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FelixPhantasm
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The Wedge vs. The Line Fri, 28 March 2008 17:25
BattleLore was designed to differentiate itself from other Borgian offerings like C&C Ancients and give players the feel of medieval warfare. I'm paraphrasing, but thats a lift right off the BattleLore site where the specific example of the wedge formation is given. The game succeeds in many ways of course, longbows for example, but not necessarily through formations.

Beyond the examples of 3 unit mutually supporting wedge given in the rules; how does the mechanics of BattleLore emphasize the wedge? I'm still trying to figure this out after a couple dozen games.

For example, I often use the 3 unit wedge when I have foot units "out in space" so as not to attract undue attention to my flanks. My confusion arises because I can do this in C&C Ancients as well and often do for the same reason.

C&C Ancients has card play that provides incentive to form a line [clash of shields, line command etc.]which reinforces the eras actual tactics in battle.

Is there something I'm missing in BattleLore that emphasizes the wedge formation beyond the necessity of certain situations?
      
ColtsFan77
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Fri, 28 March 2008 17:43
I think it is just hte nature of the game that makes a Triangle Formation - or wedge - the most valuable configuration. There are no cards the promote the line like in Ancients. And with the ranged ability not a common feature in most units, you can't afford to send units out solo (unless they are self-supporting) like you do in Memoir.

When I first started playing, I shunned the idea of focusing on the Triangle. And I repeatedly got my butt handed to me.

It just seems to be one of those things in this game. Also one of the reasons I can't give it a perfect mark. I think the mechanics dictate this formation more than any historical simulation.
      
constant-whiner
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Sun, 30 March 2008 13:40
Wedge? Not really. Inverted wedge maybe. In my opinion it is one of the game's shortcomings that it tends to emphasize this a-historical inverted wedge formation. A battle in BL is a set of disconnected inverted wedges fighting it out. No sense of coherence, no sense of battle line. This produces a feeling of complete tactical chaos (even without factoring in the pernicious effects of Lore) and precludes any strategic planning.

I can almost hear the BL commander:

* What? There is a big gaping hole in our line and enemy units are pouring in? Not a big deal. So long as our units are grouped in inverted wedges we aren't punished by the rules (and no, our morale or ability to respond on all flanks are not affected in the least).

* What? We are outflanked? (even on that abnormally tight board that precludes any meaningful maneuvering). Big deal. You may be able to outflank a line but you sure as heck can't outflank a set of inverted wedges (see also #1).

Maybe this can be fixed with one or two extra rules and then it would really be a great game but I am no game designer and never liked the concept of house rules.
      
toddrew
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Mon, 31 March 2008 06:46
While the "inverted wedge" will do fine in a pinch, it will not survive a sustained assault from the other side. I'm no historical hawk myself, but the name of this game is attacking, then cycling back weakened units and replacing the line with fresh troops to finish off the battle, and I think there is some historical basis for such tactics. Triangles are nice, trapezoids are better.

If one wants to further bemoan the willing suspension of disbelief that this game requires, how about the realization that regions of the battlefield weren't actually sectioned off into three areas further sectioned off into hexagons? Very Happy I would venture that much like a digital image is made up of pixels that at some point break from the reality that the image is representing, and while the triangles don't necessarily mimic to a T the battle formations that were actually employed, I feel they do do a fair job of representing cohesion on the battlefield and reach of fighting units. Exposure to more attacks on several fronts is how being outflanked is punished in this game, further punished if this can be done to units that are unsupported.

I would love to hear from the designer about how the unit flow on the board relates to historical battle formations and battle outcomes (or any other poster's thoughts on this as well).

[Updated on: Mon, 31 March 2008 21:57]

      
FelixPhantasm
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Mon, 31 March 2008 16:31
toddrew wrote on Mon, 31 March 2008 00:46

I would love to hear from the designer about how the unit flow on the board relates to historical battle formations and battle outcomes (or any other poster's thoughts on this as well).

Me too!

While I admit the following probably won't rise to the plane of intelligence the rest of this thread has, I'll share it regardless for other newbs like me.

After several solo outings with C&C Ancients, I faced my first living breathing opponent this weekend. I was informed after my first close combat against the Syracuseans that *any* unit that survives the battle and is not forced to retreat is allowed a battle back! Du'oh! Embarassed

Well, after I desperately tried to salvage my early tactical blunder -- it didn't work Rolling Eyes -- it dawned on me how that simple difference that I had missed on my gloss over of the C&C battle back rule is a major difference in emphasis on formations.

Regardless of how one feels about the historical accuracy of the "inverted wedge" the fact that you must be bold to battle back is a huge emphasis in and of itself that I was not aware of. Confused

... loving both games for what each brings to the table.

[Updated on: Mon, 31 March 2008 16:33]

      
toddrew
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Mon, 31 March 2008 22:10
FelixPhantasm wrote on Mon, 31 March 2008 08:31


After several solo outings with C&C Ancients, I faced my first living breathing opponent this weekend. I was informed after my first close combat against the Syracuseans that *any* unit that survives the battle and is not forced to retreat is allowed a battle back! Du'oh! Embarassed

Well, after I desperately tried to salvage my early tactical blunder -- it didn't work Rolling Eyes -- it dawned on me how that simple difference that I had missed on my gloss over of the C&C battle back rule is a major difference in emphasis on formations.

Regardless of how one feels about the historical accuracy of the "inverted wedge" the fact that you must be bold to battle back is a huge emphasis in and of itself that I was not aware of. Confused

... loving both games for what each brings to the table.


Like you, I came to C&C:Ancients after having played BattleLore mainly, and the odd game of Memoir '44. Although I was aware that any unit that stood its ground could battle back, I wasn't aware that the retreat values varied depending upon movement until I lost a full strength light cavalry unit that was unsupported on the second row to a lonely banner roll Laughing

[Updated on: Mon, 31 March 2008 22:10]

      
tkostek
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Wed, 09 April 2008 05:37
My understanding is that during the time period of BattleLore, the standard of military training and tactics had declined compared to the time period of Ancients. Therefore, Borg meant BL to reflect a more chaotic battlefield than Ancients.
      
yangtze
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Fri, 11 April 2008 00:11
Indeed, and good stuff Todd. My personal view, considering what I've read of medieval battle, is that BL does a good job of showing how the medieval battle degenerates into pockets of desperately engaged men. The only thing missing is the influence of leaders leading from the front, which should be at least as strong as in C&CA. But I have a feeling we'll get that come the Heroic expansion Smile

(I have no inside knowledge of that, by the way, but I think we're all expecting some such, given what tidbits we've been thrown thus far...)
      
Sam Gamgee
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Fri, 11 April 2008 02:49
Quote:

My understanding is that during the time period of BattleLore, the standard of military training and tactics had declined compared to the time period of Ancients. Therefore, Borg meant BL to reflect a more chaotic battlefield than Ancients.


Rather than a decline in tactical knowledge, I would say that technological advances made ancient tactics obsolete. Specifically, heavy infantry was replaced by heavy cavalry as the master of the battlefield. Also weapons that required less training - such as crossbows - meant that ill trained troops could still be deadly, and deadly at a distance.

Anyways, I agree with tkostec's conclusions and Yangtze - BL does replicate the more chaotic medieval battlefield with pockets of desperate melee, which is cool, but there is too little consequence to a "Bold" unit being surrounded, or having troops break into the rear of your battle lines.
      
toddrew
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Fri, 11 April 2008 03:38
Sam Gamgee wrote on Thu, 10 April 2008 18:49

but there is too little consequence to a "Bold" unit being surrounded, or having troops break into the rear of your battle lines.


These are the criticisms that I don't understand (which isn't to mean that they are not valid - just that I don't understand them Very Happy ). Maybe it is a question of relativity, but to me there is substantial advantage to surrounding a bold unit (though if opportunities to attack unsupported enemies exist, those will likely be taken as the preferred action), namely that I would expect after 3 attacks that that unit will be taken as a banner. And breaking lines to surround and cut-off retreats (ie. flags=hits) is the main tactic that I am striving for - pressing the enemy to the backline is the best way to do this, but at the same time, a premature venture by a few units into enemy territory is not the best way to do this. Often I will "invite" the opposition to come deep into my side of the board in order to surround those impetuous few units.
      
Sam Gamgee
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Fri, 11 April 2008 21:35
Hmmm... good point about the flags = hits, but the reverse holds true as well - if you attack a unit from behind, receive flags on the battle back and are forced to retreat then you lose casualties for having to retreat through your opponent's lines. CW also has a good point about the power of the inverted wedge formation - a group foot of units surrounded by Cavalry should be decimated if they don't have spears or pikes to defend with, but if they are grouped as 'bold' the outcome is likely the reverse, because they will battle back at full strength and multiple times.

Also I was thinking that the absence of a camp or command area that needs to be defended means that there is little strategic advantage in achieving a breakthrough. My first priority in deciding where to attack is assessing how to minimize my opponent's opportunities to battle back, not where I can likely break through his lines and surround him or capture his camp.

I really enjoy this game, it's quick & fun, and has enough flavour of the times to make it exciting - but I think areas of morale and formations are weak points in the rules system.

      
toddrew
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Sat, 12 April 2008 04:34
Sam Gamgee wrote on Fri, 11 April 2008 13:35

Hmmm... good point about the flags = hits, but the reverse holds true as well - if you attack a unit from behind, receive flags on the battle back and are forced to retreat then you lose casualties for having to retreat through your opponent's lines.


If the unit being attacked from behind is not bold, no worries about the bb's Wink Also, this is central to the game, which ultimately comes down to rolling greater number of dice at greater probabilities of causing hits than one's opponent. Finding tactics that allow for that to happen is what one is looking to do throughout the game. Often times a sustained push forcing the enemy units to fall to the back of the board and/or lose the ability to be bold is the best way to do this.

Quote:


Also I was thinking that the absence of a camp or command area that needs to be defended means that there is little strategic advantage in achieving a breakthrough. My first priority in deciding where to attack is assessing how to minimize my opponent's opportunities to battle back, not where I can likely break through his lines and surround him or capture his camp.


Though there are a few scenarios that do have just such objectives, your point is well taken - but, against a careful opponent, it will be hard to find those opportunities without taking the initiative to cause them to be found.

Quote:

I really enjoy this game, it's quick & fun, and has enough flavour of the times to make it exciting - but I think areas of morale and formations are weak points in the rules system.




Not trying to start an argument here by any means, just a sincere question, as I feel that the morale and resulting battle back rules are integral parts to driving the back and forth, momentum changing aspects of the game that I enjoy so - what alternative to the current rules would make the game better?
      
yangtze
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Sat, 12 April 2008 09:14
Apologies if this has been said already, but there can be good reasons why you may want to surround a bold, or even multiple-bold unit. Some reasons may be situation specific, but you may just want to deny it the option of electing to retreat to avoid further combat.
      
toddrew
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Re:The Wedge vs. The Line Sat, 12 April 2008 14:51
yangtze wrote on Sat, 12 April 2008 01:14

Apologies if this has been said already...


I didn't say it all that explicitly nor succinctly, but that's exactly what I was referring to earlier about "substantial advantages (in surrounding a bold unit)". Even more substantial if lore is aiding the gang-up.

This game gives rise to so many situations, a singular tactic is never across the board good, nor across the board bad. Almost always depends upon what one has instore for one's follow-up turn (and what the opponent is able to do in response).
      
    
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