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Subject: Loose Cannon Charging rss

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Mike Barksdale
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I just had a situation playing the Palo Alto simulation that I think merits a little tchotchke of wisdom from you boys. So, I have a general on the Mexican side whose name escapes me (I'm not at my table). He's the left wing commander...and he's also "Aggressive". That said, when I tried to change the orders from Advance to Attack, I got Loose Cannon role, and that meant I now had to/could charge with as many units as possible from said brigade. Here's my set of question:

#1:

"Does a unit FORCED to charge in a brigade where the commander is AGGRESSIVE and the charge is the result of his attack, have to follow the procedure for the Charge laid out in the rules? As in, do those units have to UDD before attempting the attack?"

#2:

"Does a unit that charges in the same manner, immediately go out and perform its movements and then charge? OR, does it have to immediately make the charge and the attack--which would technically be before the fire, movement, shock resolution step of the rules?

#3:

The thing I love about board games is they are open to interpretation. I love that it's not rigged, like a computer game. I interpret the above "LOSE CANNON" roll to mean that said brigade is now going full bore towards a target. HOWEVER, in order to do that they are still technically under "Advance" orders and thus would have to stop before being adjacent. Also, wouldn't they have to stop when they are adjacent to another unit whilst performing the charge? Said non-phasing unit would get to shoot at them, correct?

Is that making any sense?

Thanks guys. Hugs and kisses on all you big lugs.
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William Byrne
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#1: Does a unit FORCED to charge in a brigade where the commander is AGGRESSIVE and the charge is the result of his attack, have to follow the procedure for the Charge laid out in the rules? As in, do those units have to UDD before attempting the attack?"

Good question. We are talking about Cavalry rather than infantry, because infantry requires no UDD to charge. The rules are not explicit on this point, but, I'd suggest their spirit exempts the individual cavalry units from the usual UDD. Their brigadier has made the decision for them. Alternatively, you could have them UDD, in which case they'd actually charge about 50% of the time. As the Mexican cavalry's cohesion is so low that they are likely to be disordered by Pre-Shock Fire, I would not take issue with an opponent who wanted to play it the latter way.

#2: Does a unit that charges in the same manner, immediately go out and perform its movements and then charge? OR, does it have to immediately make the charge and the attack--which would technically be before the fire, movement, shock resolution step of the rules?

The units move adjacent to their targets (if possible) and then shock, with the applicable Charge modifiers.

#3: I interpret the above "LOOSE CANNON" roll to mean that said brigade is now going full bore towards a target. HOWEVER, in order to do that they are still technically under "Advance" orders and thus would have to stop before being adjacent.

That's not the case. Series Rule 6.24 says, "If any unit in the Brigade is within 3 MPs of an enemy combat unit, the player places that Brigade under Attack Orders and..."

Also, wouldn't they have to stop when they are adjacent to another unit whilst performing the charge?

If you mean adjacent to an enemy unit, yes. Units cannot move further upon moving adjacent to the enemy (Series Rule 9.53). In the CSW folder for GBACW I once asked about the case where they start the activation adjacent to the enemy. Here's what the RulesMeister replied:

"...in the case of starting adjacent to an enemy unit(s), I do not feel it was the intent of the rule to have to move to Shock attack enemy units further away. Also, no fire is allowed whether you start adjacent or not despite not getting the Charge bonus when you start adjacent." [Dauphinais, CSW GBACW folder, 2/11/13]

Said non-phasing unit would get to shoot at them, correct?

If their facing allows.
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Mike Barksdale
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See, thanks for that. I'm a newb at this and I just plain forgot that at three hexes they then begin to move to ATTACK. It was just my mistake...one of those you learn before playing it a lot. I really like the game (especially the way it lends itself well to solitaire rules. I am starting to feel like I'm ironing out the play/rules kinks.

As to the charge: I had a Mexican brigade commander (Torrejon) change to charge as a loose cannon. The problem was all four brigades failed the UDD. Instead of complain about it, I took it and ran with it. In the whirl of a gunfight you could see the units all hear the order, stop, scratch their heads and say, "dude, WTF?", and come to a halt before an attack gets coordinated. Totally logical. However, I think I'll balance it by then saying that the units should then charge automatically NEXT activation because the decision has been made an the order passed.

Problems there? Thanks a lot for the help.
 
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William Byrne
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Best wishes for Torrejon's cavalry if you have them conduct that charge next turn. I've usually played the Mexicans when I've played Gringo, so my heart goes out to them.
 
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Mike Barksdale
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They are kicking ass thus far in Palo Alto. The US artillery is struggling mightily and the US got impatient to the point they are stretched out on a broad front. Plus, in that scenario, they are abut to loose their wagons in the back ASSUMING that the Mexican cavalry under Canales can actually go to ATTACK...a big if.

Speaking of that, one final question. On the AGGRESSIVE LOOSE CANNON cavalry charge I had earlier, it says that "as many units in the Brigade as possible" should all charge and change to ATTACK. Just so I'm not losing my mind, please validate for me that by "Brigade" they mean all other units that are commanded by that same brigade commander (All the units are color coded by brigade, right)? I read that rule (6.24) that all of Torrejon's cavalry are then switched over. By Brigade they don't just mean the one unit, right? I have this self-fulfilling fear that actually each single counter is a "Brigade" and I'm doing this wrong. Please tell me I'm not crazy. I lived under power lines as a kid, sue me.
 
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William Byrne
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You're correct -- it's all the units color coded for Torrejon, not just one of them.
 
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Allen Dickerson
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For what little it's worth, I echo Bill's interpretation.

Loose cannon is exactly what it says: the Charge! call goes up and everybody goes hell-bent-for-leather, bound for glory, whether it makes tactical sense or not (and it usually doesn't).

In the case of cavalry, I will say I'm not adamant that the UDD required to charge should be foregone. After all, even if the UDD is missed for the charge, the unit can *still* move forward towards the nearest enemy position and shock (without the usual charge benefits). But all the units should *attempt* to charge, and fulfil their manly duty to move as directly and aggressively as possible.

Also, if it's infantry, I'd say they could not use the normal flexibility to stop en route and fire to try and soften up the enemy. No, the Loose Cannon would dictate that they'd want the +1 charge bonus instead.


I've had personal experience with this in playing Cerro Gordo. One of the Mexican bridadiers in that battle is sporting the "A" and when he rolled Loose Cannon, he was already in a good position. He cut through one of the American brigades like a hot knife through butter, not stopping for about 5 hexes further east!!!! He did get payback for it later, but it was a near-run thing.
 
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William Byrne
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Stiglr wrote:
In the case of cavalry, I will say I'm not adamant that the UDD required to charge should be foregone. After all, even if the UDD is missed for the charge, the unit can *still* move forward towards the nearest enemy position and shock (without the usual charge benefits).


Well, that's not what 11.54, second bullet point, says. If the Cav fails its Charge UDD, it "remains in place, its Activation finished".

That's why I'd be inclined to skip the UDD in Loose Cannon/Aggressive Brigadier cases.
 
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Allen Dickerson
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haubitze wrote:
Stiglr wrote:
In the case of cavalry, I will say I'm not adamant that the UDD required to charge should be foregone. After all, even if the UDD is missed for the charge, the unit can *still* move forward towards the nearest enemy position and shock (without the usual charge benefits).


Well, that's not what 11.54, second bullet point, says. If the Cav fails its Charge UDD, it "remains in place, its Activation finished".

That's why I'd be inclined to skip the UDD in Loose Cannon/Aggressive Brigadier cases.


Good point, admittedly. But that's *one* unit in the brigade that failed any one UDD. One of the risks with a cavalry charge is that not everyone goes (even with cavalry's high average cohesion values), and the weight of the charge is lessened by a hesitating regiment/squadron.

This might be a good one to get the designer/developer's "spirit of the rule" on. I can see it either way....
 
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William Byrne
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Actually, I like your point better than mine. That uncertainty about who gets the charge order and who doesn't is a nice touch.
 
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