Author Topic: Formation Combat  (Read 94 times)

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Offline Vladimir

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Formation Combat
« on: December 29, 2021, 04:31:49 PM »
Quaeritur: Estne consilium instituendi pugnae in ludo? Id est legionem paene invictam.

Question: Is there a plan to incorporate formation combat in the game? I mean, that is what made the Legion nearly invincible.

I haven't used Latin in...days. I ride my bike around town and practice by translating signs into Latin.

  While RM is a decent combat simulator for individual or small unit actions, are there RM battlefield rules? If there are such, how does the individual character figure into the battle?

  From my own experience fighting in a shield wall (Saxon, not Roman) trained in formation combat, a solid formation of troops with uniform training easily defeats a unit of similar strength, numbers and skill made up of individuals. 
 
 I play-tested a formation combat game (By the Sword -based on System Seven Napoleonic) that incorporated units found in Fantasy games, such as Elves, Dwarves and Orcs. It was published in the 1970s, a limited run and near impossible to find (I know two people who have copies). It reflects the gaming conventions of the time and even uses a flow chart for smoother play.
  What By the Sword did do was include a point value system that allowed an adventurer's or party's combat value to be incorporated into a combat formation.

  So, as with any wargame, an extrapolation method could be employed; Extrapolation of attack, defense and movement makes great wargames like Panzer Leader, Seekrieg and Squad Leader possible. Extrapolation is used in RPGs to translate RL stats into gaming stats.

  Incorporating battles in a RPG is used in Battletech and WH40K (Yes, the original ruleset was a RPG) and I've used SPI Prestags (OOP and insanely expensive now) in my games.

  While we're here...
  The different Eras of Rome (Republic, Empire and Byzantium) experienced a lot of evolution between 500 BCE and the 15th century. Early Republic Legions didn't wear armor and carried oval shields while by the time of Julius Ceasar (about 50 BCE) the Legions wore the lorica segmentata that we are all familiar with. Towards the end of the Empire (400 AD) the lorica hamata was more common and under the Byzantines you find more lamellar armors and the legions replaced by more Asiatic style Cataphracts.

  For those familiar with the Aenid, you are aware that the founding of Rome was continuation of the Iliad, and thus, at the tail end of Golden Era where the gods, mythical beasts and legends were active in the world (If you examine the theme of Aeschylus' works, you see where the gods allow humans to keep their own laws instead of needing direct divine guidance and punishment).

  It's cold and my fingers are sore...I'll end here.

  Ave et vale!

 

When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
-Lao Tzu

Offline Hurin

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Re: Formation Combat
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2021, 05:25:07 PM »
Have you heard of War Law?
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Formation Combat
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2021, 07:27:03 PM »
Have you heard of War Law?
  Unfortunately, I haven't. I talked to Fred (My GM) about it and of course, he has it in his library (thank goodness, I priced the OOP hard copies online...). I found a pdf and it is workable, a bit clumsy but the math is easy enough, and a couple of spreadsheets could make the gameplay a lot easier.
 
  Maybe an updated version for the Rome rules, covering from the fall of the Tarquin Kings to the Turkish Invasion could be a supplement...or a series of supplements...
   
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
-Lao Tzu

Offline Boromir

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Re: Formation Combat
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2021, 11:52:48 PM »
@Colin-ICE and I are working to get War Law back in print.  There is only one author left to be contacted and signed up with the current ICE.

If you are a programmer, there is the 30-year old code by David Eubanks for War Law available at https://github.com/code-moth/Warcom .  It's on my to-do list to update, but I have to rank-up in GUI programming to do it.  You can actually get the old code to run in a dosbox with old compilers.

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Formation Combat
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2021, 01:45:39 AM »
@Colin-ICE and I are working to get War Law back in print.  There is only one author left to be contacted and signed up with the current ICE.

If you are a programmer, there is the 30-year old code by David Eubanks for War Law available at https://github.com/code-moth/Warcom .  It's on my to-do list to update, but I have to rank-up in GUI programming to do it.  You can actually get the old code to run in a dosbox with old compilers.
  I did see the advert in the War Law book. Three of my GMs went on to be programmers, two for Microsoft and one worked on computer games for SSI. One is still alive, teaching.
 
  Good to hear that that facet of the game is being moved forward. It is worth discussing.
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
-Lao Tzu

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Formation Combat
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2021, 06:18:58 PM »
  Just a few comments on formation combat.

  When fighting normally with a sword and shield, a fighter is free to move about, advance or retreat, circle around. In an attack, a fighter is able to put the full movement of his body and weight behind a blow while in defense, he is free to dodge, leap back, or otherwise avoid an attack without parrying or blocking.

  Fighting in a formation changes the dynamics of combat.

  A loose formation of fighters is normal for players standing next to each other and fighting. It allows players to mutually attack one or more adjacent targets and cover each others' flanks. In maintaining the integrity of the formation there are less options for independent movement.


  A shield formation requires further attention to formation integrity. The shields for a unified wall against and opponent and limits the exposed areas that the formation members offer as targets. Except for the extreme flanks, the people in the shield formation offer mutual coverage, depending on the size and shape of the shields. Behind the wall of shields, the members' bodies are virtually impossible to hit as the legs, feet, shoulders, attacking arm and head are the only parts regularly exposed.
  The limits to fighting in a shield formation are the same formational constraints of lack of individual maneuver room and that the men are fighting over a wall of shields, which restricts the power and placement of blows.
  To maintain unit integrity, the formation moves at a slower, measured pace, usually not more than a walk.


  The close shield formation has the members of the formation overlap their shields and use and arm to brace the overlap, with acts to lock the shields in position. It is a much tighter formation that forms a more solid wall against opponents and is often used in tighter confines, such as narrow passes or on a bridge. Not only does the close shield formation add to formation integrity but since the locked shields form a near-solid wall, the formation is better able to use the force of its members to push the opposing formation back, to gain better tactical position or to break the integrity of the opposing formation. Overlapping shields make body strikes very rare and the feet, legs, attacking arm, shoulders and head are exposed.
    The limits are similar to the shield formation with further slightly more restrictions on offense for the front ranks.


  The main reason to employ formations is to ensure a unit's survivability. Shields make a unit a moving fort that can outlast a less organized unit that isn't in formation. The Romans proved this repeatedly and subsequent militaries strove to copy them.

 
   
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
-Lao Tzu