Saturday, 11 July 2009

Wargame Rules - Spanish v French

Rule problem. The French hussars have charged the Spanish irregular cavalry. They have then rolled a total of 4, lost the melee and withdraw shaken. This places them in front of a supporting Spanish battery who fire cannister into their flank. End of French hussars. Not only that, but because French outnumbered 2 to 1 in game, end of game too. And this happened twice out of three games!

Now that the campaign has moved to Spain, Jan and I have play tested the rules to confirm that the balance is right between Spanish troops and French troops.

When designing a wargame I always strive to make it possible for both sides to win. It is not a lot of fun to have to command an army that is doomed to failure. To maintain some sort of historical accuracy it is necessary to make the Spanish quite weak compared to the French, and then to give them the benefit of superior terrain or overwhelming numbers.

In each of the games we played the French rolled poor dice, and the Spanish good. Given that the French had to perform really well to stand a chance of winning, this highlighted the problem of relying on dice. I did not want to have to write a whole new set of rules for the Spanish, so we had a long talk about how we could solve the problem.

The result is that the rules remain the same, except that a Spanish commander must be in base contact with the brigade to issue orders. Other commanders must be within 8". We are now play testing this new rule, but it seems to work ok. It relfects that one major problem with Spanish armies was the command and control. This change means that any in effect it takes twice as many pips for a Spanish commander to issue orders as a French one.

One other change to the rules is that we no longer allow the CinC to issue orders direct to a brigade. I was reluctant to remove this, because I like the idea that Wellington can ride up to a brigade on Hold orders and order them to charge the enemy. However the rule is always being abused. Most moves the CinC does not have anything to do, and it is just too tempting not to order the nearest brigade to do something.

All the amendments can be found at

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