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Subject: What is Artillery Good For? rss

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Gordon Stewart
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I must be missing something very basic because from what I’ve seen, artillery in DBA is more hindrance than help. If an enemy charges them to contact, they drop from a shooting combat factor of +4 to +2 in close combat, and then a beaten result is a quick-kill. Here is an example of what I’m doing; please tell me what’s wrong with this picture:

As a subset of my Roman vs. Roman solitaire battles, imagine three blades abreast (called the “offense”) charge a line of three “defenders” (Bow, Artillery, Auxilia in that order). After seeing artillery simply overrun by fast-charging cavalry, I thought at least they could get some shots off (allowed only during the owner’s bound, if not moved).

Turn one, the offense advances its line of blades from an out-of-range distance of 550 to 350. The defender simply shoots the artillery at one of the blades. Q1. The bow increases the artillery’s +4 to +5 even though the target is beyond the bow’s range of 200? Q2. The blade that is targeted rolls with a +5 (vs. foot)? The best that could be hoped for, a 6-1, results in 11-6; a “beaten” result that simply retreats the blade 150.

Granted that as for targets, Artillery quick-kills hordes and blades are the queen of the battlefield. On the other-hand, Artillery cannot move then immediately fire, fires only during owner’s bound, has LOS limits, and cannot enter bad going.

Suppose the artillery has luck and retreats a blade (50/50). On turn two the retreated unit simply moves back to the 350 range, in-line with its buddies.
Let’s assume the 50/50 artillery shot fails next time.

Turn three sees the blades advance to 150 from the defender’s line. Q3. Rather than repeat the same artillery attack again, could both the artillery (+4) and bows (+2) fire at separate blades? Q4. Can it be assumed that these shots, at best, will likewise merely slow the advance down?
In the final turn, the distance is closed and the offense chooses the order among these attacks: +5 to +2 vs. Artillery, +5 to +2 vs. Bow, or +5 vs. +3 vs. Auxilia. Sounds like Artillery is merely a weak link to charge at.
No wonder an Artillery figure only garnered 10 points (in a point per piece system) versus 23 for Blades. Bows and Auxilia are valued at 21 and 18 respectively. Until I learn otherwise, I will decline to use Artillery armies. Q5. Is there a standard “variant” that addresses these concerns?
 
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Andreas Johansson
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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capt yid wrote:
Q1. The bow increases the artillery’s +4 to +5 even though the target is beyond the bow’s range of 200?

No.

If the target where within 200p, the Art still wouldn't get a +1, but the target would get a -1. Note that the primary shooter has to be the closest one, so depending on precise geometry you might have to use the Bw as primary (or fire at separate targets, which is generally preferable in this case).
Quote:
Q2. The blade that is targeted rolls with a +5 (vs. foot)?

Correct.
Quote:
Q3. Rather than repeat the same artillery attack again, could both the artillery (+4) and bows (+2) fire at separate blades?

Yes.
Quote:
Q4. Can it be assumed that these shots, at best, will likewise merely slow the advance down?

Pretty much; blades are next to impossible to destroy by shooting unless from behind.
Quote:
Q5. Is there a standard “variant” that addresses these concerns?

No commonly accepted one, if that's what you mean. You could try and reintroduce the v1.x factors were Art were always at +4 (both in close and distant combat).

However, it seems to me you are evaluating the utility of Art pretty much solely on how they do against Bd, the single worst thing they could face. They're an absolute terror to El- or WWg-based armies, and quite effective against lighter foot and most mounted.

Also, I think you are missing the pip cost to redress ranks after artillery-inflicted recoils. If the middle Bd of the "offense" is recoiled, it costs three pips to advance again instead of one. That may not matter much if you're considering just those six elements, but it matters a lot in a real game where the "defense"'s side have nine other elements causing trouble elsewhere on the table.
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Alexei Gartinski
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Have a look at FANATICUS website (hasn't been updated since April, but still an excellent website). Look in TIPS & GUIDES (the column on your left), then DBA TACTICAL MANUAL, TACTICAL ESSAYS and USING ARTILLERY, written by one of the most experienced DBA players... Hope that helps
 
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Alexei Gartinski
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Ooops... I forgot to add the website address: www.fanaticus.org Enjoy!
 
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Andreas Johansson
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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While much of David's advice stands, bear in mind the essay was written under 1.x - some important differences from the current rules were i) Art fighting at +4 in close combat, ii) Art firing in the opponent's bound only rather than in your own, and iii) the bad going combat penalty counting against shooting.
 
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Gordon Stewart
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Taught me much Andreas (as usual),
1. Artillery shooting only in the OPPONENT’S bound (NOT owner’s) v1.x?; 2. Closer ranged weapon as primary; and 3. Effect of supporting ranged weapon being -1 to the defender (not +1 attacker); especially.

I think that returning to 1.x artillery rules would even things up quite a bit (though maybe less historically accurate). Could be a useful option if you can choose artillery AFTER you know what you’re likely to be up against.

Grateful,
Gordon
 
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Tony Aguilar
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Elephant Insurance.
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