Do Parthia need a boost?

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by olin0111 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:13 pm

Since we are trying to balance Parthians in point battles, maybe increase their limit of cataphracts and make those units cheaper (for them)? I guess, that would require creating a separate cataphract unit for Parthia.

EDIT: And some unit of camel cataphracts, perhaps? With a bit less movement but with ability to disorganize enemy cavalry.
Last edited by olin0111 on Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Nijis » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:52 pm

I'd suggest that with horsey-shooty armies, the game should explicitly represent the camp - both as a resupply point for the shooters, and as a fixed target that an infantry army can reach to force battle.

I believe it was Byzantine standard operating procedure to march on the camp, as Romanos did at Manzikert. Had Romanos' armies suffered less on the march to the camp, and had he not consequently ordered the withdrawal that broke the imperial army, it might have been a Byzantine marginal victory.

A fair number of infantry vs shooty armies probably would have made tedious scenarios (ie, Ruspina) but Manzikert could be reasonably exciting, due to the presence of the camp.

Maps might need to be slightly deeper than normal for these kinds of scenarios, though.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Radio » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:17 pm

I think the problem with Horse Archer armies vs Heavy Infantry armies has already been touched upon, but I think it comes down to this. In a 'standard' encounter (if such a thing can be said to exist) the result is a bore draw in the time period presented in a FOG battle. The Archers run out of ammo and the Heavy Infantry can't catch them. Extending the scope to tactical resupply means lengthening the game, and a whole bunch of extra programming time.

For either of these two forces to win a decisive victory over the other the conditions for victory would have been set long before the armies actually met - ie: the foot army is a long way from a water source, the horse archers have brought extra ammo etc etc and that is just no fun to play out for the guy who turns up to the battle with his camel train having been run off by enemy skirmishers a week ago whose insane monarch will execute him if he retreats.

At the moment Field of Glory depicts decisive, relatively short tactical encounters between evenly matched forces and I'm happy with that. I'd much rather see Immortal Fire or Decline and Fall come out sooner than be presented with lengthy asymmetrical clashes which can be played by flow chart {Fire arrows/Pursue/Retreat/Fire Arrows}

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Cheimison » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:27 pm

Forcing the enemy to give up and leave out of sheer exhaustion is a pretty common tactic for cavalry archers, though the bait and flank was also successful. Really, if you get for cavalry routed you are at their mercy (unless you are in a fortress), which would be a win but not a decisive tactical win. Fighting horse nomads is more of a campaign than a battle, one which was often inconclusive. This is a problem to stimulate the way the engine currently works, but since Persianids are some of my favorite historical armies I still would like to find a way of making them more engaging.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by jomni » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:50 pm

Cheimison wrote:Forcing the enemy to give up and leave out of sheer exhaustion is a pretty common tactic for cavalry archers, though the bait and flank was also successful. Really, if you get for cavalry routed you are at their mercy (unless you are in a fortress), which would be a win but not a decisive tactical win. Fighting horse nomads is more of a campaign than a battle, one which was often inconclusive. This is a problem to stimulate the way the engine currently works, but since Persianids are some of my favorite historical armies I still would like to find a way of making them more engaging.

Agree with this. Based on several plays in Sengoku Jidai, Mongols and early Jurchen can deal a lot of damage at the start of a battle but they would eventually lose in the end. If only it was easier to retreat instead of running around the map waiting for the time limit.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Cheimison » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:57 pm

jomni wrote:
Cheimison wrote:Forcing the enemy to give up and leave out of sheer exhaustion is a pretty common tactic for cavalry archers, though the bait and flank was also successful. Really, if you get for cavalry routed you are at their mercy (unless you are in a fortress), which would be a win but not a decisive tactical win. Fighting horse nomads is more of a campaign than a battle, one which was often inconclusive. This is a problem to stimulate the way the engine currently works, but since Persianids are some of my favorite historical armies I still would like to find a way of making them more engaging.

Agree with this. Based on several plays in Sengoku Jidai, Mongols and early Jurchen can deal a lot of damage at the start of a battle but they would eventually lose in the end. If only it was easier to retreat instead of running around the map waiting for the time limit.
Confining an all mounted force to a defined battlefield and set piece engagement is just wrong in general. They did fight some decisive engagements, but usually they just strung your forces out in a series of fruitless engagements and harassment that was too dangerous to ignore but too nebulous to be called a battle. Tactical games rarely have the scope to represent this, much less show how it actually WORKED and allowed them to defeat much larger and better fortified armies. Tabletop games are almost entirely biased around large force engagement, and making the nomads fight in those circumstances was almost impossible.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Nijis » Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:12 pm

Confining an all mounted force to a defined battlefield and set piece engagement is just wrong in general.
To some degree this is true of all armies. Any army can almost always march away from a set-piece battle. Pretty much by definition, every miniatures-style set-piece is going to be a special circumstance - an army is relieving a siege, or marching away will be taken as a sign of the commander's cowardice and undermine his cause, or if there's no battle it will just exhaust the surrounding countryside's supplies or the treasury, it needs to get to a water supply, or it's been ambushed, etc.

The extended engagements you mention are more common than battles in virtually every campaign. Perhaps they're more common when one side is horse archers and another side is infantry, but they can and did happen with other force matchups too.

So, forcing one army or the other to win decisively by nightfall is not necessarily contrived.

If we want to give players a tangible sense of a battlefield's importance then, again, I'd recommend a fixed baggage camp.

This solves the problem of having horse archers disperse to the corners of the map to avoid the enemy, which in reality would basically count as a retreat as the troops would be dispersed, outside their general's control, and unable to project the "moral" force onto the battlefield that basically determines the perception of who won or lost.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by TheGrayMouser » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:47 pm

So far I have been playing "open battles" in skirmishes yet but perhaps these shooty LH armies should take advantage of the other battle options? ( not flank march though!) "Advanced guard" might be good as well as "enemy reinforcement"


This is specifically the Parthian thread though so , hmmm. This list was great in FOG1, but only because it could take up to three out of 6 or so allies, most of which simply allowed xtra cataphracts and LH... However the Arab and Hatran allies ( camels, more usefull infantry and cataphracted camels!!) made for some interesting and viable options. Of course I have no idea how common such exotics were and maybe the reality of Parthia is they are doomed to have a dog of a list. Some fall and others rise up.( like Armenian, their list is so much better in Fog2 hehe)

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Cheimison » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:50 am

Nijis wrote: To some degree this is true of all armies. Any army can almost always march away from a set-piece battle. Pretty much by definition, every miniatures-style set-piece is going to be a special circumstance - an army is relieving a siege, or marching away will be taken as a sign of the commander's cowardice and undermine his cause, or if there's no battle it will just exhaust the surrounding countryside's supplies or the treasury, it needs to get to a water supply, or it's been ambushed, etc.
Certainly true, and the Romans themselves were no strangers to harassment tactics and strategy, but with actual nomads it's typically every engagement unless they need to defeat the enemy for strategic reasons or take a town. If you don't have settlements you don't lose as much prestige or advantage simply by retreating into the steppe, whereas a Roman retreat is going to leave their hinterlands open to pillaging. Of course, Parthians did control a huge sedentary population, which made them fight the Romans on occasion just to maintain control of Mesopotamia and the like, but their intra-faction war was very much what their wild cousins in the Syr Darya and Pontic steppe would recognize. Even more, the dividing line between Saka and Parthians was more an issue of which tribe was allied with which than anything else.
The Achaemanids were a different story, they had regular infantry and it seems like their cavalry (steppe allies aside) was even lighter than Alexander's, probably because they were successors to several sedentary empires and themselves rather more sedentary than the Parthians.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by jomni » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:13 am

TheGrayMouser wrote:So far I have been playing "open battles" in skirmishes yet but perhaps these shooty LH armies should take advantage of the other battle options? ( not flank march though!) "Advanced guard" might be good as well as "enemy reinforcement"


This is specifically the Parthian thread though so , hmmm. This list was great in FOG1, but only because it could take up to three out of 6 or so allies, most of which simply allowed xtra cataphracts and LH... However the Arab and Hatran allies ( camels, more usefull infantry and cataphracted camels!!) made for some interesting and viable options. Of course I have no idea how common such exotics were and maybe the reality of Parthia is they are doomed to have a dog of a list. Some fall and others rise up.( like Armenian, their list is so much better in Fog2 hehe)
LH armies may be a good faction as attackers in baggage train mode. And would probably perform this sort of action in a campaign rather than a outright battle.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Nijis » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:09 pm

Of course, Parthians did control a huge sedentary population, which made them fight the Romans on occasion just to maintain control of Mesopotamia and the like, but their intra-faction war was very much what their wild cousins in the Syr Darya and Pontic steppe would recognize. Even more, the dividing line between Saka and Parthians was more an issue of which tribe was allied with which than anything else.
That would make sense. Any good book recommendations on the Parthians, btw, in particular their military history?

LH armies may be a good faction as attackers in baggage train mode. And would probably perform this sort of action in a campaign rather than a outright battle.
Maybe designate some armies as "light" or "mobile"? Quick battles and campaigns would be more likely to place them in baggage train attack mode, and while they'd fight some set-piece (ie, representing siege relief and the like) this would be less common. Also, maybe they wouldn't fight each other - not because they never did, but because those fights weren't really amenable to the FoG2 system. Armies composed mainly of light infantry who inhabit mountain terrain might also fit this category.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Cheimison » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:49 pm

Nijis wrote: That would make sense. Any good book recommendations on the Parthians, btw, in particular their military history?
Unfortunately, like the Achaemanids, there is very spotty record keeping on their part. Almost all extant (at least long form or complete) literature of the Shahdoms comes from the period of Muslim and even post-Mongol conquest. While the populations of Iran had been settled long before the Aryans invaded, they apparently weren't too literate, and their steppe-oid masters were even less literate until reading the Quran became a 'thing'.
Although some criticize them for being too sensationalist and 'Eurocentric' in their outlook and approach to evidence, I think Osprey's books give a decent treatment to the Parthians and Saka steppe tribes. For example:
"Shadows in the Desert" and "Rome's Enemies 3: PARTHIANS & SASSANID PERSIANS"
https://ospreypublishing.com/shadows-in-the-desert-pb
https://ospreypublishing.com/rome-039-s-enemies-3-pb

There is a wonderful book on Achaemanid and Alexandrian Persia by Pierre Briant called "From Cyrus to Alexander" that covers some of the military and just about everything else, but its focus is Achaemanid times, so it's before the era we're talking about. But here it is for free, anyway: https://archive.org/details/FromCyrusTo ... sianEmpire

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Nijis » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:48 pm

Thanks for the links! Looking at the Briant book now.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Cheimison » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:52 am

I just played a randomly generated game as the Parthians v. the Saka.
Holy crap, was this tedious.
It was pretty hilly terrain with a river bisecting it, and woods in the east and west. I can't imagine why either of these horsie armies would actually fight in such a place, but there it is.
The fighting was EXTREMELY slow. Arrows did very poor damage, and after turn 5 did even less. Charges were usually evaded, and when contact was finally made both sides have such poor melee attack that damage was 1-4 points per turn. The terrain made sure almost everyone in the fight was disordered, further reducing the damage, even attacking with cataphracts from multiple sides I think 7 damage was about the most I saw.
Luckily for me I had two oliphants and some Indian Javelinmen. I still might have won without them, but instead of taking 3 hours it would have taken six.

Recommendation: Immediately Quit Any Match-Up with Mounted v. Mounted.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by MaxDamage » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:16 pm

i remember Partia in rome total war. They had cataphracts, archers and super trash infantry. if you boost parthia, then please do that in a realistic manner ie add some cataphracts and or other cavalry.(or their quality)

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Cheimison » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:47 pm

MaxDamage wrote:i remember Partia in rome total war. They had cataphracts, archers and super trash infantry. if you boost parthia, then please do that in a realistic manner ie add some cataphracts and or other cavalry.(or their quality)
Mounted archers and missile troops were much more powerful in open combat in RTW, too. They were easy to kill but actually dealt pretty good damage round-after-round. An army composed entirely of steppe horsemen, armored horse archers and cataphracts could routinely defeat anything else in the game just by running circles around it and taking up defensive positions on hills to draw out the enemy army. I mean, they were absurdly effective, at least against the AI, which was "full retard" in that game.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by JorgenCAB » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:09 pm

I had not played with or against Parthia before and decided to try it against Rome. It was against the AI at second to highest difficulty and a desert map, medium size battle.

Rome was broken by turn 19 at 43% with me only having one horse archer routed (through an accidental charge no less). I had not even had to fire all my missiles on all horse archers. Don't shoot unless you intend to try to disrupt a unit... better to save the ammunition for better use.

I started with basically circling the Romans picking on any unit rushing out, it happened to be their cavalry. So I managed to fragment them and then charge them with my horse archers and rout them. My next victim were two javelin units which I disrupted before I charged and broke them with a few horse archers. Then I honed in on a few straggling Hastati units which I engaged with some cataphract and then started flank charge them with horse archer until they broke too. I was soon up in a 43% victory.

My cataphracts basically was used to pin heavy infantry while horse archers attacked on mass from all sides, the cataphracts did not do that much damage rather than allowed my other cavalry to do the trick.

Against a human opponent I guess most games with Parthia would become draws and that is fairly realistic, unless the Parthian are willing to commit you will never catch enough of them to break their army. A Roman general that refuse to chase after the Parthian units will easily weather the hail of arrows with no unit losses.

In my opinion it might be boring but historically accurate so I would not really change much just because it is boring and battles are inconclusive. You could play on ridiculously small maps but that would just crush the Parthian army, larger maps will just produce more draws.

I sometimes wished you could choose to fire low volume fire even when you have ammunition for full effect. Sometimes you just want to harass and save the ammunition, this seem sort of realistic to me when you know you have limited ammunition to begin with and since the game mechanic work like they do I think this could be an interesting change to implement.

This is only my input from one single game using the Parthian army.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Cheimison » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:56 pm

This really makes me want to make a custom cataphract unit based on the 'ideally, this is how we're supposed to fight' method where they can use powerful ranged bows and lances at close range. I know that some people say that the cataphracted horsemen of Byzantium and the Persianids didn't really use their bows, but it would be pretty awesome if they did.

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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:22 am

Cheimison wrote:This really makes me want to make a custom cataphract unit based on the 'ideally, this is how we're supposed to fight' method where they can use powerful ranged bows and lances at close range. I know that some people say that the cataphracted horsemen of Byzantium and the Persianids didn't really use their bows, but it would be pretty awesome if they did.
Well the "real" Byzantine catafracts (if we use the usual fully armoured man on armoured horse definition of catafract) - the katafraktoi of Nikeforos' taktika - had separate archers (more lightly equipped) rather than double arming men. Whilst the Sasanids may well have had men fully armoured shooting with their bows (from Ammianus) it looks as though they were separate from those using lances (Ammianus again but it can be read a different way).
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Re: Do Parthia need a boost?

Post by Cheimison » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:05 am

nikgaukroger wrote:
Cheimison wrote:This really makes me want to make a custom cataphract unit based on the 'ideally, this is how we're supposed to fight' method where they can use powerful ranged bows and lances at close range. I know that some people say that the cataphracted horsemen of Byzantium and the Persianids didn't really use their bows, but it would be pretty awesome if they did.
Well the "real" Byzantine catafracts (if we use the usual fully armoured man on armoured horse definition of catafract) - the katafraktoi of Nikeforos' taktika - had separate archers (more lightly equipped) rather than double arming men. Whilst the Sasanids may well have had men fully armoured shooting with their bows (from Ammianus) it looks as though they were separate from those using lances (Ammianus again but it can be read a different way).
I do believe there is evidence of Christian Hungarian knights using their bows while wearing nearly complete armor, too.
In any case, I like the idea of armored archers, which are quite rare units in games.

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