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

Monday, 16 April 2012

ECW - VwQ Rules - Pt 3

Here's the last part of the Victory without Quarter rules, as published by Quindia Studios.

Also, offered in all humility and with no disrespect at all to the original, here are my current thoughts on a number of aspects of the rules which seem to me to need a little more detail. In my recent VwQ game with John, we found that dragoons - as we interpreted the rules - caused us a few problems. To be more accurate, they caused John problems, since my dragoons' fire effect was fearsome - ridiculous, you could say! - and was one of the few encouraging aspects of my army's performance.

The way artillery become involved in melees also seemed a little vague, so we identified a need to add some house rules to clarify that a little. Subsequently I found a few other odd things I thought would improve/clarify the game as it stands. If you find they are unnecessary, or don't actually improve anything, then no problem - don't use them, or else just regard them as my imperfect understanding of what was intended. I wish to emphasise once again that no criticism of the author (Clarence Harrison) is intended - if I didn't think the game was worth the trouble, I would not have gone into this amount of detail.

Here goes - these are all suggested changes for my use of the rules:

Dragoons. The main issue I have with dragoons is that when mounted they consitute a stand of 3 figures, so it seems most logical to keep that arrangement when they dismount. Thus a unit of 12 (say) organised as 4 stands of 3 mounted figures - one stand being command. The command stand remains mounted to represent horses and holders when the unit dismounts - the other 3 stands are replaced by open order stands of 3 standing figures. Dragoons can move 1/2 distance and mount/dismount, or mount/dismount and move 1/2 distance in a move (and still fire).

They are not allowed to fire when mounted, but otherwise will behave exactly the same as ordinary horse (ncluding charges and countercharges), but do not pursue if they win a melee. Mounted dragoons get 2D6 per stand in a melee (which is miserable), and also get the "horse" saving throw of 6+ against hits from long-range muskets.

On foot, they always count as open-order, and they fire like normal musketeers (but only get 2D6 per stand). Since 2D6 is quite generous for a half-strength stand (normal musket-armed infantry are based in sixes, and get 3D6 per stand), they do not benefit from a "volley fire" bonus, and thus do not get RELOAD markers. In melees on foot they may not charge or pursue, and count 1D6 per stand. They may Stand & Fire or Evade if charged - the firing range is calculated as for foot units, but if they Evade they are assumed to have jumped on their horses, so will have Evade and Rout distances calculated as though they are horse.

Small arms fire - additional adjustments to dice throw table: -1 if raw troops firing, +1 if veterans seems appropriate. I would expect the level of training to be particularly telling in musket fire.

Artillery – may Stand and Fire if charged (like infantry), and can be charged - if they are contacted they are eliminated without fighting back (same as Evaders and Routers).

Morale - The universal progression Steady > Shaken > Rout seems too predictable - you always know the worst that can happen. Change made such that morale tests when taking artillery hits, having a Casualty Marker allocated and losing a melee will allow a Steady Unit to go straight to Rout if the morale test result is bad enough - in these situations, a morale test total of 2D6 + adjustments < 7 will Shake a Steady unit and Rout a Shaken one (as at present) but a total of < 4 will take a Steady unit straight to Rout.

I'm not a big fan of morale tests, but I propose to add an extra one to the rules - if a unit being charged elects to "Stand & Fire" (or even just to Stand, if they are unable to fire), then it seems appropriate to test their ability to face the charge first. This becomes especially critical if the charge is coming from flank or rear.

Linear obstacles - deduct 3" from move for each, rather than "half move" penalty, which is awkward if there are 2 in a move. Artillery have to use gates.

Flank/Rear attacks in melee – Any unit allowed to charge (i.e. not dragoons on foot) may attack a steady unit in flank or rear without testing morale first - adjustments to melee combat dice throw to be +1 attacking flank, +2 attacking rear, -1 attacked in flank, -2 attacked in rear. Morale: -1 for flank, -2 for rear in morale tests for Stand & Fire (against a charge), Countercharge and Form Stand of Pikes, and also for defender who loses melee; attacker who loses a melee in which he was making a flank or rear attack (fools!) gets +1, +2 adjustment respectively in the morale test following the melee.

Cover in melees: -1 adjustment to dice if attacking troops behind soft cover, -2 if attacking hard cover. Since the rules specifically allow foot to charge foot who are defending a barricade or obstacle, it seems correct for the rules to cover that kind of melee.

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