|Kinch's Charge sets out 4 years ago.|
I've tried various familiar techniques such as activation rolls or charts, card draws, command point rolls, command radius, written orders, mapped movement and more and they all had something to contribute but yet didn't quite do it. They reduced player control but usually felt "game-y" and often did a poor job of both modelling how things were done and reproducing typical historical battlefield behaviour. Even worse they often absorbed so much time and mental energy that the focus shifted from the battle to the game mechanics.
Colonel Lawford and Brigadier Young, who both had considerable experience of command in battle with all that entails, relied on a combination of simultaneous written orders and highly variable combat results to represent the uncertainty of battle. I'm not sure that either my reading or my life experience gives me a solid basis for saying they were wrong, especially at the battle rather than skirmish level. Certainly the Charge! games I have played in or run have seen some of the most unexpected command failures, errors and omissions as well as some notable moments of recognizing and seizing sudden opportunities that I have seen (not to mention misleading the enemy). Unfortunately the system does not lend itself well to solo games with 40 units on the table.
The impromptu ACW game that I played in May relied on variable length moves at Brigade level with provision for Division Commanders to try to push people a little. Overall I liked the effect but I want to go back to regiments as units and basically adapt my old Hearts of Tin rules.
|Gratuitous copy of a picture from last summer's ACW game.|
Before going On Grid I used to use variable length moves and I am going to go back there as well as using a turn initiative card deck with chance cards. Each regiment or formed brigade will roll its movement dice and complete its move before the next one rolls.
Here are a couple of the command ideas that I am contemplating.
a) Brigade move. Two or more regiments formed into a Brigade line or column with Brigadier attached will roll once for movement of the whole line which must then move together.
b) Generals have a short range at which they can boost the movement of one, two or three individual regiments by adding a die depending on their ability. These dice may alternately be used to boost morale or combat performance if not used to boost movement. Choices!
c) Getting a brigade formed up requires the guide regiment to stand still.
d) Once a brigade is engaged (however that is defined, 3" for close combat but perhaps rifle range for command control purposes) it should be difficult to coordinate a voluntary disengagement or a pursuit. If engaged at the start of a turn any retirement moves must be one regiment at a time and the unit must move the full amount rolled but may roll just 1 die if desired. If pursuing each regiment rolls and moves one at a time and must move the full amount as above unless storming a fortified position.
e) Generals who get involved in any way inside the engagement zone must be at risk somehow and there should be a delay before a replacement takes over.
|Cobb's Farm from 2012. A game where the old C&C rules played their part.|
That's as far as I've gotten. The next step is to dig out an old version, check them over, adjust and try it all out.