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Obscader



Joined: 04 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:08 pm
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The problem is sword+shield armed infantry having no utility beyond being meat-shields.

From a game balance perspective I have no qualms with the costing of long weapons, I suppose it is more of a 'why are my swordsmen so shit?!?!? Evil or Very Mad ' thing.

I believe ole Rocket Toad would be a great chap to back me up here, when discussing the metagame moving toward legions of long weapon armed troops with only special/skill 3/magical blade o'death troops being taken to the utter detriment of the poor regular sword trooper.

From a personal perspective, I have crippled my Skaven Master warriors by giving them sword+shield as opposed to two hand weapons. I just do not fear facing or have any confidence in these ordinary grunts. Does no one else feel this way Shocked ?

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Obscader



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:22 pm
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I do like the status quo with goblins though.

Spearmen have shields but no strength one.
Polearms have strength one but no shields.

There's a bit of a trade-off going on there.

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magokiron



Joined: 15 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:09 pm
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Obscader wrote:
I do like the status quo with goblins though.

Spearmen have shields but no strength one.
Polearms have strength one but no shields.

There's a bit of a trade-off going on there.


Tell me about that, as I'm a Gobbo player most of the time!

That is the kind of decition you should be faced with, when taking long weapons.

One of my main concerns, is that long weapons can SKIRMISH, charge an enemy, get the +3" movement bonus, get an insane number of model in contact, AND fight in two ranks (but they're skirmished, do you remember?) WITH FIRST STRIKE for the first turn.

Maybe just saying that long weapons can fight thru a mate ONLY when RaF, may fix this, but as they are right now, they still seem like no-brainers IMO.

Khazadson's calculations about being cheaper to have a seconds attack may be correct, but actually the army lists don't have many of those to choose from.

As an extreme example, a royal samurai has 2/3 (1) first strike. And they aren't elite either.

I don't think even elves has a unit like that. C'mon, give a break!

Long weapons (spears) certaily were very popular because they were quick, easy and CHEAP to produce, but most proffessional soldiers will fight with a sword.

The "perfec army" in history, Romans, used SHORT SWORDS (gladius), and the pilum (javelin) was used as a thrown wepon to hinder an open charge form the enemies.

Romans used and assimilated all kind of weapons and fighting styles, so they became the best.

And they used short swords.

But in AoA game terms, a long weapon is far more effective than a hand weapon.

Is there a lesson to be learned somewere?

Think about it.

Best wishes.

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Khazadson



Joined: 04 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:01 pm
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Well I can say by the responses that there are 2 problems and neither of them are due to spears.

1: Sword and shield sucks bad
2: The army lists [CENSORED] bad

I get what people are saying about the Romans being elite and using swords, but they were ELITE. They were like the samurai that mag posted. High skill, high training et cetera. If you think that should be the norm you are crazy imo. Spear armed troops dismantled poorly trained and equipped folks, that should remain the same. Considering the elite type swordsmen I posted seems to follow exactly what you are saying, I'm really starting to think that your only issue is with your lists.

Normal swordsmen are good meat shields, what's wrong with that? Meat shields have a lot of useful tactics associated with them. Elite swordsmen do exactly what you are wanting them to do!! and spearmen are following their roles nicely.

Those 3 groups seem to be working great imo, I'm just unsure of exactly what you want. Considering what you want is ordinary swordsmen to be better, can I suggest leaving LW alone and focusing on swordsmen? I dunno, how about giving them a parry bonus like in WFB?
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Zinkala



Joined: 13 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:56 am
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If you want swordsmen to be elite maybe the stats should be increased to reflect that instead of changing how long weapons work? Or give your spearmen lower morale, armour or skill or all of the above to reflect their lower quality. I personally don't think that sword and shield units are crap or that long weapon units are much better. I run both types of units in several armies. I am guilty of doing something similar to what Magokiron wants in lists that I design where I have an improved swordsmen for whatever was the elite unit for that army.

We also need to keep in mind that swordsman is a vague title that could mean a lot of different things depending on the army it's in. It's a catch all term for any hand weapon. A goblin swordsman might only be fighting with an over sized butter knife. Elf swordsmen have strength bonuses that human swordsmen don't. It seems that we have more of a problem with varying interpretations of what certain weapons and units should be classified as instead of a real problem with the rules at all.

Obs, in the CCF guidelines we said that crappy long weapons(goblin or barbarian spears for example) are Str 0, good spears(most of them in the lists) are Str 1 and longer polearms are Str 2 and no shields. Some of use feel that to simulate long pikes like the swiss used adding phalanx is a good way.

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Shelfunit



Joined: 03 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:07 am
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Khazadson wrote:

Given the assessment that spearmen are costed correctly, I can't help but feel it is simply perception that leads to them being more popular.

I have to confess that I like spearmen and often have one to two units in my army. I have never felt they over performed, nor have I ever felt that my opponents spearmen were particularly difficult to deal with. On top of that I always find room and uses for my other troop types.

I am really surprised at the seemingly unanimous idea that something needs to be done about them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... What's the problem again?


In a very poor way this was a point I was trying to get across in my last post Khazadson - which you answered perfectly Very Happy
If the maths has been proven to be correct then the only reason for this thread is personal opinion (however fairly) that swordsmen are "better" than spearmen in combat. If this is the case then simply increase swordsman skill levels (inclusive of cost increase)?

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Elvenblade
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:42 pm
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The issue I have is the lack of tactical depth.

At present spears are essentially beefed up swordsmen. Apart from generally being historically incorrect it doesn't sit well from a cinematic perspective for me. Yes, long weapons were very useful but they had their functional issues, namely no good at close combat and issues with movement and not being able to react quickly to flank threats. In AoA they are simply better than swords. What I really want to see is some functionality in their use so you have think about when best to use them. At the moment they are hard hitting swords, able to focus a large number of attacks. They have no limitations on armour or movement or deployment.

We have already shown that spears are costed about right when you pitch an equal points value of spears vs swords. However simple maths/odds excludes a couple of points that the game as a whole affects. Firstly most players will have infantry block of about 20-25. This gives good morale mods but keeps you under the missile +1 hit mod. Because of this a lot of spears end up being the same size. Try to match them head to head and the swords have to be a very large unit with the movement and missile issues that causes. The counter to this is "get 2 units of swords and flank them". As I said, easier said than done. I used to run 2 spear blocks of 25 and rarely got flanked. Why? its not coz i'm a super general, far from it. Its because on a 6x4 table with a 4k army and a few bits of scenery there simply isn't much room to to get an extra unit round on the side whilst another unit is getting chewed by the spears.

Spears are just as maneourvarable as swords. They have no restictions on how they are organised. I often used to run them 6 or 7 wide but I did that with swords too unless I wanted to minimize frontage. In a way spears are more manoeuverable as they can move and shape themselves just like any other unit and still get double the attacks to the front.

I don't want to see them have restictions on what skill levels they can have as this goes against the ethos of the game and the CCF. What I want to see is some features than enforce some tactical conisderation to their deployment. Not the current 2 dimensional approach.

The same goes for Cavalry. At the moment they are little more than fast moving infantry with an extra attack. I'd like to see spears and cav function differently to normal infantry. Points can be costed afterwards, its the function that counts for me. I want to have to think about how and when spears are best used, what are their achilles heal and how can I protect it. Simply making them the same as swords in the worst case is too shallow. I am also not interested in their relative cost to double weapon units at the moment either. The CCF is a separate issue to the way certain units function.

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magokiron



Joined: 15 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:48 pm
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Elvenblade wrote:
The issue I have is the lack of tactical depth.

At present spears are essentially beefed up swordsmen.

...

The same goes for Cavalry. At the moment they are little more than fast moving infantry with an extra attack. I'd like to see spears and cav function differently to normal infantry. Points can be costed afterwards, its the function that counts for me. I want to have to think about how and when spears are best used, what are their achilles heal and how can I protect it. Simply making them the same as swords in the worst case is too shallow. I am also not interested in their relative cost to double weapon units at the moment either. The CCF is a separate issue to the way certain units function.

You said it pretty well my friend.

It's not an issue with the CCF, but the rules mechanics what is failing here.

Elvenblade wrote:
I don't want to see them have restictions on what skill levels they can have as this goes against the ethos of the game and the CCF. What I want to see is some features than enforce some tactical conisderation to their deployment. Not the current 2 dimensional approach.


True. We don't want to lower spearmen skill or rise swordsmen skill. It's the way they are used in the battlefield what seems wrong, because they are the ususal choice.

Appart from no many armies having "two weapons infantry" as has been suggested, the point is, swordsmen (or warriors with hand weapon and shiel for that matter as Zink has pointed out) should be more useful than they are now IMO.

And actually, as you are paying (using the current CCF) for movement, morale, armor, etc, I'm not so shure about 2 swordsmens costs compared to 2 speramen, because they lose the second attack from the second rank.

I insist, one of my main issues is Skirmish spearmen gaining ALL BONUSES that a long weapon has, provided the unit were in RaF.

That just don't seem right to me.

Cavalry is a completely sepparate matter EB, and has been discussed before.

I'm in the line of thinking were a cav model gains a 1/2 (1) ramming or something like that, but ...

Bets wishes.

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Elvenblade
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:17 pm
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lets not start the cav debate here Very Happy


the point is if the game is to have these different units then I'd like to see them function differently from each other. That is just my preference though. Perhaps I am looking for another level of detail that others consider will slow the game unnecessarily. Both are valid view points.

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Zinkala



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:31 pm
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EB, I understand what you're getting at. You need to decide how you want the various units to be differentiated and then you can work on stats and values. It's more about what our various opinions are on what abilities a unit should have. How do cavalry differ from infantry in combat, how do swords differ from spears, etc? How detailed do we want to get? Thane's opinion on many things like this was that it's already detailed enough for him and dhe didn't want to slow the game down. Understandable as the speed of play is a big drawing point for lots of us.

So I'm interested in what people think the functions of certain weapons were and how they could fit into the AoA framework without changing too much. How did the tactical use of certain weapons differ from others? I've read a lot but it's obvious my opinions aren't the same as some other people's.

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magokiron



Joined: 15 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:36 pm
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You're right Zink. And I insist: It's a matter of rule mechanic, not CCF.

It's RULES about how different kind of weapons work.

With all that has been said...

Maybe is time to start saparate threads at the "Rules Development & House Rules" subforum?

Best wishes.

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Khazadson



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:16 am
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magokiron wrote:

Maybe is time to start saparate threads at the "Rules Development & House Rules" subforum?


Please do. I am all for maximising tactical options, I can see where you guys are coming from and I would be interested to see where is goes.
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Obscader



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:37 pm
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Ooops, my bad on this one.

I simply assumed that no one looked on the Rules and Development forum so I posted it here.

That nice Mr.Elvenblade has the power to move threads and mountains I hear!!!!!

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Sukhe_Bator



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:17 am
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I've come into the debate quite late with only a novice's grasp of the rules but what do Marrian players out there think?
The Romans were swordsmen par excellence and fully able to hold their own against spear and shield armed barbarians. Yes it was the Roman's close order tactics and armour that helped, a direct development of Greek Hoplite tactics, and yes they used the Pilum, but that was thrown to disorder troops before contact. Their standard tactic was to fix the enemy spear point on a shield and barge forward until there was a gap in the enemy line they could exploit. It was precisely to counter such tactics that the development of the phalanx came about. With more points and a thicker hedge of spears to negotiate before the enemy could reach the spearmen it made it harder for a sword armed attacker to chop and barge his way past. Thus the Push of Pike evolved.
If AoA places the Marrians at too much of a disadvantage against spear armed enemies, I'd say the rules were a little skewed.

Ranked troops were not all about the number of people who could actually use their weapons at any give time, but the ability to close the gaps quickly, add mass and maintain cohesion as casualties were inflicted on the front rank... Read Steven Pressfield's Thermopylae novel 'Gates of Fire' for an excellent depiction of Hoplite tactics. If there were a mechanism to reflect the support this gives, it might enable swordsmen to stand up against spears better...?

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Khazadson



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:00 am
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I would like to highlight your description of elite swordsmen vs average or possibly even below average spearmen. This is the point I am trying to make, just because highly trained swordsmen with well thought out tactics and excellent equipment could beat "barbarian" spearmen, does not mean the dynamic between spears and swords in AoA is incorrect or unbalanced.

In fact it would tend to back up the idea that they are balanced. Spend the points on spears, or spend them on armour/skill/pilum/str et cetera.
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