Actions & Reactions

During my own testing and following the feedback of the play testers it has become apparent that reactions are incredibly strong and allow for an opportunity for players to cover over mistakes they may have made in their movement or deployment. Therefore I’m reinstating the five actions/reactions rule, i.e. a unit can make a maximum of five actions and reactions combined.

For example, the red player has a unit of line infantry 15cm away from the Blue players infantry. The Red Player chooses to use 3 actions to move 6cm towards the enemy, once complete he decides to leave his remaining 2 actions for reactions should the Blue player decide to make any counter moves.

This will mean players have to think about the oppositions potential reactions to their movement. For example if I use all five actions to move towards the enemy, I will have no actions left to shoot at any units should they threaten me.

It should add an additional layer of ‘Resource Management’ to the game itself and avoid any players covering their mistakes by using all 5 reactions to do what they will (change formation, shoot, withdraw etc).

The Rule Book Snippet

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Time Off

I’ve been writing rules for Clausewitz now non-stop for six weeks. As such, I’m choosing to take a couple of weeks rest from Clausewitz.

Hopefully I’ll be able to come back with fresh ideas to drive the game forward once more. There are various areas I’d like to improve on at this point and I’ve outlined a list of items I’m hoping to improve/produce upon my return.

  • Command and Control – Chain of command
  • Number of Actions
  • Fatigue
  • Unit profiles
  • Faction specific rules
  • Multiplayer games
  • The Rulebook
  • Tracking issues
  • Reducing the number of dice rolls
  • Victory Points
  • Attack Columns
  • Sieges
  • Campaigns
  • Scenarios
  • Plus many more……

Command & Control Thoughts

There is always a clear chain of command for the issuing of orders in a battle.

  1. Commander-In-Chief
  2. Corp Commanders
  3. Division Commanders
  4. Brigade Commanders
  5. Unit Commanders

For Clausewitz, the CinC may be at any level from Divisional and upwards, therefore I believe I need to implement a sounds system which can replicate the Napoleonic battlefield orders (and their blunders).

Each Brigade already has a morale value which can be used to determine whether orders are interpreted correctly (or followed at all!). However, I need to replicate the dissemination of orders from the upper tiers of the command structure. After all Napoleon wouldn’t order individual Brigades into the fray, he’d leave that to the Divisional Commanders.

At present I’m considering using the Commander-In-Chiefs awareness points to issue the order (as it is currently), but these orders have to be passed down the tiers to the relevant unit.

So for example, Napoleon wants some of his troops to take and hold Hougemont, he sends an ADC to Marshal Ney with orders to that effect and dedicating a certain amount of his AP for that purpose. Marshal Ney receives the orders and tests to see whether he understands and follows them correctly. At present I’m considering using a simple dice roll on 1 D6 (with adjustments for different types of commanders), this may be as simple as passing a simple roll on 2+, perhaps if the general is particularly inept it may be a 3+ or even 4+. If the roll is failed then a number of things may happen. The resources Napoleon has committed to taking this objective is adjusted (meaning not as many brigades can be dedicated to the task), perhaps another random battlefield objective is chosen or maybe the Marshal chooses to ignore the orders altogether believing them to be out of date considering the current Battlefield situation.

If the Marshal then decides to forward the orders, he will send ADC’s to the relevant number of units that Napoleon has given him resource for. For example, Napoleon dedicates 8 Awareness Points to the capture of Hougemont, so Ney uses 4 AP to activate his 1st Brigade (with 4 battalions), 2 AP for two squadrons of cavalry and the last 2 AP for two units of artillery. ADC’s are sent to these units to show that they have been activated.

THE REWRITE

This will of course require some rewriting of the current Command and Control rules. I believe that CinC’s will have a set number of AP that they can use during the course of the battle (dependent upon the battle size), and they ‘lend’ this out to their Divisional Commanders to activate the units required to take the objective.

Divisional Commanders will need to then activate the units required and stay within a certain distance of these troops to ensure that reports from the battle line and the ability to call of an attack is still possible. This may be a range of 30cm. Any activated units outside of this command range cannot act in an aggressive manner, only defensively the same as the un-activated units inside the army.

If Divisional commanders are wounded/killed during the course of the battle, it will take some time to find a replacement in order for that Division to be effective again. This may also be determined by a dice roll as simple as on a 5+ a new commander is selected from the Brigade Generals.

Some units have a degree of independence and may operate outside of their Divisional Commanders zone of control (e.g. Hussars, Rifles and Guerillas).

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Cuirassiers

I’d like to take time to dedicate an article to each type of troop type that took part in the Napoleonic Wars. As such I’d thought I’d start this little series with the Cuirassiers.

WHAT IS A CUIRASSIER?

Cuirassiers were cavalry equipped with cuirass armour, sword, and firearms, first appearing in late 15th-century Europe. The first cuirassiers were produced as a result of armoured cavalry, such as the men-at-arms and demi-lancers, discarding their lances and adopting the use of pistols as their primary weapon. In the later 17th century, the cuirassier lost his limb armour and subsequently employed only the cuirass (breastplate and backplate), and sometimes a helmet. By this time, the sword or sabre had become their primary weapon, pistols being relegated to a secondary function.

Cuirassiers achieved increased prominence during the Napoleonic Wars and were last fielded in the opening stages of World War I. Cuirassiers continue to be employed as ceremonial troops by a number of countries. The French term means “one with a cuirass” (cuirasse), the breastplate armour which they wore.

During the first few decades of the 19th century most of the major states of Europe, except Austria which had retained its armoured cavalry, readopted the cuirass for some of their heavy cavalry in emulation of the French. The Russians fielded two divisions of armoured cavalry, but most other states armoured a few senior regiments: Prussia three regiments, the Kingdom of Saxony three, the Kingdom of Westphalia two, Spain one (Coraceros Españoles) and the Duchy of Warsaw one. The three Household Cavalry regiments of the British Army (1st and 2nd Life Guards and Royal Horse Guards) adopted cuirasses shortly after the Napoleonic Wars as a part of their full dress uniforms, but never had occasion to wear the armour in battle. However as late as 1887 these regiments were still wearing cuirasses on manoeuvres in “field day order”.

GAME ATTRIBUTES

I’m also going to allow Cuirassiers to have a base 6+ save. I say base as some nations Curiassiers were better armoured than others, while some had no armour at all. For example the French were equipped with helmets as well as the Cuirasse, so for these regiments I’m tempted to give a 5+ save.

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2nd Small Test Game

I’ve attached another video of a second small test game I carried out over the weekend, this time without any scenery and deployment phases just two lines of identical armies lined up opposite each other.

My concern after this test is that cavalry seem to be possibly overly powerful on that attack. One Brigade of two squadrons was able to put the entire Blue left in disarray. How accurate this is, i’m not sure…

Also there is till work to be done on firming up the broken rules.

I’d love to hear everyones throughts.

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Game Revision to Strength

Following feedback from testing and comments from others who have been following the blog on a regular basis (thank you to you all by the way!), I’ve decided to make some changes to some central aspects of the game itself.

STRENGTH

Strength will no longer be needed to be shown by either base or unit, instead each base will show the number of combat dice it has available to use.

This value can still be calculated using historic orders of battle. By taking the number of men present and dividing the value by 200 will give the number of combat dice the unit has available.

Order of Battle from the Battle of Talavera

For example, in the image above we can see that the 2nd Foot Guards have 970 men, dividing this figure by 200 gives 4.85, so we always round the figure up giving us 5 Combat Dice. The 3rd Foot Guards have 1,019 men available, after dividing this gives us 5.095 which when rounded upwards gives 6 Combat Dice. The company of Rifles has 56 men, therefore this will be 0.28 and rounded up giving 1 Combat Dice.

SUFFERING DAMAGE DURING BATTLE

Instead of tracking the units strength, a more simple method will be implemented where the unit will lose 1 firing dice each turn it receives 2 or more ‘hits’ in the same turn. For example;

Turn 1 – A unit receives 1 hit and loses no dice

Turn 2 – Once again the unit receives 1 hit and loses no dice

Turn 3 – The unit receives 5 hits and loses 1 dice.

Players may still track the number of hits received against their army overall and multiply the number by 50 to give a rough estimate of their casualties.

CAVALRY

Cavalry combat dice will be calculated using the same method as foot troops above.

UNIT ATTRIBUTES

This will allow each individual unit in the game to have their own attributes (and possibly special rules) to differentiate them not only inside their own faction but against other factions as well. The attributes will be;

  1. Movement
  2. Number of Combat Dice
  3. Melee Roll v infantry (e.g. 4+)
  4. Melee Roll v Cavalry (e.g. 6+)
  5. ‘Steady’ Roll (e.g. 5+)
  6. Save (if any) (e.g. -)
  7. Weapons (e.g. Musket & Bayonet)
  8. Skirmish Companies (e.g. 1)
  9. Any Special Rules (e.g. Impetuous 4+)

SUMMARY

This should mean that each base in the army may either show on their bases using D6’s the number of combat dice and their formation. Alternatively this can be shown on the order of battle.

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Broken Units

I established how units became broken in an earlier post, where a unit fails their morale test by a value of 3 or more. I also stated that other units that are near a unit that fails its morale test and becomes broken also have to test. What I haven’t covered is some of the after effects of units breaking.

MAKING FRIENDLY CONTACT

A unit may break as part of a reaction, a move or as a result of losing combat. Units will flee a certain distance (5cm for foot troops, 12cm for mounted troops). However what happens if a unit that is broken collides with another unit broken or otherwise?

There are four options here;

  1. The unit that is collided with automatically becomes broken and also flees.
  2. The unit that is fleeing rallies once it makes contact with a friendly unit.
  3. The fleeing unit is classed as destroyed and removed from the table.
  4. The fleeing unit ‘skips’ over the friendly unit to line up in the same direction as to when it made contact. With the unit that is being ‘Skipped’ taking a morale test (possibly with a morale modifier).

Personally at the moment I’m favouring the fourth option with a +1 modifier to the skipped units morale test. But that said I’d love to here other people’s opinions.

MAKING ENEMY CONTACT

A unit which flees into an enemy unit should be removed from the table with the men if the unit classified as captured for all intents and purposes.

A NOTE ON MORALE TESTS

A unit that is broken can use every subsequent action to attempt to rally using a morale test. For each action where the rally is failed, the unit will flee the distance required for that unit type.

Cavalry – Impetuousness

We’ve covered the basic movement and combat of cavalry but we’ve I’ve not yet gone over a very important aspect of Napoleonic Cavalry which was their impetuousness. This can be seen throughout the wars and in all nations that were involved. I’ve included some sample statements below from websites which I’ve used as sources during my writing of these rules. These show not only the cavalry’s impetuousness but also on occasions their commanders (looking at you Ney).

The first instance of the British cavalry throwing away an opportunity and charging on in blind fury occurred on 21st August 1808 at Vimeiro, in Portugal. Led by a Colonel Taylor, the 20th Light Dragoons were sent against the French infantry reserve whom they caught in column and overran. Taylor thereupon lost all control of the 20th and they raced on past the now fallen infantry to a distance of over half a mile. At that point they were charged by Marshal Junot’s cavalry reserve and horribly cut up, taking fifty per cent casualties and losing their commander. The battle was, nevertheless, a British victory and Portugal was liberated: but, of the 720 British casualties suffered during the battle,
over half were from the 20th Dragoons.
” – Waterloo Association

Hussars of all nations tended to suffer to an even greater degree from the same faults as Napoleonic cavalry in general, that is they were impetuous and difficult to control and although generally having excellent moral they tended to get carried away.” – History of War

Charging cavalry is like a fired projectile, whose effect is incalculable. The sight and sounds of the advancing line of enemy had an unsettling effect. If the officers felt any anxiety, they never showed it. They seemed eager to close with the enemy.” – Napoleonistyka

However, the third phase of the battled occurred near the village of
Vierzehnheiligen when Ney, without orders, directed two regiments of light cavalry and
five infantry battalions to attack.32 Although Ney’s impetuous attack initially proved
successful, he soon attacked beyond the range of the supporting French units on his
flanks, Lannes to his right and Augereau to his left.
” – Napoleon’s Cavalry: A Key Element to Decisive Victory

D’Hautpoul (1754-1807) was a giant of a man, with enormous body strength. He was a self-confident and very proud individual. In contrast to Nansouty, d’Hautpoul was a fiery commander eager to charge at any time. In 1794 at Aldenhoven he crushed enemy cavalry twice as numerous and was promoted to the rank of general. In 1806 at Jena Hautpoul led the 2nd Cuirassier Division (1st, 5th and 10th Cuirassiers).” – Napolun

THE RULE

Taking this into account and following comments from the play testing, I think it would be suitable to implement a special rule for impetuousness for certain cavalry units. There would be three versions of this rule for use with different cavalry/commander units depending on their historical personalities.

Impetuous (4+)

Impetuous (5+)

Impetuous (6+)

The roll for impetuousness would be taken after any combat takes place in the previous action and before any morale test in the following action. Units would roll a D6 for their Impetuousness any units which roll the specified value of above are free to take their morale test and act accordingly afterwards. Units which fail this roll will immemidately carry out their fastest move towards the nearest enemy unit and if they make contact commence with melee.

Any units which fail the test and carry on their attack must continue to roll for this test each action until their unit regains its self control.

It’s likely this rule will need further tweaking as always, and I’m always open to suggestions for improvements so please feel free to leave any comments below with your thoughts.

SOURCES

Waterloo Association

History of War

Napoleon’s Cavalry: A Key Element to Decisive Victory

Napolun

Napoleonistyka

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Casualty Rates

Having done a few test games now the casualty rates of the battles seems a little off. So to get to a more realistic casualties per hit ratio I’m going to go through some battles and show the casualties and their percentage against the starting number of men in that battle. From here we can then tweak our hit numbers as testing continues to make them more realistic.

BattleArmyStarting StrengthCasualties% Killed or Wounded
CorunnaBritish16,0009005.6%
CorunnaFrench16,0007004.4%
MarengoFrench24,0004,70019.6%
MarengoAustria31,0006,00019.3%
TalaveraFrench46,1007,40016.0%
TalaveraAnglo-Spanish55,6007,50013.5%
AusterlitzFrench75,0008,30011.1%
AusterlitzRusso-Austrian95,00016,00016.8%
BorodinoFrench190,00040,00021.1%
BorodinoRussian160,00045,00028.1%
WaterlooFrench73,00019,00026.0%
WaterlooCoalition118,00024,00020.3%
Jena-AuerstadtFrench66,00012,00018.2%
Jena-AuerstadtPrussian117,00041,00035.0%
LeipzigFrench195,00038,00019.5%
LeipzigCoalition365,00054,00014.8%
BailénFrench24,4003,00012.5%
BailénSpanish30,0001,0003.3%
WagramFrench172,00040,00023.3%
WagramAustrian173,00041,30023.9%
TOTAL2,042,100409,80020.1%
Casualty Rates from Various Battles

From the table above we can see that casualties would equate to roughly 20% of an armies strength, which we can then use in our games in the future. The next step is to establish how many hits are made during an average game, so that the 20% can be spread out across these to give a more representational figure of the number of casualties.

There’s a lot more work to do on this via play testing, but it should yield fairly accurate results for those wanting to re-fight and compare to historical engagements.

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Cavalry Fleeing

Following on from yesterdays post regarding Infantry movement rate when fleeing, it seemed only sensible to continue the thought process with Cavalry.

A QUICK REVISIT TO INFANTRY FLEEING

Before I do however, I wanted to a very good point that was made on Reddit by u/Db102 who reminded me that the infantry would be carrying their kit and also their shoes would not be designed for the individuals wearing them. To see his comment please click here.

For that reason I feel it would be sensible to reduce the fleeing rate of foot troops further to 5 cm to take in the reasoning that u/Db102 stated in his comments. This would mean that Infantry have the potential to flee 25 cm per turn instead of 30cm. However, I may well do some further research on this yet to find any more information.

CAVALRY FLEEING

I believe that ideally the fleeing rate for Cavalry should be between their quick pace (trot) and their charge (Gallop), so I’m going to use another horse gait that I’ve not yet used, the canter.

While the gallop is a full tilt run across unbroken ground at roughly at roughly 25-30mph and the trot is at roughly 8mph, the canter comes nicely between those rates at between 10-17mph.

So if we take somewhere around the middle of this pace and use 14mph as a start, how does that equate as a distance over ten minutes?

SpeedDistance in 10 Minutes (14/6)
14 mph2.33 Miles
Canter Distance in 10 Minutes

Next we need to work out how far this would be in our 1:5300 scale:

DistanceIn MetresAt 1:5300 Scale
2.33 Miles3754.3370.83 cm
Canter Distance in 10 Minutes at Scale

So a horse at a canter would cover 71 cm of the gaming table in one turn of our game. But we also need this broken down into actions like we did with Infantry fleeing:

Distance in 10 MinutesPer Action (Divided by 5)
71 cm14.2 cm
Distance per Action

Which brings us to 14 cm per action, but again we have to account for the kit and the man that the horse would be carrying, so let’s use the same method that we used for the Infantry rate at the beginning of this post and reduce it by a sixth.

Per ActionReduced by One Sixth
14.2 cm11.83 cm
Per Action

There we have it, as scientific as we can get without any in depth analysis of the kit that each troop wore and the types of horses used etc.

The Cavalry fleeing distance will be set at 12 cm per action.

As always I’d love to hear your feedback.

SOURCE

Wikipedia – Horse Gaits

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