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 Post subject: Calling all Mythbusters--testing flails
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:41 pm 
Hero
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I know that is an ongoing topic of discussion and I'm going to propose that we approach this like the Mythbusters might (and I've been watching too many episodes lately), perhaps during Spring War.

First off, I'd like to start out with Bhakdar's balanced post on the General Mayhem thread regarding flails that was recently locked:

Bhakdar wrote:
Pro-flail arguments: (Listed in order of Safety, Playability, Realism.)

1) They?re generally safer than non-hinged weapons (if used legally- i.e. no haft-body contact) because there is no core under their striking surface
2) They add a unique element of weapon diversity to the game because they are hinged.
3) They force the general skill par of the game up because they're more difficult to block
4) They existed in medieval times and fantasy tales.
5) They help you win

Counter-arguments to the aforementioned points:
1) In common use plenty of hafting occurs and this brings about a dilemma with safety and playability. Most people on a national field will not take a shot that clearly hit their head first b/c 1 swing=1 hit and a head shot=illegal. Similarly if you make contact with both haft and ball of a flail, you?ve delivered one illegal hit and one legal hit, but everyone is still going to expect you to take the legal one. This is a double-standard and a safety concern b/c hafting is accepted as common occurence.
2) I truly believe in this point
3) Has some merit amongst experienced fighters, however in common practice discourages new people b/c they will be killed easily by a flail (unless they pick up a punch, which generally takes the skill par down)
4) This is true, however our representation of flails is highly altered. How closely our flails should parallel RL use seems the heart of this debate.
5) This is legitimate enough in many people's minds, with oversight to the larger matter of game balance. There's a reason for extreme decrease in red & polearm use in the last 7 years: The commonality of flails and punches make these weapons more obsolete. Less variation demonstrates less balance amongst game weaponry.

Belegarth has already made length restrictions on flails on the argument of ?diminishing the spirit of the game? and thus there's already a consensous about general imbalance. People wouldn't make the argument "I use it cause I win" unless they were advantageous.

Now 12oz minimums are coming although I don?t think that?s enough to balance flails. I?ve one shotted one of Nan Belegorn's best with a 12 oz bag flail 6 times in row sparring. I have lots of sparring footage of Peter, Falkor, Rudzok, and I?when we pick up flails, deaths come a lot faster. When Darius taught me to "block wide" against flails after I'd been fighting for 1.5 years, he could still take my arm at will w/ a PVC flail even when he told me before he was going to swing. I do not just suck, it is your flail that shows you suck enough to not care about game imbalance. (I get to have at least one ad hominem in an otherwise civil post, don't I?)

Flails could receive rules adjustments that reduce game imbalance and make them function more closely to how they would in RL (heavy headed and significantly slower). My suggestions for changes (to give a trial period) would include a minimum head weight (5-6oz?) and increasing minimum circumference to 17-18?.

The difficulty there is getting people to build heavier headed flails that are still safe because they will hit harder (which alleviates arguments about bag flails with light heads not being felt through armor). If anyone wants to see my version of a more realistic and balanced flail see me at Pack Opener.


Since we would be enforcing the minimum weight requirements during Spring War, we can eliminate any flail weighing less than 12 oz.

I would propose that we should try and gather some empirical data regarding flail performance as well as how a flail might affect the outcome of a battle within a controlled environment. Ideally, we would have some type of device for measuring impact and I'm not sure if a scale would work well in this situation.

There would be two parts:
a) Hit testing comparison (to measure if light and heavy heads have an effect on hit taking)
b) Combat performance (Does someone win more with a flail?)

First, we build 5 identically constructed flails, each weighted a specific way:

1) Min. 12 oz. with all of the weight in the head.
2) 8 oz. head with 4 oz. haft.
3) 6 oz. head and 6 oz. haft (the control)
4) 4 oz head with 8 oz. haft.
5) Min. 12 oz. with all of the weight in the haft.

a) Hit testing comparison
--Using a double-blind test, i.e., the hitter and hittee don't know which two are being tested, we would have the same person, ideally, swing two types of flail at the light, medium, and hard swings and have the hittee judge which was the hardest hitting of the two. As an example, the person hit would be hit by 1 and 2, judging which hit harder. Then he might be hit by 2 and 4 deciding which is the harder hitter and so on. This would be completed for all possible permutations of the flail types to minimize any bias towards the first or second swung as well as identifying the hittee's hit calibration. To be thorough, we would probably have to run all of the tests again with the hittee in armor.

b) Combat performance
--This is definitely the more challenging portion for gathering data but here's what I've got:

We first identify 6 fighters (or more to increase our data set) at three skill levels: beginner, average, high. We would have to get pairs of fighters at each skill level that are roughly about the same level and experience to include flail wielding, meaning that when dueling, both might have an equal chance of winning a fight. We would have to minimize the variables as much as possible so I would recommend that they both use same-sized shields. As a control, the pairs would duel with sword and shield and (hopefully!) the fighters are as equally matched as possible.

Then we would introduce the different types flails and see if the flail has a significant impact on the outcome of the duels for all three pairs.

Based on these results, we can see if a certain type of flail construction stands out from the perspective of playability and realism.

I'll be honest. I haven't thought through the second part of the experiment as thoroughly as the first but I'd like to present this for other people's comments and suggestions.

Respectfully,

Kyrian

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Last edited by Kyrian on Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:30 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:14 pm 
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Quote:
To be thorough, we would probably have to run all of the tests again with the hittee in armor.


And on a different hittee in the opposite order, to ensure that it wasn't just someone softening up after the first hit.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:48 pm 
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This sounds like a great idea. The only thing I would like to add is to also evaluate the type of shield being used. I suspect flails are far more effective against smaller, round, or strap shields than they are against punch door shields. My intuition tells me a smaller shield must move further to block a flail shot due to the wrap factor, therefore they are slightly less effective in defending against the initial flail shot. Similarly, because they are smaller, they must "commit" more to a defense earlier on, making them more vulnerable to feints.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:26 pm 
Hero
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Kenneth,

I concur but I'd like to focus first on the gathering data on flails themselves. After that, we can look at the defensive capabilities of the different shield sizes/types against flails. The reason I mentioned about both fighters having the same size shield is to try and minimize the number of variables. I know that that's not entirely realistic given some of the subjectiveness of our combat system and the varied range of skills and experience of our fighters, but it's at least worth a try.

Kyrian

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:28 am 
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All right, I'm interested. Good idea.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:42 pm 
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I think it's about time somebody made some sort of research regarding this subject


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:48 pm 
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LOL... I will bring my SS plate to SW I guess then. I can feal a strong sword hit to it. But with any fail I have ever seen I have to know I was hit.

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