Author Topic: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?  (Read 3440 times)

gatesphere

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Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« on: June 06, 2015, 09:20:18 AM »
Hi all,

It struck me recently that we now have four BGHW factions (Rome, Carthage, Macedon, and Persia) -- and that these four factions line up perfectly with the four forces depicted in the game
Empire: The Macedonian Punic Wars, 350-150BC
!

This game is playable as a standalone game, and only takes about a half hour in that fashion.  It's also been used as a scenario generator/campaign game for Philip Sabin's Lost Battles.  But I think with a small bit of tweaking, it could be an ideal campaign game for the four BGHW factions we have now!

Empire itself is incredibly simple.  There's a map, and players jockey for control of the various provinces.  It lasts exactly 20 turns, each of which represents a period of 10 years.  On each turn, first there is a 'revolt' roll, which might cause a single province to cast out it's controlling powers.  Then each player takes a turn launching a single campaign against a neighboring province, which is resolved with a die roll.  VPs are tallied based on provinces controlled at the halfway point, and then at the end of the game.  On certain turns, some powers will have their historical 'great leaders' available -- on these turns, they can issue 5(!) campaigns, and each of them has a significant die roll modifier.  Alexander is available to the Macedonians on turns 2 and 3 (340-320BC), Hannibal is available to the Carthaginians on turn 14 (220-210BC), and Scipio is available to Rome on turns 15 and 16 (210-190BC).  That's the whole game, aside from some small sticking points around Rome needing to be unified before it can attack, and Persia starting out with a significant VP advantage to make up for the fact that by this period much of it's glory was already achieved.

So... instead of the die roll for settling a campaign, we could simply insert a BGHW battle!  The easiest way to go would be 2000 points each, and the attacker checks the Campaign Table for die roll modifiers (the game caps this at -2 min, +2 max).  For each +1, they gain 500 points, for each -1 they lose 500 points.  Meaning Alexander (a +2 modifier) attacking an enemy controlled province would have 3000 points to build, vs. the opponent's 2000 points.  If the attacker wins, the province changes hands, else the original owner remains.  Perhaps the 'ticking clock' scenario could be used to keep the battles manageable.  Simple as cake!

Empire's VP system would determine overall winner.

Just spitballing here.  I doubt I'd ever be able to run it, but it would be fun! :)

gull2112

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2015, 09:45:09 PM »
I'm not familiar with the parent game, but I like where this is going. The only tweak I would make is that instead of adding points for leader advantages, shift the victory conditions a step. Results could be as follows (note that I have no idea how the game really works):
Defender Decisive victory - Defender gains Attacker's province
Defender Marginal victory- Defender keeps province and Attacker may not repeat attack next turn
Draw No effect
Attacker Marginal Victory - Attacker gains province
Attacker Decisive Victory - Attacker gains province and gains +1 VC shift attacking from province next turn.
"Rules are only as good as the book they're bound in."
http://gullsbattleground.blogspot.com/

gatesphere

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2015, 07:42:06 AM »
I'm not familiar with the parent game, but I like where this is going. The only tweak I would make is that instead of adding points for leader advantages, shift the victory conditions a step. Results could be as follows (note that I have no idea how the game really works):
Defender Decisive victory - Defender gains Attacker's province
Defender Marginal victory- Defender keeps province and Attacker may not repeat attack next turn
Draw No effect
Attacker Marginal Victory - Attacker gains province
Attacker Decisive Victory - Attacker gains province and gains +1 VC shift attacking from province next turn.

That's certainly one way of doing it :)  The "Defender Decisive victory" one would be difficult to implement -- only the attacker moves on their turn, so it would likely be a case of 'province adjacent to the attacked one' or something.

In the original game, there are only two possible outcomes for an attack on a province, being Attacker Victory (they gain control), or Defender Victory (the control remains what it was).  An attack is a simple die roll, with success on 4+ (with up to a -2 or a +2 modifier).  This can be wildly swingy... which, I admit, is a part of the charm of the original game :)

Does anyone have expected win statistics of armies of various points values?  I know such a thing would be hard to quantify, but it would be interesting to see what the odds of a 2000 vs 2500, or 2000 vs 3000, or 1000 vs 2000, etc, are.

Oh, just for giggles -- whichever power controls Graecia can enlist the Spartiates.

Kevin

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2015, 02:10:22 PM »
Quote
Does anyone have expected win statistics of armies of various points values?  I know such a thing would be hard to quantify, but it would be interesting to see what the odds of a 2000 vs 2500, or 2000 vs 3000, or 1000 vs 2000, etc, are.

Interesting question.  For all of the matches you mention, it's essentially hopeless for the smaller army given competent play by the larger army, unless the battle is extremely unusual circumstances.  

The "Last Stand" Scenario is a 1700-point army (3 CAs) vs. a 2000 (4 CAs) and the smaller army is just expected to be annihilated.  It's also worth noting that the smaller army can get scenario points by just sitting there, so the larger army can't afford to stand-and-shoot or other sure-win strategies.

In recent games vs. my friend Blakely I usually spot her a 100 points (4 CAs each, though) and while I typically win it's pretty hairy.  (Also I once played a tournament game, was wondering why it was so damn hard, and discovered afterward that I'd mis-added and was using an 1898 point army vs. a 2000-pointer.  :P )

I'm pulling these numbers out of the air, but here are the oods I'd give for a victory of any level (even the slimmest of victories where the Kingdoms points break 3-3).

vs. a 2000 point army, with both sides getting 4 Command Actions/turn, assuming equal skill of average+ or higher, your chances if winning if you have

2000  50%
1950  40%
1900  28%
1850  16%
1800  8%
1750  4%
1700  2%
1650  1%
1600  0%


Less experienced/more casual players will have a larger randomness factor:

2000  50%
1950  44%
1900  36%
1850  27%
1800  18%
1750  10%
1700  6%
1650  5%
1600  3%
1550  1%
----------------

Numbers based on my own experience & guesswork, as opposed to large-sample statistics.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 02:32:21 PM by Kevin »
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

gatesphere

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2015, 02:45:10 PM »
Well, Kevin... that certainly changes things!

Hmm.

Now I'm considering +100 points for every +1 DRM.

gull2112

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2015, 03:12:55 PM »
I'd make it 25 per +1.

In a sense, this is because I think of all the awesome army builds I've created that came out  between 2000 and 2025 points. I would have granted a considerable sum to have that build!
"Rules are only as good as the book they're bound in."
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BubblePig

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2015, 03:15:02 PM »
I would even tweak the chances for success down a bit for any difference bigger than 100 points. If you were playing Undead for example 150 points will get you a Ghoul Pack or a Skeleton Archer outright, or upgrade Zombies to Zombie Trolls with points to spare or almost upgrade Skeletons to Skeleton Trolls, any of which would be a pretty brutal advantage. Even if you forced the player with more points to spend them all on cards, which is probably the least efficient way to spend the points, it would be pretty brutal.

BubblePig

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2015, 03:23:24 PM »
I would go with 25 points per DRM, or possibly 50, but IMO more than that would be abusive.

Kevin

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2015, 04:24:30 PM »
Going by the tables that I produced, and the die modification combat rules, assuming matched, experienced players I'd go 75 points per die modifier.  More casual/new players I'd go with 100.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

BubblePig

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2015, 05:16:14 PM »
Oops, yeah ignore my previous post. Didn't realize the whole point was to give someone a roughly 16% chance of winning. Assuming an open map and the base army being 2000 points, I think you probably reach 16% before you get as low as 1850 points, so I would not do quite 75 points per DRM, but 70 might be reasonable for experienced players (or maybe 50 points and 1 command card.)

A potential problem with basing on a 2000 point army IMO is that I don't think the function of probability of success versus army build points is linear i.e. subtracting 150 points reduces your chances more than twice as much as subtracting 75 points because at 150 you are approaching a tipping point where your chances start to plummet, and adding 150 points does not increase your chances quite as much as subtracting 150 points reduces them because once you have enough points for a decently full battle line the extra points start to get wasted a bit. I think your sweet spot to make the function as linear as possible might be 2050 or even 2100 points because IMO the wasted points on the high end are not nearly as non-linear as you start to get from sub-par units or gaps in the line when you get down to 1800 or even 1850 points. If it were me, I would try 100 points per DRM for most players but set the base value at 2100 rather than 2000 (maybe 80 per DRM with a base of 2050 or even 70/2025 if both players have lots of experience at Battleground.) Or failing that, I would have the battle in some kind of terrain which makes gaps in the line less awful at 1800 points.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 05:33:12 PM by BubblePig »

BubblePig

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2015, 05:58:34 PM »
Just spitballing another angle. Roman units like to be backed up, so it might be the case that Rome benefits and loses disproportionately more to deficit/surplus of army build points. Perhaps 2000 point armies, but command cards are a mandatory element of the modifier.

+2 DRM = +100 build points and +6 command cards for attacker
+1 DRM = +50 build points and +3 command cards for attacker
-1 DRM = -50 build points for attacker, +2 command cards for defender
-2 DRM = -100 build points for attacker, +4 command cards for defender

This would also have the advantage that modifiers always mean extra command cards for somebody, and more command cards is more fun.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 06:03:46 PM by BubblePig »

gatesphere

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2015, 08:16:42 AM »
Nice idea on the command cards -- that would be a suitable semi-balancer, definitely.

Another idea I had was perhaps to let the smaller army decide the battlefield terrain -- smaller more nimble armies would perhaps be better able to draw the larger forces into a favorable place for battle?

Perhaps the larger army would have a single veto -- they could remove one piece of terrain after the smaller army set it up.

BubblePig

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Re: Philip Sabin's "Empire" as a campaign for BGHW?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2015, 09:14:33 AM »
Terrain spices things up, and learning how to best use it is another way for a player to increase his chances. I would say terrain and command cards are similar in that way. A less experienced player often plays command cards haphazardly rather than using them when they give the best benefit. Terrain is even more tilted towards the experienced player because the terrain is out there for an opponent to see and try to take advantage of, so a brain hiccup could easily have the potential of hurting when it should be helping.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 09:19:27 AM by BubblePig »