Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 33

Thread: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

  1. #1
    Member Member Reapz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    I had some rather startling combat stats results from exhaustive battle-testing today. I wanted to post this info into its own separate thread outside the battle-testing thread that is stickied above for several reasons. This post isn't really just about the numbers from testing helping us understand how cavalry charges work (which is what I had in mind before I did the testing).

    Really it is about some general considerations that I think might apply to analysis of any type of unit combat. These considerations are:
    - battle-testing has limitations and quirks and can be frankly misleading
    - common sense and the game manual may lead you to completely erroneous conclusions if you use them to predict what should happen
    - the animations of carnage in the battle scenes - what it looks like is happening in a melee engagement - can be misleading

    When people debate unit tactics, in these and other forums, how do they get the information to base their conclusions? People rely on looking at in game battles, closely watching animations of units in battle (so for cavalry as an example looking for charging or walking knights, lances levelled or swords drawn, bodies flying on impact, etc). People also rely on common sense/intuition (what should happen based on logic, developer's comments and the game manual), and when these don't reconcile or clarify they often use battle-testing to resolve questions.

    And all three of these tools are flawed - read on.

    Let me say up front I am NOT bashing this game. I love this game. It is the best Total War series game IMO, its up there with the best strategy games I have ever played (but that's another thread). The developers have done a great job. My point is directed at the community - that we need to be careful what we rely on to learn about how the game works and how to play better.

    I started out following on from this thread to learn about how to charge cavalry to get the best result. The common sense idea is that cavalry in tight formation does more damage and that cavalry ordered to charge at infantry do more damage than cavalry only trotting into infantry with swords drawn. Here is the test scenario I used:

    Single unit of Mailed Knights attacking a single unit of Noble Pikemen.
    Battlefield flat grassy plain.
    AI managed the Pikemen - medium difficulty (default).
    I activated the cavalry attack with a single mouse action, given one time only (double or single right click on the target) - then let the units do their thing
    Stats are from game end report
    In all scenarios Pikemen (Attack 11, Defence 12) are same formation (default) 10 wide, 7 1/2 ranks deep.
    In all scenarios Mailed Knights are in default formation (3 ranks 14, 14, 12) but vary in whether they are tight or loose formation.
    No armor or attack bonus, but I varied experience in the Knights as below.

    I tested:

    Mailed Knights (experience zero) vs. Noble Pikemen (experience zero)

    - Single right click attack, tight formation
    - Double right click attack, tight formation
    - Single right click attack, loose formation
    - Double right click attack, loose formation

    Mailed Knights (experience 5) vs. Noble Pikemen (experience zero)

    - Single right click attack, tight formation
    - Double right click attack, tight formation
    - Single right click attack, loose formation
    - Double right click attack, loose formation

    * Note - I repeat tested each scenario 10 times *

    What would you expect the results to be? I expected tightly packed, charging knights to do better. The double right click vs. single right click debate yielded some to these tests also.

    Watching the unit animations up close this is what you see happen:

    Knights in loose formation - single right click attack
    Infantry brace for attack and present phalanx of pikes. Knights approach target slowly, at charge range they pause, maybe blow a trumpet or two, then go back to trotting along (do NOT lower lances, do NOT charge) and they basically walk into the pikes and use swords.

    Knights in tight formation - single right click attack
    Infantry brace for attack and present phalanx of pikes. Knights approach target slowly, at charge range they pause, blow a trumpet or two, then lower lances and make a full charge smashing into target, bodies flying.

    Knights in loose formation - double right click attack
    Infantry brace for attack and present phalanx of pikes. Knights approach target at gallop, at charge range they lower lances and charge into target.

    Knights in tight formation - double right click attack
    Infantry brace for attack and present phalanx of pikes. Knights approach target at gallop, at charge range they lower lances and charge into target.

    Conclusion:
    So that seems fairly simple. If you want a charge then Knights in tight formation will deliver with either a single or double right click, but if they are loose you have to double right click if you want the full lance charge. And the full charge looks a lot more damaging than the walking attack.

    But wait - look at the statistics:

    After Battle Results
    I show the numbers from each of the ten tests of each scenario.
    RC 1 = Single Right Click
    RC 2 = Double Right Click
    The numbers are surviving knights/surviving pikemen.
    Results are blue for victory, red for a loss with a "V" or "L"
    "Avg survived" means the average over ten trials of the number of surviving knights.

    -----------Mailed Knights Experience Zero--------------Mailed Knights Experience 5-
    ---------------Loose--------------Tight-------------------Loose-------------Tight----
    Test # ----RC 1------RC 2------RC 1------RC 2--------RC 1------RC 2-----RC 1-------RC 2
    1---------1/26 L----25/0 V----1/32 L----0/32 L-------0/28 L----14/4 V---24/0 V-----21/0 V
    2---------21/0 V----24/23 V---8/0 V----21/13 V------26/0 V----21/0 V---21/22 V---18/0 V
    3---------27/0 V----33/0 V----8/0 V----19/0 V-------20/0 V----0/23 L----25/0 V----25/30 V
    4---------27/32 V---19/0 V----24/0 V---18/0 V-------27/10 V---7/3 V----17/0 V----0/16 L
    5---------24/0 V----0/23 L----1/39 L----1/21 L-------12/0 V----22/0 V---10/0 V----7/10 V
    6---------24/0 V----18/25 V---10/0 V---13/0 V-------34/0 V----11/19 V--20/0 V----21/0 V
    7---------32/26 V---21/13 V---19/0 V---12/0 V-------19/0 V----21/0 V---22/0 V----23/0 V
    8---------27/0 V----16/0 V----0/17 L----1/25 L-------23/0 V----19/14 V--26/0 V----18/0 V
    9---------16/0 V----3/21 L----9/0 V-----1/39 L-------20/0 V----21/0 V---21/0 V-----8/0 V
    10--------29/0 V----19/0 V----0/39 L----22/0 V------32/25 V----0/28 L---1/37 L----24/0 V
    Avg
    Survived
    --22.8------17.8------8.0------10.8--------21.3------13.6-----18.7-----16.5

    So the stats show in contrast to the animation that the best outcome - knights against ranks of pikemen - is with a single right click attack of zero experience, loosely formed knights. The animation of that doesn't show any charge - they simply walk into ranks of spears. But more of them survive than any other scenario including thundering great charges by level 5 experienced Knights in tight formation knocking bodies flying all over the place! They have less defeats (1/10) than all other methods of using zero experience knights (charging, tight formation etc).

    Is it meant to be? I don't know but there are clues from other testing scenarios what might be going on. In this thread Kenchi Sulla noted different outcomes when formations of knight cavalry charged pikemen in different - broader or narrower - formations. I think, if I am reading him correctly, he found that when the standard 14 wide cavalry unit charged his pikes deployed only 10 wide, the pikes died. But when he broadened the Pikemen's front to 20 wide they survived the cavalry charge and beat it off. So maybe a pike unit survives an attack better by being broader than the attacker and vice versa - a broader formation of cavalry kills better than one narrower than the target unit. That may be why loose formed knights do better - they deploy broader than the target unit. In watching the charges up close what appears to happen if you use a broad formation against a narrower/deeper one is the excess troops on the flanks "wrap around" the opponent's unit and envelope it more - perhaps getting some flank attack bonus? They also seem to kill the target unit General quicker and where is he? - on the flank!

    In that same testing thread Romor noted
    First I tested the best formation for charging with me has cavalry against melee units. Charging in loose formation will always result in a heavy defeat has it should.
    I found the exact opposite. As you can see loose formation mailed knights do better against pikemen than tightly packed ones.

    Several things I invite people to think about:

    First Point - battle testing as a tool:
    I did each test scenario ten times over. The spread in each scenario is quite marked with crushing defeats all the way to crushing victories - with exactly the same settings and units.

    For example look at column 4 of the test results. That was Mailed Knights, zero experience. in tight formation, double right click attack vs. Pikemen:

    Survivors (Knights/Pikes) - Victory or Loss

    0/32 - Loss
    21/13 - Victory
    19/0 - Victory
    18/0 - Victory
    1/21 - Loss
    13/0 - Victory
    12/0 - Victory
    1/25 - Loss
    1/39 - Loss
    22/0 - Victory

    If ten people from the Guild each did the above test once each, four people would conclude that (in the test conditions) Pikemen slaughter charging knights, a couple would conclude knights win, but at the cost of most of the unit, and the rest would conclude it is a fairly safe bet for the Knights to come out with a win and about half of them surviving.

    Point is if you battle-test and run only one or two test attacks be very wary of reading much into the results. There seems to be a significant random element that offers far more variation than any other variable - so a single result is basically meaningless.

    Second Point - the utility of watching unit animations in analyzing combat outcomes:
    I invite people to make a custom battle as I did, take a unit of Mailed Knights loosely formed and try a single right click attack on Pikemen. Look up close and see the infantry braced for attack with their bristling phalanx of pikes. Watch the cavalry walk into that spear hedge and casually swing a few swords. Then try a double right click attack, look at the charging Knights, lances level, knocking Pikemen over like ninepins. There looks to be a lot more damage in the second, but isn't so - the seemingly anemic attack is the best. Point is we need to be careful in judging what is going on by watching the animations. They are great to watch but don't exactly reflect the outcome.

    Third Point - the predictive value of intuition and the way the game should be
    These test results suggest that I should take my elite cavalry and walk them into enemy spear units with a wimpish single right click attack. I don't think I can do it! I'm always wanting to double right click about 5 times just to make sure they get the message! It is a charge after all - that is supposed to be the way to smash the enemy?

    The intent of the developers I thought was to bonus charging units for being in tight formation. A helpful developer's blog came out today addressing this very matter
    Regarding the new charge mechanic, there are two charges available to a cavalry unit:
    a formed charge which allows for most of the unit to charge into a target; and an unformed charge which stops the charge after 10% of the soldiers within that unit have made contact with the target. In RTW this wasn’t as much of an issue because cavalry did not have long lances and as such did not require two significantly different charge abilities. The M2TW charge system allows you to have a very powerful charge if you do everything right and a light charge if you don’t.

    The triggers for a formed (powerful) charge include:
    • Line up the cavalry parallel to the target
    • Utilize a long straight run up toward the target
    • Prioritize stationary targets as moving targets may result in a last second turn and reform

    The triggers for an unformed (weak) charge include:

    • The unit is spread out just before charging
    • The charge is issued while too close to the target
    • The charge is issued when the unit isn’t facing the target
    • The player changes direction just before the charge
    • The target moves and turns just before being hit

    Currently we have set the balance so that a formed charge is very strong due to the unit’s collision mass on impact and have set the unformed charge to be rather weak due to the 10% stop charge threshold. This ensures that players that love to see mass destruction and men thrown in the air get what they want and those that want a balanced game where cavalry don’t dominate every other unit get what they want. This is certainly something we will look to get your feedback on once you get the update and see the charge in action with the additional tweaks.
    I'm not sure if Jason meant formed and unformed charges to equate to loose and tight formation but if he did then the system isn't working.

    Here is the reality
    - in 3 of 4 test scenario pairings above a single right click attack is better than a double right click (command to charge)
    - in 3 of 4 test scenario pairings above a loosely formed unit kills better than a unit in tight formation.
    - in loose formation, lower experience knights get better stats than level 5 experience units (the reverse is true with tightly packed Knights)
    - the single most effective (in killing) unit tested was the least experienced, unformed, not charging.

    How we think the game should work, maybe the way the developers wanted it to work, and the way the animation shows it working, all suggest a single right click, loose formation, attack is weak - but it is the most effective!

    I wonder if this is unintentional? Perhaps some other people might reproduce the tests and I certainly will at some point but I'm a bit burned out watching about 100 cavalry charges and hearing the same exclamations about dead Generals and St. George!

    Again, this isn't about bashing the game. It's a great game.

    Comments?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Your looking into it to much. Try your tests with a 3v3, 1 pesent unit as general for both your army and AI, and then 2 units of your choice (knights) and 2 for AI (pikes) then see how different your results will be overall. Becides i wouldent draw any conclusions now when there going to patch this thing up by the end of this comeing week.

    On a end note, i will say that the loose formation seems to not have any penlties, because if you do the same type of tests with 2 handed units (german oines) against pikes, they will butcher them compared to if they were in tight formation.i suppose this has more to do with the envople idea, but i think units in loose formation are unweildly, and vunrable to a counter charge by wedged or units in tight formation, but i cant conform or deny that, just based on some battles i've had in the campagin.

  3. #3
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Just like to point out that your tests use pikemen, which have special bonuses against charging enemies and against horsemen in particular. If pikes work like they did in RTW then the charge bonus of an attacking rider is reflected back onto himself as his horse gets impaled on the spears. Therefore, a charging unit of knights is likely to suffer more casualties in the initial charge than if they just trotted within sword's reach and started hacking. I've lost 10-15 knights out of 40 just from the intial charge. You might have to switch to spearmen or swordsmen for better results.

  4. #4
    Member Member Reapz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    thanks for the comments

    dopp I used pikemen after trying spears and heavy sword infantry. I found a full unit of Mailed Knights charging into a stationary unit of any other infantry basically destroys it. The noble pikemen gave the knights a tough fight. I think if it was too one-sided in favor of the knights we wouldn't be able to discern any of the effects of formation, experience, etc. because the knights would basically be winning all the time.

  5. #5
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Very true, but I needed to point out that pikemen have special 'hidden' bonuses of their own that might affect your findings, especially with regards to charging.

  6. #6
    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,109

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    From my own limited experience making use of Tercio Pikemen in my Spanish campaign, the pike hold quite well against cavalry as long as the cavalry stays in the front. If the cav wraps around the side, I take horrendous casualties. I've learned to keep a unit tight on each side of the pike line to prevent that. I expect that loose formation makes the cavalry wider than the pike unit, so the ends wrap around.
    Age and treachery will defeat youth and skill every time.

  7. #7
    Village special needs person Member Kobal2fr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    914

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by dopp
    Very true, but I needed to point out that pikemen have special 'hidden' bonuses of their own that might affect your findings, especially with regards to charging.
    To be honest, I'm a bit... worried about the results he's been getting. That a tight, proper charge right into a pikewall should in the end win 6 times out of 4 doesn't sit well with me at all, especially a charge of *mail knights* (as opposed to more advanced, plated ones). They ought to have been annihilated for going through with the idea in the first place, pour décourager les autres.

    That loose, sword only, not-really-a-charge should win is OK (gamebalance-, logic- and stat- wise), but logic/common sense makes me expect that, given equal width of formations, and assuming the knights do what they do, lances couched and all, knights vs swords = dead swords, knights vs pro. spears (anything not militia) = mutual assured destruction, knights vs pikes = horse kebab for diner tonight, no matter what kind of knights, swords and pikes we're talking about.
    Anything wrong ? Blame it on me. I'm the French.

  8. #8
    Amphibious Trebuchet Salesman Member Whacker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    in ur city killin ur militias
    Posts
    2,934

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Reapz, at what point did you record the final numbers of survivors? Did you end the battle early having done a manual count, or did you just go by the victory screen? Reason I ask is because on the victory screen, the winner will invariably get some "survivors" that recover post-battle, thus it almost a given that the number for the victor does not match the number that was left on the field when the game ended.

    "Justice is the firm and continuous desire to render to everyone
    that which is his due."
    - Justinian I

  9. #9
    Member Member Reapz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Whacker, I used the numbers from the victory screen simply because that is what you will get in the campaign after a battle. In other words if you were down to the last man on the battle screen, but the victory screen says 20 survive then you will get 20 troops for the next campaign move. So I thought those were better numbers for planning campaign strategy.

    I assume the disparity between the casualty number in battle and what is on the victory screen is allowing for those who are wounded but not killed?

    I do have numbers for dead on the battlefield for the first twenty or so trials but I stopped tabulating them for the above reason.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    9,651

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Reapz - have you posted in the sticky on researching battlemap mechanics?
    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=72168
    It might be good to have a summary of your points there.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    The disproportionate number of kills from the mailed knights is mainly because they are charging into the flanks of the pikemen as well. Had they charged into a solid line of pikes they would all have died.

  12. #12
    Relentless Bughunter Senior Member FactionHeir's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    8,115

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    The casualties healed is a random variable so you'd want to subtract that from your final unit count to get better results.

    Also, try doing a few t-tests to see whether your results (after subtraction) are actually statistically relevant...
    Want gunpowder, mongols, and timurids to appear when YOU do?
    Playing on a different timescale and never get to see the new world or just wanting to change your timescale?
    Click here to read the solution
    Annoyed at laggy battles? Check this thread out for your performance needs
    Got low fps during siege battles in particular? This tutorial is for you
    Want to play M2TW as a Vanilla experience minus many annoying bugs? Get VanillaMod Visit the forum Readme
    Need improved and faster 2H animations? Download this! (included in VanillaMod 0.93)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Conceptually, I have no problem with the idea that knights who walk slowly at a unit of pikes in a wider formation and chip away slowly at the flanks and where opportunities present itself fare much better than a tight mass of knights who rush pell mell head into the waiting mass of spear tips.

    Now, if you're not at risk of being impaled, (say, vs sword infantry or archers)the tight charging formation should do more damage than the loose 'walk slowly up to the enemy' formation.

  14. #14
    Member Member RomoR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Portimão, Portugal
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    In my post in the battlemap sticky the horse charges where against spears and not pikes, pikes seem to have hidden bonuses that counter a charge with heavy damage, did you make the same tests with spears or any other melee unit, in any case my tests were more focused on the receiving bit of charges as the player with a melee unit but if I recall correctly I ran a series of 5 tests of mailed knights charging in a loose formation against spears and they did not do better than a tight charge.

  15. #15
    Member Member RomoR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Portimão, Portugal
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by Quillan
    From my own limited experience making use of Tercio Pikemen in my Spanish campaign, the pike hold quite well against cavalry as long as the cavalry stays in the front. If the cav wraps around the side, I take horrendous casualties. I've learned to keep a unit tight on each side of the pike line to prevent that. I expect that loose formation makes the cavalry wider than the pike unit, so the ends wrap around.
    True I play a lot with Portugal and My Aventuros do quite well against cavalry (and everything else BTW) just has long has they aren't flanked. SP and MP experience.

  16. #16
    Member Member geala's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Hannover, Germany
    Posts
    465

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Great test, thank you.

    I think it has something to do with flanking.

    In my tests with Landsknechts against French Lancers (H) in default setting (7 deep in case of the pike) every time the Lancers won. Normally a third of the Lancers died in the first charge, the rest hacked the Landsknechts whose formation was disturbed to death without having to charge again.

    The Lancers also won in most cases when I set the Landsknechts only 3 deep, so to have roughly the same front length as the Lancers. But in that case the fight was different. In the first charge c. half of the Lancers died, the rest, being repulsed, had to form for a charge again. In that second charge they normally brake the thin line of the remaining Landsknechts who had lost mostly a quarter in the first charge and formed only two rows.

    When I used 2 units of Landsknecht and put them close together, 6 deep, the Lancers lose every time in a humiliating way. Two-third died in the first charge, they normally were held at bay by the pikes. Even some flanking did not change the results: total defeat of the Lancers, minor losses among the Landsknechts (ca. 30 to 40 dead). After that I was very pleased of the game mechanics because it is exactly the result I would expect from pike versus horse.
    Last edited by geala; 12-04-2006 at 19:04.
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  17. #17
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Frederiksberg, Denmark
    Posts
    7,129

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Good work geala...

    A single pikeunit will maul a heavy cavalry unit, but two will protect each other. That seems about right. Next I guess is a number of Lancer s against a number of pikes.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  18. #18

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    1.
    The point is not loose formation, its walking into pikes.
    Pikes are longer so if you charge them your own weight and speed make the pike very powerful. If uyou only walk into pikes the pikes dont get this bonus of your own speed and weight so the pikes cant do much against your armour because pikemen dont make same power on their own.

    Bring your knights in tight(normal) formation to pikemen by walking and you will always win. Knights will spread out on the enemy flanks on their own so the pikemen had to reformed the formation for this they bring their pikes up but there no more place to bring the pikes down after reform the formation and you win.

    2.
    If you want overflank(?) enemy then use your knights in two rows.

    I do it always because if you charge more knightspears can hit the enemy at "same" time. If you use three rows so third row cant hit the enemy so the enemy has less causalities from the charge, i tried it more than one time and it seems be right.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    It follows that a decent late-era army would include pikes to prevent a heavy cavalry charge, gun-armed soldiers of some stripe, halberdiers or other armour-cracking infantry to take on any heavy cavalry or elite infantry who crack open the pike formations, and light cavalry to run down attackers.

    Such an army would dispense with the need for expensive heavy cavalry - so you can field more of them too. I'll have to try this in my HRE campaign.
    Vignettes: England, France and the Holy Roman Empire.

    Details (mini-vignettes): Dominions 3

  20. #20
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by suvorov
    1.
    The point is not loose formation, its walking into pikes.
    Pikes are longer so if you charge them your own weight and speed make the pike very powerful. If uyou only walk into pikes the pikes dont get this bonus of your own speed and weight so the pikes cant do much against your armour because pikemen dont make same power on their own.
    That's exactly my point about using pikemen as the target. Braced pikes reflect the charge bonus of the attacker back onto himself. Therefore, if a knight with charge 8 runs into a pikeman, the pikeman gets the +8 to his attack instead of the knight. If you walk the knights in, however, this bonus does not apply. The pikes will still have a reach advantage, but as soon as the knights either push past the pikes or lap around then the pikemen are at a huge disadvantage. They have no shields, mediocre attack and very poor defense skill, so the knights usually win out on raw stats despite being outnumbered. It's a bit of an exploit I guess to use knights in this way, but the pikes have served their purpose regardless: they stopped the knights from charging. The pikemen may not beat the knights in the melee (maybe their melee stats should be tweaked higher or their formation improved so that they don't drop their pikes so easily) but now you can send in the halberdiers to help out.

    Historically, it WAS just about possible for cavalry to defeat spear/pike/bayonet units if they could break into their formation. Sometimes this happened by chance (the dying horse at Quatre Bras), sometimes by firepower (using pistols or galloper guns to blast holes in the lines) and sometimes through sheer determination (fighting their way past or around the pikes). I'm not too worried if horsemen can beat pikemen under the right conditions. If those conditions are too easy to achieve however, then maybe the pikes need a little buff.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    9,651

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by dopp
    If you walk the knights in, however, this bonus does not apply. The pikes will still have a reach advantage, but as soon as the knights either push past the pikes or lap around then the pikemen are at a huge disadvantage.
    Interesting. When MTW came out there was a long thread here called the "myth of the cavalry charge". In it, someone quoted an account of a battle between, IIRC, French knights and Flemish pikemen (Courtrai?) where what happened sounded rather like what you are describing. The point of the quote was to show that apparently the mounted knights did slug it out for some time and only gradually lost (ie it was not the headlong charge into pointy sticks, insta-death you can get in M2TW). So what you are talking about does not sound too ahistorical.

    I guess the problem in game is that it may be too easy to disrupt the pikemen. I think it is fine to force a switch to swords for a flank or rear attack, and if buckler men etc get in among the formation. But in a face to face confrontation with near stationary knights, it does not seem very likely. Certainly in RTW, I found cavalry causes pikemen to switch to swords too easily. I have not had that enough experience to comment about M2TW (only played the pikeless English). Cavalry are certainly more fragile than in RTW, which should reduce the problem if it exists.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Yes, I think its Courtrai, the Battle of the Golden Spurs.

    Cavalry does seem more fragile compared to RTW, but the mass of cavalry seems to be in tens of tons or something, they push people around as if they were ragdolls, and they can even push all the way through a formation of men lined 6 deep.

    Another thing I notice is that when cavalry charge in, and kill the first two row of an infantry line, the second row of cavalry is still galloping on the spot, held back by the first row of cavalry. Therefore, when the first row die, the second row of cavalry moves at full speed, with zero acceleration time, to kill another two rows of infantry. This is especially apparent with spearmen, since the first row dies in the charge, killing two rows of spears, the second row of horses immediately pushes up killing another two rows of spears, and then the third row of horses when the second die. The entire unit should stop charging once the first row hits, if not the second row would be lancing through all the horses infront in real life?

  23. #23
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    I agree that pikemen drop their pikes way too easily. It may be due to the unit cohesion bug or some other bug as the phalangites in RTW did not suffer from this as much. Knights of course should sometimes be able to push their way in and break up the formation (especially if they are fighting green troops or if the pikes were caught reforming), but at present they do so too much.

    Historically, cavalry vs infantry encounters were primarily psychological. "Shock tactics" seem to be mostly myth. Despite the awesome power of the couched-lance charge, its purpose was to scare the infantry off rather than annihilate 80% of the unit on impact like we have in M2TW. Charging knights could easily scare off most infantry without making contact at all. Even many centuries later at Waterloo, hardened British regulars, drilled and disciplined though they were, found it difficult not to run away from the charge of cuirassiers, who carried no lances and wore much less armor. Once the infantry started fleeing, the cavalry could of course simply ride in and skewer them all. Not even the need to cross weapons, although of course infantry that could not get away fast enough would be run through or ridden down.

    Likewise, if the infantry stood firm or presented the charging cavalry with some kind of obstacle, the horsemen would slow and the charge would lose momentum. Pike/bayonet formations were designed not to skewer reckless cavalry, but to dissuade the cavalry from charging home and give the musketeers more time to reload shoot them up. If the cavalry was truly determined to engage then they would stop the charge, trot up to the pikes and start poking ineffectually with their lances or attempt to push their way past the pikes. This was usually very disadvantageous to the knights, because they were always outnumbered 4 to 1 on the same frontage by the infantry. Volley fire could also break up charges by turning the cavalry's front rank into a barrier of corpses thick enough to force the rest to slow or divert around. Unlike in computer games, dead bodies are not just there for show and can actually hinder movement on the battlefield. Note there IS one well-known possible example of cavalry getting skewered while charging infantry. This is of course the French knights at Agincourt charging the longbowmen and impaling themselves on the stakes. This might be because the bowmen stood IN FRONT of the stakes and gave way at the last moment, leaving the horsemen no time or room to stop.

    Of course if M2TW implemented cavalry charges "historically" then we would end up with a really boring game. Either the infantry would rout before impact (like in RTW) and the cavalry auto-win, or the infantry would stand firm, the charge would stop short, and everyone goes home. So we get massive impacts, lots of blood, swirling melees and heaps of decorative corpses. A lot more fun.

  24. #24
    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,109

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater
    It follows that a decent late-era army would include pikes to prevent a heavy cavalry charge, gun-armed soldiers of some stripe, halberdiers or other armour-cracking infantry to take on any heavy cavalry or elite infantry who crack open the pike formations, and light cavalry to run down attackers.

    Such an army would dispense with the need for expensive heavy cavalry - so you can field more of them too. I'll have to try this in my HRE campaign.
    Beef, this is what I'm using as a late era Spanish army in my campaign: general, 4 units of musketeers, 5 units of Tercio Pikemen (I haven't seen the stats, but I expect Landsknechts are a little better), 6 units of sword and buckler men (light infantry with stats similar to dismounted feudal knights) and 2 units of jinetes. That's 18 units total, and I usually complement that with 2 culverins/basilisks when the need arises. Spain doesn't get serpentines for some reason.
    Age and treachery will defeat youth and skill every time.

  25. #25
    Member Member dismal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    404

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    The really disturbing thing is seeing the 0 Exp knights outperforming the 5 Exp knights in a couple of the scenarios.

  26. #26
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Tercios are better than landsknechts. Same stats, but can upgrade armor. Swiss pikemen are much better, but impetuous.

  27. #27
    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,109

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Really? Interesting. I've seen swiss mercenaries as rebels before, but the date for them to be available for hire hasn't come yet. The impetuous bit is a game breaker, because pike don't attack worth crap in this game. They can't maintain formation when attacking and switch to swords. In fact, once I ordered a block of Tercios to march forward; I was just trying to move them close enough to an enemy unit so the pikes would reach. When they got close, the unit suddenly ceased to be a block and became a funnel, with men running in one at a time to melee. I lost half the unit in that fight.
    Age and treachery will defeat youth and skill every time.

  28. #28
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    Pikes suffer from cohesion problems I think, because you could attack with phalanxes in RTW. The trick there was to march your phalanx in contact with the enemy, whereupon they would commence poking. Here the stupid pikemen lift up their pikes to allow the enemy through or stand there immobile when they come into contact. Better still, they sometimes just walk straight into the enemy and die. Don't ever use them in sieges, they won't even attack.

    Swiss pikes have morale 11 (Tercio/Land 9) and 14 attack (Tercio/Land 11). Okay swordsmen with 13 attack, but no armor makes them hopelessly outclassed.

  29. #29
    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,109

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    My Tercios have done really well in sieges, but the only way I use them is to run them into a street, spread out as far as they can, form spear wall, and wait for the enemy to charge. If the opponent has cavalry they do quite well. Taking Antwerp from the Danes, they had 5 units of Norse cleric horse in the city. 3 of them charged one unit of pikemen. I lost something like 20 men and killed over 100 in that street. In that battle, I was leapfrogging. When the enemy would retreat from the fight, the rear unit would run foward ahead of the foremost, form spear wall, and wait for the next attack. This continued until they stopped attacking, when I moved on to the square.
    Age and treachery will defeat youth and skill every time.

  30. #30
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    702

    Default Re: Unit Combat and Charging; Intuition vs. Testing vs. Animation

    They had crossbowmen in my sieges. My Tercios all died. Without their pikes the Norman Foot Knights beat them up. They were not even attacking back, just marching forward to get chopped.

    My army lineup is similar to yours, except no swordsmen and 4 units of those massively underpowered gendarmes to chase down routers. Sometimes if the cohesion bug hits and a pike block gets overwhelmed a quick cavalry charge swings the advantage back my way.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO