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Subject: Ordinary Hun Riders with Bows at 5AP maybe a bit overpriced... rss

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jim tapp
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A Goth-Hun raiding force (41 AP: Hun Mtd Companions with Bow 7pt, 3xHun O. Riders with bow @5pt, 2x Goth Noble Riders @ 5pt, 3x O. Goth Warriors @ 3pt) faced off against a Patrician Roman force (41AP: Mounted Companions @ 5pt, O Riders @ 3pt, cataphracts @ 6pt, 2x Mtd Skirmishers @ 2pt,2x Noble SW @5pt, 2x O SW @3pt, 2x O Foedaerate Warriors, foot skirmishers @1pt).

The Roman horse closed quickly with the Huns to reduce their missile advantage, but were ultimately beaten comprehensively by Atila's hordes.

A flank warrior scrap pushed this way and that until the Romans gave way, leaving the mixed SW in the Roman centre high and dry, with little chance of a safe withdrawal.

A barbarian victory as the Roman house of cards collapsed.

I still can't get the mounted skirmishers to work. They throw a couple of ineffective javelins then die on contact or evade off into next week, never to return.

The Ordinary Hun Riders at 5AP seem expensive, and the Nobles/Companions with missile capability out of kilter with the whole scheme at 7AP. I would suggest giving them the bow for 1AP, otherwise a 32AP Hun warband is always going to be horrendously outnumbered. 4 and 6AP respectively doesn't strain the points system but would allow a Hun warband of 6 ordinary riders and one mounted companion all with bows, and two AP to blow on strategems or a pair of skirmishers.

Another point: at one point a Goth Noble unit crashed into two SW destroying one outright, with two hits left over. The rules say that no damage occurs to the supporting unit, but in this instance it seemed counterintuitive. Don't know what to make of that.

Found my old copy of Glutter of Ravens whilst putting everything back after decorating: how the game has moved on, and what an improvement Dan!

Happy gaming!
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jim tapp
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In fact to echo the rest of the rules I would make "Bows" like "Javelins" and "Thrown Weapons": 3AP for 5 units or less given the ability, 5AP if there are 6 or more (for a 32AP basic warband).

Thus may be giving the Huns a bit of an advantage, but they were effective, defeated all the barbarians north and west of the Euxine, humbled the Eastern and Western Empires and are bound to be diluted with other subject troops.

Killer troop type? Bear with lasers for eyes?

 
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Aaron Daniel
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Jim, I have been following your thoughts about horse archers and I might be interested in helping you playtest some ideas in my own group. We have a player with a beautiful but momentarily shelved Avar army. He likes the game, and wants to use his nomads (against my not so beautiful Carolingians).

At any rate if you want to do Chalons (I have figs for that too) I think perhaps you should look to Sumer and Akkad for inspiration. Not that they have horse archers, but you (we) might need to draw a bigger mustache on Dan...er..DB..the Mona Lisa, you know what I mean. sorry Dan.

My initial thought is that nomadic horse archers might need a new troop type. I don't think adding shooting to riders will work because it will make them too expensive, and they shouldn't be a super troop. They either need numbers or an increased shooting ability to do damage at a distance. I favor the numbers rather than the quality approach so that they can swarm around, be annoying , get around the flank, mass fire, gang up and be annoying. (I do hate playing against horse archers...did I mention that they were annoying?).

In order to do this - they probably need reduced stats as compared to normal riders. Not that Huns or Avars are necessarily afraid to fight, But if my Carolingian Milites or your Gothic cav can get their grubby hands on them, one-on-one and without getting shot up first, they should probably have the advantage against troops that would prefer to shoot and run.

I'm not sure what stats to reduce exactly for this "new" troop-type, but here is my suggestion: subtract a point of aggression, a point of protection, and a point of cohesion from riders (ouch, a pretty hefty sacrifice, but hear me out) and then add the bows from mounted Skirmishers. Keep the points the same...

Then there is the problem of evasion (I always lose Carrhae). Real men in dark age Britain don't evade - they'd rather die with spear in hand... That discussion is going on elsewhere, but I suggest my skirmish-line house-rule. Allow nomadic horse archers to use an LP to evade a charge - even if they have moved and or shot - of course they have to pass a bravery test to do so (which gives our big, and relatively slow Germans a chance to catch and kill them).

Whew! Sorry I'm so wordy.

Nomadic horse archers: Br7, Ag3, Pr4, Coh3, Shoot at 2 (2BW range), able to evade a charge with an Lp even if they have moved or shot.

Bears with lasers, bunnies with a short stick, or totally out of line ?
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Dan
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I'm thinking that I might put some time into creating a supplement for bears with lasers, bunnies with sticks (long and short), and ladies with tashes.

It's great seeing players discussing their different ideas for the game. I wanted it to be a toolkit and it sounds as thought that might be happening.
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jim tapp
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Hi Aaron and Dan. Although the introduction of a new troop type isn't ideal I do, on reflection, think that "Steppe Horse Bow" warrants its own class. The issue hinges on their power of evasion and increased mobility. Their is the age old debate about the power, range and ass kicking goodness of the recurve composite bow, but I am not going there!

Work demands has only let me play a couple of games with the Riders with Bows fix, but I do feel that they are too strong, too able in close combat. I will try out Aaron's suggestion for stats next time I play, but I can envisage no real problem with them: SHB (Steppe Horse Bow) should see off skirmishers, but be at a disadvantage against fresh Riders, that I can buy.

Evasion, hmmm. I had been thinking that SHB should have the option of moving at any point in the movement sequence, allowing them flexibility to move with the Foot, shoot and then maybe move with the Skirmishers next turn: hit and run. There's something in that I think, though an extra marker might be needed to show units that have moved already or who remain to be moved. Not insurmountable though...

What I like about Aaron's extra move for the cost of an LP is that it marks SHB out as more mobile than the other mounted, Noble Riders, for instance. I would be concerned (in principle, without any testing) that SHB would be bouncing around all over the place and too hard to catch. But that concern needs to be tested. Huns and Avars galloping 8BW per move every move is alot, however much I like them!

I have toyed with the idea of increased SHB Movement and using part to move and the rest to evade with, but that would be far too fussy.

There is the idea also of giving the SHB a Bravery roll on being charged and if passed they simply move to stay 1BW ahead of the chargers, however far they move. But there are sequencing issues there too...

I look forward to some days off to test these ideas out, after which I'll post again.

Cheers
 
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Aaron Daniel
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Hi Jim, I am glad that you are open to playtesting these ideas. It seems that we agree on a couple of points: that SHB are different enough from troops in dark age Britain that they may require a new troop type (though I agree that it is not "ideal"). We also seem to agree that cav who specialize in melee should have an advantage against SHB in melee if all else is equal - and if the SHB could be caught. We also agree that the primary advantage of SHB is mobility (along with the bow...and thanks for not going into specific technological advantages of the Hunnic bow, I think we also agree on those). Where we are unsure is how to represent that extra mobility.

We can sure discuss your ideas for increased movement rate or sequencing options, but I feel pretty strongly that if a troop is going to exercise tactical options that other troops do not have, these need to reflect on a player's LP pool - forcing tough decisions. For now, here are a few clarifications for the evasion house rule that you might wish to use for playtesting:

SHB can evade a charge if they spend an LP and pass a bravery test. An evasion move must be used to move directly away from the charger up to the full 4BW. The evasion is an interruption of the move sequence, after the evade move the charger who triggered the move is not required to follow the evader and may move however it wishes. If the evaders contact enemies - they rout (we don't want troops evading into a flank charge or anything silly like that). Groups cannot not evade; evasion must be by individual units costing an Lp per unit, and each unit must make a separate bravery test. A failed bravery test means the unit will stand and take the charge. Further Lps can be used to modify the evasion bravery test in the standard method.

Of course your free to take issue with any of these specifics, but I thought they might help to answer questions that arise during playtesting. We are going to test Avars and Franks on Thursday and I will post results.

Cheers to you as well.

 
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jim tapp
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So Aaron, how did the Avars fare?
 
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Aaron Daniel
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Sorry, Jim, that it took me so long to get back. The game was cut short because my Avar opponent was called away - so the jury is still out. We did get a few turns in.

On one flank 3 SHB faced a noble rider and an ordinary rider. They inflicted 1 COH from shooting on the nobles before I got the units into charge range. My ordinary Riders caught one of the SHB, another SHB successfully evaded the nobles who were left hanging in open ground between 2 circling horse archers. In combat my ordinary riders rolled badly and actually lost the combat - but that didn't seem like a likely event. It was looking ugly for me if the game would have continued. If I had rolled better, or even average...the flank would have been much more even. The SHB were beating me on that flank, but even while loosing I was pushing them away from the main battle - hopefully into a corner (or they were luring me into a trap depending on how you look at it...or what the final outcome would have been). It definitely felt "fluid:" Strength vs. quickness.

Meanwhile my main battle line failed to move on turn 1, while his waited for the flank outcome. I finally got the infantry rolling in my center but they had a lot of ground to cover. The use of LPs for SHB evasion didn't cost him much in the early game, but we both agreed that it may have become critical later when the melee thickened. With the rule as tested it seems that armies that rely on SHB would want to avoid the clash of the main battle lines as long as possible to maximize their shooting and maneuver. So far, I would say we were both pleased with the results (nothing wonky happened and it seemed balanced) , but we still need to give it a another go - perhaps next Thursday.

Cheers
 
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