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"Field of Glory V2 - Too Many Draws? " Topic

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vexillia27 May 2013 12:01 p.m. PST

On Friday I posted Phil Steele's worrying comment that "V2 continues to disappoint in this respect [producing too few decisive results in 3.5 hrs] and I am losing interest I think." I said I'd do some digging and report back so here's my findings plus some comments direct from Phil.

The scoring system for FOG is simple with players sharing 20 or 25 points depending on whether the game was drawn or decisive. This means the average score per round in the Northern League can be used to measure the proportion of decisive games: the closer the average score is to 25 the more decisive games have been.

Full article ..

Martin Stephenson

Dexter Ward28 May 2013 3:07 a.m. PST

Maybe the problem is that 3.5 hours is not long enough?
Or maybe tournaments should use less points?

TamsinP28 May 2013 4:03 a.m. PST

Or maybe the problem is that in tournaments you are more likely to be playing against opponents who are equally good and thus more likely to have games which are much closer?

At Campaign in Milton Keynes I witnessed several games at 800 points which were over in under 90 minutes so points and time probably aren't the main issue, nor are the rules.

Keraunos28 May 2013 4:33 a.m. PST

3.5 hours is a LONG competition game.

that amount of effort will leave you brain fried after 2 games, and no time to play a third in any confort at all – it hardly sounds like fun.

it sounds more like the problem is in the points spread for draws though.

if a win is 25, and a draw is 20, then why risk win when you can get almost as many points by avoiding a loss.

and if you are sharing the points, there is even less incentive for one guy to push to win when they both have something to gain from playing to the time limit.

I'd start by fixing that, and probably reduce the time by 45 minutes too, to make the day more fun.

Delbruck28 May 2013 4:55 a.m. PST

Although I haven't seen a problem with games reaching decisive results in V2, I also find V2 disapointing. Some of the individual changes may be good, but overall I think V1 was a better game. Perhaps the restrictions placed on the designers resulted in a less balanced and less well thought out overall game.

Yesthatphil28 May 2013 6:45 a.m. PST

I agree with Keraunos … 3.5 hours is long enough already.

Martin picked up on a comment I made on Ancients on the Move to the effect that after 10 games at competitions (+ the odd game to learn the ropes 'off piste' as it were) we had got 9 draws and just one finished game. That's a fact, and normally we would be around 50/50.

As in the comments Martin quotes, the solution is that I should adapt my style of play and/or change my armies.

And that's what my original observation was about … Fed up with draws, do I like V2 enough to change my approach and rejig my armies, or do I think it is time to do something else?

btw I think in Keraunos's later comments the FoG/NDBML scoring system is misunderstood. Martin's point is that as drawn games share 20 points between the players, and won games share 25 (the winner gets an extra 5) you can tell whether more games are being drawn by looking at the pattern of averages*. It is certainly well worth winning under the system (20 is the total in a drawn game, not what each player gets).

On the general point of game length, I understand that the intention of the writers was for a game to last 3.5 hours, not to finish within 3.5. The 'finish within' time is longer. And the 3.5 excludes putting the toys away.

Apart from unopposed 'undrilled' being able to turn around more easily (and there were easier ways to do that), I haven't seen a single change I like yet (or which seems to improve the game). All that is subjective, of course.

Although I mainly play FoG because it has currency amongst the community where the Society of Ancients has arranged sponsorship, it would be good if there was stuff to like within the game itself (rather than just the community and the toy armies themselves) …

*that said, there is an army quality handicap which applies in the NDBML so the analysis might not be bulletproof)

vexillia28 May 2013 7:20 a.m. PST

*that said, there is an army quality handicap which applies in the NDBML so the analysis might not be bulletproof

Good point forgot about the class system in play.

However, it doesn't change things much as the system applies to both V1 & V2. Once there's enough data under V2 the comparison will stand.

On reflection there are probably more draws than the 50:50 split mentioned in the blog post but this applies to both V1 and V2.

Martin Stephenson

Who asked this joker28 May 2013 8:58 a.m. PST

3.5 hours is a LONG competition game.

So lets see here. A 3 round tournament could last 10.5 hours? That seems a bit much.

Marshal Mark28 May 2013 11:49 a.m. PST

That's why you only play two games in a one day event.

IanB340628 May 2013 12:30 p.m. PST

The game is way to slow for something with only 12-15 maneouver elements. I have decided not to play any more tournaments that are on 4ft wide tables, as this is too much width for this game.

Who asked this joker28 May 2013 1:14 p.m. PST

That's why you only play two games in a one day event.

I'd heard that you could complete a game of the first edition FoG in 2.5 hours. If that is the case, what changed to make FoG v2 considerably slower?

TamsinP28 May 2013 3:10 p.m. PST

I think there is some confusion about what is being classed as a "win". The 25 points shared between the players is for a decisive win (opponent's army is routed). You can still have wins where the players share 20 points at the end. And the rules themselves define a "minor victory" as being where one opponent has taken 2 more attrition points than their opponent.

For Milton Keynes, the tournament is 800 points with 5 games over 2 days (3 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday). The games are 3 hours (including set-up) plus a few minutes to finish the current phase. It is a bit tiring, but not too bad.

Looking at the round-by-round results and counting individual scores of 15+ as wins, 70 of the 195 games were wins. If you stretch the definition of a win to scoring at least 11 points takes that up to 92 wins.

If there has been an increase in how long it takes to complete games compared to V1, then some of that could be down to unfamiliarity with the new rules and needing to check them.

As I mentioned earlier, all my games went the full distance (or very close) including the two where I was routed. I think that they averaged 11-12 complete turns. There were a lot of games that were over well before the 3 hours.

Skirmishing is more dangerous in V2 – the reduced effective ranges for light foot bowmen and skirmishing horsemen does make them somewhat easier to catch.

I'm still getting used to the new rules, but I'd say that overall I think they are an improvement.

stecal Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2013 7:06 p.m. PST

I don't think that the game takes more or less time between fog v1 vs. v2. I do believe that v2 did nothing to reduce playtime. 3.5 hours is a ridiculous amount of time to to just end up with a draw result.

Personally I have abandoned playing in the 12 hour endurance tests that FOG & FOGR run at HMGS cons. A 3 round flames of war tourney takes a little more than half that time with much more decisive results.

ExcaliburRex29 May 2013 8:13 a.m. PST

As a tournament game Flames is far superior because of the speed of games. I have played in many FoG comps and do find the endurance test nature of it takes much of the fun out of it.

mbsparta29 May 2013 10:31 a.m. PST

You play a game with huge armies with set time limits … with a scoring system the rewards ties and wonder why games end in so many ties????

It must be the fault of FoG author(s) that had nothing to do with the army size, game timing or the scoring system.

Maybe try smaller armies, smaller tables and don't award any points for a tie. …

Mike B

Nikator29 May 2013 12:00 p.m. PST

Our Norcal events are 3x 3.5 hour rounds in a day, often with a fourth round on the second day. It works just fine. It's basically the same time allowance used for DBM and 7th edition. The number of draws seems about the same.

Yesthatphil29 May 2013 1:47 p.m. PST

Tamsin is on the money here … by wins and draws (my term, of course, was 'decisive outcome') is meant where the game ends by one army breaking (and so the other army winning) … this gets the winner a 5 point bonus. Everything else is a score draw, minor victory, draw … whatever you like to call it: the game has been ended by the clock, not by the battle being won.

I consider those 'drawn' results less satisfying (either way) than naturally concluded games. The writers of fog were less concerned. Now, whether it is just me or not (and it may be, and I am aware there are solutions), my experience over 10 games in competitions this year is that fewer of them conclude with a complete win to either side.

That's fine by the rules, maybe fine by the other players, but doesn't appeal to me.

Re 3x 3.5 hour rounds in a day, that is why I stopped playing at Britcon (you need to want it more than I do to put in that kind of a shift: I can go to an event like COW instead and get half a dozen games across a range of styles and periods in that time frame with more satisfaction and less of a headache) …

I currently play DBA, FoG, AMW, Armati and Lost Battles regularly (DBA, FoG and Armati in tournament type events) … V2 of FoG has addressed none of the key issues I had with the game and is increasingly becoming the poor relation.

If it works better for other people, that's fine, too thumbs up!


Keraunos30 May 2013 2:21 a.m. PST

the points system does seem to assume draws are a desirable outcome, and one which will come about through a very long playing time.

Lewisgunner30 May 2013 2:43 a.m. PST

My very limited experience of FoG family of games is that they are very frontal and that it is key as to what troops get put against what opponents.
FoG R appears to work better because the missile phase is much more important (all those chaps with muskets) and that makes combat more decisive. A consequence of throwing a very random dice for morale after each round of igniting is that combat can be quite slow and then the short moves mean that it is hard for victory on a wing to be translated into an overall victory.
That's actually not unrealistic, but as a game it means that all too often the opponent will have destroyed a couple of units too by the time the clock runs out and the decision is not decisive.

Dexter Ward30 May 2013 2:56 a.m. PST

I like FoG (and think v2 improves the game), but I don't play competition games, I only do historical matchups and refights, and I use 28mm (with a 30mm MU).
I generally keep the armies to 650 points or less unless a scenario needs a bigger army for some reason.
We find a game concludes in about 2.5 hours – perfect for an evening's play.

mbsparta30 May 2013 8:24 a.m. PST

We play 2-3 times a month … 650-700 point games of FoG. We have only had 2-3 games not end in a victory since we began playing when V1 came out. V2 is an improvement and I am happy with the overall results of the new book. None of us got all we wanted.

We play 28mm armies on a 6x4 table and use 1"=1MU … I can never understand why the tournament folks play such large games that take so long.

Mike B

Mrbootsthecat30 May 2013 11:48 a.m. PST

I don't think it's a rules problem, it's more a player problem. The tournament players, by definition, want to win. ( the tournament, not the game) consequently, they are more concerned about doing better than the other competition players, so the key is NOT losing. If you look at the competition results, quite frequently the overall winner will have one, maybe two, big wins, and two middle table results. Going for the big win means risking a big loss… So they don't go for it. My experience with FOG2 and FOG R is that 3.5 hours is easily enough to get a game completed, especially if both players are prepared to commit to the fight

Yesthatphil30 May 2013 12:10 p.m. PST

I don't think it's a rules problem, it's more a player problem.

There is that. However (not having initiated this thread) I do have to point out that the players in this case have not changed.

There are, indeed, a large number of indecisive games in tournaments that result from players not wanting to lose (I remember the days before rankings when negative play was less common, but that's another story) …

Of course that isn't the same as players not committing because they have an army which relies in whole or in part on the skirmish effect of shooting and cohesion attrition rather than on impact.

Phil Steele

Henry Martini30 May 2013 4:36 p.m. PST

On a vaguely related note, I recall many years ago watching the early phases of a DBM game being played by a couple of competition mentality players at the club. I went off and played my own game to completion, and passed by the aforementioned table on the way out. The DBMers still hadn't made contact! They'd spent a few hours crawling their armies towards each other, both terrified of doing anything even remotely decisive for fear of losing an element and giving the opponent a micro-advantage. I don't know how prevalent this sort of behaviour was, but I expect many (most?) FoGers are former DBMers.

mbsparta30 May 2013 7:38 p.m. PST

What if u gave 3 points for a win …. 1 point for a loss … And 0 points for a draw.

If first place has two or more players with equal victory points at the end of tournament then use goal differential as the breaker: Victory points gained vs victory points lost??

ExcaliburRex30 May 2013 7:43 p.m. PST

I actually like that.

Keraunos30 May 2013 11:12 p.m. PST

I would go 4 for a win,
2 for a loss which killed more than half the enemy army
and just a point for a draw
and 0 for an outright loss
with a bonus point for killing the enemy cnc

- so there is an incentive to play on when you are behind, rather than just stall for time, which is the specific problem here.

draws can only happen in wargaming by a time out, so its not like football where you are evenly matched and deserve something, or test cricket where you must both be playing well at some part or other.
draws should be the worst points option, not a reliable way to get to the position end of the table

madaxeman31 May 2013 2:13 a.m. PST

FWIW at Britcon this year we have given all players in the "3.5 hour game" periods the option to drop either the Friday or Saturday night game, as a few people did feel that 3 in a day was becoming a bit too onerous.

So, that's no longer an objection to not do Britcon. Whether you enjoy any set of rules enough to play 5 (not 6) games over a weekend is still beyond our control however! for details

Marshal Mark31 May 2013 7:24 a.m. PST

I don't think it's a rules problem, it's more a player problem.

I disagree. Many of our (non-tournament) games of FOG have not been completed in a reasonable time (often four hours or more), and it is not because we are playing not to lose. The game does take a long time. Whilst I think that the V2 changes are, on the whole, beneficial, I don't think they go far enough towards speeding the game up (which IIRC was one of the stated objectives). We used to play DBM and pretty much always completed a game in an evening, but with FOG this does not always happen. When we played 800 pts on a 6' by 4' table we would often not finish a game, but now we generally play 650 pts on a 5' by 3' table, and then we do normally finish.
Recently we've been playing other games more (Saga, Dux Bellorum, some of my own rules) and we have finished games in two hours or less. Sometimes with FOG we haven't even had a single close combat after that time !

Marshal Mark31 May 2013 7:28 a.m. PST

What if u gave 3 points for a win …. 1 point for a loss … And 0 points for a draw.

So lets say it's five minutes until time is called and it's looking like a draw, which no chance of either army breaking. We toss a coin and the loser resigns. We both score more than if it was a draw, but it doesn't solve the problem, does it ?

mbsparta31 May 2013 12:21 p.m. PST

Sounds like it does to me …
As long a you reward draws … draws will happen. Quit rewarding them and players will play to win … At least in a vacume in space …

Mike B

Thomas Thomas20 Jun 2013 9:54 a.m. PST

Although I mainly play FoG because it has currency amongst the community where the Society of Ancients has arranged sponsorship, it would be good if there was stuff to like within the game itself (rather than just the community and the toy armies themselves) …


Well said. The system is slow. Its too bad that FOG is FOG and changes at the edges won't help.

They had a tremendous opertunity with high production values and built in audience but dropped the ball with the design.

Maybe another company/design team will step into the breach…


Dexter Ward21 Jun 2013 2:11 a.m. PST

I think there's a lot to like within the game.
It gives a good game and is plausible historically; we usually fight to a decisive conclusion in a couple of hours.
We don't use it for equal points games though – just scenarios and refights.
The only thing I don't like is what happens when you get melees with multiple units all unaligned, when everything slows to a crawl.

AlanYork21 Jun 2013 4:43 p.m. PST

The only thing I don't like is what happens when you get melees with multiple units all unaligned, when everything slows to a crawl.

It was that which was the big turn off for me, along with the IMO ludicrous concept that a unit of peasant levy is worth as much in Victory Points as the Varangian Guard. I did go back to it to give it another chance but when my opponent's medieval archers wheeled away from my advancing pike phalanx in a manner that resembled the Coldstream Guards Trooping the Colour I knew I'd made the right decision in switching to Impetus. To be frank if that is the "progress" we have made since WRG 6th edition we have gone backwards not forwards in my view.

When I played in the DBA tournaments in Sheffield we had 3 points for a win, 1 for a loss, 0 for a draw. I'm sure there would have been ways to abuse that system but nobody ever did. People played for the win in a friendly spirit and we all had great fun.

That said, if people are playing FoG, not getting headaches or boring draws and are enjoying themselves then I think that's great and long may they continue to do so.

stenicplus23 Jun 2013 4:54 p.m. PST

Trouble with penalising a draw is it may be valid as opposed to two very cautions players. Both players mat have gone at it hammer and tongs and both be within a budgie's pecker of breaking and hada really good game. Is is fair to give the loser who could n't play for toffee and got hammered more points that the 2 players that made a game of it?

Keraunos26 Jun 2013 2:33 a.m. PST

If you are both going hammer and tongs and you cannot get a result in 3.5 hours, then you need to look at your definition of hammer and tongs.

its all well in theory to postulate on a 'what if', but in practice, it is always the slow players who time out draws, never players who actually try to beat each other.

when you get a slow player vs. a chap who tries, the slow player is the one who reaps the rewards for not doing anything each turn when the end comes because he intended on the draw in the first place.

stop rewarding him, and watch what happens.

Dexter Ward27 Jun 2013 2:08 a.m. PST

AlanYork wrote:
It was that which was the big turn off for me, along with the IMO ludicrous concept that a unit of peasant levy is worth as much in Victory Points as the Varangian Guard.
That second one is easily fixed with a house rule.
Count broken/destroyed units as worth their Army Points instead of all being worth 2 Attrition Points (and fragmented units worth half their points). Army breaks when it has lost half its army points. Now your smelly peasants (worth perhaps 20 army points) are much less important to army morale than your knights (worth maybe 60 army points).

AlanYork27 Jun 2013 6:37 a.m. PST

Thanks Dexter. That'd probably work OK but I shouldn't have to start using house rules to fix pretty basic stuff like this. IMO they should've got that right in the first place.

What the solution is for complex melees where units don't line up, some are disordered, some are shaken, some have ranks missing I don't know. I assume in V2 it is still worked out file by file, round after round as the casualty and disorder / shaken situations change until somebody runs away. I've brought this up before so I won't bore everyone by going through it again at length, sufficient to say that I can't be bothered and it's not my idea of a good time. File by file worked in DBM, in FoG it slows it down to an exercise in accountancy in my view. Those melee situations may be pushing up the draw count with inexperienced players.

I find FoG boring and a poor simulation of ancient and medieval warfare but, as I said before, if others enjoy playing it and they are having a good time then that can only be a good thing.

Dexter Ward28 Jun 2013 5:19 a.m. PST

Personally, I don't think the rules are broken – they work fine for us. We find FoG a lot easier on the brain than DBMM, which is a fine set of rules, but one which I feel you need to play regularly if you are not to forget half of them between games. We only play ancients games occasionally (maybe twice a year), and FoG works well for that purpose.
Obviously they are not to your taste for all sorts of reasons; better to play something else.

AlanYork28 Jun 2013 6:34 a.m. PST

Yes you're right, I moved on to Impetus which I am fairly happy with. I'd maybe give FoG V2 a try if those problems were resolved but I get the impression that they haven't been so I'll give them a miss.

Vespasian2830 Jun 2013 8:14 a.m. PST

FOGV2 is definitely a better game but doesn't fix those issues Alan mentions. I tried Impetus but didn't like that for various reasons.

As Alan says if you enjoy a particular rule set then go to it, there is no right or wrong in this just play what you enjoy.

Berthier2 Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2013 5:00 a.m. PST

I never thought V1 was broken. IMHO there were quite a few (and still are) lists that were poorly thought out. The staleness for V1 had more to do with the lack of add-ons (Campaign rules, downloads of extra list that did not make it into any book, etc…) that were said to be in the pipeline but never materialized.

I am not completely sold on V2 as I believe many of the rules changes made too many of the mounted lists less than competitive or downright unplayable. The authors wanted a heavy foot, scrum in the center of the table set of rules and that is what we now have.

On the Gulf-Coast we have been trying out various army sizes with the 5x3 table. At Pelicon III in June, we had 600 point armies on a 5x3 with a 2 hour plus 5-15 minute random time time limit. At Dan's Dog Fight in July, we had 700 point armies on a 5x3 with a 2 hour 25 minute plus 5-15 minute random time time limit.

In those two events, we had 26 games and ended with over 80% resolution rate in both. There were a lot of new players in both events.

In September at HUBCON 2013, we will try 800 points in a Light Chariot themed event on a 5x3 table with 3 hours 15 minutes plus 5-15 minutes of random time.

I will post what our completion rate is after that event. I still believe that the completion rate is more a reflection of peculiarities of the player pool in a particular area as opposed to the rules themselves. Since FOG began in the Gulf Coast Championship Region, we have always maintained an annual completion rate better than a 50% of all tournament games.

Just my two-cents.
Christopher Anders
2013-2014 GCC Coordinator

TwinCities Gamer27 Jul 2013 12:06 p.m. PST

Berthier, I've been nudging our FoG club to "go smaller." It's disappointing to play for 4 hours and not have a decisive result. I think the small table & time limit solves the problem. In your format, a player can get 2 games in. Do you have house rules for this because I'd like to sell the idea locally.

Berthier2 Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2013 2:26 a.m. PST

It is standard format in our events to play three rounds in a day. At Pelicon, we started around 8:30 AM and finished around 5:30 PM. We took about an hour and 20 minute break for lunch. At Dan's Dog Fight, we started around 9 Am and finished before 5:30. No one wanted to take a long lunch so we broke for a 15 minute break.

For tournament play, we have a common start for each round. For casual club play, we usually only try to play one game a day as we play mostly on Sundays starting around 1:30.

Yesthatphil29 Jul 2013 4:21 a.m. PST

Interesting new contributions. I agree with a lot of the observations…


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