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Old 03-08-2018, 03:43 PM   #21
FJCestero
 
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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Originally Posted by TheAmishStig View Post
The only dissonance I continue to have is "What about a great big cloud of submunitions?" Something like a frag mortar, or a cluster bomb, where it's "This hex is being carpeted with explosives. If you're in this hex, it sucks to be you" rather than "I'm going to sweep my machine gun across this group of infantry, then group of infantry, now I'm going to sweep this third group twice as long because screw those guys..." Something like that you can't just hold target for longer to do more damage...
You have a fair point on the question of, say, a special howitzer with a 6(AP) attack. However, it's not hard to imagine that fewer/bigger sub-munitions -- capable of affecting true armor -- could still deliver the same effect versus battle-suited infantry. In that case, why have 6(AP) shells when you have 6(regular) shells that do the same job, plus they take out vehicles too???

We could just as easily imagine howitzer shells loaded with rice grain sized explosives that would be ineffective against anything tougher than Militia. (Even lowly regular BS-infantry are still armored in BPC!). But why build such a thing?

I'm not saying that a single 6(AP) attack is impossible, the laws of physics are pretty lenient on what can or can't be built by clever enough engineers. But there are lots of ideas in the pages of defense magazines that never make it out the door because of reasons. A solitary 6(AP) attack might be one of them because it's (*comparatively*) dumb, i.e. a little more design effort and you don't have the (AP) restriction nor have to stockpile two types of ammunition...

So, you can have a 6(AP) attack if you like (I don't *think* SJG will send anyone to stop you) while at the same time, fluff-wise, making it a weapon of 2nd tier powers (it was the best they could do...), or an experimental weapon pushed by some procurement officer gone bad (he/she needed a pet R&D project to embezzle), or simply the OGRE equivalent of using swarms of frigates armed with grav-lances to take on an Apollo equipped Manticoran SD(P) wall of battle: it's an idea, it can be done, but umm... good luck.
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:21 PM   #22
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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Originally Posted by FJCestero View Post
You have a fair point on the question of, say, a special howitzer with a 6(AP) attack. However, it's not hard to imagine that fewer/bigger sub-munitions -- capable of affecting true armor -- could still deliver the same effect versus battle-suited infantry. In that case, why have 6(AP) shells when you have 6(regular) shells that do the same job, plus they take out vehicles too???

We could just as easily imagine howitzer shells loaded with rice grain sized explosives that would be ineffective against anything tougher than Militia. (Even lowly regular BS-infantry are still armored in BPC!). But why build such a thing?

I'm not saying that a single 6(AP) attack is impossible, the laws of physics are pretty lenient on what can or can't be built by clever enough engineers. But there are lots of ideas in the pages of defense magazines that never make it out the door because of reasons. A solitary 6(AP) attack might be one of them because it's (*comparatively*) dumb, i.e. a little more design effort and you don't have the (AP) restriction nor have to stockpile two types of ammunition...

So, you can have a 6(AP) attack if you like (I don't *think* SJG will send anyone to stop you) while at the same time, fluff-wise, making it a weapon of 2nd tier powers (it was the best they could do...), or an experimental weapon pushed by some procurement officer gone bad (he/she needed a pet R&D project to embezzle), or simply the OGRE equivalent of using swarms of frigates armed with grav-lances to take on an Apollo equipped Manticoran SD(P) wall of battle: it's an idea, it can be done, but umm... good luck.
It's something that's sticking with me entirely on a conceptual level, rather than a gameplay one. Call it a nasty habit, but I try to think about game rules in terms of "What do they represent / what are purpose do they serve", and I ended up with 'But there are times where getting to decide how to spread the love might not be conceptually appropriate, so I'm struggling to come to terms with all AP being *-rated and/or point-by-point allocated' stuck in my craw, that's all.

Ultimately elegance of rules is going to win out...Ogre is abstract enough that [at least in terms of hex-board play] where stacks are in relation to one another is entirely arbitrary, which is probably what'll convince me there's nothing wrong with splitting even something like that. In inch-board Minis play, that could be a different story, but I don't think it'll be enough of a difference to matter.

I'd played with the mechanics of a [host unit A-rating](AP) Howitzer shell last night for several hours. Several ideas came and went...everything from 'Must attack a hex, spillover only' [great for fitting the concept of a truly indiscriminate weapon, beyond awful for combat odds] to fixed odds [great at serving a battlefield purpose, but a use case so narrow I can't justify it existing]...and nothing panned out. The math sucked, the overall balance sucked, the 'Dx3 vs Dx1' balance sucked, the VP cost was way too high or way too low, it was a litany of annoying case rules, or any combination of the above.

Tactically, the only time I'd ever take such a thing would be as a squatter-squisher...the AP designation would mean the round, no matter how powerful and no matter how much you combined fire, can't damage terrain...good for driving Infantry out of a town that you want to park your own infantry in for that sweet, sweet 3x D.

That's it. That's the only benefit such a thing provides over just using a regular HWZ...clearing a town with no risk of turning a 3x D hex into a 2x D pile of rubble. That's such a narrow window of value that I don't see them being viable as anything other than a scenario gimmick.

------

Though now that you bring it up, a *-rated standard howitzer munition could be interesting...but thinking practically I don't see how it's different enough from a trio of LADs to warrant a brand new unit / case rule.

Fluff-wise, I could see an "AP howitzer" it being something Nihon might explore for use in urban areas against China and their tidal waves of infantry, without having to take the time to flatten each and every city they come across...but given how much the two empires hate one another, would Nihon even hesitate before shelling Chinese cities back to the stone age?
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:35 PM   #23
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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Originally Posted by TheAmishStig View Post
The math sucked, the overall balance sucked, the 'Dx3 vs Dx1' balance sucked, the VP cost was way too high or way too low, it was a litany of annoying case rules, or any combination of the above.
Just to be clear: Do you mean that you compared (say) a 6/6 MHWZ that could attack armor & infantry with normal terrain benefits versus a 6*/6 MHWZ that can only attack infantry (but that infantry receives no defense bonus for terrain)? And found it sucked?? Because the 6*/6 version was too powerful or too weak? I'm interested -- my gut says they're of roughly equal value, but haven't play-tested. I'd really like to know what you found. Can you elaborate?

[P.S.: I use a * star as short-hand for AP-only. E.g.: an Ogre-AP guns I list as 1*/1 D1 ].

Last edited by FJCestero; 03-08-2018 at 06:33 PM. Reason: Changed HWZ to MHWZ as that was more generally useful.
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Old 03-08-2018, 08:16 PM   #24
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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Originally Posted by FJCestero View Post
So, you can have a 6(AP) attack if you like (I don't *think* SJG will send anyone to stop you)
[Oh, really . . . !]

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Originally Posted by FJCestero View Post
while at the same time, fluff-wise, making it a weapon of 2nd tier powers (it was the best they could do...)
Say . . . have you read The Rise and Fall of Pittsburgh? Just asking . . .

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Old 03-08-2018, 08:23 PM   #25
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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Originally Posted by FJCestero View Post
Just to be clear: Do you mean that you compared (say) a 6/6 MHWZ that could attack armor & infantry with normal terrain benefits versus a 6*/6 MHWZ that can only attack infantry (but that infantry receives no defense bonus for terrain)? And found it sucked?? Because the 6*/6 version was too powerful or too weak? I'm interested -- my gut says they're of roughly equal value, but haven't play-tested. I'd really like to know what you found. Can you elaborate?

[P.S.: I use a * star as short-hand for AP-only. E.g.: an Ogre-AP guns I list as 1*/1 D1 ].
As per Henry's calculator:

6/6 MHWZ = 11.93 points
6*/6 MHWZ = 5.67 points (Note: infantry still receives normal terrain bonuses)

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Old 03-08-2018, 09:11 PM   #26
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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On a meta-philosophical note, I'm resistant to specialized infantry past a certain point. I take the view that our vanilla 1/1 D1 M2 infantry is a highly rationalized/optimized configuration already.
...
Still, yes, it can be fun to experiment. Or just goof around.
I agree, mostly. At the fidelity of Ogre, the simple rules are the right answer. I imagine it'd be distinctions without a difference.

I wonder if that Overrun! game idea we were kicking around a while back is a better home for AP infantry specialists, maybe one per squad, maybe not always.
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Old 03-08-2018, 10:51 PM   #27
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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Originally Posted by FJCestero View Post
Just to be clear: Do you mean that you compared (say) a 6/6 MHWZ that could attack armor & infantry with normal terrain benefits versus a 6*/6 MHWZ that can only attack infantry (but that infantry receives no defense bonus for terrain)? And found it sucked?? Because the 6*/6 version was too powerful or too weak? I'm interested -- my gut says they're of roughly equal value, but haven't play-tested. I'd really like to know what you found. Can you elaborate?

[P.S.: I use a * star as short-hand for AP-only. E.g.: an Ogre-AP guns I list as 1*/1 D1 ].
To be clear, I'm talking about specifically what I was experimenting with...it's not a commentary on your idea at all!

All of the specific ideas I had some killer flaw or another...I personally wasn't able to make the concept work in a way where the unit fit the mission profile I set out to have it fill [flushing infantry out of D-boosting terrain], didn't sit in some weird loophole in Henry's algorithm, or didn't make me uncomfortable about the number of special case rules on that unit [defeating the purpose of playing Ogre instead of a wargame that's more complicated by design].

That was the criteria I measured the approaches I tried against. They all came up short one way or another. To judge them against one another, I looked at the VP costs of getting A5...enough to get a 1:2 attack against a D3 stack of Infantry in a town hex.

1) A 6(AP) Howitzer that can only make spillover attacks.
2) A higher A-rating version of #1.
3) A 6(AP) Howitzer with no other changes
4) A 6(AP) Howitzer firing at fixed 1:1 odds.

Idea #1
#1 was an attempt to model the concept of a Howitzer-launched CBU canister first, and fit into the game rules second...a completely indiscriminate weapon that indirectly hits everything in the hex, playing no favorites and sparing none.

It was a spectacular failure. Because of being locked to Spillovers, it's really a 3(AP) Howitzer, which is at best going to be 3:1 [D1], most commonly 1:1 [D2 to D5] or 1:2 [D6 to D8], and at worst an automatic NE [D9...a triple-stack in x3 D terrain]. The cost to A5 [after reduction] was admittedly decent...just 4.5 to 6VP (fixed vs mobile)...but it came at the costs of always rolling on the Spillover CRT, greatly reduced utility, and having to screen a pair of batteries long enough to do their job of hitting a 1-in-6, then a 1-in-3, then a 1-in-2 to be able to clear a single stack out of a city.

Idea #2
#2 was an attempt to increase the A rating of #1 to make it able to do its job without needing a whole swarm of the things...but because of the mandatory spillover, the A ratings ended up well and beyond off the charts. Instant DQ, I'm not even going to entertain the idea of an A10 unit, even if it is automatically halved to A5 because of the 'mandatory spillover' provision carried over from #1.

After Idea 2, the idea of me trying to develop truly indiscriminate normal units in Ogre went to the landfill where it belonged. Gonna save that stuff for cruise missiles.

Idea #3
#3 was accepting that the mandatory spillover was a complete non-starter, and starting over with a more normal-circumstances baseline. This one worked OK...the cost to get any roll at all against 3-in-a-city was still a paltry 3.6 to 4.7VP, there weren't any special case rules, and you only needed one of the things to get said roll. Where they fell apart for me isn't that they were limited to a tight niche, but that they were immensely powerful in that niche.

For 12VP, you get an aggregate of A18...3x the firepower of a standard Howitzer for the same price. It's limited to just soft targets, but that's still a ridiculous amount of firepower for the VP...the only conventional unit in the game with a VP / A ratio of less than 1.

Still, I would love to muck about with creating a 'Beachhead' style scenario where these are provided, rather than purchased. Victory or defeat would hinge on how well the defender's screen could hold off the attacker's spearhead.

Idea #4

Idea #4 was an attempt to address the problems with #3, by dialing back the firepower per VP while still making them better than regular Howitzers at clearing D-boosting terrain of their pesky Infantry infestations.

It proved a wash against units in the D4-D6 range (2-stacks in x2 or x3 terrain, 3-stacks in x2 terrain) , and marginally better at clearing out pockets of infantry that managed to hit D7 or higher (3-stack in x3 terrain)...but was considerably worse against anything D3 or below. On top of that, it meant adding inconsistency to the rules.

Another interesting scenario gimmick, one that would really come into its own where VP were awarded by occupying cities with infantry turn over turn, and either side lost a significant amount of VP every time they destroyed a town hex (necessitating massed AP weaponry)...but for normal battles? Just give me a regular Howitzer.
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Last edited by TheAmishStig; 03-09-2018 at 08:29 AM. Reason: 3s where there should be 2s.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:12 AM   #28
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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It is hard not to consider the basic fluff to do this.

Ogre uses mile long hexes, an anti infantry at that range it would represent air-burst intelligent munitions with lots of fragmentation, but that is the basic ammo used in OGRE, just that it is also nuclear. So, any direct fire anti infantry weapon will be range 1 or 2 at best and no better than what the regular infantry already have.*some snipping*
Sorry, I haven't read the whole thread, but don't Javelins have a range of many miles? I'd think a nuclear tipped "futuristic" version might add some range to a new infantry unit.
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Old 03-09-2018, 09:15 AM   #29
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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Sorry, I haven't read the whole thread, but don't Javelins have a range of many miles? I'd think a nuclear tipped "futuristic" version might add some range to a new infantry unit.
Yes, and that would be the canon Heavy Weapons Teams.
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Old 03-09-2018, 01:15 PM   #30
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Default Re: Alternative infantry Units

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To be clear, I'm talking about specifically what I was experimenting with...it's not a commentary on your idea at all!

1) A 6(AP) Howitzer that can only make spillover attacks.
2) A higher A-rating version of #1.
3) A 6(AP) Howitzer with no other changes
4) A 6(AP) Howitzer firing at fixed 1:1 odds.
Interesting ideas. Thanks for taking the time to type out that thesis!

Btw, my idea for No-Terrain Bonus AP weapons came to me while trying to think of a way to make my War of the Worlds Martian Brain Sucking Army's "Black Smoke" even deadlier than Ogre AP's. WIP.

<Richard Burton voice:>"No one would have believed in the last years of the twenty-first century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own...UULLLAAAA!"

P.S.: Drew, yes I've read it. Very cool, but what's the connection here?
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