Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

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the_iron_duke
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Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by the_iron_duke » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:26 pm

I was discussing the other day in a game with another FoGist about unit costs, in particular light horse. This esteemed (and probably time-worn) gentleman was arguing that light horse were pretty poor purchases in digital FoG. I can't help but agree.

Take this example: a light horseman with nothing but a bow costs 8 points. This is as much as an unprotected janissary: a superior, drilled MF with a bow and sword. I know which unit I'd want to take into battle. The points cost for this unit also looks good value when compared to an average LF/MF infantry with nothing but a bow (5 points).

From experience, I feel horse archer armies are surely the least effective in FoG. I'd be in favour of some sort of redressing of the balance, probably a points reduction. What are the thoughts of other players?

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by Tiavals » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:06 pm

Light horses are garbage. I never use them. Light archers on the other hand are quite good. And normal horse archers are great.

The problem with Light Horses is, that their benefits compared to normal horses are minimal. They move 1 more and can pass through horses.

On the other hand, light foot move 1 more than medium foot, can pass through all units, but most importantly, they can run away, which MF can't. Both light horses and horse archers can run away, making the light horses a lot worse in comparison. Light horses are good at smacking around LF, but so are many other things.

I think horse archer armies are great overall(provided they get some other units too), it's just that light horses aren't.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by TheGrayMouser » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:26 pm

Tiavals wrote:Light horses are garbage. I never use them. Light archers on the other hand are quite good. And normal horse archers are great.

The problem with Light Horses is, that their benefits compared to normal horses are minimal. They move 1 more and can pass through horses.

On the other hand, light foot move 1 more than medium foot, can pass through all units, but most importantly, they can run away, which MF can't. Both light horses and horse archers can run away, making the light horses a lot worse in comparison. Light horses are good at smacking around LF, but so are many other things.

I think horse archer armies are great overall(provided they get some other units too), it's just that light horses aren't.
Its all relative
One reason i think light horse are poor value because light foot are too good value.
Maybe a solution would be to reduce the movement of LF to 3 hexes ( same as medium foot) but make it so they suffer no movement cost to enter any rough terrain ( so in effect can always move 3 hexes)

They would be a heck of a lot more exposed to regular cavalry and light horse would be able to run them down that much easier ( which is what they should be able to do imho)

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by stockwellpete » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:41 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote: Its all relative
One reason i think light horse are poor value because light foot are too good value.
Maybe a solution would be to reduce the movement of LF to 3 hexes ( same as medium foot) but make it so they suffer no movement cost to enter any rough terrain ( so in effect can always move 3 hexes)

They would be a heck of a lot more exposed to regular cavalry and light horse would be able to run them down that much easier ( which is what they should be able to do imho)
Yes, LF and LH can move about too easily at the moment. Agree with 3 hex move idea, TGM. But also LF and LH should not be able to move through other troops without penalty - this should cost +1 hex, I feel.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by cptkremmen » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:48 am

I have failed to have any success with shooting armies at all. Especially light cavalry.

Is there a good tactic to using shooty armies, either Medium foot with bow or medium cavalry with bow?

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by Morbio » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:22 pm

the_iron_duke wrote:I was discussing the other day in a game with another FoGist about unit costs, in particular light horse. This esteemed (and probably time-worn) gentleman was arguing that light horse were pretty poor purchases in digital FoG. I can't help but agree.
...
This point has been covered before and I do agree that LH are farily weak in the game and points are better spent elsewhere

viewtopic.php?f=84&t=21482 and here's my thoughts within that post viewtopic.php?f=84&t=21482&start=11

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by CheerfullyInsane » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:22 pm

cptkremmen wrote:I have failed to have any success with shooting armies at all. Especially light cavalry.

Is there a good tactic to using shooty armies, either Medium foot with bow or medium cavalry with bow?
Patience, patience and patience. :D
It'll take a lot of turns where you seem to do very little impact, but eventually the hits start to add up.
The tricky bit is keeping far enough from the enemy while doing so.

Never got the hang of them either (when I start a medieval battle I want to KILL something dammit! All this skulking around with bows is for weaklings! :mrgreen: ), but I've been on the receiving end of too many expertly used shooter-armies to dismiss them completely.
I've got two words for ya: Math is hard.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by the_iron_duke » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:01 pm

Morbio wrote: This point has been covered before and I do agree that LH are farily weak in the game and points are better spent elsewhere
There are a lot of interesting points in that thread, and a lot of ground covered. Were any amendments made or planned to the PC rules as a consequence?

If this thread is still to have a purpose other than to promote readership of the other illuminating thread then maybe it is the focus on light horse, which is perhaps the unit type most needing of revision.

To summarise my view on them, it is that they get beaten by other missile troops for firepower and almost everyone at hand-to-hand fighting. So their only asset is mobility, which on an enclosed finite map can only take you so far. They're a bit like a footballer who can run very fast but can't pass, shoot, dribble or tackle, which is what the game is about really. Even for fighting LF they can be undone as they can be baited into melee by the light infantry and then set upon by more fight-worthy troops. The main strength of LH troops is that they are good at running away! They are like a speedy mosquito without a proboscis.

That said, I think I'm going to do a bit of fence-sitting as far as solutions go as there are others with a better understanding of the game mechanics and, hopefully, the vagaries of the ancient and medieval battlefield than me.

Regarding horse archer armies in general, I have won with them before but they seem to me to be particularly vulnerable to armies with a bit of firepower or some cavalry or that are fairly numerous in BGs, i.e. quite a lot of armies.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by Morbio » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:25 am

the_iron_duke wrote:
Morbio wrote: This point has been covered before and I do agree that LH are farily weak in the game and points are better spent elsewhere
...So their only asset is mobility, which on an enclosed finite map can only take you so far.
I agree, their main strength, the hit and run, is limited by the size of the maps.

Javelin LH are also constrained by the fact that 2 LF can quickly block any escape route and then the HF (or whatever they were shooting at) hammers them, which is particularly disastrous if they are set to evade (or try to evade) because a melee impact becomes a rear charge and if there are 2 units to attack it's game over for that LH unit. I can't believe that a couple of foot skirmishers would ever be able to block the escape of horse unless they actually engaged them. Personally I'd change it so that LF can't block any movement by ZOC other than for other LF. In this way the LH movement would be the same as cavalry for evasion regarding LF.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by the_iron_duke » Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:23 pm

Morbio wrote:Personally I'd change it so that LF can't block any movement by ZOC other than for other LF.
Sounds like a reasonable idea.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by Lysimachos » Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:50 pm

The point made by The Iron Duke is correct and regards not only LH but also cavalry.
Lets have a little example.

A protected, average, light spear, swordsmen cavalry costs 9 pts. whereas a MF or an HF with the same qualities cost only 6 pts.
The cavalry unit has 1 or 2 movement pts of adavantage in respect of the HF and MF respectively and also gains 1 POA against MF during the Impact combat
But if it fights in bad goings is at great disadvantage against any MF.
That is to say that it only really overcome the infantry units in mobility.

This doesn't anyway suffice to justify a cost that is 50% bigger than that of an infantry unit given the fact that, calculating the overall result of this unhappy choice, you'll find that two armies completely of made up of Cavalry on one side and of HF or MF on the other, equipped in the same manner, will be of a very different strength, with the first for example fielding 20 units and the second 30.
Moreover, the mobility feature is one that in the game count much less than the others, given the fact that the maps aren't generally big enough to allow cavalry making real use of their speed.
And this explains why cavalry armies so often ends beaten in battle by their opponent.

This fact becomes completely embarassing when speaking of LH if you consider that such a unit with the above mentioned charachteristic also costs 9 pts, not even possessing the capability of standing its ground during an impact or melee combat phase! (don't know if it's better to cry :cry: or to laugh :lol: )
Which means money completely thrown away without any profit.

To counter this serious problem, that affects ol the cavalry army lists in the DAG, I've started to use this rule when making my scenarios.
I give:
from 580 to 590 pts to army with 0-6 mounted units,
from 590 to 600 pts. to army with 7-12 mounted units,
from 600 to 610 pts. to army with 13-18 mounted units,
from 610 to 620 pts. to army with 19-24 mounted units,
from 620 to 630 pts. to army with 25-30 mounted units,
from 630 to 640 pts. to army with 31-36 mounted units,
from 640 to 650 pts. to army with 37-42 mounted units,
from 650 to 660 pts. to army with 43-48 mounted units,
from 670 to 680 pts. to army with 49-60 mounted units,

In my opinion, though unable to resolve the DAG problem, it works quite well at least on scenarios, giving mounted host much more chances of playing a battle on really equal terms with the other formations.
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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by the_iron_duke » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:44 pm

That is a good post Lysimachos and it sums up a lot of the problem.

I was thinking an idea would be to have bigger maps for DAG games. Have an extra 5 or 10 hexes or more width on either side that can't be deployed in at the start but that comes into play when the game has commenced.

Battles in the game often find themselves unrealistically pressed against the straight battlefield edge. On a computer, unlike the tabletop, there is no real restrictions on using space to create bigger map size, so it comes down to whatever the game-designer chooses. I do see some merit in having a point at which units can be driven from the battlefield and not wish to return. I just think it should be bigger, certainly wider, than it is now. The main beneficiaries of such a change would be the mobility-based troops who currently get the rawest deal because of map size congestion.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by the_iron_duke » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:08 am

I received an interesting PM from Londo about LH which I thought I'd share as it covers some useful points. I had also been thinking recently about LH and about rehabilitating them somewhat and Londo's post covers their main uses. When I wrote before, I was still smarting after some horse-archer army defeats and I think it's in a horse-archer army context in particular that LH seem not such good value. I do think having some LH in one's armoury is a useful thing. Here are Londo's points:
Londo wrote: Agree about LH-based armies - like the Parthians - which are very hard to win with.

However, I think a few LH are an essential part of any army, and excellent value for money. Why?

1) Slaughtering LF.

2) Raiding behind the lines, to get some easy BP from the enemy baggage.

3) Increasing the cavalry total, and thus the chance of getting choice of terrain at the start.

4) Delaying one wing of the enemy army. I very often find myself throwing everything and the kitchen sink at one wing of the enemy, and trying to stall the other wing. LH on that flank can dance and weave, staying just outside of charge range, and stop them using double moves to come to the assistance of their friends.

I always take 1 to 3 LH, depending on how big the battle is.
I would say point 3 is redundant as regular cavalry can fulfil that role and cost the same. I think the fourth point is one of their biggest uses as trying to do the same with LF or cavalry you run the risk of getting caught, especially if the other player has LH. A similar use for LH is getting to useful terrain first and delaying the enemy from doing so.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by Lysimachos » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:55 am

Londo's considerations are thoughtful and in some ways try to give a sense to the expenditure sustained for LH.

But this doesn't help when you got to use an all or prevalent cavalry army, though .. :cry:
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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by the_iron_duke » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:14 pm

Yes, I think LH have their uses and a small force of 2-4 of them is an asset to any army. The problem is you don't need many of them to utilise the advantages they bring. For example - for what is I think their most useful role - holding up flanking cavalry, you only need one LH unit. It's in the horse-archer armies where their higher cost is burdensome. Mind you, undrilled regular horse-archer cavalry aren't that useful either and spend most of the time running away without getting many shots off - at least LH can fire backwards.

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Re: Unit cost imbalance (especially light horse)?

Post by stockwellpete » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:52 pm

LH are also very useful at the end of a batle when forces are scattered all over the place - charging "fragmented" units and charging "routed" units that are strong enough to rally are two examples of this.

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