Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Square Brigadier 3rd draft.

This is the latest draft of a set of simple rules for horse and musket era battle fought on a gridded playing field. A word version will be posted once the rules are more settled.

The rules were written with a square grid in mind but can be played on a hex grid or without any grid by multiplying the number of areas by 3" or such other convenient measurement as you choose  Each rectangle or hex is referred to as an "area". The game is designed for relative effect not as a scale model. Early in the period units will usually be battalions of close order troops commanded by Brigadiers but later in the period or for smaller actions they will be companies or wings commanded by a Major or Colonel. Wargame units may be any number of figures on any sort of bases as long as they fit within one area. Hits may be tracked with markers or figures/bases removed. Where something isn't covered Hearts of Tin may be consulted as a guide.

In the absence of a Game Master (GM) Common sense trumps any rule. In the absence of agreement, roll dice to determine whose argument is right.  

Play is IGO UGO determined at start of game, usually attacker first or dice for it. The first player rolls for orders then moves and shoots or rallies units. The second player then does the same. When he is finished the turn is over.

Each side has one over all "General". If there are more than 6 units then the army should be divided into brigades  usually averaging between 3 to 6 units plus a Brigadier. Some units may be left under the General's direct command. In large games an army may be divided into Divisions each with its own General. Roll 1d6 for the General to see how many orders he may issue. An order is required for a unit to move. No order is required to shoot, rally or fight in melee or to move a commander.

Group Orders.  A Battle-line formed by a commander and 2 or more units  which are adjacent and side by side may be moved by a single order as can a Road Column formed by a commander and  2 or more units which are adjacent and 1 behind the other on a road. The units in  battle line or road column do not have to maintain their formation during movement but which units are part of a battle line or road column is determined at the start of each turn.

Carrying over. The general may save any unused pips on his order dice until the next turn but the total of carried over pips and the current die score cannot be higher than 6.   

Generals and Brigadiers are Commanders. Commanders move 3 areas. If not co-located with a friendly unit and if adjacent to an enemy at any point in a turn,  roll for capture. If the commander rolls equal to or greater than the enemy he escapes and may move up to 3 areas.  If a commander is attached to a unit which takes one or more hits, regardless of whether or not these are traded off, roll 1 die and on a 1 the commander is killed. Only 1 roll is made each turn. If killed a replacement takes over at the end of the next turn. 

A unit must face a side of a square or the angle of a hexagon but may change facing as often as required while moving. All movement is through the sides of an area, never through the angles. A unit may move less than its maximum but may not move more. 

Formations. Cavalry are assumed to dismount to shoot, artillery to limber or unlimber as needed. Units  may be assumed to be in line or in an "attack" column with skirmishers as appropriate. Infantry in square should be marked. A square that moves loses its square status. 

Proximity.  A unit which moves adjacent to an enemy unit must stop. If adjacent to one or more enemy units which are facing it then it must face one of these. A unit which begins its turn adjacent to an enemy must either face an enemy, no order required, or be given an order to move to an area which is not adjacent to any enemy.  Only infantry, cavalry, armoured cars and tanks may move adjacent to known enemy.  

Stacking. Units may move through friendly units but only 1 unit may occupy an area at the end of its move. Commanders are not units and any number may be in an area with a unit. 

Cavalry may move 3 areas mounted and attack an adjacent enemy (treat as shooting)  or may dismount, move up to 1 area and shoot.   
Horse Artillery  may move 3 areas or move 1 area and shoot. 
Armoured Cars may move 3 areas or move 1 area and shoot. 
Infantry, Light Artillery and MG's may move 2 areas or may move 1 area and shoot.
Tanks may move 2 areas and shoot.
Other artillery including MG's may move 2 areas or shoot.  
Wagons may move 1 area. 
Trains may only move on rails. They may move a maximum of 4 areas but may only accelerate or decelerate by 2 areas per turn. Armoured Trains may move 1 area and shoot.

Difficult terrain is any terrain with woods, buildings, steep slopes, fordable river etc. Armoured cars, wheeled transport and artillery other than pack artillery and MG's may not enter difficult terrain except by road. Any unit except irregular, tribal or "native" infantry entering a difficult area stops and may not move farther or shoot that turn. 

Roads. Units in column which are following a road for their whole move may add 1 area of movement but may not shoot and may not move adjacent to a known enemy. If using single stand units place a marker to indicate column status. 

A unit may change its facing before firing without an order but this will count as moving. A unit which shoots and moves may shoot either before or after moving.  

Line of Fire. The line of fire is measured from center of the firing area to the center of the target area. The LoF may be traced into but not through any area containing terrain or troops of either side.  The arc of fire is 45 degrees either side of directly ahead.(60 degrees if using hexes)   The firer must normally have a line of sight to the target area but artillery on a hill may fire over troops of either side which are on lower ground at a target which is not adjacent to the intervening unit. Artillery on a hill may not fire over terrain.  

Observed fire.  Artillery capable of indirect fire may fire at targets they can not see if they are connected by telephone or radio to an observer who can see the target and the range is at least 6 areas. Range is measured from the gun but line of sight is traced from the observer. Indirect, observed fire may ignore intervening terrain and troops. Radios are very rare and must roll 2 or better each turn to connect. Telephones lines must normally be laid before the game begins and if either the observer or the battery move or are destroyed then the connection is destroyed.  

Range: (Other weapons can be added as needed)
Muskets: 2 areas
Rifles: 3 areas,
MG, Light Artillery, Superior Rifles: 4 areas. 
Smoothbore Artillery: 6 areas
Other Pack/Horse Artillery 12 areas,
Other Artillery: 18 areas.  

Effect. Roll 2 dice per unit. Each die scoring 4, 5 or 6 causes 1 hit on the target.
Shooting modifiers:

+1 die if adjacent unless skirmishers firing or if MG/Arty firing at up to 1/2 range
+1 die  if superior firepower or heavy artillery,
+1 die vs road column or if artillery vs a square

-1 die if inferior firepower.
-1 die if the target is in cover or obscured or is cavalry, artillery or skirmishers.
-1 die if moving and firing  or if artillery firing observed fire or firing overhead
-2 dice if the target is armoured or if cavalry attacking an adjacent square..

Dense targets. If there is a unit of either side adjacent to the target and the line of fire would go through it if extended then roll 1 extra die against this unit counting as an obscured target 

Pursuit. If a unit which was only adjacent to 1 enemy unit destroys that enemy it may immediately advance to occupy the area the enemy was in and may resolve combat again against an adjacent enemy.
Hits include morale and unit cohesion as well as casualties. 

Retreats. Each time a unit suffers 1 or more hits it may cancel 1 hit by retreating 1 area. Decide when the hit is received. The retreat must be directly to the rear and may not be into an area which is adjacent to an enemy or which is impassible or occupied by a friendly unit.

Rout. An average unit is destroyed when it has accumulated 3 hits. Poor troops by 2 hits, Elite Troops by 4 hits. 

Rallying A unit may rally if it does not move or shoot and is not adjacent to an enemy. Roll 1 die. On a score of 4, 5 or 6 1 hit is cancelled   +1 if one or more Commanders are in the same area or if there is a support unit in an adjacent area. A unit which has been destroyed cannot rally.

Victory. In the absence of a time limit or any other victory conditions for the scenario being played, an army which has lost over 1/2 of its units destroyed or retreated off table,  must concede. 

ENGINEERING. Only Sapper units and units with an Engineering officer in the same square (treat an Engineer as a commander with no influence on combat or orders) may normally do engineering work. No order is required to work but  a unit which works may not shoot, move or rally or be adjacent to the enemy. Roll 2 dice with a score of 4,5,6 indicating that 1 point of work is done. Simple tasks require 2 points of work unless otherwise specified for the scenario.   Complicated tasks take 6 points or as designated by the GM.

The use of a chance card deck is recommended to increase uncertainty and drama. (forth coming)

Definitions & Notes:
Adjacent refers to the 4 areas which are touching through a side (or if not using a grid 3" to the front, sides or rear or such other distance you are using. If using hexes . 

Front, rear, left and right.

Superior or Inferior Firepower is a judgement call about relative effectiveness and should be used for troops who are better or worse armed or trained than average for their type. Examples might be the BEF in 1914 or units with more MG's attached than usual,  natives with obsolete firearms, Civil War troops with smoothbores or repeaters etc...

Troop capabilities and weapons will need to be determined before a game. EG, Some cavalry should not be allowed to dismount and shoot while most mounted infantry may not move adjacent to enemy..

Skirmishers. The rules assume that line units are deploying skirmishers where appropriate but if wishing to model skirmish only units or if wishing to allow players to choose then units designated as skirmishing count as in cover unless the enemy is adjacent. Skirmishing units do not get the adjacent modifier when shooting. If allowing some units to choose then the choice to change modes must be at the start of a turn and lasts until it is changed at the start of a later turn. Infantry units designated as skirmish only units may move through difficult terrain without penalty. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ross,

    Some interesting ideas here and I especially like the provision for skirmishers.

    I have copied a set and will give them a run out over the next week if possible.

    All the best,