Elephants, Disorder and Dice Reduction

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alcibiades
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Elephants, Disorder and Dice Reduction

Post by alcibiades » Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:32 am

Just finished a game of Late Seleucids and Ptolemaic, great fun, but the following situation came up and my chum and I weren't certain how to resolve it.

Two large Battlelines of cavalry clashed. The unit on my extreme left (Companions) was overlapped by a BG of my opponents cavalry (Galatians) while engaging a BG of Xystophoroi. To take the pressure off, I charged the overlapping Galatians with a 2 stand BG of elephants. It sort of looked as follows:

GGX
GGX
EECC
CC

As we understood it, the elephants would disorder the Galatian BG in its entirety and the two closest elements of Companions as disorder only effects elements and not BG, right? What we weren't certain about is how many dice the Companions would roll. Normally the BG would roll four dice, 2 against the Galatians and 2 against the Xystophoroi. We figured as the disordered elements only had two dice, they would not lose one and that the steady elements could not lose one and that accordingly the Companions would roll 4 dice (2 against each opponent), and the Galatians 3. Did we work that out correctly?

Thanks for the help.

Kent

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Post by carlos » Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:30 pm

That is correct, yes.

alcibiades
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Post by alcibiades » Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:30 pm

Thanks for the confirmation Carlos. However, that really means the Companions are not penalized whatsoever for the presence of Elephants and the consequent disorder.

Kent

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Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:37 pm

alcibiades wrote:Thanks for the confirmation Carlos. However, that really means the Companions are not penalized whatsoever for the presence of Elephants and the consequent disorder.
That's the idea. Thus saving us from having to complicate the rules by excluding cavalry from being disordered by their own elephants. (It's called elegance).

alcibiades
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Post by alcibiades » Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:57 pm

Thanks for the explanation, Richard. Sometimes not the sharpest pencil in the box...:) Of course you are right and it all makes sense now. Elegant indeed.

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Post by jonathanc » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:16 am

rbodleyscott wrote:
alcibiades wrote:Thanks for the confirmation Carlos. However, that really means the Companions are not penalized whatsoever for the presence of Elephants and the consequent disorder.
That's the idea. Thus saving us from having to complicate the rules by excluding cavalry from being disordered by their own elephants. (It's called elegance).
Except according to the rules the BG counts as disordered if it has to take any test presumably, e.g. Complex Move Test, (p 132) which I guess wasn't the intention. However, 'disorder' strangely is neither in the glossary or the index so I may have missed something. I think more elegant would just have been to add the word 'enemy' to the list of things that are disordered by elephants and camels. It seems oddly negative logic to write rules that say friendly cavalry are disordered (when they aren't in reality) but it just has no effect. In fact, if you want to get into it, it probably ought to say 'enemy knights, etc..... , unless they have the specific disordering troop type (elephants or camels) in their own army.' If you want to model the disordering effect of horses unaccustomed to these troop types accurately you need these distinctions, in my view. Otherwise just build it into the combat factors. I have a vague memory of a general who introduced elephants to his cavalry, even though they didn't have them in the army so as to avoid this effect? As the rule stands, elegant it ain't.
Jonathan

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Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:01 am

jonathanc wrote:As the rule stands, elegant it ain't.
Your privilege to think so of course.

However, it was not our intention that there should be no effect on friendly cavalry at all, just less than on the enemy. You have already pointed out the effect on CMT. Also if you put elephants on both sides of a BG of your cavalry, they will lose dice.

The effect is the effect we intend.

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Post by jonathanc » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:00 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
jonathanc wrote:As the rule stands, elegant it ain't.
Your privilege to think so of course.

However, it was not our intention that there should be no effect on friendly cavalry at all, just less than on the enemy. You have already pointed out the effect on CMT. Also if you put elephants on both sides of a BG of your cavalry, they will lose dice.

The effect is the effect we intend.
OK, my apologies, I stand corrected, if that was the intention. You are saying that horsemen ARE disordered by elephants and camels on their own side. I didn't get that from your original response on this thread, but if that is your stance, then the rules do reflect it. I have to say that I don't believe that this is entirely accurate for armies that had cavalry as well as camels and/or elephants. Surely lots of Arab cavalry would be pretty much used to camels; likewise Indian, Burmese, or Thai cavalry to elephants.

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Post by shall » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:16 pm

Indeed exactly designed for this effect.

So actually there is a big benefit in putting 4 El together as you can then disorder potentially 6 width of enemy and if you have foot next to them yourself there is zero effect on you. If you put mounted next to them then your don't change your odds of winning but you add risk if you lose. All quite deliberate.

Si
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Post by jonathanc » Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:04 pm

shall wrote:Indeed exactly designed for this effect.

So actually there is a big benefit in putting 4 El together as you can then disorder potentially 6 width of enemy and if you have foot next to them yourself there is zero effect on you. If you put mounted next to them then your don't change your odds of winning but you add risk if you lose. All quite deliberate.

Si
Yes, I understand the game mechanism and I now understand that it was deliberate - but is there a historical basis for most armies with elephants and/or camels having their own horsemen disadvantaged by their proximity (apart from elephants running amok)?

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Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:17 pm

jonathanc wrote:Yes, I understand the game mechanism and I now understand that it was deliberate - but is there a historical basis for most armies with elephants and/or camels having their own horsemen disadvantaged by their proximity (apart from elephants running amok)?
We don't believe that the horses in armies with elephants were necessarily completely immune to the effect of their own elephants, and clearly the degree of any such immunity would vary from unit to unit depending on their training and habituation to elephants. In particular we didn't want to get into some sort of lists based (and points costed) elephant immunity (or camel immunity) - which would ultimately have to be speculative for many lists. (It's been done in the past, and frankly, it didn't work well). So we designed the rules so that cavalry are only mildly affected by their own army's elephants - and if you use them correctly the effect really is minimal.

You are at liberty to disagree with our interpretation of history, but the rules do achieve what we intended them to achieve, without a lot of complexity. Avoiding unnecessary complexity is one of the big design objectives of the rules. There is no end to the refinements that can be added if complexity is not an issue. Degrees of elephant immunity didn't make the cut.

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Post by shall » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:06 pm

FWIW I have seen Sri Lankan horses working around elephants rather uncomfortably, and you would get much more familiar than that as they are near them every day.

Very happy with the balance we have, although as RBS says not everyone is going to agree with us on everything - it would be a boring old world if you all did.

I find the idea that Indain horses are slightly affected and French Knights are fully so seems to me more realistic than nothing and all.

SI
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Post by jonathanc » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:08 am

shall wrote:FWIW I have seen Sri Lankan horses working around elephants rather uncomfortably, and you would get much more familiar than that as they are near them every day.

Very happy with the balance we have, although as RBS says not everyone is going to agree with us on everything - it would be a boring old world if you all did.

I find the idea that Indain horses are slightly affected and French Knights are fully so seems to me more realistic than nothing and all.

SI
Sadly I was going along with the responses from yourself and Richard until this one. Part of my point is that the Indian horses are fully affected to the same degree as the French knights if there are elephants in the opposing army. I accept (without agreeing with) the explanation abouit elephants in your own army having a bit of an impact and the French can't have elephants so it's always going to be enemy elephants for them. But I think it should also be only a bit of an impact if you have elephants and there are elephants in the opposing army.

I take the point that you could write endless rules about the effect of elephants and camels on horses, and that you wanted to reflect this effect and keep it simple - and I am all in favour of keeping it simple. But it's really not massively additionally complex to say 'this isn't the case if you have elephants or camels in your army,' if you are trying to model the effect at all.

Jonathan
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Post by philqw78 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:40 pm

I think the effect of being directly attacked by elephants would be far worse on cavalry than working near them. Having never seen an elephant charge a mass of cataphracts tho I wouldn't know for sure.

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Post by carlos » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:47 pm

jonathanc wrote:Sadly I was going along with the responses from yourself and Richard until this one. Part of my point is that the Indian horses are fully affected to the same degree as the French knights if there are elephants in the opposing army.
They are. If you play Indian vs Indian or any matchup where both sides have elephants, they still affect the enemy in the same way.

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Post by lawrenceg » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:10 pm

jonathanc wrote:
shall wrote:FWIW I have seen Sri Lankan horses working around elephants rather uncomfortably, and you would get much more familiar than that as they are near them every day.

Very happy with the balance we have, although as RBS says not everyone is going to agree with us on everything - it would be a boring old world if you all did.

I find the idea that Indain horses are slightly affected and French Knights are fully so seems to me more realistic than nothing and all.

SI
Sadly I was going along with the responses from yourself and Richard until this one. Part of my point is that the Indian horses are fully affected to the same degree as the French knights if there are elephants in the opposing army. I accept (without agreeing with) the explanation abouit elephants in your own army having a bit of an impact and the French can't have elephants so it's always going to be enemy elephants for them. But I think it should also be only a bit of an impact if you have elephants and there are elephants in the opposing army.

I take the point that you could write endless rules about the effect of elephants and camels on horses, and that you wanted to reflect this effect and keep it simple - and I am all in favour of keeping it simple. But it's really not massively additionally complex to say 'this isn't the case if you have elephants or camels in your army,' if you are trying to model the effect at all.

Jonathan
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While horses may become familiar with friendly elephants, their riders would also be familiar with what panicking elephants can do to their own army - and this would make them pretty nervous of friendly elephants (not to mention enemy ones).
Lawrence Greaves

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Post by frederic » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:15 pm

philqw78 wrote:I think the effect of being directly attacked by elephants would be far worse on cavalry than working near them. Having never seen an elephant charge a mass of cataphracts tho I wouldn't know for sure.
I completely agree with this.

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Post by frederic » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:22 pm

shall wrote:
I find the idea that Indain horses are slightly affected and French Knights are fully so seems to me more realistic than nothing and all.

SI
I will add that French Knights are slightly affected if Elephants are in overlap cause they won't loose dice, as the Indian horses walking besides the elephants won't loose dice.

It looks fair to me that only the cavalry/camelry fighting elephants on their front suffer dice loose.

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Post by jonathanc » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:43 pm

[/quote]While horses may become familiar with friendly elephants, their riders would also be familiar with what panicking elephants can do to their own army - and this would make them pretty nervous of friendly elephants (not to mention enemy ones).[/quote]

A fair point but a different point to what we are discussing. Following your argument why doesn't every troop type suffer this problem near elephants or fighting elephants if they know the danger of elephants? The rules themselves distinguish between the disorder effect of elephants because horses don't like them and the combat effect of facing elephants. The latter is surely included in the combat mechanism - all mounted advantages are excepted when fighting elephants for example. The disorder issue is about elephants or camels unnerving horses who aren't used to them. I also accept - see above - that a certain amount of disorder is acceptable from friendly elephants, but I think any combat effect from enemy elephants (i.e. the loss of 1 die in 3) should only apply if your army has no elephants. And to extend the argument, I don't think it is remotely true in Arab armies for camels - horses get used to camels.

Academic I know, since the rule writers have a different view, and the rules aren't going to change, but it was positioned as an elegant rule and I don't think it is. But I'll probably shut up about it now!

Jonathan

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Post by philqw78 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:46 pm

Have you any evidence to back this up?

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