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 Post subject: House rules & personal preference.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:48 am
Posts: 345
Location: United Kingdom
We've seen a lot of discussion lately on a number of game aspects that cause a lot of...disagreement? I'd like to share with you a number of my own house rules that I use when beating up the A.I. (the only victories I get) and some things that I think might be possibilities as new optional rules? You can laugh, ridicule or applaud me as you see fit. They are mainly ideas to make the game more restricted and apply limits to the present ability of the human player to be all seeing, all powerful...

1. Supply wagons limitations.
At present, supply wagons can go pretty much anywhere. They may have to spend ages getting there, but they can go through thick forest, up mountains. Up, down, over and round in a way that doesn't really represent their limits accurately? (I think the logistical tail that wagged behind every Army at this time is under represented in-game anyway) This rule simply see's supply wagons restricted to using Road, Pike, Trail and Path hexes. No cutting across country to save time and DEFINITELY no wandering through deep forest. It ties combat units to their supplies a bit more. Can cause great problems when you've got an entire Army Corps trying to march down one road. [:(!]

2.Routed units restriction.
At the moment, when a unit routs, you will find it at the start of your next turn facing in a certain direction? At the moment you can still micro manage routed units, marshalling them back to rally points and stacking them neatly with other units. Not any more! Now, each turn a unit is routed you must move it as far as possible, expending all movement points, in the direction it is facing when it routed. Simple. No changing direction or any such nonsense. Routed units are PANICKED. They run, sometimes they dont stop, so a unit that spends several turns routed can run away quite some distance before you get hold of it. Also, routed units should be moved before any other units in a turn. If they get in the way and go where you don't want them? Tough! [:p]

3.Automatic disruption (out of command)
I'd like to see this tried as an optional rule. Simply put, if a unit moves out of the command radius of it's leader, it automatically gets disrupted. Possible exception to this rule could be for road movement (marching in column order). At the moment, lone Regiments can go off on perfectly executed moves miles from their parent organisation. In game I think that the infantry units are far too powerful and overly capable.

4.Double time it boys!
In the old Eastern front game, leg units could be ordered to 'double-time' in movement. I think the present representation of movement is far too simplified. I don't believe that the Iron Brigade or the Stonewall Brigade can only march exactly the same distance each turn as a bunch of 'F' quality militia? I'd like to see 'A' & 'B' units get a +1 or 2 movement point bonus each turn and 'E' & 'F' units get a -1 or 2.
Also, I'd like the ability for, say, a Brigade sized unit to be given the order to 'run' once per game. This would give us the chance to try and represent the exceptional circumstances that arise on the field from time to time. For example, there is a Bridge or road junction that you really, really want to get to as quickly as possible.

5.Stand fast boys!
This is a flip side to the above. How many of us have tried to recreate the 20th Maine's stand on the 2nd day at Gettysburg? Only to have the 20th Maine rout and run after one turn of combat! I'd like to be able to order a unit (Maybe a Brigade with a Brigadier with an exceptional leadership value) the order to stand fast. Basically, You get a massive modifier to morale checks etc for one or two turns to represent a really heroic effort.

7.Max Fatigue limitations.
We all ask to much of our men. losses in game are nearly always much higher than historically. The main thing about these games that makes me want to quit is when I have an extremely agressive opponent who just comes at me turn after turn, throwing everything at me until attrition ensures a victory for him through simple arithmetic.
Not any more! Once a unit reaches Max fatigue in a game, the game is up. If that unit tries to move toward enemy units, fire during offensive fire turns or tries to initiate melee, then it will automatically disrupt. You cannot expect too much of physically and mentally exhausted men. I think this rule would be worth trying just to see what effect it has on the game system. It would apply realistic limits to what can be accomplished and make players much more careful.
For example, in the 3 day Gettysburg, units engaged heavily on the 1st day would be forced to rest and recover fatigue if they are to be of any further use to the player during the battle. Not used for 3 days solid like we have at the moment.

8. Extreme, total fog-of-war!
No more God like, all seeing, eye in the sky vision of the battlefield situation. The map is shown, but units are not. I mean, at the moment a lonely Regiment of Infantry at one end of the line can see exactly what a Regiment of Cavalry on picket duty 8 miles away can see and so can the Army commander. Clicking on a unit only reveals what that unit can actually see in its line of sight. Clicking on a Brigade commander reveals what the Brigade can see, A Divisional commander, what the Division can see and so on...should make keeping track of things much more problematic.

There you go...comments please?

Capt. Jim Wilkes.
2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, XX Corps.
AoC. U.S.A.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:17 am 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 2:56 pm
Posts: 112
Location: USA, New Jersey, Ocean County
Always a fun topic to comment on. I'm not a fan of house rules in email games --- unforseen details seem to frequently impact conformance to the agreement.

In terms of evaluating any idea, I think there are three considerations. Is it practical - is it easy to understand, can it be explained, is the value intuitive. Does it improve the play of the game - some times more is just that, you want rules that can make the game more interesting among players of similar ability. Is it historical - is there a consistent basis that things happened as the rule allows - there are examples of almost everything happening at some time - there were squares at Bull Run - everything does not need to be an option.

Of the ideas presented here's my favorites:

#7 - Max Fatigue. I would like some alternative process to determine the end of a scenario. Some combintion of overall points difference, relative casualties and overall fatigue levels. The Ancients Battles game does something along these lines. I think the algorithm needs work, but it's a step in the right direction.

#4 and #5 - alternate movement rules that would allow forced marches with some cost of fatigue or a stand fast order that changes the rules of combat would make tactics less chess-like for those who have played a scenario a few times.

#8 Extreme FOW -- Rather then eliminate visiblity I would prefer to see the amount of information be dependent on the distance the units is from its closest observer. It would probably be too difficult to code, but an even better idea would be to show the unit in some random position between its two last moves, the closer the observer the more accurate the information.

The other ideas don't make my list.

#1 - supply (there have also been past ideas for more extensive supply options) - I don't think complicating this topic adds much to the game and I won't want to spend more time moving and managing units.

#2 - routed units - I won't object if routed units always moved under computer control, but if I'm moving them don't force me to do one option. I also think historically they ran (primarily) to the back of their lines along the most open path, not the straightest.

#3 - auto disruption - I think the line movement disruption optional rule accomplishes the intent of this idea, whether it would make sense to extend it to inlcude units in column with some set of modifiers is not a topic on my list. But, again I would not object to such an implementation.

Lt Gen Bob Breen
Commanding 5th Bde, 1st Div, XIX Corps, AoS
"Defenders of the Right"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:17 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2001 12:37 pm
Posts: 356
Location: USA
A few years ago Generals, Thayer, Adams and I did some series replays involving house rules dealing with command control and Brigade fatigue levels. Basically we put restrictions on units outside of command range and developed a Brigade efficieny loss when the average fatigue on Regiments reached a certain level. It was a great success in both "feel" and result.

Colonel Tony Best
Army of Georgia


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:10 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Canada
I would like to see a brigade combat effectiveness rule that would automatically kick in once the unit suffered a certain percentage of losses.

Once a brigade passes this threshold it should suffer a step of morale loss and no longer be able to take part in offensive operations. It could defend though. The BCE level would be based on morale of the regiments and historical notes: ie The Iron Brigade at Gettysburg would have a high BCE rate, while a brigade in XI Corps would have low BCE rate.

Terrible Swift Sword and other Richard Berg designed board games had this years ago. It prevents players from bleeding units white and leads to better battle management.

Regards, C


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2001 2:39 am
Posts: 285
Location: USA
I hate house rules because I am an idiot and keep forgeting them. So for your own safety when palying people like me it is best that the game engine keep track of things.

I have played the Horse and Musket Series of games and can comment that the battles in that system are ended when losses reach a pre-determined percentage by one of the armies. The value is variable, depending on different parameters such as the quality of the army, it's leaders and it's size. So this feature can certainly be coded into a game engine and I would love to see HPS do it. As previously stated casualties in our games far exceed historical levels.

Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn
I/I/VI/AoS
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