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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » Variants

Subject: Light Bows & Light Slingers: variant Slinger rules rss

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Allen Doum
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Do you have any Historical data to justify this?
 
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Marty M
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AllenDoum wrote:
Do you have any Historical data to justify this?


I love this game, but don't really feel that 'Historical data' is used to 'justify' any of the existing rules. I've always thought of C&C:A as a fairly abstract game.

Sounds like an interesting rule tweak.

 
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Kevin Duke
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So why is this not put in the Variant thread where it belongs?


As to the history, these are not English long bows we're talking about, and the common understanding of the day was that trained slingers were more accurate than bows, with similar range.
 
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David McLeod
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I found this at Wikipedia:

"It is clear that many ancient peoples used the sling in combat and that organised armies included specialist slingers as well as equipping regular soldiers with slings as a back up weapon. As a weapon, the sling had several clear advantages. In general, a sling bullet lobbed in a high trajectory could achieve an effective range of around 200 meters — significantly farther than most bows of the period, the arrows of which were usually loosed along relatively flat trajectories that seldom managed to send them beyond 100 meters the arrows of which were usually loosed along relatively flat trajectories that seldom managed to send them beyond 100 meters. Modern authorities vary widely in their estimates of the effective range of ancient weapons and of course bows and arrows could also have been used to produce a long-range arcing trajectory, but ancient writers repeatedly stress the sling's advantage of range. The sling was light to carry and cheap to produce; ammunition in the form of stones was readily available and often to be found near the site of battle"

No doubt as the technology improved bows got better but it is interesting. From the description I'd rather arrows rained down on me then a bunch of stones.

I would say in the end that C&C iz not really a system I mess with as I know Richard Borg puts a ton of playtesting into the various incarnations of the game.

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Wolfram Janich
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There are some additional scenarios where the Light Slingers are treated as special units with better abilities in Close Combat.
See http://www.thewargamer.com/ccancients/index.html
 
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Marty M
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kduke wrote:
So why is this not put in the Variant thread where it belongs?


I should imagine because GAWD is a new user, having registered less than a month ago, and is not as familiar with the forums as some other users.

Give him a break!
 
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Ken Takacs
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GAWD, welcome to the hobby; you will be a veteran in no time.
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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I actually like your change a lot. I've been looking for a good slinger variation and I think this may be the best one out of all those I've heard or thought up. Thanks for this
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Kevin Duke
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Quote:
I should imagine because GAWD is a new user, having registered less than a month ago, and is not as familiar with the forums as some other users.

Give him a break!



No, sorry, I won't.

If he's that new-to BGG and it appears to CCA-- then it would be better that he didn't bring variants to us.

CCA looks easy to "improve." With time, we learn better.
 
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Gisli Sigtryggsson
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I like your variant. And I'll probably adapt it as a house rule.

re: kduke,
It's not personal. He acts this way towards just about anyone.
 
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Kevin Duke
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Well, thanks for not thinking less of me, AB, and you did bust me on the fact that the right answer was "both."

Yes, irked to find a variant posted in "General" and irked a bit more that it is yet one more of the "played a couple games and here are my improvements" style of thing, of which we have an abundance here.

Yes, it's a free gaming world and anyone can do anything they want to (and post it for the world!).

CCA is a "mature" design with thousands of players and probably several hundred thousand games played.
Creating a variant that makes it better, after a few weeks in boardgaming in general, is a stretch.

But then, some people say "I like it," so it must be fine.


For the record, for GAWD and anyone else new to CCA...

Note that the scale of units is nebulous-- "It might be a legion or a small band of warriors."

Nebulous unit scale links with nebulous ground scale and time scale. A hex does not "equal" any particular amount of ground, nor does a turn equal some segment of time. All of these things are intentional.

Firing range and movement speed, therefore, cannot be translated into anything like "an arrow of this period can be lethal at X yards which equals Y hexes."

What matters in this abstraction of a game is "relative to the other things."

Is light cavalry-- in "reality"-- twice as fast as heavy cavalry? Probably not, save for long distances. But Light Cavalry has to be faster than Medium Cav, which has to be faster than Heavy Cav, and Heavy Cav-- heavy or not-- has to be faster than normal infantry. So movement rates are purely done relative to what else is in the game.

Likewise shooting distance-- adjacent is pure shield shoving and sticking people with sharp objects. Minimum "ranged fire" has to be farther than adjacent, so our javelin range is 2. The game wants some sort of "longer than javelin" range and, thus, bows and slings shoot 3.

There is nothing in history for this period that suggests bows should be more effective at longer range than slings. Indeed, there are references to slings actually being used more for things like leader "sniping" than bows were. But again, in the context of the game, their range is left the same.

There is nothing in history that suggests slings should, somehow, be able to manage a higher volume of fire while on the move than bows OR than javelins. Indeed, the latter weapon system could make a case very much against it. So the "difference" in the variant to make slings different from bows is purely an invention to make slings different than bows. It takes something away from slings that is, simply put, inaccurate-- their range-- And it gives something to slings which is not exactly appropriate either, is it?

So it is purely a gamey invention done to counter the "two units work alike" aspect, which struck a few people as odd, since most units in CAA are somehow different from other units.

I think the reality of the situation is that the GMT version of CCA would allow for more unit types and Mr. Borg elected to use slingers in some scenarios and bows in others-- based on what was appropriate for that army in that period...i.e., the "history" involved. Their "sameness" was not an accident, but merely a matter of having a "longer range than javelins" unit available within the context of that scenario.

If you will read around the many forums here, you will find a host of others who really like CCA but thought they could improve upon it with something clever that-- they imagine-- the designer just did not think of. Some people did this after one scenario. Some did it during their first reading of the rules (and I'm not making that up).

CCA is a "simple" feeling and looking game, which actually provides a great deal of pleasure and a surprising amount of "realism" in a seamless way. People who are used to seeing something overt, like "+3 for flank attacks," don't find those in CCA and think they can make the game better/more normal by adding something like it. While there is usually joy in creation, and I suspect many of the variant producers really get a thrill out of seeing their change in action, what they are missing-- especially when they make these changes early-- is the other joy of watching an outstanding design go through its paces.

Speaking for myself, I've played only about 100 games now, which I doubt puts me any higher than "lower middle" among those who like CCA and play it often.

The only "variants" I've used are described, in the variant section, under "multi-player," which is something we conjured because we would have more than 2 people who wanted to play at the same time.

I have considered another variant where "any card" could be burned to give an order to one unit or leader-- an expansion of the fact that some cards say, "if no X unit available, you can use this card to order one unit." Making this variant go would mean that no one could ever complain about having a "useless" card, because every card in the game would always be available to make one unit go.

But I've held back on putting this into action because.

1. It's not exactly rocket science coming up with it and it seems unlikely that R Borg and friends did not try it. (Correct me if that's not true, Richard!). If they tried it and rejected it, there is probably a good reason, which might be...

2. I realize that "useless cards" (which you can't really do anything with) are actually a function of the game mechanic-- painful tho they might be, and

3. Beyond "useless" cards, being able to turn anything into a 'move one unit" would allow a player to activate something in a section where he does not have an appropriate command card would actually be a very significant change to the game mechanics.

So I've held back. The idea doesn't seem to be that big-- and ending "useless cards" would stifle one of the complaints of the game that is oft repeated when it's slammed. (I have been in many other games where chit draws or "activation" die rolls meant I couldn't do what I wanted when I wanted to, and those were accepted things, but somehow it's a problem with CCA.)

But it would also make a ripple on a pond which has proven to be very smooth over many games. There is not any other game I've played this often in a couple decades and I don't recall ever enjoying one more.

While self-creation is always a draw, there is something about "leave well enough alone" which seems louder to me here, since (at least for me) CCA is certainly "well enough."

So apologies to GAWD (and to anyone else I have "treated this way." But gee, people... does CCA really need this kind of help?
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David McLeod
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kduke wrote:
does CCA really need this kind of help?


No.

And research into the design proccess would back this up 100%.

Having said that I know a lot of people like to try to "refine" games further. From my perspective I play this game cause I know how much it was tested and I have less fears of getting through a dozen games and wondering "did they even play this game before they released it?"

The fact that there were no less then two incarnations of the C&C system before this plus Battlelore was more or less designed before Ancients came out AND that C&C:Napoleonics was pritty much in the works before Ancients came out suggests that this could fall into the realm of "if it ain't broke don't fix it."

Sure doesn't prevent variants but I do wonder why people don't let the designer take care of that and just enjoy the game the way it was intended to be enjoyed. I know I'm different from other gamers in this respect but if I have to come up with variants for games to make them "work" I will probably not want to play it.


 
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Kevin Duke
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No argument from me on any of this. Your points 1 and 2 are blown away by the fact that you have played the game in its baseline form--a lot-- and you will go back if the tweak doesn't feel right when the wooden block hits the map.

We've seen folks who post variants who haven't played the game very much (lots!) and, unfortunately, we will see people who haven't played any more latch on to "reasonable" sounding variants and give those a whirl. I hope they follow your lead-- "try it, didn't work, go back to start." I guess I'm a little burned of seeing folks post negative reviews of THE GAME and when you dig or read carefully, you find they'd altered some things before their first play. Their loss, I suppose. (And I really would love to see someone retract a variant... but of course, the ideal would be to play it enough to feel it works on more than intuition before posting...)

I also share with you some...disappointment at the lack of "umphh" with those Numidians... the stories make it sound like they were world beaters (and their being with Scipio at Zama a real blow). 1 swords worth of killing power sounds reasonable (do you mean it for CC only or do they get the sword hit on ranged fire too?... I wonder if "encouraging" them to CC will be a good thing or a bad thing...)

Yes, the game does offer many options for little tweaks I thought the Companion cavalry would be Heavy--for one thing--(heck, they look like the cover picture!)-- and thought they might have 4 blocks too, to give them more staying power. Options to consider for the heavy use gamer.

Options to enjoy!
 
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Antigonus Monophthalmus
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kduke wrote:
So apologies to GAWD (and to anyone else I have "treated this way." But gee, people... does CCA really need this kind of help?


No, but more importantly it doesn't need you coming in and acting rudely when others suggest changes to personalize the game, whether they've played it once or many times (maybe even none, but that's just bizarre). You are not in charge of who can and can't bring us variants.

And if scale is so nebulous anyways, what difference does one or two hexes make? I think this is a great variation that allows for interesting command decisions, and separates the two units (which I think was a big mistake) in a way that doesn't make one or the other overly powerful.
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Kevin Duke
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Based on the rest of the message, I'm going to guess that the "big mistake" you refer to was making slings and bows work the same, rather than it being a mistake to make them be different (which is how it reads). I am curious why you think it's a big mistake but that's another thread.


Rudeness comes in many forms and is subjective. Some people might actually think it's rude for someone to post "see my creative variant" to a game they have hardly played. And if you look around the variants that have been posted, you'll find more than a couple ideas which have been posted but not played even once before being posted... including, it seems, this very one. Read what he says again. He's going to "try it" in the coming weeks-- but there's nothing to suggest he tried it before posting. We don't even know if he's actually played the game once before making these improvements, and if not, he wouldn't be the first person to do that either.

I agree with you-- doing that is bizarre, or ego-centric... or even rude, both to players and goodness knows how a designer feels about it!

I am curious that you answer "no" to the question whether "CCA needs this kind of help" but then applaud the variation and jump on me.

As to the details of the discussion, nebulous scale does not mean "one or two hexes" makes little difference. In this game, it is quite the contrary, actually. One or two hexes, relative to other units, is what makes all the difference.

Letting slingers move one and fire full strength at 2 hexes makes them potentially very powerful, while restricting their range takes something away that the designer intended to be there. That there are not many slinger units in the game may help protect it from too big a shift.

Since you're actually going to use the variant, I'd be interested to hear how it works out, after 20 or 30 games.
 
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Bill Wallace
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Well, youve certainly helped define rudeness.

By the way--the posting guidelines you had to agree to include...

Quote:
Use common courtesy in your posts.
Don't abuse, harass, mock, insult, stalk, demean, threaten, belittle, or otherwise attack other users, even if they are public figures or people who can take it.



Looks to me like you crossed the line several times, pirate face or no.
 
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Bill Wallace
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Quote:
He didn't pull any punches



You really don't think he pulled any punches? Is that as rough as he could get?

But his stuff was primarily based on the action of posting un-tested variants-- yes, he touched on your "ego", crossed the line there, but even that was a 'maybe." ("Bizarre" was what the other guy said about someone posting an unplayed, untested variant) but aside from that, he did not get very personal-- he was talking about the action and the game, not jumping up and down on you personally...which is what you were doing to him. Yeah, you had a point to defend and did so-- but you went on and on with the sarcasm and insults-- I was surprised to check your bio, as it sounded like a 14 year old talking.

I know you're a smart guy and solipsim is maybe both explanation and excuse, but cute pirates don't balance out. If this were in person, I would not have been surprised if this got physical-- you earned it.
People sometimes write more boldly--and snottyly-- on line than they would talk to a human in person, but it's a good idea to treat people the same in print as you would treat them if they were standing in front of you.

Yeah, he could learn some from the same idea, but compare the messages and see who is farther over more lines, especially at personal attacks.

I haven't posted much because I don't play much, but I like CCA and I understand it would be really nice if I was at a con or something, that I could just sit down and play with a stranger without going thru a list of what different flavors we're going to play with.

I read Mark Simonitch somewhere say that he didn't mind people posting variants to his games because in his experience, it was mostly just fantasy/creative thinking and hardly anyone ever played anyone else's variants...in fact, hardly anyone even played their own. I don't know about that, but he's made a lot of good games.

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Dan Monette

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Professional slingers in the era simulated by C&C had a longer range, higher rate of fire, and were more accurate than archers. I like the variant but it would be more accurate by stating:

Slingers have a range of 3, and use 2 dice for ranged combat if they do not move or only move one space. A move of two spaces would limit them to one die.

I too like every unit to be different and your idea is a good one. Thanks.
 
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