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John D Salt

The classic pretext offered for not including explicit morale rules in a wargame is to say that the combat results include morale effects. Those beaten-up levies being charged by the knights — one might expect them to be eliminated as a result, but does it make any difference to the game if they were struck down in close combat facing the enemy, or scattered and ran as soon as the kngihts worked up to a trot?

One can see an example of this in the WRG’s long-running series of ancients rules. In the first, and most subsequent editions, individual casualties were tracked, and when 20 casualties had been accumulated, a figure was removed. In the seventh edition, while the tables of tactical factors and the record-keeping up to 20 stayed remarkably similar, the interpretation had changed completely, the points now being held to track fatigue.

Arguably, the fatigue tracking was a better idea, as in ancient battles it was usually casualties that arose as a consequence of morale breaking, rather than morale breaking as a result of casualties. Hence the massive disparity in casualties in most ancient battles — the killing really starts after the battle has been decided, and one side is running away. So I wouldn’t have morale being mainly dependent on casualties. It’s been a cherished wargamerism for decades, but it’s not what really happens.

All the best,