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Subject: Morale hit for guard infantry and heavy cavalry? rss

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David Hansen
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Can someone please tell me what the morale hit for committing guard infantry or heavy cavalry is abstracting?
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Brad Miller
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"We are losing this battle! Look Francois, we have had to call out the Guard! Things must be getting desperate!!!"
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David Hansen
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Ah. I'd assumed it was a reflection of desperate maneuvers.

However, that only explains the morale hit for the guard infantry; what about heavy cav? Also, these units are treated as elite: why would elite units be reserved for the moment of abject desperation in a battle this large and important?
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Justus Pendleton
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DeathMosque wrote:
Ah. I'd assumed it was a reflection of desperate maneuvers.

However, that only explains the morale hit for the guard infantry; what about heavy cav? Also, these units are treated as elite: why would elite units be reserved for the moment of abject desperation in a battle this large and important?


Because that's how historically those units were used?

What's the point of a promotion to the Imperial Guard if you get thrown into the meat grinder in every battle? It would totally mess up your uniform!
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Jan Ozimek
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DeathMosque wrote:

However, that only explains the morale hit for the guard infantry; what about heavy cav? Also, these units are treated as elite: why would elite units be reserved for the moment of abject desperation in a battle this large and important?

1) Losses were horrible. Even for elite troops.
2) Why waste valuable elite troops vs enemy farmers while the enemy is fresh, when your farmers can (partly) do the job?
3) Intelligence about enemy movement & positions wasn't great, so it was desirable to have the enemy properly locked in engagements before comitting the guard.
4) The commanders were typically emperors, who had to be relatively close to the action compared to more modern wars. Therefore the guards played an important role in guarding the emperors' personally. This would be difficult if they were busy butchering enemy infantry when the enemy broke through in another place.
5) Once the guard was comitted it was difficult to call them back and to get them reorganized if they were suddenly needed elsewhere. This is also represented in the game by the guards becoming regular units after taking damage.
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David Hansen
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Very illuminating; but again, these points address the morale hit for guard infantry. My question on that matter is satisfied; my question about the morale cost of heavy cavalry is not.
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David F
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Guard infantry and heavy cavalry chew you out if you screw up enough for them to be called into action.

Guard infantry and heavy cavalry make common troops jealous of their standing when they show up.
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Chris
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Actually Napoleon did nearly never ever use his old guard infantry till the battle at Waterloo. Due to that fact they were sometimes humorously declared as immortal. When Napoleon commited his guards in that battle and they were defeated and even retreated (which was a thing of impossibility back then) it had an enormous moral effect on the rest of his army. For most of the french units this was the moment when they realized that they had lost the battle.

Edit: I think you can just transport that whole guardinfantry logic to the cavalry. The shining "knights" on their white horses, saber at the ready.
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Rachel Simmons
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DeathMosque wrote:
Can someone please tell me what the morale hit for committing guard infantry or heavy cavalry is abstracting?


Good question. There are two basic things behind it:

(1) These units were (literally) expensive and hard to replace. Consequently, there was a reluctance to use them without a really good reason, since getting them chewed up now would mean that they wouldn't be available later. In the game, there is no future after nightfall on 2 Dec., so players don't have to worry about what their historical counterparts did. (For the players, it is "Future? What future? There is no such thing. Throw everything now!") So, the rule is an incentive for the players to behave more like their historical counterparts did and treat them as a valuable resource to be preserved if possible. In this sense, the rule is a bit of a hack needed to reflect reality beyond the edges of the game, both in space and time.

(2) The army benefitted from having its best units intact and uncommitted, it meant that there was an insurance policy against problems during the battle. In this sense, the penalty doesn't reflect the morale cost of committing these units so much as the inverse: the loss of the morale benefit of having them in reserve.
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David Hansen
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[q="bowen"

(2) The army benefitted from having its best units intact and uncommitted, it meant that there was an insurance policy against problems during the battle. In this sense, the penalty doesn't reflect the morale cost of committing these units so much as the inverse: the loss of the morale benefit of having them in reserve.[/q]

This is an outstanding concept. Thanks, Bowen. Much clearer now.
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David
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bowen wrote:
DeathMosque wrote:
Can someone please tell me what the morale hit for committing guard infantry or heavy cavalry is abstracting?


Good question. There are two basic things behind it:

(1) These units were (literally) expensive and hard to replace. Consequently, there was a reluctance to use them without a really good reason, since getting them chewed up now would mean that they wouldn't be available later. In the game, there is no future after nightfall on 2 Dec., so players don't have to worry about what their historical counterparts did. (For the players, it is "Future? What future? There is no such thing. Throw everything now!") So, the rule is an incentive for the players to behave more like their historical counterparts did and treat them as a valuable resource to be preserved if possible. In this sense, the rule is a bit of a hack needed to reflect reality beyond the edges of the game, both in space and time.

(2) The army benefitted from having its best units intact and uncommitted, it meant that there was an insurance policy against problems during the battle. In this sense, the penalty doesn't reflect the morale cost of committing these units so much as the inverse: the loss of the morale benefit of having them in reserve.


The aforementioned concepts and their game application keenly demonstrate why NT is one of the best wargames ever designed and BS is one of the best designers.
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Kåre Dyvik
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ozimek wrote:
3) Intelligence about enemy movement & positions wasn't great, so it was desirable to have the enemy properly locked in engagements before comitting the guard.

Good point!
Notice how well this is modelled in the game. You certainly do not want to commit your guards before you're fairly sure (based on intelligence gained during the previous hours of battle) that your guards will win the confrontation.

Good to have a rare word from Bowen! As usual, he demonstrates that every detail in this game is well thought out. Again and again, I am impressed to see how historical realities are modelled naturally and logically in the game.
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David Hansen
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This is an uncommonly well-thought out piece of design.
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Stimulus packages are always bad for morale.
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