Tuesday, July 07, 2020

ACW rules - my One Hour Wargames derivative..

A couple of people have expressed an interest in the OHW rules derivative I'm using for the American Civil War project..  a couple of people equates to a 'groundswell' round here, so who am I to disappoint...

The following came out of a first game using them "as is" and a couple of interim versions to the one that I'm now using which have been pretty stable for almost 3 years now...

As in the original version of the rules these are vaguely brigade level as the way the rules teat terrain is pretty abstract, and basically models what your brigadier would be worried about rather than your average platoon sergeant..  so "walls" don't exist either as a terrain modifier, or a firing/combat modifier - they are assumed to be too small a terrain feature to be worried about and are just factored into the movement/firing/combat by assumption..

So taking the rules as is....
  • Basing - any way you like, there isn't really even a requirement for both sides to be the same, but similar is more aesthetically pleasing. I have used the basing/organisation that is now standard for my projects - in my mind I just imagine them as brigades rather than regiments...  all casualties counts are by roster and there is no base removal...
  • The sequence of play is abandoned/ignored and replaced by a dice driven initiative - throw a number of dice equal to the number of units, it is better to have a specific colour for each side, then assign the dice to each unit - the bigger the number the sooner they activate. Each unit is then activated according to the assigned dice - this gives a pleasing friction to the game, the commander is forced to decide where his tactical pain points are, and also where he needs to defend and assign the dice accordingly.
    • Optional rule #1: dice to see which side has the initiative, and the loser assigns their dice first so that the winner has a view as to where and what dice have been assigned. 
    • Optional rule #2: throw a number of dice equal to the number of units and each commander takes it in turn to take a dice from the pile until they are all used. 
    • Optional rule #3: good commanders can add a dice (or more), allowing the worst one (or more) to be discarded..  
    • .. etc etc
  • If two opposed units have the same activation dice, and the order in which they activate is important (ie. one wants to fire before the other, or withdraw out of range before the other fires, or whatever...)  the two units take their dice and throw again with the higher number going first
  • When the unit is activated it can either move or fire or charge or do nothing. 
Movement as per the rules but:
    • We added a march column value for each troop type that is 33%/third greater
    • We split cavalry into mounted and dismounted - dismounted movement is the same as infantry
    • Formation changes - because we added the column speed there has to be a cost for changing between line and column (limbered/unlimbered for artillery) and that is movement less 2" for all troops types except cavalry dismounting and artillery limbering/unlimbering which is movement less 4"
    • Interpenetration we allowed for all troop types but at a cost equal to a formation change to represent the disruption, and only if both units have an activation dice unused..
    • Terrain:
      • Woods : because we have a dismounted cavalry type they are also allowed, and we added a one third movement penalty for all
      • Towns: because we have a dismounted cavalry type they are also allowed, we also added a formation change cost to enter/leave a town for all.. 
      • Marsh/Lakes unchanged
      • Rivers unchanged but fords/bridges can be crossed "in march column only"
Charging - Thomas doesn't allow for melee, but while we agree it was rare, DG and I also believed that we needed to model it if only to given a reason for the "Rebel Yell"..     So the following section is largely ours, but in the spirit of the rules...

  • Artillery cannot Charge full stop - seems obvious, but hey...
  • A unit cannot charge if it is in march column
  • Mounted Cavalry can Charge any unit
  • Infantry, Zouaves, Dismounted Cavalry must have an “advantage” over the Target in order to Charge; which is either 
    • attacking vs Flank or Rear, or 
    • 5+ strength points advantage over the defender
  • Target of the charge is permitted to fire first if it hasn't activated already - rules are as per normal firing - remove the activation dice after firing
  • A target in march column is automatically eliminated on contact
  • An Artillery target is automatically eliminated on contact 
  • Charge movement is as per normal line movement, and has to end in contact
  • Turning is as per the movement rules but with the exception it can only happen at the beginning of the move..
  • No changing formation can be done as part of the Charge
  • No Interpenetration when Charging - and if there is any retreat and you have to interpenetrate to do it then each unit takes a 1pt damage
  • Terrain effects as per normal movement 
  • Melee
    • Only the Charging unit inflicts casualties 
    • It rolls a D6 and modifies the result as follows, and incrementally 
      • Charging +2
      • Zouaves +1
      • Dismounted Cavalry - 1
      • Defender outnumbered by <= 15 points +2; <= 10 points +1;<= 05 points +0
    • Then, halve the end result if the defender is either uphill, or mounted cavalry, or in towns/woods
    • Then, if the attack is in flank or rear multiply that result by 2
    • Round fractions down
    • If Defender is not eliminated the Attacker retreats straight back [facing defender] - Mounted Cavalry retreats 6”; others 3”
    Firing as per the rules with the addition/exception of
    • March columns cannot fire
    • Units must be on the edge of cover to fire out of it
    • Units firing within cover have a range of 3”
    • We added a short/medium/long range with relevant modifiers
    • We added a section for handling firing when the target of a charge (basically you add/subtract the difference of the activation dice)
    • We added some modifiers to reflect the remaining strength of the unit
    Casualties: once you get to 15 the unit is removed..

    In summary then, a bit more detail, a new section to cover melee, and the activation dice...

    Saturday, July 04, 2020

    "One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 21 - "Twin Objectives" - Set Up and Game

    Another of those mismatched scenario's that I love for the challenge, and this one was an absolute cracker..

    My apologies for the dearth of posts, I've been busy with this and that, as is my way in the summer months - the boat [clicky] has taken up time delightfully, but I would also say that the whole Covid thing has been a bit of a pain in the ar*se mentally over the last few weeks - sometimes a good book and a beer are the only option!

    Working at home - while do-able - has resulted in longer hours, funnily enough..  you save commute time at each end of the day, but end up using the saved time to start and finish later - how does that work?!

    What it also means (when your work desk is in the loft with the toys) is that having spent all day there, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time there...  ergo less done on the gaming front...

    Anyway - it's not been a total dead loss - DG and I have been playing DBN via Battle Chronicler, we're on to our third game now, and while the format has it's challenges, the games have been good fun..  current game is set in 1812 Russia, and my Russian army has been drubbed once, and looks to be on it's way to a second one ...  the Russians, like the Spanish, have their own challenges...

    Anyway, onwards and upwards, and I thought it was time I had a game...  this is the first since the inaugural outing with the ECW project, so more than long enough...

    Set up...  usual caveats, you need to buy the book so only the basics are presented here, but in summary a numerically inferior force is tasked with denying the superior enemy force two key objectives...  table as follows, the objectives are the town and the hill...  the attacking force deploy from mid to bottom right...  I chose to set the game in the American Civil War with the Confederates as defenders, and the Union as attackers..  The Union had thrown on the random table and got some artillery, albeit to pay for that they also had some cavalry which is not the most useful in this scenario. The Confederates had managed to roll up a regiment of Zouaves however, so all was not totally lost for them..


    End Move 1 (follows) - as the Confederate commander (and Union, come to that.. ) I chose to garrison the hill only lightly, most of my defences would be in the town..  for the Union commander then attack the hill in force get the job done quickly, pin the enemy forces in town, get the artillery to help, and home for tea and biscuits by Thanksgiving...  or that was the plan...


    End Move 2 (following)

    Bang, the assault on the hill by the Union, two up one in reserve; the Rebs open fire as they breast the ridge...


    End Move 3 (following)

    A ferocious firefight ensues on the hill, first (of my new) casualty tokens appear, click to embigen any of the pictures by the way..  elsewhere the Union artillery has deployed, and the Rebs have sent one regiment out to fend off the Union cavalry who have dismounted to return fire..


    End Move 4 (following)
     
    The firefight spreads to the entire battlefield...  the Reb regiment on the hill was proving remarkably tenacious in the face of what should have been overwhelming firepower..
     

    Union initiative dice..  high is good...  or 'not' in this case....  


    End Move 5 (following) - third of the way through and the Union commander is struggling - on of the attacking regiments on the hill has been destroyed and he has bought up the reinforcements...  yellow casualty dice indicate casualties in "6's" if you see them then the unit concerned is getting a drubbing...


    End Move 6 (following)...  BANG!!


    End Move 7 (following) - the Union finally take the hill but we are half way through the game and the Union still have to crack the town...


    End Move 8 (following) Union attack columns wending their way off the hill - the Reb Zouaves in the town are proving as tenacious as their brethren on the hill..


    End Move 9 (following) -  the Rebs are down to 50%, a combination if cavalry and artillery fire has done for them at last..  the Union commander however his far from happy that he has had to switch artillery targets in order to save the cavalry..  


    End Move 10 (following)  Union cavalry mount (though they re a spent force) - they may have an opportunity for a lightning strike later in the game...  on their left flank the first Union regiment has deployed to attack the town; rather than reinforce failure the unblooded Confederate regiment has moved back into the town both for cover and  the delaying benefit..


    End Move 11 (following)  and the Zouaves, after 7 or 8 moves, are finally done for..  well done the Tigers...  the town assault commences...


    End Move 12 (following)  ..switching to close up mode...   the Rebs brace themselves...  doesn't look like they'll be enjoying good sipping whiskey and a relax any time soon...


    End Move 13 (following) - reduced ranges in town but the Union are ready to go...  only two moves left, and the Confederate regiment is still unblooded...   can the Union commander carry it off?


    End Move 14 (following)  BANG!!  Both sides open fire, and at the same time the Union flank regiment charges home....   and is bounced off despite inflicting casualties...



    End Move 15/Game (following) - a repeat of move 14...  13 casualties, so the Rebels win by a mere 2 points! Phewwwww.....


    Post Match Analysis:
    • Proof if any were needed that a solo game does not need to be boring or one sided...!  I played to the best of my abilities for both sides and was rewarded with a super close game...
    • The rules use an initiative dice system where you throw one dice per unit, and allocate the dice - highest dice gets to move first so there are tactical decisions to be made (do I need to move them quickly, do I need them to fire before anyone else, etcetc)..  any opposing units with matched dice, throw again to decide who goes first...  
    • to inject some grit when I play solo I dice to see who throws first so that the winning player throws and allocates dice after the other side has done theirs...  the scenario as written has one side moving first every move, if I was playing DG across the table that side would throw/allocate their dice before the other side does the same..