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 Post subject: *** NEW *** Battleground System
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:28 pm 
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Posts: 135
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No, this is not a fake subject in an attempt to sell timeshare condos! It is exactly as stated.

The Norris-Frost system added incremental (less than 25 man losses) to Battleground. It suffered from one drawback, however: N-F used base 10, but the Battleground game engine utilizes base 25. It may be defined as a <i>parameter</i>, but "25" is not. This led to LOS anomalies which did not exist in the standard Battleground scenarios. In addition, artillery handling is base 25 and can not be managed via PDT changes.

This new system resolves the issue. Losses are in 12.5 man increments and artillery batteries lose efficiency, not straight gun losses. It has entirely NEW Fire Effectiveness and Melee Tables. In addition weapons in this system are restricted to the ranges at which they were normally used, all of which is discussed in the documentation.

As a temporary measure the entire package can be downloaded from the following site:
http://rfrost.home.insightbb.com

Ultimately they will be stored at the ACW Cartography Office, when David Kerns has time to post. In closing, this is Battleground ONLY, not HPS. I am also interested in any suggestion club members may have for improving the system.



BG Robert Frost
Army of Cumberland


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 2:53 pm 
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A loss of 12.5 sounds rather odd - why not make 5 the base number? While BG can never be as efficient as the HPS system regarding casualties (and fatigue), surely this would result in greater flexibility than 12.5? How do you kill 1/2 a man anyway?

Another issue is whether it's still worthwhile modifying the old BG engine when Corinth can be used for add-ons. It's not as if anything was actually lost from the ACW BG engine when it was upgraded to HPS (unlike with the Nappy game, which lost cavalry counter-charges and square forming in the defensive phase).

Nevertheless, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what you've done, because I have a very high opinion of the significant improvements you've made in the past to the BG system. I just find it hard to understand why you haven't now moved over to the Corinth engine instead.

Col. Rich White
3 Brig. Phantom Cav Div
III Corps ANV


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:09 pm 
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Received Robert's new system a couple weeks back, been fooling around with a solitare game of Shiloh, played about 12 turns so far. Played it pretty straight, only used my prior knowledge of the union positions and frozen units to send Breckenridge down the road to attack the union right, led by some cavalry for scouting. The rest of the advance was done mostly in line. Currently 10 AM and Prentiss is pretty much shot, most of his command ended up being surrounded when they couldn't maintain a line. McClernand is being pushed back in the center, having covered the retreat of Sherman's remnants who suffered a similar fate as Prentiss being hit by overwhelming numbers as the reb advance hit one brgade after another. Wallace is just moving up to the front while Hurlbut is trying to set up a line from the river up to the center. Rebs have a major victory and a 2-1 advantage in casualties and have captured 40 (20) guns. They are having the normal supply problems with one wagon already empty due to the high incidence of out of ammo results Shiloh.

Only drawback so far is since Robert produced his 12.5 man increment losses by doubling the number of men/guns in the units your unit strengths displayed are twice the actual number of men or guns. For an old boardgamer like myself this is not that big a deal. So far I haven't found any other problems with the system and like what I see. If someone is interested in trying the system drop me a line.

Lt.Gen.Ken Miller
Veteran's Divsion
VIII / AoS


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:45 pm 
Robert,

Would it be possible to have the documentation separate from the full file? (If the total package is large, that is... I didn't check...)

What is the file size for the whole thing? Those of us with slow and ornery modems might find it helpful to be able to read the document without downloading a large file.

But if the whole package is relatively small then it obviously won't matter.

With my modem I feel like I'm trying to keep up with the charge of the light brigade while riding a limping mule... at least I won't die, right? [xx(]

Regards,
Captain Alan Lynn
3rd Battery "Jacksonville Greys"
4th Div, II Corps, AoA
God bless <><


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:07 pm 
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It is small at 133.4KB.

<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
LtGen, CO XXIII Corps, AoO
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President, Colonial Campaigns Club
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:45 pm 
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Richard,

Why 12.5 as a base rather than 5, for example? Good question.
Battleground, unlike HPS, makes no allowance for the magnitude of a loss when determining Morale Checks. A hit causing 5 casualties will engender a Morale Check to the same extent as hits causing 50. Units would be Routed and "D" on 5 and 10 man hits. Pretty draconian and it would effect the play of the game. Smaller hits in this system are treated as "F". While one may not suffer actual losses, units can become increasingly ineffective. As to 12.5 being odd, it is an average. If 2 hits in this system equate to 25 men lost, and 2 hits in HPS produce a similar total, how does the average of 12.5 differ between the two? Perceptually, yes,
practically, no. I viewed 12.5 as the lowest increment I wanted to
establish because of the method in which Battleground handles Morale Checks. In addition, smaller increments make artillery increasingly difficult to model.

Why bother with Battleground when Corinth 1.01 exists? All of these battles have Corinth equivalents. I know. I built a certain number of them. I play both systems. But Corinth 1.01 is as "unsupported" as the Battleground system and this methodology was created without Corinth in mind. It is meant as an improvement on Battleground, not as an alternative to Corinth.

Disregarding the obvious expedient that one needs to OWN Corinth to actually play the add-ons, I offer the following observations:

1. Building a Corinth 1.01 scenario is a laborious process because
everything must be built from scratch. Converting a scenario to Extended Battleground is quite a bit simpler, since one need only deal with onboard units and even so the changes are only to increase the strength factor. It took me 15 minutes to build the main Gettysburg .SCN once the MAIN.OOB was modified. Some of the oft-played small scenarios such as "Wheatfield to Roundtop" can be converted without too much effort. I modified all the MAIN.OOBs. This should cover most scenarios.

2. Although I play exclusively 2D, I believe I have read quotes that 3D play on the Battleground maps is much more visually pleasing.

3. Artillery in Extended Battleground will fire like "infantry" at opposing formations, but, since the Battleground engine conveniently HALVES battery/counterbattery fire, its performance should be more realistic than either original Battleground or HPS. The latter does not alter fire against opposing batteries which creates, in my opinion, excessive losses in these encounters.

4. Meleeing will be more problematic and will not generate mass casualties for either side. Using it as a weapon unto itself, is probably not a beneficial tactic.

5. Last, but hardly the least, is that some club members don't play the HPS system.

One may ask "Why not smaller maneuver units?" It has been my intention to introduce people to the system in the most expedient manner. Simply altering Battleground -- excluding Gettysburg -- seemed the best approach. I am hoping that many of the other battles listed at the ACWCO can also undergo a conversion to this system. It IS Battleground, but more incremental. I find little problem in a regiment of 600 strength points as opposed to the same with 300 men. Board gamers are familiar with these abstractions.




BG Robert Frost
Army of Cumberland


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 2:29 pm 
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If I am following the affects of using the l2.5 unit of loss correctly, I would expect two side affects. One an increase in rate of fatigue of units and two an increase of ammo consumption. Have you addressed these in any way?

Such as, increasing fatigue recovery rates? This could have some interesting affects. Units fatigue rapidly when used but would recover rapidly if allowed to rest. It might make for a more fluid and historic flow to the ebb and flow of these battles.

Ammo could be adjusted by adding more wagons or, if allowed through PDT, decreasing the odds of ammo depletion.

Col. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:20 am 
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Kennon,

So far I haven't noticed too many more FA hits than normal. Robert has rewritten the fire table for the larger size units. You're still firing the same number of times and you still have the Battleground engine limit of 3 FA per player turn.

It does seem to me I am running out of small arms ammo a lot but then it's Shiloh and I haven't played this one for a bit and as I recall it has a high incidence of running out of ammo results.

Lt.Gen.Ken Miller
Veteran's Divsion
VIII / AoS


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:57 pm 
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Kennon,
Yes, I considered both Fatigue and Supply. With HIGHER FATIGUE RECOVERY toggled on, Low Fatigue units have a 50% recovery rate, Medium 30% and High 10%. There is approximately a 15% greater probability of incurring some sort of hit ("F" or otherwise) in this system as opposed to straight Battleground. As such, moderating the fatigue accumulation of your forces becomes more important.
For Supply I halved the Ammo Change factor and doubled the capacity of each wagon. Would seem to be a no brainer, but the question is "Were the original Battleground supply totals what they should be?" I did some calculations a couple of years ago that indicated supply to be about 50% deficit in both Battleground and HPS. If this is correct, then wagons in Extended Battleground should be increased in capacity. Another method (theoretically) to accomplish the same thing would be to leave the wagons as they are and modify the Ammo Change ratio to 1/18. The latter is much simpler. I might suggest this change for any who have downloaded the zip package. Change the PDT factor from 12 to 18. I can make the change in the zip file for future downloads.

BG Robert Frost
Army of Cumberland


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:33 am 
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I agree, small arms ammo is way to low in both systems. Running out of small arms ammo should be a localized event forcing the unit to fall back or wait for wagons to catch up. I don't remember any battle being affected by completely running out of ammo for the whole army. It is particularly bad in Battleground because of lack of any means to limit firing.

In Gettysburg they do talk about running low on artillery ammo on the second day but even this I think referred to having cease fire while casions were sent back to the army trains for resupply not the whole army running out of artillery ammo. Logistics, however, is a hard thing to get information for the Civil War.

I think you need to up the fatigue recovery rate some. While low fatigue units will recover at 50% with optional rule, it is very difficult to fight an have any chance of limiting a unit to just low fatigue in Battleground. Engaging a battle line can run you over in a single turn. A regiment should be able to fight more than 20 minutes and have a chance of being used again that day. I think a 20% or even higher base rate would produce more appropriate results.

Col. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:44 pm 
<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 />I don't remember any battle being affected by completely running out of ammo for the whole army. <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Fair enough, but it begs the question: Is there no historical precendent because they had a lot more ammo? or because the officers and men were aware of their ammo situation (more or less) and did not expend it stupidly (as the AI does)?

I ask in all innocence as someone who has no idea, merely pointing out that the evidence supports either possibility.

Regardless, if one is playing BG with the AI then there definitely needs to be a goosed up ammo supply, particularly for Antietam.

Brig Gen Mike Kaulbars Image
3rd "Freiheit" Division
VIII/AoS
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 5:17 pm 
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I thought one of the main reasons for batteries in sections was to model the different gun types instead of having to use the most common gun type for the entire battery. If HPS hadn't done it, we'd be clamoring to do it ourselves for the sake of accuracy! After all, we can always keep them together and fire them together (except for ADF) if we choose to do so.

Major General Dirk Gross
CAV DIV/XIV Corps/AoC


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 4:35 am 
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Mike,

In answer to your question about not expending ammo stupidly the fact is units rarely fired at their maximum range due to sighting limitations, smoke etc. Robert's system takes this into account by reducing the range to something more realistic. He has reduced the ranges of all weapons to the point where they have a 1 multiplier. This reduces rifles to 3 hexes (300 yards) instead of 5 which although still a bit long would be the maximum range ACW units would normally open fire at. All other units have been reduced in similar fashion. This will reduce the firing by the AI at long ranges and should help with the artillery ammo problems in some games.

As to the small arms, this is more dependent on the out of ammo setting in the pdt and the number and size of the wagons. Units ran out of ammo often during ACW battles but they could be quickly re-supplied if the wagons were available. I recall reading accounts of Shiloh where many reb units were out of ammo by the end of the second day but this had more to do with the poor logistics of the CSA, the failure of the supply train to keep up with the army on the march and the lack of standardization of weapon types in their army.

Lt.Gen.Ken Miller
Veteran's Divsion
VIII / AoS


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:59 am 
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Actually the ammo question is very complex and the main problem with Battleground and to a lesser degree HPS is their overly simplistic modeling of it. I don't think they should have limited ammo supply if they weren't going to also give the player control over its expenditure. At best the player has control over one phase. With artillery it leads to really strange tactics like reversing their facing and withdrawing batteries from good positions. HPS games at least improved the situation by letting you limit the defensive fire at range and for artillery the sections allow you a little finer control for firing. They still have problems. How many times do you withdraw one gun sections because they fire the same amount of ammo as two and three guns sections?

The ratio of wagons to regiments always seemed a bit two low to me but I haven't found any good data on this. In Campaign Gettysburg the CSA side has one wagon, able to resupply 3000 men, per division which is typically 7-8,000 men. This seems low to me for battles that cover 2-4 days during the campaign.

I always liked the board game solution of having army trains that could resupply the wagons. Their idea being that the regiments needed to conserve ammo if they stayed in the line of battle to long, the division was limited as to how long they could fight without stopping to resupply their supporting wagons. But the army was still able to fight an extended battle without half its forces running out of ammo.

And, I do wish HPS had switched artillery ammo expenditure on a per gun bases rather than per section. This would have made having one gun sections less a liability.

Col. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 11:41 am 
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Thanks to all who have posted comments under this thread. It helps to clarify issues. I surely don't have the answer to all of them, but I can guess like everyone else.

Fatigue. Does anyone really know what the exact figure should be? No, and that includes people who are more intimate with the game engine than I, ie. the developers. It depends upon what one is trying to model. Both Battleground and HPS express the fact that "fatigue" is combat-related (loss of officers, shock, what have you) and has nothing to do with physical fatigue. Well, I accept this, but it also totally ignores the reality that the latter exerted no impact on a Civil War battlefield. In both Battleground and HPS, one can march and countermarch with no fatigue effect on the marching troops. This does not square with the realities of bio-mechanics, let alone Civil War reality. They weren't riding in trucks!

Physical fatigue cannot be effectively modeled in Battleground, however. About the only thing one can do is to make the assumption that if troops are engaged they are probably "moving". For that reason adding physical fatigue to the overall total, 15% might be a proper setting.

This applies to Battleground. I am making a separate post for HPS which will suggest how they could integrate physical fatigue into their system (not that it will necessarily cause any change).

BG Robert Frost
Army of Cumberland


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