Tinkering with the Rules

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    First, let me say that I quite enjoy BP/BP2 for my horse and musket games (7YW, Napoleonics, ACW, Sudan) and have had loads of very enjoyable games. The various supplements are great for giving a bit more period flavour and I regularly use them.

    Having said that, I am always looking for ways to add more period flavour especially for my favourite period, Napoleonics. I have been tinkering with the following:

    1) Units, either infantry or artillery, targeting a column which has another column within 1” to either flank will receive a +1 modifier to shooting. Rationale: Unlike wargamers who like to jam as many units as possible onto an enemy target, Napoleonic tactical doctrine tried to ensure that there was space to deploy battalions from column into line before contact with the enemy. Where this doctrine was not followed, either by choice, terrain limitations or poor quality of troops involved, casualties were significantly higher. Frankly, I think 1” is very generous and there is a strong argument that the interval between battalions should allow both units to deploy into line with an interval between the battalions.
    2) Brigade formations in Napoleonic armies had a deployment area determined by the size of the Brigade and the manner in which its units were deployed. Usually this was a square or rectangular area with the sides determined by the potential frontage of the first line/wave units and the number of lines/waves of supporting units. When Brigades became intermingled, command and control began to break down. To represent this, I’ve been fooling around with a -1 to Command roll for Brigades which become intermingled.
    3) More of a clarification really of an optional rule. Fire and movement. The rules reads that “A unit which moves more than once may not deliver fire”. It could be argued that a change of formation is a move so a unit could not move forward, change formation and then deliver fire or change formation, move forward and deliver fire. This does not reflect what occurred on the Napoleonic battlefield. Therefore, I think “move” in these circumstances should not include change of formation.
    4) A unit adjacent to the target of a charge may issue defensive fire if i) the charging unit is within the unit’s arc of fire, and, ii) after proper positioning of the charging unit, the charging unit covers at least ½ the frontage of the adjacent unit. This would occur infrequently, probably only when a large cavalry unit in line charges a column or march column and can easily be avoided by changing formation before initiating the charge.

    I would much appreciate your thoughts and feedback.



    Hello Kent,

    I like your approach, here my thoughts about:

    1. 1″ is not enough to really deploy in line, in BP units are allowed to interpenetrate each other. So it is nearly always possible to deploy in line (if not side by side, than one behind the other). Next point is, most tables are smaller than the magnificent tables of the Perry twins, and all the tables I know are quite crowded.

    2. I like it.

    3. I don’t like exceptions, change of formation is a movement (soldiers have to move quite far to get in line), so else you allow 2 movements and fire, or stick with one movement and change formation next turn.

    4. Maybe I don’t understand it fully, but isn’t it already so if a large frontage unit charges two small frontage ones?

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