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Old 09-28-2015, 11:07 PM
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Default Terrain Requirements

I'm currently working on some additions to the QRS, largely inspired by having created a Table for the Interpenetration rules while working on my own QRS for DBA-RRR. In the process, I'm also adding some extra notes to the QRS for questions that pop up regularly during club play and as there is room for them in my page layout.

Adding some extra notes on Terrain set-up, I noticed something that had previously escaped my attention completely from 2nd edition and carried forward into 2.2+. I don't think I've ever played in a game where the terrain set-up did not include at least 1 piece of Bad Going.

The current rule reads: "At least 2 of its quarters must contain a Waterway, a River, or some Bad Going."

That means Arable Terrain with a Road, a Waterway, and a tiny Gentle Hill would be a legal pool table set-up, and the attacker having a 1/3 chance of placing a tiny piece of Bad Going in the center. That leaves a 2/3 chance of no Bad Going on the table.

My inclination is to change the rule to: "At least 2 of its quarters must contain some Bad Going."
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Last edited by Redwilde; 09-28-2015 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:26 AM
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I think the 1/3 chance was added to 2.2+ to prevent a zero % chance of having bad going in some instances.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:40 AM
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My inclination is to change the rule to: "At least 2 of its quarters must contain some Bad Going."
Seems reasonable on the face of it. But why not "must contain a river or some bad going" ?

Sure, rivers are problems for tournaments at conventions (slow the game too much; cause unfinished games), but they are ways for armies with BGo troops to fight other armies, same as BGo is. And they are more likely to be in a position to be relevant than externalized BGo would be. (Externalized == pushed to the edge).
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:42 AM
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I think the 1/3 chance was added to 2.2+ to prevent a zero % chance of having bad going in some instances.
Nah, it was more to make it difficult for players who want a pool table by externalizing (pushing to the corners or edges) all BGo. Now they're taking a risk by doing it that the enemy might be able to stop them (1/3 chance) by putting a BGo patch somewhere they really don't like.

The 1/3 chance of spoiling a "pure" pool table was just a bonus.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:50 AM
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Seems reasonable on the face of it. But why not "must contain a river or some bad going" ?
That is also reasonable from the aspect of making the battlefield more interesting than a pool table. In fact, that was my first thought while I was actually typing out the current terrain requirements onto the QRS.

But there are quite a few armies that desperately need some actual Bad Going on the table that they shouldn't have to give battle out on a pool table with nothing but a river and a gentle hill. Although they will at least have somewhat of a speed advantage to attempt to do clever things with nothing but a river.
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Old 09-29-2015, 09:58 AM
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Nah, it was more to make it difficult for players who want a pool table by externalizing (pushing to the corners or edges) all BGo. Now they're taking a risk by doing it that the enemy might be able to stop them (1/3 chance) by putting a BGo patch somewhere they really don't like.
And for Topographies where putting out some Bad Going is unavoidable, that rule works fine. There is guaranteed to be some Bad Going on the table, and there is sufficient pressure to not tuck it into a corner.

The problem is Arable and Steppe that can avoid any BG.
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Old 09-29-2015, 10:19 AM
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And for Topographies where putting out some Bad Going is unavoidable, that rule works fine. There is guaranteed to be some Bad Going on the table, and there is sufficient pressure to not tuck it into a corner.

The problem is Arable and Steppe that can avoid any BG.
Steppe without BG doesn't seem to be a problem to me. Sure, you can say to yourself "what a massive advantage for the Steppe Army that wins the maneuver roll!" But that's self-deception. Steppe armies with huge rafts of mounted get raped when they don't win the maneuver roll. In essence, you take an army that lives, and dies, by winning terrain. And most Steppe armies tend to float like a butterfly, sting like ... a butterfly. So what I'm saying is that they need any advantage they can get, and let's be honest -- I've lived on the (Canadian) steppe. There you are, in the middle of miles and miles and miles and miles of GGo. It takes a special effort to find anything that isn't GGo.
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Old 09-29-2015, 11:36 AM
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Arable armies being far more common, are the more commonly found case.

And I'm more concerned about what makes for a better overall game than what is geologically possible.

Is it a better game if the Ancient Spanish lose the maneuver roll and have to fight on an arable field with no BG?

Is it a worse game if the Skythians have to put 1 BG on the board when facing Thracians?

In both cases, the army that won the maneuver roll has a lot of control over setting up favourable conditions.
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Old 09-29-2015, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Redwilde View Post
Arable armies being far more common, are the more commonly found case.

And I'm more concerned about what makes for a better overall game than what is geologically possible.

Is it a better game if the Ancient Spanish lose the maneuver roll and have to fight on an arable field with no BG?

Is it a worse game if the Skythians have to put 1 BG on the board when facing Thracians?

In both cases, the army that won the maneuver roll has a lot of control over setting up favourable conditions.
This is a conflict in objectives. Your priority is a better game, so you are willing to make history (geological possibility) subordinate to that. Nothing wrong with that approach.

But your definition of a "better game" isn't going to be everyone's definition. I've played some great games where I was fighting at a terrain disadvantage and won anyway. I've beaten Free Company dismounting knights with Catalan Company on a gentle hill. I've beaten Classical Indian with Mongol Conquest on the enemy's choice of terrain (lots of swamps). In the Two Davids "Fall of Rome" scenario game for Carrhae, players start with the Roman army facing four directions in a box formation at the center of a totally blank board, surrounded by the Parthian army. Great games.

And my personal priorities are to make armies that are different historically, different in the game. This means not just in elements, but in Maneuver rating, Invasion rating, and topography. If you invade Skythia, what do you get? FLAT. If you didn't want to get Steppe, you wouldn't invade Skythia. And if you didn't want to fight in Hilly, you wouldn't attack the Ancient Spanish.

So I'm not criticizing your priorities, even if they aren't exactly my own -- but to me, the topography is as much a part of the army as the element makeup. Is it fair that the African Vandals didn't have dismounting knights, when they face a bow army? Not by some measures of "fair", but that doesn't mean that we should allow African Vandals to dismount just because the Medieval French can.

Let the Huns have their Steppe. If it ends up being a pool table, play the game. LH are not world-beaters; two beat-up Longbow elements and a Psiloi can often hold off a half-army of LH.

And the Ancient Spanish are going to be dependent upon getting some BGo to fight in. Mostly. They are still bitchin' fast -- I've won battles in the open with BGo troops lots of times. In 2.2+ speed is really important. And people who never try that sort of battle won't find out how to fight with BGo troops in a GGo battlefield.

That isn't to say there aren't mismatches. But if you don't like historical mismatches, you can choose an army that is never put at a disadvantage -- which is sad, in my opinion.
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Old 09-29-2015, 02:31 PM
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So I'm not criticizing your priorities, even if they aren't exactly my own -- but to me, the topography is as much a part of the army as the element makeup.
Actually, we're in agreement that the original rules for pool-tableness were not the ideal balance for game play. The question now is one of degree, are the current amendments the best balance, or could they be refined better?
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