PDA

View Full Version : Breaking Off From Close Combat -- Take #2


Kevin Boylan
04-11-2012, 04:29 PM
It is not without some trepidation that I bring up this topic again. Yet, when -- as others advised -- I researched it, I discovered that my earlier posts were mistaken. Not only should all mounted be able to break off from all foot, but any element should be able to break off from any element!

I was initially surprised by this discovery myself, but the more I researched, the more obvious it became that it was true. Indeed, the most famous case of breaking off from combat in all military history -- the withdrawal of Hannibal’s center at Cannae -- would be impossible otherwise. One doesn’t have to dig very deep into ancient and medieval history to find lots of examples where troops retreated from combat with enemies capable of equal or faster movement. Evidently, it just wasn’t that difficult for troops engaged with the enemy to back up and the tactic was widely employed by commanders. It was probably the most popular order troops could receive!

Listed below are over a dozen historical examples that inform both the earlier discussion about knights and the new one concerning all element types’ ability to retreat from close combat. Many are famous incidents that will be familiar to most DBA players, but others are more obscure. The latter were chosen to illustrate the ubiquity of retreating from combat as a valid tactical option in different places and periods, and to demonstrate that troops did not have to be highly-trained or commanded by one of history’s great captains in order to employ it. Further research would, I’m sure, yield even more such examples.

Thermopylae (480 BCE): Herodotus describes Spartan hoplites deliberately backing up before the Immortals (Pavise) in order to draw the Persians into a trap.

Sphacteria (425 BCE): Spartan hoplites made a fighting withdrawal of several miles while being harassed by Athenian peltasts (Psiloi) who took it in turns to keep them under constant attack. Though suffering a steady drain of casualties, the Spartans made it back to their camp -- where they were later besieged, surprised, and forced to surrender.

Anabasis (401 BCE): Xenophon’s 10,000 make an epic fighting withdrawal over hundreds of miles punctuated by many small engagements in which they had to break off from combat with enemies that were generally faster in order to make their escape.

Cannae (216 BCE): Hannibal famously orders his Gallic (Warband) and Spanish allies (Spear) to make a fighting retreat designed to sucker the Romans (Blade) into history’s most renowned encirclement.

Zama (202 BCE): Hannibal orders his Punic horsemen (Cavalry) to retreat when engaged the Roman (Cavalry) and Numidian (Light Horse) horse so as to draw them away from the battlefield and give him a chance to win a purely infantry engagement.

Viking Raids (9th Century): Before they began conquering entire provinces and even countries, the Vikings rarely fought battles unless they got caught heading for their ships after a raid. These engagements required the Vikings (Blade or Light Blade) to make fighting retreats, sometimes over a considerable distance, while closely engaged.

Hastings (1066): William the Conqueror has his knights deliberately retreat from combat with Harold Godwinson’s Saxon fyrd in order to tempt them down from the crest of Caldbec Hill.

St. Aubin-le-Cauf (1053): While Hastings was the most famous instance of knights retreating from combat to tempt an enemy pursuit, it was hardly the first. Norman knights had already used the tactic against the French at this battle thirteen years earlier.

Messina (1061): Norman knights commanded by Roger d’Hautville – brother of Robert Guiscard -- employed the tactic against the Muslims in Sicily five years before Hastings.

Cassel (1071): Pretender Robert the Frisian used a deliberate retreat by his knights to help defeat his nephew, Arnulf III, Duke of Flanders.

Falkirk (1298): Edward I orders his knights to retreat from a vain attempt to break William Wallace’s schiltrons in order to give his archers a clear shot at the Scots.

Bannockburn (1314): Robert the Bruce orders his Islemen allies (Blade) to retreat back into their prepared defenses after having left them to attack recoiling British knights.

Faughart (1318): During Edward Bruce’s invasion of Ireland, his Irish allies advised him to avoid open battle with a larger Anglo-Irish army and instead to use their preferred tactics, saying “For our manner is, of this land, to follow and fight and fight fleand [i.e., while retreating].” That is, in Ireland most battles were fought as pursuits and retreats of raiding armies that comprised noble light horse, Kern (Auxilia and Psiloi), and Galloglass (Blade) that often formed the retreating side’s rearguard. Thus, as a matter of course, the galloglass had to be constantly breaking off from the faster enemy troops that led the pursuit.

Neuss (1475): Charles the Bold orders his Burgundian knights to retreat from assaulting a fortified camp in order to draw their Imperialist enemies commanded by Emperor Frederick III of Hapsburg out from behind its defenses.

Zulu Wars (1800s): Fighting retreats are attested to in a variety of battles both before and after the formation of the consolidated Zulu nation by Dingiswayo and Shaka. These engagements involved troops that would be classified as Psiloi, Auxilia and Warband.

We could argue and debate the details of individual engagements ad infinitum, but it seems beyond dispute that engaged troops should be able to retreat. The details of how this was done in each case is an interesting question, but hardly relevant for the simple, generic mechanics of DBA. My personal guess would be that elements “in contact” were not necessarily fighting each other all the time -- that bouts of intense fighting were interspersed with lulls when the two sides would back off literally just a few yards to get their breath back. During such lulls, one side or the other could back away and the scuffle would resume only if their opponents made a conscious decision follow.

Other solutions to simulating ordered retreats from combat are possible. A player might, for example, be able to stipulate beforehand that an element would recoil even if it won or tied with its opponent (perhaps even surrendering the opportunity to recoil or kill the opponent). Maybe if the opposing element had the same or greater movement distance, it could choose to pursue the voluntarily recoiling element. Yet, any such solution is bound to be complicated and could have God only knows what unintended consequences. Going back to the breaking off rules we’ve played with for two decades would be far simpler and carry no such danger.

I therefore propose that the GMlist consider eliminating the 2.2+ rules change that an element must be faster than its opponent in order to break off from close combat. Retreating is a fundamental tactical option that DBA players (like their historical counterparts) should always have available. Denying it to them not only lacks an historical foundation, but gives yet another advantage to faster armies that have already become considerably more powerful in 2.2+ thanks to its faster movement distances and standard 30” boards.

michael guth
04-11-2012, 04:49 PM
In no case that you cite did the troops actually break off from close combat. So, I think you've proven the opposite point. Examples of breaking off from close combat would include, IMO Norman knights at Hastings, and TYW Swedish and Imperialist cavalry after what Guthrie called 'bounce' charges.

I have no skin in the game on the subject, but I still think that attempting to back up while in hand to hand combat on foot with an enemy to the front is a virtually sure way to get bowled over and overrun. Try reenacting it sometime with some friends with shields pushing against each other. Hooligan Soccer fan studies though show that the hooligans, ie the warbands, could break off from police armed with large shields who had closed ranks, if the police were not moving forward.

There is an example of infantry in the ECW mutually breaking off and then returning to long range firing.

So, I would assert that the ability to break off depends on the fighting posture of the two opponents, which might not be easy to model in the DBA world......

Tony Aguilar
04-11-2012, 05:15 PM
This could in fact already be modeled by an element being recoiled and the on the owner's bound spend a pip to move the unit away from the previously engaged enemy.

Rich Gause
04-11-2012, 05:16 PM
Throw in the difficulty of determining what is a recoil vs a breakoff vs backing up before contact or after recoil, and the fact that you have to break off by backing up three MU in 2.2+ and the fact that historical examples don't have the action divided into alternating player bounds and I would not say there is anything conclusively supporting the idea that anybody should be able to break off from anybody. Also they game plays better with the current rules IMO.

winterbadger
04-11-2012, 05:40 PM
That's a considerable accumulation of examples, Kevin. Good on you for taking the time and trouble to assemble it.

While I don't think that all of those cases are clear enough to be arguments for breakoff only from faster vs. breakoff from any, I think there are enough to show that *some* breakoffs did take place and so breaking off should be permissible in *some* form.

The other thing that it reminds us is that a *limited* number of disciplined troops over the millenia have been adept enough to break off from the enemy *and* lure them forward. The problem with trying to reflect that is defining exactly who has that ability and where it appears. It's a great deal more selective than simply being attached to DBA troop types. Different actions described by different authors vary between whether a withdrawal was planned or merely fortuitous. Sometimes troops in one part of the army get special training that identical troops in another part don't, and that makes the difference. I think that feigned flight is, alas, another feature that is best used in scenario design than incorporated into a set of rules generically. We have the impetuous advance, which applies to break-offs as well as withdrawals, but if the withdrawal of the Cartho center at Cannae was really a trap (rather than a happy accident promoting an otherwise able plan of envelopment), then we'd have to add Blade or Spear to the list of troops that advance impetuously. No, I think that goes in the "too hard" pile.

One thing I would caution against is stating, on the basis of 14-15 examples, some of them very vague and lacking in detail, that what you are contesting "lacks an historical foundation". That sort of overbroad claim weakens your case. JMO, YMMV.

winterbadger
04-11-2012, 05:47 PM
I have no skin in the game on the subject, but I still think that attempting to back up while in hand to hand combat on foot with an enemy to the front is a virtually sure way to get bowled over and overrun.

But I think you are assuming a *specific type* of "close combat"; it sounds like you're envisioning all close combat being the equivalent of heavy infantry hand to hand combat. Not even all heavy infantry close combat is going to be hand to hand, much less all the other type of close combat that exist in DBA (skirmishers tossing javelins, horse riding up to within a few dozen yards of foot and filling them with arrows before riding away).

Try reenacting it sometime with some friends with shields pushing against each other. Hooligan Soccer fan studies though show that the hooligans, ie the warbands, could break off from police armed with large shields who had closed ranks, if the police were not moving forward.

As someone who has done a lot of full-contact hand to hand combat (many years ago), I would caution against using the evidence of "me and my friends in the backyard" for anything. It's all great fun, but it's none of it real combat.

And I think that one of the biggest mistakes of military historians is equating mob violence with armed combat. Studies of hooligan violence against police tell us--maybe--what Hd do against Bd. They don't tell us anything about the fighting styles of ancient or medieval warriors, and IMNSHO, trying to pretend they do is like running down a blind alley with one's head in a bag. :D

Chris Brantley
04-11-2012, 06:20 PM
And I think that one of the biggest mistakes of military historians is equating mob violence with armed combat. Studies of hooligan violence against police tell us--maybe--what Hd do against Bd. They don't tell us anything about the fighting styles of ancient or medieval warriors, and IMNSHO, trying to pretend they do is like running down a blind alley with one's head in a bag. :D

Whereas I look to LOTRO PVP (technically PVMP) to inform my views of individual and small unit behavior in melee combat. :D

Pavane
04-11-2012, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the research Kevin. You are a credit to the DBA community. As others have pointed out, it is not necessarily conclusive as it may have occurred after a "recoil result". Colin Rice, whose opinion I respect, agrees with you so I owe you guys a second review.

I'm not sure that an element should be able to disengage from combat in all cases. To me the 2.2+ approach is the most conservative interpretation: not never, not always.

michael guth
04-11-2012, 09:18 PM
I disagree with you 100%. If professional military historians conclude that mob violence can inform our view on ancient combat then I am inclined to listen. I do also see value in reenactment, of course there are many levels of and styles of reenactment. Larping with magic dust does not do much for me. Full metal jousting though is very interesting.

michael guth
04-11-2012, 09:19 PM
The view that close infantry combat is something other than continuous hand to hand combat is exactly one of the conclusions from the study of mob violence, by the very historians you claim have their heads in bags. Inconsistent....

Lobotomy
04-11-2012, 09:40 PM
The problem with allowing such a break-off, with the classic example of Cannae, is that a break-off requires a move a minimum of 3 MU backward, so you lose the ZOC effect.

As I see your descriptions of many of your examples, they are "fighting withdrawals." This is not, IMHO, what a break-off represents, as I note above. To me a break-off is a withdrawal to avoid fighting and reorganize, particularly by mounted.

Plus several of your examples are mounted vs foot, which can happen in any instance where the mounted is fighting close order foot.

Kevin Boylan
04-11-2012, 10:30 PM
In no case that you cite did the troops actually break off from close combat. So, I think you've proven the opposite point. Examples of breaking off from close combat would include, IMO Norman knights at Hastings, and TYW Swedish and Imperialist cavalry after what Guthrie called 'bounce' charges.

Hmm.... None of my examples is a case of "true" breaking off -- whereas Hastings would be. But then one of my examples is Hastings!! I get the impression that you rushed to judgement without actually having read my entire post.

Kevin Boylan
04-11-2012, 10:50 PM
The problem with allowing such a break-off, with the classic example of Cannae, is that a break-off requires a move a minimum of 3 MU backward, so you lose the ZOC effect.

As I see your descriptions of many of your examples, they are "fighting withdrawals." This is not, IMHO, what a break-off represents, as I note above. To me a break-off is a withdrawal to avoid fighting and reorganize, particularly by mounted.

Plus several of your examples are mounted vs foot, which can happen in any instance where the mounted is fighting close order foot.

Larry,

I'm not certain exactly what you are arguing in your first paragraph. Cannae is a clear and totally unambiguous case of troops, in contact with an enemy that was just as fast as they were, who were ordered to retreat -- and did so. If DBA cannot perfectly model HOW they did it, that's hardly a surprise as it's very simple and generic rules set. DBA does not concern itself with process, only with results. As I said, there might be other ways of simulating what happened at Cannae, but using the old breaking off rules is by far the easiest and least disruptive.

For, whether we call it a retreat, a break-off, a fighting withdrawal or whatever, the fact is that the Carthaginians DID do it. And yet the maneuver is IMPOSSIBLE to replicate in 2.2+, since Warband can't disengage from Blade except by a recoil result. Thus, there is no way for Hannibal to ORDER his Gallic warband to deliberately fall back and suck the Romans into his trap -- all he can do is hope that the Gauls lose melees without being destroyed in the process. Not a terribly impressive plan for one of the greatest commanders in history to come up with!!! This is why I believe it's fruitless to argue that such maneuvers are already simulated in the recoil rules.

Skeptical Gamer
04-11-2012, 11:14 PM
This whole debate is exacerbated by the fact the the recoil/pursuit mechanism represents not just actually being pushed back/charging ahead, but also a loss of cohesion in the army. (PIPs and group moves being part of this same abstract army cohesion idea.)

I've always thought that there should be a mechanism whereby impetuous troops could be held in line by good command (i.e., high PIP costs to pull them back into line in DBA terms). Some knightly orders were known to be able to hold back from rash pursuits and I seem to recall (though I'd have to search for references) some "warband" holding the line as well.

How about allowing a single element to "recoil" as a single element move. It would be able to slowly pull back without leaving ZOC and could (with enough PIPs and a slight delay) pull some impetuous troops back into line (in the abstract, they never left the line, but were, rather, temporarily at a combat disadvantage).

My favorite time happened last Historicon when a Kn, double overlapped, locked with a Ps. It then withdrew and dismounted in the face of the Ps. No more shenanigans like that!

This sort of shenanigans would be impossible if the move were restricted to a "recoil"...

david kuijt
04-11-2012, 11:23 PM
I'm not certain exactly what you are arguing in your first paragraph. Cannae is a clear and totally unambiguous case of troops, in contact with an enemy that was just as fast as they were, who were ordered to retreat -- and did so.
[...]
For, whether we call it a retreat, a break-off, a fighting withdrawal or whatever, the fact is that the Carthaginians DID do it.

A large number of posts in the last week or ten days on the yahoo group have focused on this battle (and others); someone (Michael Fischer?) posted a detailed description from Polybios (and another one from ... Iforgetwhom) of Cannae. It doesn't sound anything like what you mention there, Keven. There is no evidence that they were ordered to retreat. There is no evidence that they disengaged from combat at all. IIRC, the evidence supports best that they were recoiled (pushed back), again and again, gradually becoming a cup. All of which are mechanisms that work fine right now.

Maybe I recall it incorrectly, of course.

Kevin Boylan
04-12-2012, 12:21 AM
A large number of posts in the last week or ten days on the yahoo group have focused on this battle (and others); someone (Michael Fischer?) posted a detailed description from Polybios (and another one from ... Iforgetwhom) of Cannae. It doesn't sound anything like what you mention there, Keven. There is no evidence that they were ordered to retreat. There is no evidence that they disengaged from combat at all. IIRC, the evidence supports best that they were recoiled (pushed back), again and again, gradually becoming a cup. All of which are mechanisms that work fine right now.

Maybe I recall it incorrectly, of course.

Dave,

It's hard for me to comment upon material from the yahoo group that I have not seen (I'm not a member). However, I'm not suggesting that the Gauls and Spanish disengaged from combat, but rather that they were ORDERED to fall back as the enemy applied pressure, instead of trying to stand and resist the Roman advance in place. It is the volition and deliberate choice that distinguishes Hannibal's tactics from the purely random die roll outcomes that dictate whether or not an element recoils in DBA.

Trying to describe the details of tactics employed in any ancient or medieval battle in terms of the DBA rules is fruitless, because the rules are so generic and simplistic. They are a classic example of "design for effect" where all one worries about is getting the right result, and not "design for cause," which insists that the mechanism by which the right result is achieved must be simulated as well. What we see at Cannae, and many other places, are ordered retreats being executed by troops in contact -- including with troops as fast or faster than themselves.

Given that there is presently no way of simulating ordered retreats in 2.2+, allowing elements to break off as in 2.2 is a reasonable solution from the design-for-effect perspective. It also has the virtues of simplicity and having fully predictable consequences since DBA has been played that way for 20 years. If this option is not taken, then some other means of simulating ordered retreats needs to be found. Someone proposed above letting an element take its entire movement in the form of a recoil. That sounds perfectly reasonable and historical.

maerk
04-12-2012, 03:15 AM
(...) What we see at Cannae, and many other places, are ordered retreats being executed by troops in contact -- including with troops as fast or faster than themselves. (...)

Far from being a military expert, I have the impression that we are talking about two different kind of actions:

1) Retreating out of close combat with the goal of disengaging from the enemy. In DBA this corresponds to the 'break-off' move.

2) Retreating while in close combat in the sense of 'giving ground' but still staying in contact with the enemy. I think this is what Kevin tells us happened at Cannae and other places. There is no mechanism in DBA for this action.

Maerk

pozanias
04-12-2012, 07:28 AM
Far from being a military expert, I have the impression that we are talking about two different kind of actions:

1) Retreating out of close combat with the goal of disengaging from the enemy. In DBA this corresponds to the 'break-off' move.

2) Retreating while in close combat in the sense of 'giving ground' but still staying in contact with the enemy. I think this is what Kevin tells us happened at Cannae and other places. There is no mechanism in DBA for this action.

Maerk

I agree. As SG pointed out, I think what happend at Cannae was more of a voluntary recoil. But if we are going to model DBA after Cannae then we would also say that Bd must pursue.

I'm not arguing for or against any of these, but rather just pointing out the difficulties in modeling history. Especially 3500 years of history.

winterbadger
04-12-2012, 08:10 AM
I disagree with you 100%.

That's entirely your prerogative. :)

If professional military historians conclude that mob violence can inform our view on ancient combat then I am inclined to listen.

Listen to your heart's content, my dear chap. But the basic principles are completely unlike, so IMO there's absolutely no way one can learn anything of value from the comparison. Riot police have totally different training and goals to, for example, Roman legionaries; likewise rioters aren't Gaullish warriors (with the skills and coordination that those would have had). They aren't trained from birth to a career of arms; they know that they are not going to get killed; and they have minimal unit cohesion; they have little or no real arms.

Individual professional historians often smoke a whole lot of your LARPers' pixie dust, for their own professional purposes (or simply because they're idiots). A PhD does not guarantee that the holder will always be rational or sensible.

I do also see value in reenactment, of course there are many levels of and styles of reenactment. Larping with magic dust does not do much for me. Full metal jousting though is very interesting.

I see lots of value in reenacting; I did it for many years. It has a lot of personal values, and it also allows one to get a feel for things. But it is a pointless exercise, IMO, to try and derive any understanding of the dynamics of real combat from it because (a) no real combat is involved and (b) the participants are not real warriors or soldiers of the period they are reenacting. You can't tell anything much about 18th century rates of formation change or march from watching 40 year old men who drill once a month at most muddle about in a field for an afternoon and then go back to their camp for a beer from the cooler. :) Well, you can probably get a good idea of what the drill quality of Fencibles was, but that's about it. :-)

The view that close infantry combat is something other than continuous hand to hand combat is exactly one of the conclusions from the study of mob violence, by the very historians you claim have their heads in bags. Inconsistent....

:rotfl No, Michael. Just because I agree with someone about one thing doesn't make my disagreeing with them about something else inconsistent. I think any small child (or the average Hollywood director) can figure out, with a moment or two of thought, that close combat amounts to something more than several hours of banging away with sticks and pot lids. That's hardly a unique insight or one that requires bags of deep thinking.

david kuijt
04-12-2012, 08:28 AM
It's hard for me to comment upon material from the yahoo group that I have not seen (I'm not a member).

Probably just as well. Although the part I mentioned was interesting, the last three months there has been an awful lot more noise than signal there.

However, I'm not suggesting that the Gauls and Spanish disengaged from combat, but rather that they were ORDERED to fall back as the enemy applied pressure, instead of trying to stand and resist the Roman advance in place. It is the volition and deliberate choice that distinguishes Hannibal's tactics from the purely random die roll outcomes that dictate whether or not an element recoils in DBA.


You're reading an awful lot into the description of the battle, Kevin. What evidence do you have for the existence of those orders? Basing it upon the results of the battle is far too speculative for my taste -- recoils alone will create the cupped arc of Cannae, given the greater Roman strength in foot and the deliberately weak Cartho center.

I seriously doubt that any of the commentators interviewed Hannibal himself or his lower-level officers that would have passed on those orders. In fact, most of the information we have on the battle comes from Polybius, who was born 15 years after the battle, and was writing 50 years after the battle -- when very few witnesses would have been alive. And it is quite unlikely that he ever met or interviewed any Carthaginian (Gallic/Spanish) veterans of the battle.


What we see at Cannae, and many other places, are ordered retreats being executed by troops in contact -- including with troops as fast or faster than themselves.

Ordered, meaning deliberate disengages? I'm afraid I don't see that at all. As far as I can tell, the Cartho foot never disengaged. They were engaged and pushed back, back, back, until the Roman foot was in a cup and dead meat with Cavalry falling on their rear ranks.


Given that there is presently no way of simulating ordered retreats in 2.2+, allowing elements to break off as in 2.2 is a reasonable solution from the design-for-effect perspective. It also has the virtues of simplicity and having fully predictable consequences since DBA has been played that way for 20 years.

You mean, 10 years. Unrestricted disengage didn't exist until 2.0-2.2 came out. DBA 1.1 (and probably 1.0, although I didn't play that) required you be faster to disengage.


If this option is not taken, then some other means of simulating ordered retreats needs to be found. Someone proposed above letting an element take its entire movement in the form of a recoil. That sounds perfectly reasonable and historical.

The battle of Cannae shows no signs of big gaps opening between the Roman line and the Carthaginian. On the contrary, to me it seems to be consistent, continuous contact as the Romans press forward and the Carthaginian foot recoils.

Cannae works great with Roman Blade combat factors and the various Carthaginian foot fighting at +4 (whether spear, fast blade or whatever). If the Roman commander keeps pressing forward into the gap, trying to break the center, normal combat results will keep pushing the Carthaginians back.

pozanias
04-12-2012, 09:42 AM
You're reading an awful lot into the description of the battle, Kevin. What evidence do you have for the existence of those orders? Basing it upon the results of the battle is far too speculative for my taste -- recoils alone will create the cupped arc of Cannae, aided by deploying recessed in a cup in the first place.

I seriously doubt that any of the commentators interviewed Hannibal himself or his lower-level officers that would have passed on those orders. In fact, most of the information we have on the battle comes from Polybius, who was born 15 years after the battle, and so would have been interviewing Roman veterans 40 years after the battle or more -- when very few of them would have been alive. And it is quite unlikely that he ever met or interviewed any Carthaginian (Gallic/Spanish) veterans of the battle.

[content removed]


Cannae works great with Roman Blade combat factors and the various Carthaginian foot fighting at +4 (whether spear, fast blade or whatever). If the Roman commander keeps pressing forward into the gap, trying to break the center, normal combat results will keep pushing the Carthaginians back.

Although I agree with most of what you said, I wouldn't be so dismissive of Polybius and other sources. They're the best we've got. So, I do think its possible that Hannibal did give the order to give ground. However I also think its at least as likely that he didn't give the order, but did anticipate that result (and even encourage that result by his deployment). In other words, he figured his Gauls wouldn't be able to stand up to the Romans and predicted they would fall back. But we'll never know.

The problem is that 'giving the order' and 'anticipating the result' are two very different things. Perhaps we can be satisfied that 'anticipating the result' is already accounted for in DBA. A player can look at combat factors and predict outcomes. And the most likely result of Bd vs. Raider or Spear (which is probably how Hannibal's Gauls should be classified) is a recoil of the Gauls.

david kuijt
04-12-2012, 10:39 AM
Although I agree with most of what you said, I wouldn't be so dismissive of Polybius and other sources. They're the best we've got.

Wait, Mark -- I wasn't dismissive of Polybius. I was pointing out that Polybius was writing 50 years later. That isn't dismissive -- that's the truth. It is crucial to use your sources. But you also need to use them critically -- so when you read Polybius, you need to know when he was writing, and for what audience, and what the historical and literary traditions were at that time.

So, I do think its possible that Hannibal did give the order to give ground. However I also think its at least as likely that he didn't give the order, but did anticipate that result (and even encourage that result by his deployment). In other words, he figured his Gauls wouldn't be able to stand up to the Romans and predicted they would fall back. But we'll never know.


Exactly. That was the point I was trying to make -- that Kevin was stating his case too strongly. As you say, it is possible that Hannibal did order some sort of "withdraw all the way across the front" order -- but it is at least as likely (more likely) that he understood how the battle would go and predicted the results. Predicting results of local engagements is how Great Generals become Great Generals. Hannibal knew his troops, and he knew the Romans, so in DBA terms he knew the combat factors and he knew that his guys were going to be pushed back.


The problem is that 'giving the order' and 'anticipating the result' are two very different things. Perhaps we can be satisfied that 'anticipating the result' is already accounted for in DBA. A player can look at combat factors and predict outcomes. And the most likely result of Bd vs. Raider or Spear (which is probably how Hannibal's Gauls should be classified) is a recoil of the Gauls.

Right.

broadsword
04-12-2012, 11:09 AM
Again, I think DBA is rather bad at recreating history, because it replaces the "subjective belief" of generals, with a rather unstable stochastic process (a local martingale, actually). What this implies is that in a one on one Bd vs Sp (or maybe 2 on 2) there is a very reasonable bet that the Bd pushes back the Sp. What I've found though is once you throw in multiple independent trials, you lose some of the global correlation between individual elements. That I think is what Kevin is getting at. When I play DBA, as the Carthos the first thing that'll happen is that my Sp will double their first two Bds!

It's almost like you need some kind of joint distribution that has a variable correlation built in, so that you increase the chances that the entire line recoils repeatedly. I submit that using DBA, Cannae isn't all that likely. Some might argue that Cannae was extremely unlikely, but that would make Hannibal extremely lucky, again and again and again. Statisticians prefer not to go down that path, as Hannibal got many, many things right, not just the big battles - he was very good at extracting information from an incomplete "market".

So how best to simulate this? I suggest you could simulate this kind of result by either having recoils more likely when a neighbour has recoiled, but not kills more likely (this is a battle-specific thing) or by having some battle specific modifiers, such as African Sp are at '-1 CF' except if that would cause a kill ...

I just think a global recoil as a combat move might introduce all kinds of other gamey things that might not interact with some other things in 2.2+. Get testing!

Kevin Boylan
04-12-2012, 11:12 AM
Although I agree with most of what you said, I wouldn't be so dismissive of Polybius and other sources. They're the best we've got. So, I do think its possible that Hannibal did give the order to give ground. However I also think its at least as likely that he didn't give the order, but did anticipate that result (and even encourage that result by his deployment). In other words, he figured his Gauls wouldn't be able to stand up to the Romans and predicted they would fall back. But we'll never know.

The problem is that 'giving the order' and 'anticipating the result' are two very different things. Perhaps we can be satisfied that 'anticipating the result' is already accounted for in DBA. A player can look at combat factors and predict outcomes. And the most likely result of Bd vs. Raider or Spear (which is probably how Hannibal's Gauls should be classified) is a recoil of the Gauls.

I'm not averse to considering Cannae a debateable case, although the consensus of professional historical scholarship on this topic definitely favors the ordered retreat theory. Yet, other examples I listed are based on historical sources that irrefutably describe -- and sometimes even quote -- commanders ordering troops to retreat from combat with faster enemies. At Bannockburn, for example, Robert the Bruce's Islemen allies (Blade) left their prepared defenses to attack English knights that had charged them but been recoiled. The "anticipating the result" approach signally fails in this case because the result that the Bruce clearly anticipated was that the Islemen would be "quick-killed" if they stayed where they were.:mad So, instead he did something which the current rules prohibit -- he ordered the Islemen to retreat back to safety by breaking off the combat with their faster foes.:up

winterbadger
04-12-2012, 12:28 PM
It's almost like you need some kind of joint distribution that has a variable correlation built in, so that you increase the chances that the entire line recoils repeatedly.

So how best to simulate this? I suggest you could simulate this kind of result by either having recoils more likely when a neighbour has recoiled

But don't we have that already, in that when one is fighting in a line, the recoil of one element causes the odds to increase that adjoining elements will be recoiled or destroyed, as they are now subject to -1 overlap modifiers that they were not liable to before?

david kuijt
04-12-2012, 12:34 PM
Again, I think DBA is rather bad at recreating history, because it replaces the "subjective belief" of generals, with a rather unstable stochastic process (a local martingale, actually). What this implies is that in a one on one Bd vs Sp (or maybe 2 on 2) there is a very reasonable bet that the Bd pushes back the Sp. What I've found though is once you throw in multiple independent trials, you lose some of the global correlation between individual elements. That I think is what Kevin is getting at. When I play DBA, as the Carthos the first thing that'll happen is that my Sp will double their first two Bds!

It's almost like you need some kind of joint distribution that has a variable correlation built in, so that you increase the chances that the entire line recoils repeatedly.

Nah. You just need a few reserve elements (on both sides). If you play Cannae with no reserves, then yes, statistical outliers will usually dominate the results overall.

But that's true about DBA any time. If you want to be vulnerable to the whims of chance, play with no reserves.


I just think a global recoil as a combat move might introduce all kinds of other gamey things

Exactly. Especially if it was a choice by the general.

Redwilde
04-12-2012, 12:51 PM
Especially if it was a choice by the general.

I like that overall DBA does not allow the general to have choice over everything, this seems more reflective of typical history. There are other rules that do allow the general to have choice over everything, and I like some of those too. (Rules According to Ral :up )

For trying to recreate the exact flavour of any particular battle, DBA may not be your best choice. I'm good with that.

For all of these examples, you can still get the withdrawal in DBA by waiting for recoils to happen to you, and then pulling back. Won't always happen in a tidy and safe way. Probably wasn't a gauranteed safe maneuver historically either. The examples are case studies when the probabilities rolled good that day.

Lobotomy
04-12-2012, 08:04 PM
Larry,

I'm not certain exactly what you are arguing in your first paragraph. Cannae is a clear and totally unambiguous case of troops, in contact with an enemy that was just as fast as they were, who were ordered to retreat -- and did so. If DBA cannot perfectly model HOW they did it, that's hardly a surprise as it's very simple and generic rules set. DBA does not concern itself with process, only with results. As I said, there might be other ways of simulating what happened at Cannae, but using the old breaking off rules is by far the easiest and least disruptive.

For, whether we call it a retreat, a break-off, a fighting withdrawal or whatever, the fact is that the Carthaginians DID do it. And yet the maneuver is IMPOSSIBLE to replicate in 2.2+, since Warband can't disengage from Blade except by a recoil result. Thus, there is no way for Hannibal to ORDER his Gallic warband to deliberately fall back and suck the Romans into his trap -- all he can do is hope that the Gauls lose melees without being destroyed in the process. Not a terribly impressive plan for one of the greatest commanders in history to come up with!!! This is why I believe it's fruitless to argue that such maneuvers are already simulated in the recoil rules.

The point I was trying to make is that a break off in DBA is not what you are describing. It leave the other player out of the ZOC allowing independent movement not directly ahead. I do agree that there is nothing in DBA that allows for a fighting withdrawal, absent an across the line recoil.

Dangun
04-13-2012, 04:20 AM
although the consensus of professional historical scholarship on this topic definitely favors the ordered retreat theory

What consensus are you referring to?

Polybius does not contain any reference to Hannibal "ordering" a retreat. The closest you get is that Polybius writes that Hannibal planned to have the Romans trapped between the Libyans on either wing. This might imply that Hannibal deployed a soft centre, but says nothing about what he ordered during the battle. (3.115)

Both Polybius and Livy (22.47) suggest it was Roman action that drove back their enemy not anyone's orders.

DBA like most wargames probably grossly exaggerates the ability of any ancient general to change the course of a battle significantly once it started.

Rich Gause
04-13-2012, 09:19 AM
What consensus are you referring to?

Polybius does not contain any reference to Hannibal "ordering" a retreat. The closest you get is that Polybius writes that Hannibal planned to have the Romans trapped between the Libyans on either wing. This might imply that Hannibal deployed a soft centre, but says nothing about what he ordered during the battle. (3.115)

Both Polybius and Livy (22.47) suggest it was Roman action that drove back their enemy not anyone's orders.

DBA like most wargames probably grossly exaggerates the ability of any ancient general to change the course of a battle significantly once it started.

The origional Tactica rules with all the heavy foot only being allowed to march stright forward probably had it closer to right. The Triarii actually being allowed to wheel made them elite! Not much fun to deploy and then no maneuver for a game though, ... I like DBA much better.

El' Jocko
04-13-2012, 10:09 AM
Bah! The whole thing is too much trouble. I say we should get rid of the breakoff as a tactical move altogether. Simple and easy to teach. No complicated rules questions about how it works.

There. We're done.

- Jack

Tony Aguilar
04-13-2012, 10:28 AM
Bah! The whole thing is too much trouble. I say we should get rid of the breakoff as a tactical move altogether. Simple and easy to teach. No complicated rules questions about how it works.

There. We're done.

- Jack

Not sure what to make of this but if your intent is to be sarcastic, it might be easier to discern by the use of a :rolleyes.

Tony Aguilar
04-13-2012, 10:31 AM
I have played 50 or so games of DBA 2.2+ locally, and we have had no difficulty with the breakoff rules. (understanding or otherwise)

kontos
04-13-2012, 10:31 AM
Bah! The whole thing is too much trouble. I say we should get rid of the breakoff as a tactical move altogether. Simple and easy to teach. No complicated rules questions about how it works.

There. We're done.

- Jack

I think Jack just pulled a break off move. :D

pozanias
04-13-2012, 11:03 AM
I'm not averse to considering Cannae a debateable case, although the consensus of professional historical scholarship on this topic definitely favors the ordered retreat theory. Yet, other examples I listed are based on historical sources that irrefutably describe -- and sometimes even quote -- commanders ordering troops to retreat from combat with faster enemies. At Bannockburn, for example, Robert the Bruce's Islemen allies (Blade) left their prepared defenses to attack English knights that had charged them but been recoiled. The "anticipating the result" approach signally fails in this case because the result that the Bruce clearly anticipated was that the Islemen would be "quick-killed" if they stayed where they were.:mad So, instead he did something which the current rules prohibit -- he ordered the Islemen to retreat back to safety by breaking off the combat with their faster foes.:up

To be honest, I'm not that intimately familiar with Bannockburn (or with the other Medieval battles you posted). So you have me at a disadvantage.

As for:
Thermopylae (480 BCE): Herodotus describes Spartan hoplites deliberately backing up before the Immortals (Pavise) in order to draw the Persians into a trap.

Sphacteria (425 BCE): Spartan hoplites made a fighting withdrawal of several miles while being harassed by Athenian peltasts (Psiloi) who took it in turns to keep them under constant attack. Though suffering a steady drain of casualties, the Spartans made it back to their camp -- where they were later besieged, surprised, and forced to surrender.

Anabasis (401 BCE): Xenophon’s 10,000 make an epic fighting withdrawal over hundreds of miles punctuated by many small engagements in which they had to break off from combat with enemies that were generally faster in order to make their escape.

I wouldn't have described any of these as DBA breakoffs. To take Sphacteria as an example, I would describe the battle in DBA terms as:

Spear recoiling/fleeing Ps. Ps keep coming back to initiate combat. Eventually Ps flank Sp and kill. Honestly, this battle was probably more of attrition than anything else -- which DBA isn't the best at replicating. But to address your point, I imagine the Sp recoiling the Ps first -- then pulling back. Not breaking off.

Anyway, to some degree I think this may be just a question of modeling. Its hard enough to agree on history, nevertheless how history should be modeled in a game. So, I'm certainly not trying to say you are wrong. Its just that I don't see it the same way. And to be honest, I'm not sure I could list a ton of historical examples where faster troops did breakoff (in a DBA sense) from slower troops, which is allowed (some of my cohorts in crime may disagree with this of course). Sometimes rules are just rules for the sake of the game (because they make it work and feel better). As long as those rules aren't clearly ahistorical -- then I don't have a problem with them. I think making DBA replicate history perfectly would make for a very boring game. Somehow having to be faster to break off "feels" right to me.

pozanias
04-13-2012, 11:04 AM
Bah! The whole thing is too much trouble. I say we should get rid of the breakoff as a tactical move altogether. Simple and easy to teach. No complicated rules questions about how it works.

There. We're done.

- Jack

Somebody's grumpy.

Kevin Boylan
04-13-2012, 12:35 PM
What consensus are you referring to?

Polybius does not contain any reference to Hannibal "ordering" a retreat. The closest you get is that Polybius writes that Hannibal planned to have the Romans trapped between the Libyans on either wing. This might imply that Hannibal deployed a soft centre, but says nothing about what he ordered during the battle. (3.115)

Both Polybius and Livy (22.47) suggest it was Roman action that drove back their enemy not anyone's orders.

The consensus I'm refering to is not the ancient authorities themselves, but modern historians who have analyzed the battle. The key evidence is that Hannibal's army is described as being arrayed in a forward-arching crescent with its weakest units(the Gauls) closest to the Romans (his army's chin was sticking out, to borrow a boxing term). The only reason for Hannibal to have used such a risky deployment was because he intended to provoke an attack on his center -- though he hardly intended to fight and win the battle there. In game terms, purely random combat outcomes would have caused Hannibal's line to become hopelessly disordered as some Gauls pushed their enemies back, while others held in place, and yet others were driven back. Thus a deliberate, concerted, retreat seems the only way to explain how Hannibal intended for the Gauls to survive long enough for his complex battle plan to achieve victory on the flanks and produce the final encirclement.

MJT
04-13-2012, 02:13 PM
I'm a little reluctant to enter the fray on this one - but I do have some sympathy for Kevin's arguments.

However, rather than get caught up in the "what is historical" discussion I'd rather take a slightly different view. Let's assume, for the moment that Kevin's position (and he's not the only one) is correct and that the game would be improved if we were to alter the break-off rules to allow a more historical/realistic "event" that will give commanders a little more control over the rearward movement of troops in battle.

I see three basic options for the Break-off:
1. 2.2+ as it is currently proposed in the Betaset - only if you are faster
2. 2.2 - where anyone can break-off
3 The "other option" where all but slower can break-off (Warband and heavy foot could break-off from heavy foot)

Rather than debate the historical aspects could I ask the group to consider Option 3 and provide indications of what adverse effects this would have in the game. What would be wrong with option 3 from the game point of view?

Marcus

David Schlanger
04-13-2012, 02:32 PM
3 The "other option" where all but slower can break-off (Warband and heavy foot could break-off from heavy foot)

Rather than debate the historical aspects could I ask the group to consider Option 3 and provide indications of what adverse effects this would have in the game. What would be wrong with option 3 from the game point of view?

Marcus

Strangely, I had just been considering all but slower can break-off, when I noticed your post!

In terms of a game mechanic, I think it would be mostly fine. I think all three of the options you list would work fine honestly. However, one slight benefit to not going with Option 3 is that because of the new rules regarding bow firing into and out of overlap, it becomes quite powerful for bow to break-off and fall back to a position where they can shoot the heck out of warband or pike and still provide overlap support for other friendly troops in combat.

Not allowing warband to break off against troops that are the same speed also rewards a player for deploying in depth against a warband threat. Warband that punch thru will not be able to break off to get out of danger. Anything that provides benefit for deployment in depth is a win in my book.

DS

pozanias
04-13-2012, 02:57 PM
I'm a little reluctant to enter the fray on this one - but I do have some sympathy for Kevin's arguments.

However, rather than get caught up in the "what is historical" discussion I'd rather take a slightly different view. Let's assume, for the moment that Kevin's position (and he's not the only one) is correct and that the game would be improved if we were to alter the break-off rules to allow a more historical/realistic "event" that will give commanders a little more control over the rearward movement of troops in battle.

I see three basic options for the Break-off:
1. 2.2+ as it is currently proposed in the Betaset - only if you are faster
2. 2.2 - where anyone can break-off
3 The "other option" where all but slower can break-off (Warband and heavy foot could break-off from heavy foot)

Rather than debate the historical aspects could I ask the group to consider Option 3 and provide indications of what adverse effects this would have in the game. What would be wrong with option 3 from the game point of view?

Marcus

I don't think there would be anything wrong with #3. Or #s 1 or 2 for that matter. One of the points I was trying to make earlier is that sometimes I think we get too carried away justifying rules as historical (or criticising them as ahistorical). I suspect all three of your options could be justified somehow. Which one seems to result in the best game?

I'm good with any of these options. I would rank them in order of preference as: 1, 3, 2

winterbadger
04-13-2012, 03:00 PM
I don't think there would be anything wrong with #3. Or #s 1 or 2 for that matter. One of the points I was trying to make earlier is that sometimes I think we get too carried away justifying rules as historical (or criticising them as ahistorical). I suspect all three of your options could be justified somehow. Which one seems to result in the best game?

I'm good with any of these options. I would rank them in order of preference as: 1, 3, 2

I would agree with Mark here. :up

Pavane
04-13-2012, 04:31 PM
I don't think there would be anything wrong with #3. Or #s 1 or 2 for that matter. One of the points I was trying to make earlier is that sometimes I think we get too carried away justifying rules as historical (or criticising them as ahistorical). I suspect all three of your options could be justified somehow. Which one seems to result in the best game?

I'm good with any of these options. I would rank them in order of preference as: 1, 3, 2
I agree with all of the above.

Rich Gause
04-14-2012, 12:09 PM
I don't think there would be anything wrong with #3. Or #s 1 or 2 for that matter. One of the points I was trying to make earlier is that sometimes I think we get too carried away justifying rules as historical (or criticising them as ahistorical). I suspect all three of your options could be justified somehow. Which one seems to result in the best game?

I'm good with any of these options. I would rank them in order of preference as: 1, 3, 2

That would be my order of preference as well. I especially like the fact that Bw cannot break off from anybody and shoot them in the current 2.2+ rules.

david kuijt
04-14-2012, 12:27 PM
I especially like the fact that Bw cannot break off from anybody and shoot them in the current 2.2+ rules.

Right. That last is pretty-much a deal-breaker for me; other than that there isn't much to choose between "break off if faster" and "can't break off if slower", since they only differ on how equal-speed is handled.

Redwilde
04-14-2012, 02:20 PM
If it was changed (wouldn't object to break off if equal, but not a big deal either way), I don't think it would be an undue complication to add "bows may not fire on the turn they break off, and do not inflict damage back if fired upon."

Pavane
04-14-2012, 02:40 PM
If it was changed (wouldn't object to break off if equal, but not a big deal either way), I don't think it would be an undue complication to add "bows may not fire on the turn they break off, and do not inflict damage back if fired upon."
No memory work please.

Kevin Boylan
04-15-2012, 12:30 PM
No memory work please.

I'm not convinced that this is really a burden at all. We've been remembering which Knights moved into frontal contact with Bow in the current bound for a very long time indeed without the slightest difficulty.

david kuijt
04-15-2012, 12:51 PM
If it was changed (wouldn't object to break off if equal, but not a big deal either way), I don't think it would be an undue complication to add "bows may not fire on the turn they break off, and do not inflict damage back if fired upon."

Adding one kludge special rule isn't a horrible burden. But it certainly isn't a positive overall for any idea that wants to be included in the rules. And there are other cases where fine control of disengaging on equal speed doesn't make sense -- Warband locked with Blade/Spear, for example. What detail-oriented commanders, obedient subofficers, sophisticated communications systems, and well-trained underlings those Rampaging Gauls must have had, to be able to disengage at the moment their General commands it! Oh, wait, no, they didn't have any of those things.

So we could add another special rule -- not only "break off means no firing" for bow and War Wagon, but also "no break off for impetuous troops if speed is equal" for Warband. Again, not impossible -- but one more nail in the coffin.

And then there are Horde. Not impetuous -- but with even less of an effective structure for passing down orders, and even less martial obedience (to say nothing of ability) than Warband -- if you allow "break off for speed equal" then Horde can (admittedly with a pip penalty) break off from enemy heavy foot. There is just no way in the world that Horde should have the maneuver and training skills to break off during combat, which every period commentator describes as a very difficult maneuver.

So we could have a third special rule for them, too.

Or we could just take arms against a sea of kludges, and by opposing, end them. The "break off if faster" is a good rule, and widely liked by commentators. There is no need to adopt a "break off if not slower" rule that would need to be infested by kludges like maggots in rotting meat. And I haven't seen any good reason for it, neither in playbalance nor in history, even without the kludge-maggot issue.

MJT
04-15-2012, 10:53 PM
I think there has been a lot of useful discussion but I'm not seeing any (many?) new arguments one way or the other ...

Is it time to settle this with a vote (he asked ... fairly confident of the result...)?
Marcus

winterbadger
04-15-2012, 11:28 PM
I think there has been a lot of useful discussion but I'm not seeing any (many?) new arguments one way or the other ...

Is it time to settle this with a vote (he asked ... fairly confident of the result...)?
Marcus

No, because the decision (at least as far as + goes) is not taken here, but on the GM List.

Skeptical Gamer
04-16-2012, 12:20 AM
No, because the decision (at least as far as + goes) is not taken here, but on the GM List.

If you wanted to take a poll, I'm sure that they would take it into consideration...

That doesn't mean they will listen.
Polls on forums like this one are notoriously unreliable as a means of determining either consensus on or playability of rules.

But, they probably will take such a thing into consideration.

david kuijt
04-16-2012, 12:35 AM
If you wanted to take a poll, I'm sure that they would take it into consideration...

That doesn't mean they will listen.
Polls on forums like this one are notoriously unreliable as a means of determining either consensus on or playability of rules.

But, they probably will take such a thing into consideration.

Polls on fora like this are often used as a substitute for logic. "I don't need to have a good reason, because lots of people agree with me!" Further, my first impulse with a poll is to ignore it -- because I have no way to assess which respondents have an informed opinion (one where they have played the beta several times with an open mind to start) and which have not played it at all. Further still, poll design (how to ask the questions, and what options to put on them) is a very easy way to bias the results, and most of the people putting up polls misuse or abuse that truth (even if largely through ignorance).

And most of all, I would probably declare I was ignoring a poll even if I wasn't. Because the precedent that any issue could be lobbied on this forum, and then a poll taken, and that poll's results would have more influence than sound reasoning, well expressed, based upon in-depth assessment of actual playtesting, is a very poor precedent for any future design efforts.

Now I am not the GMlist, and every person on it will have different opinions on how they react to polls (and logic, for that matter). So I'm just speaking for myself.

But to me, the only good way to evolve towards a good system is through actual playtesting, open-minded, and for the people who do that playtesting to express their results and their analysis of their results as well as they can. It is no coincidence that also happens to be the best way to convince most of the people on the GMlist to consider your ideas seriously. Compared to that, a poll is pretty-much useless.

Skeptical Gamer
04-16-2012, 12:44 AM
Sorry, I made it sound too promising as a way to influence the design.

As I tried to make clear with my "notoriously unreliable" comment, I wouldn't want any such poll to carry much weight.

When I said that you would probably take it into consideration, I was thinking along the lines of "gosh a lot of people have an opinion on this, let's make sure we're doing the right thing..." or " gee, not many people care about this, I guess we can ignore it..."

I should have stressed the "notoriously unreliable" more and the "take it into consideration" less.

I also didn't consider the "bad precedent" aspect.
Thank you for explaining it. That makes a lot of sense.

david kuijt
04-16-2012, 12:52 AM
I also didn't consider the "bad precedent" aspect.
Thank you for explaining it. That makes a lot of sense.

No problem.

It isn't a matter of ignoring opinions, which is the way most people respond when someone says they ignore polls. Any informed opinion is valuable. But polls don't generate informed opinions, or register them. And there is the common attitude of the tyranny of the majority. One of the biggest positive things about bulletin boards is that everyone can have an opinion, and can express it, and everyone else can evaluate that opinion based upon how much sense it makes and how well it is expressed. In other words, opinions well-expressed and well-thought out matter more than who is speaking, or how many, or how loudly.

And polls throw away that big positive thing to create the illusion of a vote. Naw, I don't put much credence in them.

Kevin Boylan
04-16-2012, 07:06 AM
But to me, the only good way to evolve towards a good system is through actual playtesting, open-minded, and for the people who do that playtesting to express their results and their analysis of their results as well as they can. It is no coincidence that also happens to be the best way to convince most of the people on the GMlist to consider your ideas seriously. Compared to that, a poll is pretty-much useless.

Dave,

I believe that a poll, such as Marcus suggests, could be done in such a way that it would address your concerns. After all, those of us who have raised the topic did so after playtesting raised doubts in our minds about the advisability of the new breaking off rules. Thus, your preference that "actual playtesting" be at the root of the matter has already been met.

However, it is unclear both to us, and presumably to folks on the GMlist (to which we do not have access), whether our concerns are widely-shared or not. A poll seems an excellent way of determining whether a lot of folks or only a few have doubts about the new breaking off rules.

david kuijt
04-16-2012, 08:52 AM
I believe that a poll, such as Marcus suggests, could be done in such a way that it would address your concerns. After all, those of us who have raised the topic did so after playtesting raised doubts in our minds about the advisability of the new breaking off rules. Thus, your preference that "actual playtesting" be at the root of the matter has already been met.

You misunderstand me, Kevin. Of course actual playtesting is involved with the root of the matter -- that's almost always going to be the case. But there is no playtesting requirement on responses (votes). A poll doesn't differentiate between respondents (votes) who have playtested and those who have not. I've put an enormous amount of playtest time in so far, and listened to (and responded to) an enormous amount of feedback from people who have NOT playtested. I tell you honestly, that by now I have little interest in any responses from anyone who has not tried the system. I've heard people expostulate that bow are now too weak, and others that bow are now too strong; that new element type X is useless and nobody would take it, and that the same element type is a supertroop and totally unbalances the game; and so on and so on. Either bows are too powerful or they are too weak (or they are just fine); they cannot simultaneously be too powerful and too weak. This isn't quantum theory.

Uninformed responses are not useful. Polls are measures of uninformed responses.


However, it is unclear both to us, and presumably to folks on the GMlist (to which we do not have access), whether our concerns are widely-shared or not.

I'm on the GMlist, Kevin, I thought you understood that. I'm one of the most active correspondents of WADBAG, who created the GMlist to support the WADBAG objective of creating an evolution of v2.2 that could gain broad support in the DBA playing community. I am one of the people who created the original draft of the 2.2+ rules, and I'm heavily involved in the discussions on the GMlist. When I said "I'm not the GMlist" what I meant is that there are many people there, and I don't speak for them, they have their own opinions. I do not mean "I'm not ON the GMlist", because I am on it.

A poll seems an excellent way of determining whether a lot of folks or only a few have doubts about the new breaking off rules.

Personally, I don't care how many people have doubts. I only care how many informed people have doubts (and what those doubts are). Informed means people who have playtested 2.2+, hopefully quite a bit. "What those doubts are" means that they express their reservations qualitatively, as you have.

Don't let any of this stop you from creating a poll, if that's what you want to do. But I think I've been very clear in my posts to SG below about the limitations of polls. Anyone who wishes to express an informed opinion is far more likely to have an impact on the design process by expressing their opinion to the best of their ability -- joining in the discussion.

Pavane
04-16-2012, 08:54 AM
We resorted to a poll in the GM List once. That was to decide the trivial matter of the name for Light Spears. Otherwise if a consensus couldn't be reached the topic was tabled for further, future discussion.

david kuijt
04-16-2012, 09:09 AM
We resorted to a poll in the GM List once. That was to decide the trivial matter of the name for Light Spears. Otherwise if a consensus couldn't be reached the topic was tabled for further, future discussion.

Right. I've been very pleased about how we have been able to move forward on virtually every topic by discussion and building a consensus. The discussion is sometimes energetic, but the whole process has been very productive so far. There are very few topics upon which we haven't been able to find a consensus solution.

Rivers are one of them, because (IMO) the two major goals are (1) having a river system that will work in a time-limited situation (i.e., tournaments) and (2) having a river system that has an historical look-and-feel. Through extensive discussion, it now appears that those two goals are quite simply in conflict.

(to non-tournament players, don't be offended at objective (1) -- the whole terrain system is designed for objective (1), and always has been. If you are re-creating an historical battle you can and always have been able to put out any terrain you like. If you are playing a game at home without any time constraint, nothing is wrong with the river system that exists now).

ferrency
04-16-2012, 10:40 AM
Is it time to settle this with a vote (he asked ... fairly confident of the result...)?

"We don't vote on my ship because my ship is not the rutting town hall!"
- Captain Malcolm Reynolds

Bob Santamaria
04-16-2012, 04:58 PM
"I don't need to have a good reason, because lots of people agree with me!" Further, my first impulse with a poll is to ignore it -- because I have no way to assess which respondents have an informed opinion



My attitude to democracy generally is exactly the same

MJT
04-17-2012, 02:19 AM
Arrgh - as soon as I mentioned the word "vote" on this forum I knew it was a whoopsie.

All I wanted was to get the topic finalised!

Marcus
(who lives in a democracy where you HAVE to vote ... )

Kevin Boylan
04-17-2012, 09:16 AM
I'm on the GMlist, Kevin, I thought you understood that. I'm one of the most active correspondents of WADBAG, who created the GMlist to support the WADBAG objective of creating an evolution of v2.2 that could gain broad support in the DBA playing community.

Personally, I don't care how many people have doubts. I only care how many informed people have doubts (and what those doubts are). Informed means people who have playtested 2.2+, hopefully quite a bit. "What those doubts are" means that they express their reservations qualitatively, as you have.

Dave,

I should clarify that when I said that "we" are not part of the GMlist, I was referring to folks such as myself who are trying to contribute to the development of 2.2+ from the "outside." All the decisions are being made on the GMlist, to which we have no access.

As Marcus indicated, his advocacy for a poll was intended to "finalise" this particular discussion thread. Whether a poll is the best solution or not, the problem remains that discussions in this forum never seem to come to any conclusion (I read all of the threads dating back to 14 Feb before stating this). Instead, they merely straggle along until everyone gets sick of them --a satisfying outcome for none, and a highly frustrating one for those who are not on the GMlist.

Are we merely debating for the sake of debating? How can it be anything more than that if our discussions never produce any result? Do more than a handful of the GMlisters (those few who regularly post here) track the discussions on this forum? Do topics presented here get debated on the GMlist? Way back at the startof this particular thread, I asked that my proposal and supporting historical examples be submitted to the GMlist and given a fair hearing there. Has this happened?

In short, the lack of finality and closure in this forum makes it seem utterly futile most of the time.

David Schlanger
04-17-2012, 10:27 AM
Dave,

I should clarify that when I said that "we" are not part of the GMlist, I was referring to folks such as myself who are trying to contribute to the development of 2.2+ from the "outside." All the decisions are being made on the GMlist, to which we have no access.

As Marcus indicated, his advocacy for a poll was intended to "finalise" this particular discussion thread. Whether a poll is the best solution or not, the problem remains that discussions in this forum never seem to come to any conclusion (I read all of the threads dating back to 14 Feb before stating this). Instead, they merely straggle along until everyone gets sick of them --a satisfying outcome for none, and a highly frustrating one for those who are not on the GMlist.

Are we merely debating for the sake of debating? How can it be anything more than that if our discussions never produce any result? Do more than a handful of the GMlisters (those few who regularly post here) track the discussions on this forum? Do topics presented here get debated on the GMlist? Way back at the startof this particular thread, I asked that my proposal and supporting historical examples be submitted to the GMlist and given a fair hearing there. Has this happened?

In short, the lack of finality and closure in this forum makes it seem utterly futile most of the time.

Kevin,

I know I am not the Dave you were communicating with on this, but I will try to respond to this anyway.

We do appreciate all the feedback and commentary you have provided. It is great to have people with a lot of gaming experience who are genuinely interested in making 2.2+ better and interested in supporting it and playing it moving forward!

I am concerned though about the expectation that threads of discussion here on Fanaticus reach some sort of authoritative conclusion. The efforts of WADBAG and the GM List are focused on producing the best 2.2+ possible and all of the work that goes into that. I don't think that making sure that there is a clear resolution to all 2.2+ related discussions on Fanaticus is part of that. It shouldn't be at least.

The 2.2+ section of Fanaticus provides a place for interested parties to voice opinion, provide feedback, criticism, commentary, discuss things with WADBAG and the GM's, etc. WADBAG is watching. The GM's are watching. There have been discussions amongst WADBAG relating to issues you have raised. There have also been discussions on the GM List as well.

You will either see changes to 2.2+ or not.

In the case of the breaking off discussion, it is clear that many involved in the 2.2+ development process are aware of your concerns and the information and commentary that you have provided. There has been discussion within WADBAG about it, but I have not seen much support for change from the current mechanism on the GM List.

DS

david kuijt
04-17-2012, 10:54 AM
As Marcus indicated, his advocacy for a poll was intended to "finalise" this particular discussion thread. Whether a poll is the best solution or not, the problem remains that discussions in this forum never seem to come to any conclusion (I read all of the threads dating back to 14 Feb before stating this). Instead, they merely straggle along until everyone gets sick of them --a satisfying outcome for none, and a highly frustrating one for those who are not on the GMlist.

I suspect your expectations are unrealistic, Kevin. What you say is true about every bulletin board, and every thread on them.

The only way for a thread to come to a conclusion is if some external authority says "okay, you lot, shut it." That behavior is considered very rude on this (and most) bulletin boards.


Are we merely debating for the sake of debating? How can it be anything more than that if our discussions never produce any result? Do more than a handful of the GMlisters (those few who regularly post here) track the discussions on this forum? Do topics presented here get debated on the GMlist? Way back at the startof this particular thread, I asked that my proposal and supporting historical examples be submitted to the GMlist and given a fair hearing there. Has this happened?


Almost every person on the GMlist is on this forum. I suspect that more than 90% have read your stuff.

I know you are unhappy about the silence, but I'm afraid you have to get over that feeling. I would point out the following:

most people (gmlist or not) don't check the forum on a daily basis.
as DS points out, the focus of the GMlist is producing 2.2+. Responding to every single point that every interested person raises here on fanaticus is a huge amount of work, and not part of the mission
Everything done by consensus by 30 people takes a lot more time than anything done by fiat by four. To my memory, there is no issue that was resolved in less than a month on the GMlist. NONE.
It has never been part of the plan to give updates on what is going on in the GMlist. It is a consensus-driven committee of 30 people -- summarizing the debate accurately would be a very difficult job for someone employed full-time doing nothing else.


To summarize: anything you say will be seen. It won't be seen as quickly as you wish. The discussion will take longer than you hope. You will not receive any sort of summary of the discussion or of the results -- not until someone donates $50,000 to fund a full-time staffer to do that.

I'm not saying any of the above to discourage you, I'm trying to say that you should be realistic. I, too, would like things to move quicker. We all would. But it is much more important to end up with a good product, created through consensus of GMs, than it is to move quickly. I hope you see that.

ferrency
04-17-2012, 11:20 AM
Almost every person on the GMlist is on this forum. I suspect that more than 90% have read your stuff.

I know you are unhappy about the silence, but I'm afraid you have to get over that feeling.

I'm on the GM list, and I have been silent here.

My stance is:

First of all, I've been really busy recently.

But despite this, I have read most of Kevin's points about movement rates and breaking off from close combat. I don't find them compelling, especially the case of movement rates, because I know they took many games for me to get used to.

Based on the discussions that we have already had on the GM list, I'm confident that these issues are already decided, unless someone comes up with a new, compelling argument. All the concerns I read here have already been brought up (sometimes by me), discussed, and addressed on the GM list.

Alan

Kevin Boylan
04-17-2012, 12:02 PM
[QUOTE=david kuijt;146278] The only way for a thread to come to a conclusion is if some external authority says "okay, you lot, shut it." That behavior is considered very rude on this (and most) bulletin boards.QUOTE]

No one wants that. But there could be some sort of "internal authority." A poll or some other device for getting the sense of participants on a particular topic could act as such an internal authority. Having debates fade off into silence, as you aptly put it, leaves the impression that they are fruitless.

david kuijt
04-17-2012, 12:46 PM
The only way for a thread to come to a conclusion is if some external authority says "okay, you lot, shut it." That behavior is considered very rude on this (and most) bulletin boards.

No one wants that. But there could be some sort of "internal authority." A poll or some other device for getting the sense of participants on a particular topic could act as such an internal authority.

If the poll was non-binding, it would resolve nothing. There would not even be any motivation to participate, or to abide with any results.

If the poll was binding (had some actual authority) it would be worse. Votes for closure of debate are parliamentary power struggles in legislatures; participants try to gain advantage for their side through shutting up opponents, or to delay decisions they dislike through avoiding closure votes. Then we have issues of voter registration, who has the franchise, definitions of quorum, and so on and so on.

No way, no how.

Having debates fade off into silence, as you aptly put it, leaves the impression that they are fruitless.

The painful truth is this, Kevin. If you make your case here, and the debate fades off into silence, then you haven't created support for your position.

This isn't anything to do with the GMlist, or with you, or with me, or anything. It is just an observation. Not all ideas are winners, take it from me. A number of my ideas ended up not-adopted, for a variety of reasons.

David Schlanger
04-17-2012, 01:27 PM
A number of my ideas ended up not-adopted, for a variety of reasons.


This is what we call leaving yourself vulnerable... resisting...resisting. :)

DS

Skeptical Gamer
04-17-2012, 08:24 PM
I'd like to point out that an idea not gaining traction on this board does not mean that it was a bad idea.

Many of the ideas that made it into 2.2+ were suggested, and rejected, years ago. Immediate acceptance is not required for an idea to be good.

As has been pointed out, not everyone checks out this board every day. Just as the members of the GM list may not follow every thread slavishly, many of the people that would like a newly presented idea may simply not have checked out Fanaticus lately...

A lot of people are "testing" your "beta" for you. It isn't unreasonable for them to want to know that someone is listening (note: listening, not necessarily doing anything about it).

With any debate, there eventually comes a time when everything has been said that needs to be said. At that time, unless someone wants clarification or says he's willing to be convinced but isn't yet, the debate comes to an end.

A lot of the threads here have been ending this way. No one comments any more, because it has already been said. The thread just sort of fades away. This is natural and doesn't mean that the idea didn't have merit. It just means that there was no encouragement for it to continue.

If there are truly thirty members of the GM list and most of them check out Fanaticus, it wouldn't be hard for them to occasionally comment along the lines of "we've been debating this for a while, keep on with the arguments" or "we've debated this a lot and probably won't change it unless you can show that the game is broken the way it is".

It would be easy for you; one line here or there. That's really all that is being asked.

david kuijt
04-17-2012, 09:28 PM
If there are truly thirty members of the GM list and most of them check out Fanaticus, it wouldn't be hard for them to occasionally comment along the lines of "we've been debating this for a while, keep on with the arguments" or "we've debated this a lot and probably won't change it unless you can show that the game is broken the way it is".

It would be easy for you; one line here or there. That's really all that is being asked.

You want most of 30 people to respond to every single idea that comes up on Fanaticus Forum? Are you serious? And every time the idea evolves in response to feedback as well? Do you realize what sort of time commitment that entails?

Further, that is, in essence, making this forum into the main debate area for the GMlist. There are a number of reasons why that isn't a good idea; I'll just mention the first one that comes to mind -- speed. On the GMlist, with 30ish people all with shared objectives, we can resolve some issues within a few weeks and most of them in a month or so. This speed has allowed us to produce what I think is a very good Beta in only three months, and we will likely have a good finished product in a few months more. There is no way we would be able to do that with the 100s of people on Fanaticus, with widely varying objectives. Some people on Fanaticus feel the 2.2+ effort is worthwhile. Some people want to play 3.0. Some people want the whole thing to go away, and wish we were all still playing 2.2. All of those are valid opinions, and there are valued members of this forum who hold all those opinions. But that doesn't mean that all of them would be motivated to move together towards forming a consensus-driven 2.2+. If the Fanaticus Forum was the primary discussion forum for creating 2.2+, I assure you, we would never get a result.


This thread has already received responses from everyone on the GMlist who has a combination of the motivation and the time to do that, in every case where they were interested in responding. Mark, DS, me, Alan, Will Michaels, Rich Gause, Tony Aguilar, Jack Sheriff, Larry Chaban, Maureen Redwilde have all posted on this thread whenever they thought they had something to add.

Several people have already said, in essence, "we've debated this a lot and probably won't change it unless you can show that the game is broken the way it is". (quoting you, not them) Alan Ferrency, DS, and I have all said versions of that, I believe. The main reason that I (for one) did not say it more plainly is quite simple -- neither I, nor anyone else, should make statements about what the GMlist will decide unless the GMlist has already made a decision. And I (and the others) are quite careful about speaking only for ourselves, because we are not the Borg. Kevin is welcome to try to convince others that "disengage all the time" is better. He hasn't convinced me, and I can say that, but I'm not going to speak for others.

Skeptical Gamer
04-17-2012, 09:58 PM
You want most of 30 people to respond to every single idea that comes up on Fanaticus Forum? Are you serious? And every time the idea evolves in response to feedback as well? Do you realize what sort of time commitment that entails?

No, I want thirty people to share the task of occasionally letting people know what is going on. Say one or two people speaking up every week or so. That way no one would have to say anything more than once every fifteen weeks or so... not much of a burden...

People may have chimed in on the debates before, but that is not the same thing as explicitly saying that the GM list has heard you. That's all people want, to know that someone hears what is being said.

I think that most people understand that it's your baby. I suspect that most people understand that the GM list has decided that 2.2+ is a pretty good product (it is) and that not too many changes are going to be made to it.

It's just that, much as people would like to know if Phil Barker has heard anything being said, people here want to know if the GM list has heard anything. Like with Mr. Barker, we understand that hearing what is being said does not mean that any action will be taken. It's just nice to know that we're not wasting our time trying out a "beta".

If you'd rather we just waited for the finished product, you can let us know that too.

david kuijt
04-17-2012, 10:21 PM
No, I want thirty people to share the task of occasionally letting people know what is going on. Say one or two people speaking up every week or so. That way no one would have to say anything more than once every fifteen weeks or so... not much of a burden...

People may have chimed in on the debates before, but that is not the same thing as explicitly saying that the GM list has heard you. That's all people want, to know that someone hears what is being said.


You want an ombudsman, sounds like.

You already have one -- actually, several. Everyone on the GMlist who wants to speak up, can. I agree, this isn't a formal position.


It's just nice to know that we're not wasting our time trying out a "beta".


I"m not sure what you think "beta" means. This isn't the 3.0 process, where a constant influx of new ideas is ongoing still. To me, the 2.2+ Beta is nearly a finished version -- we are releasing it to find anything we missed, or any last-minute errors. So why would it be a waste of time for you to try it?

Tony Aguilar
04-17-2012, 10:35 PM
I"m not sure what you think "beta" means. This isn't the 3.0 process, where a constant influx of new ideas is ongoing still. To me, the 2.2+ Beta is nearly a finished version -- we are releasing it to find anything we missed, or any last-minute errors. So why would it be a waste of time for you to try it?

Just logged 93 games with 2.2+ and I wouldn't call them a "waste."
We have found continuing to play 2.2 wasteful.

pozanias
04-18-2012, 09:19 AM
No, I want thirty people to share the task of occasionally letting people know what is going on. Say one or two people speaking up every week or so. That way no one would have to say anything more than once every fifteen weeks or so... not much of a burden...



I, for one, don't feel comfortable speaking on behalf of WADBAG or the GM List. Although we all have the same high-level goals, and generally agree on the big stuff, there is quite a wide variety of opinions. And I'm usually not sure how people will weigh in on various issues.

I can tell you this, if something is being discussed here -- then pretty much everyone on the GM list is aware of it. I can also say that some of the discussions here have definitely influenced the changes that will be coming out in the next version. The last thing I would add is that many items discussed here did not get much/any traction on the GM List.

But beyond that, my weekly update would be: "we're still talking about things...".

winterbadger
04-18-2012, 11:18 AM
It's just that ... people here want to know if the GM list has heard anything.

I'm somewhat mystified by this. We all know who the GM List members are: there's a list of them here (http://www.wadbag.com/V2.2+/index.html).

Quite a number of them have commented on this and other threads.

How can anyone be in any doubt that the members of the GM List have "heard" them when members of that list are engaged and commenting on the discussion threads about these topics?

If you'd rather we just waited for the finished product, you can let us know that too.

Given the amount of time and attention DK and others have devoted in this subforum alone to responding to questions, requests for clarification, and demands for explanation of why one idea or another has not been taken up, I can only feel that this remark needed a "childish pout" icon to accompany it.

Skeptical Gamer
04-18-2012, 04:38 PM
I'm somewhat mystified by this. We all know who the GM List members are: there's a list of them here (http://www.wadbag.com/V2.2+/index.html).

Quite a number of them have commented on this and other threads.

How can anyone be in any doubt that the members of the GM List have "heard" them when members of that list are engaged and commenting on the discussion threads about these topics?



Given the amount of time and attention DK and others have devoted in this subforum alone to responding to questions, requests for clarification, and demands for explanation of why one idea or another has not been taken up, I can only feel that this remark needed a "childish pout" icon to accompany it.

We have responses, but have very little information on what is still under consideration and what is off the table. I'm really not asking for more than the occasional off-hand comment about this.

Also, I was commenting in support of a couple other people who had similar desires, so I'm not the only one in doubt as to whether or not the comments here ever make it to the GM list or just die on the vine.

As for the "childish pout" icon, you're absolutely right. I was tired and less than usually rational last night. Everyone has bad internet days... Even DK since many of his responses to me showed less willingness to try to understand what I am saying than is usual on this forum.

If a childish pout icon becomes available, I will gladly edit my earlier post to add one...

david kuijt
04-18-2012, 04:59 PM
We have responses, but have very little information on what is still under consideration and what is off the table. I'm really not asking for more than the occasional off-hand comment about this.


Your requests aren't unreasonable -- but there is a significant "foot in the door" element going on here. If we have a few people making an occasional off-hand comment about "what is going on", we will have more people asking for elaboration and details, and so on. No matter how much information we give, there will be people who want more. And as I've said, that path leads eventually to having this forum be the primary discussion area for all rules issues, and that path leads to madness. (Okay, not madness, but we'll never finish anything that way).



Also, I was commenting in support of a couple other people who had similar desires, so I'm not the only one in doubt as to whether or not the comments here ever make it to the GM list or just die on the vine.


If you could watch things on the GM list, you STILL wouldn't know. Because we don't know either. As Alan said, Kevin's ideas here stated didn't gain significant traction on the GMlist. Kevin was unhappy because he wasn't getting any feedback. But what feedback could anyone give? The only way we knew that his ideas didn't get traction was through TIME. After a week or more of Kevin's ideas being discussed here, and nobody brought them up on the GMlist, those of us who are the most active could start to guess that they weren't getting any support -- but there was no way anyone could tell Kevin that until after enough time had passed that it eventually became clear. And even then, it might be that someone had been mulling the thoughts over and was going to step up and be an advocate of them, but just hadn't gotten around to it yet.



As for the "childish pout" icon, you're absolutely right. I was tired and less than usually rational last night. Everyone has bad internet days... Even DK since many of his responses to me showed less willingness to try to understand what I am saying than is usual on this forum.


I have lots of bad internet days. Only experts can tell them from my good internet days, but there you are.

However, if you see any frustration or terseness in my responses, that isn't because I am unwilling to try to understand what you are saying -- it is because the answer you seek isn't easy, or perhaps even possible.

If the GMlist was secretive, we would be criticized for that. We are not being secretive. And we are asking for feedback from any interested people. And we listen to it -- I can point to a half a dozen things that have changed since December due to feedback from playtesters and others outside the GMlist. But we do not have time nor energy to enter into extensive debate with every single person who wishes to engage in extensive debate. We knew at the outset that this would be frustrating for some people. It was a conscious choice we made, that we wanted to have an open door for feedback, and we knew when we made that choice that there would be people made unhappy by it. But no matter what choice we made with regard to accepting feedback from the playing world, we knew that some people would be unhappy about it.

We made the choice that seemed like the best compromise between openness and keeping players engaged, and still being able to decide issues with a consensus-driven system and resolve them in a reasonable time. If you would have made choices differently (with more formal, regular communication from the GMlist, or with ombudsmen designated to discuss or debate on particular issues, or whatever) fair enough -- but we're making good progress (and a good product, IMO) with our current organizational system, so we're not really likely to change it any time soon.

ferrency
04-18-2012, 05:05 PM
Also, I was commenting in support of a couple other people who had similar desires, so I'm not the only one in doubt as to whether or not the comments here ever make it to the GM list or just die on the vine.

As DK pointed out, GM list members do read Fanaticus.

Many comments brought up on Fanaticus stay here, because they've already been discussed adequately on the GM list.

Some comments we see here start conversations on the GM list. Those conversations often result in confirming the consensus status quo.

Sometimes, comments on Fanaticus that make it into GM list discussion prompt the WADBAG group to make official changes to the 2.2+ beta rules. I expect you may see some of these soon.

However, as you have seen, the 2.2+ beta is quite stable. As far as I know, we haven't had any commentary here result in removing changes that we previously added, but in some cases further changes were made as a result of ideas that were seen on Fanaticus (but not necessarily only on Fanaticus).

Does that help? Again, I only speak for myself and describe the things I see as I see them :)

Alan

Skeptical Gamer
04-18-2012, 09:49 PM
We made the choice that seemed like the best compromise between openness and keeping players engaged, and still being able to decide issues with a consensus-driven system and resolve them in a reasonable time. If you would have made choices differently (with more formal, regular communication from the GMlist, or with ombudsmen designated to discuss or debate on particular issues, or whatever) fair enough -- but we're making good progress (and a good product, IMO) with our current organizational system, so we're not really likely to change it any time soon.

I understand that.

Like I said, some days are just bad internet days...
I try to take a bit of time off whenever I seem to be moving toward unreasonable confrontation or "childish pouting" mode...

This response is quite reasonable and gives me a much better understanding of how you view things. Thank you.

snowcat
04-18-2012, 10:44 PM
If a childish pout icon becomes available, I will gladly edit my earlier post to add one...

http://thmg.photobucket.com/albums/v320/SunnySmile501/th_pout.gif

Alex Bostwick
04-21-2012, 02:57 PM
You will not receive any sort of summary of the discussion or of the results -- not until someone donates $50,000 to fund a full-time staffer to do that.

I would like to submit my resume for this position.

I have references.

Lobotomy
04-21-2012, 04:01 PM
I would like to submit my resume for this position.

I have references.

Yes, I am one of the references. Oh well, I guess you don't get the job, Alex. :D

Alex Bostwick
04-21-2012, 04:09 PM
Yes, I am one of the references. Oh well, I guess you don't get the job, Alex. :D

Watch closely as the lawyer defeats his own client!

Skeptical Gamer
04-22-2012, 12:24 AM
http://thmg.photobucket.com/albums/v320/SunnySmile501/th_pout.gif

Hmm... the edit function doesn't seem to allow me to add images...
Well, I guess if we can all imagine that four little figures are actually a mass of 1000 warriors, then people can successfully imagine a pout icon in my earlier post...http://thmg.photobucket.com/albums/v320/SunnySmile501/th_pout.gif

dicemanrick
05-19-2012, 10:44 AM
Kevin (and all) I can assure you I read all the posts on Fanaticus as I check in most days. I'm also a member of "the Cabal":D

I haven't posted because I have nothing to add to the discussion. I believe that the results achieved at Cannae can be duplicated by dice rolling (not MY dice as Hannibal will lose 4-0 as the Gauls WILL die instead of recoil), as the center is pushed back steadily as the dice odds should predict.

As Larry C.points out, the current break-off rule means you move TOO far back to replicate what happened historically.

I personally am inclined to dismiss any suggestion that Hannibal ordered a fighting retreat with semi-drilled foot but can accept that he would anticipate the results and plan on that as a strategem (DBMM lingo thrown in).

In short, I really don't see a need to change the break-off rules as they now stand to try to model battle occurrences which the game still allows to happen normally. If the dice cooperate, you can say "Damn, that plan worked well!", if not, then say "Remember the victor always writes the history."

I'm not being dismissive of your idea, Kevin...I just think it's a complication we don't have to consider in the DBA rules. Besides, think that if we provide rules for it that EVERY war-leader in history can be just as good as Hannibal and that untrained mobs can be just as effective as Roman legionaries or Greek Hoplites in battlefield maneuver...and I don't really want to go down that path at all.

Dangun
05-21-2012, 01:45 AM
The consensus I'm refering to is not the ancient authorities themselves, but modern historians who have analyzed the battle. The key evidence is that Hannibal's army is described as being arrayed in a forward-arching crescent with its weakest units(the Gauls) closest to the Romans (his army's chin was sticking out, to borrow a boxing term). The only reason for Hannibal to have used such a risky deployment was because he intended to provoke an attack on his center -- though he hardly intended to fight and win the battle there. In game terms, purely random combat outcomes would have caused Hannibal's line to become hopelessly disordered as some Gauls pushed their enemies back, while others held in place, and yet others were driven back. Thus a deliberate, concerted, retreat seems the only way to explain how Hannibal intended for the Gauls to survive long enough for his complex battle plan to achieve victory on the flanks and produce the final encirclement.

I know I am responding late. But this is bad logic.

The ONLY thing we know about this battle is what is written in these ancients sources. Give them a read! They say absolutely nothing which directly says that Hannibal ordered a "break-off." Modern authors bring no new facts to the table.

A "deliberate retreat," can far more easily be explained as an "actual retreat." It can be gamed just as easily with weaker elements in the center or rear support on the edges, and does not necessitate a "break-off" order.

Skeptical Gamer
05-21-2012, 11:54 AM
A "deliberate retreat," can far more easily be explained as an "actual retreat." It can be gamed just as easily with weaker elements in the center or rear support on the edges, and does not necessitate a "break-off" order.

From a purely game play perspective, I have to disagree here...
In history, an "actual retreat" being planned for or exploited by a great general may be a very good explanation for the recorded behavior, but from a game play perspective...

Given the overlap mechanic in DBA, once weaker elements begin to fall back (recoil), their neighboring elements are far more likely to be destroyed (doubled).

Without some method of redressing the lines (perhaps a voluntary recoil as a single element move), the Romans will break through rather than push back the line. I've seen this sort of thing happen in many DBA games.

Having said that, however, I am not certain that a change of this nature is necessary at this time. Every miniatures game has a few battles that cannot be easily replicated with the existing mechanics. This may simply be one of those battles for DBA.

It's possible that this should be addressed as a scenario specific special rule rather than a general rule (at least until the rest of 2.2+ is fully settled).

winterbadger
05-21-2012, 12:14 PM
I know I am responding late. But this is bad logic.

The ONLY thing we know about this battle is what is written in these ancients sources. Give them a read! They say absolutely nothing which directly says that Hannibal ordered a "break-off." Modern authors bring no new facts to the table.

Modern authors cannot create new facts, I agree, but they can analyse old facts. That's what historians *do*.

I disagree with with Kevin's conclusion that a deliberate retreat is the *only* possible explanation, but it certainly seems to be *one* explanation.

Dangun
05-23-2012, 11:58 PM
but it certainly seems to be *one* explanation.

I agree, certainly possible. But, the list of possible explanations is unfortunately very, very long.

Importantly though, the explanation that an order was given, has absolutely no basis in the historical sources.