Improving Cavalry

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Improving Cavalry

Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:38 am

Cavalry in this game rarely preform, their large bases and losing second initiative are the main problems for them. They also have a lack of firing power when charging a more numerous foe.

When I imagine cavalry I picture horses crashing into enemy lines trampling enemies underfoot. (probably inspired by ROTK movie)

I have tried a few ways to improve cavalry, all of them improve them on the charge because it becomes quite hard to help them in the second initiative phase. Although any Ideas helping them defend would be great!

Now to test my Ideas I set up a simple scenario.

I set up 5 Riders of Rohan 1 has a throwing spear (67pts) against 10 Mordor Orcs 5 spear 5 shield (60pts)

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The Orcs set up a simple shield wall and the riders charge.

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Then I divide the fights up.
-Two 1 on 1s
-Two 2 on 1s
-And one 4 on 1
I find usually the cavalry have at least one huge mismatch.

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Notes on the scenario:
-Rohan has first initiative and charge.
-The first combat is paired off in the same way every time.
-The throwing spearman (top left facing one orc spearman) uses his missile and if he kills his Orc he charges the Orc shieldman next to him giving Rohan a 2 vs 1.
-I do each test 3 times and note the results(obviously I need to to do far more tests to get a good sample size but that takes a lot of time).
-I play last man standing.
-Each rule only effects Cavalry charging infantry.

Test 1:using standard rules.

Results.
1st- orcs win 3 left
2nd- orcs win 8 left
3rd- orcs win 9 left

Test 2: Horse momentum effect.

There is nothing worse than charging your cavalry in and they die in the combat with all that momentum behind them.

Rule: If you charge and not only lose the fight but your figure dies as well you can strike a single strength 3 against one of your killers. This represents the horse or man falling on the killer and squashing him.

You could play horses have S3 and armoured horses have S4 with this effect (but that may involve complications around actually killing the horse) or you could play around the armour value of the rider armour or no armour is S3 and heavy armour is S4.

To keep things simple I played one strength 3 hit if the Rider of Rohan died on the charge.

Results.
1st- Rohan win 3 left.
2nd- Orc win 6 left.
3rd- Orc win 5 left.
Note: Each time one Orc died from the effect which I think is slightly high.

Test 3: Unsupported infantry.

If cavalry have a big weakness in is spears and pikes.

Rule: When cavalry charge unsupported infantry e.g a lone Orc shield man, the mounted unit gains 1 more attack. Note that if a cavalry charges a lone spearman/pikeman he does not get this advantage since his weakness is against spears and pikes.

So to clarify: When cavalry charge if there is one spearman/pikeman in the fight or supporting the fight he does not get the bonus.

This makes cavalry really effective against archers and heroes.

So lets see what happened in my scenario. Note: only 1 Rider get the bonus attack in the first initiative all the rest are facing a spearman.

Results.
1st- Rohan win 4 left.
2nd- Rohan win 4 left
3rd- Orcs win 5 left.

Test 4: combining unsupported infantry with horse momentum.

Results.
1st- Rohan win 4 left.
2nd- Orcs win 9 left.
3rd- Orcs win 6 left.
Only 1 Orc died from the momentum effect out of all 3 tests.

Test 5: Shielding.

I have seen this option suggested a lot but I feel only expert riders should have this option.

Results.
1st- Rohan win 4 left.
2nd- Orcs win 4 left.
3rd- Rohan win 4 left.

I really like this idea it works quite well but it does take a while before one side is defeated.

Note with all the results because the game uses dice it is exposed to luck.
Every time the Orcs had 8+ left they had good luck.
Every time Rohan had 4 left they usually had good luck.(with the exception of shielding where the luck was quite even)

Also I don't have the hobbit rule book I have the 2005 one ring rule book so some rules may have changed that I am not aware of.

I have a few other Ideas around Expert rider and more cavalry special rules. I may post them in a new topic.

If you have any Ideas good or bad to comment about these rules please reply.

If you have any new Ideas to help cavalry when they charge/get charged/shoot etc. please reply.

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Ranger
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:56 am

In addition to changing any rules it's essential to change points values at the same time. There are eleven years of balance to consider!

I agree that cavalry suffer terribly from 'second turn' syndrome. Hithero suggested in the past that models charging acavalry model that has Charged should take a Courage Test.

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Istari
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:09 pm

The thing a lot of players don't understand is that a cavalry charge does not always end well for them despite what the movies show, the current rules are just fine, with maybe one exception.

1) in a 1v1 match, charging cavalry do not need any added bonus, an extra attack and double strikes is plenty and this could be improved by the weapon carried.

2) if a line of cavalry charged 2 lines of foot then they deserve to be cut down, horses do not like charging solid objects. The only way this could possibly succeed is if the cavalry were of a better class of troop than the foot. In the game this would mean a better Fight value, a good hero and/or a banner to get re-rolls.

3) if the cavalry do win then it would come down to a massed scrum, an all-fo-all, the cavalry don't necessarily just carry on riding down infantry. The ability to do so works quite well with the Initiative system, and even more so with a hero calling Heroic Moves or Heroic attacks.

4) the only problem I have with the rules is the way that infantry can charge cavalry without hesitation and as mentioned above, and I have tried this, is that foot have to take a Courage test to charge mounted troops which seems to work well.

Villager
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:39 pm

Thanks for the imput.

Yes, I do have to consider the 11 years of balancing but I feel cavalry are unbalanced how it is so they need a little bit more. One extra attack against non-spearman may be a little powerful, I do like the cavalry dying effect it doesn't work much but has a little cool factor.

Yes, charging into a shield wall is quite stupid, cavalry need to pick their targets carefully. But I do feel they deserve a bit more success against a shield wall then they currently do.

Both of my effects are on the charge which isn't what cavalry need, they need something for second-turn syndrome.

I haven't play tested the courage Idea, I have heard about it though. Would this work against all enemy units and would it work on the charge as well as when you don't charge?

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Istari
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:11 pm

I added the Courage rule when I was developing the rules for other periods, think it might have been Napoleonic where cavalry ruled unless infantry formed square in dense formation. The easiest way to explain it is that cavalry cause Terror against infantry, so any time a foot slogger wants to charge cavalry, it takes a Courage test.

Villager
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:03 am

That make charging cavalry with cavalry far more useful. Now there is a reason because they pass the courage test.

Villager
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:51 pm

What about Morgul knights since they cause terror already? :?

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Istari
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:22 pm

They cause terror in cavalry as well, so have their bonus.

Villager
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:01 pm

What about this...


1) If a cavalry charges and kills his opponent(s) then the next turn he moves as if he were under the effects of heroic move (OR they move before all other models unless enemies call heroic moves).

Reasoning - Cavalry charges have the momentum to charge through ranks of enemies but are vulnerable to becoming bogged down. This way you can charge thin lines or small groups with cavalry and have a chance of breaking through, but they can be countered by enemy heroes calling heroic moves.

2) Cavalry that move in their movement phase gain the terror special rule until their next movement phase.

Reasoning - Charging cavalry is scary unless you are cavalry/a monster!

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Ranger
 
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:18 pm

If you want to bring realism into cavalry fights then they can charge once per game. After that they're 'blown' and lose the energy that makes them so powerful. Historically cavalry tended to be one-hit wonders, great against troops that were nervous or fleeing from them but easily disrupted if things didn't go their way.

Best stick to the current situation which is more game than simulation otherwise the infantry player will start innocently asking about rabbit holes in the path of the cavalry, the smell of camels scaring all equines nearby (and let's not go into how a horse would react to a Warg!), realistic rules about jumping hedges and walls when barded or with an armoured rider, etc.

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