Sunday, 14 February 2010

I thought that it would be simple but ...

I am now on my third attempt to draft the latest version of my adaptation of Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Modern’ Period Rules for the 19th century era so that Commanders can be represented on the battlefield ... and so far I just cannot get it right!

The problem is the basic simplicity of Morschauser's original rules. Everything represented on the tabletop is a Unit which has certain attributes, and the rules deal with the interaction of these Units. As presently written, if I treat the Commander as a Unit, they cannot be in the same grid square as another Unit at the end of a turn; this means that they cannot easily enhance the fighting capacity of a Unit under their command in the ways I outlined in my blog entry of 7th February.

I have attempted to redraft the rules in such a way that Commanders can be in the same grid square as another Unit, but the wording ends up reading like a legal document because there as so many caveats and exceptions. Experience shows that when this happens, players will either misunderstand the rules or ignore them. In addition they do not fit in with the basic simplicity of Morschauser's original rules.

So what can I do?
  • I could ignore the problem by not representing the Commander on the battlefield. In essence, the rules would remain as they are.
  • I could continue to attempt to redraft the rules in such a way that they do not end up reading like a legal document, but as I have already tried this twice before and failed, I do not expect that this will be very easy and it may be impossible.
  • I could go back to first principles and have a complete re-think. Perhaps I could change the rules so that two Units are allowed in the same grid square at the end of a turn? This would make it easier to treat Commanders as just another type of Unit that has its own unique attributes, but may well open a whole new can of worms!
This problem has given me something to think about for the next few days. However, until I come up with a solution I cannot make any further progress on my redraft.


  1. Hi Bob,

    I would suggest treating a command stand NOT as a unit and enable it to freely stack with another unit. Assuming the command stand/element represents perhaps the great man himself, a number of lesser officers and perhaps a small HQ guard then scale wise it is too small to be classed as a unit. Perhaps allowing it the normal number of defense dice would represent the fact that it would small and could easily get out of trouble. Just a thought straight off the bat.


  2. Ogrefencer,

    That is pretty well what I hoped to do; it was trying to explain that and get it to mesh with the rest of the rules that was giving me problems.

    I hope that a bit of 'think time' will give me time to mull the whole thing over and arrive at a solution that will work.

    All the best,


  3. I'd recommend stealing some of the "Heroic Leader" mechanics from M44 or the General mechanics from Ancients for starters.

  4. Well. I'm still of the opinion that a commander's main function should be a command one, not a combat one. (ie something to do with moving). BUT, if youd do use him to boost combat, how about if he boosts a unit that he is adjacent to? or if that is too vague, if he is the square immediately behind the unit that he is boosting?


  5. A further thought, it might be raised that being adjacent allows him to influence more than unit but if he has to be behind this would only hold true if they were forming a square and then we have an accidental benefit to this system as it makes a square more powerful if awkward. If you put 8 units into a square with the commander in the middle, he could boost the 4 units in the middle squares but the 4 corners would be more vulnerable.

  6. My thoughts are similar to Ogre's, except that I would not class it as a unit unless it is attacked while alone in a square. That way it remains the only stand which can be stacked with a unit, and its combat strength in that case would be represented solely by the bonus it confers on that unit.

    Best regards,


  7. Dear all,

    Some excellent ideas and suggestions that will give me even more to think about over the next few days.

    All the best,


  8. Hello Bob,

    It sounds like you already know what you want your leaders to do and the headache is in fitting the rules into the Morschauser format. If that's the case, why not simply add a leaders section as an appendix? Call leaders 'leaders', treat them as a separate class of game piece and put all of the rules pertaining to them in one place. This would allow you to get the rules written and then things will likely fall into place naturally from there.


  9. Prufrock,

    Great minds think alike!

    That is exactly what I have tried with the redraft that I started last night, but as you will see from my next blog entry, things have moved on since then.

    All the best,



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