Enjoying the game but...

Byzantine Productions Pike and Shot is a deep strategy game set during the bloody conflict of the Thirty Years War.

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pantherboy
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Enjoying the game but...

Post by pantherboy » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:43 pm

So far I've completed the Tutorials and one small skirmish on Sergeant Major General and have enjoyed the experience overall though I've felt some frustration. I enjoy many aspects to this release (e.g. presentation, cavalry being blown after combat, impact and melee in the same turn, target priority etc.) but I'm going to focus on some issues that detract from the game.

a) Like FOG the commando style play still exists and is far too effective thus making it difficult for the AI to cope. This is especially true in the 4th tutorial where you can run rings around the opposition. Also the ability to execute independant movement absent a command structure with no benefit for maintaining formations undermines all the principles of warfare at the time. I do like the fact that Commanded Shot with cavalry support recieve a +100 POA but as far as I can tell this is the only instance such a benefit for keeping formation exists. I can't see why other factors couldn't be incorporated to provide incentives for staying together. I think I argued this for FOG long ago but I think it is valid for here also. A simple system of maybe +25 POA for each flank that has a steady unit, +0 for Disrupted and -25 for Fragmented or open. This wouldn't apply to a charging unit but would to a defender. The folowing melee would apply the modifiers to both units thus encouraging a line of units to strike rather than individuals. You could also apply a system of penalties and bonuses to cohesion tests. I'm only spit balling here rather than providing a definitive answer. I just want to illustrate my point.
b) Like the beginning of FOG routing needs to be fixed. Routing towards the enemy through gaps is ridiculous. Here is an example that just happened to me. My Boyars charged a Kuirassier head on to pin them. The next turn I hit the Kuirassiers on both flanks with Hussars auto dropping its cohesion. The melee chugged on for two more turns (I have no clue how the combat system works with POA and what the probabilities are) before finally the Kuirassier routed to one of my flanking hussars. This is how it looked:

1.......2.....3
Hu...Kur.... Hu (this one won)
4.....Boy....5

The Kuirassier routed in direction 4 towards my edge rather than through 1, 2 or 3 towards his edge. This meant all three of my units followed him from behind his main armies battle line to in front of it dodging between gaps along the way. Please address the routing logic. This is only one example of many that I've encountered primarily because units can run around the map however they like thus setting up unrealistic situations as per my grievance in part a).
c) In tutorial 4 I left a LF out to see how they evaded versus his Kuirassiers and I was stunned by the distance they covered. They went from one end behind the enemies battle line to the other and parked themselves adjacent to an enemy unit who happened to be facing in the same direction they evaded. It was great for me but felt silly. Shouldn't some ZOC system be implemented that affects evade paths allowing units to be hemmed in? This was an issue in FOG with light units early on.
d) I read the rules but didn't see anything that explains the actual mechanics of combat and what the POA % translate to. Where can that be found? Also is it possible to see the rolls involved as that often is a good mechanic for teaching someone how to understand and play the game.

Cheers for a very colorful and fun game.

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by flatsix518 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:57 pm

I'm at about the same point exploring the game. (Completed tutorial plus one other scenario.)

The thing I am enjoying most is that this game, unlike FoG Digital, really feels like a tabletop miniatures game. FoG Digital feels more like a computerized board game.

Which begs the question, is there any chance of FoG Digital being redone along these lines?

Best,

John
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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by rbodleyscott » Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:34 pm

Hi pantherboy.
pantherboy wrote:a) Like FOG the commando style play still exists and is far too effective thus making it difficult for the AI to cope. This is especially true in the 4th tutorial where you can run rings around the opposition.
The whole purpose of tutorial 4 is to show how skirmishers can be used. They have an exaggerated role in that small skirmish. Unlike FOG however, light troops usually form a much smaller proportion of the army, most of the foot and some of the heavier cavalry can shoot back, and non-light cavalry cannot evade at all. It is also relatively easy to make evaders evade off the table, the chargers will not go off after them, and the evaders then have a 5% chance per turn to return. We are well aware of the over-power of skirmishers in FOG.
Also the ability to execute independant movement absent a command structure with no benefit for maintaining formations undermines all the principles of warfare at the time. I do like the fact that Commanded Shot with cavalry support recieve a +100 POA but as far as I can tell this is the only instance such a benefit for keeping formation exists. I can't see why other factors couldn't be incorporated to provide incentives for staying together. I think I argued this for FOG long ago but I think it is valid for here also. A simple system of maybe +25 POA for each flank that has a steady unit, +0 for Disrupted and -25 for Fragmented or open. This wouldn't apply to a charging unit but would to a defender. The folowing melee would apply the modifiers to both units thus encouraging a line of units to strike rather than individuals. You could also apply a system of penalties and bonuses to cohesion tests. I'm only spit balling here rather than providing a definitive answer. I just want to illustrate my point.
The main benefit of formation in the game is protecting your flanks. But other benefits could be added, as you suggest. The problem with adding such fine points of positional benefit is that it becomes increasing difficult for the AI to remain competitive. Already the proper use of commanded shot is beyond its ability. Having produced a decent AI (and as has been pointed out elsewhere, the vast majority of players play solo rather than MP), we would not want to add fringe benefits that the AI could not handle effectively.
b) Like the beginning of FOG routing needs to be fixed. Routing towards the enemy through gaps is ridiculous. Here is an example that just happened to me. My Boyars charged a Kuirassier head on to pin them. The next turn I hit the Kuirassiers on both flanks with Hussars auto dropping its cohesion. The melee chugged on for two more turns (I have no clue how the combat system works with POA and what the probabilities are) before finally the Kuirassier routed to one of my flanking hussars. This is how it looked:

1.......2.....3
Hu...Kur.... Hu (this one won)
4.....Boy....5

The Kuirassier routed in direction 4 towards my edge rather than through 1, 2 or 3 towards his edge. This meant all three of my units followed him from behind his main armies battle line to in front of it dodging between gaps along the way. Please address the routing logic.
The reason this happens is because the current code makes them rout away from the unit that actually broke them, which they did. This on the prinicpal that at that moment it is the scariest.

We can give some consideration to calculating the initial direction taking into account all of the units they were fighting.

However, I am not a great fan of over-predictability, and historically troops certainly didn't always rout "directly towards their own baseline".
c) In tutorial 4 I left a LF out to see how they evaded versus his Kuirassiers and I was stunned by the distance they covered.


Evaders can evade up to 1 square more than their normal full move (or up to 1 square less).
Shouldn't some ZOC system be implemented that affects evade paths allowing units to be hemmed in?
We do not believe that ZOCs should apply to routing/pursuing/evading troops. In this period there were substantial gaps between units, and units can be seen routing and pursuing through these gaps in contemporary paintings.
d) I read the rules but didn't see anything that explains the actual mechanics of combat and what the POA % translate to. Where can that be found? Also is it possible to see the rolls involved as that often is a good mechanic for teaching someone how to understand and play the game.
If you turn on the detailed combat reports you will see the nitty gritty of what is happening and what effect the POAs actually have on combat. If you turn on detailed tooltips you will see these factors in advance of entering combat - or if you prefer you can just hold down the CTRL key when you want to see those details.

The game does not use "hit rolls" like FOG, base casualties inflicted are adjusted using a bell-shaped random number generator. (Or a skewed one in the case of artillery).
Richard Bodley Scott

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by Smirfy » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:59 pm

My enjoying the game but...................... is when you have one cavalry unit in melee against an enemy unit and your infantry which surround the melee just have to sit about and watch unable to join in or shoot, total nonsense, then an enemy cavalry unit charges one of your infantry units it enters melee and none of your surronding infantry can help it. Breitenfeld and two hours ruined.

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:29 am

Smirfy wrote:My enjoying the game but...................... is when you have one cavalry unit in melee against an enemy unit and your infantry which surround the melee just have to sit about and watch unable to join in or shoot, total nonsense, then an enemy cavalry unit charges one of your infantry units it enters melee and none of your surronding infantry can help it. Breitenfeld and two hours ruined.
Sorry, it may seem illogical to modern eyes, but we are just modelling historical troop behaviour.
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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by stockwellpete » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:30 am

rbodleyscott wrote:The main benefit of formation in the game is protecting your flanks. But other benefits could be added, as you suggest. The problem with adding such fine points of positional benefit is that it becomes increasing difficult for the AI to remain competitive. Already the proper use of commanded shot is beyond its ability. Having produced a decent AI (and as has been pointed out elsewhere, the vast majority of players play solo rather than MP), we would not want to add fringe benefits that the AI could not handle effectively.
But these could be added just for the multi-player game, couldn't they? I already know that many FOG players (who play multi-player and enter the FOG competitions) are buying Pike and Shot so I am anticipating a very lively multi-player contingent around this game. :D

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by gavril » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:07 am

stockwellpete wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:The main benefit of formation in the game is protecting your flanks. But other benefits could be added, as you suggest. The problem with adding such fine points of positional benefit is that it becomes increasing difficult for the AI to remain competitive. Already the proper use of commanded shot is beyond its ability. Having produced a decent AI (and as has been pointed out elsewhere, the vast majority of players play solo rather than MP), we would not want to add fringe benefits that the AI could not handle effectively.
But these could be added just for the multi-player game, couldn't they? I already know that many FOG players (who play multi-player and enter the FOG competitions) are buying Pike and Shot so I am anticipating a very lively multi-player contingent around this game. :D
Lively - and, I suspect, rather small compared to the potential customer base for a game that provides a decent challenge when taking on the AI. Big hitters like Civilization weren't built on the back of the multiplayer experience, but on the legions of buyers who enjoyed going up against a reasonably smart and powerful AI. I suspect that Pike & Shot, and any follow-up games using the same engine, will succeed or fail on the basis of how much of a challenge the solo player faces. Early indications are that P&S already fits the bill in that regard. Asking the developers to add layers of complexity for the sake of a relatively small multiplayer community, while understandable, seems to me to be rather naive. Nor do I see how such complexity could be presented as an optional extra given that, by nature, this would require a significant change to the way the AI functions.

It's good to have the opportunity to discuss all these issues online, and particularly helpful that Richard is so involved in the discussions. I hope that the probable over-representation of multiplayer fans on the forums won't encourage the developers to try to "fix something that ain't broke"!!! :shock:
Cheers,
Jay (''Gavril").

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by Rasputitsa » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:44 am

rbodleyscott wrote:
Smirfy wrote:My enjoying the game but...................... is when you have one cavalry unit in melee against an enemy unit and your infantry which surround the melee just have to sit about and watch unable to join in or shoot, total nonsense, then an enemy cavalry unit charges one of your infantry units it enters melee and none of your surronding infantry can help it. Breitenfeld and two hours ruined.
Sorry, it may seem illogical to modern eyes, but we are just modelling historical troop behaviour.
Just finished reading about the battle at Flodden 1513 and, during the Scots attack, the ground enabled the Scots left flank to impact the English right flank first, whilst it was still forming, and drove that force into retreat. The Scots centre then entered the fight and although initially making some progress, became hard pressed, but the Scots left flank forces did not move to help, although clearly able to see the situation. The reason was that they considered that they had done what was expected of them and now it was someone else's turn. The battle was eventually lost by the Scots with enormous loss, but I expect that the Scots left flank forces had done what they thought was necessary to retain their honour and it was not their fault that others failed to succeed as well as they had, on their part of the battlefield.

Whilst the Scots centre was being crushed, a contingent of Highlanders remained on the hill above, looking down on the scene, but not moving from their original positions, apparently as no orders had been given. An English force that had become disoriented and detached, during the night march, arrived behind the Highlanders from the other side of the hill and delivered an unexpected attack, which resolved their dilemma and completed the defeat.

Accepted that this is from the earliest part of the period covered, but illustrates the thinking of earlier eras and how events can be radically changed by personal attitudes.

The Scots had all the advantages of higher ground, larger forces, well rested, ample time to deploy, but lost the battle to a smaller force, coming into line piecemeal, over difficult ground and after two exhausting night marches to get into position. Had he lived, the Scottish King might have contemplated the faults in the rule-book of war.

There will obviously be examples of units performing beyond their direct orders, but often after personal honour was satisfied, troops felt that they had done enough. :?
Last edited by Rasputitsa on Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by stockwellpete » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:20 am

gavril wrote:Lively - and, I suspect, rather small compared to the potential customer base for a game that provides a decent challenge when taking on the AI. Big hitters like Civilization weren't built on the back of the multiplayer experience, but on the legions of buyers who enjoyed going up against a reasonably smart and powerful AI. I suspect that Pike & Shot, and any follow-up games using the same engine, will succeed or fail on the basis of how much of a challenge the solo player faces. Early indications are that P&S already fits the bill in that regard. Asking the developers to add layers of complexity for the sake of a relatively small multiplayer community, while understandable, seems to me to be rather naive. Nor do I see how such complexity could be presented as an optional extra given that, by nature, this would require a significant change to the way the AI functions.

It's good to have the opportunity to discuss all these issues online, and particularly helpful that Richard is so involved in the discussions. I hope that the probable over-representation of multiplayer fans on the forums won't encourage the developers to try to "fix something that ain't broke"!!! :shock:
All this is a bit superfluous really as I clearly wrote that any additional command and control facets to the game that might be added would be intended for the multi-player game only and would not impact upon the single player experience at all. :roll:

Edit: I have actually raised this issue before here . . .

viewtopic.php?f=301&t=52190
Last edited by stockwellpete on Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by gavril » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:26 am

I don't think you've really understood what I've written Pete. Maybe try re-reading it? :roll:

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by stockwellpete » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:31 am

gavril wrote:I don't think you've really understood what I've written Pete. Maybe try re-reading it? :roll:
Nope, once was enough thanks, Jay. :lol:

In the previous exchange with Richard I wrote,

"I know command and control issues can be quite complex, but maybe it is possible to devise some simpler rules - certainly morale boosts (e.g. greater chance of rallying, less chance of cohesion loss) for units in command radius and movement penalties for being out of command radius (to encourage grouping round leader flags)."

And Richard replied,

"Certainly additional optional features could be added to the game for use in MP games. They would have to wait for a future update though."

Seems clear enough to me, at any rate. :D

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by gavril » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:41 am

I think that the kind of changes you're referring to Pete would probably fall under this heading (again a comment from Richard earlier):

"Already the proper use of commanded shot is beyond its ability. Having produced a decent AI (and as has been pointed out elsewhere, the vast majority of players play solo rather than MP), we would not want to add fringe benefits that the AI could not handle effectively."

Without knowing more about the technicalities of changing the program code of course we're both hazarding a guess here, but providing a set of options that changed the way the AI "thinks" is likely going to be a lot tougher than a minor program change...
Cheers,
Jay (''Gavril").

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by Smirfy » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:25 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Smirfy wrote:My enjoying the game but...................... is when you have one cavalry unit in melee against an enemy unit and your infantry which surround the melee just have to sit about and watch unable to join in or shoot, total nonsense, then an enemy cavalry unit charges one of your infantry units it enters melee and none of your surronding infantry can help it. Breitenfeld and two hours ruined.
Sorry, it may seem illogical to modern eyes, but we are just modelling historical troop behaviour.
Sorry but that is nonsense, You can have an enemy cavalry unit surrounded on all sides by infantry and because it is in a melee with a single unit none can help their unit under attack if commanded to do so, totally lame. Never happened on any battlefield ancient or modern.

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:52 pm

Smirfy wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:
Smirfy wrote:My enjoying the game but...................... is when you have one cavalry unit in melee against an enemy unit and your infantry which surround the melee just have to sit about and watch unable to join in or shoot, total nonsense, then an enemy cavalry unit charges one of your infantry units it enters melee and none of your surronding infantry can help it. Breitenfeld and two hours ruined.
Sorry, it may seem illogical to modern eyes, but we are just modelling historical troop behaviour.
Sorry but that is nonsense, You can have an enemy cavalry unit surrounded on all sides by infantry and because it is in a melee with a single unit none can help their unit under attack if commanded to do so, totally lame. Never happened on any battlefield ancient or modern.
I think what RBS is implying that their is no documented evidence that infantry uits attacked cavalry. Of course they probobly could and likely there are isolated instances of it but if in general they didnt. If you allow it for one off situations, you, your oppoenet(whether AI or human) will do it all the time.

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by flatsix518 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:11 pm

I am more knowledgeable of the Seven Years War and Napoleonic era than the 30 years war.

It is very well established among military historians of the horse and musket period that infantry charging cavalry was an extremely rare event and when it did occur most likely was very situational.

When I was younger I used to play a lot of SPI games. Overtime, it became a major annoyance that many SPI games would focus undue attention on some minor or unusual aspect of a battle and "bend" the rules to accommodate that unusual occurrence. It often times unnecessarily complicated the game and would sometimes "break" the historicity of the simulation because it enabled the unusual to become common.

This is the primary reason that virtually all the horse and musket rule sets I've played generally do not allow foot to charge horse. There is no reasonable way to do it and preserve the correct infrequency and context of the historical circumstances under which these events occurred.

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by gavril » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:16 pm

>>I think what RBS is implying that their is no documented evidence that infantry uits attacked cavalry. Of course they probobly could and likely there are isolated instances of it but if in general they didnt. If you allow it for one off situations, you, your oppoenet(whether AI or human) will do it all the time

I was surprised by this feature too, but I wonder if it looks odd principally because of what we're used to doing in other computer games - rather than because it's historically inaccurate. When you think about it, how exactly would formed up foot intervene in a cavalry melee anyway? They couldn't shoot into it, for obvious reasons - i.e. the danger of friendly fire casualties; nor is it at all obvious how they could charge home without simply causing mayhem all round (to their own cavalry as well as the enemy's, and to their own formation/cohesion). It does look and feel strange - and maybe there's some compromise solution, like disadvantaging the enemy cavalry in some way if there are flanking infantry units - but perhaps it's just an artifact of the way we're used to playing?
Cheers,
Jay (''Gavril").

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by Smirfy » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:08 pm

We are talking not talking about "charging" an unbroken line of horse, we are talking about infantry units right beside engaged Cavalry units flank and rear heavily outnumbering them doing nothing. Again total nonsense you can imagine the chaos if horses were ever trapped in such a manner. Historical examples will be rare because the human nature of self preservation would have broke the cavalry unit long before such a situation arose, whereas in game a whole host of ridiculous gamey tactics open up to the player or for that matter the ai.

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by gavril » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:41 pm

OK, now I'm REALLY confused!!! I'm currently playing Transylvanians v Imperialists, and my Hussars have just been charge by the Imperialist's Later Tercios; this when the hussars were already in combat with enemy cavalry. Now, I thought this couldn't happen, based on my other games so far, which were ECW ones. Maybe the abilities vary from war to war? Frankly I'm confused. Hopefully someone can enlighten me!!! :? :? :?

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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:47 pm

gavril wrote:OK, now I'm REALLY confused!!! I'm currently playing Transylvanians v Imperialists, and my Hussars have just been charge by the Imperialist's Later Tercios; this when the hussars were already in combat with enemy cavalry. Now, I thought this couldn't happen, based on my other games so far, which were ECW ones. Maybe the abilities vary from war to war? Frankly I'm confused. Hopefully someone can enlighten me!!! :? :? :?
Infantry that count as kiels (ie they have enough Pikes) can charge cavalry. This would be early tercios, some late tercios(altough they will lose kiel staus very quickly) and of course earlier pike blocks. The manual states as long as the unit has 350 men count as pike, it is a keil. (although this # can be scripted to be different in some of the historical scenarios)
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Re: Enjoying the game but...

Post by gavril » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:50 pm

Thanks! :D

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