Thursday, June 7, 2012

The New Morale

One of the trademarks of MacDuff which was carried over to Hearts of Tin  was a rule that allowed players to recover casualties. The theory was that only about 25% of "hits" were dead or wounded, the rest variously represented the effects of fear, fatigue, loss of discipline, ammo shortages and so on, all the things that reduce a units fighting ability as a battle goes on, but many of which can be remedied by the officers and NCO's. This and a 50% rule were the only explicit morale rules.

Tracking casualties and returns with single figures was enough of a pain, especially when doing it by company in a game with 8 battalions on the table, but became a real nuisance with multi-figure stands leading to periodic experiments of other ways to get the same effect, largely involving Morale rules that would either replace or work with (or more usually against) the casualty recovery rule.

Here is the latest proposed version.  In theory, it should have a similar effect in that units that take a pounding can recover to an extent but fighting to the last man should be a rare event.  It is similar to some that I have tried before but this time I have not tried to keep both rules so there will be no conflict between them and no double jeopardy.

It is being written for the final, full version of  Hearts of Tin but could be adopted by MacDuff players as well. It replaces any and all other recover casualty/remove hits, shaken, 50%, Brigade morale or other morale rules.

a)     MORALE.  Hits represent not only actual dead and wounded but all the things that work towards reducing a units ability to fight effectively; fear, fatigue, casualties among officers and nco’s with a corresponding loss of discipline and cohesion,  ammo shortages  and so on.

i)DISORDER. If a unit is defeated in melee or takes sudden heavy losses, there is an additional, temporary loss of discipline until the officers can rally the unit and restore order. When this happens, place a disorder marker. Place an additional one each time another cause of disorder is received. A unit with a disorder marker MUST be given a Rally order the next time its brigade is activated. A unit gets a disorder marker if it:
(1)Loses 25% of its current strength in one turn
(2)Is defeated in melee
(3) It pursued after winning a melee

ii) BRIGADE MORALE.  When a Brigade has lost 1/2 of its original strength, it is SHAKEN.  At the end of each turn.  Place a disorder marker on each unit in the brigade.
iii)   RALLYING.  A unit ordered to rally must roll 1 die on the following chart.  A Commander within 12” may join a unit which fails a rally roll and allow them to reroll once.
RALLY CHART: Roll 1 die.
7 or more
Huzzah! The unit ceases to be disordered and may immediately be given an order.
Rally. The unit ceases to be disordered and may retreat up to 1/2 move facing the enemy, or change facing/formation or fire.
Retreat. The unit must retreat a full move but may face the enemy.
0 or less
Rout. The unit panics and flees the field. (Pick it up) If this result happens on a Commander re-roll then the commander is also lost.
There are no enemy visible within 24”.
Elite or joined by a Band
Militia or Irregular
Each additional disorder marker after the first.


  1. For us stand-oriented folks, is "Loses 25% of its current strength" expressed in stands or hits?

    1. Hits. I've tried counting stands with troops that aren't based and it just gets confusing.

      Weras people don't seem to have a problem counting noses on troops that are on multi-figure bases. If you assign an arbitrary standard strength to stands, say 6 so that a d6 can be used to track hits then it would be based on that totaled for the unit.

  2. Ross,

    Blogger isn't always happy with Tables and it appears so here.

    I had to zoom way out until the font was almost unreadable in order to see the full "Rally Chart". As is the left side was cut off quite a ways into it.

    -- Jeff

    1. Jeff, sorry about that. It was a simple cut and paste from the draft. Comes out nicely centered on my screen but I'll try to play with it tonight.

      It'll have to be done in the HTML though so not sure how that'll go. I think last time I just stripped all of the formatting first.