Saturday, 27 May 2017

Wargame Rules – Men and Supermen

French Old Guard corps attack Prussian corps

One of the main objectives of my comprehensive wargame system was to be able to use all of my model soldiers, in rotation, on the wargames table.  More than that, I wanted to be able to campaign with them.   Each phase of the campaign would last about ten days and would provide three to five battles to wargame.   Both armies in a campaign phase would have to be able to hold heir own against the enemy and to some extent recover from battle casualties.

So it was important that I reduce the effect of either “supermen” or “rubbish” troops.   In the former I would cite the French Old Guard or the British riflemen.  In the latter Spanish of all types and guerrilla in particular spring to mind.

I wanted all of my figures to take part regularly on the wargames table, no longer would Imperial Garde or Spanish guerrilla be allowed to gather dust on the wargame shelves year after year.

I choose the 1813 campaign because the French had suffered heavy losses in Russia the previous year, and had built up their new army with masses of conscripts.  Also the other nations had learned painful lessons over the previous ten years and were in most cases now equal to the French.

But how would my new rules reflect that?

Each brigade would have strong points and weak points.   The strength of a British rifle brigade would be its skirmish ability, their weakness would be volley fire.   A Spanish brigade would be poor at skirmish and have low morale, but would be average volley fire.   In this way a player could try to avoid situations where they were particularly weak, and try to exploit their strengths.

The First French Army, which included the Imperial Guard, would have one very strong corps (the guard), but three relatively weak corps.   Their opponents (the Prussian army) would have four more balanced corps.   Blucher would try to avoid the First French corps, and concentrate his efforts against the three relatively weak corps.

Each brigade would have two ways of adding or subtracting from their wargame effectiveness.   There would be three types of troops, namely A (elite), B (average) or C (poor).   Infantry would also have the same classification for firing and skirmish.

The troop types would decide how well they would react to morale checks. 

The combat grading would determine how well they skirmished, volley fired or fought hand to hand.

I was determined that there would be neither “supermen” nor “rubbish” brigades.

A French Old Guard brigade would be A class, but they would be B firing and C skirmish.   

A British rifleman would be B class, but would be A skirmish and B firing. 

A Spanish infantryman would be C class, B firing and C skirmish.

A Spanish guerrilla would be C class, C firing and C skirmish.

However all of this fine tuning would be levelled out by the use of dice, to represent luck.  

A brigade to skirmish would roll a D6 and require 5 or 6 for a hit.   If they were A skirmish they would add 1 to the result.  If they were C they would deduct 1.   So it was POSSIBLE for Spanish infantry to win a skirmish against French old guard, but it would be very UNLIKELY.

Battle casualties would be replaced at the rate of 10% each day, providing that the corps did not move and was within supply  distance.   However not ALL casualties would be replaced.  A brigade which had suffered casualties would keep 10% for the remainder of he campaign.  This had the effect of reducing their morale and combat by minus 1 on the dice throw.   So even the French guard would be reduced from A class to B class after their first battle casualties.

The full detailed order of battle for every corps and brigade in the campaign, showing class and combat grading, can be found on the campaign diary blog here

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