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Wellington's Victory: Battle of Waterloo Game – June 18th, 1815» Forums » Variants

Subject: Revamped Wellington's Victory system rss

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Jason Cawley
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The following post is about a work in progress. I am revamping original Wellington's Victory according to my own ideas about what mattered and didn't in Napoleonic combat. This involves substantial changes to the basic combat systems, only minor changes to the rest of the original rules. Some additional fixes for skirmishers, movement rates, and similar.

Briefly, the issue I am trying to address is the failure of most Napoleonic wargame combat systems to properly account for the "lined frontage" phenomenon. They generally give a higher firepower to line formations than to columns ones, for example, even if the column has enough men to cover the entire frontage represented by the hex. The scale of original Wellington's Victory is 100 yards per hex. The reality is scarcely more than 200 men could use their weapons effectively out of that much frontage, regardless of formation. 900 men in a 9 deep column would put the same 200 men across the front 2 ranks as 300 men in a 3 rank line or 200 men in a 2 rank line. Meanwhile, 500 men in a 2 rank line simply wouldn't fit in that much space, and if actually deployed in a single hex would have no more firepower than 200 on that frontage.

Open order for fire has another issue. By lowering the target density, it reduces the outgoing firepower compared to a line frontage. But it also reduces the portion of the enemy shots that will hit, in direct proportion to that step down in firepower. A skirmish line and a full line of formed will therefore bleed at the same rate when set opposite each other, one firing more shots but getting more misses, the other fewer shots by more hits per shot from their denser target. This too is typically missing from such game systems. A wildly inaccurate estimate of the importance of open order for fire, and of the relationship between lines and columns, results.

My revised combat system is also meant to avoid the "deterministic predictability" problem with single combats. Original Wellington's Victory had fire tables with hits for practically every roll vs typical targets, with slight variations in the number of men hit, and vastly more men hit from any column target than from a line. There is no warrant for either. Unsteady troops could and did shoot early and high, "throwing away their fire" without effect, from time to time. No one should be able to count in every volley causing serious loss and morale checks to the enemy.

At the other end of the spectrum, original Wellington's Victory made pure numbers far too important in melee resolution. Yes numbers tell in such cases, but the benefit of bringing 5 or 10 times as many as can bring their weapons to bear, vs 2-3 times as many, is small.

So much for motivation, here is my solution. The core of the idea is that I create a fire table with only 6 columns, like so -

1 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0 0 1
4 0 0 0 1 1 1
5 0 0 1 1 1 1
6 5-6 1 1 1 2 2

The lowest column has a 5-6 on a roll of 6 to signify that the second die (normally the morale check) must have those values to cause loss.
Shots on that column never cause morale checks. For all other fire attack resolutions, roll a colored (to hit) die and a white (morale) die at the same time. If the hit die causes no losses ignore the morale die, otherwise it determines the morale effect from the shot immediately.

Then we have strength amounts needed to get to each fire column, based on the shooting unit type and target. The first listing fires on the lowest column - anything below that number has no shot at all.

GunL means range 5-8 artillery fire.
GunLL means long range vs large targets - cavalry, column or square.
GunS means range 1-4 artillery fire.

GunL 4-6 7-8
GunLL 2-3 4-6 7-8
GunS 2-3 4-5 6-7 8

For infantry we have the following -

Sqr 1-2 3-5 6-7 8+
Col 1 2-3 4-5 6-7 8 9+ (M only) 12-15 16+
3RL - 1 - 2 - 3+
2RL - - 1 - - 2+
Sk - 1 - 2 -

When cavalry melees, after any defensive fire it inflicts direct causalties using the fire table mechanic, as follows -

C-S 1 2 3 4+ Cavalry vs infantry square
C-C 1 - 2 3 - 4+ (M only) 6-7 8+ Cavalry vs infantry column or other cavalry
C-L - 1 - 2 - 3+ (M only) 4-5 6+ Cavalry vs infanry line, skirmish, or artillery

All of the preceding was for ordinary targets and good order shooters. Whenever the shooter is disordered or the target is a single skirmish company (only singles get the open order defense benefit), of infantry fire at range 2 hexes vs formed only (disallowed vs skirmishers), use the following instead -

GunL 6-8
GunS 4-6 7-8
Sqr 1-5 6+
Col 3-5 6-8 9+
3RL 1 2 3+
2RL 1 - 2+
Sk 1 2

Cavalry also uses this, as follows -

C-S 1 2 3 4+ Cavalry vs infantry square
C-C 1 - 2 3 - 4+ (M only) 6-7 8+ Cavalry vs infantry column or other cavalry
C-L - 1 - 2 - 3+ (M only) 4-5 6+ Cavalry vs infanry line, skirmish, or artillery


Melee strength is the highest column reached.
All infantry use the "column" line for melee strength
Artillery uses the "short" vs formed column
columns 7 and 8 are for melee resolution strength only.

The normal ratio and differential system is used for shock combat, but instead of the ratio being of total strength points, it is taken from the highest column reached. So e.g. 600-700 infantry, regardless of formation, has a melee strength of "4". Any amount of cavalry can't exceed a melee strength of "4" vs a square, but 600 or more have a melee strength of "8" vs line, skirmish, or artillery formations.

Skirmishers can't stack more than 2 per hex, and only get the skirmisher target benefit if alone. Otherwise they are a disordered 3 rank line for everything but movement, effectively.

Then
2 rank - can deploy to extended line if 500 or larger
3 rank - can deploy to extended line if 800 or larger

Order of events - defensive fire with morale check. Attacker fire reply. Optional melee by attacker. In the case of a cavalry charge, the melee is not optional, but it is preceded by the cavalry "firing" on the fire table to determine if direct casualties were inflicted and the defender possibly disordered, before the shock resolution proper.

Other changes -

Infantry movement allowance is raised to 6 for column or skirmisher, cavalry to 8. Foot guns and lines move 4.

Cavalry charge zones are 8 hexes long, with "medium" +1 for 4 or less and opportunity charge likewise. Ignore "short" zones for cavalry and artillery both. Ignore fire table effects from unit quality - their morale is enough to make a "6" unlike a "2".

As for cover, a single skirmisher in hard cover is doubled for melee defense, and uses the lower combat table, with an additional column shift to the left (meaning max firepower can only inflict a full 100 loss on a "6"). Otherwise hard only just puts the shot on the lower fire table. Soft cover, no further effects - it gives a differential in melee and may disorder cavalry and prevent range 2 shots, that is plenty for a simple hedge.

Things to notice -

2 rank line maxes out firepower with just 200 men in the hex. A larger battalion will benefit in its melee defense and its ability to keep dishing out those highest column shots even after taking losses, but it can't put out more shots from one hex than other formations. If the battalion is 500 men plus, it can use extended line to get 2 such shots if it has 2 hexes of frontage to work with - at the cost of being thinner to melee along that wider frontage.

900 men in column line 100 yards of frontage just as thoroughly as 300 men in a 3 rank line. They are 9 deep instead of 3, that is all (column of divisions, the standard way columns fought).

Max firepower vs a single skirmish company gets only a 5-6 to inflict a hit. The reply by the skirmish company will need a 6 to hit vs a formed target. 2 skirmish companies side by side in separate hexes can fire-fight a whole huge column and trade hits with it evenly. They just can't stand up to its melee push.

Guns are effective not because they automatically drop 200-300 men whenever attacked, but because they can fire over long periods with 1/6 to 1/3 chances of inflicting casualties. They don't work well vs skirmish companies, however.

It is relatively easy to get enough men to put out high firepower across the limited available frontage, but it takes a bit more depth to have good defense against possible enemy melee pushes. But just "enough" on that score can prevent any high odds melee opportunities - the largest cavalry or infantry stacks only attack with "8" melee strength, so having "5" is enough to limit such attacks to the 150% row of the melee table.

The emphasis is on morale failure or avoiding it, because disorder cannot be made up by numbers. The lower combat table is all you get for a disordered shooter. And any Dr result against an already disordered formation will escalate to a Rout result, with the usual 200 men loss thrown in. Moral - use ranks and reliefs to keep fresh, good order men facing the enemy or expect badness.

I hope this is interesting...
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Jason Cawley
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Next, some morale adjustments to eliminate some of the "rating creep" that exists in the original. The average morale of the Anglo Allied army is above 4, for instance, which is way too generous. Every Prussian fusilier regiment is presented as crack, and the French Young Guard, which had in fact been freshly raised, was not elite. Nor was the British Guard, for that matter - 5s sure, but not 6s.

First the Prussians. All the "5" rated Fusiliers are simply "4"s. Prussian skirmishers where used are also 4s. No other changes needed.

The French - Young Guard are only 5s. No other changes needed.

The British (proper) - Guard are 5s. 95th regiment lights are still 5s, as are the Highlanders. Other British light infantry are 4s when formed, but British (proper) skirmishers are 5s when deployed. Cavalry as is.

KGL - 4s for the infantry, light or not. Cavalry as is.

All other Allied infantry 5s - are 4s. This means things like the Brunswick lights. Dutch Belgian lights. All other Allied infantry 4s - are 3s. This means the Nassau contingents, the Brunswick line, etc.

Allied cavalry generally - as is.

The big change is that there is about a 50% reduction in allied (rather than British) 5s to 4s, and a substantial increase in allied 3s. Don't worry, the army will still stand if you "fight" it correctly, and properly "lean" on the solid British and KGL contingents, the cavalry, etc.
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Jason Cawley
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It should almost go without saying, the skirmisher rule from NWC for the Battleground series I also use. Skirmish companies must remain within 4 hexes of a formed infantry unit from their nationality, unless occupying a heavy cover hex.

No clouds of the things running off to attack on their own. Keep a few strength points in column behind the skirmish line, in the case of light infantry battalions for example. They help with ammo resupply and can also provide shelter from cavalry by forming square.

Only full strength line infantry units of at least morale 4 may send out skirmishers (thus a max of 1 company per unit); lights may send out more, but you will want to keep the parent battalion for the above use. Landwehr and militia with morale 2-3 cannot use them.
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Jason Cawley
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Sorry for the formatting issues in the initial post - the board software tries to eliminate whitespace and does not preserve tables well, as a result.

Examples - a 6 gun battery firing at range 4 or less at a normal cavalry or infantry target is on the 3rd fire column, thus it needs a 5 or 6 to inflict a single step loss.

A line infantry battalion with at least 3 strength points fires on the last column, with 1-2 a miss, 3-5 a single step loss, and 6 a double step loss. If firing at 2 hex range vs a formed target, however, or vs a skirmisher at range 1, it is only on the 3rd column and needs a 5-6 to inflict a single step loss.

A single skirmish company at a range of 1 hex firing at anything but skirmishers inflicts a single step loss on a roll of 6, the rest miss. Vs a single skirmish company it needs a 6 on that die and in addition a 5-6 on the second die.
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Jason Cawley
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Example of procedures - cavalry charge.

4 French 4-4-6 cavalry units with a leader have moved to 4 hexes distance from a Hanoverian 6-2-3 militia battalion in column formation. In the French command phase, they declare a charge.

The French need a 1-5 to pass their charge morale check. If they fail, they would disorder, and in the immediately following rally phase regain good order assuming they are not in fire range of anyone, but miss their charge opportunity. Assume they pass. Charge markers are placed 8 hexes ahead of the French cavalry in their forward zone.

In the Allied march phase, all infantry units in the charge zone must check morale. Any within 4 hexes of the charging cavalry starting point have a -1 to the die, and this applies to our militia battalion. If they have a leader, they will pass on a 1-2, otherwise only on a 1. If they roll a 6 with a leader, or a 5-6 without, they will immediately rout, otherwise they will disorder.

First branch of resolution - assume the Hanoverians disorder. They can move with 1/2 the 6 MPs of column formation, but are also in a charge zone, so they can't make it far. A slight adjustment of position and change of facing to receive the charge is all they will manage. If they move forward to a hex within 4 of the French cavalry, it could "opportunity charge" them immediately, without waiting for the French shock phase. Assume they only change facing, and pass on to that French shock phase when the charge is executed.

The French cavalry move adjacent and declare their attack. The Hanoverians are disordered, so they must use the second fire table (same as for skirmisher targets etc). They have 6-8 strength on the column row, so they only reach the second fire column. They need a 6 to hit and cause a single step loss to the charging French. With their leader, the French have 5 adjusted morale, so they would need a 6 on the second die as well to disorder the cavalry. Assume they miss.

Next, the French can attack before shock to determine immediate casualties. The target is infantry in column and the cavalry is in good order, so they use the C-C column on the upper fire table. As long as they have at least 4 strength points - which they do - they "fire" on the top fire column. 1-2 no hits, 3-5 1, and 6 2 hits. The second die is for the morale check, thrown at the same time. If they roll over 3 on the "hit" die and over 2 on the "morale" die, the already disordered Hanoverians will fail their morale check for losses before "standing" to contest the hex in melee, and since already disordered, they would then rout. The rout would carry them away 3 hexes and the French cavalry could continue their charge. Assume the rolls are 4 and 3 and that happens. Any adjacent Allied units would have to check morale for this rout next to them.

The French cavalry can continue the charge up to 8 hexes distance. If there are not other targets in the way, that would suffice to reach the running Hanoverian infantry again, because the charge started at a range of only 4 hexes. This would only be a melee attack - all after the first fight of the charge. The French look at the cavalry C-C line, and their 8 strength gives them the highest column, a melee strength of 8. If the Hanoverians were only disordered, they would have a melee strength of 3 from 5 SPs on the infantry column line. Since they are routed, though, they use the lower table and only have a melee strength of 1. The melee result is automatically an additional "rout" result, which costs the Hanoverians 2 SPs and a further 3 hexes of retreat.

Moral - poor quality infantry cannot stand up to a cavalry charge.

But let us revise fate and see what would happen if the Hanoverians did make it to square, perhaps with a leader's assistance. Of course the French cavalry might have a better target within their charge zone, but assume they do not and must try to charge a good order square, instead.

They move adjacent in the French shock phase and declare their attack. The next thing that happens is the Hanoverians get to conduct defensive fire, with 6 SP on the "square" line of the upper table (for good order). That gives the 3rd column, meaning they need a 5-6 to inflict a single step loss on the French. The second die would need to be a 6 to disorder them as well.

Next the French would get to hack at the square in their "attack", before the attempt to "move" the square. The French are still ordered, even though they will be considered disordered for the melee itself, as cavalry vs a square. The C-S row maxes out at 4 strength yielding the 4th fire column, which is a 4-6 to inflict a single step loss on the defenders. With a leader present, the second die would disorder the Hanoverians on a 4-6, if losses were inflicted. Assume both French rolls are high.

Then the French are 4 melee strength, the top column possible vs a square. The Hanoverians with 5 SP left would have a melee strength of 3, so the odds row for the melee would be 100%. As for the differential, both sides are disordered at this point and both have leaders. The Hanoverians have +2 for a square vs cavalry, while the French have a 2 higher morale to begin with. The melee will resolve on the 0 differential 100% cell - a coin toss as to who must retreat. If the Hanoverians lose, being already disordered they would lose 2 further SP and rout away 3 hexes.

Note the Hanoverians are only this bad off if the French assault phase did inflict losses and disorder. Without the disorder, the melee would take place still on the 100% row, but on the -2 column, and they would be able to withstand a single Dr result with just a short retreat.

That concludes this cavalry vs low quality infantry example.
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Jason Cawley
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Here now is an infantry example instead. A British 4-4-4 infantry battalion in line is facing an attacking French regimental column, made from 2 stacked 5-4-4s, but with 1 skirmish company detached and placed in the hex beside the column.

The British can defensive fire first. They have enough to fire on the top column, though they would only fire on the 3rd column (5-6 to hit) if they targeted the skirmishers. Naturally they target the French column instead.
They need a 3-5 to inflict 1 hit or a 6 to inflict 2. Suppose they roll a 4 and get 1 hit - the French are down to 8 SPs. The second die would disorder the whole French column on a 5-6 as long as losses were inflicted, or on only a 6 if the French had a leader stacked with them. Assume the French pass the second die's morale check and retain good order.

Then the next thing that happens is the French can fire back, with both skirmish company and column. The company is on the 2nd fire column and needs a 6 to hit. The column has 8 SPs on the column row of the first, good order fire table, which yields the 5th fire column. That reads 1-3 miss, 4-5 1 step, and 6 2 steps. Notice, the aggregate ability of the larger French formation, with the skirmisher's help, to hit the British is the same as the thinner line's ability to hit them.

If the French all miss, the column pressing home in melee would have 5 melee strength to 3 defense for the British. If they got 1 hit without disordering the defenders, it would be 5 to 2. So the melee would happen on the 200% or the 150% row depending on the results of the previous fire. Morales are even and both are in good order, but the French would get a +1 differential for their leader.

Unless the British "first fire" disordered the French attackers, they have an good chance of moving the British. Of course, they brought 2.5 to 1 numbers to achieve that result.
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Jason Cawley
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Now some changes to the morale and leadership rules. A problem with original WV is a leader in every hex making everyone invulnerable to morale failure until conditions accumulate against that unit. Every formation must have brigade leaders, so every stack winds up led. This is especially pronounced with the cavalry, and the combination with high initial morale ratings for cavalry is "panzer cav", invulnerable in a morale sense and dragging 2-3 leaders per hex.

But enoug motive, here are the revisions.

2-6 leaders only have 2 functions - command range to keep units in command, and rally from a routed condition. In addition, to rally a routd unit stacked with a 2-6 leader must pass a morale check; if it fails it continues its retreat that rally phase.

4-6 division leaders automatically rally eligible routed formations they are stacked with, and provide command range as normal. If lost, the counter is flipped, then they function as brigadiers, rally on a successful morale check only.

Corps and higher commanders have all the benefits of division leaders, and also for the first time confer a +1 morale bonus for units they are stacked with.

The following conditions lower morale by 1 for any unit affected -

Army is demoralized, over its loss limits.
Unit is 1/2 its original printed strength, or less.

Disorder and low ammo usually reduced morale, but with the following effect -

Initial unit morale 2 - disorder or ammo or both, still 2.
Initial unit morale 3 - disorder or ammo, morale 3. Both, morale 2.
Initial unit morale 4 - disorder or ammo or both, morale 3.
Initial unit morale 5 - disorder or ammo, morale 4. Both, morale 3.
Initial unit morale 6 - disorder or ammo, morale 5. Both, morale 4.

The following effect certain morale checks by making them 1 harder to pass. They are not cumulative with each other.

- adjacent friendly unit routs
- this stack loses 2 or more SP in one fire phase
- this stack loses 1 or more SP through a flank or rear attack

The following morale checks are 1 easier to pass.

Extended range cavalry charge zone (5-8 hexes).

All morale checks failed by 3 or more cause rout, otherwise disorder. If the unit is already disordered, it routs on any morale failure. This includes skirmishers, which are already disordered for this purpose.

For leader losses, the number of SPs taken in the hit is the chance of a leader casualty. 6 for 1 SP hit, 5-6 for 2 SP hit, roll per occurrence.

Revised cavalry charge morale and movement effects -

As previously mentioned, the full charge zone is 8 hexes long.
Range 1-4 is the primary charge zone, 5-8 is extended charge zone.

Cavalry and square formation infantry never check morale for a cavalry charge. Batteries and skirmishers stacked with infantry in square can likewise skip any morale check. All other infantry units in a charge sone must check morale at the start of their march phase. The check is 1 easier to pass in the extended charge zone; it is normal in the primary charge zone. However, it is also 1 easier if the size of the charging cavalry formation is 2 SPs or less. Failure can disorder or rout, the latter only if the check is failed by 3 or more.

Any infantry or artillery unit in a primary charge zone pays double movement costs for every form of movement. Units in extended charge zone move normally.

If any unit - including cavalry - moves into any new hex within a declared primary charge zone, the charging cavalry may immediately charge that unit and resolve its shock immediately, including defensive fire if any, "fire" table attack by the cavalry, and melee resolution. If it wins it does not disorder but remains in the hex it took, and may continue its charge resolution during the following shock phase, to the limits of its previously placed charge zone markers.

If there is no declared charge, but any enemy unit moved into a new hex within 4 hexes, frontal arc, of good order cavalry, that cavalry may attempt an opportunity charge. The cavalry must check morale. If it fails, it disorders and stands. If it succeeds, it immediately shock attacks the moving unit, as above. Its charge ends in the hex taken and it disorders for end of charge in this case. No charge zone markers are placed and no morale checks are needed on the march phase player side.

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Jason Cawley
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Artillery rule adjustments

In any given fire phase, either guns or infantry can fire out of a hex, but never both. Stacking and top units never have any effect on this. Artillery and skirmishers may stack with infantry in square formation, but may never fire from any hex containing a square. Skirmishers do not fire from hexes containing other infantry units, but may add their SP to the fire of a column (only) using the column row of the fire tables.

Guns and infantry in a hex count equally toward the stacking limit of 18 SPs. However, as the fire table shows, there is never any fire benefit to more than 8 guns firing out of a single hex.

Unlimbered artillery projects an artillery fire zone to a range of 4 hexes, frontal arc only. If enemy units enter any hex in that fire zone, the battery may immediately fire at them using the short range artillery lines of the fire table. Each hex can only deliver one shot per enemy march phase, however, and this takes the place of its defensive fire phase shot. No multiple shots all the way in etc.

If meleed through its front hexsides, the melee defense of a battery is determined from the short range, good order artilery fire lines e.g. Defense of 4 for 8 or more guns. If attacked through flank or rear, use the disordered fire table instead.

Ammo rules -

As usual, any infantry fire shot that rolls a 6 on its to hit puts the shooting unit out of ammo. Formed infantry recover ammo using the same rules as recovery from disorder - it is automatic as long as outside enemy fire zones (beyond range 1 from enemy infantry, 4 from enemy artillery etc). Skirmishers must trace a 4 hex or less path to a friendly formed infantry unit that isn't out of ammo itself, as well.

Artillery uses 1 ammo point when the to hit roll is any of the following -

Class 3 battery - rolls of 3-6
Class 2 battery - rolls of 4-6
Class 1 battery - rolls of 5-6.

All batteries record ammo expended this way until total ammo expended reaches 6. At that point that battery is out of ammo and may not fire again under any circumstances.
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Jason Cawley
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Skirmisher rules -

No more than 2 SPs of skirmishers may ever stack in the same hex.
1 skirmisher defends as open order, with all shots against it using the lower "disordered" rows of the fire table. If there are 2 skirmishers in the hex or it is stacked with anything else (e.g. A battery), it is a normal target and defends on the upper, good order shooter portion of the fire table.

Single skirmish companies may never conduct a melee attack.

Stacked skirmishers, 2 in a hex, may melee attack only against enemy skirmishers, and only against single skirmisher hexes. The usual procedure applies - first defensive fire, etc.

Skirmishers may not move farther than 4 hexes from a friendly formed infantry battalion of the same nation (not army or side, e.g. Brunswickers need a Brunswick battalion), unless in an obstructed terrain hex (woods, village e.g.) or fortified hex (chateaux e.g,). If any skirmisher is out of range at the start of a friendly command phase, it routs and moves 6 hexes toward a friendly formed infantry battalion of the same nation.

Stacking, morale, and loss rules

Ignore all printed rules referring to "top unit" and similar. All units in the same hex are considered on formation for all purposes. They check morale together, combine strength for fire table and melee determinations, etc. The same morale check may be passed by one unit and failed by another. However, if any unit in a stack disorders, they are all disordered. If one unit routs out of the hex, all others check morale 1 harder to pass, as for "adjacent unit rout". In other words, stacking good with bad infantry will not make them all good.

Losses taken to stacks may be taken from any unit in the stack, but no unit can lose a second SP in the same phase (not single event, the whole phase) until each has lost 1.
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Jason Cawley
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Command rules -

Formed infantry and cavalry must be "in command" to function normally. This requires being in command range of a brigade leader who is, in turn, with command range of his division leader. Corps and higher commanders also place "in command" any unit they are directly stacked with, though for corps commanders, only units within their formation can receive "direct command" this way. Division leader do not need to be in range of a corps commander, so divisions may be detached and sent to support a different corps etc.

Skirmishers and batteries do not need command and are unaffectec by being far from leaders.

Cavalry that is out of command may not declare a charge, nor an opportunity charge, nor voluntarily move adjacent to enemy units. It defends normally, and may shock enemies that move adjacent to it and are in its front hexes in the friendly shovk phase, without charging. It also moves normally, including grand tactical movement, as long as it doesn't move adajecent to enemy units.

Formed infantry that is out of command cannot move adjacent to enemy units. It defends and fires normally, otherwise.

Route march rules -

Road or path movement rates are only available up to the following stacking limits -

2 skirmish companies
1 battery
1 formed infantry or cavalry unit in every second hex.

The last also automatically disorders the units doing it. The infantry must also be in column formation. One empty road or path hex must be left behind each infantry or cavalry unit moving in a route column.

Recall that cavalry and horse artillery get 8 MPs, column infantry and skirmishers 6 MPs, and foot artillery and line infantry 4 MPs. If the full move takes place at least 9 hexes from all enemy units, they may use grand tactical movement, which doubles these movement allowances.
 
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Jon Gautier

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This is very interesting, Jason, and very close to a new game. Seems like one would want new rules, counters, and tables. Are you planning to do any of that stuff? Are you thinking of getting playtesters?
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Jason Cawley
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Yes it is basically a new game. I don't think it needs new counters, though it would be easier to play with those added - revised morale values and movement rates and such would mean less to remember. And yes I am playtesting it, it is very much still a work in progress, that I am revising daily at this point. I am using the initial game as my basis for that. Am I interested in playtesting help? Absolutely.

I have played this and the very similar Ney vs Wellington on and off you decades. I played the Battleground series that implemented a very similar game system on the computer, extensively, and some of my ideas and revisions stem from my time playing those, and the realism and balance and incentive aspects I saw when playing them. I still think original WV is the closest to what I am seeking, so it is my natural starting point. But I am after my own white whale of the grand tactical Napoleonics game system that gets everything right. If that is of interest, I'd love to have help.

As for new rules and tables, of course those are needed. Here I am giving materials for those at close to output speed. Afterward they will need to be cleaned up and collected etc, clearly.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Revised sequence of play

The main idea is to keep the original's approach of charge resolution surrounding the opponent's movement, which to me was a brilliancy, while otherwise focusing "initiative" activities into the march phase. Formation changes happen during movement not in their own phase. Fire and melee are tied more closely together with a defensive fire first. Here is the full sequence.

French command - declare cavalry charges, commit forces
French rally - recover disorder, try to stop rout, ammo resupply
Allied march
Morale checks in French charge zones.
Unlimbered Allied artillery may fire, then doesn't move.
Allied units move, may trigger reaction charge or artillery fire.
French charge resolution - declared French charges are resolved.
French defensive fire
Allied offensive fire
Allied melee assault
Allied command
Allied rally
French march
Allied charge resolution
Allied defensive fire
French offensive fire
French melee assault.

Artillery can fire in its own march phase instead of moving. It never fires in the offensive fire phase. It may reaction fire during the enemy march phase if and only if enemy units enter new hexes inside the range 4 artillery fire zone of the firing battery. If a battery doesn't fire in the enemy march phase, it may fire in the defensive fire phase at close range (4 hexes or less) targets only. Notice, this deliberately means a battery at close range fires more times per turn than one at long range.

Defensive fire is restricted to short ranges, primary fire zones, for both artillery and infantry. Offensive fire has no range restrictions, but is for infantry fire only. Cavalry assault resolution includes defensive fire and an offensive "fire" to resolve direct casualties, before the melee resolution that determines possession of the hex assaulted.

You might think the extra fire opportunities will drive losses too high - they don't. The fire table has lower result numbers in it with misses always possible, being tuned to match. Similar with the artillery fire and ammo rule revisions, etc.
 
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Jason Cawley
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More details on skirmishers.

Skirmishers can retreat before shock when meleed by enemy infantry, only. They must check morale with a 1 point penalty. If they pass, they retreat two hexes in good order, and the attacking infantry gets the hex. No morale checks to any adjacent units. If they fail they rout, retreating 3 hexes and marked with a rout marker. Neighboring skirmishers only check morale with a 1 point penalty. Note that a skirmish company retreating before shock never takes actual SP losses, it may just "break".

Skirmishers do not need a leader stacked with them to rally in the rally phase. If stacked with a division or higher leader they automatically rally, assuming the are not in any enemy fire zone (being clear of those is required to attempt rally, for all units). If in a covered terrain hex and not within any enemy fire zone, they rally on a normal morale check. In any other terrain, provided they are within 4 hexes of a formed infantry unit of the same nation, they may rally on a minus 1 morale check (harder to rally).

Routing skirmishers may halt in any covered terrain hex clear of enemy fire zones and no adjacent to any enemy unit. The first 3 hex rout when they first break, they must retreat the full 3 hexes. Any other rally phase, if they don't rally they must retreat 6 MPs, stopping earlier only if they reach a covered terrain hex.

Skirmishers must deploy at the start of the march phase, after morale checks for cavalry charges. (This ensures they move only to locations they could reach that march phase). They may reform at the end of the march phase if stacked with any formed infantry unit of the same nation that is below its original strength. Remove the skirmisher and increase the formed infantry unit strength by 1.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Artillery rules, crews and fire combat treatment etc.

Artillery that is stacked with other units shares combat result effects with them, with the manner differing with the kind of fire faced.

All infantry fire, cavalry attack direct losses, and close range infantry fire endangers the artillery unit crew. Long range artillery fire (roundshot) endangers the guns.

One step loss to an artillery crew flips a crew counter. The battery fires at 1/2 its number of guns on the artillery rows. A second crew step loss eliminates the crew, and the guns may not be fired until they are re-crewed. A decrewed battery (only) may be recrewed by exchanging a skirmish company in the battery hex for a half crew. Skirmishers may never restore a half crew to a full crew. Half crews may never be exchanged for skirmishers.

One step loss from long range artillery fire reduces the gun strength of the battery by 1. The crew just checks morale (the second die throw in the same attack), potentially disordering or routing etc.

A rout result vs a limbered battery retreats the battery. A rout result vs an unlimbered battery routs the crew, the guns remain.

If a hex containing unlimbered guns is lost in infantry melee, the guns are permanently removed (spiked). To cavalry melee, they are decrewed and left in the hex. If enemy infantry ever enters the hex they are removed. A melee rout result vs a limbered battery removes it completely. If it was stacked with other units they still suffer the full 2 SP loss for a routed melee result in addition.

If a hex with artillery stacked with other unit types suffers a losd in fire combat, the other unit type takes the full loss result. In addition, the artillery crew takes 1 step loss for infantry or short range artillery fire, and the guns take the full combat result worth of gun losses for long range artillery fire. Stacking with other types never prevents artillery unit losses, and the losses to the artillery never fulfill any portion of the other unit loss result.

Remember that only guns or infantry may ever fire out of a hex, never both, and that guns may not fire at all from any hex containing an infantry square.
 
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Formation and movement

Grand tactical movement is possible as in the original rules. The march phase must begin and the entire path consist of hexes at least 9 hexes from any enemy units. However, only units using a route column get the full 2x MPs for grand tactical movement. Other formations and cross country movement receive only +2 MPs for grand tactical movement. (Note, of course, that we are also starting from higher movement allowances of 4 for foot guns and line infantry, 6 for columns and skirmishers, and 8 for cavalry and horse artillery).

A route column is designated by the unit facing a single hexside, rather than the usual hex spin, and marking the unit with a "disordered" marker. Use the column side of the counter for intantry; artillery must be limbered of course. Route column formation has only a single front hexside, the direction of march, and a single rear hexside, the opposite. The other 4 hexsides are flank hexes.

As mentioned, for a route column formation, the rear hex of any non-skirmisher infantry or cavalry unit must be empty and no stacking is allowed. Skirmish companies may be 2 per hex and batteries 1 per hex. Units moving in route column never pay to change facing and their facing conforms to the road or trail they are using. It may only be used in road or trail hexes. Ignore other terrain for MP costs, except trails (only) do not negate changes in elevation for MP costs.

A unit in route column may never fire, and melee defends on the lower table (as though routed), with a disordered modifier in addition.

Units may leave route column at any point in their march phase for 0 movement points. Infantry must rotate 90 degrees to the direction of the road or path, and may take column, line, or extended line formation. If extended line, the extension must be in the previously "rear" hex of the route column. Cavalry also rotates 90 degrees to the direction of the road or path, artillery keeps its original facing. Changes of facing after that cost 1 MP to face to any direction, as usual. The disordered marker is removed immediately when any unit leaves route column.

Normal formation chances and their movement point costs are as follows -

Artillery limber or unlimber - 1/2 full movement allowance. May move in the same march phase. May not have fired at the start of that march phase.

Artillery chance of facing - 1 MP if limbered, entire march phase if unlimbered (includes they may not have fired at the start of the phase).

Artillery crew abandon guns - free, start of the march phase only, move crew normally like a skirmish company, guns marked uncrewed. Guns may not have fired at the start of that march phase.

Artillery recrew guns (includes skirmishers to replace a dead crew) - free, marked at the end of the march phase.

Infantry form square from line or column - entire movement allowance.

Infantry form line from square - entire movement allowance, assume any facing.

Infantry form column from square - 1/2 movement allowance, assume any facing.

Infantry form column from line or form line from column - 1/2 movement allowance, maintain facing.

Infantry detach skirmish companies - free, start of march phase only.

Infantry absorb skirmish companies - free, end of march phase only.

A very important qualification to all of the above - disordered units may not change formation (other than leaving route column). They must rally to good order first in their friendly rally phase, and will only do so if out of enemy primary fire zones.

Effects of disorder

May not change formation (other than leaving route column).
Morale reduced for all but lowest quality units.
Fire on the disordered, lower fire table.
Melee defend on the normal fire table for melee strength purposes.
-1 differential when melee attacks by the disordered unit.
+1 differential for enemies melee attacking you.
any subsequent disorder result causes rout.
Movement is not otherwise affected (full MPs, facing changes allowed, etc).

How to remove disorder

Be outside of all enemy primary fire zones at the start of the friendly rally phase. Recovery is automatic if that simple condition is met.

Effects of rout

May not move in the normal march phase.
May not fire or melee attack.
Defend on the disordered fire table for melee strength purposes.
Any subsequent melee loss causes -2 SP and additional 3 hex retreat.
Each rally phase, if fail to rally must retreat another 6 hexes.

How to remove rout

Must be outside of all enemy fire zones, primary or long range, at the start of a friendly rally phase.

Then the following apply to all but skirmisher companies -

If stacked with a divisional or higher commander, recovery to disordered is automatic.
If stacked with a brigadier, check morale; recover to disordered if the check is passed, rout 6 more hexes of retreat if it is failed.
If without any leader, rout 6 more hexes automatically.

For skirmish companies, the requirement to be out of all enemy fire zones still applies. Then in addition -

If stacked with a divisional or higher commander, recover to good order is automatic.
If in a covered terrain hex, normal morale check. If passed, recover to good order. If fail, no further effect.
If not in a covered terrain hex but is within 4 hexes of a formed infantry unit of the same nation, -1 morale check (harder to pass). If passed, recover to good order. If fail, rout up to 6 additional hexes; may halt in any covered terrain hex reached during the retreat that is not adjacent to any enemy units and is outside of all enemy fire zones.
If not in covered terrain but also not within 4 hexes of formed infantry of the same nation, rout as above for a failed check.

Rearward movement, about face, and disengagement

There is never any penalty for leaving the fire zone of an enemy unit.
Formed infantry and cavalry may move to either "rear" hex at double movement cost, maintaining facing.
Alternatively, formed infantry, cavalry, and limbered artillery may change facing for 1 MP to any desired facing, including a complete "about face".
So e.g. a line with 4 MPs could about face, move 2 hexes, and about face again, in order to back away from an enemy unit, even one already in contact, and even if disordered.

The only way such "withdrawal" can "trigger" enemy reaction is the ordinary rules for primary artillery fire zones (4 hex range or less) and cavalry opportunity charges (same range, either already declared or by passing a morale check during the enemy's march phase). Artillery can fire once per march phase on any unit entering a new hex within its range 4 primary fire zone. Cavalry can (attempt to, if not already declared) opportunity charge any unit entering a new hex within its range 4 primary charge zone.
 
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Artillery differences

Class 3 batteries - short range and primary fire zone is only 3 hexes. Normal 8 hex range for long ranged fire. Ammo use on any fire table roll of 3-6, out of ammo after 6 such occurrences.

Class 2 batteries - normal in all respects. Ammo use on fire table roll of 4-6, same 6 shot capacity.

Class 1 batteries - in addition to the usual ranges, may also fire at range 9-12 using the long range fire lines of the tables, but with 2 fewer guns per firing battery, to a maximum of the "6 gun" column. Ammo use on any fire table roll of 5-6, same 6 shot capacity.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Revised and limited melee differential modifiers -

If the attacker's final adjusted morale is 2 or more higher than the defender's morale - +1.
If 2 or more less than the defender's morale - -1.
Cavalry charging, unless vs square or obstructed terrain - +1
Cavalry vs square - -1
Attacker disordered - -1
Defender disordered - +1
Defnders in cover or uphill - -1 (not cumulative)

Flank, rear, or defender routed - defender uses lower strength table.

Any assault at worse than a -2 differential is conducted at the -2 column.

Fire combat procedures

Any of the following require use of the lower fire combat rows, which generally dramatically reduce fire effectiveness -

Disrupted shooter
Infantry at 2 hex range (except rifles)
Target has cover
Target is a single skirmish company

If more than one of these conditions apply, the fire is also shifted one column to the left on the lower fire table for each additional condition.
If shifted left of the first column, the fire cannot have any effect, and is not resolved. Do not check for ammo use.
 
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Cover and obstructed terrain -

Motivation: Napoleonic warfare was largely conducted in the open field. Artillery fields of fire, room and routed to move large bodies of cavalry in close promixity and tight formations, formed infantry shoulder to shoulder in many ranks to present the densest possible front of charged muskets - none of these are possible with large obstructions every ten feet. Terrain mattered primarily for contours, blocking long lines of sight for artillery or obscuring troops as they redeployed. Skirmishers in open order did make use of cover, and fights could and did sometimes focus on small fortified points or involve the taking and retaking of small villages on the battlefield. But these were episodic, and involved only small portions of the engaged forces, small intervals of time, or both.

Modern wargamers, schooled in forms of warfare that arose after vastly improved firepower - especially high explosive artillery firepower - forced tactical formations to become much, much looser - far looser than even Napoleonic era skirmishing formations - have an entirely different attitude toward cover. They think the defender should always be in some form of involved, obstructed terrain and that doing so will protect them from enemy firepower and aide them in close combat, as well. The only reason the attacker doesn't do the same is that he can't pick up the cover and move it, and the range of smoothbore muskets prevents firefight duels from one large body of cover to the next.

Needless to say, this is completely unhistorical. To correct it, the rules of a Napoleonic wargame must reflect the true reasons armies did not employ cover in that manner, for more than small bodies of light infantry. It is not enough to have the benefits of cover be minor - modern players will take all they can get. Nor is it most important to make fortified points as strong as they actually were. It is far more important that both armies want to fight in open ground to get their forces to perform properly. The following serious changes to the original cover rules are meant to reflect these priorities.

Last, before the rules themselves, the main thinking behind them. The prime reason armies didn't fight from cover is they could not maintain good order of close formations while doing so. And maintaining good order was of paramount importance on the Napoleonic battlefield. Disordered but dense formations could not bring all their weapons to bear, and moreover were susceptible to panic and disobedience in the face of the enemy, compared to dressed close order formations. Use of cover was therefore mostly the province of light infantry forces detached for the purpose. Such small bodies could conform to the terrain and actually make use of the cover. However, they could not achieve the manpower densities of close order formations while doing so. This made them good at fire combat but disadvantaged in actually holding ground. A larger body had only to rush them and "take their fire", and the limited defenders, with long times to reload, could not withstand the push.

The only exception to that concerns fortified places so small that larger bodies of attackers simply could not press into them effectively. A small number could defend all the ways in, in that case. This was basically only the case with buildings, and stone buildings at that. The number of men who could fight effectively from within small stone buildings, however, was strictly limited. So limited that the firepower they could exert around themselves was miniscule, on the scale of the full engaged armies. So, these places should be hard to take even when defended by few, and numbers should not help appreciably. Time, and isolating the position to prevent relief as losses accumulate, was the only practical way of taking such "forts".

That is the motivation and design reasoning, next the actual cover rules.
 
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Any formed infantry battalion or stack in a covered terrain hex automatically assumes a disordered column formation as soon as it enters such a hex. Not unit in an obstructed terrain hex may ever recover from disorder. If already disordered before entering, there is no further effect.

The stacking limit in all covered terrain hexes is halved, to 900 men or guns, or 400 cavalry. As usual, a maximum of only 2 skirmishers may occupy an obstructed terrain hex.

Any melee attack against an obstructed terrain hex may only send the stacking limit worth of forces against it. Any excess above that level is ignored. If the attacker wins, he may only enter the hex with units that stay under the lower stacking limit.

Up to two skirmishers may benefit from a hard cover, fortified building or chateau hex. If there are any forces in excess of that limit or of other types in the hex, they are considered to be outside the buildings and receive no cover benefit from the hex. It is however still considered an obstructed hex, with lower stacking limited and forced disorder.

A melee attack on a fortified building or chateau hex occupied by skirmishers only, may only attack with a maximum melee strength if 2, regardless of the total number of attackers. The rest simply can't get at the building or its entry points. There is no such restriction if the defenders are "outside", which they are considered to be if there are any other unit types present.

Villages are ordinary obstructed terrain hexes, but in addition, only skirmish companies benefit from cover in them. Other unit types are "outside". There is however no extra limit on melee attacks against them - the normal obstructed terrain stacking limits apply.

Woods do provide cover benefit to any infantry in them, unlike villages. Byt lower stacking limit and disorder still apply. Cavalry receives no cover benefit from woods terrain.

Cavalry never receives an impetus bonus vs any obstructed terrain hex, and attacks those with modifiers as though disordered, both for its fire combat resolution before melee, and for melee. (This implies the maximum melee strength of cavalry vs an obstructed terrain hex will be 3, reached with 400 cavalry). In addition, cavalry may not melee skirmishers in fortified buildings or village hexes, at all. It may melee other unit types in such hexes, with the usual obstructed terrain rules.

Any formation is allowed behind hedges and walls - such linear cover does not count as obstructed terrain. Units behind such cover receive a cover benefit vs ranged fire of 2 hexes or more, and a differential -1 to the attack benefit in melee (not cumulative with higher ground, however). They receive no fire benefit vs fire resolutions at 1 hex range.

That's it for the actual cover rules.
 
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Jason Cawley
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So I have dealt with the cover motivations and given the actual rules, now a word or two about their effect on tactics in the revised system.

First on holding fortified points, chateaus or La Haye Saint and similar. One can contest the ground outside with up to 900 men in a disordered column, but since they are disordered and a good artillery target even at range, with no cover benefit and facing the "large target" line at roundshot ranges, the enemy can readily dislodge such a defense with fire. Any disorder from a fire result and the formation will rout, being disordered already. So you cannot defend such locations by packing in more men than could realistically use the small bit of cover it contains.

If you put a single skirmish company in the hex, it will benefit from the open order and the cover fire modifiers. This means fire against the position will always be conducted on the lower fire table, and with a column shift to the left, as well. If the attacker is disordered in addition (e.g. from a large column in adjacent obstructed terrain), a second shift. This means even the best shooters will need a "6" to eliminate the skirmish company defender, while large disordered bodies will need a 6 followed by a 4-6 on the second die. For melee, the maximum odds against the position will be the 200% row, and the defenders will benefit from the "cover" differential -1 column.

If you put 2 skirmish companies in such a position, the enemy cannot get more than a 100% odds melee attack. And you will get the cover benefit, and therefore all fire against the position will occur on the lower fire table. You will not, however, also get the benefit for a less dense target, and the best shooters may cause a casualty on a roll of 5-6 in fire combat, therefore. On the other hand, with no enemy odds and the differential, you are likely to hold the position in melee terms. As long as fire losses don't rout the surviving company and losses can be replaced, they should be able to hold out indefinitely.

A similar approach can be used to hold a larger village area, but in that case the max 2 SP melee attack limit does not apply. Instead the attacker can bring up to 9 SPs which results in a "6" melee attack strength. Vs doubled skirmishers that can reach the 300% line in the melee table, and therefore large bodies of infantry can be used to eject skirmishers from a town. Keep in mind, however, that while the large column is better in the melee and thus at getting and keeping a hex, it is still disordered and gets no terrain benefit. It is therefore quite vulnerable to fire combat.

The same distinction between massed being better at melee and loose being better for fire applies in woods fighting. A single skirmish company per hex will get both the "open order" and the "cover" benefits, and the best shot against it can therefore only hit on a "6". Disordered large columns only on a 6 plus 4-6 on the second die. The skirmish company reply faces only cover and will hit on a "6". The best formation for fire in woods is therefore doubled skirmish companies. Orchards are the same as woods for these purposes.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Next let's look at the scenarios. I am playtesting the system first with the Placenoit scenario, but with some changes. As written the Prussians are given overwhelming force and then backed up in column along the roads, but with way more of their forces already "up" and stacked to the limits than could actually have coiled forward along the roads, given realistic road space issues. The reality is they had to attack off a long line of march, and that is why the French VI corps was able to hold them off for as long as it did. The existing scenario also has the French start too far back for an effective defense of the exit from the Bois de Paris, instead positioning them at the next narrowing between bodies of woods along the ridge crest between that wood and Placenoit. I start the French farther forward and ready to contest the Prussian deployment itself.

The French forces are unchanged from the original scenario, but their set up area is defined by the road running from Frischermont to B2531 (the hill crestline overlooking the exit from the Bois to Paris at half a mile's distance), then B2833 and D2902. Anything southwest of that line, and between the Smohain creek and Lanse creek, is allowed set up for the French forces, who set up first. Guns may be unlimbered, and skirmishers may deploy up to 2 hexes in advance of the line indicated.

The for the Prussians, their initial force that is already clear of the Bois de Paris and deployed is limited to the 15th Brigade of IV corps, plus the 1st Brigade of the IV corps cavalry (1 Uhlan, 2 Hussar regiments and a single horse battery). These deploy along or northeast of the following line, just outside the Bois de Paris - B3025, B B2824, B2822, B2818. All infantry battalions should be in column, all guns limbered.

The the 16th brigade sets up still in the Bois de Paris in road column, with its leading infantry battalion in hex B3224, facing a single hexside and with a "disordered" marker to denote road column. Allow 2 hexes per battalion for the whole brigade, and put its artillery battery at the end of that column. This will stretch well out of the Bois de Paris proper. The column must bend east, not northeast, at the road junction B3920. The 16th Brigade must proceed through the Bois to Paris as it has time and room to do so.

Immediately behind the 16th Brigade, the 2nd and 3rd brigades of the IV corps cavalry come next, also in road column, also 2 hexes per regiment. At the tail of the cavalry column, the 3 corps batteries (each 8 guns class 1 type) come last, one per hex. These may stretch off the board, but must enter in sequence one behind the next in a single road column.

The cavalry and IV corps artillery may change roads at the B3920 junction to pass north of the Bois de Paris, or continue through it. But they may not cross the Smohain creek, they have to remain south of it.
 
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The Prussians may bring in the 13th Brigade on the 12th turn of the scenario, from the same northeastern road their previous column entered along,. The 14th brigade enters 4 turns (1 hour, 16th turn of the scenario) after the 13th brigade. This will complete the arrival of the Prussian IV corps and that is their total force for this scenario.

The rules for entry of the French Young Guard (3rd division of the Imperial Guard corps) are as in the original - that entry is triggered by the Prussians having formed infantry or cavalry west of a certain hex row on the southern board.
 
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I have been able to revise and somewhat simplify the new fire system after further playtesting. The main revision is to have only one fire table rather than a separate set of strength lines for disordered shooters and similar, then handle those less than ideal fire situations with column shifts.

The rule is that the following conditions make fire worse -

Disordered firing unit
Skirmisher target
Target has cover
Range 2 infantry fire (non rifle) or range 3 rifles

If the original fire column is 5 or 6 (the best two on the table), then the first such condition shifts the shot two columns to the left. In all other cases, each such condition shifts one column left, and they are cumulative.
Fire can shift to the 0 column this way. Below that, there is no shot.

The following conditions make a shot more effective, and are worth one column shift to the right -

Infantry square vs cavalry attempting to shock that square
Long range artillery fire vs a large target

Large targets mean - any cavalry, square, or infantry column, and any hex containing line infantry with 5 or more SPs in the hex.

Next, always roll 2d6 with the second (colored) die used for the morale check if the fire inflicts any losses. This handles the second die needed on the 0 and 1 columns and speeds up play in all cases. I will post the revised, unified fire table later.
 
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Gary Krockover
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This sounds great Jason - what's the current status?
 
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