Author Topic: Something isn't quite right  (Read 3728 times)

ecka65

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Something isn't quite right
« on: June 16, 2017, 03:56:20 AM »
Guys, unlike other "turn this lost soul around threads", I've now played 2 full campaigns of Longstreet.

In the last campaign we kept a tally of bases lost and how they were lost.  Nearly 75% from combat.  Only 11% from musketry.

Historically, musketry caused most casualties (by a huge margin, even over artillery), combats the least.

It is a great fun game, but I think it was set in the wrong period...

Captain Darling

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 04:42:36 AM »
Hi ecka65!

First can I congratulate you on keeping such accurate statistics!

Here's my thoughts!

Your figures are interesting and actually from the way I look at this game make sense.

Musketry is as I see it long range fire so causes fewer casualties and Combat isn't really just blokes going at it with the bayonet but it's when lines come to grips with each other firing deadly volleys and then perhaps entering into a melee if the defenders or attackers didn't flee due to the much more lethal close range fire...

Cheers!
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ecka65

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 05:32:43 AM »
CD, that'd be an excellent way to look at it if both sides suffered.  The irony is, those deadly volleys at lethal close range only ever travel one way in Longstreet?  So it doesn't really work as an explanation.  Units that did close (historically) to short range suffered as well as dealt out suffering.  Unless one or the other refused to close and ran away before the real suffering started.  The fire went both ways.  In Longstreet a unit can close multiple times and deal out incredible suffering and hardly suffer a scratch.

If you're into your ACW history and the battles that took place, Friedricksburg (Marye's Heights 1862) and Gettysburg (Pickett's Charge 1863) are good examples to ponder.  In both, the defenders stood resolutely behind their walls and the attackers advanced AND closed.  In both cases musketry with healthy doses of artillery stopped the attacks dead - BUT - the defenders did suffer and sometimes terribly.  In Longstreet, the attacker would likely prevail.  Unless, and here's the poke in history's eye, the defenders left their wall and charged first...

It might actually suit the English Civil War...now there's a variation!


Captain Darling

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 05:55:04 PM »
Hi ecka65,

OK so this is a second separate/different 'issue' you have with the rules the first being ratio of casualties between fire and combat and now this one on how melee casualties are divided in combat after chargingwhich is favouring the arracker.

Interestingly our experiences seem the opposite to yours with most charges failing and the defender winning, combat it is stacked in the defenders favour in the rules as it was historically...of course there are cards which can affect this.

Here's my take on melee casualties...

When the attacker loses and retreats with a base casualties that means they advanced and were repulsed by the defenders fire no melee ensued so few defenders lost and base worth of attackers are...when the attack succeeds the the defender will take higher casualties and I see it like this, the attacker comes forward survives the volleys and the continues charging and breaks the defensive line where defender would take greater losses as they turn from their attackers (not a good way to fight) and run...

Also remember the rules allow cards to mitigate the defenders losses so in our circumstances it's rare to be massive number of defender casualties unless they are hopelessly outnumbered or the result is influenced by a card...

A comment here lethal/deadly volleys is an expression I use in actual life the ratio of non wounded to wounded/dead from fire makes the expression an overstatement.

I've been wargaming since the 1970s and all rules are a trade off between playability and realism and we all live with that... By the way I am very up to date with the history of the ACW. I have played many games of Longstreet and I also have one niggling gripe with the rules but live with it, all our regiments fight to the last few men (a base) before breaking and disappearing from the field, really? I don't think so...even though there are many cases of regiments in the ACW holding to the last or charging again and again with reduced numbers everytime there are just as many examples of units fleeing with few casualties not to return to the battle and that's something we never see that Longstreet...what's your thoughts on that? I'd put that way ahead of casualty application? (I have created a house rule for this but rarely use it as my mates all like the game as it plays)

Anyway if you're not happy adapt Longstreet for a different period and get some more ACW rules  you don't feel uncomfortable with :)...

Cheers!
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ecka65

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2017, 10:01:04 PM »
Good post CD.

Like I've tried to say, I like playing the game but I think there is too much emphasis and effect on charges.  If battle lines draw to within 4 BW's the charges (and counter charges) dominate and eventually end the game.  Trouble with that being, if the lines draw to within 6 BW but outside 4 BW's, the defender often fires and then flanks out of range.  Totally silly, but within the rules often a fantastic move.

It explains the high proportion of charge casualties vs fire cas.

I agree with you wholeheartedly about units weathering fire and melee until they simply evaporate - without ever taking a backwards step...!?  I think both your issue and mine are related = no morale checks.  If a unit that had suffered had to take a morale check to advance / leave cover / charge / stand infront of an incoming charge both of us would likely gain comfort.  Likewise, if units ordered to charge had to make a check to see if they actually go through with it = I'd probably be smiling...broadly.

It is fun to play down at the Regimental (and even individual hero) level.  It is enormous fun tracking your units history through good and bad.  Morale checks would've made it more fun (for me at any rate) and not added any drama or slow downs.  Personally, I think rather than the "engagement" rule, supporting units not in contact should enhance defender / attacker rolls?  The engagement rule is for me the ONLY reason attacker charge losses are arbitrarily set to 1.  Like you, I'm old school.  If a rule needs a arbitrary fix, then the rule needs changing.

We're toying with a change for our next battle:

Units attempting to charge are marked then rolled for.  3+ required on a D6.  +1 for eager / vet, -1 for cautious / recruit.  Success goes into contact.  Fail moves to 1 BW and stops.  All defenders contacted now check.  Same modifiers with +1 for being in cover.  Fails fall back prior to combat using charge fallback rules.  Success stands.  Combat ensues where units are still in contact.  We're also considering making the first hit = outright loss of base, any others not removed by morale cards = rolls to kill.

If the above starts to shift things a bit (not knowing for sure your units will charge and having to forgo movement AND shooting to find out), then we might move on and add morale checks for small units, supporting units in defense and attack adding die roll modifiers rather than the engagement rule, and some DYO cards for morale checks.

Le Grand Fromage

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2017, 12:45:26 PM »
Quote
I think there is too much emphasis and effect on charges

Forgive me if this sounds like a smart-assy question (it's not intended as such), but: If I understand you correctly, you're saying that you guys are charging a lot, but you don't think you should be, so you want to add more rules and dice rolls to dissuade you from playing in the way you're currently playing?

Obviously, the more often you charge, the more often you'll have casualties from the resulting combats. If you choose to shoot it out with mustketry, then most of your casualties will be from that. 

The game only reflects the outcomes of your own decisions and moves.Perhaps the simplest solution would just be trying to play more in line with how you think the battle should be fought?  i.e., shooting more and charging less?  The outcome would then be in line with your desired intent, and wouldn't require any additional rules or steps.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 12:54:11 PM by Le Grand Fromage »

ecka65

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2017, 05:08:24 PM »
Fair question - not smart assy.

Charges kill rather than roll to kill.
Charges generate epic points, shooting doesn't.  Epic points win.
Recruits (always a part of ones force) are more effective charging than shooting.
Rebel Yell virtually guarantee's the success of Confederate charges.

Shoot or charge?  Given the option?

"I think there is too much emphasis and effect on charges".

Le Grand Fromage

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2017, 01:27:02 AM »
Fair enough, but remember Iron Law 47B of Wargaming: "There is no such thing as a simple rule."

If I had written a rule like this:

Quote
Units attempting to charge are marked then rolled for.  3+ required on a D6.  +1 for eager / vet, -1 for cautious / recruit.  Success goes into contact.  Fail moves to 1 BW and stops.  All defenders contacted now check.  Same modifiers with +1 for being in cover.  Fails fall back prior to combat using charge fallback rules.  Success stands.  Combat ensues where units are still in contact.  We're also considering making the first hit = outright loss of base, any others not removed by morale cards = rolls to kill.

...then I'd expect to get the following questions:

1. Why would Vets, who evolve to be less eager, get the same +1 to charge as Eager Recruits do?  (And why would Recruits, who are normally Eager, get a -1?)

2. Do I have to roll even when the enemy isn't facing me? Couldn't I charge his flank or rear without needing to test?

3. And if so, then exactly how much of my unit must be within his frontal perspective, to determine whether the test is made?

4. If I'm already within 1BW, do I have to roll?  (If not, then wouldn't everybody simply move to within 1BW, in order to Auto-Charge?)  But if so, then how do I move?

5. What if I'm within 1BW of an enemy whom I either can't charge or don't want to charge, but not yet within 1BW of the one I want to charge?  How do I move in that case, if I fail my roll?

6. What if I legally charge into contact with a defender in a line formation that is in front of another defender within 1BW... and the first defender rolls and must fall back?  Can he do so? What happens to the enemy behind him? Is he now engaged in the combat (he's within 1BW) even though I didn't charge him?

7. More commonly: what if I legally charge defender A, which then also engages enemy B, who is within 1BW. Then A rolls and must fall back, but B rolls and stands. Am I in a combat with B?  (Even though that would violate the "engaged" rule on page 62 because I'm no longer in base-contact with anybody?)  This will happen quite a bit, I suspect, with the weird result that Unit B - by rolling to stand - makes the combat not happen after all.

...and so on.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 01:28:54 AM by Le Grand Fromage »

ecka65

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2017, 03:55:11 AM »
 :D

Charging into contact didn't happen often in the ACW.  The rule is to tone down the amount of charging making those epic points epic.  Charges remain effective, IF you can pull them off and if you're prepared, now, to take the risk of it going horribly wrong.  It looked good lining two units up against one.  Not so good if the defender runs or one of your units stops.

The idea of the check is reliability and acceptance of the order to charge into contact.  Eager gets a +1, Vets get a +1.  Makes Q2,3,4 & 5 irrelevant. 

Q 6 and 7 answer themselves.  "Combat ensues where units are still in CONTACT".

Sam, if players make the most optimal choices the rules allow them and end up with a totally ahistorical result time after time, it isn't the players mindset that is causing the results...  Suggesting as you did in the first post that we should play suboptimally to try and get a historical battle outcome was the exact opposite to "smart assy".

Captain Darling

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 11:16:33 PM »
My last say on this topic...

We have never experienced the never ending charge issues you appear to have in your games, there's a lot of manoeuvring to get an good/optimum charge in and opponents don't usually sit around allowing that without reacting...

Regarding my concern with morale I live with it as my mates like the game as is...a simple morale house rule I've used successfully is at the beginning of the player turn roll a D6 for each regiment and as long as you roll less than the number bases in the unit it carries on, failing and the unit can still fire and if it moves it must be away from the enemy...

Cheers!
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Kontos

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2017, 10:44:51 AM »
My last say on this topic...

Thankfully. I do not mean to be rude but there are usually different perspectives on any game design. What matters is the game works or it doesn't for you.

To argue with an accomplished game designer is, to me, pointless and illogical especially when the flow of the game differs so radically from the designer's, playtesters' and general publics' game experiences. One has to look internally and see if those games are being played properly since they differ so much from the norm.

Just my 2 cents. It should cost no more than that.
Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake.

Captain Darling

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2017, 02:51:18 PM »
Hey Kontos I have actually been supporting the game in this thread is your comment directed at ecka65 or me...sorry but I think your comment to me is a'bit harsh'...
"There's nothing cushy about life in the Women's Auxiliary Balloon Corps!"
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Kontos

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2017, 03:29:48 PM »
Directed at the OP, not you Cap'n. I didn't mean the post to be harsh, just honest. When the game I play functions so differently than the norm, my first reaction is to see what me and my friends are doing differently and what rule(s) we may be missing; not argue with designer.
Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake.

ecka65

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2017, 06:10:25 PM »
Thanks for your input Kontos.  I agree with your overall points.  I didn't provide my feedback until I'd played (approx) 25 battles, 2 full campaigns, and kept accurate tabs on the last campaign.  I'd be surprised if anyone "out there" if they agreed, didn't agree or were somewhere in the middle would have accurate stats to counter with.  Lots of battles and two campaigns is a reasonable playtest and not a knee jerk argument imo.

I have been through the rules to make sure (I) we didn't miss anything or misinterpret anything.  I've outlined the rules that I think "cause" the outcome.

So why the difference?

Perhaps a general perspective could be "cautious troops would never charge veterans, 5+ vs 3+ would be suicide."  But experience prooves that frontal assaults no matter what the odds do not result in a mauling or even a potential mauling for the attacker.  If 15 bases can make a reasonable charge, then throw the 5 cautious bases in.  That extra base loss = 1 extra victory point (epic point) because multiples of 10 gain a VP.  Best value for a base loss possible.  Well played.

Another possible perspective could be "move and shoot and wait for that opportunity to hammer home a charge at great advantage".  More general and makes perfect sense.  I think every player would have this in mind.  But if your opponent is doing everything possible (good play) to ensure that advantage is elusive what to do if you can charge with, say, 20 bases?  A charge will generate twice as many EP's as winning the whole battle.  Is it good play to forgo that opportunity or grab it?

So my question became "why?"  Frontal assaults were high risk high casualty affairs that rarely ended well for the attacker?  My answer to "why?" boiled down to: 

1.  In Longstreet the defender is really the only one at risk and the rewards (EP's) for the attacker can be guaranteed - in multiples of 10 bases. 
2.  In Longstreet 2 ranks can't fire at full effect but 2 ranks can charge at full effect.  A single rank can be charged by twice as many bases (REAL BAD) so if not charging fighting effectiveness is halved, and then halved again because shooting produces hits and combat produces kills.
3.  Regardless of elan, size, or opposition a unit will always charge.
4.  Worst possible result from even a suicidal frontal assault will be 1 base per attacking unit.  EP's earned regardless of result.
5.  As long as one combat works, the defender won't get an EP from your charge.

If I (we) are playing the above wrong then I am more than willing and open minded to listen. 

Kontos

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Re: Something isn't quite right
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2017, 06:55:18 PM »
Thanks for your input Kontos.  I agree with your overall points.  I didn't provide my feedback until I'd played (approx) 25 battles, 2 full campaigns, and kept accurate tabs on the last campaign.  I'd be surprised if anyone "out there" if they agreed, didn't agree or were somewhere in the middle would have accurate stats to counter with.  Lots of battles and two campaigns is a reasonable playtest and not a knee jerk argument imo.

I have been through the rules to make sure (I) we didn't miss anything or misinterpret anything.  I've outlined the rules that I think "cause" the outcome.

So why the difference?

Perhaps a general perspective could be "cautious troops would never charge veterans, 5+ vs 3+ would be suicide."  But experience prooves that frontal assaults no matter what the odds do not result in a mauling or even a potential mauling for the attacker.  If 15 bases can make a reasonable charge, then throw the 5 cautious bases in.  That extra base loss = 1 extra victory point (epic point) because multiples of 10 gain a VP.  Best value for a base loss possible.  Well played.

Another possible perspective could be "move and shoot and wait for that opportunity to hammer home a charge at great advantage".  More general and makes perfect sense.  I think every player would have this in mind.  But if your opponent is doing everything possible (good play) to ensure that advantage is elusive what to do if you can charge with, say, 20 bases?  A charge will generate twice as many EP's as winning the whole battle.  Is it good play to forgo that opportunity or grab it?

So my question became "why?"  Frontal assaults were high risk high casualty affairs that rarely ended well for the attacker?  My answer to "why?" boiled down to: 

1.  In Longstreet the defender is really the only one at risk and the rewards (EP's) for the attacker can be guaranteed - in multiples of 10 bases. 
2.  In Longstreet 2 ranks can't fire at full effect but 2 ranks can charge at full effect.  A single rank can be charged by twice as many bases (REAL BAD) so if not charging fighting effectiveness is halved, and then halved again because shooting produces hits and combat produces kills.
3.  Regardless of elan, size, or opposition a unit will always charge.
4.  Worst possible result from even a suicidal frontal assault will be 1 base per attacking unit.  EP's earned regardless of result.
5.  As long as one combat works, the defender won't get an EP from your charge.

If I (we) are playing the above wrong then I am more than willing and open minded to listen.

You bring up valid points no doubt. Perhaps the difference is the value in EPs for a campaign as opposed to playing "one off" battles like we did on our gaming nights. You certainly have more games played than I but in the games I have played (10 or so) charging was risky and difficult to coordinate considering other battle decisions that had to be made. So much is also influenced by card play and your hand at any given moment. I guess I just trust in the designer and the playtesters' efforts to produce they results they wanted to see in the end. Overall the posts have been interesting. I just thought a few were a little testy when discussing with the designer. Maybe I read more into them than was there.
Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake.