Flank Attacks

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lanceflint
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Flank Attacks

Post by lanceflint » Fri Dec 15, 2006 5:22 pm

AOW and Flank Attacks

We have had a couple of chances to see the results of these now and I believe that they they suffer from a basic flaw. I will recount the last incident:

4 bases of Arab lancers in line were lucky enough to strike the flank of 6 bases of Lombard Nobles, also in line. All were Superior, Armoured, Lance and Sword armed and led by Generals.
As the charge went home the Impact Phase gave each side two dice, even at ++ against -- the Arabs should win easily but would be lucky to get two hits to achieve even the 1 per 3 hits minus on the Cohesion test, which the Lombards should have to take for losing the combat.. Despite the Lombards being Disrupted automatically for the flank attack their chances of survival are good (too good?) with Superior troops led by the General.
In the Melee phase the Arabs then have 3 bases against 1, but now on even POA`s! This greatly limits the huge advantage the Arabs should have had in their turn. Yes they should win again but they are unlikely to inflict any serious damage.
The effect of a 1,000 lancers at full tilt hitting the flank of a line of cavalry ended with the Lombards only being Disrupted. I would suggest that this is not generating the payback that it should?
To make matters worse the Lombards then turned to face the Arab lancers in their movement turn and recovered from Disrupted.
Not to be outdone the Arab then charged the Lombard flank that was previously their front with Light Spear armed Light Horse. All they managed to achieve was a ??“ POA for having the Lombards fight in two directions at once, whose spare elements turned and duly duffed the Light Horse in the melee phase. Needless to say this added further insult to injury.
Five turns later the Lombards and Arabs lancers were still locked in combat!

My recommendation would be that any base that qualifies to fight as a Flank or Rear attack has Double Dice for that Impact phase.

P.S. Bet you can??™t guess who was commanding the Arabs?

Lance.

shall
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Post by shall » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:25 pm

We'll give that some thought.

It would be useful to expand on the combat a bit more if you could with dice rolls to see the luck effect. If the Arab Lancers are battle troops I assume. The target sounds like it was 1 rank deep or usually you can get 4 dice vs 4 dice. At a ++ vs -- disrupted is then a real problem as there is very little chance of winning. Not getting the 1hP3 is not a disaster as the troops still have to test for losing and they are DISR so havea -1 already.

If nobody else interferes one would expect 4 dice vs 3 in the second round at evens. Or 4 vs 2 if you force a drop to wavering.

If the target was 1 rank deep it would be 2 dice each but the round after it will be the same.

It sounds pretty horrible on average already.....what am I missing?

Si

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Post by list_lurker » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:05 am

I have some sympathy with Lance. I raised this sme while back, but I've settled down to the effect now. I think the issue is that you generally don't get too many modifiers to the COH test as the winners. You are only getting ~2 elements in contact, so in impact 2 (or) 4 dices at ++ (3's). Typically you've got to get 3 hits to get a 1per3. So, you are getting -1(1p3), -1(more than 2), -1 (disrupted). So you are typically looking for a 9 (before you get any +'s) You've got a ~35% of success? Doesn't sound catastrophic which being charged in the flank 'does'...

It does feel bad when your legions (already on a ++ frontally) charge a flank (and get no benefit!) and the dodgy foot throw a 9 and get away with it!!

I don't think its really an issue. It just means you still have to be a bit lucky to get a sweeping victory

Simon

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Post by shall » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:38 am

So, you are getting -1(1p3), -1(more than 2), -1 (disrupted). So you are typically looking for a 9 (before you get any +'s) You've got a ~35% of success? Doesn't sound catastrophic which being charged in the flank 'does'...


10s is 6 in 36 = 18%
9s is 10 in 36 = 28%
8s is 15 in 36 = 42%
7s is 21 in 36 = 58%

So its qute carefully set at present. You get DISR - always, and then could get any of 2 others. So tests are typically 1/3rd at -1, 1/3rd at - -, and 1/3rd at - - - in my experience. Without generals or rear support that gives you a 42% chance of passing, 28% and 18% depending on the outcome of the charge. Roughly a 30% chance of standing up to a flank charge with just a DISR result, about 70% of ending up FRAG or worse.

Higher chance if you get more round and get 4 dice in a then the mix is more like 20% 30% 50% in terms of result. Then its getting down into the low 20%s.

We will give it some more thought. Perhaps its should be more devastating still. Of course the ideal is to be able to charge the front at the same time or shortly afterwards for that extra -.

Si

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Post by lanceflint » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:26 pm

To clarify the example that we had in our game:

My Arab lancers, shock troops, were in single rank line as were the Lombards, this only gives the attacker 2 dice at impact and three in melee for what should have been a shattering flank charge.

Generally it is all covered very well - until - small numbers of dice are thrown, which is further exagerated by Superior troops, especially if led by generals!

Despite average rolls on both sides this combat dragged on for the rest of the game, another 4 or 5 turns with neither side even Dis.

Hence my suggestion for double dice in the impact phase for flank charges?

Lance.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:18 am

I would just like to note that flank charges aren't always as devastating as we might think.

A good example is Adrianople where the Roman left flank infantry were charged by the Gothic cavalry and continued dogged resistance for a long time (possibly hours depending on your view of Ammianus' account) and the result was really determined by the fact they were also engaged to their front.

Cannae is not dis-similar.

My pet theory on flank attacks is that if those attacked survive the initial shock (physcal and moral) of the attack they are often able to fight on quite effectively.

Whether this is best done through the Impact phase dice - as per Lance's suggestion - or a CT is an interesting point.

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Post by shall » Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:07 pm

Lance

Just to check now I understand better.

Did you contract/expand in melee? You should have had 3 bases in the melee phase?

We will give the idea of a 4 dice minimum for flank and rea charges somethough.

However, you can get lots of elements in at time sand this is a crushing attack......I once surrounded Terry with troops and hit him on a flank and all across the rear with 5 Bases - on an 8 base spear block 2 deep. That would be 20 dice under your proposal!!! Sounds a lot. The again maybe I like it - 10 hits on average for 2 bases.

Si

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Flank Attacks

Post by lanceflint » Sat Dec 23, 2006 5:26 pm

My Arabs were in single rank, so had two dice at impact and 3 in melee. I still believe that the effect should be far greater given the perfect charge - but accept that when a huge attack goes in the target will get broken very quickly- but why not? They could only drop two levels that phase anyway, so if well formed could not be broken simply by the charge?

Lance.

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Re: Flank Attacks

Post by hammy » Sun Dec 24, 2006 5:26 pm

lanceflint wrote:My Arabs were in single rank, so had two dice at impact and 3 in melee. I still believe that the effect should be far greater given the perfect charge - but accept that when a huge attack goes in the target will get broken very quickly- but why not? They could only drop two levels that phase anyway, so if well formed could not be broken simply by the charge?

Lance.
When a BG is charged in the flank by non skirmishers it is automatically disrupted. If you win the combat by 2 and manage 1HP3B then they have to roll 6 or more to not break on impact.

I certainly wouldn't want ot be charged in the flank but I have seen BG's hit win the flank combat due to silly dice :(

Hammy

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Post by shall » Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:19 am

I guess the issue here is one of what we are looking to achieve. Do we want a system where a flank charge is a certainty or soemthing that is more 75/20/5 in odds for win/draw/lose.

Thus far we have steered away from having safe bets for 2 reasons:

1. It makes the game less challenging and real if anythig is a certainty.
2. While it might be nice for us competition old guard, its less fun for the masses and its good to give a chance for the top dogs to get rolled over even if they get into a great position.

views? E.g. hammy mentioning silly dice? Is that bad, good or ok?

Si

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Post by hammy » Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:41 pm

FWIW I have done some stats on flank attacks. The following figures are for a BG of the type listed at the top of the columns charging a BG of average troops in the flank. I have assumed that both BG's are only 6 bases so that a 2-0 win is 1HP3B. Thinking about it I haven't actually accounted for the extra minus 1 on the CT where there is a 2-1 result but the figures below are still going to be close to the actual outcome.

Elite Superior Average Poor
Att F, Def D 0.02% 0.15% 1.17% 2.00%
Both D 0.52% 1.83% 3.84% 6.24%
Def D 55.80% 61.00% 64.27% 64.05%
Def F 30.24% 26.03% 21.95% 19.95%
Def B 13.41% 10.99% 8.78% 7.75%

From these figures it definitely seems that most of the time the only effect of a flank charge is to disrupt the enemy (which is automatic) but that there is a reasonable chance of getting a FRG or even a break on impact. The chance of the attacker being mauled is not high (about 5% for average vs average)

I am not convinced there is anything wrong with the above although larger BG's will be more resillient so perhaps the four dice rather than two idea might be worth a pop.

I will try to redo the stats with 2-1 results considered and also look at the impact of four dice each (which would actually be four versus three because of the auto disruption.

Hammy

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Post by hammy » Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:01 am

Things are a touch quiet at work so I did some more calculations. They all assume the attacked BG is average and different attacker qualities are across the columns.

The corrected figures for a 2 dice each flank attack are as follows:

Code: Select all

Combat outcomes
        Elite     Sup      Avg	   Poor
-2       0.14%    0.55%    1.23%    1.68%
-1 1HP3  2.19%    3.84%    4.94%    5.28%
-1       0.55%    2.19%    4.94%    6.72%
0       18.11%   24.28%   29.63%   32.00%
+1       8.78%   15.36%   19.75%   21.12%
+1 1HP3 35.12%   26.89%   19.75%   16.60%
+2      35.12%   26.89%   19.75%   16.60%

End result
       Elite	  Sup      Avg      Poor
AF, DD  0.07%    0.34%    1.58%    2.60%
Both D  0.80%    2.26%    4.25%    6.50%
Def D  49.63%   55.90%   60.15%   60.43%
Def F  33.17%   28.27%   23.59%   21.33%
Def B  16.34%   13.23%   10.43%    9.14%
And if the initial impact was rolled with 4 dice vs 3 they would be:

Code: Select all

Combat outcomes
        Elite     Sup      Avg     Poor
-2       0.02%    0.19%    0.69%    1.13%
-1 1HP3  0.33%    1.42%    3.29%    4.45%
-1       0.01%    0.11%    0.55%    1.02%
0        2.68%    7.12%   12.80%   15.91%
+1       0.14%    1.01%    2.93%    4.26%
+1 1HP3 11.85%   18.62%   22.68%   23.47%
+2      84.97%   71.53%   57.06%   49.77%

End result
        Elite     Sup      Avg      Poor
AF, DD   0.01%    0.11%    0.78%    1.55%
Both D   0.11%    0.65%    1.86%    3.23%
Def D   31.54%   36.30%   41.69%   43.81%
Def F   42.75%   39.89%   35.79%   33.32%
Def B   25.59%   23.06%   19.88%   18.09%
I suspect that a mechanism where a flank charge by elite troops has a better than 25% chance of instantly (i.e in the impact phase alone) breaking an enemy BG and even poor troops manage it 18% of the time makes flank attacks far too good.

Yours

Hammy

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Post by shall » Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:40 pm

What you then need to do is add the melee round assuming full width for the flank attackers - should be 4 dice vs 3 at best. Often at 0 POAs. But this usually forces another test with the -1 for DISR already. So the 2 phase outcome is alreay rather worse and this is what matters.

PS did you already take the -1 for DISR from the cohesion test for impact.

Si

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Post by hammy » Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:15 pm

shall wrote:What you then need to do is add the melee round assuming full width for the flank attackers - should be 4 dice vs 3 at best. Often at 0 POAs. But this usually forces another test with the -1 for DISR already. So the 2 phase outcome is alreay rather worse and this is what matters.
I will see if I can factor in the melee combat too but that is more complex as I am doing perfect calculations rather than running a monte carlo.
shall wrote: PS did you already take the -1 for DISR from the cohesion test for impact.
Si
Doh!

No, I didn't :( I will recalculate with the extra -1 for DISR to the flanked BG.

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Post by hammy » Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:26 pm

This is the updated 2 dice vs 2 dice results.

Code: Select all

AF, DD  0.07%    0.34%    1.58%    2.60%
Both D  0.80%    2.26%    4.25%    6.50%
Def D  39.38%   46.62%   51.92%   52.76%
Def F  33.90%   29.55%   25.24%   23.09%
Def B  25.85%   21.23%   17.01%   15.05%
The extra -1 makes a lot of difference.

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Post by shall » Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:45 pm

That's better. Reconciles better now with a few test cases I did myself. The Melee round has a big effect so overall pretty nasty as is I suspect you will find.

Si

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Post by hammy » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:21 am

Trying to work out the melee phase has gotten me thinking about what happens when a BG is hit in the flank. If you have a BG of say 4 bases in a single rank that charges another BG of four bases in one rank in the flank then when the charged BG turns to face it will be a column of 4 bases and will be able to expand to a 2 by 2 block, this means that the charged BG could easily have the same number of dice as the chargers in the melee phase. That doesn't feel right to me, perhaps this is where others are encountering issues?

Should a BG that has been hit in the flank be able to expand on the same turn that it turns to face?

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Post by shall » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:18 pm

We could limit it further but at best that gives 4 vs 3 at best with DISR. Sometimes 6 vs 3 if the charging BG is 6 bases or Kn or Ch. Let's see what you make it after the melee phase assuming 4 vs 3 dice. The key in AOW is to win combats and even at that the odds are decent.

Si

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Post by hammy » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:28 pm

shall wrote:We could limit it further but at best that gives 4 vs 3 at best with DISR. Sometimes 6 vs 3 if the charging BG is 6 bases or Kn or Ch. Let's see what you make it after the melee phase assuming 4 vs 3 dice. The key in AOW is to win combats and even at that the odds are decent.

Si
The problem is that the melee phase can very easily be 3 vs 3 dice if a BG in one rank is hit in the flank by a BG in one rank.

The attacking BG gets 1 base in contact and one either side. The attacked BG gets 2 files of 2 bases and as it can choose which side to expand on there is a good chance that the attacking BG will not have 2 bases in contact plus 2 overlaps.

I will do the sums assuming 4 dice vs 4 (modified for DISR etc.) but I am not convinced this would normally be the case in such a situation.

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Post by terrys » Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:34 am

If you hit a BG in the flank, you have a good chance of winning the combat and forcing a 2nd drop to FRG.
If you don't force the a 2nd drop, you'll still be on 4 dice to 3.

You should consider that because this is a turn based game, it's sometimes unfair to the non-phasing player, because he may actually see your flank attack coming and turn to face before you hit. We don't model this, but leave the vagueries of the dice to sort it out.

The best way to beat an enemy is to hit him frontally at the same time as the flank, you'd then likely have 8 dice to 3 in the melee, with an additional POA in your favour.

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