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 Post subject: Skirmishers
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:57 am 
Could someone explain the impact of skimishers on gameplay?

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:34 am 
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Hi,
Not much, imho, except in the woods. Then you can see question marks for units two hexes out, so you can detect ambushes and hidden battle lines. It can also delay an enemy attack by forcing it to expend an extra movement point which it doesn't have. In the open, deploying skirmishers is actually more harmful to you than the enemy, as it decreases the combat effectiveness of the unit for little gain.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:48 am 
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Same thing looking over ridges, or anywhere within 2 hexes that you don't have a line of sight. Skirmishers let you see if your opponent is waiting on the other side. Just remember once in a ZOC skirmishers lose their 2 hex vision.

Probably the best, although unhistorical and perhaps gamey use of skirmishers is to permit night movement without bringing on combat. If you have fresh units that don't need to rest and you want to advance them close to the enemy or try to move them around a flank you can use skirmishers to keep from walking into an ambush.

Basically you have 2 units or lines work together, one deploys skirmishers and scouts, the other then moves 1 hex forward in column. Next turn the column deploys skirmishers and scouts and the rear unit goes into column and advances.

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

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:29 am 
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Given your question and response, then the game does not provide a use for skirmishers that they were used for.

That is to see over the hill, out of the woods for a distance of line of sight. They were there to check out what was in front and report back. One hex (125 yards), does not cut it.

The lack of "true" skirmishers (los advantages) in the ACW games really does limit the 'fog of war' where it shouldn't be limited.

Maj Gen Mark Oakford
I/XVIII, AoJ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:41 am 
I have always wished the CW games had the same broken down skirmishers as the NAP games, only limit them to one skirmish unit at a time. So send one skirmish unit of 50 men forward, maybe limit them to X number of hexes away from the parent unit, and if they get wiped out, the parent unit can producer another 50 man skirmish unit, etc. They should only be able to melee other skirmish units or single leaders, never to melee a full unit probably - they were a defensive tactic after all, not meant to be an attacking force.

The way the skirmishers work now is just not very good at all, IMHO. And why should having a line of skirmishers out mean you have to move slower? Those skirmishers in loose order should be able to move FASTER than a line unit, so why limit the movement at all(if not in any enemy skirmisher ZOC. I do think adding a point to advance AGAINST skirmishers should cost an extra point, but if no contact is made, I don't think it should cost an extra point per move...)

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:24 pm 
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I wish a unit could breakdown into 25 man skirmish units. One unit would be considered the parent unit and all the other units would have limited range from the parent unit. The range could be restricted to 5-6 hexes, enough to establish a proper skirmish line. This was done many times during the ACW. Whole regiments would be chosen to form a skirmish line for the Brigade.

What do you think?

Rich


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:31 pm 
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You're speaking my language, Rich. [8D]

Lt. Col. Brad Slepetz
4th "Hell's Rifles" Brigade
1st Division
III Corps
AoG
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:42 pm 
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Breaking down units the way the Nap games does would open the whole horde of abuses you see in the Nap games, with the additional downside that you couldn't just "mop em up" with your cav.

Not worth it to me [xx(]

Brig. General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:15 pm 
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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 Gary McClellan</i>
<br />Breaking down units the way the Nap games does would open the whole horde of abuses you see in the Nap games, with the additional downside that you couldn't just "mop em up" with your cav.

Not worth it to me [xx(]

Brig. General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Gary,

Going back to my idea, what if in addition to establishing a range limit to a parent unit, we limit it to one regiment per brigade. In other words, only one regiment per brigade would be able to breakdown into skirmish units and thus form a skirmish line. Also, only regiments with more than 150 men could perform this task and the parent unit would have to maintain a minimum strength of 100 men prior to the breakdown.

Rich


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:17 am 
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It would certainly be extremely useful if there could be proper Nappy style detachable skirmishers for the ACW engine - how many units could deploy skirmishers and whether they could deploy just a single skirmisher sub-unit or break down completely like light infantry would depend on the scenario. But at least having this option would be beneficial for scenario designers and players alike.

Similiarly, the ability to break down cavalry into squadrons and recombine them.

Perhaps there might even be some scope for a cavalry type (like Nappy cossacks) that could fire whilst still mounted - if armed with pistols or shotguns - and also ride down skirmishers & routers in the open, but not receive any bonus against normal units. Maybe worth a thought as an effective counter-measure to players deploying excess skirmishers.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:37 am 
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Gary McClellan</i>
<br />Breaking down units the way the Nap games does would open the whole horde of abuses you see in the Nap games, with the additional downside that you couldn't just "mop em up" with your cav.

Not worth it to me [xx(]

Brig. General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Only if they can break down ad naseum the way the NAP units do. My proposal said that each regiment could only have ONE skirmisher unit of 50 men detached at a time. If they are destroyed, another 50 man unit could be detached, but still only one at a time. And if they are kept on a leash from their parent unit of 4 or 5 hexes, it would not be so bad. Perhaps there could also be special melee rules, such as skirmisher units do NOT count towards a ZOC in a melee, which would eliminate using them to surround people in an attack? I'm sure we could come up with something to keep the skirmisher swarms of the NAP games from becoming a problem with us as well.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:38 am 
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Alan,

IF JT were to introduce the Nap style skirmisher to his ACW engine my guess would be he would set it up the same way. Therefore, units would not be able to be limited in the fashion you're describing.

It would be my guess that, if he did it, he would have the ability to skirmish governed by an OOB code, and in the Nap engine there are codes that allow NO skirms, ONE skirm or ALL Skirms.

So, you suggestion would need to be modified to limiting units to one detachable skirmisher, and since JT has code written for that in the Nap engine, I don't think it would be too difficult to port it into the ACW engine.

I think it would disrupt game play however.

A better feature to bring over would be 'pass through fire' (where multiple units within a hex recieved damgae from artillery fire) coupled with target density.

Then a single unit in line preceding the rest of the brigade, or division, stacked to the single hex stacking limit, with each unit in line formation, (representing bde columns) would give you a more efficient skirmish line model.

MajGen Al 'Ambushed' Amos
3rd "Amos' Ambushers" Bde, Cavalry Division, XX Corps, AoC
The Union Forever! Huzzah!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 10:47 pm 
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Al,

I'm not sure I'd agree with you that including Nappy style skirmishers would "disrupt gameplay" - in fact I suspect it would greatly improve gameplay in a variety of ways. For instance, a skirmisher screen would help to slow down an advancing enemy and allow time for guns to limber up and retreat and for the defender to get off more defensive volleys or provide more time to make provision for dealing with an ongoing attack. So, basically, just adding Nappy style skirmishers would be a highly beneficial means of shifting the advantage away from the attacker. Skirmishers might also reduce the probability of ZOC eliminations, as they could be deployed to protect vulnerable flanks and would help to slow down the attacker, especially in difficult terrain.

Anyway, I think it all depends on the scenario and the number of units capable of detaching skirmishers.

In some instances, the complete absence of detachable skirmishers is a serious drawback to the ACW engine. For instance, there are some Corinth scenarios (no doubt true for Shiloh as well) where there's a lot of forest, but also a number of clearings. The inability for the ACW skirmisher system to permit units to see more than two hexes ahead means that units must move right to the edge of the woods in order to see into the clearing - and of course enemy forces a couple of hexes beyond remain invisible until too late!

In other cases, a scenario may have only a handful of units on a fairly large, heavily wooded map - the fact that the units can't deploy skirmishers means that it's impractical for the troops to spread out and explore most of the map without risking losing several large units in ambushes. So permitting detachable skirmishers would be a practical solution.

It's also necessary to consider the tactics of the period - did units fight in close formation like Napoleonic regulars or did they often spread out in loose lines of skirmishers? Perhaps it would make sense for a lot of ACW infantry to count as "light" infantry rather than the equivalent of Nappy era "restricted" units, unable to form skirmishers.

As I've already said, I reckon this is something that should be handled on an individual scenario basis. Perhaps in some scenarios all (or most) units should count as "light", whereas in others - especially those involving lots of units - only a few would count as "light" and others as Nappy regulars able to detach a single skirmisher company. Since only the OOB would need to be modified slightly, there might be several variant scenarios that would allow the players to determine which type of game they'd prefer:-
1./ with very few detachable skirmishers, just enough to allow a bit more scouting ahead than the current system.
2./ with some "light" units and most of the rest able to detach a single skirmisher sub-unit.
3./ with many units counting as "light" - perhaps a "skirmisher-heavy" game, but certainly quite feasible where the forces involved are relatively small. There certainly are some existing scenarios that could be handled in this way.

Very large scenarios would probably need to be 1./, medium sized scenarios would probably work best with 2./ and small with either 2./ or 3./. But I'm sure they'd all benefit from having at least some detachable skirmishers.

As always, more choice is better.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:06 am 
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Unfortunately, the separate skirmish unit becomes to powerful, to mobile, and to effective. In the NGC they try to limit this by house rules but the skirmisher is still to powerful a unit. This is partially due to it becoming a small regiment able to fire, melee, etc. and more due to our god like ability to control them.

In the Civil War they are probably better simulated by an extended zone of control which is their usual function. Generally they only deployed 100 yards in front of the regiment. A better simulation would be having the zone extend three hexes instead of two and add more than one point to the cost of movement through it similar to what is set in Peninsula. This might give you the affect you want, slowing attacks and seeing around the corner, without all the bad affects of radio controlled detachments.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 3:23 am 
Some change needs to be made, regardless of how. These larger maps have outgrow the older BG skirmish rules, and now we have little way to cover our flanks since we either have few cavalry to work with and they can't break down into smaller units either for scouting. I certainly don't want to use a single unit of 500 cavalry as a scouting force! Those units should be in the 50-100 man range, and we should be able to at least scout our flanks on these giant maps, especially at night.

We seem to forget that most armies during the war had large numbers of small units out scouting all areas of their flanks, and even provosts looking around in the rear. Our emphasis on the main battle line units leaves us with no flank/rear area guard units. Having a handfull of cavalry spread out in a very loose skirmish line at intervals along the flanks was very common practice and helped prevent big flanking maneuvers - until they were out of place or not used properly, then Jackson winds up in your rear... but with our current system we are stuck only looking two hexes away from our main line in one direction unless we are fortunate enough to have enough smaller cavalry units available to cover the flanks.

I think going to three hexes would help, but that still doesn't cover the flanks. I would still prefer a limited skirmisher function. Limits such as not allowing them to move into an enemy ZOC would functionally eliminate using them as attacking forces. I just want a more realistic scouting and flank protection option. I think there are ways it could be setup to prevent them from being used as attacking units and to prevent them from roaming all over creation. A four or five hex limit from the parent unit, no moving into enemy ZOC, etc. They could also be forced to automatically fall back one hex if an enemy unit wants to advance into their hex if they are not paired with a line unit - not a melee, just an automatic withdrawl? No casualties or disruptions, just a one-hex withdrawl, the the enemy unit taking their hex at the cost of their remaining movement points, or some portion of their movement points, etc. Details are made to be worked out...

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


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