Just a thought. I wonder if anyone here has experiment with a simple house rule to change when shooting happens.
Suppose shooting simply worked like this?: "Units do not fire in their own turn. They may each fire once in the enemy's turn at ANY point during the enemy's turn. This can interrupt unit's movement, with the enemy's move only being completed once the effect of the shot are resolved."
It's like a simplified version of what happens in Blitzkrieg Commander.
It would have problems, for sure. It might not represent slow-loading 1700-1900 weapons well, as it would allow a lot of flexibility. It might also 'flatten out' the shooting process too much, removing some of the sublety of the current rules. And it would reverse who has the advantage if, for example, the enemy runs in for a juicy frontal 6" close range volley against you.
However it's joyfully simple and could potentially replace the need for the current separate rules for Traverse Targets or Closing Fire. It would allow units to shoot instantly against threatening enemy artillery that get too close.
I think it would need a some clever refinement. I don't think I'll be using it, unless other visionaries here can see its potential!
I seem to remember it being discussed last year and some people did prefer to play the game this way, saying that it made for a more realistic situation. I think a few people were unhappy about units being able to march up to the enemy's face and fire off a volley into them whilst the enemy sat there twiddling their thumbs.
I stress this is not my idea, I'm just relaying what others said back then.
"You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job." – Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.
Yes, they used a system similar to Lasalle. I move, you shoot, you move, I shoot. I understand that they thought it worked well, but I couldn't see how the disorder worked. You remove disorder at the end of your own turn, so I didn't see how it worked. That's just my limitation and I didn't use it. That said, I am not that keen on Lasalle either!
The thing is that most rules allow units to move and then shoot. What seemed to be upsetting some with BP was the possibility that a unit can make three moves without taking any fire from the enemy, so they decided to change the sequence. I thought that it might have been better to reduce the command ratings of commanders, making three moves less common. The other thing would have been to remove three moves from the game altogether and possibly even two moves, making it a single move game. However, if you played Warmaster, you could make more moves as long as you kept rolling within the commander's modified command rating and there were no complaints. This was probably because a commander had to roll for each order, whereas in BP you just roll once.
I have noticed that people do tend to forget that rolling three moves does not mean that you have to use them all (you can make up to three moves) or that you have to use them to tear headlong across the table toward the enemy! You could change formation or turn to one side and move along,then turn again. All sorts, depending on the order you declared.
Looking at things theoretically the idea of the attacker getting to move up and fire first seems completely wrong. If I hadn't played BP quite a few times and I considered it in the abstract I would agree completely. The rate of fire of moving units should be less than that of stationary defenders.
However, when you have played the game i think you quickly come to the conclusion that it is not an issue in practice.
It encourages activity and attacking play, yet does not seem to tip the balance of the game against the defender in any way that i have noticed.
You can try it. The thing is, like Alan says, it really doesn't make a deal of difference. The shooting is just a mechanism to help disrupt the opponent's ability to get his units to do exactly what he wants. The aim of the game is command and control and not really about destroying enemy units. If you can keep your command together to achieve your objectives, you'll win. Yes, the destruction of units helps because it leads to broken brigades, which is something else people have felt can be unfair, but again that is just a mechanism to show that your command is disintegrating and you have lost control.
Players have been used to playing other rules which delve into the minutae of how units fought and manouvred. BP is more abstract because it puts you in the shoes of Wellington and Napoleon. Do you think that they worried about how a unit got from point A to point B or how many men could fire after they moved into position? No, they only cared that their orders were carried out and if they weren't they replaced the men who were supposed to be making sure that they were. That's why you're supposed to issue your orders loud and clear and why the rules work.
We use the Contemptible Little Wargames Club house rules for both ACW and Napoleonic, which modify the turn sequence into alternating phases.
First Phase, Player A responds to any charges or break tests, then fires at any enemy presenting itself in the previous phase, then issues orders and moves, charges etc. Second Phase, as per First with Player B.
Disorder gets removed at the end of the players phase, preventing him issuing any orders to the disordered unit for that phase. Works very well so far for ACW, haven't tried it for Napoleonic yet on a large scale but I can't see why it would be any different.
I was one of the people advocating the changed action sequence. I used I move, you shoot, you move, I shoot and Disorder will last/affect the commandability of units in their next entire turn i.e. will be removed as soon as you have moved again.
We experimented with that rule because the situation of infantry marching up to an artillery battery with impunity and killing the crew with volley fire did not sit well with us (and happened with some regularity). Call it minutiae if you will but I like to fire my guns at least once before the infantry disables them. Also we thought it rather random that the defender may fire if charged, but may do nothing if only fired upon.
It makes (IMO) for a more interesting game because you need to take more risks to attack the enemy and therefore gain a tactical dillemma; always a boon in wargaming I think.
The problem was recognized and adressed by the writers as well btw. In TLAOK infantry cannot fire if moving more than 1 action, for exactly the same reasons: defensive positions are pointless if you never get the chance to fire at the attackers. I just liked my solution better.
Not sure why you think artillery is so defenceless?
If a unit of infantry in line move up to close range of an artillery battery they will have three dice needing 4+ to hit. The artillery will save on 4+. So the average outcome is 0.75 casualties on the artillery with a 50% chance of causing Disorder.
The artillery return fire with three dice. If not Disordered they hit on 3+, and the infantry save on 6+. So the average outcome is 1.7 casualties. If the artillery was Disordered they would hit on 4+, so the average outcome would be 1.2 casualties. Either way with a 50% chance of Disordering the infantry.
If the infantry do get Disorderd they are now stuck in front of the guns.
I would rather be with the gunners
With regard to the ammendment of only being able to shoot if one Move has been made. This may give artillery more shots as infantry approach - but based on the above analysis they don't need it. If its infantry v infantry the moving player can still use a single move to get from outside firing range into firing range and have the first shot, so I am not sure that is much benefit to the defender?
As far as I know LOAK was not written by the authors of BP?
Alan Charlesworth wrote:As far as I know LOAK was not written by the authors of BP?
That is true. Hail Caesar was and the rule wasn't changed in those rules. Some will argue that they are Ancients and bows and javelins are easier to reload, but you can use them for Wars of the Roses battles, which used primitive Black Powder weapons