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Author Topic: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?  (Read 4795 times)

Offline Hobgoblin

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 4931
    • Hobgoblinry
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2024, 11:36:17 AM »
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...

That's a great point!

We haven't played the new version of Lion Rampant, but in the past, we often ended up playing straight fights on an undersized table (6' x 3') - and compensated for lack of table depth by adding more points. When, during the pandemic, I bought a 6' x 4' table, we played again using 24 points and scenarios, and it was a revelation: quite bizarrely, the game as it was meant to be played was much better: smaller forces, room for manoeuvre and interesting objectives!

I think the 'straight fight' trap is one that wargamers often fall into. It's a natural option when learning rules, and it can then become the default because of time pressures or, sometimes, lack of specific terrain or tokens for certain scenarios. We've often played straight fights in Kings of War, for example, but the games are always much better when we take the time to set up whatever's needed for a scenario. A confounding factor can be that some games - DBA, TTS, for example - play really well as a straight fight. But many others don't. And skirmish games (such as LR) particularly benefit from proper scenarios.

I'm not sure I entirely like the sound of the leader reroll in LR. When we played 'properly' with 24 points, we found that the sudden end of a turn wasn't a problem - it just evened out and kept the turn sequence lively.

Offline Dice Roller

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 56
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2024, 11:38:31 AM »
Archers are now even less effective than crossbows.  If you have missile troops crossbows are superior.

Actually, there's some historicity to that.
Inadvertently, admittedly.
Crossbows did come to replace archers due to the simple fact that it was easier to teach someone how to use a crossbow than a longbow. Didn't take as much time either.

I know that crossbows have a higher 'Shoot' activation roll than archers, to reflect the fact they are slower shooting and should fail to activate more often, but I wonder if something else is needed.
How's this sound (I've just made it up on the hoof, so feel free to playtest). Maybe make the Shoot activation between archers and crossbows the same. However, after crossbows have shot they get a reload marker (yeah, I know - the dreaded markers!) and to get rid of that they must make a successful Shoot activation when they are next activated. But that's their activation - to reload. They can't shoot again until their next activation after that.
That will certainly slow them down.
Or maybe (and I don't have the rule book to hand so can't check whether this is already the case or not) crossbows can't be upgraded to Expert (or equivalent). This reflects the lack of training needed to use a crossbow in comparison to a longbow - it's easier to dish out a crossbow to untrained men, with little more than an afternoon's practice, and expect them to be able to do something with it. Longbows take years to become truly proficient with, not least to build up the body strength to use it to full effectiveness.

Offline David Cowper

  • Assistant
  • Posts: 26
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2024, 03:18:03 PM »
I agree with Iain R,

If Lion Rampant is played how it is designed with lots of LoS blocking terrain on a smaller table with 24 points retinues then crossbows arenít too powerful and everything works well. Every couple of weeks on the Facebook group a new player complains about the failed activation rule and it nearly always turns out that they are playing multiplayer games with hardly any terrain features and all their troops in nice neat lines. Using LR as a big battle game doesnít always work.


Offline Ethelred the Almost Ready

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1091
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2024, 12:55:47 AM »
I agree with Iain R,

If Lion Rampant is played how it is designed with lots of LoS blocking terrain on a smaller table with 24 points retinues then crossbows arenít too powerful and everything works well. Every couple of weeks on the Facebook group a new player complains about the failed activation rule and it nearly always turns out that they are playing multiplayer games with hardly any terrain features and all their troops in nice neat lines. Using LR as a big battle game doesnít always work.

Yeh, I don't know about lots of blocking terrain.  I played a game last week with lots of terrain.  I had a cavalry force with a couple of infantry units.  I still go shot up.  The terrain just made it all the harder to use my cavalry.  Too much terrain makes it hard for heavy infantry and cavalry as the rules for fighting in terrain largely negate any of their combat advantages.

I agree, playing as the rules were originally intended is best.  The 3" gap is often ignored.  This again just causes unintentional problems.

As far as big games, they can be played with LR/DR but will give a very different feel.  These need the additional flank and rear rules to really work.

Offline jon_1066

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 921
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2024, 10:56:17 AM »
There is definitely two linked issues in terms of the discussion:  is shooting overpowered, and within that are crossbows overpowered?

The leader rule works just as well with hard to move troops as it does hard to shoot troops.  So it is a slight buff to both.  It is however also a slight nerf to Wild Charge units (since they can't re-roll).  But again these are boosted by the ability to move if they fail their wild charge.

In terms of shooting in general being overpowered that is very much scenario and scenery dependent.

Xbows vs Archers I would say look at the Expert upgrade on Archers.  It costs two points to get effectively Xbow combat performance on Archer activation of 6+.  Without the re-roll this is justifiable.  With it it is more marginal.  You can crunch some numbers but on average two expert archers will be out shot by three Xbows but it is only 10% in the Xbow favour at 4.8 to 5.2 average casualties.  Two Xbow with pavise is actually even better at 1.9 casualties to 3 in the X-bow favour. 

Having said that it is still very dependent on what else you have and what else you want to do.  Two expert archers can shoot away and you still have 80% chance of doing something else (retaining your re-roll 50% of the time).  For the three X-Bows that drops to only 44% (and 20% re-roll).  So where X-bows really shine is a static defense where you don't need to activate much else of your retinue which sounds reasonable to me.

The biggest danger in all this is in treating it like Warhammer 40K and min maxing the hell out the points, abilities and boasts.  The single most powerful leader ability is the auto shoot one.  That combined with X-Bows is very strong since it negates the major drawback of a X-bow unit for only 1 point. 

Online Ninefingers

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 253
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2024, 11:36:34 AM »
Yeh, I don't know about lots of blocking terrain.  I played a game last week with lots of terrain.  I had a cavalry force with a couple of infantry units.  I still go shot up.  The terrain just made it all the harder to use my cavalry.  Too much terrain makes it hard for heavy infantry and cavalry as the rules for fighting in terrain largely negate any of their combat advantages.

I feel that the game is designed for you two have one or two of the best units at most in a 24pt force. If you're sinking 12pts into heavy cavalry and foot knights it's draining your resources elsewhere and reducing flexibility. I guess that is the gamer's way though, how many of us actually include light infantry/yeomen in a force?

Offline jon_1066

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 921
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2024, 04:37:14 PM »
I feel that the game is designed for you two have one or two of the best units at most in a 24pt force. If you're sinking 12pts into heavy cavalry and foot knights it's draining your resources elsewhere and reducing flexibility. I guess that is the gamer's way though, how many of us actually include light infantry/yeomen in a force?

I like the light yeoman with mixed upgrade.  They shoot pretty well but also dish out reasonable damage when attacked.  They also move fast and easily.  They are pretty much a heavy infantry counter unit.  March up to the heavies then fill them with arrows.  If the infantry attack they fight just as well.  The counter to them is obviously archers or crossbows.  Counter to them is heavy/elite cavalry, counter to them is heavy infantry or serfs in a swamp, counter to them is elite infantry, counter to them are scouts/bidowers, etc, etc ... you get the idea.  Each unit is weak in some areas and depending upon the scenario being played can be less or more useful.  If you have to march a force off the table consisting of mostly 6" movement then it will be difficult.  If there is lots of terrain then elite riders are going to struggle.  Terrain is a double edged sword for missile troops.  It improves it's combat potentially but restricts its fields of fire.  It all strongly depends and that is even before the boasts.  These add another level of game play and it is perfectly possible to "lose" the battle but still win having achieved your boasts.  There is much more to the game than simply removing enemy models.




Offline soldieroftheline

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 97
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2024, 12:41:09 PM »
Thanks for the discussion chaps. I will admit that my scenario did not help in one game as it ended up allowing one player, who I did not remember had two crossbow units in his collection, to hold a position with them while the other side tried to attack him. Some very good points have been made about scenarios, terrain and force balance which I shall bear in mind.

I think though that we will probably be ignoring the re-roll rule and play the game as per V.1 in that respect. Especially if one player who absolutely hates ending your turn early is not present! Funnily enough, in our most recent games very few activations have been failed overall and it would hardly have been needed even if we were playing it. Just they way the dice fall I guess.

Offline Fire-at-Will

  • Assistant
  • Posts: 34
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2024, 08:50:29 PM »
Another thought - we have played a lot of Wars of the Roses games with Lion Rampant, which can be dominated by archers as they have infinite ammunition.  So we added an ammunition dice roll (d6) to the firing roll - roll of 1 = low on arrows, a second roll of 1 if already low = out of arrows.  This nicely recreated the initial arrow storms and then need to follow up with close combat.

Offline jon_1066

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 921
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2024, 07:27:27 PM »
Another thought - we have played a lot of Wars of the Roses games with Lion Rampant, which can be dominated by archers as they have infinite ammunition.  So we added an ammunition dice roll (d6) to the firing roll - roll of 1 = low on arrows, a second roll of 1 if already low = out of arrows.  This nicely recreated the initial arrow storms and then need to follow up with close combat.

Another option without having to roll extra dice.  Double on your activation = low on arrows.  Same odds (1in 6)

Offline Victor

  • Schoolboy
  • Posts: 5
Re: Are Crossbows overpowered in Lion Rampant 2?
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2024, 01:45:16 AM »
I'm thinking as a house rule perhaps crossbow shoot like normal archers, but reduce armour by 1 for targets that have an armour of 3 or more (so 3 becomes 2, 4 becomes 3). In that way, they don't machinegun down armour 2 units (warriors, skirmishers, other shooters etc), but have an armour piercing ability instead against tougher targets.

 

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