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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:54 am 
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It shouldn't be the number of lines that should matter, but the number of <i>men</i>.

Otherwise it's possible to have absurd extremes such as a single unit of 1200 men <i>can</i> fire ...

... but (with the Nappy engine) three or four units of 200 men can't, or if they can they're penalized in a variety of unpleasant ways.

As for why it's possible for multiple units to stack & fire in line in the ACW (and EAW) engine, but not in the Nappy engine, I don't see any logical reason for this difference.

Cavalry stacking really shouldn't be 1:1 - the Nappy system seems more logical - but in compensation cavalry should be able to detach sub-units, have better scouting abilities and perhaps have a more open or dispersed mounted formation for screening & scouting purposes. The treatment of cavalry in the ACW engine doesn't exactly encourage historical tactics, so this is one area where the game engine could be improved.

Adding victory points for supply wagons (from the EAW engine) might also be very useful - this would allow scenario designers to make use of (fixed?) supply wagons instead of objective hexes, which might be captured by raiding cavalry.


Col. Rich White
3 Brig. Phantom Cav Div
III Corps ANV


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 12:11 pm 
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I agree with Col White; firepower out of a hex ought to be a function of how many men are in the hex, not how many units. Same thing with density modifiers. I think the max that ought to be able to fire out of a hex should be the max that could fit into a two-rank line, which is the basis for the Norris mod. The most that can be in a hex ought to be the most men physically capable of fitting into a hex. The excess shouldn't be a factor in combat, or fire combat anyway. A problem I had with the original Norris mods was that there wasn't much you could do except stand toe to toe and slug it out with firepower, because the lower max stacking discouraged melees. Probably a lot more realistic, but playing it was for me like watching paint dry. The mod I played was Perryville.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 12:26 pm 
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Bill,

Tried Jess's modified BG games, thought the lower stacking limits were more realistic but had a problem with movement using them. You often were unable to move units thru one another in retreat or advance since so many units were maximum size. I've been using a modified pdt for the MP games I run. The pdt allows stacking of 750 men but since I run the game I keep stacking to about 500 men per hex max. This allows units to pass thru one another during movement but I normally do not have more than 500 infantry or 300 mounted cavalry in a hex at the end of the turn. This limits the melee odds discouraging melees while allowing units to pass thru one another as they often did.

Personally I think 1000 men firing out of a 125 yard hex is a bit of a stretch. Most minature systems I've played require a clear line of sight for small arms fire for this era so there should be no firing from a second line. I recall an old boardgame system that allowed you to stack as many men as you wanted in a 200 yard hex but during movement you could only have 800 infantry or 600 cavalry moving in each hex. For firing the most you could fire was 800 men from one hex and that was dependent on what type of battleline you were in.

That being said I think it may be difficult to set two different limits for stacking, one for movement and one for fire. Limiting fire to the top unit is easy to code but as mentioned before leads to one large unit being able to fire while several smaller ones of the same number of men cannot. As to cavalry I think they should have a lower stacking level than infantry. Mounted they take up more space and dismounted they tended to use a looser formation than infantry.

Lt.Gen.Ken Miller
Veteran's Divsion
VIII / AoS

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:31 pm 
I am involved in one Norris version of Gettysburg Unleashed in the BG engine and find it to have pros and cons. I like the lower stacking limits as it does create a more realistic feel with number of units, stacking, fewer melees, more realistic frontages, etc. However, I find that it is highly biased toward disruption and routing, even among B quality units or higher. I can only take seeing a Yankee 3 gun battery from 20 hexes away hit 10 men from one of Gordon's B rated regiments and they immediately route (in place, without running away...) That just isn't very realistic. At other times it seems that nothing wants to hit anything when firing, unless you catch something with a flank modifier, in which case you are rewarded with "Super Artillery" which can take out opposing guns at max range with ease (through two full days and a few hours of day three, my Reb guns have taken out over 100 Yankee guns, almost all of them from ranged fire). I've not tried an HPS version of his, but would think about giving it a try.

As for stacking, I agree with the others. It should be based on number of men that could make a line in the given amount of space, not the number of units.

Regards,
Lt. Col. Alan Lynn
3rd Battery "Jacksonville Greys"
4th Div, II Corps, AoA
God bless <><


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:47 pm 
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On Infantry Fire the maximum fire out of a hex (125 yds) should be 375. This represents the number of men with that frontage in a two rank line. The maximum number of men you can crowd into a hex, assuming a 125x125 yd square, is quite high especially for Napoleonic formations that had much higher densities. For example the Prussian 13th Brigade (6,830 men) deployed for its attack with a frontage of 370 meters with 7-800 men in skirish order in front followed by two regment frontage in two rank line. Behind them were seven battalions in attack column (one quarter spacing between companies) in two groups. The whole formation depth was only 370 meters (skirminshers were 70 m in front and columns were spaced at 150 m). This was an attack formation, a formation for movement while not under fire could be much denser since a column of 500 men in one quarter distance only required a space of 20x48m. Ten such columns could fit in a hex.

The problem comes in how to apply this to the CW or Nap game engines since they make a comprimise between stacking and fire power. The ideal would be to say everyone in line up to 375 can shoot. After that they just add to stacking. Since more in a hex means better target then they should take much heavier casualties for being overstacked. Then you have the problem of melee. How many of these potential 5,000 men in a hex can actually fight?

Cavalry is an even tougher issue since there is very little information on CW tactics and formations. The British 12th Light Dragoons (433 men and horses) when formed in close column of squadrons had a 40m frontage and a 35m depth so obviously you aren't going to get 5,000 of them in a hex but you could still get 2,000. Formed into a two rank line they required a frontage of 260m. It probably had a depth of 20m so you could still stack few behind each other but normally they would have 100 to 400 meters separating regiments.

Again the problem is in the game engine and how it models formations, fire and stacking. You can enforce line frontage by reducing stacking but then you create a problem for melee where high densities were used and column formations that were intended to have high densities. You also have to take into account zones of control since these represent the ability of a unit to occupy more ground than the hex it is in.

It would be nice if you could cap the fire out of a hex at 375 and break all regiments down to 375 or less men so they could spread out to cover the frontage they should. Allow very high stacking so if someone wants to pack them in they can but have melee limits for the number of men who can melee and target modifiers for overstacking. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.[:D]

BG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:46 pm 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">

Adding victory points for supply wagons (from the EAW engine) might also be very useful - this would allow scenario designers to make use of (fixed?) supply wagons instead of objective hexes, which might be captured by raiding cavalry.


Col. Rich White
3 Brig. Phantom Cav Div
III Corps ANV
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Just a little FYI,

<i><b>HPS Campaign Shiloh</b></i> does have VPs for supply wagon points. And don't be surprised if in the near future, density modifiers are introduced into the ACW series.

Rich Walker


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 2:17 am 
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Kennon,

With locked OOB's one can't modify units donw to sub groups of 375 men.[:(]

MajGen Al 'Ambushed' Amos
3rd "Amos' Ambushers" Bde, Cavalry Division, XX Corps, AoC
The Union Forever! Huzzah!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:22 am 
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by KWhitehead</i>
<br />
It would be nice if you could cap the fire out of a hex at 375 and break all regiments down to 375 or less men so they could spread out to cover the frontage they should. Allow very high stacking so if someone wants to pack them in they can but have melee limits for the number of men who can melee and target modifiers for overstacking. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.[:D]

BG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

I love everything Kennon had to say and would love to play a game involving 375 man regiments. We could actually cover ground AND have reserves! However, can you imagine how long it would take to play ONE TURN of say, Day 2 at Gettysburg if all of the regiments were broken down into 375 man groups? Dear Lord... a 68,000 man army would require 182 units if broken down evenly...

Regards,
Lt. Col. Alan Lynn
3rd Battery "Jacksonville Greys"
4th Div, II Corps, AoA
God bless <><


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:52 am 
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Actually, I'll bet 375 is close to the average size of the regiments at Gettysburg. Part of the problem with making 375 man units is that they don't stay at that level for long once you get into combat. The trick is to be able to fire 375 men out of a hex that might contain, say, two 250-man units.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 4:39 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Al Amos</i>
<br />Kennon,

With locked OOB's one can't modify units donw to sub groups of 375 men.[:(]

MajGen Al 'Ambushed' Amos
3rd "Amos' Ambushers" Bde, Cavalry Division, XX Corps, AoC
The Union Forever! Huzzah!

<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
You can with the Corinth engine, v101a, and I think it has been done to some extent on a few scenario variations. Robert Frost set up a Gettysburg scenario using 700 stacking and breaking all the large regiments into two demi-regiments. He was also using pdt fire table more like Battleground's so my Confederates made great piles of dead in front of his lines on Cemetery Hill.

It is one of the flip sides to trying to use stacking limits to put a cap on fire. Melee becomes very difficult because you can no longer mass sufficient troops to take a hex. As stacking limits go down the game shifts to more of a pushing match since neither side can bring sufficient fire or mass to move the other.

I personally like the Napy approach of using extended lines in order for these big regiments to deploy. A full strength regiment, 1000 men, covered a frontage of almost 1000 feet or almost three hexes and must have been very difficult formation to manage on a battlefield.

BG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 2:28 pm 
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Having worked with Jess for a number of years on modifications to both Battleground and up to Corinth 1.01 -- PDT files are my life -- I offer my opinion as to how to best make these games emulate the Civil War. <b>There is none</b>. Kennon Whitehead accurately describes the Gettysburg game which we played using 700-man stacking limits. Push-and-shove it was, but I still found it more realistic than the "1,000 man blitzkrieg" of which the system (BG or HPS) is so fond. Was it the "Civil War"? Well, no, because the system is built around Melee. General routing did not occur (Routing Limitation was OFF even) and the lines bended but did not crack.

Ken Miller makes the correct observation that stacking in a hex requires delineation from effective use of the units in said space. Firepower should be limited to 400 men per given the frontage. Movement, however, should allow for greater density. Will this ever happen? Don't know.

The greatest flaw in the whole system (BG and HPS) is ZOC. While this is totally applicable to modern warfare and the range of weaponry, it is inapplicable to Civil War and Napoleonic conflict. I don't play the Napoleonic system, so I can't address that directly.
The only hex which a Civil War unit really controlled was its direct frontal. Let's call this Hex 1. Hexes 2 and 3 (the others in its "ZOC") are in reality "weak" flank hexes, the vulnerability of which is determined if there are friendly units adjacent and pointing in that direction. Unsupported units took oblique fire and were subject to flanking movements which are not possible under the current game engine. Thus the necessity of "Melee" to move a line. I could spend 5 paragraphs discussing how I would program the game engine to reflect this, but there is little sense because the necessary rewrite of same will likely never occur.

So, Bill, to answer your question as to the best "Civil War Experience":

Game Engine: Corinth 1.01
Stacking: 800
Weapons Effectiveness: Use the PDT values as per HPS. Pretty accurate. Reduce their ranges as per the PDT which I did for Extended Battleground (rfrost.home.insightbb.com)

Other PDT modifications: Factor for firing at mounted cavalry (0) and Limber/Unlimber Artillery (3)

Is this Civil War Nirvana? Nope, but you can keep looking.



BG Robert Frost
Army of Cumberland


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:51 pm 
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If firepower should be restricted to 400 men, wouldn't it be better if max. stacking should be 400 (or at most 500, permitting firepower up to that level) rather than 800? Remember, multiple units will still be able to move <i>through</i> the same hex during the same turn, even if not simultaneously, so in a sense this would reflect greater density movement.

Perhaps with the standard 1,000 man HPS stacking limitations, hexes 2 & 3 might be perceived as effectively frontal hexes - so perhaps this 1,000 stacking limitation might be maintained <i><b>provided</b></i> players observed a houserule whereby a hex space had to be kept empty on either side of a unit, at least when in proximity to the enemy? This sounds rather abstract, but maybe this might be a viable solution? (Not exactly sure myself about this - just wondering)

Also, presumably you'd recommend multi rather than single phase play for the best "Civil War Experience"?


Col. Rich White
3 Brig. Phantom Cav Div
III Corps ANV


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:54 am 
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Zones of control are one of those game design widgets that allows a designer to simulate many factors that the game mechanics or scale don't allow to be directly implemented. All of which make it very difficult to elliminate. In modern combat it usually represents the range of the weapons as well as mobility of a unit to prevent an enemy from ignoring the unit and moving around it. In Civil War and Napoleonics it not only represents the ability to put fire into adjacent hexes preventing units from ignoring the unit but because of the time scale, 15-20 minutes, it represents the ability of the unit to counter such a move tactically (shifting position, facing, etc.).

If you take away ZOC then the problem they tried to address with opportunity fire in the Turn system becomes severe. Units are marching in front of, around, everywhere as if no enemy existed.

The problem with ZOC in these games is they don't distinquish between a 25 man unit that really can't control the hex its in and a 1000 man unit that should be overlaping into both adjacent hexes.

It's very difficult problem to fix because each fix breaks something else. Until the game engine is smart enough to add some flexibility into the system all you can do is trade off between problems.

My preferrence is not to use stacking limits to control the battlefield. Then you can't have formations like D'erlon's attack where a number of his divisions advanced in very compact formations with some brigades occupying less than one of our hexes. A game engine that was density aware would be better. Limiting firing out of the hex to 400 men, limiting meleeing out of the hex to say 800, giving significant fire penalities to targeting overstacked hexes, and basing ZOC on the number of troops in the hex (<100 no zoc, <600 soft zoc, >1000 hard zoc). Here I am thinking of a hard zoc as not preventing route movement but movement through. Maybe a graduation of affects for zoc where at low unit density it just adds movement cost not prevents.


BG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
III Corps, AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:19 am 
I'm very much a non-expert on this stuff and always marvel at how advanced these discussions can be. I have 2 questions:

1. On the subject of limited frontages, if the assumption is made that only a certain number of men could fire, due to some units simply not being able to access the firing line, should there be some correlation in terms of which units can experience casualties or to what extent... at least from small and long-arms fire? Solid shot would rip right through a group but if you're a rank or 2 back you should experience less damage as from muskets, rifles and pistols.

2. Seond question. In that the game turns represent 20 minute timeframes, is it the correct approach to assume that only the first rank or 2 would get off a volley or cumulative number of shots fired at will? Or is the volley in these games really an abstraction, i.e. does a single volley represent more than one round of fire and do the casualties which result really reflect those that would be incurred by more than just the single volley? If so then it seems to me that a 400 man unit, going toe to toe with an enemy at 125 yards or less, and firing at even a moderate rate for 20 minutes, would create more than the 14 or 19 casualties we might expect to see in the game engine.

I don't usually get into these discussions, so please be gentle. [8)] Oh, and speaking of "fire at will", my Grandfather's name was William (or Bill) Shepherd. He fought in the trenches of France during the First World War and apparently took great exception to the term's use, as I'm sure have all the other Will's and Bill's who've fought before and since. [:)]

Gen. Den McBride
ANV, C.S.A.
ACWGC Cabinet Member


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 4:09 am 
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Richard</i>
<br />If firepower should be restricted to 400 men, wouldn't it be better if max. stacking should be 400 (or at most 500, permitting firepower up to that level) rather than 800? Remember, multiple units will still be able to move <i>through</i> the same hex during the same turn, even if not simultaneously, so in a sense this would reflect greater density movement.

Perhaps with the standard 1,000 man HPS stacking limitations, hexes 2 & 3 might be perceived as effectively frontal hexes - so perhaps this 1,000 stacking limitation might be maintained <i><b>provided</b></i> players observed a houserule whereby a hex space had to be kept empty on either side of a unit, at least when in proximity to the enemy? This sounds rather abstract, but maybe this might be a viable solution? (Not exactly sure myself about this - just wondering)

Also, presumably you'd recommend multi rather than single phase play for the best "Civil War Experience"?


Col. Rich White
3 Brig. Phantom Cav Div
III Corps ANV
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

The problem I see here is that whereas a 1000 man unit in the war could split its fire between any of 3 or 4 enemy units in its "front" the game engine would only allow them to fire at one enemy unit while the enemy can gang up on them, especially if we had a rule that the hexes on either side of that 1000 man unit had to be empty to represent their actual space taken. Unless the system could allow them to fire at multiple units, then those large units could be held at a disadvantage in ranged fire.

Regards,
Lt. Col. Alan Lynn
3rd Battery "Jacksonville Greys"
4th Div, II Corps, AoA
God bless <><


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