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"How does shooty cav work ?" Topic

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Nikator13 Sep 2012 8:45 a.m. PST

For quite awhile I have heard about the dominance of shooty cav armies. I have always preferred mobile armies, so decided to try out Sassanid persians (drilled and undrilled, Kushans, Mongols, and Huns with superior shooty cavalry. Success has been-er-mixed. If you skirmish, you get run down by lancer cav, knights, or elephants, and charged off by foot. Your shooting is not all that effective, apart from the occasional dice miracle.You can't maneuver anymore, because any competent opponent will move up and pin you and you can't back off. If you go 2 deep, you better be prepared for melee against whatever you're facing, and you basically have no impact POAs unless your opponent is fool enough to face you with medium foot. Average medium foot with bows or longbows, even unprotected ones, will outshoot you unless you stack up 2 units against one, putting your flanks at hazard, and even this doesn't work against a long line of archers.

I suspect I just have not discovered the secret formula to shooty cav dominance. Anybody care to divulge it, or am I simply doomed to plugging away with my shooty LH, which so far are much easier, shoot just about as well, and don't seem to die with such alarming frequency?

Rich Bliss Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2012 9:08 a.m. PST

This has been a problem for me irish every set of ancients rules I've ever used. Scythians, Parthians, Sakhae, etc just can't win a battle. I'll stop searching for a set of rules once I find one that will let Carrhae play out correctly.

Yesthatphil Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2012 9:43 a.m. PST

There is an art to it, certainly … However the combination of Cav in a single rank being able to shoot 1 die per base, but evade if they need to can be quite effective.

Superior re-rolls will give your archery a fair chance against all but the heaviest opponents, and your sword will count for the melee rounds. Armoured horse archers can be particularly effective.

Superior tests should mean you have a good chance of surviving losing an impact phase to lancers, after which you may well have the edge. Foot you may may well have to have several cracks at but most of the stuff you definitely would lose melee to is both slower and more expensive than you are …

Played well, it is difficult to counter (though I know what I would do …) but I'm not sure Rich Bliss would get Carrhae exactly (for specific battle you would need tuned rules I believe..)..

That said, Parthians are a good pick and can perform very well. Their combination of cataphracts with horse archers, of course, is not what most FoG players mean by 'shooty cavalry' (by which they normally mean _heavy horse achers … protected and armoured cavalry with bow and sword, preferably drilled and graded superior)

Good luck


WCTFreak13 Sep 2012 11:59 a.m. PST

the new fog should make it even more easier and in our last tournament in Germany a shooty Ayyubid became third (played by a noob)….

listlurker13 Sep 2012 12:10 p.m. PST

V2 allows cav in a single rank to do a 180 , 3", then a 180 to retire in the face of the enemy like skirmishes do now. That will stop them getting pinned by heavier cav types and facing a risky evade.. To allow continued shooting

Makes them a bit better.

Nikator13 Sep 2012 1:18 p.m. PST

I've seen some info on V.2 and my Sassanids will get drunk and celebrate when copies become available, but with the whole electronic-only release fiasco and no release date in sight, I am wondering how to get these troops to work for me under v.1, which I suspect will continue to be played for some time yet.

@Phil- thanks for the advice- tried most of that, found it somewhat unsatisfactory-just got caught evading far too often. Pikes move up to less than 1" away and keep charging until they get lucky. You only get to shoot at them every other turn or so. Same with any heavy foot, a lot of which you really do not want to fight. Of course, one tries to keep one's distance from lancers, but they only have to roll not to charge once to make getting away with skirmishing a crapshoot, and losing impact means a lot of the time you are meleeing at a serious disadvantage. Even if you make your checks and don't lose cohesion or a stand, the melee is exactly even unless your opponent runs protected lances- Santa Claus has sent me few opponents so foolish.

Anyway, I know some people are very successful with such troops, so the failure must be mine- just looking for free advice on how to make the lil'fellers work.

Marshal Mark13 Sep 2012 2:14 p.m. PST

I think you need a combination of bow armed LH and armoured cavalry. Then aim to put the LH in front of the enemy troops and the cavalry on the flanks.

Korvessa13 Sep 2012 3:53 p.m. PST

i Think the main problem is that tables are typically waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too small to accurately reflect horse archers at their best.

art of war miniatures Inactive Member13 Sep 2012 7:44 p.m. PST

when you evade from the pike charge only return to a distance of between three to four inches that way you get to shoot three times before you have to evade again.

Dexter Ward20 Sep 2012 6:58 a.m. PST

When you say you want Carrhae to play out correctly…..

For the first day, the Parthians shoot at the Romans all day, and nothing much happens. That's what happens in many wargame rules, too.

It's only on the second day, when the Roman commanders are dead and the army tries to retreat and they are low on water and their morale is low that the Parthians can beat them.

There's a wargame myth that the Parthians shot the Romans to pieces at Carrhae. They didn't; the Romans ran out of water, their morale failed, and they were ridden down. And half the army still managed to make it back to safety.

Marshal Mark01 Oct 2012 9:14 a.m. PST

Scythians, Parthians, Sakhae, etc just can't win a battle

Parthians are ranked 35 and Skythian ranked 52 out of 120 armies in FOG (ranking armies by average points per game and only considering armies with >50 games). So they are both in the top half of the most popularly used armies. They can certainly win games.
5 out of the top ten ranked armies rely heavily on shooty cavalry or LH.
Shooty cav are powerful in FOG, but it takes some practise to be successful with them.

Ryryd ap Gwerstan Inactive Member02 Oct 2012 5:43 a.m. PST

We play with bow-armed cav quite a bit. Early on, we found the same kinds of issues. Then we changed our way of thinking: Cavalry is not fast infantry and infantry is not slow cavalry. Each has its own role in a battle. Cavalry are exploitation troops. Deployment of the army and maneuver of infantry creates weaknesses in the enemy in localized areas. Cavalry moves in quickly to exploit those weaknesses. Bow-armed cavalry have the additional advantage of being able to exploit at a distance, followed by charging. They can then disengage (break-off) and do it again. Wash-Rinse and repeat. Because cavalry are often Superior, they can tolerate cohesion checks well. Put a general with them and they can be very effective. (They fight better in the impact and if they fail they can break-off, restore cohesion, and come back fresh.) Play with this a bit in limited test engagements. I think you will like the results. (As an aside, this is also the way to make seemingly useless light chariots into meat grinders!)

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