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Thread: Ancient armies--mustering versus standing army--possible to model?

  1. #1

    Default Ancient armies--mustering versus standing army--possible to model?

    In ancient times (maybe even into modern times with insurgencies...), many armies, especially those of the early Roman republic and definitely the Celtic and Germanic tribes, were not standing armies of the type the TW vanillas model.

    A nation or confederacy or warlord would recruit beginning in the early spring, do what he sought to do over the summer, and his men would disperse in the fall or winter (or begin deserting him if he prolonged his campaigning).

    Whereas, TW follows the traditional board game model--you "buy" "units", and the units remain "forever" until they've been depleted through combat, unit-mergers, or manual disbandment.

    In other words, TW states recruit permanent standing armies, which didn't exist through most of the world (the histories I've read the most about, feudal England, early republican Rome, and early "medieval" Japan, describe war campaigning that was very dependent on the seasons, on the reliability of vassals and allies, of soldiers getting good payouts from plunder, and on soldiers and subordinate leaders remaining confident that they had something to gain. And, after all of that, the majority of soldiers still expected to return home for the harvest, and the warlord likely could not have funded them through the winter anyway.

    I suspect that modeling this via a TW game would be hard--and possibly make the game less fun (though the vanilla Rome: Age of the Barbarians expansion did an adequate job modelling migrant armies with no home country). I mean, seeing your army dissolve every September or melt away as your campaign stretched out or after you lost too many battles would tie players' hands mightily. However... TW's mercenary recruitment engine... isn't so incompatible with this game play style--provided the mercenaries (in this case, seasonal musters) disbanded automatically in winter).

    I dunno how playable such a feature would be. It does pique my interest, though, because in general vanilla TW gives you the impression that ancient and medieval warlords had standing armies, with nearly absolute loyalty, at their disposal.

    [EDITED to be more concise]
    Last edited by Tim_H; 09-14-2015 at 20:18.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ancient armies--mustering versus standing army--possible to model?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim_H View Post
    In ancient times (maybe even into modern times with insurgencies...), many armies, especially those of the early Roman republic and definitely the Celtic and Germanic tribes, were not standing armies of the type the TW vanillas model.

    A nation or confederacy or warlord would recruit beginning in the early spring, do what he sought to do over the summer, and his men would disperse in the fall or winter (or begin deserting him if he prolonged his campaigning).

    Whereas, TW follows the traditional board game model--you "buy" "units", and the units remain "forever" until they've been depleted through combat, unit-mergers, or manual disbandment.

    In other words, TW states recruit permanent standing armies, which didn't exist through most of the world (the histories I've read the most about, feudal England, early republican Rome, and early "medieval" Japan, describe war campaigning that was very dependent on the seasons, on the reliability of vassals and allies, of soldiers getting good payouts from plunder, and on soldiers and subordinate leaders remaining confident that they had something to gain. And, after all of that, the majority of soldiers still expected to return home for the harvest, and the warlord likely could not have funded them through the winter anyway.

    I suspect that modeling this via a TW game would be hard--and possibly make the game less fun (though the vanilla Rome: Age of the Barbarians expansion did an adequate job modelling migrant armies with no home country). I mean, seeing your army dissolve every September or melt away as your campaign stretched out or after you lost too many battles would tie players' hands mightily. However... TW's mercenary recruitment engine... isn't so incompatible with this game play style--provided the mercenaries (in this case, seasonal musters) disbanded automatically in winter).

    I dunno how playable such a feature would be. It does pique my interest, though, because in general vanilla TW gives you the impression that ancient and medieval warlords had standing armies, with nearly absolute loyalty, at their disposal.

    [EDITED to be more concise]

    Oddly I was thinking about this just the other day...whether there would be a way of modelling seasonal musters. I think it would be pretty much unworkable with 4 turns a year...you'd need to be looking at, probably, 12 turns per year.

    As for mercenaries, they were pretty much professional soldiers; that was how they made their living. They didn't have a harvest to go back for. And certain unit types would have been standing armies, in some way or other paid by the leader/polity that they served.

    Part of my interest in this was to model the kind of effect that the longer Roman campaigns (those in, for example Hispania) would have had on the economy of the farming classes and which eventually lead to the Roman state having to enroll paid, standing armies...and how they were paid (or by whom they were paid/ depended upon for largesse)...and how that lead to, ultimately, the civil war(s).

  3. #3
    Minister of Useless Tidbits Member joshmahurin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient armies--mustering versus standing army--possible to model?

    I believe we use, or plan to, increases in unit availability in winter/spring to simulate this seasonal mode somewhat though obviously they don't disband come winter automatically. At least with certain factions, namely the steppe I believe. Upkeep costs are another way to incentivize the player to disband quickly and has at least been floated if not implemented.



  4. #4
    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient armies--mustering versus standing army--possible to model?

    then there are the villages: IIRC they're free upkeep zones (or where--I dunno, the campaigns I rarely play).
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    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ancient armies--mustering versus standing army--possible to model?

    Quote Originally Posted by joshmahurin View Post
    I believe we use, or plan to, increases in unit availability in winter/spring to simulate this seasonal mode somewhat though obviously they don't disband come winter automatically. At least with certain factions, namely the steppe I believe. Upkeep costs are another way to incentivize the player to disband quickly and has at least been floated if not implemented.
    Many troop-recruiting buildings have a special, inflated number of recruitment slots in winter, which is how this is implemented at present.

    There was a rather involved-looking seasonal recruitment script in the campaign_script that was commented out. I don't know the history behind why it was removed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
    then there are the villages: IIRC they're free upkeep zones (or where--I dunno, the campaigns I rarely play).
    Minor settlements give free upkeep to a single unit. Almost always the most expensive unit placed there.
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