Romans Vs Barbarians and Skilled Swordsmen

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nikgaukroger
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Romans Vs Barbarians and Skilled Swordsmen

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:38 am

Thought I'd repost this from the original thread as the Romans Vs Barbarians interaction comes up a lot in discussion on changes.

Here is a little something I wrote for Richard and JD a while ago:
Classical period ‘barbarian’ infantry are not usually fielded in themed competitions (where they should be seen), and one reason cited is that with Roman legionaries able to be Armoured and Skilled Swordsmen (when Superior/Elite quality) the chances of the barbarians winning is practically nil – as, whilst they are on even POAs at Impact (although probably lesser quality), they are 2 POAs down in melee as well as being of inferior quality. History suggest that as long as the Romans held the initial rush they should beat these barbarians after a tough fight, however, at present the subsequent fight is a very rapid defeat for the barbarians – too quick to be credible. In fact, even if the Romans suffer a disastrous initial impact (double cohesion drop), their advantages in the melee phase are so great that it is still a pretty even fight. Again this cannot be right.

Even the Dacian Falxmen, who we know were a danger to legionaries, are quite vulnerable as Skilled Swordsmen negates the Heavy Weapon PoA in melee meaning that the Falxmen are a PoA down in both Impact and Melee phases and, thus, likely to lose the fight – an even fight would be more realistic, although we have to accept that they will be a PoA down at Imapct due to the way the Imapct PoAs are, and which should be left as is. In fact, the best use for the Falxmen is as rear support for the ordinary warriors, which means the game is giving the wrong incentives on how to use these troops as they should be the part of the Dacian army that Romans have some concerns about.

Therefore, to adjust the interaction to make it more historical I would suggest the following amendments to the army lists:

All Roman legionaries and Seleucid ‘Roman’ Argyraspides, who are listed with Skilled Swordsmen capability in the army list books are, instead, to be classified as ‘Swordsmen’ only. Additionally, their points cost is reduced by 1 point per base - for example Late Republican Roman legionaries are 13 points instead of the 14 points in Rise of Rome. This reduction, obviously, applies to legionaries in allied contingents as well as main lists, and any Roman legionaries in other armies (such as Later Ptolemaic) which are not in allied contingents.

These changes would affect “Rise of Rome” and “Legions Triumphant”.

So basically I don't think SSw needs to be removed, although it should be taken from Romans and Roman Argyraspides to get the interactions with barbarians correct, however, I think I'd suggest that it has a ++ PoA in the melee phase for specialist effective swordsmen such as the Spanish Sword & Bucklermen, and a check of the lists for others who may need a rethink would be useful.
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Post by richnz » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:55 am

This is a good idea. But the other thing that is missing from a lot of barbarian lists is the option for superior troops. The addition of 1-2 large BGs of superiors gives them a good chance of hanging on, if not beating up some Romans.

e.g Gauls with 2 large BGs of gaesati are quite a good test for Roman armies, whereas Early German etc composed entirely of average troops will get slaughtered.

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Post by peterrjohnston » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:05 am

They will also win in rough going, downhill, against MF Gauls... ouch! :)


However, if the armour POA is modified as per the suggestion in this thread

http://slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18570

then it probably wouldn't need this modification, as the melee would be even POAs (sw vs sw), with superior being the only advantage. With both changes, and a 13AP to 7AP difference, I could see legionaries disappearing from the game.

One or the other, I think. Personally I think the armour POA is more broke.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:12 am

richnz wrote:This is a good idea. But the other thing that is missing from a lot of barbarian lists is the option for superior troops. The addition of 1-2 large BGs of superiors gives them a good chance of hanging on, if not beating up some Romans.

e.g Gauls with 2 large BGs of gaesati are quite a good test for Roman armies, whereas Early German etc composed entirely of average troops will get slaughtered.

Whilst true, that is an army list issue - and whilst some changes there would be good I think it is important that we are clear which is which :)
Last edited by nikgaukroger on Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:16 am

peterrjohnston wrote:They will also win in rough going, downhill, against MF Gauls... ouch! :)


However, if the armour POA is modified as per the suggestion in this thread

http://slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18570

then it probably wouldn't need this modification, as the melee would be even POAs (sw vs sw), with superior being the only advantage. With both changes, and a 13AP to 7AP difference, I could see legionaries disappearing from the game.

One or the other, I think. Personally I think the armour POA is more broke.

I tend to agree with you that the armour issue (in melee) is probably a bigger issue and you certainly wouldn't want to combine the change to that in the other thread with a change to SSw. The armour change is also probably more desirable as I think a lot of people do see Romans as being better swordsmen than most and so having them as SSw works on a visceral level (in more than one way :twisted: ).

On the other hand if there was no change in armour then I think this would be the way to go - to be honest my bit to RBS and JD was a lists fix not a rules fix, something to be done within v1, I posted it as an explanation of my thinking really.
Nik Gaukroger

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Post by Lionelc62 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:52 pm

Hi,
-

If a -1 Ct for "losing against an enemy that has 2x more bases" is added, it should help barbarians armies a lot without too much POA or armies change.
A +1 for losing against an enemy that has 2x less bases can also be added (not applicable to MF fighting mounted).

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Post by DavidT » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:53 pm

The best thing about FoG has been the fact that early Roman armies (Republican and Early Inperial) are now viable armies because their legionaries are effective. After years of DBM in which early Roman armies couldn't beat anything (while their later conterparts could beat them at every turn and were very successful DBM armies) it is good to see them used again.
The removal of the SSw ability would affect the interaction between veteran legions and average legions of many civil war battles. They would now be evens in both impact and melee with only the superior making the difference (and that isn't much of a difference). I played a civil war battle last night which was a very close game between the smaller superior army and the larger average army. If the superior legions had not been SSw, the battle would have been much more one sided.
It may be better to allow the option to upgrade to SSw. Many players may take the cheaper Sw option as against many opponents (Sp, Pk, mtd it is of no benefit).

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Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:18 pm

Lionelc62 wrote:Hi,
-

If a -1 Ct for "losing against an enemy that has 2x more bases" is added, it should help barbarians armies a lot without too much POA or armies change.

A +1 for losing against an enemy that has 2x less bases can also be added (not applicable to MF fighting mounted).

Regards
Lionel

These would upset the nice, but delicate, balance between Romans and pikemen and, I suspect, would have other unintended consequences elsewhere.

An adjustment to the allocation of SSw has the merit of being fairly self contained and the consequences can be easily seen - it also has the merits of being simple with no additional rules :D
Nik Gaukroger

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Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:24 pm

DavidT wrote:The best thing about FoG has been the fact that early Roman armies (Republican and Early Inperial) are now viable armies because their legionaries are effective. After years of DBM in which early Roman armies couldn't beat anything (while their later conterparts could beat them at every turn and were very successful DBM armies) it is good to see them used again.

Indeed - this is a success for FoG:AM


The removal of the SSw ability would affect the interaction between veteran legions and average legions of many civil war battles. They would now be evens in both impact and melee with only the superior making the difference (and that isn't much of a difference). I played a civil war battle last night which was a very close game between the smaller superior army and the larger average army. If the superior legions had not been SSw, the battle would have been much more one sided.
It may be better to allow the option to upgrade to SSw. Many players may take the cheaper Sw option as against many opponents (Sp, Pk, mtd it is of no benefit).
:P



Well as Roman civil wars were very hard fought affairs, with high casualties recorded, we should want them to be tight. Having played a number of Roman on Roman games this year I feel I am in a position to make some informed comment on the changes that dropping SSw would make to the interaction and I would say that over a whole game the Superior would usually make enough difference on its own, but mean the games were damned close run things (i.e. exciting and close, the sort it is best to play 8) ). I would also say that if one of Romans Vs Barbarians or Romans Vs Romans has to be a less good representation than the other I would go for the option that makes the Roman Vs Barbarians the best representation as that match up is, IMO, more iconic and a benchmark for players in general.
Nik Gaukroger

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Post by Jilu » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:29 pm

And why not SSw in first rank counts as normal, and in second rank as Sw against any but steady pike etc...

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Post by thefrenchjester » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:33 pm

Hi,
it will add complexity to the rules, I think , not exactly what we search in Gaming.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:35 pm

Jilu wrote:And why not SSw in first rank counts as normal, and in second rank as Sw against any but steady pike etc...

And what benefit would this complication actually give? Against barbarian types it means the Romans would still rip through way too fast, but they'd save some points because only half would be SSw, and SSw makes no difference against pikemen, etc. anyway.
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Post by Jilu » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:39 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:
Jilu wrote:And why not SSw in first rank counts as normal, and in second rank as Sw against any but steady pike etc...
Against barbarian types it means the Romans would still rip through way too fast, but they'd save some points because only half would be SSw,quote]

that would be the point..

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Post by marioslaz » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:48 pm

I would suggest to change army list, not rules. In Rise of Rome, for example, you could distinguish between hastati and principes (actually they are classified the same). Hastati could be Sw, protected, while principes SSw Protected/Armoured. In early republic, hastati could be even light spear instead impact, to simulate the fact that pilum has been adopted since too few years to be enough effective to enlist hastati as impact troops.
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Post by paulcummins » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:51 pm

how about allowing Impact foot to break off like cav?

maybe it would need to be faster moving undrilled impact foot - so MF Warband types break off for another go, but HF stay stuck in.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:59 pm

Jilu wrote:
nikgaukroger wrote:
Jilu wrote:And why not SSw in first rank counts as normal, and in second rank as Sw against any but steady pike etc...
Against barbarian types it means the Romans would still rip through way too fast, but they'd save some points because only half would be SSw,
that would be the point..

However, as the issue raised about Romans with SSw is that they rip through the barbarians too quickly what would be the benefit to what you suggest in terms of making the interaction a better historical representation?
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Post by stecal » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:11 pm

I still think the best fix for SSW in melee is to make it a +1 POA only if all other POAs are even - just like mounted Lt Spear in impact. That allows SSW to beat other SW if all other factors (armor) are even.
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Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:19 pm

stecal wrote:I still think the best fix for SSW in melee is to make it a +1 POA only if all other POAs are even - just like mounted Lt Spear in impact. That allows SSW to beat other SW if all other factors (armor) are even.

Always a possibility if, for example as DavidT mentions above, just Superior wasn't enough difference in some interactions.
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Post by petedalby » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:06 pm

I still think the best fix for SSW in melee is to make it a +1 POA only if all other POAs are even - just like mounted Lt Spear in impact. That allows SSW to beat other SW if all other factors (armor) are even.
I thought this was a very good suggestion when it was presented originally. So Romans would still be + against Barbarians, rather than ++. They should still win, but it might just take a little longer.
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Post by mellis1644 » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:04 pm

[quote="petedalby"][quote]I still think the best fix for SSW in melee is to make it a +1 POA only if all other POAs are even - just like mounted Lt Spear in impact. That allows SSW to beat other SW if all other factors (armor) are even.[/quote]

I thought this was a very good suggestion when it was presented originally. So Romans would still be + against Barbarians, rather than ++. They should still win, but it might just take a little longer.[/quote]

This may also allow the cost difference of the various troops to allow the barbarian extra troops to have more of a chance of being a factor.

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