How do you beat a max mounted army?

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timmy1
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How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by timmy1 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:48 am

OK chaps. Assuming that we don't want to change anything to hobble the max-mounted armies (up to 75% of the BGs being Superior horsey types in armour), how do you configure an army and play the game to give yourself a chance of a decent game against the max-mounted clones? Please note here I am not talking about beating any one person (I have played Alasdair and got soundly beaten solely because he played better than I did; would play him again in an instant as it was such good fun) but rather if you are planning to turn up at a comp and 5 of the top 10 ranked players in the UK will be there with Max-mounted armies.

Let us assume that this is a 4+ round open or not too tightly themed comp, with standard points, standard rules (i.e. no preset terrain), standard table size and counts for the ranking points.

What counter-measures can you adopt to give yourself a decent shot at 2nd place:

- Army list design
- terrain options
- deployment
- style of play?

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by martinvantol » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:27 pm

Interesting question. I'll kick off with a cynical answer (sorry) ...

Some players seem to have had some success by taking Duty & Glory armies.
I think the elements are these ...
(a) Infantry units where you can get at least 6 shooting dice. So Austrians, Danes or Anglo-Dutch with reg guns.
(b) Minimum cavalry ... one average unarmoured BG. You don't use it as a proper horse unit. You have it because you have to, and it just provides mobile support to the infantry.
(c) Loads of terrain.

However ...
(a) It's unhistorical.
(b) If the cavalry player decides not to take you on it's a dull game.

Personally I dislike these armies as much as the max-mounted armies.

Martin

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by Maniakes » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:40 pm

As you say could lead to a lot of dull draws - like the question who would win between an eagle and a shark (Answer: they never fight).

In the end you can't force competition players to use only historical tactics (unless you set up scenarios) -surely the best you can aim for has to be a good game with a strong flavour of history and nothing that seems totally contrived and a-historical.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by petedalby » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:45 pm

As Simon has posted elsewhere, I think you need help from the terrain to:

a) - close down the table width - so a large piece of difficult, say a steep hill or a forest on the flank is ideal if compulsory and fighting in hilly or woodlands.

b) - put down 'visibility blocking' terrain to try to channel artillery fire - plantations, covered hills - so the artillery have less options. Having covered hills also limits their benefit to your mounted opponent.

Fortifications may have a role to play too? I think John Munro took some to Britcon with his army list? But of course they don't help you vs artillery - I've never quite understood why not.

But whatever the terrain, the mounted still have the benefit of manoeuvre - turn and move, plus 3 march moves AND most of the buggers are superior. So even if you are lucky enough to kill 2 bases in a 4 base BG, you still haven't got any points on the board.
Pete

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by martinvantol » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:39 pm

Maniakes wrote:As you say could lead to a lot of dull draws - like the question who would win between an eagle and a shark (Answer: they never fight).

In the end you can't force competition players to use only historical tactics (unless you set up scenarios) -surely the best you can aim for has to be a good game with a strong flavour of history and nothing that seems totally contrived and a-historical.

Hi ...

Why could you not do that? Surely that should be one of the main objectives of a competition organiser or list writer?

Where I sort of agree with you is that I'm not blaming the players who turn up with these armies which are unhistorical but within the rules.

Martin

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by urbanbunny1 » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:17 am

terrain is key to keep a mounted army away from you, but it does make for a very boring game.

I've seen several games by good players be declared a draw as both were not prepared to give it a go due to terrain.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by hazelbark » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:15 pm

urbanbunny1 wrote:terrain is key to keep a mounted army away from you, but it does make for a very boring game.

I've seen several games by good players be declared a draw as both were not prepared to give it a go due to terrain.
This is the depressing part of the game. I have an occasional opponent who likes foot heavy armies. He is smart enough to not want to fight in the open. So to have a game I must resort to sending pistol cavalry through bad terrain and other sneaky tricks. Its all only sort of fun. I don't blame him, because he takes the army he does for passion not reasoned decisions then generals them well.

I don't know the solution but there needs to be one.

ethan
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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by ethan » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:28 pm

I am more and more convinced that part of the issue in both FoGR and AM (and possibly "ancients" in general) is that the game set-up does too little to encourage a battle. I have always been of the opinion that the game is supposed to simulate a field battle - which for whatever reason both armies have decided "now is the time."

I think that a judicious inclusion of some objective markers on the table that serve as a means of forcing the action probably would make sense. It is not that these are historical per se, there is not sense in "capturing the crossroads at the village" is an objective for a main force renaissance (or ancient) army like some WW2 infantry company, but it creates the right incentives. It would not be possible to avoid battle or hide in a corner if you lose the game when the opponent controls all the objective markers (or most of them or whatever).

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by stecal » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:15 pm

urbanbunny1 wrote:terrain is key to keep a mounted army away from you, but it does make for a very boring game.

I've seen several games by good players be declared a draw as both were not prepared to give it a go due to terrain.
The scoring system rewards draws with too high a score (10). Go with a scoring system that gives both players a losing score, in this case zero, and see if anyone wants to declare a draw due to not attacking.
Clear the battlefield and let me see
All the profit from our victory.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by ravenflight » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:42 pm

ethan wrote:I am more and more convinced that part of the issue in both FoGR and AM (and possibly "ancients" in general) is that the game set-up does too little to encourage a battle. I have always been of the opinion that the game is supposed to simulate a field battle - which for whatever reason both armies have decided "now is the time."

I think that a judicious inclusion of some objective markers on the table that serve as a means of forcing the action probably would make sense. It is not that these are historical per se, there is not sense in "capturing the crossroads at the village" is an objective for a main force renaissance (or ancient) army like some WW2 infantry company, but it creates the right incentives. It would not be possible to avoid battle or hide in a corner if you lose the game when the opponent controls all the objective markers (or most of them or whatever).
Valid points, but I think you have to take into account how much you will hamper some armies because their opponent is not being particularly historical.

Ancients and to a lesser extent Rennaissance put too much value on getting around people's flanks. I'm not quite sure why, but it DIDN'T happen as much as it does on the (FoG) wargames table. Whenever it did happen, it was a big deal Nd was spoken about as 'unique'.

It seems, that most battles were 'line up and move forward'.

That makes for a boring and probably predictable result... but probably historical.

My concern with this sort of suggestion is you would have (for example) someone turning up with Vikings and either being skirmished to death, or outflanked and destroyed while trying to take an 'objective'.

It has a certain appeal, and I have played 'objective based' games before and it works, but I don't think it can in FoG in an open comp.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by hazelbark » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:40 pm

ravenflight wrote: Valid points, but I think you have to take into account how much you will hamper some armies because their opponent is not being particularly historical.

Ancients and to a lesser extent Rennaissance put too much value on getting around people's flanks. I'm not quite sure why, but it DIDN'T happen as much as it does on the (FoG) wargames table. Whenever it did happen, it was a big deal Nd was spoken about as 'unique'.

It seems, that most battles were 'line up and move forward'.
That makes for a boring and probably predictable result... but probably historical.

My concern with this sort of suggestion is you would have (for example) someone turning up with Vikings and either being skirmished to death, or outflanked and destroyed while trying to take an 'objective'.

It has a certain appeal, and I have played 'objective based' games before and it works, but I don't think it can in FoG in an open comp.
You are right in nearly every way, but still very wrong.
I don't mean the following as a personal onslaught it is endemic to us all.
What you describe is exactly where we all are at, the solution seems to outlaw any historical stodgy army and only bother to play with armies that can swing on to flanks.
The Maneuver is exactly the fun part of many players. And either they get to crush a weak player or you have an exciting matched playing of two opponents struggling to do something very clever. The problem is as you say it is too easy to maneuver compared to history.

The terrain is a big part of an appropriate answer. We should adjust it to: smaller board, more reliably clear center, more easily secured single flank.

There have been lots of adjustments in some FOG games of smaller table size. That depth matters less in the gun powder era. But going to a 5x4 with some other terrain option to push clutter to short edges would alter some of the balance. Increased victory point penalty for the loss of good troops (defined however) would adjust as well.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by ethan » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:23 pm

ravenflight wrote: Valid points, but I think you have to take into account how much you will hamper some armies because their opponent is not being particularly historical.

Ancients and to a lesser extent Rennaissance put too much value on getting around people's flanks. I'm not quite sure why, but it DIDN'T happen as much as it does on the (FoG) wargames table. Whenever it did happen, it was a big deal Nd was spoken about as 'unique'.

It seems, that most battles were 'line up and move forward'.

That makes for a boring and probably predictable result... but probably historical.

My concern with this sort of suggestion is you would have (for example) someone turning up with Vikings and either being skirmished to death, or outflanked and destroyed while trying to take an 'objective'.

It has a certain appeal, and I have played 'objective based' games before and it works, but I don't think it can in FoG in an open comp.
I have always been in the "objectives don't make sense in ancients camp..." However, I believe they might, if carefully thought out in combination with other rules changes, might make a lot of sense and fix a number of problems. Think about your maneuver comment and skirmish comment, these are exactly the issues I see this as addressing.

Maneuver - Good player can take an infantry army and not get it crushed by a mounted maneuver army. But they can't force that army to fight either so they stay away from the foot army. If they had an option so that by taking the on-table objectives they could win, they could force a fight.

Skirmish - See maneuver. There is no point in skirmishing that scary heavy army out of the game, if they will simply slowly walk across the table taking objectives. I see this as a real plus in FoG given that the skirmish style game basically amounts to "shoot a lot and hope you get lucky and break up the enemy army." Objectives put a much shorter timer on this tactic if you lose the game if the heavy army marches across. The skirmish army can't simply redeploy and keep at it indefinitely.

I see this as a plus and exactly what objectives are trying to fix rather than a minus. I also think this sort of out of the box thinking is needed to make ancients work. There have been innumerable attempts at changing the scoring and they tend to have relatively minimal effect, I think the basic win/loss mechanics need to adjust.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by ethan » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:32 pm

At least as an initial proposal I would go with 4 objectives equally spaced on the table deployed prior to terrain, 24" from the short edge and 16" from the long edge (fortifications would require some thought so ignore them for the moment). Anyone who controls 3 of 4 wins the game (control is defined as being the last player to have troops (battle troops only?) on the marker or move through the marker).

Not saying it is perfect and might require refinement but I think it moves the game in the right direction. You can of course also win by breaking the enemy army in the traditional way.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by ravenflight » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:04 am

ethan wrote:At least as an initial proposal I would go with 4 objectives equally spaced on the table deployed prior to terrain, 24" from the short edge and 16" from the long edge (fortifications would require some thought so ignore them for the moment). Anyone who controls 3 of 4 wins the game (control is defined as being the last player to have troops (battle troops only?) on the marker or move through the marker).

Not saying it is perfect and might require refinement but I think it moves the game in the right direction. You can of course also win by breaking the enemy army in the traditional way.
I'm just playing this through in my mind and thinking out loud.

What if both sides had 2 objective markers. Placement something similar to what you've written. 1 marker is a dummy, the other is real. At the end of the game each real marker is worth a number of attrition points (say 5) which is used to break or save your army from breaking (so if you've gained your enemy's marker, you take 5 points off your losses, if you lose yours you lose 5 attrition points).this theory beingthat the army as an entity KNOW how important it is to control that crossroad/church building etc, so the gaining or loss will affect morale???

EDIT:

Just had another thought, what if you had several objective markers with different values. The person placing the objective marker knows the value (and therefore the ones that are worth fighting for and the ones that aren't) but equally his opponent knows the one's he's put down and their value.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by Sarmaticus » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:22 pm

The consequences of losing a camp might be made more drastic the more mounted an army has. Make's little sense for Tartars on the outrun of a razzia but is not entirely realistic for others.

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Re: How do you beat a max mounted army?

Post by Amra » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:31 am

This thread seems to have shifted a little , but we have run our last 2 FoG R tournements with scenarios and fixed terrain .

We also run the comp as "in period" and vary the period each year .

This has proved to be great fun and works very well . The scenarios can be capture objectives or fulfil the mission . Some players ignore the scenario and just try to smash the other army , this leads to some fun games as they destroy the most but lose !

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