Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

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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Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by 76mm » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:54 am

I brought this up shortly after the game came out, but want to bring it up again...in my view double-breaks (ie, going from Good Order to Fragmented) happen far too frequently in FOG2...

I'm currently playing a game in which both sides are made up of more or less evenly matched warbands. On one of my wings, almost every single warband has double-broken...including four in a row...we're talking about ten units so far (more continue to double-break almost every turn). Most of them upon initial contact.

I agree that double-breaks should happen very rarely among more or less evenly matched units, or when one unit completely dominates the other--but that is not what I'm seeing at all. I think MikeC put out some numbers on this (but the search function is not working, so I can't find it).

OK, vent over. This is really the only feature of the game that I don't like, but I really don't like it at all in its current implementation.

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by zakblood » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:01 am

if units are supported and in range of there commanders circle of influence it happens less, but losses and overall morale and breaks / routs is part of day to day combat, it happens.

attack any unit with skirmishes, or overpower any unit with numbers, and it will crack, depending on how good a unit is to start off with, gives you an idea on how quick it will break, poor goes first with the best going last, once a given amount of the other sides units break, it will effect everyone else who is near and see it, that's war and tend to effect morale more often than not.

terrain / ground and overall units engaged alter this so in some battles it hardly happens at all and in some, it's every other unit, for me it's about right now but is something that does get tweaked from time to time, but some units seems more prone to it that others, seems your just unlucky with either units or it happening or the ground your on etc

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by MVP7 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:44 pm

Early double drops haven't really bothered me in single player, it's just another reason to have reserves, but I imagine it can be pretty decisive in multiplayer match and involves little player skill or input.

Maybe there could be a limit that non-light units with less than 15% total casualties (after the loss) don't do double drops unless fighting more than 1 opponent. That would prevent double drops by untouched units in the initial charge but make them possible in most other situations.
Last edited by MVP7 on Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:49 pm

76mm wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:54 am
I brought this up shortly after the game came out, but want to bring it up again...in my view double-breaks (ie, going from Good Order to Fragmented) happen far too frequently in FOG2...

I'm currently playing a game in which both sides are made up of more or less evenly matched warbands. On one of my wings, almost every single warband has double-broken...including four in a row...we're talking about ten units so far (more continue to double-break almost every turn). Most of them upon initial contact.

I agree that double-breaks should happen very rarely among more or less evenly matched units, or when one unit completely dominates the other--but that is not what I'm seeing at all. I think MikeC put out some numbers on this (but the search function is not working, so I can't find it).

OK, vent over. This is really the only feature of the game that I don't like, but I really don't like it at all in its current implementation.
Yes, I agree. I made this post this morning in the FOG2DL forum . . .

Just on the question of double-drops, I was looking at the results of the Themed Event quarter-finals (paired games) where two war band armies fought each other (Franks v Burgundians) in my own scenario Vezeronce 524AD. The scores were as follows . . .

70-6, 56-20, 47-13, 54-21, 39-7, 40-11, 40-12 and 55-29.

The army points were 1202 and 1240, where one army had a couple of extra skirmisher and cavalry units whereas the other army was a bit stronger in war bands. Therefore, I would have expected some of these games to be quite close, but as you can see 7 out of 8 were very one-sided, which was not what I was aiming for when I designed the scenario. All four quarter-finals were won 2-0 with the winner being successful with both the Frankish and the Burgundian armies.

I know from my own 2 matches, and from a report concerning another 2 matches, that RNG played a big part in these outcomes. The specific problem is that war bands, being impact foot, are more likely to inflict, or suffer, double drops on impact than other troop types. I think that when two shock units clash, they should cancel each other out and the likelihood of a double drop should be just the same as in other non-shock impacts. I think it would make for far more interesting battles than we get with the current situation.


http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 01&t=80756

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by 76mm » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:05 pm

@stockwellpete,

Interesting, thanks for the data. I have to agree that games in which entire wings of an army disintegrate due to double-breaks are not particularly interesting.

I see double-breaks particularly often in games with warbands or phalanxes, but unfortunately most of the battles that I play feature one of the other of these troop types.

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by 76mm » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:28 pm

I just noticed that one with a score of 70-6, must have been an epic last turn chain reaction meltdown...

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:07 pm

Stated Assumptions of taking testimony at face value:

1) No other factors (ie no mods, additional modifiers like threatened flanks, generals etc)
2) No automatic cohesion loss due to flank/rear charges
3) No double drops from separate CT tests (ie generals dying or friendly adjacent routing)
4) Assuming that all units involved were Average Loose Order Warbands to minimize positive CT modifiers and dice reroll effects to maximize the chance of a double drop
5) FoG2 code is working as intended and publicly stated formula for CT tests is accurate (modified die roll of 2 or less results in a double drop on a pair of 6 sided dice, -3 to CT in total)

The math for 4 straight double breaks for 4 pairs of such units facing off each other in Impact Combat with given assumptions is as follows:

For 4 straight double breaks without caring who double breaks

Odds of someone winning x Chance to double drop (rolling 2 or less after modifiers applied; -3 to CT roll in this case) and raise the result to the power of 4 (since this needs to happen 4 times in a row) = chance of the event occurring.
((14% + 14%) x 27.78%)^4 = 0.00366% chance of occurring. In other words, this is a 1 in 27,317 event.

Odds of 4 straight double breaks for only yourself losing

(14% x 27.78%) ^4 = 0.0002% chance of occuring or can be viewed as a 1 in 437,078 event.

I present these numbers without prejudice or opinion. If stated assumptions are not true, let me know what correct variable I should be plugging in and I will be happy to present it again.
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:29 pm

As Mike says, some of the anecdotal reports (if accurately reported) represent statistically extremely rare events.

Nevertheless, the chances of a double drop are indeed somewhat higher than in tabletop FOG (and FOG1).

This is because it is harder in FOG2 to get +1 for a general in range, and there is no positive modifier for rear support. (Although the latter was in fact relatively hard to achieve in tabletop FOG, somewhat easier in FOG1).

Hence the pass score for the Choesion test was reduced from 7 to 6.

But the score for a double drop was not reduced from 2 to 1, which may or may not have been an oversight. (It is hard to recall perfectly 3 years later)

In a previous beta iteration, I did indeed reduce the chances of double drop by changing the require score to 1 or less, instead of 2 or less, but I was persuaded to reverse the change. I cannot 100% remember why, but I think it was something to do with unfavourably altering the balance between certain troop types.

Mike will probably know.
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:43 pm

Wasn't it that it made Warband armies even less competitive than they already are, as they depend on making some early progress before the melee? That's my recollection. I think it also made Lancers even less useful against infantry.

I suppose we could open the discussion again in the beta forum, though I personally think we're in a good spot.
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:46 pm

SnuggleBunnies wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:43 pm
Wasn't it that it made Warband armies even less competitive than they already are, as they depend on making some early progress before the melee? That's my recollection.
That might be so, but do they really need to cause double drops to be effective? Surely a single drop will usually suffice to remove any sword-mitigating effect of the enemy capability.

And are warbands all that badly placed now? (Apart from their tendency to double drop themselves, of course!)
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:47 pm

Since Beta forums are not released to the public after the DLC goes live, here is a selection of posts from the thread RBS mentioned. I feel it is not inappropriate to show here given NDA is now over.
MikeC_81 wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:40 pm
I do not know if this was an intended side effect but it appears that this change has resulted in a nerf towards expensive units that rely heavily on impact phases of combat and reliance of stacking multiple negative modifiers to achieve decisive results. Chiefly, these units are the Elephant, Lancer style cavalry, and Impact Foot.

While it is not a huge statistical shift, it is one that I have begun to feel as there are far fewer double drops that occur in the beta. There are armies out there that rely benefited heavily from least one or two of these double drop results per game to swing combat in their favour.

ie. flank charges that auto drop cohesion, gain a big impact win, followed by a double drop in morale to immediately rout an enemy unit. Or a decisive head on charge that fragments an enemy unit on contact leaving the opposition with little to no reaction time to deal with the issue.

A quick "back of the napkin" review on the odds shows an approx. halving the number of double drops across a broad spectrum of troop qualities (which was already low to begin with)

Warbands are once again a victim here for another drop in power level as their high cost, low endurance in sustained combat, and lack of tactical flexiblity, means that they were one of the best beneficiaries of double dropping opposition morale. Other armies affected include Indian, Alexandrian, and Successor State lists all of which use Elephants and Lancer cavalry as the primary shock element in their army also will feel this effect.

Republican and Early Imperial Romans also suffer but given their broad access to above average and superior quality troops as well as heavily armored infantry and good tactical flexibility, they are far less reliant on this mechanic than those stated above.

Developer commentary on this would be appreciated.
rbodleyscott wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:16 am
It wasn't a side effect. It is the whole point of the change.

It is specifically intended to be some loving for spearmen vs impact foot. I know there is something wrong when I always take the minimum number of spearmen and maximum number of impact foot to optimise my Carthaginian army.

If it turns out to have altered the balance too much, it is easily reversed.

So, theory-crafting aside, please could people test this in actual games.
MikeC_81 wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:47 am
After some testing, I am not sure if this change is aimed properly. The winners from this change appear to be Medium Foot units more than anything else.

Double drops between Heavy Foot units are rare enough already. Steady, Average Quality Heavy Foot that is defeated by Impact Foot units on Impact phase combat suffers double drops 8.33% of the time under the current live patch and will do so only 2.78% in the beta patch. This is not counting the unit affected being under influence of a general or having any other negative modifiers like having an exposed rear or flank zone. For Superior Quality Heavy foot, that number drops from 1.16% to an inconsequential number. To put this into context, in 1.2.5, an average Impact Foot unit striking an average Offensive Spear unit will win about 49% of the time meaning that a double drop in cohesion is a 4.08% occurrence. Once 1.3.x goes live, this will drop to be a 1.36% occurrence. Superior Heavy Foot basically never double dropped anyways from Steady status so those numbers are not interesting. Surely its a change but it is not like Roman players built strategies on attacks which have less than a 5% chance of producing such an outcome.

The biggest winners in all of this are actually Medium Foot units of all types especially when they are forced to operate in the open Heavy Foot of any kind and Lancer units and opposing Medium Impact Foot. When Medium Foot units suffer combat losses vs Heavy Foot and Lancers in the open, they are almost always subjected to 3 negative modifiers. They are -1 for suffering a lot of damage, -1 for losing badly in close combat, and -1 from the 'anyone of' categories like Medium Foot vs Heavy in the open etc. Note that Heavy Impact Foot is already one of the 'anyone of' categories so they are not hurt by this change any more than anyone else. They also do not get the baseline +1 CT modifier Heavy Foot inherently gets so they are more at risk of double drops.

In 1.2.5 Medium Foot units suffer double drops under these circumstances 16.67% of the time. So if we were to run the same scenario with an Average Impact Foot unit hitting something like a Thureophoroi (49% chance to win etc) the Medium Foot Spear unit is going to get nailed by a double drop 8.16% of the time. In 1.3.x, this will drop to the familiar 4.08% occurrence due to the required modified roll being dropped to a "1". This same measurement can be used for something like Pikes vs Theureophoroi since Heavy Foot vs Medium Foot confers the same -1 modifier. Same goes for Lancers vs Cavalry, Cavalry vs Medium Foot, or any other relationship that the "anyone of" conditions found in the additional -1 CT conditions.

This effect continues to magnify if we start counting for threatened flanks and the additional -1 modifier or disrupted units that have to test at -1 due to morale status. At this point, it becomes a sizable percentage swing (ie 13.61% to 8.06% as a final outcome of an attack). As I posted before it effectively halves the number of these occurrences and since Heavy Foot suffered from this less than others already did thanks to their built-in +1 CT modifier.

In summary, this change will reduce the number of catastrophic outcomes for all units across the board but the main beneficiaries will be Medium Foot units and to a lesser extent, Cavalry units that somehow end up fighting Lancers. I am not 100% sure if this can be really considered a major buff but there are tangible changes there. It may push lower quality horde style armies more since they are less likely to suffer from nasty outcomes as higher quality heavy units don't really suffer from these double drop events much, to begin with so they benefit less. While the numerical changes appear to be small in isolation, they magnify as more modifiers add up there will definitely be a non-trivial subset of tight games where a single unit holding out for an extra turn instead of double dropping will change the course of the game.

If you are unhappy with the state of Impact Foot vs Spears but are happy with relationships I have outlined in 1.2.5, I think a different mechanics tweak is in order.
rbodleyscott wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:57 am
TBH I wasn't unhappy with the relationship between Impact Foot vs Spears, but there was a lot of complaining about it in the early days of the game - which since seems to have died down. I suspect this may be because people have simply given up on spear armies, rather than because they have learned how to use them.

If the feeling of the testers is that the CT change will have a deleterious effect on the game, it can easily be reverted.

What do others think?
Ludendorf wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:11 pm
I'm personally of the opinion that lancer cavalry are powerful enough. Lancer cavalry can wreak utter havoc on both infantry and medium cavalry lines and are hard to safely counter-attack making them great lockdown units, especially when they're backed up by skirmishers who can mask them from their main weaknesses.
I find it odd that spear armies were considered too 'weak' considering they seemed to have a bit of an edge on warband armies. Warband charges are scary as hell, and barbarian chariots and cavalry usually make mincemeat of the Greek flanks, but if the spears can withstand that initial impact and mix in some raw units to keep the cavalry at bay, they've got a lot more turns to spend scoring victories against the warbands, and the reduced costs of spears compared to warbands mean they're likely to outnumber the warbands too. It can also take some time for warbands to get that drop from disrupted to fragmented against formed spears, and the spears may well rally in that time, especially if their general is in combat nearby. The warbands need to either win quickly or get a cavalry breakthrough on the flanks, otherwise it's probably game over for them.

Though now that I say that, I suppose the warbands do have the added advantage of being able to wear down the spear elements as well. That's kind of how they win against the Romans if they can survive impact (that and flank weighting helps; focussing the superior warbands against regular hastati and avoiding the veterans).

Hoplite vs Roman battles is kind of a toss-up too, and depends entirely on if the Romans get good results at impact or not and if the hoplites make good use of reserves.

Overall, I was about to suggest a point reduction on warbands after all due to them already being considered kind of overpriced. Richard's post about spears made me reconsider though.
MikeC_81 wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:21 pm
Just to refocus the discussion a bit, the particular change being brought in goes beyond Warbands and Hoplites which was why I kind of posted about it.

It broadly affects all units in the game by making everyone more reliable in terms of holding ground when they are locked in a combat which is disadvantageous to them. Specifically it doesn't really affect whether they will lose less but that the effects of losing become more predictable. The degradation of morale will now skew towards a more steady progression from Steady -> Disrupted -> Fragmented -> Routed rather than cases where units will do the sudden drop from Disrupted straight to Routing. In other words, it will not affect how often a unit wins or loses, but the rather it affects the average time it takes for that unit to crumble under pressure.

The situations where this change will be felt the most is in the -3 to -4 CT modifier ranges. Everyone will benefit but the biggest beneficiaries will be Medium Foot, units vs Lancers and Elephants (or anyone that uses the additional -1 CT modifier), and units that are depleted in numbers since there are additional negative CT modifiers when total casualties exceed 25 and 50 percent.

So the question is whether this "firming up" of units across the board is a desirable thing. Certainly it lowers number of catastrophic events. Snugglebunnies is right when he says such a change will require a ton of games before we really know how big an effect there is.

I am rather ambivalent on this whole thing. I don't mind seeing this change go live and seeing how the next couple of FoG2DLs seasons play out but it will affect all armies in some way.

I just felt it was important to point out that the change doesn't fit the original stated goal and that if RBS really wants to target Impact Foot vs Spears without touching anything else in the game, another change should be implemented instead. For example if we wanted to only touch that relationship, we can simply add a condition that Impact Foot does not inflict the extra -1 to CT on Impact vs Steady Spears/Pikes. That way, the Spears and Pikes get some love but nothing else gets touched.
rbodleyscott wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:44 am
Anyone have any more to say about this before I make a decision?

I am inclined to revert to the previous threshold. My only concern is that in combination with their extra -1 modifier this might make non-combat bowmen a bit too much worse. (Of course, if this was deemed a nerf too far, it could be dealt with by changing the threshold for them only, so that they will be more likely to single drop than in v1.2.5 but have the same overall chance of double dropping as in v1.2.5).
Concencus then was that the CT tests were maintained in their current iteration.
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:49 pm

Thanks Mike.
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:50 pm

Thanks Mike. I'm always open to more testing, but it's possible other unit costing would need to be altered if this change was made.

Edit: weakening warbands could be dangerous, but, then again, I might agree that phalanxes could use the help.

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:59 pm

My opinion on this remains the same as before, I am ambivalent about reducing the odds of double drops. Without going into the whole "luck vs skill" thing again that has been beaten to death many times before, I will say that my opinion that medium foot gains the lion's share of the benefits here remains the same. Armies that spam medium foot already is some of the best armies in the game. They are the next thing I am likely going to be posting about after we see the potential armour cost rework. They will also benefit the multitude of armies that feature weak-medium strength heavy foot units found in Rise of Persia and Age of Belisarius since they too will be steadier.

Changing how CTs currently work will have many knock-on effects in the entire game.
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:39 pm

So what are the odds currently of a single war band unit double-dropping on impact with another war band unit please?

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:07 pm

Loose Warbands going head to head will see one or the other double drop 4% of the time
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:33 pm

MikeC_81 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:07 pm
Loose Warbands going head to head will see one or the other double drop 4% of the time
And Close Order warbands?
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:35 pm

MikeC_81 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:07 pm
Loose Warbands going head to head will see one or the other double drop 4% of the time
Presumably the % is the same for close order war band units? So, on average, a double drop should happen once every 25 times in impacts between similar war band units?

In a 1200pts game between two war band armies you might expect there to be around 15 war bands on each side, which might result in around 20 or so impacts between them during the course of a battle. So, one such double drop in a battle would be about par for the course in this sort of match-up? And if a player suffered 3 or 4 double drops during the course of a battle, with a couple of them right at the start, then they might be entitled to feel that they are being a bit unlucky?

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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:52 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:35 pm
MikeC_81 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:07 pm
Loose Warbands going head to head will see one or the other double drop 4% of the time
Presumably the % is the same for close order war band units?
Yes, but higher for Loose Order vs Close Order.
In a 1200pts game between two war band armies you might expect there to be around 15 war bands on each side, which might result in around 20 or so impacts between them during the course of a battle. So, one such double drop in a battle would be about par for the course in this sort of match-up? And if a player suffered 3 or 4 double drops during the course of a battle, with a couple of them right at the start, then they might be entitled to feel that they are being a bit unlucky?
Yes, and it would be much more memorable than the much larger number of occasions when this did not occur.

The nature of random events is that they are random - i.e. they are not evenly spread. Sometimes there will be more than the average number of fringe results, sometimes there will be less.

I know you know this already, but it needs to be said for anyone who is under the delusion that there is something wrong when fringe events clump.

Also, some armies are more prone to this than others. Impact Heavy Foot vs Impact Heavy Foot of the same grade will have a much lower rate of Double Drops because of the +1 for Heavy Foot that Warbands don't get.
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Re: Double-Breaks Far too Frequent

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:57 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:52 pm

Yes, and it would be much more memorable than the larger number of occasions when this did not occur.

The nature of random events is that they are random - i.e. they are not evenly spread. Sometimes there will be more than the average number of fringe results, sometimes there will be less.

I know you know this already, but it needs to be said for anyone who is under the delusion that there is something wrong when fringe events clump.
Yes, OK. Accepted.

Is there any merit in the idea that when war bands fight other war bands that they should really cancel each other out rather than having a higher likelihood of double-dropping? How would making a change like this impact on the rest of the game? It would be negligible, wouldn't it?

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