Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Discussion of the upcoming fantasy version of TRIUMPH!
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RogerCooper
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Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by RogerCooper » Mon Nov 07, 2022 1:41 am

I have been thinking about implementing gun-armed units in Fantasy Triumph. Arquebuses can be handled as a shooters, but for muskets performance is different. Giving muskets a Marksman card seems insufficient, as muskets have better range. And muskets without bayonets are rather vulnerable to melee. The range question also comes up with rifles. Is there a good way of doing this without new battle cards? Do we need an extended range card (adding 2 to range)? A vulnerable card giving a -1 to close combat in good going?
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David Kuijt
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by David Kuijt » Mon Nov 07, 2022 12:28 pm

What era are you thinking about? Most military historians and reenactors are of the opinion that no gunpowder weapons had better effective range (used en masse, as a unit) than trained longbowmen before the introduction of the Sharps Rifle in 1850 or so.

If you're thinking very early, I'd not allow arquebus to be shooters. If you look at late Medieval armies, units with handgonnes are invariably skirmishers (i.e., firing at short range). I don't recall any record of massed arquebus fire being an effective tool at long range for any battles. Getting into the Pike and Shot era, I think massed Shot as Archers works well. Musket units as Archers works very well even through the US civil war, with their lack of strength in melee.

There are some complexities in simulating the pike and shot era in Triumph. Renaissance mixed units of pike and shot are admittedly more difficult to represent. Moving further into the Napoleonic Wars, the ubiquity of formation-change (column, line, square, each with their own performance parameters) makes Triumph (in my opinion) inadequate for the age of Napoleon.

For Star Wars battles, I often take a mix of Archers (straight up) for rank and file stormtroopers and Light Foot with Ranged Attack for Imperial Marines and Rebel rangers. The main thing is that there are very few examples of Close Order troops in any modern-era or sci-fi simulation. And almost everything has ranged attack. When you introduce lots of machine guns (artillery) and effective off-map bombardment (Spellblast Physical, with the Forward Observer being the focus for the battle card as a hero or attached to a unit), nobody wants to fight in lines in the open very much.
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by RogerCooper » Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:25 pm

You should take a lack at this Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... of_archery. Remember the swift embrace of the Musket in 16th century Japan, despite highly effective bows and a long tradition of archery.

Even arquebuses could be highly effective. At the battle of Antalo Plain (1542, during the Ethiopian-Adal war), 360 Portuguese armed with matchlocks (supported by 10 light cannon) devastated a Somali army of 15,000 (even though Somalis had their own firearms and cannon). The Portuguese victory was attributed to the effectiveness of volley fire. [The Ethiopian-Adal War, Jeffrey Shaw].

I wouldn't expect Fantasy Triumph to show the intricacies of the Pike & Shot era, but it should be able to handle the advantages of muskets over bows. I guess for now, give Muskets the Marksman card.
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by David Kuijt » Tue Nov 08, 2022 12:11 pm

RogerCooper wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:25 pm
You should take a lack at this Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... of_archery. Remember the swift embrace of the Musket in 16th century Japan, despite highly effective bows and a long tradition of archery.
Read Toxophilus, by Roger Ascham, writing in 1545.

Read Hardy's chapters discussing the issue of weapons comparison in the Longbow, where he conclusively shows that the transition away from the Longbow in 16th century England was driven by the entry of England into the wool trade, and he examines and disproves all arguments of increased effectiveness of gunpowder weapons (either in general, or specifically as refers to the abandonment of massed Longbow troops in England).

Read Klopsteg, "Turkish Archery and the Composite Bow", with a chapter on the Turkish sport of distance shooting with proven records of shots of 800 yards and longer (shooting sport arrows for distance, not war arrows at a target).

I assure you, I am very well read on this subject. I've got dozens of books about historical archery, including by Hardy, Payne-Gallwey, Ascham, and others. I've written summary articles about archery from the Vikings to the Mary Rose; I'm quite aware of the issues.

The swift embrace of the musket in 16th century Japan was due to logistics and the rise of national (large, conscription) armies, not anything to do with it being a better weapon. In range, accuracy, and rate of fire, archery was better until the introduction of breech-loaders in the mid 19th century. Training a skilled archer takes many years; training a capable musketman takes a month or two. It had nothing to do with better range or better combat effectiveness. It was more to do with converting warfare from a sport for the elite to something where you could raise mass armies. Making replacement arrows requires a skilled tradesman; making replacement gunpowder and musket balls is an industrial trade allowing mass production. I'll say it again -- massed muskets were less effective than massed arrow fire all the way up to the US Civil War. During the Napoleonic Wars it was well understood that a man with a musket was unlikely to be able to hit a specific target with accuracy at a range of 50 yards -- whereas a skilled archer could hit one at 150 yards with the same chance of success.
RogerCooper wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:25 pm
Even arquebuses could be highly effective. At the battle of Antalo Plain (1542, during the Ethiopian-Adal war), 360 Portuguese armed with matchlocks (supported by 10 light cannon) devastated a Somali army of 15,000 (even though Somalis had their own firearms and cannon). The Portuguese victory was attributed to the effectiveness of volley fire. [The Ethiopian-Adal War, Jeffrey Shaw].
If the Somalis had firearms and cannon also, then the supposed superiority of firearms or cannon (over archery) doesn't seem to be the deciding factor.
RogerCooper wrote:
Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:25 pm
I wouldn't expect Fantasy Triumph to show the intricacies of the Pike & Shot era, but it should be able to handle the advantages of muskets over bows. I guess for now, give Muskets the Marksman card.
You can do as you wish, of course, that's the great thing about Fantasy. My scholarly assessment is that no such modifier is historically accurate.
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by RogerCooper » Wed Nov 09, 2022 3:28 am

It is interesting that no power decided to keep on using archers once muskets were available, even those with long traditions of archery. Even considering the logistical complexity of making gunpowder.
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by David Kuijt » Wed Nov 09, 2022 5:25 pm

RogerCooper wrote:
Wed Nov 09, 2022 3:28 am
It is interesting that no power decided to keep on using archers once muskets were available, even those with long traditions of archery. Even considering the logistical complexity of making gunpowder.
There is no logistical complexity for gunpowder compared to making arrows. It is way way faster.

Take a look at the books I cited; they have some very interesting insights. But the main thing is simple -- the 16th century was the first move towards national armies -- large armies, raised and fed by nation-states. A good longbowman took a decade or more to train -- the skeletons in the Merry Rose allowed easy identification of those who were archers, because of the distortions of their right shoulder joints. A reasonable musketman takes a month or so to train. It has nothing to do with being a more effective weapon.
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by RogerCooper » Wed Nov 09, 2022 11:09 pm

Here is an interesting article with links to 16th century sources on the superiority of guns over bows https://bowvsmusket.com/2021/05/06/the- ... -compared/.

It is also worth while noting the guns were more expensive than bows and making gunpowder is much harder than fletching arrows. Even the Royalist army in the English Civil War had trouble making sufficient gunpowder despite controlling major cities. Even tribal peoples lacking any ability to make guns or powder preferred guns when they could get them. The Maori warriors particularly loved double-barred shotguns, which often gave them tactical superiority over settler militias.

Please show me a counter-example of some army or culture that kept on using bows when they had access to muskets and were fighting real wars.

The site https://bowvsmusket.com/ has all sorts of interesting material.
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by David Kuijt » Thu Nov 10, 2022 1:06 am

Your link is interesting, but unconvincing. Especially since guns in the 16th century were demonstrably NOT superior to bows. To choose one point that immediately popped up, your link says that arguments of rate of fire are irrelevant -- that's insane.

You say "making gunpowder is much harder than fletching arrows" -- I'm astonished you would say so, that's completely reversed. See this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqGx-SUO64c. Also, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPl26Ur56Wc . Just the process of whipping and binding longbow arrows takes more than 10 minutes per arrow, totally aside from all the other parts of making a medieval war arrow. Making the arrowhead alone probably takes more time than making gunpowder. The process of cutting the slot for the horn reinforcement on the nock alone takes more time than making gunpowder sufficient for a single shot, and that's with a modern bandsaw. (see video). Hell, cutting the horn nock reinforcement alone would take more time than making enough gunpowder for a single shot.

Compare that laborious process with how easy it is to make gunpowder: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Gunpowder

I'm saying that the widespread adoption of gunpowder weapons was due to lots of factors, and that greater military effectiveness as a weapon was not one of them. You're saying that gunpowder weapons were more effective immediately, and that's why they were universally adopted. I think we should just agree to disagree, here, Roger.
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by RogerCooper » Thu Nov 10, 2022 11:43 pm

The bowsvsmuskets site has an interesting paper on weapons prices in 1508 Holland.
One
hundred longbows cost Gouda 14 stuivers in 1508, the same price as one halberd at Leiden.
Although arrows were bought in larger numbers (thousands) an arrow cost the same as a bow,
calculated at 14 stuivers per hundred.
In 1508 Leiden bought four `metal' or
bronze guns under the former name (knipbos) at 24 stuivers, two at 30 stuivers and four at 21
stuivers each. About the same time Leiden also bought six harquebuses (haakbos) at 25 stuivers,
and 12 at 27 stuivers each, while Gouda paid for 31 harquebuses a price of 25 stuivers each. In
1508 Leiden purchased forty seven knipbossen, each provided with `powder horn, priming
powder, bottle and fuse etc.' for a price of 2 Rhine guilders 11 stuivers (51 stuivers) per complete
set. In 1523 100 handguns (handtbussen) supplied to the fishery protection vessels cost 24
stuivers each.38
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Re: Guns in Fantasy Triumph

Post by David Kuijt » Fri Nov 11, 2022 12:18 am

RogerCooper wrote:
Thu Nov 10, 2022 11:43 pm
The bowsvsmuskets site has an interesting paper on weapons prices in 1508 Holland.
A lot of modern people don't understand some of the dynamics of pricing in the middle ages. For example, I have in my collection a simple copper aiglette used to protect or harden the end of a lace, from Byzantium in the 12th century. It is decorated, rolled copper with a seam in it -- a significant amount of work for a tiny object. Why all the additional work? To save money. Because wages (work, labor time) was a negligible part of cost -- making three times as many aiglettes (saving 2/3 the copper) at the cost of 30x as much work (each of the three folded, rolled, seamed aiglettes taking 10x as much labor as a single mostly-solid cast one) was a significant savings. To modern economics, this is insanity -- but to the economies of the Middle Ages and before, it made sense.

Modern prices are mostly built on labor cost, not on materials cost. Something takes 100 hours for a skilled workman? Costs way more than something that takes 1 hour. This has been true since the start of mass production.

Gunpowder manufacture is capable of mass production. Lead ball manufacture: mass production. Massed national armies: mass production.

Making arrows? No. It's skilled work for trained craftsmen, not give some idiot a mortar and pestle and telling him to mix stuff for an hour. Creating skilled archers with 10 years of practice? Definitely no.

The French under Louis the Spider King (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XI) attempted to create a corps of Francs Archers to combat the demonstrated effectiveness and superiority of the English longbowmen. That's the French Ordonnance army lists (1445-1480, and 1481-Iforgetwhen). The Francs Archers were a complete failure in terms of equalling them, and after 1480 they were largely retrained as Pikemen. Because the combined logistics of building, equipping, training and maintaining them was beyond them. Be aware that at 1450, right after the French Ordonnance list started, the population of France was about 14 million, and the population of England and Wales together was 3.3 million.

So there is no surprise in the rise of a weapons system that required little training (and therefore could support mass enlistment), required little skill to make reloads, and where reloads could be constructed using mass production. Because the period we are discussing (the rise of the Shogunate in Japan, the Pike and Shot period in Europe) was the rise of national armies. It has nothing to do with the weapon system being better when a single soldier with such a weapon is trying to hit a single target at a range of 50-150 yards in 10 minutes of firing.
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