- To recreate regimental level combat at roughly 1:1 scale, in 6mm or 2mm
- To be highly realistic, capturing the realities and challenges of line warfare
- To be playable and simple
|Conducting some field research on charges. We do get into character a little bit - and these rules allow us to do that by using period methods of commanding troops.|
You command a single regiment, which consists of ten 2x2cm bases, each one representing a company of men. You must move them according to the drill manuals - no pointing and waving, 'Over There' fashion. You want them to get round those trees in good order with dressed ranks? Well, you'd best know the proper orders!
The game rewards historical accuracy, while still encouraging player initiative. It does this by a series of 'carrot and stick' rules which give bonuses for certain formations. To give a simple example, marching by line - ie, in a big wide formation a la Total War - is discouraged by hefty order and morale penalties for units getting mixed up in difficult terrain. Column movement is encouraged because it allows greater command and control of your men - just as in real life.
I've distilled Hardee's Tactics down to about 15 drill commands. Each one has an order (for shouting at full volume by the players!) and details of the movement to be carried out. There is a mishap, which is a penalty applied on failing an experience test representing some of the real historical difficulties of carrying out the manoeuvre. Here, advancing in line of battle results in Drifting and Bunching where some companies bunch towards the guide, or drift away from him. There are also several options for things like doubling.
This is a little more complicated. It outlines the procedure for moving from double column to line of battle - an excellent way of deploying from column into line.
Casualties and shooting are very simple - all shooting is given a notional difficulty of medium (which is a 4+ to score a casualty with a musket), and a series of 'shifts' are applied which can make it more or less difficult.
The crowning jewel is (if I do say so myself) the morale system. Rather than 'failing break checks' and simply legging it, your men have a sliding scale of morale. As your level progressively drops, you are forced to maintain a certain distance from the enemy. 20 yards for the relatively minor Disordered, but 250 yards for a Rout. Thus, if you lose a firefight or a melee, you'll find your men melting away and edging backwards and you have to fight to control them.
I'm rather proud of these rules, they're based very heavily on a combination of primary and secondary sources (I'm doing a dissertation for my MA on ACW tactics at the moment, and I have lots of stuff on loan from the library), and have been extensively playtested. Lots of complexity has been stripped away - the rulebook is 20 sides of A5, and 15 of those are the aides-memoire for each drill movement.
Comments and suggestions below! I'm looking to try and get everyone's experience factored in here, so any thoughts or criticisms will be welcomed.
What's next I hear you cry? Well, how about regimental-level English Civil War combat...