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Relative Size of Formations


niggle
(@niggle)
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I have just started playing ESR and I am enjoying exploring the rules.  In one game two formations were skirmishing.  One had twelve units and the other had only six.  Both formations had four Fatigue.  Due to the disparity in strengths the smaller formation looks to be in a worse state but in the Assessment both formations have an equal chance of an adverse result (all other things being equal), such as having to retire their artillery, purely because they have the same number of Fatigue.  As far as I can see the Assessment modifiers make no allowance for the relative size of formations.  Is that correct and, if so, what is the logic behind that?


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David
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Posted by: @niggle

As far as I can see the Assessment modifiers make no allowance for the relative size of formations.  Is that correct and, if so, what is the logic behind that?

You're not wrong. Methodology employed was not that a larger Formation would take Fatigue slower, but rather that it would have a higher threshold for Fatigue before it will exit engagement. The downside is that a all Formations degrade in the micro (skirmishing prowess, combat prowess) at nominally equal rates, however, the larger Formation, having a higher tolerance, can exit an engagement and return more times and at a higher strength than a smaller one.

-David


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niggle
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Thank you for clarifying that.  I can see that the increase in fatigue resulting from assessments works well at reflecting the relative size of formations; i.e. a larger formation with the same level of fatigue as a smaller formation has the same chance of increasing fatigue but that the bigger formation can more easily absorb the extra fatigue.  I was more concerned about some of the other adverse effects, such as artillery batteries retiring. I have been experimenting with a house rule that these other adverse effects only come into force if a formation has reached 50% fatigue. I have not yet played enough games with this to decide if it works.

The other interesting situation I have encountered is where two smaller formations are skirmishing with a larger formation.  All other things being equal the smaller formations tend to be more effective as they will add a total of 4d6 between them whereas the larger formation will only add 2d6 (which can only be applied to one of the enemy formations). This apparent advantage might be offset by the fact that side with the smaller formations might be obliged to take two assessments, compared to one assessment being taken by the larger formation.  My experience of playing the game so far has been that in the confusion of the fighting on the gaming table this tends to be lost in the noise and fatigue seems to rapidly reduce the effectiveness of skirmishing. 

I would be interested to know your thoughts on the above and whether I am missing something.


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David
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Posted by: @niggle

I was more concerned about some of the other adverse effects, such as artillery batteries retiring. I have been experimenting with a house rule that these other adverse effects only come into force if a formation has reached 50% fatigue.

The biggest consideration I would put forward here is that it will always be difficult to decide when artillery batteries should retire. Sometimes it happened early in an engagement, other times, they seemed to hang on until the last shot they could fire. Ultimately, we avoided setting a base threshold as you're considering for two reasons: 1) added tracking for players, and 2) it would prevent the possibility of the artillery pulling out early.

Posted by: @niggle

All other things being equal the smaller formations tend to be more effective as they will add a total of 4d6 between them whereas the larger formation will only add 2d6 (which can only be applied to one of the enemy formations). This apparent advantage might be offset by the fact that side with the smaller formations might be obliged to take two assessments, compared to one assessment being taken by the larger formation.

My first reaction is that you are thinking about this the right way. Yes, smaller Formations can get more dice against a given target, odds are that each pair of dice won't individually provide another point on the target's Assessment, they may be enough to bump their respective Formation's score against the target, and cumulatively should be expected to bump it one. Comparatively, the larger Formation is likely causing one Assessment on each of the smaller enemies, potentially two on the one it puts its dice towards. The smaller Formations will have lower thresholds for Fatigue… in the end, it can often break either direction.

Obviously the particulars do drive the results different directions.

Hope that helps?

This post was modified 10 months ago by Lead-Penguin

-David


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niggle
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Hi David, 

Thank you for the helpful response.

My experience so far suggests that at the lower levels of Fatigue the outcome of Assessments will vary considerably depending on the dice roll - a bad roll and the formation picks up extra Fatigue and the artillery retires; on a good roll the formation might suffer very little.  This does neatly and simply capture your point that sometimes artillery might withdraw early in an action, whereas at other times it would hang on to the end.  Of course, once Fatigue increases it becomes almost inevitable that some or all of the artillery will retire due to the large minuses that come with it and regardless of the relative sizes of the formations involved. 

I can see that my experimental house rule of a 50% Fatigue threshold for the worst effects of Assessments is somewhat flawed. In my most recent game I experimented with formations having a saving throw to keep their artillery after an adverse Assessment. The saving throw got harder as the ratio of Fatigue to the number of units got higher.  I did like how this worked but it did slow things down and I can appreciate why you have taken the approach used. 

I find it interesting to see how important artillery is. The extra points in the skirmish phase are helpful and, even more importantly, the bonuses/penalties that apply in the Assessments can make a crucial difference. 

I would just like to add that I am thoroughly enjoying playing with these rules.  I have been looking for a long time for a set of rules that makes it possible to play Corps and multiple Corps actions, in a playable way.


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