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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:14 pm 
I understand what Pat is saying but I will throw out an analogy for the sake of argument.

Remember when we were kids playing, for instance, Monopoly. The game had very clear rules that were well-written and established. Yet, inevitably, when you get 4 people together to play you end up with 4 different styles of rules. Some people believe all taxes go into the center of the board and that if a player lands on Free Parking they get that money. Other people allow for the trading of properties between players. Some players throw out the Luxury Tax rule space and make it a 10% fee regardless of your total bank. Some require you to build Houses evenly while other let you pick and choose your properties to build on. Some people allowed loans to friends to keep them in the game. Through my years at College I have seen so many weird variations of game rules that I have forgotten many of them.

At some point though people would begin to argue about the mechanics of the game and what the exact rules were (usually it was around the second or third beer [:p]). The official rules would be brought out and then would commence an argument of endless duration between players. Also, inevitably, people swore up and down that their mother had taught them to play this way and that would always be the way they would play! The resulting arguments would usually cause the abrupt ending of the game as players refused to conform to any other style of play.

The more add-on rules we had the more confused the game would become. More make-believe rules meant more arguing and negotiating and more time spent in the endless world of bickering about the finer points of Monopoly's official rules. Anyone who has kids knows how ridiculous the arguments over rules can become. Next thing you know doors are slamming, people are crying, and dad is soon home getting out the belt. And for anyone on a College campus and is playing with pre-Law majors... oh my God... it never ends!

Do guys ever really get past the age of eleven? Let's assume... and this may be a risk with this Club... guys do mature past the age of eleven.

My theory is that the fewer Club-imposed rules we have the better. HPS created their own set of rules when they created the games and thus they are the rules that form the basis of any gameplay. When people begin to change the manufacturers rules they risk all sorts of endless arguments and controversy. Let the HPS rules stand as the basis for all games and then let the players decide, as gentlemen, how to conduct their own game. If HPS wants to change how they design games than they can do so.

On an interesting sidenote Pat and I are currently engaged in a game together. I conducted a melee in column through some woods and he emailed me to say, "hey." We had failed to discuss that aspect of the game beforehand. Did we pick up our pieces and go home? No. We decided to play without melee in column being an option and I am fine with that. No real big deal. Were still engaged and joking around together. No need for Club Rules there to tell us how to act as officers and gentlemen.

Let the players settle things themselves and keep the Cabinet and Club Rules as much out of the gameplay as possible. Otherwise we may end up with all sorts of random rules about moving at night, meleeing in column from rearward positions, firing on units during the first turn of dawn before the other side can react to your movements, supply wagon movement at night, moving more than one unit into a hex, firing with more than one unit in a hex, using the edge of the board as a defensive barrier.... etc. etc. Pat even brought up one I had never thought of - that meleeing against a Supply Wagon while in column should not be done since a supply wagon would, in theory, have guards. All I see is a can of worms when I think about regulating gameplay.

On a lighter note for those curious people about Monopoly Rules -

Official Monopoly Rules:

Free Parking -
A player landing on this place does not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a "free" resting-place.

Building Houses -
If you buy one house, you may put it on any one of those properties. The next house you buy must be erected on one of the unimproved properties of this or any other complete colour-group you may own. ... you must build evenly, i.e., you cannot erect more than one house on any one property of any colour-group until you have built one house on every property of that group.

Loans -
Money can be loaned to a player only by the Bank and then only by mortgaging property. No player may borrow from or lend money to another player.

Thats my two cents on the matter. I am off now to play my turn against Pat and hopefully find an unprotected Supply Wagon to melee in column! That should get his dander up! [:D]

Respectfully,
Col. Blake Strickler
Commandant of VMI

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Army of the Mississippi
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:11 pm 
This is not a topic near and dear to my heart....I see both sides of it....I will add to Blake's argument, the fact that the game engine has a built in penalty for attacking in column.....I also have no problem with attacking a sypply wagon in column even though they would have likely had some form of escort.....Likely not big enough to stop a regiment....I generally just go with the flow of what my opponent wants......

BG Hank Smith
Army of Georgia
Smith's Corp Commanding


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:14 am 
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The thing to remember is there is no "Club" rule covering column combat. So write a note on the back of your hand saying check with opponent before starting on what rules you want to use.

The second part of the problem is there is no clear consensus of what makes a good set of column combat rules. Many scenarios have special situations with swamps, bridges, and towns that create special problems.

The game system would have handled things fine with the existing penalites for being in column. Mainly the bonus to the firer when targeting a column. But there are two critical problems:

1. A Column can use road movement to cover large distances before attacking. This is a particular problem in Turn play because of the reach it can give units combined with the poor defensive fire in that system.

2. A Column is the only formation an infantry unit can move in at night without becoming disrupted. This makes it the ideal formation for night attacks.

The problems stem from the fact that the Column formation in the game is used to represent two quite different formations. A Column of Attack which was usually one or two company frontage and Road Column which was four man frontage.

Barring HPS adding a third formation, we are stuck with coming up with acceptable player rules for preventing Road Column being used as Attack Column.

General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
2/3/IV AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:45 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by KWhitehead</i>
<br />1. A Column can use road movement to cover large distances before attacking. This is a particular problem in Turn play because of the reach it can give units combined with the poor defensive fire in that system.

2. A Column is the only formation an infantry unit can move in at night without becoming disrupted. This makes it the ideal formation for night attacks.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
Hi, General,

I think the fatigue penalty for night melees is severe enough to discourage them. I still think the night morale penalty in making morale checls at night is misguided, as I can think of no historical basis for it, and it penalizes the defender in the last dusk turn unfairly by making any morale checks using the night modifier.

I think the best way to handle the first problem is to give infantry columns skirmish capability with the movement penalty, and make columns unable to melee. This would preclude ambushes to a degree, but I have not read of very many such ambushes historically anyway. It ought to eliminate the anomaly of having a unit stumble into an enemy unit and then sit there through two fires without the ability to respond, as happens with the house rule. If a player wants to move at full road movement rate he does so at his own risk, but at least he has the option to proceed cautiously without going into line. You would still have the problem with bridges though. I will have to think on that one some more.

As far as the house rule goes, I think it is fairer for a unit in column to be able to move and assault than for it to have to suffer the two fire cycles. So my vote is against the house rule.

MG Mike Mihalik
2/4/I/AoMiss/CSA


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:04 am 
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I like the concept of a third formation, mentioned by Kevin...road column, <i>column of assault</i>, and line! But I think most of us envision an assault across a bridge as something of a modified cross between an actual, company-wide column of assault and a road column, given the average width of some of those bridges. I've not been to Antietam but Burnside's Bridge can't be much wider than say 20', if that! That'd be about 6 to 7 men wide, given a 3' width for each man, or 8 men if you scrunch them up with 2.5' widths. That's hardly an average company front, although for a 100-man regiment I suppose it could nearly be! But in the end, how many of us have actually been so foolhardy as to have thrown good troops across a <i>properly</i> defended bridge in these games? The one-assaulting-unit-only restriction is a real killer, <i>especially in a phase-based game!</i> (I remember seeing close to 200 casualties and a disruption to the assaulting regiment being dealt out in one of these horrible attempts, although I cannot remember if it was my assaulting unit!)

I'd like to listen to the designers chime in on this, as we drink our beer and munch our pretzels, and ask them if they feel HPS needs to modify or clarify the column melee rules and capabilities.

In answer to Paul's original question, while those HQ's and supply units seem to me to be fair game, it's ultimately a point for negotiation as Ned, Pat and Ernie have all stressed.

General Jos. C. Meyer
Commander, Army of the Tennessee
Union Army Chief of Staff
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:56 am 
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The frontage of a two rank line was one man per foot. They crowded them in. [:D] That would give you 20 men across the bridge in a two rank line.

A good comparison of what they would probably do assaulting Burnsides Bridge based on the Gettysburg Companion's numbers for the 20th Maine.

The 20th Maine had 386 men of which 72 were officers or NCO's. This gave a company a frontage of 20 yards and a depth of 120 yards when deployed as Column of Companies at half distance. For an assault across a bridge like Burnside's they would probably us quarter distance and pray they got across before someone put to many volleys into them. This formation would then be 20 yards wide and 60 yards deep.

For a narrower bridge and/or much larger regiment they would probably form in column of platoons (half a company wide).

The last thing they would ever attempt is using Road Column. Those men in four abreast would extend back 100 to 200 yards. And be so packed a single cannonbal could probably kill half the regiment.

General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
2/3/IV AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:46 pm 
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Good Lord, Kevin! One <i>foot</i> per man? How on earth could they possibly have used their weapons, let alone <i>walk</i> without tripping over each other? Were those boys of a hundred and forty-eight years ago that small and slender? [:D] I don't think that the bridge there across the Antietam could take more than <i>five</i> of me in a row (I don't like to be crowded [B)]), and certainly not more than one of me if I had to run up upon it (puff-puff-puff)! [:I]

But that just goes to show you that bridges should never be assaulted if your opponent has a battery of Napoleons and a couple of good infantry regiments for protection in the trees on the other side! About the only thing you could do after such an assault would be to collect all of the shredded hats that flew up into the air and then landed in the water to clog up the creek!

General Jos. C. Meyer
Commander, Army of the Tennessee
Union Army Chief of Staff
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:44 pm 
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Burnside's Bridge is 12ft. wide and 125 ft long. I believe it was only crossed after the rebs ran low on ammo and were in danger of being flanked or having yanks cross in thier rear and pulled back, leaving about 500 dead yanks to about 150 dead rebs. I was just there and the rebs had very good ground.

Lt. Gen. D. Groce
Commander
V Corps AotP
"beyond our ideas of right and wrong there is a field, I will meet you there"
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:54 pm 
I have seen stats on the weights of the soldiers, and off the top of my head the average Reb was around 120 lbs....The Yanks were somewhat heavier I believe....They had adequate food....

BG Hank Smith
Army of Georgia
Smith's Corp Commanding


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:34 am 
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You have to remember its a two rank line with file closers, a third rank, behind them. They were trained to have that front rank shoulder to shoulder when marching. When firing the second rank fired with their guns over the shoulders of the front ran. This gave them the greatest fire power achievable per foot without one of the ranks laying or kneeling.

I've been to Burnsides bridge too. No one could cross such a bridge directly in opposition. On that bases one could make a case for never allowing column units melee even to get across a bridge. The proper tactic was to clear the other side using artillery and infantry lined up on the bank. Then march across and deploy. Unfortunately, in Phased play you can't cross and deploy which makes the crossed troops very vulnerable if there is any kind of covering terrain.

In the case of Burnsides bridge the Confederate side didn't allow good fields of fire on the bridge itself. The north side of the river had steep embankments which created a serious problem for the attacker once they were across but also made it so Rebel fire was plunging. This makes the rifle fire not penatrate the deeper formations and artillery probably couldn't fire at the bridge at all.

Burnsides men probably had more trouble than they should have due to inexperience in how to tactically take a bridgehead. Rarely, do you see serious problems with crossing after 1862. For one thing they probably learned to just wade across.

Which all leads to an interesting point. Maybe we should just ban all melee by infantry in column. Maybe if they can't get enough firepower on the friendly side of the bank to drive off the enemy on the other side they shouldn't be able to cross. Burnside bridge was probably wider and better than most bridges in Virginia. Any serious formed opposition on the other side of the bridge would easily stop a Column of Platoons rush. Town the same way. While they did storm up and down the streets one well placed napoleon would stop them dead. Make them move through the town in line getting disrupted each move and having to wait to reform if they want to melee.

This would unbalance some scenarios but might be the best interpretation of reality. And it is probably an optional rule that HPS could add without a whole lot of coding.

General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
2/3/IV AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:30 pm 
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Gentlemen,

There is no rule, either by HPS or the ACWGC, that prevents melee in column at any time or at any place on the field. However, I believe that General Whitehead has it correct again. Since there are so many misconceptions about melee in column you should make an acceptable agreement, before any game, with your opponents.

Regards,

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<font face="Book Antiqua"><font color="beige"><font size="3"><b>Gen. John Newton</b>
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Army of Northern Virginia
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:15 pm 
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Let the game designer and programming team determine what is allowable and what is not. Doesn't the program discourage melee-in-column by reducing attacking factors? Sure, players can agree beforehand. Each scenario (terrain) is different, so let the game decide.

Col G. Barnard
2/4/IV/AoM


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:02 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by animalfat</i>
<br />Let the game designer and programming team determine what is allowable and what is not. Doesn't the program discourage melee-in-column by reducing attacking factors? Sure, players can agree beforehand. Each scenario (terrain) is different, so let the game decide.

Col G. Barnard
2/4/IV/AoM
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Nope, no penality that I know of other than any normal fire against the column gets the equivalent of rear fire. The melee itself has no factor for formation. That might be an easy way HPS could discourage its use. They might be able to add a parameter penalizing it.

The major advantage using column gives the attacking player is the ability to use road movement to increase his troops reach. This was particularly effective in Turn based games before the separate melee phase. You could make a hole in the line near some roads and then push column infantry through it using the roads to reach far behind the enemy lines. Basically blitzkreg. This kind of coordinated movement was impossible in the Civil War due to lack of radios. Unfortunately, we have better than radios. Our communications are instantaneous. The new melee phase in Turn helps but doesn't prevent.

General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
2/3/IV AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:08 am 
I thought there was a 10% penalty for attacking in column....I guess I stand corrected....

BG Hank Smith
Army of Georgia
Smith's Corp Commanding


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:59 am 
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There is a 30% penalty for attacking across a creek hexside via a bridge. But this isn't the only penalty. Fire on a column is +40%. If the column moves into an enemy ZOC, it receives enemy defensive fire +40%, then enemy offensive fire +40%. It then receives enemy defensive fire before it can finally change formation and fire. I used to think columns received -2 to morale checks for enfilading fire, but the way I read it now indicates enfilading fire must come from outside the unit's frontal arc, even if it is in column. Does anybody know for sure?

Anyway, I might be able to see the house rule limiting column melee in turn play, but I play mostly phase. And when I play phase, we don't use the house rule.

MG Mike Mihalik
2/4/I/AoMiss/CSA


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