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Subject: Wargamers Beware: focus is on units, not on terrain rss

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that really is an isue. it is all about interaction of the unit and their special abilities. the terrain is of very secondary importance, as are factors as range, morale.

it might be a good game, but it does not feel right to someone who is used to historical miniature wargames.

this is more magic: the gathering than De Bellis Antiquitatis. its also more m:tg than warhammer.
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Ryan Morgan
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I've read the rules and it looks like it covers everything reasonably well with the exception of morale.

But,

I also agree with you that to a degree their games can feel like a 3D card game and less a miniatures game. I like to remind fellow gamers that its your game and you can add in features that are missing, such as morale and expanded terrain rules.

I've noticed that with the Wizkids crew they are great at laying the foundation for a simple, exciting game and with a bit of tinkering you can make it great.

Expanded Terrain rules are easy peasy to come up with should you require more and here's a very simple morale mechanic to apply that I use in just about every miniatures game I play:

When a unit reaches 50% of its models or less it is considered broken (4/8 = Broken) for the remainder of the game. At the beginning of the turn each broken unit rolls 3 d6 and removes the D6's that roll a 3 or less.

Then compare the result:

If you removed 1 or less d6's the unit may act normally for the turn

If you removed 2 d6's the unit must attempt make its maximum legal move towards its deployment zone.

If you removed 3 D6's the unit is routed, remove it from the field.

Morale tests can even be infectious, meaning every unit that see's a unit run or route must also test and re-test should units continue to fail.

Leaders can let the unit they are in re-roll 1 d6.

The thing I really like about this game is its simulation of formation and disorder. As your unit takes hits or even as the battle changes you'll want to re-order your troops or re-group them. Its a genius idea and easy to do. I've really seen nothing like it.
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very good point.

but i think i wil stick to other games for miniatures. especially the terrain and movement rules are just "gamey" and do not feel like a miniatures game should..

still, i might be tempted to play Arcane Legions if it takes of and if there wil be an active crowd in germany. the game is not bad.
 
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Ryan Morgan
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The terrain rules are generic. I often wonder how much combat research a company like Well's Expidition does before making their rules. Terrain seems to be a major flaw in many fantasy games. It often plays no real part at all other than the generic.

but, i see the movement rules as nicely fitting into the formation mechanic. I'm curios what you feel is gamey about them?


I can completely understand sticking to other miniatures games, though. Other than Mageknight I don't have any other game that fills the large scale fantasy combat void (not a big GW rules fan) so I'm really looking forward to it.


On a side note, If your looking for some fun rules that cover several periods you may want to check out The Games of War: A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships and Planes Its created with no line of miniatures in mind and I've been having a ton of fun with that book.

Great chatting with you and interesting post!
 
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i am a huge fan of Impetus and Fantasy Rules! and also am rather fond of DBA and Hordes of the Things (all those are in the data base, in case you want to look them up).

i did not "gamey" in the derogatory sense of "cheesy", but more as "something that makes sense as a game mechanic but bears no resemblance to reality as i perceive it". units are simply much too mobile and too flexible for my taste. everything else than straight forward and maybe some wheeling should be expensive in action points. the way they made it spinning your units around is quite simple. that means flank attacks and the like are not very feasible to do.

also shooting seems too unrestricted to me. also i would like to see different ranges and different effectivenes as range decreases/increases.

thanks for the toy soldier book link. looks like a lot of fun. i like toy soldierish battles.
btw: in case that site is unknown to you, http://www.freewargamesrules.co.uk/ is also a good place to visit.

as for Arcane Legions: the game is not bad and i will give it a few more trys. i do not like the collectible approach and i detest the idea of having those special figures that only are distributed via their fan club or at conventions or whereever. still, the game is quite inexpensive (if i buy moderately) and i can stil use the minis for other games, if i want to...
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Ryan Morgan
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I can see were your coming from, I hadn't studied the movement and ranged combat system as closely.

I love Miniature Game rules and am a collector of rules as much as a collector of board games.

In my mind, in order for a miniature game's rules to be truly successful it needs to carefully balance three attributes; Reality, Mechanics , and Fun. It seems to me that upon conversing with you and pondering the rules that it may be lacking in the reality department a bit.

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i do not like the collectible approach and i detest the idea of having those special figures that only are distributed via their fan club or at conventions or where ever.


While I don't mind the collectible approach too much, I'm can certainly understand not liking it and I too hate special figures. At least they did what I'd been saying since Mageknight rebellion, if we can't buy what we want at least give us faction specific boosters. At some point the big boys wanna come out and game with more than four or five figures.

Thanks for your time I really enjoy talking game.
 
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i mostly agree.

the mechanics are well thought out and i think they provide enough depth to make for an intersting game.

fun will very much depend on how the game spreads and develops. fun for me will also depend on whether i need super-duper rare minis to build competitive armies or whether a well though-out army of commons will work.

realism is a problem. even though it is silly to ask for realism in a fantasy setting (maybe even that does not matter - the realities of warfare are dull and brutal - what we want is heroic glory - something that comes from the pages of fantasy novels rather than from the battlefields of history) i still have those "feeling" (for lack of a better term) about the usage of terrain and movement lacking depths. we will see however. maybe future units have special abilities that make better use of terrain..

re-thinking it, maybe the title of this post sounds too harsh.
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Christian Busch

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This is an interesting perspective on the game, thanks! I've been playing AL since GenCon and been having fun but this is my first "wargame" type game (though many true wargamers may scoff at including this game in the genre). I think the game is very simple mechanically but I agree that one can really take this system and run with it. When I initially looked into the game I thought I'd pick it up and if it stank, I'd use the cheap minis for a 25mm game of C&C Ancients or find an appropriate wargame ruleset. After playing it, I know longer feel like I have to do that to get my money's worth.

I really, really like Ryan's opening rules thoughts on morale. I think if I adopt them though, I will stick with the simple starting concept of "broken" units losing figures from a d6 roll as it is easy to grasp and wouldn't require a lot of game delay. I might put in that you roll every time you activate the unit (move, attack, etc). Thanks, as I've been wondering how I should incorporate Morale into the game.

As for Wells selling uber units online through their club, I get the feeling that their goal with those units are more "wow" factor than exclusive uber-rare that all competitive armies must have. It seemed that they want people to want the figure because its cool and they have balanced it so that its not an army differentiator. I hope they succeed on this front as I'd hate to have to play the exclusive figure in all my armies because its too good to not play.
 
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but would not including such morale rules break the game? there is a point system (which is going to be quite important) and i am sure it makes a huge difference whether your bear cataphracts simply crumble away after taking two losses or whether they fight to the last bear.

i also hope that WE is going the road you describe and the rather acceptable release system for the game so far let me hope for the best. if it is simply "wow" i do not mind.

also: i did not mean to sound snobbish about "real miniature games". a game is a game as far as i am concerned. certain backgrounds bring with them certain expectations on how something should work, thats all.
 
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Christian Busch

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That is what I'm a little worried about, losing points to your opponent because you rolled poorly on a broken unit may swing the game even farther into a luck based system. Also, ranged can become even more dominant as infantry units scatter on their attempt to attack the archers. One last potential kink is how to deal with sorties, they are already pretty small figure-wise, will this type of rule ruin them? I guess only playtesting will tell.

I think constructs and undead units should be immune to morale, which gives one faction a huge boost in this regard. I think the commander rule you pointed out may help the whole situation and keep units moving more like how they might in an actual battle. Maybe the commander influential re-roll is to all units within one formation length?

A lot to consider since morale is not already built into the game but still fun to theorize. Also, I didn't catch any hint of snobbish-ness. I play Heroscape and now Arcane legions so even if people do end up looking down on these lighter games (which I don't feel this thread does), I have fun and that's all that matters.
 
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Ryan Morgan
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Quote:
but would not including such morale rules break the game? there is a point system (which is going to be quite important) and i am sure it makes a huge difference whether your bear cataphracts simply crumble away after taking two losses or whether they fight to the last bear.


I don't think it would break the game. Points systems are like algebra, as long as you keep the changes equal to both sides of the equation it remains equal. Because it is a universally applicable rule, 2=2 and 2+1=2+1.

Also in your example, that unit of bears has taken 4 hits to lose 2 guys. A unit of Infantry with 8 guys in it would take the exact same number of hits to become broken. Both begin testing at the same time.

So in this case the only difference in this game is that the combat may end early due to a loss in morale on one side.

This situation causes some new problems to take into consideration. What do you do if your bears/infantry break? you can't depend on every combat grinding down to the bitter end.

Which leads to another fairly realistic event. You may want to consider keeping some reserves in case your units break. No longer will the battle revolve around trying to figure out the best way to engage all your elements at once.

It is my understanding that Morale plays a significant role in ancient combat. Very few casualties actually occurred during the actual engagement (it mainly consisted of pushing against each other), most happened during the route after one sides moral collapsed.

Quote:
I really, really like Ryan's opening rules thoughts on morale. I think if I adopt them though, I will stick with the simple starting concept of "broken" units losing figures from a d6 roll as it is easy to grasp and wouldn't require a lot of game delay.


From reading your post it sounds like you may have miss understood my morale rules. When making the check on a broken unit, rolling the 3d6 for that unit only governs what the entire unit will do for the turn. No figures are lost unless you completely fail the roll, in which case the unit is removed. In all other cases the unit will only flee or act normally. I can elaborate if the rules are still unclear.

It doesn't delay the game at all and is a lot of fun. You cry when your units flee and cheer when you route the enemy. Just that little bit of uncertainty cause so much tension and excitement.


Another option if the rule seems harsh is to agree to incorporate the roll only once the entire army has hit 50% of its units

Or if you want the chaos to escalate you can incorporate the rule that once the army hits 50% of its units you remove dice that roll a 4 or less.

Also, as note, I have been using this generic morale system for a couple years now and very few units are removed entirely. this situation only occurs when you roll a 3 or less on all 3 dice which is rare.
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Ryan Morgan
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One last potential kink is how to deal with sorties, they are already pretty small figure-wise, will this type of rule ruin them?


Sorties could be given a bonus to adjust for that, say removal on a 1-2 instead of a 1-3.

But similarly to my previous post I'd argue that they were already going to collapse earlier in the game due to half as many available casualties any way. Consider this situation in trade, your sortie could just as easily charge a full strength unit and drive it off, which it may not have been able to do normally.

Most of the time with a change like this it doesn't unbalance the game it just changes it.

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I think constructs and undead units should be immune to morale, which gives one faction a huge boost in this regard.


Nah, its difficult to create constructs and undead. Thematically the Mage controlling them has lost his nerve (unit flees) or lost his power (unit routes or in this case just fell apart/turned off).

Or if you hate the idea of undead running, make it easier to Route and impossible to flee.

Say they fail on a 4 or less but cannot flee and do not benefit from leaders.

Quote:
still fun to theorize.


It is, Changing up game play and tinkering with rules is one of my absolute favorite parts of the hobby.


If you try it out let me know how it went and how you liked it.
 
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i disagree that simple algebra is the answer. even though the conditions under which you loose figures due to morale are the same to all units, it does make a huge difference on what you use. using one more guy out of a han-infantry unit is hardly a problem, while losing a bear cataphract is a big loss.

the point system in Arcane Legions obviously was thought out with the idea of every figure fighting to its death/removal by combat and changing that will affect the effectivity of the expensive units most.

personally i do not feel the need to change the system, but would rather recommend playing the game in more of a "CCG-mood".

still, if you enjoy tinkering with the rules, please proceed and let us know the results. should be interesting.
 
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Christian Busch

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I totally misunderstood your morale rules

I think they could work as well. I still fear that it will make archers more powerful as now infantry will have another hurdle to overcome before they can reach them.
 
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I disagree that simple algebra is the answer. even though the conditions under which you loose figures due to morale are the same to all units, it does make a huge difference on what you use. using one more guy out of a han-infantry unit is hardly a problem, while losing a bear cataphract is a big loss.

the point system in Arcane Legions obviously was thought out with the idea of every figure fighting to its death/removal by combat and changing that will affect the effectivity of the expensive units most.


Respectfully, I don't see why its not equal. The terrain and ranged combat rules affect all units equally. difficult terrain is still going to slow down your expensive units. Now every figure fights to its breaking point instead of to its death.As a commander you just don't know when that breaking point will be and that is were some additional planning and strategy will need to be incorporated.

Second, Its important to keep in mind that there is no formula for the points on the figures. They are subjectively placed on the units. That is why universal changes can work with little or no problem.

At any rate I'm not sure I accurately described what exactly takes place when checking moral. You really do not "loose figures."

Say a Han infantry unit of 8 guys and a Cataphract unit of 4 guys engage in combat. Each unit is dealt 4 wounds. Han loses 4 guys and cataphract loses 2.

Both Units are now at 50%. The next turn either of those units may be subject to compulsory moves. Say it is Han's turn. The controller rolls a 1, 2, 4 on 3D6. Since 2 of those dice are 3 or less the only thing the unit can do this turn is flee. That turn the unit orders itself to disengage from combat. No additional casualties are taken because of the morale check. On the next turn they roll again and may move away again if failed again or they may be able to act normally.

In extreme cases of failure (example roll, two 1's and a 3) the unit is removed completely. thematically the unit ran and was cut down or they scattered.

The units are still just as tough and just as much work needs to go into killing them, you'll just be less likely to do silly things for fear of losing them early.

The proposed and theorized rules (that I'm not suggesting anyone adopt) only dictate what action the unit must take for that turn. It simulates the fact that fear has taken over and they are no longer responding to the orders of the commander.

Quote:
personally i do not feel the need to change the system, but would rather recommend playing the game in more of a "CCG-mood".


At any rate, Moral checks are really neither here nor there. My original intention was to exemplify how easy it is to create a bit more complexity for the wargamer/miniatures gamer used to more complexity. Every person playing this game who also wants more out of it should settle on what works for them.




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Ryan Morgan
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Quote:
I still fear that it will make archers more powerful as now infantry will have another hurdle to overcome before they can reach them.


Make a big show of moving your infantry to engage and then run them down with Cavalry
 
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i did indeed misread your rules. sorry. however i think the problem still stands as is. moving away might result in the enemy charging you in an unfavortable position. anyway, i agree that not actually loosing figures makes it less dramatic.

the "not equal" thing is simple:
take 1 pot of 6 1 cent coins and 1 pot of 6 1 dollar coins. now take the pots as units and apply your rules to them (of course, make the dollars a much tougher unit ). do you see my point?

(i must however admit that i am unable to describe this in mathematical terms. my educatioin just does not allow for that.)

doing the same thing under different circumstances does not render the same results.

anyway, if the system gets out of hand and if the specials begin to rule the game, then those rule would be great to make the biggies a bit weaker.
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one pot of 6 dollar coins + rule = 100 X 1 pot of six 1 cent coins + rule
 
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but the "+ rule" part is what makes it tricky. especially as that very likely needs to be "x rule" instead of "+ rule" to work. and the rule part is pretty complex.

anyway, the more i think about it the more i like the thought of fleshing the game out a bit. it might open peoples eyes to other miniature games too, which would be a good thing i believe.
(did i mention that Impetus is a truly great game..?) ^^
 
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Does impetus have a miniatures line or is it a generic set of rules?
 
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its a generic ancients rules set (no miniature line - use whatever you like.). i think you could easily even use it for fantasy. Arcane Legions bases would work too.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/36598

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/36604
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While I have yet to play the game, I think the intellectual basis for adding morale rules is lacking here. I note two things...

a. the unit's capabilities naturally degrade as the unit takes losses due to the clever use of symbols on each of the slots. A unit with one or two figures remaining has very weak capabilities.

b. you are assuming that removing all the figures from a unit is equivalent to destroying every man in the unit. Where does it say that loss of a figure = killing everyone the figure represents? You can just as easily say that removal of the last figure on the unit represents about 50% casualties and the unit's morale has broken.

Think of it like this: my unit of 10 figures represents 100 men. Each loss of a figure represents 5% casualties. After 10 losses, the unit is at 50% strength and breaks due to morale loss. Confusion, weakening morale and actual manpower loss is why the unit starts to loose capabilities before it reaches the breaking point.

Obviously I made all this up... but my point is that the game does not specify scale or representation at all. You don't need to add morale mechanics into the system: you can simply claim it's already there by re-imagining what loss of a figure means.

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Shawn Swart
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I'm a old wargamer. I play DBA, DBM, and Warhammer Ancients. I resently got a copy of the starter. Here is my take some of these issues raised.

Morale: The game has a built in morale. When figures are removed, the unit degrades. So I see no reason to add any extra morale rules. Plus I note certain abilities in a sense are morale adjustments. Example is the Terracotta warriors. They have the ability fragile, which means when they take damage, a extra figure is downed. In a sense that is like a low grade levy unit falling apart under pressure in combat. Remember since each figures removed downgrades the unit, this unit will downgrade more quickly. That to me is morale.

Presently I see the game as a sandbox system. It is simple in nature, but easy to add more depth. I do believe that the range combat is too powerful for the time period, but again easy to fix with a simple tweak. Such as -2 dice to fire over a unit instead of -1. I can also see new abilities that allow skirmishing units to move thru friendly formations. As for Terrain, while simple now, I see no reason that it will remain that way.

It would be easy to add new terrain types to this game, such as rivers, hills, small forts and such. All you have to do is make sure the base of the terrain peice has straight edges. This game was made mainly for tourney play, but is open-ended enought for some good scenario play.
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i disagree.

surely you can see the loss off igures as casualties or as crumbling morale anyway you see fit. but the possibility for a unit to run away is not there. i think it is rather clear that the mechanics are not meant to represent morale and they dont feel as if.
 
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Shawn Swart
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Your thinking way to literal.

Figure removed do not have to mean they are dead. They can mean simple a loss of effectiveness. Removing all the figures means the unit can no longer fight. It effectiveness is gone, it is routed.

Take a good look at DBA. Stands to not rout. They just get pushed back. Then sooner or later, the stand rolls badly and the enemy doesn't and bang!, you remove the whole stand. Does that mean the unit, was completely wiped out? err... NO. I means it lost it's effectiveness to the point of removal. Once a certain number of stands are removed the Army goes into retreat, game over.

Arcane Legions represents this with victory points. So again I see no reason to add a further level of morale that is already built into the game.
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