It would probably be neater and potentially less embarrassing to do most of my thinking aloud and U-turning off-blog, but I would miss out on some valuable input if I did.
I am not back where I started – this is progress. On the subject of mixed pike & shot units I have gone from conveniently crude to more-correct-but-too-fiddly and now back to crude-but-justified, as we shall see. My thanks to Ross, again, and to email input from Ludovico.
The table produced in yesterday’s effort is not wasted – it gives a useful cross check for other approaches, and it served to remind me how much I dislike tables, when it comes down to it.
Here’s a mixed list of thoughts – some of them are useful, some are merely statements of policy (to keep me straight), some are blinding flashes of the bovinely obvious, and a few are the recording of some “doh” moments.
(1) I don’t like look-up tables.
(2) I don’t care much for rosters – I like to be able to see everything I need to know about a unit by looking at it, without worrying about what it used to be, or what it has lost, and without looking up any offline information.
(3) Yesterday’s table demonstrates that shot-to-pike ratios of 3:2 and 2:1 may be regarded as effectively the same, given the rounding errors.
(4) My foot units consist of 3 bases, usually, with 2 bases of muskets and one of pikes, so on a bases count this is 2:1, but in fact if you count the little men on the bases you will find that the pikemen are closer-packed, and provide 8 of the 20 figures in the unit, which is 3:2, I think. So take your pick – it doesn’t matter anyway. The units are structured like this because they are designed to work with Victory without Quarter rules, and because cosmetically it looks OK.
(5) Going back to my original rules of thumb, a base of pikes gets 2 combat dice in a melee and gets none in ranged combat (firing); a base of muskets gets 1 dice for melees and one for firing.
(6) My original idea was to allocate Casualty Markers, rather than remove bases, to denote attrition (since the troops are not homogeneous), and deduct 1 dice from any kind of combat for each such marker. The first “doh” moment was the realisation that removing a base of muskets would reduce both melee and firing dice allocations by 1, which is exactly the same as awarding one of the proposed Casualty Markers, however it might look on the table. With one stroke, that looks like the end of the Casualty Markers.
(7) I am still left with the issue of “pike heavy” units – which I’ll define as ratios of 1:1 or less. 4-base or 2-base units can be represented in a straightforward manner, with equal numbers of pike and shot bases. Intuitively, a 3-base unit is less convenient, since the bases do not show the correct proportions of troops. The second “doh” moment was realising that a 3-base pike-heavy unit is simply a 4-base one with one base removed [cue spontaneous applause], and, courtesy of the first such moment, we know that the missing base should be a musket base. Since I probably wouldn’t have available troops to make up a unit with 2 pikes and 1 muskets, and since such a thing would look wrong, we just need to field a normal 3-base unit with some kind of marker to denote that it is pike heavy. Such a unit, as proposed by Ross a while ago, should get an extra dice in melee and lose a dice when firing.
(8) I know that this all rather overstates the effect of casualties on firepower, but will live with it. In any case, it’s worth remembering that “firepower” means ranged combat in CCN terms, which means, in turn, fire at ranges greater than 1 hex, or maybe over 150 paces. The majority of effective fire would take place at ranges less than this, and CCN abstracts this as part of melee combat.
Right – where does that get me? The recycled rule for units of foot (FT) is:
In my ECW army a unit of Foot consists of 3 blocks (bases) – 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. Any units which are specified as having a musket-to-pike ratio of 1:1 or less are termed pike-heavy, and are marked as such.
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. Identifed
pike-heavy units get an extra dice in melee. Battle
All losses for a mixed unit should be taken as musket bases – this is so that the fighting value reduces correctly.
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 a designated pike-heavy unit. The number of Ranged Combat dice is not reduced if the firers moved (CCN does reduce it).
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.