then they would have less points. So you couldn't just work out equal points armies and play such a scenario.
Also if you have a cavalry army, and your random scenario roll shows you are defending a ridge, then that would seem rather unlikely.

I just can't see the FOW / 40K approach of dicing for scenarios working for ancients.

But why not just use a bit of imagination and come up with a scenario.

Here's an example of idea for an ambush scenario :
Attackers get 600 points, defenders get 800. Defender deploys whole army within 6" of table centre line and more than 12" from short table edges, in single base wide columns facing one of the short table edges. Defenders army includes mobile baggage. Terrain region type is chosen by the defender but attacker places all terrain pieces (maybe 2 compulsory plus 3-6 other pieces) after defender has deployed. Terrain cannot be placed within defenders deployment area. Defender rolls to adjust each terrain piece as normal. Attacker then deploys within normal deployment distance of either or both long table edges, but no unit may deploy within 6" of the enemy. Play as normal, defender moving first.

Now if my group was bored of playing pitched battles, I'm sure they would happily play such a scenario, without the need for it to come from an official FOG scenario book.

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Post by Polkovnik » Fri May 07, 2010 10:53 am

Also, tournament organisers can add variety and get away from equal points battles. Here's an idea I had for a tournament format. Let's say there will be four games played over two days. Each player brings three separate lists - one each at 700, 800 and 900 points. When the player finds out his opponent for each game, he chooses which list to use. Each list must be used at least once over the four games. In the scoring system, bonuses are given for beating higher points armies, and less points are scored for beating a lower points army. And in a draw the lower points army would win.
The downside is the extra work required for the list checker, but it would give more variety in games, and create games where one side is forced to attack.

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Post by grahambriggs » Fri May 07, 2010 11:02 am

BeansNFranks wrote:
The "vast majority of historical battles" were also NOT balanced affairs, but FoG attempts to balance them with a point system to make the game more fun. In no historical battles did they employ time travel to let French Knights fight against Spartans and Vikings fight against Biblical Hebrews...

In addition many of the non pitched battles are the fights we think about today. Hastings was already mentioned, but what about the Spartans holding the Hot Gates, Hannibal's ambush at Lake Trasamine, French knights charging all day long through muddy pits at the Enrish and others. These are legendary battles that are far more interesting than just lining up and slugging it out.

I'm not saying get rid of FoG how it is now, I'm saying that IMO it lacks depth and is very limited. I think that a well written, tested set of rules (which many of us have already indicated we would spend money on) would add something to the game.

I'm sorry if I upset the true believers... :roll:

I think you are assuming that this rule set requires equal points battles and time travelling. It doesn't. The great majority of ancient rule sets don't. There is nothing in the rules to prevent a re-enactment of Lake Trasamene or any other battles. A "scenarios for FoG" website would be very welcome. You could add that into the rule set itself, or hold it seperate. In the DBM world (a ruleset that similarly does not include scenarios) several web sites sprang up over time to give recreation suggestions, army compositions, etc.

There is, I would say, a certain staleness when competition organisers go for a "800 point open" format. Sometimes there's good logic for this - it's more inclusive for people who only have one army for example. You could go to the other extreme - have each table set up with terrain and forces to recreate a historical battle. Hard work for the organisers though.

I suspect the debate here is what 'footprint' do you want your rule set to have? Do you want just rules mechanisms or do you want it to cover campaigns, scenarios, and so on? A wide footprint would attract those who expect that from their rules (FoW is a bit that way I'm told). I guess it would expand the rule set - so could be better as a supplement.

But you can do a great deal with the current rule set. For example, I'm going to the Campaign Competition this weekend. No time travelling. Its "The Campaigns of Tiglath-Pilesar III 745 – 727 BC". So that is a choice of six army lists and you might as well pick a single year in that time span for all the variety you get. Yes, it's 800 points but there are varible points formats out there (e.g. at Rampage 700 can fight 900). There's also a DBMM theme there where armies are only allowed for the year of Agincourt (though I think it's any army form that year).

And yes, the historical battles are far more interesting than 'open' competitions which is why I always enjoy Campaign.

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Post by david53 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:21 am

expendablecinc wrote:I would probably buy a generic scenario book specific to FoG but feel that generally all this will modify is the deployment, points totals and victory conditions.

No need for particualr scnearios - as there are too many in the scale of Fog to make it commercially viable.

That said I'd prefer energy to go into a campaign supplement. Any control freak can make up thier own campaign rules, and most of them have, I just want someone to come up with a well though out set to save me the book keeping and mathematical modelling to get something reliable.

Was'nt there one written in the 70's about a campaign in the crusades I have it on one of the shelfs but can't find it the now?

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Post by BeansNFranks » Fri May 07, 2010 12:56 pm

Of course one can write up whatever they want or change the game however they want. Hell I could just write in the margins and say it was divine providence...

The point here is, as you are all admitting by telling us to write our own stuff, is that it is not in the rules which is the gripe in the first place. Battles were far from just slug it out affairs, there were far more types of battles and it would nice to see those covered in a FOG supplement. Is that really to much to freaking ask seeing as we are willing to pay for it?

I would much rather pay for that than an army book with 40 lists of undrilled O spear...

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Post by grahambriggs » Fri May 07, 2010 1:43 pm

BeansNFranks wrote:Of course one can write up whatever they want or change the game however they want. Hell I could just write in the margins and say it was divine providence...

The point here is, as you are all admitting by telling us to write our own stuff, is that it is not in the rules which is the gripe in the first place. Battles were far from just slug it out affairs, there were far more types of battles and it would nice to see those covered in a FOG supplement. Is that really to much to freaking ask seeing as we are willing to pay for it?

I would much rather pay for that than an army book with 40 lists of undrilled O spear...
Of course it's not in the rules. Nobody is saying it is. Who is "us"? I just hear a couple of voices griping. Maybe "they" think there's not enough demand for such a supplementto make money - or more likely the people who would write it are busy elsewhere.

If you mean by "slug it out" affairs battles where each side formed up for battle and then advanced on the enemy well yes, most ancient battles were pretty much that. Attacks on marching forces (Trasimene, Teutonburger Wald, retreat of the Ten Thousand) were rare. Encounter battles were rare.

Many battles were affected by terrain, but the terrain of the well known battles is, err, well known. If you want to refight Agincourt you can quite easily look it up on Wikipedia for free, which will give you terrain and force compositions. I really can't see the problem.

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Post by dave_r » Fri May 07, 2010 1:44 pm

Well, the simple answer is that yest it might be too much to ask for. Any supplement produced would have to fit in with Osprey publishing schedules and be deemed by them to be a worthwhile production (i.e. will it sell). If there are only going to be a few buyers then they may deem it to be economically unviable.

Which is why people have gone to pains to point out alternatives. Even if Osprey / Slitherine did decide to go down this route it would probably be at least three years before anything was published.

This is not a cottage industry any more.

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Post by david53 » Fri May 07, 2010 1:51 pm

Found the book A wargamers guide to the crusades by Ian Heath published 1980 another one is Alexander the greats campaigns by Phil Parker and Hannibals Campaigns by Tony Bath. All these books can be worked to fit in with FOG or use the campaign rules and fight any battles by the FOG rules much the better idea. In all these books you will find all the infomation to fight a campaign and fight the battles with FOG rules. All these would in my own view be better than waiting for a suppliment to come out in the dim and distent future.

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Post by madaxeman » Fri May 07, 2010 8:00 pm

david53 wrote:Found the book A wargamers guide to the crusades by Ian Heath published 1980 another one is Alexander the greats campaigns by Phil Parker and Hannibals Campaigns by Tony Bath. All these books can be worked to fit in with FOG or use the campaign rules and fight any battles by the FOG rules much the better idea. In all these books you will find all the infomation to fight a campaign and fight the battles with FOG rules. All these would in my own view be better than waiting for a suppliment to come out in the dim and distent future.
You could even add the FoGGified orbats and scenario notes to the wiki at www.madaxeman.com if you so wished :wink:
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Post by timmy1 » Fri May 07, 2010 8:51 pm

Polkovnik
They do that at Ilford Rampage tourney - there is a poll running in the tourney section as I type. Does not appeal to me but does seem to work.

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Post by dave_r » Fri May 07, 2010 9:05 pm

They are doing one in the US using the exact same template. I think they are looking forward to it.

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Post by Rekila » Sat May 08, 2010 8:25 am

Having run away from the tyranny of Fantasy battles to the freedom of historical ones (what a curious thing to say) I’m not in favor of any “official” set of campaign or scenario rules. The rules are fine as they are. We don’t play in tournaments but a “tournament” set of rules is good for friendly games (friendly games, end at the first scrum!) To try to get variety and at the same time retain balanced/tournament games is contradictory. We have been running a campaign of Charles VIII Italian invasion of Italy and has worked fine without need of any rules. We make it as a narrative campaign, like a role-playing game. Where one person develops the scenarios as the game go on. We combined that with a system of selecting the armies for each game that give different point armies in each case (have already explain that). The result: even with basically only to armies (French ordonance and Italian condotta) we have play six, totally, different battles. They were all of them more or less unbalanced; in three of them one side was in clear inferiority (two heroic defeats and one victory!) but if you play for the fun of it and not to “win” at all cost, that doesn’t really matter. We have finished yesterday our refight of Seminara. I lost in the end with the Italian-Spanish army. I have less points to begin with, lost three units in the flank marchs … but the Spanish infantry alone near won the battle …

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