Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Discussion of the upcoming Battle Card system for TRIUMPH!
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David Schlanger
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Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby David Schlanger » Tue May 09, 2017 11:54 am

Bill Hupp:

"I would suggest that a Battle Card or other army specific rule be added for those armies that consistently had superior command and control. This could be a battle card adding 1 or 2 CPs per turn or one allowing for a reroll of any 1's rolled for CPs. For Mongol Armies I would make it 0 cost. "

See:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=156

DS

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David Kuijt
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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby David Kuijt » Tue May 09, 2017 4:29 pm

Zero cost? Hmmm. Special pleading for particular armies is a slippery slope, especially when we have limited historical references. Julius Caesar wrote his own press releases -- the Gauls wrote nothing. We can't take JC's word on any of his battles without skepticism. According to Ramses, he single-handedly defeated pretty-much the whole Hittite army of Muwatalish. And he was 10 feet tall.

Mongol success in European theaters is shaky evidence for them to get a free upgrade like that, that might create a dominant advantage for no cost. Plus we know that Mongol armies in the same period in Asia did not perform as well as those under Subedei and Batu in the West.
DK

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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby Bill Hupp » Tue May 09, 2017 6:14 pm

I have played Mongols a lot with Triumph! and legacy systems. Mongols are better under Triumph! but I still think there is something missing. I think they are different than other horse bow armies at the commmand level.

It probably is something very simple like a CP card. I might buy 4 of those and use an 11 element army. In fact, now that I read that, I would do that. I always withhold a portion of my army anyway in the way you describe DK. The holding force could be one less easily. And that is true for Triumph! but not I think for a legacy system Mongol army.

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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby Bill Hupp » Tue May 09, 2017 6:26 pm

DK,

No special pleading on my part. Just wondering out loud if the CP system is robust enough to handle historical modifications and if there are other examples of better command and control at just below the army command level. I think it is, just not sure how to limit it. I would agree it should not be double counted with element quality.

I like the way Triumph!'s army lists allow for more diffenrtiation for historical exceptions. It would be nice if the different horse bow armies had some more historical differentiation. But of course only where we have evidence of it.

Bill
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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby David Kuijt » Tue May 09, 2017 6:53 pm

Bill Hupp wrote:It would be nice if the different horse bow armies had some more historical differentiation. But of course only where we have evidence of it.


Ai, there's the rub.

Mongols don't exist in a Mongol Conquest vacuum. What about Ilkhanid, Golden Horde, Yuan Chinese, Timurid? Why would Mongol Conquest get it in 1240, and not Ilkhanid and Golden Horde in 1260? Genghis was 20 years dead in 1240, so it wasn't him. When his empire split, there was complete continuity between the original Mongols and the Khanates of the Golden Horde and the Il-Khans. The Yuan Dynasty was (at its beginning) no more than the Mongol rulers of China. Why not them? The smallest, most fractious, and least capable of the four fraction Khanates of the Mongol Empire (the Chagatai Khanate) would seem to be the least capable in terms of ability to achieve military glory (i.e., special battle cards in this case) but all they seemed to need was a ruler with the military capability of Genghis, Subedei, or Batu and suddenly they revisited the slaughter and glory of the Mongols all over again under Timurleng, so surely they should get any special rule that benefits the Mongol Conquest? What about the Later Nomadic Mongols? If they had sprouted a leader as adept and ruthless as the great generals of the past, who is to say they didn't have the same fire in their hearts as destroyed the world twice before under Timur and Genghis?

And what about Atilla? Or Arpad, or Bonyak the Scabby? What are they, chopped liver?!? The Saka, Parthians, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Magyars, Khazars, Patzinaks, Kipchaks, Seljuqs all created terror with their horsebow armies, in many cases lacking only the Mongol political unity (which is not representable on the battlefield) to be in essence as powerful as the armies of Ghengis. It's hard to support a special rule that benefits the Ilkhanid and not them.

(I just love the name Bonyak the Scabby...)
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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby Bill Hupp » Thu May 11, 2017 5:12 am

DK,

Mongols do seem pretty consistent across the years of their dominance. They tried tactics on the battlefield that other armies couldn't do. A Mongol army's success is more directly related to the luck of good CP rolls. But maybe giving them a small advantage would get a Mongol player to maybe take a few more risks and play more like a Mongol leader.

I don't know enough about all the armies that you have listed, but sure they can get it too if their forces are trained in ways that increase the intiative level of any sub-commanders. Or maybe they only get up to 2 cards. If it makes it more historically 'accurate' then I'd be all for it. Many of the later Mongol armies were supplemented with other nations (allies) and they likely did not have the same level of initiative.

And what about Romans at their most professional and tactically proficient? Ceasar's centurions seem to have been able to operate at above average for initiative.

We wait for battle cards.

Bill
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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby Bill Hupp » Thu May 11, 2017 2:12 pm

Just happend to see the following on TMP in a discussion of Mongol Auxiliaries by Chinggis:

The Mongols seem to have made extensive use of auxiliaries from conquered nations or tribes. Is there any information about whether such warriors were integrated into mongol units or whether they formed separate groupings retaining their original dress styles/appearance?

My interpretation would be that as happened at the quriltai (a meeting of high ranking commanders and others)of 1206, apart from a few tribes that had served Temujin before he became Chinggis Qahan who retained their independence and fought together. All other tribes were broken up and divided between the various tumat (divisions) at the time so as there was no chance of a rebellion later. Also, all enemy tribal leaders were killed so as there could be no one to act as a rallying point. Any warriors from conquered tribes would have been treated the same way and as most of them were steppe nomads the only training necessary would have been the legendary and draconian Mongolian discipline. The officers would have all been Mongol as would some troops who would act as role-models for the 'new recruits'.

shurite7 then posted:

Those from the Steppe regions, including northern China, (who fought in the Mongol fashion) were mixed in with regular Mongol soldiers, to fill the ranks, while others were sent to different areas of the Ulus to form a Tama, pl-Tammachis. The Tama was organized via the decimal system used by the Mongols and Turks. In short, everyone was required to view themselves as Mongol.

With that being stated there are plenty of accounts, especially during the invasion of the Song regions and during the Mamluke – Il-Khanate conflict (notice these are later conquests), of subjects who formed their own entity commanded by their own general. These groups wore their own attire and fought in their own fashion.
------------------------------------
We know that steppe peoples and horse bow armies do well when they have good leadership and that it is hard to sustain over long periods of time (maybe that is true about all ancient and medieval nations.) So I guess I will try to see what authors think about the relative institutionalized command and control aspects, at least for the horse bow armies we have at T&R. From what I have read in the last year about the Sassanids and how they spanked Byzantine and Roman armies, they would seem to qualify going backwards in time, but maybe not the Parthians. Timur seems like a yes. Golden Horde maybe a yes. Turks seemed less organized and more of a mob/overwhelming with numbers. Islamic Persians, not sure.


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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby David Kuijt » Thu May 11, 2017 6:14 pm

Bill Hupp wrote:We know that steppe peoples and horse bow armies do well when they have good leadership and that it is hard to sustain over long periods of time (maybe that is true about all ancient and medieval nations.)


Just as a warning, it is important to separate strategic success ("do well" as a nation) from tactical success ("do well" in a battle).

Rome is often the subject of that confusion, with advocates of Rome giving them advantages in battles through command points or some other mechanism. But there is no evidence that Rome was more likely to win a battle than anyone else -- Rome conquered the world because of economic and population and cultural factors that had nothing to do with its army. Sometimes the evidence is to the contrary -- that Roman armies should suffer penalties to make them worse. Rome lost battle after battle to Carthage in Italy in the 2nd Punic, and the only way they avoided getting crushed was because Hannibal had no siege train, and Rome could afford to create a totally new army to replace a destroyed army in Italy every single year, and STILL field several other armies in other arenas (Gaul, Spain, and eventually Carthage). Rome's survival, and Carthage's destruction, has nothing to do with Rome's army abilities, and everything to do with the fact they could field four times as many armies as Carthage.

Similar myopia is often applied to the Mongols, focusing on a few battles they won decisively in the West. In China they had a long, hard slog (strategically speaking) to beat the Song Chinese, a result they only achieved in 1279 after more than 20 years of concerted effort. And that's in spite of the Song Chinese having an absolutely atrocious internal military leadership system, where military success was rewarded with being murdered and the military were reviled and disdained by the elite and their bureaucracy. Don't get me wrong -- the Mongols had brilliant organization. But the evidence of their brilliant organization supports their strategic organization, not their tactical organization. Their logistics, their long-distance communication, their resupply, their pre-battle scouting, their pre-battle maneuvers to draw an enemy over days and days of pursuit to fight at a chosen position, and so on.

Sure, the Mongols beat the Khwarizmians, Georgians, Cumans, Tanguts, and various Turks. But there's a similarity between those victories and Julius Caesar beating various Gallic tribes in his victory tour of Gaul -- none of those were contests between two equal nations, fighting with equal armies, in spite of Caesar's self-serving propaganda. Going back to the Mongols, in all the cases aforementioned the Mongols were the 800lb gorilla of the Steppes at that time, long after their absorption of the Jian, the Liao, the Xia. They were much bigger and meaner than anyone else, and everyone knew the result of getting into a wrestling match with them. The Khwarizmians had no choice, were forced to fight, and won as many battles as they lost, but couldn't afford to lose a major battle, and when they did, that was the end of them.
DK

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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby David Kuijt » Thu May 11, 2017 6:20 pm

As an aside, I'm with the second poster on that TMP thread, wherever it is. There is lots of evidence that the Conquest-period Mongols (especially 1220-1245, which is where my interest mostly lies) did not absorb conquered enemies into Mongol units, but employed them in their own homogeneous groups (almost certainly with some Mongol interfaces, of course). Large units of unenthusiastic conquered Turkomans appear in several Mongol battles, and at least in one case their dilatory behavior led the Mongols to eventually decide to slaughter the whole group.
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Re: Battle Card suggestion regarding Mongols

Postby Bill Hupp » Fri May 12, 2017 1:49 pm

DK,

I am right with you philosophically. As an ACW gamer I always take out all the 'confederates shoot better' etc modifiers. National modifiers without specifically understanding how and when it exists makes no sense to me.

I think we are talking more about grand strategy here. That spot between tactics and stargety on the battle field.

Triumph! Is a tactical game but the CPs are at the grand strategy level as it deals very artfully with command capacity for an army.

In the context of the game, as a Mongol, if I roll bad CP dice historically I should play for a tie and use my better mobility to not get into any disadvantaged combats. That obviously doesn't work that well in a tournament setting.

You are resistant to this suggestion, which is fine, but I don't think 4 CPS over the course of a game with over 40 CPs on average would break it. I see that it would just chop off the very extreme lower end of the CP results curve and its real value is early in the game, more the grand strategic part of the game.

Ok, time for me to get out of the weeds.

Bill
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