Making the steppe more welcoming

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nikgaukroger
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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:28 pm

andy63 wrote:
Also lawrenceg mentions Grahams Dom Roman swarm,something got to be done about this army, its so powerful and hard to beat.You may think i am whining which i probably am but all i think you need to do is make the Auxiliary BG min 6 not 4.
Otherwise its going to get like the days when the DBM Patrician was the army what most of the top players used all the time. :cry:
Except they didn't - its a myth based pretty much on the McNeils.

Some did whilst others used things like Ugaritic, Fanatic Berber, Medieval Portuguese, etc.


I am not alone on this people like Bruce Brown voiced the same opinion at last years last round of the SOA doubles.
Yup, played that with the Hepthalite Huns (which whilst interesting I don't think are a great army) and drew (well 9-11 IIRC due to number of BGs in the army). I can see how it works but it wasn't so fearsome that it needs defanging IMO.

Excellent player (Graham) + Dominate = very very good combo - but not used much by others in comps as yet.

As I said before if it turns out to be too good when Joe Spod uses it I agree something will need looking at, until we have such evidence I'm happy to let it roll. Also as I said before I suspect that when used by Joe Spod the issue with it may be it is hard to break rather than it wins all the time (like the old Patsy) - mind you I've broken 19 BG armies with 12 BG ones so maybe not.
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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:32 pm

babyshark wrote:
Fair enough. But that strategy guarantees that there will be 2-4 pieces of crud terrain on the board. There is sure to be one or more of them that the opponent can use. That has been my experience.
True, however, having a reasonable amount of experience using steppe this leaves vast swathes of clear terrain - and the pieces of crud are a gully, 2 brush and a broken (usually) which if minimum size are not much of an issue.



I don't have the rules handy, but even taking four minimum-sized terrains (plus a max-sized Open as the mandatory) I believe that there are still some terrain picks for the opponent.

Marc
There are - mostly Broken which doesn't affect LH and as the loser of the PBI places 2nd they can easily not fit unless smallish.
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Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:37 pm

andy63 wrote: Apart from making Graham's Dom Rom Swarm even more powerful....

Also lawrenceg mentions Grahams Dom Roman swarm,something got to be done about this army, its so powerful and hard to beat.You may think i am whining which i probably am but all i think you need to do is make the Auxiliary BG min 6 not 4.
Otherwise its going to get like the days when the DBM Patrician was the army what most of the top players used all the time. :cry:
I am not alone on this people like Bruce Brown voiced the same opinion at last years last round of the SOA doubles.
Andy. :(
Sorry, I should have written
Apart from making Graham's Dom Rom Swarm even more powerful.... :wink:
Judging by the comments of other top players here, it is Graham that needs handicapping, not the army.

And the DBM Patrician army was used by more fair-to-middling players than top ones, usually with fair-to-middling results.

Personally, I think all this wrangling over detail on how to change the terrain is a waste of electrons. Yes, Nik's suggestion or any of the variants will make a very small difference to battles between low initiative MF armies and high initiative steppe armies. The details don't matter. The only thing that will significantly change the balance is giving the MF player the ability to place four 16 MU rough terrains without interference.
Lawrence Greaves

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Post by sagji » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:41 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:
sagji wrote:
EDIT:
Having looked at the description of the battle I don't think it is a plausible steppe battle - only Attila would pick steppe, he would pick a minimum size hill, which could end up in the middle. However the description of the battle implies the Roman's command fought on the hill, which would need it to be a big hill.

The reality is that a terrain generation system that is meant to provide something for two equal point armies to fight over cannot actually generate a lot of historical battlefields. Don't get hung up on it, focus on what it is supposed to do.
You brought it up as an counter example for restrictions on use of steppe - so if it won't be generated (of a reasonable approximation thereof) from steppe but could be from say agricultural, or urban, then it isn't a meaningful counter example.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:55 pm

I mentioned it as an example of why steppe is not necessarily best considered the true steppe - not as an example of what can be generated to replicate a real battlefield.
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Post by david53 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:07 pm

philqw78 wrote:You pays your points and makes your choice. If you want terrain that suits you pay for hi PBI. If you don't care take low PBI, if your army can't fight in terrain used in open comps play scenarios or closed comps or change your army. Why change the rules. It seems to me people are just wanting their favourite army to do better.

I for one hope there is no change, as Phill states you don't have to fight a LH army?

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Post by petedalby » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:41 pm

Personally I think it is way too early to be proposing this kind of change.

Pete

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Post by timmy1 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:56 pm

I agree with Pete (nothing odd in that) and Nik (which IS unusual). I don't think there is a 'killer army issue', nor is there a terrain issue, I think that there is a 'Graham' issue. If we could have a rule that all players called Graham get no terrain or initiative choice, it might make for a better game. (Large Smiley)

I think that there is another way to look at it, following the Aussie DBM model. Are there any armies that almost NEVER get taken to a competiton? If the answer is yes, then we need to look at what they have in common and see if we need to fix it from that side. If, say, by end of 2009 there are 5 or 6 undrilled MF armies that have NEVER been used in comps more than twice but all other lists have been used 10 or more times around the globe, that might tell you more about what needs to change. Also, if it was found that only armies with initiative of +4 were winning anything, it might be worth a look. I don't expect that it will show that way but...

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Post by expendablecinc » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:20 am

Being lured onto the step is fine. The technique to be avoided is having the player that really doesnt want terrain selecting it to be on the table knowing that they are deying it to the other player.

I think its a great idea to swap priority of terrain selection

Anthony
jcmedhurst wrote:Mind you, if they are that upset by it they could always buy an IC of their own, which with most armies gives a +3 vs +4, also the current system does do Carrhae and all those Mongol battles where the enemy was lured onto the steppe.

Perhaps alternate picks of available pieces might work better, with the winner of the PBI going first, this would reduce the opportunities for 'gaming' of the terrain table, which is the real problem I think. The rules should work to avoid the 'sure thing', since predictability allows someone to build an entire strategy and army around a particular setup or outcome.

I still remember the first time I gave up DBM, when my opponent had terrain that covered precisely 49% of the board, none of which could be moved, with war wagons closing the gaps.

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Post by expendablecinc » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:26 am

I dont think its complaints that are to be avoided anyway.

Its trying to reduce the tiger army effect. I know there have been lots of discussions about which troop type or armies are best and agree that there is nowhere near the evidence for any of this yet but within certain army types it is more clear.

The issue here that I think is the effect of the terrain rules are:
- If you are taking a mobile mounted army make sure it has steppe available.
- This is similar to the principle of low agression no steep hills armies in DBM (such as later hungarians)
philqw78 wrote:
if it stops people complaining,
That is not going to happen no matter what you do

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Post by Spartacus » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:42 am

Something that the authors must never forget is that when they release a list or a ruleset that they don`t go into changes that easily, Unless they are a blatant mistake. You all must remember that people spend a lot of money and time buying and painting their figures to set lists and are basically unable time or moneywise to change that easily.

I don`t suggest that the rules are set in stone but they surely cannot be altered because of dislikes of this or that.

Wargaming is and always should be a good way to spend some time with friends and not a case of "The best army wins"

So if you don`t like the rules to suit your Army then adopt adapt and improve.

I have made so many good permanent friends due to wargaming over many years and none of us have a mindset that winning is all.

Terry.

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Post by expendablecinc » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:51 am

I think the concept of invader and defender may solve this problem neatly.

Proposal:
If you win initiative you get to choose whether to invade (pick terrain from the opponents list) or defend (pick terrain from your own list).

Attackers pick terrain choices first. You could still keep the sequence of placement the same as it is.

This way as a steppe army you might still choose to defend and elect the fight to occur on the steppe (dictating the location of the battle) but you are only limiting terrain via this selection rather by artificially choosing terrain.

In any of the solutions you'd need to consider the converse example Swiss.
If they won initiative adn selected moutains the invader woudl be able to pick first (maybe picking little hills and woods to deny them to the swiss) woudl this be a problem? Probably not as there will still be som many option available to terrain types other than steppe.

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Post by CrazyHarborc » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:50 am

Normally, when I roll to place my terrain.....it all (all but 1 piece) of my terrain is rolled/placed in my opponent's half of the field/table. About the only time I have more terrain is when my opponent has his turn at rolling/placing his on my side of the field.

THAT said, my regular opponents and I do like the terrain picking and placement FoG system. As of now (since July 08) very few if any of our games have been between armies that didn't have the SAME terrain choices to pick from. Lately we have discovered that too much terrain is the biggest pain in the a.. Our solution has been to use less terrain. :wink:

IMHO, tactics win more battles than terrain placement (terrain placing IS random placement in FoG). Well unless it's my pieces. :?

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Post by BlackPrince » Fri Jan 16, 2009 6:47 am

Terry I aggree with you 100% well said.

Keith

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Post by Baldy » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:24 pm

Id just like to agree with Terry. For most gamers it's the game not the rules.

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Your place or mine?

Post by zoltan » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:34 am

How many times did Attila (and sundry other impersonators) chose to fight western armies on "his" steppe? Wasn't he coming down off his high steppe and invading their geography? Unless two horse archer armies are clashing, or indeed a western army is heading east, it seems unusal that horse archers would fight on steppe. They came from the steppe in search of loot in the non-steppe areas.

Thus a number of us horsey types are deliberately underpowering our PBI so that we fight at your place - we'd rather move first in your terrain than move second in ours.

:)

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Re: Your place or mine?

Post by david53 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:17 am

zoltan wrote:How many times did Attila (and sundry other impersonators) chose to fight western armies on "his" steppe? Wasn't he coming down off his high steppe and invading their geography? Unless two horse archer armies are clashing, or indeed a western army is heading east, it seems unusal that horse archers would fight on steppe. They came from the steppe in search of loot in the non-steppe areas.

Thus a number of us horsey types are deliberately underpowering our PBI so that we fight at your place - we'd rather move first in your terrain than move second in ours.

:)

Its not terrain that wins battles.

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Re: Your place or mine?

Post by MCollett » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:32 am

zoltan wrote:Thus a number of us horsey types are deliberately underpowering our PBI so that we fight at your place - we'd rather move first in your terrain than move second in ours.
Not your fault, but it took me three attempts to extract a coherent meaning from that sentence. 'PBI' is a singularly unfortunate moniker for something that you score higher on by _reducing_ the PBI, in the more usual military sense of that abbreviation.

Best wishes,
Matthew

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Post by timmy1 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:00 am

Having thought a lot more about it, Nik's original idea has a lot of merit. One variation (and I am aware it is more complex but I think fairer) would be:

The side that wins the Pre-Battle Initiative chooses the terrain 'set', e.g. Steppe, developed, etc. The other side (PBI loser) then has the choice of picking the terrain items first or second. If the PBI loser declines to have first pick of terrain items, he gets to choose if he wants to move first or second. If the PBI loser chooses to have first pick of terrain items, the PBI winner decides who has first move.

This still leaves the advantage with the PBI winner, IMO makes for a better game, and has a historical basis. The PBI winner is the general with the strategic control. Within that, the tactical deployment determines what happens next. If the PBI winner wants to choose exactly where to fight, the PBI loser has the tactical advantage of kicking off first. If the PBI winner is looking to take the fight to the enemy, the enemy chooses the tactical location but surrenders local initiative.

As an example, take Issus. Under the current system, Darius has PBI, and would get to choose the majority of the terrain on the battlefield. Alexander moves first. Historically ok but not perfect. Under the proposal above, if Darius wins the PBI, Alexander can choose to fight with terrain more to his choosing but surrender first strike (e.g. Darius crosses the river while Alexander trys to find the best place to fight), or he can fight on a battlefield Darius's choosing but get first strike. This is not perfect but no worse historically.

The proposal above IS fiddly and would require to be written tightly but it would work. In the end I suspect that in 97 games out of 100, things would be no different from under the current rules but it does give the steppe 'victim' an alternative...

Anyone see a fundamental flaw?

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Post by philqw78 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:05 am

If it is the same 97% of the time its not worth the extra complication

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