Ars bellica

From: Gian Gero <giangero_at_...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 14:59:32 GMT

Hi to everybody,

I read with interest your comments (David, Steve, Theo, Wesley) about my Strategy/tactics skill use. I recommend the concept of "ceteris paribus". It means that you can intend a battle as a direct contest between two commanders only when their forces, training, equipment and general conditions are quite balanced. Otherwise, I suspect the over generalization (using one or two criteria) could severely lower the realism of the simulation. All in my opinion, of course.

>It's an interesting viewpoint and a novel way to look at the situation,

I may not always reach my goal, but my task here was to improve the realism of the skill usage, not the novelistic approach!

>The only time the commander's 'will' and the troops behavior would be
>opposed are (...)

quite always, in my personal evaluation of RW battles. Prove to me the opposite: let's take a classic, the Battle of Cannae. Consul Aemilius Paulus wanted his army (the most trained, the better equipped and more numerous) to fight valiantly and to crush their enemies with the sheer force of numbers. His colleague was more foolish, but shared basically the same belief.
Hannibal wanted his army (the less trained, the more composite, the less numerous) to use its own weakness to bait the Romans in a trap from which their superior troops could not escape.
He succeeded by using his own army despite its fears and weakness and trapped the Legions, with an hypnotizing maneuvre which was deadly if seen by the eyes of the Legionaries, but foolishly risky if seen by the eyes of a strategist. Consul Aemilius Paulus failed to convince his army (and his colleague) of its superiority: they panicked and were slaughtered when all the odds were at their side!

> Would the tactics, etc, skill then exist as an Augment to the general
> skill of the group?
> Theo

Exactly (IMO). I could even use the tactics skill to raise the virtual number of the army's combatants, to immediately figure the augmentation. E.g. A 1000 men phalanx with a General who has a tactic skill of 20, could count as a 1100 (or 1010, according to the scale of the battle and of the opposition)-strong phalanx, when the General achieves a tactic skill of 1W. This as a general base for figuring the tactics skill as a mere confrontation ability. The considerations on battle formation, taunting phase, army reliability, morale etc. would rest on other kinds of evalutations (resistance of the soldiers vs. superior orders, personal commitment to the battle-cause of the average soldier, personal initiative of the ungraduated, discipline training, self-defence attitude influenced by worshipped cult, and the like).

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