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jacar
01-31-2012, 05:26 PM
I've never liked the fiddliness of supporting pike and spear. Not that I don't like deep formations or support rules but rather that I don't like that they are different in function. To me, a pear and pike should support in the same circumstances. They should have the same tactical factors as well. The only difference to me is that the pike should give a better support bonus.

My thought is that a pike or spear should have a +4 across the board. Spears should have a support bonus of +1 with another spear supporting from behind but not against Ps or Bw on an initial contact. Pikes should perform similarly but give a +2. This is important because the rule is supposed to be changed to where pikes get +1 in support against knights as to encourage a reckless charge by the knights. This would instead give the Pikes a total of 6 against all mounted vs a knights +3. If you consider that such charges could probably only be executed at the urging of a general then you would have Kn Gen at +4 or a 2 point difference. In keeping in line with the new rules, Spears and pikes should both pursue foot. I made a mistake about this on my last report allowing spears to pursue.

Also, I'd like to see blades support other blades from behind against mounted with a +1.

Finally, I am not so sure that DBEs are so well thought out. There seems to be a slip in logic here. On one hand, Phil has the notion that DBA is not detailed enough to handle Ps for rear support. Fine. On the other hand, he has the need to add an element from DBMM to allow larger units at a steep cost. I don't think this actually adds a lot to the game. And at the cost of sacrificing the +1 for supporting elements of various types, I'd say it is a step in the wrong direction.

Thoughts?

Richard Lee
02-01-2012, 04:09 AM
I've never liked the fiddliness of supporting pike and spear. Not that I don't like deep formations or support rules but rather that I don't like that they are different in function. To me, a pear and pike should support in the same circumstances. They should have the same tactical factors as well. The only difference to me is that the pike should give a better support bonus.

My thought is that a pike or spear should have a +4 across the board. Spears should have a support bonus of +1 with another spear supporting from behind but not against Ps or Bw on an initial contact. Pikes should perform similarly but give a +2. This is important because the rule is supposed to be changed to where pikes get +1 in support against knights as to encourage a reckless charge by the knights. This would instead give the Pikes a total of 6 against all mounted vs a knights +3. If you consider that such charges could probably only be executed at the urging of a general then you would have Kn Gen at +4 or a 2 point difference. In keeping in line with the new rules, Spears and pikes should both pursue foot. I made a mistake about this on my last report allowing spears to pursue.

An interesting idea. One of the things I noticed is that it would make spear and pike extremely similar, except that pike get an enhanced rear support factor. Although historical accuracy is one goal to aim for, game balance is another. It would be nice to find some advantage for spear that pike didn't have. Did spear pursue or follow up? Some spear seem to have done at Hastings, but not, apparently, Harold's huscarls (blades).

Also, I'd like to see blades support other blades from behind against mounted with a +1.

Would you care to explain why you think this should be so, or to give historical examples that are relevant? Your suggestion does not seem right to me intuitively, but I will happy listen to persuasion.

Finally, I am not so sure that DBEs are so well thought out. There seems to be a slip in logic here. On one hand, Phil has the notion that DBA is not detailed enough to handle Ps for rear support. Fine. On the other hand, he has the need to add an element from DBMM to allow larger units at a steep cost. I don't think this actually adds a lot to the game. And at the cost of sacrificing the +1 for supporting elements of various types, I'd say it is a step in the wrong direction.

I would prefer double-based elements not to exist in DBA, so no argument from me on this one!:)

jacar
02-01-2012, 10:40 AM
An interesting idea. One of the things I noticed is that it would make spear and pike extremely similar, except that pike get an enhanced rear support factor. Although historical accuracy is one goal to aim for, game balance is another. It would be nice to find some advantage for spear that pike didn't have. Did spear pursue or follow up? Some spear seem to have done at Hastings, but not, apparently, Harold's huscarls (blades).


My take is that spears are Pike Light. One of the historical arguments is that pikes were a natural progression of spears. So why not portray them as such? If anything, my proposal adds more utility. The +1 is not just against spears or knights but against everything that pikes benefit from.


Would you care to explain why you think this should be so, or to give historical examples that are relevant? Your suggestion does not seem right to me intuitively, but I will happy listen to persuasion.


Certainly! DBM and possibly DBMM both allow a single rank of Blades to support. In DBM at least, they support only against mounted. Deeper lines was a common way for warbands to ward off cavalry so why not blades as well? The Romans used deeper formations to ward off attacks by the Parthians and later the Sassanids, Cavalry heavy armies. It gives a reason for a player to actually use a deep line of blades rather than the non-game effect of blades can pass through blades.

broadsword
02-01-2012, 12:28 PM
jacar, I disagree with the assessment that Spears are Pike Light. If anything, Pike are Spears Light.

I think the key for Philip II was that he found the hoplite formation heavy, hard-hitting, and certainly decisive, but nowhere near maneuverable enough. The heavy armour of the hoplite (heavy hoplon, bronze breastplates in the hot sun, greaves, motorcycle helmet) made the Hoplite a sitting duck against maneuverable troops that could still hit hard enough. Hoplites lost some embarrassing affairs, (Xenophon notwithstanding) and were totally outclassed at Syracuse by enemy cavalry, and at Lychaeum by Psiloi surrounding them. Chaeronea proved Philip right.

I see Pike as a means of expanding the number of hardhitting troops (easier to train and equip a Pike fence than a hoplite Phalanx) but gaining maneuverablity.

The price is paid in more vulnerability to missiles, (the argument that the "thick forest" of shafts defelected arrows and sling bullets has been conclusively debunked in live testing!) and smaller shields, and lighter armour, meaning that once the forward line of shafts gets breached (not easy to do mind you - the Legions had a lot of trouble doing so) it's all over for the Pikeman.

Alexander's phalanx was of legendary flexibility and maneuverabiltity. I am not sure what the +1 support for spear represents other than the Thebans at Leuctra. Mass can best represented in this system by a DBE in my view, or the +1 for support applying for most elements instead of just spear.

jacar
02-01-2012, 01:29 PM
jacar, I disagree with the assessment that Spears are Pike Light. If anything, Pike are Spears Light.

I think the key for Philip II was that he found the hoplite formation heavy, hard-hitting, and certainly decisive, but nowhere near maneuverable enough. The heavy armour of the hoplite (heavy hoplon, bronze breastplates in the hot sun, greaves, motorcycle helmet) made the Hoplite a sitting duck against maneuverable troops that could still hit hard enough. Hoplites lost some embarrassing affairs, (Xenophon notwithstanding) and were totally outclassed at Syracuse by enemy cavalry, and at Lychaeum by Psiloi surrounding them. Chaeronea proved Philip right.


It has been proven over and over again that the phalanx in general (save maybe Alexanders originals!) were sitting ducks, large and ponderous.


I see Pike as a means of expanding the number of hardhitting troops (easier to train and equip a Pike fence than a hoplite Phalanx) but gaining maneuverablity.


A pike phalanx is probably not more maneuverable than a Hoplite Phalanx. You are also mixing armor and equipment eras (your first quote above). By the time of Alexander, Hoplites were wearing linothorax for the most part. Iphicrates reforms called for lighter quilted armor and a longer spear. This proved ineffective against missile fire. But Bronze is expensive and uncomfortable and linothorax is probably as durable as chainmail. The reason to not use linithorax is that it probably does not stand up well to the elements. Macedonian style pike phalanx would have an even longer spear but with a hide shield about the size of a round pelte and linothorax in the front ranks. If we are to believe Iphicrates, then one most certainly grew out of the other.
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The price is paid in more vulnerability to missiles, (the argument that the "thick forest" of shafts defelected arrows and sling bullets has been conclusively debunked in live testing!) and smaller shields, and lighter armour, meaning that once the forward line of shafts gets breached (not easy to do mind you - the Legions had a lot of trouble doing so) it's all over for the Pikeman.


The phalanx, for whatever reason, did not seem to be any more vulnerable to missile fire than a hoplite phalanx. If it were, it would be nothing to find 3 or more references to its vulnerability in battle for missiles.


Alexander's phalanx was of legendary flexibility and maneuverabiltity. I am not sure what the +1 support for spear represents other than the Thebans at Leuctra. Mass can best represented in this system by a DBE in my view, or the +1 for support applying for most elements instead of just spear.

Deep formations in both cases. Hoplite formations probably started as little as 4 ranks and by the time of Alexander were deployed as many as 12 ranks deep. The support has nothign to do with maneuver AFAIK. It is a matter of bringing spear points to bear. If you have a longer spear, in theory, you can bring more to bear.

Mass is a common theme throughout antiquity early warfare in general.