Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Rules that offer historically accurate movement rates – are there any?

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  • #10676
    poniatowski
    Participant

    Well… what I can say from experience in reading and reenacting… (I know, lots of folks don’t like to account for “pretending”, but it does provide some data)…. Activation.. I didn’t like the way it was done in Chef because it seemed liek you could NEVER activate… change what you were doing. The chance to activate is actually a lot higher.. almost NOT worth the dice roll… BUT.. there are a lot of documented times where, because of the situation it took longer to do things.. like stop fireing and advance, etc… through th enoise and blood of an engaged unit, orderes can get messed up.. so basically… most units would organize quickly.. but you do have situations documented where it just took “a little longer” to get things “straightened out”. Since I use a 6-10 min turn… subdivided into 4 subphases, the activation comes into play and adds a nice FoW elelment… it isn’t liek troops won’t activate, but rather that soem very poorly traine dtroops with poor leaders might just take a little longer if they dice off badly.

    As for the second part, as a participant and viewer…

    As a viewer form afar…. the mobility on the field of individual units, all under different commanders, all trying to execute the same order… you will have lots of dressing issues. You can argue 2 things here. 1. reenactors have no fear of death so they execute orders and move quickly.. whereas a soldier of the period did indeed fear death, regardless of discipline and 2. as ametures, we don’t drill regularly and thus cannot keep a regimental line well when dealing with loads of individual units who get together once every few months to play soldier… where on th eother hand, these soldiers, even poorly trained regulars can execute field maneuvers better than us and dress lines under action.

    The thing is, I view them as a wash, except in extreme conditions… reenactors are quick to march to war, but pretty unorganized as a larger body, while soldiers, while better drilled will have the fear of death. Who is to say how each of these affects real soldiers of the time. The key here is simply to add in the chance for that slow down.. that wrench in the plans, that slight FoW… Most troops wil do as they are told in the field, but there are recorded histories of units engaging prematurely and failing to disenegage and advance, etc… this stuff does and did indeed happen. It is just my little way of trying to include it, but not by some cumbersome rules. The same can be said for dressing lines, etc… trained soldiers instinctively close the gaps…. if not due to discipline, but rather the “safe” feeling of not being a lone target in the open… again.. thsoe very words documented somewhere in soem memoires I read.. a general observing troops on the field and comparing them as “huddled masses off to slaughter” or something like that.

    I guess in the GRAND tactical games, these thinsg are accounted for….. but in my game… where the smallest unit is a company… these little things, if gone astray can halt the entire body…. a company failing to act on orders can affect the btn, that then affects the rgt and so forth… thus causing the blanket orders of the division to get bogged down… depending upon the level of the orders sent… the acting body does NOT act without all of the parts of the whole…

    THIS alone is VERY important to understand what I am saying here…. thes e”things” I am talking about are the very things that other rule sets wash away by saying that a turn represents an hour or half hour… they don’t go down to the btn level, let alone the company level…. all of these snags and trip ups is what makes the whole movement rate thing so confounded crazy… no one wants to get into that realism… they wash it away.. it takes too much time, they wil never get a game doen in a few hours…. to that I say bubkiss….. the key is to have enough commanders per side to be able to break it down…. one man micromanaging the Russians at Borodino is an impossibility…. BUT…. 20 people doing it… well, I hope you see wher eI am going here.

    AND.. the direct outcome relates to the original topic in this way…. unengaged troops who devote their whole turn to movement in good order wil not have these snags.. and will move much further than units tied up in the battle…. a body in motion thing or a body at rest thing…. a rgt deployed in battle  will indeed take longer to form up and march somewhere especially under fire… whiel the unengaged rgt will have no such constraints.. they ar eformed up, unengaged and in good oreder… no micro managing… they march….

    It only makes sense that the outcome is that the unegaged rgt can move fiurther than the engaged one. So that blows the “standard movement rate” out of the water…. as was the initial question… there are so many factors that can affect movement rate…. they must be taken into account somewhere…. random movement does not work as it gives too much to chance… a uniform rate is not accurate as it doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation and to say the turn is an hour and this is what that “hour” encompasses doesn’t work with me…. that is why I go to many commanders micromanaging… not one, making braod assumptions…. as is pointed out over and over again in this discussion… unengaged troops that spend their whoel turn moving should absolutely be able to move further in a turn than engaged troops doing other stuff.. you cannot just white wash it and average it all out…. that alone to me is the difference between grand tactical and tactical level games. The key is.. if you want to play the large engagement… just get enough folks (commanders) to play… the games play quickly if you have enough people. It forces interaction between army command, divisional command and then down to regemental command….

    In my ideal game… I would have and overall army commander, corpse commandes, divisional commanders and regemental commanders…

    #10682
    McLaddie
    Participant

    It only makes sense that the outcome is that the unengaged rgt can move further than the engaged one. So that blows the “standard movement rate” out of the water…. as was the initial question… there are so many factors that can affect movement rate…. they must be taken into account somewhere…. random movement does not work as it gives too much to chance… a uniform rate is not accurate as it doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation and to say the turn is an hour and this is what that “hour” encompasses doesn’t work with me….

    Poniatowski:

    Well, I guess I’d ask:  What constitute ‘engaged’ ?  I gave the example of the Confederates and Pickett’s Charge. Were they ‘engaged’ crossing that 1600 yards of ground under fire?  Certainly Soult wasn’t engaged.  Leith’s division at Salamanca was under fire as it advanced, and even stopped to dress lines because of the casualties. However, they all made at least 75 yards a minute… that isn’t a ‘standard’ but an average under many of the factors you mention.  So, what does that say about the ‘reality’ of the situation?  I have to admit that is not what I expected to find, but it is remaining remarkably consistent and when it isn’t, in most cases the reasons are pretty obvious from the accounts.

    If the troops are within 300 yards of the enemy or less, the speed and consistency of average movement won’t be there because of command decisions, as well as the troops don’t have as far to go and the troops stop to fire and/or charge which will impact that average.  From what I have read, infantry moving behind the battle line can be expected to cover 2.5 miles an hour.  Once under artillery fire, about 1000 to 1200 yards from the enemy troops, they average about 75 yards per minute.  Once within musket range, which is about 250 yards on the outside [There are occasions when the French actually started firing from that range, such as Talavera] you have a lot going on and movement will vary for a whole lot of reasons.

    that is why I go to many commanders micromanaging… not one, making broad assumptions…. as is pointed out over and over again in this discussion… unengaged troops that spend their whole turn moving should absolutely be able to move further in a turn than engaged troops doing other stuff.. you cannot just white wash it and average it all out…. that alone to me is the difference between grand tactical and tactical level games.

    I think I may not have been clear. I wasn’t “white washing” anything.  I was averaging what troops accomplished with all the dirty laundry present.  As I said, Pickett’s charge was under heavy artillery fire, crossing fences, losing officers, dressing lines, maneuvering by wheels and yet  managed to cross 1400 to 1600 yards in twenty minutes.  It isn’t whether troops spend their whole turn moving or not, but at what rate they can be expected to move on average rate with all those factors when they do move.   Obviously, when troops do other stuff than move, they aren’t going to move as far.

    When they don’t it is going to be for one of four reasons:  Command decisions, Terrain obstacles,  enemy actions, or cohesion issues, all of which are now included in most game mechanics.   Variable movement is certainly a possibility. My questions would be how ‘variable’ was movement on the battlefield and why?   So far, whenever I find writers mentioning time and movement, regardless of the conditions and those factors you mention, troops are still averaging @75 yards per minute…  and when they don’t there are specific reasons for that.  That’s all we have to go on when putting together a historical game.

    If the game is going to have players at a grand tactical level, then all those factors you mentioned are going to be included in any unit movement.  It is below the players purview.   So, what can that corps commander expect troops to do when they move?  Will the units always achieve those rates?  No, but there is an average that it is reasonable to expect based on their experience… and our study of that experience.

    McLaddie

    #10684
    poniatowski
    Participant

    Mcladdie,

    Good question… by the definitions, they were engaged in battle in real life, but their sole purpose was to advance/charge, they were not under multiple orders or changing orders. They were under execution of one order… And, it might be added, although advancing put them closer to death, it also put them closer to victory.

    In my system, they would have had to:

    1. be in command

    2. have an order/change of order… they were obviously doing something else* before they were given th eorder to charge, whether it be maneuvering or deploying.

    3. passed their activation

    The rest is order execution…. they were under fire, but they were unengaged in anything else other than their charge, they didn’t stop to return fire, etc… had they done so, because of the attrition and loss, they would have a harder time to get going in the charge again.

    In the game, dressing ranks is somehting that happen automatically when losses occur and stands take losses.

    And, troops well led and motivated will get the job done. The only other thing affecting the troop movement would be any potentially morale checks due to stand/figure loss…. it is absolutely possible to “keep the pace” with troops that are well led or trained and also, when it comes ot morale… well motivated.

    Well said and I couldn’t agree more… your paragraph about troops within 300 years, etc… Exactly what I believe too and that is why there should be an accounting and the formulae for rate can, does and will change base dupon many factors once engaged. Or at least, have the potential for a change to happen based upon other factors.

    On the white wash thing… I wasn’t refering to you…. I agree with all of your statements pretty much! I was talking about larger systems that just explain the micro managing away stating the movement rate is X, over Y time because ABCDEFG can happen in that time… those systems do not account for troops that are only doing “A” where A is dedicated movement. Sorry if I was misleading. I agree with your statements here.

    “My questions would be how ‘variable’ was movement on the battlefield and why?”

    You go on to describe those factors and those are the factors I am trying to incorporate. For the most part, movement will remain the same…. I stated that in extreme cases, the dice will come up badly and you might get a unit that is sluggish to disengage, etc… and that is one of the factors you mention.

    Agreed, on the Corps level, you can and a lot of games do calculate an average out and, to be honest.. it can come out accurately, BUT…. I go down to the tactical company level and all kinds of things can happen. My players like this sort of thing, so it is included.  Sometimes the micromanaging can really make a difference, but also, most times… it doesn’t affect play in any grand scale way….

    So the real question is: IS it worth including? I feel yes. And I agree your averages for movement are very accurate, well calculated and established.

    As I mentioned earlier as a reenactor, we are poorly trained for large body formations and maneuvering but have no fear of death… real troops of the time feard death but more than made up for it with their training, etc… I understand what you are saying completely, but since my turns are so short (6-10 mins)… there is a bit of micromanaging that comes into play to get the troops to do what you want.. most importantly.. when you want them to do it.

    An exerpt from my intro to the rules:

    These rules are played at a tactical level to demonstrate that there is so much more to grand scale gaming than throwing dice and moving blocks of disproportionate troops on a poorly scaled battlefield. You will have to be concerned with leadership and orders, maintaining morale and most importantly… utilizing the tactics of the day to crush your oponent on ground of your choosing. Most rules for the Napoleonic era do not take into account scale or time very well… and more importantly, what a soldier can do in the time provided to him on the batlefield. If well led, he can accomplish great things even if poorly trained. For this purpose I have chosen a tactical turn length of 6-10 minutes… which was the average length of time required for a full strength batallion to go from column into line in good order. You ar not expected to worry about supply or how far your cannon fire bounces, but rather maintaining command, giving orders and seeing how they develop over time tactically.

    I am not claiming to be correct, in fact, my original movement for my game every one said was “too fast”…. troops could zip around the board, etc.. that got me thinking that grand tactically, this was true.. averages all came out nice and neat, but on the company level.. I am trying to emulate the things that could make it come apart. I am not syaing I succeeded.. just that it seems to reflect historic outcomes pretty well. I have 9 levels of morale…. 5 levels of command… and the games run pretty smoothly.

     

     

    #10728
    Bandit
    Participant

    Good question… by the definitions, they were engaged in battle in real life, but their sole purpose was to advance/charge, they were not under multiple orders or changing orders. They were under execution of one order…

    That isn’t exactly true. The command of three divisions was under one order, executing that single order required the delivery and execution of several other orders at various times and at various levels.

    The series of left obliques that were executed were each an order. Were they transmitted by paper or word of mouth? I doubt it, I believe those were delivered by regulating battalion, but that is itself a delivery method. Same with dressing lines after crossing the fences.

    When to run, any fire purposefully conducted, etc… would all be orders issued as well. But I would agree each division was under a single order.

    #10739
    McLaddie
    Participant

    For this purpose I have chosen a tactical turn length of 6-10 minutes… which was the average length of time required for a full strength batallion to go from column into line in good order.

    P:

    Are you sure? A brigade maybe, but a battalion?  Nafgizer gives rates of 1-3 minutes from column to line, except for the Early Prussians at 7 minutes.  Not that he is the final word or anything or that a turn of 6-10 minutes wouldn’t work. The Prussians moved at ordinary rate with larger battalions whereas most other nations moved at quick in changing formation with smaller battalions except the Austrians.   It really is a distance thing.   A march column of ten companies is going to be approximately as long as the front of the companies in line, perhaps a little longer. It is how long it will take the last company in the column to move to the end of the forming line.  A battalion front will be between 100 and 150 yards depending on the strength and number of ranks.  So, the last company will half to change direction or wheel, depending on the method and then march across the square or hypotenuse of the triangle… say altogether 200 yards plus the wheel/change of facing.   That isn’t more than 3 minutes.  If the battalion is in an attack column, the distances and times are halved.

     

    NAFZIGER’S MANEUVER RATES

    According to Nafziger’s Imperial Bayonets we have the following information which is very detailed.

    French Manuel dÍnfantrerie 

    1800-1808
    Column to Line – 1.9 to 3.1 minutes
    Column to Square – 1.7 minutes
    Line to Column – 1.3 to 3.0 minutes
    Line to Square – 4.7 minutes

    1808-1815
    Column to Line – 1.5 to 2.7 minutes
    Column to Square – 0.5 to 1.6 minutes
    Line to Column – 1.5 to 2.4 minutes
    Line to Square – 1.6 minutes

    British Dundas Drill Regulations

    1795-1815
    Column to Line – 3.9 minutes
    Column to Square – 0.6 to 1.1 minutes
    Line to Column – 1.7 to 2.6 minutes
    Line to Square – 1.8 minutes

    Prussian Drill Regulations </span>

    1788-1799
    Column to Line – 7.0 minutes
    Column to Square – 10.8 minutes
    Line to Column – 7.0 minutes
    Line to Square – 3.8 minutes

    1799-1806
    Column to Line – 3.9 minutes
    Column to Square – 0.8 minutes
    Line to Column – 3.9 minutes
    Line to Square – 3.8 to 4.8 minutes

    1808-1815
    Column to Line – 1.1 to 2.1 minutes
    Column to Square – 0.3 minutes
    Line to Column – 0.7 to 1.3 minutes
    Line to Square – 1.0 to 1.3 minutes</span>

    Russian Drill Regulations (very Fredrickian)

    1800-1815 Skoryi szag (quick pace)
    Column to Line – 0.8 to 2.6 minutes
    Column to Square – 0.9 to 1.5 minutes
    Line to Column – 0.8 to 2.0 minutes
    Line to Square – 0.2 to 1.5 minutes

    1800-1815 Tchyi szag (normal pace)
    Column to Line – 1.3 to 4.2 minutes
    Column to Square – 1.5 to 2.4 minutes
    Line to Column – 1.3 to 3.2 minutes
    Line to Square – 0.3 to 2.4 minutes

    Austrian Drill Regulations

    1800-1815 Geschwindschritt (normal pace)
    Column to Line – 1.9 to 2.4 minutes (from the middle)
    Column to Masse – 0.7 to 1.0 minutes
    Column to Square – 1.0 to 1.4 minutes
    Line to Column – 2.3 minutes (average)
    Line to DivMasse – 0.4 to 0.6 minutes
    Line to Square – 1.2 to 1.8 minutes

    1800-1815 Doublirschritt (quick pace)
    Column to Line – 1.4 to 2.2 minutes (from the middle)
    Column to Masse – 0.4 to 0.7 minutes
    Column to Square – 0.7 to 1.0 minute
    Line to Column – 1.7 minutes (average)
    Line to DivMasse – 0.3 to 0.4 minutes
    Line to Square – 0.7 to 1.3 minutes

    As can be seen there was great variation in manoeuvre speeds due to regulations used but also more importantly in my opinion because of the size of the companies within the battalion. The larger the formation the more ground had to be covered thus the longer the time spent on the formation change.

    Two points stare out to me from my observations of drill regulations, speeds and time spent changing formations. This is that Battalions of larger size are much more slower due to the reasons given above and secondly the experience and training of the men and the officers and nco’s can and did play a major role in ability to change formation.

     

    #10758
    poniatowski
    Participant

    Bandit…

    That is how I mean it. A si mention, the lower level commanders have some autonomy on how they accomplish siad upper level order, but whatever they do, unless it is taking over a unit directly is to try to comply with the larger order.

    Mcladdie.. you are coorect, sorry, meant bgd… I used a lot of Nafziger’s numbers. I do not consider him “THE” authority, but he is well educated… more so than I. Now, I did say I assigned that time as longer than normal becaus eof other issues such as the few mins of giving orders, organizing the troops and then acting upon those orders… it is a wave effect as the order travels down the line. And, the “unit” as a whole can only move as fast as its slowest link.. down to the company if that is the case.

    It seems like too much detail I know. I am just trying to emulate the actual movements.

    Not sure where you are from, but i think I mentioned I am the CD for HMGS Fall-IN!.. if you go to any of the HMGS cons on the east coast, PLEASE look me up. So much of what we are discussing actually gets lost in interpretation. I find it so much easier to use props and such to explain….

    Also… a big thing… as we discuss this stuff, there might very well be changes happening to my ruleset. I do NOT want to infringe on anyone else’s game mechanics, so please… if you see me changing opinion on somehting or discussing something that is leading me to certain conclusions… for my rules… I want to not cross any lines.

    So, McLaddie… if I have my turns laid out like so (see below) That whole turn represents the 6-10 mins. I don’t want it to be misleading as the definitions of each phase give the 2 pulses so to speak… so a unit could move/move shoot/ move… shoot/shoot, shoot/move, etc…

    I am open for recomendations. I do not wish to publish for sales, but rather free to the net.
    <h2>Turn Sequence:</h2>

    1. Initative phase: Determine who is active player for the turn.
    2. Rally phase: Both sides attach/detach leaders and attempt any rallies.
    3. Order phase: Determine command and control and place or activate orders.
    4. Acting Movement phase: Acting player moves some or all units, resolving enemy pre-contact fire from any charges.
    5. Acting fire phase: Simoltaneous fire, first artillery then small arms.
    6. Acting Melee phase: Resolve all charge melees, checking morale as necessary.
    7. Reactive player movement phase: Reactive player moves some or all units, resolving enemy pre-contact fire from any charges.
    8. Second fire phase: Simoltaneous fire, first artillery then small arms.
    9. Reactive Melee phase: Resolve all new melees, checking morale as necessary.
    10. Check for victory conditions.

    So much can happen in a turn and we try to reflect so much…

    I am all ears, well.. eyes…. I love to talk shop and the 5 “W”‘s so to speak….

    #10816
    McLaddie
    Participant

    P:

    Yeah, I enjoy talking about game design and simulations too.  Thanks for the explanation. You do have a lot happening in that 6-10 minute turn.  What level are the players again? Corps, Division or Brigade? I don’t see where you mention that. Have you tested the game play against actual accounts to see how they sync?

    Players want to do it all, make decisions at all levels of command.  It’s a strong urge.  I think their desire to get down in the trenches, so to speak, regardless of their game level of command stems from a combination of factors:

    1. Players are moving all the units on the table no matter what level of command they represent, so they invariably make decisions about placement, movement etc. at the individual unit level.

    2. The natural tendency of players to finesse any and all small advantages from the rules leads to going down to the detail of the rules and lower levels of the game.

    3. The “For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost….” syndrome is there too, the idea that small things effect entire battles means that players want to control or influence as many minor factors as possible.

    4. Part of the fun is pretending to be there. The action is at the front, not sitting back as a corps commander watching.  The desire to lead the 1/85th Ligne in a charge is always there even if the units are brigades and divisions.

    Empire and other rules fall prey to this to some extent by providing all that lower level detail, where the player is commanding at all levels rather than one or two.  Volley & Bayonet is a classic example.  It is designed to be an “Army-Level” game but 95% of the rules are tactical, brigade level mechanics, while 5% actually deal with command issues. The most complex parts of the game are tactical, the simplest, command.

    I don’t see this as a bad thing, but it is something to consider when designing a game that provides players with similar challenges to the actual commanders.  Now that I am retired, I have hopes of getting to some conventions. I have a number of friends back East that I haven’t seen in a coon’s age. If I make it to Fall-In, I’ll definitely let you know.

    McLaddie.

    #10845
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    I’m a bit puzzled as to where all this is going…

    If there is a perception that realistic movement rates are possible and desirable in games, that the objections which actual game designers in the present and in the past have made against them are not serious/persuasive and that there are games which can and do overcome them, what is the problem?

     

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

    #10871
    McLaddie
    Participant

    I’m a bit puzzled as to where all this is going…

    If there is a perception that realistic movement rates are possible and desirable in games, that the objections which actual game designers in the present and in the past have made against them are not serious/persuasive and that there are games which can and do overcome them, what is the problem?

    Tempest:

    That’s a good question, and one that various designers have written about…or posted about, but considering what has been done already, I’d say it’s more an issue of convention and expectations, rather than actual game design necessities.

    We have strayed a bit, but considering how much it was derailed, I can understand the puzzlement… it hasn’t been a direct line of thought by any means.

    We established–for the most part–what would be a rate of movement more in line with historical evidence and did discuss why designers have chosen not to have that rate in some detail.

    The design issues are how to incorporate that rate of movement in a table top game.

    McLaddie

     

    #10875
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    We established–for the most part–what would be a rate of movement more in line with historical evidence and did discuss why designers have chosen not to have that rate in some detail. The design issues are how to incorporate that rate of movement in a table top game.

    I understand that.  I meant more, is there anyone who is going to write a set of rules to incorporate this, or is there anyone who is going to at least modify their existing set of rules to accomodate a more realistic movement rate.

    And just for clarity, I don’t mean the above to be a rhetorical device meaning “it is pointless” – I’m genuinely asking.

     

     

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

    #10877
    McLaddie
    Participant

    I understand that.  I meant more, is there anyone who is going to write a set of rules to incorporate this, or is there anyone who is going to at least modify their existing set of rules to accomodate a more realistic movement rate.

    And just for clarity, I don’t mean the above to be a rhetorical device meaning “it is pointless” – I’m genuinely asking.

     

    Tempest:

    Got it.  There are several ways it can be done, and those games that already exist with longer movement rates do demonstrate that it isn’t such an obstacle.  I know Bandit is working on a set of rules and so am I.  I know of rules sets that already do that, though they aren’t published yet.  One I know one designer who took the original Fire & Fury and built in the actual movement, which for that scale of 30 minute turns is 35 inches a turn for infantry, but then built in some of the actual costs associated with movement and changing formation rather than generic costs.  What happened was that with the right planning, players could move units very quickly, at times getting under the opponent’s decision-cycle.  Yet, the other rules didn’t have to be adjusted much. He has put on two convention games with the rules covering the 2nd day of Gettysburg as well as several demonstration-teaching games of Saylor’s Creek in 1865 near the battlefield.  I’ve played a game of the 2nd day scenario myself, along with small battles of Perrysville and drat, something Tavern. In every case, units didn’t zip around the table, but the games did move faster… and the flow of battle could and did match the historical dynamics quite well.

    Some of the issues, such as the attritional fire of artillery as units approach the enemy can be overcome with different artillery fire procedures than ‘the point and shoot, then get a result’ over several turns as units slowly approach or remain in range.

    McLaddie

     

    #10883
    repiqueone
    Participant

    I had really determined to stay out of this exercise in airy conjecture, as I, like Sam, am in the final stages of finishing and publishing a rule set.  His being Blucher, and mine being Die Fighting II in a new multimedia format.  Just last night I attended one in a series of playtests for Brent Oman’s ’39-45″ rule set. The creation and publication of wargame rules takes a lot of time and effort and every time I am involved in doing a new set I am taught the huge gap between the “I’m working on…” and “I’ve published.”  It is because the time and effort is so demanding, and my respect for those who actually do finish and publish rules so high, that I find your statements so damn irritating.

    You’ve been setting yourself up as some arbiter of “real” wargames for a decade.  You’ve promised a set of rules that demonstrates your piercing insights for over ten years.  You’ve promulgated your “wisdom” on wargame design for the entire period without anything more than vague allusions to rule sets you find capture your tenets, and long, long, long postings on essentially trivia as the basis of your expertise. You talk a good game, but NEVER deliver. Well, you’ve stated that you’re now retired and have more time for the hobby; I suggest you spend it on bringing your tablets down from the mountain in a published and usable form, rather than playing the role of an expert.  Instead, BE an expert by doing the only thing that can make your dream come true, publish.  This is like Math class, show your work.

    If you do this, it will have two positive effects: You will have less time to opine on the works of others.  You will be forced to return to the real world where results matter.  (That may also help you in judging the “realism” of rule sets you have little insight into.)

    Most of us are too busy actually creating rules to go on at huge lengths about theory. I might also say from my exchanges with a wide range of wargame rule writers, that you couldn’t be farther from where the bleeding edge of wargame design is at the moment in theory or practice.

    Even worse, you mislead people like Poniatowski, by not pointing out to him that his “new” turn sequence has been around in one form or another for 20’years, and suffers from the curse of all fixed sequences-high degrees of predictability and the very unrealistic capability of seeing the future.  Far more of a problem than exactly how far a unit moves is when it moves, why it moves, if it can move, and when next it can move and should we know the answer to those questions in a pat predictable way?

    I hope I live to see your published set of rules, for it would mean I lived to a very old age.

     

    #10895
    McLaddie
    Participant

    You’ve been setting yourself up as some arbiter of “real” wargames for a decade.  You’ve promised a set of rules that demonstrates your piercing insights for over ten years.  You’ve promulgated your “wisdom” on wargame design for the entire period without anything more than vague allusions to rule sets you find capture your tenets, and long, long, long postings on essentially trivia as the basis of your expertise. You talk a good game, but NEVER deliver. Well, you’ve stated that you’re now retired and have more time for the hobby; I suggest you spend it on bringing your tablets down from the mountain in a published and usable form, rather than playing the role of an expert.  Instead, BE an expert by doing the only thing that can make your dream come true, publish.  This is like Math class, show your work.

    Bob:

    More hyperbole. I never set myself up as anything.  I had the temerity to suggest that simulations don’t work the way you and Sam said they can’t and why, to point out  evidence that didn’t match your preconceptions of historical warfare and to ask such things as how your games were “narrative” as opposed to games like Napoleon’s Battles or Fire & Fury.  Hardly trivia.  And it seems that I have to design a game meeting your qualifications before you will actually deal with any of those issues… or I won’t have time to ask such obviously embarrassing questions.

    I haven’t been promising to design a game for ten years. Actually less than two. Only pointed out that I have designed wargames.  Nothing I have said is any more vague than your illusions to “Narrative Games”  and such odd criticisms concerning movement by calculating D=R*T as being archaic.   If my posts have been long it is because I quote others in them and have ended up having to respond to all sorts of things like your last missive… that or attempting to explain how simulations work, which I have pointed out several times isn’t some esoteric secret or tablets found on Mt. Sinai, but easily obtained information.

    And having worked in a career where results matter if I was to be paid, I tend to look hard at what others claim as results compared to reality.  Bob, I have learned ad nauseum for many years about your opinion of me, but rarely have you actually addressed game design questions other than vague claims or promotional blurbs.  Game mechanics are really not all that mysterious. They are very concrete and specific rules for player behavior, and provide very specific things, even in the realm of pretending rather than some magic that only designers in our small hobby are privy to.

    Even worse, you mislead people like Poniatowski, by not pointing out to him that his “new” turn sequence has been around in one form or another for 20’years, and suffers from the curse of all fixed sequences-high degrees of predictability and the very unrealistic capability of seeing the future.  Far more of a problem than exactly how far a unit moves is when it moves, why it moves, if it can move, and when next it can move and should we know the answer to those questions in a pat predictable way?

    Really? I seriously doubt that Poniatowski thought he’d come up with a totally ‘new’ turn sequence.  He certainly didn’t claim any such thing. He’s been around gaming for some time too. It is a snarky and totally misleading thing to say.

    As I said before, military men worked very hard and long to create predictable movement.  It was always a tension between that effort at order [predictable performance] and chance and the enemy’s efforts to create chaos.  So, the question is still how far units can be expected to move under battlefield conditions.

    Certainly why they moved, when and if they did are all important questions too…  And ones I’d be glad to explore with you.  They are important in representing Napoleonic war. No doubt about it. Whether we know the answers to those questions aren’t as important as whether the generals of the day, the men experienced in Napoleonic warfare, felt they knew the answers to those questions… and what they were.  That is what we are interested in recreating after all–something of their experience–whether with fixed sequences or not.

    It comes back to Napoleon and Soult at Austerlitz.  Soult gave a ‘pat answer’ which Napoleon didn’t question and then based the timing of his order on it.  I think both men would agree that there are no guarantees in war, but if Napoleon didn’t feel Soult could give a ‘pat answer’ in a predictable way, why ask it, let alone begin his offensive based on it?  To argue that this was some exception doesn’t wash when the Allies did the same kind questions and answers in developing their plan for the day… And until they met the enemy, even with all the screw-ups in trying to keep to the attack schedule, did indeed start their attacks at the times planned.  About that screw up, where the cavalry corps ran through the infantry columns in an attempt to get to their assigned location, Russian Emperor Alexander had a brief argument with Kutuzov that applies here.

    McLaddie.

    #10918
    Bandit
    Participant

    I had really determined to stay out of this exercise in airy conjecture…

    You’ve now said versions of this a couple times in this thread, each time you follow it with a long attack. If that is all you can contribute, please, please increase your determination to “stay out of this exercise”. No matter the topic, attacks do not advance the conversation.

    #10926
    Mike
    Keymaster

    You’ve now said versions of this a couple times in this thread, each time you follow it with a long attack. If that is all you can contribute, please, please increase your determination to “stay out of this exercise”. No matter the topic, attacks do not advance the conversation.

    This.

    Any further posts that are derogatory or insulting will see the posters have their forum privileges reduced, if they persist they will be banned.
    If people can’t play nice they are not welcome here to play.
    This applies to all people.

    #10936
    willz
    Participant

    I have re-read all these post’s fascinating the wealth of perceived information available on movement.  All Bandit was asking for from my perspective was for historically movement rates, I have only seen one post even mentioning some of the most basic principles of movement shoes (sorry if I missed any other).  Shoes, socks, scoff (food) and sleep are all essential for the movement of personnel from A to B if any of these are missing it has an impact on the movement of a body of personnel.

    My knowledge comes from several years experience of training Royal Naval personnel on Dartmoor on map reading, walking and survival skills.  Good footwear, dry socks (with spares), hot food, and a good nights sleep all were required to help the trainees achieve there potential and cover 10 – 15 miles a day weather dependent (these are only some of many other things that need to be taken into account).  To get a person of between 17- 25 years old to walk 10 miles in dry sunny weather was a lot easier to do than on a cold wet and windy early morning.  You would be surprised at the difference of speed of advance across rough ground after you get the troops to swap wet socks for dry ones.

    So do I add this into movement in my war-games, I don’t know, it might be a bit boring.

    All I am saying is there a lots of different factors to take into any rules for war-game and we all no doubt can all throw our own experiences into the pot.  If it works for you enjoy it, try not to destroy other peoples inputs, you might not agree with them, so don’t game them.

    As Sam Mustfa said its all come down to the size of your table and the length of time you get at that table.

    This hobby and web site is for enjoying, swapping ideas (several I don’t agree with but they interest me), promoting the hobby, looking at some brilliant figure candy and playing with our toys.

     

     

    #10938
    McLaddie
    Participant

     

    My knowledge comes from several years experience of training Royal Naval personnel on Dartmoor on map reading, walking and survival skills….Good footwear, dry socks (with spares), hot food, and a good nights sleep all were required to help the trainees achieve there potential and cover 10 – 15 miles a day weather dependent (these are only some of many other things that need to be taken into account).  To get a person of between 17- 25 years old to walk 10 miles in dry sunny weather was a lot easier to do than on a cold wet and windy early morning.  You would be surprised at the difference of speed of advance across rough ground after you get the troops to swap wet socks for dry ones.

    William:

    I’d be interested if from your experience, there was a basic expected rate of movement involved in planning for that training considering all those elements.  Obviously, during Napoleonic times, an army would have a mix of ‘trainees’ to veteran footsloggers in all sorts of weather.  Of course, unless we are talking about a campaign game, that marching is going to be on the battlefield across a table representing between 2-4 miles by 3-6 miles depending on the table and scale.

    All I am saying is there a lots of different factors to take into any rules for war-game and we all no doubt can all throw our own experiences into the pot.  If it works for you enjoy it, try not to destroy other peoples inputs, you might not agree with them, so don’t game them.

    There are.  I was looking for the Napoleonic command experience and when all those factors are present, what movement rate was usually, generally to be expected and accomplished on the battlefield.

    This hobby and web site is for enjoying, swapping ideas (several I don’t agree with but they interest me), promoting the hobby, looking at some brilliant figure candy and playing with our toys.

    I agree.

    #10947
    willz
    Participant

    “Mcladdie ask for some walking info”

    Troops can move faster running, fast pace walking, light kit movement to name a few but as a general rule 15 minutes walking to cover a 1000m/1km, this carrying 30-50lbs of kit (you add 1 minute for every contour on a map going up hill).  Teams 10-15 persons, get them to pace out a 100 metres on flat ground, have them do it half dozen times and get the team leader to choose 2 who constantly get the same paces.  Average pace for 100m is 130 paces (65 double paces), all the team knows their group pace for 100m. The 2 chosen count the paces in their heads and record every 100m (the use of 10 stones to count every 10 paces works wonders), as team leader you get the both counters to call out either every 100m or 1000m depending on your confidence in your ability to read a map.

    This is part of the modern outward bound training,  most the students I took across Dartmoor were motivated to walk 15 – 25 kilometers  a day, they were well fed, paid and wanted to be there.  Not sure how this would translate to 18th century movement, some were paid, well fed, some did not want to be there, all were motivated by a strong willed NCO however flogging was one hell of a motivator to get you to walk long distances fast.  The strongest punishment I could dish out was either repeat the training weekend which if you failed the second attempt could lead to recommendation to be discharged shore ie the end of your Royal Naval career, not quite the same degree of motivation.

    #10949
    repiqueone
    Participant

    Thank you, Mr. Harley, for adding some good humor to the thread.

    I,too, wonder about the effect of socks on movement, but it is hard to consider them without due consideration of shoes as well.  I believe they are a conjoined issue. I poured through Nafziger, but he surprisingly ignored both subjects.  Fortesque is mum on the topic as well.  Now, you must admit that socklessness is often the case, but was often accompanied by shoelessness as well. In fact, some maintain that you usually see socklessness, very soon after the onset of shoelessness.  This is especially true prior to the industrial revolution.

    This undoubtedly could have great effect on military units in oblique movements wheere one file could easily step on the bare toes on another file.  One can imagine the effects of certain terrains, such as the thistle strewn fields of Scotland, on the unshod!  Some contrarians opine That the effect could esily be an acceloration of the advance, though with much loss of proper dressing of the line. Surely someone has information on the Thistles of Culloden?

    Remember, Lee’s troops were seeking shoes in Gettysburg!

    “For want of a nail, a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe…etc.”

    Napoleon’s retreat from Moskow was marked by a great many shoeless people with frosbit feet, but few remark that it  was more rapid than the advance.

    The word sabotage has its roots in the weaponization of shoes. (I can find no equivalent use of socks, there is no Chasussetage).

    There is obviously a doctoral thesis somewhere in here for the enterprising candidate.

    I, for one, will consider including this information in my ultra-realistic rules that I’m “working on” called “Gepetto’s Revenge”.  The sock, and the shoe, shall be given their appropriate consideration on the tabletop.  All measurements on the tabletop are in shoe sizes.  Infantry gets a size 6, and cavalry a size 14 for movement distance.  The size of units will be covered similarly with a 6B being a skirmish party of infantry and 14EE being a divisional sized cavalry force.  This cuts down on many arguments, and allows people to remove their shoes for use as a measuring device.

    Of course, these rules may not please everyone, because I give the Napoleonic French infantry an increased rate of movement because of their superior cobblers, only exceeded by the Italians in their supple, sleek, thin soled boots.  I will add or subtract a bit for the presence or absence of socks.

    I will keep all concerned informed on the progress of these rules.  Clarke’s of London is quite interested in a sponsorship.

     

     

    #10966
    Bandit
    Participant

    Any further posts that are derogatory or insulting will see the posters have their forum privileges reduced, if they persist they will be banned.

    I, for one, will consider including this information in my ultra-realistic rules that I’m “working on” called “Gepetto’s Revenge”.  The sock, and the shoe, shall be given their appropriate consideration on the tabletop.  All measurements on the tabletop are in shoe sizes.  Infantry gets a size 6, and cavalry a size 14 for movement distance.  The size of units will be covered similarly with a 6B being a skirmish party of infantry and 14EE being a divisional sized cavalry force.  This cuts down on many arguments, and allows people to remove their shoes for use as a measuring device.

    Are you just testing the tolerance of Mike’s warning or what?

    This is part of the modern outward bound training,  most the students I took across Dartmoor were motivated to walk 15 – 25 kilometers  a day, they were well fed, paid and wanted to be there.  Not sure how this would translate to 18th century movement, some were paid, well fed, some did not want to be there, all were motivated by a strong willed NCO however flogging was one hell of a motivator to get you to walk long distances fast.

    Thanks for the outline of your experiences and expected paces, it’s interesting.

    #10967
    willz
    Participant

    The ideas about socks and shoes is mine and I have pat pending on a retro range 18th cool clogs with detachable socks with kurt-Geiger of London.

    #10968
    McLaddie
    Participant

    William:

    Thanks for that information. It is interesting how the same issues continue to be present when walking.  I backpack a lot, and we definitely want to know how long it will take us to get to the next point, regardless of the terrain. We usually figure on 2 to 2.5 miles with a forty-five pound pack.  Your 1000 meters in 15 minutes is about what we have been talking about for Napoleonic troops.  Marching 1000 meters at 75 per minute gets covered in 13.3 minutes.  It is interesting that you were pacing out distances to get a sense of distance and speed.  Napoleonic NCOs carried ‘pace sticks’ for ensuring everyone was walking the same length pace. Recruits weren’t even allowed to train with their company until they could match the paces automatically.  The desire was to train in the ability that you describe for those two chosen folks.  Of course, it was a general practice to have the NCOs who had the most predictable, dependable pace to walk the flanks of the battalion in battle formation.

    There are all sorts of things that *could* slow troops, particularly on campaign marches.  This is different than battlefield maneuvers in many ways.  There is no way or reason to account for every possible factor that might slow troops up.  Certainly generals were not counting all those factors.  It is very difficult to actually determine the motivation of troops and how that would affect marching some two hundred years ago.  I know for example what the average British and French soldier carried three pairs of socks.  But after six weeks of campaigning and the occasional plundering, who knows?

    If the battlefield is was is being represented [and not campaign marches] then you have to look at what was usually accomplished and what generals expected to accomplish when moving troops… that ‘expected norm’, if found among a wide variety of conditions and troops, you have to conclude that generally all those factors, from motivation to a lack of socks didn’t make that much of a difference. [which is the point of all that training and drill. And they did it every day back then…]  Then you look for those points where troops didn’t move that fast,  I have found that in most cases, officers would note why their troops were slower than expected.

    McLaddie

     

    #10973
    poniatowski
    Participant

    Wow….

    Ok… to clarify… I know my turn/move sequence is not new… I write in my rules entry that I hope to have breathed new life into Napoleonic gaming… everyone.. I don’t care who you are or claim to be has a “thing”…. that thing in their rules that they think sets their rules above the rest.

    That said… I love a lot of styles of Nap & skirmish rules…. dare I say it again…. I would love to have a game that was as detailed as Chef’ but easily played so that you could run a large game at a con in a few hours with “historic” results.. and let me be very clear here… by historic, I mean accurate… that reflect the tactics, both grand and tactical…. reflecting the movement, melee and black powder results…. not a game where the French win…. because they are the French…. and that is the way it was…. in the hands of an incompetant player…. any army could lose.

    I do not know anything about your guys rivalry…. please leave me out of it, but please do offer constructive criticism, etc…. I know there are things you can and cannot say because you are writers yourselves, but some things are given…. like accuracy of arms, troop training, etc…. feel free to give advice.

    I think the way I have handled movement is a lot like other older systems, but still different on its own accord… I have playtested my rules in groups of frineds and strangers…. AND… I have found that, within reason, I get the same historic outcomes…. I say within reason because not everyone is a master of the era or the tactics…. such are some of my friends…. so…. a guy that continually charges squares with his cavalry is not on par to Wellington right? I have found that when the commands are in capable hands and the troops in play accurately reflect the oobs of the battle we are doing… they usually play out the same… sans some crazy dice…. everyone rolls ones at some point…. Murphy indicates that it will usually be at the worst time possible.

    One thing I find AMAZING though is the ability of a novice to recreate the actual battle by their own “Godlike” perspectives…. I have played with novice players whom I tought and they can unknowingly play the battles out historically without even having ever read anything about the battle… Wargiming Napoleonics is kind of like playing out Jutland…. if you know how the battle really went…. it makes it very difficult to get historical results. This is something folks gloss over or often forget in Napoleonics or even in any gaming…… even a novice, if they understand the mechanics of the game or the abilities of the units involved, can come up with an actual game plan that resembles historical deployments and tactics… and on the other end… novices might make mistakes, but learned individuals wil lnot make the same follies as their historic prdeecessors…. unless forced to do so in the game mechanics…. and, I try to avoid that much coercion of the players.

    I digress…. sorry.

    I will end with this…. I still believe a “turn” must be divided into segements or pulses of time that reflect actual conditions…. so a trooper can move X in a specific amount of time…. use that time as a standard, then apply the black powder results… how many shots would artillery take in that time? how many rounds of musketry would be fired.. and to what effect? then have your combat tables reflect those historically proven results… it requires micro managing.. BUT it does remove that element of “universal movement”. Sorry… an engaged unit that spends 10 mins firing cannto march as far as an unengaged unit that marched for those 10 mins…. no matter how you slice it… you must differentiate this in the rules.

    Some say it makes the rules predictable…. well… the commanders knew what their troops were capable of and deployed them very predictably… you just need a good FoW element….

     

    #10980
    repiqueone
    Participant

    Poniatowski,

    One can do whatever one wants to do concerning the definition of a turn.  There is no right and wrong.  But each choice carries with it implications as to how a game plays.  There are hundreds of different sequences that have been used in miniature war-games, and not one is “more Realistic” than any other, and each carries with it some inherent problems.

    Evidence of the problems associated with fixed sequencing in a turn are exemplified by the creation of artificialities such as “emergency” squares, overwatch or opportunity fire, and, far worse, the breaking down of turns into micro-phases where a unit creeps through every millimeter of its action.  These are all attempts to escape the limitations of the fixed sequence turn.

    This extends to the argument above about the short or long movement distances.  Fixed sequences, given the limitations of the size of the tabletop, have many problems with longer move distances, and are often forced into short, choppy, delineations of time.  There have been attempts, such as Horizon Movement, “Free” moves (ala Scruby), and “telescoping” movement to address this, but not too successfully.  The main reason fixed sequences have a a following in the present day is the familiarity gamers have with the processes, and their acceptance of the many incongruities simply because they have long since accepted the oddities as “Normal”, SOP, and everybody else is doing it.  They don’t see the problems as easily or clearly as when they confront differently constructed sequencing.

    Card sequencing of phases has its own issues, but, on the whole, is far more exemplative of the “experience” of command in battle.  It assures, broadly, that all the potential actions of the various arms occur within a turn, but it removes the certainty of when in the turn, and in what order, these events and interactions shall occur.  In some rules, it even makes some specific actions open to non-occurance in at least some turns.

    This lack of assurance in the exactness in sequence and opportunity replicates the NARRATIVES we hear from many officer’s battle reports, about the inexact nature of the opponents, the inexact nature of the ground being passed over, their surprise at the alacrity or lassitude of their units or the enemy’s forces, very well. It is the reason many designers have moved to the card sequenced turn.  It neatly ends the argument of who did what first; It stops silly “I won’t fire at that cavalry until your cavalry move phase is past- and that is next!”  It really encourages the creation of narratives as to why events unfolded as they did (rather like a fortune teller laying out a tarot deck.)  It meets Clauswitz’ standard that war is most like a game of cards.

    All this revolves around the issue of time of the table top.  I would posit that, while we have distance on a table top that may be scaled to 1mm to a yard, or 25mm. to a yard, we are essentially a little at sea when it comes to the issue of time.  If one literally tries to incorporate a scaled time into game play you immediately fall into a trap, because there is a disconnect between the data available(usually from drill manuas) and the less known facts of exactly how troops move within a battle field environment.  There is a lack of data, other than in the broadest sense, of exactly what were all the factors within a battlefield that could, might, or did affect a moving unit.  The thread above shows the wild extremes of possibilities, drill rate, terrain, are they being fired upon, did they have breakfast, are they veteran or recruits, were the orders transmitted adequately, and, as Mr. Harley stated, were their socks dry?  This is just a start.  Most designers have settled on an average move that works in their game structure and allows for interesting decisions and a relatively painless turn procedure, and a game time that does not exceed 4 hours in most cases.

    It is inevitable that rules designed with short distances lead to very long games, if for no other reason than in real life every unit is capable of action on its own and is doing something, if only standing about, every second.  Our games require every unit to be physically moved by somebody sequentially-that takes treal time.  This is why we often see battles that take, in game time, a scale hour, take 5 or 6 “Real”hours to resolve, and the real battle’s elapsed time reflects neither.

    To be sure, Cavalry moves faster than infantry and foot, and both are usually more mobile than guns, but once that is said what is to be gained by worrying too finely about that issue of distance as a function of time?   Rates may be averaged.  It is usually more the issue of the comparative mobility of the different arms to each other than to some sort of time-motion study.  At the worst, time parsing leads to all sorts of drag and friction on the game that adds little history and a whole lot of process and boredom.

    This is where card sequencing really adds value-state a movement distance within reason for any arm- and then by either putting in cards that allow movement, combat, or other actions, such as command, but mixing them up, maybe making the decks sport different frequencies, or, even, add a die roll that determines when, how frequently, and, ultimately. how far a unit may move when is action card does appear, is neat, simple, quick, and in many ways far more reflective of the histories, in all periods, that I’ve read, than any sure number that can be arrived at by parsing old volumes for some inconsequential detail.

    It is also about the level of resolution.  The resolution of every wargame rules, especially miniature rules, ever written, is VERY rough and imprecise.  It is a law of diminishing returns when you try to force a higher resolution than the table can stand.  You simply can’t cram every small fact you find in some account unto the table.

    Jim Getz recounts a tale of the CL&S games he used to play, wehere someone read that units had trouble deploying and moving when their drummers were cut down.  They added the rule that said any unit that lost a drummer would be slowed, only to find that everybody started aiming at the musicians and ignoring the troops and officers.  It was a bridge too far in gaming “resolution”.

    In short, one of the reasons that all rules vary by huge amounts in their movement distances, is that each ruleset is different, and has created an internally consistent world that is meant to reflect the history of a period in some generally accurate way.  Time in each “game world” varies, and very few, if any, ever have a sure relationship to some “true” time.   If the designer convinces you of this world’s “Historical Verity”, then just as in a play or a movie, the audience accepts his “world” and enjotys the entertainment experience.

    To be sure no Napoleonic Wargame is meant to test doctrine-it cannot be tested; it is not meant to teach, other than in the broadest sense-they are not primarily a didactic device; it is not meant to train Napoleonic Officers-there is no longer a demand for that;  They are meant to entertain a few people for a certain time and make them enjoy the experience.

     

     

    #11008
    poniatowski
    Participant

    repiqueone… thank you, spelled out that way it really makes me think. I have a small scale WW1 skirmish game that is totally card driven for unit order, random events & FoW… cards do provide their own FoW element as to doing things…

    “can I move in front of those MG’s? they went this turn, but I would be left in the open for next turn if they get to go before me…. and you cross your fingers and hope your card comes up before theirs as you took the chance and moved into the open.”

    I like card driven systems, but in my Napoleonic rules, I guess I just fell into what you are saying is the old standard of “you go I go” turn sequences and you are absolutely correct with the statement about turn length…. the more you micro manage in a turn to give the “real” effect… the longer and more bogged down the turns become.

    Man, so many styles.. so many rules…. I think that is why we try to develope our own. I see strengths and weaknesses in each system and you did open my eyes to a few issues I hadn’t thought of before because I was just “doing it like the rest did it… but with my own flair”

    That was VERY helpful! (and well written!) Thank you!

    #11030
    McLaddie
    Participant

    Yes, Bob writes very well, and it’s nice to see a discussion of game design discussion.  I like the use of cards in games and can agree with some things Bob mentions.  So far, I think cards work much better at the strategic level boardgames than tactical for a number of reasons.  However, I think it’s important to know what aspects of war Clausewitz saw as like a game of cards if that is going to be used as a standard.

    Clausewitz wrote his famous line:

    In the whole range of human activities, war most closely resembles a game of cards…

    And ended it with

    …all its colourful resemblance to a game of chance, all the vicissitudes of passion, courage, imagination, and enthusiasm it includes are merely its special characteristics.

    He goes on to give any number of examples of how and where he sees those special characteristics appear in war at the strategic level.  For instance:

     Page 96 Chapter III

    Thus War, in reality, became a regular game in which Time and Chance shuffled the cards ; but in its signification it was only diplomacy somewhat intensified, a more vigorous way of negotiating, in which battles and sieges were substituted for diplomatic notes.

    However, the only reference he makes to that simile in his treatise on Tactics [Which is often left out of modern editions of On War], he writes:

     Guide to Tactics or The Theory of Combat

    516    Consequently, it must be a very great advantage to combine our dispositions a/ter the enemy, and with reference to those of the enemy, it is the advantage of the second hand at cards.

    I like cards for their ability to obscure the opponent’s capabilities and the opportunity to bluff. Cards can carry a lot of information on them which can ease play. They don’t work well in many cases when used to represent chance terrain or events on a hand to be used against an opponent.

    What I think is a real mistake is to characterize ‘fixed sequences” as problem-riddled and artificial compared to the use of cards.  First off,  there are any number of kinds of ‘fixed sequences’ and any number use cards while being ‘fixed’ such as old designs like TSTF and On To Richmond.   Second, there are any number of mechanics with cards, and they don’t all carry the same benefits or problems themselves.  Too Fat Lardies ACW game The Can’t Hit An Elephant , Longstreet and Die Fighting all use cards in far different ways, so to compare ‘fixed sequences’ to card use isn’t a particularly meaningful portrayal of either as ‘types’ of games  or game mechanics.

    In the end, they are simply game mechanics and processes which some designers use well and some very badly.  It hardly makes sense to blame the game mechanic for a designer’s failures.  That is true whether the designer is parsing a fixed game sequence into small, sluggish game turns or using cards to supplant and control player decisions.

    Neither are the game mechanisms’ fault.

    McLaddie

     

    #11032
    McLaddie
    Participant

     

    There are two issues here. One is game design: the ease and clarity of play. The second is what those game processes represent: How well the mechanics mimic historical warfare.

    Game:

    Breaking down ‘fixed turns’ turns into micro-phases certainly can be a problem, choppy and micro-sluggish game systems.  They are something designers have done badly from time to time.  And for good and bad, they are a mainstay of the hobby at the moment.  However, to see such mechanics like emergency squares, opportunity fire etc. as problems and artifice  in and of themselves regardless of how they are used is an inappropriate label.  There are a number of current games that are quite smooth and quick in process that involve one or more of those types of mechanics in a wide variety of different forms. I am thinking of Cross Fire and Chain of Command as examples. .

    When Bob says that “Card sequencing of phases has it’s own issues, but one the whole, is far more exemplative of the ‘experience’ of command in battle”,  I can agree, depending on how those cards are used in the design and what is seen as ‘artificial’—and of course, what is understood of that experience.  Those are game and history issues.

    The use of a fixed number of cards are no less artificial than fixed phases. A player who says “I have a large movement card, so I will play this card after his last card so he can’t respond this turn.”  How is that any less artificial or more ‘narrative-like’ than the player who says “I won’t fire at that cavalry until your cavalry move phase is past- and that is next?”

    History:

    If one literally tries to incorporate a scaled time into game play you immediately fall into a trap, because there is a disconnect between the data available [usually from drill manuals’ and the less known facts of exactly how troops move within a battlefield environment.  There is a lack of data, other than in the broadest sense, of exactly what were all the factors within a battlefield that could, might, or did affect a moving unit.  The thread above shows the wild extremes of possibilities, drill rate, terrain, are they being fired upon, did they have breakfast, are they veterans or recruits, were the orders transmitted adequately, and , as Mr. Harley stated, were their socks dry? This is just a start.  Most designers have settled on an average move that works in their game structure…

    I think there are three problems with this.

    1. It is overstating the lack of data by a large margin and thus is a different kind of trap.
    2. The ‘counting of possible could and might happen’ approach to data doesn’t find averages. What factors did affect movement is included in an average. And an average can reveal how different factors led to variance from that average.
    3. If the designer settles on an average of what? [if there is such a lack of data] that makes it impossible to move as far as the actual units did in battle, how good an average is that? When you look for averages, they can only be based on information. A mean requires a range of numbers.

    If I want to know how fast I can go on the highway, or how long it will take to get to the airport, I don’t think up all the things that could go wrong with the car or traffic and recite “for the want of a screw, the radiator hose was lost…’   Then,  because I can’t know when, where or how often all those possible things will happen,  I decide I can only go thirty miles an hour.  Bad methodology which is ‘averaged’ on nothing.  I don’t know how most all designers averaged movement or what they are based on. All I know is the result is half the average given by military men of the period and don’t allow units to move as far as they actually did.

    Nope. I look at how fast typical traffic does flow over many days which obviously includes all those millions of things that could go wrong.  I would want to see how many cars on that highway break down or heavy traffic occurs over the course of a day or week to get an idea of the odds of my car breaking down or traffic slowing down.  If I was going to figure that out from drivers’ narratives, I’d look at a lot of them to get an ‘average’ with some degree of assurance that it would match reality. AND then I compare my average to reality.  It should work to predict ‘most’ traffic speeds and distance traveled.

    This is the way military men of the time looked at the issues—I’ve given only a few examples of their generalizations. It is what they wrote to each other about far more than Bob suggests. It is how one goes about getting an average and how one would approach the question of ‘how fast’ do units move ‘In general?’

    The resolution of every wargame rules, especially miniature rules ever written, is VERY rough and imprecise.  It is a law of diminishing returns when you try to force a higher resolution than the table can stand.  You simply can’t cram every small fact you find in some account unto the table.

    This is quite true in many cases.  That is one reason you generalize in the first place.

     This lack of assurance in the exactness in sequence and opportunity replicates the NARRATIVES we hear from many officer’s battle reports, about the inexact nature of the opponents, the inexact nature of the ground being passed over, their surprise at the alacrity or lassitude of their units or the enemy’s forces very well.

    Which narratives are being replicated ‘very well?’  The experience of the captain in his company is far different than a brigadier’s or Napoleon’s.  What constitutes ‘very well’ if miniature wargames are VERY rough and imprecise?  I think one would have to ask how that rough and imprecise is measured to claim something is replicated ‘very well.’

    To replicate the inexact effects of ground etc. and other vicissitudes of war ‘very well’, cards can only work if you have some idea of how often such things occurred.  It requires specifics to compare to the game averages to claim it does it ‘very well.’   If cards have such chance events happening three times as often as real life, that isn’t ‘very well.’

    How is claiming cards replicate aspects of officers’ experience ‘very well’ different than my claiming that 75 yards per minute replicates officers’ generalizations of speed and actual battlefield movement ‘very well?’  Supposedly they are both generalizations based on historical evidence.

    #11143
    poniatowski
    Participant

    One book I must get now….. I am intrigued.

    I agree, on a larger scope, cards add in that flavor like spice…. very useful. I can still see them in use in a smaller tactical games for the FOW effect…. if you are forced into a turn sequence that is rigid, random event cardfs can add htings like “delay” unit must spend 1-2 or however many turns reorganizing….. I liek these kind sof things but do not want my game completely under the control of random events.

    I knwo your rules systems use cards differently, I wa sjust saying this is hwo I would see introducing them into my game to break up the predictability.

    #11157
    McLaddie
    Participant

    One book I must get now….. I am intrigued.

    Poniatowski:

    It is fascinating to read what an experienced Napoleonic officer has to say about battlefield tactics and circumstances.  You can get On War in PDF form for free from google:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=3NFou57NFkQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=clausewitz+on+War&hl=en&sa=X&ei=H49JVNWXO4mh8QGJiIC4Ag&ved=0CCcQ6wEwAA#v=onepage&q=clausewitz%20on%20War&f=false

    This is the third volume which  includes the Appendix with the Tactical Guide.  You can also get the whole book in several other editions from google.

    One of the interesting things Clausewitz discusses is fire fights between infantry.   Ned Zuparko designed Vive L’Empereur back in the 1980s. It was one of if not the first miniatures game to use 100:1 figure scale.  He based his infantry fire rules on Clausewitz’s calculations.  If you are interested Ned has let me pass on PDFs of his rules.   Just FYI, here’s what he wrote in the designer’s notes:

    Infantry Fire And Modifiers
    Muskets of the period could fire much further than 200 meters, but with little accuracy. Volleys often weren’t fired until within 100 yards. A good average figure for effective fire is about 200 meters. This is measured from the center point of the unit involved, so that the greater effectiveness of figures that are closer to the enemy on one wing will be balanced by the figures further than the measured center distances on the other wing. Skirmish fire is given a shorter range because skirmishers attempted to get as close as possible to their targets while maintaining cover. If the full range were allowed, especially for rifle units who had a greater accuracy and effectiveness range, a game loophole would open, where players deliberately keep skirmishers at the maximum ranges to minimize the chance of counterattack, in spite of the fact that the historical soldiers would have been moving forward. There were two types of fire available to musket units in this period; aimed and unaimed fire. Aimed fire gave results directly proportional to the number of shots fired. This was the basis of skirmish fire and will be discussed later on. The bulk of infantry unit fire was the unaimed volley, whose effect was not predicated solely on the number of shots fired.

    In this era of frontage and close-order formation, unaimed fire effects depend on the relative positions of both the firing units.This combination
    of the two units leads to a sum that gives a mutual effect. Clausewitz writes, “It rarely happens that a single battalion, if left to depend on itself, will engage in a combat without extending its front beyond the ordinary length …” He also writes that the lines facing each other, unlike “full targets” are lines of men with intervals between them, (especially when battalions or companies or other subdivisions within our “regiments” maintain some spacing between themselves to keep their integrity and not become mixed with some other unit and lose command control, in game terms); he adds that the intervals decrease when more men are put into one line in an attempt to overpower the other. Thus, if one line has more men and is therefore able to fire more shots, the other line will probably have a fuller, easier-to-hit target, as well as being slightly more dispersed itself. Therefore, each can be expected to about equal damage to the other; that is, the mutual effect of the sum of both firing lines is roughly the same.

    If either side reinforces the firing line or does not, he thus has the power to increase or reduce the mutual effect of the fire, but would not necessarily gain the advantage solely because he had more men shooting. This, of course, cannot be exaggerated; since if one side seriously outnumbers the other, no fire combat would have to result; the larger force would use its great numerical superiority to advance and drive the enemy from the field. Clausewitz wrote, “Hundreds of times a line of fire has maintained its own against one of twice its strength.”

    For these reasons volley fire in Vive L’Empereur is calculated by combining the number of firing figures from both sides into one sum. This sum gives the mutual effect on both sides. This is not to say that both sides will suffer equally, because of the enemy size modifiers. For example, if 30 figures fire against 15 figures, the resulting sum of 45 gives a certain basic loss to each side. The modifiers, though, will increase the SP loss to the weaker side, because the same loss on both sides is a higher proportion of the weaker unit than of the stronger. The advantage the smaller side gains, though, is that more of the enemy figures have been downgraded in combat value than were affected in the friendly unit. The importance of this can’t be underestimated, because it gets us to the idea of reserves and fresh troops, what Clausewitz calls “economy of force.”

    In many games there is no reason to maintain a reserve, which is a very “unhistorical” condition, because of the arithmetical and proportional way in which fire combat occurs. If I have ten units against your five, I could expect to inflict twice as many casualties as you, and would be foolish not to take advantage of that situation by putting as many units into the firing line as possible. In a mutual effect game, though, where the physical losses are similar, but the larger unit loses SP like the smaller unit, the smaller unit has been successful in wearing out more men with fewer. This is an economy of force, allowing the unused units, who are still fresh to be massed now to gain superior numbers and thrown into a close combat, where, Clausewitz states, “number … is almost the chief thing,” especially where the enemy line has been weakened in SP or combat value. For example, if two opposing forces have 1,000 men, but one side places 500 in the firing line and the other 500 behind, out of fire, that would result in 1,000 men firing at 500. Let us suppose that the mutual 5 2 effect of such a combat after a short duration of firing was 200 men on each side. One side now has 800 men remaining in his firing line, shaken in their order, weakened in their physical force, and low on ammunition. The other side also has 800 men remaining in hand. Some 300 are weakened like the opponent, but 500 are not.” 

    In examining this situation, Clausewitz writes ” … the disadvantage of finding ourselves with 800 men to a certain extent disorganized by the combat, opposed to an enemy who is not materially weaker in numbers and who has 500 quite fresh troops, is one that cannot be decided by pursuing analysis further; we must rely upon experience, and there will scarcely be an officer experienced in War who will not in the generality of cases assign the advantage to that side which has the fresh troops.” As with artillery fire in this game, infantry volleys are fired at targets that are entering close combat; instead the side supported by the fire, or firing in self defense, gets a bonus in the close combat resolution.

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