Saturday, June 14, 2008

Recruitment

Most of the other blogs covering the 18th C that I like reading are about the superb efforts of others in painting their regiments. I’ve even been so impressed that I’ve recently started toying with the idea of buying more myself (6mm perhaps?), despite all the difficulties. Still, for now this blog will keep it’s developing energies on rules rather than figures. This is all just a first draft though, and I’ll be adapting them as I play with them and encounter problems. I’ll outline my thinking here so you can see what things seem to work and what doesn’t.

CS Grant’s book on wargame campaigns details a whole system of deriving populations, training units, controlling finances, etc. All of it is too much detail in my opinion, so I was going with a simpler option based very loosely on the DBA rules. I was originally intending to come up with a simple system of income from cities, costs for units, build times, etc. and thought this was quite decent – clear, classic, and good. However, following a rethink, I’ve changed my mind again and decided to simplify it even further!

At it’s heart, each army is largely established. We know exactly how many units we have, (or indeed will ever have,) at any one time. From this maximum we only really want a method of forcing units to ‘retire’ for periods of time, presumably to recuperate before returning. I will use the DBA system of three turns for spring, summer and autumn for campaigning, with everybody agreeing winter is for recovering, so to keep it neat we will have units leave for one or two years before being restored in the wintertime for the following campaigning season.

Infantry units are made up of 4 bases, while cavalry and artillery consist of 2 each. Considering this, along with the basic duties of each arm of the service, I’ve come up with the following tables we can check after each battle:

Infantry – roll a D6 and add +1 per base destroyed, with an additional +1 if the regiment was entirely destroyed.
Dice Roll (with Result beneath)
1,2,3,4,5,6
OK - Regiment is able to continue on active service.
7
Halted – the regiment must remain in it’s current location for the next season, as it’s colonel tries to knock some discipline back into it.
8
Garrison – the unit is so badly depleted, the general has no choice but to spare it’s men the rigours of the campaign. The unit is immediately relocated to an unbesieged fortress or city, where it remains for a year to reform and retrain.
9
Lost 1 year – The decimated remains have to return to their home depots and begin recruiting. The unit is removed from the game for one year and rejoins the army the following spring.
10,11
Lost 2 years – The regiment is almost wrecked, with huge gaps torn in the ranks and many talented officers dead. Only 2 full years of rest, recuperating, training and drill will allow it to revive it’s once-glorious name.

As you’ll see, an undamaged unit will always pass as OK, with hits steadily ramping up it’s chances of something bad resulting. The dice roll adds a decent random element, preventing a general on the day of battle knowing exactly how his losses will influence the campaign – as would be historically accurate.

Cavalry – Roll a D6 and add +2 per destroyed base
1,2,3,4,5,6
OK – Regiment is able to continue it’s active service
7,8
Depot – the unit must go back to it’s depot to restock on men and horses. The unit is removed for the remainder of this campaign year, and rejoins the army in winter
9,10
Lost 2 years – The regiment is almost wrecked, with huge gaps torn in the ranks and many talented officers dead. Only 2 full years of rest, recuperating, training and drill will allow it to revive it’s once-glorious name.

The cavalry has fewer bases and so gets a bigger modifier of +2 for a loss, otherwise even a completely destroyed regiment would have a 2-in-3 chance of being fine the next day. Also, through lack of ‘granularity’ I can’t really fit in the option of a 1-year loss. Cavalry regiments are far more demanding of training resources and recruits, so I’ve figured that it’ll need a more severe amount of time.

Artillery – Roll a D6 and add +2 per destroyed base, and a further +2 if the army lost the battle
1,2,3,4,5,6
OK – the battery is able to continue it’s active service
7,8
Garrison - The unit is immediately relocated to an unbesieged fortress or city, where it remains for a year to reform and retrain.
9,10
Lost 1 year – The decimated remains have to return to their home depots and begin recruiting. The unit is removed from the game for one year and rejoins the army the following spring.
11,12
Lost 2 years – The regiment is almost wrecked, with huge gaps torn in the ranks and many talented officers dead. Only 2 full years of rest, recuperating, training and drill will allow it to revive it’s once-glorious name.

The guns have the same +2 modifier per base as the cavalry, but have the option of still contributing in a siege. I’ve also added a +2 if the army is defeated, because of the hazards of removing guns from the field during a retreat. I know that this era didn’t feature hot cavalry pursuits in the same way as the Napoleonic era did, but it seems right to penalise the losers for the difficulty of hauling guns away in a retreat.

So, what about campaign characters getting killed mid-battle? Each time a unit with a leader attached gets hit we’ll roll 1D6 and on a 6, something bad has happened. Roll on the table below, with a +1 if in melee combat
1,2
Dead – the character is heroically struck down at the head of his men, tumbles from his saddle, and then (rather less heroically) lies face-down in the mud while the fighting rages on around and over him. He’d have wanted it this way…
3
Major Wound – The character loses a leg, an eye, or some other critically important bodily component. Although he survives to continue in the campaign world, he is invalided out of the service and cannot ever serve in the army again.
4
Minor Wound – The character is removed until next year in order to recuperate when he returns with an impressive scar to testify to his valour, nagging pain from the wound, and an increasingly irritable demeanour to friend and foe alike.
5
Lost and recovered – The character is knocked senseless by a spent shot or glancing blow, and is removed from the battle. He is not removed from the campaign however, as a loyal servant tracks him down that night on the battlefield and revives him – presumably with vast amounts of alcohol.
6,7
Captured – The character is disarmed and relieved of all his valuables, before being sent to the rear for more gentlemanly treatment. The character is detained on his word of honour in some agreeable little town of the enemy until the war ends, or some form of exchange is agreed.

I’m quite happy with the variety in the character table, and the +1 for melee means that the 1-in-3 chance of death becomes a 1-in-3 chance of capture. The logic to this is that if something happens in melee, it could be very many things – slashed with a disabling wound, clubbed down with a musket butt, flattened by a falling horse, etc. in other words any manner of non-fatal events are on the cards - but in firing combat, that ‘event’ is only likely to be one thing: a round piece of metal attempting to insert itself at high speed into the body of our hero! All results are possible in ranged or close combat, but I like the simple shift in emphasis this gives.
I know tables aren't the most interesting things sometimes, but hopefully the above will inspire a few ideas in others!

3 comments:

Fitz-Badger said...

Interesting ideas.
I'm a firm believer in keeping it simple and I like the direction you are going with this.
Thanks!

A J Matthews said...

I agree, your system for handling depleted units is a nice simple one, and I think I'll adopt it for my campaign when it gets going.

Bluebear Jeff said...

Ditto. I concur with these other gentlemen.

Keep it simple . . . and a bit unpredictable.


-- Jeff