Sunday, 28 August 2011

Hills & things

I have added a few more modifications to the rules, these being re-rolls for heavy cavalry who miss when attacking and save rolls for units in towns. I have also clarified that cavalry cannot attack or occupy towns.

So far, so common-sense.

My dilemma at the moment is how best to represent hills. Hills feature heavily in tactics of the 19th Century but often do not seem to have the same importance to our miniature battles or we find the converse situation and they become disproportionatley powerful defensive bastions.

Essentially then, what does being on a hill do for you? I have come up with the following as a starter list to consider



  1. Lets you see further

  2. Gives artillery a longer range/ability to shoot over targets

  3. Makes you harder for the enemy to "get at"

  4. Slows attackers down and/or disrupts their formations

  5. Morale effects? Does it improve yours or weaken your opponents?

Assuming these are true, and not forgetting that the list may grow; how does these factors get represented in rules without under- or over-doing things AND without needing to change too much of the existing rules to accomodate them?


The following are ideas based on my own rules, but have not been playtested so are very speculative:



  1. Improve the "ability" of generals who are on hills with LOS to the enemy

  2. Let artillery treat long range fire as close range

  3. Require attackers to use 3 action points (rather than 2) to attack enemy on a hill [might slow the game but does reflect the topological and morale issues]

  4. Increase the damage done by attackers to defenders as they have more opportunity to shoot at them etc (maybe a reroll for either skirmishing roll-off or for combat)

  5. Troops on hill ignore fallback results?

Hmm, more thinking to do and then I need to move on to woods!


Current opinion is favouring Aspern Essling, although as I have a 9km square battlefield I am also considering looking at Teugn Hausen on an operational level. I have sketched out a map that would allow me to include Abbach to the north and stretch down to Grub, while having Teugn in the West and Dunzling in the east. This would allow a game that shows the manoeuvring of Davout's Divisions and the Austrian III, IV ans IR Korps. I'm tempted by this as there is more scope for movement around all the hills, woods and villages whereas Aspern is much more of a meat-grinder.



2 comments:

MurdocK said...

Hills:

The primary effect at the sort of scale you are working with (a hill where a Division may take up residence), could be summed up in one word:

Defense.

This is the only bonus that could be thought to exist as really 'no range bonus' for artillery in distance could be applied, if anything the artillery becomes useless for the closing phase of any attack onto the hill and could only fire at the very last moment. (much more tactical than your game concept)

Thus I would reduce the attacker, possibly one step at most save for heavy cavalry which would suffer from not being able to 'charge home' with any effectiveness.

Woods, likewise a wooded area big enough to be of any value to a Division, would only really give defensive bonus. Though here I would do a two step reduction for artillery and for cavalry attacking into the woods. Also any formation that has no or very limited skirmish ability going against an opponent that has very good SK I would give the same -2 step penalty. This would make up situations like the Austrians faced versus the French many times where their lack of SK (for Grenadiers) when facing even line French Infantry they were often beat in wooded country.

Built-up-Areas, towns cities etc.

Meat grinder effects, again defensive until breached. This might mean a defensive bonus of one step until the attacker gets into the town, then BOTH are penalized ... tending to lead to much more time used without result.

Steve said...

I think a key thing about hills and woods is the uncertainty they bring, hence the increased movement cost. Troops defending hills are currently allowed to ignore one hit when checking morale. This needs more testing but seems to work OK.

Woods are similar but at the moment I am experimenting with making units use their skirmish value rather than combat value; so Austrian grenadiers would use 2 d6 rather than the 2 d10 that they would fight with in the open.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Cheers
Steve