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Subject: Battle rules, the Good the bad, the Ugly & the Questionable rss

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Paul Regulski
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Good :
**In comparison with the 2nd edition,Cavalry are far more realistically represented in this game. with reduced sized blocks, slower battlefield movement & no charging - fairly well reflects - what was done [ it might have been nice to see some charging cavalry though - with Sheridan ? - or an optional " morale test " to allow it- anyway ]
**The compulsory morale test for 1 CV units { same as Napoleon game }
** Long range artillery fire cannot eliminate units { same as Napoleon }
** Counter battery fire rule.

The Bad :
>> Leader " firepower " { we are now lead to believe that a Bobby lee command block has the same firepower as a full strength 4 brigade infantry division !!! Compare this with the Napoleon game ! } This is way over the top, and seems to reflect the " misty eyed " way most Americans view Civil war leaders { Rule change suggestion to the leader block combat 1 dice in attack, 2 dice in defence, regardless of its "command steps "

>> Outflank rule { as it stands } Its a crap shoot - roll high & its high kicks on broadway for you. Roll low & you waste a battle action & get kicked in the teeth with a 1 step loss. What i call a " all or negative " rule.
Needs some serious revision. And For some reason a player is limited to 1 block per flank. Why ? { one could base it on the number of command steps of a leader block in the battle - which would at least have some logic.}
Also should'nt outflanking in a Forest battle be more difficult ??
Its also " easier " to outflank an entrenchment - which seems to me to cancel out the -1 CV penalty somewhat...

The Ugly :
@@ The melee rule seems OK at first glance. But it seems after a bit of math calculation, that the attacker might as well as use this as " standard tactic " as the following defenders " fire " will be more reduced & also gives a higher chance that defending units will be forced to do a morale test on their next battle turn. It adds up to being biased. { Rule change : attacking infantry F3. Alldefending infantry simultaneously fire at F2 with Defending cavalry F1. Defending artillery F1 , but at half CV. }

@@ Forest defending infantry firepower + F1. {I cannot see the logic of this } There are trees right > So why is defender firepower increased ? Explain someone please ! Why not just leave it as it is ? Won't the attacker use tree cover as well ? [ The logic being there is going to be more " sniping " and less " volley fire ".] If one has to give the defender an advantage, then just -1 CV for attacker units OR +1 CV for the defender if you prefer ]

Questionable :
Artillery is allowed to advance to engage the enemy battle line { as far as my knowledge goes this did not happen usually, due to the said units w coming under long range rifle fire. Funnily enough, foot artillery in their " Napoleon " game cannot engage - even though they did on occasion move batteries closer to the enemy line { musket range being what it was...}

[ and then their is that funny replacement RP's hex limit rule - but that is another matter..]


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Matthew Looby
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Hi Paul,

Thanks for your comments. How many games have you played thus far?
I ask this because I am in the midst of three games, all Yearly Scenarios.
I am like most folk, just learning the game, how to make better choices.
I will be happy to discuss your opinions shortly.

Simple responses:

-Cav is historical.
-LR Arty, units at 1cv must move to reserve when hit.
-Leader FP is good in the defense, fine representation of battle field leadership, not necessarily troops. Exposing a leader in battle seems to be the last option, can't risk losing a step, or elimination.

-Outflank rule is historical, see other posts.
-Melee is brutal, especially if you can concentrate your infantry on a wing. Self hits 16%, been on the losing end of those crap shoots. Smaller battles seem to have less melee?
-Forest battles
, it's always been a huge challenge to coordinate fire as an attacker, because they have to march in line through thick undergrowth, not just trees, like in England.

As said before, BL covers the entire War, and is not designed to address the minutiae, it offers a good feel for ACW action on a broad scale.

Thanks,

Matt


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Paul Regulski
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I disagree that a leaders FP is a " fine representation " of leadership { no such equivalent scale is used in say " Napoleon 1815 " and are Wellington & Napoleon supposed to be " inferior " to Civil War leaders ??
all i am saying that the existing rule is Exaggerated..

the Outflank rule - well i prefer the old one. And should there not be a chance that the unit is " on its way " but not arrived yet { rather than it turns up always with surprise OR it gets lost AND loses stragglers } Understand my point ?

You say the melee is " brutal ". But as i have tried to point out it is NOT a balanced rule. { mathematically the attacker has nothing to lose, despite the self-hits { i think the rule design has not thought this thro'. IF you have equal or superior CV, you are best ALWAYS going to melee as the attacker { unless the defender is SO weak you don't need to } The melee decision should be a RISK. The existing rule does NOT provide that. The preferred civil war tactic was to deploy into line & fire for most engagements. I think my rule is way superior. And the old rule better than this new one..

Forest battle provides increased FP for the defender { not penalty for the attacker }- YES indeed american forest was more " wild ", but then should not the attacker be penalized ? rather than the defender increased }

Entrenchment rule seems weak also..[ i would say the defender gets + 1CV when firing to represent firing from a " protected position ".
ALSO -IF a successful " outflank " move is done against an entrenchment - then those " outflankers " would not be penalised { -1 CV } as they would " bypass " the entrenchment :0)

YOU say the game is " not designed to address the minutiae " But this is an excuse any designer could use to wave off alternative viewpoints !!

This game CAN include GOOD battle detail. Its just for my particular mind its a bit sloppy...:0)

STRATEGICALLY i am sure the game is fine. BUT as in the 4th edition Napoleon - there is a lot a tactical rules that leaves much to be desired. For example in the NAPOLEON game, foot artillery are not allowed to engage, whereas in the Civil war they can !!!

One further point. Playing a game does not substitute for " game analysis ". The " chaos " of dice rolls can make a dodgy rule look good...
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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I'm enjoying this thread.

Jim

Est. 1949

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Bill Martin
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Concerning leader firepower, I think you have a point. However, in practice, it is a big risk to put your leader in the battleline with the possibility of losing a step, or being eliminated in battle. In the games I've played, I've only put a leader in the battleline as a last resort, when other units have been lost. Thus, the leader block could represent stragglers that the leader has gathered around himself to make a last ditch stand. I don't know if that was part of the game designer's thinking, but it seems to work.

Arty that moves to engage will suffer from the opponent's defensive fire, then only fire at F1. It's much stronger defensively. Works for me.

I have to agree with Matt on his comments about the melee rule. There is a risk built in to choosing to melee with a 6 being a hit on yourself.

On the outflanking rule, there is a long thread about that with many varying opinions expressed. It seems to work out reasonably well in the games I've played. You take a risk to get a potential reward; it may or may not work. Even if your outflank roll is successful, that's not a guarantee that the unit will score hits. It makes sense to me that it's easier to outflank entrenched units.

In general, CG has simplified the game, in my opinion successfully. Is it perfect? No. Could it be improved to be more of a simulation? Certainly, but at the expense of increased complexity and time. Making one game that successfully simulates strategic/operational level and a more tactical level is very difficult, if not impossible. Personally, I like the mix that BL has achieved, albeit an imperfect one.
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Matthew Looby
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Polish5 wrote:
I disagree that a leaders FP is a " fine representation " of leadership { no such equivalent scale is used in say " Napoleon 1815 " and are Wellington & Napoleon supposed to be " inferior " to Civil War leaders ??
all i am saying that the existing rule is Exaggerated..

the Outflank rule - well i prefer the old one. And should there not be a chance that the unit is " on its way " but not arrived yet { rather than it turns up always with surprise OR it gets lost AND loses stragglers } Understand my point ?

You say the melee is " brutal ". But as i have tried to point out it is NOT a balanced rule. { mathematically the attacker has nothing to lose, despite the self-hits { i think the rule design has not thought this thro'. IF you have equal or superior CV, you are best ALWAYS going to melee as the attacker { unless the defender is SO weak you don't need to } The melee decision should be a RISK. The existing rule does NOT provide that. The preferred civil war tactic was to deploy into line & fire for most engagements. I think my rule is way superior. And the old rule better than this new one..

Forest battle provides increased FP for the defender { not penalty for the attacker }- YES indeed american forest was more " wild ", but then should not the attacker be penalized ? rather than the defender increased }

Entrenchment rule seems weak also..[ i would say the defender gets + 1CV when firing to represent firing from a " protected position ".
ALSO -IF a successful " outflank " move is done against an entrenchment - then those " outflankers " would not be penalised { -1 CV } as they would " bypass " the entrenchment :0)

YOU say the game is " not designed to address the minutiae " But this is an excuse any designer could use to wave off alternative viewpoints !!

This game CAN include GOOD battle detail. Its just for my particular mind its a bit sloppy...:0)

STRATEGICALLY i am sure the game is fine. BUT as in the 4th edition Napoleon - there is a lot a tactical rules that leaves much to be desired. For example in the NAPOLEON game, foot artillery are not allowed to engage, whereas in the Civil war they can !!!

One further point. Playing a game does not substitute for " game analysis ". The " chaos " of dice rolls can make a dodgy rule look good...


Being clever is not one of my strengths. Have you played extensively or are we just arguing rules, and math and such? I don't know. I even hate to type, let alone, wax theoretical.




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keith hatch

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Paul,

I agree with many, but not all of your comments. Cavalry is more realistic now.
You are certainly correct that the concept of the Napoleonic Grand Battery moving to within canister range and being used offensively was not really seen in the Civil War.
However,more than once in this war, artillery did, in fact, reposition itself to move closer to an enemy defensive position. Ruggles'" Grand Battery" at Shiloh is the classic example, as is "the gallant" Pelham at Fredericksburg, and the repositioning of a battery (1st Wisc. Lt.?) within just a few yards of the CSA lines at Vicksburg. This example alone should certainly allow their presence in a fortress assault.
It was not uncommon for artillery to be in reserve, either ready to reinforce an attack which might dislodge the enemy from a good position in order to strengthen it against counter-attack, or to aid in a follow-up attack of a reformed enemy position further back. I don't really have a problem with this rule, but to make it a good deal more historical, only allow Art. to move forward and become engaged if there are already Infantry deployed there.

As for melee, we simply don't use it as many of the battles are too bloody as is. While the steps must apparently represent a "will to fight" as much or more than actual losses, replacement rates treat them as if they were actual casualties that must be replaced. A really bloody CW battle saw losses of around 25% of those engaged, give or take. For example, CSA losses in some their most destructive battles were Gettysburg, 30.1% of those engaged; Chickamauga 25.9%, Stone's River 26.6%, Shiloh 24.1%, Antietam 22.6%. Union numbers are very comparable.
The existing mechanism for fire combat will give decent results without the need to invoke melee. Interestingly, the most ferocious,sustained melee of the entire war, Spottsylvania, May 12th, shows a Union casualty rate of "only" 9.1% and they were the ones forced to retreat (CSA unknown, but presumed lower- all figures from Livermore's classic study; Numbers and losses in the Civil War). Melees were often less destructive than firefights as it was axiomatic that one side usually broke before contact was actually made.

The leader firepower appears to be just another attempt to cut down on block clutter. If some sort of actual "leadership ability" or "aggressiveness factor" were the sole reason for these blocks being able to fight on the front line, a simple limit on the number of blocks which could engage in a turn, or deploy from the reserve, or make battle moves in a battle turn, etc. could have been implemented with better results, (e.g. 2 moves for a 2 star, 3 for a 3 star,1 for stacks without a leader, etc.).

As for "Out-Flanking", I heartily agree with Matt's suggestion to read the rather long thread on this. This will give you a good look at documented history versus game mechanisms and the need to keep a game balanced.

Your point about forest-fighting is the most interesting to me. This was well debated many years ago when The Gamers refused to give a defensive bonus to troops fighting in the woods because it could not be historically justified. There seemed to be few cases when, given a choice, contemporary commanders chose to fight within the woods. Often they aligned themselves at the edge of a woodland in order to shoot out into an adjoining field.

However, the fighting at Chancellorsville, as well as the Battle of The Wilderness, are our best Strategic level examples for this game. The Wilderness shows that the Union casualty rate (including missing) was about 18%, against a CSA loss as attacker of 23.4%. This would seem to justify the games +1 modifier.
Against this, must be weighed the CSA's ability to launch somewhat successful smaller scale flank attacks by both Gordon and Longstreet, in the wooded setting, not to mention the debacle of the 11th Corps at Chancellorsville. This may justify an additional success modifier for units flank marching in the woods (contrary to what someone might imagine).

Keith
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Matthew Looby
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Hi Guys,

I did a flanking attack against an enemy wing. I rolled "Box Cars", and the battle suddenly turned against me, by all rights, I should have won that battle, and marched on to Richmond. This was a smaller battle, but battles seem to be smaller in BL 3.0.

We had a huge battle in our last game, the 1863 scenario, the Rebs creamed the Union, routed them, and continued to mop-up. Flank marches were highly successful by the CSA.

When artillery moves to engage the enemy, it fires at a lousy F1. That is not optimal, better to employ infantry.

Last thing I'd feel good about, is to order my division to engage an enemy position; worse, ask them to advance in line, through dense thickets, dead fall, trees, undulating terrain, miserable humidity, swampy ground. On the other hand, I feel better if the enemy had to exhaust themselves by attacking me in kind. I think a modest +1 is much better than the old Double-Defense of earlier editions, right?



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Mark Kwasny
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Polish5 wrote:

I disagree that a leaders FP is a " fine representation " of leadership { no such equivalent scale is used in say " Napoleon 1815 " and are Wellington & Napoleon supposed to be " inferior " to Civil War leaders ??
all i am saying that the existing rule is Exaggerated..

I do not think you can justifiably compare this game's leader rules to Napoleon's rules. They are very different games, with very different scales and goals. The leader rules are an attempt to offer simple rules that catch the flavor of the role of leaders in the Civil War. Of course it could be more historical, more accurate, more detailed, but that was not the intent. Their firepower reflects, as far as I can tell, their impact on the fighting where they are. Longstreet was considered to be a hard hitter (hence F3) whereas a McClellan was not (hence F1). It is not the leader firing, it is his tactical leadership in the actual fighting.

Polish5 wrote:

the Outflank rule - well i prefer the old one. And should there not be a chance that the unit is " on its way " but not arrived yet { rather than it turns up always with surprise OR it gets lost AND loses stragglers } Understand my point ?

The old rules were more involved, and took longer to write. I believe the goal was to simplify and shorten the rules wherever possible. Also, the flank rules had to change dramatically when the rout rules were changed. If taking the enemy flank merely poses a greater threat to the center column, then the old flanking rules were fine. But if taking the enemy's flank routs him and ends the battle immediately, the flank rules have to be toned down. Personally, I liked the old rout and flank rules better, but they also involved many more rules on enfilade fire, movement, etc. The new rules streamline the rule book well.

Polish5 wrote:

You say the melee is " brutal ". But as i have tried to point out it is NOT a balanced rule. { mathematically the attacker has nothing to lose, despite the self-hits { i think the rule design has not thought this thro'. IF you have equal or superior CV, you are best ALWAYS going to melee as the attacker { unless the defender is SO weak you don't need to } The melee decision should be a RISK. The existing rule does NOT provide that. The preferred civil war tactic was to deploy into line & fire for most engagements. I think my rule is way superior. And the old rule better than this new one..

I would have to disagree here about the lack of risk. I never use melee unless I need a rout FAST! That chance of a self-hit is too risky for me. I do not care if I have more steps there or not. Replacing those steps is difficult, with few RPs and the limit of 4 RPs per hex. I cannot afford to throw away steps with a melee every time. So here I disagree with your assessment. Personally, I do not like rules with self-hits (I hate the charge rule in Crusader Rex for the same reason). All I can envision is my own men tripping and falling on their own bayonets! But it is a the simplest way to add a risk to melee without a bunch of rules.


Polish5 wrote:

Forest battle provides increased FP for the defender { not penalty for the attacker }- YES indeed american forest was more " wild ", but then should not the attacker be penalized ? rather than the defender increased }

I actually agree, a penalty to attacker fire feels more accurate, and that was actually used through much of play testing. But it is also a more complex rule - can long range artillery fire, can engaged artillery fire after their initial bonus? A -1FP means no to both, but that is not accurate either. Garrisons and cavalry cannot fire at all if you go -1FP. So do you only penalize infantry? But that makes no sense, everyone gets hindered by woods. So in the end, giving the defender a +1 is a lot easier, involved a lot less rules, and is sort of the same thing in reverse. It will still mean the attacker takes more losses before he can inflict a lot of losses on the defender - which is the result either way. The +1FP also speeds battles, whereas -1FP slows battles. Since speed of play and ease of rules was the big goal, this rule makes a lot more sense, and still gets similarly plausible results.


Polish5 wrote:

Entrenchment rule seems weak also..[ i would say the defender gets + 1CV when firing to represent firing from a " protected position ".
ALSO -IF a successful " outflank " move is done against an entrenchment - then those " outflankers " would not be penalised { -1 CV } as they would " bypass " the entrenchment :0)

Entrenchment rules were brand new, and thus any bonus for them improves the game over the older version. I might agree the -1 die roll is not a massive bonus, but it is better than nothing. It also improves morale when you rely on those 1 step units to hold. As for flanking, an easier flank march (since the defender is static behind his entrenchments) does not necessarily mean the attacker has gotten behind the works, just gotten to a weak edge of them without hindrance. The defenders might still be in fortified positions.


Polish5 wrote:

YOU say the game is " not designed to address the minutiae " But this is an excuse any designer could use to wave off alternative viewpoints !!

This game CAN include GOOD battle detail. Its just for my particular mind its a bit sloppy...:0)

No, I would say it is a reality of a grand strategy game designed to be played in a few hours with a minimum of rules. It you want more detailed rules for all the tiny "minutiae" then this might not be the game for you. It makes no pretense of being that kind of detailed game. Many details are indeed abstracted out to be covered in a general way by the simplified rules. Does it have the right "feel" and does it work when played out? Those are better questions. I agree with you some of the rules leave me without the right feel, and yet even those rules work in the big picture when playing the game. Everything is a trade off, a balancing act.



Polish5 wrote:

STRATEGICALLY i am sure the game is fine. BUT as in the 4th edition Napoleon - there is a lot a tactical rules that leaves much to be desired. For example in the NAPOLEON game, foot artillery are not allowed to engage, whereas in the Civil war they can !!!

Again, these are two very different games reflecting two very different wars at very different scales with different goals behind the rules. Napoleon is trying to give a more tactical feel to its battles, whereas Bobby Lee is offering a taste of grand tactical battles where each position represents a much large area. Thus the idea of artillery advancing within those parameters feels fine.

Polish5 wrote:

One further point. Playing a game does not substitute for " game analysis ". The " chaos " of dice rolls can make a dodgy rule look good...

Playing a game is everything, in my opinion. Rules can sound one way and play out very differently. Die rolls tend to even out over multiple playings. Analyzing rules without then playing enough to actually learn how the rules work and interact and create a picture, is an interesting intellectual actitivy, and has its own worth, but in the end, it is how a game plays and feels that mean everything. If you have not yet had a chance to play, and have access to the game, play it. Perhaps your concerns will prove to be real and you still won't like it. Perhaps you will realize that what sounded unacceptable played out pretty well. Perhaps you will find the game fun to play, and that will more than compensate for the historical lapses that you find in the rules. (If you have played it and are basing your thoughts on plenty of experience, then I apologize - I always get annoyed when someone accuses me of criticizing a game without having played it enough to really know how it works and feels!)
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Matthew Looby
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Dr Mark,

Thank you for all those keen insights.

As an aside, I am liking this game more and more. Still learning, enjoying all the puzzlements, accomplishing short and long term objectives is a real challenge. All and all, not nearly as straightforward as the old BL I know.
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Paul Regulski
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wmartin64 wrote:
Concerning leader firepower, I think you have a point. However, in practice, it is a big risk to put your leader in the battleline with the possibility of losing a step, or being eliminated in battle. In the games I've played, I've only put a leader in the battleline as a last resort, when other units have been lost. Thus, the leader block could represent stragglers that the leader has gathered around himself to make a last ditch stand. I don't know if that was part of the game designer's thinking, but it seems to work.

Arty that moves to engage will suffer from the opponent's defensive fire, then only fire at F1. It's much stronger defensively. Works for me.

I have to agree with Matt on his comments about the melee rule. There is a risk built in to choosing to melee with a 6 being a hit on yourself.

On the outflanking rule, there is a long thread about that with many varying opinions expressed. It seems to work out reasonably well in the games I've played. You take a risk to get a potential reward; it may or may not work. Even if your outflank roll is successful, that's not a guarantee that the unit will score hits. It makes sense to me that it's easier to outflank entrenched units.

In general, CG has simplified the game, in my opinion successfully. Is it perfect? No. Could it be improved to be more of a simulation? Certainly, but at the expense of increased complexity and time. Making one game that successfully simulates strategic/operational level and a more tactical level is very difficult, if not impossible. Personally, I like the mix that BL has achieved, albeit an imperfect one.


putting a leader in battle line i think would only be too much of a risk if there was NOT a larger unit with it. you could always " disengage " it anyway...the only " danger " is long range arty & a lucky outflank...

my comment about the melee - includes my awareness of the "6" self hits. { my Analysis was mathematical }

any tactical changes i would make in my game would be " simple " - not necessary so that alterations = more complexity
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Paul Regulski
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vmi1983 wrote:
[q="Polish5"]

Being clever is not one of my strengths. Have you played extensively or are we just arguing rules, and math and such? I don't know. I even hate to type, let alone, wax theoretical.

{ my " analysis " of tac. rules is an inherent part of any my game play.
i played 2nd Ed. Bobby Lee. There are a lot of differences - hence my thread.
My comment on the melee rule was based on simple math. { apologies for those that do not like that..}
Cheers




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Paul Regulski
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mvkwasny wrote:
Polish5 wrote:

I disagree that a leaders FP is a " fine representation " of leadership { no such equivalent scale is used in say " Napoleon 1815 " and are Wellington & Napoleon supposed to be " inferior " to Civil War leaders ??
all i am saying that the existing rule is Exaggerated..

I do not think you can justifiably compare this game's leader rules to Napoleon's rules. They are very different games, with very different scales and goals. The leader rules are an attempt to offer simple rules that catch the flavor of the role of leaders in the Civil War. Of course it could be more historical, more accurate, more detailed, but that was not the intent. Their firepower reflects, as far as I can tell, their impact on the fighting where they are. Longstreet was considered to be a hard hitter (hence F3) whereas a McClellan was not (hence F1). It is not the leader firing, it is his tactical leadership in the actual fighting.

Polish5 wrote:

the Outflank rule - well i prefer the old one. And should there not be a chance that the unit is " on its way " but not arrived yet { rather than it turns up always with surprise OR it gets lost AND loses stragglers } Understand my point ?

The old rules were more involved, and took longer to write. I believe the goal was to simplify and shorten the rules wherever possible. Also, the flank rules had to change dramatically when the rout rules were changed. If taking the enemy flank merely poses a greater threat to the center column, then the old flanking rules were fine. But if taking the enemy's flank routs him and ends the battle immediately, the flank rules have to be toned down. Personally, I liked the old rout and flank rules better, but they also involved many more rules on enfilade fire, movement, etc. The new rules streamline the rule book well.

Polish5 wrote:

You say the melee is " brutal ". But as i have tried to point out it is NOT a balanced rule. { mathematically the attacker has nothing to lose, despite the self-hits { i think the rule design has not thought this thro'. IF you have equal or superior CV, you are best ALWAYS going to melee as the attacker { unless the defender is SO weak you don't need to } The melee decision should be a RISK. The existing rule does NOT provide that. The preferred civil war tactic was to deploy into line & fire for most engagements. I think my rule is way superior. And the old rule better than this new one..

I would have to disagree here about the lack of risk. I never use melee unless I need a rout FAST! That chance of a self-hit is too risky for me. I do not care if I have more steps there or not. Replacing those steps is difficult, with few RPs and the limit of 4 RPs per hex. I cannot afford to throw away steps with a melee every time. So here I disagree with your assessment. Personally, I do not like rules with self-hits (I hate the charge rule in Crusader Rex for the same reason). All I can envision is my own men tripping and falling on their own bayonets! But it is a the simplest way to add a risk to melee without a bunch of rules.


Polish5 wrote:

Forest battle provides increased FP for the defender { not penalty for the attacker }- YES indeed american forest was more " wild ", but then should not the attacker be penalized ? rather than the defender increased }

I actually agree, a penalty to attacker fire feels more accurate, and that was actually used through much of play testing. But it is also a more complex rule - can long range artillery fire, can engaged artillery fire after their initial bonus? A -1FP means no to both, but that is not accurate either. Garrisons and cavalry cannot fire at all if you go -1FP. So do you only penalize infantry? But that makes no sense, everyone gets hindered by woods. So in the end, giving the defender a +1 is a lot easier, involved a lot less rules, and is sort of the same thing in reverse. It will still mean the attacker takes more losses before he can inflict a lot of losses on the defender - which is the result either way. The +1FP also speeds battles, whereas -1FP slows battles. Since speed of play and ease of rules was the big goal, this rule makes a lot more sense, and still gets similarly plausible results.


Polish5 wrote:

Entrenchment rule seems weak also..[ i would say the defender gets + 1CV when firing to represent firing from a " protected position ".
ALSO -IF a successful " outflank " move is done against an entrenchment - then those " outflankers " would not be penalised { -1 CV } as they would " bypass " the entrenchment :0)

Entrenchment rules were brand new, and thus any bonus for them improves the game over the older version. I might agree the -1 die roll is not a massive bonus, but it is better than nothing. It also improves morale when you rely on those 1 step units to hold. As for flanking, an easier flank march (since the defender is static behind his entrenchments) does not necessarily mean the attacker has gotten behind the works, just gotten to a weak edge of them without hindrance. The defenders might still be in fortified positions.


Polish5 wrote:

YOU say the game is " not designed to address the minutiae " But this is an excuse any designer could use to wave off alternative viewpoints !!

This game CAN include GOOD battle detail. Its just for my particular mind its a bit sloppy...:0)

No, I would say it is a reality of a grand strategy game designed to be played in a few hours with a minimum of rules. It you want more detailed rules for all the tiny "minutiae" then this might not be the game for you. It makes no pretense of being that kind of detailed game. Many details are indeed abstracted out to be covered in a general way by the simplified rules. Does it have the right "feel" and does it work when played out? Those are better questions. I agree with you some of the rules leave me without the right feel, and yet even those rules work in the big picture when playing the game. Everything is a trade off, a balancing act.



Polish5 wrote:

STRATEGICALLY i am sure the game is fine. BUT as in the 4th edition Napoleon - there is a lot a tactical rules that leaves much to be desired. For example in the NAPOLEON game, foot artillery are not allowed to engage, whereas in the Civil war they can !!!

Again, these are two very different games reflecting two very different wars at very different scales with different goals behind the rules. Napoleon is trying to give a more tactical feel to its battles, whereas Bobby Lee is offering a taste of grand tactical battles where each position represents a much large area. Thus the idea of artillery advancing within those parameters feels fine.

Polish5 wrote:

One further point. Playing a game does not substitute for " game analysis ". The " chaos " of dice rolls can make a dodgy rule look good...

Playing a game is everything, in my opinion. Rules can sound one way and play out very differently. Die rolls tend to even out over multiple playings. Analyzing rules without then playing enough to actually learn how the rules work and interact and create a picture, is an interesting intellectual actitivy, and has its own worth, but in the end, it is how a game plays and feels that mean everything. If you have not yet had a chance to play, and have access to the game, play it. Perhaps your concerns will prove to be real and you still won't like it. Perhaps you will realize that what sounded unacceptable played out pretty well. Perhaps you will find the game fun to play, and that will more than compensate for the historical lapses that you find in the rules. (If you have played it and are basing your thoughts on plenty of experience, then I apologize - I always get annoyed when someone accuses me of criticizing a game without having played it enough to really know how it works and feels!)


i understand all your points. { forest rules don't make a heck of a difference either way }
BUT it was simply " unnecessary " to give Civil war leaders lots of potential dice rolls in battle to reflect their tactical effect. 1 dice would suffice - given they have different FP anyway. I think the REAL reason was to put this design " in-line " with their others..." Jackson " " Borodino " so their is a " comfortable " familiarity. Other people have commented on this " sameness ". Carl Wilner has admitted as such when i questioned certain design elements in Borodino..
Yes you can compare the tactical battles of Napoleon & Bobby Lee - why not ? 3 positions - occupy one enemy to rout the foe. Its a sub-game in both designs..
This is my last post on these matters...Thanks for all contributors..
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Matthew Looby
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Thanks for your submissions Paul. I love to talk shop. I hope, we can discuss in the future, your experiences playing the game. I'll be happy to play with you via Vassal, PBEM, and if possible in real-time. I am grateful there are ACW buffs out there.
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Paul Regulski
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Yes that's kind of you { i had better get some { more } games underbelt - before i write " controversial " titled posts :0)
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James Miller
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Count me among those that have a problem with leader firepower (and that goes equally for GBoC, Shiloh, Borodino, etc.) I remember a Shiloh game where Sherman, alone in an area, eliminated an entire Confederate brigade!

In "Spartacus Imperator" the presence of a leader in battle allows for a certain number of re-rolls. This rule would prevent the above Sherman nuclear option as without any troops to direct, Sherman would be dead meat. I have used this house rule in all the above Columbia games (well, actually I'm not sure there's any hope for Shiloh, but GBoC can probably be saved) and it seems to work well.

While I have your attention, I believe it was Ron Draker who suggested at PrezCon (perhaps with regard to Napoleon) that there should be some ammo rule to limit all day long (and into the next day if need be) long range artillery fire.




 
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Mark Kwasny
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dracorex wrote:

While I have your attention, I believe it was Ron Draker who suggested at PrezCon (perhaps with regard to Napoleon) that there should be some ammo rule to limit all day long (and into the next day if need be) long range artillery fire.



Ammunition rules add complexity, game length, and record keeping. All of those work against the purpose of a fairly simple, fast-paced game.

As for leader firepower, it is a nice abstraction for leadership and also represents infantry in its own right. There are already so many die rolls in this game, the last thing I would want is even more of them. Add in the time lost as a player sits and contemplates whether to re-roll, when to re-roll, etc. Keep it simple and light and yes, driven at times by luck!
 
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Paul Regulski
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THANK -YOU James Miller !! { so that i am not alone with " leader firepower is dodgy "...

An above post suggested each leader , instead be rated according to the number of Blocks it can engage in a battle. eg. lets say LEE is rated 4. So that in any one battle turn, with Lee present, you can move to " engage " 4 blocks.This could be a simple neat way to represent Leadership instead of the " firepower " rule ...

[ blocks just firing can do automatically ]
 
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Paul Regulski
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never used VASAL :0) no idea what it is even. But could learn i suppose..

PPR
 
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