GENERALS

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madaxeman
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Post by madaxeman » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:47 pm

neilhammond wrote:
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
Meeeee too. I was surprised at the lack of a C3 system when I read the rules, and in retrospect I think most of my "erm, not sure about that " points on this board boil down to "generals" seem to principally be doing "non-generally" things like helping units - yep, I know - do complex formation changes and not enough directing the flow of battle though a command and control system. And even with CMTs, I get the impression that the reroll mechanism (combioned with te "failure probably mean a 1 has been rolled) maybe means that unit quality is probably equivalent to having a general close by anyway?

Maybe there are some "complex" moves that can simply be done automatically by having a general in range, and a smaller subset that need the CMT - and a smaller set of "you can do it anyway" moves performed without a general present ?
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Post by bddbrown » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:55 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?
Yes please.
shall wrote: 2. Would testers like to see more restrictions on what BG can do without generals around?
Not really. General units standing around seems a little silly. I think the double move is more than enough to make generals with a BG an incentive - and it makes sense to me - units move around slowly on their own according to local conditions and but with main generals they can react to a wider scope (2nd moves).

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Post by vincent » Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:38 pm

shall wrote:1. Would the testers like us to charaterise generals more than just IC/FC/TC?
From a KISS principle, IC/FC/TC may be enough, on the other hand more varied general could be fun and allow closer simulations in some cases.
shall wrote:2. Would testers like to see more restrictions on what BG can do without generals around?
I would not mind a bit more restrictions, possibly in the form of malus (both on CT and CMT) for troops which are out of control. This would make FC more interesting to field. I fear that few armies will vary from the 1 IC + 3 TC basic combination.
Best regards


Vincent

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Post by rbodleyscott » Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:24 am

I have to confess to being a little surprised at the comments on the "lack of a C3 system".

The C3 system consists of
- The Complex Move test mechanism - in which generals can modify the score by up to 3 - which makes a huge difference, especially to undrilled troops.
- No double moves except with a general.
- The role of generals in rallying BGs disrupted by shooting, thus ensuring that the attack goes in in good order. I have seen many an advance peter out for lack of a general to counteract the effects of enemy shooting.

Perhaps the CMT needs calibration e.g. the general factors could change to
-1 if no general in LOC with command radius
+1 if general with BL/BG
+1 extra if the general in range or with BL/BG is an IC
but the only real difference from the present version would be to make the test 1 point harder to pass. (Which might - or might not - be a good thing).

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Post by jre » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:08 am

Not surprisingly I like the possibility of varied generals, if only as another way to differentiate armies. Once again citing names from the top of my head, it would make a difference in gameplay if the Pechenegs could only have at most 1 close combat bonus general, while the Bulgars had one compulsory and up to 4 close combat generals.

I suppose some of the unhappiness with C3 arises because it is quite easy to pass a CMT without a general if you are drilled (which is one of the points of drilled, after all), so generals are not seen as critical for movement. Double moves are useful mainly at start and for reserve management, something that from reports is not very usual. Rallying a frag unit is not easy, rallying a broken unit is usually impossible unless some favorable conditions crop up, so generals just end up being used in important combats with one left in the back reorganizing disruptions, jumping from one unit to the next.

They do not work as commanders, they work as mobile advantages, like a mobile kampfgruppe in the Eastern front, if I can mix analogies and times. Which I do not mind because I want me to be the commander.

The troops can be difficult, they can be unreliable, they can be heroic. That is why we use dice. I would probably be happier with harder CMT modifiers, but I do not want to lose a game in one die roll (unless there are many dice in it). Yes, we all know about battles where a command did not what they were expected to, or an ally just proved treacherous. But, for me, those are the exception rather than the rule, and that is why they are noteworthy, rather than all those other battles when everything went as expected, which are the ones we will be replaying.

I always feel wargamers tend to focus on exceptions rather than the common cases. Army lists usually help by creating special rules and benefits/difficulties for particular situations. Unreliable allies are one of the most typical. How can you expect to represent a fragmented command with only one commander? You cannot. Therefore all kind of rules and odds to try to represent it, when the obvious solution is to represent unified command by one player, and fragmented commands by several players.

Thinking about this there is one other thing I would prefer, however, which is an extension of the ally general concept, which probably will fall under the apparently attractive idea that will be cut off... Some generals would only command troops in their own command, or even only a certain type of troop. That would force the army to keep a certain organization. Going with classic organization (and 4 generals) that would give three commands and a reserve/c-in-c command. Commanders can be attached (although we keep their influence ranges as they are) to units in their own command and the reserve command, except for the reserve commander that can join any unit in the army. Reserve would be limited to 1/4 of the points maximum, while the other commands have no limits. Deployment, rather than the arbitrary unit distribution we have now (with knights and impact foot somehow always deploying last...) would be by command (although that may remind people of a certain other rules). The commands would be decided at deployment, not at army list design, however, once you know the terrain and the enemy.

Although I do not like the C3 rules in DBM I like how it makes you think in terms of organization structure. And current deployment is to me too flexible. And this would make people less willing to commit a general to a combat if the c-in-c is busy somewhere else.

Jos?©

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Post by nikgaukroger » Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:46 am

shall wrote:
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.
However, to take your valid phalanx commanders point, they did not actually manoeuvre separately on the battlefield on the choice of those named commanders.

In some ways the army of Alexander is a bit of a red herring as unusually we know the names of a lot of his junior officers in way we never do with legionary legates, etc. (for example 35 unnamed tribunes died at Adrianople and these could all have been BG leaders in AoW terms). This gives a distorted impression IMO.

However, it may be best to leave this until Usk now :D

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Post by shall » Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:02 pm

shall wrote:


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.

However, to take your valid phalanx commanders point, they did not actually manoeuvre separately on the battlefield on the choice of those named commanders.

In some ways the army of Alexander is a bit of a red herring as unusually we know the names of a lot of his junior officers in way we never do with legionary legates, etc. (for example 35 unnamed tribunes died at Adrianople and these could all have been BG leaders in AoW terms). This gives a distorted impression IMO.

Good one to kick around further at Usk as you say....

On ICs we take the view that just because history doesn't list them it doesn't mean they didn't exist. This is because there is a lack of documented history attached.

The Alexander case may be unusual in that it is better documented, but are you really suggesting that 10 clans of Briton Warband did not have 10 clan leaders heading the Battle Groups with some independence of command under a general plan. Your point on the Romans is that the generals existed in those armies and this I agree and many seemed named - it is my reading of the Roman battles that the main battle leaders were the preators, legates, magistrates etc. working under the Consul. These started with general orders and then the Roman senior commanders took charge if local to the action to alter these.

So they did indeed manourvre on their own intiative under general orders as far as I can see. The senior general then stepped in if these orders needed to change. Roman generals stayed close to them but behind the lines to do this. Now if by manouvre you mean re-deploy then I agree with you.

This to me is matter of drawing the right boundary between a simple move and na complex move. A simple move is representing what a BG may be reasonably expected to do under their own steam if need be. A complex move is something they woudl find difficult to do this way and need help with.

I must say I find myself presented with puzzling two propositions from the same data that I struggle to see co-existing: if Alexander is of leading companions and not leading the other troops in the centre or wing he has taken charge then...
1. Exactly who is leading the other BGs? It's not his other main generals as they are miles away on the other flank.
2. And how are they not doing so independently if Alexander is already involved in a fight and clearly not leading them?

It therefore seems to me that:
  • Once deployed most of the fighting took place under the leadership of the BG commanders until such time as a change of plan was needed
    The senior generals altered and influenced this by getting near to the action or even taking over the command of BG
One way to reflect the above on the tabletop would be concentrate the effect of the major generals so it is harder to CMT pass without them.

Another idea might be to have:

IC +4/3/2/1 for with, 4MU, 8 MU, 12 MU
FC +3/2/1 for with, 4MU, 8MU
TC +2/+1 for with, W4 MU

Combined with a higher threshold to pass this puts more C&C pressure on the generals once the armies are engaged.

Another dimensions is to increase the things one needs a CMT for. Non-shock charging might be one. An extreme version the other way would be that BGs can only go directly forward without a CMT. Then you will all feel the C&C effect very much as no generals nearby no manouvre.

Perhaps therefore it is just about striking the right balance on these in terms of how many are taken and how easy they are too fail. It feels like we may first want to make them easier to fail unless the generals are close or with the troops.

One thing that I am wondering reading the posting is whether the implicit C&C system we have in place is feeling more effective to the people who have played a lot and less so to those who haven't. Could we add the number of games played to comments in this stream for a bit. It would help interpret the comments. I think this may be important as peoples use of generals evolves as they get used to the rules and clearly having chosen and implicit rather than explicit chain of command concept one might wonder about it on first read.

Its an improtant one to get right over Usk and the folloing week or so.

Si

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Post by madaxeman » Fri Jan 19, 2007 7:58 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:I have to confess to being a little surprised at the comments on the "lack of a C3 system".
The C3 system consists of
- The Complex Move test mechanism - in which generals can modify the score by up to 3 - which makes a huge difference, especially to undrilled troops.
- No double moves except with a general.
- The role of generals in rallying BGs disrupted by shooting, thus ensuring that the attack goes in in good order. I have seen many an advance peter out for lack of a general to counteract the effects of enemy shooting.
OK - this may be a perception issue but :
Complex moves - thats not "command and control", its clever formation changes in tactical situations. Or, put another way, "So, generals are there to help me do cheesy Reigatey things eh?" - which is hardly going to help sell the rules to some !
Double moves - makes not a lot of difference after the 2nd turn IMO
Rallying - yep, "a" function of generals in most wargames, but not that common, and more importantly, not that "sexy"

It's not easily recognisable as "C3" to me as currently written
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Post by rbodleyscott » Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:15 pm

madaxeman wrote:It's not easily recognisable as "C3" to me as currently written
Excellent, so at least something in AoW isn't an easily recognisable re-cycled rip-off of 7th/6th/DBM/WAB/Warhamster/Shock of Impact/Chess/Pacman. :wink:

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Post by madaxeman » Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:27 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
madaxeman wrote:It's not easily recognisable as "C3" to me as currently written
Excellent, so at least something in AoW isn't an easily recognisable re-cycled rip-off of 7th/6th/DBM/WAB/Warhamster/Shock of Impact/Chess/Pacman. :wink:
There are similarities to Star Wars Lego on Ps2 though 8)
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Post by shall » Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:33 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
I have to confess to being a little surprised at the comments on the "lack of a C3 system".
The C3 system consists of
- The Complex Move test mechanism - in which generals can modify the score by up to 3 - which makes a huge difference, especially to undrilled troops.
- No double moves except with a general.
- The role of generals in rallying BGs disrupted by shooting, thus ensuring that the attack goes in in good order. I have seen many an advance peter out for lack of a general to counteract the effects of enemy shooting.


OK - this may be a perception issue but :
Complex moves - thats not "command and control", its clever formation changes in tactical situations. Or, put another way, "So, generals are there to help me do cheesy Reigatey things eh?" - which is hardly going to help sell the rules to some !
Double moves - makes not a lot of difference after the 2nd turn IMO
Rallying - yep, "a" function of generals in most wargames, but not that common, and more importantly, not that "sexy"

It's not easily recognisable as "C3" to me as currently written
Pretty interesting Tim. My view is evolving to needing to alter some expressions and tighten some control.

1. Rallying is perhaps not the best word. Rallying is more equated to rescuing broken troops. What our generals are mainly doing is bolstering the front line as it shows cracks and hesitation. This does seem to be one of the biggest jobs a general used to play. Rallying broken troops is pretty rare. I think i have rallied 6 Bgs in total so far from Broken.
2. Complex Moves. I see this a bit differently but then its not what I feel that matters!! BGs run on general orders from deployment until they need a change. So they can do simple things they would do under local command and where local intiative would suffice. Only when something unusual is needed does the senior general need to step in. I am thinking that we need to make the differentiation higher. In early versions we had a lot more CMTs so the C&C effect of this was much higher. We now have less tests which is good for game speed, but probably need the generals to have more effect on all these moves thereafter. Its is probably too easy to pass without a generals +s therefore. As for Reigate cheese we have made a discernign effort to melt as miuch as possible. So it may be Tim cheese if you have found some we haven't.
3. Double moves as you say is only a big deal early in the game unless you have a reserve. Then it is a big deal anyway.

There are lots of other C&C mechanisms we could try but they do tend to get laborious by comparison. Explicit command structures we wanted to avoid as they are that realistic - especially over several games. Generals did create wings/centres etc. for rthe battle in questions many times and switch commander around at times too. Some of course were habitually in the same place doing the same things. We could of course re-insret this so that your command general gives you pluses and nobody else does.

The most literal is having orders for BGs and then allowing senior generals to change these orders But this is very very heavy in practice in any version I can think of so far - but all ears if soemone has an easy version. Sadly this is what real C&C looked like and this is why it is hard to replicate on a tabletop in an easy way.

Still we like a good puzzle to solve.....we will be able to take stock of the general opinionm better after Usk. All good stuff.

Si

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Post by nikgaukroger » Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:41 pm

madaxeman wrote:
It's not easily recognisable as "C3" to me as currently written
Might be worth examining what C3 you think happened on an ancient/medieval battlefield.

I'll throw out some thoughts and see if anyone has any other ideas.

Army arrives in the vicinity of the enemy and it is clear that a battle is going to take place.

The night before the C-in-C meets with his senior commanders - who may be legionary legates, tribunes and the primi pili or the taxeis commanders or major nobles, etc - and they decide hwat the battle plan is going to be, where the army will deploy, in what order and what the plan of attack is going to be. This plan may be based on a traditional deployment such as the standard Greek one or based on a written plan drawn up some time before such as the Somme plan or its Burgundian counter part.

On the morning/whatever of the battle the commander leads out the army and oversees the deployment and (probably) hurries people aling. Lesser commanders do same for the troops they directly command be it legio, taxeis or local following.

Depending on culture a sacrifice may be made, etc. by the commander at this point. (Some good Greek examples)

At some point the commander signals "the off" which may be the recall of the skirmishers who may have covered the deployment (Romans possibly here).

Now what happens?

Some commanders join the front ranks and fight as a common soldier and exert no more influence - Greek hoplite leaders.

Some command a reserve or strike force - such as Alexander - however, exert little or no influence over the rest of the battle.

Some like Paulus ride up and down behind the front line monitoring and managing but don't actually fight. However, the majority of the army will just get on and fight as the general cannot cover that much ground too quickly due to the limitations of his transport. Caesar at the Sambre is also another good example of this where he goes and re-orders units that are in trouble but cannot cover the whole field.

The comanders of the legiones, taxeis, etc. make sure that they are following the batleplan they have been told about. They are responsible for the running of their "unit" and very rarely do anything but follow their instructions - the tribune that turned 20 maniples around a Kynoskephalae was unusual, practically unique, which compares with Alexander's taxeis leaders who didn't/were unable to do anything about the gap that was created in the phalanx at Gaugamela.

Commanders sometimes get messages about what is happening on other parts of the field - Alexander at Gaugamela - however, distances involved often mean that they cannot really react.

We occasionally hear of generals halting routing units - Julian at Argentoratum - however, these are not troop leading types.

Generals sometimes lead/call for reserves - Sulla in one of his battles leads a few cohortes and the Batavi were called for at Adrianople (but had fled) - so this is something triggered by a general (who presumably would not be fighting).

Despite all the above I'm not sure there is a picture of a vast amount of C3 going on on any single ancient/medieval battlefield.

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Post by vincent » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:47 pm

shall wrote:2. Complex Moves. I see this a bit differently but then its not what I feel that matters!! BGs run on general orders from deployment until they need a change. So they can do simple things they would do under local command and where local intiative would suffice. Only when something unusual is needed does the senior general need to step in. I am thinking that we need to make the differentiation higher. In early versions we had a lot more CMTs so the C&C effect of this was much higher. We now have less tests which is good for game speed, but probably need the generals to have more effect on all these moves thereafter. Its is probably too easy to pass without a generals +s therefore.
I agree, reducing the current levels required to pass the CMT would be a good move, especially if the general bonus means that the probability of passing the test remains the same, or even better, in the presence of a general.
Best regards


Vincent

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Post by petedalby » Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:52 pm

shall wrote:
2. Complex Moves. I see this a bit differently but then its not what I feel that matters!! BGs run on general orders from deployment until they need a change. So they can do simple things they would do under local command and where local intiative would suffice. Only when something unusual is needed does the senior general need to step in. I am thinking that we need to make the differentiation higher. In early versions we had a lot more CMTs so the C&C effect of this was much higher. We now have less tests which is good for game speed, but probably need the generals to have more effect on all these moves thereafter. Its is probably too easy to pass without a generals +s therefore.
I agree, reducing the current levels required to pass the CMT would be a good move, especially if the general bonus means that the probability of passing the test remains the same, or even better, in the presence of a general.
I agree with this point on Complex moves too.

The other simple thing to consider is the IC's skill in deploying the army. Should an IC be able to move one or more BGs after deployment in response to the opponent's deployment?

Pete

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Post by donm » Sat Jan 20, 2007 10:22 pm

The other simple thing to consider is the IC's skill in deploying the army. Should an IC be able to move one or more BGs after deployment in response to the opponent's deployment?

Pete
If you have a reasonable number of cavalry, the chances are you will have the initiative with an IC general and so be deploying last anyway. Also it would allow players to recover their deployment mistakes.

This also looks very similar to an idea in DBMM.

Don M

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Post by petedalby » Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:41 am

If you have a reasonable number of cavalry, the chances are you will have the initiative with an IC general and so be deploying last anyway. Also it would allow players to recover their deployment mistakes.
I guess you're on a slightly different version to me as I'm not going to Usk.
This also looks very similar to an idea in DBMM.
Having never played DBM or DBMM I wouldn't know. I'm just looking for a better return on my investment of 80 AP.

Pete

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Post by donm » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:00 pm

Having never played DBM or DBMM I wouldn't know. I'm just looking for a better return on my investment of 80 AP.

Pete
With the extra + on COH tests, better command radius and + for game set up, I think you are already getting value for money.

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Post by durrati » Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:49 pm

Will not be at Usk so thought I would put a fnal comment here about generals.

Think the discussion around 'lets have more types of generals' is missing the point. To things that I feel should be discussed are

1. The role of generals in ancient battles - the debate of C3 in an ancient battle.

The second point is one that has not been discussed s the 'feel' of the generals in the game. I know this sounds a bit wishy washy but it is important. I suppose it is to do with the 'suspension of disbelief' which is important in playing toy soldiers.

So, with my elite cav I do not think of it as 'cav, superior, drilled, bow, swordsmen'. I think of them as 'my kick arse mongols' (I know that the list says tartar but as far as I was concerned they were the warriors of Genghis Khan'

Same with say Roman Legions - do not think of them as a list of factors but as, well, the Legions of Rome - I scorn your puny barbarian attempt at war.

Generals however, I do think of as a mobile +1 on CMT. Or as a useful boost for a unit in combat. Does not just seem right for what should be the most important base in the army......

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Post by shall » Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:18 am

Interesting point on feel. Something we were aiming at throughout was to make the troops feel right. We certanly want to get the same for the generals. My legionaries feel like legionaries so if we can get the generals to feel like Paulus or Scipio great.

Nik's posting on what C3 actaully happened is very much along the lines of my beliefs too. Many battles wer fought around the generals not by them....with them having a localised personal effect in the fray.

To clarify on scounting our belief is htat being an IC had a big effect before the battle in terms of choosing when and where to fight and making this happen. So Ic+2/Fc+1 for your c-in-c and +1 or +2 for mounted scouts. So an IC ha a big effect on this now.

The team is going to spend some time n generals adn C?? at Usk while the comp is running. Lots of ideas we need to kick around before coming back. Any more views will be great to feed into this debate.

Si

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Post by donm » Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:35 pm

I am not sure why I would want it, but is it possible to have two IC generals?

Don M

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