This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

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Captain Reid
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Captain Reid »

BaronVonWreckedoften wrote: Mon May 30, 2022 7:49 am
Captain Reid wrote: Sat May 28, 2022 3:48 pm .....especially if the force also has chariot-mounted warriors operating as per the rulebook (which is not an interpretation of chariot use I am entirely at ease with).
Could you explain that a bit more and have you come up with what you see as a better rule - or set of rules - for operating chariots?

My regular opponent and I typically refer to chariots as "the nuclear option" as they are seemingly both all-conquering AND invincible (to be fair, we didn't quite "get" the rules in some of the early games and inflated their abilities/missed their limitations somewhat, but they're still pretty awesome). We have actually considered banning them from our usual "friendly" matches, but, well, it's not really Ancient Britons without them is it?
I proposed alternative rules for chariots in my Ex Adipis Suillae article in the 2020 (I think) Lardy annual.
I've revised them a wee bit since but instead of battle taxis (which I do not believe is a practical method for delivering troops in any numbers into combat simply because of 'parking issues'), they become 'heroic Fervour creating platforms'.
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Forst
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Forst »

Although close order can be useful, I find it just prolongs the fight normally, as the Romans can't inflict damage quickly. This is ok when you have other units which can come to their aid and survival is essential, but can lead to them bleeding to death slowly if no hope of relief.

I would tend to approach the ambush point in open order and in a line with one unit behind the other and the Centurion at the front.

The fanatics get 10 dice plus 3 for fervour plus 2 for the charge with fervour and possibly 2 more if they get an aggressive charge.

The Romans get 8 plus two for drill plus 3 for support plus 3 for centurion.

Result similar odds, so it's on the dice. Armour is on the Roman side so unless the dice gods intervene there is a good chance half the fanatics will die in the first round, which leaves them shattered, ready for the second round which should see them destroyed. On average the Romans loose one of two dead and 4 shock?

You then hope the Romans get the option to remove shock, and reinforce the lead unit, before the waiting Mob gets to charge!

it seems to help if you avoid fighting if possible, and just concentrate on the mission. The ability to move Roman formations sideways has let me get them out of sticky situations more than once.

I may be lucky as my variation opponents tend to be impatient and want to put troops on the table, rather than wait for the perfect ambush. I try to remove as many deployment points as possible,

I agree that the card sequence and luck of the dice can ruin any force, but it's fun to try?
Forst
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Forst »

The main problem with chariots I find, is they are classed as foot.

If they were classed as mounted when troops are on board, they would not be eligible for deployment/ambush from low terrain, so would be more limited in their arrival. The 15 inch deployment means they are often well placed for threating flanks.

I do find it odd that they can't move in broken ground, but can deploy or ambush from it?

I also find it odd that hills are low terrain, I would think that cavalry/chariots could use hills effectively to hide behind/deploy from?

You could also argue that they should have their armour value reduced by one when receiving missile casualties as most damage would be to horses and from the subsequent crashes!

I have also toyed with a house rules that ambushes need to role a d6 and fail on a 1. They then get treated as a deployment stopping 4inches short.
Sincilbanks
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Sincilbanks »

Forst wrote: Tue May 31, 2022 10:01 am The main problem with chariots I find, is they are classed as foot.

If they were classed as mounted when troops are on board, they would not be eligible for deployment/ambush from low terrain, so would be more limited in their arrival. The 15 inch deployment means they are often well placed for threating flanks.

I do find it odd that they can't move in broken ground, but can deploy or ambush from it?

I also find it odd that hills are low terrain, I would think that cavalry/chariots could use hills effectively to hide behind/deploy from?

You could also argue that they should have their armour value reduced by one when receiving missile casualties as most damage would be to horses and from the subsequent crashes!

I have also toyed with a house rules that ambushes need to role a d6 and fail on a 1. They then get treated as a deployment stopping 4inches short.
We've always played that if you place your ambush marker on one side of a hill then it qualifies as low terrain to anything coming from the other direction... (ie hiding behind the crest)
Sincilbanks
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Sincilbanks »

Forst wrote: Tue May 31, 2022 7:07 am Although close order can be useful, I find it just prolongs the fight normally, as the Romans can't inflict damage quickly. This is ok when you have other units which can come to their aid and survival is essential, but can lead to them bleeding to death slowly if no hope of relief.

I would tend to approach the ambush point in open order and in a line with one unit behind the other and the Centurion at the front.

The fanatics get 10 dice plus 3 for fervour plus 2 for the charge with fervour and possibly 2 more if they get an aggressive charge.

The Romans get 8 plus two for drill plus 3 for support plus 3 for centurion.

Result similar odds, so it's on the dice. Armour is on the Roman side so unless the dice gods intervene there is a good chance half the fanatics will die in the first round, which leaves them shattered, ready for the second round which should see them destroyed. On average the Romans loose one of two dead and 4 shock?

You then hope the Romans get the option to remove shock, and reinforce the lead unit, before the waiting Mob gets to charge!

it seems to help if you avoid fighting if possible, and just concentrate on the mission. The ability to move Roman formations sideways has let me get them out of sticky situations more than once.

I may be lucky as my variation opponents tend to be impatient and want to put troops on the table, rather than wait for the perfect ambush. I try to remove as many deployment points as possible,

I agree that the card sequence and luck of the dice can ruin any force, but it's fun to try?
You might be right about close order, however the advice from Rich seemed to be that the Romans need to wear the barbarians fervour away and use their sigma cards to recover shock thus "outlasting" the Barbarians?
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Captain Reid
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Captain Reid »

The thing is the barbarian can choose who he ambushes with (cards allowing). Preparing for fanatics by going one up, one back and in open order is what happens if you're ambushed by a mob of two groups of noble warriors with the warlord who are side by side. Even with just three Fervour (minimum possible, that's generating 33 dice (presuming a Signa is spent on Aggressive Attack).

33 dice playing 16 is not great for the Romans.

Let's say 36 vs 18, just to make the averages a bit easier to deal with. The proportions are almost identical.

36 dice is 6 Shock and 6 Kills+Shock. Half these latter are cancelled by the Roman armour. So 9 Shock and 3 Kills. Lead Group therefore has now 5 men and 4 Shock, rear Group, 8 men and 5 Shock.

18 dice generates 3 Shock and 3 Kills. One of these kills is saved. Barbarian Groups have 9 men and 2 Fervour/9 men and 1 Fervour.

Romans lose combat by one.

Next round fought immediately. Romans now have two dice fewer, so 14, Barbarians now have 28 dice. Still 2:1.

Even allowing the Romans luck, and so giving them the same hits as before, they're going to end up battered with their lead Group at half strength or below and with heaps of Shock on both Groups. The Barbarians by contrast will have 2 Groups of 8 men with maybe a point or two of Shock.

Even a mob of 3 Warriors (the other alternative from the 54AD list) will batter the legionaries from an ambush.

Approaching an ambush point with fewer than 3 Groups in a formation is in my view a recipe for disaster. Forcing them to trigger the ambush on a trivial unit (allied horse), or lose the Ambush Point is much better. And better still oif numerous APs have been degraded/removed pre game.

Romans need cavalry (which is quite historic, really)
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Waterhorse
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Waterhorse »

Hi Folks,

Haven't been around for a while, so I'm not sure if its a comfort, or otherwise, that this topic has reappeared! The good Captain Reid providing wise council and insight in this regard in previous discussions I was involved in, continues to do the same, I note.

Cutting to the chase, the kind of things mentioned in this thread have had me on the verge of binning Infamy on numerous occasions. So much so I/we gave up on the kind of micro adjustments and debate I have seen thus far and went for the Nuclear Option!

We decided that in there somewhere was a reasonable game with reasonable mechanics struggling to get out and that the obstacle to progress was the entire existence of Ambush/Deployment points. So we ditched them, entirely. No adjustments, no tactics, no faffing around trying to solve the unsolvable - out, gone, departed, slung, finished with, Kaput! With one exception, Ambush from within or behind Warriors is unchanged.

The rules in connection with Baseline areas and deployment are now all we use and we get a game we like to play. Ambush/Deployment points don't make these rules, or the resultant game. They wreck it. Without them you can concentrate on the rest and not permanently be fixated on their existence and how they influence game play and tactics to the exclusion of all else. As a result Romans get a chance to do something other than fret.

Did they worry when patrolling the frontier, probably, I would. Did they get shafted by Hairy People who knew where they were going to go every time they went out, probably not. Did the aforementioned Hairy People have the ability to teleport to the best Ambush point and decide just how many men they could, or would, commit from it? Or change their minds when they "saw" a better option suddenly appear? No.

Its only a game, I hear you say. OK but lets have one that's not permanently tilted.

To add further. I agree with the idea of Chariots as IFVs is nonsense and that Roman Cavalry is ignored to the point of extinction but without Ambush/Deployment points, quite a bit of those negatives are mitigated against.

To assist this we have binned the "Army Lists", which are only suggestions anyway, and now tend to play games where the Romans always have Cavalry present and the overall force for both sides is generally around the 140 - 150 point mark and contains a total of seven or eight units.

I have five predetermined lists for Cohors Equitata and five for Cavalry Alea. A pre game dice roll picks the lucky winner for each outing and they take their chance from there.
Forst
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Forst »

Would adding a rule that ambushes require 2 sigma PER GROUP, be a runner?

And /or a roll of normal movement dice rather than fixed distance so it could fail?

This would make them much more difficult to launch!

At least the Romans can react to normal deployment,
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Captain Reid
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by Captain Reid »

I make ambushers roll for movement (but allow them Step Out as part of the Ambush move. I also allow an Ambushed Unit to react if the enemy have to move further than their normal deployment distance.

Doing away with Ambush points completely seems quite radical, but I can see the merit. I also wonder about making Ambush Points akin to Moveable Deployment Points in SP. So say (and this is just off the top of my head), they begin in your Deployment Zone and you get up to one per Leader. They move up to 12" when their Leader chip is drawn but must cease movement if they come within 12" of an enemy Ambush Point or Deployment Zone, or if they enter the line of sight of an enemy Unit. You'd need to tie Leaders and Units to specific Ambush markers, but it'd allow for use of terrain to conceal one's approach.
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runninghorse74
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Re: This is incredibly frustrating as the Romans

Post by runninghorse74 »

I do think it is hard for the Romans and very hard for them against chariots.
I haven't used imperial Romans that much but have used late Republican.
When building a force I look at the opponents
If they are mainly foot like the germans then you can purchase another legionary group and then top up with cavalry and/or tribal skirmishers - these allow Romans to have ambush points.
This all depends on points rolled for.
Don't forget caetrati with their flexible drill.

Against possible mounted opponents Britons in chariots and even Gauls with there noble cavalry my first few support options are cavalry, Numdian and Spanish both have advantages and you can have Roman mounted warriors as well.
So this allows a possibility of 3 extra cavalry units, again depending on points rolled.
But the chariots are still difficult to operate against.
I have tried successfully and unsuccessfully using the table edge to secure a flank whilst moving my troops.
So far I see the Romans need to take their time advancing and even not moving a turn if it means keeping the whole force together to mutually support.
This does mean the game can be slow but once familiar with the rules declining a turn can mean the game does move quick enough.
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