Continuing from the previous post, this is an attempt to produce a game based on GMT’s Commands & Colors: Napoleonics (CCN) which will work successfully for ECW and (maybe) 30YW. CCN, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is a card-driven board game played on a hex grid. The game uses purpose-built Combat Dice, which are marked with special symbols – Infantry (x2), Cavalry, Artillery, Flag (used to initiate retreats) and Crossed-Sabres (which has various uses – including melee hits and hits on Leaders).
Standard CCN is played with labelled wooden blocks – typically, for example, an infantry battalion consists of 4 such blocks. The game can also be played with miniatures, using a base of figures as a “block”, or some equivalent mapping.
One immediate issue which arises for ECW infantry is that the units are mixed – muskets and pikes – and thus casualties cannot simply be removed as a block/base – the result on the mix of arms remaining would be disproportionate. First proposal, then, is that losses against infantry units will be recorded by adding Casualty Markers, which represent a proportionate reduction in all arms. This may not be necessary for other types of troops, for which the units are homogeneous, but it might be more sensible to have the same approach for all arms.
Thus the first rule is that a unit is eliminated when the number of Casualty Markers is equal to the number of blocks/bases. In what follows, the basic rules are CCN unless otherwise stated – if you are interested, you may download the CCN rules from the GMT site here.
In my ECW army – primarily because it is being built to be suitable for Victory without Quarter – a unit of Foot consists of 3 blocks – 2 of muskets and 1 of pikes. Other mixtures are possible, including all muskets, but the 2:1 mix appropriate to the later years of the war is the norm here.
In CCN-speak, infantry units will be of classification FT – they may move 1 hex and
melee, pike blocks count 2 dice each, muskets 1 each; identified veteran units
(which may not be more than 25% of the FT units fielded) count an extra dice.
The number of dice available is reduced by 1 for each Casualty Marker. Battle
In Ranged Combat (shooting), the musket blocks count 1 each, the pikes zero. Range is 2 hexes. Again, veterans may count +1 dice, and 1 dice is deducted for each Casualty Marker. I decided not to halve the number of Ranged Combat dice if the firers moved (CCN does reduce it) – there may be weak historical justification for this, but firepower is so feeble anyway that it hardly seemed worth the complication.
FT units which have pikes may adopt Stand of Pikes formation against cavalry – the rules and operation for this are exactly the same as for Squares in CCN.
[I considered allowing a variation, such that some FT units might have a 1:1 muskets:pikes ratio, however the blocks fielded might look. In such a unit, the 3 blocks would really be 1.5 blocks muskets and 1.5 blocks pikes. Melee power (rounding up) would be 3 for the pikes and 2 for the muskets, and firepower would still be 2 for the muskets (rounded up), which is not reasonable given the smaller number of muskets present, so overall I decided that such a unit would appear to have too big an advantage if I bent the rules for it. A big 1:1 FT unit with 2 musket blocks and 2 pike blocks would be OK, but otherwise the guideline is that units must be mixed in the same way as the blocks fielded. If you want a 1:1 foot unit, you can have a little 2-block one or a big 4-block one, but if you’re fielding a 3-block one they have to be 2:1]
Units are all of type FA – I have not yet considered the issue of different weights or calibres of guns. The units consist of 1 or 2 blocks, and may move 1 hex or fire. Moving and firing is not allowed. They have zero melee capability, so may not attack, and can only battle back with zero dice! In ranged combat, each block in the unit throws 1 dice at range 2 to 4 hexes. If casualties for artillery are kept as Markers, then 1 dice is deducted for each Casualty Marker, as with infantry.
Since I think that it is very unlikely that the artillery of the day would have been able to co-ordinate with other arms, the Combined Arms Attack rule in CCN is not used in my ECW variant.
I haven’t yet decided what to do about batteries which are overrun. I assume that the civilian gunners would clear off pretty smartly if attacked, so there is maybe a case for captured guns being used by the other side – I would like to claim that I am thinking about this, but my historical knowledge is so poor in this area that what I am probably doing is sitting wondering what to do!
At the moment, I am hoping the Terrain Effects chart from CCN may be imported as is.
Next post will look at the units of Horse (including a very brief look at the Caracole, which came close to distorting the entire game), and Dragoons.