Medieval longbow in Storm of Arrows . . .

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Medieval longbow in Storm of Arrows . . .

Post by stockwellpete » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:39 pm

Many players have commented that impact of shooting is somewhat weaker than it should be in the game. I tend to agree with this and I certainly think that the medieval longbow should be a lot more dangerous than it currently is.

I have two ideas to suggest to address this issue. Firstly, the range of a longbow should be 6 hexes instead of 5. And secondly, longbow units grouped together should all be able to fire at enemy targets and not be blocked by an archer unit standing in front of it e.g. if you have a row of three archer units with another row of two units standing in front you should get 5 shots, not the 3 or 4 you currently get depending on the angle of approach of the enemy. In my view, these changes would go part of the way towards replicating the devastating effect of mass longbow shooting in the later medieval period.

Another problem is that late medieval archers currently look as if they have the same rate of fire as crossbowmen, which is plainly wrong. One way to address this might be for archers to be able to shoot twice per turn - although this might be problematic in that it might require a change in the points values in the DAG tables.

Any thoughts on this SOA-specific issue?

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Post by Gersen » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:32 pm

The "Drizzle of Arrows"!

I agree re the longbow. 6 hexes would help.

However for me the real differentor is the fact that it took a many years learning to use one well, and developing the strength to pull it so that it could fire so far. Such troops would be 'superior' to my mind, but I do not know/believe that that rating has an impact on kill rates in FOG. Can anyone enlighten me?

Regarding firing over front line troops. I think ALL archers should have this capability, albeit with reduced accuracy.

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:19 pm

Gersen wrote:The "Drizzle of Arrows"!

I agree re the longbow. 6 hexes would help.

However for me the real differentor is the fact that it took a many years learning to use one well, and developing the strength to pull it so that it could fire so far. Such troops would be 'superior' to my mind, but I do not know/believe that that rating has an impact on kill rates in FOG. Can anyone enlighten me?

Regarding firing over front line troops. I think ALL archers should have this capability, albeit with reduced accuracy.
Yes, I often rate longbows as "superior" in the scenarios that I write, particularly if they were very influential in the battle that I am writing. I think "superior" archers will get some re-rolls - I will check this up in a minute.

EDIT: it looks like a "superior" unit get re-rolls for a "1", but that maybe just for melee, not shooting. Does anybody know?

The thing about reduced accuracy would need some thought. At longer range archers were shooting at large formations of troops rather than at individual targets - so it was just the sheer density of arrows that did the damage, particularly at mounted enemies where they would often kill more horses than their heavily armoured riders. And at shorter ranges, a longbow would shoot straight through plate armour because the archers would often use a much heavier arrowhead for such close-range firing.

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:45 pm

Another little point - I am reading up on the 100YW at the moment for my latest batch of scenarios - and I have come across a dastardly English tactic of archers planting their stakes but then standing in front of them so the enemy can't see what they have done. Only when the enemy was committed to a charge would they step back behind them for protection.

So :idea: :D , couldn't stakes be "invisible" until an enemy was within, say, two hexes?

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:05 pm

Well my two cents

I think longbow armies are already very very good as is and dont need a boost (looking at a macro view)

Medium bows w swords , especially when in terrain are a real bear to deal with , stakes makes them almost invulnerable

If their fire power was increased, i would argue that their hand to hand should be dimished, somehow... i say somehow because if you take away the swords they are no better than ancient indian bows....
Maybe if you increased the shooting power you could offset this by having only the 2 xtra dice comeinto play at impact if the bg is in rough ground or behind stakes and or PD...

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Post by jamespcrowley » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:23 pm

I struggle to differentiate between the effect of missile fire for all bows in FoG.

They all seem much of a muchness and seem to produce broadly the same results; 0% here, 1% there, with a few 3% now and again and, once in the blue moon, an 8% or 9%.

How a medieval longbow, in the hands of a veteren archer, can be compared in range and effect to, say, a horse bow is beyond me.

The vaunted English HYW archer only seems to have any effect when in melee; not even a drizzle of arrows , more like a few odd spots of rain!

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:42 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote: If their fire power was increased, i would argue that their hand to hand should be dimished, somehow... i say somehow because if you take away the swords they are no better than ancient indian bows....
Yes, I think that is a fair point - I think the designation of them as "swordsmen" is a bit problematic too. From accounts and novels that I have read, the archer certainly did get involved in hand to hand fighting, but often it was with mallets and knives (dispatching unseated knights) when the enemy was in disarray. They would get really battered by "steady" knights though, wouldn't they? If you took away the swords they would still be "protected" - I don't know if ancient Indian bows are. I wonder if the scenario editor will enable me to "de-sword" archers for an experiment, or will the default settings prevent me?

EDIT - the scenario editor does allow me to "de-sword" the archers OK - in fact, I have been doing it all along without it registering in my head (nothing unusual about that :oops: :lol: ) . But ancient Indian bows are "unprotected", medieval archers are "protected". So would an increase to 6 hexes range and not being blocked by fellow-archers be a reasonable trade off for the loss of swords, TGM?
Last edited by stockwellpete on Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:29 pm

Another issue, TGM, is might archers run out of arrows?! :shock: That might moderate their effect if a commander just shot "willy-nilly" at the enemy.

The developers are really going to love me for all these daft ideas I have been jotting in my notebook while making up my scenarios! :lol:

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:29 pm

Gersen wrote: However for me the real differentor is the fact that it took a many years learning to use one well, and developing the strength to pull it so that it could fire so far. Such troops would be 'superior' to my mind, but I do not know/believe that that rating has an impact on kill rates in FOG. Can anyone enlighten me?
I have just checked it - "superior" archers do get re-rolls for their "1"s when firing, Gersen.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:44 pm

Hmm, I think increasing range might be ok, but remeber , i dont have a problem wth that as now.. I dont think there is any historical evidence that suggests that self bows were any more powerful than composite bows . The English archery was renowned for the # of archers they could field and the rate of fire (which no doudt took a lot of triaining and phyiscial strength)
I doudt that even bodkin arrows could ever pentetrate plate even at pb range, mail was likly problemetic as well outside 50? yards. Much of the long range archery would have been ballistic and thus the weight of the arow dropping onto targets via gravity as oppsed to the kinetic energy of a direct fire weapon.. Again , it was only unarmoured troops and or horses that would have been effected at longer ranges.

I would like to think that lonbow archery's main effect would have been disrupting the enemy , not necesarily higher kill rates and if that could be incorporated i would be ok with that. As for shooting behind other units, well, that could be a balance issue.
If you allow archers to shoot over other archers, then why shouldnt they be able to shoot over other troops , like billman??

There is an other option as well, I dont think you starting playing the game when this was still a feature, but at one point the game wouldnt allow medium archers to shoot if they moved, or move once they shot.. maybe that would lesson their overll power if you upped the firepowerr?

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:12 pm

TGM, this is from Wikipedia and it seems quite fair,

"Modern tests and contemporary accounts agree therefore that well made plate armour could keep out longbows, however there are a number of caveats to this point; not all plate armour was well made or well looked after, and there were also weak points in the eye and air holes and joints where arrows could still penetrate, meaning that even if the armour was proof against nearly all arrows, being shot at by thousands of longbowmen would have been an uncomfortable experience, physically and mentally. One contemporary French account described the barrage at Agincourt (against French knights wearing plate armour) as a "terrifying hail of arrow shot".

Full plate armour of the highest quality was also extremely expensive, only used by the most elite (and rich) soldiers, such as knights; the vast majority of soldiers were not armoured in plate from head-to-toe. Even for knights, in practice their horses tended to be less well protected, meaning that longbows could kill or wound the horses even when the arrows had little effect against the knights themselves. For example, shooting the French knights' horses from the side (where they were less well armoured) was used effectively by the English longbowmen to help win the Battle of Poitiers."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Longbow

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:15 pm

And from the same article about the supply of arrows during a battle,

"A typical military longbow archer would be provided with between 60 and 72 arrows at the time of battle. Most archers would not loose arrows at maximum rate, as it would exhaust even the most experienced man. "With the heaviest bows (a modern warbow archer) does not like to try for more than six a minute." Not only are the arms and shoulder muscles tired from the exertion, but the fingers holding the bowstring become strained; therefore, actual rates of shooting in combat would vary considerably. Ranged volleys at the beginning of the battle would differ markedly from the closer, aimed shots as the battle progressed and the enemy neared. Arrows were not unlimited, so archers and their commanders took every effort to ration their use to the situation at hand."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Longbow

It would be interesting to me to try a battle where archers only had 8 or 10 shots each. :wink:

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:38 pm

I think that is a pretty good synopsis (considering its WIKI)

I would still argue its the disordering/phychological effect clouds of arrows would have as wiki points out, that would do the real "damage"

Its too bad the editor doesnt allow one to change the ranges to test, there is a lready aplaceholder there for this, just need to bug Slitherine to make it operable.

Limited ammo has come up before with its pros and cons

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Post by batesmotel » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:33 pm

jimcrowley wrote:I struggle to differentiate between the effect of missile fire for all bows in FoG.

They all seem much of a muchness and seem to produce broadly the same results; 0% here, 1% there, with a few 3% now and again and, once in the blue moon, an 8% or 9%.

How a medieval longbow, in the hands of a veteren archer, can be compared in range and effect to, say, a horse bow is beyond me.

The vaunted English HYW archer only seems to have any effect when in melee; not even a drizzle of arrows , more like a few odd spots of rain!
And why should a horse bow be inferior to a longbow? Historically good composite bows had a pull weight as great or even greater than normal longbows. And most horse archers were trained from child hood in the use of their weapon. The Mongols were normally equipped with multiple bows and different types of arrows for different situations, so don't let the fact that English/American literature is biased in favor of the exploits of the English longbow's effectiveness lead you to accept it was the ulitmate per-gunpowder weapon!

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Post by Xiggy » Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:41 pm

By the end of the 100 years war which the french won, crossbows set up defensively with good kill zones were the equal of the longbow in effectiveness.

Some of that may have been to attrition in the English ranks. I think some of you are buying into the legend of the longbow, which embellishes their effectiveness a bit.

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:47 pm

batesmotel wrote: And why should a horse bow be inferior to a longbow? Historically good composite bows had a pull weight as great or even greater than normal longbows. And most horse archers were trained from child hood in the use of their weapon. The Mongols were normally equipped with multiple bows and different types of arrows for different situations, so don't let the fact that English/American literature is biased in favor of the exploits of the English longbow's effectiveness lead you to accept it was the ulitmate per-gunpowder weapon! Chris
Ok, I understand your point, but I am really trying to consider the weapon in its specific historical context. In the 14thC massed English longbowmen did shoot Scottish and French armies to destruction. It was an absolutely devastating weapon for around 150 years until plate armour and the development of firearms rendered it increasingly obsolete (after 1500 really) - but this was only in Britain, France and Spain. I am not trying to compare it to other weapons and methods of fighting. It is just that when I write my scenarios I am finding that the representation of the longbow is too weak for my purposes, particularly now in relation to the 100YW battles - and I am sure I will be faced with the same issue when I move onto the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Just have a look at the Agincourt scenario provided with the game - it is good fun, yes but the longbows cannot stop what is coming at them at all.

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Post by Gersen » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:49 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
Gersen wrote: However for me the real differentor is the fact that it took a many years learning to use one well, and developing the strength to pull it so that it could fire so far. Such troops would be 'superior' to my mind, but I do not know/believe that that rating has an impact on kill rates in FOG. Can anyone enlighten me?
I have just checked it - "superior" archers do get re-rolls for their "1"s when firing, Gersen.
Thanks - given what I have read here, I would just support the 6 hex range.

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:51 pm

Xiggy wrote:By the end of the 100 years war which the french won, crossbows set up defensively with good kill zones were the equal of the longbow in effectiveness.

Some of that may have been to attrition in the English ranks. I think some of you are buying into the legend of the longbow, which embellishes their effectiveness a bit.
Yes, that is true by 1453 (at Castillon). But what about Crecy 1346, Poitiers 1356, Azincourt 1415? Crossbowmen were not outshooting longbowmen in those battles, were they?

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Post by batesmotel » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:55 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
batesmotel wrote: And why should a horse bow be inferior to a longbow? Historically good composite bows had a pull weight as great or even greater than normal longbows. And most horse archers were trained from child hood in the use of their weapon. The Mongols were normally equipped with multiple bows and different types of arrows for different situations, so don't let the fact that English/American literature is biased in favor of the exploits of the English longbow's effectiveness lead you to accept it was the ulitmate per-gunpowder weapon! Chris
Ok, I understand your point, but I am really trying to consider the weapon in its specific historical context. In the 14thC massed English longbowmen did shoot Scottish and French armies to destruction. It was an absolutely devastating weapon for around 150 years until plate armour and the development of firearms rendered it increasingly obsolete (after 1500 really) - but this was only in Britain, France and Spain. I am not trying to compare it to other weapons and methods of fighting. It is just that when I write my scenarios I am finding that the representation of the longbow is too weak for my purposes, particularly now in relation to the 100YW battles - and I am sure I will be faced with the same issue when I move onto the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Just have a look at the Agincourt scenario provided with the game - it is good fun, yes but the longbows cannot stop what is coming at them at all.
The longbow could be quite devastating when it was properly deployed using terrain and properly positioned with stakes and otherwise defensible positions. The Agincourt scenario provided with the game fails to take the mud that was present on the day of the battle into account and hence doesn't properly recreate the problems this caused for the French. There is a version of the battle done as a custom scenario that takes this into account and which should give a better balanced version of the battle. (I haven't tried either version f the scenario but this is what other posters have reported. In other battles during the period where the longbowmen were not properly positioned or the terrain was not favorable, they were readily defeated by opposing knights. Of course tese battles don't get quite as wide a coverage in English as Crecy and Agincourt do ;-). The longbow was an effective weapon but only when properly deployed and supported. I think you will find it equally so in the game.

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Post by Gersen » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:56 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:As for shooting behind other units, well, that could be a balance issue.
If you allow archers to shoot over other archers, then why shouldnt they be able to shoot over other troops , like billman??
That was what I was suggesting.

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