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A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

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A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by starkadder on Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:50 am

I appreciate this may meet with derision, contempt and abuse.

I dislike the arithmetic progression of the command value of generals.

It has never made sense to me that +10 points yields a better grade of general in some strange lockstep of excellence (0, 10, 20, 30, 40).

Genuine ability is rarer the higher you go. It's harder to find.

Wouldn't it make more sense to have a logarithmic or geometric progression?
For example:
0     Incompetent
10   Poor
20   Fair
40   Expert
80   Charismatic/Genius

Or even more extreme
0     Incompetent
15   Poor
30   Fair
60   Expert
90   Charismatic/Genius

The idea is that ability costs. It becomes a more serious decision to invest in an Alexander or a Caesar in small battles but less difficult in larger encounters as there are more points to use.

Personally, I believe that most commanders should be average (Fair). That's why the term exists.

But what do I know? I despise Rolls of Destiny.
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by RogerC on Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:49 pm

If better generals cost so much, would anyone take them? The points difference between your fair and charismatic general represents 2 or 3 good units.

Impetus doesn't give that great a benefit to the better generals. An improved chance of winning initiative (but the other player will still get his turn), more chance of rallying inactive units, and (for charismatic generals) improved rallying but with more consequences if the general is lost. Are they really worth 3 or more times the value of a 'fair' general. In any case, the benefits may be lost on a double 1 (1 in 36 chance)

At 300/350 points, and allowing for command and the despised rolls of destiny, a quarter or more of the points would be taken up having an expert general. never mind a charismatic one. Why is it desirable to exclude high quality generals from small games?

On the other hand, I agree that genuine ability is rare. So this isn't derision, but if we head in this direction, how about giving some more benefits to the better generals? I'm not sure what they'd be, without unbalancing the game. An unlimited supply of rolls of destiny?

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Gaius Cassius on Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:02 pm

I don't think the change in point values starkadder is a practical idea. In 350 point games genius/charismatic generals are pretty rare. Even Expert generals are rather rare in our games. More common is poor generals as we try get by with fewer commander points.

RogerC, you made one comment that got me thinking. I've been wondering about better attributes for genius commanders. What do you think about the following? During the initiative phase if the Genius commander wins the initiative and doubles the score of the enemy commander the enemy's command is considered activated (like an incompetent commander rolling doubles.) This would give genius commanders a chance to get a jump on his opponents (especially poor and fair commanders.)
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by RogerC on Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:40 pm

That is an interesting idea to try out, GC. It could make the genius just too good, as his initiative re-rolls mean his chances of a double are quite high. If he was to get several turns in a row, without the other side being able to do anything, it might be a bit overpowering. I suppose it would depend how much that benefit cost.

For myself, I wonder if the real impact of genius generals was in the way the battle happened, so more in the set-up than in the fighting itself. The genius has more ability to choose to fight on his own terms. I'm not sure how that could be reproduced, but giving genius generals a benefit at the start of the game would further distinguish them from charismatic generals.

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:20 pm

Whilst agreeing with your costing/availability principle (which ultimately is not dissimilar to the costing mechanism for base VBU points) Starkers the question then turns to the value of the General.

In Impetus ANY general gives a +1 to discipline and cohesion tests and the extra dice for rallying is nice but hardly a justifiably costly skill.

Which leaves us with initiative rolls. Do you see the extra capability of the General in Initiative being worth the level of points you ascribe to each category of General?

With the 2015 mods it could be said that each additional currently priced rank for a General is roughly equivalent to a unit of S who can provide flank support and thus +1 dice to each and every combat. Do General skills match up to that level of effect?

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Dennis Maxentius on Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:29 pm

Don't know if we need any more abilities, modifications, etc to a Commander. I usually use Fair Commanders and very rarely use an Expert. Maybe have something as an Optional Rule if someone wants to use it for historical battles or non point restrictive games. In a Comp or regular game it works well the way it is otherwise we would need to adjust point costs for everything else to enable us to get them into an army.

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by starkadder on Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:27 am

RogerC wrote:If better generals cost so much, would anyone take them? 

The cost structure was more of an indicator than an ironclad suggestion, Roger. The aim would be to encourage a more average representation of command. Most commanders are average. That's the essence of being average (fair). You might even offer FAIR commanders as free. 

It's interesting that people compromise on command costs to get more units. In Oz, the tendency has been to pay for better command. Initiative has been much prized here. There is almost a standard I've seen of the 50pt CMD (one expert, one fair) in 350 pt games although two fairs is quite common. Poor commanders are relatively rare on OZ tabletops. 

My point is that a genius/charismatic leader is very rare and should be paid for accordingly. Maybe not cripplingly expensive but certainly dearer. Would Alexander or Caesar be constantly engaged in anonymous small engagements?  

I don't think there has to be a compensator if you did so. As it is, I think they have a good amount of extra ability that is representative of a non-remote control or RT-directed battlefield. If I needed that extra edge, I would certainly pay the points.

But that's just me.
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Dennis Maxentius on Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:53 am

I can see what you mean and as I said it would be a good Option for non standard games. What I was saying was that if players want better Initiative, then it would be up to them to pay the cost (whatever that may be). I agree that in Oz more players opt for better Initiative, but you still can't control the dice roll (or can you?) Shocked

Another thing that comes to mind with point costs is the actual price of Units. I sometimes (actually a lot of times), get annoyed that there are no lower priced troops that I can pad out the army with. My points usually go between 1 to 5 points over the standard point cost for an army so I find I have to drop certain troops or Commanders to fall below the limit. Maybe this is another subject for discussion under a different heading.

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:44 am

Heh heh, there are never enough points, we're always just 5 short of our ideal list Dennis! Only redeeming thing - so is our opponent!

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by starkadder on Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:49 am

I agree with you both on points.

As the old Scots saying goes, we are all born two fingers short. Thank Darwin, it only refers to whisky.
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Gaius Cassius on Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:56 am

In tournament play my hunch is that charismatic/genius generals are relatively rare. With the main command only getting 60% of the VD that's a lot of commander for the price. So I don't see the problem starkadder.
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Dennis Maxentius on Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:30 am

I prefer Bourbon myself. In fact it's nearly Bourbon o'clock right now.

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by starkadder on Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:28 am

Gaius Cassius wrote:In tournament play my hunch is that charismatic/genius generals are relatively rare. With the main command only getting 60% of the VD that's a lot of commander for the price. So I don't see the problem starkadder.


We've had Alexander on a number of occasions. I agree that it shouldn't be an issue but, at our last event (Cancon) it was interesting to see the reliance on command levels.

As you observe, the other aspect is a straight percentage one. The bigger the army, the less statistically significant the percentage spent on command. This is appropriate and doesn't worry me at all.
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:42 am

Gah. The time I took Alexander the dice gods waggled their fingers at me and said "no way", he couldn't hit the side of a barn and Ralph's PILGRIMS threw back the Macedonian phalanx.

Repeatedly.


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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by starkadder on Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:35 am

Granicus Gaugamela wrote:Gah.  The time I took Alexander the dice gods waggled their fingers at me and said "no way", he couldn't hit the side of a barn and Ralph's PILGRIMS threw back the Macedonian phalanx.

Repeatedly.


Karma, dear man, karma. Smile
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Jim Webster on Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:25 pm

I have used cowardly and incompetent commanders, put them in charge of a big (and suddenly very cheap) Nubian infantry centre that wasn't going to do much anyway Smile

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Dennis Maxentius on Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:39 pm

That's what I said originally, you can't beat the Dice Gods.

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:55 pm

Bloody dice Gods.

I took 2 Poor generals in my Swiss army at Cancon to squeeze as many units into the points as I could.

Wonderful theory.

Rolled 4 downgrades in 5 games and only 1 upgrade.


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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Dennis Maxentius on Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:59 pm

I can't remember rolling up, mine is usually at least one general per game rolls down. Dice Gods are fickle.

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Jim Webster on Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:46 am

It has to be said, rolling down does seem to be more common than up Embarassed

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Dennis Maxentius on Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:39 am

I actually had a game last night where none of my Generals went down or up but my opponent had one downgraded. Didn't do me any good though, I still lost the battle by one VD point.

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by starkadder on Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:27 am

I had a battle once where my opponent's C-i-C rolled up to Charismatic.

He promptly charged me.

His newly-minted local hero went down screaming.

His command then broke.

Which broke his army.

A most enjoyable battle.
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Dennis Maxentius on Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:48 am

Ahhh, the sweet smell of irony Shocked Razz

Never let success go to your head
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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Jim Webster on Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:05 am

Oh but it's fun when it happens Very Happy

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Re: A Modest Proposal concerning Generals

Post by Dennis Maxentius on Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:29 am

Too true. tongue
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