Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Whap! Rattle Rattle rattle

There goes that poor can again.

Thanks to some extremely useful comments, I may have stumbled on a right solution for myself.

In way of preamble, I always liked my original morale/rally system despite some rather caustic zombie comments and rejections of it by people who didn't buy the "casualties mark loss of cohesion not dead and wounded" argument.  The problem came in that the original system involved rolling for all current casualties which each being either returned to the ranks or being permanently removed from the game leading to a slow attrition. In a small game this was ok but it was a logistical nightmare in large games, tracking which casualties were eligible for rallying and which weren't. It also prolonged games unless players were very aggressive about not allowing the enemy to rally.  That was intentional but experience taught me that, like some other parts of the rules, it was not obvious and didn't add to player's enjoyment. Always an important object.

Skipping over all the intervening ways to avoid separate, overt morale tests where 1 roll makes the difference between running and fighting, I come to where I was last night. While pondering the twin issues of making the penalties for losing plainer and fixing the rally rule (the original intention of the revised rally was that it should take several turns of rallying to get a unit ready for battle again but I momentarily forgot that), as well as pondering the new, unintended,  absence of any chance of a rout, it occurred to me that  there was no need to separate the 2 partial morale states and that this would greatly simplify things. Almost always a good thing.

As for the rally chart, it now looks more like the old one. I have put an arbitrary cap on the degree to which a unit can recover but it can recover quite substantially if left alone. Of course, while Elite troops in a safe place may recover quite rapidly, it might take a badly battered regular unit longer than the game will last if its badly battered, assuming it doesn't slowly retire off table.

Here's the revised Morale rule.

1.1.            General Rule.  Casualties represent the loss of cohesion due to fear, fatigue and confusion as well as actual dead and wounded but removing figures is an easy, visual not to say viscerel way to track the slowly degrading state of an army. All loss percentages are based on the initial strength of a unit. All casualties should be removed from the rear ranks and the original frontage of a unit maintained as long as possible.
1.1.1.  Shaken: A unit is shaken if it has been defeated in melee and not yet rallied or if it has fewer than 50% of its initial strength when activated. A shaken unit:
Ø      Must be ordered to Rally or Retreat and may not be given any other order or no order,
Ø      Is at risk of unordered retreats when rolling on the Orders chart,
Ø      May not react,
Ø      Suffers a penalty when shooting and in melee
1.1.2. Rally.  A unit which rallies may rearrange its formation and may face the enemy but may not carry out any other movement or get closer to the enemy while rearranging its formation. A unit does not need to be shaken in order to rally. Since casualties represent loss of cohesion more than physical dead and wounded, a unit may recover its fighting strength when it rallies. Roll 1 die and check the Rally chart when a unit rallies.
Recover 2 casualties unless already at 75% of original strength.
Recover 1 casualty unless already at 75% of original strength
No casualties recovered
1 straggler lost
Joined by General or if there is a Support Unit within 24”
Elite or Stubborn
Militia or Irregular
If an enemy unit is in a position to charge or shoot at the unit


  1. Ross looks good however for Shaken I would go with: unit must retreat, await further orders, or, form up in a new unit of a field commanders choice as you previously stated: A unit is shaken if it has been defeated in melee and not yet rallied or if it has fewer than 50% of its initial strength when activated.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Jeff, some people may want to try that.

      My POV is that units defeated in melee will have already retreated once while other units might be in good cover so I prefer to give them a chance to stand and rally the next time they are rallied though it will often be to their benefit to retreat to a safe place first. General's choice.

  2. Ross,

    Have these changes been included in the "downloadable" rules yet?

    -- Jeff

    1. They have Jeff but I'm hoping to squeeze in a playtest over the weekend and you know what kind of effect that can have!