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  • #198113
    Avatar photoWhirlwind
    Participant

    A hardy perennial this one, although the full question couldn’t fit in the title, so at least it isn’t as open-ended as that sounds.

    My question is, when the lowest level of representation is the infantry battalion, there are no separate companies, how do you prefer to mechanically represent skirmishers?

    1 – A factor integral to the infantry battalion?

    2 – A separate skirmishing unit/battalion?

    3 – Something else?

    I know that this is complicated by the fact that in a pinch, pretty much any Napoleonic infantry soldier might find themselves in the skirmish line.

    #198115
    Avatar photoMartinR
    Participant

    Do you mean a small ngle stand is a battalion, or a unit is a battalion (as in WRG).

    If the former, I’d just factor it into the units range and firepower, a skirmish rating if you will. And have seperate Light Infantry battalions who can operate entirely in skirmish order.

    If the latter, well in WRG skirmishers are represented as seperate figures who wander around in front of their parent battalion.

    Im always generally in favour of factoring things in. For a start, it means Napoleonic units get to ‘shoot’ a lot further if you allow for a skirmish screen a hundred yards in front.

     

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

    #198116
    Avatar photoWhirlwind
    Participant

    Do you mean a small single stand is a battalion, or a unit is a battalion (as in WRG).

    The former mainly (although it doesn’t necessarily have to be that small), although it would apply to something like Neil Thomas or Shako too, when you cannot separate any bases in the battalion. In play, WRG 1685-1845 has skirmish ‘companies’, even though it doesn’t call them that.

    #198117
    Avatar photoSkip
    Participant

    Not sure what rules your playing but most recent Napoleonic Wargamer video is on Black Powder representation of skirmishes. On YouTube. https://youtu.be/pG02XENAw-Q?si=sKc3CHBCnUMa0Nes

    I play Empire so single company’s are represented. But would think whatever bonuses might assume to be present would need to be kept track of. The video goes over this, and still maybe have a skirmishes figure could be on the stand.

    #198118
    Avatar photoGeneral Slade
    Participant

    For me it would depend on whether the individual battalions are able to adopt different tactical formations that have an effect on how they perform in the game. Basically, can a battalion be represented in column, line and square?

    If they can then I think I would want to see skirmishers represented on the table.  So each brigade might have figures representing a skirmish screen.

    However, if the rules are a little more abstract and it is just assumed that a battalion is in the appropriate formation for its tactical situation then I think you can also assume that the skirmishers are there doing their job and they don’t need to be represented on the table.

     

     

    #198119
    Avatar photoPatrice
    Participant

    when the lowest level of representation is the infantry battalion, there are no separate companies

    Have been thinking about this recently. Although our games are on a different (perhaps, um, a bit oniric?) level, 1:1 but small squads may move and act as battalions (a heresy but we like the overall effect).

    Pics from a recent game, one unit has deployed as skirmishers, another unit stands behind in close order. The player could have taken only some skirmishers from an unit if he had only needed a screen of skirmishers, but in this case he wanted firepower against an enemy unit firing from a forest edge.

    this is complicated by the fact that in a pinch, pretty much any Napoleonic infantry soldier might find themselves in the skirmish line.

    Yes, others than light infantry or voltigeurs can also do it, we consider they are not as effective.

    We were also influenced by these short, simple videos:

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #198127
    Avatar photoChris Pringle
    Participant

    I suppose BBB uses a sort of hybrid approach that would count as your option “3 – something else”. Although designed for much larger battles, its elastic scale means it does also get used for games where a unit is a battalion. A typical unit might have 4 or 5 bases. Of these, 0-5 might be “Skirmisher bases”. These represent “1 – a factor integral to the battalion”, so they don’t get physically deployed as a separate skirmisher screen, they just remain part of the unit’s line or column formation, and give it a shift right or left on the combat table when the unit fires or is fired upon. However, if the unit takes casualties, skirmish bases are the first to be removed, so it can lose its skirmish ability. This would represent loss of men from the better-trained flank company, so even if the skirmish screen is then fed with men from the line companies, it will not be as effective. (A trained light infantry battalion would have every base being a Skirmisher.)

    #198137

    I used to be of the opinion that skirmishers should be represented by loose stands of figures, typically composed of the delegated light companies of the various battalions converged into a single or couple of small converged skirmish units for each division or brigade.  A whole lot of play effort went into these units’ movement and firing but basically found that most of the time between parity in skirmish forces there resulted in no tactical gain, and only if some lopsided bit of luck occurred would any small change or advantage in the game’s direction might occur.  I decided I liked Sam Mustafa’s approach to an abstract factor for the skirmish line, that allowed the player to try to commit factors and that occasionally offered a small tactical advantage to the winner of the abstracted skirmish combat as events or dice modifiers.  I found this served pretty well, without all the excess wristage and effort for minimal effect (and avoid abuse by players who tended to cram skirmish formations into dense, tight close order lines  in all but name with lots of firepower and still keep their defensive advantages “Cuz they is skirmishers, yes!”

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #198140
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    Frankly I’m confused by such a question when everyone seems wedded to rules and authors who define such things.
    It’s not necessary to deploy skirmishers rather than show some ‘effects’ that occur in battle- but the broad scale of that statement are equally diverse.

    It matters little to systems I’ve observed- either from dismissive of their existence or inclusive at overburdening levels.
    Personally, I’ve ignored the rule writers when forced to play someones ‘yet another’ rule set- my infantry have 6 bases x4; so the elites are represented; if not in the rules then they just count an as ordinary types.

    If you read enough about the French, you will know that legere Carabiniers were both sharpshooters and ‘shock troops’ par excellence from the time of the Revolution, Republic and Empire.

    The ‘this and that’ of gaming is just so much twaddle and hearsay. Of course the Brits did much the same later when organising ‘forlorn hopes’ in the Peninsular- both picking and accepting volunteers from such men.
    ~d

    #198141
    Avatar photoGeneral Slade
    Participant

    I suppose BBB uses a sort of hybrid approach that would count as your option “3 – something else”. Although designed for much larger battles, its elastic scale means it does also get used for games where a unit is a battalion. A typical unit might have 4 or 5 bases. Of these, 0-5 might be “Skirmisher bases”. These represent “1 – a factor integral to the battalion”, so they don’t get physically deployed as a separate skirmisher screen, they just remain part of the unit’s line or column formation, and give it a shift right or left on the combat table when the unit fires or is fired upon. However, if the unit takes casualties, skirmish bases are the first to be removed, so it can lose its skirmish ability. This would represent loss of men from the better-trained flank company, so even if the skirmish screen is then fed with men from the line companies, it will not be as effective. (A trained light infantry battalion would have every base being a Skirmisher.)

    I haven’t tried BBB but maybe I should because that sounds like a very good system to me.

    #198143
    Avatar photoChris Pringle
    Participant

    I haven’t tried BBB but maybe I should because that sounds like a very good system to me.

    Thanks, General. It works for us. 🙂

    For a less biased opinion than mine, you might want to take a look at Shugyosha’s “Ultimate Napoleonic Wargames Rules Review and Comparison“.

    (Incidentally, the next BBB supplement, “Napoleon’s Bloody Big Battles”, went to print this weekend: scenarios for the 16 biggest battles where Bonaparte commanded in person while he was emperor.)

    #198146
    Avatar photoGeneral Slade
    Participant

    I haven’t tried BBB but maybe I should because that sounds like a very good system to me.

    Thanks, General. It works for us. 🙂 For a less biased opinion than mine, you might want to take a look at Shugyosha’s “Ultimate Napoleonic Wargames Rules Review and Comparison“. (Incidentally, the next BBB supplement, “Napoleon’s Bloody Big Battles”, went to print this weekend: scenarios for the 16 biggest battles where Bonaparte commanded in person while he was emperor.)

    Thanks Chris,

    I hadn’t looked at BBB because to be honest I am more of a ‘Bloody Small Battles’ kind of guy and I like individual battalions to be represented on the table.   But now I know the rules are flexible enough to do that I will have to check them out.

    #198147
    Avatar photoChris Pringle
    Participant

    OK, an example of a BBB game with just a few battalions a side is Maida. See “Colin the Wargamer” blog report here.

    The Maida scenario is freely available in the BBB group files here. (You have to join the group to get access, but it’s free and it’s easy to leave.)

    Some players like to have extra skirmish counters out in front of their units just for the aesthetic. That works too.

    #198148
    Avatar photoGeneral Slade
    Participant

    Thanks Chris, I will take a look.

    #198151
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    I like DBN’s solution. Light infantry skirmishers are factored into line elements, but a light infantry element can choose to be line or light at the start of a battle. The snag is it can’t change again…

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #198165
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    I like DBN’s solution. Light infantry skirmishers are factored into line elements, but a light infantry element can choose to be line or light at the start of a battle. The snag is it can’t change again…

    Wouldn’t know- but that solution is atypical and unhistorical. AFAIK lights often started deployed in battles and later coalesced into coheisve units as the need arose. They also used the time to restore order and some rest. Both French and early Prussians AFAIK, probably others but I’ve not the detail in front of me.

    All I can suggest is people actually read Terry Crowdy’s ‘Incomparable’ and treat it as a valid aid to understanding the psychology of ‘petit guerre’ and command and how it changed, both slightly, not at all, and a few extremes later on.

    That one cannot have been the only such affected AND effective unit of its type!

    -d

    #198166
    Avatar photoWhirlwind
    Participant

    Sorry Ootkust, I have tried, but I don’t understand what your first post is on about:

    Frankly I’m confused by such a question when everyone seems wedded to rules and authors who define such things.

    Which bit is confusing you? Do you mean everyone including you, or everyone except you? Does the fact that some rules do one thing and some rules do another make this a confusing question? Why?

    It’s not necessary to deploy skirmishers rather than show some ‘effects’ that occur in battle- but the broad scale of that statement are equally diverse.

    Okay, you think that you don’t need to represent the skirmishers? Then what is that last statement actually referring to? Do you mean there are lots of ways of doing it? Or do you mean to use ‘broad scale’ to qualify ‘necessary’?

    It matters little to systems I’ve observed- either from dismissive of their existence or inclusive at overburdening levels. Personally, I’ve ignored the rule writers when forced to play someones ‘yet another’ rule set- my infantry have 6 bases x4; so the elites are represented; if not in the rules then they just count an as ordinary types.

    Okay, you think there is no difference between rules which ignore skirmishing entirely, rules which include skirmishers as factors, and rulesets which include rules for physically manipulating skirmishing sub-units in complex ways? You seem to be saying that some rulesets want you to not physically include your elite companies, but you do anyway? I don’t think I have encountered any such rules.

    If you read enough about the French, you will know that legere Carabiniers were both sharpshooters and ‘shock troops’ par excellence from the time of the Revolution, Republic and Empire.

    I’ve read far too much about the French in the Napoleonic period. I see no reason to describe the ‘elite’ (elite = 1 in 3, or I guess 1 in 6 if you restrict it to the Carabiniers) companies of a French light infantry battalion as par excellence.

    The ‘this and that’ of gaming is just so much twaddle and hearsay. Of course the Brits did much the same later when organising ‘forlorn hopes’ in the Peninsular- both picking and accepting volunteers from such men. ~d[/quote]

    To which ‘this and that’ of gaming are you referring? What specifically is twaddle and hearsay? And how have you reached the state of enlightment which allows you to perceive this with such clarity? What thing are the Brits doing which is much the same? The same as what?

    #198167
    Avatar photoWhirlwind
    Participant

    Wouldn’t know- but that solution is atypical and unhistorical. AFAIK lights often started deployed in battles and later coalesced into cohesive units as the need arose. They also used the time to restore order and some rest. Both French and early Prussians AFAIK, probably others but I’ve not the detail in front of me.

    There are tons of examples of what NCS is on about – infantry being deployed into skirmish order and staying in it; Bussaco and the last stages of Waterloo spring to mind, as does some of the Prussian infantry at Jena (they kept on detaching more and more volunteer skirmishers during the battle, to combat the French, who had already done the same thing).  However, it is hard to think of many instances the other way around, in a serious tactical action. Actually Crowdy (following Baudin) indicates the probable reason – the methods of command & control (i.e. trumpets) were not effective enough to allow commanders to do this in the confusion and noise of a battle, given the dispersion of the troops involved.

    *(although TBF, it seems to have happened during battles, not necessarily as a decision before them; still, it is a game and we must compromise to make it playable. I am too lazy to dig it out right now, but I think Shako 1e might have done exactly this).

    #198168
    Avatar photoWhirlwind
    Participant

    Many thanks all, for the interesting points and suggestions.

    #198170
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    I like DBN’s solution. Light infantry skirmishers are factored into line elements, but a light infantry element can choose to be line or light at the start of a battle. The snag is it can’t change again…

    Wouldn’t know- but that solution is atypical and unhistorical. AFAIK lights often started deployed in battles and later coalesced into coheisve units as the need arose. They also used the time to restore order and some rest. Both French and early Prussians AFAIK, probably others but I’ve not the detail in front of me. All I can suggest is people actually read Terry Crowdy’s ‘Incomparable’ and treat it as a valid aid to understanding the psychology of ‘petit guerre’ and command and how it changed, both slightly, not at all, and a few extremes later on. That one cannot have been the only such affected AND effective unit of its type! -d

    It doesn’t matter what you think, it works within the context of the rules, which you obviously haven’t played and have no interest in.

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #198241
    Avatar photovtsaogames
    Participant

    OK, an example of a BBB game with just a few battalions a side is Maida. See “Colin the Wargamer” blog report here. The Maida scenario is freely available in the BBB group files here. (You have to join the group to get access, but it’s free and it’s easy to leave.) Some players like to have extra skirmish counters out in front of their units just for the aesthetic. That works too.

     

    Hmm, missed the Maida scenario. Must give that a try when I get back to NYC.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #198242
    Avatar photoChris Pringle
    Participant

    Hmm, missed the Maida scenario. Must give that a try when I get back to NYC.

    I remember you did your own BBB Maida game, a scant nine years ago.

    #198274
    Avatar photoSkip
    Participant

    Besides Empire III that I play at home at conventions have played more Carnage and Glory mostly. They don’t use skirmish figures. Not really sure as yet to have a unit with skirmishes so it seems it’s a bonus to your unit and they can fire on you though invisible

    #198275
    Avatar photoPatrice
    Participant

    they can fire on you though invisible

    I would have some difficulty to understand this. 😉

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #198276
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    Besides Empire III that I play at home at conventions have played more Carnage and Glory mostly. They don’t use skirmish figures. Not really sure as yet to have a unit with skirmishes so it seems it’s a bonus to your unit and they can fire on you though invisible

     

    Depends on the level of the game. If each element is a division, separate skirmishing elements are a bit redundant,

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #198747
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    It doesn’t matter what you think, it works within the context of the rules, which you obviously haven’t played and have no interest in.

    Correct again, and I have no qualms admitting it. The plethora of ill conceived ‘systems’ and back of a postage stamp knowledge on the era anyway, is another dumbing down of society.

    No wonder I enjoy working with the somewhat open minds of migrant and refugee children, eager for knowledge and a bridge to their ‘integration’ in a hitherto unknown world.
    – – – – –

    #198752
    Avatar photoGeneral Slade
    Participant

    It doesn’t matter what you think, it works within the context of the rules, which you obviously haven’t played and have no interest in.

    Correct again, and I have no qualms admitting it. The plethora of ill conceived ‘systems’ and back of a postage stamp knowledge on the era anyway, is another dumbing down of society. No wonder I enjoy working with the somewhat open minds of migrant and refugee children, eager for knowledge and a bridge to their ‘integration’ in a hitherto unknown world. – – – – –

    I’m pretty wonderful too.

    #198754
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    It doesn’t matter what you think, it works within the context of the rules, which you obviously haven’t played and have no interest in.

    Correct again, and I have no qualms admitting it. The plethora of ill conceived ‘systems’ and back of a postage stamp knowledge on the era anyway, is another dumbing down of society. No wonder I enjoy working with the somewhat open minds of migrant and refugee children, eager for knowledge and a bridge to their ‘integration’ in a hitherto unknown world. – – – – –

    I’m pretty wonderful too.

    I’m absolutely marvelous. Even though I do say so myself.

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #198755
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    It doesn’t matter what you think, it works within the context of the rules, which you obviously haven’t played and have no interest in.

    Correct again, and I have no qualms admitting it. The plethora of ill conceived ‘systems’ and back of a postage stamp knowledge on the era anyway, is another dumbing down of society. No wonder I enjoy working with the somewhat open minds of migrant and refugee children, eager for knowledge and a bridge to their ‘integration’ in a hitherto unknown world. – – – – –

     

    …and the rest of the world doesn’t give a flying foutre. Mate.

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #198769
    Avatar photoWhirlwind
    Participant

    The plethora of ill conceived ‘systems’ and back of a postage stamp knowledge on the era anyway, is another dumbing down of society.

    I don’t see how this could possibly be true. In what way does the wargaming community know *less* now than in the past? To which sages (historical and gaming) of times gone by should we turn to?

    #198770
    Avatar photoKitfox
    Participant

    Okay…but could they wheel?

    Death to all fanatics!

    #198772
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    The plethora of ill conceived ‘systems’ and back of a postage stamp knowledge on the era anyway, is another dumbing down of society.

    I don’t see how this could possibly be true. In what way does the wargaming community know *less* now than in the past? To which sages (historical and gaming) of times gone by should we turn to?

    A follow on question is “what does the wargaming community, let alone ‘society in general’ need to know?”

    This is a hobby. Pontificating about it is mere hubris.

    I ain’t going to be writing my doctoral thesis on Napoleonic warfare any time soon. I suspect that society in general doesn’t give a rat’s arse about the subject.

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #198774

    Except in tactical games where you have several battalions a side and multi-stand battalions, I just assume either use a factor to represent some effect of skirmishing.

    If it is something like Featherstone rules, I will allow light infantry to skirmish and will ignore the fact that line infantry have some skirmishing capabilities.  Just too fiddly.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

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