Friday, February 17, 2012

Ahhh How Beautifully Rome Burns!

Yes, I've been fiddling again. Nothing major.

The most noticeable thing is that it belatedly occurred to me that having fixed the morale, there was no reason not to bring back the Skirmisher & Support formation. That is now done.

The most crucial little thing is more adjusting of the melee chart. I really like the double hit on a 6 but it means that there are no little modifiers anymore. a simple net -1 or +1 is a HUGE bonus while a +2 is devastating. Added to this is that there are some things that I expect and want to make a difference. Some of these I have dropped or compromised, others I have decided I want to keep even if I can find logical reasons to drop them.
The trick is, are they a +1 for you or a -1 for the other guy. This is now an asymmetrical thing.

These include:

a) troop quality. One can argue that the morale system considers that and including it in melee is double jeopardy but at the end of the day I want the Grenadiers to have a better chance of winning not just a better chance of being able to come back and try again.

b) cavalry charges and squares. I want regular cavalry to be a fearsome threat to infantry, esp heavy cavalry but not an invincible one esp against infantry with breechloaders. I want squares to be nearly but not quite invincible to the cavalry. This is  narrow balance which I hope I have addressed.

c) shooting and charges. Part of the answer has been to go back to roots. Since I let go of Morschauser's 3"  melee distance in favour of MacDuff's close range fire and charges (ok the more common traditional way but in the Morschauser Meets MacDuff context, it comes from the MacDuff side of the family) then I could also go back to adding shooting and melee results together. This takes away the need for giving breechloaders and smoothbore arty  a bonus for their shooting ability when charged as they will hopefully have fired in reaction, if not, well, field works are handy.

c) disorder. Does it stop you from doing damage or make you more vulnerable? From my reading both is true and I have wavered on this but at the end of the day, not only does stopping you from doing damage mesh better with decisions on other factors, its also easier to remember and matches shooting.

So there we are another draft uploaded.


  1. Ross, perhaps something as simple as "only a 'natural 6' that hasn't been modified downward gets two hits" . . . might this sort of a solution help?

    It would mean that "plus bonuses" would make it more likely to hit but wouldn't get the 'double hit' because only 'natural sixes' get that.

    -- Jeff

  2. Its an option but I am reluctant to go than route. At the moment, a natural 6 is always at least 1 hit. So if you have so many negative modifers that you can't score a modified hit, you still have a chance. This way, I can pile on negative modifiers since your chance never gets worse than a 6 hits.

    I'm still, blindly optimistic that I can find just the right modifiers, as short a list as possible.

  3. Ross: I definitely support the new skirmisher & support rule. This is the kind of formation I want to have in my games. I have individualy sculpted four skirmishers for each infantry Rgt.
    and I thought they will never find their place in Hoft.
    Hope the new rule pass the tests.

  4. Ross: you say you bring back the Skirmisher & support formation. Was this rule present in ealier versions of HofT?
    I have found some interesting variant of the detachments rule which could have produced similiar but not exactly the same effect in 24 November of 2010 version. Are you talking about this?

    1. Cesar, Not exactly. For most of its life, HofT treated line infantry as always in close order and light infantry as always being skirmishers although there was an optional rule to replace 1 line infantry by 2 light infantry stands if so trained. My suggestion for armies that used a heavy screen of skirmishers was to field armies as a mix of line infantry and light infantry to represent the detached skirmishers. However, my old rules from the 80's had included skirmishers and supports, inspired by the old WRG rules and for a while somewhere around 2005/6, I switched back to having the possibility of detaching skirmishers. It caused some problems with other rules and I went back to separate units, in other words the skirmishers had to be detached before the start of the game.

      btw I continue to be anazed at your ability to sculpt 15mm figures, and good ones at that, from Fimo.

  5. Oh no Ross! That means I will have to sculpt some extra officers (and pay them extra sallaries for their independent command).

    1. Well you would have but now the skirmisher and supports are in, you won't need an officer.

  6. O.K. Ross, so less sculpting (and sallarie expenditure) for the moment.
    I have some questions and comments about the rule:
    I found very usefull the inclusion of the red-text outline of changes between versions and the example of raction rule. Perhaps in the future you could include a sample turn by turn game (or at least of a few representative turns).
    In the Skirmishers & Support rule: 2" (¿50 yards?) is the gap between bases or the total distance from the front of the support bases to the front of the skirmishers?
    In the Melee chart: I think smoothbored artillery still deserves +1, because I think this still represents mostly canister shot, otherwise, if you think the gunners are fighting in hand to hand
    combat with the chargers, they will probably deserves a -1.
    Regards, Cesar.

    1. Cesar, this is why my drafts come and go so quickly. I have a tendency to make changes before they are fully thought out and tested.

      Skirmishers and support. The 2 " was off the top of my head. Belatedly I see that while it might work if I make split bases or I am using smaller figures but it won't work with my 40mm troops on full size bases. I need to look up some data and then add a range of distances.

      As for artillery in melee, I need to test the change rules more to see how it works, especially if the artillery is unable to shoot as a reaction. Alas, not till mid week at the earliest.

  7. Thank you very much for your answer, and good luck with those tests.

  8. Ross, I have a few more questions about latest draft of HofT:
    - Melee Chart gives +1 If charging without shooting But 5.d) Firing and Moving rule says: A unit may move full and then shoot unless charging.
    So can a unit move less than the total alowed and still charge?
    - 3.a iii) Reaction rule says: a unit may react if an enemy unit moves within 200 yards of their front. But 5.c) Proximity rule state: A unit may react to enemy movement within a 100 yard zone to its front.
    Which is the right distance?

  9. Good points Cesar!

    -Shooting during charges: This was not allowed when melee range was 3" but I have added it back. The reference under moving should be deleted.

    - Reaction range. Should be 200 yards in both places.


  10. Thank you Ross, it is all clear now.

    1. Oops, I just realized what the rule about shooting and charging was supposed to mean and have change the wording to make it more clear.

      A unit may shoot and then charge but not move then shoot then charge. So either the troops must move close the turn before and then fire then charge on their next turn, or they will have to fire at long range Iif they are close enough) and then charge. Or perhaps if in line at the crest of a hill, wait for an enemy column to move close then fire and charge.