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Author Topic: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?  (Read 5490 times)

Offline soldieroftheline

  • Bookworm
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Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« on: October 20, 2023, 01:42:39 PM »
My gaming group really like LR (and derivatives) but we have had a few games recently where crossbows have rather dominated. We played one last night using the Garrison and Rebel forces suggested in the rule book and the two units of Garrison Crossbows just trashed the Rebels who were really unable to deal with them. In real life of course, such rebel forces did lack firepower, but even so. It's not the first game we've had where one side has struggled against a wall of Crossbows.

I think the problem is that, although Crossbows require a higher shoot activation than Archers which is supposed to represent their slower rate of fire, with everyone now having the command ability which allows one re-roll of a failed activation both units activated just about every time. With them hitting on 4+ within 12" they can really do some damage especially against lighter armoured troops and it seems disproportionate.

I would be interested to hear peoples thoughts/experiences. At the moment we are considering upping their Shoot activation roll to 8+ instead of 7+. This would put them on a par with Artillery in Pikeman's Lament. I'm not keen to reduce the fire factor, which would just make them the same as Archers.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2023, 02:01:40 PM by soldieroftheline »

Offline SteveBurt

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2023, 02:58:38 PM »
In our games they get shot to pieces by enemy archers and then charged early on. But we mostly play Crusades, so the opposition have lots of horse archers.

Offline soldieroftheline

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2023, 03:52:34 PM »
they get shot to pieces by enemy archers

But in our El Cid games (not overly different to Crusades) they win the shootout with Archers because they activate just as often and hit better. I suppose having multiple units shooting at them is one way to deal with them, they can only shoot back at one. Easier said than done though.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2023, 03:55:17 PM by soldieroftheline »

Offline SteveBurt

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2023, 04:08:21 PM »
Archers are easier to activate, and mounted ones can skirmish, so can move back out of 12 range. Even with a re-roll, crossbows will fail to activate roughly one time in 6, and you have used your re-roll up one time in three (roughly), which will often mean your turn ends sooner

Offline jon_1066

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2023, 10:24:29 AM »
As a house rule what about this:

Shoot is 5+ but Armour is always taken as 2

So they are worse against regular archers due to activation 7 but better vs armoured targets.  Probably slightly too good the other way but not a lot in it

Eg shoot 4+ armour 3 is equivalent shoot 5+ armour 2.  Makes them best against Armour 4 targets.

Offline Victor

  • Schoolboy
  • Posts: 5
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2024, 09:25:10 AM »
I am finding this in our group too, shooting can really dominate the game. With an 18" range, it's going to take 3-4 successful move activations to get to them, in which time you will take casualties, possible fail morale rolls and become battered, or fail the move activation an suffer another round of shooting. Then, if you actually get the charge in, the shooters defend at 5+ which is good enough to inflict more hits on what would be an already weakened unit. Skirmishing against them doesn't work that skirmishers only hit on 6's, and won't last long in a firefight with only 6 figures. Without resorting to house rules, the main counter is to throw down lots of LOS blocking terrain.

Offline SteveBurt

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2024, 09:57:15 AM »
They only hit on 6s at over 12, remember. Certainly against horse archers they are not very effective, but in our games they fail activation to shoot more often than not.

Offline jon_1066

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2024, 10:22:32 AM »
Another option is make them 5 points not 4

Offline Victor

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2024, 10:46:34 AM »
They only hit on 6s at over 12, remember. Certainly against horse archers they are not very effective, but in our games they fail activation to shoot more often than not.

Crossbows are 5+ at over 12". I tried a game of Dragon Rampant recently where I tried to counter shooting by running a "men of the north" list with a 9pt berserker unit (bellicose foot/lesser warbeasts - were creatures rule) and a shaman with dragons breath (5 pt unit). My theory was that the shaman would cast dragons breath to limit shooting, and the berserkers with an 8" movement and the were ability should be able to smash into the archers at full strength. A 14pt investment to take out 4pts... It didn't work out, the dragons breath worked a couple of times, but the bellicose foot also failed some move activations. The bellicose foot took a round of shooting losing some figures, and failed to morph into the werebeast. On the next round of shooting there were a lot more hits against the bellicose foot (only armour 2) who just failed morale and disappeared. Probably an extreme example, but typical of my experiences :)

Offline Ethelred the Almost Ready

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2024, 07:21:41 PM »
I have only played games with cross bows twice, so I can't specifically comment on whether they are better or worse than archer units.  Having played what must be well over twenty games of Lion/Dragon Rampant I find any force that has more archers/cross bows than the other tends to have an edge.  If those archers are upgraded to verteran this only makes the imbalance worse.  Even if the imbalance of missile troops is through lowly Skirmishers this seems to hold true.
Yes, missile troops fail activations, but so do the units trying to close with them.

Quote
with everyone now having the command ability which allows one re-roll of a failed activation both units activated just about every time. With them hitting on 4+ within 12" they can really do some damage especially against lighter armoured troops and it seems disproportionate.

I have noticed this too, although I have probably only had four games using the updated rules.
I know people were frustrated that sometimes they could only activate one or two units (or none) before having to hand over control to the other player. I have now played games where activating all units is common.  The tactical decision making has changed and makes choosing a riskier activation less of a problem.  Now failed activations often only occur with the last one or two units where the activation is less critical.  Yes, these units must be within 12" of the leader, but this range will typically encompass three or four units.

Once we would have been faced with the decision, do I shoot at the enemy and then charge that unit with cavalry, risking a failed activation and doing nothing, or do I just charge?  Now this is a much easier decision.  Shoot then charge.  Bad dice rolls can still ruin this, but this is now a much better risk to take, considerably increasing the power of missile troops.

Personally, I would lose the command (or is it Leader trait?) or, perhaps limit the use of this to a certain number of times a game.  Possibly the Leaders unit should always have this trait.

Offline Basementboy

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2024, 09:24:44 AM »
I usually lose the leader trait anyway, I enjoy the friction caused by units consistently failing to activate, so I find the game more fun that way anyhow.

Offline James Morris

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    • mogsymakes
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2024, 08:09:02 PM »
I think Ethelred hits the nail on the head - that having an imbalance of missile-armed units in either DR or LR will tend to give the advantage to the side with more missiles. This is partially down to the simplicity of the rules (everyone rolls 12 dice) so missiles are often more attractive than melee combat as you can chuck 12 dice without taking return damage in the same turn.

Id look at checking that you have a similar number of missile units on both sides and youll probably find a better balance.

Offline Iain R

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Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2024, 08:37:15 AM »
A consideration- how are we trying to play the game? The OP makes mention of "facing a wall of crossbows", if the opponent has sank all his points into this sort of force (and remember the army composition rules on number of unit types...) how is he achieving other objectives?

Sure, there are a couple of scenarios where a player can choose to sit idle and just shoot away, but most require movement around the board to hold a terrain feature, grab treasure, or leave off a table edge, etc. I have noticed that there is a tendency by a lot of players to try and use LR as an ersatz Big Battle game (particularly with ever increasing points allocations) and just play the nothing but the Bloodbath scenario. In these circumstances, sure, one player sinking everything into Xbow (or other missile weapons) and forcing the opponent to advance on him is going to render a very dull game, but the joy of LR is playing the other, more narrative scanatios as well; play something like A Taxing Afternoon, The Messenger, Convoy Duty, etc and see how Crossbow Dave's Shooty Army of Doom gets on...
Proudly not painting Wars of The Roses since... ever


Offline Dice Roller

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 66
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2024, 09:18:49 AM »
Good point - LR/DR is a scenario driven game rather than a mass battle game. The Bloodbath scenario is good for learning the rules but that's about it.

One other thing - show me a skirmish game where bows and crossbows are not treated as medieval firearms. They all fall in to this trap. That doesn't make it right, of course, but the Rampant rules aren't the only ones that do this.
In fairness, it wouldn't be a bad thing to tone down missile weapons but, again, that's across ALL rules.

Offline jon_1066

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  • Posts: 928
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2024, 11:18:43 AM »
The problem though is that crossbows have improved with the leader reroll more than most other units.  The 7+ activation is now less of a downside.

Archers are now even less effective than crossbows.  If you have missile troops crossbows are superior.

 

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