KRIEGSSPIEL NEWS 57
Earlier this month Dave Stanforth ran an American War of Independence game at Bill’s. This was based on one of the larger battles, and caused players on both sides some headaches. Look for a write up on this instructive game in KN 58.
By popular request, I’m planning to bring forward the army level Napoleonic game from January to November. For more details see below
I am very sad to have to report two deaths. Terry Jupp was an enthusiastic gamer who only discovered Kriegsspiel earlier this year. He fitted in immediately, and we were looking forward to many more games with him until his death in August. He leaves a wife and two young children. Several of you will also know John Acs and his teenage son Peter. Sadly, John’s wife Julie also died during the summer after a long fight against cancer. Our thoughts go with all their family and friends.
1. Forthcoming games
2. November game – a major league brawl
3. Peninsular war email game
4. Email games
5. Admiral Ernest Joseph King, C in C US Fleet from 1942
6. Army level games – National characteristics from Arthur Harman & Francesco Francini
7. Distances at which troops may be distinguished – contributed by Tony Hawkins
8. Silicon Sid – computer games & Piquet rules
1. Forthcoming games
Sunday 24th Nov 2002 Hemel 2.30 pm Large scale late Napoleonic from Martin James
Saturday 25th Jan 2003 Hemel 2.30 pm Detachments Kriegsspiel from Arthur Harman
Sunday 23rd March 2003 Hemel 2.30 pm Frederick the Great v Russians from Richard Madder
If you fancy running a scenario, let us know, as we are happy to re-jig the list to fit it in. We will also provide assistance with the design and umpiring if you need this.
Games are usually held at Bill’s house. Pick up from Hemel Hempstead railway station (and drop off) can normally be arranged. Games finish around 7 pm. If you are interested in playing, give Bill a ring or email as early as possible before the game so we can plan the numbers. If we know you are coming we can also let you know if there are any last minute changes to arrangements. For some games we send briefings out prior to the game, so early contact means you are more likely to get a key command.
2. November Game – a major league brawl
The intention is to fight a very large battle (100,000 per side?), and complete a full day’s action in one session. We will use half hour turns and the basic manoeuvre units will be brigades (of varying number of battalions & squadrons) organised into divisions & corps.
Most players will be corps commanders, and each team will also include a C in C and Chief of Staff. The roles of the players will be as follows:
• C in C: agree overall battle plan in consultation with COS before game. Make key decisions during game such as releasing reserves. Ride around battlefield visiting corps commanders, returning to HQ every so often for discussions with COS
• COS: remain at HQ. Issue orders to corps and receive all communications from them. Decide what is important enough to bother C in C with, and guide him on where he should go next. Make decisions in C in Cs absence. The only man with the big picture most of the time.
• Corps Commander: command their corps down to (mainly) brigade level. Implement plans and directives from HQ, but also exercise their own judgement when necessary. Fight the enemy!
• There will be some element of pre-battle manoeuvring involving the C in Cs and their chiefs of staff.
If you are planning to come, please email me.
New Peninsular War email game from James Machin
For the more information on DIS games, see David Commerford’s piece in KN 53. Martin
I am a big fan of Kriegsspiel wargames in general. My own DIS Game system is based loosely upon some of the experiences I gained during the six years I spent doing Simulation & Analysis work for the U.S. Army. Most of which I spent doing research that attempted to characterize the Battlefield environment.
This one will be a Peninsular War scenario set during the period 1812-1814.
We’re shooting for a Start day of around 15 January 2003. There’s nothing for you to buy and the rules are really simple. That’s is, play as if you are a Napoleonic General on the Battlefield. Sounds a bit like that warn out cliché’s, but you’ll see for yourself soon enough.
Based on the last game, I’d estimate that you will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-2 hours a week making and implementing your decisions.
The amount of time is mostly dependent on how much effort you put into making these decisions. Some do it quickly, others take quite a bit of time looking things over and considering their options. I allow at least 48hrs for normal turn around time pertaining to any decision point you are at in time. I’m flexible too and want you to know I also have a job, wife, kids, pets and mortgage payment all competing for my time too. I’ll guess that it will take about 45-60 days to resolve the entire fight.
I’m in the process of incorporating individual Player website into this iteration of the game. Thus, each of you’ll have their own Command and Operation Center to get Intel (Pictures, Sounds and Messages) and Unit Status Data to make his decisions with. Command is at the Brigade and higher level. However, the only thing you’ll have out right control over is your own single 15mm Command Figure. It is through the ‘literal eyes’ of this 15mm Mounted General that you will ‘see’ and ‘command’ your units and any other of your subordinates.
The game is played in real time that runs continuously. Time itself is only relative to you and what you are doing. As will be the case for every other player in the game too. So, you may be sitting on horseback, stationary just observing, while General-A is ordering his brigade move and General-B is in the act of simply riding down the road to Pamplona, all occurring at the same time, totally independent of one another. No turns, No bounds, No sequence of play…Just you and being in Command.
Finally, everyone will only be known to each other by their Game name (i.e. such as General Foy or General Picton and so forth). Right now, I’ve signed up about 20 of the 25 players that I’m Iooking for at the moment. I’m hiring an independent party to do the preliminary work on the websites. So, based on all this we may start sooner or later than the 15 January target date. I don’t want to interrupt anyone’s Christmas, but I would like to get some of the initial activity out the way before we start the game in earnest.
Latest update. James now has 3 vacancies left. So if, like me, you’re interested, please contact him direct on Jdmachin@ease.ipmail.att.net Martin
4. Email games – from Arthur Harman
I participated in the email Detachments Napoleonic Kriegsspiel described by Martin [KN56, p.4] and would take issue with his comment that “the ‘feel’ was much like a typical Kriegsspiel at Bill’s.” In the latter, an engagement lasting perhaps several hours is fought out in an afternoon and early evening; the email game lasted two weeks! Players had, if they wished, far more real time to contemplate intelligence reports and their future orders than they would have had at Bill’s, and – as far as I am aware – it was impossible for Ben to take thinking time into account when advancing game time as umpires would be able to do in an ordinary game. I also found I rapidly lost any sense of real involvement with my forces, because the demands of everyday working life tended to make me forget the situation from one game session to the next, so that I had to reacquaint myself with the scenario each time. Such a game might be run successfully via a chatroom or instant message system, if all players and umpires could remain logged on for the proposed duration of the game.
Just as in ordinary games, it is important to achieve a satisfactory balance or compromise between the game time represented by a ‘turn’, or variable length period between each report to a player or players, and the real time taken by the umpires to read orders/messages, update the master map and resolve fire or combat.
Ideally, the latter should be no longer than the former than is absolutely necessary, especially in Detachments games where the majority of players usually take the roles of officers who would most often command their troops by personal observation, exhortation and example. Otherwise, it becomes possible for participants to mull over their plans or orders like chess players, taking more real time to think out and draft orders than the game time which has supposedly elapsed, thus destroying the atmosphere of having to act decisively under fire. Obviously there will be occasions where resolving a cavalry combat, for example, may take somewhat longer than the reality, but this should be minimised.
Where the game turn represents a longer period of time, such as an hour or even a day, there should – provided the rules or umpire systems are not unduly complex – be no difficulty in resolving matters on the master map and feeding reports etc. back to the players within that length of real time. If the game is being played face to face, as it were, there will often be pressure to resolve matters in less real time than game time, in order to maintain player involvement and maximise the game time that can be completed in the real time available. But where players are not co-located, but communicating by telephone or email, it will often be perfectly acceptable for the increments of game time and real time to be equal, leaving players able to pursue jobs, domestic chores or other interests between ‘turns’.
Given that people will participate in email games precisely because they are not co-located, and, given our readership, may even be in different time zones and thus not necessarily settling down for a Kriegsspiel session at their computers simultaneously, the most practicable format would appear to be a campaign with ‘turns’ representing at least one day. This should enable all players to find time to send in their orders, messages &c., and for the umpire to process them ready to feed appropriate intelligence back.
I did not mind too much that it took 2 weeks to play out a day of battle. I guess this is a personal thing though, and can understand that others would feel differently. Yes, having too much time to ponder decisions is a drawback, although in our game I recall that Ben contacted me by phone a couple of times for an instant decision. You are right that this is not really feasible when players are in different continents though.
I also agree that these problems fall away if we are gaming a campaign. That’ll teach you to take issue with the editor, young Arf !
5. Admiral Ernest Joseph King, C in C US Fleet from 1942
King was inflexible and ferocious. His own daughter said that he was “the most even-tempered man in the navy. He is always in a rage.”
He reserved a special contempt for civilians, who he said should be told nothing of the war until it ended, and then only who had won.
From Alanbrooke War diaries 1939-45. Edited by Dachev & Todman
6. National characteristics in Army Level & other games from Arthur Harman
In view of the length of this piece, I will interleave my comments in italics. Martin
When I read the discussion between Francesco Francini, Bill Leeson and Martin James [KN56, pp 9-10], I was reminded of a debate which occupied many column inches in the pages of ‘Battle’ magazine many years ago on this very subject, to which I myself contributed!
In the context of the original Detachments Kriegsspiel, such matters were not an issue, because the game was designed to give the players a simulation of commanding only Prussian forces, hence the nomenclature of the opposing forces as Red and Blue. The game was not then, I imagine, intended to assist military planning for future conflicts or campaigns by wargaming scenarios in which Prussian armies faced real or prospective enemies – that use of military wargaming was adopted later. Nor, of course, has military wargaming ever been concerned with fighting real or hypothetical battles from much earlier periods of history in the way that hobby wargamers tend to do! If, then, one is playing an authentic Detachments Kriegsspiel both forces will have the same Prussian national characteristics – whatever we might deem those to be! – so the game remains a relatively pure test of the tactical skills of the various players, save that we are not products of late 18th/early 19th century society and have not undergone the military training of that era.
If, however, the scenario is pitting forces of different nationalities against each other, there are issues that must be addressed whether fighting an historical or imaginary engagement. In the context of a small Detachments game between European armies, these will, I believe be primarily to do with training, tactical doctrine and drill, rather than national or racial origin. Reorganized, equipped with British weapons and trained by British officers, Portuguese troops in Wellington’s Peninsular army were able to equal the achievements of their allies to the extent that the Duke himself called them his ‘fighting cocks’, for example.
One needs to determine whether a unit is comprised of raw recruits/reluctant conscripts/trained regulars/experienced soldiers/veterans who have survived several battles [and intend to stay alive, so may not be so enthusiastic to smell powder again!]/exhausted, shell-shocked, demoralised troops.
These different men will behave in different ways: veterans may achieve a higher standard of musketry [they will be familiar with the loading procedure and judge ranges and elevations more accurately] than raw recruits, but they will be less willing to leave cover to advance across open ground in the face of enemy fire – because they know all too well what will happen!
Differences in tactical doctrine and drill may result in an army adopting more effective formations than its opponent, or simply in being able to the same things, such as forming square, more quickly on the battlefield.
Quite so. We have experimented a little along these lines, but not much. We gamed a French Revolutionary War battle a few years back. Unit for unit, the French were no match for the well-trained Austrians, but there were more of them, and they responded to orders more quickly.
Weaponry has often been unduly emphasised in conventional wargame rules as a factor affecting the outcome of combat [Admiral Sir John Jervis stated, ‘It is men, not ships that win battles’], but the differences may be such as to confer a distinct advantage to one side, in which case that should be reflected in the combat odds. For example, a recent BBC ‘Timewatch’ on the Battle of Little Bighorn suggested that Custer’s troopers, armed with single-shot Springfield carbines, were simply shot to pieces by the firepower of the repeating rifles possessed by many of the Indians.
I’m sure Jervis was right in his day. I’m not sure this is still quite so true on the modern battlefield. Still, your point holds good for horse & musket warfare, where there was a small range of weapons and everyone had them.
I saw that TV program on Custer. Very interesting. The question that occurred to me was why the 7th Cavalry didn’t have repeaters too? After all we all know the story about Buford’s Cavalry at Gettysburg 13 years earlier holding up the Johny Rebs until First Corps arrived. As far as I can gather the decision to arm the Indian fighting units with single shot weapons was not as crazy as it might appear. Until the Rosebud and Little Big Horn, the difficulty was normally not in fighting off Indian attack, but in catching them. This, and the open terrain of the plains, meant that most combat was expected to be at long range, where the short-ranged repeaters would be less effective. Oh, and the usual budgetary restrictions meant that the reduced rate of fire was attractive on cost grounds!
If one is re-fighting an historical battle, there is another, possibly more contentious issue: the personalities and skill – or lack of it! – of the officers who participated. My view is that there is little point in a player pretending that he is, say, Napoleon: for the reasons given above, he cannot easily recreate the attitudes and professional background of any officer of the Napoleonic Wars, let alone the Emperor himself.
A wargame of Waterloo differs fundamentally from the film: the player commanding the French makes his own decisions; Rod Steiger gave the orders given historically, as presented by a script – he could choose only how to impersonate Napoleon, not where or when to deploy the Imperial Guard. Giving morale boosting bonuses or additions to die rolls may affect the outcome of the player’s orders, but it will not make those orders themselves qualitatively better. And where is the pleasure to be derived from beating one’s opponent, if this results from such manipulation of rules?
Players, then, should remain themselves, but try to conform to the codes of conduct and attitudes appropriate to the period being played. This was a problem Paddy Griffith and I encountered when umpiring the Balaklava game for the Channel 4 series ‘Game of War’: in both the practice and the filmed game, the British commander decided to relieve the Duke of Cambridge of his command for his dilatory march to the front in the middle of the battle, ignoring the fact that probably no Victorian general would have dared so treat a member of the Royal Family. Similarly, an Arnhem veteran, playing the Russian commander, felt morally unable to send his serf conscripts forward to storm Balaklava , although it would almost certainly have succeeded, because he did not care for the heavy casualties they must have suffered.
True. For a general to act in a way which went against the custom and usage of the time, is as unhistorical as deploying tanks at Austerlitz.
This is not to say, however, that the umpires should not make an attempt to portray non-played historical characters when sending messages or responding to orders.
In the end, it very much depends what sort of game the designer and intended players want. I tend to favour the original Detachments game, or scenarios closely based upon historical examples – they’re easier to write! – but fictionalised so that there is no question of the players attempting to roleplay historical characters.
And from Francesco Francini
In KN 56 Bill wrote “Every one has their own point of view of course and mine is that I like to play on an even battlefield. I like to kid myself that I am understanding something about tactics from these games, and you cannot do that by trying your idea out against inferior opponents.”
I share with you the ideas on the “even battlefield”, even though, reflecting on the matter, the majority of the historical battles were not fought with equal chances for both the parties. The case of A.C.W. is an exception. It was in fact a civil war, were even the officers came from the same military school!
We could consider the matter from another point of view: if we want play a game, well both players surely have the right to have equal chances of victory. But if we want to simulate a battle we hardly find one historically fought with even chances for both. With this goal in mind I find that Kriegsspiel is perfect for this since, as you say, is a “game” typically played with an umpire and only a human brain can take into account some important aspect like personal valour, courage, motivation, elan, training etc, put them together and translate such factors, in few seconds, in terms of rules.
Such goals are hardly completely reached by other commercial rules or if even at a heavy cost in terms of playability (example Empire by Scott – Bowden: covers any aspect of the period but you have to learn 190 dense pages !! )
Some gamers are attracted to the purity of the traditional Prussian game, where morale, tactics, training etc are all equal. Even here though, the armies are normally of different size, and one will have more cavalry, artillery etc or an advantage of position or whatever. Everyone seems to take that in their stride.
Others like the ability to re-fight historical battles and campaigns. In practice, we play both types of game.
To re-fight a historical battle other than superficially, we do need to take differences in proficiency between armies into account, and players of all persuasions seem to accept this, some more reluctantly than others. The crux comes where we start applying the same treatment to generalship – after all, these are the guys we are representing. So Dennis Duffer (Napoleon) defeats Simon Smart (Bennigsen) after playing like a potato, simply because he gets plus 2 on the dice, and poor old Simon understandable feels miffed.
It’s difficult to see how one addresses this concern and still simulates, say, Napoleon’s 1813 campaign in Germany. More than a theoretical question, as it’s a campaign I would one day like to do, perhaps by email. Without some advantage, the French will just be steamrollered by weight of numbers.
Perhaps it would be slightly more acceptable if we simulate Napoleon’s skill in a less crude way? For example we could let him issue more orders in a turn of a campaign game. This certainly reflects his attested capacity to work on several different problems at once. Ideas anyone?
7. Distances at which troops may be distinguished – contributed by Tony Hawkins
This table was designed primarily to enable artillery officers to judge distances, but it also serves as a useful aid for us to determine at what range bodies of troops may be identified.
Range in yards What may be distinguished
1,300 Good eyesight can distinguish infantry from cavalry
1,000 A single individual figure may be seen, but not until
700 can his head be seen as a round ball. At this distance white cross belts and white trousers may also be seen.
500 The face may be seen as a light coloured spot, and limbs, uniform and firelocks can be made out.
250 & 200 Details of body and uniform are tolerably clear.
Another method of calculating the range was to:
“Multiply the number of seconds which elapse between the time of seeing the flash of the enemy’s musket and hearing the report by 1100, and the product will be the distance in feet”.
For example, 5 seconds x 1,100 = 5,500 feet.
5,500 (feet) = 1,833.3333 yards
1,833.3333 yards. = 1. 0416666 mile.
1,760 (yards in a mile)
Therefore an approximate guide provides a rule of thumb of 1 mile for each 5 seconds.
Source: “The Siege of Krishnapur” by J.G. Farrell. pp 154 155. Published 1973 by Book Club Associates by arrangement with Weidenfeld and Nicolson. However, I believe that Farrell obtained his information from ‘The Artillerists Handbook’ – or similarly titled work.
Thanks Tony. I have sometimes wondered if most unit identification in the horse & musket period was by the regimental flags, rather than uniforms.
Certainly in the 17th and for a part of the 18th Century, uniforms in one army could be of many colours, and the ‘national’ conventions we now think of as typical were sometimes late in arriving (eg the French Revolutionary blue uniforms). Whilst Red is often associated with British troops, this was also characteristic of Saxon and Swiss troops, who served for hire in many armies. Many of the larger armies (France, Spain, Austria, Netherlands) had a large proportion of their troops in various shades of grey and white for decades.
A generalisation – and things varied between armies – but as time went on there was increasing standardisation within armies of basic uniform colours, facing colours, and regimental flags. In this situation, it presumably became easier to distinguish which infantry was the enemy, but harder to discover what regiments they were.
Even in Napoleonic times however, the standardisation of coat or tunic colour only applied to the infantry. In most armies the cavalry continued to dress in a variety of colours.
So after this rambling discourse, my question is at what range can unit flags be distinguished? A Reisswitz monocle for the first reader who can give me some guidance on this………..
Here’s another question. It has been established that generals with an efficient intelligence service, maintained lists of which regiments were believed to form part of specific enemy corps. This information was certainly used strategically to locate large enemy formations within the theatre of operations. Given what I’ve said above however, was unit identification possible at a distance on the Napoleonic battlefield? If it was, it would allow Wellington to identify say Marcognet’s division of d’Erlon’s Corps from the presence of specific regiments. This in turn might allow him to infer the likely presence of d’Erlon’s other divisions nearby – even if they were not in view. Pretty important if you could do it – but did they even try?
8. Silicon Sid – computer games & Piquet rules
Age of Sail II was a previous winner of the prestigious ‘smacked botty’ award. The follow up AOS II – Privateers’ Bounty is now on sale. I have not played this, not being one to throw good money after bad (well hardly ever). Reaction has been mixed. In some ways the game represents a dumbing- down of the original, in the your ability to micro-manage individual ships is somewhat less. Of course you could argue that for anything larger than a ship-to-ship action, that is more realistic. It does appear that this game is more stable, and a big plus is that the formation (ie squadron) function now works.
Matrix Games and Australian Design Group have announced that the Napoleonic Grand Strategy board game Empires In Arms is to be adapted for computer play. Expected release date is mid-2003.
”Empires In Arms allows players to recreate the Napoleonic Period (1805-1815) as one of the major European powers (Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, Spain, Turkey). Each nation has unique military, diplomatic and economic challenges on the path to power and glory” they say.
The new version will include network play, play by email, computer opponent, and other game system enhancements.
Too early to be sure I suppose, but this might work well. The boardgame version was chock full of good ideas, but the detail and complexity – and the need for several players – limited the amount it was played. A similar situation to the old Europa Universalis boardgame, which has greatly benefited from transfer to computer.
Last month I was the guest of Tony Hawkins on his Norfolk estate. A black-hearted rogue true enough, yet I found him quite agreeable after several glasses of Australian red… In a weak moment he persuaded me to set down my laptop and play a game of Napoleonic miniatures using the Piquet rules.
My objections to the across-the-table game have always centred on the ability to see everything, to react immediately and have one’s orders implemented without delay etc. Most unhistorical – but then you’ve heard all this before…..
The piquet rules are a brave attempt to address these problems, and I felt they broadly succeeded, if in a rather artificial way.
The game does not work on a fixed turn length, but resolves around the concept of initiative and the mechanism of a card deck. Initiative is periodically diced for, and the higher roller receives varying numbers of initiative points (IPs). The cards typically allow one unit (battalion, regiment, brigade etc, depending on the scale) to move, charge, change formation, fire or reload. Turning a card uses one initiative point. When you exhaust your IPs, it’s time to roll again for initiative. On most occasions, only the player with initiative do anything, and then only if they turn the appropriate card from the deck. Many cards will be unusable in the particular circumstances, so even the player with initiative cannot be sure of carrying through his or her plans.
There are various nifty refinements. For example, different armies have different combinations of cards in their deck to reflect their experience and doctrine. Also, as casualties mount and the cohesion of the armies declines, increasing numbers of dress ranks cards are added to the deck. These cards are effectively useless, and represent opportunities missed, due to fatigue or breakdown of command control. Thus, as the battle progresses, you will find that you will exert less and less control over your army. A very neat simulation.
In our game, Tony manoeuvred a couple of battalions onto a flank of one of mine. Being a tabletop game, I could see it coming, and in doing so he exposed his own flank to one of my cavalry regiments. BUT he had the initiative and I could not react. He proceeded to take my battalion in the flank, and then crashed on into its neighbour, putting both to flight. At this point Tony became particularly eloquent in extolling the rules system. A short while later, the dice turned and I was able to roll him up in similar fashion, whereupon the merits of Piquet became clear to me too!
The excitement factor is very high, as you wait to who will win the initiative, and what card will be turned next.
It can seem odd at times. Let us say you have a cavalry regiment in the process of charging an artillery battery. Having advanced some way, you may lose the initiative however, or you might not turn the right card to enable you to close for melee. Your opponent may also not turn the card he needs – perhaps an artillery fire to blast you with canister, or an artillery move to limber up and get away. Thus our two units may just hang there in limbo for an hour of (play) time while the battle rages elsewhere. One just has to rationalise this as part of the chaos of battle.
Overall I think that the Piquet system works very well in recreating the confusion of battle, and it only requires 2 players. It shares some of the concepts of Battlecry the American Civil War boardgame. I do think that the process could be streamlined somewhat and the amount of die rolling reduced. I am also not sure that the players aren’t ultimately driven by the system to too great a degree. Tony would disagree, and he has played it a lot more than me. I certainly enjoyed the game, which counts for a lot. Plus you get to see all those nice figures and terrain.
I understand that the rules were developed several years ago but are continually being refined to cover new periods. For those who would like to know more, look for the:
• commercial website at http://www.piquet.com/ and the
• enthusiasts’ website at http://www.piquet.org/
From Arthur Harman
If you look closely at the front-age vignette purporting to show the ‘Reisswitz Monocle’ you should notice it is in fact a pince-nez! I don’t think monocles were in fashion in Reisswitz’s day – a quizzing glass on a stick, perhaps, but only for insufferable Georgette Heyer style fops.
What a pity the museum was not more responsive to Bill’s enquiry. I still think we should try to do something to visit/record/publish the existence of this set – what a shame it has ended up in a museum most of whose visitors will neither understand its significance nor be interested in it! [But better there than in a secret Soviet archive in Moscow…]
Curses, you’re right of course on the monocle! Our little picture is actually based on Teddy Roosevelt, about 70 yrs after Reisswitz. I argued in an emergency committee that your alertness was itself deserving of a ‘monocle’ – but Binky was not to be swayed (think he was a bit miffed you had caught us out).
I too would still like to visit the museum. Perhaps a group of us could fly out for a long weekend in Berlin next year and catch some of the other sites?
From Francesco Francini
I was thinking, in a midsummer hot Italian afternoon, inspired by your site, that the Krgspl now appears as rather complete rules set. What probably is still lacking is a complete campaign rules set, in which battles could be (quickly) resolved by the Totten’s system, if the player wish to focus his attention on the campaign’s “big picture”, or by a more conventional way i.e. using the rules as on the web site. What about this ???
That’s quite enough about Italian sunshine, thank you Francesco. Here in the UK we have had what might be called a ‘mixed’ summer! Geoff Eyles and I developed some rules for the 1814 campaign some years ago, but we haven’t done anything so large in scale since. The game was based on the maps for a commercial produced wargame ‘Napoleon at Bay’, although the rules to that game were far too complex to be practical for a Kriegsspiel, and many of them were redundant anyway given the availability of umpires. I must see if I still have our own rules somewhere……
From Francesco again
I was furthermore thinking to add or better, to play, a scenario including weather rules such:
• Heavy and steady rain
It could be interesting, especially in a long-term (read campaign) game. For instance heavy rains during the early black powder period up to the “cartridge” period made much more difficult any shooting action. It is in my opinion that this could produce a very different outcome in a given battle (real or deserved). The same for movements on a muddy ground. Let’s think on an escort scenario in which the foraging column loses the contact with its head because of the muddy ground !
Yes it would make quite a difference. Not many battles seem to have been fought in heavy rain – perhaps because armies normally took care not to operate when the weather was bad. Nothing ruined an army’s health more than getting the troops wet. Better to keep them under canvas or, even better, under a roof.
As ever, there were exceptions. The Katzbach in 1813 was fought in heavy rain. This made a significant contribution to Bluecher’s victory over the French, as he had an advantage in artillery and cavalry, which were much less affected than the infantry, who were unable to fire their muskets.
From Tony Hawkins on the Austro-Prussian War
Benedek, the Austrian army commander was quoted as saying he would use mass shock assaults by his troops and they would succeed because “…given the excellent Prussian rifle, the Prussians will never expect us to attack their front.”
Was this man one of your relatives?
One of my relatives, you rogue? Pass me my riding crop Binky! Benedek does sound a bit like old General Melchett in Blackadder.
From Francesco Francini yet again on ‘quarter column’
In the appendix of 1872, on the “Table showing the number of index points…” I’ve seen that the result of an attack made by half (why half and not an entire ???; and if I would calculate the same for an entire battalion ???) battalion in line against artillery is favourable to the infantry, instead if the same happens with infantry (but it is not specified if this infantry is a battalion or an half battalion ???) in quarter column, the attack is favourable to artillery i.e. arty throws with a + sign. Well I’ve seen all the formations reported by Reisswitz and I didn’t find the “quarter column”.
As far as I remember this quarter-column is not a quarter of a column but refers to the intervals between companies.
An open column had enough space between the companies to allow them to wheel into a battalion line. A half column had the interval reduced to a half that distance, a quarter column reduced again. If there were no intervals it was a close column. This is British Army. The table showing number of index points etc was added to the translation of Tschischwitz’ book. I cannot find the reference to quarter columns, by the way. Can you give me a page number? Bill
From Arthur Harman again
As an example of the wrong real/game time compromise, William and I today visited NAM, lured by announcement of three day Waterloo wargame, only to discover that – far from being a recreation of the campaign from Ligny to Waterloo – it was a gigantic 15mm battle, which I was assured would take three days to play – two more than Waterloo itself!
We deliberately arrived after 11am so that the game would be well under way, but at c.1130 the players had only just finished laying lead and giving orders! By 1230 the French grand battery had opened fire on the ridge…
These gigantic miniatures games have visual appeal, which I would guess is their main attraction? I do not have a miniatures background, so it’s difficult for me to tell. They really are a world away from the reality of battle though, in so many ways. Would the mainstream take to Kriegsspiel if they were ever to be exposed to it? Don’t know. What did William think?
From Jeff McCulloch
The Kriegsspiel game (in America) has been on hold as everyone has been gearing up for the convention season. I’ll run the game in December. I’m also considering doing the Meckel maps in 3d using those foam sheets for the contours, doubling the map size, and using the Irregular 2mm figures. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, the Mexican War game is just about ready to go. I’ll be offering it up to the group soon.
Thanks Jeff. We’ve already had some interest expressed.
From new reader Stef Mariani
I met Stef while playing the very large email game on a future Russian attack on northern Norway mentioned in KN 56.
Appreciate your comments about e-mail games problems, its quite true. I will add the language barrier and the scale of the game…
Good points. The game is so big – in terms both of the detail in which operations are planned and modelled, and the number of players/umpires involved in a particular engagement – that the language barrier can be quite significant. And that’s just among those for whom English is their first language! When planning, say, a complex air raid, some of the subtle nuances of language used can be crucial in how an operation plays out. In our team of course, we also have French, Russian & German speakers
Your idea of orders models forms make me think about another kind of campaign I saw on the Web: I saw (and participated) in a campaign with Combat Mission, some players created rules that permitted multiple engagement and turns. The one I played in was very basic, but I saw some really interesting rules sets, which may be interesting for you… …if you don’t know it yet. Its:
This looks interesting. I attach a copy of one of the order sheets for the Tunisian email game. It’s on Excel. The umpire sends it out as a report for the day, and the player then just overwrites the report fields with his orders for that unit for the following turn.
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