Are Elephants viable in V2?

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Scrumpy
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Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by Scrumpy » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:47 pm

From what I have read they gain an extra die at impact, but need Elephant mounted Generals to get any re-rolls, and these Generals cannot affect other mounted troops re-rolls.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by marty » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:36 pm

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=39686

Check out parts of this thread where this is discussed a bit.

For what it is worth I feel they are slightly better than they were but still not good enough to be worth their points.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by philqw78 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:01 pm

Well out of the 4 combats they got into at a comp over the weekend they won 2 lost 2. Still fragile, IMO a little better.
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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by Vespasian28 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:46 pm

I would agree that they are better "on paper"( as I haven't had a chance to use them yet) which is a good thing and too soon to say if they are still too weak. My initial reaction is they are OK as they are under V2. Not sure about the points but they are pretty potent against mounted and I have had them take out a unit of Hellenistc Lancers worth 68 pts on more than one occasion.

I don't think the restriction on elephant mounted commanders helping a BG of elephants is much loss; in all the games I have done with Classical Indians I have never risked a commander with nellies and still won't, far too brittle.
Bit annoying, but fully understandable, that elephant mounted commanders can't help mounted but with Classical Indians I wouldn't put one with the cavalry either as they are also c**p. But I do need some more non-nellie commanders to help out the Indian chariots.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by Scrumpy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:54 pm

I assume you have to mark what your Generals are mounted on now in your army list?

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by hazelbark » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:21 pm

Scrumpy wrote:I assume you have to mark what your Generals are mounted on now in your army list?
p 24 of the new version.

"only commander depicted on elephant (and so specified in the special instructions to their army list) can effect re-rolls..."

So that actually radically limits which armies may even have the option and the figure needs to be clear.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by Scrumpy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:03 pm

One that springs to mind is the Ghaznavid list. Under dbm the Kushan list had an option of Elephant-mounted generals, something that FoG dispensed with, although most people don't like to let their Generals fight with Elephants as brittle as they are. The answer is go Malayan and have foot generals lol

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by scuzi » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:10 pm

I know their has been a lot of discussion on the cost effectiveness of elephants and the reasons why they can only be in units of two elements,however I wanted to see for myself and prove or disprove this. I need to point out now that this is squarely aimed at eastern elephants which I think most if not all war-game rules poorly represent. The two armies that I choose for this experiment were Burmese and Han Chinese (mainly because I had them on a table already).The first battle I used the Burmese army as per the rules. Their were 12 elephants on the Burmese side in three battle lines of two units, each battle line had a troop commander. I will only go though the elephant battles as this is the point of discussion here.
The first match up for one of the elephant battle lines was an Han Chinese infantry unit companied by a troop commander, 8 MF Armoured Heavy weapon front rank X bow back. After the Burmese supporting LF moved back to allow the elephant to charge the Chinese X bow opened up. After two rounds of Bow shooting one elephant unit was disrupted but both then charged in. One elephant unit got 4 hits (6 dice @4,5,6) while the Chinese facing them also got 4 hits (4dice @5,6 2dice @3,4,5,6) stand off. The other elephant was disrupted and got 2 hits (6dice-2@ 4,5,6) while the other half of the Chinese unit scored another 4 hits at the same factors. The disrupted elephant rolled an two on their death roll and were gone! It did not take long before the other elephant unit now over lapped followed.
The second group of elephants faced another Chinese foot unit frontally and got flanked by a third foot unit after it chopped though a Burmese foot unit. Both these Chinese foot units were 8MF armoured front Heavy Weapon, back X bow. One elephant unit got turned and then they both were shot up peace meal.
The third 2 elephant units were facing a 6 element Chinese cavalry armoured X bow sword. The Han cavalry were one rank deep and skirmishing. The Chinese cavalry feel back shoot ,evading when changed and nothing happened in this area for the game.
I then reset the game with the units in the same place, however this time I put the elephants in 3 units of four, I also gave them a shooting capability one dice per-element bow(same as chariots).
Whether you think eastern elephants had large mounted crews as Burmese or large foot crews their shooting seems to have been considerable
I removed the +1 for death rolls as they were now in larger units and them counting as 2 elements for casualty per figure.
The first match up against the Han Chinese infantry unit companied by a troop commander, 8 MF Armoured Heavy weapon front rank X bow back. The Han X bow shot but inflicted little damage,as did the bow elephants. The elephants charged rolling 8 hits (12 dice@4,5,6 re-rolling 1, TC), the Chinese foot also achieved 8 hits (8 dice @5,6 and 4 dice @ 3,4,5,6 x bow re-rolling 1, TC ) both lost one element. The elephant now had 3 elements and the Chinese 7. In melee the elephants got 3 hits (6 dice @ 4,5,6 re-rolling 1,TC ) the Chinese 4 hits(7 dice @ 4,5,6 re-rolling 1, TC ) it took another turn but the elephants were doomed.
The second match up was pretty much the same the elephants got flanked and destroyed , as was the third, although the elephants did contact some Chinese cavalry routing them in a couple of turns.
Conclusion
Did having elephants in units of 4 make them super troops: it did not seem so, Two of the three unit were destroyed, they did however mean they weren't destroyed by the freak roll of a one and so stayed around for a turn longer, not bad for a 100 points :)
Did giving them a shooting capability unbalance the game: again it did not seem to, against the skirmishing cavalry it did allow some return, 4 dice for shooting is not a game breaker
But most importantly did it feel correct in relation with known historical evidence on eastern(Burmese) elephants: yes historically elephants were deployed in large clumps (eastern) and their shooting was reported to have been considerable
I must point out again that this is only suggested for eastern elephant armies and this is only one game. I am sure this will provoke some discussion and i hope some better representation of eastern elephants
So answer to the question "are elephants viable in V 2" well IMHO no they are not, at least for eastern armies

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by madaxeman » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:21 pm

In your first example of the main combat, your 4 bases of elephants scored 6 hits and recieved 8 at impact... and ended up losing.

In the second example the 4 bases of elephants scored 8 hits and recieved 8 hits at impact... and ended up losing, but a bit more slowly.

Losiing more quickly when you score less hits in impact is, erm kinda fundamental to how the rules work for any interaction, so I'm not sure these differences are entirely surprising when it comes to elephants ?

Or I'm maybe failing to understand what you are trying to say here about how "2+2" perform differently to "1x4" in game terms ?
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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by grahambriggs » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:30 pm

scuzi wrote:Did having elephants in units of 4 make them super troops: it did not seem so, Two of the three unit were destroyed, they did however mean they weren't destroyed by the freak roll of a one and so stayed around for a turn longer, not bad for a 100 points :)
Did giving them a shooting capability unbalance the game: again it did not seem to, against the skirmishing cavalry it did allow some return, 4 dice for shooting is not a game breaker
But most importantly did it feel correct in relation with known historical evidence on eastern(Burmese) elephants: yes historically elephants were deployed in large clumps (eastern) and their shooting was reported to have been considerable
I must point out again that this is only suggested for eastern elephant armies and this is only one game. I am sure this will provoke some discussion and i hope some better representation of eastern elephants
So answer to the question "are elephants viable in V 2" well IMHO no they are not, at least for eastern armies
There is one difference that you do not mention. In game 1, the Burmese, losing all 12 elephants, have lost 12 attrition points. In game 2, losing all the elephants is only 6 attrition points: a big difference.

I think your 4 models that charged in against the chinese heavy weapon/crossbow are perhaps the best interaction to focus on. The disuption of one of the elephant units prior to impact turns this from "elephants should just win" to "elephants should just lose". So they need to do all they can to avoid disruption. Generals, rear support and drawing fire with another unit. If one does go disrupted, perhaps just charge with the steady unit to maximise the chances of winning the impact.

The guys who got flanked are probably dead whatever troop type they are, so perhaps not a valid test. The guys who chased the cavalry all game: yes, that's what happens to slow hard hitting troops who are frustrated by faster troops who can evade.

Your point is well made though that the various elephant forces of antiquity did perfrom different roles and it would be better if there were rules to reflect that. A Burmese elephant with a dozen bow crew is not going to do the same job as a macedonian elephant with a single pikeman.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by madaxeman » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:15 pm

grahambriggs wrote: There is one difference that you do not mention. In game 1, the Burmese, losing all 12 elephants, have lost 12 attrition points. In game 2, losing all the elephants is only 6 attrition points: a big difference.
Good point well made sir. Elephants are designed to do well maybe, then die (or become spent, which in game terms means removed from play)

wonder why that was missed before :?:
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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by ethan » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:31 pm

grahambriggs wrote:Your point is well made though that the various elephant forces of antiquity did perfrom different roles and it would be better if there were rules to reflect that. A Burmese elephant with a dozen bow crew is not going to do the same job as a macedonian elephant with a single pikeman.
Yep. I think an opportunity was missed in FoG to give a bit more variety in capabilities to units. All elephants being the same are a notable example. A few elephants with Bow capability and some here or there being superior would be interesting.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by hazelbark » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:10 pm

Also I would point out Heavy weapon with 2nd rank crossbow is perhaps the best anti elephant force around.

Run it again as Superior Roman Legion w/o LF support
or
Heavily Armoured Knights.

The 2nd rank crossbow are really decisive in your situation.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by scuzi » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:34 pm

Yes agreed that the Heavy weapon/ x bow is the most interesting combat and yes that combination of foot is probably the most efficient foot type V elephants. One thing I did not point out was the troop cost Chinese foot 76, elephants 100, 24 points difference. I think the main point is that for eastern elephant armies is having elephants in units of 4 with a shooting capability to much? Does having them in units of 4 make them more dangerous than say 4 superior heavy chariots costing 21points (I think they’re 21or 22)? Especially when you’re consider the other troop types in these armies, MF light spear and MF bow. The elephants were their main attack arm and probably greatly feared. The Roman heavy foot argument doesn’t really fit here as this type of elephant formation never came into contact with the Romans. :)
As said before from a feel point of view, it did feel right (not that i have been near any elephant battles :D )
Last edited by scuzi on Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by philqw78 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:11 am

Try telling any of the above to our 66 points of Han HW/Xbow who last night fragged in impact then routed in melee against a single elephant BG.

I've changed my mind. My elephants are not good enough and other people's are too good.
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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by scuzi » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:22 am

:-) the dice god is a wonderful thing

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by kevinj » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:55 am

Statistically, in your example, despite the fact that crossbows are most effective at support shooting against elephants the most likely outcome is a 6-5 win to the elephants, leaving the MF a base down and facing a CT at -3. If the elephants are in 2s then they will need to take 4 hits in order to require a death roll providing they win or draw. However, it is very tight and any prior activity (such as disrupting one of the BGs via shooting) or swings in the dice (which can be quite extreme as all the troops involved are average) could swing it the other way. I think we need to see output from a number of games before passing judgement on the viability of elephants.

In my opinion, the problem with these eastern massed elephant armies is that their support troops are relatively weak. It would be interesting to see the results of some games between armies like the Burmese and their historical opponents. I also agree with Ethan that it would also be good to see some variety in the options available for elephants.

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by grahambriggs » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:29 pm

philqw78 wrote:Try telling any of the above to our 66 points of Han HW/Xbow who last night fragged in impact then routed in melee against a single elephant BG.

I've changed my mind. My elephants are not good enough and other people's are too good.
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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by Vespasian28 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:04 pm

I've changed my mind. My elephants are not good enough and other people's are too good.
Strangely I have found the same, but substitute "armies" for elephants :(

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Re: Are Elephants viable in V2?

Post by Scrumpy » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:35 pm

You win due to your brilliance & lose due to your opponents lucky dice...

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