Making the steppe more welcoming

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nikgaukroger
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Making the steppe more welcoming

Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:57 am

There have been frequent comments that horsey armies with high PBI and steppe terrain can be a bit to difficult for more pedestrian armies to deal with as the table is mainly open spaces (also some MF lovers seem to think they don't get enough terrain outside the steppe as well).

Random thought on this - how would things change if the loser of the PBI picked and placed terrain choices first instead of the winner - i.e. swap them around in the sequence? They'd have first dibs and so get to at least pick nice sized pieces of what is available rather than see the horse boys take the terrain as small as they can.
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Post by hammy » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:59 am

That is not a bad idea Nik, it might stop people whining so much.

Personally I am happy to fight horsey boys in steppe with a foot army but then I am strange.

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Post by jcmedhurst » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:10 am

Mind you, if they are that upset by it they could always buy an IC of their own, which with most armies gives a +3 vs +4, also the current system does do Carrhae and all those Mongol battles where the enemy was lured onto the steppe.

Perhaps alternate picks of available pieces might work better, with the winner of the PBI going first, this would reduce the opportunities for 'gaming' of the terrain table, which is the real problem I think. The rules should work to avoid the 'sure thing', since predictability allows someone to build an entire strategy and army around a particular setup or outcome.

I still remember the first time I gave up DBM, when my opponent had terrain that covered precisely 49% of the board, none of which could be moved, with war wagons closing the gaps.

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Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:37 am

Are you suggesting this for all terrain types, or just steppe?

Apart from making Graham's Dom Rom Swarm even more powerful....

I suspect it would slightly shift the balance towards low initiative armies, not necessarily MF armies. In other than steppe, the initiative loser could use the most innocuous terrain to block placement of the less convenient items. The largest impact would probably be on high initiative steppe armies, but even there I suspect the practical effect would be small. The steppe army would still be able to place 1 huge and 2 normal open spaces and it doesn't matter how much terrain you have, a cavalry army is not going to fight you in it. I don't think you ever had any problem fighting in non-steppe terrain with your Seljuks did you, Nik?

On the other hand, if it stops people complaining, then that would be a good thing.
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Post by philqw78 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:46 am

if it stops people complaining,
That is not going to happen no matter what you do

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:21 am

jcmedhurst wrote:
Mind you, if they are that upset by it they could always buy an IC of their own, which with most armies gives a +3 vs +4, also the current system does do Carrhae and all those Mongol battles where the enemy was lured onto the steppe.
Getting +3 is OK for most armies, however, with that you still lose initiative 2/3 of the time to a +4. For many foot armies getting to +4 throws the army balance out so is best avoided.

Whilst the current system allows Karrhae, etc. we should remember that the real reason for a pre-battle terrain set up sequence is to generate a table over which we can have an enjoyable game of toy soldiers with a range of armies, historical accuracy is, IMO, a lesser ideal as for that you go down the scenario route.
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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:24 am

lawrenceg wrote:Are you suggesting this for all terrain types, or just steppe?
All - I'll leave the creation of over many exception cases to other rule sets :twisted:


Apart from making Graham's Dom Rom Swarm even more powerful....

Debatable - make it easier for lesser players using it to hide away perhaps but the players who can use the swarm can use it regardless and to some degree open table where the opponent is a bit over-confident is a better bet.


I suspect it would slightly shift the balance towards low initiative armies, not necessarily MF armies. In other than steppe, the initiative loser could use the most innocuous terrain to block placement of the less convenient items. The largest impact would probably be on high initiative steppe armies, but even there I suspect the practical effect would be small. The steppe army would still be able to place 1 huge and 2 normal open spaces and it doesn't matter how much terrain you have, a cavalry army is not going to fight you in it. I don't think you ever had any problem fighting in non-steppe terrain with your Seljuks did you, Nik?
Tend to get more draw end results but you have to take the rough with the smooth and live with your army choice.
Last edited by nikgaukroger on Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by sagji » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:37 am

The question I have is should steppe terrain be available?

The problem is that in FoG most armies with steppe available have high PBI and a desire to fight in stepp - the result is that they frequently get to do so - effectively forcing the enemy to invade them even when the enemy know it is a bad idea and without the ability to make special preparations.

Historically what proportion of their battles did "steppe armies" fight in steppes?
Of these battles
How many were against other "steppe armies"?
How many were against enemies that had made exceptional preparations - sufficient to not be a "standard" FoG Game?

Solutions
a) You can't choose steppe.
b) You can't choose steppe if it isn't on the enemy's list.
c) If you choose steppe, and it isn't on the enemy's list they can bring 200 APs of stuff.

In all cases steppe is still available in campaigns and scenarios.

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Post by Scrumpy » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:44 am

Take out the bitching, and some people would lose most of their fun playing FoG. :)

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:55 am

sagji wrote:The question I have is should steppe terrain be available?

The problem is that in FoG most armies with steppe available have high PBI and a desire to fight in stepp - the result is that they frequently get to do so - effectively forcing the enemy to invade them even when the enemy know it is a bad idea and without the ability to make special preparations.

Historically what proportion of their battles did "steppe armies" fight in steppes?
Of these battles
How many were against other "steppe armies"?
How many were against enemies that had made exceptional preparations - sufficient to not be a "standard" FoG Game?

Best not to think of "steppe" as the actual steppe but as big open spaces - the theory is that the army with higher PBI can dictate that. A good example is Attila against the Romans & Allies at Chalons - big open space but not the steppe.
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Post by philqw78 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:32 pm

You pays your points and makes your choice. If you want terrain that suits you pay for hi PBI. If you don't care take low PBI, if your army can't fight in terrain used in open comps play scenarios or closed comps or change your army. Why change the rules. It seems to me people are just wanting their favourite army to do better.

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Post by spike » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:59 pm

I suggested way back in the play test era that I was not sure about the suggested terrain placement rules, but no one wanted to discuss an alternative.

viewtopic.php?t=3308&highlight=terrain+placement

Nik's idea is interesting and provides a better balance, I think that flat billiard tables battlefields are mostly boring environments in which to play, and are generaly unrealistic (more gentle bare hills is better than flat table).

Spike

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Post by sagji » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:05 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:
sagji wrote:The question I have is should steppe terrain be available?

The problem is that in FoG most armies with steppe available have high PBI and a desire to fight in stepp - the result is that they frequently get to do so - effectively forcing the enemy to invade them even when the enemy know it is a bad idea and without the ability to make special preparations.

Historically what proportion of their battles did "steppe armies" fight in steppes?
Of these battles
How many were against other "steppe armies"?
How many were against enemies that had made exceptional preparations - sufficient to not be a "standard" FoG Game?

Best not to think of "steppe" as the actual steppe but as big open spaces - the theory is that the army with higher PBI can dictate that. A good example is Attila against the Romans & Allies at Chalons - big open space but not the steppe.
But then why can't a HRE with the same capabilities find the same type of battlefield?
Is Chalons not better viewed as say agricultural with favorable terrain rolls? More specifically could Attila rely on finding such a battle field on EVERY occasion he choose the battlefield?

EDIT:
Having looked at the description of the battle I don't think it is a plausible steppe battle - only Attila would pick steppe, he would pick a minimum size hill, which could end up in the middle. However the description of the battle implies the Roman's command fought on the hill, which would need it to be a big hill.
Last edited by sagji on Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Making the steppe more welcoming

Post by grahambriggs » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:25 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:There have been frequent comments that horsey armies with high PBI and steppe terrain can be a bit to difficult for more pedestrian armies to deal with as the table is mainly open spaces (also some MF lovers seem to think they don't get enough terrain outside the steppe as well).

Random thought on this - how would things change if the loser of the PBI picked and placed terrain choices first instead of the winner - i.e. swap them around in the sequence? They'd have first dibs and so get to at least pick nice sized pieces of what is available rather than see the horse boys take the terrain as small as they can.
I suspect the reality is that the more ploddy army often had the alternative of refusing to be drawn onto the steppe. When faced by a genius with a mounted army, sit in your fortresses. Or if you are going to fight the Parthians, at least use the mountains and rivers to ensure you're not entirely fighting in the open.

A possible mechanism to reflect this might be "if the difference in initiative is equal of greater than 2, the player with lower initiative may veto one terrain type" or similar.

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Re: Making the steppe more welcoming

Post by sagji » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:46 pm

grahambriggs wrote: A possible mechanism to reflect this might be "if the difference in initiative is equal of greater than 2, the player with lower initiative may veto one terrain type" or similar.
Why should it depend on the initiave, even a TC commanding an army with no scouting ability (PBI 0) knows not to attack an all mounted army on the steppes.
Perhaps a TC should be able to veto 1 choice from the enemy's terrain list, a FC 2, and an IC 3.

A less extreme possibility is: if the terrain is chosen from an army's own list then the other side can try to avoid it - roll 2 dice and add PBI a result of 7+ means the side with initiative has to pick a different terrain type from their own list.

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Post by andy63 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:53 pm

Perhaps alternate picks of available pieces might work better, with the winner of the PBI going first, this would reduce the opportunities for 'gaming' of the terrain table, which is the real problem I think. The rules should work to avoid the 'sure thing', since predictability allows someone to build an entire strategy and army around a particular setup or outcome.

Apart from making Graham's Dom Rom Swarm even more powerful....

I agree with jcmedhurst alternative picking the terrain would be my solution,keep it as it is just alternately pick your 2-4 pieces of terrain,This stops the Steppes army picking all the Rough going as minimum size.

Also lawrenceg mentions Grahams Dom Roman swarm,something got to be done about this army, its so powerful and hard to beat.You may think i am whining which i probably am but all i think you need to do is make the Auxiliary BG min 6 not 4.
Otherwise its going to get like the days when the DBM Patrician was the army what most of the top players used all the time. :cry:
I am not alone on this people like Bruce Brown voiced the same opinion at last years last round of the SOA doubles.
Andy. :(

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Post by babyshark » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:13 pm

Perhaps this is simply indicative of the fact that I have not played as many games of FoG as I would like to, but I have yet to see a problem with this. When I run a high PBI army and choose steppe there are invariably several chunks of my opponent's terrain that wind up landing in inconvenient places. My experience is that a player who wants terrain on the board can usually get some.

In short, I see no present need for a fix. Just my $.02.

Marc

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Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:21 pm

sagji wrote:
EDIT:
Having looked at the description of the battle I don't think it is a plausible steppe battle - only Attila would pick steppe, he would pick a minimum size hill, which could end up in the middle. However the description of the battle implies the Roman's command fought on the hill, which would need it to be a big hill.

The reality is that a terrain generation system that is meant to provide something for two equal point armies to fight over cannot actually generate a lot of historical battlefields. Don't get hung up on it, focus on what it is supposed to do.
Nik Gaukroger

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Post by grahambriggs » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:23 pm

babyshark wrote:Perhaps this is simply indicative of the fact that I have not played as many games of FoG as I would like to, but I have yet to see a problem with this. When I run a high PBI army and choose steppe there are invariably several chunks of my opponent's terrain that wind up landing in inconvenient places. My experience is that a player who wants terrain on the board can usually get some.

In short, I see no present need for a fix. Just my $.02.

Marc
How come? You get to pick first, so of course you pick all the crud terrain at minimum size and put it where it does no harm.

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Post by babyshark » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:28 pm

grahambriggs wrote:
babyshark wrote:Perhaps this is simply indicative of the fact that I have not played as many games of FoG as I would like to, but I have yet to see a problem with this. When I run a high PBI army and choose steppe there are invariably several chunks of my opponent's terrain that wind up landing in inconvenient places. My experience is that a player who wants terrain on the board can usually get some.

In short, I see no present need for a fix. Just my $.02.

Marc
How come? You get to pick first, so of course you pick all the crud terrain at minimum size and put it where it does no harm.
Fair enough. But that strategy guarantees that there will be 2-4 pieces of crud terrain on the board. There is sure to be one or more of them that the opponent can use. That has been my experience.

I don't have the rules handy, but even taking four minimum-sized terrains (plus a max-sized Open as the mandatory) I believe that there are still some terrain picks for the opponent.

Marc

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