Artillery in Black Powder

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  • #183114
    Frederic Romero
    Participant

    It’s maybe a newbie question but I find the Artillery units powerless comparing to others Napoleonic games. In many case foot artillery fires with only 1 die. I understand that saves suffers -1 and you can add +1 to hit Vs Square or Column but in all my games and battle report on YouTube I don’t find artillery handy.


    I’m interested in your comments and opinions on this matter.
    Thank Mates.

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    #183115
    Nat
    Participant

    one thing the club I go to was playing around with was whilst shortening the distances of move and weapons (as we play on 6’x4′ not 10 x6′ boards) was actually to leave the artillery ranges alone.  This means than they are in effect increased by 1/3rd so you get another turn of using them.

    Also dont forget that any hit with artillery disorders the target unit (not just a 6).  Also they ignore the skirmish screen of mixed formations….

    Having said that – yes in the few games the club managed to play before Essex went up to tier 2, we were finding the same thing….We are also going to start using the Clash of Eagles, additional rules of grazing fire (in mid /long range the shot carries on to the end of the range bracket and can potentially hit any unit in the shots path, adding the -1 ‘target  not clear’ to any unit you cant draw LoS to – kinda like Warhammer and other games do)

    Also when we get a few more games if that hasnt helped them out then I might play around with the stats but not the costs (add 1 dice to each range bracket, so standard battery would be 4,3,2 with a half battery staying at 2,1,1 & a Russian large battery going up to 5,4,3 with the half being 3,2,2 …. )

    talking of costs, if playing points I’d stick with the Albion Triumphant downgrade costs (-8 points a battery to half) rather than the Clash of Eagles 50% rounded up cost.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Nat.
    +1
    #183117
    Frederic Romero
    Participant

    Thank Nat,

    but on page 57 BP2 (Shooting artillery) only a 6 disorder the target unit as normal shooting.

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    #183119
    Nat
    Participant

    oops its only rockets that disorder on any hit! (pg 95)… Not enough game time to cerment the rules in my head :p  …and I’m my clubs walking rule book …eeek!

    Now I think if musket fire disorders on a 6 artillery should be more disruptive…. hmm… might have to add the disorder on any hit in to the house rules then!

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Nat.
    +1
    #183121
    Frederic Romero
    Participant

    I was thinking about a home rule for artillery that disorder the target on 5 or 6.
    But I don’t know if it’s not too powerful ??

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    #183122
    Mark
    Participant

    We really like the Black Powder system for our Napoleonics. As you have identified, the weakest part of the game is the way artillery is dealt with. This is a symptom of the wide span of history the rules cover, what may be good for War of Spanish Succession is not good for Napoleonics. Artillery was the most destructive arm a Napoleonic General  had at his disposal. You rightly identified one failing as being firepower, the other failing is frontage. A Company (Battery) of Napoleonic era artillery should be capable of defending a frontage equal to a three rank infantry battalion in line formation. This is a function it cannot do as written. We choose to model our batteries with a frontage equivalent  to an infantry unit in line. The number of actual gun models can be  adjusted to suit. We then broke down the main historical gun, howitzer, licorne by size/weight and assigned range brackets then number of dice for each range bracket, close/mid/long. Eg: 6pdr have  4/2/2. So, 4d6 at close, 2d6 at mid, 2 d6 at long, May look a bit odd to have mid and long the same number of dice, but remember Artillery over half range have a minus one modifier to hit rolls.

    Type,  #D6,  Range
    3-4pdr Gun/Howitzer                     3 / 2 / 1                  8 / 20 / 30
    6pdr Gun/5.5” Howitzer                 4 / 2 / 2                  12 / 24 / 40
    8-9pdr Gun/How, 10pdr Licorne  5 / 3 / 2                  15 / 30 / 50
    12pdr Gun/How, 20pdr Licorne    6 / 4 / 2                 20 / 40 / 60

    please see attachment

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Mark.
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    #183127
    Big Al
    Participant

    Casualties taken from Artillery fire causes a break test. Firstly, if the target takes excess casualties that includes any caused by artillery or if the target becomes disordered.
    If artillery is charged and gives closing fire, causing even just one casualty, the charging unit must take a break test.

    That could destroy any unit and remove it from the table. Pretty devastating.

    Also remember that these rules are not about the units themselves. They are about you, the General and how you manage the Command and Control of your army. That’s why casualties are so small. It is about the effect such things have on your ability to command. This means that disorder and stamina levels are all important. A disordered unit cannot receive an order and Shaken units cannot charge the enemy. Units in either states suffer penalties for firing and fighting (the penalty is not cumulative) but casualties above the stamina level (excess) are only used on break tests and then discarded. Because there is no figure removal, you don’t see unit degradation on the table, units are either there or removed.

    This highlights why disorder and shaken is so important and is reflected in the sort of damage artillery imposes, unlike other games where casualties mount up and show a different effect.

    +1
    #183136
    Garry Wills
    Participant

    A bit surprised by this thread, artillery hits at close and medium range are hard to save -2 on save,and columns get no save bonus. Given that the average stamina is only 3, artillery hits that only save on a six are pretty important. In addition you have all of Big Al’s points.

    On artillery frontage, BP2 sets it as a battery being the same frontage as a small infantry unit, which seems correct given the sources we have.

     

    Regards

    Garry

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    #183137
    Nat
    Participant

    Well as I said, the club I go to only started the system during the England Lockdown in April so we’ve not got many games in… so I’m going off initial feel, and said we’re going to be playing more games before changing any of the rules (with the exception of adding the grazing fire optional rule to be a standard rule)

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    #183141
    Big Al
    Participant

    Best way, Nat. Understand the main rules before tinkering.

     

    Also, carrying on Garry’s point, don’t forget that the first casualty that a unit receives remains with the unit for the duration of the game. It cannot be rallied off. Once a unit gains a casualty it carries it until the game is over.

    It is something that inexperienced players tend to overlook without realising. What it means is that , like Garry has said, with the average stamina value of 3, once a unit takes a casualty, it only has a small leeway before it becomes shaken during the remainder of the game. Remembering that also helps to put things like Artillery effectiveness into perspective.

    +1
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