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  • #67996

    The initial deployment of your army should carry some weight in terms of its battlefield performance. That’s a commonplace remark. I’m curious in how various rule sets approach deployment.

    Some, I know, are quite casual. This may well suit if units are fairly manoeuvrable & quick enough to implement needed adjustments. Others are quite intricate. However it’s approached, deployment should reflect your army composition, terrain, your opponent’s deployment & your ultimate battle-plan.

    As I’m gearing up for a two day game in a few weeks, the Field of Glory: Ancients rules seem worth putting out as an example.

    The army is divided into quarters, which are placed on the table in turn, starting with the player who does not have initiative. Clearly starting second is an advantage & initiative is “won” via a combination of the quality of generalship, the inclusion of various units suited to scouting (eg Light Horse) and a dice throw.

    To not labour the point, which units are deployed first & where can be used to “wrong foot” your opponent. Clearly, cheap & fast-moving units such as skirmish foot are placed on the table early whilst, for example, my more or less immobile Bolt-shooters will be placed last, after I see where my opponent places his elephants!

    The bad aspect of this system is it takes additional time though you really should come to the table with your deployment more or less worked out as part of your battle plan. I mostly like the system as it is one of the areas where something resembling generalship is necessary.

    Please feel free to critique the FoG system &/or to describe other deployment systems for any type of rules.

     

    donald

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Deleted User.
    #68006
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    “I won’t drag the carroballistae, across a muddy field and spend 3 hours setting them up until I’ve seen Hannibal’s elephants” Just what ancient army commanders did! Not.

    Depends if you think you’re playing a game or ‘recreating history’, I suppose.

    "I'm not signing that"

    #68007
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Back when I played games with lots of figures and what not, we would either draw our deployment on a map then set up, or line up a load of big boxes down the middle and set up in secret that way.

    #68009
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Back when I played games with lots of figures and what not, we would either draw our deployment on a map then set up, or line up a load of big boxes down the middle and set up in secret that way.

     

    Yep, those are better solutions.

    Draw a rough sketch map with deployments on it, let your opponent put your troops on the table. Keeps things honest 🙂

     

    "I'm not signing that"

    #68010
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Yes- the boxes/curtain or drawn map thing.

    Or both place numbered counters – numbers equate to a list (no details beyond type/colour etc) and hand list to opponent. You place the units accordingly.

    If you like gamey things, you can make this set up a game in itself.

    Once everyone is on table in the positions as initially numbered, or as set up behind the screen, you can have a look and see if you like the look of things and both sides can play cards to reflect redeployment the general orders as they appreciate what the opposing general is doing.

    Both sides play a card simultaneously. You have a hand with red and black cards. Black means stick as you are. Red means you can move a unit (it is disordered for a number of moves after the move -you decide how many before hand -if you really want to get into it this can be variable for the unit type: cav 1, lt inf 2 hvy inf 3, artillery – are you serious? okay 4.). If you play a joker the opponent has to carry out his/her move and play begins. You can let this go on for as long as you like (not recommended unless you want this to be the game you play for the evening) or you can have a set number of cards that are discarded after play. This does mean that you know the joker is coming by a certain move at the latest, but the day is rolling on, so someone has to start the battle.

    (This usually reflects the ‘order, re-order, disorder’ mantra quite well. It is usually best to just fight as you are, but people do seem to like moving things around if allowed to – and normally get burned – so I say encourage them!

    #68019
    General Slade
    Participant

    Another way to do things is for each side to put their forces in a line of march off the table (preferably before you know the exact composition of the opposing army).  This dictates the order in which you have to place units on the table.  You then take it in turns placing a unit at a time (with whoever lost initiative having to go first).

     

    #68022

    “. Depends if you think you’re playing a game or ‘recreating history’, I suppose.

    A game, of course. The “games” that “re-create history” are either dull or delusional or both.

     

     

    donald

    #68023

    Another way to do things is for each side to put their forces in a line of march off the table (preferably before you know the exact composition of the opposing army). This dictates the order in which you have to place units on the table. You then take it in turns placing a unit at a time (with whoever lost initiative having to go first).

    Field of Glory does this: though at 25% of your army at a time. Bit quicker.

     

    donald

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Deleted User.
    #68028
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    double post

    "I'm not signing that"

    #68029
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    “. Depends if you think you’re playing a game or ‘recreating history’, I suppose.

    A game, of course. The “games” that “re-create history” are either dull or delusional or both. donald

     

    You’ll get no argument from me there. 🙂

    "I'm not signing that"

    #68034

    “. Depends if you think you’re playing a game or ‘recreating history’, I suppose.

    A game, of course. The “games” that “re-create history” are either dull or delusional or both. donald

    You’ll get no argument from me there. 🙂

    I sound a bit judgemental & even harsh. Whatever amuses someone, provided they don’t expect me to necessarily conform, is fine.

    My opinion of wargaming is that it’s an intellectual exercise, entertaining & is wrapped in a  few wisps of history. Or at least it should be some mix of these.

    I will add, it provides a stimulus to discuss history, which I also enjoy. But history itself? I don’t think so.

    donald

     

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Deleted User.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Deleted User.
    #68036
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I sound a bit judgemental & even harsh. Whatever amuses someone, provided they don’t expect me to necessarily conform, is fine.

    I suspect most people realise you are sharing your view, rather than claiming this as fact.

    #68038

    I sound a bit judgemental & even harsh. Whatever amuses someone, provided they don’t expect me to necessarily conform, is fine.

    I suspect most people realise you are sharing your view, rather than claiming this as fact.

    And my “definition” doesn’t cover non-historical wargaming at all! Mike is correct & I beg people’s indulgence for my musing.

    donald

    #68108
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    We have used the following to allow for flexibility:

    • Players set out 50% of their force (measured in whatever scale you think is appropriate), using whatever method you like.
    • On each player’s side, we have off-table “zones”. The first, immediately behind the table, is divided in left/centre/right. The second is a zone behind that, and is the “rear”.
    • The other 50% of the troops are placed by the player in these off-table zones: left, centre, right and rear.
    • During movement, a player can move his units in these zones: from the left/centre/right onto the table, from the left/centre/right back to the rear, or from the rear forwards to left/centre/right. No movement is possible between left/centre/right. Once a unit is on-table, it can never move back off-table.
    • Advantage: you have  flexibility to move troops around in your off-table zones before they enter the table. Mechanics-wise, we just use an A4 sheet of paper, quickly make a sketch of the off-table areas, and pencil in where each unit is. Since units move on the table sooner or later, the number of units becomes less and less and bookkeeping is kept to a minimum. It also creates the impression of having an army deployed in depth, with reserves coming on the table were and when needed.
    • Disadvantage: not all the troops are on the table from the beginning, and you need some space to put the undeployed figures.

    We found this was a good system to use on tables that don’t have much depth, and hence limit the possibilities for redeployment once the game started. You might to adjust the system a bit depending on scenario and movement rates etc.

    (If I remember correctly, there was a Columbia Games card game about the ACW that used something similar, we drew inspiration from that).

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Phil Dutré.

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    #68552
    Les Hammond
    Participant

     

    Thing is, unless your units have spotted some enemy dispositions in the game, can reacting to as yet unlocated enemy be justified at all? Surely the only thing known at the outset is the terrain (more or less) and that the enemy are somewhere out there?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

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    #68555

    Thing is, unless your units have spotted some enemy dispositions in the game, can reacting to as yet unlocated enemy be justified at all? Surely the only thing known at the outset is the terrain (more or less) and that the enemy are somewhere out there?

     

    Les, I regard all the calculating initiative, dicing to decide who goes first & various deployment rules as Stage One of the wargame where both players strive for advantage. If you want to justify the process, it’s easily done. The player deemed to be defending home territory, naturally gains an advantage as does the player who has a preponderance in light cavalry (out-scouting). If you then throw in the ability of some generals to “read” terrain & to make calculated guesses as to their enemy’s dispositions, it all makes sense.

    Consider Hannibal in Italy, who used local guides, had the best light cavalry of the period & seemed to always know what the Romans would do. If you have some of Hannibal’s ability & some luck, your deployment should confer advantage too.

     

    donald

    #68568
    Norm S
    Participant

    ‘out-scouting the other side’ should be an important part of how systems  deal with deployment and though Light cavalry are an obvious (and realistic) measure in gaining such advantage, one often sees light cavalry then simply given a function as a combat arm on the battlefield as a sort of ‘cheap’ cavalry option, as though this is a prime function, while missing the point that prior to combat, they were the eyes and ears of the commander and are most useful after the battle, in pursuit to turn the win into victory and that to lose them instead by inappropriate deployment in battle, is strategic folly.

    Perhaps any (or at least some) light cavalry deployed to scouting or reserved for pursuit should be actually kept out of the deployment and battle bit, if role is to be a bit more representative.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Norm S.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Norm S.
    #68598

    Agreed, Norm.

    If campaigns are the pinnacle of wargaming, then carefully considered deployment rules allow at least a hint of what came before the battle in a pick-up game.

     

    donald

    #68632
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Draw a rough sketch map with deployments on it, let your opponent put your troops on the table. Keeps things honest 🙂

    Yabbit then your opponent knows what you have. That sucks empty toilet paper rolls.

    So? Your opponent knows what you have if you deploy them. All he has to do is look…

     

     

    "I'm not signing that"

    #68651
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    So? Your opponent knows what you have if you deploy them. All he has to do is look…

    That’s why you play opponents with bad eye-sight. Fog of War without having to write rules for it!

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #68653
    General Slade
    Participant

    I’m beginning to think a smoke machine might be the way to go.

    #68664

    Old school wargamers, deploying their armies in secret:

     

    #68667
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Black powder era I presume?

    #68668
    General Slade
    Participant

    Recreating the fug of war.

    #68724
    Les Hammond
    Participant
    I regard all the calculating initiative, dicing to decide who goes first & various deployment rules as Stage One of the wargame where both players strive for advantage. If you want to justify the process, it’s easily done. The player deemed to be defending home territory, naturally gains an advantage as does the player who has a preponderance in light cavalry (out-scouting). If you then throw in the ability of some generals to “read” terrain & to make calculated guesses as to their enemy’s dispositions, it all makes sense.
    So in other words, there’s a kind of strategic level spotting thing (plus other factors) going on as well as players trying out-deploy opponents? Many rule sets gloss over the reasoning behind initial deployment. Interesting.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/386297688467965/

    #68726
    So in other words, there’s a kind of strategic level spotting thing (plus other factors) going on as well as players trying out-deploy opponents? Many rule sets gloss over the reasoning behind initial deployment. Interesting.

     

    Yes. I’m trying not to preach about FoG which has its detractors (& its faults!). But it often has its heart in the right place & the deployment rules offer an hors d’oeuvre to the main course that is the battle. I’m sure other rule sets are at least as creative.

     

    donald

    #69145
    Mark Lewis
    Participant

    In Sword & Spear the players bid for initiative, so that whoever bids the most, modified by the number of light cavalry units, will have outscouted the other. They are bidding action dice which are used to activate units, with whatever  action dice they bid being unusable on the first turn. i.e. the more you bid for scouting the less units you can activate on the first turn.

    Deployment is then carried out in three phases, with the outscouted player deploying first in each phase -heavy foot and train (including artillery ) in the first phase, everying else except skirmishers in the second phase and skirmishers in the third phase.

    #69413
    A Lot of Gaul
    Participant

    In Swordpoint (ancient – medieval mass battles), troop deployment is based on one of twelve published scenario types, or players can also make up their own.

    For typical open-field battles, the author recommends that each player draws a secret map of his/her troop dispositions, which is then kept as a reference. Both sides then deploy their units at the same time and in accordance with their own deployment maps.

    There is also a pre-game movement phase, in which both sides simultaneously move, in the following order, 1) their foot skirmish units, then 2) certain units with foot troops riding horse and camels, then 3) mounted skirmish units, and finally 4) units that have the Special Deployment rule, based on their historical capabilities. After that, the game proper begins.

    I find that the system is simple, straightforward, and works quite well.

    "Ventosa viri restabit." ~ Harry Field

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