As we are in AJE, ranged combat has an extremely minor impact – but it is of course much much more important for other AJE games. In addition, it allows you to have a good idea of how a battle work on other items (initiative, command test,…).
For our little test, we are going to run a game where a unit Pontic (Hellenistic) Sagittarii is meeting a unit Optimates Cretan archers in front of Epirus. The Romans are without leader, while the Pontics have Archelaos leading the stack, and XXXXX merged with the unit. The Romans are in defense.
The Roman unit has 3 archer elements, while the Pontic unit has 2 javelinmen elements and one slinger elements.
Here are they :
Now, I put my game in “debug” mode (option/system/error logging) so the game generates a “battle log” after each battle. I am going to use it to illustrate the battle.
Here are the different phases of the battle :
In this phase, the game will first check the terrain, the forces in presences, the skills that are going to be used etc… No decision is made.
13:31:18 (Reporting) <<<-----START----->>>
19:00:47 (Reporting) Starting CheckBattles, a battle occurs in region Epirus at day 25
19:00:47 (Reporting) Outside terrain only (used only for range and Abies): Wooded Hills effects on Max Range: 4 Range Mod: 0 Weather: Fair
19:00:47 (Reporting) Checking Battle Abilities given by 1004421 Sagittarii I (Cre) [color="#FF0000"]The Sagittarii units has a special ability
19:00:47 (Reporting) Unit Sagittarii I (Cre) [7/Skirmisher] Off: 100 Def: 100 Aslt: 100 Init: 1 [color="#FF0000"]Basically, this trait gives +1 initiative, but keeps Offensive and Defensive at 100% of their base value[/color]
19:00:47 (Reporting) ---> ROF: 0 Prot: 0 Disc(TQ): 0 [color="#FF0000"]Turns out “skirmisher” has no impact on ROF, Protection, Discipline either…[/color]
19:00:47 (Reporting) ---> LandingPerc: 100 CrossingPerc: 100 ChargerMod: 0 CChargeMod: 0 [color="#FF0000"]…nor on all these things (the landing / crossing mali, the charge bonus and the counter-charge bonus) [/color]
I cut here, but he does the same with all the units / stacks
19:00:47 (Reporting) GetRound SubList 8 SUs can be involved during this round..[color="#FF0000"]In this round, 8 elements can be involved – so the garrison is left out as it is in the structure. The 8 elements are the two leaders, the 3 archers, 2 javelinmen and the slinger [/color]
19:00:47 (Reporting) Round: 0 Optimates is committing 3 Lines SUs and 0 Supports SUs
19:00:47 (Reporting) Round: 0 Pontus is committing 3 Lines SUs and 1 Supports SUs
You remember the “out of command” malus when you do not have enough Command Point in the stack – the little number in red going from 5% to 25%. Well, it plays a role here.
Each stack with a command malus have ALL its elements run two tests with a chance of failure equal to the command malus :
- Failure of the first test makes the element lose one in rate of fire
- Failure of the second test makes the element lose one or two (depending on the command malus) in initiative.
In addition, each element must do a “quality test” under its initiative. If it fails, all is not lost, the element can “save” by making a test under the offensive / defensive of the leader. If even this is failed, the unit loses one more in ROF (I suppose this make more sense in 18th century warfare, but the impact is neglectable in AJE so it was kept in)
The engine will also use this opportunity to select which elements will fill-up the frontage in order to respect the frontage limit. This is random, but units already committed in an earlier round has an higher chance to have their elements picked up, while wounded / incohesive units have less chance.
19:00:47 (Reporting) PON 1004381 Hellenistic Javelinmen [Line] Round ROF: 1 Round Initiative: 7 BattleGround: Wooded Hills
19:00:47 (Reporting) OPT 1004376 Hellenistic Archer [Line] Round ROF: 2 Round Initiative: 8 BattleGround: Wooded Hills
19:00:47 (Reporting) OPT 1004377 Hellenistic Archer [Line] Round ROF: 2 Round Initiative: 8 BattleGround: Wooded Hills
19:00:47 (Reporting) OPT 1004375 Hellenistic Archer [Line] Round ROF: 2 Round Initiative: 8 BattleGround: Wooded Hills
19:00:47 (Reporting) PON 1004382 Hellenistic Javelinmen [Line] Round ROF: 1 Round Initiative: 7 BattleGround: Wooded Hills
19:00:47 (Reporting) PON 1004380 Hellenistic Slinger [Line] Round ROF: 2 Round Initiative: 8 BattleGround: Wooded Hills
19:00:47 (Reporting) PON 1002451 Archelaos [Support] Round ROF: 1 Round Initiative: 10 BattleGround: Wooded Hills
Everyone passed the test. If they did not, you would see something like this (failure of the initiative test : )
13:31:18 (Reporting) Failed TQ in battle Hellenistic Archer Adj Quality 5 Leader bonus 0
13:31:18 (Reporting) OPT 1004376 Hellenistic Archer [Line] Round ROF: 1 Round Initiative: 8 BattleGround: Hills As you can see, ROF is one instead of two
The first round of the battle will start at the highest possible range. In this battle, you can see that the terrain allows a range of 4, the Roman archers have a range of 2 and the Pontics a range of 1. Thus, the first round will start at range 2 – and only the Romans will fire.
Let’s take the first shoot, which targets the slingers :
19:00:47 (Reporting) *** Start of action # 1 1004375 Hellenistic Archer vs 1004380 Hellenistic Slinger ***
19:00:47 (Reporting) Attacker belong to a defending group SubType: Regular Defender belong to a attacking group SubType: Regular
The engine will pick among the eligible elements one, proceed to make it shoot at another element on the other side.
The chance to hit are calculated taking into account the following :
- Offensive (or defensive, if in defense) fire
- Terrain bonus (see below)
- Leader bonus (+10% per point of the relevant skill (Offense / defense) of the stack AND the unit leader as of 1.00)
- A bonus of discipline – 5% by point of difference between the discipline of the unit and 5.
- Malus due to insufficient cohesion
- Malus due to insufficient losses
The final result is multiplied by 250% (in AJE) to get the chances to hit.
Well, usually, the protection kicks in at this moment, but the slingers have none, so we will ignore that.
So obviously, we need to know what the terrain bonuses are. Here are they, in the GameDate/Terrain once again, depending on the type of element :
The two first numbers are the Fire bonus / malus to shooting (in %) to the attacker / defender
The two following are the Protection bonus / malus given to the attacker / defender
Finally, the two last are the TQ (discipline) bonus / malus given to the attacker / defender in melee. Not useful for now.
So let’s try to value the chance for a Roman archer :
Let’s check this in the engine :
19:00:47 (Reporting) Battle effectiveness with leader rating: 100.00%
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with leader tactical rating: 7.50
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with TQ correction: 7.50
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with cohesion: 7.50
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with penalty from losses: 7.50
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer final fire value: 7.50
19:00:47 (Reporting) Receiver base protection: 0.00
19:00:47 (Reporting) Receiver protection with terrain: -1.00
19:00:47 (Reporting) Receiver protection with entrenchment: -1.00
19:00:47 (Reporting) Receiver final Prot value: -1.00
19:00:47 (Reporting) ToHitCoeff %: 250 ATK ROE %: 100 DEF ROE %: 100
19:00:47 (Reporting) Attacker final To Hit (%): 19.00
If hit, the unit loses 1 “strength point” and 5 “cohesion points” as indicated in the “detailed panel” of the element, at the line “Ranged damage”.
19:00:47 (Reporting) Attacker DmgDone: 1 CohDone: 5 AsltDmgDone 1 AsltCohDone: 5
19:00:47 (Reporting) Attacker ToHit: 19.00 rolled a 19 scoring a hit Defender remaining Health&Cohesion 9 / 71
Once all the archers have fired as much as they have in rate of fire, the range decrease by one (we are now in range 1), and everyone starts again to shoot.
19:00:47 (Reporting) Round: 0 Battle is now at range 1
19:00:47 (Reporting) There are 6 SU eligibles to attack at this range (1).
19:00:47 (Reporting) Picked: PON Archelaos' Army 1004382 Hellenistic Javelinmen firing
[I don’t want to deal the retreat attempts in this Corner – so I did not mention them for now]
This time, the javelinmen and the slingers are at range, so initiative has a role. I cannot show it with the log, but the developer explained me that all the elements are put in a “randomizing bag”, and one element is randomly picked, each element being “weighted” according to its initiative.
What would be good for me to illustrate the combats would be for a Pontic to be …
19:00:47 (Reporting) *** Start of action # 7 1004382 Hellenistic Javelinmen vs 1004377 Hellenistic Archer ***
… oh ! Great !
So let’s calculate the final fire value for our javelimen :
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer base fire: 9.00
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with terrain: 7.20
19:00:47 (Reporting) Hellenistic Javelinmen - Commander: Archelaos Cmd Coeff. %: 140
19:00:47 (Reporting) Hellenistic Javelinmen - Unit Commander: Diogenes Cmd Coeff. %: 120
19:00:47 (Reporting) Battle effectiveness with leader rating: 160.00%
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with leader tactical rating: 11.52
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with TQ correction: 10.94
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with cohesion: 10.94
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer value with penalty from losses: 10.94
19:00:47 (Reporting) Firer final fire value: 10.94
Now, there is something different here – our unit has protection.
The protection is calculated the following way :
- Base protection of the unit
- protection malus due to terrain,
- protection bonus due to entrenchment
Each point of this “final protection” reduce by 10% each time the chance to hit (so 2 in protection reduce by 10%, and then the result by another 10% - not by straight 20% ; the impact is minimal for ground troops but significant for ships which have high protection). There is no malus for negative protection.
Here is our calculation for this unit :
19:00:47 (Reporting) Attacker final To Hit (%): 25.00
19:00:47 (Reporting) Attacker rolled a 63 and failed to hit
Well, that’s all for the examples.
After all the attacks at range 1 are finished, it is range 0 – assault ; which is for the next episode.
After the assault phase, the round ends, and a new round starts. The starting range of the following round is always 1.
A final note on the cohesion and losses effect :
As long as your element has 60% of its initial cohesion, your unit will have no ill effect in firing. Afterward, it will decrease rather sharply.
As for losses, the first malus only triggers when the element has 25% or less of its health, it has a 50% malus. If it has 50% or less of its health, it has a 25% malus. This is due to the fact that the less experimented guys died first. There will be an example in the "melee phase" example.
- Impact of stances
The chances to hit (range and melee) are increased or decreased according to the stance of each side.
Here is what their effects are :
- All-out attack gives you +35% of chance to hit the first round, but gives your opponent +50% the first round. These 2 bonus will slowly go down as turns pass.
- Conservative attacks will give -30% chance to hit to both sides starting on the 3rd round,
- Feint attack – 70% starting from the second round
- Defend at all costs gives +10% to both sides
All other stances give no specific bonus.