ACWGC
* ACWGC     * Dpt. of Records       * CSA HQ    * VMI    * Join CSA    
   * Union HQ    * UMA    * Join Union     ACWGC Memorial
CSA Armies:    ANV    AotW
Union Armies:    AotT     AotC      AotP      AotS     Union Army Forums
     Link Express
American Civil War Books, Magazines and Games for sale (See other items)
Club Forums:     NWC    CCC     Home Pages:     NWC    CCC    ACWGC
It is currently Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:00 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: HPS/JTS Civil War series Optional Rules Guide 1.02
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:24 pm
Posts: 630
Location: Terra
Welcome gentlemen,
this "Guide" aims to achieve an environment that shifts the gameplay into realistic and historical correct lanes. The designers & programmers aimed for the most realistic and historical correct environment with the way the game works, its maps, OOBs, scenarios, leaders, etc. and so the player himself should not stop but continue on that road.

I also hope that a generally agreed set of optional rules, under the premise that you aim for what fits best to history, will help to find opponents faster as one can resort to these instead of trying to chose rules that are beneficial just for one side without taking a look at how it worked in real life.

While some rules sure lead to arguing because they themselves don't sound very realistic the overall effect & purpose still is realistic & historical correct and that is what's important.

***
Manual Defensive Fire - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. It makes a PBEM much longer by adding several phases within each turn that need mail exchanges but this is necessary because phase gameplay handles defensive fire at 100% and not at 50% like in turn gameplay. In turn gameplay the defender is simply too weak to stop assaults but phase gameplay makes the defender much more likely to hold his position like it often happened in the Civil War. So the benefit it that the phases force a much more historical gameplay and with that historical results while some gamey tactics possible in turn gameplay are banned.


Optional Fire Results - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. The long turns(20 minutes) would make the results of a firefight more predictable because even if some greater variations occur in some volleys they even out in the overall course of the firefight. Besides that unlike the Napoleonic times the muskets had evolved from a smoothbore flintlock muskets to a percussion lock rifled musket that fired a Minié ball, overall these modern muskets raised the precision but also the reliability and so that would make extreme high or low fire results less common.


Optional Melee Results - OFF
I currently recommend to turn it OFF. The melee in the “Civil War” series can be, unlike the Napoleon series, seen has the pure hand to hand combat or the attempt to conduct hand to hand combat, this comes from the fact that a unit that's disrupted can't do it and holding back fire will only result in a 10% bonus in the melee. Now the hand to hand combat could produce a variety of outcomes because either it was conducted as the defender stayed to fight or it was not conducted because the defender retreated before actual hand to hand combat happened.
This demands a broader range of results what is achieved by turning this rule OFF. Also from a historical perspective the less predictable results would fit better because it can on one hand turn the player away from conducting melee in fear of a bad result but on the other hand also turn him towards melee in the hope of a good result.


Quality Fire Modifiers - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. Quote from the user manual:
"The rule is meant to reflect the more efficient and higher rate of fire that higher quality units were capable of, and the corresponding lower rate of fire that lower quality units generally had. Units with experience were able to keep their guns unjammed during a hot battle, even to the point of having slightly smaller caliber bullets on hand to use after their guns had become clogged from burnt gunpowder. Lower quality units could not sustain high rates of fire due to their inexperience and poor training. They also had poor habits such as sometimes inadvertently firing their ramrods at the enemy and thus reducing their ability to fire. For the same reason, higher quality units were more proficient with the use of the bayonet and thus the justification for the Quality Melee Modifiers Optional Rule."
This justification sounds logic, although it does not count for artillery units.


Higher Fatigue Recovery Rates - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. Quote from the user manual:
"In the game, Fatigue is used to represent combat fatigue, not the physical state of being winded. As such, the physical effects of combat fatigue are felt long term and do not wear off through simple rest. In many Civil War battles, the end of the battle was determined by fatigue and not by losses. In larger battles, commanders had to be careful to rotate their fighting units and not commit any one force too long to battle. Having higher Fatigue recovery rates would permit the unrealistic ability for commanders to rest units for short periods of time and then recommit them to battle, something that was not common historically."
While this is true the manual points out that the long term battle fatigue effects should also be simulated with fatigue and not only physical fatigue. The higher fatigue recovery depicted in the game can be seen as the recovery of physical & combat fatigue. This is because in the low range recovery is 5 times the normal, in the medium range 3 times normal and in the high range recovery is not affected at all by this rule. Here you can see that low intensity combat(short firefights or artillery fire) that leads to low or just medium fatigue(that can be seen as rather physical fatigue) can be recovered quick if the unit is moved out of the combat, if the unit is "overused"(what can happen quickly in assaults that suffer from infantry & artillery fire before engaging the defender in a melee) it will suffer from it in the way that the high fatigue recovery is conducted just with normal speed(simulating rather combat fatigue).
The higher fatigue recovery leads to several things, the player thinks twice before engaging a well set defensive line as the fatigue gained by such an assault is hard to recover is it likely reached the high fatigue terrain, so no more "Oh lets see if I get away with my assault." because such an assaulter would be vulnerable to counter attacks that can lead to the assaulter being driven past his own starting position. If players now consider it a good idea to attack they will also consider to disengage sooner as not to drive their units into the high fatigue range unless the victory is within reach. Lastly players will rest their forces after such an disengagement as to regain combat power for either new assaults or to stabilize a defensive line.
The point about the higher fatigue recovery is that the current usual level of 5% day recovery is so low that is just doesn't matter and is not in any way considered by the players, so it's no factor at all. But with the higher fatigue recovery it becomes a factor and as a positive effect on the way combat is conducted.


Victory Points for Leader Casualties - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. Quote from the user manual:
"Every rule must be evaluated for what it motivates players to do. In this case, awarding points for leader casualties motivates the player to hide his leaders away from the battle to avoid losing Victory Points. For example, the player would never risk a good leader like Lee in the front line for fear of losing Victory Points and would keep him carefully hidden away in some safe place. Conversely, players would be motivated to focus their fire primarily on hexes containing leaders in hopes of picking up Victory Points. Having this rule as a default rule would skew the battles away from the historical outcomes in a way that would detract from the games as learning tools. Given the tactical nature of the battles, losing Lee for example is felt even in the absence of this rule since his replacement, and all replacements in the line of command, will generally be of lesser quality than the original leader and thus this will have a detrimental effect on the Confederate Army."
Besides this justification one must also consider that the endless throwing of replacement leaders(especially those of brigades) into the battle to achieve combat bonus is also punished by this rule. Every leader that is lost is replaced by a replacement leader even a replacement leader himself, this goes on endless but with this rule their loss will now cost VP. Besides this no VP for leader losses would ignore the long term effects of losing precious leaders in a campaign, what goes much beyond a single battle.


Rout Limiting - OFF
I currently recommend to turn it OFF. Quote from the user manual:
"The routing logic causes the rout of a single unit to sometimes spread to adjacent units and so forth in a way that can have a major effect on a force. Establishing the correct balance in this logic is a matter of interpretation. If you have a large rout occur, check the following factors that affect morale. Did your units have High Fatigue? Were they Low or Out of Ammo? Were they of mediocre quality? Was it a Night turn? Experience has shown that game players conduct their attacks with far greater aggressiveness than was ever shown on the actual battlefield. Historically, leaders were very cautious in the commitment of their troops and were careful not to keep units in battle for too long for fear they would not hold. If you have just had D quality units, low on ammo, with Fatigue level 900, rout during a Night turn, don't think that this was an unrealistic event."
So this forces the player to use his forces in a "cautious" way like leaders did back in these times and not to throw the troops careless at the enemy like it's World War 1. It also leads to the use of historical battle formations by leaving room between attack columns to have them not interfere each other. It may look a bit harsh at times but besides the mentioned things the player can take precautions to not let routing spread to other units by placing leaders as "speedbumps".
Overall the player should not be reassured of his line but rather insecure by this rule to make him behave historical.


Density Fire Modifier - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. Seems likely that the more the hex is stacked the less chance exists to miss the enemy, his ranks are too closed and hits may even cause multiple casualties.
One can argue that with the stacking limit in the Civil War series at 1000 this rule already comes into play from 666 men and beyond. This means that already a "full" regiment of about 1000 suffers under this rule especially with the more effective weapons of this time.
But there is no pass through effect(like in the Napoleonic series) where firing on one unit would also lead to casualties in other units in that hex. And one must consider that the average size of a regiment in different battles throughout the Civil War was almost always far blow 1000, an example is "Numbers and Losses in the Civil War in America" by Thomas Livermore concludes that federal regiments averaged 560 at Shiloh; 650 at Fair Oaks; 530 at Chancellorsville; and only 375 at Gettysburg. None of them would have been affected by this rule.
Overall the stacking should be punished, also from a game perspective as these monster stacks must come at a price or else the use of them would be the rule and not the exception.


Night Movement Fatigue - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. It sounds logic and is based on the PDT data entry and so may or may not be generally used just like the scenario designer intended it.


Mounted Cavalry Skirmishers - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. I can imagine that cavalry would/could send some scouts and so scout ahead even when mounted. Also it plays out the role of cavalry as reconnaissance unit better. One must consider that the engine shows enemy’s only up to 2 hexes while on the move, this could lead to bumping into enemy units what would be unrealistic in case of cavalry.


Higher Disrupted Movement - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. The higher flexibility of Civil War formations compared to the Napoleonic time and their so called "skedaddle"(run away hurriedly) would likely allow a higher rate of movement even when disrupted. Besides that some Napoleonic games/scenario already use 2/3 disrupted movement and I don't see why it should be slower in the CW series.


Optional Melee Resolution - OFF(For Phase gameplay, works only in Turn gameplay)
I currently recommend to turn it OFF. First it works only in turn gameplay, but phased gameplay should be preferred. Besides this it also seems bugged as this additional phase can lead to fatigue recovery if nothing is done by a unit or nothing done to that unit, according to the manual this should not be possible. Even if it does not work in phased gameplay it should be turned off to prohibit any interference.


Alternate Fixed Unit Release - OFF
I currently recommend to turn it OFF. The standard line-of-sight release function seems enough and the possibility of surprises is kept. Players might actively seek to open lanes of advance to trigger the release of fixed units premature and without taking a risk of them being surprised, also because fixed units would work as some form of early warning radar as a release means that the enemy is within 5 hexes, all this is prohibited by turning this rule off.
Also a fixed unit will likely simulate a unit that is not ready for combat for various reasons or that doesn't even guard its perimeter and so it deserves the risk of being surprised and the need for it to be guarded by other units.


Quality Melee Modifiers - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. Quote from the user manual:
"The rule is meant to reflect the more efficient and higher rate of fire that higher quality units were capable of, and the corresponding lower rate of fire that lower quality units generally had. Units with experience were able to keep their guns unjammed during a hot battle, even to the point of having slightly smaller caliber bullets on hand to use after their guns had become clogged from burnt gunpowder. Lower quality units could not sustain high rates of fire due to their inexperience and poor training. They also had poor habits such as sometimes inadvertently firing their ramrods at the enemy and thus reducing their ability to fire. For the same reason, higher quality units were more proficient with the use of the bayonet and thus the justification for the Quality Melee Modifiers Optional Rule."
Just like with the “Quality Fire Modifiers” this justification sounds logic.


Isolation Rules - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. Quote from the user manual:
"This rule is intended to have two effects.
Commanders were always very cautious of their flanks. They often withdrew from a position before they had been overwhelmed simply because their flanks were threatened. This rule is intended to motivate the player to think in these terms. Secondly, units that had been surrounded would often surrender and not fight to the death. The 1/4 modifier to defending strength is intended to reflect the tendency of the Isolated units to surrender when pressed."

Here again the player is forced to care about his flank and his line of communication. On a grand scale no WW2 encirclement's happened in the usual open field battles, if such is wanted the scenario designer usually takes care of it with a supply source to allow holding out even when encircled. Historical considerable measures were done to extend the own line and keep the line of communication open. It also reflects the officers tendency to see doom with an enemy in their flank or back, this simply doesn't raise the fighting spirit but achieves the opposite and makes the officers act to prevent such situation at any cost.
Same counts for the soldier on a smaller scale, a unit would try to deny the enemy their open flank or even back, if the unit was cut off and encircled it did not raise the fighting spirit but but achieved the opposite.


Weak Zone-Of-Control - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. It seems likely that moving into the firing arc of a unit would cause some effect but with this rule active still only one hex movement inside the enemies zone of control is allowed, that seems enough impact on the movement. Besides this the defender will surely fire a volley of defensive fire and can spoil the flanking move of that unit by this. It also counters the isolation rule a bit as it leaves room for small maneuvers.


Partial Retreats - OFF
I currently recommend to turn it OFF. Quote from the user manual:
"Retreats from a hex by units that have just lost a melee are necessarily very chaotic events.
Certainly with a breakdown in command and morale, it would not be possible to find some optimal displacement of units that would just fit in the retreating hex. A good analogy would be a burning building where quite often a large number of people perish even though there are exits readily available. The dynamics of this situation is known as "choking" and results in greatly reduced flow through openings. Based on this, there is justification for concluding that obstructions to their retreat would often result in the surrender of the defeated troops rather than some optimal reduction."

At first it seems that two points points speak for turning it on.
1. The optional rule "No Melee Eliminations" from the Napoleonic series is missing in the CW series, that opens the way for wiping out whole stacks.
But this is only a problem if the retreating units have no empty enough hex to retreat to, what can only happen if the defender formed an initial defensive line without providing the proper space to retreat. This seems more like WW1 trench warfare(I admit that this has to be reconsidered for late war titles like Overland where there is trench warfare).
2. The optional rule "Multiple Infantry Melees" from the Napoleonic series is missing in the CW series, that opens the way to attack infantry multiple times.
But this is only a problem if there is at least one unit in a target hex that did not melee in that melee phase, what only happens if the defender did not provided proper space for a retreat, still there is the need that another attacker is in contact with the hex that the unit retreated to and that he is bale to conduct melee.

Both points seem to count only seldom and only if the defender uses a rather unhistorical tactic of constantly max stacking his line, this should be punished by turning this rule off.
It should also not be forgotten that the overall advantage is with the defender and that melee can only happen if the attacker comes in contact with the defense line without behind disrupted. Also the stacking limit is usually at 1000 men what is far above the unit sizes of many units especially later in the war.


Automated Defensive Fire - OFF(For Phase gameplay, works only there)
I currently recommend to turn it OFF. There are some problems with this rule.
1. Despite the fact that the fire done by ADF can be roughly adjusted using the Auto DF Dialog, there is neither a chance to exactly set the range nor to turn firing off. This can lead to wasting ammo what hampers the Confederates more as they are usually shorter on ammo and most of the time are the defender in a scenario.
2. The AI does no optimal job in choosing the targets for the defensive fire, by this the defensive fire is less effective, again it's often important to bring the fire onto the most dangerous unit of the attacker.
Overall the waste of ammo and the less effective defensive fire leads to the conclusion to do the defensive fire manually.


Flank Morale Modifier - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. It seems likely that a unit with support on the right and left side is more sturdy and assured in its position compared to a unit that stand alone or is at the end of the line.


Full Melee Defensive Fire - OFF(For Phase gameplay, works only in Turn gameplay)
I currently recommend to turn it OFF. It works only in turn gameplay, but phased gameplay should be preferred. Even if it does not work in phased gameplay it should be turned off to prohibit any interference.


Bridge Limit and Repair - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. Limiting the capacity of damaged bridges is simply logical, just as it's logical to be able to repair them.


Artillery Capture - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. Capturing artillery was a common thing in the Civil War, and especially the Confederates raised their number of artillery pieces by capture.
If the players worry about being forced to “occupy” the enemy artillery unit the whole time to achieve the full victory points both players should agree on a simply giving full points for each to that player who either possesses the battlefield after the battle or simply based on the current “frontline”.


Artillery Retire By Prolonge - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. As artillery was already able to move prolonged at the time of Napoleon it only seems logical to allow this in the Civil War.


Artillery Ammo by Cannon - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. It seem this higher detail in depicting ammo would raise the realism so it should be used.


Proportional Opportunity Fire - OFF(For Phase gameplay, works only in Turn gameplay)
I currently recommend to turn it OFF. It works only in turn gameplay, but phased gameplay should be preferred. Even if it does not work in phased gameplay it should be turned off to prohibit any interference.


Mixed Organization Penalty - ON
I currently recommend to turn it ON. It seems not unlikely that units from different brigades could hamper each other when being to close together(in the same hex).

Image

***

So this is it, hopefully it will help players to chose the best optional rules for games closest to history because that can very well be a problem without extensively examining the rules and wrongly chosen rules may very well ruin any fun in the game not to speak of the silly unhistorical outcomes that can happen.

This is Version 1.02, from 9th November 2018.

CAUTION
Be aware that while this set of OR in my guide was tested with several scenarios they were rather small. A test on a grand scale battle is still needed to solidify this guide. So feedback, especially for such battles, is very welcome.

_________________
Brigadier General Christian Hecht
Commander I Corps, Army of the Potomac
Image
Union Cabinet Secretary
Support adding a AAR SUB-FORUM


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: