Camels

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Gregorius
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Camels

Postby Gregorius » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:44 am

I'm not sure if this has been previously asked, so here goes. What is the rationale for not having Camels as a troop type?

Cheers,
Greg in the antipodes.

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David Kuijt
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Re: Camels

Postby David Kuijt » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:45 am

Gregorius wrote:I'm not sure if this has been previously asked, so here goes. What is the rationale for not having Camels as a troop type?


Camels were used in warfare -- that part is clear. What is much more murky is how to represent their use in warfare. We looked at the historical record extensively and found that there were actually like five different ways Camels were used in warfare, all very different.
  • Aggressively charging camels (Tuaregs)
  • Skirmishing or scouting camels (small numbers in various pre-Arab and Arab armies)
  • Cataphract camels (one or two occasions -- Parthia and one of the Arabo-Aramaean city states, with some argument about them)
  • Camels were used, like the carts of the Kallapani or Kyrenean Greeks and the mounts of the HYW English Longbowmen and many other occasions, to give infantry battlefield mobility in some fashion without being used while those troops were fighting
  • Camels used as a weird cross of mobility and static defenses -- lines of kneeling camels used by troops fighting as infantry to upset enemy horses that weren't used to them. The Early Moors used this tactic against Vandals (successfully, sometimes) and against the Byzantines (less so). There are other occasions of this tactic. In some cases the infantry seem to have been troops that fought in open order (Light Foot) and in others troops that fought in close order (Heavy Foot).

None of these uses matches the way the "Camel" troop type in one legacy system (DBA) represented camels, who ended up in that system as a very effective mounted type with a little vulnerability to some foot. Some of the above uses were represented in the bigger DBX (DBM, DBMM) games, but not the last use, which was actually one of the more common uses (in terms of how long it was used, and by how many armies). Further legacy systems had other representations, but none of them were satisfactory to us.

One critical aspect of the historical record was this -- in all cases except Tuaregs, armies that had a chance to switch from Camels to Horses as they got more wealthy and more successful, all did so. With the minor exception of having a few hundred scouting camels, which makes sense for lots of logistics reasons.

We tried a variety of representations, and all were unsatisfactory. One thing we definitely did NOT want to do was to have four or five new troop types, one for each of those representations -- because there are exactly two armies that might historically have used Cataphract Camels, and one major (and appearing in a couple of others as allies) army that demonstrably did use Knight Camels, and only a half-dozen or so that used kneeling camels as anti-Cavalry defenses, and only 30 or so that used scouting camels. Out of 650+ army lists. And as mentioned, the legacy system "Camel" type was a completely inaccurate representation -- way too effective against all mounted types. If Camels were that good in warfare, nobody would have stopped using them.

Finally we came upon the solution we adopted, which is this.
  • Aggressively charging Camels are represented as Knights with a "Charging/Cataphract Camel" battle card.
  • Scouting Camels are represented as Bad Horse with a "Scouting Camel" battle card.
  • Cataphract Camels are represented as Cataphracts with a "Charging/Cataphract Camel" battle card.
  • We already had a tool (Mobile Infantry battle card) that represented the way camels were used by infantry for grand tactical mobility in a battle
  • Camels used in the last complicated way are represented as the appropriate foot type (Light Foot or Heavy Foot, in all the occasions I can recall off-hand) with a "Camel-Protected Infantry" battle card.

The Camel Battle Card for Cataphract Camels or Camel Knights looks like this (approximately):
  • 1/2 point cost per stand (maximum of 3 pts -- so if more than 6 stands have the battle card, you only pay 3 pts)
  • Not shattered by Elephants (regular Cataphracts or Knights are shattered by El; Camel-types of those are not)
  • Treat Dunes and Oasis as open terrain for all purposes

The Scouting Camel Battle Card looks like this (approximately):
  • 1/2 point cost per stand (round fractions down, so a single stand gets it for free)
  • Act in all respects as Bad Horse except:
  • +1 in close combat against Knights, Cataphracts, or Elephants
  • Treat Dunes and Oasis as open terrain for all purposes

Camel-mounted infantry who used them purely for mobility and got off them when fighting and didn't remount or use them as big smelly living shields against horsemen get the normal Mobile Infantry battle card (as do Kallapani, Kyrenean Greeks, and many others).

The Camel-Protected Infantry Battle Card looks like this (approximately):
  • 1/2 point cost per stand (round fractions down, so a single stand gets it for free)
  • Act in all respects as their native infantry type except:
  • +1 in close combat against Knights, Cataphracts, or Elephants
  • Heavy Foot suffer a reduced penalty if fighting in Dunes and Oasis: treat it as -1 in close combat, rather than the normal -2.

Hope that helps explain our approach.
DK

Gregorius
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Re: Camels

Postby Gregorius » Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:51 am

Thanks David for such a detailed reply. So, once Battle Cards become available then camel mounted troops can be represented.

Cheers,
Greg in the antipodes.

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Re: Camels

Postby jdesmond » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:50 am

Salutations, gentlefolk !

OK. am currently uppainting the Palmyrans (one element Bad Horse "Camel mounted caravan guards", and possibly one of Horse Bow should any more of the 'Queen Zenobia riding camel' ever arrive on these shores) and Arab Conquest (one Bad Horse 'Light camels')

I have decided to base them as per their troop types in 'legacy rules', with assumption that in Triumph, all camels will be 'bad horse', unless in truly extraordinary armies, regardless of whether they are 2 or 3 figures/base.

Doth anyone wish to admonish me about this ?

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David Kuijt
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Re: Camels

Postby David Kuijt » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:00 am

jdesmond wrote:Salutations, gentlefolk !

OK. am currently uppainting the Palmyrans (one element Bad Horse "Camel mounted caravan guards", and possibly one of Horse Bow should any more of the 'Queen Zenobia riding camel' ever arrive on these shores) and Arab Conquest (one Bad Horse 'Light camels')

I have decided to base them as per their troop types in 'legacy rules', with assumption that in Triumph, all camels will be 'bad horse', unless in truly extraordinary armies, regardless of whether they are 2 or 3 figures/base.

Doth anyone wish to admonish me about this ?


Sorry, I don't understand the question. Camels are never Horsebow, was that what you were asking?

The critical thing is for stands to be easily identifiable. Having camels as mounts will always differentiate that stand from others, so whether they have two or three figures on a stand doesn't confuse anyone.

Another note is that camels are bigger than horses, which can cause some problems basing them. So packing three camels on a stand can be a bit of a problem. So again, putting two such figures on a stand in an army with only one such thing is not an action that will confuse your opponent when you play.

A camel tragedy is that the nicest 15mm camels on the market are, IIRC, Museum Miniatures. And they are completely unusable for anything other than skirmish gaming, because they are in a long running pose that makes them completely impossible to fit on 30mm, or even 40mm, and sometimes 50mm, deep bases.
DK

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Re: Camels

Postby jdesmond » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:18 am

Salutations, Dr. Kuijt, and gentlepeople !

OK: 1 - The Palmyran list in Meshwesh has 'horse bow' and 'cataphracts' as allowed 'general's troop types'

2 - The only miniature figure of Queen Zenobia that I know of is that of her riding a camel, by Irregular (Oneovdezedaze Mr. Kovel of Silver Eagle will get more of these in from Merrie Olde, and I shall acquire the one I have been waiting for...)

3 - Ergo, if you want to have Queen Z on your command stand, one would have to have a horse bow element at least partially mounted on camels.

Alternatives ?

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David Kuijt
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Re: Camels

Postby David Kuijt » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:43 am

jdesmond wrote:Salutations, Dr. Kuijt, and gentlepeople !

OK: 1 - The Palmyran list in Meshwesh has 'horse bow' and 'cataphracts' as allowed 'general's troop types'

2 - The only miniature figure of Queen Zenobia that I know of is that of her riding a camel, by Irregular (Oneovdezedaze Mr. Kovel of Silver Eagle will get more of these in from Merrie Olde, and I shall acquire the one I have been waiting for...)

3 - Ergo, if you want to have Queen Z on your command stand, one would have to have a horse bow element at least partially mounted on camels.

Alternatives ?


IIRC, there is no evidence that Queen Zenobia ever commanded in the field. In which case, anything you do that involves her on a command stand is fantasy. Irregardless of that, if you want to have a single camel with QZ on it on your command stand, that is an issue purely artistic and has nothing to do with "Camels" as a stand type or a battle card or in any way part of the army list, any more than having a Middle Kingdom pharoah seated on an ass in a stand of his foot guard makes the stand and all of his guard ass-sitters (...errr, mounted of some sort -- really really bad horse).

To put it another way, Mongol command stands often have drummers with the drums on a Bactrian (two-hump hairy) camel. It's still an Elite Cavalry stand, and gains no "camel" powers thereby.

So probably I should see if DS can move your posts (and my responses) to a separate modeling thread?
DK

jdesmond
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Re: Camels

Postby jdesmond » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:11 pm

Salutations, again, everyone !

I doubt we'll have to move this thread; I agree with you, completely, and on this topic shall likely write no more.

We've surveyed the points where history meets with visual appeal and with the whimsey of modellers and sculptors, with the condensation of a 'cast of thousands' to a hundred-and-a-half miniature figures on a tabletop, reached a conclusion, and can takeup paintbrush and Xacto with clear head.

Yours, John

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David Kuijt
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Re: Camels

Postby David Kuijt » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:52 pm

jdesmond wrote:I doubt we'll have to move this thread; I agree with you, completely, and on this topic shall likely write no more.


It is more a matter of maximizing forum re-usability as an information resource -- people looking in the "Crafting" headings for ideas for command stands wouldn't find our interactions there, and people looking for discussion of rules representation of camels might not see Greg's original post and my response because it might be buried by the last four posts (and future responses to them that might get tacked on).

No big deal.
DK

jdesmond
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Re: Camels

Postby jdesmond » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:40 pm

Salutations,

You're the boss!

Yours, John


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