Home Forums General Game Design Nightfall

This topic contains 15 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Chris Pringle 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #119643
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    I’ve just finished Day One of our annual mega-game at the local Train & Hobby Show.

    It’s an ECW game of about 1500 points a side (FoG;R) and is going well. Back tomorrow for the conclusion to the battle.

    However, a new idea occurred to us: to stage a break-off  as “night falls”.

    Admittedly there weren’t a lot of 2 day battles in the ECW but our idea was to move all units back two movement units towards their baselines.

    There was some common sense about this with units in strong points able to opt to stand & to not move any unit into debilitating terrain. It did involve breaking units in melee apart & giving up some admirable ground (eg the high ground).

    I think it a good idea as we have the time  (6 hours to finish tomorrow) and it will give both sides an opportunity to re-group, change plans etc.

    Withdrawing in an orderly fashion is either impossible or clumsy in most rule sets from Ancient to H&M so this is a departure.

     

    Your feelings?

     

    donald

     

    #119682
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    I might be wrong, but here’s my view.

    Moving every unit back two moves just seems to be a blanket solution to the issue.  You mentioned not doing this to units in a strongpoint, but I feel that that should apply to any unit that is in a favourable position.  If you are behind a wall or embankment, maybe a stout hedge, behind a stream or on top of a hill, you’re not going to want to give up that advantage unless you are also potentially exposed in some other way, such as the units either side of you withdrawing because they find themselves out in the open.

    Unlike some other parts of the world the UK benefits from a phenomenon known as ‘evening’.  Night doesn’t suddenly just fall like a blackout curtain.  Consequently, if units truly are locked in hand to hand combat, then the arrival of evening is not going to stop the melee in an instant.  I think that people will fight on until the circumstances that would normally end a daylight melee come about.  For the purposes of your game maybe you have a mechanic to resolve that melee more quickly in order that the players can retire for the night? If the combatants really are still going at it in the pitch dark then I’d leave them to it and resolve a few turns of melee with them once players return the next day.

    But what do I know?

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #119870
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    The two day Show game is over. After Day One we used our Nightfall concept, not only withdrawing but also doing some re-positioning, rallying & re-organising. It gave the game impetus for the following day &, I think, was a useful mechanism for our game.

    Initial deployments/Day One

    Parliamentary forces arrive Turn 2

    Montrose arrives Turn 4

    Attacks on the Covenanter centre

    End Day One: things look bleak for the Covenanters

    Covenanter Lancers: rallied & ready for Day Two

    Renewed attack on the Centre

    Royalists oppose Parliament

    Royalists rampant.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    #119886
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Montrose with a unit of Horse. I should add that he was awfie lucky to escape from my Covenanters.

    donald

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Ochoin Ochoin.
    #119893
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    Good looking game.

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #119894
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Thanks, DH.

    I know you don’t approve of our “Nightfall” mechanism, but we were at a point where the game wouldn’t go for two days & we didn’t really have the time to fight it, from scratch, on Day Two.

    There was considerable discussion on Saturday afternoon & again on Sunday morning & I don’t think a fall back with some rallying during the night (NB no destroyed units or lost bases were restored) is so implausible……..if you allow no ECW battle went for two days.

     

    donald

    #119902

    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    I’m glad your ideas worked for your game. I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find out what happened at nightfall in multi-day battles.

    Before the 20th Century, multi-way battles seem very rare, particularly if you discount those where the ‘first day’ (usually only the first evening) involves an outpost of one side being driven back to its main line by an enemy adopting its battle positions for the next day. As you say, there were no two day ECW battles, and very few in the 30 Years War. Nordlingen may be one example, although I’ve found it hard to determine how much of each army at Nordlingen was committed on the first evening. For wars earlier than the ECW/30YW there aren’t many examples either. The 19th Century has more (I think of Wagram, Dresden, Bautzen & Leipzig), but they were all extremely big battles, where one or both sides expected reinforcements to arrive for the second day. Battles where two armies fought for a day, stepped back overnight, and then resumed fighting with just the same troops seem as rare as hen’s teeth.

    Even where a battle lasted two days, the amount of information about what happened at nightfall is usually minimal. Certainly, melees carried on into darkness, although maybe they resolved more quickly, as one side or the other decided they couldn’t prevail. Otherwise, reports just talk about troops ‘falling back’ or ‘regrouping’. The decision to stand or fall back seems to decided for relatively large forces, so brigades or divisions, not individual units, and based on whether the force had achieved its objective or not. So troops held villages, hills, and other strongpoints, and the other side regrouped. A key thing seems to be that the victors of such night melees don’t follow-up, if only because they can’t see what the might then encounter.So Generally similar to what you did, Ochoin, although maybe determined for larger bodies of troops, and with a few more types of features, such as hills, being held overnight.

    In view of the rarity of two day battles, and the lack of information about what happened, I guess it isn’t surprising that withdrawals at nightfall in preparation for a second day are not well handled in wargame rules. You did well to come up with a reasonable system.

    RogerC

    #119906
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Thank you, Roger.

    The one aspect I am unsure about is how effective C&C would be as night (or, DH, the “gloaming”) falls?

    It may well be the intent for an army commander to break off & re-group but how capable was an ECW general of having his intentions communicated to all his units?

    I was also wondering about any superstitious dread of fighting at night in the period that might overawe any tactical advantages. These were men who, after all, believed Rupert’s “Hunting Pudle” was a demon Familiar.

     

    donald

    #119907
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    If I might be permitted a small triumph, in spite of having my Covenanters and my pal’s Parliamentary armies soundly thrashed by the English & Scottish Royalists?

    The far right of the photo shows the raiding force of a poor Horse unit and my Moss Trooper light Horse that successfully sacked our opponent’s supply camp, drew off & occupied two of Montrose’s Horse units, a Dragoon unit & a unit of English P&S, and none the less survived the battle intact.

    It’s a bit like speaking about how well England did in the Tea break during the last Ashes match against Australia but I will take any positives I can.

     

    donald

     

     

    #119908
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    I wouldn’t overly sweat it. We often run multi-day operational WW1 and WW2 games, and having an ‘overnight’ phase to reorg and resupply works well.

    In earlier periods, sieges were multi day/week/month events and commanders didn’t apparently have much trouble moving their troops around and getting things done. Pre-twenty first century, night ops in general take a LOT of planning, and often rehearsals, so breaking off at dusk is entirely sensible although as noted, units in engaged in close combat will often go on fighting after dark until a decision is reached.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #119968

    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    I think it a good idea as we have the time (6 hours to finish tomorrow) and it will give both sides an opportunity to re-group, change plans etc. Withdrawing in an orderly fashion is either impossible or clumsy in most rule sets from Ancient to H&M so this is a departure. Your feelings? donald

    My thoughts? It’s a very good idea, such a good idea that the ‘Night Interval’ is an important section of the ‘Bloody Big BATTLES!’ ruleset.  Pace Roger, there are many C19 battles that carry on over two or three days. (E.g., 3 of the 9 FPW battles in the BBB rulebook; 2 of those in the BBEB rulebook, plus 4 where the ‘Night Interval’ represents a longer interlude; ACW actions such as Gettysburg, Spotsylvania; and a C18 example, Arcole, where Napoleon attempts virtually exactly the same plan with the same forces in the same situation on Day 2 as on Day 1.)

    It’s a good idea because indeed as you say it allows something of a re-set halfway through. In game design terms it can be useful as achieving certain conditions on Day 1 can trigger or affect particular events on Day 2. I actually think that in general those BBB games with a night interval tend to be better games than those without.

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

    https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BBB_wargames/info

    bloodybigbattles.blogspot.com/

    #119971
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Thanks, Chris.

    The Royalists had the advantage at the end of Day One & we were careful not to reverse this.  The game ended, as I said above, in their victory. I would imagine that in a more competitive group than ours, if Day Two’s results had of ended with a Covenanter/Parly victory, there’d be some noses out of joint.

     

    donald

    #119997

    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Why should noses be put out of joint, Donald? Could your nightfall regrouping be construed as unfair somehow?

    That aside: one of the axes I like to grind regularly is that games are about making decisions, and that for a game to be interesting there need to be new and interesting decisions to be made frequently during the game. Night Intervals serve that end because they present an opportunity to change the situation significantly, and because the enemy’s decisions during the night may well also present significant choices about how to react. I wrote an essay on my blog last year about the importance of changing situations mid-game, focused on one 3-day battle from 1849 but ranging across various others:

    https://bloodybigbattles.blogspot.com/2018/09/changing-situations-mid-game.html

    Chris

    #120001
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    Thanks, DH. I know you don’t approve of our “Nightfall” mechanism. donald

     

    It wasn’t that I didn’t ‘approve’, it was that it seemed to me like a ‘blanket’ approach when a more discriminating one might have been better, or more akin to a reality of sorts.  It was merely a suggested mechanism.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by deephorse deephorse.

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #120013
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Thanks, DH. I know you don’t approve of our “Nightfall” mechanism. donald

    It wasn’t that I didn’t ‘approve’, it was that it seemed to me like a ‘blanket’ approach when a more discriminating one might have been better, or more akin to a reality of sorts. It was merely a suggested mechanism.

    I see your point. I do, BTW, come here for the informed comment (such as yours), so thanks. I daresay if we do it again, we’ll try to refine it so a set of criteria may be useful.

     

    donald

    #120022

    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    it seemed to me like a ‘blanket’ approach when a more discriminating one might have been better.

    The BBB Night Interval rules include a simple yet discriminating approach in the ‘Withdraw to Cover’ phase: units in the open pull back until out of enemy small arms range or until they reach cover, while those already in cover can just stay there. For periods earlier than C19, you could make it charge range rather than small arms range.

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.