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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:29 am 
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Christian Hecht wrote:
Well unfortunately the majority seems to have never throughly checked the way the engine works, and even if they did they just want to do turns to get it faster done instead of taking time and playing it like it should be played.
The fact is that when looking at the way the engine works phased gameplay is the way it was meant to be played. Counts for the CW series too. Turn gameplay does not work out and there is a reason for things like the embedded melee rule.

I dare say that few, if any, have more experience than your humble servant with the HPS/JT game engine and, IMHO, the single-phase mode is its best feature and the way "it should be played." :thumbsup:

The effectiveness of defensive fire by the AI was consciously reduced because a unit will generally fire MULTIPLE times in single-phase mode. (If memory serves me right, AI defensive fire was set at 30% because testing showed that a unit would average 3 fires per defensive phase) Yes, single-phase mode expedites the completion of turns, but, more importantly, it eliminated the basic flaw of the BG phased system: Advancing units could scurry from covered terrain to covered terrain without suffering defensive artillery fire! The biggest crock in the BG engine was that cavalry could advance, scot-free, to a defilade position safe from defensive fire and then charge and overrun an artillery battery. :french???:

Yes, on occasion a unit will fail to fire upon its attacker. But, aside from being the exception that "proves the rule", it generally occurs after the defender has already fired 2-3 times at other advancing units. What better way to model the era of breechloading weaponry than to prevent "machine gun fire" by defenders? :frenchcool

Regards,

Paco

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:15 am 
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Mssrs.,

I would add that, IMO, one of the flaws of the HPS/JT game engine is that it makes breechloading firepower too effective. Even a cursory review of contemporary writers quickly establishes that successful assaults were decided by the bayonet, not firepower. Once troops settled into a prolonged firefight an indecisive stalemate generally occurred. Given the inherent inaccuracy of smoothbore firearms and the clouds of smoke generated by black powder, hours long firefights produced minimal casualties and indecisive results.

Assaults were, essentially, deadly games of chicken in which troop morale was the decisive factor. If the defenders were disciplined and held firm, delaying their fire to point-blank range (25-30 yards), the attacker was disordered and fell back. If the defender panicked, firing at long range (80-100 yards), and/or the attackers' morale held, the assaulting troops would close and the defenders would rout away. This how a single battalion of MG routed a division of LW at Plancenoit, something which could never be recreated with the HPS/JT game engine.

The supposed superiority of British firepower in double-rank formation over French columns was a myth propagated by Oman decades after the fact. Wellington's army did not defeat the French with superior firepower. Rather, the British tactics consisted of delaying their defensive fire until the attackers were at point-blank range (25-30 yards) where they could deliver a devastating, single volley and then launch a bayonet counter-charge upon the disordered, front rank of their attackers. Once the attack was shattered, the British would rally and return to their defensive line to await the next assault. The key British advantage was the superior morale/discipline of their troops over the French conscripts and miscellaneous French allies they faced. Wellington sustained his troops' morale by providing, relatively speaking, generous provisions and pay. When those provisions were cut-off, such as during Moore's disastrous retreat in 1808, discipline collapsed and the army fell apart.

Regards,

Paco

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:36 pm 
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I pretty much agree with Marechal Paco here. Also Christian as regards morale calculations don't forget that a unit must take a morale test if it loses a melee - 100%. As for the turn system I took a while to be convinced it was better but with the 10 minute turns and the new features of the engine I really like it now and also agree its the way the games are meant to be played.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:47 pm 
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Paco wrote:
I dare say that few, if any, have more experience than your humble servant with the HPS/JT game engine and, IMHO, the single-phase mode is its best feature and the way "it should be played." :thumbsup:

The effectiveness of defensive fire by the AI was consciously reduced because a unit will generally fire MULTIPLE times in single-phase mode. (If memory serves me right, AI defensive fire was set at 30% because testing showed that a unit would average 3 fires per defensive phase) Yes, single-phase mode expedites the completion of turns, but, more importantly, it eliminated the basic flaw of the BG phased system: Advancing units could scurry from covered terrain to covered terrain without suffering defensive artillery fire! The biggest crock in the BG engine was that cavalry could advance, scot-free, to a defilade position safe from defensive fire and then charge and overrun an artillery battery. :french???:

Yes, on occasion a unit will fail to fire upon its attacker. But, aside from being the exception that "proves the rule", it generally occurs after the defender has already fired 2-3 times at other advancing units. What better way to model the era of breechloading weaponry than to prevent "machine gun fire" by defenders? :frenchcool

LOL
Fire multiple time?
On occasion a unit will fail to fire?
Defender has already fired 2-3 times?
I have never seen this...

In the Napi series the typical infantry unit at best has 3 chances to trigger defensive fire and more often there is no fire at all, gee that can consistently be seen in the CW series were the infantry can fire up to 5 hexes and so has much more chances to trigger defensive fire and it still fails to do it more often than it succeeds.
If the probability of such AI fire is really at 30% in the Napi series it makes even less sense to do it at 50% because 1/3 means one fire on 3 chances and by that it could be conducted at 100%.
Now offensive fire is unaffected by all of this, it's conducted at 100% and exactly the way the player wants it, so if you got problems with the way defensive fire is handled in phased game play you have the same problem with offensive fire in turn gameplay.
Terrain is not of much matter in phased gameplay, battles were fought on open ground so the bit cover that could be there does not change the battle, I doubt I see units running form cover to cover like some WW2 squads. And didn't you say defensive fire is too strong? If the cover would really play a role it tones down the effectiveness of fire and by that you have what you wanted.

Doing turn gameplay just makes you realize that line is good for nothing and that firing muskets is useless, by this you make one of the basic things of warfare at that time useless, that is highly unrealistic. All that happens under turn gameplay is that armies of pure columns will bully against each other like deers in the rutting season.

If you think the casualties inflicted by fire are too high there is always the way of house rules, one must consider that it's rather silly to fire through your own troops onto the enemy.
Why should a line of infantry be able to fire through your own skirmishers? They should not be able to do so.
Or why is artillery able to hammer enemies although your own units stand right in front of them? Cannon balls would have to pass your own troops to hit the enemy so artillery fire shouldn't be able to do that.

Some points are mentioned by the R&H guys, take a look here:
viewtopic.php?p=86049#p86049
Interesting points are:
5. Infantry/or Artillery may not shot across their skirmishers are in front of the infantry/or artillery unit.
6. No over head artillery fire if friendly/own troops are visible to the firing battery and within two hexes of it or the target hex. Troops in dead ground to the firing battery (the friendly unit is not visible to the firing battery) can be fired overhead of as they are protected in the dead ground. This gives a two hex "safe zone" in front of both the firing battery and the target hex.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:00 pm 
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Paco wrote:
I would add that, IMO, one of the flaws of the HPS/JT game engine is that it makes breechloading firepower too effective. Even a cursory review of contemporary writers quickly establishes that successful assaults were decided by the bayonet, not firepower. Once troops settled into a prolonged firefight an indecisive stalemate generally occurred. Given the inherent inaccuracy of smoothbore firearms and the clouds of smoke generated by black powder, hours long firefights produced minimal casualties and indecisive results.

Assaults were, essentially, deadly games of chicken in which troop morale was the decisive factor. If the defenders were disciplined and held firm, delaying their fire to point-blank range (25-30 yards), the attacker was disordered and fell back. If the defender panicked, firing at long range (80-100 yards), and/or the attackers' morale held, the assaulting troops would close and the defenders would rout away. This how a single battalion of MG routed a division of LW at Plancenoit, something which could never be recreated with the HPS/JT game engine.

The supposed superiority of British firepower in double-rank formation over French columns was a myth propagated by Oman decades after the fact. Wellington's army did not defeat the French with superior firepower. Rather, the British tactics consisted of delaying their defensive fire until the attackers were at point-blank range (25-30 yards) where they could deliver a devastating, single volley and then launch a bayonet counter-charge upon the disordered, front rank of their attackers. Once the attack was shattered, the British would rally and return to their defensive line to await the next assault. The key British advantage was the superior morale/discipline of their troops over the French conscripts and miscellaneous French allies they faced. Wellington sustained his troops' morale by providing, relatively speaking, generous provisions and pay. When those provisions were cut-off, such as during Moore's disastrous retreat in 1808, discipline collapsed and the army fell apart.

There is no moral check before melee in the game, so the defender has to have the chance to trigger such a moral check onto the attacker and that can only be done by fire what does not work with ineffective and unreliable AI fire. If one denies this you end up again with the fact that line is good for nothing.
And were did prolonged firefight happened? If an assault was stopped the attacker could usually not hold himself and fell back.
Long especially "hours" of fire usually happened with skirmishers not with infantry in line standing just some yards apart.
Sure successful assault were decided by bayonet, but unsuccessful were surely be decided by the fire that was dished out by the defender, it stopped the attacker, something that doesn't work with unreliable AI fire at 50%.
You end up again with the fact that line is useless under such turn gameplay and that the only thing that works are columns going head-on like a bar brawl.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:06 pm 
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Colin Knox wrote:
I pretty much agree with Marechal Paco here. Also Christian as regards morale calculations don't forget that a unit must take a morale test if it loses a melee - 100%. As for the turn system I took a while to be convinced it was better but with the 10 minute turns and the new features of the engine I really like it now and also agree its the way the games are meant to be played.

I think somewhere on the ACWGC there was already a discussion about it, and if one looks at all the Optional Rules that the CW series got most of them were to help with the lack that turn gameplay has. There is a reason for ORs like "Full Melee Defensive Fire", "Proportional Opportunity Fire" and "Optional Melee Resolution" because turn gameplay has more flaws than phased gameplay.
Some goes here with the exception that the Napi series just didn't get as many ORs as the CW series, likely because the sales for that series were higher.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:46 pm 
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Hi Christian
I don't pay any attention to CW series. I like the period but as a wargamer it really was a completely different era than the Napoleonic wars. Firepower had become the predominant force and cavalry no longer held the shock threat.
Linear tactics were therefore more important as was defilade from cover. Its not really as much a combined arms period more of an infantry fight with a lot of closed terrain and unmapped unknown areas the combatants moved over.

As for N period I still quite like the phased turn its just more efficient and fun to play the turn system despite some its flaws. The thing is all simulations are flawed. Its really just a matter of how much.

:frenchvive: :frenchvive:

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:02 pm 
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Final thing to consider, all the low AI defensive fire is much more likely not to trigger a moral check because lower causalities mean lower probability of triggering a moral check and in turn gameplay each fire is separately check for this.
In phased gameplay the casualties are all counted together for the check of triggering a moral test.
That means 5 checks of each 20 casualties is not the same as 1 check with 100 casualties, especially because the size of the unit is taken into account and that means low casualties on large units are less likely to trigger a moral check.



Colin Knox wrote:
Hi Christian
I don't pay any attention to CW series. I like the period but as a wargamer it really was a completely different era than the Napoleonic wars. Firepower had become the predominant force and cavalry no longer held the shock threat.
Linear tactics were therefore more important as was defilade from cover. Its not really as much a combined arms period more of an infantry fight with a lot of closed terrain and unmapped unknown areas the combatants moved over.

Sure but that is the point, doing turn gameplay in CW does not work because the advantage is in that case with the attacker as the defender is unlikely to stop the attacker from doing a melee because the defenders fire can't disorder and by this stop the attacker. And the CW series doesn't even care about unit size, the base 50:50 chance of triggering a moral check is at exactly 25 casualties.
Not so in the Napi series which takes the unit size into the calculation, even when one thinks the defensive fire is too strong it still has to be seen in comparison to the size of the attacker.
That means phased gameplay assures a chance for the defender to have an impact on the attacker while still the advantage is not solely with the defender, and the impact is just that the attacker melees with 2/3 strength the melee is not stopped and the overall advantage consider the possible modfieres that the attacker can collect is still with the attacker. But at least it makes sense to use line.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:34 pm 
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Christian,
a couple of points here.

You are correct, defensive fire does not happen enough and the game heavily favors the attacker and the side taking the initiative. The attacker forces the other side to check for routs, which in turn spread disorder. Have you played Bautzen much? That is one exception for me for line formation. The Coalition has some large Prussian battalions and tons of cavalry and artillery, so the French D rated units will take a real beating attacking.

I agree that some sort of full melee defensive fire is needed for units in line, skirmishers, and artillery. Again, this goes back to changes we are unlikely to see. To me, much of the problem is solved by lower stacking density (like 1200 or 1000-Tom Moore and I are playing a Ligny Quatre Bras game with low staking and phased based).

But I agree with Paco, these games were designed to be played in turn based play and all the games are tested that way (as far as I know). The phased base is left over from the battleground games and some battles and scenarios, such as Borodino, Ligny, and Waterloo have tons of dead ground that makes it easier to sneak up and take little to no defensive fire.

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 Post subject: Re: Extended Line
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:03 am 
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Jim Pfleck wrote:
You are correct, defensive fire does not happen enough and the game heavily favors the attacker and the side taking the initiative. The attacker forces the other side to check for routs, which in turn spread disorder.

That the favor is with the attacker is OK but it simply shouldn't be so lopsided, what it unfortunately is under turn gameplay.

Jim Pfleck wrote:
I agree that some sort of full melee defensive fire is needed for units in line, skirmishers, and artillery. Again, this goes back to changes we are unlikely to see. To me, much of the problem is solved by lower stacking density (like 1200 or 1000-Tom Moore and I are playing a Ligny Quatre Bras game with low staking and phased based).

Strange, when ever the stacking limit comes up it's about Waterloo, it's strange because it has the best example of the most dense formation used in the Napoleonic Wars. If the Waterloo Companion is correct the way it depict Marcognet's 3rd division than that formation took an area of 125x75 meters and it was about 4000 men strong. In my opinion that is the reason why the stacking limit in the Waterloo game is even higher than the 1800 that are usually used in the games by Bill Peters, but even this higher limit is not enough to reenact that dense formation.

AFAIk those complaining about stacking limit have a problem that such huge stacks can conduct melee, but for that you do not need to lower the stacking limit.
1. Optional Rule "Column Pass Through Fire" makes him pay stacking multiple units together.
2. Optional Rule "Target Density Modifier" makes him pay stacking over 2/3 of stacking limit.
3. Finally one can consider a house rule that allows only a certain number of units or men to melee. It seems indeed strange how 1800 men or even more can melee a line of just 100 meters and all men of the attacker have an impact in the melee result, I doubt that those further behind had even the chance to see the enemy so what impact could they have had in the melee? Just a minor one I guess.
I had already formed a house rule but it's currently untested:
- Limit melee attacker strength:
1. The Attacker can only melee with a single unit above the extended line value from a single hex.
2. Attacker can attack with multiple units from a single hex if the amount of attacking men does not exceed the extended line value.
3. If attacking from different hexes not more than 1 unit per hex can attack.


Jim Pfleck wrote:
But I agree with Paco, these games were designed to be played in turn based play and all the games are tested that way (as far as I know). The phased base is left over from the battleground games and some battles and scenarios, such as Borodino, Ligny, and Waterloo have tons of dead ground that makes it easier to sneak up and take little to no defensive fire.

Well if the games were really designed to be played in turns the design goal was not reached, the player has neither the influence he needs nor the tools to somehow make sense of what the AI does. That the turn mode is basically still a failure can be best seen in the CW series. There I also use phased gameplay and not only because of all the benefits but also because it's rather unfair for the Confederate if you force them to play turns because the AI defensive will often waste the always low artillery ammunition of the Confederates. Somewhere along the many discussions I had about the best set of Optional Rules someone mentioned the desperate measures that the Confederates have to take in turn gameplay to make sure ammo is not wasted, they simply turn the guns around making sure that the AI fire can't be triggered, that alone proves the failure of the turn design if players have to resort to such measures.
It sounds ungrateful but it's simply a fact that much more programming is needed to make the turn gameplay work.
Steel Panthers is a good example how turn gameplay can work, the latest edition by Shrapnel Games allows setting filters so that your units can react to what the opponent does. Setting the filters(range, target type, etc.) correctly will lead to Tiger tanks reacting to Russian T-34 and not to infantry, unarmored vehicles or other stuff that is simply not worth a Tigers attention. The other way it goes well too, set it correctly for infantry an it will let other infantry and unarmored vehicles pass but it will react to tanks and use its AT assets like Panzerfaust, Bazooka, etc. to knock it out. If we would have such a thing I can see AI defensive fire work because it would onyl do what the player wants.

Regarding dead ground & cover, one must consider that the AI defensive fire can come at any range usually it will be at a higher range than manual defensive fire because that would come after enemy has finished his movement and so is usually closer to you, that makes your defensive fire more effective, if you can doge it from time to time by dead ground & cover I don't mind as long as my fire is effective when I have him in my sight.

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