Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Memoir of Battle: What next?

I have spent the last few days considering what changes I should incorporate in the next draft of my MEMOIR OF BATTLE wargames rules.

I am giving very serious consideration to developing the next draft so that I can use my Hexon II hexed terrain, and this might require some changes to the weapon ranges and – as a result – the number of dice thrown by a unit. I am also thinking about having more than four figures in an infantry unit and three in a cavalry unit. This latter change would primarily be on aesthetic grounds – four or three figures will look a bit 'lost' in the large hexes – although using a combination of single removable figures and multi-figure bases would also mean that units would not have to be totally removed from the battlefield when they became ineffective.

For example, by having three single mounted figures and three mounted figures on a multi-figure base, a cavalry unit would field six figures on the battlefield. As the unit lost strength (i.e. single figures were removed), it would be possible to see how strong a unit was 'at a glance'; when the third figure was removed, the unit would no longer be effective but would still take up 'space' on the table. The latter is one area where the original BATTLE CRY and MEMOIR ’44 were rightly criticised by some people, as units are very rarely totally ‘destroyed’ in real life; their remnants would often remain on the battlefield, either getting in the way or distracting the attention of both friendly and enemy commanders.

Some of the inspiration for these ideas has come from the feedback I have received from regular blog readers, and some from looking afresh at both MEMOIR '44 and MEMOIR '14. These have been especially helpful when I have been thinking about changes to the weapon ranges I may need to make.


  1. Bob,
    I'm making good progress with my Napoleonic version, apart from infantry vs infantry attacks, which I hope to complete in the next couple of days.
    Regarding ranges, I'm working on the principle that close combat/ point-blank cannister/musketry fire takes place in the same 100mm hex; effective musketry fire/cannister in the adjacent hex; then random musketry/effective roundshot &c. and adjusted the number of dice thrown accordingly, so musketry is 4, 2, 1; artillery differentiates light incl HA and heavy. Obviously ranges in your chosen period would be longer - possibly about double for effective small arms fire?

    With 4 bases per battalion, and 2 bases per squadron, I think I may have to use 2 or 3 guns per battery, to keep the frontages and ranges in proportion.

    Another idea I've had is to reduce the possibility that one side might keep the initiative [ie go first] for more than two turns in a row. When dicing for initiative, if one side has just gone first for two consecutive turns, add 1 to the die roll; if it has gone first for three consecutive turns, add 2 &c. This should prevent one side enjoying a run of good luck that distorts the game.

  2. Arthur1815,

    Lots of interesting ideas, particularly those with regard to musketry. I will have to follow a similar line of thinking if I move over to using Hexon II hexed terrain, and your 4-2-1 idea would be ideal ... I might well 'steal'/'borrow' it from you!

    I think that your suggested unit sizes would look good for the period, and the idea regarding a mechanism that will limit one side's ability to dominate the run of initiative is simple, elegant, and very, very persuasive.

    All the best,