Sunday, 22 March 2015

Commanders in Wargames



Napoleon with First French Army

Our “house” wargame rules are derived from LFS, so command and control plays a large part.  

There are two command roles, the commander in chief and one corps commander for each corps.   Whether the commander in chief takes part in a wargame, or not, depends on where he is on the campaign map.

The role of the commander in chief is to issue orders to his corps commanders.   To do so he has to use his command points.   Each move he rolls one average dice, and adds one if he is Poor, two if Average and three if Gifted.  He uses his points to move around the table, and to issue orders to corps commander.  It requires one for a Gifted corps commander, two for an Average one and three for a Poor one.  

There are four orders he can issue, which are Attack, Engage, Hold or Move combined with an objective.    For example “Attack the hill in the centre).   The corps commander cannot change these orders, but he can replace them with Halt.  

The corps commanders issue orders to their five brigades and corps artillery.   They also use command pips.   They receive one pip for each formed brigade.  They also receive one, two or three additional pips depending on whether they are Poor, Average or Gifted.

The result of this simple command and control is that corps commanders never have enough points to do everything that they want to do.   Also they have to wait for orders from the commander in chief to change their game objective.

I wanted to give the Commander in Chief a little more direct influence on the behaviour of brigades, similar to Wellington moving around the battlefield to inspire his brigades.   But I did not want that influence to be too great.

As an experiment we now allow brigades to add one plus point to morale tests if the commander in chief is within 4” when they take the test.   This is not sufficient to have too great an influence on the overall game.  But it does allow a slight advantage if the player has taken the trouble to position the commander in chief figure in the right place at the right time.

We thought about increasing the addition depending on the quality of the general.   For example Napoleon, who is Gifted, would add three points.   A poor commander would only add one point.   But we agreed that three points on a morale test would be far too much.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, difference this makes to our wargames.

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