Author Topic: Higher Ground  (Read 1834 times)

Kevin

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Higher Ground
« on: March 05, 2016, 02:19:00 PM »
Eric was grumpy, and rightfully so, that with a slight tilt I could make my units 51% on the hill to his 49% and get a powerful +1  Higher Ground defensive bonus for the whole combat.

The problem is the trying to Higher Ground with center points just doesn't work.  We tried.  It's too easy for a side point to slip off the hill--indeed some hilltops are narrow enough that it's impossible to keep both on, even if your unit is centered on it.

So her's my thought.

A unit has Higher Ground bonuses if the difference between (the % of that unit on high ground) and (the % of the attacking unit on high ground) is at least 50%.

So being 50.1% on high ground when your opponent is not on the High Ground means you get the bonus, just like currently.

If the opponent is at least 50.1% on the high ground then you don't get the bonus even if you're 100% on it, just like currently.

But if your unit is, say, 60% on high ground, then if the opponent unit gets more than 10% of itself onto the high ground you don't get the bonus.  

The benefit is that it keeps the current rules the same in most cases, while preventing 51/49 cheese.  The disadvantage is that estimating what % of a unit is on high ground could be annoying if it's close.  e.g. "My unit is 2/3 on high ground.  is your unit 19% or 15.2% on high ground?"  But IMHO it still may be the least bad way to do it.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 02:23:50 PM by Kevin »
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BubblePig

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2016, 03:33:40 PM »
My initial thoughts on this:

You already have to estimate the percentage, so estimating the percentage difference is not going to have significantly more error.

There is going to be a way to game percentage difference, but not nearly as easy.

The percentage difference should be much lower than 50%, otherwise there will be too few cases of high ground advantage. If my unit is 75% on the hill and yours is 33% on the hill, I am going to be grumpy if I do not receive some benefit.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 03:49:56 PM by BubblePig »

gornhorror

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2016, 04:50:12 PM »
2 or 3 years ago at DexCon I got beat by Dave's Hawks with my High Elves because of the High Ground bonus.  I said then that I thought keeping it for the entire combat was a bit too strong.  I suggested that it should last for the charge turn only, then go away.  I said for the same reasons Eric stated.  After the fight has gone on a while the units are all mixed up.  I really have no problem for a person who strives for high ground to get an advantage, but I just don't think it should be indefinite. 

I take nothing away from Dave's win at DexCon.  He got me good.  I wasn't even thinking about what he was doing in that game until it was too late.  I remember rolling to hit and Dave saying that all of his units were at 3/2 instead of 2/2.  At that point, I thought winning the game was severely out of reach, but at the very least it was going to be a up hill climb. (LOL)

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BubblePig

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2016, 05:10:49 PM »
After the fight has gone on a while the units are all mixed up.
IIRC Eric said that, too, but I disagree.

http://www.cracked.com/article_22750_5-stupid-war-myths-everyone-believes-thanks-to-movies.html

A smaller bonus like taking away a hit die might not be a bad way to go, though.

gornhorror

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2016, 07:00:49 PM »
So, if people think that a bonus should last the whole engagement, perhaps it could be something else.  I like having the defensive bonus on the charge turn, and then a bonus die for the rest of the combat.  Something like that.
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NegativeZer0

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2016, 09:03:56 AM »
After the fight has gone on a while the units are all mixed up.
IIRC Eric said that, too, but I disagree.

http://www.cracked.com/article_22750_5-stupid-war-myths-everyone-believes-thanks-to-movies.html

A smaller bonus like taking away a hit die might not be a bad way to go, though.

What I meant by this was not the Hollywood mass free for all but that the lines move it's not a static engagement like we have.
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Hannibal

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2016, 12:50:55 PM »
After the fight has gone on a while the units are all mixed up.
IIRC Eric said that, too, but I disagree.

Yeah, Eric's statement that "In a real battle after the first round or two of combat the units would be much more intermingled" is incorrect.  Units most emphatically did not intermingle.  Combats did not degenerate into a mass brawl.  If there was any intermingling it was because one side was broken and the other side was cutting them down as they retreated (something that is captured by Free Strikes).

Beyond that units engaged in relatively brief shoving matches, after which the two sides broke apart as much to catch their breath as anything else.  I can tell you from personal experience that there is no more exhausting experience than combat.  Even the most fit individual will tire pretty quickly because of the extremely anaerobic nature of combat.  Once the two sides split apart, they'd reform, catch their breath, and then reengage.  And we're talking at a distance of like 10-15 yards.  Phenomenally close.

While I think the specific proposal here of percentages is being pedantically nit-picky (especially considering there's other simplifications the game does to make it playable that has a larger impact), it's at least in the realm of realistic.  The idea that an uphill bonus should only be a temporary thing is "arquebus puncturing plate mail" levels of unrealistic.

BubblePig

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2016, 01:06:30 PM »
What Corey said.

What I meant by this was not the Hollywood mass free for all but that the lines move it's not a static engagement like we have.
Well, I get that, but I have heard some people say that the units should be considered to be intermingled (and more often than not it was in person so I can't come up with the exact quotes but my impression was that they were talking exactly about the hollywood free for all thing) and that I do not agree with. You have to simplify to some extent and a static engagement is much closer to what would really happen. If one unit is clearly uphill then that should stay more or less the way it is throughout the engagement.

Should the criteria be changed for calling one unit clearly uphill? I could be on board with that. But the more I think about it, I am still not 100% convinced that any new criteria could not be gamed almost as easily. The part which made this example absolutely awful is that there were units on autoclose, and Kevin could dangle that center point over the edge. I have been saying for years now that the discount for autoclose is not enough points for what you give up. You essentially give your opponent control of part of your army for most of the battle and if you can get away without that biting you in the butt more than 50% of the time, then you are doing really well or your opponent is not thinking hard enough. You can get away with it sometimes by deploying really well, but IMO even then that is just an artifact of the rules and a way of gaming the rules the other direction. So what you have is a type of unit which highlights how poor the rules are at simulating anything approaching what would actually happen on the battlefield and this is just another example of that.

gornhorror

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2016, 02:57:48 PM »
Is an indefinite +1 defensive bonus fair way to simulate the advantage of being on higher ground?  I guess that is the question.  Maybe the fact that it's permanent is not the problem.  Maybe it's too much of an advantage.  Perhaps attacking up hill should give a -1 hit die instead.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 03:00:34 PM by gornhorror »
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Hannibal

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2016, 04:40:43 PM »
Is an indefinite +1 defensive bonus fair way to simulate the advantage of being on higher ground? 

Absolutely.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt. 

Getting the high ground is so decisive that it's been military tactics 101 for over 2500 years.  It's so commonplace that the innovation is how to win when you don't have the high ground.


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I guess that is the question.  Maybe the fact that it's permanent is not the problem.  Maybe it's too much of an advantage.  Perhaps attacking up hill should give a -1 hit die instead.

If anything Battleground under-rewards the effect of high ground.  Right now, high ground doesn't actually help you win fights.  It helps you to not-lose them.  Because it provides a Def bonus whereas it used to provide an offensive bonus.  So often times even if you have the high ground, I can negate it by tanking your higher ground unit and then winning elsewhere quickly to flank/pinch.    Having the high ground in Battleground is more of a grinding, slow win effect that achieving a breakthrough.

When we were preparing the 3.1 rulebook, replacing the +1 Off Skill with +1 Def was so shocking to Chad that he went out of his way to touch bases with me to make sure.  When he stamped the high ground bonus, he thought that the change was +1 Def skill and +1 Off skill.  He wasn't too happy about the change, but I convinced him that we felt it was correct for balance reasons.  If you wanted a realistic effect of high ground, (+0)+1/+1 is not crazy (game balance would be a different question).  If you had some mechanic in the game for 'pushback' where the "winner" could push an enemy off the hill, then an even bigger bonus for high ground would not be out of bounds.

Dave-SWA

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2016, 09:29:49 PM »
I agree that +1 defense, in perpetuity, is a perfectly reasonable modifier.  Many minis rules have something similar, or even more generous.

The moral of the story is "Do everything you can to not fight an enemy of who has a commanding position on a hill, unless you have some other kind of compensating advantage."

I failed to do this two weeks ago and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory:
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,10403.msg47625.html#msg47625

I bid lots of points to pre-deploy on a hill, behind a river, at the 2014 championship.  This frustrated the indomitable Kevin so much that he conceded before a single unit perished:
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,9843.0.html

As Brook mentions, I beat him soundly at DexCon a few years back because I stood on the riverbank and poked his units while he waded across.


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Hannibal

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2016, 12:15:53 PM »
I agree that +1 defense, in perpetuity, is a perfectly reasonable modifier.  Many minis rules have something similar, or even more generous.

Yeah, and it's why I'm totally cool with it being a Def bonus rather than an offensive bonus.  Because while terrain in BGFW can dominate the field, making it hard to work around, it also means you're not just totally boned if you get the high ground.

It's also why I'm not at all upset by Kevin's shenanigans in his game against Eric.  In fact, I don't think it's even correct to call it "shenanigans."  The game is FULL of things like that.  For example using a Battle Squad to protect the flank of the Celestial Guard: you wheel so that the front corner prevents him from getting half of his unit on the CG's flank but you're curled back enough that he can't final rush the Battle Squad.  Or maneuvering a unit so that it's juuuust past the front of the enemy, and thus out of LOS. 

If those things are okay, then what Kevin did is fine as well.  And it's not like they got a huge advantage for being uphill:  it was a Def bonus that helped them lose slowly instead of win the fight.  Kevin still had to win the fight elsewhere, which he did.  I don't think Kevin played dirty at all.  He used the speed of his Swarmlings to hold off the Umenzi onslaught while his Raptors turned the flank.


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The moral of the story is "Do everything you can to not fight an enemy of who has a commanding position on a hill, unless you have some other kind of compensating advantage."

Exactly.  I think that whenever there's a hill you have to decide from army build whether A) you can claim the hill before him and B) you want to claim the hill.  Then adjust your build accordingly.


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I bid lots of points to pre-deploy on a hill, behind a river, at the 2014 championship.  This frustrated the indomitable Kevin so much that he conceded before a single unit perished:
http://ymgforum.com/index.php/topic,9843.0.html

That was an interesting game.  I kinda wonder why Kevin even bothered to fight you.  I would have been sorely tempted to go to the opposite side of the table (using Hold objectives).  Then I sit back and say "you want to fight, come off the high ground.  Otherwise this is a draw."


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As Brook mentions, I beat him soundly at DexCon a few years back because I stood on the riverbank and poked his units while he waded across.

So I don't know the specifics on this one, but something that came up recently is that the Kingdoms maps with the rivers don't actually mention that there's a Shoreline terrain feature on those maps.  I believe it's specifically for that reason so that one side doesn't just get a huge advantage like that.

Kevin

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2016, 01:04:26 PM »
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That was an interesting game.  I kinda wonder why Kevin even bothered to fight you.  I would have been sorely tempted to go to the opposite side of the table (using Hold objectives).  Then I sit back and say "you want to fight, come off the high ground.  Otherwise this is a draw."

Two reasons.  One was that I was at 3-0, so a loss still got me into the finals rounds and what Dave had done was admittedly clever and he deserved the win.

The other was that Dave had a unit that made ranged attacks with a decent range (14"+) and I did not.  So if I huddle on the far side of the map he can do some cute, tedious 100+ turn game with the one little guy sniping and running back onto the hill the moment my guys try to catch it.  In the very long run a slow trickle of damage beats zero.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Hannibal

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Re: Higher Ground
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2016, 01:07:42 PM »
Ah I see.  Couldn't make out what units Dave had beyond the Ancients. 

Well played, Dave.