Saturday, 3 June 2017

Wargame Rules – Battle Casualties

In most wargame rules battle casualties are not relevant, other than to determine who won or lost a particular battle.  In campaign wargames they are critical.

The approach to writing wargame rules for use in a long running campaign is much different from standard commercial rules.   They are still important to determine who won or lost the battle.  But if they are carried back to the campaign and no replacements for battle casualties allowed the loser will continue to lose in subsequent campaign battles..

I wanted each of our wargames to be enjoyable and for both sides to have a reasonable chance to win, no matter what had happened earlier in the campaign.  But I also wanted battle casualties to have a lasting effect on the corps concerned throughout the campaign.

The answer, of course, lay in campaign rules which would allow reinforcements to replace battle casualties over a set period and in set circumstances.  I will cover this later when I deal with campaign rules.

But the wargame rules would also have to play their part.

It was important that neither side suffered too many casualties.  If they did it would take too long for reinforcements to make up the loss.   This was particularly relevant for cavalry and artillery.

After the battle infantry casualties could be combined into one of the four brigades.  This would reduce the effect on the other three brigades.   But this did not apply to cavalry or artillery, because there was only one of each in each corps.

The most important factor in our wargames is morale, or lack of same. 

Brigades would have to test morale when they suffered any casualties, or when a friendly brigade routed within supporting distance (which is 4”).  To pass their morale they would roll 1D6 and require 3,4,5 or 6 to pass.   A total of 2 and they are disordered, 1 and they are shaken but 0 or less they would rout.   And then all brigades within 4” would have to test, and they might rout as well.

This rule results in games where full strength and supported brigades will do what you want them to do.  But once they receive casualties, or if they start the battle with casualties, they are likely to break and run.   And that will often cause adjacent brigades to join them.

Battle casualties are quite difficult to inflict.   Artillery require 8 or more with 2D6.  Infantry skirmish require 5 or 6 with 1D6.   Cavalry melee often end in both disordered with no casualties.   But once a brigade suffers one casualties they are vulnerable, and with each additional casualty become more so.   It is unusual for a brigade to continue to fight with more than 2 (20%) casualties.

The result is that almost all of our wargames end with one side losing some, though rarely all, of their brigades in rout.  

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