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View Full Version : Warbands and Blades, tiresome math, and my opinion on tactics...


michael guth
12-18-2011, 09:50 AM
If a wall of blades hits a wall of warband, the likelihood of some poor blade following up into a double overlap must be quite small.

B1B2B3
W1W2W3

In the above diagram it would require B2 to recoil W2, while B1 and B3 both LOCK with W1 and W3 respectively. Ties or Locks are very rare in Blade versus warband combat.

First, the odds of a blade killing the warband at contact and vice versa are both 1/6. Blades double warband on 6-2,1;5-2,1,4-1, 3-1. WB beat blades on 6-3,2,1; 5-2,1; 4-1. Blades tie warband only 4/36 times or 1/9 times! 4-6,3-5,2-4, 1-3. The overwhelming probablility is a pushback of the warband by the blade 20/36.

In a 3 on 3 combat as depicted above, the odds of a final outcome of blade B2 advancing into a double overlap will depend on which combat is selected first. If the center combat is selected first, then there is indeed a 20/36 shot at B2 advancing temporarily into adouble overlap. But now the odds of pushing back or killing W1 and W3, now overlapped themselves, increases greatly. At 5vs2 (overlapped warband) the blade doubles and kills the warband 12 out of 36 times, and pushes the warband back 18/36 times. The odds of a tie or lock decrease to 1/12.

To summarize, the odds of a center blade following up into a double overlap in a 3 on 3 blade versus warband combat is 1/9x1/9x20/36 or less. Not a problem I'd spend much time thinking about.

Last year I played a virtually all warband army in the Two Davids Big Battle campaign of Caeser in Gaul. I found that doubling up the warbands did not help me at all. One supporting element of psiloi negated my doubling of ranks. Overlaps on either end by the romans, who now had a longer line, negated my doubling up at the ends of the line. Then, tactically, the overlapping romans were able to fold in for closed door or friction kills.

In warband versus warband combat I found that I was much happier overlapping the enemy line than doubling up. It was better to have an overlap with a friction kill on either end of the line while accepting that I could be 3 versus 4 in the center.

larryessick
12-18-2011, 11:25 AM
:D

Because the odds favor the Bd a Wb player forced into a fight will choose B1 as the first fight then B2 if B1 wins, otherwise B3 as the second. A Bd player will choose B2 as the first fight gaining overlap advantage and simultaneously decreasing the chance either B1 or B3 will be quick killed and increasing the chance that they will double up against Wb1 and Wb3.

This is what has been happening in every test game we've played thus far and with the expected results.

michael guth
12-18-2011, 12:35 PM
As the blade player I would certainly not choose the center blade as the first combat. if I lose, then I have two units exposed to a 1/3 quick kill. If I start at the end and lose, I have only the center unit B2 exposed to the quick kill, and if circumstances warrant, I can try the combat at B3 to rectify the situation.....

I'd have to study the odds, but I think it a mistake to give the enemy a chance at 2 overlaps at once....

Hannibal Ad Portas
12-18-2011, 01:48 PM
Of course, this example assumes good going. If the warband player can get combat to take place within one or two recoils of marsh or rough, the outcomes will be much different.

I still have not figured out what new evidence has caused Phil to make blade and pike impetuous. They haven't been so for the about two decade long existence of DBA, so why now?

michael guth
12-18-2011, 05:15 PM
Cannae, Trebia, Cynoscephale? Blades pressing forwards foolishly, blades pressing forwards and winning, pike advancing until gaps open up in their ranks?

So, you can make a case for it, but then again you could make a case for spears following up as well, Marathon for example, also Nemea and Mantinea.

A better commander might keep his troops under better control, but the game allows no mechanism for this.

From a game point of view the automatic follow up means that you have to spend fewer pips on the next turn to maintain contact, which decreases the 'pip management' or 'command control' aspect of the game and makes things potentially less interesting.

I doubt that Warband luring blades into the woods is going to be a big tactic. If I were a blade army, facing a warband army anywhere near the woods I would take the mutual draw, or deride my opponent until he attacked me in the open....

Rich Gause
12-18-2011, 05:41 PM
It might be interesting for game balance effect if all the heavy foot were impetuous against foot and all the light were not; especially if the breakoff rules were modified to allow faster elements to break off so Ax/Ps could breakoff and heavy foot couldn't.

Hannibal Ad Portas
12-18-2011, 06:22 PM
The warband player can actually lure you in subtly. He also doesn't have to use warband to achieve this....my opponent actually did it quite by accident. I had blade on bow and one of my blades impetuously pursued a bow for two turns and exposed itself to warband reserves zipping over from the middle of the table. This left another blade without a friendly beside him and set that blade up for its demise in later pursuit of another warband. Granted, it didn't help that I kept getting nary enough PIP's to bring up support...but it just looked screwy. In fact, I had to force a buttocks of death result on the flank to even the odds. Then, with the game tied at 3 elements, it forced me to play my hand early and send in the main battle line for what was essentially about a 50-50 chance at victory. If I waited a bound, my opponent would have been able to make the contact and choose the match ups that favored him.

kontos
12-18-2011, 08:41 PM
It might be interesting for game balance effect if all the heavy foot were impetuous against foot and all the light were not; especially if the breakoff rules were modified to allow faster elements to break off so Ax/Ps could breakoff and heavy foot couldn't.

That has been my thoughts for quite a while. If you're faster, you can break off. :up

larryessick
12-18-2011, 09:13 PM
As the blade player I would certainly not choose the center blade as the first combat. if I lose, then I have two units exposed to a 1/3 quick kill. If I start at the end and lose, I have only the center unit B2 exposed to the quick kill, and if circumstances warrant, I can try the combat at B3 to rectify the situation.....

I'd have to study the odds, but I think it a mistake to give the enemy a chance at 2 overlaps at once....

There is a logic for the Bd player going Bd1, Bd3, Bd2. A line that is only 3 elements long is pretty short so limited ways to get an advantage.

I think it has been pointed out that a 3 element frontage suggests 6 elements in the mix for the Wb vs 4 elements for the Bd. That typically means that on one or both ends the Wb already starts out overlapped by the Bd players added elements.

Starting with Bd1 and running down the line is least risk but least odds for reward. Starting with Bd2 is greater risk with moderate odds for greatest reward (2 elements won). Starting with Bd1 and jumping to Bd3 is the greatest risk with the best odds of reward (1 element won).

To some degree it depends on how willing a player is to play the odds.

dicemanrick
12-18-2011, 09:19 PM
A lot of results and math so far, but what happens if the warband WIN their first combat? I pity the poor blades who, without psiloi support as it's now dead, follow up on both shoulders of the gap where their buddies used to be....

seems like a real quick game if the warband is lucky on the first charge.

michael guth
12-18-2011, 09:19 PM
Playing an all warband army in the last England is Burning event I lost to my nemesis Mark Pozniak, who was using spear backed by psiloi, when I lost 2 bases of warband in one go on a 6-1. Alas.

Later I got to play David Schlanger also using Saxon spear and psiloi. This time I set up my warbands two deep , but in echelon. I set it up so that I could hit him with a single warband overlap, and two 'units' of doubled warband. The other warbands were stepped back. So, we each had an overlap to start, but I was doubled up at the point of attack. The spears were slow enough that they could not get around my formation.

This changes with the faster movement rates in 3.0. Alas....

michael guth
12-18-2011, 09:21 PM
The idea of a couple of blades pushing back warband turn after turn is pretty amusing, and would seem very strange. Wouldn't the blades get tired, or maybe look around and say, "Where did everybody go?".

larryessick
12-18-2011, 09:40 PM
A lot of results and math so far, but what happens if the warband WIN their first combat? I pity the poor blades who, without psiloi support as it's now dead, follow up on both shoulders of the gap where their buddies used to be....

seems like a real quick game if the warband is lucky on the first charge.

The bit about losing Ps support is worth looking into more.

I still don't know what that Ps is supposed to do either in the pursuit or in the case of dieing.

In a line of 3 blade faced off against 6 double-ranked warband, a lone psiloi supports the blades lined up behind the middle blade element. Does the psiloi only pursue or die if the middle blade pursues or does the psiloi change its postion and jump over to follow one of the other blades if it pursues? Does the psiloi only die if the middle blade dies or does the psiloi die if one of the other blades dies?

Right now I don't think we know that.

I will admit that I'm abusing the rules best I can but also assuming things that seem more intuitive to me that might not be part of what Phil really means for us to do. That could be, in fact certainly is, affecting results.

dicemanrick
12-18-2011, 11:01 PM
The bit about losing Ps support is worth looking into more.

I still don't know what that Ps is supposed to do either in the pursuit or in the case of dieing.

snip

Right now I don't think we know that.

I will admit that I'm abusing the rules best I can but also assuming things that seem more intuitive to me that might not be part of what Phil really means for us to do. That could be, in fact certainly is, affecting results.

I think it's pretty clear as it has been in the last four play-test versions that I used, that the loss of an element kills its supporting psiloi even if the psiloi is not directly behind the element lost. I think we argued unsuccessfully to have the psiloi flee instead.

larryessick
12-19-2011, 01:32 AM
I think it's pretty clear as it has been in the last four play-test versions that I used, that the loss of an element kills its supporting psiloi even if the psiloi is not directly behind the element lost. I think we argued unsuccessfully to have the psiloi flee instead.

Alright, that's good info. First I've seen it expressed this way, but how I'll play it. :up

Martyn
12-19-2011, 10:25 AM
There is a lot of contention on the interaction of Bd and Wb, but as Michael showed at the start of this thread the most likely outcome is Bd pushing back Wb and therefore the horror of pursuing into a double overlap is limited. I would be interested in whether those that have play tested this interaction find any major difference in the outcome of the overall battle.

On another point is the interaction of the Ps support. My take has always been that the one Ps supports three Bd reflects the spreading out of the Ps behind each to launch missile weapons into the enemy. Now if that is the case a kill on one of the elements they are supporting only affects part of the supporting element, equally if one Bd element wins and pursues they will only take a section of the supporting element with them (or maybe not). Under the rule they will either take the whole support with them stripping away the support from the others, or alternatively they will lose the support completely.

Is this the best way to replicate what is happening, I prefer the 2.2 way of killing off the support if the Bd directly in front is killed, I would imagine the central section of an extended line being taken out would have a detrimental effect of the two flanks, but this would not be the case if the flanking Bds were killed.

On the pursuit issue, my feeling is that the support should pursue with the supported element (that is the central one) and the support rule be amended so that the flank elements still get the support

“Spears, Blades (except Lit) or Auxilia add +1 if fighting mounted troops or Warband or attacking a BUA or Camp while supported by a single friendly element of Psiloi lined up in contact directly behind them or directly behind a friendly element of the same type with either being in both side edge and front corner-to- front corner contact with them.”

This does not guarantee the support will still continue (mixed Bd or 3Bd lines will struggle)

With regard to a flank element pursuing and losing the support, I’m not sure how a rewording would work without introducing too many positions where it could be exploited. For example, maintaining rear corner to front corner contact gives far too much latitude for gamesmanship.

Just some thoughts and suggestions for consideration or ridicule as appropriate.

david kuijt
12-19-2011, 10:43 AM
I prefer the 2.2 way of killing off the support if the Bd directly in front is killed, I would imagine the central section of an extended line being taken out would have a detrimental effect of the two flanks, but this would not be the case if the flanking Bds were killed.


That's a good way to look at it, I think.

Andreas posted that Phil's take is (now) that enough of the Ps element would be swept away in the rout. But even if you accept that some of the Ps element would be swept away in the rout, it makes sense that sweeping away the center of the element (probably with the tactical command) and splitting the remainder into two would be more catastrophic than sweeping away a flanking part.

john meunier
12-19-2011, 12:07 PM
That's a good way to look at it, I think.

Andreas posted that Phil's take is (now) that enough of the Ps element would be swept away in the rout. But even if you accept that some of the Ps element would be swept away in the rout, it makes sense that sweeping away the center of the element (probably with the tactical command) and splitting the remainder into two would be more catastrophic than sweeping away a flanking part.

What is the historical basis for Ps-support of heavy infantry?

My take was that it is was based on rear ranks of Imperial legions loosing arrows over the front ranks. (And some other similar types.)

If so, the Psiloi would have no independent "tactical command."

I've always been confused by the argument for allowing universal Ps support regardless of history.

david kuijt
12-19-2011, 12:25 PM
What is the historical basis for Ps-support of heavy infantry?

My take was that it is was based on rear ranks of Imperial legions loosing arrows over the front ranks. (And some other similar types.)

If so, the Psiloi would have no independent "tactical command."


If the Psiloi element cannot be detached and sent to do anything independent, ever, then it has no independent tactical command elements. (i.e., nobody is in charge).

If it is possible for the Psiloi to be sent anywhere and do anything other than be attached in a single place, then that Psiloi must have some sort of command structure -- someone in charge. Otherwise it would be impossible to give them orders.

Since DBA (3.0 or 2.2) allows Psiloi to receive orders, they must have someone in the element in charge, and some way to transmit orders, and some obedience structure -- because without those things, it is impossible for a general to get the whole unit (as a unit) to do anything.

kontos
12-19-2011, 12:57 PM
Interestingly enough, to me anyway, is psiloi become more effective at doing what they were supposed to do in 3.0 and argument can be made that rear support can go away. One of the skirmishers roles was to support the main battleline disrupting the enemy formation. When the lines met, the skirmishers filtered back through or to the sides of their friends. This is can be standard overlap support which can be achieved by any element or, in 2.2, reflected by the rear support rule. Now, psiloi can function by operating in front of the main battleline and be very effective at disrupting the enemy's PIP management because of the new mandatory pursuit rules.

Assuming heavy infantry battlelines:

1. You deploy your psiloi in front of the center element of your battleline. Your opponent spends 1 PIP to move his group to contact your psiloi. Your psiloi will most likely lose. The enemy element follows up. You counterattack, at no PIPS with a double overlap.

2. The enemy sees this possibility and therefore spends 3 PIPS. One to contact the psiloi and two more to move each end of the line into contact with your main battleline. Burns up PIPS.

3. You send your psiloi ahead and make contact with your opponent's MBL. Your psiloi will most likely lose. The enemy element follows up. On your opponent's turn they need, again, 3 PIPS to reform their line.

Should rear support by psiloi remain or have they become too powerful?

Another "issue" I have always had with rear support is why only against certain element types and why can't they support mounted troops? Their role was to disrupt. Why only against Warband? Why not against Blade, Spear or Pike? Why can't they support Knights?

Just a thought.

john meunier
12-19-2011, 04:35 PM
If the Psiloi element cannot be detached and sent to do anything independent, ever, then it has no independent tactical command elements. (i.e., nobody is in charge).

If it is possible for the Psiloi to be sent anywhere and do anything other than be attached in a single place, then that Psiloi must have some sort of command structure -- someone in charge. Otherwise it would be impossible to give them orders.

Since DBA (3.0 or 2.2) allows Psiloi to receive orders, they must have someone in the element in charge, and some way to transmit orders, and some obedience structure -- because without those things, it is impossible for a general to get the whole unit (as a unit) to do anything.

I get that logic. My question goes back a step.

Did Roman rear-ranking archers ever run off and do something else independent of the heavies they supported?

And if they did, why is this mechanic not a historical, scenario-specific rule instead of a generalized rule that allows helots armed with javelins to offer support to Spartan Sp and all sorts of other anti-historical arrangements?

I realize this is not up for review in 3.0, but the absurdity of the development of the Ps-support mechanisms does make me wonder why they exist in the first place.

john meunier
12-19-2011, 04:44 PM
Interestingly enough, to me anyway, is psiloi become more effective at doing what they were supposed to do in 3.0 and argument can be made that rear support can go away.

Interesting observations.

It does make Ps as annoying to Bd and Pk as they are to Wb.

Of course, if I have my own Ps, then I would use mine to try to drive yours off or destroy them before the heavies come to contact ... which is also a historical bit of tactics.

david kuijt
12-19-2011, 06:35 PM
My question goes back a step.

Did Roman rear-ranking archers ever run off and do something else independent of the heavies they supported?


That's a reasonable question. But it is an army list construction question -- if Psiloi is a type in DBA, you are asking if Romans should get a Psiloi as defined in DBA.

Doug
12-20-2011, 07:45 PM
That's a reasonable question. But it is an army list construction question -- if Psiloi is a type in DBA, you are asking if Romans should get a Psiloi as defined in DBA.

This question came up during list development (in arguing about who should get supporting psiloi in DBMM) and the Roman examples were that archers customarily just formed part of the rear ranks of a unit, but there were examples of separate bodies of Psiloi. Which then raises the question as to whether the Psiloi support should just be factored into the Bd. And then whether the Romans should get another unique characteristic..

In the end, least damage was done by allowing separate Psiloi elements for the rear ranks and allowing them to be brigaded separately as required.

There are similar arguments around Psiloi support in DBA, and I would not want to go down the path of more complexity by making it list-specific.

john meunier
12-20-2011, 08:15 PM
There are similar arguments around Psiloi support in DBA, and I would not want to go down the path of more complexity by making it list-specific.

Me either, so let's just kill of the +1 for Ps support and clear up the issue.

David Brown
12-21-2011, 05:56 PM
One blue-sky solution is to allow the Ps to fight, against the types they can presently support against, but from the 2nd rank.

So the Ps would fight as if in the front rank position, but would take no adverse outcome from the fight.

They thus get a low-factor free hit.

If the enemy survives intact there is then combat between the two contacting elements with the Ps providing no role.

This has the advantage that you can re-calibrate base factors and any QKs, flees, without the distorting impact of the +1 for Ps which both aids the supported troops' ability to defend and deal death.

regards

David b

Doug
12-21-2011, 08:44 PM
One blue-sky solution is to allow the Ps to fight, against the types they can presently support against, but from the 2nd rank.

So the Ps would fight as if in the front rank position, but would take no adverse outcome from the fight.

They thus get a low-factor free hit.

If the enemy survives intact there is then combat between the two contacting elements with the Ps providing no role.

This has the advantage that you can re-calibrate base factors and any QKs, flees, without the distorting impact of the +1 for Ps which both aids the supported troops' ability to defend and deal death.

regards

David b

Interesting thought DB. but is it DBA ?

broadsword
12-21-2011, 09:26 PM
Doug, I think the correct response is "does it work well?" In my view, DBA is whatever achieves the results the Introduction sets out to achieve... Does it get the players where they need to go, does it succeed? I don't think there is a DBA orthodoxy that can do all that.

Dangun
12-24-2011, 10:11 AM
That's a reasonable question. But it is an army list construction question -- if Psiloi is a type in DBA, you are asking if Romans should get a Psiloi as defined in DBA.

I think that if we start asking why the army lists are constructed in the way they are, we will very quickly find ourselves disappointed with what little data they are based on.

Why do the Sargonid's have a Hd? or why do the Yueh WS Chinese have Wb but the Chao WS Chinese don't? Not worth thinking about.

Phil's Phantasy?

Cheers
Dangun

john meunier
12-24-2011, 11:22 AM
I think that if we start asking why the army lists are constructed in the way they are, we will very quickly find ourselves disappointed with what little data they are based on.

Why do the Sargonid's have a Hd? or why do the Yueh WS Chinese have Wb but the Chao WS Chinese don't? Not worth thinking about.

Phil's Phantasy?

Cheers
Dangun

Well, we have little data on huge swath's of this period of history. Phil makes choices and conjectures, but I don't think it is fair to call it fantasy.

Rich Gause
12-24-2011, 11:58 AM
Well, we have little data on huge swath's of this period of history. Phil makes choices and conjectures, but I don't think it is fair to call it fantasy.

Arrogance would be a better word. If we aren't sure then the lists should say so, not dictate what is merely somebody's best guess.

winterbadger
12-24-2011, 12:12 PM
John, if I'm understanding your posts correctly, I think you may be basing your whole structure on a weak foundation. You assume that the Ps support rule is derived from a single instance (the Roman army of some unspecified period where archer supported swordsmen). You suggest "if the archers did other things, then this should be an army-specific rule for the Romans; if the archers never did anything else, then they shouldn't even be represented separately by Ps, but subsumed into the Bd of the army list". DK then responded that this is an army list question, not a game mechanic question.

But I think you premise is flawed. I've never understood this mechanic to represent a specifically Roman situation. I understand it to be Phil's contention that--throughout the period the game represents--skirmishers were effective in close support of heavy infantry against certain shock-based troops. In short, as the Ps description says, "to support heavier foot by shooting from behind them" (I'd even include the sort of micro tactics that kontos is observing in 3.0--I could see an argument for Ps support to represent skirmishing in small bodies immediately in front of formed troops, then retiring behind them--there's lots of stuff going on in DBA that's below the level that can be depicted by base geometry and exact figures placement--look at Ps, LH, and Cav shooting and "amoeba" movement for examples).

Of course, the army size and basing of DBA forces leaves a quandary as to how to depict this kind of support. You can't split a single Ps into multiple separate semi-elements, although the troops represented by the element were surely spread out behind the line. And you can't represent each of those subunts with its own element--you'd go way over 12 elements per army. So how do you handle the support when there are several supported elements all having separate combat resolutions? I think DK's earlier point (that if the Ps is really a separate independent element, it must have a command, and that in a 'supporting three elements' situation that is surely in the center) is a good one and justifies a fairly simple way of handling the issue, as seen in 2.2 (eliminate the element only if the center defender is eliminated). I think Phil came down on it one way in 2.2, which made sense, and is waffling back the other direction now in 3.0 (eliminate the element if *any* of the supported defenders are eliminated). I think this makes less sense, but it's a valid approach.

I'd be sorry to see the Ps support baby thrown out with the bathwater of simplification. If that were the case, and Ps support assumed to be organic skirmishers to all the troops that got Ps support historically, then I think there might be a case for reducing the number of Ps in many lists and replacing them with other troops more representative of the remainder of the army.

Myself, I'm more sympathetic to the argument that *more* troops should be allowed Ps support. Many mounted forces fought in coordination with skirmishers.

winterbadger
12-24-2011, 12:19 PM
Arrogance would be a better word. If we aren't sure then the lists should say so, not dictate what is merely somebody's best guess.

I think that's a bit harsh. If there's limited evidence (as there is for everything in history--some areas are just a little *less* limited than others), then all you have to go on is someone's best guess. My understanding is that PB (who has done a good deal of research himself) consults with other long heads when making up army lists. But at the end of the day, one has to make a decision. A DBA army has 12 elements; if you're going to set an army list, you can't really say "Well, we're fairly sure they had heavy horse who fought with bow and lance, so let's give them 3 Cav, but we have to leave the other 9 elements blank because we're not sure how they fought." You have to make some choice. And for better or worse, the DBA army lists have traditionally been short ones that take up a line or two, not 1-2 pages lists with explanations of alternate interpretations, as in DBM(M). If there's room for alternatives, it comes as "3 Bw or Ps" and that's about it.

Rich Gause
12-24-2011, 01:09 PM
I think that's a bit harsh. If there's limited evidence (as there is for everything in history--some areas are just a little *less* limited than others), then all you have to go on is someone's best guess. My understanding is that PB (who has done a good deal of research himself) consults with other long heads when making up army lists. But at the end of the day, one has to make a decision. A DBA army has 12 elements; if you're going to set an army list, you can't really say "Well, we're fairly sure they had heavy horse who fought with bow and lance, so let's give them 3 Cav, but we have to leave the other 9 elements blank because we're not sure how they fought." You have to make some choice. And for better or worse, the DBA army lists have traditionally been short ones that take up a line or two, not 1-2 pages lists with explanations of alternate interpretations, as in DBM(M). If there's room for alternatives, it comes as "3 Bw or Ps" and that's about it.

The choice in the army lists should be this or that, not just this, when our knowlege is that it could be this or that. List authors should not dictate absolutes when the evidence is not there if they don't know they don't need to make an absolute choice. If an element could be plausibly represented as one of three things then put the choice in the list and leave it up to the player. Look at the proposed changes to the Northwest and Eastern Forest American lists, wholesale changes to lists that cover hundreds of years and a huge area that make the old ones obsolete with little in the way of choice, arrogance.

Xavi
12-24-2011, 01:13 PM
About Ps support,. there is a nice show of it in The Lion of Sparta, the movie form the 50's or 60's. Rear (weak) trops supporting the front line of heavy foot (or heay cavalry for Byzantines) with missiles is a fairly common occurrence is battlefields thoughout history.

Cheers,
Xavi

winterbadger
12-24-2011, 01:26 PM
The choice in the army lists should be this or that, not just this, when our knowlege is that it could be this or that. List authors should not dictate absolutes when the evidence is not there if they don't know they don't need to make an absolute choice. If an element could be plausibly represented as one of three things then put the choice in the list and leave it up to the player.

And PB does that in some places and not in others. It's a question of what he feels is strongly evidenced and what is not.

But the point of my comment to John is that what this thread is about--Ps support--is an issue of rules mechanics, not one of army lists.

The solution in either case is the same--house rules. If you don't like an army list, create an alternate. If you don't like a specific rule, devise a house rule that takes its place.

But don't expect 3.0 to change much. I think it's been made pretty clear that nothing that's said here is going to have much impact on the final form of 3.0. PB doesn't read here, and many of the people who do who are still involved in the final development of the rules are frankly hostile to suggestions of changes in the current form other than clarifications.

Dangun
12-24-2011, 11:32 PM
Well, we have little data on huge swath's of this period of history. Phil makes choices and conjectures, but I don't think it is fair to call it fantasy.

You are right, its not fantasy. But there are 100s of army lists and countless allowable variations, which seems overly precise.

And we are all adults. If its unclear, we could handle knowing it. Similarly if its a matter of evidence, some sources would be nice. But none of the WRG publications really touch on sources.

john meunier
12-25-2011, 12:14 AM
John, if I'm understanding your posts correctly, I think you may be basing your whole structure on a weak foundation.

That is always possible.

The first editions of DBA did not have Ps support.

Then, DBM did have it -- IIRC -- as a list-specific rule in which Romans featured heavily.

Then DBA picked up the idea but made it a universal mechanic rather than list-specific, for obvious reasons.

It is quite possible that my memory is wrong on the progression, but this is the foundation from which I built.

I don't think Ps-support was ever necessary as a game mechanic in DBA. I don't expect my writing that will have any impact on the game, but I do think the current puzzles over how supporting Ps move and die in 3.0 indicate that the rule is more trouble than it is worth.

If rear rank archers existed historically, they can be represented by being assumed to be in the formation. Independent elements of Ps can support heavy infantry by positioning in the rear or flanks of the heavies to plug holes or protect flanks. You don't need a +1 cf to represent that.

Doug
12-25-2011, 11:58 PM
Doug, I think the correct response is "does it work well?" In my view, DBA is whatever achieves the results the Introduction sets out to achieve... Does it get the players where they need to go, does it succeed? I don't think there is a DBA orthodoxy that can do all that.

I actually agree with you, however, the extraordinary reaction when any changes are suggested, and the possible reaction to such a 'blue-sky' change makes me very cautious about it.

Doug
12-26-2011, 12:08 AM
The choice in the army lists should be this or that, not just this, when our knowlege is that it could be this or that. List authors should not dictate absolutes when the evidence is not there if they don't know they don't need to make an absolute choice. If an element could be plausibly represented as one of three things then put the choice in the list and leave it up to the player. Look at the proposed changes to the Northwest and Eastern Forest American lists, wholesale changes to lists that cover hundreds of years and a huge area that make the old ones obsolete with little in the way of choice, arrogance.

One point is that the later DBA lists were largely based on the research done for the DBM lists. These were not done by a single person, but by a number of people, such as Karl-Heinze Ranitsch, Duncan Head and others. It is very difficult to ensure consistency.

So for example, in lists where Phil felt he had a lot of knowledge, (Late Roman, Sasanians and so on) the DBM/DBMM lists are very prescriptive. Other contributors are much less so. I don't believe there was ever a consistent approach to uncertainty.

But as has been pointed out, where we have little evidence, then unlike a historian, a list writer cannot simply throw his hands in the air and say 'we don't know'.

Alan Saunders
12-26-2011, 12:53 AM
Well, we have little data on huge swath's of this period of history. Phil makes choices and conjectures, but I don't think it is fair to call it fantasy.

I remember reading once that there's more evidence for the makeup of some fantasy armies than there is for a few of the armies in DBA/M :)

Doug
12-26-2011, 02:03 AM
I remember reading once that there's more evidence for the makeup of some fantasy armies than there is for a few of the armies in DBA/M :)

Probably true, but as we know a civilisation exists and had an army, we need to use whatever evidence there is to make up the army list. You can't just simply say.. sorry.. not enough evidence about Tamils, excluding them from the lists.

And seriously, the constant carping about lists is completely ridiculous. Most lists there is more than enough evidence for, and it is much more than the occasional references to pot shards/sherds people constantly make..

If people really have a concern about particular lists - then raise it! They are subject to review... if you want to see where some of the discussion - then have a look at TNE (http://tabulaenovaeexercituum.pbworks.com/w/page/14246690/FrontPage)

David Brown
12-26-2011, 06:45 PM
Alan said.

>>>>>>>>>
I remember reading once that there's more evidence for the makeup of some fantasy armies than there is for a few of the armies in DBA/M
>>>>>>>>>>

As a dabbler in writing fantasy lists I know that what I cook up is unlikley to be contradicted by archaeological finds.

regards

David B