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Thematically, does anyone know what the explanation is for why you lose one command card for each unit in square formation? Or is it merely a game balance decision?

From a game mechanics standpoint, I certainly understand that square formation needs to have a more significant disadvantage than its lower attack power/inability to move while facing cavalry. One possibility that would fit the Napoleonic theme would be that squares take more damage from artillery (maybe they would roll an extra attack die against block?).

Obviously I have no idea what this would do to game balance - I'm just thinking out loud based on what would fit the Napoleonic theme.

The beauty of the C&C system, as most who love the system will agree, is that the command cards do a great job of representing command/communication shortcomings inherent to the chaos of battle, especially in an age before radio/instant "SitReps." Furthermore, they create "fog of war" as to your opponent's next move - even if you know what your opponent would like to do or should do next turn, will they actually be able to do it? Maybe, but maybe not - which leads to the opportunity to take risks you might not otherwise take in a perfect information game.

That's an ingenious mechanic for a division/army level game, especially before radio communications. What I am having trouble wrapping my head around is how having formations in square would affect a commander's ability to communicate orders, or would add to fog of war/command difficulties in any meaningful way.

Please don't take this as a complaint - just an honest question to see if maybe I'm missing something. And this comes from someone with pedestrian knowledge of the Napoleonic era and no combat experience - so my "missing something" is very conceivable!
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Dom Rougier
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Re: Thematic question - what is meant to be represented by losing one command card while in block?
Being in square is a commitment. It means you're engaged, or soon to be, so you're probably not in direct contact with the chain of command.

The battalion would form square and the commander (Lieutenant-Colonel?) would sit inside the square, which inevitably limits outward communication.

This, I suspect is what's being simulated - you're creating a powerful position (against cavalry), but giving up grand-tactical control over that unit until they can reform.


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brian
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Cedar Lake
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Re: Thematic question - what is meant to be represented by losing one command card while in block?
I don't know but Loss of a Command Card is obviously less choices, and usually represents in the game lack of organization at the command level. I think here it is just abstracting that you have lost some mobility by going into (and eventually coming out of) square formation and so your choices are now suppressed. With it not being a permanent loss, and a random one at that, maybe the game is just trying to encourage you not to sit in square for longer than you need to do so.
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David Groves
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Re: Thematic question - what is meant to be represented by losing one command card while in block?
Domfluff wrote:
Being in square is a commitment. It means you're engaged, or soon to be, so you're probably not in direct contact with the chain of command.

The battalion would form square and the commander (Lieutenant-Colonel?) would sit inside the square, which inevitably limits outward communication.

This, I suspect is what's being simulated - you're creating a powerful position (against cavalry), but giving up grand-tactical control over that unit until they can reform.




I like that answer.

I always took it as a gamey thing to impose a penalty against the player taking advantage of forming square.

OR

to create the interesting dilemma, "Do I take advantage of square and protect that unit but possibly lose control of the key card I've earmarked for my next turn or sacrifice the unit to a cavalry charge so that I can guarantee playing my card of choice to develop that winning strategy".

 
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Re: Thematic question - what is meant to be represented by losing one command card while in block?
Domfluff wrote:
Being in square is a commitment. It means you're engaged, or soon to be, so you're probably not in direct contact with the chain of command.

The battalion would form square and the commander (Lieutenant-Colonel?) would sit inside the square, which inevitably limits outward communication.

This, I suspect is what's being simulated - you're creating a powerful position (against cavalry), but giving up grand-tactical control over that unit until they can reform.




I can see this as possibly being what they were thinking. But still, it seems as though the way to simulate this is that the formation in square is unable to receive orders while in square - not any sort of penalty against overall command of the other units or army as a whole.

Thank you for your answer
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Jeffery Hudson
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Re: Thematic question - what is meant to be represented by losing one command card while in block?
The Loss of overall command is represented because not only is the unit tied up in a square, but commanders can't use the unit for other strategies.

Not being able to command a unit in a square would lead to the issues of the square not being able to attack Calvary next to it...which is not historically accurate.
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Re: Thematic question - what is meant to be represented by losing one command card while in block?
Barronmore wrote:
The Loss of overall command is represented because not only is the unit tied up in a square, but commanders can't use the unit for other strategies.

Not being able to command a unit in a square would lead to the issues of the square not being able to attack Calvary next to it...which is not historically accurate.


That's a really good answer too - I can definitely see that as being what they were going for. However, my problem is it sounds like they chose one unrealistic solution (an entire army losing cohesiveness/ability to order other units) because the other solution would have been even more unrealistic (a squared formation not being able to take action, even in defending itself).

Again, not attacking the game, which is great as is - just addressing my own issue, i.e. a perhaps unrealistic and excessive desire for realism and theme
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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Re: Thematic question - what is meant to be represented by losing one command card while in block?
well, you can always solve it the way i do....forget to even go into a square in the first place. :) Usually my unit does't survive long enough for me to rectify that...even if i would have remembered. :)
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Philip Royce
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Re: Thematic question - what is meant to be represented by losing one command card while in block?
It is an advantage to infantry to go into square. If there were no penalty for doing so, it would greatly reduce the effectiveness of cavalry, unless the attacker could support the cavalry with additional infantry or artillery units - which would take away some of the maneuverability and quick strike capability of cavalry. By the way, the Austrian Line infantry battalion mass rule has some interesting ramifications.
Forcing the side to lose a command card to go into square creates the dilemma that David so aptly described. Do I or don't I go into square? Many factors can go into the decision, which I think makes it a great part of the game.
Some (not all) issues to consider when deciding: Is there enemy infantry or artillery that can attack my square? What card do I stand to lose, and how would it affect my future play (I may not get it back for several turns)? How many dice will the attacker roll? Do I have an attached leader and/or is it a unit that can ignore a flag or two? Do I have support nearby that can drive the cavalry off?
The square decision is, in my opinion, one of the cool things about the game. As far as historical simulation, we know this game isn't about simulation anyway. However, a unit in square was generally out of the command loop until the cavalry was driven off or rode away.
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clay stretch
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Phil, I disagree to some extant about simulation. Especially in regards to “theme”, I think taking into aspect, all the battlefield happenstances as a whole thru the ebb and flow of the game play, that the game is actually a pretty fair model of a Napoleonic battle. Nahhh it’s not perfect, no game/sim ever is, nor will it ever be. The end result is, to me, very fullfillng and I actually find the system more meaty (to me) than the lite wargame idea proposed by others. In short, I love this system, I have zero issues with time/scale concepts because I think the linear concept of time is misleading in the card play. Just because XYZ occurs in the center, can not nessesarily mean ABC isn’t occurring almost simultaneously of the far left towards the Ligny fords.
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