Saturday, 20 February 2010

Modified Morschauser ‘19th Century’ Wargames Rules

The final redrafting of these rules has now been done, and they are available as PDF downloads in two different versions from the RED HEX WARGAMES website.

The longer version contains rules for fielding Commanders on the battlefield, whereas the shorter version does not contain these rules.

I have done this so that potential players can print the version of the rules they wish to use.

10 comments:

  1. Bob, good to see your latest draft - at this rate, you'll have more 'editions' than WRG Ancients!
    I like the new rules for Commanders, but am rather surprised that there is a 50% chance of each unit in an army being thrown into confusion by the death of the army commander.
    Firstly, other than the men of any particular unit to which the commander was attached at the time of his death, who would quickly be aware of his demise, would the rest of the troops even know that the army commander had died?
    Secondly, would late 19th century, regular troops be likely to react so badly? I can understand this in the context of an army commanded by heroic leadership, like Alexander's Macedonians, or ill-trained armies like those raised by the Spanish juntas against Napoleon, whose morale was always shaky, but wonder whether the die rolls for troop reaction and possible outcomes should be period/army/campaign specific?

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  2. Arthur1815,

    This is something that I still want to address, but as yet I have not quite worked out how to do it.

    I did consider having three stages of effect rather than two, but just could not get a simple mechanism that worked. One way might be to give non-Native armies a +1 on the D6 die roll. This would mean that Native Units would have a 50% chance of running but non-Native Units would only have a 33%.

    Do you have any comments on this idea?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. I think I agree with Arthur--I'm not sure how much of an effect the death of a 19th C. commander would have. The death of Jackson, for example, did not demoralize his men at Chancellorsville. (On the other hand, the death of Lee probably would have.) I would be inclined to modify the die roll according to the army involved and/or the relative "belovedness" of the commander--i.e., some might warrant a +1, others +2 (or zero).

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  4. Chris J,

    You suggestion makes me think that the answer may lie with using the Commander's Command Value as the modifier. Therefore the loss of an 'Exceptional' Commander would have more effect that the loss of an 'Average' or 'Poor' one.

    This needs a bit of thinking about but ...

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Bob,
    Chris makes a good point - the 'belovedness' of the commander might be more significant that his military expertise, Blucher being an example - so personally, I would be chary of doing a straight link to Command Value, although in many cases, such as Wellington, that would be entirely appropriate: not because his men loved him in the way that Johnny Reb revered RE Lee, but because they regarded his presence, and hence his tactical expertise, as a virtual guarantor of victory - see William Wheeler's comment " we should be sure to give the French a good licking..." - and his death would have resulted in someone like Beresford [Spain]or Anglesey [100 Days]succeeding to command.
    At the risk of complicating the rules, I do think you probably need different 'plug in' troop reaction tables for Natives, Regulars &c. I'll think about this more today, now I've finished the redecorating.

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  6. Arthur1815,

    I want to try to end up with as simple a system as possible. Any thoughts that you have would be very welcome.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. My initial idea is to roll a d6 for what ChrisJ called 'belovedness', but which I will call Affection [in which commander is held by troops] before the battle begins, modifying the roll by -1 for Poor, + 1 for Average and +2 for Exceptional Commanders, so that better commanders would tend to be held in more Affection and vice versa, but there would be some exceptions. One could also, perhaps, add/subtract for previous voctories/defeats?
    Then the troop reaction to their Commander's death would be cross-referenced to Affection, rather than Commander Rating in the table.

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  8. Arthur1815,

    This mechanism sounds as if it would work better for campaigns rather than 'one off' battles. If I can come up with something that encompasses it and allows for 'one off' battles as well, it should be a solution to the problem.

    Many thanks for your ideas,

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Bob,
    One of the advantages of the simplicity of your development of Morschauser's original rules is that each of us can 'plug in' whatever degree of detail/complexity [call it what you will!] in respect of commanders and their interaction with their troops, even to the extent of having different results tables for different armies.
    Personally, I favour putting more emphasis on the commander than the rank and file, precisely because that is the player's role, and so it is his experience/perception of the battle I want to portray [subject to the inherent limitations of an open, tabletop game with model soldiers], to create atmosphere/suspension of disbelief &c. Thus, I want systems that tell me that my character has his hat/epaulette shot off as he rides dangerously close to the firing-line; that his aide is struck down right beside him, that his horse is startled by a passing shot and he has to struggle to bring it back under control that turn, and is unable to finish the order he was about to write...
    I'm quite happy to have very simple rules governing things outside the general's perception and/or control, such as the casualties suffered by one of his units in close-quarter fighting.
    Not to everyone's taste, I know!
    I think you have to stop and think very carefully about just what you want the player/commander to experience and feel during a game, as well as keeping true to the Morschauser 'style'.

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  10. Arthur1815,

    As you might have gathered from my most recent blog entry, I am taking a step back from developing the current rules so that I can come back to them in a fresh state of mind. I am sure that when I do, what I want to achieve will be far more achievable than it seems to be today.

    The trouble is that I have lots of good ideas (my own and other peoples) that I would like to include in the rules but at present I cannot see a way to incorporate them without the rules becoming more complex. I am sure that after a short break, I will be able to.

    All the best,

    Bob

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