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

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Nation Divided – into Hexes? (2a) – Mixed Foot Units

With thanks to Lee and Ross for their thoughts on the previous post, here’s another go at producing a simple treatment for mixed units of pike and shot, trying not to distort things as a result of oversimplification.

I am still keen to avoid look-up tables if possible. As Ross proposed, making the number of Combat Dice for melee and Ranged Combat an attribute of each unit seems to be the way to go. All of what follows can be produced by mental arithmetic, but at 2am the summary table might come in useful.

This is specifically for mixed foot units – any unit which consists of a single weapon or troop type does not require this level of detail. As suggested, I have worked out for various musket:pike ratios the required number of Combat Dice for a unit. In each case, the proportions of muskets and pikes are not necessarily as represented by the miniatures employed – though the fact that more than one type of armament is depicted indicates that the unit is mixed, and the number of bases gives an approximate numerical strength (at about 150-200 men to the base).

Losses to a mixed unit are recorded by attaching Casualty Markers, not by removing bases/blocks. A unit is eliminated when the number of Casualty Markers is equal to the number of bases.

In this new version of the draft rule, pikes count 2 dice per block in melees and 0 in Ranged Combat (firing), muskets count 1 dice per block in both melee and ranged combat – all as before. The number of dice produced is then proportioned for the specified musket:pike ratio for the unit and for the fraction which has been disabled as Casualty Markers. The result is rounded to the nearer, exact half up – this is where the rounding errors come in, but the game requires a roll of an integral number of dice! After all this, the number of dice to be rolled may still require to adjusted for the “veteran unit” bonus, and for any terrain-related or tactical bonuses or deductions (as per CCN rules).

The table which follows gives the number of dice before the last two adjustments described above. The figure before the slash applies to melees, the figure after applies to ranged combat. I have considered only the ratios 1:1, 3:2 and 2:1 – any other ratio required should be assumed to be whichever is the nearer of these 3 options.

I hope that the table makes sense, and is simple enough to be used without bogging the game down. I am still half-inclined to insist that all foot units should be 2:1, since that is what VwQ does, and since the differences are not large in any case!

Number of Combat Dice for a Mixed Foot Unit – Melee/Ranged Combat

No.of blocks (bases) less Casualty Markers

As an example, consider a 4-block unit with a musket:pike ratio of 3:2, which has acquired 1 Casualty Marker. The table shows that the unit is entitled to 4 dice in a melee and 2 dice when firing. This has to be further adjusted for any “veteran” bonus, plus any terrain or tactical adjustment.


1 comment:

  1. Ahh, not sure the added complication or even the table will worth it at 2 am.

    I don't think I really explained what I meant. I was thinking along these lines. Lets say a block is 180 men, 60 pikes and 120 muskets. When 3 are gathered we have a nice fat 540 man regiment with the pikes are all gathered in the center for visual effect. The unit gets 1 die of fire and 2 in melee for each block regardless of type since the blocks actually represent troops mixed in the proper proportion. 1 block is removed for each hit but since the men are assumed to always die in the proper percentage, the ratios remain the same. (If preferred of course the stands could be left on and casualty markers placed)

    If a unit had a 3:2 pike to shot you could probably ignore the difference. If it was a pike heavy unit, say 1:1 rather than changing the system and or fiddling with fractions, just give it a +1 die bonus in melee and a -1 die when shooting. (yes this means when reduced to 1 die it would be unable to shoot unless it had a bonus, life is hard and the last muskets are saving their last round in case the enemy charges).

    Just seems like less work. Not that your proposal isn't practical, more nuanced and propbably reflects the visual of the troops better.