|The Queen's troops have driven in the Oberhilse flank guard and have now engaged the first units of reinforcements.|
On Sunday I decided that I should really spend a big chunk of my free time doing some tidying around the house. I'm not sure exactly which part of my brain equated tidying house with moving roughly 150 figures from chunky washers onto temporary cardboard bases. Never the less its done and, despite my long standing prejudice against single rank bases, it looks like its part of the answer to some of my questions.
This format was chosen specifically to both fit in the grid and work with the current Square Brigadier rules. Once done though, all sorts of things started to pop into my head, like formations, and varying numbers of troops, things not so easily done with a 1 stand unit or even 4 individuals. A change in form triggered a review of function.
|From the upper left, infantry deployed as skirmishers and supports, |
line, square and column.
My conclusion was that the base rules were too bland to hold my interest in a small or medium game and a big game required too much work to put together frequently and there is no guarantee that size itself would provide adequate complexity. It is possible that planned period specific rules would help but the old quip about lipstick on a pig comes to mind.
But there's more, the abstract nature of some of the mechanisms while providing reasonable results don't provide sufficient explanation of why things might have happened which is important both for narrative and to present choices to players that more closely relate to real ones. Now, part of the solution is as much about theater as history but if it entertains me I'll take it.
After backing down from a knee jerk reaction to ditch both rules and grid, I started scribbling down refinements of various experiments from both the Square Brigadier and Hearts of Tin. It'll take a while to go from hand scribbled notes to an updated rule set, explanations will add perhaps 25%.
Briefly, there will be a return to linking number of stands to the number of troops with morale being separate. Shooting will be confirmed as essentially skirmish and artillery fire with limited effects in the short run. Close range combat will be more deadly with a possibility of forcing a retreat or destroying a unit very quickly.
To stop units from disintegrating too easily on a regular basis, the rally is now a sort of end of turn saving throw, still based on unit quality.
|As reinforcements pour onto the table, the Royal Veterans has finally cleared the barricades from the bridge.|
My variation is to have the army commander rolls d6 equal to the number of Brigadiers plus the number of higher Generals who can see the enemy. The army commander then assigns 1 or more dice to various brigadiers and/or detached units. The number on the dice is the number of units that can move or shoot. A brigadier may only use his orders on his own units and then only if they are in range. A unit can only use 1 order and any excess cannot be transferred so if the die is higher than the number of units, the excess are lost.
If an army has a sound organization and is well in hand, even an average set of rolls should suffice but already during the 5 turns played the armies have gotten into trouble due to a shortage of orders in a confused situation. The game will resume tomorrow if all goes well.