Making the steppe more welcoming

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timmy1
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Post by timmy1 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:10 am

Phil, that 97% is suspicion rather than fact. However IF FoG is broken it may be necessary to have the complication to 'fix' it. Please note that I am saying IF it is broken. I don't believe it is because of this (it might be in other ways but that is outwith the scope of this thread).

You could well be right...

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Post by expendablecinc » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:03 am

I dont think anyone is actually claiming anything is broken. Just postulating how it could be better. If after a whiel of play you simply dont see horsey armies taken unless they have steppe that may be an indicator.

It seems odd that the terrain rules foster the approach of people picking terrain that they dont actually want.
timmy1 wrote:Phil, that 97% is suspicion rather than fact. However IF FoG is broken it may be necessary to have the complication to 'fix' it. Please note that I am saying IF it is broken. I don't believe it is because of this (it might be in other ways but that is outwith the scope of this thread).

You could well be right...

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Post by timmy1 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:13 am

Exp, some people are claiming FoG is broken in at least 2 ways, I am just saying don't agree. I am sorry I don't understand the comment 'It seems odd that the terrain rules foster the approach of people picking terrain that they dont actually want'. I am not aware of that happening or being claimed.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:18 am

timmy1 wrote:Exp, some people are claiming FoG is broken in at least 2 ways, I am just saying don't agree. I am sorry I don't understand the comment 'It seems odd that the terrain rules foster the approach of people picking terrain that they dont actually want'. I am not aware of that happening or being claimed.

I assume it is the way that, say, the horse archer army player will pick all the grotty terrain as his picks so that he can make them minimum sized to deny his opponent much use of them should they fall where he can use them.
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Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:36 am

the horse archer army player will pick all the grotty terrain as his picks so that he can make them minimum sized to deny his opponent much use of them should they fall where he can use them.
As Nik says, this is the ploy.

And yet steppe territory allows 7 pieces of "bad" going, so even if the cavalry army places 4 minimum sized pieces that still leaves 3 for the other player to place.

3 maximum sized bits and 4 minimum sized bits is bound to be more than 4 maximum sized bits, so as an invincible ploy it is a bit naff.

OK, the 3 bits left are likely to be Uneven and hence not affect LH, but it isn't the LH that the troops who want to use terrain are scared of.

I think you will find, if you talk to any experienced user of shooty cavalry armies, this whole thread is a bit of a red herring. I am just as happy to fight in Agricultural as in Steppe - which is just as well as my Sassanids, Ilkhanids, Ottomans and Later Hungarians aren't allowed steppe anyway. A bit of terrain on the board really isn't a problem for a shooty cavalry army. Check out which shooty cavalry armies are doing best in tournaments - most of them don't have Steppe in their territory list.
Last edited by rbodleyscott on Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:51 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by jlopez » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:44 am

I think the terrain rules are just fine and tinkering with them will not really help deal with the underlying problems. I can't remember how many times the terrain rules changed in DBM but I don't recall it making much of a difference for those using infantry armies.

The open competition is by definition "unfair" to "historical" players as every "competition" player is trying to extract the last ounce of benefit from what he considers the best army list. The fact a lot of players are migrating towards mounted or drilled armies recognises the fact that these armies tended to be more successful historically which the rules reflect on the table-top. I have no problem with LH/cav armies being slippery and almost impossible to deal with by a balanced infantry army. That is what happened and that's what I want reflected on the table-top. There are a lot of artificial ways we can clip the wings of LH/cav armies (reduce table depth/width, more points, longer games, set objectives worth VPs...etc) but at the risk of defanging them to such an extent no one will use them.

We just have to accept that open competitions have always been dominated by certain types of armies at the expense of others and always will be. If we want to change that we have to change the format of the competition rather than the rules. For those who haven't seen it, here is my proposal: viewtopic.php?t=8682&highlight=

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Post by Ghaznavid » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:57 am

nikgaukroger wrote:
timmy1 wrote:Exp, some people are claiming FoG is broken in at least 2 ways, I am just saying don't agree. I am sorry I don't understand the comment 'It seems odd that the terrain rules foster the approach of people picking terrain that they dont actually want'. I am not aware of that happening or being claimed.
I assume it is the way that, say, the horse archer army player will pick all the grotty terrain as his picks so that he can make them minimum sized to deny his opponent much use of them should they fall where he can use them.
Partly I guess, though in some cases (no steppes) I do chose terrain more meant to hinder my opponent then to aid me. Reasoning is simply that useful terrain placed by me is more likely to end up in my opponents half. The base chance is for my terrain choices ending in my opponent half is 50% after all due to placement dice. Then if I place useful bits (like a gentle hill for example) in my half I've the choice of placing it a good deal away from the middle of the table (where it's usually rather useless, unless I take a very defensive stance) or risk that my opponent adjusts it so that he can get in/on first, especially if he gets to move first. Combined this sometimes (usually if I move second) leads me to chose terrain that I don't really want but might be useful for botteling him in or at least don't help my opponent if it ends in the wrong spot.
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Post by madaxeman » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:06 am

Steppe terrain makes for a dreadfully unenjoyable game for a player with a "balanced" army vs a LH army at 800 ap.
Any two "normal" armies usually look very small at 800 ap with no terrain - often leading to a "Benny Hill Music" endgame as odd, isolated units chase each other around a billiard table, which again is no fun.
The Dom Swarm is actually (IMO) an "anti-steppe-LH" army as well, so given we are in apanic about hat, it must mean something about stepp being too good as well.
The ability to combine terrain pieces and the very few bits allowed in steppe lists means anyone facing a step army can find themseves only able to choose two open fields, and deploying them last as well - which is basically no terrain. (Terrain choices for steppe armies : http://www.madaxeman.com/wiki2/tiki-ind ... ge=Terrain) Thats silly.

Fight with 1000 ap, or have themed comps with restricted ary choices, or jimmy the terrain rules - maybe even as a comp specific rule. Any of them would make the game more fun IMO, so should be encouraged.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:14 am

madaxeman wrote:The ability to combine terrain pieces and the very few bits allowed in steppe lists means anyone facing a step army can find themseves only able to choose two open fields, and deploying them last as well - which is basically no terrain. (Terrain choices for steppe armies : http://www.madaxeman.com/wiki2/tiki-ind ... ge=Terrain) Thats silly.
It's also not true. There are 7 pieces of "bad terrain" in the list. Combining one with the gentle hill makes no difference, there will still be 3 left for the opponent.

As previously noted, the fact that Uneven ground does not affect LH and elephants is of minimal importance as MF are not scared of LH anyway, LF will be beaten by LH even in rough going, and few Steppe armies have elephants.

Minimum sized terrain pieces are still at least 4 x 6 MUs. Even if the opponent places them where he feels they can do the least harm, there is a 50% chance of the other player being able to move them. And he still gets to place 3 pieces of his own. If the other player has successful placed his "where they will do least harm" then they are less likely to obstruct placement of the 2nd player's pieces.
Last edited by rbodleyscott on Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:19 am

madaxeman wrote:
Steppe terrain makes for a dreadfully unenjoyable game for a player with a "balanced" army vs a LH army at 800 ap.

Whilst I appreciate where you are coming from here I also think that a number of people have now, for whatever reason, convinced themselves that this is so. Now whilst it is a small sample I have played a number of games of shooty horsey army Vs "balanced" army where both players have had an enjoyable game, more of those in fact that where they have not been (and the best of them being at Rampage last year against Dave Parish who used a well balanced Crown of Aragon army).

I do think it is something that needs to be kept an eye on, but I also think what you say above is an exageration (or a reflection on the Central London players perhaps? :twisted: ).
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Post by philqw78 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:23 am

the fact that Uneven ground does not affect LH and elephants is of minimal importance as MF are not scared of LH anyway,
But HF armies have, in effect, nothing to anchor their flanks on with uneven terrain. So the LH just shoot through without delay. And heavy foot Spear/Pike suffer worse than cavalry in there.

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Post by lawrenceg » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:30 am

philqw78 wrote:
the fact that Uneven ground does not affect LH and elephants is of minimal importance as MF are not scared of LH anyway,
But HF armies have, in effect, nothing to anchor their flanks on with uneven terrain. So the LH just shoot through without delay. And heavy foot Spear/Pike suffer worse than cavalry in there.
If I was a shooty cavalry army facing an HF army, I would slap down as much uneven terrain as I could. With HF moving 2 MU they are never going to catch you.
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Post by petedalby » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:58 am

As we get more proficient in FOG, I wonder if an increase in AP would help iron out some of these wrinkles?

I tried 900 AP of Huns the other day, with steppe, and struggled for room. Now I didn't flank march, but more troops on the table, and maybe a slightly longer playing time might be worth a try?

I'd certainly prefer that than a premature tinkering with the rules / terrain etc.

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Post by Ghaznavid » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:40 pm

philqw78 wrote:
the fact that Uneven ground does not affect LH and elephants is of minimal importance as MF are not scared of LH anyway,
But HF armies have, in effect, nothing to anchor their flanks on with uneven terrain. So the LH just shoot through without delay. And heavy foot Spear/Pike suffer worse than cavalry in there.
So other then the loss of your camp, why bother about those light horse? Not to mention that once you seperated the LH from their Cv support just 2-3 not so good Cavalry BGs can keep several LH BGs occupied. Also once you got terrain to anchor your flanks on with that HF army, then what? Advance until the terrain no longer anchors your flank? Not likely, so it then stay put and stare down the horse boys, hoping he will get bored and charge to his death? Let's face it no matter what you do, there will always be mismatched armies. If you change the rules so that the foot sloggers are pretty much certain to always get enough terrain vs. steppe armies you have just turned the tables, but not solved the problem. And historically speaking, how often did steppe armies fight HF armies in the woods? Even outside the steppes proper, the much more mobile horse boys tended to dictate the battlefield, which usually meant a reasonably open area.

As an aside my experience is that there are enough cases where I wondered if the +4 PBI to ensure getting steppes is a good idea. Often enough I would have gladly traded more terrain on the table for the right to move first.
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Post by philqw78 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:44 pm

Also once you got terrain to anchor your flanks on with that HF army, then what?
Don't know, never used one. I was just putting an argument forward 'cos I could

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Post by sagji » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:23 pm

In other terrain the "defender" gets to pick 5 pieces of terrain - 1 compulsory + 2-4 others, and in most cases these are pieces that could benefit him. In steppe he gets to pick 3 pieces that don't really benefit him and must pick an open - this is a major difference.

I believe the problem is that FoG ignores who is invading who and as a result steppe is available much more often that it was historically.

How many historical examples of an army consisting mostly of "undrilled other" invading the stepps are there?

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Post by expendablecinc » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:33 pm

sagji wrote:In other terrain the "defender" gets to pick 5 pieces of terrain - 1 compulsory + 2-4 others, and in most cases these are pieces that could benefit him. In steppe he gets to pick 3 pieces that don't really benefit him and must pick an open - this is a major difference.

I believe the problem is that FoG ignores who is invading who and as a result steppe is available much more often that it was historically.

How many historical examples of an army consisting mostly of "undrilled other" invading the stepps are there?
I may do it once or twice this weekend with my Latin Greeks. I'll take lots of photos and see how it goes.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:40 pm

sagji wrote:
I believe the problem is that FoG ignores who is invading who and as a result steppe is available much more often that it was historically.

I will again say that this is actually irrelevant for a terrain system that is only there to facilitate artificail equal points games. What such a system needs to do is be able to generate a table on which a rnage of armies can have a chance on and if there is some sort of historical veneer than all the better. Who may or may not be the theoretical invader is not, IMO, an issue.


How many historical examples of an army consisting mostly of "undrilled other" invading the stepps are there?

Enough in the east to justify the option if you want to look at it that way IMO - not that I think specifying "undrilled" is either necessary or useful when looking at invading into the steppe.
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Post by jlopez » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:43 pm

sagji wrote:In other terrain the "defender" gets to pick 5 pieces of terrain - 1 compulsory + 2-4 others, and in most cases these are pieces that could benefit him. In steppe he gets to pick 3 pieces that don't really benefit him and must pick an open - this is a major difference.

I believe the problem is that FoG ignores who is invading who and as a result steppe is available much more often that it was historically.

How many historical examples of an army consisting mostly of "undrilled other" invading the stepps are there?
Terrain is really a red herring. If I had to fight a steppe army with an infantry army I would like it to have as few obstacles as possible because LH can go through it and around it while HF cannot. Any form of terrain that slows HF is a bad thing as it provides an obstacle behind which LH can find a haven from an aggressive attack by HF. A billiard table is really your only chance of pushing them off the table as swinging around terrain drastically reduces your already poor chances of achieving that aim.

There is, I repeat, absolutely nothing wrong with an infantry army struggling to get to grips with a steppe army wherever they may be fighting. We really need to move away from the idea that changing rules will balance things out. It won't. Changing the format of competitions, Pete's suggestion of using 900 AP for example, is much more likely to resolve this problem than tinkering with the rules.

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Post by philqw78 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:50 pm

Yes, changing the format would be better, if you found this a problem. Greaco Bactrian for one is a far worse competition army at 1000pts. It just can't avoid things at that points level.

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