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"FOG-AM Version 3 Review..." Topic


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SK BLitz Inactive Member16 Oct 2017 1:26 a.m. PST

Field of Glory Ancient & Medieval is a popular miniatures set of rules that has been around since 2008. It has gone through one previous revision (Version 2) and, as you read this, the third edition is about to be distributed to thousands of eager gamers around the world.

Veteran and highly successful wargamer Graham Briggs, who was involved in the writing of Version 3, says, "The overall aim was to improve the game by addressing the deficiencies (both in history and gaming) that players both current and past have identified." So what has changed?

We've been using the final draft of Version 3 in our annual ancient/medieval comps this year at our club, MAWS in Manchester. We've found key improvements are quicker and, I have to say, more interesting play, due to a number of factors.

More importance is placed on the Impact Phase, with three dice (four for scythed chariots, two against elephants) being used instead of two, to reflect initial impetus. This results in more hits and a greater chance of base losses, which are now decided before Cohesion Test rolls, rather than after.

Heavy Foot can now move at 4MU instead of 3MU, so long as no enemy are near. Again, this speeds up play, although those ‘dancing pikes' have their manoeuvring abilities reduced and, for example, can no longer turn and move in the same phase.

Some of the other changes include:

Superior troops now cost more; the authors thinking they were a little too cheap before and their choice a ‘no brainer'. The previously sometimes weak Undrilled Average Impact Foot and Light Spear/Lance Cavalry, in 3 ranks or 2 ranks respectively, now count as Superior (in Impact close combat only) to reflect their fierce initial charges. A single rank of Offensive/Defensive Spears now gets a +1 POA if they have a second rank of battle troops (such as MF archers). This will help make those previously weak mixed formations a little more viable. And there's an interesting new weapons class, Polearms, a Heavy Weapon hybrid, which gets a +1 POA against mounted but only cancels out one level of armour superiority.

However, there are many other enhancements and improvements which would take too long to list in this review. Suffice to say, Version 3 is a major progression and devotees can expect better and more enjoyable games.

New army list books are in preparation, with the first to be released soon (in the meantime, the old lists can easily be adapted) and spreadsheet guru Phil Powell has produced an updated army list calculator, available for download from the FOG-AM Facebook page.

Current UK National Champion and one of the official play testers, Dave Ruddock, says, "Field of Glory has not had an update in many years and I'd like to think this version has addressed the negatives and accentuated the positives of the game. The new version makes it quicker, makes more troops viable and changes the dynamics enough to, hopefully, bring back players who have moved to other rulesets. Army lists have been re-done in three books, which will also change the traditional army choices to make the game less predictable"

To sum up, a quote from his introduction by author Terry Shaw:

"We considered the more recent experiments involving single stands of troops, as opposed to "units", but in the end decided that the concept was flawed and introduced inherent problems into the game design. Some concepts are entirely new. Others may look familiar at first glance, but interact with the rest of the rules in a completely new way, giving Field of Glory a style all its own. This 3rd edition has been produced to further enhance realism and play-balance for a number of key armies and to improve rules mechanics in order to provide a more exciting
game.

In Field of Glory our most important objective is to make the game fun to play whilst
retaining a strong historical feel. If we achieve this we have met our goal. So whether you fancy being Alexander the Great or Ghengis Khan it's up to you, happy gaming and may your dice roll high!"

Need I say more?

FOG-AM Version 3 is now available from Caliver Books: caliverbooks.com

NOLA Chris Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2017 7:12 a.m. PST

Nice review, thank you!

Do the new revisions seem to you to allow more armies to be viable?

It had also gotten to a point for me, where I could look at the table after deployment and know I was going to be crushed, and had little chance to remedy
(partly my own knuckle dragging ineptitude)
Does there seem to be more ability to respond and react?

Chris

Marshal Mark16 Oct 2017 10:34 a.m. PST

the third edition is about to be distributed to thousands of eager gamers around the world.

Really ? Thousands ?

FOG-AM Version 3 is now available from Caliver Books

Not that I can see from their website.

Nick Bowler16 Oct 2017 11:30 a.m. PST

To me the biggest problems with FOG were:
1. The terrain system produced boring battlefields
2. The battles were mostly line em up and march forward.

Has version 3 altered either of these?

Redcurrant16 Oct 2017 1:44 p.m. PST

My copy is (hopefully) in the post.

My opponent and I do not use the FOG terrain rules, we just lay out what looks good on the table. We play for fun.

Like Chris, I can look at the table after deployment, and know how I am about to get crushed.

I will be reading this set carefully.

Steve

Bandolier16 Oct 2017 3:49 p.m. PST

This 'review' just looks like it was lifted directly from the News item.
TMP link
I was hoping to hear from someone who has played and can provide a game report or two.

NOLA Chris Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2017 5:28 p.m. PST

Maybe Berthier can fill in?
You on here big guy?

madaxeman16 Oct 2017 10:04 p.m. PST

From what's been posted on Facebook, I don't think the rules have even been shipped yet, however there should be some playtesters out there who should be able to comment

Berthier217 Oct 2017 2:26 a.m. PST

I played several games in the beta period and all of them seemed to move faster than V2. Much of what I played was focused on changes to heavy foot so by design they tended towards slug fests. I have not seen the final release but hairy barbarian armies were more interesting when fighting Romans. The changes in points forces a Roman player to decide between going for the super Roman legionaires and being significantly outnumbered or going for the average legions to fight numbers with numbers.

Just some thoughts.

SK BLitz Inactive Member17 Oct 2017 6:46 a.m. PST

As a new member I've only just qualified to post replies, so apologies for the delay.

NOLA Chris:

Do the new revisions seem to you to allow more armies to be viable?

The general opinion seems to be yes. Warbands are classed as Superior at Impact, so long as they are 3 ranks deep. Byzantine fans will like their Bow* cavalry shooting in 3 ranks and the fact that their archer backed HF now count as 2 ranks of spears at Impact. I'll have to wait and see if I get tempted to paint up another another army.

It had also gotten to a point for me, where I could look at the table after deployment and know I was going to be crushed, and had little chance to remedy

I know the feeling well! Not sure what any set of rules can do to get players to get their deployment right.

Marshal Mark:

Really ? Thousands ?

When I spoke to the publisher prior to writing my review he mentioned a couple of thousand copies on order. Hopefully, that justifies the pluralisation.

Nick Bowler:

To me the biggest problems with FOG were:
1. The terrain system produced boring battlefields
2. The battles were mostly line em up and march forward.

1. There aren't any major changes to the terrain system which, I have to agree, is anything but perfect. But not sure I've seen anything that can be classed as perfect in any other rules, either.
2. Linear battles are a characteristic of ancient warfare, aren't they?

Bandolier:

This 'review' just looks like it was lifted directly from the News item.
TMP link
I was hoping to hear from someone who has played and can provide a game report or two.

The publisher asked me to send him a copy of the review (which I wrote – not lifted!) before I posted it anywhere. He mentioned posting it here but I didn't notice it. I posted it in this section because someone else suggested it would be the best place.
I, along with around a dozen fellow members at MAWS in Manchester, have been using the final draft of V3, which is 95% the published version, for over six months, so I/we have played before.
I like battle reports and am a great fan of Madaxeman's offerings, but I'm not sure including one would be appropriate in a general review. However, I'm sure plenty of blogs will feature them as time goes on.

madaxeman17 Oct 2017 8:04 a.m. PST

I suspect the "couple of thousand" may refer to the print run.

If that number applied to pre-orders I suspect it would then be getting closer to "40k" territory than anything you'd ever see for Ancients rules – especially one launched with almost no publicity and for sale only from one retailer in the UK.

Most recently, as a comparison, MeG has hardly been under-promoted over the last year, and has been available from multiple retailers in different countries, and for sale at shows, however Simon has only recently posted on their forum that MeG sales have only now reached over 600 copies sold worldwide – and thats is in well over a year since it launched.

Berthier218 Oct 2017 2:24 a.m. PST

On Military Matters in the US has been advertising pre-orders for sometime now.

As for general publicity, I agree it could have been a lot better.

Bandolier18 Oct 2017 3:20 a.m. PST

Thanks for the input Berthier2.

SK BLitz – Fair enough, I appreciate the response. I will probably get v3 if the general opinion is that it plays faster.

Berthier218 Oct 2017 3:07 p.m. PST

In the play tests, the games sometimes ran about the same length as before w 800 point games but we attributed this to making sure we understood the changes. We ran several 650 point games and they seemed to move really quick.

NOLA Chris Supporting Member of TMP19 Oct 2017 6:36 a.m. PST

Thanks for the input, y'all!

Maybe all my Chinese armies will become playable again!

ancientsgamer Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

Tim, availability of MeG in the U.S. lagged. Not sure where the 1 year in comes from as I was part of the Beta(although I bowed out due family illnesses) and I believe that it didn't go to print until early this year? It certainly was being played prior to full print publication though. And I may be wrong on print date?

I myself only got the rules about 2 months ago. U.S. distribution only solidified this Summer 2017.I asked Si to get the rules to On Military Matters as well here in the U.S. There can't be more than 30 players in the U.S. just now for MeG but the numbers will increase quickly with at least 4 major play groups across the U.S. that are adding players.

But I do agree that expecting thousands to go to FoG V3 is wildly optimistic. Unless they are offering free updates to those of us that bought the V1 army lists, it's a non-starter for me. I was a fan of V1, even if I wasn't a top tier player. V2 nerfed some lists to placate certain armies.

As to viability of armies, taking Rome vs. barbarians as an example, the whole discussion on points equality army vs army makes little sense to me. Battles were almost never even matched affairs. Rome lost when outfoxed or heavily outnumbered as their tactics specifically evolved to conter "barbarian" armies. I think we get carried away with the whole play balance thing with points and tournaments, etc. If Gauls, Germans, British, Dacians, etc. want to beat Romans, they better outnumber them, out terrain them or outfox them IMO.

The only rules system I have seen that balance fairly well is DBA. But even with DBA, there are armies that are just better overall or will dominate certain matchups. Because even with DBA, there is a focus on fixed number of elements. Against Romans, barbarian armies should really get a numbers advantage.

I prefer multibase "units" when I play, therefore DBX, ADLG, Basic Impetus, small battle Armati, etc. just don't tick my boxes.

I will keep an open mind on FoG V3 but have started my journey on Mortem Et Gloriam for now with Might of Arms(since it is freely distributable now) as a backup. I still have all of my FoG v1 materials and the 8 to 10 list books?

Chris

madaxeman24 Oct 2017 6:58 a.m. PST

OK Chris, that all makes sense.

If there wasn't a US distributor for MeG until relatively recently that might have depressed the numbers sold, however whichever way you look at it, MeG was still been far better promoted (and had a far larger "public beta" gestation) than has been the case with FoG3.

I think therefore we are both on the same page in thinking that the idea of Caliver Books receiving "many thousands" of advance orders for FoG3 since it was launched (if you can call it that) in September is rather fanciful

Dexter Ward30 Oct 2017 3:36 a.m. PST

The biggest problem I've found with FoG is what happens when two battlelines with the units not lined up clash.
Working out combats and hits from a long line of partly overlapping units is very slow.
v3 hasn't fixed that, although it has made impact more decisive (as v2 did).
The only way to fix the overlapping unit issue would be to standardise unit sizes and always align units in fixed ways during combat (which is what Sword & Spear does, for instance)

FoG is a perfectly serviceable set of rules, but we find it too slow for an evening's play (this is with 650 point armies in 25mm on a 6x4 table).
We've switched to 'To the Strongest' which gives a decisive result in a couple of hours.

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