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Subject: Bows and slingers? rss

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Ava Jarvis
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Until C&C: Ancients I had never heard of slingers. I looked around and read up on things, and apparently they could be more deadly than bows in battles back then, since there wasn't a lot of armor around that could take rocks hitting you at high speeds: the ancient version of bullets. Ugly when you're on the opposing side.

The distinction between slingers and bowmen are (right now) just for flavor in C&C, since they don't function any differently from each other. In certain scenarios, historically an army will have had either slingers or bowmen, or more of one than the other.... and from the level of abstraction of C&C, it's possibly the case that accounting for the casualty differences is not a good idea for easily moving gameplay. Maybe this is because we've only seen the light units.

I wonder if we will see more differences if we get "heavy slinger" and/or "heavy bow" units? Are there such things as heavy slingers that aren't war machines or trebuchets/catapults? I know there are things such as long bows that have ungodly longer range than normal bows....
 
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Dave Kudzma
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There's just something about this 3rd in the C&C series that does it for me and my wife.

For my wife, she having 2 Masters in history, it's a natural attraction as ancient history is her favorite.

I first looked at Battlecry and thought "Civil War......Nope". Then I saw Memoir with it's cool army men and sexy production values. I saw all the nice expansions coming out and still I hesitated. Then the almighty union of GMT and Richard Borg came about. They offered more details and pounds of wood; they talked expansions; and I thought "Hell Yes!".

I think ultimately I wanted the perfect marriage of a smidge more details/complextity along with theme, and lo and behold we have it now. Coming from GMT just sealed the deal.

I cannot wait for the expansion....one thing I do want to ask, finally getting back to the topic of discussing unit types, is that my wife doesn't recall the Romans having elephants. Is there a historical basis for them, are they to balance the game, or is it just added flavor?
 
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Allen Doum
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locusshifter wrote:
one thing I do want to ask, finally getting back to the topic of discussing unit types, is that my wife doesn't recall the Romans having elephants. Is there a historical basis for them, are they to balance the game, or is it just added flavor?


There are no scenarios, as yet, that use the Roman elephants. The answer, I suspect, is not every army will get their own set of blocks, and that the "Romans" will be used to substitute for others, as they already do for Syracuse. Some of those armys may have elephants.

And of course, players can design their own non-historical scenarios if they wish. Then it will be handy to have two different armies with elephants.

I'm somewhat suprised that I haven't seen a "points" based system for generating battles already.
 
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Ava Jarvis
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AllenDoum wrote:

I'm somewhat suprised that I haven't seen a "points" based system for generating battles already.


Does a points system assign points to each unit? Does it remain the same no matter what other units are already in the army when you add them, or is there some sort of equation going on, too?

(The only points system I know, since I have no ideas about war games at all, is Heroscape's.... )
 
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Allen Doum
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Yeah, the Heroscape model is what I was thinking of, but a lot of games have used something similar over the years. Almost all of the original microgames starting with Ogre, for instance.

Of course, someone has to assign the point values to the various unit types, and hand sizes. I haven't played the existing scenarios enough to be bothered, but I'm sure that someone will get around to it eventually.
 
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Jason Sadler
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Slingers used to cut sayings into there bullets. One was discovered that has the Ancient Greek for "Take That!" written clearly on it.

Slings were fast and deadly to unarmored troops. However, the troops had to stand pretty far from each other to avoid braining each other, which led to more dispersal of shot than bows.

There are several possibilities for giving them different characteristics than bowmen to make the difference meaningful.

Why can javelin armed troops throw two hexes?
 
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Philip Thomas
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Presumably if they could only throw one hex they would be indistinguishable from close combat troops? And javelins are fairly short range so 3 Hexes might be a bit far.

The sling is of course a weapon in the fantasy milieu, going at least as far back as Tolkein, where the halflings are particularly fond of it. I think Games workshop and possibly others have used this to create units of halfling slingers, but I wouldn't know precisely how these differ from archers...In Dungeons and Dragons the sling does less damage than and has a shorter range than a bow, but is easier to use untrained.

 
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Ava Jarvis
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Philip Thomas wrote:

The sling is of course a weapon in the fantasy milieu, going at least as far back as Tolkein, where the halflings are particularly fond of it.


I guess I'll have to re-read that---I know they sent off bowmen once (who never returned), but always thought they liked to simply throw rocks, no slings involved.
 
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I think that those interested in bow/slinger differences and/or similarities will find some answers reading Xenophon's Anabasis (The March Up Country, I think in english). He was leading 10000 hoplites back to Greece through Persia (400 BC), and while they were much better soldiers than the Persians they began to be attacked from the distance by bowmen. So after this first attack, Xenophon created out from the 10000 a small corp of slingers, who even beated the bowmen on their next attack and kept them away for the rest of the expedition. They were also very useful while battling other enemies in the mountain passes, but for the rest I leave you to the book (not hard to read, maybe harder to find...)

 
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Robin Reeve
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Julius Caesar used Iberian slingers during his conquest of Gaul.

I don't remember where, but I read about an archer tying a message to his arrow ("For who it is destined to") and killing an important enemy by pure chance...
I thought of a biblical battle, but the only reference I found was the death of King Achab (ca 872 BC), who had disguised himself so nobody would target him as the king. A Syrian archer fired randomly and his arrow mortally wounded Achab...
 
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Andy Daglish
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Presumably if they could only throw one hex they would be indistinguishable from close combat troops? And javelins are fairly short range so 3 Hexes might be a bit far.


shooting at one hex range is not allowed, and units cannot shoot at all with an adjacent enemy.

Slingers heaviest output seems to be tennis balls of rock moving at 60 mph, delivered with one rapid swing. Armour would not necessarily protect against this, nor from a golf-ball of lead. They must have had someone to carry the projectiles. Sometimes they'd discharge more than one shot at once, and since aiming was a possibility, concentration of shot wouldn't have been impossible. Slingers carried several different lengths of sling. Alexander's father Philip supposedly lost his eye to a slingshot, and there are accounts of archers retiring out of range. Slingers seem to become more dangerous at short range [the larger stones, presumably] and so rushing them wasn't always successful.
 
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Jason Sadler
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Good points all.
aforandy wrote:
Philip Thomas wrote:
Presumably if they could only throw one hex they would be indistinguishable from close combat troops? And javelins are fairly short range so 3 Hexes might be a bit far.


shooting at one hex range is not allowed, and units cannot shoot at all with an adjacent enemy.

Slingers heaviest output seems to be tennis balls of rock moving at 60 mph, delivered with one rapid swing. Armour would not necessarily protect against this, nor from a golf-ball of lead. They must have had someone to carry the projectiles. Sometimes they'd discharge more than one shot at once, and since aiming was a possibility, concentration of shot wouldn't have been impossible. Slingers carried several different lengths of sling. Alexander's father Philip supposedly lost his eye to a slingshot, and there are accounts of archers retiring out of range. Slingers seem to become more dangerous at short range [the larger stones, presumably] and so rushing them wasn't always successful.
 
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Barry Kendall
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Slinger: David. Heavy Infantry: Goliath. Score: Slingers one, HI zero.

There was never a shortage of ammunition for slingers in rocky terrain (though not just any rock would do; slingers chose their initial bag load with great care, preferring water-rounded streambed stones when obtainable. In terms of ammunition supply, archers had an advantage over archers if the fight went long.

Because of the need for space for a slinger to wind up, it was not possible for slingers to mass on as narrow a front as archers. Thus their impact might not have been as great. Also, formed units were easier to command--a point for the archers.

Those who like to fiddle with rules might give slingers a slight advantage over archers in receiving missile fire (ignore first hit?) and perhaps an evasion advantage vs. heavier infantry (loose order).

On the other hand, this could be balanced by only granting archers the "blacken the skies" double fire effect (due to limited ammunition, javelin throwers might also be disqualified from this advantage).

However, my guess is that if the system receives enough support to continue, we'll eventually see new types of archers (the present archers use shortbows). Crossbows and longbows would have increased range and probably increased effectiveness (crossed swords missile hits, for example).

Time will tell. I hope this system holds up through the Dark Ages, Crusades, Hundred Years' War and into Pike and Shot. I hope, I hope, I hope.

 
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Richard Irving
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Quote:
Why can javelin armed troops throw two hexes?


They already do. The light infantry & cav and Auxilia are throwing spears when they do a ranged attack.
 
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Ethan McKinney
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BilboAtBagEnd wrote:
I know there are things such as long bows that have ungodly longer range than normal bows....
Long bows are primarily a medieval weapon, and an pretty limited one, at that. Their very size makes them unwieldy. (The Nubians apparently used longbows.)

Somewhat more relevant are "compound bows," primarily associated with the horse warriors of the Asian steppes. The compound bow's effectiveness derives from its extremely complicated and time-consuming construction. It's laminated, in many small layers.

The "outer" layers (toward the enemy) are elastic: as you pull the bow, they stretch and provide "springiness" to pull the bow straight, hurling the arrow forward. The outermost layers are the easiest to stretch, since they have to stretch the most as the bow curves when you pull it. As you get closer to the core of the bow, you use materials that require more force to stretch and won't stretch as far, since they they don't have to stretch as much when you pull on the bow.

The "inner" layers (toward the archer) are compressive: as you pull the bow, the compress and provide an outward springiness that tries to "push" the bow straight. The most easily compressed materials are on the surface of the bow; materials the resist compression are used toward the core of the bow.

The result is that each layer provides the optimal force (either elastic or compressive) for the amount of curve that layer undergoes. This produces a short bow with immense power that is fairly easy to use from horseback. Construction involves lots and lots of gluing, which is quite difficult and sensitive to heat, humidity, and the like. An expensive process.

By contrast, a longbow is a selfbow, made entirely from one piece of material. As Wikipedia says: "Longbows, because of their narrow limbs and rounded cross-section (which does not spread out stress within the wood as evenly as a flatbow’s rectangular cross section), need to be either less powerful, longer, or of stronger wood than an equivalent flatbow. In Europe the latter approach was used, with yew being the wood of choice in Europe because of its high compressive strength, light weight, and resilience."

Also, the compound bow is almost alway recurved, like the stereotypical cupid's bow, with the tips curving back away from the archer.
 
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3W's Game Ancients has a point system for most of the units type present in C&C Ancients. Other units could be extrapolated.

MAny of the scenarios could be ported to the C&C system too. Game link is here and has links to the free version.


http://boardgamegeek.com/game/1782
 
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