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Various weapons - are we doing it right?

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Post by Nick B on Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:13 pm

Hi Chaps,

We had a game with Indians versus Persians last night and were stunned at the apparent shooting power of elephants with"various weapons". Are we missing a rule?

We played the shooting power as the standard VDU i.e. 6. We could not see any rules limiting this?

So essentially for 3 points extra this makes elephants equivelany to a unit of English 100 Years War Longbow at point blank and better than them at up to 15cm range.

Even if you siad that it effectively allowed for incorporation of a full unit of skirmishers alongside the elephants that would cost 10-12 points and only give a shooting VDU of 2. The same would apply to the Indian Chariots.

Surely we are missing something as this seems ridiculous? Can some one please point to the rules we have over looked. Embarassed

Many thanks

Nick

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Post by Gaius Cassius on Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:39 pm

Nope. You are doing it correctly We call Indian Elephants with Various weapons "tanks." The only downside is that they are VD3 so when they go down they cost a lot in army morale. I find that I am better engaging these kinds of Elephants than letting them have free reign shooting me to pieces. Also, this is hardly the only unit type that gets a big boost with an added weapon. CM VBU6 with the addition of Composite Bow C becomes a deadly unit.
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Post by Zippee on Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:09 am

Agree - if you're letting them get to shoot at PB you're handling them wrong. Grab them by the belt buckle and don't let go.

Various Weapons is often taken as meaning rubbish weapons that is not the case, elephant crews could and should be able to generate a lot of close in shooting power be it javelin, bow or dart.

The comparison to HYW longbow is spurious; the range factors are completely different as is the ability to reaction fire within PB plus the ability to fire at long range. Not to mention they don't face each other historically, so you're comparing apples and porcupines.

Indian elephants are scary and can come in large numbers but that's really all there is to the army, you just have to deal with the problem that they represent.
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Post by Nick B on Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:49 am

Surely that is an ahistoric tactic to "play the rules". As far as I was aware the historical way of dealing with elephants was with light troops and skirmishers. I am not aware of any battle accounts where non-elephants actively charged elephants to engage them.

Attempting to deal with elephants with VW with light troops in these rules just results in them being blown off the table.

You are also suggesting the weight of fire from 2-3 archers (at best) in each howdah is the same or greater than e.g. a large unit of Sparabara.........Really?



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Post by Zippee on Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:13 am

Disagree - I use light troops, something like 4/1 FL with javelins if available. Shoot and charge, repeat as necessary. The nellies can't sustain the losses. VD 3 against VD1 is a 3:1 ratio and S troops rock (even if fragile) against elephants.

Most elephants were used as anti-cavalry screens so advancing on my FP line with them is ahistorical as well. . .

If they're in PB of FP then yes I'll close instead of taking the shooting - who wouldn't? If CP then I've little choice, if CM or CL then evade already, if FL or S then tallyho!

VBU is more than just numbers - it's morale effect, ammunition, position, defence, attack - an all-in-one summation of combat efficiency. Elephants with VW at short and long range are intimidating but not a great threat - numbers tell. At PB they're dangerous, so don't let them sit at PB and shoot you down.
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Post by 1ngram on Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:45 pm

The "problem" we have faced with melee units with missile capability, whether elephants or bow armed cavalry has been their ability to both shoot and charge in the same turn. This makes elephants in particular devastating. Our answer has been to not allow a charging unit to shoot.

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Post by Gaius Cassius on Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:48 pm

We generally find that the EL are under powered in Impetus. The 6/5 EL with Various Weapons is tough. But I think that without it the Indians lists don't stand much a chance. In the case of the Indian lists engaging them with FP seems quite historical to me (isn't that what Alexander did against Porus?) Once the EL takes a few hits it doesn't take long for it to rout. So a powerful but fragile unit.
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Post by Zippee on Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:19 am

1ngram wrote:The "problem" we have faced with melee units with missile capability, whether elephants or bow armed cavalry has been their ability to both shoot and charge in the same turn.  This makes elephants in particular devastating.  Our answer has been to not allow a charging unit to shoot.

That ruling guts a lot of troops - Ghulam, mamelukes, even humble FL javelinmen.

Do you also disallow Roman pilum?

Each to their own but this isn't for me Mad
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Post by 1ngram on Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:04 pm

No gutting.  It just brings them down to earth.  Since we allow countercharges cav V cav or inf V inf, one can halt (or stay halted) and shoot knowing you can countercharge if subsequently charged.

And yes we allow pila - buit our experience is that they don't have much of an effect, anyway.

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Post by Gaius Cassius on Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:27 pm

No one in my group has built an Indian list but our experience with Successor lists with the 6/5 EL with various weapons is that it is tough but quite beatable. At 32 points and 3VD it comes with its problems. Our suspicion is that the two Indian lists in EI4 are mid range, decent but not in the top tier. Looks like it would be fun to play with though.

I too wouldn't want to change the current rules allowing fire and charging in the same activation. I can't see how FL with javelin would survive in the approach you are suggesting 1ngram. By the way, don't you play BI?
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Post by dadiepiombo on Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:33 am

Elephants with various weapon are rare, only Indian armies have in "number" thought going from theory to practice you can field 3 in a standard army. Well you should see those El like mixed units, I mean mixed El and missile troops. Indians are far from unebeatable.
Single troop performances must be judged within the armies.

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Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:26 pm

Gaius Cassius wrote:Also, this is hardly the only unit type that gets a big boost with an added weapon. CM VBU6 with the addition of Composite Bow C becomes a deadly unit.

This is the only thing I fundamentally object to in Impetus - be it Elephants, CM cavalry or any other formation that has such a high base VBU accompanied by a ranged weapon that they blow formed longbow archers away in terms of effectiveness in shooting and then they have melee capability in the very same turn.

As a suggestion try playtesting a house rule I have tried where shooting is considered in a similar manner to moving, for each dice you shoot you lose a dice in melee combat in the same turn. eg the VBU 6 CM can shoot with 2 and charge home with 3 (remaining 4 less one for the movement to charge - could be more if multiple moves - plus Impetus if available) rather than being able to shoot at 5 (paying one dice for the move) then melee with a full 6 plus potential impetus bonus. No unit may shoot more than half its dice and still melee.

Taking elephants as an example they are 6VBU+5I so they could potentially commit to one movement pulse leaving 5 potential shooting dice (with range modifiers added later) so they could shoot 2, move and press home with 3+5I for a total of 10 attack dice which is far better than shooting at 5 and meleeing with 11 for a total of 16.

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Post by Gaius Cassius on Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:32 am

I don't see any problem with the current rules. Perhaps charging could be a 2 dice penalty instead of 1 with respect to firing and then immediately charging in the same activation. But I think this would be a minor adjustment. I wouldn't diminish melee for troops firing and then charging. The implications are simply too large. The big problem with Composite Bow C and such is that the weapon type is probably underpriced for the high VBU units. But considering that all bow armed CM are VD3 there is a large cost to the army in VD when they are lost.

One implication for Various Weapons is that the range modifier is minimal. At PB the bonus for Various Weapons is only +1 for all types. Consider that Short Bow A is +2/+4 at PB. This is especially significant as the unit wears down.

Also, in Impetus, having more shots is probably more important than having a powerful firing unit.
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Post by dadiepiombo on Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:21 am

Longbowmen can shoot at long range, Variius weapons and most of mounted with shooting capability not.
Add this with screening possibility and you have worked out the difference.
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Post by Tarty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:36 am

I fight Indians reasonably often definitely need a healthy number of skirmishers otherwise they can be a handful for sure. Good skirmish screen is essential when your up against these guys Wink
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