Home Forums General General Arms and Armor

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #32717
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    How relevant are weapons and armor in a wargame: should they be detailed in terms of kind and effect, or merely subsumed into a generic combat mechanic? My sense is that it’s worthwhile to detail specific diferences: a pilum is not a plumbata, much less a hastata. Similarly, a gladius, a rhomphaia and a no-dachi have effects that are poorly covered by “sword”, “side arm” or, in increasing blandness, “impact weapon”.

    #32724
    Sane Max
    Participant

    I like my Legionaries to use a Pilum and a Gladius, but I don;t like having to look up special rules.

    Some top-down systems work very well, DBM or DBA. If you are willing to accept the idea that ‘Blades’ are of the same basic function whether they are Roman Legionaries fighting Celts, or Maori fighting other Maori. which I am not, by the way, but it’s only a game.

    WAB fell down because they had to make up a special rule for every bloody weapon. allow enthusiasts to write the supplements ‘et viola!’ a mess. ‘Turkomen rock! I am a Turkoman! Look, according to the stories they could shoot 90 arrows a minute! Special Rules for Turkomen archers here we come!’

    I would rather get a playable game with some oddities rather than have so remember all the special rules for MY troops, and all the rules for His.

    #32747
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    @SMax: I’m not arguing that the rules should play to fanboys who demand vorpal status for whatever bespoke pointy stick their favorite army is known for, simply that it’s important to acknowledge weapon functions, few of which (maybe, say, the gladius and the assegai ) are largely commeasurable.

    I’d argue with you about how successful the design of the DBA mob of rules are, I find them flavorless in a way even Hail Caesar improves on. As far as “playability”, I’m not sure how I’d define that, but I’m a partisan of the supergranular and admit my tastes are very much in the minority.

    #32749
    Paul
    Participant

    For smaller games, I quite like the weapon delineations in the GW Lord of the Rings Strategy battle game: if I remember correctly, melee weapons are split into one-handed, two-handed, and pole arms. To me, these categories are enough to make a difference without bogging the game down in special rules. YMMV.

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    #32752
    Spurious
    Participant

    It’s all in the scale of the intended game I’d say, well that and the intended focus. For the sake of being able to play a system in a reasonable time I’m of the preference that not every section of the rules is super-detailed, but rather with a targeted block of complexity on the part of the system the author wants to shine; command and control rules seem to be a frequent subject of this.

    For that, I am ok with weapons being clumped into fairly broad categories covering the general abilities of the weapon/armour and it’s role when that’s the kind of thing where the extra detail wouldn’t really add anything; that is I don’t want to be accounting for differences between MG42s and MG34s when the smallest base I’m moving around is a full squad, unless one is being mounted on a tripod and crewed by a team, but then that’d defining role more than the weapon’s qualities.

    It’s something worth consideration though as to if a certain type of weapon system/armour interaction warrants additional detail even if the scale of battle is quite large. A Fistful of TOWs, a game where you can be swiftly moving multiple battalions of infantry and armour at a time would be a good example of this, it puts more detail with a couple of numbers and letters into tank cannon/armour interactions than many games that aim for far smaller battles, since at the distances represented and technological differences that turn up, that granularity in the detail matters for the sake of the simulation.

    When it comes to the more primitive end of the weapons spectrum though I think that even at the level of game where each side might consist of only a half dozen figures on the table, that the detail in the armament can be kept low. After spending several years hitting people with a variety of said primitive weapons and putting in some studying on the matter, I think the most relevant considerations for a game to represent them properly (in individual combat, mass combat blurs things a lot unless there’s a clear mismatch going on) would be:

    If the weaponry confers any particular bonus over the opposition (which mostly boils down to who has better reach).

    If the weapon makes dealing with any armour easier (does the wielder have to do anything extra fancy to work around it where as an angry Hussite with a flail wont have to worry?)

    That could also be taken in reverse; does the equipment make it more difficult for the wielder to harm their target/survive?

    Beyond that I think it’s pretty much all down to the user. The differences between a bill and a halberd, or a 14th century halberd vs a 16th century one are just not worth accounting for unless programming some really complex physics simulation.

    TL;DR unless the weapons/armour match-up means one side will have a significant (for a given value of significant as dependant on the goals of the designer and all that guff ) advantage or disadvantage, it is ok to be rather broad with how it’s all categorised.

     

    #32753
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    The problem, at least as far as my rules were concerned, started with the relative effectiveness of Late Medieval/Early Modern Chinese padded/paper armors (a common expedient of resource-strapped imperial commisariats) versus the variety of bows employed not only by their tradional “nomad” enemies, but by local variations of internal rebel groups with longstanding provincial archery traditions. I had ample documentation to indicate that effectiveness could vary significantly depending at least as much on the type of bow deployed as (beyond a basic level of competence) by the quality of the combatant.

    #32761
    Patrice
    Participant

    I think the most relevant considerations for a game to represent them properly (in individual combat, mass combat blurs things a lot unless there’s a clear mismatch going on) would be:

    If the weaponry confers any particular bonus over the opposition (which mostly boils down to who has better reach).

    If the weapon makes dealing with any armour easier (does the wielder have to do anything extra fancy to work around it where as an angry Hussite with a flail wont have to worry?) That could also be taken in reverse; does the equipment make it more difficult for the wielder to harm their target/survive? Beyond that I think it’s pretty much all down to the user.

    The differences between a bill and a halberd, or a 14th century halberd vs a 16th century one are just not worth accounting for unless programming some really complex physics simulation. TL;DR unless the weapons/armour match-up means one side will have a significant (for a given value of significant as dependant on the goals of the designer and all that guff ) advantage or disadvantage, it is ok to be rather broad with how it’s all categorised.

    Yes I entirely agree.

    I had ample documentation to indicate that effectiveness could vary significantly depending at least as much on the type of bow deployed as (beyond a basic level of competence) by the quality of the combatant.

    That’s the point. If you try to calculate all these differences, your rules will be bogged into endless details. What you need is an average factor for each broad type of weapon, and to keep the number of weapon types as low as possible.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #32783
    Sane Max
    Participant

    The problem, at least as far as my rules were concerned, started with the relative effectiveness of Late Medieval/Early Modern Chinese padded/paper armors (a common expedient of resource-strapped imperial commisariats) versus the variety of bows employed not only by their tradional “nomad” enemies, but by local variations of internal rebel groups with longstanding provincial archery traditions. I had ample documentation to indicate that effectiveness could vary significantly depending at least as much on the type of bow deployed as (beyond a basic level of competence) by the quality of the combatant.

    I think that pins it down perfectly. My own favourite weapon, a sling, is lethal against a man in a loincloth. Against a man with a shield and a loincloth still almost as effective (you can spot an arrow in flight, you can’t spot a glans). Give the man a simple set of padded armour and he is much much safer. But a Linothorax made in the postulated ‘layers of linen glued together’ that is the best current guess, while better against a slashing weapon than the padding would be less effective against the sling bullet. I cannot imagine a set of rules that would take all the possible factors into account and still be remotely playable.

    The only way to cope with that is a top down, ‘slinger-beats-paper, mace-crushes-slinger’s head in’ kind of way.

    #32806
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Weapons that have developed in isolation should probably be considered as special cases. Meso/South American cultures meeting Europeans for example.

    The first Aztec who tried to muller a Conquistador with an obsidian edged piece of wood must have had a terminal WTF? moment. Barker’s qualifier ‘they [maquahuitl] may have had some residual value as a club’ notwithstanding.

     

    Speaking of Barker, and straying off topic a bit, my all time favourite Roman army has to be WRG Late Imperial – legionaries can have JLS/HTW/D/Sh using all the upgrade options. Whatever you want call them, it’s a lot of weaponry. I gather Phil is a LIR fan…;)

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #32810
    Alvin Molethrottler
    Participant

    Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (I’m talking about 1st edition) had many different types of armour and weapons effects against said armour in a single chart. Scale up from man on man to unit on unit and perhaps you’d get the required granularity?

    #32811
    Sane Max
    Participant

    I gather Phil is a LIR fan…;)

    I loved the little Gem from the DBM lists, in which he basically said ‘Historians regard Late Roman Armies as poorer than their early equivalents but they are clearly stupid and wrong ‘cos this army list bloody ROCKS’

    It was almost enough to make me think he had a sense of humour.

    #32817
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    @NCSage: I’ll expand on this later, because it touches on part of my academic training and will allow me to bloviate to several orders of stellar magnitude, but Mesoamerican weapons were much more effective than Teuctli Barkeratzin allows. There are numerous, grisly first hand descriptions by the various Conquistadors that they could decapitate a horse with a single blow and (and this continues to baffle students of the period) that they were somehow able to pierce their armor.

    @AMolethrottler: Yes! That was my original inspiration for this format. I have a small fetish for those shittily drawn but inspired books (I never had a chance to play RPGs as a kid but I’ve come to love collecting the stuff from that era, especially David Hargrave’s rabid but touched by the hand of God mutant plagiarism Arduin Grimoire).

    #32821
    Sane Max
    Participant

    they could decapitate a horse with a single blow and (and this continues to baffle students of the period) but were somehow able to pierce their armor.

    Easy – either very small horses, or conquistadors talking bollox.

    Students, eh?

    #32822
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    they could decapitate a horse with a single blow and (and this continues to baffle students of the period) but were somehow able to pierce their armor.

    Easy – either very small horses, or conquistadors talking bollox. Students, eh?

    Soldiers bigging up their role? That would never happen surely? Also, all ‘armour’ is not made of metal, hardly baffling. Aztecs had textile armour so it must have had some utility against indigenous weapons.

    Those Mycenaean boar tusk helmets fascinate me though. A lot of porkers must have gone into each one.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #32823
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    @SMax: the weapon mentioned in the horse decapitation was a variation on the tepoztopilli (itself a kind of halberd/spear) with thick, sharp obsidian blades running down its length for a good three feet. I don’t think they were talking shit, it’s design and application (in this instance at least) is similar to the Chinese daimao or “horse-chopper”: there are examples of primitive bronze daimao being used to similar effect.

    #32824
    Sane Max
    Participant

    ahhh got it – ‘Ramon, that’s not a horse – that’s a Guanacco’

    Those Mycenaean boar tusk helmets fascinate me though. A lot of porkers must have gone into each one.

    Yes, but didn’t a chap make one, and it involved splitting the horns?

    @NotConnard – ConquistaWalts! ‘I can’t say where I was, hush-hush you understand, but I remember this gigantic Aztec coming at me with his enormous chooper, luckily I had my trusty ’50 cal sword. You are never alone with a ’50 cal sword, as I found out when crouched sobbing in a quonset hut outside Mexico City wishing I had a Girlfriend’

    Padded Cotton armour was so effctive the Conquistadors started wearing it themselves, didn’t they? (cut me some slack, I read ‘The Conquest of Mexico’ 20 years ago, otherwise I am utterly ignorant TBH) I would expect an obsidian hacking-club to lose a lot of its effectiveness against a rigid armour. But ‘chopping the heads off horses sounds like classic soldier-BS. It starts with Rosinante getting a nasty neck wound, and by the time the soldier is telling it for the fourteenth time with a glass of Tequila, it’s heads off and still running.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Sane Max.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Sane Max.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Sane Max.
    #32828
    Lagartija Mike
    Spectator

    @NCSage: the Conquistador was Bernal Diaz, usually considered reliable, and while yes, the Spanish eagerly adopted the various textile armors of their enemies (they were well supplied by their allies the Tlaxcaltecas and the Cholultecas), the armor-piercing incident refers to their original metal equipment.

    #32830
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    But ‘chopping the heads off horses sounds like classic soldier-BS. It starts with Rosinante getting a nasty neck wound, and by the time the soldier is telling it for the fourteenth time with a glass of Tequila, it’s heads off and still running.

    I wouldn’t imagine it’s easy to decapitate a standing horse with a single blow from what is after all a rudimentary bladed weapon. Rather like those reconstructed flint knives that are sharp enough to flense (DYSWIDT? Sharp/flense? Never mind) a roe deer. Eventually. After much hacking.

    And yeah, the boar’s tusks were cut into lamellae, but with only two tusks per boar it’s still a lot of pork chops.

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #32831
    Patrice
    Participant

    Textile armor was considered a good protection in Europe in the 12th C.-14th C.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.