Mongol Feedback

Anything else related to the TRIUMPH! rules
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Bill Hupp
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Mongol Feedback

Postby Bill Hupp » Tue May 09, 2017 2:15 am

During one of the demo games at Little Wars, a Mongol player split his force up into 4 groups taking advantage of the flanks available and commenting at this stage of the game that this felt pretty Mongol like (He had played in a Mongol-Pole game in a home rules system earlier in the day.) The combination of out of command added command points (CPs) needed plus poor die rolling left the Mongol player without enough CPs to move his independent wing commands.

The Mongols lost pertty badly due to lack of CPs. This is not the first time this has happened playing Triumph! Now, I can rationalize this as just within the normal curve and someone new to the rules, but it does seem like Mongols acting independently and aggressively should be a the norm when you have a Mongol army. His comment was, Mongols aren't done historically just like the legacy game, ho hum.

When I ran Leginitz at Cold Wars, based on play test results, I added some CPs to the Mongols Commanding General to get a more histortical battle. Worked really well.

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.

Anyone else see this in their Mongol games? Does the battle card suggestion work to solve the problem?

For what other armies would a more guaranteed level of CPs make sense for? Various Roman armies? Alexander's army?

Bill
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David Schlanger
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Re: Mongol Feedback

Postby David Schlanger » Tue May 09, 2017 11:50 am

Thanks for the great feedback Bill.

I actually agree with you and the Mongol player who was kind enough to provide feedback. I do think that a Battle Card like that will be possible, likely specifically for armies that historically had superior command and control. That said, these kinds of Battle Cards need to be implemented very carefully. Anything that twists a truly core mechanic, like the command point system, presents a significant level of risk of unbalancing the game.

If a player break into 4 commands and multiple wings of attack, then there has to be a chance that the coordination of such an attack struggles. In such a position a command point roll of 4, 5, or 6 for command points that turn means you would not get the same complaints. That is a 50% chance that the attack would be pulled off quite well. I am worried that the concept as a Mongol player that I am never going to have command problems may be at fault. So, while I think some benefit would be nice, I don't see it ultimately being a BIG advantage that would be implemented.

DS

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Re: Mongol Feedback

Postby Rod » Tue May 09, 2017 12:08 pm

Bill,
I observed some of the game you are referring to, and would make a couple comments on the Mongol Tactics....

First of all the Polish player had a flank that was reasonably secured by a small marsh. This was helpful to the Polish, but not necessarily a game winner.

Second the Mongol player chose to attack in three groups. one in the center and two so far out on the flanks that both were actually out of command control in turn one. This slowed his assault and gave the Polish time to turn a single flank to defend better.

Third he sent one flank group into a situation where they ended up fighting in the marsh and dying when they could have gone around the back edge of the Marsh and had a chance to attack the rear or even the camp.

Fourth the Mongol player could have used his superior maneuver to change tactics and pile onto the polish knights on the end of the line which now had no support from their foot troops except one lone archer ignoring the bow levy which were now redeployed so far behind the knights they never could have supported them.

Now with better die roles this still may have won the day, but in my opinion the Mongol player's strategy "seemed" good from a bird's eye view, but the devil was in the details. The general concept of wrap the flanks and the Mongols win is a just a concept for how to win, but the field commanders can still blow it in execution.

In my opinion, the real key to the Mongols is that they are fast enough to change strategy when it is clear that the one they started with might not work and a better opportunity presents itself.


P.S.
I will be playing Post Mongol Hungarians in the campaign at Histroricon... If I get my butt handed to me repeatedly I reserve the right to retract all of these comments and blame the rules :P

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David Kuijt
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Re: Mongol Feedback

Postby David Kuijt » Tue May 09, 2017 12:15 pm

We'll keep an eye on this, but anyone who splits his forces into four major groups is asking for trouble. And anyone who thinks that doing so "feels" Mongol is mistaking strategic movement for tactical -- Mongol battles are particularly well documented for the 13th century for several reasons, and to my way of thinking the major innovations they introduced were pre-battle or post-battle, things like extensive pre-battle scouting, multi-day deceptions of opposing armies, multi-year strategic planning, spying years ahead of invasions, and the like. All of which go into the maneuver roll or do not appear at all in the battlefield. While some excellent tactics do appear in their battles (like the bridge of flowers at Mohi) those are not exceptional or different from any other tactics employed by militarily adept horsedominated nations with good Generals, like Bayezid, Timurleng, Atilla, and others.

Horsebow armies are difficult to use well in terms of command points because they must win by maneuver and flexibility rather than just sticking it in -- but that is historical. Horsebow armies were defeated time and time again under less adept generals by non-horsebow armies. And that includes the Mongols, who lost as many as they won (just not as famously).

There are a number of reasons I'm resistant to suggestions about modifying the pip system, which was one of the most subtle and far-reaching inheritances from legacy games. (I haven't talked to the others about this issue, so I'm just talking about myself here). The old fanaticus forum saw a steady diet of posts over the years from players who did not understand how to use the pip system effectively and wanted to "fix" it rather than learn how to use it. Such suggestions included variations on what you mention, plus things like "average" dice and so on. The primary one is just this -- some systems in Triumph are easier to learn, and some are more difficult to learn. That is about the learning curve (the difference between how beginners, median players, and adept players play the system), not about the top end. How to play Horsebow (or, to a lesser extent, Javelin Cavalry) is one. How to play Rabble or Skirmishers is another. How to play Pike, how to play Artillery, how to play against Elephants, are more. How to succeed when using a Flank March. And how to use the command point system well.

What I'm (personally, again) interested in is issues where the top-end of a system is unbalanced, whether game-wise or historically. If a person new to the game, who splits his forces in multiple pieces, rolls poor die rolls, and then is crushed (all taken from your description), whether that sort of person assesses the issue as a problem looks to me like an education issue, not something in the rules that necessarily needs to be fixed. If someone adept in using horsebow against multiple types of opponents, who completely understands the subtlety of the command point system -- whether that person can get good results or not is much more interesting to me. Because comparing Subedei or Batu's results to the new guy's results is apples and oranges.

I was taught DBA, 18 years or more ago, by someone who was notorious for punishing his army for rolling good pips. Every time he rolled good pips his army would end up in more groups than the turn before. That's a progression that any mathematician will tell you must eventually collapse. So when my friend would roll three or more turns of 5 or 6 pips, I would rejoice, because that sequence would eventually result in his having 7, 8, or even more groups by the time he rolled 1 or 2 pips, leaving his army paralyzed. And then he would complain bitterly about the pip (command point) system, and his bad luck. Luck had nothing to do with it. If the number of pips you would need to move every stand in your army increases every turn, it is not a matter of WHETHER you reach a point of collapse (inability to move what you need to when you need to) it is a matter of WHEN you do. To describe this behavior I invented a term, the K***** number (much of the name elided to protect my friend who cannot here defend himself) which represents the point where the only way you can move your whole army is to have 1 pip per stand in the army. No groups at all, in other words -- every stand on their own.

So suggestions that center on modifying the command point system, especially those triggered by a bad experience by a new player, are something of which I am very wary.

With that said, we have been looking at a battle card which might be relevant to the Mongols: Automatic Flank March (name not final). Armies who have this can always do a Flank March, even if their maneuver roll isn't good enough to do one normally. Maybe 2 pts. Would that help your new guy? Not a bit. Flank Marches are an advanced maneuver, where new players will often get themselves in terrible trouble doing it, and even median players can have difficulty getting advantage. But with the legacy system and the "littoral landing" rules (related to, and precursor to the Flank March system) I saw an advanced player go on a 16-0 run with the Ugarit army once, winning half or more of his battles by Littoral Landing alone.
DK

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David Kuijt
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Re: Mongol Feedback

Postby David Kuijt » Tue May 09, 2017 12:18 pm

Rod wrote:In my opinion, the real key to the Mongols is that they are fast enough to change strategy when it is clear that the one they started with might not work and a better opportunity presents itself.


That's a nice summary, Rod.
DK

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David Kuijt
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Re: Mongol Feedback

Postby David Kuijt » Tue May 09, 2017 12:26 pm

David Schlanger wrote:I am worried that the concept as a Mongol player that I am never going to have command problems may be at fault.


Right. Or to put it another way, if your player is under the impression that the Mongols were not vulnerable to the same sort of command control issues of every other horsebow army before and after, things like getting too far separated and distracted and disorganized, then his vision of the battle will naturally be through tinted lenses.

I've seen the same thing with new players playing Roman armies (or Carthage, or Macedonian), saying that since Roman armies conquered the known world, they ought to have special rules making them better. Oy. That's got so many imbedded confusions I don't know where to start.
DK

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Bill Hupp
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Re: Mongol Feedback

Postby Bill Hupp » Tue May 09, 2017 6:08 pm

Thanks for the responses.

Of course, I'm not arguing from one game. And I like and play and defend plenty of chaos command systems like the CP system (Command & Colors and Piquet and its brethren) so I am in line with all of the comments.

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.

Bill
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Brian Caskey
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Re: Mongol Feedback

Postby Brian Caskey » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:48 pm

I have played Mongols twice and I think Hupp beat me both times (he can be mean that way)
Great discussions, I am very impressed with the Logic

I need to get painting - Mongols now == More Armies for Fall In
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