GENERALS

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shall
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GENERALS

Post by shall » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:37 pm

Quote:
I'm in agreement with Vincent. There is little or no evidence IMO that Alexander acted in the battlefield manager role in the way that the typical Roman general did - probably as much because it was not in the Greek tradition to do so (if we can sidestep the issue of whther Makedonians were Greek )

IMO cases of generals managing battles in the Roman model and also leading in the Greek model are like hens teeth when you actually look at what happened in large battles. Currently AoW seems to make all generals that exception rather than what was the norm.

I would also suggest that if you split generals more clearly between the Battlefield Manager and Combat Commander types (I changed the name here to avoid "heroic") it would present players with clear cut choices when picking armies and deploying the generals which may be interesting.



I must say I am puzzled by this, but also intrigued so keen to explore it a little more.....

If anything it is the Roman model that is different to the rest of the ancient world is it not? This is in part due to its oringins in sending Consuls out to lead armies, often for just a year IIRC. Are we not in danger of trying to build a logic based on Rome alone? In any case didn't many Roman leaders fight in he front-line at battles - lots of generals came home in body bags IIRC. If they had no effect on the battle its hard to see why they got stuck in.

I am happy with the concept that there are two types of skills - combat and command. In fact I think there are 2 - combat, command, charisma. What bothers me is the idea that they didn't co-exist. It seems logically implausible for that to be the case. This is true right through history from our period, through Napoleon, Patton, Eisenhower, Wellington, Cromwell, Rupert etc.

Everything I see about Alexander tells me has was a great deployer and commander of an army of 14 BGs, not just a combat leader. I am not sure I see the functinal distinction between Alexander and Scipio on this dimension for instance, unless we restrict Batllefield Manger to something called "Battlefeld manager in the style of some famous Romans" Similarly it would be hard to classify Alexanders command skills as no better than a typical barbarian warband leader. I fear it is too narrow a view of what a battlefield commander is therefore.

I like the generic split but it sems to me it is:
Battlefield Commander: a leader who is expert at commanding the manouvre of sizeable part of an army
Combat Commander : a leader whose can lead a charge effectively from the front-line

Speaking from an area I know well I can see samurai generals who were the first, some who were the second, and some who were both. More ideas would be great.

I have started a new Generals topic with these two to make it easier to find. I shall give it some though over he next few days. Nick could you suggest an overall scheme from your views with some Roman and non-Roman examples. ta

Si

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Re: GENERALS

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:48 pm

shall wrote:
Everything I see about Alexander tells me has was a great deployer and commander of an army of 14 BGs, not just a combat leader.
I'll certainly give this more thought but I'll just comment on the above because I think it is important.

Alexander was indeed very good at deploying his army, however, that is not the battlefield management skill I was talking about. After he deployed his army he was with the Companions and led, and inspired them in the decisive charge in the battle. What he did not do was, like Paulus at Pydna, ride around the army issuing instructions, steadying units, etc. and these are the attributes I see of the Battlefield Manager.

AoW has no mechanism to allow Alexander to deploy better than other more mundane generals and so his battlefield attributes can only be represented by how he can inspire troops in combat - however, the rules allow him to also act like a manager.

What, I guess, the design team have to decide is whether they want to represent the style of leadership of various armies in some way so that this can provide some charactarisation between armies or have a more general approach to leaders and leave the actual style of use to the players.

Oh, and an aside about Roman generals going home in body bags. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is a "going down with the ship" mentality - it being seen as a sign of good character - and another is that they did their battlefield management from very close to the fighting in order that they could see what was going on (there is a case in caesar's Civil Wars where an enemy general has his horse killed under him when one of the Xth fells it with a pilum for example). In these latter cases the generals are just behind the front rank units and so within missile range - IIRC Zhmodikov has a few examples in his paper on the Roman use of missile exchanges in warfare.

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Post by jre » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:07 am

I would say that the battlefield commander type of general is at most levels represented by the player, and rightly so in my opinion. So the two main functions are ensuring the troops do as the CinC desires (Double moves, CMTs and Rallies) and supporting the important combats (CT and close combat effects).

Rather than having generals that do both (and a TC is generally enough to manoeuvre a cavalry wing or a three BG infantry block), I would keep the current functionalities, but paid for separately. Make the 4 generals compulsory for 800 points, as almost everyone will be getting them with the current system, and pay for the functions you apply to them, but using only the existing ones. As an example with arbitrary points:

Close combat leader. Can modify the CT of a BG in close combat they are attached with. Raises one level the quality reroll. 20 points.

Poor manoeuvre leader. Affects CMT rolls and double movement of the BG he is attached to. 5 points.

Weak manoeuvre leader. 4 MU range for CMT rolls and BL/double move purposes. 10 points.

Good manoeuvre leader. 8 MU range for CMT rolls and BL/double move purposes. 20 points.

Great manoeuvre leader. 12 MU range for CMT rolls and BL/double move purposes. 30 points.

Poor charismatic leader. Affects CT rolls of the BG he is attached to. Free.

Weak charismatic leader. 4 MU range for CT rolls. 5 points.

Good charismatic leader. 8 MU range for CT rolls. 10 points.

Great charismatic leader. 12 MU range for CT rolls. 15 points.

Inspired. CT and CMT modifier is +2 rather than +1. 20 points.

If allowed freely, we will have the odd result of barbarians focusing on maneuver and close combat leaders while the Romans focus on cohesion and close combat. And most of us would still use 3TC and 1IC, as now (maybe a couple of cheaper close combat only...). There are free generals, but they only modify the CT of the BG they are attached with, so their use is limited.

There are however some interesting rule additions, adding complexity. A close combat leader may turn any BG he is attached with into Shock troops. A leader may cause a CT if lost at a distance equal to its charismatic attribute. And lists may limit some attribute (Warband armies having 3 compulsory and up to 4 close combat leaders but only weak manoeuvre leaders or worse...

That would allow for an inspired leader that sucks at manoeuvre (Harald Hardrada?) and non-combatant inspired commanders (Marcus Aurelius?).

Just an idea to add to the pot, as I will not be at Usk. It does not really change the feel of the generals as we have been using them, just adds the potential of variety and list flavor at the cost of some more army design complexity.

Jos?©

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Post by shall » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:15 am

Jose

This is very close to the idea we started with for the campaign supplement where in addition the generals can grow with experience. We were concernd that such a split is too much for the main rules but it could allow us to model any general in history as the right mix.

What do people think of such a more complex but richer definition of generals?

Si

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Role of the Generals in AOW

Post by arnimlueck » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:39 am

But wasn't one of the leading ideas to "roleplay" the generals? Without giving maybe too many skills to them we could maybe about giving them more tactical tasks than just steadiying troops.

Just dreaming:
- every CMT must be initiated by a general within command range. Every general can only initiate one CMT per bound
- charges can only be done when initiated by a general in command range (maybe than a Battle Line can charge as a whole...)
- all evades other than skirmishers

just everything that goes along the line of a specific general ordering a BG/BL to do something. BL/BG could do only normal moves without a General ordering them to do so.

The obvious downside of following this principle too far is that whole armies could stand still in the most promising situation (if not charging uncontrolled) if the generals are gone. Maybe worth to try a few games where you need a commander to do anything but trotting forward or standing around?
Regards
Arnim

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Post by jre » Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:06 pm

Actually one of the best points for me of AoW is that it avoids the "army standing still for lack of points/luck" of DBM.

Jos?©

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Post by shall » Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:26 pm

This movement block issue is one of the things we set out to avoid. The idea of only doing things with generals has a lot of negatives we find.

Si

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:08 pm

jre wrote:Actually one of the best points for me of AoW is that it avoids the "army standing still for lack of points/luck" of DBM.

Jos?©
I suspect I'm at odds with the majority here but I find the fact you can move any unit one of the turn offs of AoW for me - I like the DBM restriction. However, I expect that the CMT to some degree limits movement which mitigates this a bit.

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Post by plewis66 » Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:49 pm

I'm with Nick on this one. On seeing DBM, one of things that most appealed to me was the concept of pips, and I was initially slightly dissapointed it did not appear in WoW...but having had a couple of goes at AoW now, I also suspect that the CMT concept will substitute.

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Post by hammy » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:08 pm

My experiences so far are that once things start to get stuck in (or nearly so) that CMT's do effectively prevent some things from happening. What you don't get in AoW is the equivalent of a DBM game where you get hardly any PIPs for each of the first two bounds and your opponent gets stacks. Granted you can plan for no PIPs in DBM but you can plan for CMT's too.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:21 pm

What I guess I like about PIPs is that you can have, say, 2 possible moves that may equate to AoW simple moves but if in DBM you only have 1 PIP you have to make a choice. It has a frustration element but I like the skill you need to exhibit in making that choice (or often in my case make the wrong choice). Ah, well, AoW is going down a different route so no use crying over it :D

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Post by vincent » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:49 pm

shall wrote:What do people think of such a more complex but richer definition of generals?
I am in favour of it. I like Jose's proposals. In order to simplify things, you may create some standard type of generals for quick play (e.g. the current TC, FC, IC type) but having more tools to model the general is a good idea IMO.
Best regards


Vincent

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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:10 pm

hammy wrote: What you don't get in AoW is the equivalent of a DBM game where you get hardly any PIPs for each of the first two bounds and your opponent gets stacks.
Does that count as a Hammytastic moment?

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Post by donm » Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:22 pm

I suspect I'm at odds with the majority here but I find the fact you can move any unit one of the turn offs of AoW for me - I like the DBM restriction. However, I expect that the CMT to some degree limits movement which mitigates this a bit.
Not such a small minority, I'am with Nik.
I don't like odd units wandering around the battlefield on 'auto-pilot.'

I like command and control within rules.

Don M

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Post by shall » Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:30 pm

More views please.....

The command and control at present works through the CMT alone but there are many ways of making it more restrictive if we want to. What is interesting is the strength of desire on different things to have in rules more than mechanisms. We have 5 or 6 ways to create more cahracter for generals that we have played with and left out for simplicity. Similarly C&C restrictions can be increased in a number of ways. Both those steps would make generals more important than they are. They already havea lot to do in AOW. Would it be too much?

So more views welcome focusing on two topics:

1. Would the testers like us to charaterise generals more than just IC/FC/TC?
2. Would testers like to see more restrictions on what BG can do without generals around?

Bear in mind for (2) that this is not units running around willy-nilly. Each BG has a general of its own that is just not represented explicitly. This is what you find in all the army designs. So these are not units doing their own thing. They are - to take analogy - divisions acting under a divisional general, rather than being under the army or Corps commanders.

Cheers

Si

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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:41 pm

shall wrote:So more views welcome focusing on two topics:

1. Would the testers like us to charaterise generals more than just IC/FC/TC?
2. Would testers like to see more restrictions on what BG can do without generals around?

Bear in mind for (2) that this is not units running around willy-nilly. Each BG has a general of its own that is just not represented explicitly. This is what you find in all the army designs. So these are not units doing their own thing. They are - to take analogy - divisions acting under a divisional general, rather than being under the army or Corps commanders.
Also please bear in mind that we are trying to avoid creeping complication of the rules.

So far we have managed to avoid succumbing to the usual dictum that "wargames rules start off simple and become more complicated". In fact we have been progressively removing complications from the rules. (Mounted foot bit the dust today - because historically they were used for strategic rather than tactical movement). Several of the things that have been suggested on this board were in the rules at one point, but have been removed in our quest for a "lean mean" set of rules.

The only way to achieve this is to reject all but the very best ideas if they increase the complexity.

It is very easy to say, "oooh, this is a good idea, and not very complicated, and that is a good idea and not very complicated". They soon add up, however, and you end up with a complicated set of rules.

So do not be too dismayed if, after reviewing the suggested changes, we err on the side of simplicity. The beta testers are (nearly) all grognards. The rules, however, are aimed at beginners as well as grognards. We must strike a balance.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:59 pm

shall wrote:
Bear in mind for (2) that this is not units running around willy-nilly. Each BG has a general of its own that is just not represented explicitly. This is what you find in all the army designs. So these are not units doing their own thing. They are - to take analogy - divisions acting under a divisional general, rather than being under the army or Corps commanders.
IMO whether you like it or not a lot of players coming to AoW will think of BGs as Units so you'll have to bear that perception in mind.

I'd also suggest that using an analogy of divisions and corps is anachronistic and unsuitable for ancient/medieval warfare - most of those groupings you have under the BG heading did not act independantly on the battlefield as a division might. (Not, BTW, that I am suggesting movement should be limited to a truly historical level as that would make a dull game, but lets not kid ourselves)

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Post by shall » Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:47 pm

I agree one of the challenges is getting across the BG concept - whatever we do it will always feel like units to some people. My analogy is not so literal.

Nevertheless what I found interesting digging through ancient battles that are decently documented was the common theme that who ever was in charge the army tended to be broken down at funcitonal level under a dozen or so "junior generals", lords, braons, rtirbal leaders, generals, sub-consul officicals etc.. These blocks of troops /units went into battle under the leadership os such a general with a fair bit of local C&C under general orders form the c-in-c. The top general then either sat above this or took over control of a BG themselves. At Granikos for example there are 13-14 named generals who commanded what we term a BG - ie. 4-5 phalanx units, all the Thracians etc. This is part of the point of a BG, albeit a bit hard to get across. So they are far from leaderless but do not have the morale boosting generals of the likes of Alexander or Parmenio allocated to them in general. IIRC even the famous companions were allocated to a "junior general" and Alexander went and joined them when ready to take charge.

So the analogy is certainly out of period and all I am trying to do with it is to make clear that if you play ww2 game you may well have no commanders on table for division and only represent Corps and Army commanders, but this does not mean divisional commanders (experienced generals in themselves) do not exist. Their effect is just merged into the unit level being modelled on the tabletop...if that makes sense. It is way out of period and not intended to be literal. Merely intended to say that what you see on table isn't all that is there and one needs to keep in mind what is subsumed below the level modelled.

It is tricky one. My reading of battle reports throughout the ages is that much of the activity happened around the generals after deployment and they only really influenced what happened by going to the point of interest and taking charge - be that behind the scenes as a Roman or by leaing a cahrge as Alexander did several times.

All that said I am all for thinking through the issues being raised....and an area of interest since the outset has been to make generals as interesting and realistic as possible.

Si

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Post by donm » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:31 pm

2. Would testers like to see more restrictions on what BG can do without generals around?
That a yes from me.

Sorry should have put BG before. It does not matter which we are refering to, the look on the table is that a small body of troops is moving around without the aid of a general. I am sorry but I have always liked the command and control distances in DBM. It was one of the things that attracted me to DBM. I am not sure I want to throw dice to see who can move and who cannot, but I would like to see this element in AoW. Surely if your troops our out of control distance, they are not being encouraged by their general. As I have said before, there is too many cases of troops standing around doing nothing, when their intervention would be critical.

As to the role of the player, no general in history had our veiw of the battlefield or the certain knowledge that thier trrops would perform. Lets not take out the unexpected.

Don M

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Post by neilhammond » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:02 pm

donm wrote:
2. Would testers like to see more restrictions on what BG can do without generals around?
That a yes from me.

Don M
Yes, it is also one of the things I still like about DBM. I wouldn't want it so restrictive that nothing can move without a general, but some restrictions would make sense. It might also encourge people to go for something other than TC, which seems to be the most cost effective option at present.

Neil

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