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Subject: Plain English Artillery and Mass Movement Newbie Questions rss

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Will Beckley
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I broke down and grabbed a copy, which came yesterday, and I am excited to give this one a shot. Combining the rule book with various sources here on BGG, I'm mostly clear on how the game works, but I have a few questions:

1. Artillery attacks, put in simple terms, are as follows: An artillery-led attack must be made from the approach, it can only be made if the artillery did not lead an attack last turn OR if on a hill attacking a locale that is not a Hill. It must be an independent command, and may be two independent commands in a joint attack, but only if the approach is wide. The attacker will never take any losses, and the defender will always take one loss per artillery leading the attack, minus one of the defender is in the approach and there is an artillery penalty, meaning a narrow approach with an artillery penalty is immune to artillery attacks. After an artillery attack, another attack with new units may be made across the same approach.

Is all of that right?

2. In broad terms, how is an artillery-led defense best used?

3. I can't find any exception that allows road movement of multiple corps, but it seems counter-intuitive. If two corps start in reserve on a main road, they can be issued coordinating corps move commands only if to attack. So if one moves three locales along the main road, the other cannot move with it or even into the very first locale the prior corps entered, is that right?

That's all for now, but I'm sure more will come. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
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Dan Silverman
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I believe that you can use a corp detach command to have artillery attack, too, not just unit commands.

1. Yes, all of that sounds right other than the above.

2. Usually one uses artillery to soften up a locale before plunging a large corp into it. Sometimes you get into an entrenched front and then you just fling shells every other turn to inflict damage/morale losses. Occasionally I've found extremely amazing opportunities to use artillery but send in a big corp if the defender tries to be wily and put up a small unit to get shelled.

3. Yes, road movement by corps is hard, ties up large swaths of the board, and makes moving other corps near it even harder. Note that attacks are feints if they are by road (and must be wholly cavalry) so attacking with two corps by road would be...weird and not that useful even if it were allowed. The attack with two corps at once rule is (for example) so that you can send multiple corps into an all out attack on one adjacent locale to try to break through (with superior numbers on that tiebreak, say).
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J Moore
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1. Mostly right. Artillery can also attack with a Detach Move (the rules only forbid artillery led attacks with a Corps Move), as long as it's in a corps that's already in the approach. (Detach Moves can also be used to bombard with 2 artillery units across a wide approach---perhaps a more efficient use of commands than combining two unit moves.)

The main point is that after the attack the artillery will always be detached. (But, you can use a Unit Move to attack with artillery, then immediately use an Attach Command to re-attach it to a corps, as long as the corps hasn't given any other commands that turn.)

2. Defending with artillery: The most important thing is to have at least one other unit that is capable of counterattacking in the approach with the artillery. Artillery are the only unit in the game which can defend against a narrow attack by a 2-strength infantry (a common attritional assault) and take no losses. Against any other narrow attack the artillery will lose the Initial Result, unless there is an appropriate penalty in the approach (against Heavy Cav it will always lose, unless of course the Def. approach is obstructed). However, if you a have a unit capable of counterattacking and winning, you won't end up losing more than if you had led with the stronger unit to begin with (because the artillery reduces losses against cavalry & infantry). Also, artillery will never have to take losses before any other defending piece, so as long as there are enough other units in the approach the artillery will survive. The upshot is that in a narrow approach you can safely name artillery as your lead defender, as long as you have enough other units with it---preferably at least a 3-strength or two 2-strengths.

Defending with artillery in a wide approach is more risky. In a wide approach I would probably never name artillery for more than one of my leads, choosing a stronger unit for the other lead.

3. This is an interesting question, and I'm not sure. My instinct (like yours) says no, you can't ever move with two corps simultaneously down the same road. However, when two Corps Moves are combined (in an attack), they occur simultaneously, while the road movement restrictions (top of p. 5) use words like "earlier" and "after" to refer to sequential events. So as far as I can tell the rules don't forbid two corps attacking simultaneously down the same road. Of course, if either corps had 2 or more units, it would still be subject to all the restrictions facing road attacks with 2+ unit corps. (See the beginning of this thread: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/666457/legal-attack-thr...)

That's my tentative interpretation, but I'm waiting for someone more experienced to weigh in.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Dan gave excellent answers; I'd like to add a couple of embellishments.

Artillery often serve as anchor points for strong defensive positions. Large scale actions tend to occur over a series of turns where both sides have enough force to absorb more than a single exchange worth of losses and continue fighting. A defender with artillery in position at the outset will have a strong advantage.

Regarding road movement of multiple corps, I assume you were talking about two corps starting in reserve of the same locale? If so, consider that the roads didn't amount to much and a turn represents a single hour. It's like getting 40,000 people out of a parking lot in the middle of nowhere, with a single exit leading to a one lane dirt road. If you're parked in the rear rows you're in for a very long wait.
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Will Beckley
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Thanks for the great response, Dan! One quick clarification though: in point 2 you broke down uses of artillery in attack. But I was more curious about the application of artillery-led defense.

ninja'd by Jon and Sphere
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J Moore
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Ah, Dan beat me to it.
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Dan Silverman
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Wiyum wrote:
Thanks for the great response, Dan! One quick clarification though: in point 2 you broke down uses of artillery in attack. But I was more curious about the application of artillery-led defense.

:ninja:'d by Jon and Sphere


Man, I miss one word and it changes the entire question.

An analogy of NT's rules, shall we say. :D

Sorry! Jon's response covers defensive artillery pretty well, as does Sphere's addition.
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J Moore
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Sphere, I like the image of 40,000 men and the one lane dirt road!

But concerning what the rules allow and forbid:

"To simulate this, when a
corps
with two or more units moves by road, the
following rules apply:
• The corps cannot enter a locale if the
reserve area of that locale contains units
that moved into it earlier in that same
turn.
After the corps enters a locale (even if
just to pass through it), no other units
can move into or through the reserve
area of the locale for the rest of the turn." (top of page 5, my emphasis)

As above, the words "earlier" and "after" indicate that certain moves are forbidden because of other moves that occurred earlier, whereas to my understanding when two Corps Moves are combined in an attack, the moves don't happen until the end of the attack (after the defender retreats or the attacker declares a feint), and at that point they happen simultaneously. So, it's not clear to me that these road restrictions actually apply to such double-corps movements. (Or they could be two one-unit corps, in which case the multi-unit corps restrictions wouldn't apply anyway.) At the beginning of the quoted passage it does say "a corps", so it seems she's envisioning a single corps, but to me this doesn't seem strong enough to forbid two-corps road attacks.

A pretty arcane question, and I don't know when such moves would ever be desirable but...just seeking a more detailed opinion on these rules.
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J Moore
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Also relevant:

"Two or more Corps Moves may be com-
bined if the corps start their move in the
same position and are attacking across
the same attack approach." (2nd column, page 5)

Which doesn't specify that the attack approach must necessarily be adjacent to the starting position.
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Will Beckley
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In my thinking, I was looking at reinforcements, but also just moving two corps that have been together. It feels like if a corps of 4 units can road move to cover extra ground, two corps of 2 units should as well, or at least one of the two stops a locale short of the other.

Put another way: both French reinforcements cannot enter play on the same turn under any circumstance, is that right?

I didn't mean to suggest road attacks at all, just pointing out that combined orders stipulate an attack, when it seems "everyone march down the road" would be free of the confusion that Rachel alludes to when explaining the restriction in the rules.
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JM Moore 27 wrote:
Sphere, I like the image of 40,000 men and the one lane dirt road!

But concerning what the rules allow and forbid:

"To simulate this, when a
corps
with two or more units moves by road, the
following rules apply:
• The corps cannot enter a locale if the
reserve area of that locale contains units
that moved into it earlier in that same
turn.
After the corps enters a locale (even if
just to pass through it), no other units
can move into or through the reserve
area of the locale for the rest of the turn." (top of page 5, my emphasis)

As above, the words "earlier" and "after" indicate that certain moves are forbidden because of other moves that occurred earlier, whereas to my understanding when two Corps Moves are combined in an attack, the moves don't happen until the end of the attack (after the defender retreats or the attacker declares a feint), and at that point they happen simultaneously. So, it's not clear to me that these road restrictions actually apply to such double-corps movements. (Or they could be two one-unit corps, in which case the multi-unit corps restrictions wouldn't apply anyway.) At the beginning of the quoted passage it does say "a corps", so it seems she's envisioning a single corps, but to me this doesn't seem strong enough to forbid two-corps road attacks.

A pretty arcane question, and I don't know when such moves would ever be desirable but...just seeking a more detailed opinion on these rules.

Arcane may not be strong enough. If my opponent wanted to burn the services of two corps commanders to do the job of one, I'd raise no objection.

The raison d'être of an all cavalry corps is to deliver a devastating charge across open ground in a wide approach. With elite cavalry that can be devastating, but surprise is a crucial element. When I use an all-cav corps I usually have at least one regular cav along which I can detach (either via corps detach or as a unit move) in the event I'm forced to feint (remember that you don't declare until end of movement).

Both corps commanders and elite cavalry are rare commodities, and I don't think I've ever seen two all-cavalry corps under a single command. If I had them, the chances I'd stack them together seem remote. And if they weren't all-cavalry to begin with, I'm having trouble imagining why I'd detach the non-cav elements from a mixed corps to execute a feint. Even if I went into an approach with a feint and delivered an attack in the following round, I'd have been using two commanders in both turns to do the job of one; the other would probably have been more gainfully employed leading units around the flank.

While I don't see any objection in the rules to what you propose, I think it might be because even Rachel didn't envision somebody wanting to do such a thing. My guess is that the rule allowing two corps to move across one approach simultaneously was intended for non-road moves, and while the language employed may create a loophole for attacks along a road, the chances of that being used to advantage seem remote at best.
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Wiyum wrote:
In my thinking, I was looking at reinforcements, but also just moving two corps that have been together. It feels like if a corps of 4 units can road move to cover extra ground, two corps of 2 units should as well, or at least one of the two stops a locale short of the other.

That makes it sound like a simple math problem, but ignores the command and control aspect. It is easier to move 4 units in a corps because the command structure is set up in such a way that the command flows down from the corps commander to the units quite efficiently. With 2 separate corps, you have another layer of communication as the respective corps commanders must communicate with each other to coordinate the order of march before issuing the internal corps commands.

That's trickier than you might suppose, especially in enemy territory. Stumbling into other units unexpectedly on a battlefield can lead to exchanges of friendly fire; it still happens today even with the benefit of sophisticated electronic communications. That's a worst case scenario, but even if they recognize one another there'll be confusion if they're using the same road and it hasn't been decided in advance who will move first and who has to wait. Doing it smoothly and without incident takes time and effort.

Wiyum wrote:
Put another way: both French reinforcements cannot enter play on the same turn under any circumstance, is that right?

I'm not clear as to why you think that, but no, it's not right. When you say 'both' I assume you're talking about two Corps Commands (detached Unit Commands are possible as well). With two corps, they move sequentially and must abide by the normal restrictions for road movement. That means the second corps to enter would have to do so through a different locale, but there are multiple potential entry points available.
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Will Beckley
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I honestly don't know why I misremembered that there was only a single French entry point, but yes, looking now I was clearly mistaken.

Actually, I think it came from remembering the objective rules stating that the French have one (and the Allies, two) main road entry points. Not relevant, I know.

I appreciate everyone's clarifications. I'm that much closer to "getting it."
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