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Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:33 pm
by MikeC_81
I just want to post about Round 3 of Tournament #1.

I don't know about anyone else but this matchup is thoroughly not enjoyable. I don't think the game or the tournament can fundamentally handle this type of unit mismatch. While I am ahead in both my games, it looks increasingly like atleast one game we will get to the turn limit without a winner.

The entire matchup revolves around Scythians using their horse archer mobility to find, isolate, and break small segments of the Macedonian army with arrow fire and then finish them with Lancer units. There is absolutely nothing the Macedonian player can do except huddle together and try to withstand the arrow fire. Even if they do, they have no prospect of pinning down any portion of the Scythian army large enough to earn the win. This is a time consuming process. I am currently ahead by 23% as the Scythians and now my opponent has wisely simply chosen to run all his units into the woods. Past 10 turns have been desperately trying to round up any elements I can find to break and force a victory before the turn timer. I might be able to do it but its not fun or engaging.

I am currently up 8% as the Macedonians because my opponent made a few missteps with the horse but it is similarly un-enjoyable as my entire game revolves around gaming the "no double evade" mechanic to catch any horse that I can reach. This is also extremely time consuming and frustrating and it is just not fun to play. Furthermore, I still face the same problem of not having a hope of doing enough damage to the opposing army to force a win. Even when I do get cavalry in for a charge, its 50/50 for my opponent to evade, and in the case where I don't catch him, his next move he gets to essentially double move his cavalry away yet again. He is getting twice the movement in the same amount of time.

Most turns just involves me moving my infantry around to try and set up any kind of double charge to pin SOMETHING down and but mostly I just eat arrows turn after turn and my guys just flail about ineffectively. I won't be able to grow a lead large enough to earn a 40%/25% win and there is no way in hell unless my opponent really decides to go asleep at the switch for me to get 60%.

My opponent has no incentive to stand and fight in either scenario. The proper thing to do is to extract every element of his army away from harm (easy to do as the Scythians, a bit harder with the Macedonians but he has taken to just hiding in the woods). Please consider revising the evade rules or avoiding tournament matchups where armies have such wide mismatches where one side has next to no sustained close combat ability and the other side is all about sustained close combat but has not nearly enough mobility to catch horse archer armies. Both my opponent and I concur that this has not been an enjoyable round

edit: Also consider simply not allowing units that use ammo to not shoot at all once their ammo count is up. I am losing units to autobreak simply because some of these light and mounted archers are focusing fire and wiping out infantry units and they have been firing for well over 2/3rds of the turns in the entire game so far.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:49 pm
by devoncop
Interesting post. It is certainly challenging but not impossible to win the battles as both Macedon and Skythia. It can be argued the Macedonian forces are only facing the same problems as Rome faced v Parthia.
Likewise Skythia has the same problems in defeating Macedon as Mithridates had as Pontus or indeed any light troops focused army had v Rome.
In many ways I think the three rounds have been devised to give people experience of armies they would not have tried before and to understand their strengths and weaknesses. It has worked for me but I can understand why others may feel differently.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:25 pm
by MikeC_81
I managed to catch enough units as the Scythians to get to 41% and force a win. I ended my last turn as the Macedonians with a heartbreakingly close 59% (+12%) so I will be unable to bag the extra 60 points for a chance to place top 3 in the tournament.

My issue isn't really with the balance or whether it plays out 'historically' should the two styles of armies have met. The main point was just how tedious the experience was playing a heavy infantry army vs a list that is designed to go 100% mounted and shoot till the end of time and vice versa. In the mirror where I played the Scythians, my opponent never managed to get a close combat attack off that he wanted except the one time where I forgot about the no double evade rule and left a LH in a position to be charged twice and the few light archers that I had in the list. The only close combat that involved horse (80%) occurred were entirely dictated by me. He never had a chance.

Even when I as the Macedonians understood the no double evade rule and how to game it to land charges, it required an understanding of how to pick a list to do it and it was brutally annoying/time consuming to set up and required my opponent to make mistakes. Just an unfun experience overall.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:23 pm
by edb1815
You have experienced a longstanding issue in the miniatures tournament world - the "shooty cavalry" army. Very hard to get an army break within the time limit just by shooting. That said many good players can break armies this way as you did. Frustrating for the foot army, but it seems you just about did it.

This weekend I faced this problem with a infantry only army facing a 100% cavalry army where even the lancers had bows. I could have hunkered down in a corner and played for a draw (my heavy knights were almost impervious to the bows), but that would have been no fun so we played and my army got separated and broken. At least in the FOG match the Macedonians have some good cavalry.

Still playing the Scythian round here so we'll see how it goes....

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:10 pm
by stockwellpete
I enjoyed my two Scythian v Macedonian matches in the tournament. The match-up posed some very different problems from what you usually have to deal with. I thought it was OK for a tournament too - it is in a paired game system so it is the same for both players. Only having 7 days is going to be a bit tricky for some players as these type of match-ups tend to be longer, maybe somewhere between 15 and 20 turns.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:05 pm
by w_michael
stockwellpete wrote:I enjoyed my two Scythian v Macedonian matches in the tournament. The match-up posed some very different problems from what you usually have to deal with. I thought it was OK for a tournament too - it is in a paired game system so it is the same for both players. Only having 7 days is going to be a bit tricky for some players as these type of match-ups tend to be longer, maybe somewhere between 15 and 20 turns.
That is a good observation. The time limit for each round should probably take the army match ups into account.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:10 pm
by rbodleyscott
stockwellpete wrote:I enjoyed my two Scythian v Macedonian matches in the tournament.
Me too.
The match-up posed some very different problems from what you usually have to deal with.
Which strikes me as worthwhile, even if it may not be to everyone's taste, and should therefore not be in every tournament.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:33 pm
by MikeC_81
stockwellpete wrote:I enjoyed my two Scythian v Macedonian matches in the tournament. The match-up posed some very different problems from what you usually have to deal with. I thought it was OK for a tournament too - it is in a paired game system so it is the same for both players. Only having 7 days is going to be a bit tricky for some players as these type of match-ups tend to be longer, maybe somewhere between 15 and 20 turns.
I certainly had fun wheeling and dealing with my horse archers but when you aggravate your opponent to the point where he essentially just quits by running his troops into the forest to just try and time out the game I think it says something about how enjoyable the experience was for him. I managed to peg off just enough units before he escaped.

As I posted I nearly got to 60% as the Macedonians but my opponent similarly disengaged from any real attempt to win the game other than to force pot shots with low ammo units from a safe distance whenever he could. I personally feel like a tournament setup which offers such a big bonus of 60 points for an outright victory should not have one side of the mirror basically be unable to force a decision if the other side doesn't want to. It requires a lot of mistakes on the Scythian side for a Macedonian win to occur. The Scythian might not win, but he should never ever lose the game outright if played properly

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:59 pm
by MaxDamage
This era should have skirmisher armies. Thats ancient warfare there s no way around it.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:37 am
by rbodleyscott
MikeC_81 wrote:The Scythian might not win, but he should never ever lose the game outright if played properly
Well leaving aside the fact that several players have won their battles with the Macedonians, this is a paired games system. From a tournament point of view it would not actually matter if the battle was extremely one-sided, because what you are trying to do (if you can't win) is to do better than the other players in the tournament.

I get that you don't enjoy this type of matchup, but others do. The matchups were advertised in the tournament details before signup. So the solution is in your own hands - if a tournament includes a matchup that you don't want to play, then don't enter the tournament!

Obviously we won't make all tournaments include such matchups, and we did avoid using Parthians or Numidians because they really are so annoying to play against with a mainly infantry army, but the Skythians are in fact not a light horse army since most of the army (if the player picks the optimal version) are cavalry. Yes, they are able to evade, but they are a lot easier to pin down and catch than LH.

We will probably have to agree to disagree on this, and ensure that future tournaments vary the set matchups from tournament to tournament. What we don't want to do is be reduced to a subset of possible matchups because some people don't like certain matchups.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:28 pm
by IainMcNeil
I think theming is definitely the answer here. We're going to be running a lot of tournaments so don't feel like you need to join them all. Have a look at what's included and if you like the sounds of it join and if not wait for for one you do like.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:23 pm
by MikeC_81
rbodleyscott wrote: Well leaving aside the fact that several players have won their battles with the Macedonians, this is a paired games system. From a tournament point of view it would not actually matter if the battle was extremely one-sided, because what you are trying to do (if you can't win) is to do better than the other players in the tournament.
I appreciate that fact, I will only point out that I personally do not like the possibility of forcing a game being reliant on one side to seriously blunder or squander their massive mobility advantage. LH or Cavalry Archers are pretty much the same when trying to chase them down with foot, the only difference being that LH have an easier time to turn around and pot shot you.

Re: Rules tweak and/or avoiding awkward tournament setups.

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:17 am
by rbodleyscott
MikeC_81 wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote: Well leaving aside the fact that several players have won their battles with the Macedonians, this is a paired games system. From a tournament point of view it would not actually matter if the battle was extremely one-sided, because what you are trying to do (if you can't win) is to do better than the other players in the tournament.
I appreciate that fact, I will only point out that I personally do not like the possibility of forcing a game being reliant on one side to seriously blunder or squander their massive mobility advantage. LH or Cavalry Archers are pretty much the same when trying to chase them down with foot, the only difference being that LH have an easier time to turn around and pot shot you.
The trick is to pin the cavalry with the foot's ZOC and not charge them. It isn't easy for them to move away like it is for LH. Then you defeat the enemy with your cavalry and skirmishers.

As I say, we must agree to disagree on this issue, but we will take your views into account in setting up future tournaments - but also other views for some tournaments.