My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another DB-AWI Game

I played a modified version of the scenario I listed several entries ago entitled Videau's Bridge, SC: 3 Jan 1782. I say modified, because I am still painting the troops for the scenario and used proxies for some of the units. For others I simply replaced units of one type for another. (Mostly I did not have enough mounted infantry for the Patriots.)

The goal of this game was to:

1. Test out the changes to the Shooting ranges (100 paces for muskets, 200 paces for German Rifles, and 300 paces for American Rifles). I will not be keeping those rules! It radically changes play because units can enter into close combat without taking fire.

2. Removing all of the disorder rules. (See more below on why.) I think I will discard them unless I can think up a better mechanism that does not affect game play in the wrong way.

3. Getting rid of the concept of a Commander non-element. Just decided to make them super, open-order, light cavalry with a bigger base.

4. Tested out the mounted infantry rules. It is still a work in progress.

5. Determine if an all-militia force can stand up to a regular force. (It can.)

The scenario may need more work, but I think it went poorly against the British because the river turned out to be the worst type (#6), they came at the Patriots piecemeal, and could not extricate themselves when things turned against them. I'll have to play it more to ensure it wasn't a fluke.

Sorry, no pictures, because of the large number of proxies with unfinished bases. But, I am merrily re-writing the rules to post on Google Documents.

Removing Disorder

It just goes to show you that some rule mechanisms seem like a good idea on paper, but can have completely unintended effects. The Disorder rules was one of those ideas.

The effect that I was going for was a sort of attritional effect with shooting. By that I mean that shooting would wear down you opponent until they got to the breaking point and then you would go in with the bayonet.

What I was searching for was a gradual degradation from shooting with close combat being decisive. I thought I had achieved that by using lower factors for close combat (it is easier to double your opponent if you use lower factors than higher ones) and creating a disordering effect from fire.

Disorder was a side effect of a recoil or a flee result, requiring your opponent to spend a pip to remove the disorder (the element still got to move and fire, etc. for that pip). Until you did so, that unit remained in disorder and could not move or fire. Not being able to fire (or return fire) means that your opponent has no consequence to firing at you. However, in close combat, they would fight back. The result of that meant that firing was more decisive than close combat, not less.

At first, the games looked exactly like I envisioned: as more units got disordered, more pips were spent recovering from the chaos until you got to the point where the enemy commander consistently gets less pips than they have disordered units. Then you go into close combat. Given the -1 for being disordered, it usually allowed the attacker to defeat or double the disordered defender.

But, it did not always happen. In fact, the disordered element could win. That is when it hit me that disorder made shooting more effective than close combat as the attacker could not be hurt. Granted, the shooter had less chance of doubling their target, but there was no consequence.

In hindsight, making the disordered element unable to hurt the attacker in either fire or close combat would equalize the value. I could get rid of the disorder -1 combat modifier too, as I can see that it makes it a bit of overkill. But, I still hope to get to a game without markers, like DBA.

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").