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"Fixing" Cataphracts

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"Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:58 pm

Cataphracts are pretty rubbish in Impetus. In some Hellenistic armies you get the option to "upgrade" to Cataphracts that are slower and less effective than the Companion types they superceded.

GC made a suggestion a while ago that we should treat them as foot for missile fire, which I think is not viable, however I was chatting to another player (Mark Hadman)  who suggested an elegant solution - treat them as FP for Cohesion tests.

Anyone see a problem with this (for the fully armoured types)??


Last edited by Cyrus The Adequate on Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Tarty on Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:50 am

You would still count them as mounted in difficult/broken ground for the cohesion test though ?

So considered as FP for everything else ? what about the +1 for pike v only mounted they're reverted back to mounted for that as well ?

Is this all about them being shot at ?
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Gaius Cassius on Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:10 am

Actually Cyrus it was me who suggested that Kataphracts be consider foot for missile fire. Actually my suggestion was a bit more subtle. Kataphracts would be consider foot only for non gun powder weapons like slings, javelins, short bow etc.. For gun powder weapons they would be considered mounted.

When Antiochus the Great went east he was deeply impressed by the barded cavalry he met and decided to equip most of his heavy cavalry with it. Yet in Impetus the heavy cavalry in the Early Selecuid list is superior to the later Kataphracts in the Later Selecuid list even though the Kataphracts should be superior (if more expensive.) It is important to remember that barded cavalry began as a response to missile fire and not to get greater impact in melee. Treating them as FP for the purposes of the CT for missile is an interesting idea.

I was thinking of suggesting for Impetus 2 that all CP with a movement of 8U be considered infantry for missile fire against non gun powder weapons to reflect greater horse barding over the periods. I think this actually explains why some missile fire systems died out and others took their place. The advent of the hand gun and later arquebus was meant to deal with the increasing armour of infantry and cavalry.
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Tarty on Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:47 am

This has been talked about before hasn't it ? can't remember what the conclusion was.

I'll put it out there from the start I think barding was more about melee impact and not shooting protection so much....more of a secondary consideration.

Jim may come in soon and bash me up for saying that Laughing ..... that's ok I'm not professing to be any kind of expert Wink just an opinion.

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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Sun Apr 26, 2015 6:37 am

Yes sorry GC - it was you - and I for one rejected it for good reason that counting them as foot for missile fire would significantly reduce the range and effect missile fire would have.

The suggestion is to consider them as FP for COHESION TESTS ONLY not missile fire.

Tarty - Mark's view was similar to yours - treating them as FP for cohesion would make them slightly better at avoiding missile casualties but would also help in melee against other Cavalry

There is an issue against Pikes and the terrain so it would need a bit of work but it does make some sense
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:51 am

The bigger issue is one bow shot taking the 7+4 cataphracts down to 6+0.

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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Gaius Cassius on Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:19 pm

The problem is that the barding is primarily a defense against missile fire. VBU takes care of melee. The Selecuid Kataphracts probably should be 7 VBU like their Parthian counterparts.
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Tarty on Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:37 pm

Granicus Gaugamela wrote:The bigger issue is one bow shot taking the 7+4 cataphracts down to 6+0.
An even bigger issue is not taking enough screening troops to protect your cataphracts in the first place.
Some people hate spending points on skirmishers ...it's a big gamble. One of the things that attracted me to Impetus in the first place was their application within the rules and the consequences of not having them.
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:24 pm

I'd agree with Tarty here. I would stop worrying about losing impetus dice too much - particularly if you have a high VBU it doesn't hurt as much as most people think, and it is integral to the system. Screening your major combat units is important.

I'm still unsure of what they do in historical terms - are they armoured against bowfire or as a contact weapon. They should not get the factors of a medieval couched lance, but I understand there are references to their use as anti infantry and anti cavalry?

Need a better historical grounding
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Jim Webster on Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:47 pm

It is a tricky one. The best way to protect cataphracts from archery is to put a unit of skirmishers in front of them as Tarty says.

The next issue is horse barding and whether it should protect more than it does. Counting troops as FP against shooting seems fair enough.
But a lot of troops covered by this are already at the stage where only 6's hit, and they'll continue to disorganise etc whatever. So would such a change have any real effect in the game?

The next issue is Seleucid cataphracts. Should they be VBU 7?
Possibly. What we have to remember is that the Seleucid cataphracts are upgraded line cavalry. So they've really got to be compared more with contemporary line cavalry such as the Later Macedonians who are VBU 5
The elite catapharacts are VBU 7. If you upgraded the line cataphracts to 7 then you've got to upgrade the Agema to 8 because they were probably better, and that, in period, is probably too high.
At 6/3 they'll got a good chance of defeating legionaries frontally which is one of the historical results we want to achieve under the rules

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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Sun Apr 26, 2015 6:04 pm

As I said Jim - I would not class them as FP for factors just the Cohesion Test - an example - not Cataphracts I know, but close enough to be relevant would be the charge of the French knights at Agincourt who were shot to red ruin bit the foot troops got to contact so I dont think they are the same at all, however using the normal factors but messing about in the Cohesion Test may be a good idea.
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:26 pm

Tarty wrote:
Granicus Gaugamela wrote:The bigger issue is one bow shot taking the 7+4 cataphracts down to 6+0.
An even bigger issue is not taking enough screening troops to protect your cataphracts in the first place.
Some people hate spending points on skirmishers ...it's a big gamble. One of the things that attracted me to Impetus in the first place was their application within the rules and the consequences of not having them.

Generally yes, however consider ANY hit reduces them instantaneously. That could be from anything outside the line of skirmishers, anything that chooses to ignore skirmishers and take a -2 etc.

Instantaneous loss of Impetus is far more severe than any other result in the game.

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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Gaius Cassius on Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:48 am

Jim Webster wrote: At 6/3 they'll got a good chance of defeating legionaries frontally which is one of the historical results we want to achieve under the rules

Jim

Having done a major refight of Magnesia twice at two conventions I found that the Selecuid Kataphracts had to be upgraded to VBU7 to have a chance against the legion infantry. This conforms to an overall impression that VBU 6 CP doesn't fair well against VBU 6 FP. I don't have a problem with this as John Beeler notes in his Warfare in Feudal Europe that good quality infantry usually stands well against cavalry. So good infantry should be tough for any cavalry to take down. Still the Selecuid Kataphracts broke the allied legions on the Roman left flank and for this to happen VBU6 won't get it done.
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Gaius Cassius on Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:54 am

Cyrus The Adequate wrote:As I said Jim - I would not class them as FP for factors just the Cohesion Test - an example - not Cataphracts I know, but close enough to be relevant would be the charge of the French knights at Agincourt who were shot to red ruin bit the foot troops got to contact so I dont think they are the same at all, however using the normal factors but messing about in the Cohesion Test may be a good idea.

Cyrus, Agincourt is a complicated battle to parse. With that being said Longbow A is a powerful weapon in Impetus and sits at the middle point between older weapons systems and the new gun powder based weapons. I had read recently that longbows were finding it harder to penetrate the armour of the Late Medieval and early Renaissance. There are many reasons why the longbow died out but part of it could be the advances in armour of the late 15 and early 16th century. Of course, once troops had all migrated to arquebus and later muskets it became redundant to wear heavy plated armour since it afford very limited protection to these weapons. But I have no doubt that earlier Kataphracts and later Knights with barded horses were pretty much impervious to javelins, slings and low powered arrows.
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Tarty on Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:44 am

Throw something at a horse and see what sort of reaction you get....not too sure they're thinking its all fine I'm safe as I have protective armour on ...but they are very aware of the action itself.
First natural response would be to shy away and any other objects hurled at them there after ? ...well would make the battle to keep control even harder.
Yes barding would help to a certain extent don't deny that but there's nothing stopping the horse seeing what's going on around them. This has to be a factor also surely ?
Once in contact it's not so much an issue as it's too late to back out at that point the blow has been struck.
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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:26 am

Tarty wrote:Throw something at a horse and see what sort of reaction you get....not too sure they're thinking its all fine I'm safe as I have protective armour on ...but they are very aware of the action itself.

Warhorses are trained a bit differently to others mate, they are often deadlier than their rider with their hooves as weapons.

Overall it doesn't worry me too greatly, I prefer my armies Infantry based and heavy. But I still think the big boys should be brutes not just one shot wonders.

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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:35 am

That was my point too Tarty in the previous thread. The advantage of using the Cohesion Test (CT) is that it deals with the effects after the panic etc caused by shooting. I know GC is still enthusiastic but I dont think his idea to treat missile fire as though against foot is a winner for the reasons previously stated.

Ideally I would have a separate CP category to fit these but we cant go back and make any major changes to lists. I suspect making them FP on cohesion tests will help in making them a little more resilient to missile fire and in melee but it would also need some fancy footwork around the terrain mods.

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Re: "Fixing" Cataphracts

Post by dadiepiombo on Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:48 am

the +1 on CT for CP with M=8 (on shooting) is something at the study for Impetus 2.
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