Terrain Effects

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  • #181555
    SteveT
    Participant

    I am surprised by the Black Powder/Hail/Pike series in that terrain seems only to affect movement and shooting.

    Not seen anywhere that it affects, say, a heavy formed unit, being more easily taken down by lights in rough terrain?Perhaps I am missing something

    #181560
    arcole
    Participant

    As far as I can see, in Hail Caesar you are correct. However, with the movement penalties, an open order unit could run rings around a “closed”, without being at risk of getting caught.

    #181918
    SteveT
    Participant

    Thinking about this more….since the heavy infantry would also be in open order in the woods,  then other open order units would not be running rings around them :p

     

    #181952
    SteveT
    Participant

    Seems odd that nobody can answer this!

    To restate this: What advantages to lighter troops have over heavy troops in forests?  I can see none. This is not realistic.

     

    #181955
    Charge The Guns
    Participant

    Hi Steve, there don’t seem to be any HC ‘experts’ around so I will have a go 😀

    The rules provide some suggested rules for a few terrain types and encourage players to adapt these as they see fit. (see page 38)

    For Woods (including forests I assume), normal troops are unable to enter this terrain at all. So the advantage that open order troops get is that they can move through Woods, and therefore harass the formed troops from Woods without being able to be caught.

    The other example type of terrain is ‘Rough’. In this terrain formed troops can only move one move each turn, and mounted troops are slowed to 6”, the same move as foot. So the advantage of the light troops here is they can manoeuvre more easily.

    Overall the HC system, seems to me, to expect open order troops to harass formed troops, and be an annoyance, perhaps wear them down with shooting etc. In general, formed units are expected to fight in the open, and rely on skirmishers or other light troops in open order, to contest difficult terrain.

    What sort of troop interactions are you trying to recreate that you are having a problem with?

    #181957
    SteveT
    Participant

    Hello!  Thanks for your reply. You approached this the same way I did (at first) until I realise the HC rules differ from BP/P&S in one aspect: most units (not elephants and chariots)  can enter open order to go into woods. As far as I can tell, this just makes them into giant skirmisher units, with no penalty not already applied to any other lighter troops in the same forest.

    Just thinking about situations like Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

     

    #181964
    Charge The Guns
    Participant

    Ah yes. I had forgotten about that bit in the rules. I think my group has chosen not to adopt that option, hence the confusion. (i.e. We don’t allow normal formed troops to do this.) I suppose if you do follow this option then normal formed troops have to spend a turn to go in to open order, and the same when the come out of the wood, which will slow them down. Once in open order I think the biggest disadvantage to all troops is that you can’t receive support. So you will end up with just a muddle of troops fighting in the woods as “individuals”. I think you can argue that a well equipped and trained legionary on his own in a wood, is still more than a match for a single Ancient German on his own in a wood.

    I think Teutoburg requires some special setup as I would interpret it as an ambush. When we’ve done this game we have the Romans in march column along a road / track with lots of baggage. The track leads through wooded areas. The rules already suggest you can allow formed troops to be set in ambush in the edge of woods and we have used this, having some rule for springing the ambush with German warbands in the wood’s edges.

    Thinking about allowing Legions to fight in woods it would be interesting to remove their Elite and Drilled specials when in open order in the woods. Perhaps this would even things up? Perhaps also penalise the pilum in woods?

    #181967
    SteveT
    Participant

    Good point about open order not being able to get support. And the formation change would slow them down.

    But yes, as. I think you have surmised, under the rules as I understand them, a Roman legion would not only be uncaring of lighter troops in the woods, but would actively hunt them down!

    I want a set of rules to be consistent, at least reasonably — if I have to hack them about to work in certain situations. They should simulate, at least to a reasonable extent, actual historical engagements.

    I emailed Warlord to get their answer. Will post it here.

     

    #181970
    Charge The Guns
    Participant

    It will be interesting to see what they say.

    I am still not sure about an innate disadvantage of heavy troops, man for man in bad terrain. If there were 8 germans in a wood, and I sent 8 legionary to deal with them, then I would expect the legionary to win, or at least chase off the germans. If the germans had missile weapons then there is a risk of being shot I suppose. I would have thought the point of this is that you would rather not send your prime troops to deal with a minor annoyance (hence auxiliaries) and the biggest danger is that the 8 germans might be a cover for another 100 germans hiding in the wood – that would be very bad for the 8 legionary!

    I would see command being the vital thing in poor terrain. It is more difficult to get chaps to do something when you can’t see them all so easily and they can’t see their officers or hear orders. This would apply to germans or legionary blundering around in a wood. I think germans in an ambush situation is a different situation however.

    #181976
    Rough Rider
    Participant

    Although not necessarily pertinent specifically to Romans I think that “heavy foot” represents not just heavily armoured troops but also troops trained to fight in dense formations; as such, they wouldn’t be able to maximise that advantage in woods. Perhaps that should be reflected in their Morale Sv and HtH value when forced into   Open Order by terrain. Not a Formal solution I know, but worth consideration.

    #182027
    SteveT
    Participant

    Got a reply from  Rick. I don’t think he’d mind me posting it here. Nice answer I thought.

    … basically – you can’t be in a wood unless you are in open order –on page 38 – Woods. Most formed units require a move to change formation (formed light units can do so as part of a normal move but cannot charge at the same time) p36. Aside from skirmishers and some light units, units that fight in other formations can only adopt OO where obliged to do so and automatically revert to their standard formation as soon as allowed in most cases expending a move to do so.

    Formed units that break into open order are treated as any other open order unit in broad rules terms – e.g. Roman legionaries breaking into open order to enter a wood or built up area. There’s no reason to think a warrior who fights in a formation during a formal battle isn’t comfortable in a looser formation when necessary – formal battles are rare – police actions, skirmishers and assaults against fortified positions relatively common.

    What’s the disadvantage of being in open order? In HC being in open order is a massive disadvantage in combat against formed troops because a fight is very often settled by supporting troops and units in OO can’t be supported. If you are talking about opposing units exchanging missile fire then open order is a perfectly good formation (where allowed). Your only disadvantage is that the OO unit is extended over a bigger area than an equivalent sized formed unit so it’s firepower is spread out. You remain vulnerable to a charge of course, and you will be at -1 in combat and the enemy +1 for charging so the difference is actually 3’s against 5’s typically even putting aside from any supports carried by the charger.

    There are always situations where you might want to make an exception or special rule – I can’t see a pike-armed unit breaking into open order to move through a proper wood for example – but Alexander’s forces were obviously able to mount assaults upon enemy fortresses and flush out enemy hiding away in rugged territory – one assumes they swapped their pikes for lighter spears – and the fate of Cleitus the Black suggests there were plenty of those at hand. Anyway – the point is that if you feel an exception is required feel free to agree one amongst yourselves – that’s the best solution.”

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 4 weeks ago by SteveT.
    #182029
    Charge The Guns
    Participant

    Fab to have it from the great man himself 👍.

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