To keep the non-beta-testers in the loop on this issue:
Here is the latest idea we have come up with. We acknowledge that certain troops best represented as LF in most circumstances as LF were also willing to fight hand-to-hand in suitable conditions.
So it turns out that the solution we are seeking may be in a change in the rules for LF and not a change for MF. The proposed change is simple yet radical.
And that change is to allow LF to fight with full dice vs battle troops and LH in rough or difficult terrain. (For example the Roman velites were used as the main assault force initially on steep hills against the Galatians in 189 BC).
So here is what we are currently proposing:
Impact and Melee dice:
Light Foot or Light Horse:
Lose 1 dice per 2 unless:
- Light Foot in Rough or Difficult terrain or fighting against Light Foot.
- Light Horse fighting against Light Horse or Light Foot
- Any vs FRAGMENTED enemy
(To count as in Rough or Difficult terrain a base has to be entirely in Rough or Difficult terrain)
Thureophoroi and Thorakitai are HF, but a proportion (to be decided) can be fielded at deployment time as Euzonoi, classed as LF, Protected, Javelins, Light Spear, Swordsmen.
Roman auxilia are HF, but a proportion (to be decided) can be fielded at deployment time as Levis Armatura, classed as LF, Protected, Javelins, Light Spear, Swordsmen.
Roman Velites (but not the earlier leves) are also reclassified as LF, Protected, Javelins, Light Spear, Swordsmen.
Some troops in other lists may also need to be reclassified to allow them an assault role in terrain - e.g. Alexander's Agrianians.
Note that this won't make most normal LF overpowered, because they will be on -- POA in melee against most opponents, but it will make them better able to stand up to LH in terrain, or help out their friends.
So much for the "sabre versus the trusty fruit knife" theory.
Giving them full dice in all bad terrain seems excessive to me. This gives them more dice than MF in difficult terrain. LF protected JLS sword become as good as normal combat MF in rough (but they move faster, manoeuvre better, evade and can shoot as well!) and better in difficult as well as uncatchable by better foot in the open. You are basically saying that euzonoi etc are better than generic terrain-hugging tribal warriors. This would be the default formation for thureophoroi etc, with HF only being used against predominantly mounted opponents when little terrain is expected. Giving full dice if the opponents are severely disordered would be better IMO, although these opponents are already on half dice, so is even that needed?
The interaction between unprotected LF bow and unprotected MF bow in terrain will also need looking at.
For velites versus Galatians (HF ?) on a steep hill, IIRC historically this assault was done by throwing enormous quantities of javelins for a long time, not by going into close combat. This would be the result anyway under current rules, so IMO there is no need for any change to get the right result for this interaction. (I’m assuming 2 ranks of LF can shoot on a steep hill - I don’t have my rules with me.)
I’m guessing that the idea is to have the former MF troop types retain their capability in bad terrain, but lose the ability to use drilled MF swarm tactics in the open. However, I thought one of the drivers for making them HF is that they did not have that capability in terrain. Roman armoured HF auxilia should be able to put up a reasonable showing against barbarian protected MF in rough or difficult terrain, balancing a third less dice with a 50% more chance of hitting.
Also it seems a bit odd that offensive spear Hellenistic foot should suddenly gain the close combat ability of a swordsman when deployed as euzonoi, but lack it when fighting as HF in a single rank or unsteady. Wouldn’t LF protected javelin light spear (no sword) be a better classification for them? I don’t recall euzonoi doing much hand to hand fighting historically, but I’m no expert.
I don’t know much about Agrianians, but if they are the only ones that seem underpowered then maybe they are classified wrongly and should be MF. Historically, when they assaulted terrain, who was defending? Is there any evidence of them evading an enemy charge, or interpenetrating through friendly troops?
That probably reads as more reactionary than I intended, and testing may prove that these new LF options are not supertroops and give the right results, but my feeling is that historical results would be better matched with less drastic changes.