Sunday, 28 August 2011
So far, so common-sense.
My dilemma at the moment is how best to represent hills. Hills feature heavily in tactics of the 19th Century but often do not seem to have the same importance to our miniature battles or we find the converse situation and they become disproportionatley powerful defensive bastions.
Essentially then, what does being on a hill do for you? I have come up with the following as a starter list to consider
- Lets you see further
- Gives artillery a longer range/ability to shoot over targets
- Makes you harder for the enemy to "get at"
- Slows attackers down and/or disrupts their formations
- Morale effects? Does it improve yours or weaken your opponents?
Assuming these are true, and not forgetting that the list may grow; how does these factors get represented in rules without under- or over-doing things AND without needing to change too much of the existing rules to accomodate them?
The following are ideas based on my own rules, but have not been playtested so are very speculative:
- Improve the "ability" of generals who are on hills with LOS to the enemy
- Let artillery treat long range fire as close range
- Require attackers to use 3 action points (rather than 2) to attack enemy on a hill [might slow the game but does reflect the topological and morale issues]
- Increase the damage done by attackers to defenders as they have more opportunity to shoot at them etc (maybe a reroll for either skirmishing roll-off or for combat)
- Troops on hill ignore fallback results?
Hmm, more thinking to do and then I need to move on to woods!
Current opinion is favouring Aspern Essling, although as I have a 9km square battlefield I am also considering looking at Teugn Hausen on an operational level. I have sketched out a map that would allow me to include Abbach to the north and stretch down to Grub, while having Teugn in the West and Dunzling in the east. This would allow a game that shows the manoeuvring of Davout's Divisions and the Austrian III, IV ans IR Korps. I'm tempted by this as there is more scope for movement around all the hills, woods and villages whereas Aspern is much more of a meat-grinder.
Saturday, 27 August 2011
I'll be putting on a demonstration game using my 6mm figures and the new napoleonic rules I have been working on so if you come to the show please say hello. I should be easy to find as I doubt there will be too many 6mm napoleonic games on a 6x6 table.
Now I have to think of a scenario! Thoughts currently are:
- Eggmuhl (or something like it)
- Aspern-Essling (day 2 probably)
or I could do something entirely hypothetical. With only a week to go at least I can't over-think it too much.
See you there!
Thursday, 25 August 2011
Saturday, 20 August 2011
First are a couple of pictures of Aspern-Essling from about mid way through the battle. The austrian grenadiers and StHilaire's Division of Lannes's corps are hotly engaged north of Essling. Austrian 1st and 2nd columns have yet to make a significant impact on Massenna's defence of Aspern.
7. St Hilaire is reinforced by part of Friant's Division and counterattacks. A significant combat sees two brigades each from III Korps and Friant shattered. Along with further losses inflicted by St Hilaire the III Korps is broken and begins to withdraw.
Friday, 19 August 2011
Aspern-Essling played well and I follwed up with a smaller battle (Teugn-Hausen) after revising the combat mechanism.
Hope to put up some photos today or tomorrow.
Monday, 15 August 2011
A few things have cropped up and been added to the stuff in my head:
a. maximum capacity of wooded squares is 2 brigades & 2 batteries
b. heavy cavalry get +1d per base when they assault
c. heavy cavalry can absorb one more hit than light cavalry
d. combats involving combinations of cav and inf need to be split down to match off equal numbers of cav and inf, with "spare" cavalry then affecting the infantry combats (sort of, easier in practice than to write down)
e. cannister is represented by a d10 for gorse artillery and a d12 for foot artillery, looking for 6+ in each case
f. following moralre rolls after combat if 50%+ of one side's brigades withdraw then all do.
g. rally may be attempted unless there ar UNENGAGED enemy in an adjacent square.
h. assulting infantry who lose a skirmish roll-off and would normally be repulsed can choose to "push the assault" and fight the engagement with -1d per brigade
All-in-all I am really pleased with the way the rules play. The need to mark hits requires a lot of counters, creating a sea of red which detracts from the look of the battlefield. Alternatives such as cotton wool would not work as well though as the counters can be slotted between the ranks of the troops on each base. Perhaps clear counters would be a solution?
I do want to keep the "hits" concept as napoleonic warfare was attritional, so a simple destroy/push-back like in DBA wouldn't give me the effect I want.
As with my previous rules I like the reward for keeping a fresh reserve to push into an engagement when each side is being worn-down. The new version will also make the combined divisions of the allied army at Waterloo work better than the old rules as lowe quality Dutch militia will gain a benefit from standing in the same square as veteran British infantry.
Off to fight a few more hours of the battle now!
Sunday, 14 August 2011
The manuscript I have been working on for the last 18 months or so has been completed to 1st proper draft status minus a few last bits to complete and my brain can slowly turn towards some more personal projects. To quote the Fast Show; this weekend I have been mostly thinking about revisiting my 6mm napoleonics and the rules I use with them and I'll outline the ideas I am using below:
I wanted to keep the 1 base= a regiment or small brigade concept as this produces gmaes of around the right size for me and avoids the need to micromanage formations. While I'm not unhappy with my current rules I wanted to try out some different concepts to produce even quicker gaming but not end up with something so abstract that it doesn't feel "napoleonic".
Today was the first chance to put some of this into practice and I set up a 6 x 4 foot board with terrain and troops approximating the 1st day of Eckmuhl (1809). The rules are really only in my head at present as this makes editing easier, but roughly things go like this:
1. Roll 1d3 for every subordinate commander on the table. In this case the French had 4 divisional commanders and the Austrians 3, so seven d3 were rolled at the start of each turn and placed in a line, highest to lowest (two 3s, three 2s and two 1s).
2. Each side then selected one commander to roll off against the opposition to decide who got to use the highest d3. Each commander rolls one die, ranging from a d6 for poor commander to d12 for geniuses. The French were all rated "d10" initiative and the poor Autrians just "d6". Davout and Rosenburg and the CinCs for the day rated d12 and d8 respectively. The first roll-off saw Friant best the Austrians and get use of the first "3" allowing the brigades and batteries of his Division 3 actions. The next roll-off again saw the French win (St Hilaire this time) and grab the second "3". This gives a simple sequence of play with the better commanders tneding to have access to more actions for their troops and getting to move first. [similar to Impetus]
3. Once a commander has grabbed an action die (one of the d3s rolled at the start of the turn) he immediately acts with his brigades and batteries.
4. The battlefield is divided into squares to simplify measurement. Each 2 foot x 2 foot terrin time is divided (mentally at present) into a 3x3 grid, so the entire 6 foot x 4 foot table gives 54 squares. A square can contain up to 6 units, (no more than 4 being either brigades OR batteries).
5. Infantry can move as many squares as they have actions, with their first diagonal move costing 1 but any subsequent diagonals costing 2 [as in PBI from Peter Pig]. Moving into a wooded square costs +1 as does moving into an enemy-occupied square "assaulting"
6. Cavalry move in the same way as infantry but may move as if they had one extra "action".
7. Foot artillery may either bombard or move, but not both in the same turn. If bombarding, they may bombard as many times as they have actions.
8. Horse artillery may combine movement and bombardment actions during their turn.
9. If artillery who bombard share a square with brigades from their own Division then the brigades miss an action for each action of bombardment undertaken by the artillery.
10. Artillery may bomabard a target at a range of 1 or 2 squares, needing 5+ or 6+ respectively to score a hit. Foot artillery roll a d8 for each bombardment action and horse artillery a d6.
11. One or more brigades moving into a square occupied by the enemy is an assault.
12. Defending infantry may try to repel the assault using skirmishers. Each assualting infantry brigade rolls one die (the type depending on thier skirmish ability) as does each defending infantry brigade. If the highest defending die is higher than the highest assulting die then the assaulters lose the skirmish and fall back to the square the assaulted from. Otherwise the assault proceeds to an engagement.
13. Cavalry in a square reduce the skirmish ability of any opposing infantry to a d6. If both defenders and assaulters have cavalry then there is no skirmish roll-off.
14. Combat between opposing units in the same square is called an engagement. This may be brought about by an assault, or be a continuation of an on-going engagement.
15. Each brigade in the square rolls 3 dice of a type defined by their quality (d6 - d12) [a bit like "Force-on-Force]. Rolls of 6+ inflict a hits on opposing units in the same square. Each side takes the hits inflicted on them and shares them between its units.
a. Infantry assaulting an enemy in cover such as woods, fight with only 2 dice per brigade. If the combat continues to a subsequent enagement then they return to 3 dice.
b. Infantry engaged with infantry defending a village or town fight with only 2 dice in each engagement
c. Infantry engaged in a square containing enemy cavalry will fight with only 1 die per brigade
d. Cavalry who are engaged in a square containing only enemy infantry will fight with only 1 die per brigade
16. Artillery in the square may choose to be engaged, in which case they roll a d10 each, again needing 6+ for a hit. If they do this, then they must also be included when sharing out hits, otherwise they can be exempted. Foot artillery who assaulted may not be included in the resutling initial engagement, but may be included in any subsequent engagements
17. The side suffering the most hits then checks morale. Each brigade rolls one die of the type defined by its quality. If the roll is equal to or less than the number of hits currently suffered by the brigade then it withdraws to an adjacent square not occupied by the enemy. I haven't quite decided how to factor artillery into this, but generally assume they follow the rest of the division, or are wiped out.
18. Infatry suffering a 5th hit are destroyed. Likewise Cavalry suffering a 4th hit or artillery a 3rd.
19. Units compelled to withdraw but unable to do so because of enemy units or terrain are also eliminated.
20. Some brigades contain both infantry and cavalry. They fight with only 2 dice in combat but may use skirmishers when facing enemy infantry. Mixed brigades a re destroyed by a 4th hit (as per cavalry)
21 If all surviving enemy units in a square withdraw as a result of combat into an unoccupied square, then any friendly cavalry of mixed brigades in the square may pursue them. Friendly horse artillery may accompany the pursuers
22 Pursuing units fight the subsequent engagement with their full allowance of dice (3 dice for cavalry or 2 dice for mixed; 1 d10 for horse artillery)
23. Defending infantry brigades use 1 die each, mixed brigades 2 dice and cavalry 3 dice. Horse artillery may be included in the defence but not foot artillery.
24. Rallying costs 2 actions. Each brigade or battery rolls 1die with rolls fo 6+ removing a hit. Only one hit may be removed from a unit per turn and a unit may never remove the last hit is posesses. If the divisional/corps commander is in the square then roll 1 die of a type defined by his quality (again needing 6s to remove hits). Commanders do not allow more than one hit to be removed per turn but do increase the chance of success. Commanders only roll 1 die to assist rallying regardless of how many units are in the square.
25. Rallying can only be attempted if there are no enemy units in the square or any adjacent squares.
...that's about all I have so far, but it seems to work pretty well. Many tests and tweaks are still needed but the process is fast and is getting there with the whole combined arms rock/stone/scissors feel of napoleonics.
Rough unit stats I have been using:
Veteran French Infantry: combat 3d10, skirmish 1d10, morale 1d10
Regular French Infantry: combat 3d8, skirmish 1d10, morale 1d8
Regular Austrian Infantry: combat 3d8; skirmish 1d8, morale 1d8
Grenzer Brigade: combat 3d8, skirmish 1d10, morale 1d8
Veteran Light Cavalry: combat 3d10; skirmish - , morale 1d10 (Austrians, Pire's brigade)
Regular Light Cavalry: combat 3d8, skirmish - , morale 1d8 (Bavarians)
Austrian Mixed Brigades: combat 2d8; skirmish 1d10. morale 1d10
Austrian divisional commanders: d6
Austrian corps commander (Rosenberg): d8
French divisional commanders (Friant, St Hilaire, Pire): d10
French corps commander (Davout): d12
This does reflect Davout's III Corps of 1809 being one of the finest formations of the napoleonic wars both in terms of troop quality and command.
I think the logical next step is to try out Aspern-Essling and add in rules for heavy cavalry - perhaps +1 die in combat when they assault?