Army and Quality-Quantity dispute

This is for, what the discord lovingly calls, 'top hat beaver' content and ideas. Mechanics that will be used to flesh out the game over the absolute necessary mechanics of the core concepts. Eventually, as the development of the SOTE project continues, things in this forum may move to the 'Core Concepts' forums as things are completed and what were once future ideas become pressing and more important to develop
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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:00 pm

Army and Quality-Quantity dispute

Post by Erlik » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:43 pm

Good day gentlemen.

On the recent days i have been reading about warfare, in Sote and n M&T, and i find that there is a particular problem with this discussion of "Quality or quantity, but not both". For this discussion i will be using the Romans as an example, whom are at a good time period, from 8th century BC to 5th AC. They also annule the Quality-Quantity dispute, as Roman army was both.

I like to think that SOTE should be the absolute strategy game. As perfect as possible. Therefore we should first go to the roots of the things, and secondly be very nitpicky about things. Thus, i make a call upon ignoring Quality-Quantity as a measure, mechanic or concept.

Before starting into what makes quality and quantity, i would also like to say the following: We should not attach to unit types. There should be a complete personalization from numbers, equipment, training...etc. Having the army this war would not limit us, tho i dont know how it would be to get codded. Not being fixed into a type unit opens a big way into personalization that, being the game some-what randomized to some extend, should be good. It would allow for particular types of units. And in battle, the player, IA or respective commander use them as properly as he can. He decides what is on the first line, and what is a skirmisher.

Now, lets go into what makes a unit (considering a unit X sized man, like eu4 has 1000 unit size, which i think should be variable), a man, or a fighter, into something qualitative:

-Equipment: This is pretty obvious. The heavier the equipment of a soldier or warrior is, the more value it has due to the innate value of the equipment by itself. This means that a swordsman with a big shield and a chainmail is indeed more valuable than a skirmisher armed just with three javelins. But value by itself does not represent quality, of course. Having that equipment allows him to be really protected, and inflict a huge damage on close quarter combat (CQC). Thus, he may be able to beat three, four or five skirmishers, while a skirmisher has nothing to do in CQC. With equipment, we are translating value into quality, as we allow units to do things that they would normally not be able to do. There is the thing of the equipment. It adds versatily and flexibility. Not to a unit or a warrior by itself but to the army. Having heavy-infantry allows you to fight in CQC, as they are protected and armed for it. But they cant chase skirmishers, or archers, or any kind of light-armoured heavy infantry that does not go into CQC, so they depend on lighter cavalry to chase them. So equipment means quality in only some ways. It can also be a severe disadvantage, making units only able for some tactics and manouvers.

-Training/Experience: The concept by itself does, of course, translates directly into quality. The more train a unit has, and the more real experience they get without getting their guts ripped of, the better they fight individualy. I would like to make a differenciation between Training, which is what a unit has before combat, and experience, that is what a unit has after combat. We could merge them into the same value, of course, but that would not be the optimal. Training should define a unit, while experience should just make them perform better without modifing their status as a unit. Thus, a unit can be trained to do something or some things in particular, while experience makes them better into doing what they were trained for. If a unit is not trained in throwing spears, no matter how much experience they have they will still be bad javelinmen. Now, training takes time from the people, specially if they are "forced" into it, be it in one way or another. If a farmer has to train 3 hours a day, or 3 hours a week, it may, may take time from them and thus lower or completely negate their production. I would like to say that that does not mean that the fields would necesarily lose production, as we have to consider that there is plenty of time for both farming and training (at least a bit). While 8 hours of daily training can reduce production, some hours a week should not even touch it, and they would get some training. I would also like to differenciate three types of training: Physical training, related to the unit endurance. Skill-fighting training, related to the unit capability of fighting (be it with a javelin, a sword in CQC, a spear at cavalry charges...) and thus killing more and being killed less. Last its tactical training. This is the ability of the soldier and the officer (having in mind that we have a organized army) of manouvering across the battlefield. If there is no officer staff or organization, army should not be able to manouver, and instead, per example, just directly charge. That does not mean that they lose any raw power, of course, just that they lose flexibily. Also, having a unit with low training does not necessarily mean that they are bad at their job. A couple of weeks learning how to throw a javelin and you already have a decent unit at that one particular job. You dont have to master something, or dedicate a lot of time to be decent at it. And dont take "mediocre" as something bad. Take it as average. And a average 100 hours trained javalinman can hit your 10.000 hour swordsman, pierce his chest and kill him in act.Of course, the more, the better. But more does not equal to optimal or good. PD: We could also have a "drilling" mechanic, being it very simple: Act to keep, but not gain (or until X ammount), any training or experience. That would keep units bussy and prepared to battle.

-National values: Ok, this is a bit more complicated. I like or tend to call national values to what the unit or the soldier thinks or believe. Lets use two examples: a dark ages farmer and a roman citizen. A dark ages farmer does only care about keeping himself and/or his family alive. Be it that he is fighting a rival of his overlord or a heathen, it will have a severe impact on his mentality. He (probably) does not care about his king, and be more dictated through faith. Thus, he may be scared fighting a heathen, or being more warring against them than their christian neighbours. In general, he does not really want to fight, and so he will disband pretty easily. A roman citizen, on the other side, will be eager into fighting. There is a deep tradition and culture involving it, and so he is not only trained and drilled but teached and told to fight until death. And in most of the cases, so they did. No matter how much they were losing, 6 to 1, 10 to 1, they were still fighting to death until none was left. Also, a national value can mean their eager into fighting, being more ferocious and warmongers. This can be the example of a celt or german tribe. They had no national values to the fatherland, but rather a huge motivation into fighting, sacking and pillaging as much as they could. That should be also kept in mind, as something that only wants to protect his house will not fight with the same resolution as someone that wants to protect their country, or as someone that wants to sack the most nearby village.

PD2: I guess i should mention morale or discipline, but i consider those concepts, tho may really importarnt in game, consecuence of the mentioned terms.

So, let us go into what quantity means now, ¿ok?

-Quantity: It is the % of soldiers, warriors or fighters, be it levy or not, that you can raise to a military campaing. It does depend a lot on society and its structure, but lets say that we are some city-state or similar, which happened a lot in early history. Normally, armies are composed from around 1 to 5% of the male population. Early Rome, being practically a city state, had around 30-40K pop, and could call around 9K troops for seasonal fighting. That is around 30% of total population. An absurd number. Their society structure allowed to do it. And they still kept an average equipment related to their neighbours, an average or better training and a more war-like national values. During second Punic war, the city had a population of 200.000 total, and they displaced at least 50K during the 17 years of war. That makes it around 25% of their population. A lot. On the other side, in 211 AC, roman army was composed of 447K troops, but they also had around 50 million population. Not even 1% of their population. At it still was a big, top elite army. So, quantity is a relative measure, and thus, should be ignored by itself. Quantity should be the ammount of population that you can and/or want to put into fighting without killing your economy. Being a tribe it may be 30%, being a kingdom it may be 6%, being an empire it might be 1%.

With this, we can figure out some things:

Quality is a very, very subjective measure. We cant judge a army quality for their performances in battle. To ilustrate this, i will put a double example with our fellow Romans: The battles of Cannae and Teutoburg. In the first one, the army was composed of a huge % of slaves without really any training or combat skill. In the second one, the army was made of elite legionaries of post-Marian Reforms. They both got annihilated. Does that mean that both of them were bad? In Cannae romans lost against Hannibal, a military genious. In Teutoburg, against germanic peoples without any knowledge of drilling, tactics, and without heavy equipment. Does that mean that the roman army was bad, comparing their oponents? No, not at all. Because battles are decided entirely on the tactics played by a commander. That is why we can never compare a unit quality looking at battles or their history. Germans won at Teutoburg because they did an excelent ambush. Roman heavy equipment turned to be a disadvantage at the heavy, dense forest and swamps.

To "judge" quality, as in-game it will, and should, be mesureable until that certain point. So we look upon certain, nitpicky, specific points. We can have measured equipment. We can measure the training, experience and drilling. And we can create those national values easily, or make something act like them. Thus, we can have different "quality" in a army composition. We can have average skirmishers, average swordmen and spearmen, and some decent cavalry or shock troop. But nothing is perfect and all can get beaten with other thing. We will have to get a correct mindset: there is no bad unit. There is no "shit something". Everything is better at some circunstances, and worse at others.

And quantity can not be judged. It is relative to population (and possible with an extra % of mercs) and there is not a good measurement into it. Making extra men (or women) into the army takes them from other place, so there is not really a gain/loss. It will depend in the situation.

Aaaaand i think that is it by the moment! I would have liked to put romans as an example with everything, but this should make it. It is open up to discussion!

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Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:34 am

Re: Army and Quality-Quantity dispute

Post by lastresort1 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:04 am

A user friendly way to do this would be have slots on each unit. Have Armour slots and weapon slots. Also have generic templates one for mounted units, one for infantry and one for siege equipment. An example of this endless legends.

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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:00 pm

Re: Army and Quality-Quantity dispute

Post by Erlik » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:34 am

There should be different different templates. Each army should be balanced with various types of units. 3 templates for infantry, 2 for cavalry...etc

Each template should be completely personalizable. Choose various weapons and the armour between all what the materials you got.

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