Thanks Paddy (as I said before, Fanaticus is cheaper than therapy).
There are three stages when it comes to fixing a problem:- 1) First admit that a problem exists. 2) Find out what exactly is causing the problem. 3) Find ways of fixing the causes.
I fear we have not even reached stage one yet...
OK! So..... 1. I have a drink problem. 2. Alcohol - the cause of and solution to all life’s problems. 3. See 2 - keep drinking!
As for 4Ax - 1. Isn’t that obvious? 2. Overlaps kill 4Ax. 3. Allow Ax a move after combat to help eliminate overlaps. So try a Combat Outcome like this:
“After all combats have completed and all combat outcomes have been enacted, any Ax belonging to the phasing player that moved 2BW or less this turn AND were in combat against “solid” foot AND were not otherwise affected by any other combat outcome may conduct a post-combat move that may include a break-off from combat move of up to 1/2 BW directly backwards from the “solid” foot or position of a destroyed enemy followed by move of up to 1BW in any direction, ignoring all TZ effects from any unit they have broken-off combat from but adhering to all other TZ restrictions.”
That would restore some of 4Ax flexiblity, mobility and combat power without being overly stupid or onerous.
When doubled Aux recoil 1 BW from Pike, Blade or Spear if the combat score is an even number, else destroyed.
Stolen directly from DBR, lest folks think it my idea.
Actually Joe, that is a good thing...it’s an already tried and tested procedure from another of the DBX sister publications. If it works in DBR, why can’t it also work in DBA?
For those who want to see the mathematical ramifications, here is a bit of number crunching. Basically:- When Ax are double overlapped by Bd/Sp, they’ll have 8 chances in 36 (22%) instead of 18 chances (50%) of being destroyed. When Ax are double overlapped by Pikes, they’ll have 9 chances in 36 (25%) instead of 21 chances (58%) of being destroyed. Although I don’t think it should apply in Bad Going (where the terrain impedes evading, and Ax already has advantages).
This would certainly keep the Ax alive for longer...but what about the other flaw with 4Ax, that which nobody ever mentions? I’m talking about 4Ax having no punch, so that Romans can ignore bothering with reserves and simply form a long single line as if they were a line of Hoplites as they know they are safe from being doubled?
And “The initial Spanish charge was often powerful enough to break through even a Roman line, but if it was held, then Roman discipline and armour would usually beat them.” (Duncan Head, page 56, 1982 edition).
And “The Samnites had a very high military reputation, and seem to be the only Italian nation whose warlike qualities the Romans feared: Livy calls them warlike, brave and stubborn, fighting with more courage than hope, even in dire adversity...The Romans believed the first Samnite attack was the most dangerous, and after a while they would run out of missiles and their spirits would flag...Their infantry would usually charge fiercely and fight at close quarters rather than skirmish with their javelins; the Romans seem to have a sleight edge in such a contest, but Samnite troops worsted them more than once.” (page 62, 1982 edition).
At least giving 4Ax a +1 when fighting Bd/Sp/Pk unless in Bad Going cures both problems...they stay alive longer and have a bit more punch, making them a slight threat (4 chances in 36 (11%) if they can double overlap pursuing Blades).
And anyone who lets two 4Ax frontally attack and simultaneously hard flank a Pike column, the Pikes deserve to be destroyed! (with Aux CF of 3+1 v Pk CF of 6-1, there are 10 chances in 36 (28%) of recoiling the Pk and destroying the whole column)
Last Edit: Feb 14, 2019 0:25:48 GMT by stevie: ...Paddy's suggestion is also good, but it too fails to give 4Ax any punch...
At first sight, I quite like that DBR mechanism, gives 4Ax some staying power and helps with Cannae.
Of course, Stevie's quotes imply that the Spanish and Samnites should be 3Wb or 3Bd anyway!
The main problem is that 4Ax is used as a "default" class in the army lists. "Carry Javelin, a bit organised and with some reputation? you will be a 4Ax". Makes a mockery of the blurb about behaviour and not weapons.
No way that Almughavars or Dailamis should be 4Ax. Likewise for various "guards/elite" in Assyrians or Far Eastern armies.
If PB sees Ax as bad going specialists, fine. But then, as such specialist troops, they should be relatively rare, and never (or very rarely) form the core of an army.
The army lists are one of the main issues. Whether revising them is within the scope of 3.1 is another story ...
I like the DBR idea... The DBR rule introduces a neat random element to recoils.. does the ps flee or just recoil? Does the Cv recoil 1BW or 1/2BW and get caught flat footed? Does the Hd stand or recoil? Do the veteran legionaries get quick killed by the Dacian warband or just recoil??
Here’s another random idea unrelated to DBR: What if we rebrand 3Ax as 3Pt and call them peltasts since that’s what they really are. You could even call them heavy Ps if you want. Either way they are not Auxiliaries anymore. But let them have the 1BW recoil and fast movement As well as rough terrain etc of 3Ax.
Then we make 4Ax cv 4,3. And there is no more fast Ax. Yeah it’s kind of semantics and 4Ax would be better against light troops but they now line of battle troops who can stand up to the heavies so they can react to light troops in a similar way..
Have to consider the other movement after results idea. Intriguing.. if you want them to be ok in rough terrain, give them a -1 in rough instead of -2?
and Ps would now be destroyed if doubled by peltasts but not by auxiliaries. It’s technically a new troop type but perhaps it’s warrented.
Perhaps another tactic would be to ask what we think the percentages should be.
Let us take a classic match of 4Pk vs 4Ax. With Ax at +4 and Pk at +3 the Ax will win every time.
Two Ax vs two Pike is more difficult to calculate. One can however argue that the fight is +4 for the Ax and +5 for the Pk (double ranked)... but the Ax gets a kill on the phalanx due to flanking. Again, this seems over-powered.
Against Spear, the match is more complicated. With Ax at +4 a match against a single Spear is even in good going. In bad, the Ax is clearly superior. In a two on two match, the Spear is the winner, though the fight is more even. Again, in rough or bad going the Ax is clearly superior.
Against Blade, the +4 is an obvious help. In bad going, the Ax are marginally superior due to their greater movement rate. In the open, the Blades win in the long run.
I just can't see the +4 working.
For a DBA 4 idea. What about this?
Aux Recoil 1BW from Pike, Blade, or Spear if the combat score is an even number, else destroyed.
... which is why I use the +1 only against double-ranked Pk. Again, it targets the actual problem. And now, since it is a kind of Sp (but different -better than Sp in BGo but not in GGo), 4Ax are a viable replacement for Sp in the rugged terrain of ancient Greece. Something Iphicrates figured out and began to adopt after the results of the Peloponnesian war...
Declaring a War on Terror in response to 9/11 is like declaring a War on Torpedo Bombing in response to Pearl Harbour...
Wait a minute everybody...I have a cunning plan M’ Lord... ...a plan so cunning you could cut your teeth on it.
It’s a bit tricky to put into words, but the concept and execution are mind-numbingly simple.
Remember in an earlier post I said that there are three stages when it comes to fixing a problem:- 1) First admit that a problem exists, 2) Find out what exactly is causing the problem, 3) Find ways of fixing the causes. ...and then Paddy suggested a rather complicated way of eliminating overlaps on Ax troops, because as we should all know by now, overlaps-kill-auxiliaries. Well something Greedo just posted has given me an idea.
* Leave everything (combat factors, outcome effects) exactly as they are now. * Allow Auxiliaries (both 3Ax and 4Ax) to recoil like mounted, i.e. either their base depth or a full base width, owner’s choice. * Now comes the cunning bit...Blades pursue a full 1 BW !
The effect of this is to make a pursuing Bd sail so far past the neighbouring Ax that they are not in an overlap position! Result = Ax only ever fight one-on-one against Bd (and thus only ever have 6 chances in 36 (17%) of being doubled). Allow me to illustrate with some diagrams:-
B1 B2 B3 B4 : B2 : B4 A1 A2 A3 A4 : A2 : A4 B1 B3 ....but although victorious, the B1 and B3 fight first, trying A1 A3 Bd do not overlap A2 or A4, to double overlap A2...who fight their Bd’s one-on-one.
In effect, it is giving the Ax the power to decide their own future...they could if they wish just recoil a base depth and leave the pursuing victorious B1 and B3 themselves overlapped in the next combat round by A2 and A4.
It even solves my nagging Romans-in-a-single-line problem. If the Romans have any sense, they’ll keep some Triarii in reserve, who could advance to overlap any Ax that didn’t recoil, like this:-
T1 (T2) | : B2 T2 B4 Now A2 and A4 are overlapped by Triarii T2 that has advanced into the gap left by B3 : A2 : A4 (meaning Aux CF 2 v Bd CF 5, which is 12 chances in 36 (33%) of being doubled) B1 B3 so the Ax too must keep some reserves to fill any gaps in case of element destruction A1 A3
This extra Bd pursuit move will have no effect in the following situations:- In Bad Going (as there is no pursuit in Bad Going)... Against mounted or Ps (as Bd do not pursue these enemies)... Against Hd/WWg/CP/Lit/Cwg (as these enemies do not recoil)... Against any other recoiling element (as other elements only recoil their base depth, so Bd can only pursue a base depth).
No need for DBR random recoils...no need for an extra +1 for facing heavy foot...and Ax still get smashed by Pk columns, as the Pk columns will still overlap neighbouring Ax due to their depth, whether Pk pursue as normal or a full 1 BW. (It might look a bit odd having Bd even more impetuous than Wb, so it might be a good idea to have Wb also pursue 1 BW)
Last Edit: Feb 14, 2019 9:02:33 GMT by stevie: ...old Stevie is not just a pretty face you know...he’s not even that...
Turns out that the Athenian phalanx couldn't destroy anything without a hard flank! Not quite the outcome I wanted. I guess it's important to remember that the Army lists need to mesh with the rules. I could try the DBA-RRR odds/evens mechanic but I have decided that 3Ax is not broken. I've also shelved the group move in bad going idea unless I see something on the table that seems unreasonable. I will spend some time setting up the Thracians to see what seems best from a terrain point of view. They will be tough enough with three difficult hills.
As I am no expert on 4Ax I will sit back with popcorn and read with interest.
Does A Single Battle Matter Yes, I’m afraid it does. I’ve read lots of posts by people who bend over backwards trying to justify the DBA combat system. Oh they say... Hannibal was a genius, so his men fought better than normal at Cannae... Or the Spanish troops at Cannae were a special kind of one-off supermen... Or Hannibal was just lucky, and rolled nothing but sixes that day in 216 BC... Well Polybius (and Livy) are telling us exactly how 4Ax medium troops behaved when facing heavy foot. If we get their performance wrong at Cannae, then every engagement involving 4Ax v heavy foot will be wrong. And that affects all the Spanish Iberians, the Samnites, the Bruttians and Lucanians, the Illyrians, the Thracians, the Greek Thureophoroi, the mercenaries used to protect the phalanx flanks, the Italian Allies accompanying the Republican Romans, the Imperial Roman Auxilia that made up half the foot in Roman civil wars, and every other 4Ax you can find in the Army Lists.
Stevie, Interesting points, but let us not forget the defeciencies on the Roman side which paved the way for a Carthaginian victory. The friction between the two consuls was known to Hannibal and the skirmish action preceeding the day of battle had the desired effect to deepen the animosity between them.
On the following morning, Varro formed the greater part of the Roman army to do battle without informing Paulius, leaving those forces little room to deploy between the Aufidius River and Varro’s troops.
Despite the superior numbers over the Carthaginians, Roman troops formed a deeper deployment. Schlieffen calculates this as a frontage of 1,600 men forming 36 ranks (57,600), see footnote 3.
Ah, but Timurilank, that is an ‘unnatural formation’ for the Romans.
In the very first bound any Roman player will simply move the rear rank of blades about... ...unless you make special rules to prevent this. (See fanaticus.boards.net/post/19035/ )
I’m against having ‘special rules’ that only apply to a single battle. Anything that happens in one battle can happen in any other battle, if the conditions are the same. (Mind you, to have ‘dust throwing women on oxen’ like army II/61b you need to have a women on oxen element! But you get my point)
Anyway, if you want to know how 4Ax performed against Bd, then Polybius and Livy are telling us how.
Polybius and Livy also say that the Roman legions were double-sized Timurilank. Where would you place an extra 4 blades, but still have Hannibal with a longer battleline?
I’d have four blades in a line in the centre, two allied 4Ax flanking them, two cavalry on the wings, and the triarii and velites in reserve, and just assume that each Roman blade element represents twice as many men as a Spanish 4Ax element. ---OR--- Have the Roman blades as ‘decorative double bases’ to show their numbers but each is still treated as a single element. (See the diagrams here: fanaticus.boards.net/post/10670/ )
And I’m sorry but I simply refuse to believe that Hannibal won merely because he was lucky. Because that is what you’re saying...he was lucky due to the dissension and rivalry within the Roman command. And how can you pull off a Cannae when fighting a hypothetical random friendly game of DBA? Do you roll a die before a battle starts and on a ‘1’ you must have your heavy foot in columns to simulate this rivalry? If so, then it’s just luck again.
All this is irrelevant of course. No matter how deep the Romans were, or what happened on the wings, the fact remains that Spanish 4Ax faced Roman Bd in the centre...and both Polybius and Livy tells us how that engagement turned out.
Last Edit: Feb 14, 2019 14:01:19 GMT by stevie: ...I think Polybius and Livy are trying to tell us something...and I think we should listen...
Stevie, I think you may be expecting too much from DBA. It is a simple model of ancient warfare. Expecting it to be able to accurately recreate every battle over the course of 1500 years is pretty much impossible. It is a simple model originally based on Wb vs Bd warfare, and then expanded to cover many other periods and troop types. We can bend and twist the dang thing in knots, but at some point, the model simply may not be able to do what you want it to do.
As to Cannae, how many other, more complicated rules sets are able to recreate Cannae accurately? If it was hard for Hannibal to pull off, image how hard it is to "naturally" make it happen in a wargame, WITHOUT simultaneously messing up other battles in other periods where something totally different happened. To say that factors outside of the actual battle itself should not affect the outcome flies in the face of Sun Tzu. If the two Roman commanders were having problems, it may well have a systematic effect on how the troops are deployed, commanded, morale etc. And what's more, if Hannibal KNEW and encouraged the Roman problems, that too will affect how he deployed, and strategized, but without super complicated "cunning ploys" rules or "external factors" rules, we cannot model this in a model as simple as DBA without changing DBA into something it was never intended to be. That's where "extenuating circumstances" rules for particular battles I don't think are a bad idea.
I'm not saying Ax vs heavy foot shouldn't be changed in DBA (and the full BW impetuous 4Bd idea is also really interesting), but if we are focused so intensely on making sure that Cannae "works", we might end up with a system that doesn't work anywhere else for variety of complicated interactive reasons.
As to Polybius, this thread has gotten me to go out and buy a book about him and his Histories. I'm not brave enough to read the actual histories *yet* (Polybius' Histories by Brian C. McGing), so that's a start. Thanks for that!
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