Friday, 6 July 2012

Germantown - reflections

"Thomas" raised the question of how well the game handled (felt) with 5 bases per unit. it's a difficult question to answer simply, so here are a number of thoughts:

  1. In my original design  back in the early 80s I felt that the size of the units minimised the potential for variation across the firing line/zone of interaction.  i.e. a small number of units occupied the combat frontage and their performance dictated play.  With the new rules figures were doubled ranked and large British/German units were deliberately split creating a much smaller frontage.
  2. Observing FOG played in both 28mm and 15mm, where the move distances are the same but the frontages are wider, In 15mm there is more scope for manoeuvre and in 28mm the concentration is on managing "impact".
  3. The larger frontage (number of bases) avoids some of the issues making march columns over powerful, but maybe something is needed to cope with ad-hoc assault columns on narrow frontages and the "new" French columns.
Germantown is something of an exception in larger AWI battles and where the the full forces were not deployed effectively, so the frontage scaling issue is not so apparent as in more "formal" battles

My conclusion is that the change will work well on larger tables and smaller battles and particularly well for meeting engagements.  However it is a personal judgement on the exact balance between manoeuvre and clash for the battle being fought.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Germantown - offside report

Low Roller aka Wargames Amateur has posted a report of the game over on his blog. The five base units and the same -2 for column gave me cause for concern.

 Looking at my original calculations for firing, etc. and how they related to outcomes I used 7 as the baseline target for 2d6 which gave a 58% chance of a hit, a -2 for column/half line unit should have 29% and a minus 2 on the dice gave 28% so quite close.

Over years of playing I had become concerned that the rules have really reflected a assault column in firing/combats but a march column for movement/flexibility and it still reflects Charlie Wissencrafts original ACW rules used at COW back in the 80s rather than general practice in the AWI, excluding the French who were experimenting with assault columns.  (Also ignoring the cases where a line has to split fire between two units)

The move to larger based units used by Steve gives an opportunity to address this somewhat. The 2d6 system works well for 4 base units with modifiers. Taking the base line of 58% with four base units the factors for 4/3/2/1 should be 58%/44%/29%/15%, now using -1 for each missing base gives 58%/42%/28%/17%, which is pretty close.

Changing over to 5 base units should give 58%/47%/35%/23%/12%, which is quite difficult to match on a 2d6 roll. It would mean moving to a 3d6 roll say targeting 10 gives a base hit of 63% (note it is higher than before) and the reduction for each base should be 63%/50%/38%/25%/13% and applying -1 per missing base gives 63%/50%/38%/26%/16% so quite a close fit.

Just working through this highlights how the balance of play can be affected by what seem small changes and could result in a change of mechanism. personally I would use 2d6 and -1 per missing base as the lower effectiveness should better reflect the less effective fighting formation being used in addition to the smaller number of muskets deployed

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Germantown - a refight

Lord Royston awoke early with a ringing bell inside his head. He tripped over the floozie sleeping on the ground and fought his way out of his tent. The air was cool and damp and there was a heavy mist. The sentry was caught unawares, but managed to salute but Lord Royston didn't care, he headed towards his portable latrine. While there he had the impression of muskets firing, but it was difficult to think clearly after the previous nights indulgence. Anyway if there was a problem, surely his ADC would inform him, otherwise it was probably the picquets firing at something edible.

After a while he emerged to see one of his regiments forming up, but a sudden nauseous feeling overwhelmed him and he rushed back to his latrine. Meanwhile, out on the picquet line his troops had observed Americans advancing and manoeuvred to resist their march on the British camp. Rather than occupying the solid Chew house they fell back on Germantown itself drawing the Americans onwards
Later Lord Royston would claim that it was his Fabian strategy that caused the Rebels defeat. Only just in time the remainder of Lord Roston's forces mustered and presented a solid line covering the British camp.

The Americans couldn't believe their luck, if they could just coordinate their forces their combined strength would surely overwhelm the Royalist and liberate the colonies. At that very moment more Royalist forces poured onto the battlefield in response to a vaguely worded request for assistance penned by Lord Royston's ADC.

The Colonists put up a determined resistance, but to no avail, although they did enjoy the sight of Hessians advancing repeatedly into cannon range and then hastily withdrawing, before eventually routing back to Philadelphia.

The moment of the game for the British was the Cavalry exploiting a gap in the Rebel line to ride up behind them and sweep back again, wiping out most of a Rebel column.

A great game by the Gentlemen Pensioners, hosted by Steve, who has been investing in 28mm figures for the period, but the rules were mine, with minimal variation to see how they coped with 5 base units. Apologies to Roy who had command of the British vanguard and had never read accounts of the battle and therefore didn't see the value of occupying the Chew house, probably for the best. I expect further report to appear on other blogs and I'll add links