I play tested “LH or groups entirely of LH move for 1/2 PIP” a couple of years ago and it works really well to redress the balance of the game that is currently weighted heavily against LH heavy armies. It doesn’t make LH a super-unit, but using that house rule they are no longer just weak cavalry as they are under RAW. Certainly historical match ups are better represented with this house rule. Not sure I tried a free initial move when play testing but think it may allow LH to get into a compromising position and then not be able to get out of it again.
This is why I called for play testing. We have found this to be quite a useful and powerful add for LH. The problem of course is that "we" are a small group. A much larger group of players with different styles and experience levels are needed to produce a wider range of opinions. I have seen this leave some armies quite flatfooted if the terrain is correct.
In big battle games, the effect seems less, though on occasion it has lead to an effective flank attack early.
My big battle experience is unfortunately limited with this... simply because of limited time.
I’ve been doing some playesting of these new proposals…not as full battles I should point out, but as two or three bound scenarios. This is so that I can explore their full potential in various situations, many of which wouldn’t occur in a single game. Besides, the LH suggestion only applies in the first bound, and then it’s business as usual.
LH Moves For Free In The First Bound This is almost like deploying the LH second, after seeing your opponent’s deployment, as they can move about quite freely in the first bound and are not dependent on the the PIP roll.
However, it is very much a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ proposition, meaning the LH will have to move in the first bound or this new rule will have no effect. It also means that armies with only a few LH can zoom off on their own but will then become vulnerable to concentrated enemy attacks. To move the the LH as a group with other elements, for some protection, will still cost PIP’s.
So it is only really useful if you have lots of LH. And even then it only counts in the first bound. In short, its effect is rather minimal, and does not really have that much impact…except to save a few PIP’s in the first bound.
The problem with the LH subsequent move ability in DBA is they need better PIP luck to use it. In other words, LH only really gets to use their ability if they have more PIP luck than the enemy. And any army getting more PIP luck is halfway to being victorious anyway. In other words, LH need luck to win…other elements can still win with less luck, making LH weak.
What would be much more effective is to allow LH to make their first move in every bound free. This is similar to Paddy’s “LH only pays ½ a PIP to move” suggestion (which works quite well). LH will be able to zip about and dance around their opponents, and only need PIP’s for extra moves. Whichever method is used, they’ll finally become a force to be reckoned with, instead of being the poor quality weak wimpy luck dependent version of Cavalry they are at present.
(Another thing that would help the LH underdogs is to allow them to ignore corner-to-corner overlaps, like Psiloi. Light skirmishing Psiloi armed with missile weapons ignore such overlaps presumably because they want to keep their distance and avoid hand-to-hand combat. So why can’t skirmishing LH, especially Horse Archers (!) do the same?)
Interestingly, the historical accounts of LH engagements presents us with something of a paradox. Knights beat Cavalry (CF 4 v CF 3), Cavalry beats Light Horse (CF 3 v CF 2, and if the LH has rear support they’ll have a shorter battleline…still a disadvantage), while Light Horse beats Knights (with a ‘quick kill’). So in DBA the best mounted counter to Light Horsemen is Cavalry. Yet Roman Cavalry were constantly confounded by Numidian light mounted javelinmen…not only during the Punic Wars but also later, making the Marian Roman conquest of Numidia a tough proposition. Allowing LH to zip about freely, by whichever method, would address this and be more historical.
Elephants Flee From Shooting On An Equal Score Try as I might I can find no good historical accounts of Bows, let alone Artillery, against Elephants. This doesn’t mean there are no such accounts…it just means I haven’t found any (at least, not yet). But one thing thing I constantly come across is how the ancients deployed their Elephants. And in just about every battle they had them in a long thin skirmish line in front of their entire army.
At Bagradas in 255 BC the Spartan mercenary Xanthippos had 100 of them in front of the Carthaginians. At Zama in 202 BC Hannibal had 80 of them in front of his Gauls, Ligurians and light skirmishers. Every Macedonian Successor army placed their Elephants, if they had them, in front of their army. Even during Caesar’s Civil War the Romans had their Elephants out in front of the entire army.
But in DBA, having Elephants in front of your troops is complete madness, due to recoils (and fleeing). Were the ancient commanders stupid and we DBA players far more intelligent? Or is the way DBA treats recoiling and fleeing Elephants not quite right? Did the ancients know something that we don’t know? (well…they didn’t have to abide by the DBA rules!).
What I am trying to say is the more deadly we make recoiling and fleeing Elephants, the less likely players are going to have friendly troops behind them…yet every ancient commander in every ancient battle did.
One possible solution to this paradox is to tone down the recoiling and fleeing Elephant effect. All the ancient accounts say Elephants didn’t ‘trample’ and destroy those behind them. But they certainly disordered them. This can be better simulated by borrowing a rule from HoTT:- Have recoiling and fleeing Elephants bursting through those behind them, causing them to flee. This would result in those behind temporarily fleeing, creating a gap in the battleline, leaving adjacent friends vulnerable to overlaps, and requiring PIP expenditure and time to reform. That seems to more closely fit the historical accounts than having troops permanently destroyed.
In short, if Elephants flee on an equal score from shooting, then tone down their rampaging effects. Otherwise no player will put friends behind them…even though this was common practise in reality.
Last Edit: Sept 13, 2021 19:44:50 GMT by stevie: ...good ideas...but on their own are not really effective...or have unfortunate side-effects...
Stevie: Regarding LH We have had some success with the free first move of the game... I do need to see if others have the same.
Regarding El Yes, this is a rough one. Not only do we have multiply types of deployment for elephants... not something that DBA can handle well (Tactica II takes a stab at it)... but we also don't have a large number of good English sources (of which I am aware) of Elephants directly interacting with shooters. We do know that the Indians did have large numbers of bowmen... they however were not the best troops.
The flee on ties works in another Flee result... which I think fun and takes El down a notch... which I think is warranted. I initially was considering +4 vs shooting... putting them back to 2.2 levels... but there was lots of howling and gnashing of teeth on that one.
Stevie: I initially was considering +4 vs shooting... putting them back to 2.2 levels... but there was lots of howling and gnashing of teeth on that one.
Yes….it’s amazing how a rule in the the old DBA 2 ruleset that for 20 years was treated as gospel and an empirical guide to how ancient warfare was fought, and was vigorously defended as such, has now been suddenly consigned to the rubbish bin and a brand new dogma has replaced it.
Oh, one more thing about your “LH moves for free in the first bound”. It also allows what I call ‘the star burst effect’…. ….deploy an all LH army in a single line, and since the LH move for free they can zoom into any formation they like for no PIP cost (as if they had out-scouted the enemy and deployed second).
Even only having a few LH elements can be useful. Move a group of elements for a PIP, then move any available LH to protect their flank for free. (Paddy’s “LH only pays ½ a PIP to move” has a similar effect, but is less artificial and ‘gamey’)
Last Edit: Sept 13, 2021 22:06:54 GMT by stevie: ♫ "Things can only get better" ♪...☺
I'll my add my bit in the light that Stevie's observations are very relevant.I've toyed with the free move issue for LH for a couple of days now having Early Hu,Hsuing nu and Juan Juan armies to test this proposed rule with. Unfortunately, I'm not impressed in that like Stevie I find it only really counts as a re-deployment at best and no bearing on the performance of LH for the rest of the game.Maybe allowing the LH the free move after their opponnent has made their first movement in the game,but this is open to exploitation and really Paddy's suggested rule is far better at resolving the issue by allowing more opportunity for the LH to overlap and flank.
As for the elephant flee rule,this is not so off the mark.Indian armies may have spread elephants across their front when they deployed but often deployed most almost universally in their center.Later Indian armies adding fireworks and artillery to the battles which seemingly didn't have to much of an adverse effect due to the training of the elephants.We are however told that targeting of the mahouts was a real threat to the control of the elephants and certainly worked when the Timurids attacked the Delhi Sultanate.