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Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:15 am

The problem is we are trying to get too many fighting styles out of the FL category

We have troops who are essentially melee infantry who are better in poor terrain than close order troops – our 5\1 (or 5\2?) FL

Troops who use javelins but who can also melee if needed – our standard 4\1 Javelin FL (the debate as to which troops this actually represents can come later)

Impetuous troops who charge to contact – our Impetuous FL

AND

Troops who’s fighting style is hit and run melee again relying on terrain.

It is this last group that we fail to represent the most, however there is a very simple and workable solution. To represent the “hit and run” we have the “hit” element already in our melee rules , but the “run”? Our FL are actually just as easy to catch after a melee as any other foot. The solution is therefore to represent the “run” better, and with hindsight that is actually very easy – give them a +1U to their retreat and pursuit distances. That would allow those troops to fight a single round of melee and then have the chance of breaking contact with other foot. They would be harder to pin down and have a more “historical” role. No idea what to call them but I’m sure it is doable

I would add you can also use heavy jav in there to allow for further variation

Lastly, allow such hit and run FL the option of retiring if a melee is drawn
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Gaius Cassius on Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:47 pm

Some interesting ideas Cyrus. I'd note that in our group we often see FL with javelin in two ranks, one immediately behind the other that rotate through to fire. In melee what happens is that the front rank, if it loses, immediately displaces to the rear of the second rank as it retreats. In practice, this means that FL always get a 3U retreat move making it less likely for the pursuing opponent to make a second round of contact (especially infantry.) I do this technique with T troops as well when I can (low cost 11 point units.) Not to suggest that your ideas don't have merit, just that the displacement rules move us in that direction.

As an aside, I don't think an army of Irish VBU4 C javelin infantry is at all uncompetitive in the current rules. Lots and lots of units with a huge volume of fire. With favourable terrain they could be pretty nasty to take on.
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Zippee on Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:04 pm

Agreed, the ability of FL to get out of trouble isn't a problem generally. It's the cab rank shooting caracole that makes them a problem.

With CL I think its fair enough, its as good a representation of Skythian, Cantabrian, Bactrian or any of the other cyclical shooting methods.

I have no evidence of similar methods being used by foot (until we get into blackpowder systems). If FL lost the free move and shoot ability it would go a long way to curbing them. I'd even accept the 5/1 FL javelin then as they're not going to get more than the one stationary shot (if that).

As for the "hit and run" types I think these should be S but the problem there is that S are now dispersed on contact. But aggressive S with Impetus would seem reasonable.

Also agree that an army of VBU 4/1 FL javelins is not something to be taken lightly. They are some of the most versatile and cost effective troops in the game. They need help to finish the job though and that's what stops most hill tribe mobs from being super armies it all depends on what other toys they can put on the table.
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by starkadder on Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:50 pm

Zippee wrote:It's the cab rank shooting caracole that makes them a problem.

With CL I think its fair enough, its as good a representation of Skythian, Cantabrian, Bactrian or any of the other cyclical shooting methods.

.........

Also agree that an army of VBU 4/1 FL javelins is not something to be taken lightly. They are some of the most versatile and cost effective troops in the game. They need help to finish the job though and that's what stops most hill tribe mobs from being super armies it all depends on what other toys they can put on the table.

We are pretty much all in agreement on the issue but may differ on the solution.

My only observation is that we have imposed an discipline (evade) test on a skirmish line. That is fair. I don't believe that it's much of a stretch to impose a discipline test on interpenetrating FL units either of which have have also fired.

If they haven't fired, no discipline test. If either have fired, and a cab rank is attempted, both test. It won't stop the cab rank, nor should it but the potential to have two FL units disordered in the face of the enemy may have a slight chilling effect.
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:47 pm

Gaius Cassius wrote: I'd note that in our group we often see FL with javelin in two ranks, one immediately behind the other that rotate through to fire. In melee what happens is that the front rank, if it loses, immediately displaces to the rear of the second rank as it retreats. In practice, this means that FL always get a 3U retreat move making it less likely for the pursuing opponent to make a second round of contact (especially infantry.) I do this technique with T troops as well when I can (low cost 11 point units.) Not to suggest that your ideas don't have merit, just that the displacement rules move us in that direction.

Yes it happens here a lot too - but that in itself is a big problem because it isn't a recognised historical tactic, it is players exploiting a rules mechanism. Rules should encourage and reward historical reflection. Of course human nature being what it is there will always be exploits, but if you are inventing \ making up new tactics because of the mechanism exploits you may as well play Space Marines
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Zippee on Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:01 pm

starkadder wrote:
My only observation is that we have imposed an discipline (evade) test on a skirmish line. That is fair. I don't believe that it's much of a stretch to impose a discipline test on interpenetrating FL units either of which have have also fired.

If they haven't fired, no discipline test. If either have fired, and a cab rank is attempted, both test. It won't stop the cab rank, nor should it but the potential to have two FL units disordered in the face of the enemy may have a slight chilling effect.

True enough but applying Occam's Razor - what's simpler a new set of rules specifically for FL interpenetration when shooting (not firing, that requires matches and powder Smile) or the application of the standard rule that units that move take a -1 on shooting. I seriously think that's worth testing in an AI - its simple, takes minimal editing and doesn't impact on any other rule interaction but will blunt the edge of egregious FL behaviour.
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Tarty on Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:18 pm

Yep massed FL Jav's are nasty ...especially when on the receiving end of a whole uninterrupted turn of fire from these guys.
That's the central problem here in my opinion the ability to react effectively to this type of thing not so much the troop types. Yes 5 FL Jav's made things ridiculous but the problem is still there.
Like I said Impetus 2 (and a new reaction system similar to Baroque ) should go a long way to fixing this but that doesn't really help the here and now.
Discipline test for interpenetration could help but wouldn't that mean this would have to be applied to others as well ? Consequences could be extensive.

(words from a regular Spanish player Wink )
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:38 am

We're doing that internet thing - confusing a number of different problems and trying to come up with a cover all solution - which is how we got to Heavy Javelin in the first place.

There are a number of issues \ questions

1. Are VBU5 javelin armed FL too powerful?

the answer is probably "no" but...only when they exist in limited numbers - which is the problem with the Medieval Irish list


2. What troops exactly do FL represent, and is the rules \ on table usage a reflection of that troop type?

In truth this is a hard one because they represent a wide range of fighting styles - in fact they are the dumping ground for all infantry that are not close formation and don't have a bow. This is why I would propose reclassifying some and introducing a bonus to evade rules for those that fought in a hit and run manner. I have to say I am not 100% convinced there are troops that fought in the way we represent 4\1 Javelin armed FL - Zippee makes this point in that they should really be 3\1 Skirmishers, but there should still be a place for loose order troops so we still need the FL category even if you move the Javs to skirmishers

3. How do we best represent the use of throwing weapons just before melee?

Of course just about every heavy infantry in history indulges in this - with the possible exception of some Medieval types where 2 handed weapons are the norm. If everyone does it why not assume its happening anyway and is factored into the base VBU? Problem is I like having the option of Pilum and similar - it does give us the possibility of representing those troops who did have a tendency to use pre combat missile fire - lots of Central American troops for instance, plus Roman Legionaries etc if only to add flavour
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Zippee on Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:01 am

Cyrus The Adequate wrote:
There are a number of issues \ questions

1. Are VBU5 javelin armed FL too powerful?

the answer is probably "no" but...only when they exist in limited numbers - which is the problem with the Medieval Irish list


In the context of the troops we have FL 5/1 javelin aren't particularly too powerful in limited numbers.

However we also need to consider the question against the fact that our humble FL 4/1 javelin are already probably far more powerful than they should be. . .
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Zippee on Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:02 am

Cyrus The Adequate wrote:
There are a number of issues \ questions


2. What troops exactly do FL represent, and is the rules \ on table usage a reflection of that troop type?

In truth this is a hard one because they represent a wide range of fighting styles - in fact they are the dumping ground for all infantry that are not close formation and don't have a bow. This is why I would propose reclassifying some and introducing a bonus to evade rules for those that fought in a hit and run manner. I have to say I am not 100% convinced there are troops that fought in the way we represent 4\1 Javelin armed FL - Zippee makes this point in that they should really be 3\1 Skirmishers, but there should still be a place for loose order troops so we still need the FL category even if you move the Javs to skirmishers

Yep they're pretty much "armed mob" - if you're not something else you're an FL with a pointy stick.

To be clear I wasn't recommending all FL javelin be S 3/1 by any means but I do think that more consideration could be given to the latter. Problem here is that as numbers rise there's generally doubt as to whether they should be able to skirmish as S. Is S a specialist troop type - I think it kind of is in Impetus, so we're back to the default of bunch of yobs with pointy sticks become FL javelin - if they have a fierce charging reputation they lose the javelin and become impetuous.
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Zippee on Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:02 am

Cyrus The Adequate wrote:
There are a number of issues \ questions

3. How do we best represent the use of throwing weapons just before melee?

Of course just about every heavy infantry in history indulges in this - with the possible exception of some Medieval types where 2 handed weapons are the norm. If everyone does it why not assume its happening anyway and is factored into the base VBU? Problem is I like having the option of Pilum and similar - it does give us the possibility of representing those troops who did have a tendency to use pre combat missile fire - lots of Central American troops for instance, plus Roman Legionaries etc if only to add flavour

This is I think central to the FL javelin problem.

As you all know by now I'm not a fan of the pilum rule because I think it singles out the Romans for special treatment because they're popular and the myth of pilum as a special weapon system has permeated our perception at a very basic level.

There is a significant school of thought that says that everyone in almost any formation had some kind of short range missile thing - be it a nicely crafted pilum or a half brick and most engagements consisted of lines of yobs hurling insults and broken bottles at each other until the mob hive mind broke the tension and one side either legged it or charged.

Professionals change that with discipline and march straight into your face - that's what makes them scary, they don't look like they're going to stop. . . because they aren't!

What's that all about?

Just that if everyone is chucking something when close then as Cyrus says do we really need to represent it, is it not just part of the VBU and those with nastier aggressive tendencies that close faster get higher Impetus?

Go that route and our baseline armed yob becomes a FL 4/1 with no shooty ability, suddenly he's very average, capable of swift movement, pretty much unaffected by broken terrain (because there's no real cohesion in the first place) and able to swarm about and look menacing but won't stand up to professional trained troops like FP 5/2 hoplites who can basically march over them (all else being equal).
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:48 am

Zippee wrote:

However we also need to consider the question against the fact that our humble FL 4/1 javelin are already probably far more powerful than they should be. . .

That rather depends on what we think they are -
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Zippee on Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:00 am

Cyrus The Adequate wrote:
That rather depends on what we think they are -

True - and they probably aren't all one thing but still I stand by the fact that in our games these humble hill tribesmen are far more effective and desirable as combat troops than the historical record indicates. They were used because they were cheap and readily available and probably better placed in your battle array where you can keep an eye on them than raiding your LOC or homesteads. Very Happy
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Gaius Cassius on Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:18 pm

We don't find VBU4 javelin infantry overpowering in our group. In fact, before the latest AI changes they were an underpowered unit type. With the inclusion of flank support and quality they are now decent units for their cost. They die easily. VBU4 FL without firepower are really useless troops to my thinking.

The biggest challenge of FL infantry that I see is their ability to back peddle through displacement at a rate faster than FP can move forward. That seems a big sketchy to me.

I like the tactical difference in Impetus between javelin on the one hand and short bow b and slings on the other. The ability to move and fire without penalty with javelins is the distinctive feature. With respect to FL w javelin I propose that when they fire and move they do not get the -1 for firing but when the move and fire they do get the -1. That keeps some of the distinction between javelin and other missile fire systems but does penalize the rotating fire a bit. Simple to keep track of. The compensation could be what Cyrus proposes, a retreat move of 1d6/2 +1.  

VBU5 w javelin is a powerful unit type. They should be kept a minimum. The Samnite list works. The Irish list is probably what it is until it gets reworked so the heavy javelin does temper the list a bit.
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Tarty on Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:01 am

Well in the wash up my 1 vote goes to leaving things as is here pretty much.

If anything -1 for FL Jav's interpenetrating and shooting could be considered... simple without effecting too much of the status quo.
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by dadiepiombo on Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:57 am

I will reconsider the javelin in Impetus 2 and I want to avoid to add patches that I have to remove later.

In general interpenetration will penalize the shooting (for all troops). How cannot say it now.
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by Gaius Cassius on Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:09 pm

Personally, I like javelin the way it is. The only problem I see is that VBU5 w javelin are a bit overpowered. Only two lists really mattered. Samnites work well with the change to Heavy Javelin. So it comes down to the Irish!
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Re: Heavy Javelin (weapon creep!)

Post by dadiepiombo on Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:19 pm

The Irish list will be fixed in the future
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