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Subject: Night Turns--No ZOC? rss

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p55carroll
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The spirit of the night-turns rule is spelled out in the shaded box in the rules: all units can disengage at night.

But in practice, if ZOCs simply cease to exist, phasing units can penetrate at night. To me, that's unrealistic. I can't think of any case I've ever read about where Napoleonic-era armies took advantage of night for that purpose. Night attacks were so risky that they were extremely rare (and this is simulated by the no-combat-at-night rule). Penetration would also be risky.

So, I'd favor changing the no-ZOC-at-night rule to: any unit which begins its night turn in an enemy ZOC may disengage. Such disengagement happens just like reaction-phase cavalry disengagement, except that enemy cavalry does not prevent it at night.

 
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Lance McMillan
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To a some extent, Patrick, I agree with you. Attacks at night were infrequent and typically inconclusive, and corps sized units certainly did not employ in stealthy "infiltration" style tactics of the sort you've identified. But it's also important to remember that the hexes in this game are a mile across. That's a lot of terrain, so it's more than feasible for a unit (or at least elements of a corps sized unit) to do something like that.

But the problem is that you're looking at the situation from a theoretical standpoint. In practical "in-game" terms, use of the penetration tactic you've described is pretty much self-regulating. If you try to push your units through enemy lines like that at night, there's an excellent chance that your "penentrated" unit will end up cut off and forced to conduct a mandatory attack the next morning at a disadvantagous differential, an attack which will likely result in its being broken. Additionally, the risk of an enemy being able to conduct this sort of penetration tactic means that you, as the opposing player, need to be aware of the possibility that it might occur and take appropriate preventative action, such as maintaining a solid line, so that it doesn't happen to you.

Our playtesting has shown that the night penetration ploy is simply too risky and doesn't work consistently, so players don't employ it very much. Can it work occasionally? Sure. But I think there's a solid argument that it would have worked in actuality too, and depending on how you interpret some of the narrative histories, you could make a case for the tactic being employed in a few rare instances.
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