Author Topic: Troop Types and Weapon Mix  (Read 17892 times)

Riptokus

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Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« on: October 28, 2007, 12:46:25 PM »
I was just thinking, right now there's really no weapons determination. You want a ton of Spear-wielding natives? Tough cookies. Native is moving more and more into determining what the troops are equipped with, it shouldn't really be all that hard, just have the initial recruit branch out into the weapon type, allowing you to determine your weapon mix.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2007, 05:10:48 PM »
The Spanish are divided by troop types.  The Aztecs are not, as they were historically mixed-weapon, basically on the preference of the individual.  That was an attempt at historical realism.

Riptokus

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2007, 11:14:21 AM »
Wow, I was really tired when I wrote that.

K, Let me elaborate what I was trying to say, and somehow didn't.

As time goes by, techniques and technologies would have been developed as a way to counter the Spanish (from the 'What if' in the contributions thread)

A big thing about that would be tactics. Right now, players aren't allowed to train troops to establish tactics. You can't get a pack of spear-wielding natives to counter a calvary charge. What I Meant to propose was a shifting time scale, where as time goes by, certain things would be added as time goes by. Technologies and other things. One of the possible "things" that get developed could be allowing troop mix. Native is doing it more and more, so it shouldn't be too far off a concept to go with. The problem becomes switching the base unit to one that allows that after a random "leap forward", which should be determined by game time, since the year is now tracked.

It isn't unreasonable to expect the Aztec to figure out spears work against calvary, and shift their people to work more like the Spanish, in having "combat roles." That could be done by allowing the player to determine troop mix of his units. I've been trying to figure out other "Leap Forward" issues that could occur, things that are fairly reasonable to expect to happen. Nothing has come to mind yet, but I'm out there thinking :P

Just another lesson to you kids, Don't not sleep and type!

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2007, 08:31:46 PM »
OK ... that's a tough call to make.  The Aztec use of shields and atlatl would already have an effect similar to the Roman formations.  Plus they already used a lot of spears and halberds.  So, while they would probably quickly learn the value of keeping formations tight when facing horses ... would they see any value in adopting uniform weapons for a group?

Would there be any real value to uniform weapons?  Or would their traditional mix of polearms, heavy cutting and hacking weapons, and atlatl darts for infantry, with archery support, actually do as good of a job as uniform armaments?  Would the terrain ever allow for large-scale uniform troop movements, or would their traditional loose continually-shifting formations work just as well?  Would there be any motivation to change?

Tough question....

Very tough question...


Just off the top of my head, I would say that until they got substantial numbers of guns, they would probably not see a reason to go to uniform armaments or well-regulated formations.  I figure the traditional mix of weapons would work just fine, and upgrading to metal weapons and armor would not change much.  When they did get their hands on a fair number of arquebus or heavy crossbows, the gunners would need to get organized (just to keep from shooting each other) ... but they would likely be replacing the archer auxiliaries more than the infantry.

The moves to uniform weapons in Europe were based around industrial reasons (weapons were not custom-made for the user) and ease of training peasant recruits.  These are needs that would not develop among North-American Natives for at least a century... where every adult male was already considered a warrior (trained from birth) who owned his own weapons.

It took the Cherokee about 100 years to convert their army from their traditional loose-formation tactics to regulated formations, and then only because they got their hands on substantial numbers of cannon.  (By then, they were using percussion-cap rifles ... although many still carried their tomahawks.)  The Sioux and Apache never did change - they added guns and horses to their classic maneuvering tactics, and kept right on going ... even as late as World War 2 they were known for being disruptive to military formations and wandering off on their own, sort of considering orders a suggestion.  (And many still carry their tomahawks or big scary knives, even today ... The U.S. Marine Corps doesn't discourage this.  Nonstandard weapons seem to follow these guys.)

So within the time frame of the game, I would say that such conversions are unlikely.  But again, that's just off the top of my head ... I can't prove that.

Riptokus

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2007, 11:13:26 AM »
Without starting a long discussion why, I am just going to say you are both right and wrong about both the Marine Corps and the Sioux and leave it at that (I know nothing on the Apache)

As for organized formations for the Mexica, I feel it's possible they would adopt this. First of all, they were seeing it from the Spanish. The Horsemen would work as a group. The only thing missing from what I feel would be a sure adoption of this technique would be learning how effective a spear formation would be against horses. If they didn't see that, then they wouldn't adopt it. Second, they already had the needed base for it, which was crude formations. All it would take is one quick-thinking noble noticing that "Yes, that spear brought down the beast the pale people ride, perhaps if we carried more, we'd be able to handle them better" to having his men carry more spears, and spears are one of the easiest things for man to make, with only clubs being easier. We are dealing with possibilities here, not with absolutes. I feel it's entirely possible that given more time, the Mexica might have developed spear formations to counter Spanish calvary. This might have not happened, and might not have had any benefit, or it might have turned the tide of the war (July 7th, 1520, Otumba minus calvary, Mexica win.) I think it's enough of a possibility that every month there should be a small but increasing chance that the entire Mexica troop tree shifts to be able to become configured with weapon mixes.

Oh, and I don't believe that the Bronze Age Greeks had an Industrial factory to create weapons in, but I might have been wrong :)


I also believe that as time goes by, the percentage of mexica warriors with steel equivalents of the weapons they use should be increased. I don't feel steel was enough of an advantage to overtake more then 25% of any formation. Possibly with increased time, like if a game goes for 10 years, the development of a new Mexica gunpowder unit wouldn't be uncalled for either.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2007, 05:10:41 PM »
I have no idea what you mean about the Sioux, but my brother just got out of four years in the Marines a couple of years ago, and he has some stories.

The mix of weapons traditionally used in Mexico would already be pretty solid against horses.  The combination of heavy ranged (atlatl dart), spears/halberds, and relatively heavy high-damage melee stuff would already create a multi-layered resistance against horses (or anything else).  It would probably work at least as well as more regulated formations or more standardized weapons, and conversion to metal would not really affect this.

Don't think of their loose formations as a step toward more regular formations.  It's easy for people from European-influenced cultures to think that way.  Realistically, it's more of a branching effect ... some cultures favored small-group tactics, some loose formations, some tighter formations.  Most of the natives of the Americas favored loose formations.  (So did the Mongols, and the Mamluk, and before firearms the Japanese samurai.)  If you assume that tighter formations are necessarily better and that everyone is trying to develop along those lines, you will make the same mistakes that the U.S. Cav made against both the Sioux and Apache.

The bronze age Greeks did not have a huge factory.  They did have large numbers of smiths working directly for governments.  The smiths built weapons according to the government specs, so that their work would look reasonably like the work of the other smiths, and then these weapons were issued to the troops.  Therefore the economics and logistics of it worked just like if it had been from a post-industrial-revolution factory.  This is exactly the opposite of the process in, say, Japan - where individual warriors generally got their weapons custom-made from particular people.  A lot of the American Indians actually expected warriors to make their own weapons, and even those who got their weapons from others picked them out specifically to their own preferences.

And yeah, I think the plan was to slowly increase the number of steel weapons based on relations with European powers and/or development of particular infrastructure (which is dependent on not having it destroyed).  Don't think there has been any real work on an exact formula yet.

Offline guspav

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2007, 08:29:12 PM »
Maybe not a new tactics- based  unit tree, but definitely one with metal weapons, it could work like the Marius reforms the Romans had and that triggered by time or maybe by some other factor.
Formations aren't too logical because aztec warriors, though they did use tactics, were after personal glory most of the time (remember they got a higher rank depending on the number of captures they got and could even get to "knighthood", that is eagle, jaguar or cuachic).

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2007, 06:03:32 AM »
For the changeover from stone to steel, can we set up this sort of a formula?

Set a number as "tech level" of a group.  An incrementing counter based on how long they have good relations with some European power, and how much working upgraded metalworking infrastructure they have.  If a particular tribe had all of their metalworking infrastructure destroyed and no European power would trade with them, this number would actually drop slowly.  Otherwise, it would probably be increasing, likely not very fast.

Then, whenever armies, patrols, whatever are spawned, this number is used to calculate the percentage chance of troops being metal-armed.

That way, you can have three troop trees for each unit - neolithic pre-Spanish (stone and a little copper), some metal (several Spanish weapons, scraps of armor among better troops), and substantial metal (armor, guns, the works).  Which ones get rolled would just be a matter of time and statistics.  However, that would also let tactics and politics play a role, without being as arbitrary as a single event.  It would also get the mixed feeling of a few troops at a time getting their hands on metal weapons.

Riptokus

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2007, 09:41:49 AM »
As a Marine who got out a few years ago, I can speak from direct knowledge on Marine Corps. As for Sioux, I can speak from family history. I am telling you your assumptions on the Marine Corps are both right and wrong, as are your assumptions on the Sioux.

I am not saying loose formations are Inferior, since I know from personal experience they are much more effective then large formations.
What I am saying is the Spanish Calvary needed to be countered by the Mexica. Otumba was the first time they learned that lesson, and the last chance they got to learn to do so. A Spear formation is the best counter for a Calvary charge. The Mexica WERE defeated by mounted troops at the Battle of Otumba. The Calvary breakthrough there routed the leadership, causing the entire Mexica force to retreat. That shows quite clearly that their mix wasn't enough to break a calvary charge. Thousands of warriors couldn't stop hundreds, and in fact by then they might have been less then one hundred.

Yes, Formation development would be hindered by the personal glory aspect, but again, facing total war, most combatants adopt a total war attitude themselves. That would mean a more Disciplined Mexica. A good representation for this that I can see is allowing the player to pick troop types. I don't think the Mexica would ever develop a formation similar to the European formations, but I suspect that a crude spear formation would develop, as well as dedicated archers and probably more lethal weapons in the mix, but only after time goes by. Allowing for unit mix to be determined after time to allow the development of new technology allows for a catch-all type of situation, where any number of different things could have been researched and a different weapon mix would ensure from the Mexica. If total war is adopted, what happens? Mexica take up more lethal weapons and drop the less lethal ones. If they discover better formation what happens? They start to use people by weapon type. If they refine hit and run? More archers. Each of these are well represented by changing the troop tree to allow unit mix to be added.

As for the formula, you are assuming steel is the best thing since sliced bread, and while I respect your knowledge on how you have seen what weapons can do, I think you need to get an obsidian knife and compare it to a steel knife. I think there should be three sliders instead.

Tech Level, which determines access to guns
Metalworking, which determines ability to produce steel items like guns, swords, and armor
and Spanish Influence, which determines how much of the Spanish-style stuff they have.

A High Tech level would add a gunpowder Native but would require high metalworking or high Spanish influence to access, while a high Spanish influence changes most of the native weapons to European weapons. All of this decided on the interaction of native technology and understanding (Tech Level) Metalworking Infrastructure (Metalworking) and how much they accept the Spanish culture (Spanish Influence)
This can then be tempered with relations, so if they have low metalworking but high Spanish influence, they don't get the Spanish weapons, unless they are friendly with the Spanish, in which case they get a lesser quality mix of weapons.

These stats should be vulnerable to disease, after all, if all your smiths and scientists die off, how can you refine metal or pass on knowledge of the secret of gunpowder?

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2007, 10:14:11 AM »
Let's talk practical, here:

First, obsidian weapons are not inferior to their steel counterparts in lethality, but they do suffer in the ease-of-use category.  Neolithic weapons are clumsy - they involve planting stones into clumsy-looking boards or excessively heavy handles.  (I wrote the damage stats for the current version of Mesoamerica.)  Therefore, like the tribes in the current U.S. did, I have every reason to think that the Aztec would have considered steel to be better.  Steel armor is most certainly better than the quilted cloth that they were using.  Therefore, yes, compared to neolithic weapons, I have every reason to believe that the Aztec would have considered steel to be a great improvement and a goal to which they would aspire at every opportunity.

(Realistically, would it actually help them THAT much?  The armor might, the advantage in weapons would likely be statistically pretty small.)

Second, the Mexia were wiped out by cav not because of their weapon distribution or formation, but because, one, mounted forces always have some advantage over infantry, and two, the Spanish had a huge tech advantage (armor, guns, steel, crossbows).

I mean, the Romans broke horse charges with short swords and javelins.  The Celts and Scots broke horse charges with heavy two-handed blades.  The English were known for using longbows to slow and thin mounted attackers.  Spears are not the only way to break a mounted attack.  One of the cheapest, maybe, but not the only one.

If, in that battle, the Mexia Empire had been equipped with European-type weapons (not just steel, but steel designed to deal with armored troops and horses) and metal armors, then their formations and weapon mix would have very likely worked fine.  They just couldn't hope to compete with all the disadvantages they had.

-----------------------------------

As for multiple variations on the tech tree, we do need to keep it simple enough for the M&B engine to handle it.  A hundred different troop types is not going to be good for the game, especially when we start trying to add the Maya and others, fighting limits in the game engine.  Three levels, and a simple probability calculation to see which one they field, is likely possible.  Anything more complex is going to crowd the upgradable troop limits and such.

We're not working with infinite capability here.

Riptokus

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2007, 02:04:36 PM »
Well, Mexica swords have one strong advantage, they don't rust. Also, the horses weren't that heavily armored. The climate in the region at the time was hot and humid. If you don't think lack of rust is an advantage, I can provide you a list of activities you can do to demonstrate to yourself without a doubt that reliability and ease of maintenance is very important for weapons. When the issues are so minor, I don't think the Natives there would take the weapons. Of course, the native Auxilleries ended up using Spanish swords, so that's why the third category of Spanish influence.

And yes, sometimes troops without spears broke calvary charges, however, the advantages of charging calvary are completly eliminated with spear-wielding formations. This is why so many empires deployed spearmen, because of their effectiveness against horses.

And here is what I am proposing. Just simply adding a few more troops to the tree. One is a native Gunpowder unit, and then basically a broader mid-range tier group, ones that specialize in particular weapons. It isn't so much as the Mount and Blade engine won't handle it, even if every single group on the map was added. Most new factions will be using the same troop trees anyway, since the equipment used was mostly the same. It's only the warrior societies that become specialized and unique for each faction, so really there is only two troop trees as it is, with a few specialized units. Once unit type is created, the same ones could be used for every faction with no problems. I am not proposing a new troop type for each level of those things. I am just proposing that the probability calculation of what units are armed with changes, except native gunpowder units, which would be a separate unit.

So a Talaxian Auxillery with the Talaxians having 60 Metalworking, and 40 Spanish Influence would see a 40/2=20% chance of each warrior getting a European Weapon, with a (60-50)*2=20% chance it will be quality, or something of that nature.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2007, 07:02:00 AM »
Reliability?  That was the biggest problem with obsidian weapons. 

Steel will rust, true, but keeping it oiled is really quite easy if you know to do this (which they would have learned very quickly from the Europeans).  A little bit of lard, and you're rust-proof for days.  Armor can be treated with salts to rust-proof the major surfaces (i.e. gun blue), which it usually was.  (Most art of the period shows armors as somewhat dark in color ... the shining armors were caused by collectors over-polishing them for two centuries.)  Rust is annoying, but not that hard to control - I keep my swords from rusting.  They could too.

Obsidian is prone to chip and require stones to be replaced in the blades.  The glue and/or rope bindings (depending on the particular weapon) have to be replaced.  Wood will rot, mildew, and become water-logged.  If the wood does become wet, that previously mentioned glue will likely turn loose.  Keeping it well oiled and/or painted helps, but it's still much harder to maintain than metal - especially in damp weather.  Aztec wood and obsidian weapons would be a pain to maintain, especially in combat.

The risk of rust on steel is real, but not the end of the world.

-------------------------

Anyway, I still figure one tech number will do the calculation.  Base number modifies a percentage, so that the various tech levels will be mixed. (If tech level 15 causes 30% of them to be tech level 2, then tech level 30 will cause roughly 60% of them to be tech level 2, and so forth.  At tech level 100%, they would look pretty much like their Spanish counterparts, only slightly redecorated.)  That keeps the calculation simple, while still conveying the idea.

Then, it won't matter if they get their weapons from Europe and slightly redecorate them, or make their own, or import the steel and work their own, or more likely a combination of the three.  Also, it assumes that if they have enough chemistry and metallurgy, they can produce blades, armor, guns, ammo, whatever.  Anything lower than that, they could still build metal hatchets and such, but the more complex stuff would be rare (either gained in trade or just some smith got lucky).  It gets the idea across without having to reconfigure every troop type 900 possible ways.

This whole thing is going to be complicated enough even if we try to keep it simple.  Trying to predict every variation will just make it so complex that we can't tweak it for balance.  Don't make it harder.

Riptokus

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2007, 10:47:00 AM »
You keep the assumption that if they hold off the Spanish then they would look like the Spanish, which is just simply not true. That is why the three fields, because adoption of the Spanish technology is dependent on a different factor then tech levels. Higher technology allow them to manufacture copies of Spanish equipment, assuming they don't come up with anything better. It's like you acknowledge that these people are decent warriors but refuse to give them the ability to think for themselves. If the Spanish don't come up with it it doesn't exist? The primary reason for the Insane atrocities of Europeans against the natives of these continents was because of Divergent Evolution, meaning these guys had their own, totally new way of doing things, and this made the Spanish unsure if these people were even human. This was defeated because the continent as a whole was defeated. They've recently hypothesized that the bundle of strings that was once believed to be used by the Incas for memory aid could have been in fact, an entire system of writing. Noone survives that could identify either way though. Don't get so tied up into what DID happen to loose what COULD have happened, which is much more important for the purposes of this mod.

Having never seen a Macuahuitl, I can't say for sure that it is less prone to decay then you say or even. I strongly suspect it was not how you think, since with ancient technology only and a few minutes of thought process, with the resources available to the Mesoamericans, I could make one that is very durable, easily repaired, and immune to "rot" to a level greater then any sword can be immune to "rust". That's lacking the THOUSANDS of years that these people had to develop good techniques to make the most of their materials. If you doubt the inventiveness and forward-thinking ability of these people, and ability to do something totally new and unique, one word. Corn.

And you REALLY need to go try something new. Go to a tropical coastal area with something that rusts. Bring plenty of lard, see how well that works for you.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2007, 04:59:50 PM »
Lived several years in humid subtropical zones of south central China.  Oiled my swords with common kitchen vegetable oil.  Never had a significant rust problem.  Did have problems with paint peeling off of wood doors because the wood draws moisture... couldn't prevent that sort of garbage even trying to dry them out with electric heaters.

I built and played with some stone weapons back as a kid ... even if well designed, they're clumsy pieces of junk.  Inconvenient to build, even more inconvenient to maintain.  The blades have to be replaced more often than the disposable razor blades in box knives.  Compared to the occasional need to oil the metal, stone weapons are a huge maintenance problem.

And I'm not saying the Aztecs wouldn't do some thinking for themselves, but I doubt they would bother to try to re-invent things that someone else had just spent the last 3000 years developing.  I mean, why would they start a process of invention to design something that they could just buy and copy?  After they got good at copying these things, they might start to get a little more creative (but that would take more time than the scope of this game, about 50 to 100 years for most groups in the Americas who were not wiped out).  That would be thinking for themselves, instead of being bound by some archaic sense of tradition and isolationism.  They had their own way of doing things, sure, but this way did not include looking a gift horse in the mouth.


Offline guspav

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Re: Troop Types and Weapon Mix
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2007, 05:03:40 PM »
All this technological evolution and adaptation is pretty hard to predict, it is true what you say Riptokus, that they found ways of optimizing their own tech to their environment, now the hard part would be what they would have done with the foreign tech when they adapted it to their own.
It is curious to mention that according to Bernal Diaz, Cortes himself ditched his own metal armor at some point and started wearing a cotton one because  it was lighter, easier to move in in hot weather and deflected arrows better, I am not sure  about the arrows part, but the other two seem reasonable enough, that added to the moisture resistance of the cotton armor vs the metal one.
Something that would sound reasonable to me, at least on the armor point, would be that melee infantry would prefer metal armor and ranged infantry cotton and that maybe for both the european and the native parts. About weapons I am uncertain since probably a sword is much easier to wield than a macuahuitl, still an expert macuahuitl fighter would stick with the weapon he knows, the newer and easier to use weapons would go to the rookies. About the tepoztopilli vs the pike and halberd it's even harder, while both european polearms would be much sturdier due to their metal heads, the tepoztopilli was very probably much lighter, so which one would you prefer? I am not sure myself and it is hard to decide on that, but still a lot of fun :D
« Last Edit: November 01, 2007, 05:05:21 PM by guspav »