Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October. By popular vot e it will be set in the mid 18th Century.

Friday, July 26, 2019

OK So not really so Old School after all.

I confess, I was struggling. Things either worked but were too fiddly for me these days, or they were easy but didn't work for this size of game let alone larger ones, or just didn't work at all! Swapping the variable length move for a simple activation chart got the movement.. ummh.. moving?


Firefights proved a bit tougher since my mind was locked into various methods that had become standard but which failed the test one after another. (yes, I know, it was a 1/72nd nightmare with the dead rising only to be shot again, and again and again.)  Eventually, I realized that none of my usual tricks were going to give me what I wanted for my ACW battles.  I started thinking broader, trying some brand new things until one of them started to remind me vaguely of a game I used to enjoy playing.  A bit more thinking, exploring, trying and adjusting and suddenly and I had what I needed and wanted. No need for marker dice to follow units around tracking hits, no sudden death from firefights for average units but not endless firefights either.



Firy & Fury were the rules that got me back into ACW during the 90's. I always liked the system overall. It managed to combine what my orders, morale and fire charts did into just 2 tables: Maneuver Table and Firing. However, I have a strong dislike of non-cubic dice and the F&F tables had too many factors, rows and columns for my eyes and brain so that I always spent more time with my head buried in the QRS and counting on my fingers than I did looking at the table and planning my moves, and the games were longggg. Still a nod to them for the inspiration.



Anyway here's the real short gist of how this part of my game is shaping up.

COMMAND
Active player rolls for each unit or formed brigade before moving it:
   5,6   Rally. Act as ordered.
   3,4   Rally. May move 1/2 but no charge.
   1,2   Rally. No advance
    0     Fall back a full move

+1@ if own Brigadier or General within 6" 
+1 Elite

-1 Disordered
-1 @ stand lost
-1 Green or Poor troops

SHOOTING
1 d6 per stand. Arc of fire per stand, fire at tgt closest to front. Target is unit. Allocate all dice against target before any are rolled at it.
Hit on 4,5,6 at close, 5,6 at medium, 6 at long
-1 vs cover
Rifles: 3"/6"/12"
Artillery: 12"/24"/36"

At least now I again have a use for those marker stands ( buglers etc)  that I did a few years back. Mind you I think I will paint the rims of their bases red to make them easier to spot, and paint up some of those prone, crawling and wounded figures that I've been meaning to do!

Oh and added bonus. having all moves and shooting in increments of 3" again lets me use my easy to read painted measuring sticks!

Now, charge resolution............hmmm

25 comments:

  1. Your Command Roll seems a bit harsh to me. Even with an officer within range, a unit only has a 50% to act as intended. If a unit is disordered/stand lost/Green/Poor (or all three!) then the unit is not likely to respond to commands.

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    1. Thanks Jonathan. You could be right, early days yet. I want to use the fewest modifiers I can get away with but it'll take a lot mofe testing to get it balanced.

      Still, when I look at it as is, a fresh unit with Brigadier and Div cmdr within 6" is guaranteed to score at least 3 and will move when ordered, but with a 1/3 chance of not getting as far as wished.

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  2. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks to me as though you have taken the middle column ('Good Order') of the Fire and Fury 'March Table' (I'm actually looking at 'Age of Eagles', here, but I think F&F is the same) for all movement, then adapted the D10 results to D6. In F&F, the '0' on a D10 counts as 10, so I think Jonathan Freitag might have a point. I guess it is 'suck it and see' country!

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    1. Haven't actually looked at the F&F chart for 20 years so no, didn't do that much work. From memory it seems to me the F&F had maybe 5? result rows (hmm Well handled, Tardy, Halt, Fall back, rout? might have missed some) 2 columns (good order, disorder). Scores not evenly spread and a long list of modifiers.

      This one is based on a control chart I drew up in the 80's which went something like: 5,6: "no retreat, impetuous units must charge if possible", 3,4"obey orders" 1,2 "no adance" with modifiers for commander and unit characteristics and often used with variable length moves. But I've also used variations like this before as a compromise between dice based movement distances and fixed moves .

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    2. But yes, it needs a lot of test driving.

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  3. Interesting reading as you work through your rule mechanisms, and enjoying the pictures of your ACW armies.

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    1. Thanks Peter, not only does sharing help me pay more attention the feedback and comments are very helpful. If nothing else they get me thinking.

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  4. How reliable do you want them to be, under "normal" circumstances? Might also want to think about modifiers when close to vs. far from enemy.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. The easiest way to answer the first part is that I want units to carry out orders but to not always do it as promptly as the General wants but without a lot of rules or modifiers to make that happen. Its a delicate compromise.

      The combat system should handle the proximity thing since many units will become disordered and thus have more chance of halting.

      The big thing I've taken out, put back and taken out again is a single test for formed brigades (or groups of not disordered units, which would also address this issue. Gotta fund a clear way to say it and then look for the hidden bad sideeffects, test it and put it back in.

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  5. I quite like what you've come up with there as it has a real ACW feel about it. The armies and table look great too!

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    1. Its the scale..... (Got a few HH and Jacklex mixed in...)

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  6. One rule set I came across years ago simply said that a unit only needed to take a morale test when the opponent wanted it. The general idea was that normally you didn't bother, but if your opponent wanted things to go wrong... and that included the opponent seeing a rash unit in a position where an uncontrolled advance would be 'useful' as well as for retreats/holds, etc. Perhaps a modification of this might help?

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    1. Interesting. Was there a limit on the number of times an opponent could make such a demand?

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    2. It could be annoying using this against a querulous opponent in a solo game...

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    3. I don't recall any limits, but the general idea was to reduce the number of morale tests - so most declared charges that normally needed a morale test just happened, but if your opponent didn't want it to happen then force a morale test and see. Again, though, players could always agree limits - for instance, as in tennis, 3 challenges per game, but if your challenge is successful then it doesn't reduce the number of challenges left. Number of challenges allowed agreed between players before the game depending on the size of the game. Again, emphasise that the point is to reduce the number of unnecessary morale tests.

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  7. Classic Piquet only had morale tests when the opponent demanded. Each challenge however cost a Morale point so there was was a cost to the challenger who had to way up the odds on whether a challenge was likely to succeed or how important it was for the unit to fail its morale.

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    1. hmm this is the sort of increasingly popular game mechanism that I have come to dislike. I accept that sometimes they can give a reasonable effect when well designed, can often be a fun game mechanism and that many enjoy them and that's fine. I have myself in the past.

      To me they shift the player's focus from imagining him/her self as a commander in the field, almost roleplaying in some ways, trying to use his troops most effectively, to being a game player trying to use the rules to best effect.

      Horse and courses.

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  8. Ross... what are the causes of unit disorder... purely shooting casualties?

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    1. PS. Before I forget - happy birthday for the other day!

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    2. Steve, no its the telescopic battle focus/madness that gets mentioned by so many veterans of the war in their memoirs. The individual often got so focused on loading and shooting that he barely noticed what the enemy was doing let alone what his own officers were saying.

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    3. That's an interesting mechanism... So auto disorder after a set number of movements or fires???

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    4. No, just that within effective rifle range of the enemy limits what a unit can do, so more like a Zone of Control.

      This is supposed to be a top down Corps Commander's eye view (except I keep letting a lifetime of tactical games distract me with details).

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    5. Ahhh... got you... so basically an initiative test.... nice and simple, frictious, like it.. :o))

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