Sunday 16 December 2018

Review of Command and Control

Battle with four corps per side

Purpose of Command and Control Rules
My problem with the role of the Army Commander has caused me to reconsider what I want to achieve with Command and Control rules.   I have used them since I wrote my “house rules” about ten years ago.   They were derived from LFS, and have changed little.

This week I have tried to “tinker” with those rules, but found that I created more problems than I solved.  So I have decided to reconsider the whole concept of Command and Control.

In my games I have two levels of commander.   There is one army commander and up to four corps commanders.   The main purpose of my Command and Control rules is to prevent the corps commander reacting too quickly to something which is happening outside his zone of control.

At the start of a move a poker chip is placed in a box for each army and corps commander.   They are drawn one at a time and this determines the sequence of activation of all commanders.

At present we use Command Points (CP) to restrict the number of orders any commander can issue each turn.   I like this system because it is easy to understand and keep track of. 

Role of Army Commander
He commands between one and four corps commanders

I want him to restrict the range of options open to the corps commanders.

His orders confirm the objective and area of operations of each corps commander

They also confirm whether the corps should hold, move, engage, attack or retreat
Only he can change this stance.

Role of Corps Commander
He commands four infantry brigades, one cavalry brigade and corps artillery brigade

Infantry brigades use column, line and square formations.  They also skirmish, volley fire and have hand to hand combat.

I want to restrict the zone of command to ensure that all brigades remain within 8” of the corps commander.

I want to make command more difficult as brigades suffer casualties and loss of morale.

Current Problem
The role of the Army Commander is in keeping with the historical role.   However it does not transfer well to the wargames table.

The Army Commander performs well when there are only one or two corps on the table.   By keeping the two corps relatively close he can move to either within one move and change their orders.

But as the numbers of corps increase to three or four this becomes much more difficult.   It can take two or even three moves for him to reach a corps commander.  In a game which lasts a maximum of twelve moves this is too long, particularly for an attacking army.
I need to redefine the role of both types of commander to ensure that there is the required delay in reacting to change of circumstances, but not so much that it slows down the game too much.

I want to keep the general outline of the command and control as at present.  But I have to find a way to allow the corps commander to react within one, or at most two, moves.  

I also want to find a more useful role for the Army Commander.   At present he spends the whole game riding around the battlefield playing “catch up”

Sunday 9 December 2018

Command and Control

Campaign map

My wargame rules are based on LFS, and my command and control rules are derived from them.   There are two types of commander, one is the CinC and the other the corps commander.   Each have their specific roles.   The CinC allocates the corps objective and their corps area.  Only he can change either.   And he must be in base contact to do so

There are a maximum of four corps in each army.  On the campaign map only one corps can occupy each map square.   The map above shows the location of each corps on the eve of a major battle.
 Game move 6

This photograph shows move 6, when all eight corps are on the table.   You can see that it gets pretty crowded.   One corps comfortably occupies one 2x2 foot square on the table.   But when the fourth corps is committed it becomes crowded.

The problem is how to make use of the CinC role.

In defence it is pretty easy.   All corps start the game on hold orders.   The only one which is likely to change is the corps in reserve.  By placing the CinC with that corps commander he can change orders with the minimum of delay

However for the attacker it is much more difficult.   All four corps start off on engage orders.  This means that they can skirmish with the enemy, but they cannot melee.   To do so the CinC must change their orders to attack.

With four corps all skirmishing with the enemy the CinC is placed in base contact with the corps most likely to advance to contact.   However if more than one corps wants to do so one must wait a considerable time for the CinC to move to them.   This is particularly so if one is on the opposite side of the table.   The CinC can only move 16”, and it would take three moves to reach the corps commander.   In a game which lasts a maximum of 12 moves this is a serious problem.

One option is to allow the CinC to move more than 16”, but that defeats the object of making command and control difficult.  It also means that he has a turbo charged horse which moves many times faster than any other animal on the table.

The other option is to review the role of the CINC and the corps commander.

At present the CINC rolls one D10 and adds 3 if gifted, 2 if average and 1 if poor.    The total is the number of command points (CP) he has that turn.   It takes 3 CP to change the orders of a poor corps commander, 2 CP for an average and 1CP for a gifted commander.

Each corps commander has the same CP if he is gifted, average or poor.   He also has 1CP for each formed brigade under his command (none if disordered, shaken or in rout).   It takes 1CP to move and 1CP for each order issued.   If he wants a brigade to move half distance and then change formation that would take 2CP.    This works well, because he must prioritise the orders he issues each turn.  And as his brigades suffer loss of morale he suffers loss of CP.

I am considering how to allow the corps commander more freedom to change his objective, but still impose some restrictions.

I am also considering how to change the role of the CinC, but still make him relevant to the game.

If I find a workable solution you will be the first to know!