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This topic contains 29 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Stephen Madjanovich 1 day, 17 hours ago.

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  • #100958
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    How to manage issues of troop quality in our little figures and the ramifications of this is a long standing concern of wargame rules.

    Some rule sets ignore troop quality. Our WW2 rules (BKC) for example, grade all troops the same, finding differences, if any, in weapons and tactical doctrine.

    Others ostensibly differentiate between troop types by looking at their abilities. Thus in most Colonial sets, natives are generally poor shots but excel in melee whilst Colonial troops tend to be the opposite.

    There are other rule sets that grasp the nettle & either directly or indirectly require you to field troops across the spectrum of morale, training & equipment ie labelled Poor, Average or Elite.

    Both our Ancients/Renaissance (FoG)  & Napoleonic (G d’A) sets do this. The mechanisms do differ in the eras though. In Napoleonics, it is no bad thing to put your Landwehr/militia/conscript units in the front line; expecting them to rout (hopefully after doing the enemy some damage) before “committing the Guard” from a reserve. In FoG , it is mostly foolish to put “Poor” units anywhere near the fighting if possible. Because when they go, they tend to take others with them.  Poor units often see so little fighting in most games, you could replace the figures with a card reading, “Get close & I’m outta here!”. Indeed, preserving your Elite units is counter-productive and  you overwhelmingly use them to spearhead attacks & to lead the mostly average units to victory.

    With apologies for my rambling, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. How do rules you use handle the issue etc.?

     

    donald

    #100959
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I would generally be unimpressed by rules which did not separate troops into higher, ordinary and lower categories. Obviously the effect of being in one of these categories depends muchly on the period. Most rules have a mechanism where the breaking of nearby units has an adverse affect on your unit. I agree that there is a dichotomy: in some rules those troops only affect you if their quality is equal to or greater than yours; in others routing levies have the same effect on heroes as they do on other levies. It is axiomatic that these subtleties will change how you use your best troops.

    This gets complicated in asymmetric warfare. I am not sure that Zulus are significantly better than redcoats with bayonets, but, having closed the distance, their numbers should do for the close order chaps in time.

    One thing that I think 20th century rules are not good at showing is that good troops do things better than ordinary ones. Someone on The Place We Do Not Name once commented that his Territorial unit got quite good on doing something on their own ground (it was a long time ago) and then a unit of regs carried out the same exercise at a blistering pace. The chagrin he experienced might have been fatal if the two units were fighting each other.

    #100960
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    One thing that I think 20th century rules are not good at showing is that good troops do things better than ordinary ones. .

    Our home-groan SYW rules (‘A Glorious War’) tries to do this. French infantry, in general, move & manoeuvre at a slower pace than their Prussian foes. They fight & shoot as well but their fatal flaw often means deploying into lines before the best ground is seized. This costs entire battles sometimes. I think this is an elegant mechanism for showing qualitative differences.

     

    donald

    #100961
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    It depends…

    One comment that I will make is that you have to really think of effect sizes when messing about with troop quality.  Unless your rules are calibrated for quite small differences, many units should be pretty much the same.  In a much discussed example, WW2 Germans: if you are giving them bonuses for their better tanks and machine-guns, and a doctrine bonus, and then a bonus for being German, then the combination of those effects still has to be kept within the overall size of the effect that you want to achieve.  This will be hard to achieve if you are using quite coarsely-grained rules and they will be more realistic if you (generally) ignore most of them altogether.

    Another comment to make is that we can end up wildly generalizing from a small number of instances.  Does one good battle mean the unit was good, or was it lucky?  As a general rule, periods can be split into those in which battles were rare so it is hard to establish statistically-significant (i.e. not flukey) combat records; or those periods when combat is constant (so attrition is constantly changing the composition of the unit).  As I have mentioned before, we are often better off totally ignoring that kind of thing and concentrating on actualities: which troops were specially chosen, which troops were given extra training, which troops had a long period of combat success whilst suffering low casualties, even which troops were paid more.  There is also the temptation to ascribe to troops what should be ascribed to commanders.  For instance, when ascribing troop quality in 1805, you have to take into account roughly six factors: troop quality on each side; circumstances on each side (‘the scenario’, if you like); and the commanders on each side.  The total advantage to one side is logically a combination of these six.  We need to not over-rate French line infantrymen because Napoleon was good and Mack wasn’t so much.

    As gamers, as with other military enthusiasts, we can over-estimate the effects of ‘being better’.  On the average Napoleonic or ECW battle, what does ‘being better’ really mean?  In certain periods, the positive effects of troop quality can be over-done (there is of course, no bottom level!).

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #100962
    grizzlymc
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I think you have to take four of those six out only if a battle is two to ten counters being decided an a die roll. We replace the commanders in wargaming, the scenario is defined before the game, but our armies may well have been different. In the ’05 era, we need to represent the better training of the French Line infantryman, but also their faster drill which, if Nafziger is to be believed, means that the French could advance 100 paces, form line, fire a volley and charge, making impact on an Austrian regiment before it changed from column into line, surely this is something that gives the poorest French general and advantage over the most competent Austrian.

    In WWII the quality of training and experience would seem to be more important. The German army had trained its conscripts and its reserves harder than anyone else and did not suffer serious reverses until 1941 when the allies started to get the measure of what worked and what did not. By 1943, there seems to have been a man for man combat advantage, but allied soldiers had learned their trade and would get relatively better through the war.

    And then, we have to think how, in Malaya, a vastly inferior force with no night vision and poor balance farced the Brits onto Singapore.

    #100964
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    When I first began wargaming (in the ’20s I believe), I tended to make nearly every unit ‘Guard quality’: poor, naive fool.  I’ve certainly adjusted that practice. I think Whirlwind is on the money with the effect of inertia on troops: you can easily overestimate troop abilities and many soldiers are not that dissimilar in ability and the superlative units are not that common & some units can rise or fall for the occasion.

    I now make ‘Average’ units, well, the average unit*. Case in point with the ECW armies I’m assembling. Each has 16 units. The English Royalists have 1 Elite, 2 Superior, 3 Poor & the rest Average. The Covenanters have no Elites, 1 Superior, 2 Poor & the rest Average units. This, BTW, is the starting line-up & can be tweaked for balance or the needs of the scenario but I feel more or less reflects the reality of troop types for those armies.

    BKC, the WW2 rules that don’t differentiate between troops, does specify leadership quality, which changes according to the year &/or the Front. Pre-1943 Germans do have an edge but post this date are about the same as the Allies.

     

    donald

     

    • * Mathematicians will be pleased.

     

    #100966

    Thomaston
    Participant

    I wasn’t too bothered about troop quality in rules when I played them, especially when BKC smallest element is a platoon. I generally solve the problem myself by basing less infantry in higher quality units and more in lower quality units, justifying that the difference in number evens out their effectiveness. Same for tanks, better units are under strength, seems more realistic to me.

    Life's too long.

    #100968
    Mike
    Mike
    Keymaster

    My sci-fi rules have the order system at their core.
    There were a number of orders you could pick from and the chances of your unit following that order depended on 2 factors.
    What the order was and the experience/quality of the troops.
    Difficult orders would be engage the enemy in hand to hand, easy orders would be take cover.
    The best quality troops had a positive modifier whilst the poor ones a negative.
    Thus in my rules the bestest quality troops, the cream of the crop where not stupidly armed, crack shots and able to bench press a car, they were simply likely to do what you told them to.

    #100969
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    I think you have to take four of those six out only if a battle is two to ten counters being decided an a die roll. We replace the commanders in wargaming, the scenario is defined before the game, but our armies may well have been different.

    I meant that you have to look at all six factors in the history before deciding if, in fact, French line infantrymen were on average any better and if so, by how much.

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #100972

    Tony Hughes
    Participant

    We have recently been gaming RCW with an old set of rules called Red Actions. Each unit type has a set of characteristics for Combat, Movement & Morale (4 separate values) and this looked to be horrendously complicated and we almost didn’t use them but, after a few games, we got used to it and it isn’t as cumbersome as it sounds. The rules in general are quite simple so that bit of complexity doesn’t actually wreck them.

    The problem we had (and are still trying to fix) is that a side that has mostly poorer troops (usually the Reds) would often not be able to get enough of them close enough to the enemy to do any damage as failing morale often pushed other units back as well as that affected. We partially solved it by adding support rules that steadied morale (as I said, they were simple rules with few ‘frills’) if you had a group of units moving up in mutual support. That allowed more tactical methods to help solve the problem rather than just removing the differences (though we have now re-worked the morale system to have smaller differences between units, which also seems to help).

    If all you have is varying the score needed on a D6 then any quality differential between units has to be too great to be realistic, or even playable.

     

     

    #100984
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    How to manage issues of troop quality in our little figures and the ramifications of this is a long standing concern of wargame rules. Some rule sets ignore troop quality.

    An excellent topic that is often overlooked in the excitement of technology.

    • Rerolls of 1 and 6 on dice for better or poorer troops
    • Extra move capabilities for good troops
    • +/-1 on dice for better or poorer troops on morale
    • Motivated troops will endure more casualties

    The majority of troops may be average but what ‘level’ of average; conscript and professional will mean very different averages.

    Presumably, there should be factors for variation in command.  Operationally we assume better command will ensure more supporting units will reach the battlefield, tactically better command allows more orders per period.

    #100988
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    My main interest lies in the cordite period, when what makes good troops is rather more complicated than having the physical strength and courage to stand and poke at people with a big pointed stick. In particular, modern warfare makes much higher demands than the ancient sort on the emotional endurance, intelligence, and self-reliance of the soldier.

    Certainly in the modern period one needs to analyse “troop quality” into more than a single dimension. I would suggest that troop quality might include:

    Leadership — so killing the leader removes the advantage
    Determination — the ability to stick to the job, what is normally meant by “morale”
    Cohesion — the ability to stick together as a group, and so presumably to stick to the job (or at least to defect en bloc)
    Expertise — the ability to use weapons, tactics, or terrain to best advantage; battlecraft and fieldcraft
    Energy — fitness, freshness, lack of fatigue, ability to put in effort
    Initiative — ability to improvise, and so resistance to the psychological shock of the unexpected

    Good leadership may compensate for poor initiative, and vice-versa.

    Experience might typically lead to greater cohesion, expertise and initiative, against a loss of determination and energy.

    Selection would normally select for high determination and energy, perhaps for initiative.

    Training acts mainly to improve expertise, but also energy and cohesion.

    “Energy” in particular may be subject to considerable variation from time to time for the same troops, depending on how well fed and well rested they are. Recall S L A Marshall’s discovery in “The Soldier’s Load” that fear and fatigue are very closely linked.

    I know of no set of rules that distinguishes all these elements — very few bother to model fatigue. The latest edition WRG rules, in their listing of troop types (Inept, Green, Stubborn, Dashing, and so on) effectively recognised the difference between determination/cohesion and expertise/initiative. “Squad Leader” and its many imitators have a special role for leaders.

    Many naive suppositions about troop quality turn out to be untrue after looking at a bit of history. For example, it is generally accepted that green troops are harder to suppress than experienced troops, as the veterans have a much better idea of just how dangerous the bullets are — although it is the veterans who will get moving again quicker after being driven to ground, as they have done this sort of thing before. I would also be very sceptical of Mike’s idea from his sci-fi rules that good troops are the ones who best obey orders; if one believes in Auftragstaktik, it may well be the best troops who deliberately disobey, because they have a better idea of the right thing to do than their commander, who can’t see their immediate situation.

    Looking at the application of these ideas to naval wargaming — “sailor quality”, I suppose — I mention the simple system I developed to represent the relative competence of different ship’s departments in my game “The Moon-Grey Sea” about the passage of convoy HX-228. Using the terms current in the RN at the time, departments were rated “Inefficient”, “Efficient”, or “Fully Efficent”. Whenever an action needed rolling for to determine success (ASDIC search, RDF search, A/S attack, surface gunnery, and so forth) the basic roll on 1d6 to succeed would be 4, 5 or 6 if Inefficient; 3, 4, 5 or 6 if “Efficient”; or 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 if “Fully Efficient”. Moreover, tasks would be rated as “easy”, “normal”, or “difficult”, according to circumstances (e.g. ASDIC search in poor ASDIC conditions, difficult; visual search in fair weather, easy). For a normal task, 1d6 is rolled. For easy or difficult tasks, 2d6 are rolled; an attempt at an easy task succeeds if either die showed the necessary score for success, whereas a difficult task needs a success on both dice.

    What I liked about this scheme was that it showed that a properly-worked-up department had a slight advantage over a bunch of new kids for easy tasks, but as conditions got worse their advantage over the “fair-weather sailors” increased.

    I can’t remember who it was, but someobody once told me that elite troops ddn’t do anything ordinary troops couldn’t do, they just did it a little bit better, and for a little bit longer.

    All the best,

    John.

    #100995
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    One advantage of long stat-lines, warhammer style, is that you can do stuff like “good morale but terrible shots” and “veterans who have lost faith” pretty well.

    For ages, in 5Core, we did “a soldier is a soldier” since it’s a man to man game, then you could add special skills to reflect how each figure might be unique or special.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #100996

    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    I would suggest that troop quality might include: Leadership — so killing the leader removes the advantage Determination — the ability to stick to the job, what is normally meant by “morale” Cohesion — the ability to stick together as a group, and so presumably to stick to the job (or at least to defect en bloc) Expertise — the ability to use weapons, tactics, or terrain to best advantage; battlecraft and fieldcraft Energy — fitness, freshness, lack of fatigue, ability to put in effort Initiative — ability to improvise, and so resistance to the psychological shock of the unexpected

    […]

    I can’t remember who it was, but someobody once told me that elite troops ddn’t do anything ordinary troops couldn’t do, they just did it a little bit better, and for a little bit longer. All the best, John.

    John, are you thinking of (if I remember right) Viscount Slim praising the Glorious Glosters, and saying “The British soldier is no braver than his enemy; he is just brave for longer”? I read it at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum a few weeks ago.

    As for the OP: I do think it is helpful and can be important to distinguish between competence and motivation. John’s six factors above could be grouped into those two categories, and rulesets can and often do reflect both to some degree.

    I venture to claim that BBB manages to accommodate all six factors. Leadership, by only representing those generals who (individually or by virtue of good staff work) really make a positive difference; everything else by the combination of three troop quality levels (the conventional Veteran, Trained, Raw) with a set of Attributes that may affect how they respond to orders, how  fast they move, how effective they are in firefights or assaults, how well they rally from disorder or react to new situations …

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

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

    bloodybigbattles.blogspot.com/

     

     

    #101081
    Northern Monkey
    Northern Monkey
    Participant

    How to manage issues of troop quality in our little figures and the ramifications of this is a long standing concern of wargame rules. Some rule sets ignore troop quality. Our WW2 rules (BKC) for example, grade all troops the same, finding differences, if any, in weapons and tactical doctrine.

     

    Just to point out that BKC does grade troops into Green, Fragile, Veteran and Elite, if your troops are not noted as such then by default they are Regulars

    My attempt at a Blog: http://ablogofwar.blogspot.co.uk/

    #101088
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    How to manage issues of troop quality in our little figures and the ramifications of this is a long standing concern of wargame rules. Some rule sets ignore troop quality. Our WW2 rules (BKC) for example, grade all troops the same, finding differences, if any, in weapons and tactical doctrine.

    Just to point out that BKC does grade troops into Green, Fragile, Veteran and Elite, if your troops are not noted as such then by default they are Regulars

     

    In BKC/1 that we use, it’s an optional rule (p115): one we’ve never felt the need to use.

     

    donald

    #101136
    Northern Monkey
    Northern Monkey
    Participant

    Ah I see, I use BKC(2) and its no longer optional, hence the confusion

    My attempt at a Blog: http://ablogofwar.blogspot.co.uk/

    #101156
    Phil Dutré
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    I fully agree that quality level of troops adds colour to your tabletop forces.

    However, I sometimes wonder whether it’s really necessary mechanics-wise. Often, the variance in the outcomes of combat resolution, morale checks etc. overrides the differences in troop quality.

    Sometimes we also want to give troops better characteristics because they performed well in the field historically- although that performance might itself be due to the luck of the day. This is exactly what our gaming rules and die rolls do.

    Don’t get me wrong – there’s is of course a difference in real-life troop quality. Whether we always succesfully translate that into meaningful decisions during a wargame is another matter.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Phil Dutré Phil Dutré.
    #101160
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    That’s kind of it right?

    We say that “4th Regiment was better, so they should get a +1” but then we read about their battles and in one battle they were uphill, in the next they were deployed to hit an enemy flank and in the third, they sat it out in reserve.

    So were they really better or did they just get put in situations where the rules would give them a +1 already?

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #101168
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Another point, following on from Phil’s, is whether commanders should, as on the table top, have accurate objective knowledge as to the superiority/inferiority of the quality of their troops as against those of the enemy. Even in one’s own army, there might not be universal agreement as to which are the best regiments — certainly in the British Army, most soldiers secretly (and some not-so-secretly) consider their regiment the best in the Army.

    I think that one of the aspects of operational experience that makes it so valuable is not that it improves troop quality, but that it tends to make the capabilities of the troops a known factor. A long time ago Sydney Jary wrote a piece for the British Army Review about the importance of “knowing the form” — units having got used to what was and was not tactically possible or reasonable, and so having the confidence both to take on missions within their capabilities and to dig their heels in when something was “not on”.

    This is why I like the scheme of untried units used in some boardgames of the “Panzergruppe Guderian” family. “Kharkov” used the scheme, and was I think an even better game — German units used their printed combat strengths just like in a normal game, and had divisional integrity bonuses and some highly maneouvrable and powerful panzer divisions. The Russians had a horde of untried units, deployed face-down, whose true combat strengths were revealed only when they first entered combat. They also had some sueful bonuses from armoured brigades, and for surprise in the early turns. The result was a game that showed the contest between two quite different military systems, and it was almost as if each side was playing to its own set of rules.

    “Fulda Gap” was if anything even more fun, as, it being “the first battle of the next war”, nobody on either side knew just how good their forces were until they were committed to action. Whether a unit started with its printed combat rating, or half, or double, depended on a “troop quality” roll it took on first entering combat. It was interesting to see the troop quality ratings the designers had assignedto each of the NATO and WP nationalities represented, and possible to vary the game considerably by changing the ratings to match your own prejudices or inclinations.

    Observing that being successful in an initial action will do wonders for troop morale, I wonder if a game mechanism might be devised to give a sort of “Bayesian troop quality” effect — successes increase troop confidence, failures reduce it, but the more experience a unit builds up, the more marginal the effect of each further success or failure becomes. The first time in action, though, it’s anybody’s guess…

    “All you’ve got to do is stand, and fire three rounds a minute. Now you and I know you can fire three rounds a minute. But can you stand?”

    All the best,

    John.

    #101171
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    This is why I like the scheme of untried units used in some boardgames of the “Panzergruppe Guderian” family. “

    As I recall it, one of the 1980s SLINGSHOTS had a game design for the Battle of Dorylaeum that included rolling troop characteristics when first in contact with the enemy; different troops had different die rolls so might be D6 or D6+2 of AveD and so on in order to provide flavour to the different troop types.  I thought it very good but never saw it repeated.

    #101193
    Phil Dutré
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    The Russians had a horde of untried units, deployed face-down, whose true combat strengths were revealed only when they first entered combat.

    At least in some of the (classic) books on miniature wargaming, this idea has been proposed as well, but I can’t recall any commercial rulesets having done so. Probably it might have been a special attribute for some chaos troops in GW games 😉

    Nevertheless, it is a clever mechanic.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Phil Dutré Phil Dutré.
    #101196
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    This is why I like the scheme of untried units used in some boardgames of the “Panzergruppe Guderian” family.

    That is one of my favourite SPI games.  I think that ‘Drive on Stalingrad’ used the same system, but since it’s 30+ years since I last played any of my SPI games, and they are all stored 40 miles away from where I am now, I guess I may not know for a while.

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #101200

    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    Sam Mustafa’s Lasalle rules have a classification of ‘unreliable’ for Prussian Landwehr and similar troops. On their first combat, you roll a D6. Roll 1 to 3 and they are poor for the rest of the game. Roll 6 and they are very good for the rest of the game, Roll 4 or 5 and they are average for that combat but you have to roll again for their next combat. So they could be the same as other average troops, but are more likely to be either good or bad, with the latter being more likely.

    More generally, I guess most gamers want a variation in the quality of their troops, whether that is due to equipment or ‘training’. The emphasis in different rules may vary. As has been said, the question is how such variations compare to the random variations present in the game, such as morale rolls, etc. Whilst we may think our best troops will be victorious, I want the possibility that even the worst enemy troops may defeat them, no matter how frustrating that may be when it happens. Maybe that is why the random effect is relatively high in most of the games I play. Poor troops may have a good day.

    RogerC

    #101204
    Whirlwind
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    I think ‘Spearhead’ used this to a degree, as did Howard Whitehouse’s ‘Old Trousers’.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #101212
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    The “Leningrad” boardgame does the “random troop quality” too and I’ve seen a few miniatures games use it as an optional rule here and there.

    The old “Fantasy wargaming” roleplaying game had you roll for luck every time you did something, which modified the subsequent roll. A bit redundant maybe.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #101233

    Stephen Madjanovich
    Participant

    Certainly in the modern period one needs to analyse “troop quality” into more than a single dimension. I would suggest that troop quality might include:

    Leadership — so killing the leader removes the advantage

    Determination — the ability to stick to the job, what is normally meant by “morale”

    Cohesion — the ability to stick together as a group, and so presumably to stick to the job (or at least to defect en bloc)

    Expertise — the ability to use weapons, tactics, or terrain to best advantage; battlecraft and fieldcraft

    Energy — fitness, freshness, lack of fatigue, ability to put in effort Initiative — ability to improvise, and so resistance to the psychological shock of the unexpected Good leadership may compensate for poor initiative, and vice-versa.

    Experience might typically lead to greater cohesion, expertise and initiative, against a loss of determination and energy. Selection would normally select for high determination and energy, perhaps for initiative. Training acts mainly to improve expertise, but also energy and cohesion. “Energy” in particular may be subject to considerable variation from time to time for the same troops, depending on how well fed and well rested they are.

    Although I like the concept, unless all this is boiled down to one or two characteristics during game play, this would either be overwhelming to players or likely to drastically slow a game down. If, on the other hand, the effects and interplay of these characteristics are determined and applied before the actual game. The resultant game effects simmered down to one or two modifiers used during a game. Then post action they are retained between games and adjusted based on the results of various battles I would see them useful.

    Initially when reading John’s post I felt one would also have to consider a few characteristics for your leaders as they will not be one dimensional either.

    Intelligence- How likely to apply the correct tactics, or even know or remember them for the leader with a poor roll.

    Imagination- How likely to pick or create new tactics as opposed to doing the same thing every battle.

    Charisma- Who’s gonna follow ‘ol stinky?

    Morale Fiber- Will so and so have to “confer with the Brigadier” every time his unit gets in the thick of it? Or will they have the self control not to order “no Prisoners” after seeing the effects of a nasty action when they should move on to their objective? Could also be prone to plunder as opposed to dealing honorably with the locals after a battle, or during.

    Just more food for thought.

    #101235
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    Although I like the concept, unless all this is boiled down to one or two characteristics during game play, this would either be overwhelming to players or likely to drastically slow a game down. .

    That’s the point. John’s fairly exhaustive list would be excellent for skirmish or small scale but bigger games would probably be more time efficient with less. Statistically, I think that’s correct too: the bigger the sample, the less variation?

     

    donald

    #101314

    Stephen Madjanovich
    Participant

    One of my favorite game systems is/was Striker, which was basically a mass combat system for Traveller RPG adventures. You were required to create your forces, and equipment, based on some reasonable organization rules. The results gave characteristics for game purposes. To me it was one of the great strengths of the rules, frankly probably better than the actual combat rules which used a quick and dirty system developed for character combat and tried to apply it to military situations.

    You have four quality levels of troopers, recruit, regular, veteran and elites. Each has an inherent morale value, 4, 7, 10 and 13. They also have skill modifiers for various tasks but lets keep to combat so those would be 0, +1, +2 and +3 to a 2D6 to hit roll requiring a base of 8+ at effective weapon range for single shot weapons. There is a myriad of modifiers for automatic weapons, areas of fire and number of targets which can be attacked but for looking at troop quality lets stick with the morale values.

    You “buy” your forces in one of four general grades, militia, conscript, long service and picked. Each of these gives a percentage of each troop type your forces will be composed of. At the lowest level, militia, you would only get a single elite trooper for every 100 troopers. At the highest level, picked, you have no recruits.

    Now you generate units based on 4 man fire teams assigning your troopers as you see fit with certain restrictions. Each squad has an NCO who is part of one of the two to three teams or mounted separately. A platoon is composed of two to five squads and a command group. The platoon has an officer and may have a senior NCO, or one of the squad NCOs can perform that function. Each fire team has a morale value equal to the average of the troopers in it. This average morale is used to determine the initiative of the team. Values are low for teams of 5 or less average morale, high initiative is 11 or greater. No team which contains an NCO or officer may have low initiative. This sometimes leads to having the squad NCO be an individual or part of a two man team. For teams containing officers the officer’s morale determines the initiative.

    This forces your hand to organize your forces in a reasonably balanced way. The team morale and especially their initiative has major consequences in game play. Individual troopers roll for attacks applying their personal quality modifiers.

    Complex and to me very interesting. I enjoyed the pre game work developing troops based on different organizations and qualities for different forces. Revisiting the game I don’t care for the individual rolls for attacks but still feel the organization rules enjoyable.

    #101664

    Stephen Madjanovich
    Participant

    We have recently been gaming RCW with an old set of rules called Red Actions. Each unit type has a set of characteristics for Combat, Movement & Morale (4 separate values) and this looked to be horrendously complicated and we almost didn’t use them but, after a few games, we got used to it and it isn’t as cumbersome as it sounds. The rules in general are quite simple so that bit of complexity doesn’t actually wreck them.

    Tony. Thank you for mentioning these rules. I have downloaded and read (once) the 2nd edition and they look great.

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