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S units standing - a possible anomaly

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S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by starkadder on Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:14 am

One of our players encountered this in a game.


A unit of FL charged a unit of S in difficult ground (woods). The S failed the test and had to stand. Neither unit inflicted damage. 


The S unit had two FP immediately behind it. They cannot interpenetrate a unit in melee.


The melee continues for 5 turns with neither side inflicting damage. 


One of the FPs inclines sideways and charges. He is not the principal unit. 


Finally the S unit loses the melee. It can interpenetrate the FP behind it. 


Why can't units charge into S in melee?


If it had stood in the open (through failing the evade test) it would have exploded after a single missile fire. Why can't S units in difficult ground be allowed one round of melee and, regardless of result (as per the missile S unit), do the decent thing and explode?
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Gaius Cassius on Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:04 am

starkadder, you'd like to allow formed units to displace S units that are in melee. Interesting idea. I do see some merit in it. Of course, the scenario you describe happens to lots of troop types. I have lost games because a lousy unit is in melee and won't die and holds back my better units from advancing.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by starkadder on Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:10 am

Gaius

The issue as I see it is that it only became significant because the S unit failed to evade. And proceeded to slug it out ineffectually for five turns (as did its opponent).

You can't disengage S and FLs as they are the same movement rate. Yet S units, as Page 12 states unequivocally, "are dispersed if contacted by enemy Units". 

I can understand two S units slugging it out anywhere available. I can understand them being dispersed in the open. I can also understand them having some fighting value in difficult ground.

I can understand interpenetration not being allowed in melee for almost all cases. 

In this case though, the unit tried to evade and failed. Failed. Then fought while blocking two friendly FP units from entering the melee.  

I would have thought that, with S units being so fragile in the open but still being allowed one last fire if they failed to evade, a similar single melee round might be feasible in such a case. One round, no matter the result, and dispersed.

Just a thought, anyway.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Jean le Temeraire on Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:20 am

I don't think S should be able to STAND in a melee, regardless of terrain. If they don't win they should be dispersed after the first round of melee regardless of terrain. Certainly no more than one round of combat.

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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by starkadder on Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:32 am

That is my view, Jean.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Gaius Cassius on Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:46 pm

I don't have a problem with S fighting it out in poor terrain. Seems to make sense to me. I am attracted to the idea that formed units could displace S units in melee on the premise that the S units are so dispersed that can easily be penetrated at any time, melee included.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by jeztodd on Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:26 pm

I was confused by this post as think S units are always destroyed straight away in contact? My understanding is your FL unit charge and the S fail to evade - they are destroyed immediately in contact but are able to get a shot off (at the short range not point blank factor)

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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Gaius Cassius on Wed Sep 23, 2015 5:33 pm

jeztodd wrote:I was confused by this post as think S units are always destroyed straight away in contact? My understanding is your FL unit charge and the S fail to evade - they are destroyed immediately in contact but are able to get a shot off (at the short range not point blank factor)

Jez

S are not destroyed straight away in broken or difficult terrain.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by starkadder on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:37 pm

Coupled with the fact the player (not me, by the way) did actually test evade and failed (threw a 1) so had to stand.

I have no problem with skirmishers fighting in such terrain. I wouldn't have said much about it if the S had elected to stand. The rub is that they were rewarded for failure.

One round of melee and boom, I think, no matter the result.

I don't mind the S interpenetration in melee idea either but I suspect it could be ruthlessly gamed as a tactic.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Tarty on Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:39 am

I don't have a problem with S fighting it out in poor terrain think that's as it should be. Also if you want to have a reasonable chance of clearing a wood of skirmishers use a fresh unit to do it with don't know if that was a factor in your case Starkers or not but when your only throwing one or two dice it makes it hard.

I also don't really see a problem with skirmishers in melee being dispersed by formed troops in the open either but imagine it would be difficult to separate friend from foe.....maybe ALL should get dispersed ? Smile
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Jim Webster on Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:21 am

A couple of points

S units rarely fight each other because they rarely have Impetus so cannot initiate a melee.

S units in appropriate terrain are doing what they are supposed to. That is where they're designed to fight.

Some of the problem is perception, but S units include troops such as Roman Velites who we know were perfectly happy to fight warband hand to hand in the right circumstances

Troops replacing others in melee is a tricky one and has to be thought through.
But the question that really intrigues me was what were FP doing wanting to fight in difficult terrain anyway Wink

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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by GamesPoet on Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:52 pm

It's kind of funny that they got stuck in with FP troops. Although I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by dadiepiombo on Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:11 pm

they did stuck, but how many chanced they had to do so?
Was a good tactical choice to send FP in difficult ground? It can be risky when you face troops more trained to ambush and perform some kind of guerilla. In most cases they will be not enough to stop FP, but at the same time this can happen.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Gaius Cassius on Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:22 pm

From what starkadder mentions above the FP were friendly troops behind the S waiting to get into the fight against the FL but were blocked from advancing by the inability of the S to die. It does happen at times, especially with low VBU troops. I see this as representing the unwillingness of troops to close.

I do see some merit in allowing formed troops to displace friendly S who are stuck in melee. In the above case, the FP would have advanced into the front line against the FL and the S would be displaced backwards. Perhaps the S should take a Discipline test in this case and if it fails it is considered routed and removed. But the idea that S would block advancing friendly troops seems a bit odd to me.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Jim Webster on Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:12 pm

It wasn't the S that were blocking the friendly advance, it was the melee.
Remember that when this sort of fighting starts, in rough terrain, it's going to be total chaos, not two neat bases sitting facing each other. Nobody else is going to what to get drawn into that until they can work out what on earth is going on Very Happy
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:12 pm

S are only dispersed if contacted in the open - I'm happy with that and wouldn't want to change it
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by tico on Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:55 pm

I would certainly keep the current rule. It is possible that formed units are really stuck with skirmishers in right circumstances. I'd say that they were in a right place at the right time, and if the strategy relied on dispersing the S, perhaps it was not perfect one? Wink

Another matter is the road block that is caused by melee. It is really hard for anyone to enter battle in rough, where numbers and composition of opposition is not known precisely. In melee you would inevitably loose cohesion if you pack more and more troops through each other to achieve contact. All those hundreds of light troops at the front would not just disappear into thin air, but mingle with your own FP lines distorting them - or worse still, retreat and potentially initiating full rout.

You may know that there is only single S, but would commander on the field have all that knowledge? Would the troops seeing their comrades at the front retreating think that the opposition has overwhelmed them? What I see is a level of abstraction nothing more.

I'd say that the FL went in to see easy fight but realizing that opposition was stiffer than they thought, started to doubt that the opposition was perhaps something entirely different.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:27 pm

That's sort of my view too. Calling for a rule change here is a bit too much - the chance of the S troops not withdrawing is only 1 in 6 and when caught they would usually disintegrate after one hit anyway. That they didnt has to be down to a combination of bad luck and bad tactics.

Sphacteria anyone?
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Tarty on Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:18 am

Yep nothing to change here I don't think .... well nothing major enough to warrant a rule change anyway.

Skirmishers in contact with each other (and in the open) which then get bounced by formed troops could be a different thing. Still don't know how you could separate the two ? .... unless like I said before they both get ridden down? ..the price you pay for clearing the way Very Happy
As Jim's already pointed out skirmishers fighting each other in the open is pretty rare and the idea of another rule to cover this ? ...hmmm is it really necessary ?
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Gaius Cassius on Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:40 am

I am happy with the current set up too. Just musing aloud about the idea of displacing S in melee.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by starkadder on Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:45 am

People seem fixated on the interpenetration into melee. That is something that I am not that interested in changing as there are too many consequences. Nonetheless I was asked to bring it up.

I was more interested in the reward for failure. They failed the discipline test and held up an FL unit for five bounds. I have no problem with bad dice rolling. I am used to it.

In the open, they would disappear automatically if they failed to evade. They are given the opportunity of a missile round as defence. That's fine.

In cover, and after failing to evade, they fought like any formed body. All I would suggest is, as I have, a single round of melee and they're gone.

I was not at the game so I can't deliver book and verse but, if we are obliged to treat S as Faberge Easter eggs in the open, so they should be treated as home-painted Easter eggs in cover.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by tico on Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:08 am

starkadder wrote:I was more interested in the reward for failure. They failed the discipline test and held up an FL unit for five bounds.

In perfect high tech world where messaging and command are infallible (one of the interesting problems that is ever present in the games and simulations of historical events and that is very difficult to resolve without high level of abstraction).

So, did S fail to retreat, or failed to understand they should retreat? I still only see abstraction of commander thinking one thing interrupted by fortunes of war.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Gaius Cassius on Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:45 pm

I don't see a problem of the S standing and fighting it out in difficult ground with the FL. As Jim stated above, that is one of their roles in battle and what they were designed to do. The die roll simply tells us what happens at the unit level. The failure of the DT is a failure in that they do something differently than what we want them to do. In open ground the S rout and run away. In disordering terrain they stay and fight. Seems fine to me.

I had a situation in a game I ran for a convention of a CP attacking a FL. 10 dice to 4. The CP got no hits in his 1st round of melee. In the FL's turn, no hits either (16 dice.) The next round another CP came up to support the original CP but no hits (27 dice in total) and in FL's second round again no hits (36 dice.) Only in the third turn did the CP get a hit. It does happen. What does this represent? Perhaps there is a small ditch or clove of trees unseen to the wing commander that  holds up the CP? Or the leader of the CP falls off his horse and is temporarily unable to command. Or this particular FL is particularly skilled at fighting mounted units? We don't know. We only know that the advance of the CP is significantly delayed and that the battle in questions is thrown off by it.
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by Tarty on Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:38 am

starkadder wrote:
I was more interested in the reward for failure. They failed the discipline test and held up an FL unit for five bounds.
I understand your point starkers but I think you would have to say it's unusual. The discipline test to evade has changed the world for the average skirmisher for the worst normally. I lost two units of S javelin in one unit activation last game....28pts ouch! both failed the test to evade and both missed their 'last shot' at glory Sad
Must say btw this is what I've always loved about Impetus....nothing is certain. I think the new evade test just adds yet another facet to this side of the game Cool
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Re: S units standing - a possible anomaly

Post by starkadder on Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:15 am

That's fine, Richard. 

Against my better instincts. I agreed to raise it here.

I did.

<END>
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