Cohesion!

Ello, Ello.... What's going on here then?

Ello, Ello…. What’s going on here then?

For the last week or so I have been reasonably busy, but I did manage to find some time over the weekend to implement the Cohesion Modelling system!

As with Fatigue modelling, this is one of those parts of the game where the actual modelling has to be designed up front…

A lot of design work went into cohesion modelling. And to think I thought Fatigue modelling was hard! :P

A lot of design work went into cohesion modelling. And to think I thought Fatigue modelling was hard! ๐Ÿ˜›

There are still some more tweaks to be made, but in essence, the majority of the cohesion modelling is now in the system. This blog post serves as an early previewย only – things can and will change ๐Ÿ™‚

So what is cohesion exactly?

Cohesion represents a unit’s state with regard to how well the men are formed into their lines and columns. It can be thought of as the solidity of the formation. The higher the cohesion the more solid the formation.

Unlike other games, having a low cohesion or even zero cohesion, will not cause a unit to rout. This is because Ancient Armies differentiates between cohesion and morale.

However, cohesion does have a big impact on shock combat. This impact will vary dependent on the deployed equipment. But in general, as a rule of thumb, the higher the cohesion the greater a formation’s ability to fight and defend in shock combat.

Going hand in hand with the cohesion modelling, is the new concept of irregular units:

Ancient Armies now differentiates between irregular units - the spotty looking one and regular units the other solid ones...

Ancient Armies now differentiates between irregular units – the spotty looking one and regular units the other solid ones. Note that I still need to work on the text clarity for these type of units…

Irregular units represent units that have no solid formation, but instead, consist of a number of entities that are randomly moving about within their allotted formation space. These type of units are never subject to cohesion losses, but then again, these type of units also have a cohesion level of zero!

So as a hint, you might not want to commit irregular units to shock combat! ๐Ÿ˜›

The regularity (or not) of a unit is stored at formation level, so a unit could conceivably have a number of formations, some of which are solid and regular, whilst others of which are fluid and irregular!

So what has gone into cohesion modelling?

The short answer is a huge amount of stuff! There are so many variables that affect cohesion that it’s not really worth me mentioning them all here. However, if you watch the video at the end of this blog entry it will provide some insights as to what is being modelled.

Anyways, here are some examples:

For our first test we will issue standard move orders over open terrain. The units from left to right are: Well Trained, Average Trained, Conscript and the Conscript ally in purple. To the right of the ally is a skirmisher unit.

For our first test we will issue standard move orders over open terrain. The units from left to right are: Well Trained, Average Trained, Conscript and a Conscript ally in purple. To the right of the ally is a skirmisher unit.

Note that I have set up the manoeuvres of the allied conscript unit so that it pretty much loses cohesion the moment it moves. This is to show some of the flexibility of the system.

In this particular case it would be a good way of modelling the conscript infantry from the golden age of the chariot. In those days these units could barely form a square when stationary! When asked to move they would simply fall apart.

Such units need a lot of care and attention to make sure they are manoeuvred in such a way that they get time to recover!

After around 1 minute of movement, from right to left, the allied unit is showing substantial cohesion damage. The standard conscript unit has some cohesion damage, whilst the average unit has very little. The Well Trained unit on the left has got away scott free so far!

After around 1 minute of movement, from right to left, the allied unit is showing substantial cohesion damage (as described above). The standard conscript unit has some cohesion damage, whilst the average unit has very little. The Well Trained unit on the left has got away scott-free so far!

After two minutes all the units seemed to have regained cohesion, with the exception of the allied unit.

After two minutes all of the units seemed to have regained cohesion, with the exception of the allied unit.

In the above example we used a standard movement order. When used out in the clear, most units will get away with little to no cohesion damage. But what about something a little more strenuous?

Now to try the same test with a charge, rather than a standard movement order...

Now to try the same test again, but this time with a charge…

After just 30 seconds all units are showing signs of cohesion damage, with the well trained unit on the left being the only one that has escaped so far.

After just 30 seconds all the units are showing signs of cohesion damage, with the well trained unit on the left being the only one that has escaped so far.

As can be seen the units that are charging are taking cohesion damage far faster than those that don’t. This when combined with increased fatigue means that one will need to time one’s charges and counter charges properly!

Now to throw in some terrain into the mix:

What about standard movement into a forest?

What about standard movement into a forest?

Further into the forest and all the units have taken even more damage, with the exception of the cavalry unit on the right who has been recovering.

Once into the forest, the units have all taken a lot of cohesion damage. That is with the exception of the cavalry unit on the right who has been recovering.

The above example shows the folly of sending line units into a forest. It really plays havoc with their cohesion – and that’s just for standard movement. If one were to charge in, the effects would be even more severe!

What is interesting in this screen shot is that the expert unit appears to be slower than the average unit, which itself seems to be slower than the conscript unit!

How could this be?

At first I thought it was a bug, but it is in actual fact a product of emergent behaviour from all the simulation systems working togetherย in harmony! And in this case, it is the correct emergent behaviour!

The reason why the above happens is that the well trained unit has more cohesion than the others, thanks to its superior training in reducing its overall cohesion loses. However, the side effect of this is that its formation is more solid than the other formations. So it has in effect, a harder time of trying to push that formation through the trees.

Whereas conversely, the conscript unit has taken a lot more cohesion damage, but its formation is now a little more open which allows it to move through the forest a little faster.

It’s almost like the well trained unit is taking its time to get through the forest with the minimal of cohesion damage!

I find it quite thrilling when this kind of emergent behaviour comes out from a system. It’s this type of behaviour which will shed new light with regard to how these battles were actually fought! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

There is a lot more going on behind the scenes than I describe here. All I have done is merely scratch the surface with this post. But this is the advantage of computer wargames over their board game brethren – they allow one to include a huge amount of simulation modelling without necessarily exposing the player directly to it.

The video below provides a few more insights into the modelling, but still leaves a lot out as there would simply be too much to cover!

So where next? See below…

1 Week, 3 days and 6 hours later with a staggering 53 commits has got me this far for movement modelling. I still have some tidying up to do for cohesion modelling and I need to implement road/march movement. JIRA is telling me I only have 1 day and 2 hours remaining of my original estimate.... Looks like this one is going to go a little over...

1 Week, 3 days and 6 hours later with a staggering 53 commits has got me this far for movement modelling. I still have some tidying up to do and I need to implement road/march movement. JIRA is telling me I only have 1 day and 2 hours remaining of my original estimate…. Looks like this one is going to go a little over…

In addition to all this work I am also reading yet more books on the subject of Ancient Warfare, this is the current one:

Thank you Erich Swafford - this book is proving to be a great read! :)

Thank you Erich Swafford – this book is proving to be a great read! ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s it for this post. In the mean time have a good one!

Laters

RobP

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Cohesion!

  1. Great post! I have a newbie question though — perhaps conditioned by a lot of Hollywood movies, I’ve thought that very low cohesion units could have a high shock value. For example, Gauls charging Romans. Is this just inaccurate?

    • Hi George, you are correct. The Gaul’s formations tended to lack cohesion. They relied more on the initial charge with momentum (momentum will be modelled) and individual combat. Ancient Armies cohesion effects are very dependent on the weapon system being deployed. For example, spearmen tend to work far better in high cohesive situations, whereas swordsmen aren’t really affected too badly – our Gauls.

      However, Ancient Armies also simulates the defence too. So whilst, a Gallic formation could inflict damage, it wouldn’t be as good as a high cohesive formation when it came to defending itself. Though once again, equipment and training will play their part.

  2. Hi Rob

    I watch your posts with interest. I loved Micro Ancients when I was young, and was disappointed with its limitations. Like you Iโ€™m reading quite a lot around ancient warfare and putting the results into a set of manual rules (for figures, not computers). Archer Jones is a great read, have you also come across Warfare in the ancient world by Carey, Allfree and Cairns ? They study 21 battles from Megiddo to Chalons, and have some interesting insights.

    Regards

    Alex Hewlett

    http://www.attainmenttraining.co.uk

    Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter

    Part of Yorkshire Trainers Association โ€“ a network of independent trainers who can meet all your training needs!

    Attainment Training

    tel: 0121 276 0040

    mailto:alex@attainmenttraining.co.uk

    The Vicarage, Reeth, North Yorks, DL11 6TR

    • I too loved Micro Ancients when growing up. Used to use them to play many of Charles Grant’s Ancient Battles for wargamers. The rules system certainly improved my arithmetic ๐Ÿ™‚
      I have already read Warfare in the Ancient world. Very good book, though I found their unit iconography a little confusing after Micro Ancient ๐Ÿ™‚
      Good luck with your rules system. Used to love playing with 15mm figures using the olde WRG rules – great fun!

  3. As a Great Battles of History player, this is brilliant! Every post the system gets more sophisticated and realistic. I’m really impressed with what you’re doing with cohesion here, and how you are modelling is separately from morale. I like the GBOH system, but it’s clearly a compromise forced by the constraints of a board game versus computer simulation.

    Really impressive stuff. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    • Thanks Doug. I love the GBOH series, I have many of their boardgames as well as the three computer games. I also like Richard Berg’s sense of humour in his rules. He knows what he is talking about but has a way of adding humour ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Cohesion looks fantastic.. will they eventually start to lose the hard rectangle shape and become more organic? That’s what i would expect anyway.. either way is fine though when all is said and done, this is a terrific addition.

    • Thanks Bil ๐Ÿ™‚ My intent is to show broken\routed units as individuals and have each of them be completely independent. I have a plan for doing this, but I’m a little concerned about the performance impact. I will still try it out though, as you never know ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s