Monday, September 10, 2012

Field of Glory v2 - peeking under the hood

While the Field of Glory v2 rules are still pending, the major changes have been announced and tallied up in the Slitherine forum.  Brandt and I decided to play a match with as many of the changes as we could keep track of via a couple of printouts.  I brought Later Carthaginians because I wanted to test the new elephant rule where they get 3 dice per base at impact.  Brandt surprise me with an Indo-Greek army I'd never seen before. Apparently, he wanted to test the new elephants as well!  Almost everything in this Indo-Greek army shoots, with the exception of the elephants.

7 pieces of terrain ended up on the Indo-Greek side of the table.  If Brandt had been running his favorite Late Republican Romans, this would have caused havoc for him. Because he was running an army of medium foot archers with swords, it was no trouble at all.  D'oh!!!

It's been months since I played FoG and it showed.  V2 limit how many battlegroups a commander can command in a battle line based on the quality of the commander, making field commanders worth the extra cost in the early game.  I got confused over which of my commander was commanding which troops and allowed my Scutarii on the left wing advance by themselves.  That was a rookie mistake that would cost me dearly.  In FoG, you just can't let a unit get isolated by itself like that.
On both flanks, I advanced into a hail of arrows, underestimating the effectiveness of the Indian medium bowmen.  After impact, I found out these bowmen were packing swords. D'oh!!!
In the center, I got an early break when Brandt charged this elephants to drive off my skirmishers. Their variable charge move of 6 inches put them far ahead of the rest of his army.  A battlegroup of 8 bases of African Spear took his charge, with overlaps on both sides of the ellies.  I was tossing 8 dice to Brandt's 4 but to no effect.  The ellies took all the hits I could muster over 2 turns until  his phalanx caught up and charged home.  Once they went in, my own ellies went bust when I threw a 1 for their first death row.  Then my African Spear collapsed under the combined weight of the elephants and the phalanx.  In a single turn, my center evaporated.  I could still win on the wings, right?
On my right wing, Indian bowfire disrupted my elephants and Scutarii as they went into a charge. The Ellies had to pass a death roll.  DONT THROW A 1!  I threw a 1 and goodbye ellies.  Two death tests for ellies, two 1s.  I told Brandt I was imposing a self-ban from running any list that include elephants.  Sorry Jumbos, its for your own good.

On my left wing, I had small success with my last unit of Ellies but it was not enough. Center gone, right wing gone.  Chance of success...gone.  
Brandt played another skillful game.  He held his  bowmen in terrain and let me come to him.  I obliged and got shot to pieces on both wings. It's back to reworking my Carthaginian list.

I found the v2 rule changes to be uniformly excellent and I'll be a day 1 purchaser when they're released.  It was only a single test but my feeling is that games will be shorter and more decisive.  For example:
  • losing at impact is an additional -1 in the cohesion test.
  • -1 to cohesion tests for each 25% original strength lost.  
  • broken battle groups at or below 50% strength cannot be rallied.
  • additional -1 modifier for seeing the commander in chief lost.
These and other changes will shorten melees, which can grind on and on.  With a combined 31 battlegroups on the table, our battle was shorter and more decisive than usual.  I think that's a good thing as I find it frustrating to spend 5 hours in a match without a clear winner at the finish line.

We really liked the changes that make skirmishers less slippery.  I especially like the change where a single level of armor advantage does not give a + POA if it would result in an overall ++POA.  That means barbarian foot are no longer a walkover for Romans. Two very big thumbs-up to the rule changes and gameplay under v2.

P.S.  I'm excited enough about v2 that I ordered up a pile of Xyston to build my first new FoG army in a year. As a hint, the army name appears in a song title on The Clash's London Calling.  Between that and Xyston's limited army list, this should be easy to crack!


  1. Hi Monty,

    thanks for the report and the pics,the change announced seem to be a great improvement, I hope we will have a paper version of the V2.0 very quickly to come back and play FOG in a different way, surely less points on the table and a smaller table, something like 650 points on a 60" per 40" table to have faster and more decisive games, seems to be the trend of the rules most players want nowadays;

    if I say " Spanish Bombs " from The Clash "am I right?
    so an Ancient Spanish Army will be on the tables;-)

    Best regards

    thefrenchjester " No Pasaran! and rock the casbah!;-)"

    1. Hi Gilles!

      It's funny you say that. We've been doing 600 point, 2.5 hour matches on a 5 x 3 foot table since March. When we have the time, a sprawling battle at 800 points is fun as well!

      And you've got it, you music sleuth, you. Under the old rules the Ancient Spanish are roadkill, maybe the worst army in the lot. But in v2, they'll be allowed to take 1/3 of the Scutarii as superior and with the -1 losing at impact, it takes them out of the gutter and makes them "challenging!"

  2. Very nice AAR, figures are looking great!

  3. A great looking game Monty, bad luck with the nellies!

    1. Hey Ray, thanks for your condolences! Brandt's son Al was telling a story during the match that he told his brother they were coming down to the club to play Monty. His brother, who has never met me said, "oh, he's the guy with terrible bad luck." With dice, it can seem that way! :-)

  4. Spanish morph from the Carthos? Also, very excited about seeing IGs in the opposing line-up - my favorite successor list by far. Any chance of an Impetus vs FoG discussion - strengths / weaknesses, "feel" of the game, etc. There seems to be a lot of faction out there, and I'd appreciate the perspective of someone who likes both.

  5. You are a sharp eyed reader! I've wanted to paint a Spanish army for a long time but until v2 came along, there was no reason other than aesthetics in FoG.

    That's an excellent suggestion and I'll take a crack at it, Fire. Painting and basing is superior in Impetus. And I love the "unpredictable" elements of Impetus like Impetuous troops. But FoG is what my group plays so I straddle the divide by playing both and offering games of Impetus for anyone who's interested. The upside is the FoG based Spanish can run under both systems but my Impetus painted armies can't run under FoG. Ah well.

  6. nice armies
    nice table
    this is the "magazine level" : i mean you could publish these article in WI
    spanish can be funy and dangerous ...
    and enjoy to paint
    the shield pattern give them a so special look
    thanks very much for sharing

    1. Marco, that's the nicest compliment I've had in a very long time!

      In the Xyston line, those massive shields with the geometric designs look so cool to my eyes. Now lets see what it looks like when I put a whole Spanish army on the table. I have a little painting to do!

  7. We find Carthos very hard to get the best out of - especially in FOG. How Hannibal managed it, Gawd knows. The rules still seem to have that element of 'wrong throw syndrome' in that a couple of bad throws can see huge chunks of your army disappear. The elephants appear to have been beefed up and add in the awesome Indian archers and any army would struggle against them.

    1. Whew! Then it's not just that I stink at FoG!

      I'm generally good about losing. But when you lose all the time, it can get under your skin (says the guy who is going to paint a Spanish army). I think if I'm going take Carthos, I go with the Hannibal in Italy list.

  8. Monty, I meant to ask - from where do you buy your Xyston?

    1. No problem! I get all of my Xyston from Brookhurst Hobbies.

      They are great to work with. I've put in 5 orders in the last year and when I had a small issue with one, they fixed it with no shipping charge to me. Highly recommended.

    2. Thanks, Monty, I'll check them out.

  9. Hi Monty, thanks for your game report. I also have a Later Carthaginian army and it's been very valuable, as I'm new to FoG, to see how other people are using their forces - great learning for me! I'm looking forward to trying the Carthaginians under version 2 especially with the higher impact dice for elephants.

    Please carry on with the good work :-) I'm looking forward to your next entry, and may your dice be kind.

    Cheers, Matthew

    1. Hi Matthew! Part of the fun in FoG is tweaking the lists. If you have an interest, I could share with you a few thoughts on the Carthage lists as I've been running them off and on over the last 2 years.

      Quick hits-if you want an Ellie heavy army, take Numidian ally and you can run 8 of them! If you're facing a lot of Romans, your best bet is probably Hannibal in Italy with the Armored Superior Spearmen. GOOD LUCK!!! And thanks for ringing in!

    2. That would be fantastic Monty. I like the elephant option, but they are a little on the brittle side. My favourite list at present is the Hannibal in Africa as it gives me access to some well armoured superior troops, elephants, and other troops not available to Hannibal in Italy. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

    3. Matthew: My email is in my profile. I could shoot you some lists but Hannibal in Africa is a very good option. :-)