Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Shooting at lines of troops that you can't see

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  • #8329
    Bandit
    Participant

    but we it sounds as though Empire were letting you be the battery commander and the Corps commander at the same time.

    Indeed. That is perhaps my central complaint about Empire and Revolution & Empire is that they are not perspective games. To be fair it is as their designers wanted them but that particular facet is something that I think both makes the rules more difficult, harms the simulation and well… goes against my philosophy of design. Regardless, the mechanics for artillery in Revolution & Empire are, while impractically complex, the coolest I have encountered. They aren’t elegant but they are otherwise everything one would wish they were.

    #8330
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Yes, in my teens we had infinite time (I regarded school as an obstacle to the learning process) and we tried a lot of what we called the mini campaign concept where you do stuff on the hourly time frame then drill down to shorter and more detailed turns as the action got closer, from the sound of empire, we were right to conclude that life was too short.

    When I saw the VLB yahoo group I thought it might be the solution, but I suspect only for solo gaming.

    #8375
    Bandit
    Participant

    Now for what effect Napoleonic blind fire might have had, we return to the underailed part of the thread.

    I’d be tempted to say that from the perspective of the gunners practically all of it was blind fire. Long range fire of ~800+ yards, there is lots of dead ground even in open terrain, between distance and smoke, the battery commander likely knows what area the enemy is in and might be able to sight the enemy but the individual guns are likely just targeting the area.

    #8377
    Bandit
    Participant

    from the sound of empire, we were right to conclude that life was too short.

    Well, despite my criticisms I really like Revolution & Empire (we only hurt those we love?). Its core problems lie in not being very approachable and having far too many charts that are far to complicated to use.

    For instance, if you were to show up at a game and someone else ran the charts for you so that you just made decisions and when required rolled dice, you’d probably find it fantastic because 1) it can play rather fast 2) anything you want to do that you’ve read of historically can be done…

    The cost of entry would basically be learning the turn sequence. Problem is, it really doesn’t work to provide every player a chief of staff…

    When I saw the VLB yahoo group I thought it might be the solution, but I suspect only for solo gaming.

    Yeah… unicorns… unicorns…

    I really love the idea of the VLB, I think most everyone does. I don’t know how you implement it in large games though. It seems to me that events on the tabletop would get out of sync fast because over here X time elapsed based on the actions we took but over there Y time elapsed… do we wait for them? That could be a lot of waiting…

    #8381
    ExtraCrispy
    Participant

    Johnny Reb II is kinda the same way. If half the players are judges/assistant GMs it flies right along. Assuming they agree with each other. Otherwise it tends to ruuunnnn sssllloooowwww.

     

    The VLB is an interesting idea, I just don’t know any gamers it would work with (and I game with some pretty good guys).

    #8383
    Bandit
    Participant

    Johnny Reb II is kinda the same way. If half the players are judges/assistant GMs it flies right along. Assuming they agree with each other. Otherwise it tends to ruuunnnn sssllloooowwww.

    Well, our Thursday night group plays JR2 regularly and of the dozen or so the only judge is generally me… most of the time I just sit around drinking a beer and every so often answer a judgment call like, “from this hill can I shoot over that unit?” I’d say we generally play with multiple brigades per player (which is not optimal) and we typically play for about 2.5-3 hours. Average during that time is to complete 8-10 turns so never real-time though not horribly slow either.

    That said, there are plenty of places in JR2 where people can easily get bogged down in argument and debate over interpretation…

    #8445
    Marshal SinCere
    Participant

    I’ve always thought that as Napoleonic wargamers we leave our battlefield too open. Our battlefields resemble flat deserts more than they do a real life experience that a commander would have faced. In actuality, most of the enemy forces were likely to be hidden by terrain.

    We’ve been concentrating on ridge-lines like the one at Waterloo, but really hidden deployment would have been an issue on many if not most battlefields of the Napoleonic wars. We are sometimes told that the countryside of Europe was not enclosed so there were few hedges obstructing views, but tree-lines are frequently present instead (taller than hedges). Also very relevant here too are the cornfields that obstructed views even on relatively flat battlefields (like Quatre Bras). And you don’t get flatter than the Low countries, and yet soldiers who participated in the campaigns in that region during the early years of the French revolutionary wars often referred to the landscape as “blind country”. It was flat, but even small tree-line, hedges and dyke embankments meant that opposing armies often failed to see parts of each other.

    Really, a lot more of our historical games should involve “random” or “blind” fire IMHO.

    #8447
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    How much of the fire in “real world” decisions was driven by the concern for running out of ammunition? How, if appropriate, is this modeled in the rules people play?

    #8453
    ExtraCrispy
    Participant

    It seems ammunition supply was not usually much of a problem. Occasionally you read of a unit running low but it was notable for being rare. Fire discipline has always been a major concern. Officers have always worried that guns that fire faster would lead to out-of-ammo situations that much faster. But otherwise I see ammo supply as more appropriate to scenario design than a standing rule. I seem to recall a Union quartermaster officer complaining that the army fired off what – 1.6 million? – rounds yet caused casualties with only a tiny, tiny fraction of them (ah, a true quartermaster indeed). The USMC estimated it took 100,000 rounds in Vietnam to yield one casualty.

    As for the terrain issue, I use in my games what I call “ridgelines.” This is a line of flock or foliage or what have you. It represents gentle rolling hills. It has no effect on movement but blocks LOS across it. Tends to really break up that “battle of the 13th green” effect.

    #8509
    Sparker
    Participant

    Yes, agree. Empire V did have rules covering ammo supply (of course it did!) but I suspect most rules writer assumed that on the whole commanders, (or at least their XO’s!) knew their jobs and would have devoted the necessary manpower to bring forward ready use.

    I think a far more important issue would be the sheer physical exhaustion of the Gunners, witness Mercer’s battery at Waterloo ended the action in a semi circular formation as his gunners simply didn’t have the strength to align them properly. In Black Powder this is taken care of within unit stamina/disorder.

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    #8540
    Marshal SinCere
    Participant

    As for the terrain issue, I use in my games what I call “ridgelines.” This is a line of flock or foliage or what have you. It represents gentle rolling hills. It has no effect on movement but blocks LOS across it. Tends to really break up that “battle of the 13th green” effect.

    Sounds like a very good solution. Cheers!

    #9718
    Bandit
    Participant

    I’ve been pondering this some more, came across a similar thing while looking at some other related artillery problems and the general notion of not knowing the impact of fire on ranged targets.

    I think that it might work quite well to place some sort of fire marker on the target, say a cotton ball or something, upon a successful artillery roll. Then under given circumstances, those markers are converted to a number of ‘hits’ against the units. It should not be a predictable conversion rate, maybe rolling 1D6 per cotton ball or something. It is very possible you shell an enemy position all damn game and the cotton balls are never converted to hits, and that wouldn’t be weird either since there were plenty of bombardments that the shooter never knew the impact of.

    The problem is I think this is a lot of tracking and impractical for most game systems. I also think defining under what circumstances the markers are converted to hits could be very problematic.

    #9722
    Patrice
    Participant

    I think that it might work quite well to place some sort of fire marker on the target, say a cotton ball or something, upon a successful artillery roll. Then under given circumstances, those markers are converted to a number of ‘hits’ against the units. It should not be a predictable conversion rate, maybe rolling 1D6 per cotton ball or something.

    Yes, or something like that; same conclusion as before, hey?

    I suppose it depends if the gunners really know there is something behind the ridge, or not. And, as it has been suggested, they don’t know if the fire is effective. Perhaps the dice for these shots should be rolled only after their first attacking unit arrives on the ridge and can see what is behind.

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    #9723
    Bandit
    Participant

    Yes, or something like that; same conclusion as before, hey?

    Yeah basically. I obviously didn’t go back and review the thread :-p

    In any case, it does seem like it’d be a nice way to handle it, though I’d say that at range, even if “visible” I’d still be tempted to say it shouldn’t be revealed until it mattered.

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