Test game: Dominate Romans vs Picts

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lawrenceg
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Test game: Dominate Romans vs Picts

Post by lawrenceg » Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:04 pm

Test game: Dominate Romans vs Picts

Version 5.01 with changes published 16th March 2007 and a further change to artillery (2 dice in close combat at POA -)

I had the Romans, Lance Flint had the Picts.

Significant terrain was a forest half way along my left short edge, a steep hill in the middle and a gentle hill on my right about 15" from the baseline.

I deployed 2 x legionary BG and one Aux Palatina, each 9 bases including 3 supporting LF archers in the gap between the forest and steep hill, with an arty BG on each side of the line. A couple of poor MF units were set back from this line. 4 x cavalry were behind the line with a general. 4 x poor LF archers and 6 x Alan superior LH bow sword were opposite the steep hill and 4 x LH javelin (Equites Illyricani) and 4 x cavalry were on the gentle hill to guard the flank.

Lance placed a huge force of skirmishers backed up by MF spear to go over the steep hill. My main battle line was faced by 2 BG of 6 x saxons and one of 4 x chariots. 8 x Attecotti were poised to attack through the forest.

Phase 1.

Lance advanced on my right in overwhelming strength. I pulled back my LF and Alans to avoid them getting shot to bits. My force on the gentle hill advanced, then charged LH to their front. The LH opposite my cavalry evaded, those opposite my LH stood and put a general into the front rank. These soon routed my LH.

My cavalry charge took them past the flank of some spearmen on the steep hill, who passed a CMT and turned to face them, pinning them in the restricted area. On their next move the spearmen charged the cavalry from behind. We both expected the spearmen (MF average unprotected Dspear in column to rout my cavalry (Cav superior armoured LS sword) with the flank charge. However, they lost the combat and were soon routed by my (by this time fragmented) cavalry. LH then charged my cavalry in the flank and broke them.

On the other flank, two groups of LH faced my artillery and one stood around long enough to get broken by the artillery shooting. It fled to the baseline but rallied there.

Phase 2.

Attecotti charged out of the woods into my cavalry on the other flank. Spearmen charged off the steep hill into my artillery and routed it.
Other troops swarmed forward to get around my right flank.

My cavalry/Attecotti fight ended with no damage on either side and my cavalry broke off. With 4 bases against 8 I didn??™t fancy charging in again, although I had POA in my favour (with hindsight the odds probably favoured me).This allowed the Attecotti to charge my artillery and rout it.

I had lost 8 AP out of 12 and was totally outflanked, so it was all over bar the shouting.

Phase 3.

I had pulled the Aux Palatina out of the main line and turned them to face the spearmen that had been fighting my artillery. The spearmen turned to face me, but I charged anyway. This fight went for several bounds, my auxilia getting fragmented. My Alan LH then charged the spearmen in flank, which changed the POAs seriously in my favour. LF archers then charged my LH in the flank. Luckily they did not do enough damage to cause a CT for me. The spearmen then broke and many surrounding units failed their CT and/or were burst through.

Meanwhile, one legionary BG had charged the two groups of Saxons. It was 6 x superior HF Armd IF SS vs 12 x superior HF Prot IF S. With some good combat dice I won the impact and melee. Both Saxon units rolled 3 on their CT and both routed. A nearby LH BG saw the rout and also rolled a 3, taking it to Fragmented. None of these routing units had lost any bases.

The other legionaries charged the chariots (which evaded) and then got shot at from several directions, causing the loss of 1 base, but no cohesion effect.

We had been playing for over 5 hours (still lots of rule-reading) and stopped at this point.

I had lost 8AP from 12, Lance had lost 11 AP from 15.


Issues:

MF in a wood had to pass a CMT to advance a short move to the wood edge. Seems a little harsh, but probably not worth worrying about.

Expansion in combat - can you take elements currently fighting as an overlap and expand them on the other side to face off an enemy overlap? On p34 the first bullet suggests that you can??™t, but the 4th bullet implies that you can. I suspect the intention is that only bases with no combat dice can move, in which case this should be made more explicit.

We had one incident where a long line charged at an angle onto a small target. When they wheeled on to conform, the unengaged end of the line swung an awful long way. It looked a bit unrealistic. There were no side effects, but if there had been other units around, the loose end could have swung into a position where it was vulnerable to a flank charge.

Intercept charges. Although it is possible to work out that the intercept charges move before the declared charges, we felt this ought to be made more explicit.

Fighting after a flank charge. I had a unit charged in flank (not in front as well). The one element contacted turned to face the attackers in the impact phase. The remaining ones did not turn. In the melee phase the attacker conformed and contacted another of my elements. We could not find any rule saying that my element had to turn to face, but we assumed it should. Two elements not contacted also did not turn to face. Could they still fight as 2nd rank in melee? With hindsight I think they should have turned to face as a "Reform" in the movement phase.

A couple of times we had BGs broken due to being charged. We were not very certain about whether to fight a round of impact combat or just take a base off, or both, or neither and only remove a base if the pursuit stays in contact. If pursuit maintains contact into the melee phase, do we fight melee, take a base off or both? Does the BG rout from the melee? (we thought it would wait until the interbound as it did not break in the melee phase). We thought it would be useful to have a summary table of when to take bases off and when to do rout moves.

Cavalry LS versus MF IF in impact phase. The POA worked out as follows:
IF + for vs non-shock mtd
Cavalry + for vs MF in open. No net POA so + for mtd LS
So the MF impact foot were still overall worse in the impact. Just checking that this is as intended.

On a couple of occasions I had enemy LF to the rear of a mixed BG of HF with LF supports. Could the enemy charge my BG as they would be contacting only the skirmisher bases?

On another occasion I turned such a BG 90 degrees resulting in ranks of:
(front) 2 HF, 2HF, 2 LF, 2HF, 1LF.

This was shot at from behind as a LF target and from the side as HF(armd). It lost a base so I took off the LF (cheesy ?). Now I was a fully armoured target from behind, but Lance then worked out that one of the sandwiched LF was a priority target for one of the side shots. As far as I can see, the only constraint on a 90 degree turn is that the front rank must be of the original front rank type, so I could have made a hard shell of armd HF when I turned. (Much later: I see there is a rule on P40 to cover shooting at a mixed target, but it wouldn??™t cover the case where the rear rank was mixed)

In one melee I had a swordsman fighting enemy to his front, but he was attacked by enemy to his flank. Did the sword count as a POA against the flank attacker? I thought it did, Lance wasn??™t so sure because I was not fighting back. What if I was, say, steady spear in 2 ranks? I think the POA would still apply as there is nothing to say the POA counts only to the front.

We nearly had a charge, not counting as flank, which hit the flank of a column somewhere near the back. If I had done that charge, then after impact I think I would have moved back about 5 element depths and shifted sideways a whole base width to conform to the front of the column. This seems a long distance to move.

In both the case above and the long line wheeling in to conform, the need to conform seems to lead to some unrealistically large movements. As conforming is not necessary for combat, wouldn??™t it be simpler and more realistic to drop the idea of conforming (but allow stepping forward) or maybe make it optional? I imagine this must have been tried before, what were the problems? By the way, the current rule for overlaps doesn??™t quite work for the non-conformed condition. The excess bases in contact that are dropped should count as overlaps and need to be at the end of the line. Bases further extending the line on that end cannot be overlaps.

We had skirmishers charging skirmishers who evaded exposing non-skirmishers to the charge. We played it that the chargers stopped 1 MU away although this is not the current rule.

Luck seems to be a big effect in this game. At the end of phase 2, I was all-but defeated, but in one bound I completely turned things around. In general Lance feels AOW is too luck-dominated and he mentions this EVERY time we talk about the game.

Comments:

Based on this game, skill and numbers can certainly compensate for inferior troops.

Supporting LF have a bad press in this forum. I certainly never had the opportunity to shoot with them so the cost of the bow was wasted. On the other hand they boosted the BGs from 6 to 9, so I had to lose 3 for 1 HP3B or 25% , 5 for 1 HP2B. Also they fight at front rank POA in melee (albeit only half the dice), which would have helped my Auxilia (once they had lost an element) if I had remembered it.

So front rank 4 MF
second rank 2 MF + 2 LF
3rd rank 1 LF

would be quite an efficient formation. Even better for legionaries where 12 points gets you a dice that would normally cost 15 points.

On the other hand, not taking any LF would have given me 54 points, = 2 legionaries and 2 Aux Palatina and 4 points to spare.

I took 3 x FC. 1 FC and 3 TC would have been more useful. In fact 4 TC would have been more useful.

We both thought it would be useful to have summary tables of:
  • When to take off bases and when to move in rout/pursuit;
    The rules for skirmishers charging (allowed, CMT needed, prohibited).
We have a suspicion that shooting against soft targets is too effective, but against hard targets it is not effective enough. This may be why it is proving difficult to get shooting balanced.
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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:29 pm

Luck seems to be a big effect in this game. At the end of phase 2, I was all-but defeated, but in one bound I completely turned things around. In general Lance feels AOW is too luck-dominated and he mentions this EVERY time we talk about the game.
It's a point of view, and certainly it is possible for luck to overturn an advantage and combats to go against the odds. Part of the skill of the game, presumably, is in mitigating the effects of such bad luck.

OTOH I have yet to see a game where the overall victory did not go to the side with a better overall plan / matchups. Inevitably, however, when honours are roughly even, luck will decide the issue.

The results of the two beta-test tournaments strongly suggest that skill significantly outweighs luck, as those who would have been expected to do well in a DBM tournament also did well in the AoW tournaments. (Except for those who deliberately brought "wonky" armies and/or had not played before).

IIRC some of the early comments on DBA/DBM were that it was too dependent on luck.

What do others feel? Does the luck element reduce as one becomes more familiar with the system?

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Post by lawrenceg » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:14 pm

I forgot to mention an army list question:

The Dominate Roman list notes say at least half the non-allied BG must be average or poor.

The Alan mercenaries are not allied, so I assumed they were included in the total for this purpose.

This seems contrary to the intention as they are not formal Roman Army troops.

While it is reasonable to suppose that only half of whatever Roman Army units could be scraped together to meet the present crisis would be above average, it is less plausible that another good quality Roman unit could be found by hiring some average mercenaries, or that one would be sent away if superior mercenaries were hired. Well, I suppose it could be rationalised.....
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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:22 pm

Not worth worrying about IMO and it is cleaner without an exception. The Huns can be average anyway and I can give you an argument that they could be a "regular" Roman unit - for example the documented Unnigardae.

Mind you I am wondering if the 50% restriction may be a bit harsh for a large part of the period of this list.

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Post by lawrenceg » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:02 pm

Mind you I am wondering if the 50% restriction may be a bit harsh for a large part of the period of this list.
My army is nominally that of Constantine III so the restriction is entirely appropriate. It does seem a bit harsh for Constantine I though. Mind you, once you have bought a few average LH, independent LF and artillery you are already quite close to 50%.

According to a Pallas Armata pamphlet* I have, two of Constantine III 's subgenerals were captured and executed, but their replacements were both considered to be extremely good, which caused much consternation in the enemy camp. This could be a case for having the CinC as TC, SG as 2 x IC.

* "The tyrants of Britain, Gaul and Spain AD 406-411", Edward A Freeman, first published in English Historical Review, 1886.
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Post by nikgaukroger » Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:50 am

lawrenceg wrote:
Mind you I am wondering if the 50% restriction may be a bit harsh for a large part of the period of this list.
My army is nominally that of Constantine III so the restriction is entirely appropriate. It does seem a bit harsh for Constantine I though. Mind you, once you have bought a few average LH, independent LF and artillery you are already quite close to 50%.
This is the bit that makes me think it might be OK :) If anything I want the mounted troops in this list to usually be the lower quality BGs compared to the infantry as their historical performance was often less than stellar. The army should still be an infantry based force after all.

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Re: Test game: Dominate Romans vs Picts

Post by hammy » Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:16 pm

lawrenceg wrote:Expansion in combat - can you take elements currently fighting as an overlap and expand them on the other side to face off an enemy overlap? On p34 the first bullet suggests that you can??™t, but the 4th bullet implies that you can. I suspect the intention is that only bases with no combat dice can move, in which case this should be made more explicit.
The wording is "May expand it's frontage to get extra bases fighting" I have always taken the extra to be the key word here. If you have an overlap of one base moving it to frontal contact won't get extra bases fighting.

You are probably right that it could be clearer.
Fighting after a flank charge. I had a unit charged in flank (not in front as well). The one element contacted turned to face the attackers in the impact phase. The remaining ones did not turn. In the melee phase the attacker conformed and contacted another of my elements. We could not find any rule saying that my element had to turn to face, but we assumed it should. Two elements not contacted also did not turn to face. Could they still fight as 2nd rank in melee? With hindsight I think they should have turned to face as a "Reform" in the movement phase.
Hmm, I thought I was going to be able to quote a rule to sort this one out but I can't find it either. This may need fixing.
Cavalry LS versus MF IF in impact phase. The POA worked out as follows:
IF + for vs non-shock mtd
Cavalry + for vs MF in open. No net POA so + for mtd LS
So the MF impact foot were still overall worse in the impact. Just checking that this is as intended.
That is my understanding. Light Spear cavalry have not gotten any worse against MF impact foot at impact but Bow/-/Sword cavalry have.
Luck seems to be a big effect in this game. At the end of phase 2, I was all-but defeated, but in one bound I completely turned things around. In general Lance feels AOW is too luck-dominated and he mentions this EVERY time we talk about the game.
As I play more games I am feeling that luck is less important. Yes come combats don't go the way you expect but in DBM there was always the good old 6-1. I was a touch miffed when my superior pike led by a general charged superior spear on a one element frontage and proceded to lose both the impact and melee phase depite being a POA up in both. Dropping to fragged as a result was the icing on the cake :(

I think that the best way to minimise luck is to go for bigger combats. It seems to me that in a 2 dice vs 2 dice combat there is a significantly bigger chance of an upset compared to 6 dice vs 6.

Hammy

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Post by lawrenceg » Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:01 pm

[quote = "Hammy"]I think that the best way to minimise luck is to go for bigger combats. It seems to me that in a 2 dice vs 2 dice combat there is a significantly bigger chance of an upset compared to 6 dice vs 6.
[/quote]

Yes, there are mathematical reasons why this is the case.
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Post by hammy » Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:34 pm

lawrenceg wrote:
Hammy wrote:I think that the best way to minimise luck is to go for bigger combats. It seems to me that in a 2 dice vs 2 dice combat there is a significantly bigger chance of an upset compared to 6 dice vs 6.
Yes, there are mathematical reasons why this is the case.
I figured that there were but couldn't be bothered to do the hard stats.
Easy stats are fun but this falls into hard stats in my book :)

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Post by lawrenceg » Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:17 pm

A couple of times we had BGs broken due to being charged. We were not very certain about whether to fight a round of impact combat or just take a base off, or both, or neither and only remove a base if the pursuit stays in contact. If pursuit maintains contact into the melee phase, do we fight melee, take a base off or both? Does the BG rout from the melee? (we thought it would wait until the interbound as it did not break in the melee phase). We thought it would be useful to have a summary table of when to take bases off and when to do rout moves.
Having studied the relevant rules (5.01) I've come up with (my italics):

1.

p26. Being charged when FRAGMENTED. ...if they BREAK as a result of the test, they make an immediate rout move before the chargers are moved.

p36. Initial routs. An immediate rout move takes place at the end of the phase in which a battlegroup breaks.

These two are not consistent.

2.

p37-38 All Pursuits... pursuers who have lost contact with routers... can choose to renew the pursuit by charging the routers again ... No combat is fought but the routers will again lose a base per enemy BG in contact at the start of each interbound.

p38 Pursuers who remain in contact with a routing enemy BG at the end of a pursuit move:
* inflict 1 base loss on the routing battlegroup for each battlegroup in contact with it. (No other combat occurs against routers. This is a simplification to avoid the need to use the the normal combat resolution rules.)

These two are not consistent.

3. If a fragmented BG passes its CT and stands to recieve a flank charge, it drops to BROKEN. Do we still need to fight an impact combat?

P38. No other combat occurs against routers. This is a simplification to avoid the need to use the the normal combat resolution rules.
If the BROKEN BG counts as routers (although it hasn't made a rout move yet) then this covers it.

On the other hand, the combat table states "BROKEN.....No Dice" which implies an impact combat is fought.


Looks like these rules need a bit of a tidy up.

I would suggest:
  • Only one of the terms "BROKEN Battle Group" and "ROUTERS" should be used, or it should be made explicit that these are synonyms.
    A shooting BG inflicts one base loss on a Broken BG instead of resolving shooting.
    A charging BG does not inflict any loss on a Broken BG in the impact combat.
    No losses are inflicted on a broken BG in melee combat.
    If a FRAGMENTED BG becomes broken through failing a CT when charged, it makes its immediate rout move before the chargers are moved.
    If a BG becomes BROKEN for any other reason, it makes its immediate rout move at the end of the phase in which it became broken.
    A pursuing BG inflicts 1 base loss on a Broken BG if still in contact at the end of an immediate or interbound pursuit.
    A Broken BG cannot shoot, charge, pursue, loot a camp nor inflict hits in close combat.
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Post by rbodleyscott » Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:03 pm

lawrenceg wrote:Looks like these rules need a bit of a tidy up.
Yes it seems that there are a few fossils there.

The intention is that no shooting or combats should ever be adjudicated vs broken troops. The only time that routers should lose a base is at the end of a rout move if pursuers are still in contact.

This being the case, I think the authors eventually came to the conclusion that there was no need for FRAGMENTED troops that fail a CMT when charged to make an immediate rout move - it should be at the end of the phase. They will only lose a base if they fail to outdistance pursuit. Perhaps this would seem less odd if the cause of the test was not "being charged" but "being contacted by chargers".

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Romans and Picts

Post by lanceflint » Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:53 pm

Well you have got to be a little weird to use Unprotected Undrilled Defensive MF Spears!

My comments upon the amount of luck that appears in many games is largely due to the way battles can so suddenly swing, which has been noted by the authors and significantly reduced throughout the newer versions.

This may well seem very attractive to many players and will go a long way to further the fun of the game.

Speaking Pictish`lly I probably got carried away with the early success in our game and pushed my lighter troops too far, suffering the consequences. No doubt more hard bitten generals will operate to reduce the potential for disaster?

Still it was a good game.

Lance.

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Post by lawrenceg » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:50 am

rbodleyscott wrote:The intention is that no shooting or combats should ever be adjudicated vs broken troops. The only time that routers should lose a base is at the end of a rout move if pursuers are still in contact.

This being the case, I think the authors eventually came to the conclusion that there was no need for FRAGMENTED troops that fail a CMT when charged to make an immediate rout move - it should be at the end of the phase. They will only lose a base if they fail to outdistance pursuit. Perhaps this would seem less odd if the cause of the test was not "being charged" but "being contacted by chargers".
I think you are right, there is no strong reason why the rout should not wait for the end of the phase like any other rout. As for testing for "being charged" or "being contacted by chargers", it all depends on whether you want to give them the opportunity to evade and thus avoid the CT. I would suggest not, on the basis that an evade by fragmented troops is likely to degenerate into a rout.
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Post by shall » Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:32 am

2) If pursuers contact another routing BG when pursuing another (having, for example, previously lost contact with the first BG), do they inflict a base loss on the one just re-contacted at the end of that pursuit move (even though they weren??™t pursuing them)? (This can happen if they hit another enemy when pursuing, break it on impact, and then hit the other routers again in the initial pursuit of the second BG.)

I am easy either way on this, but we need to clarify it one way or the other.
#

And it also keeps the chargers busy routing. In practice we are not simualting them running away the minute the enemy shout charge but more likely crumbling and panicing as the impact gets close. Most line sbreak at the last minute in a panic not immediately.

On luck....

It is an explicit objective of the authors to make the rules have more local swings in them to give several effects:
  • More excitment for all
    A bit less dominance of the competitions by a few players
    More realistic challenges as a commander
    A need to have a good overall plan rather than relying on the certainty of winning one micro combat and evolving from there
Our hope it that this will give a more attractive overall balance. Testing so far suggests that the better players will still tend to win out overall but not with quite such certainty and never by knowing some fidlly bit of cheese to trap the opposing C-in-C that othe other guy didn't know. Speaking personally whenever I have moved into full competition mode playing a game I have found plenty of room for skill to take over- but its a different type of skill - overall plan. timing, speed. risk management. I have however never felt fully safe...I rather like this.

Si

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Post by lawrenceg » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:09 am

Hammy wrote:I think that the best way to minimise luck is to go for bigger combats. It seems to me that in a 2 dice vs 2 dice combat there is a significantly bigger chance of an upset compared to 6 dice vs 6.

I figured that there were (mathematical reasons) but couldn't be bothered to do the hard stats.
Easy stats are fun but this falls into hard stats in my book :)

Hammy
The hard stats work out as follows

Code: Select all

	 % prob of losing combat (average troops)				
Dice	2 	4 	6 	8 	10 
POA
++ 	11	 9	 7	 5	 4
 + 	19	20	19	17	16
 0 	31	36	39	40	40
 - 	44	56	62	67	70
-- 	59	74	82	87	80
This table is for average fighting average with the same number of dice.
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Post by adrianc » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:04 am

Hmm.. Does this mean that an 8 base unit facing 2 identical 4 base units is more likely to lose than if facing one 8 base opponent? (Irrespective of the opponent(s) chance of losing)

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Post by hammy » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:40 am

adrianc wrote:Hmm.. Does this mean that an 8 base unit facing 2 identical 4 base units is more likely to lose than if facing one 8 base opponent? (Irrespective of the opponent(s) chance of losing)

Adrian
I don't think so. The chance of the 8 base BG being beaten by two 4 base BG's should be exactly the same as it loosing to an 8 base BG. The chance of one of the 4 base BG's losing is I think significantly higher than an 8 base loosing but the chance of both 4 base BG's loosing is going to be lower than that of an 8 base one loosing.

The real problem with 4 base BG's is that once they lose a single base they are 25% down which is a different subject.

Hammy

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Post by lawrenceg » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:46 am

adrianc wrote:Hmm.. Does this mean that an 8 base unit facing 2 identical 4 base units is more likely to lose than if facing one 8 base opponent? (Irrespective of the opponent(s) chance of losing)

Adrian
No, the chance of losing depends on your own BG size and the total number of dice relating to your BG, not on what you are fighting. To lose you just have to take more hits than you gave. It doesn't matter who you hit or got hit by. An 8 facing two 4's still rolls 8 dice altogether and has 8 dice rolled against it, hence the same chance of losing as an 8 facing another 8.

The two 4's chance of losing is different from that of an 8. Also each 4 could lose independently of the other.
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Post by rogerg » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:39 pm

Is it right that the possibility of a smaller number of dice getting an extreme result is more likely then a large number? Four dice getting four 6's will be more likely than eight getting eight 6's. In which case, one of the 4's is more likely to fail than the eight. This would leave the surviving four at a bit of a disadvantage. However, given the benefits of the larger number of BG's, I don't think we really have to worry about this.

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Post by jre » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:06 pm

It depends a lot on the troops and what you expect of them. I like a lot a pocket size Nikephorian Byzantine with 10 BGs and 36 elements. But the army I want to test right now, a Burgundian Ordonnance, has also 10 BGs but 64 elements. And one BG is Artillery!

Jos?©

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