A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Grand Tactical Game - Rule Tweaks

Righto - updated version of MEP rules is now downloadable from here. Thanks again for comments and general help with this.

Divisional artillery may now share a hex with a brigade from their own division, and I've changed some of the Combat rules to suit. I did consider making such a battery just part of one of the brigades, but that becomes complicated if you wish to separate them, or have them acting independently.

I've also made a small change in the scaling of Elements in a Unit (brigade) - if the action is based on a historical OOB, the Elements will now be rounded to the nearer 750 men (500 for cavalry) rather than the higher. Nearer is probably more intuitively sensible anyway - it was higher only to prevent small units vanishing from the OOB. I've thought better of it - let 'em vanish!

Thoroughly enjoying my return to Rory Muir's book. There were a number of incidents which occurred at the Battle of Salamanca which affected the outcome, but which are at much too fine a level of detail to be covered by Grand Tactical rules. Examples are:

(1) Wellington himself detached a couple of guns from the 7th Divn's artillery, and put them on the Lesser Arapile (these were young Capt Dyneley's RHA boys - a tale straight from GA Henty if ever there was one)...

(2) ...and (according to Dyneley), a shell from one of these guns wounded Marshal Marmont, the French commander...

(3) ...and a major panic ensued, while the French HQ went to find General Clauzel, to tell him he was now in command...

(4)...alas, Clauzel had been wounded also and had been taken to the rear, so they now had to find Bonet, who was next in seniority...

(5)...but Bonet was also a casualty. Luckily, Clauzel, with his wound dressed, was able to take command shortly afterwards. Throughout this confusion and this series of bad breaks, Thomieres' Division was still heading for the horizon, which did not help the French situation at all.

None of this fiddly stuff, I promise you, is going to be covered by the intended scope of MEP!

I hope the changes in the draft make some sense - I'll attempt some low-level Combat experimentation with dice and toy soldiers to see what other horrors I haven't thought of...


  1. Does your system use cards for activation?

  2. Hi Conrad

    At present, the Grand Tactical game has no command/activation system - it's up for grabs - and my main game (Elan) uses a hybrid system of my own (don't know if you saw it, but there's a bit on my experiences and accidents with command systems in an earlier post - the one about Clever but Not Useful). Problem I have with command systems in general is they are a great idea but they can add a huge overhead of time and effort to the game. I'll do a posting on Command shortly - my current intention is try to graft the Elan system into MEP, but I was going to wait until I got to putting it on the computer.

    Because Elan is computer-managed (and the intention is that MEP wil also be, once the rules actually work), it uses a rather moronic, but simple and reasonably effective system - quick summary follows:

    (1) Every general on the table gets two ratings - ability (1 to 3, where 3 is outstanding) and leadership style (1 to 3, where 1 is cautious and 3 is aggressive) - this can be based on history, prejudice, dice throws, whatever.

    (2) C-in-Cs get a stash of command points each bound (based on their ability and a few dice throws) - they don't know how many pushes there are going to be in a bound, so they have to look after them.

    (3) Each push, the computer (or whatever) tests each general - the better his ability, the less likely there is a problem. If there is a problem, the type of problem will be strongly influenced by his leadership style. Problems will amount to the subordinate commanders deciding to retire, halt or advance, independently of what the C-in-C wishes - the reasons and reports for these are stored in a little library of (sometimes amusing) excuses - can't find the target village on the map, worried about flank threat, didn't get any orders, no reason given, etc.

    (4) Sometimes, the C-in-C will choose to just leave them to get on with it - the effect only lasts for the current bound anyway. If he wishes to do something about it he may (notionally) send an ADC, which costs 1 command point for each 3 hexes distance (in Elan) to the offending general.

    (5) This may rectify the problem, or it may not.

    Yes - it's derivative. It is also synthetic - it does make it a good idea not to put your worst generals out on a remote flank. Ross (of Battlegame of the Month) has made the point that disobedience is unlikely - some of what happens in my game looks like disobedience, but it's really the ADC getting lost, or misunderstandings, or anything else you can think of...

    Cards - I have number of sets of cards, and cards work quite well - I worry a bit about tabletop clutter.

    Enough - please have a squint at the earlier post if you're interested, and I'll get a new one in along these lines in a ittle while.

    Regards - and thanks