Making the steppe more welcoming

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jcmedhurst
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Post by jcmedhurst » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:01 pm

Actually, despite my previous, I agree entirely. Amend in haste, repent at leisure as they say :-)

I did not like all the amendments to DBM, one of the things that put me off the game was coming back after three or four years away to find what was an almost totally different game.

There are really only two good reasons for amendment

1. Prevention of unrealistic super troops dominating the game (scythed chariots in early 7th Edn for example)
2. The hole in the rules that people are exploiting to make everybody elses lives a misery (you know who you are :-)

I don't see anything wrong with waiting to let the ecology stabilise before introducting a new pesticide :-)

John

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Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:10 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
By all means let's have this discussion, but let's not overemphasize the urgency.

I'd be worried if we were not having these sorts of discussion - it would be a sign of a dying rule set :?
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Post by philqw78 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:24 pm

let the ecology stabilise before introducting a new pesticide
Do you still work at the "pesticide" place John?

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Post by jcmedhurst » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:55 pm

Sometimes Phil, sometimes :-)

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Post by Redpossum » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:57 pm

shall wrote: PS FWIW, in testing we had Steppes less extreme for a while and Terry I did a lot of terrains for different match ups and found it made life too tough for the steppe armies...
You say that like it was a bad thing... 8)

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Post by lawrenceg » Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:14 pm

Nik, as you started this topic and from your comments on the "evade off table" topic, should we infer that your extensive experience of using shooty cavalry has given you the feeling that they have too easy a time of it and should have their advantages cut back a bit?
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Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:47 pm

lawrenceg wrote:Nik, as you started this topic and from your comments on the "evade off table" topic, should we infer that your extensive experience of using shooty cavalry has given you the feeling that they have too easy a time of it and should have their advantages cut back a bit?

I'm inclining to the possibility that it may be so.

The terrain thought was just something that popped into my head so I thought I'd drop it into the forum to see what happened. The evade off table AP one is, IMO, out of balance and will usually benefit shooty horsey armies more than others - although it can be done with LF as well of course - but it is far from a game breaker.
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Post by Maniakes » Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:59 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:



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 remember this - it was one of the best games of FoG I've ever had. As Nik says I used a balanced force, equal parts LH, Knights, LF, MF and HF. I tried to turn the table onto the short axis and got about half way round so my army was in an L shape and Nik spent the game hammering on the right angled hinge in my army. Every time he broke through I scraped together some sort of response, usually a one man and a dog last stand. The only important piece of terrain was a bit of rough close to the hinge which we fought fiercely over. I can't remember if it was in the Steppes - but it could quite easily have been, considering the amount of terrain. So my conclusion is you don't need a lot of terrain for a balanced army to have a good fun game - just an opponent like Nik who gives you a really good fight in a really gentlemanly spirit.

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Post by sagji » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:21 pm

shall wrote: If you fear fighting a steppe army on the plains then take and IC and enough LH to get 3 PBI. Then there is a good chance you can fight them in something rougher instead.
I would not call 10 in 31 a good chance, for 10-15% of my points I would expect a better return.
PS FWIW, in testing we had Steppes less extreme for a while and Terry I did a lot of terrains for different match ups and found it made life too tough for the steppe armies, we then overshot the otherway and came back to where it is.
I don't think steppe is wrong, I just think it is too easy for a steppe army to get it.

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Post by sagji » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:23 pm

jlopez wrote:
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.

Julian
I agree with most of what you say - I don't think how steppe works is wrong, but I do think it is too easy to get.

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Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:51 pm

Maniakes wrote:
nikgaukroger wrote:
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 remember this - it was one of the best games of FoG I've ever had. As Nik says I used a balanced force, equal parts LH, Knights, LF, MF and HF. I tried to turn the table onto the short axis and got about half way round so my army was in an L shape and Nik spent the game hammering on the right angled hinge in my army. Every time he broke through I scraped together some sort of response, usually a one man and a dog last stand. The only important piece of terrain was a bit of rough close to the hinge which we fought fiercely over. I can't remember if it was in the Steppes - but it could quite easily have been, considering the amount of terrain. So my conclusion is you don't need a lot of terrain for a balanced army to have a good fun game - just an opponent like Nik who gives you a really good fight in a really gentlemanly spirit.

Thanks for the kind words :oops: However, it takes 2 to make a great game 8)

FWIW we did indeed play on the steppe - at least that is my recollection. For anyone interested Dave's army is here - http://www.endoftime.pwp.blueyonder.co. ... ampage.pdf and is a nice one IMO and I used this Seljuq - http://www.endoftime.pwp.blueyonder.co. ... ljuqv3.pdf
Nik Gaukroger

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Post by sagji » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:58 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:
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 tha.n all the better. Who may or may not be the theoretical invader is not, IMO, an issue.
Except that it distorts the system by making steppe more available than it should be

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.
By this I take it that you think that there should be a chance that the steppe army can fight on the steppe - but reading between the lines I get the impression that the evidence you see doesn't support the current situation where setppe armies are likely to fight about three quarters of their battles on the steppes.
All I want to do is reduce the frequency of steppe - a simple system where if you choose setppe from your own list you roll a dice an if it is more than 2 you have to choose a different terrain.

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Post by david53 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:20 pm

sagji wrote:
nikgaukroger wrote:
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 tha.n all the better. Who may or may not be the theoretical invader is not, IMO, an issue.
Except that it distorts the system by making steppe more available than it should be

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.
By this I take it that you think that there should be a chance that the steppe army can fight on the steppe - but reading between the lines I get the impression that the evidence you see doesn't support the current situation where setppe armies are likely to fight about three quarters of their battles on the steppes.
All I want to do is reduce the frequency of steppe - a simple system where if you choose setppe from your own list you roll a dice an if it is more than 2 you have to choose a different terrain.
If you want to change the frequency of Steppe coming up why only stop there lets make it hard for those MF armies to get terrian to hide in.
I for one don't want to see a change considering how long the rules have been out. You can look at other sets and how large scale amendments effect other rules.
I am sure theres loads of things people feel should be changed I myself think MF are too powerful but are they going to change that no way so I get on and enjoy the game. Not having a go at anyone just enjoying the rules BTW I fought a Foot army last night in the hills with my LH army, and we both had a good time.
Dave

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Post by ethan » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:48 pm

The question missing out of this discussion is "what is really good against the +4 initiative shooty Cv/LH army?" With the follup being "are those armies reasonably good against a reasonable selection of other armies?

I am fine with FoG having a reasonable rock-paper-scissors component to army match-ups, but the Steppe armies need to have reasonable counters that themselves aren't overly specialized to killing steppe armies...

My worry here is that (thinking off the top of my head) historical opponents of the steppe types are things like Mamluks, T'ang, Byzantines, etc. that in a lot of ways aren't overly different from steppe armies from the perspective of the less Cv/LH oriented choices.

I will say I don't think I have seen enough FoG games to really get a feel for this though, but it is something to watch out for. The wildcard in the whole debate, especially about open competitions, would seem to be the chariot armies. I could see the light chariot armies (NKE, Assyrians, etc) being really tough for the steppe outfits to deal with...

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Post by philqw78 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:56 pm

The wildcard in the whole debate, especially about open competitions, would seem to be the chariot armies. I could see the light chariot armies (NKE, Assyrians, etc) being really tough for the steppe outfits to deal with...
Apart from they usually go full width 1 deep, meaning they get more shooting dice per base against them

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Post by lawrenceg » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:38 pm

philqw78 wrote:
The wildcard in the whole debate, especially about open competitions, would seem to be the chariot armies. I could see the light chariot armies (NKE, Assyrians, etc) being really tough for the steppe outfits to deal with...
Apart from they usually go full width 1 deep, meaning they get more shooting dice per base against them
Steppe armies don't go the full width though, so the chariots can go 2 deep where the shooting threat is greatest. And a lot of chariots in the Biblical period can shoot back an equal volume of fire if the cavalry want to evade.

Of course the "leg cavalry" boys can neutralise the wheels by using the rough and uneven terrain....
Lawrence Greaves

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Post by shall » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:48 am

I'm inclining to the possibility that it may be so.
Are you thinking of going into politics Nick?? Happy memories of Yes Minister when I read thisand have noted it for future use. :wink:

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Post by grahambriggs » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:29 am

ethan wrote:The question missing out of this discussion is "what is really good against the +4 initiative shooty Cv/LH army?" With the follup being "are those armies reasonably good against a reasonable selection of other armies?

I am fine with FoG having a reasonable rock-paper-scissors component to army match-ups, but the Steppe armies need to have reasonable counters that themselves aren't overly specialized to killing steppe armies...

My worry here is that (thinking off the top of my head) historical opponents of the steppe types are things like Mamluks, T'ang, Byzantines, etc. that in a lot of ways aren't overly different from steppe armies from the perspective of the less Cv/LH oriented choices.

I will say I don't think I have seen enough FoG games to really get a feel for this though, but it is something to watch out for. The wildcard in the whole debate, especially about open competitions, would seem to be the chariot armies. I could see the light chariot armies (NKE, Assyrians, etc) being really tough for the steppe outfits to deal with...
Early Persian is good against them and reasonably good against others. 16 bases of armoured Immortals with a double move to start with is nice. Trouble is to take on other armies you really want the armoured hoplites which means you can struggle to catch the steppe army.

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Post by petedalby » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:13 pm

Going slightly off topic, but,
The bit I'm surprised about is the "combining hills + other bits to soak up multiple terrain choices". That seems to give steppe armies an extra edge.
How is this possible with Steppe? A hill can only be combined with BG, B, P, V, F, or Vg. And only if Hills are compulsory or the covering is compulsory.

I can't see that either apply? Or am I missing something?

Pete

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Post by ethan » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:40 pm

philqw78 wrote:
The wildcard in the whole debate, especially about open competitions, would seem to be the chariot armies. I could see the light chariot armies (NKE, Assyrians, etc) being really tough for the steppe outfits to deal with...
Apart from they usually go full width 1 deep, meaning they get more shooting dice per base against them
Ghilman armies tend to have 3-5 BGs of 4 Ghilman each, meaning they can concentrate a frontage of 6-10 elements of superior shooting. The reports are that the light chariot armies are coming in around 4 BGs of 4 chariots each meaning they get (potentially) a 16 wide frontage of formed troops. Ghilman tend to have light horse supporting, chariots tend to have medium infantry (from what I have gathered).

So while the Ghilman can get local superiority with the Ghilman, that superioty is pretty narrow. Virtually everywhere else the chariots seem to have the advantage and chariots are fast enough to chase around the LH pretty effectively. Big BGs of cheapish medium infantry (imagine say 8 element NKE bases of unprotected drilled bowmen, 9-12 element bases of protected light spear/swords in teh Assyrian army, etc) also seem likely to be pretty effectively at soaking up a steppe army. The combination of chariots and medium foot moves pretty fast, can either shoot back or soak up missile fire and has enough drilled troops to be difficult to outmaneuver.

Now, without having played the game (and seen the army lists...) it is hard to say for sure. But it seems like a potential counter and certainly not a fight we have seen reported very much so far. I woldn't write off the chariots as a counter before having seen them in action at least...
Last edited by ethan on Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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