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"Tireless Warriors" Topic


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06 Jan 2017 10:03 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Sep 2015 5:55 a.m. PST

Writing in Battlegames magazine, David CR Brown said:

This 'tireless warrior' trait is a feature of the DBx (that's DBA, DBM, et al) style of combat, which is perhaps the ultimate representation of speed over accuracy. I know hardened DBx players will claim it's all 'factored in' or 'abstracted out', but what I just cannot accept is that units in DBx games can engage in multiple combats, either recoiling (that's losing) or winning umpteen times in a game, yet still maintain their original combat strength, with no reduction of fighting ability at all through fatigue or combat losses.

What is your opinion of the 'tireless warrior' problem?

MajorB11 Sep 2015 6:20 a.m. PST

There are a number of rules variants that introduce the concept of fatigue into DBA.
link

Dervel Fezian11 Sep 2015 7:00 a.m. PST

I think there are a lot of games which have the "tireless warrior" issue in some way or another.

I have also played in games where after one combat units were so "tired or disorganized" in the game mechanics that they were effectively done… i.e. one shot weapon. May be realistic, but not always fun to play.

In Warhammer Ancients the winning unit could keep going and going turn after turn with little impact on effectiveness…. ie. there was no "tired or morale penalty for winning" just losing were you ended up demoralized (i.e. disrupted or tired).

Is that "realistic"? maybe not the chargers would get tired too…

I think it comes down to what level of detail do you want. What time scale you think your game represents…

For example, I was trying to relate the time scale of Bolt Action to a scene from a WWII movie. If the game takes 6 turns and each unit in the game does 6 things? How much real time is that? 5-10 minutes? That is not very long. Would a unit suffer fatigue over that time?

Now in DBX, we are representing hour or day long battles…. titanic struggles where armies may (and did) suffer fatigue on both sides? Do we just agree that it washes out for both sides and play on, or do we need to add in some mechanic to represent it?

For me DBx battles are great for playing out large scale battles that took too long in other systems. I am willing to put up with a little abstract to play a game in 1-4 hours and enjoy it.

For grittier detail I play something else.

The games are never going to be "real"… I often find it puzzling when somebody focus on one aspect of military combat in relation to a rule set and seems obsessed with it.

i.e. My light horse should shoot at range… German light mortars did not have smoke rounds….

So depending on what you want to stress in your game play, you might need a different rule set.

I like this saying which was a reference to computer modelling in Engineering:

"all models are wrong, but some are useful"….


So my version:
All game rules misrepresent actual combat, but some are fun to play and have reasonable results in the end.

So if you think "tireless warrior" is an issue, play a game that has fatigue, or modify a game you like to add it.

thehawk11 Sep 2015 7:21 a.m. PST

It doesn't bother me.

I don't play DBX but I think the problem originated with the difficulty of removing figures to reflect casualties in 15mm and smaller sizes.

Paddy Griffith deals with the problem neatly in Napoleonic Wargaming For Fun (1980). But that solution requires writing stuff down which is a no-no in most rules.

Weasel11 Sep 2015 7:26 a.m. PST

I think for most people, it introduces a factor you have to track turn by turn, which isn't a common feature in DBx games.

Great War Ace11 Sep 2015 8:04 a.m. PST

Being a game, it is reasonable to ignore fatigue since it applies across the battlefield to everybody. Not just combat either. Moving can exhaust a unit. It's possibly too complex to put into every game. Special rules for scenario-specific situations could cover it where history shows that fatigue was a principle factor in the outcome, e.g. Agincourt, Hattin, Nicopolis, to name a few.

lkmjbc311 Sep 2015 8:09 a.m. PST

This was a minor issue in DBA 2.2 and earlier versions that manifested itself only in certain periods. The outcome was an over emphasis over the battle on the flanks. The game could be won no other way.

Several folks addressed by adding fatigue factors for recoils. Another interesting fix was in Maximilian (the Renaissance DBA clone) where no fatigue was kept… but heavy infantry (pikes) fought 3 successive rounds of combat every turn, thus upping the chance for an extreme result.

DBA 3.0 also addressed this by upping the tempo of heavy infantry combat, but in a different way. Pikes, and Blade now pursue, thus in practice doubling their number of combats during a game. The conforming rules now disallow stalling tactics vs heavy infantry. Finally, side support for Spear greatly ups the casualties for spear wall clashes and even fights against Blade armies.

All this allows a heavy infantry fight to be more decisive. The flanks are still very important.. but Alexander's phalanx can now break through the enemy center as well.

Please note that armies and battles that should feature long infantry slogs (Roman Civil wars and such) still do… as they did historically.

Did this fix the problem? I think so. I have been this last year playing lots of historical battles of DBA 3.0. I am happy with the results.

DBA 3.0 still has some issues… but this one, though small I think in earlier versions, has now become practically non-existant.

Joe Collins

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2015 9:41 a.m. PST

Yes, I agree with Ditto, I wonder why.

BTW, I agree with David Brown's assessment.

Yellow Admiral11 Sep 2015 11:48 a.m. PST

This 'tireless warrior' trait is a feature of the DBx (that's DBA, DBM, et al) style of combat, which is perhaps the ultimate representation of speed over accuracy. I know hardened DBx players will claim it's all 'factored in' or 'abstracted out', but what I just cannot accept is that units in DBx games can engage in multiple combats, either recoiling (that's losing) or winning umpteen times in a game, yet still maintain their original combat strength, with no reduction of fighting ability at all through fatigue or combat losses.

The first mistake here is taking the results of any DBx mechanic too literally. The DBx system is even more abstract than that e.g., a long serious of recoils back and forth does not necessarily represent multiple contacts and pursuits, but might rather just be one long shoving match, occasionally covering a lot of ground.

It seems to me that most people who dislike the DBx system tend to prefer more "concrete" representations in their tabletop battles, with abstractions still giving a feel for the actual processes occurring on the battlefield. David CR Brown clearly demonstrates this preference in his own rules, which tend to be very process-oriented. I find it no surprise he dislikes the DBx model of abstraction all the process is deliberately removed from the game. It has been clearly stated in DBx rules since DBA 1.0 that the rules are intended to model the results of combats and command decisions, not the minor occurrences that lead to them. Complaining about specific process-oriented factors missing from the DBA model is pointless, they were deliberately left out.

Having said that, I agree with him that fatigue is a factor insufficiently modeled in miniatures games in general. The subject rarely comes up because most games fatigue the players long before the troops would be worn to a standstill. grin DBA has the rare distinction of being playable in an hour or less, so fast troops do sometimes race back and forth or even completely around the battlefield in a single battle, in older versions of the rules . The mitigating factors have traditionally been the increased PIP cost to move troops too far from the general, the ever-increasing overall entropy of the battlefield (as troops break into smaller groups and the overall PIP cost of each move increases turn by turn), and the short move distances of slow troops. Together these factors tend to give the "feel" of a battle wearing down without resorting to rules that directly model fatigue, which fits the goals and style of abstraction declared in the introduction of DBA.

I only played DBM up to version 2.0, and back then DBM battles had a similar but decreased tendency to wear down with entropy over time. OTOH, it was nearly impossible for any body of troops to completely switch flanks in those rules, as the game-length to move-distance ratio was just too unfavorable. Few elements ended a game more than a half dozen moves from where they began the battle, so again, the issue of fatigue was broadly abstracted rather than directly modeled. Notable exceptions were rare but possible. I can't comment on later versions, as I completely fatigued out of playing DBM before 2.1. I also never touched DBMM, and I haven't played enough DBA 3.0 to comment intelligently (though Joe Collins' comments above sound encouraging).

- Ix

Visceral Impact Studios11 Sep 2015 12:18 p.m. PST

The best system I've seen at handling the effects of extended combat on both losers AND winners is "Might of Arms". The system rewards reserves and demonstrates the challenges faced by even victorious troops being engaged by truly fresh troops.

DBx's bumper car approach with units whizzing off in all directions while engaging in countless fights and suffering no fatigue is both counter-intuitive and not historically accurate.

I can only assume that DBx adherents who think that its approach resembles anything like history have never played sports. Those of us who have spent 2-3 hours on American football fields in full protection or on tennis courts in 100 degree heat know and respect the limits of the human body. Only a fool believes that maneuvering and fighting in body armor has zero effect on fighting performance.

And I'm absolutely certain that even our fellow TMP members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have something to say about fatigue and fighting, even though the weren't swinging 5 pound swords. But I'm also certain that a lot of armchair historians stand ready to refute their real-world experience and declare DBx 100% accurate. ;-)

Weasel11 Sep 2015 12:18 p.m. PST

Isn't the proper approach to DBx more like "Chess with dice and miniatures" ?

MajorB11 Sep 2015 12:26 p.m. PST

But I'm also certain that a lot of armchair historians stand ready to refute their real-world experience and declare DBx 100% accurate.

You seem to be continually missing the point. The DBx game design metastructure is aimed at creating a game that resembles an actual battle and, by and large, gives historical results. Joe Collins and others have been actively involved in refighting a number of historical battles using DBA 3.0 with, so I am told, excellent results. With DBx it is the overall effect that is important, rather than the minutiae of modelling every single factor that might influence a combat.

lkmjbc311 Sep 2015 12:59 p.m. PST

Well we at least agree that Bob's rules are nice. I haven't seen much of him in years…

Your assumptions are wrong on DBx players and sports. Football and nationally ranked/lettered Fencer speaking here.

I also wonder about your experience with DBA. I've never played a game with units whizzing off and engaging in countless fights. I've played in a few games…

It doesn't happen.

Most of my DBA games are over in 30-45 minutes… with perhaps 5-8 turns being played.

Even big battle/historical battle games are usually an hour to hour and a half.

Not much time for whizzing around the field.

Joe Collins

Dervel Fezian11 Sep 2015 1:07 p.m. PST

Guys, why are you engaging VIS in a discussion about DBA?

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2015 1:16 p.m. PST

This is a true TIRELESS warrior.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2015 1:39 p.m. PST

I think the DBA is a fun game to play with toy soldiers. I never worried about the verisimilitude with history. Phil considers this pure Blasphemy but what the heck, I have fun.

I play the game with little lead or plastic toy soldiers and they never get tired. The games are short so I never get tired. I'm interested in playing games that are fun and relaxing and give me incentive to read about real history.

Thomas Thomas11 Sep 2015 2:11 p.m. PST

I don't remember any fatigue rules or even command control rules in Might of Arms. Typical of its period there were no battle lines and "units" were self propelled resulting in the old "exploding fireworks" battlefield. Not a critisim of the rules as until DBX appeared few systems had any command control or rewarded battle lines.

Individual elements whizzing around in DBA are soon dead. Likewise unless your using d12 for PIPs you want to keep your army massed (else most of it won't move).

No system I've encountered rewards massing troops more or punishes wandering elements more than DBX. Its why Pursuing Knights get themselves in so much trouble (he speaks from experience!)

As to the topic fatigue tends to equal out in battles and so rarely makes any difference. It was common in medieval battles for battleline to seperate as each side got a breather. The DBA demoralization penalty simulates an army's morale wearing down.

TomT

coopman11 Sep 2015 3:07 p.m. PST

I was introduced to fatigue when playing my one & only game of Carnage & Glory. I had a unit of infantry that fired for several turns and just flat wore itself out. Never had the desire to play that again. It was probably realistic, but it just wasn't fun IMO.

lkmjbc311 Sep 2015 8:51 p.m. PST

Dervel:
Pretty easy answer here. VIS's early post was just a silly straw man argument. (Sorry VIS… it was). Here however I think he is backing an interesting argument on a fascinating subject.

Now… VIS may not think we solved the problem to his satisfaction in DBA 3. We can legitimately argue about that (and in fact are arguing about that).

So, in short…VIS isn't a troll. He is backing up an interesting assertion. I am interested in his opinion… though I disagree with it.

Joe Collins

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian11 Sep 2015 9:02 p.m. PST

The editor keeps bringing up the same author from the same magazine. Very similar style.

It makes me wonder but perhaps my thoughts are misgiven.

Because I read the article, and I thought certain questions would make good TMP polls? grin

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2015 9:10 p.m. PST

I would like to read the article in order to make an informed decision. Can you post it or link to it?

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2015 9:17 p.m. PST

I always thought the effects of fatigue would be felt after the battle or game in this case. I would argue that fatigue rules are for campaign games. You need to retire to the rear to rest and re-fit. But during a battle, in a game, I would say no. The fatigue during a battle is factored into the morale rules. It's a game, it is abstracted. The whole game is abstracted.

Sorry but I am talking in general. Never played DBX.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine12 Sep 2015 10:49 a.m. PST

In Warhammer Ancients the winning unit could keep going and going turn after turn with little impact on effectiveness…. ie. there was no "tired or morale penalty for winning" just losing were you ended up demoralized (i.e. disrupted or tired).

Not technically true. All Warhammer games are bucket of dice style games so bigger units, equal more dice, equal more effective.

As Warhammer uses casualty removal every casualty is in effect reducing a units combat effectiveness (more so in Warhammer ancients as casualties reduce rank bonus). So even if your winning your unit will slowly reduce in effectiveness if you suffer casualties. Not the most elegant system, for sure, but it works.

Father Grigori13 Sep 2015 2:24 a.m. PST

WRG 7th is one set that made a serious attempt to model fatigue, as opposed to simply casualty reductions, and it was not a popular set. I can remember one game between Vikings and Scots Isles where both sides launched impetuous charges all the way down the line. By move 3, there were about 4 units left on the battlefield. All the others had disintegrated because of the fatigue they had accumulated. Kind of fun, but not the kind of game I want to play all the time.

The moment you factor in fatigue, you will get people complaining about the exceptions and how to represent them; eg. Roman legions with their line replacement systems, or the stands by the Spartans at Thermopylae or the Saxon huscarls at Hastings. It's out of period, but consider trying to model fatigue for Guilford Courthouse – very, very difficult. Any mechanism for modelling fatigue would have to make it a very serious problem. One has only to look at the casualties reported in battles to realise that it is fatigue and morale that are the key factors, not the casualties inflicted per se. Off the top of my head I can't remember which battle it was, but in one of the battles against the Sassanids, the Persians fled after losing only about 75 men. I can think of very few gamers who would enjoy setting up a game of 20,000+ men a side, only for one side to leg it pretty much on contact. I know DBx isn't everyone's cup of tea. I like, many don't. On balance, however, I feel that they provide a good simulation of real battles, and I can live with the abstractions.

Visceral Impact Studios14 Sep 2015 7:14 a.m. PST

I think we might be conflating terms here (I know I'm guilty of this).

I believe that the OP's link was focused on the fact that extended combat in DBA has no deleterious effect on an element. Like the energizer bunny, a DBx element just keeps going and going and going. So fatigue can mean literally being drained from the effort of combat as well as the morale and organizational effects of combat whether victorious or not.

In "Might of Arms" a unit in combat, even if victorious, is almost certainly going to take damage in most cases, especially in even up "like vs like" situations. Damage in MoA gets translated into fatigue points which can't be rallied off or removed. And contrary to what Tom suggests secure flanks, rear support, and a general's leadership matter greatly in MoA. They often mean the difference between a unit standing its ground when pressed or breaking.

I think the key difference is of DBx abstracts factors that "old school" games such as MoA and WRG 7th explicitly model.

In DBx the idea is that as your battle like breaks up and elements lose flank support your battle line becomes weaker relative to your opponent's. And that an individual element becomes "weaker" as it loses its flank support.

But the difference is this: old school games model the advantages of flank support just like DBx (at least MoA does) but they also model the effects of combat on the individual unit/element level.

Consider this comparison: two units/elements, one an old school unit of spears in a game such as MoA, WRG 7th, or WHAB and the other a spear element in DBx.

Both units engage in combat and after the first round or two their supports remain intact.

In the old school systems despite having its flank support intact that spear unit could still be suffering the effects of casualties and poor morale. It could be close to breaking or even break with continued fighting.

In DBx after a few rounds of combat there is NO effect on that element in the same situation (again, let's assume that both units still have their flank support intact). That DBx spear element could be there forever, fighting round after round, and its game state would never change unless its flank supports vanished (note that we're looking at friendly flank support, the same applies in both old school and DBx in the case of enemy flank support so we're it's the same thing).

What's lost in the DBx approach is changes in an individual unit/element's game state beyond its relationship to flanking elements and OVER TIME.

so let's look at the situation after the battle lines have fragmented a bit with extended combat.

A victorious spear unit/element breaches the enemy line and is met by a reserve unit/element.

In old school systems that victorious unit bled to earn its victory and even in victory is probably suffering from some level of disorder and confusion. Even in 20th/21st century battle victors must quickly reorganize and consolidate their gains in the expectation of a counter attack.

In DBx that victorious spear unit/element is no worse for the wear and meets that fresh reserve unit/element on completely equal terms. There's zero difference between them.

And contrary to Tom's suggestion that individual elements don't maneuver around on their own, that'precisely what happens and must given the statistical model. The armies might start all lined up but very quickly break up into blocks of 1 to 3 elements each. That's SOP in DBx and I've seen it in every game we've played.

In fact the game is DESIGNED to result in individual and small groups of elements since, as DBx most ardent supporters state, that's how the game represents the deleterious effects of combat in the absence of casualties or morale state at the unit/element level.

To deny that is to try to have it both ways: "Elements don't go whizzing off individually and in small groups BUUUUUT breaking a battle line into individual elements and small groups is how fatigue is represented". Which is it for Pete's sake?

And that's where DBx begins to feel very yahtzee-like and luck driven. Once the battle lines meet and break into groups of 1-3 elements getting your line back into order versus your opponent doing the same thing is driven by the "Command and Control System" which is: rolling 1d6 with a 1 being just as likely as a 6. It's PURE chance what the two opponents will roll and those rolls will determine the game. After contact if I roll 1 or 2 and you roll 5 or 6 then your line will be more intact that mine. Not because of decisions we made, all else being equal, just because I rolled low and you rolled high (Again, as my son says, in DBx the luck evens out after 3,000 games).

And individual elements are not dead meat. In fact, they frequently withstand repeated attacks when surrounded and even win. It's really quite amusing.

This is why discussing DBx feels like discussing theology. One minute an adherent tells you elements don't whizz off individually and in small groups and the next they claim that doing so is how the game simulates the long term effects of combat. It feels like when those guys come to your door with their books and pamphlets about their faith. There's no rational discussion possible since they just move the goal posts when faced with a reality check! :-D

MajorB14 Sep 2015 8:49 a.m. PST

It seems to me that some correspondents on this thread really don't understand the concepts of abstraction and granularity.

In DBx after a few rounds of combat there is NO effect on that element in the same situation (again, let's assume that both units still have their flank support intact). That DBx spear element could be there forever,

Yes, you are correct – up to a point. But no, the element won't be there forever. Sooner or later it will be doubled in close combat and destroyed. You, as the player don't know when or if that will happen. The attrition of the element has been abstracted into a sequence of opposed die rolls. The laws of statistics say that sooner or later the unit will be defeated. Of course, the same laws apply to the opposing element…

In the same way you have to keep in mind the granularity of the game. In DBA, each element represents 1/12 of the army – and that could be several thousand men. If we look at historical battles for which data is available, the number of casualties suffered by a large body of fighting men is actually quite a small percentage. Most wargame rules have vastly inflated casualty rates. The real casualties are caused when the body breaks and runs and that is simulated in DBA by the loss of the element.

maverick290914 Sep 2015 8:55 a.m. PST

DBA it seems simple enough to track since you only have 12 units a side, DBM however it gets much more complicated. My solution (and I'm still not convinced it is something worth tracking, but I do feel at times when I play the game it is disheartening to constantly push the opponent back for nothing). Any way, my solution is to have every subcommand track how many times a unit in their command got pushed back, and after so many times the entire subcommand suffers a penalty. Not sure what that point would be, maybe the number of stands. So in a subcommand of 20, after the 20th pushback that conmand suffers, all the units in that command get -1 to their dice or something like that. Any form of tracking for DBM pretty much has to be on the subcommand level, otherwise you get too bogged down with tokens and trackers.

MajorB14 Sep 2015 9:03 a.m. PST

DBA it seems simple enough to track since you only have 12 units a side,

As I previously stated there are a number of rules variants that introduce fatigue. However, in DBA 3.0 the game seems to move much faster and there seems no need for such additional rules.

Visceral Impact Studios14 Sep 2015 9:32 a.m. PST

Thanks MajorB but I understand abstraction and granularity quite well.

For example, in MoA individual casualties are not tracked. "Hits" represent an abstract amount of violence inflicted on a unit. So let's keep the goal posts where they are.

And whether a DBx element represents 1/12 of an army, an MoA unit represents hundreds or thousands of troops or a WHFB figure represents dozens of troops, each is simply a different level of granularity with respect game units vs real world troops.

A proposal such as the OP's or Mav's would not by definition entail tracking individual casualties. That's quite a leap on your part and nothing like their proposal. It would be more polite to address their actual proposal rather than putting words in their mouths.

But I mostly agree with you about the spear units fighing one another post-breakthrough. The problem is that the sample size of the random factor is so tiny you get bug swings in results (much like the command and control system).

I'm all for abstraction and locking players out of detail below a certain level of granularity based on their command role (eg a player in the role of general leading an army has no business counting ammo in an individual soldier's pouch). However, there comes a point at which a given level of abstraction can undermine a model's ability to capture certain aspects of a given topic. At that point it becomes a matter of individual taste.

In this case some feel it important to represent the effects of repeated and prolonged combat on men in ancient and medieval warfare. Others, such as yourself, feel that is not important. To each his own.

MajorB14 Sep 2015 9:50 a.m. PST

A proposal such as the OP's or Mav's would not by definition entail tracking individual casualties.

Who said anything about tracking individual casualties?

The OP as far as I can tell simply posed the problem rather than offered any proposal for it's solution and all that maverick said was:
"DBA it seems simple enough to track since you only have 12 units a side,"
- though he didn't say what should be tracked or how.

The variants I have referred to (with a few slight variations) simply give a DBA element a Fatigue Marker when it recoils and it suffers a -1 for each marker in combat. A marker can be rallied off for the expenditure of 1 PIP.

That's quite a leap on your part and nothing like their proposal. It would be more polite to address their actual proposal rather than putting words in their mouths.

On the contrary, it seems you are putting words in my mouth…

maverick290914 Sep 2015 10:30 a.m. PST

Lol I said one thing about DBA and you ignore everything else I wrote and fixated on one line that I didn't even say I necessarily agreed with… Go back, re-read what I wrote, ALL OF IT, and if you have something meaningful to say about it all then that's great I'm all ears. Until then, don't cherry pick stuff to try and be snarky toward me or any other board members please.

On a side note, I don't play DBA so any comments I previously have made about any new rule integrated into that game are purely based on what I have watched and the one game I've played, and probably shouldn't be taken as credibility. DBM on the other hand, I think I have some very good ideas on how it could be implemented in that game with minimal tracking. And finally, I will just come out and say I think DBA is inferior to DBM so Id rather not comment on that game any further.

MajorB14 Sep 2015 10:55 a.m. PST

Go back, re-read what I wrote, ALL OF IT

OK:

DBA it seems simple enough to track since you only have 12 units a side,

I have already commented on this, but to be clear, you only talk about "tracking" but don't say what or how.

DBM however it gets much more complicated. My solution (and I'm still not convinced it is something worth tracking, but I do feel at times when I play the game it is disheartening to constantly push the opponent back for nothing). Any way, my solution is to have every subcommand track how many times a unit in their command got pushed back, and after so many times the entire subcommand suffers a penalty. Not sure what that point would be, maybe the number of stands. So in a subcommand of 20, after the 20th pushback that conmand suffers, all the units in that command get -1 to their dice or something like that. Any form of tracking for DBM pretty much has to be on the subcommand level, otherwise you get too bogged down with tokens and trackers.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but here you are only referring to DBM, not DBA? There is no concept of "subcommand" in DBA (unless you possibly mean BBDBA?). Since I was only referring to DBA it seemed unnecessary to comment on your suggestion for DBM.

maverick290914 Sep 2015 11:13 a.m. PST

Yes I am referring to DBM. When I made my post I wasn't specifically responding to you, I guess it looked that way given I posted right after you. Like I said earlier, I don't care much for DBA, so I mainly focused on solutions for DBM, which is perfectly fitting for this thread given the OP specifically mentioned all DBx games. :)

Thomas Thomas14 Sep 2015 12:07 p.m. PST

Tom says: OK this is alot of stuff but I'll try and deal with it point by point – though I'm begining to feel a bit like an evolutonary biolgist at a Southern Baptist Convention.

I believe that the OP's link was focused on the fact that extended combat in DBA has no deleterious effect on an element. Like the energizer bunny, a DBx element just keeps going and going and going. So fatigue can mean literally being drained from the effort of combat as well as the morale and organizational effects of combat whether victorious or not.
Tom says:

Again the reason for this is fatigue did not play a big factor for victorous armies making keeping track of it a wasted effort. Because of the depth of ranks units could bring forth fresh troops to replace winded or wounded ones. At Poiters for instance the English fought off three successive battles of fresh French troops using the same badly outnumbered troops even launching an all out assualt against the last French battle.

Its minor factor and DBX focuses on the main factors of medievel warfare (troop types, command control, battle lines etc.)

In "Might of Arms" a unit in combat, even if victorious, is almost certainly going to take damage in most cases, especially in even up "like vs like" situations. Damage in MoA gets translated into fatigue points which can't be rallied off or removed. And contrary to what Tom suggests secure flanks, rear support, and a general's leadership matter greatly in MoA. They often mean the difference between a unit standing its ground when pressed or breaking.

I think the key difference is of DBx abstracts factors that "old school" games such as MoA and WRG 7th explicitly model.

Tom says: Don't know about MoA (its been a long time since I played a few games and don't remember any of these modifiers) but for WRG it was pretty much unit to unit bash one of the reasons why this "old school" system had so much trouble simulating the results of actual battles – something DBX does very well.

In DBx the idea is that as your battle like breaks up and elements lose flank support your battle line becomes weaker relative to your opponent's. And that an individual element becomes "weaker" as it loses its flank support.

But the difference is this: old school games model the advantages of flank support just like DBx (at least MoA does) but they also model the effects of combat on the individual unit/element level.

Consider this comparison: two units/elements, one an old school unit of spears in a game such as MoA, WRG 7th, or WHAB and the other a spear element in DBx.

Both units engage in combat and after the first round or two their supports remain intact.

In the old school systems despite having its flank support intact that spear unit could still be suffering the effects of casualties and poor morale. It could be close to breaking or even break with continued fighting.

In DBx after a few rounds of combat there is NO effect on that element in the same situation (again, let's assume that both units still have their flank support intact). That DBx spear element could be there forever, fighting round after round, and its game state would never change unless its flank supports vanished (note that we're looking at friendly flank support, the same applies in both old school and DBx in the case of enemy flank support so we're it's the same thing).

Tom says: eventually one element will double the other and eliminate it – punched equilibrim a much better model than attrition which rarely played any role and would apply to both units equally. Old school games required lots of book keeping to keep track of a not very relevant factor.

What's lost in the DBx approach is changes in an individual unit/element's game state beyond its relationship to flanking elements and OVER TIME.

so let's look at the situation after the battle lines have fragmented a bit with extended combat.

A victorious spear unit/element breaches the enemy line and is met by a reserve unit/element.

In old school systems that victorious unit bled to earn its victory and even in victory is probably suffering from some level of disorder and confusion. Even in 20th/21st century battle victors must quickly reorganize and consolidate their gains in the expectation of a counter attack.

Tom says: actually causlties amongest winning troops are very light in muscle powered battles. Maintaining cohesion during the fight is probably why the element won. This is a completly false concept in muscle powered battles. What is important is vunerablity of narrow breakthrough nicely simulated by DBXs Overlap mechanics giving a -2 penalty.

In DBx that victorious spear unit/element is no worse for the wear and meets that fresh reserve unit/element on completely equal terms. There's zero difference between them.

Tom says: this is completly correct in almost all situations except the narrow breakthrough covered above.

And contrary to Tom's suggestion that individual elements don't maneuver around on their own, that'precisely what happens and must given the statistical model. The armies might start all lined up but very quickly break up into blocks of 1 to 3 elements each. That's SOP in DBx and I've seen it in every game we've played.

Tom says: your completely misunderstanding the nature of medieval battle. All medieval armies are on the edge of breaking up into individual elements – they have almost no subunit ariticulation. Keeping them in a battle line is the (hard) work of the general. Once a battle starts the battle line should start breaking up – any other result is historical bunk. Generals must work to reform the battle line or instead concentrate on those troops able to exploit gaps in the enemy line. Elements should break up and scatter as the battle progressive – unless the general works to actively prevent breakup – hence the beauty of the PIP and group system.

In fact the game is DESIGNED to result in individual and small groups of elements since, as DBx most ardent supporters state, that's how the game represents the deleterious effects of combat in the absence of casualties or morale state at the unit/element level.

Tom says: yes of course its designed to produce lines break ing and reforming – that's history.

To deny that is to try to have it both ways: "Elements don't go whizzing off individually and in small groups BUUUUUT breaking a battle line into individual elements and small groups is how fatigue is represented". Which is it for Pete's sake?

And that's where DBx begins to feel very yahtzee-like and luck driven. Once the battle lines meet and break into groups of 1-3 elements getting your line back into order versus your opponent doing the same thing is driven by the "Command and Control System" which is: rolling 1d6 with a 1 being just as likely as a 6. It's PURE chance what the two opponents will roll and those rolls will determine the game. After contact if I roll 1 or 2 and you roll 5 or 6 then your line will be more intact that mine. Not because of decisions we made, all else being equal, just because I rolled low and you rolled high (Again, as my son says, in DBx the luck evens out after 3,000 games).

Tom says: actually its low PIP dice that seperate the men/women from the boys/girls in DBX. Low PIPs means you need to identify the most important thing to do and do it. Few good players ever need 6 PIPs – if you do you've screwed up somewhere in prior turns. Making good decisions when you only have a few PIPs to work with is vital in DBX (and real world battle fields).

And individual elements are not dead meat. In fact, they frequently withstand repeated attacks when surrounded and even win. It's really quite amusing.

Tom says: actually I think we have already covered this. Simple math refutes your arguement. A surronded element takes a -3 combat factor and cannot Recoil. So on a +4 v +4 match up the surronded element wins 3/36; ties 3/36 and dies
30/36. You must have very odd dice that it takes you 3000 games to role a 30/36 chance.

This is why discussing DBx feels like discussing theology. One minute an adherent tells you elements don't whizz off individually and in small groups and the next they claim that doing so is how the game simulates the long term effects of combat. It feels like when those guys come to your door with their books and pamphlets about their faith. There's no rational discussion possible since they just move the goal posts when faced with a reality check! :-D

Tom says: actually DBX has been tested over many historical matchups and recreated battles and preforms very well.

Visceral Impact Studios14 Sep 2015 12:44 p.m. PST

That was a lot of bytes just to confirm everything I noted, including the theological approach DBx adherents take to these discussions (very similar to Flames of War in that respect). Tom, you've definitely assumed the role of evangelist rather than scientist here.

The heretics consistently and independently note all of the same inconsistencies, wierdness, and specific ahistorical results through objective observation. Then adherents ignore the observations and start erecting strawmen. It's a pattern.

eg if a spear element faces three spear elements (with two of the three in overlap) then there's a 67% chance that the outnumbered element will simply be pushed back a base depth or actually tie/win the combat with NO other effect. That's 3:1 odds with a 67% chance of essentially no effect from the combat (which goes to the OP's link).

And that is declared "historically accurate" by adherents who then ignore their own data that they presented and discuss something else entirely.

This is like trying to explain astronomy to one who believes the earth rests on the back of a giant turtle or that (in the FoW context) 155mm towed guns did not routinely fall under the direct tactical control of a company CO and engage in direct fire against tanks. Utterly futile! :-)

MajorB14 Sep 2015 2:11 p.m. PST

just to confirm everything I noted, including the theological approach DBx

No, if you read what he posted carefully, he wan't agreeing with you, he was quoting you.

His responses are each preceded by "Tom says:"

eg if a spear element faces three spear elements (with two of the three in overlap) then there's a 67% chance that the outnumbered element will simply be pushed back a base depth or actually tie/win the combat with NO other effect. That's 3:1 odds with a 67% chance of essentially no effect from the combat (which goes to the OP's link).

No. In DBA 3.0 terms, the single Sp element (let's call it A) is +4 vs foot but overlapped twice so -2 for a total factor of +2

The other element B supported by two Sp elements is +4 vs foot and +1 for side support giving a total factor of +5

+5 vs +2 gives:
3/36 chance of Spear B being pushed back
3/36 chance of no effect
20/36 chance of Spear A being pushed back
10/36 chance of Spear A being destroyed

Fried Flintstone Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2015 2:53 p.m. PST

What's your opinion Bill ?

lkmjbc314 Sep 2015 3:37 p.m. PST

From someone doing lots of historical battles… I will once again state my opinion.

A simple fatigue system was useful in 2.2… especially for battles with lots of Spear and Pike.

For DBA 3.0… it isn't really needed. The uptempo of infantry combat takes care of the issue quite nicely… This of course is coupled with side support (shieldwall).

This works particularly well in Dark Age fights. Interestingly enough it also greatly improves Greek Hoplite battles as well.

Play some. You will get good results. I have.

Joe Collins

Visceral Impact Studios15 Sep 2015 5:31 a.m. PST


"Look out! You've enraged them! I told you not to question the game!"

:-D

But seriously, @MajorB…see this it the problem. You're not replying to what I wrote making discussion pointless. So this will be my last post on the matter.

20+3+3=26/36 or 72% chance of essentially no effect for the one spear facing three spears in an overlap situation (like Joe I was rounding to 2/3). You've just put your virtual hands over your ears, declared that you can't hear me, and wrote, "no". Well, it's "yes" and even your calculation says it's "yes".

It's really closer to 3 out of 4 rolls in which a spear facing 3:1 odds in a straight up fight will just be pushed back a little, tie, or actually push back the enemy.

Which goes to the OP's link observation. Even in a 3:1 attack, in the absence of a persistent change in an individual element's game state due to an adverse combat result, the game feels very luck dependent and often indecisive. It's a common observation about the system.

A player sets up what he sees as an effective attack (3:1 odds) and then…26/36 times (72%) he pushes back the defending element with NO change in its game state (other than now being free of the attackers!), ties, or actually gets pushed back. All of which is contrary to Tom's assertion that isolated elements are toast. That's not really the case and depends on other factors.

I absolutely concede that pinning with a flank contact is far more effective. At DragonCon I hilariously chewed up a line of spearmen by hitting them in the front with psiloi and then pinning them in the flank with…another psiloi (Tom was GM for the battle and can confirm it). We joked about them being Elite Grenadier Guard Psiloi. After the 3rd or 3th spear element went down the front psiloi finally lost a roll. Yahtzee! :-D

In another case I had pinned a bow in the front by pikes and hit them in the flank with a knights/general element. Nothing. Nada. Caught them isolated and advancing in the open, totally hard flanked them in contact, and couldn't do a darn thing to them, roll after roll. Yahtzee! I guess they very quickly erected earth works, pounded in stakes, and dug a moat and filled it with water and alligators at the end of their previous move. It's makes the Flames of War "dig in skill test" look draconian in comparison.

And in that particular battle I broke Tom's army when he repeatedly rolled 1s for pips. I had sent a single light cav element on a joy ride around his flank, he broke his command into multiple groups to intercept, and my cav eventually died. But its job was done as my intact line met his jumbled line. And that's where the whole yahtzee thing arose again and drove my original question about 3:1 odds.

I did everything I was supposed to do (maintained line integrity and advanced on a fragmented line) but stats-wise, when you have a 72% chance of not really hurting an isolated element in a 3:1 attack the game can feel really random. I eventually won but then it felt like it wasn't anything that I did as the game devolved into individual element vs element fights like a skirmish game.

So rather than beating this dead horse and apparently debating whether or not 26/36 really does equal 72% or better than 2 out of 3 odds of basically no result, let's just agree to disagree. Our definitions of history and math are just too radically different.

But, to point made by the OP's link, if you ever go to Vegas and someone offers you 26/36 odds of NOT suffering a permanent loss then take them. ;-)

MajorB15 Sep 2015 6:24 a.m. PST

But seriously, @MajorB…see this it the problem. You're not replying to what I wrote making discussion pointless. So this will be my last post on the matter.

In what way am I not replying to what you wrote? You made a statement that I think I have demonstrated is incorrect.

20+3+3=26/36 or 72% chance of essentially no effect for the one spear facing three spears in an overlap situation (like Joe I was rounding to 2/3). You've just put your virtual hands over your ears, declared that you can't hear me, and wrote, "no". Well, it's "yes" and even your calculation says it's "yes".

Take your hands off your own ears. A push back in DBA is much more than "No effect". Do it often enough and the element might get pushed back into friends or difficult terrain. Either way it will then be destroyed.

If I get a push back on the solitary Sp in the 1st turn, in the second turn one or both of the overlaps can turn in to become flankers and then if he is pushed back again … he dies.

You need to understand that DBA does not necessarily resolve such close combats in a single turn.

And of course you've completely ignored the 28% chance of it being destroyed outright in the 1st round of combat. A not insignificant percentage.

We joked about them being Elite Grenadier Guard Psiloi. After the 3rd or 3th spear element went down the front psiloi finally lost a roll. Yahtzee! :-D

Like a large number of other wargamers you significantly downgrade the effectiveness of a flank attack.

In another case I had pinned a bow in the front by pikes and hit them in the flank with a knights/general element. Nothing. Nada. Caught them isolated and advancing in the open, totally hard flanked them in contact, and couldn't do a darn thing to them, roll after roll.

The damn vagaries of chance…

Bw +2 vs foot, flanked -1 = +1
Pk +3 vs foot

+3 vs +1:
6/36 chance of Pk being pushed back
4/36 chance of no effect
13/36 chance of Bw being pushed back (so destroyed because they are flanked)
13/36 chance of Bw being destroyed

So a 26/36 chance of them being destroyed? You must have rolled some really bad dice!

he broke his command into multiple groups to intercept

That wasn't very sensible …

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2015 8:13 p.m. PST

It is confusing to read your otherwise good comments when you use the game specific term, Push Back, when I think you mean RECOIL.Special things happen to elements that are pushed back and other things to those that are recoiled. Reader must think of what you really mean.

Also, VIS, there is no such thing as "Hard" flank in DBA. At least I could not find such a thing.

When having such very detailed discussions, it is important to use the proper language of the rules.

Thanks

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