size of units in S&S

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davekhan
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size of units in S&S

Post by davekhan » Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:54 pm

Hi all
my club have been playing FOG in fantasy mode its going very well, so much so that we are trying to put armies together , I would like your input on a few things ...

armies structures ? We are thinking of

ocrs will be warband mostly 8-12 bases per b.g medium foot , undrilled unprotected .will give then 2-3 b.g of med foot, offensive spear protective ..
NOW could we have medium foot AS PIKE ???? and undrill ? . goblins lt spear hoard with lt bow 3rd rank...in 9-12 bases ..

Dwarfs I think they should be in small units sizes 6 to 8 bases

Elfs ,could we class them as HEAVY FOOT ??Longbow, protective ,swordsmen ?

Look forward to hearing from you all .DK
.

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by ravenflight » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:32 am

davekhan wrote:Hi all
my club have been playing FOG in fantasy mode its going very well, so much so that we are trying to put armies together , I would like your input on a few things ...

armies structures ? We are thinking of

ocrs will be warband mostly 8-12 bases per b.g medium foot , undrilled unprotected .will give then 2-3 b.g of med foot, offensive spear protective ..
NOW could we have medium foot AS PIKE ???? and undrill ? . goblins lt spear hoard with lt bow 3rd rank...in 9-12 bases ..

Dwarfs I think they should be in small units sizes 6 to 8 bases

Elfs ,could we class them as HEAVY FOOT ??Longbow, protective ,swordsmen ?

Look forward to hearing from you all .DK
.
Hmm, I'd look at it a different way to how it LOOKS like you're looking at it. 8-10 base BG's are more resuliliant as they can take a pounding before getting an x hits per base, therefore you would end up with Orcs staying steady when Dwarves waver. I'm not sure that's what you want.

Having said that, when a BG of 12 orcs DOES fail, a whole crap load go south.

Another thing, I would think Dwarves would have a better 'unit effect' than Orcs such that can understand a heroic general joining a BG and influencing a large area. I feel Orcs need more 1:1 'tuition' so smaller units of orcs would have the commander in the front rank affecting a smaller number of dice combats.

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by MatthewB » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:23 am

davekhan wrote:Hi all
my club have been playing FOG in fantasy mode its going very well, so much so that we are trying to put armies together , I would like your input on a few things ...

armies structures ? We are thinking of

ocrs will be warband mostly 8-12 bases per b.g medium foot , undrilled unprotected .will give then 2-3 b.g of med foot, offensive spear protective ..
NOW could we have medium foot AS PIKE ???? and undrill ? . goblins lt spear hoard with lt bow 3rd rank...in 9-12 bases ..

Dwarfs I think they should be in small units sizes 6 to 8 bases

Elfs ,could we class them as HEAVY FOOT ??Longbow, protective ,swordsmen ?

Look forward to hearing from you all .DK
.

That's a tough one.

I have Orcs/Goblins as various types, but the masses of them being in 8 base groups with stats much like you listed, and only a few 12 base groups. Orcs do tend to fight pretty hard until they break, and when they start to break they really start to crumble fast.

I also tend to put Dwarves in 12 Base groups, to give them staying power (since this seems to be typical of Dwarves). They are typically Average/Superior, Armored/Heavily Armored, Drilled/Undrilled Heavy Foot - Heavy Weapon or Defensive Spear.

Elves are a trickier subject, as the different types of Elves will have different fighting techniques... And, I tend to only worry about Middle-earth based Elves (Noldor, Sindar, Sylvain, etc.).

The Noldor and Sindar will have some larger groups of 12 stands, but those are 8 Spear and 4 bow, typically two or three such groups make the centerpiece of the army (Superior, Armored, Drilled Heavy Foot - Defensive Spear, with a rear rank of Superior, Protected/Armored Drilled Light Foot - Longbow, Swordsmen/Skilled Swordsmen). Gondolindrim would probably be Heavily Armored, as Tolkien describes them in gleaming mail and plate, head to foot. Noldor would also have all three types of mounted (Knights, Cavalry, and Light Horse).

The Sindar can have similar fighting styles, but probably in smaller groups (9 instead of 12), and as Medium Foot instead of Heavy, and either Armored or Protected. They might also be Heavy Weapon instead of Defensive Spears, as Tolkien described the Sindar as fighting with large axes. They would also have large groups of Bowmen, as either Medium or Light Foot, also having either Heavy Weapon or Skilled Swordsmen (able to both shoot your butt off and chop Orcs to bits as needed). Mablung is a good example of this sort of troop... He was described as typical of the Sindarin who fought in the Doriath against Melkor's Orcs and other troops infesting the area after the Edain had been driven out. Sindarin Mounted would just be Cavalry and Light Horse (No Knights are described)

Sylvain Elves would be lighter (Superior, Protected, Drilled, Medium/Light foot - Skilled Swordsmen/Swordsmen, Longbow/Bow), and they would be in groups of 6 to 12 bases, depending upon type (Medium or Light Foot) and terrain being fought in (larger groups in more open terrain). Sylvain Elves are also described as having Spearmen as well, but it gets tricky trying to figure if they would follow the same formations as the Noldor and Sindar, or if they would be organized differently. At the Battle of Five Armies, Thranduil is said to have had many spearmen (spearelves???).

Each type of Elf army would probably have a couple of groups of Elite troops.

But at that point, you are talking about really small armies for the points.

MB

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by davekhan » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:07 pm

Thanks for your input lads

the way I was thinking that the dwarf are under ground chaps so there units would not need to be large B.g that take to open field battles , they are hvy foot troops well drill and well armoured , holding key terrain mountain passes Bridges ect.. bit like the mid/late rep romans hard as nails chaps .....slow but sure ...... :D

As for your elfs matt

.Not sure I would have the the main core of a army as .....( If this is your main core of your troops I would hate to see the good stuff !)

The Noldor and Sindar will have some larger groups of 12 stands, but those are 8 Spear and 4 bow, typically two or three such groups make the centerpiece of the army (Superior, Armored, Drilled Heavy Foot - Defensive Spear, with a rear rank of Superior, Protected/Armored Drilled Light Foot - Longbow, Swordsmen/Skilled Swordsmen).

that's 12pts for your spearelfs (96pts ) and 14pts (56pts ) for your rear rank of bow NOT sure why you want them as longbow as well , and armoured light foot come on ! ,So you are saying for your normal elf unit they will be 152 pts !!!! per battle group ! and you have 3 B.g of them ! THATS 456 pts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DO you actually put these B.G out on a game ? talk about uber troopers ! and having lt foot armoured ! come on they cant be light foot if they are armoured .

Matt it looks like you would put dwarfs and elfs in 12 bases B.G not sure that would make a great game to play

I think I will try a game with elfs as Hvy foot Longbow protected swordsmen ? and see what happens and I will put your uber troopers out in the game and see what happens to then :) .

well thanks for the input
happy gaming davekhan

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by ravenflight » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:20 am

davekhan wrote:Elfs ,could we class them as HEAVY FOOT ??Longbow, protective ,swordsmen ?
I'd strongly disagree with rating Elves 'Heavy Foot'.

They are archers, and no BG of shooters in the basic FoG is Heavy Foot. There would be play tested reasons for this.

Also, in V2 of FoG:AM archers have been considered perhaps 'too good'. If you made them Heavy Foot, knights would just evaporate in front of them. I don't think that would be realistic... especially for the points.

I'd urge you to not try to make 'super troops'. Try as much as possible to model them on historical models and tweek them. For example, you may wish to make the Elves able to be interpenetrated by halberdiers, who are in turn able to be interpenetrated. You may alternatively wish to give them a light spear as an impact weapon. I know no novel that indicates elves threw spears just before impact, but look at it from top down. Would an Elvish archer have a higher impact capability than an English Longbowman? Possibly so. Would they have the same resilience in melee as an English Longbowmen?

Ok, let's say you agree with both. Your Elves become:

Medium Foot Average Protected Longbow Light Spear Swordsmen.

Let's say you agree with the first point, but not the second. Your Elves become:

Medium Foot Average Protected Longbow Light Spear

You get where I'm going?

Ok, onto Dwarves, are Dwarves really anything other than a Medieval Man at Arms (but shorter)? What does that mean? Are Dwarves (because of their height) going to suffer more against mounted troops?

Ok, so you agree they are. Your Dwarves become:

Medium Foot (suffer against mounted) Superior Heavily Armoured Heavy Weapon.

Let's say you don't think they do suffer a negative against mounted. Leave them alone:

Heavy Foot Superior Heavily Armoured Heavy Weapon

Let's say you think they should have shooting capability, but not that great. Medieval Danes come to mind.

Front Rank Heavy Foot, Average, Armoured (or heavily armoured maybe), Heavy Weapon
Rear Rank Medium Foot, Average, Armoured , Crossbow, Swordsman.

Play around to get the result you want - not the troop type you think would work.

Remember you can always add 'special rules'. Maybe Trolls don't scare horses the way elephants do (take away that disordering effect) but scare the hell out of men and elves (-1 in cohesion test), but dwarves are fine.

It becomes a little cumbersome, because you end up with different effects for (in essence) the same troops. Why would you want to take Medieval Men at Arms if they are exactly the same as Dwarves and cost the same, but suffer a minus vs Trolls?

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by MatthewB » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:56 am

And, yes, I have played these in a game, although with only 9 base groups, due to a lack of miniatures.

And the outcomes were varied. Usually with the Elves getting swarmed. In places where they had terrain to block the Orcs, they would tend to do better.

I also forgot to mention that one of the reasons I tend to make Orcs Heavy Foot is to take away their advantage in rough/difficult terrain (can't remember which one is the worse of the two at the moment), as only a few select Orc formations seem to have had the capability to fight effectively in complicated terrain.

When we did this, then the Elves tended to not suffer from being swarmed.

I am conflicted about Elves and Dwarves for various reasons, the first of which being that Elves and Dwarves are incredibly long-lived, and the second of which being that they are not human, and thus will have some things that are "different" and hard to quantify. This makes historical analogs difficult, because there are no historical analogs of troops who have spent around 600 years fighting against a demi-god and his minions. Dwarves have similar analog problems.

If there is an analog, even though the troop types are not identical, it would be Late-Republican Romans, where you have Legionnaires who are Superior, Armored, Drilled, Heavy-Foot - Impact Foot, Skilled Swordsmen/Swordsmen.

Dwarves... We haven't really been able to playtest, due to having only had a few armies at the time and me moving. But Dwarves should be resilient, tough little buggers. And there is no indication in any source materials that I know of that indicates they would be Medium Foot (And, Tolkien doesn't have Crossbows in Middle-earth - he makes a comment about it in a letter). Dwarves would probably have no, or very few, missile-armed troops in their armies. They tended to be formed masses of foot who were like roadblocks. As for facing cavalry, I haven't considered that since the Dwarves in Middle-earth never fought anyone who had mounted, save possibly for Wolf-Riders, and there is no indication they had trouble with these as an army.


It has been a long time (school gets in the way) since I have looked at the lists. And there may have been some alterations to the troops since we first played. So I'd need to have a look at what the actual lists used were.

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by MatthewB » Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:16 am

ravenflight wrote: It becomes a little cumbersome, because you end up with different effects for (in essence) the same troops. Why would you want to take Medieval Men at Arms if they are exactly the same as Dwarves and cost the same, but suffer a minus vs Trolls?

Why?

Because not all play is about mini-maxing the rules.

If one is playing Dwarves, they should have the capabilities that Dwarves would have. Dwarves are not Medieval Men-at-Arms. They are Dwarves.

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by davekhan » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:49 pm

Hi all
Its good to see all your points of views of troops classes ,

Matt
I don't think you have the grip of the rules in my eye ! you need to play more and under stand the rules more .
A orc army screams out to me that its a warband army .

. orcs in my eye are fast moving undrilled units very little cav , you wind them up at the start of the battle and let them go ! they hit hard on the impact turn ,then slow down /run out of steam in the combat round IF the defending unit can hold its line in the impact round then they should come out on top in the end..
we play are fantasy game in more of a dark age theme so knights on big white horses and full plate mail is out the window to me..
I think that my orcs would not be able to keep a tight formation when moving in battle lines they just don't have the discipline that a Dwarf or elf would have by keep the dressing as they march into combat..

Hi Ravenflight
Thanks for your input . I take your point about trolls as elephants ect... we are now looking at them as scythed chariots instead which I think will work better (still only 2 bases ) they can be used to break up a battle line before the warbands hit them and they don't count towards your breaking pts which is a plus !
I see your point with the elf adding a lt spear with them would help them out on the impact turn .. so will give it a go

BUT if you called have them heavy foot the orcs would get a -1 on the cohesion test which makes them more brittle ? None of the fog armies have elfs in them :) ,that's why elfs are hvy foot (in my eyes )they can with stand cav better than us humans , there discipline is greater and the front rank unstring there elf bows and use them as spears :lol:

But I don't like the thought of my Dwarfs as med foot,I just can have them moving at the same speed as them swift elfs :) I just think they are drill heavy foot The main core of my dwarf army will be spearmen/Dwarfs .. and a few hvy wpns chaps added in as well ..

I dont want to mess around with the rules too much and I dont want to add this bit for them and take that away from this ect.. K.I.S.S

happy gaming davekhan

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by eldiablito » Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:26 am

All of these units you describe can vary to whatever source material you want.

Now if you want elves like you saw in the first LotR film, then I saw 2 ranks. The first rank had huge swords that cut the orcs to pieces. The second rank were archers. All were armored fairly similarly. Next, the elves seemed to stand their ground and not budge an inch while the orcs charged foolishly. Finally, everybody seemed to fight really well.

So, I would categorize all elves as Superior, Armoured, and Drilled. Then, the first rank seemed to do well on impact phase, but did not behave impetuously. This means that they could be defensive spear, light spear, or heavy weapons. In melee, they could have heavy weapons, defensive spear, swordsmen or skilled swordsmen. Because they take the charge so well, it would be odd to grade them as medium foot, so heavy foot in to me.

The second rank seems to be archers. This game strives to make all archers medium foot (fair enough in my mind). However, after the fight becomes a heavy scrum, these archers become swordsmen pretty quickly.

All this screams to me Later Medieval Danes!!!

To me, there is already precedent for heavy weapon in the front rank and bow in the back rank with the Later Medieval Danes and Sweedes. To ensure that the unit doesn't break too quickly in impact, the front rank is made heavy foot. Really, the only real difference is that the elves could be superior (and elite too, why not). These units are pretty cool even against cavalry charges. They get 2 dice at 5s and a third die on 4s. Enemy lancers only get 2 dice on 4s. Sure the odds favor the cavalry unit, but with heavy weapons, the melee becomes very even! If you make the unit superior too, then the odds of disrupting are lowered significantly.

Don't forget, Tolkein wasn't trying to go too exact on his battles, so there is plenty of room for you to add knights and cavalry too. So, if I were to build an elf army from the rule set, I would begin with the Danes and just upgrade the units with superior/elite units and downgrade all firearms to bows. I might also go further to make the elven bows an equivalent to longbows for the purpose of the game.

This quickly becomes a very tiny army... :(

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by MatthewB » Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:43 am

eldiablito wrote:All of these units you describe can vary to whatever source material you want.

Now if you want elves like you saw in the first LotR film, then I saw 2 ranks. The first rank had huge swords that cut the orcs to pieces. The second rank were archers. All were armored fairly similarly. Next, the elves seemed to stand their ground and not budge an inch while the orcs charged foolishly. Finally, everybody seemed to fight really well.
Then you missed part of their formation.

They had many ranks of Spearmen just behind the guys with the large Swords/Halberds, and through them the Archers fired directly into the charging Orcs.

Image
Image

This would be a group of Heavy Weapons armed Elves in front of a Mixed unit of Spears/Bows or Longbows.

However, there are images that show exactly what you have described, meaning that either formation should be useable (Spear/Bow, or Heavy Weapon/Bow)
Image

eldiablito wrote:So, I would categorize all elves as Superior, Armoured, and Drilled. Then, the first rank seemed to do well on impact phase, but did not behave impetuously. This means that they could be defensive spear, light spear, or heavy weapons. In melee, they could have heavy weapons, defensive spear, swordsmen or skilled swordsmen. Because they take the charge so well, it would be odd to grade them as medium foot, so heavy foot in to me.
This is why I have rated the Noldorin as ⅔ Superior, Armored, Drilled, Heavy-Foot - Defensive Spearmen and ⅓ Superior Armored, Drilled Medium/Light-Foot - Longbow (optional Swordsmen - it gets tricky here, because really, any Elf in Middle-earth who could fight would have at least the Swordsmen skill, and these would be the guys who were just HORRIBLE fighters) with 6 - 12 bases per group.

I had a modification that allowed for a rank of Heavy Foot armed with Heavy Weapons that could meet at impact, and then retreat through the Spearmen if they lost cohesion. With the Elves armed with Heavy Weapons in groups equal to ½ the number of Spear Armed Elves, or equal to the number of Bow Armed Elves in the groups to their rear (so, if a Battle Group had 8 bases of Defensive Spear and 4 of Bow, then the Heavy Weapons Group would have 4 bases - equal frontage in order to interpenetrate)

eldiablito wrote:The second rank seems to be archers. This game strives to make all archers medium foot (fair enough in my mind). However, after the fight becomes a heavy scrum, these archers become swordsmen pretty quickly.

All this screams to me Later Medieval Danes!!!

To me, there is already precedent for heavy weapon in the front rank and bow in the back rank with the Later Medieval Danes and Sweedes. To ensure that the unit doesn't break too quickly in impact, the front rank is made heavy foot. Really, the only real difference is that the elves could be superior (and elite too, why not). These units are pretty cool even against cavalry charges. They get 2 dice at 5s and a third die on 4s. Enemy lancers only get 2 dice on 4s. Sure the odds favor the cavalry unit, but with heavy weapons, the melee becomes very even! If you make the unit superior too, then the odds of disrupting are lowered significantly.
Danes are not the only troops who had such mixed formations. So it would perfectly justifiable to have them in this sort of BG.
eldiablito wrote:Don't forget, Tolkein wasn't trying to go too exact on his battles, so there is plenty of room for you to add knights and cavalry too. So, if I were to build an elf army from the rule set, I would begin with the Danes and just upgrade the units with superior/elite units and downgrade all firearms to bows. I might also go further to make the elven bows an equivalent to longbows for the purpose of the game.

This quickly becomes a very tiny army... :(
That is one of the problems with Elves, similar to Republican Roman Armies that had all Superior Legions. They are freaking tiny armies.

If you look at the number of bases in a 600pt Republican Roman Army (42 bases Mid or Late Republican Roman) compared to the number of bases in a Gallic Army (56 bases) or an Early German Army (72 bases) or Early British (62 bases) then this is a similar comparison to what you get when facing Orcs (at least in the Second or Third Age).

Orcs in the First Age were a lot tougher than the later Orcs, due to a significantly larger number of Boldoeg Orcs (See Tolkien's essay On Orcs from The History of Middle-earth, vol X: Morgoth's Ring), so you would find First Age Elf and Orc armies to be much more similar in size... Especially when you go adding in Balrogs, Dragons, Trolls, and the other Monsters that Morgoth had at his disposal.

Really, Middle-earth battles are not so much a point-based thing as they are scenario based.

As for Knights, Tolkien explicitly describes Elven Knights in all Ages (First through Third, although in the Third Age, it is only Galadriel and Thranduil who have any that are deployed - Galadriel/Lothlórien during the The War of the Ring when Khamûl attacks Lórien from Dol Guldur, and Thranduil both in the Battle of Five Armies and The War of the Ring, during the defense of Dale).

Elves are also described as having regular Cavalry Units (Bow, Swordsmen, maybe with a Light Spear as well - there are groups that are armed such in the army lists, but they are very few), and Light Horse. Most of these mentions are in The Silmarilion, but it is not likely that they stopped using them in the Second and Third Ages, and we know that Celbrimbor had both in Eregion during the Second Age.

MB

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by MatthewB » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:18 am

davekhan wrote:Hi all
Its good to see all your points of views of troops classes ,

Matt
I don't think you have the grip of the rules in my eye ! you need to play more and under stand the rules more .
A orc army screams out to me that its a warband army .
Gauls and Germanics are really a poor analogy for Orcs, with the possible exception of the First Age.

While the Orcs are fast moving undrilled units (I don't know what would have given you the impression they were not), Tolkien describes them in a great variety in various places.

And... They have no cavalry at all other than Wolf-riders used at various times (minor evidence of their use in the First Age), which would be more akin to Light Horse or Camelry (except instead of sand not slowing them down, it is brush that they tend to ignore) than to Cavalry. They are described as frightening Horses both in the First and Third Ages.

But as to the arming of the Orcs, they could be anything from Unprotected (which during the Third Age, most were) to Armored (lots of chain and big shields, which seems to be what gives all manner of other things Armored status.

There is mention of different arms in the Southern Orcs compared to the Northern Orcs (who were also more heavily armored due to their looting of Dwarven Mines and Weapon Stores in both Gundabad and Moria), with the Northern Orcs being denser blocks of Troops, and the southern Orcs mostly being more massed bodies.

There are a few instances of Spear Armed Orcs acting like what FoG called "Offensive Spearmen" (The Orcs at the Morannon and in the First Age).

But most Orcs would be simply Poor, Unprotected, Undrilled, Medium Foot/Mob ( 8-12 bases), and the better armed/armored Orcs being Poor/Average, Protected/Armored, Undrilled, Medium/Heavy Foot - Light Spear (6-12 bases).

Also, Orcs are not at all homogenous. Very few Groups would be the same, as Orcs are a Tribal and Insular society, with each group having distinct styles of fighting and weapons.

So you might have masses of Battle Groups that differed wildly and all Commanders being Allied Commanders, each able to only lead their own contingents (this is what we have done in all of our games).

It was only during the First Age, and during the War of the Ring, specifically at Pelennor and the Morannon where Orcs were led by regular commanders who were not Allied Commanders (and here, it was Nazgûl and Black Númenóreans that were the generals).

We've played several game both against Elves and Rohirrim where the Orcs seemed to fare pretty well with this.

And, if we are talking Uruk-Hai, or Morgûl Uruks, then Drilled is definitely an option.


davekhan wrote: orcs in my eye are fast moving undrilled units very little cav , you wind them up at the start of the battle and let them go ! they hit hard on the impact turn ,then slow down /run out of steam in the combat round IF the defending unit can hold its line in the impact round then they should come out on top in the end..
we play are fantasy game in more of a dark age theme so knights on big white horses and full plate mail is out the window to me..
I think that my orcs would not be able to keep a tight formation when moving in battle lines they just don't have the discipline that a Dwarf or elf would have by keep the dressing as they march into combat..
But Orcs did keep tight formation at several Battles.

The Nirnaeth Arnoediad, The sack of Goldolin, The Rape of Eregion, The Battle of five Armies, Pelennor, and the Morannon all had Orcs who were massed very densely. In the essay On Orcs, Tolkien describes them as being very disciplined in warfare, but only when they are closely supervised. This is especially true during the First Age when the Boldoeg Orcs were numerous enough to keep a rigid rule over the lesser Orc species.

But, as I said, there is a lot of variety in Orc formations, varying by geography greatly.

In the Hithaeglir, Orcs are described as being armed with large axes and cleavers, and with many having bows.

In the Southern Hithaeglir, Orcs are described as having spears and cleavers, and many with bows as well. They are also described as many of them being more heavily armored than the Northern Hithaeglir Orcs (although all Hithaglir Orcs are more heavily armored than are the Grey and Ash Mountain Orcs who do not live inside the border of Mordor).

These are a variety of:

Poor/Average, Unprotected/Protected/Armored, Undrilled, Heavy/Medium Foot - Light Spear/Impact Foot (Bow or Bow* optional, depending upon numbers present) in groups of 6 - 12. There are limited numbers of Protected and Armored and Bow Armed (although the number of Bow Armed is greater in the North than the South). One or Two BGs might have Swordsmen skill.

Also, Western Hithaeglir Orcs are also lighter armored and armed than are Eastern Hithaeglir (Elrond's boys and the Dúnedain keep the Western slops of the Hithaeglir pretty tightly controlled and give the Orcs a mess of trouble). The Western Hithaeglir Orcs are what most people think of when they think "Orc;" at least by the descriptions.

These are the typical:

Poor, Unprotected/Protected, Undrilled, Medium foot - (Light Spear/Impact Foot - with one or two BGs having Swordsmen skill).

Inside Mordor, you have a huge variety of Orcs. This is where most of the variety comes from (Offensive Spear from Minas Morgûl and Barad Dûr, Impact Foot from Udûn and North Mordor, etc).

If you have players who want to mini-max, this can lead to problems... But that is the case for anything.

There just is no terrestrial analog to Orcs, especially Middle-earth Orcs. Tolkien was really mixing tropes with Orcs. The most typical thing he used was the Mongol or Steppe Nomad, but these were Mounted and Orcs are not. Asiatic Foot (Chinese) were also an influence. But he was using stereotypes of these peoples and other tropes in his imagination of Orcs.

There isn't any simple way to approach them.

MB

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by davekhan » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:29 am

matthewB wrote:Really, Middle-earth battles are not so much a point-based thing as they are scenario based.
don't think you can say that we don't have nearly enough info on any of the battles to run it as a scenario ..we cant even agree on class and type of units to field :lol: let alone how many troops took part what the terrain was ect .

That why points does matter !and THATS why these rules are SO good as they take that into account ! Its fine having your elfs as urber troops at 152 pts per battle group .. but the other side get the same pts to use as well .
MatthewB wrote: I had a modification that allowed for a rank of Heavy Foot armed with Heavy Weapons that could meet at impact, and then retreat through the Spearmen if they lost cohesion. With the Elves armed with Heavy Weapons in groups equal to ½ the number of Spear Armed Elves, or equal to the number of Bow Armed Elves in the groups to their rear (so, if a Battle Group had 8 bases of Defensive Spear and 4 of Bow, then the Heavy Weapons Group would have 4 bases - equal frontage in order to interpenetrate
Do you play Fog a lot because I cant see how you work it all out its NO point having any spear in 1 rank they don't get any ++++ in single rank ! what the point in having heavy wpn in the front rank in the impact round and pull them back in the melee round that's when you need them !Troops cant INTERPENETRATE in combat you are just screwing with the core of the rules .WHen a unit is Disrupted or Fragmented THE WHOLE UNIT IS DIS/FRAG not just the 1`st rank!!!! and in melee BOTH 1st and 2nd rank fight !
SO haw can the 2nd rank INERPENETRATE the 1st rank ! if they are fighting as well and they are dis/frg as well ! so orcs would get to use there sword in the melee round now as your spaer would be dis/frag Please read /play the game more that way you will see what a great set of rules they are :)

happy gaming davekhan

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by MatthewB » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:36 am

Communication isn't easy here.

The Spear are not in one rank, they are in two (Two ranks of Spear, with one of Bow behind them. Typical ⅔/⅓ Mixed Spear-Bow formations, like Byzantine or Late-Romans).

We only played one game with the Heavy Weapon armed front row, and they did not withdraw after the impact phase. They fought until they lost a cohesion test, at which point they withdrew.

This is borrowing a mechanic from a DBx based rule system called Hoplon, that had rules for Republican Roman Maniple replacement.

It worked quite well in the game of FoG we played using it (and, of course, it works in Hoplon, which I have played quite a bit more than FoG - I am torn between the two sets).

Yes, that does alter a part of the rules. And it was done solely to reproduce the LotR films (something that I have since come to regret, as I now HATE Peter Jackson for his raping of The Hobbit and my loss of tolerance for his changes to the LotR trilogy as a result.

We had adopted a similar system for Easterlings, based on a short comment that Tolkien made in The Letters of JRR Tolkien about the Easterlings being in "Legions." But I have come to think that it would be better to just use something similar to how FoG treats Mid-republican Hastati and Princeps than to introduce some bizarre behavior that really isn't needed. But then Tolkien introduces several problems with his treatment of Easterlings in Middle-earth (The Easterlings of the First Age has absolutely no relation to the Easterlings of Rhûn of the Second and Third Ages, for a starter). The other problem is that the Easterlings of the Late-Third Age were armed with Halberds that could be either Spear Phalanx or Heavy Weapon.... And I am not sure how to model that.

I guess that if I had the Army Book that has the Armies of the Far East, it would help, as many Chinese Armies had similar weapons (Fang Tian Hua Ji of the Shang and the Dagger-Axe Ji/Ge of the Zhou). And the Easterlings of Rhûn are sort of based upon East Asians. It is hard to tell for the Late-Third Age War of the Ring period Easterlings, but Earlier Easterlings were based loosely upon Magyars, Bulgars, Ghaznavids, and Mongols with some stranger aspects. Chariots would tend to lend evidence of being based upon the Chinese, or other Early East Asians who used Chariots, but the use of Massed Light Horse and Heavy Armored Cavalry would tend to lean toward Mongol. The Wainriders and Balcoth both were said to be a sort of Steppe Hoard, but the Late-Third Age saw Khamûl ruling Eastern Rhûn - kind of a redundancy there - for roughly 4,500 years by then, and was supposed to have created a rather large empire....

Anyway... All that aside... You are leaping to inaccurate conclusions based upon incomplete information above.

MB

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by eldiablito » Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:55 pm

To MathewB:

Thanks for the pics. I had missed the spear elves. So we also have front rank defensive spear, heavy foot, drilled, armoured, superior. Very cool. I could easily see that being another variation to the previous elven infantry. For those who are not aware, that elf in blue is Gil-Galad, the king of the elves at that time... So the spear unit might even be a royal guard. In other words, potentially, the elite troops.

Personally, it has been years since I read Silmarillion or the History of Middle Earth. So, I had forgotten the explicitly mentioned elven knights. I knew that by the third age, Gloinfindel (sp?) aids Frodo by riding him ahead to Rivendel: the movie replaces the origonal elf by having Liv Tyler expand her character's role. Also, I do not recall any elven cavalry at the Battle of 5 Armies. So, it led to my vague memory about earlier ages of Middle Earth. To take this conversation a little off task, I don't exactly trust The History of Middle Earth as these are "edited" by Christopher Tolkein, the son. Sure, C.T. is using his father's notes, but you cannot interpret them as if they were written from the "horses mouth".

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by MatthewB » Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:25 pm

eldiablito wrote:To MathewB:

Thanks for the pics. I had missed the spear elves. So we also have front rank defensive spear, heavy foot, drilled, armoured, superior. Very cool. I could easily see that being another variation to the previous elven infantry. For those who are not aware, that elf in blue is Gil-Galad, the king of the elves at that time... So the spear unit might even be a royal guard. In other words, potentially, the elite troops.

Personally, it has been years since I read Silmarillion or the History of Middle Earth. So, I had forgotten the explicitly mentioned elven knights. I knew that by the third age, Gloinfindel (sp?) aids Frodo by riding him ahead to Rivendel: the movie replaces the origonal elf by having Liv Tyler expand her character's role. Also, I do not recall any elven cavalry at the Battle of 5 Armies. So, it led to my vague memory about earlier ages of Middle Earth. To take this conversation a little off task, I don't exactly trust The History of Middle Earth as these are "edited" by Christopher Tolkein, the son. Sure, C.T. is using his father's notes, but you cannot interpret them as if they were written from the "horses mouth".
The "edited" by Christopher Tolkien just means that he chose which materials of his fathers to include in the books. So there is no reason not to trust them. CJRT doesn't alter his father's works. He only reveals much of what JRRT wrote that did not make it into other publications.

It is a pity that CJRT did not feel up to the task of finishing many of the unfinished works. Eventually someone should.... But that is a huge barrel of monkeys to open.

Everything in the books written by Christopher is just a summary of chronology and differences from other writings and the published works.

It also includes quite a bit of material that CJRT said that he both regrets having left out of The Silmarillion and that he regrets rushing to publish it so soon after his father's death, because he had not yet completed going through his father's works, and thus did not understand the means/vehicle by which his father had planned to reveal, or tell, the stories of the First Age.

The Stories themselves would not have changed, but a great amount of material on the Second Age would have been added as well.

The Mention of Cavalry at The Battle of five Armies is in The History of the Hobbit and The History of Middle-earth.

The Elves with spear made up most of the army. If you buy some of the Making of.. and Art of... books about the movies you can see the Elves with Spear behind the elves with the Two-Handed Swords in most of the shots.

A lot of those wound up on the cutting-room floor.

The Shot with Elrond in it, as the Orcs charge, and he signals the Archers to fire has him standing with other elves Armed with Spears, and only a line of troops with two-handed sword in front of him (something else I am pissed at Jackson about: The Single-edged swords of the Elves. Tolkien would have been apoplectic at that. Only bad-guys use "crooked swords" with single edges.Tolkien wrote a bit about theology in the Middle-ages, including works and examinations of La Morte D'Arthur that detailed explanations that could be used to illustrate why the Elves would NEVER have used single-edged swords... But back to the point). The scene was changed in Compositing so that the archers would be more prominently featured. It is also not likely that Tolkien would have given Two-Handed Swords to the Elves. Tolkien had a thing for Axes when needing two-handed weapons. So, really, those Elves in the Front Lines should be armed with Halberds or some other form of two-handed axe, or similar weapon. I am thinking about scanning some older Ral Partha Elves and doing some variants of them (and increasing their size, so that the Elves would be big enough... Most of the Ral Partha Elves were done when people still thought of Tolkien's Elves as being "shorter than humans," when the truth was that even in the Third Age, they were quite tall). There are several with Two-Handed Axe or Halberd that would be perfect, and would fit well with Tom Meier's current line of Elves (which I have instead of the GW LotR Elves (which, if I bought, I would have to convert all of them to have two-edged, straight swords and spears - a rather large job considering all of those crooked swords on their backs).

It might also be argued that some of the Noldorin or Sindarin used Offensive Spear, more similar to Saxons or other Shield-Wall armies from Wolves from the Sea. Since Middle-earth is about providing a mythology for the Anglo-Saxon England, the elves could be seen as typifying the "Perfect" England, or Anglo troops. But here again we start to drift into Tolkien's Theology and it begins to get complicated.

MB

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by davekhan » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:31 pm

Good job that some of us don't give a sh** about Hollywood films look how they buggered up brave heart that's nothing like history ! oh you could add patriot to that as well ! all great film in their own right but I aint traveling down that road LOTR in film mode ,

aiming to stick to the dark ages side of the game so no plate mail in my armies , and def no front rank hvy wpn and 2/3rd rank spear :lol: that's stays on tv for me .
after all its only a film ... ( If any of you could find me ANY historical units that had this formation please tell me . If it was that good a formation then I think the greeks/romans ,Carthaginian, normans ect.. would used that formation ..

I have played against some arabs conquests with my mongols and they have 12 base units with lt spear 1 and 2nd rank then lt foot bow 3rd . they are hard to break and hard to get a cohesion with shooting on .
MatthewB wrote:We only played one game with the Heavy Weapon armed front row, and they did not withdraw after the impact phase. They fought until they lost a cohesion test, at which point they withdrew
In that case your spearman/elfs SHOULD be dis/frag as well . the whole unit HAS failed its cohesion leave not just the front rank as the 2nd rank is fighting as well .

MattewB could you show us your elf army list I would like to see it and maybe try some of the units out in are next game at the club..

davekhan

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by eldiablito » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:38 am

Oh there are other Medieval attempts at changing formations. For example, Richard the Lionheart changed his infantry to have the spears in the front rank and the crossbows in a supportive rank. This made his spearmen much more dangerous to Saladin's cavalry. Additionally, King Richard anchored his march against the sea and continued to protect that flank with his navy. Previously, the crusader kingdoms and Plantagenet England used their archers/crossbowmen as separate units from their dense spear walls.

Likewise, the Byzantines often had units with melee focused troops in the front rank and missle units in the second and third ranks. If I recall, they specifically had cataphracts in the front rank and horse archers in the second rank. They even used this formation in the dark ages too! Now, the elves are not exactly the Byzantines. In my imagination, I always had Gondor representing the Roman to Byzantine Empire. ...Then again, I always paid more attention to the origional trilogy and The Hobbit... I've already commented on my bias about the additional writings (and perhaps these other books deserve another chance)...

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by MatthewB » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:04 am

davekhan wrote:
MatthewB wrote:We only played one game with the Heavy Weapon armed front row, and they did not withdraw after the impact phase. They fought until they lost a cohesion test, at which point they withdrew
In that case your spearman/elfs SHOULD be dis/frag as well . the whole unit HAS failed its cohesion leave not just the front rank as the 2nd rank is fighting as well .

davekhan

The Spear are a separate unit/Battlegroup from the HW. As I said, communication here is not easy. I had thought that I made it clear that there were in separate groups.
eldiablito wrote:Oh there are other Medieval attempts at changing formations. For example, Richard the Lionheart changed his infantry to have the spears in the front rank and the crossbows in a supportive rank. This made his spearmen much more dangerous to Saladin's cavalry. Additionally, King Richard anchored his march against the sea and continued to protect that flank with his navy. Previously, the crusader kingdoms and Plantagenet England used their archers/crossbowmen as separate units from their dense spear walls.

Likewise, the Byzantines often had units with melee focused troops in the front rank and missle units in the second and third ranks. If I recall, they specifically had cataphracts in the front rank and horse archers in the second rank. They even used this formation in the dark ages too! Now, the elves are not exactly the Byzantines. In my imagination, I always had Gondor representing the Roman to Byzantine Empire. ...Then again, I always paid more attention to the origional trilogy and The Hobbit... I've already commented on my bias about the additional writings (and perhaps these other books deserve another chance)...
Some of the Lists in both Wolves from the Sea, and Decline and Fall have groups that have Heavy weapons and Bow mixed units, and Offensive Spear and Bow mixed units.

As I said, the "Additional Writings" are all JRR Tolkien's writings. They are just things that did not get published because Christopher prematurely published The Silmarillion before he has finished reading all of his father's materials about his plans for future publications.

There isn't anything in the additional Writings that upset the canon of the published writings (any more than the current contradictions that already exist within them).

And I will need to dig out my old laptop to get the full lists.

I can already guess some of your objections. Namely, that some of the troops are Heavily Armored (The Teleri Phalanx), and that all troops are at least Superior (No Elf formation in any of Tolkien's works proved to be anything but). Heavily Armored need not be encased in plate (the Teleri were covered in mail head to foot and had shields that were four feet tall, and very broad).

As I said, in terms of points, it is a very small army, as the cheapest troops were the Sylvan Elf Phalanx at 9 points per base for both the Spear and Archers supporting (and in units of 9, that was 81 points - although we only have one such group). And the Noldorin Spear are 12 for the Spear, and 13 for the Archer Support, in groups of 12 (one group - 148 points) and 9 (Two groups - collectively 222 points). And we had three groups of Halberdiers in front of the spears (one of four and two of three - a deviation from the rule's "Groups must be in even numbers" - that were 52 points and 39 points each - total of 130 points). We were playing with 900 point armies. We only have one BG of 4 Knights (100 points - Superior, Armored, Drilled, Knights, Lancer, swordsmen), and 1 BGs of 6 Sylvan Archers (Superior, Protected, Undrilled, Medium Foot - Bow, Skilled Swordsmen - 60 points total) in addition to the main troops. And we had Three field Commanders (150 points - technically 891 points total). I realize that 900 points is a fairly large sized army. But when we looked at smaller point sized armies, the Elves were much more seriously outmatched. The Orcs had fewer trash troops that they could take when the points rose above 600 points.

And there was a GIANT HOARD of Orcs against them, most of them in groups of 12 (roughly 50% of them Poor, Protected, Undrilled, Medium or Heavy Foot - no capabilities), but there were quite a few that were Armored, and had either Impact Foot, Swordsmen; Light spear, Swordsmen; Offensive Spear; Bow, Swordsmen; or Heavy Weapon.

There were also two BGs of 6 bases of Average, Unprotected, Undrilled, Medium Foot - Bow. And one BG of 4 bases Average Protected, Undrilled, Light Camelry (Wolf-riders) - Bow, Swordsmen. The Orcs also had one Field Commander, and two (or was it three???) Allied Troop Commanders.

In the first game we played... The Elves were massacred. Not enough Terrain, and the Orcs easily got round to their rear. They were almost able to form a square with the four spear BGs, but the Sylvan elves got pinned by a group of Orc Bodyguard (Average, Armored, Undrilled, Heavy Foot - Impact Foot, Swordsmen - I think it was only 8 bases) before they could turn to protect the flank they were on.

In the second game, the Elves had terrain in their favor, and managed to bottle up the Orcs between some bad terrain (Orcs are only once, in Tolkien's works, said to have been able to fight in difficult terrain, which is why I would tend to make them Heavy Foot and not Medium Foot), and take out a couple of their Average Heavy Foot groups, which resulted in a great deal of the rest of their army running away.

The Third game was a draw, a the Orcs would not close to combat, trying to get the Wolf-Riders around the flank first. But the Elven Knights and Sylvan Archers kept the Wolf-Riders from being able to get around a flank.

And the Elven Knights never did get an opportunity to charge until a huge block of trashy Orc Infantry. They wound up fighting a group of Orcs with Bow and Swords, which managed to avoid anything serious for a few turns until they finally caved in, after loosing a base or two each turn (damned things kept their cohesion on their first test - barely).

The thing I remember most was the Elves being outnumbered by about three-to-one.

MB

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by davekhan » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:32 am

MB
Your orc army sounds very short of 900pts to your troop elfs and yes it looks like the orcs will have a 3:2 ratio if not a bit more and so they should !

I played game at are local club using my orc army and this is what a put out

5 B.G Orcs Warband Undrilled med foot impact foot unarmoured ,av, swordsmen ..8-12 bases 2x8 ,1x10 1x10 ,1x12 bases
2 B.G. Goblins undrilled med foot impact foot unarmoured Poor 12 bases each
1 B.G Orc med foot offensive spear Undrilled protected superior 8 bases
2 B.G Goblin Bow lt foot poor unprotected 8 bases
1.B.G wolfriders Lt horse lt spear(just for impact combat ,when the wolfs charge in !) AND Bow, unprotected swordsmen (more for the wolf fighting than the goblin.... :)
1 B.G trolls have had them in 3 bases Classed them as elephants and hvy armoured!
1 B.G wolf packs class them as hvy chariots ( that way they only fight in 1 rank but there is lost of them so get 2 dice ?
1 B.G orc bow med foot undrilled bow av.

MB all this is just 745 pts ! add 4 troop generals 140 pts total 885pts thats 14 B.G and you have 7 B,G for 900pts this just shows you how strong this elf army is ... but that's how games are played .

and just think if I down grades some of me orc warbands to poor I could get another 1 or 2 more B.G s

points are used for a reason in this rules it helps balance the games !

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Re: size of units in S&S

Post by grahambriggs » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:14 am

MatthewB wrote:That is one of the problems with Elves, similar to Republican Roman Armies that had all Superior Legions. They are freaking tiny armies.
They sound it, but that's no bad thing against rather unmanouverable enemies. My FoGR Swiss are the same: four big BGs of pike and three of skirmishers. It helps in the FOGR game that BGs of more than 12 bases count as double for the size of the armies. still, 16 bases of elite, armoured determined foot pike still come to an eye- watering 192 points. My standard tactic is the form all the pikes into a block 6 wide and 10 deep (2 units in front, 2 behind) and insert that into the enemy. It works surprisingly well, and always gives a good game.

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