Home Forums General Game Design Hundred Years War – Command & Control

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    craig thomson

    I’ve been reworking my 10mm Hundred Years Wars rules, in particular the command and control element.

    I would welcome your thoughts please.

    A bit of background first:

    Each army is made up of 3 battles of about 6 units, each battle is led by a Battle Commander (effectively the army has a Left battle, a centre battle and right battle), the army also has an Army Commander (The King). 3 unit Classes in the game; Elite, Reliable and Unreliable…..these are then     further split by troop types (Eg bowmen, light cavalry Etc)….so you get for example Elite bowmen, Reliable Foot Skirmishers etc.

    The concept:

    When it’s the players command phase he chooses  to command one of his battles with the relevant battle commander and rolls 3d6, the total pips=command radius in inches. For each 4,5 or 6 rolled he may take an action with that commander. For each 1 that is rolled a phase counter is placed in the centre of the table.

    Command actions available are either inspire all units from his battle that are in his command radius (a way of keeping morale in check) or to command an individual unit from his battle. Once commanded, the unit can take 1,2 or 3 unit actions depending on their class (Unreliable 1, Reliable 2, Elite 3).  Actions include advance, shoot, charge, change formation, defend and task. They can do any of these in any order, but may only do each one once per turn.

    Once that commander has used his actions your opponent chooses a commander and follows the same rules. Again for each 1 that is rolled a phase counter is added to the centre of the table.

    If at any point there are more phase counters on the table than commanders yet to command the turn ends immediately.

    Either player may at any point either in his turn, or his opponents turn declare “Kings Command” and immediately use his King to  command any of his troops on the table, using the same rules above, however the King rolls 4d6 instead of 3d6 giving him greater command radius and potentially more actions (but also more chance of rolling 1’s and ending the turn taking no actions). Crucially the Kings are the only commanders who may command a unit that has already been commanded this turn, although the unit may still not repeat any action already done that turn.

    Reality of test play:

    Variability in getting to command what you want to command (typically 1 or 2 commanders) don’t get to command each turn, tough decisions about using actions to keep morale in check, or get troops moving, variable turn length and interruption from your opponents King who can be used to try and force turn ends or push troops on who have already been commanded.

    My only slight concern is the big difference in how difficult it is to get unreliable units to take several actions when compared to Elites, but Elites are meant to be a very small proportion of your army (typically just 2 or 3 units out of 18).

    Thoughts please ?



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    Guy Farrish

    Wrote a load of stuff and then thought – ‘No, that’s rubbish!’

    I don’t think it all was on reflection, but it started in the wrong place.

    First thought – good idea! What did a commander do in medieval battles and how do you reflect it in game terms?

    Nice to see someone having a think about it rather than just concentrating on the shiny (rusty) armour and arrow storms.

    Second thought – and I think I’d want to play before making an overall assessment- is that this is going to be VERY high in frustration factor.

    Max activation (minus King’s move) is 50% of units. Given your elites are going to respond best to any command, your commanders are going to stay close to them to activate them and get the 3 moves – essentially relegating your army to elites + cannon (arrow?) fodder.

    That may be exactly what you want! And it fits in very nicely with 19th/early 20th Century views (notably Oman) of Medieval C2 but is a bit on the harsh side and makes for quite a static battle (I think -I need to actually play it through I think).

    On the other hand it does make the ‘King’ a lynchpin and while they may have thought they were,they were not necessarily the best commander on the field!

    It seems to share some features of the BlitzKrieg Commander/Warmaster stable?

    I like the cumulative ‘1s’ effect rather than a straight die roll end of phase. The interleaving of Battle activations helps prevent the whole army stopping dead in its tracks after no actions as well, which I think is good.

    Having said it is high frustration; you could make it even more so! (but in a more medieval way?)

    I like the variable command radius instead of simple PIPS (dashed annoying acronym) .

    The effect of making some units the main drivers for the control of the battle flow looks good but I wonder if it makes for TOO much reliance on elites and whether it allows the gamer enough to do?

    There is an argument for letting a medieval commander wind up the army and let it go: either sitting there eating an anachronistic sandwich watching events unfold, or picking up a mace and smiting churls (the Oman interpretation of medieval battle). I think there was a bit more to it but not too much more.

    So instead of having everyone except two or three units stood around getting shot/pulverised perhaps you could automate some of their actions and keep the limited control effect but make the Commanders (player) make decisions about what he wanted to control?

    I know the limited commands+actions does that in one way but how about having ‘uncommanded’ units react to events unless commanded otherwise?They could just sit there still, but could also be goaded into advance as a reaction to shooting or threat of attack, may be ordered to advance but require intervention to stop them etc?

    I have done something similar with a Thirty Years War set (more options, slightly more control) which has enough player involvement and yet lack of unit control for anyone I think!

    I certainly like the basic idea. I just wonder if the effect at the moment will be to have VERY active elite units running about doing more things than they could have done and almost everyone else sat stock still for most of the game?


    Question re King’s move – if use to interrupt:

    a) do any 1s add to the current phase end total?

    b) what happens after his interrupt – does the original, interrupted phase resume as if nothing had happened?

    Have to say this seems a bit tricksy for my taste – but dont’ worry about that I like IGOUGO so I’m way out of touch with current thought!

    Some of this may be radically altered by other bits of play – how shooting/melee works and affects unit control if at all etc.

    Thanks for stirring the old grey cells!





    Why limit elites?

    If each unit can only do three things and none of them more than once, is an elite archer going to do more damage than an unreliable one?
    I dont think it can?
    Yes it can say move and fire, but it cant fire fire and then move out of range.

    I think if elite units are only a small part of the army it should be ok.
    Invite me over and I will let you know.

    Brown sugar in my coffee please.




    craig thomson

    Hi Guy & Michael,

    Thank you for the inputs, I’ll try and address both posts in one.

    Yes it can be frustrating, and that was one of the things I was trying to capture in the C2. This is the 4th or 5th rewrite of the rules and it’s a tricky balance to get right. One of the ideas I am toying with is to make unreliable troops, self activating, in as much as if they are not successfully commanded they will continue with the last order given to them, taking their action at the end of the turn. This has 2 effects, firstly it means the player has to be more thoughtful as to what they get their unreliable troops to do as there is a risk of them doing it for several turns, and secondly it adds to the feeling of the unreliable troops acting on orders but not being as able to respond quickly to the battle waging around them.

    To answer your questions Guy, the Kings interruption does add to the pile of 1s and often their roll takes the pile over its limit, meaning that they roll, maybe get 1 or 2 1s and don’t get to command as the turn ends immediately. If they do complete their commands, the play switches back to the opponent and they carry on where they left off before the interrupt.

    Mike, concerning the difference between Elites, Reliable and unreliable troops, there is a difference in combat, Elites roll 3d6, Reliable 2d6 and Unreliable 1d6 (plus additional or less die due to certain circumstances). Its opposed rolls v your opponent so the more die you roll the better (any un opposed rolls are vs 2s).



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