Saturday, March 3, 2012

Of Babies and Bathwater

I was looking over the Reaction and the Break Point rules and thinking of various small issues (like the 1 stand regular units not being able to ever rally) and I could feel my brain secretly beginning to compile increasingly complicated modifiers, exemptions and restrictions and put the brakes on. I went back and had a look at the essentials of what had been working over the years and which formed the core of the reaction, break point, shooting and melee rules and looked at why I thought various bits had to change when I dropped the melee distance from 3" to contact.  

Right!. Most of the new extras didn't start out as new rule ideas, they started out as me trying to clean up and clarify the wording of existing rules. So I went back, looked at the older versions and looked to see what hadn't  needed changing. (You  will understand that given the number of drafts that have sped by, that is not as straight forward as it sounds!)

To summarize the changes which are mostly in wording with only small changes in effect and even smaller changes in intent. :

  1. Movement distance penalties for crossing broken ground reinstated
  2. Limbering and unlimbering put back in for artillery, just for the look and feel of it. 
  3. A unit may shoot at any time during the turn, regardless of if it is active or not but may only fire once per turn. (replaces shooting reaction)
  4. Some units may counter charge, change formation or evade  when charged. (as it was but replaces various of the reaction options)
  5. Cavalry may opportunity charge 1/2 move if they did not move more than 1/2 their move yet. (replaces a reaction)
  6. Shooting chart modified. The point blank cannister +1 intended primarily for pre melee fire has been replaced by a + in melee, other modifiers have been returned to what I have been used to and which have worked well. Some nuances may be lost as well as some gotchas.
  7. Melee and shooting have been separated again. Removing the 3" zone wasn't meant to change that melee represents  close range fire fights as well as charges.
  8. The elite/melee modifiers have been taken out again with the difference being reflected in the hits per stand. A double jeopardy issue which I am in 2 minds on..
  9. The melee charge modifier has been adjusted again. The aim has always been to reward the initial punch of some charging units as well as the defensive punch of cannister and infantry volleys. I have also periodically tried to fit in first volley  and fresh unit bonuses and have gone back there. The other modifiers have been shuffled to harmonize and optimize.
  10. Morale. Odd how giving some thing a name can twist it and give it new life. The term break point has been dropped in favour of just explaining how I work the accumulation of casualties and removals of stands. This has removed the gotchas. This means that in some circumstances, some units can actually fight to the last man a la Camerone but in general they will be increasingly ineffective and vulnerable and armies as a whole cannot.   

The new draft labeled 5th Edition has been uploaded.


  1. Ross I have some questions about the rules.
    When shooting: every stand measure its range to the target unit individualy?
    Can a unit split its shooting?

  2. Cesar, Yes range and arc of fire is by stand and units may and often should split fire. Normally stands should shoot at what is directly in front of them unless there is a very good reason to shoot at something else but I prefer to leave that to the players.

  3. O.K. Ross, now suppose some stands in a unit where not able to shot at a target (due to range or arc of fire limitations) but later in the same turn they have the opportuny of doing it, Can they do it at that moment?

    1. If you are willing to track it by stand, then, sure, it would make sense.

      I have enough trouble tracking which units have fired so for me its all or nothing so in the example you give, I would usually try to wait until I can get a better shot unless its an emergency. But this is purely a practical issue. I had 72 stands in 30 units on the table this morning and it was enough for me to keep track of which units had fired and which had acted.

      If I was playing a skirmish with dozen stands per side then I might track it by stand or I might just make each stand a unit.