Rules and ECW flavor

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Charge The Guns 2 days, 15 hours ago.

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  • #170166

    bolebg
    Participant

    Hi,

    we just finished our first game based on Pike&Shot in ECW period and two topics i would like to ask you :

    – is fire too strong for that period with 18” range?
    Mostly all units should finish on melee as fire was not so efficient in period

    – are units too maneuverable with possibility to make double or even triple move (12” or 18”)?.
    I understand that in period units were very slow

    2+
    #170168

    Charge The Guns
    Moderator

    Hi Bolebg,

    Good points. This is how I have rationalised these points. In both cases I compared what happens in Black Powder (BP), which covers later periods, with P&S.

    1. Shooting range. In BP smooth bore musket range is 18” but infantry movement is 12”. This means the enemy can cover extreme range to contact in less than two moves. In P&S it takes a full three moves at infantry 6” move to cover extreme range to contact. To me that seems reasonable contrast between the two periods. Of course you could change range or movement if you wanted.
    2. Shooting effectiveness. In BP a normal unit has 3 shooting dice and 3 stamina points. So if you were really lucky you shake a unit in one turns shooting. In P&S typical units only have 2 shorting dice. Also in a pike and shot battalia with two shot units and a pike unit you’d have a total of 4 shorting dice and 10 stamina points. It will therefore take a longer time to reduce a unit with just firepower. You could reduce dice or make it harder to hit if you wanted.
    3. Manoeuvrability. As already mentioned, infantrymen in P&S move half the speed of infantry in BP. Normal P&S horse also move 9” which is half the distance of BP horse. The whole BP series of games (including P&S) allow for a fairly free system of movement. This is a design principle that is designed to speed up games. Some people don’t like it. I find it prevents a lot of fiddling around with protractors and set squares ! 🙂

    I’ve found that in P&S infantry formations shooting at one another will tend to slowly grind each other down. Charge and melee can be decisive, but can also be a lottery, and you will need reserves to exploit any breakthrough as units are quickly worn down even when winning melee.

    Cavalry melees are fast and bloody, but once again the victors can end up shaken. Some reserves of horse can be useful to exploit on the wings or the centre.

    My advice would be to try a couple more games and see if the results on the table feel like an actual 17th century battle.

    2+
    #170170

    bolebg
    Participant

    Great explanation! Thanks Guns!
    in the relative way P&S really looks proper to BP.

    Just what bothers me in P&S is absolute view:
    – you have 3 turns to shoot on closing enemy -> strong fire

    – once in while (but not rare) pike regiment or even battalion , usually very slow and cumbersome, can make incredible move for 2 or 3 times more distance -> this looks too modern for ECW and more like Napoleonic

    We will certainly try original fire to get beet feeling what it means in game.

    If you have any suggestion form practice how to adjust it would be great to hear

    eg. reduce musket to 12″ and allow double move just for +2 on command dice (deny triple move and reduce double move)

    Thanks for answering! Great community is key to gaming systems.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  bolebg.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  bolebg.
    2+
    #170180

    Rough Rider
    Participant

    Another thing to remember with these movement rates is that BP (and therefore also P&S) is designed for large amounts of figures on large tables and still getting a game done in an evening or afternoon. If you are playing on the standard 6×4 (180cm by 120cm) table then knocking a couple of inches off movement rates may give a better impression.

    2+
    #170696

    Charge The Guns
    Moderator

    Hi Bolebg,

    A few more thoughts about the speed of units and effect of firepower.

    I think there are plenty of example of fast moving foot troops in the Renaissance. Swiss, Later ECW Royalist Foot, or Swedish are some examples that spring to mind, so I’m not sure I completely agree that all movement needs to be slow and ponderous.

    You only get to move three times if that is part of your order that you have to declare before you throw the command dice. By gambling with part of your force you can leave them unsupported. I think this has more to do with the movement in Renaissance battles; commanders wanted to keep their lines together and so advances were slow and steady. If you want to keep your commands together in the game then you need to issue commands for short moves. Otherwise you risk your formations becoming broken up.

    As soon as troops are under fire then you will start to get Disorders appearing and this will slow formations down as well, unless they want gaps to appear with units falling behind. This is an interesting command decision; press on with less units, or slow down to keep together.

    I haven’t found firepower too powerful in games. It is rare to break a unit with just firepower. Pike and Shot infantry tend to chip away at each other and both sides become worn down. If neither sides wishes to gamble with a charge into hand-to-hand, then it all bogs down in to two lines blazing away until something happens on a flank. This feels right to me. (Note that artillery is also less powerful in P&S than in BP. Needing a 5 to hit makes a significant difference.)

    The variable movement is a key part of rules. I think you need to be careful you do not add too much certainty as this risks taking away part of what makes the Black Powder series of rules work so well; they represent the ‘friction’ in battle. I know friends who really don’t like this – they hate it when there units on the table don’t do exactly as they are asked. I think they are missing out, but we all have our favourite rules 🙂 .

    Rough Rider makes a good point about table size as well.

    I hope you will try P&S a few more times and see if these problems iron themselves out over a few games.

    1+
    #171456

    bolebg
    Participant

    Thanks Guns,

    This explanation really helps.

    this weekend we will make our first game with P&S and get first impression about rules.
    We will play with default rules of course. I do not like to change rules in such core aspect like movement and shooting.

    Will come back here with impressions 🙂

    cu

    bolebg

    1+
    #171488

    Charge The Guns
    Moderator

    Good luck, Bolebg!

    Please do come back and let us know how you got on. 🙂

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