Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
Daniele
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Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by Daniele » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:45 pm

Field of Glory II AAR: Romans vs Macedonians at the Battle of Larissa

Greetings everyone!
Welcome to this AAR for Field of Glory 2, the upcoming sequel of the original Field of Glory and developed by the legendary game designer Richard Bodley Scott (Field of Glory Tabletop, Pike and Shot, Sengoku Jidai).
For this After Action Report, I decided on a Custom Battle, with the AI at the highest difficulty level: Deity (sounds intimidating)!

In Field of Glory II, Custom Battles allow players to build their favourite battle with a wide range of options at their disposal. You can choose between 78 army lists of the period (check here for the entire list!), you can set the force size, the map type, and many other settings. An interesting thing when you select your enemy is that you can restrict the selection to geographical and historical consistency (or you can just go ahead and make the Ancient British fight against the Sarmatians!).

I picked up the Roman Army (219 – 200 BC) and, for my opponent, I decided to face the Macedonians (260-148 BC).

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Historically, the Roman Republic successfully expanded its influence over the Hellenistic kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean in a series of conflicts culminating in the division of the old Macedonian Kingdom into two Roman Provinces: Achaea and Epirus, in 148 BC.

Let’s see if I have been able to replicate their military successes!

Troop Selection and Deployment
Knowing that the enemy will probably fight in close formation with powerful but not so manoeuvrable units, I decided to rely more on agile infantry troops, with a good number of Velites (light troops with javelins and spear).

I have two lines of Triarii mixed with Hastati/Principes, which are well trained and equipped and would engage the bulk of the enemy army, while a third line composed mainly of my Italian allies will be used as a reserve. I put my only cavalry unit on the left.

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As soon as the battle starts, I look at the enemy dispositions. It looks like the Macedonians will fight with a single and steady line of pike phalanxes. They appear to have more cavalry than me, and that could be dangerous, as I don’t have specific units to counter them.

The map has been randomly generated and the battlefield is practically flat, with a few wooded areas and a small river delimiting a part of the right side of the map. This means that I might have some chance of dragging the stronger enemy units into fragmented fights, preventing them from supporting one other.

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I decided to approach the enemy centre with my Velites, with the rest of my infantry following at a short distance. My armoured cavalry fills the space between my Triarii and the Velites on the left, but it won't be able to fight for long. I dispatch two units behind for support.

As planned, the Velites start volleying the Phalanxes as soon as they come in range, but at this point, I realized I might have made a mistake in choosing so many javelin men. The Pike units are very stubborn and my attacks haven’t done too much damage. The only noticeable effect of my action seems a bit of confusion in the centre-right of the enemy line.

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The phalanxes finally make contact with my first line. The impact is devastating! I didn’t realize immediately that the enemy general is using veteran pikes and the extension of the frontline is preventing me from riding to the aid of my extreme wings. The Macedonians fight very fiercely but my Hastati/Principes and Triarii are showing these barbarians the strength of the Army of the Roman Republic!

My unit dispositions seem to hold the line for the moment, but I fear that sooner or later I’ll have to divert some units from my rear to fill the gaps, and the Macedonians are more numerous than I expected, so I must play smart. Their intention is clearly to break through one of my wings, probably the left given that they have more mobile units there. I should push faster and harder, and luckily my last line has just arrived!

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During the enemy turn, suddenly, a sound, like a horn, erupts from the left side of my line. This is not good. The enemy, only the gods know how, have managed to break the cohesion of one of my units and now I have to think carefully what to do next. On one hand, I can’t pull out troops too close to the rest of the fighting, as I will need to repel the pressure in every spot, but on the other hand, having some Macedonians left free to fight against my rear would be tremendously dangerous. I haven’t decided yet how to respond when a second horn reverberates: the centre is under attack and taking a lot of damage.

This is not good at all.

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Fortuna adduces iuvat! Fortune favours the brave, and I don’t want to be remembered as the Roman general who lost against the ghosts of the once-great Macedonian Kingdom. Probably my fate would be worse than death if I lose!

The most dangerous threat is in the centre: if that collapses, I have literally no chance to recover. The enemy advance must be stopped by any means. I have just a couple of poorly equipped units to throw in and this is exactly what I do. In the meantime, the Velites who survived the first encounters have slipped behind the enemy. If I’m lucky enough, they will catch some attention from the enemy and will help to cripple their formation.

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The battle rages on. The Macedonians add even more pressure committing their last reserve. Although if I left the tactical initiative to the enemy, I can at least count on my veteran units still fighting. My Velites have attacked some isolated light units but the bulk of the enemy army hasn’t been hampered too much. On the left, the Macedonians are embroiled in fragmented fights while my middle is too tiny. The right flank is on the verge of being dangerously enveloped but I can’t spare any units to support it. It is a matter of morale and cohesion. If some parts of my line break, the battle is lost. If I keep fighting, I can force some enemy units to retreat and manoeuvre to where I need more.

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I knew the situation was desperate, but I really hoped I would be able to save the situation. But this didn’t happen. In fact, it was all to the contrary.

All of my soldiers have been in bitter fights, and the majority are fragmented or worse. I haven’t been able to manoeuvre as I wanted, so the result is that the enemy has been able to maximize his pike formations in frontal assaults all along the line. The last drops of morale and cohesion have vanished, and one after another, my brave warriors start losing ground.

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Every hope is now gone, like tears in the rain. Defeat is clear, and honor is sullied.

May the gods have mercy on me because the Roman Senate will not for sure!

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by Hrothgar » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:37 pm

Can't wait til this comes out!
Aut vincere aut in eo quod didici

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by Adraeth » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:23 pm

Excellent, as always. You are managing hype in an hard way ..... gamers are "ad portas" :D

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by Searry » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:19 pm

This looks so good. I wish I get into the next beta wave!

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by edb1815 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:49 pm

Excellent report! Loving the look of the game - a bit more like P&S than the first FOG - no comparison to the first version really looking much better!

Also fingers crossed for the next beta wave!

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by cfern » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:55 am

thank you daniele, great stuff! OK now take my money and release the beast!!! Oh well... :arrow:

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by Scutarii » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:31 pm

I like the new post battle results screen but maybe i find the unit selection a little poor compared with the old FOG... i prefer the table system where you can see all info in a single line.

The graphic aspect is good, you have sensation of manage and army... maybe i prefer smaller soldiers but more numerous but compared with old FOG is an improvement.

I am curious to see how the changes in medium infantry affect their role in army, but for what i see in the AAR pike units are still a hard nut to crack... light units... is not like both armies used a lot of them, looks more like a small battle in the old FOG.

Cant wait to have the game... is planned any kind of discout for owners of old FOG??? specially who had all army packs (except last 2 that only worked over the failed unity version)???

PD: we are going to see soon a twich special to see the game in movement??? thanks.

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by 76mm » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:25 am

Looks good.

One question about losses: from what I've read about ancient warfare, it seems that many (most?) times, the winning side would suffer a relative handful of losses while the losing side suffered much larger losses, presumably during the pursuit after the rout. The losses in this battle seem to be more like what you'd expect in any period. Seems like this issue could be particularly important for campaign games. What are your thoughts on this topic?

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:52 am

76mm wrote:Looks good.

One question about losses: from what I've read about ancient warfare, it seems that many (most?) times, the winning side would suffer a relative handful of losses while the losing side suffered much larger losses, presumably during the pursuit after the rout. The losses in this battle seem to be more like what you'd expect in any period. Seems like this issue could be particularly important for campaign games. What are your thoughts on this topic?
The losses during the battle include lightly wounded. At the end of the battle an adjustment is made to the final casualties to include men killed in the pursuit, captured or deserted, and wounded men on the winning side returning to the ranks.
Richard Bodley Scott

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:04 am

It does not show it in the screenshot above, but when you mouse over units in the force selection list, a popup window shows details of the unit and an animated 3D view of it.[/url]
Richard Bodley Scott

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by Terfilis » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:23 am

Looks very good!

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by Scutarii » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:31 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:It does not show it in the screenshot above, but when you mouse over units in the force selection list, a popup window shows details of the unit and an animated 3D view of it.
I see it in the first screenshot... the problem is when you want compare diferent units you need click in one, remember stats, click in new unit and compare... in old FOG was much better because you have a list with all units and you can compare diferent atributes at same time you buy them...

I like see the option to expand the buy menu to show a table with all units stats.

I am curious about that buttoms... specially quality... this means you oposite to old FOG, when buy an unit you select his quality??? in old FOG you had the same type unit in diferent qualities avaliable if is possible (that elite pike units to use in first line while you have in rear average or even poor units to have the rear support bonus :roll: )

PD: something is wrong with screenshots, not avaliable.

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:24 pm

Scutarii wrote:PD: something is wrong with screenshots, not avaliable.
It seems that Photobucket have nerfed my account.
I am curious about that buttoms... specially quality
They are sort buttons. Not especially useful. They are there for consistency with other unit lists in the game - they are more useful when deciding which units to put into garrison in the campaigns.
Richard Bodley Scott

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by SteveD64 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:05 pm

What does deity level mean in terms of AI?

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:17 pm

SteveD64 wrote:What does deity level mean in terms of AI?
It is the toughest of six difficulty levels. The middle four difficulty levels alter the balance of the opposing forces (in terms of points worth of troops). The lowest and highest (Deity) difficulty levels also tweak the quality of the troops slightly.

We work on the principle that few historical battles were fought between exactly equal forces, so adjusting the difficulty in this way is the most realistic way of doing so. Even in the best documented ancient historical battles, the exact numbers on each side are unknown, because ancient authors tended to exaggerate the enemy numbers and play down their own side's, for obvious reasons. So we can adjust the difficulty this way and still be well within the estimates of probable numbers made by modern historians - which tend to vary considerably.

Player and AI forces play by exactly the same rules, and use exactly the same random factors. The AI gets no extra bonuses of any sort.

AI behaviour is the same at all difficulty levels. (We don't believe in building the best AI we can and then nerfing it).
Richard Bodley Scott

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by SteveD64 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:53 pm

Thanks, sounds good!

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by TDefender » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:44 pm

Looks amazing! Just a (very) little design point: the roman infantry miniature with just 6 "men" look a bit skinny expecially compared to the phalanks (16 "men") I think a miniature with a least 12 men (3 rows) would be graphically more gratifying :wink: :oops:

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:29 am

TDefender wrote:Looks amazing! Just a (very) little design point: the roman infantry miniature with just 6 "men" look a bit skinny expecially compared to the phalanks (16 "men") I think a miniature with a least 12 men (3 rows) would be graphically more gratifying :wink: :oops:
Actually the Romans have 8 men. The default representational scale is 1 figure equals 60 men, so a cohort of 480 men is represented by 8 figures. Pike phalanxes formed up in larger units, mainly because they were usually deployed 16 ranks deep.
Richard Bodley Scott

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by Scutarii » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:46 am

rbodleyscott wrote:
Scutarii wrote:PD: something is wrong with screenshots, not avaliable.
It seems that Photobucket have nerfed my account.
I am curious about that buttoms... specially quality
They are sort buttons. Not especially useful. They are there for consistency with other unit lists in the game - they are more useful when deciding which units to put into garrison in the campaigns.
I see, if the buttoms are not a system to show more info about the units you can buy in the army list i think is necesary improve the buy screen to show more info about the units you can buy in a skirmish (if i dont remember bad is not the option to build armies like in old FOG and save them) show the info like in a table because i see as a poor UI design need click in an unit to know the info and remember it to compare with other units with another click more.

The units representation you use now 1 figure = 60 soldiers maybe cavalry could be 1=40 and skirmishers...

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Re: Field of Glory II AAR - Battle of Larissa

Post by JaM2013 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:18 pm

i think the main mistake with this battle was that Roman side deployed too deep, matching the length of Macedonian line.. There is no way to break the pike line frontally, therefore the best way to handle it would be to deploy all forces in two lines, and give ground on center, while flanks would surround them, or just do refused flank on one side and roll superior force on opposite flank.

Anyway only thing that looks kinda odd to me is very small number of Velites... historically, there was same number of Velites in Legion as Hastati or Principes (1200), and only Triarii had half the strength. Of course, each maniple had own detachment of Velites (20), while Triarii had double the number of Velites attached (40 per Triarii maniple).. So, if Velites are in groups of 250 men and Legionarii use 450, there should be a lot more Velite units on battlefield..

(sorry for nitpicking)

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