Napoleonic Wargame Club

"Army" morale
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Author:  Ralf Serena [ Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:07 am ]
Post subject:  "Army" morale

When I was a young drummer boy I played a Civil War title called "Robert E. Lee - Civil War General" which had (I thought at the time) a good engine for determining a unit's fighting ability (based on Strength x Order level x Morale - much in the way that indirectly the BG/HPS games do.

    Strength was "Number of men" and only ever decreased :nappy:
    Order was a sliding scale (could increase or decrease) - more similar to "Fatigue" rather than a simple Ordered/Disordered on/off switch
    Motivation (i.e. Morale) was a sliding scale (could increases or decrease)


Every time something happened to the unit, some or all of these parameters would be affected;

    It moves over obstacles - Order decreases
    Wins/Loses a fight - Morale increases/decreases
    Takes casualties - All three decrease
    Rests in a clearing somewhere - Order and Morale recover

At a particular time, any unit could become so worn down that following a morale-check it would tip into Routed... but one thing that would be different vs BG is that a fatigued/disordered unit could hang on non-routing if it had reasonable strength and high morale (i.e. if the unit is constantly "winning" its fights). Conversely a highly Motivated and well Ordered unit could still rout if it was just too low on strength... and so on.

Anyway.. that's just of interest maybe. :frenchwink:

The main feature was that each army had an "Army Morale" which was built up from a combination of these factors from every unit.

This "Army morale" would fluctuate up and down depending on progress. The more victories in melee, the more morale... the more defeats or everytime you took casualties, the lower the morale... If Reinforcements arrived (Strength increases) the more morale.. and so on).

Army Morale was used to determine if/when a unit would rout .. (it set the "bar" against which modifiers were checked, so was a variable/unpredictable figure...) The more beaten up the army was, the more easily a unit would rout, even if it was 1500 men strong, well ordered and highly motivated.

Could a similar system be introduced into BG/HPS games as an Option.. with a bit of coding?

I'm thinking about something simple like a "level" at which the troops just decide it's all over, rather than changing the whole way the game calculates fatigue and morale-checks etc.

Our General (if he is perverse) with no historical consideration that he needs to remain in command of the army, not be dismissed.. and ignoring that maybe he will have to fight again with the same troops in a few weeks' time.. may just elect to fight on until every single unit is wiped out. In reality there was a tipping point when the army (not the General) decided that the battle was over.

An "Army Morale" (optional setting?) would be a handy "barometer"... If the General can see he's getting close to it, he might want to wait for reinforcements (+ Strength) or let his troops recover (+Order and +Motivation) before continuing the offense ... or he may need to break off a defence rather than fight to the last man at a particular strongpoint, since doing so would rout his army..

I think it would be an interesting extra dimension and easy to implement (add up some values, apply a formula.. then check the Army Morale at the beginning of every turn. If it drops below "minimum"... the army units essentially rout to the nearest board edge and the game is over. Victory conditions would have to have a "Rout Points" (e.g. -1000pts, working as Objectives) so that the "winner" might rout your army but only still record a minor victory...


Lt Serena

Author:  Christian Hecht [ Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Army" morale

First, Bill Peters had an "Army Moral" rule in his Optional Command System, check out here:

Now, if we every see something new is doubtful, we didn't see anything added to the Napi series for a long time.
I have higher hopes for a new company/programmer team taking the series over like WDS did for Panzer Battles and for some/all Panzer Campaign titles.

Anyhow, we have a strength report in game, there you get a percentage shown behind the name and that is afaik the percentage of men still in fighting condition(that means not routed or disrupted) from the original strength.
If this percentage could be used for a check vs maybe the Army leader values, the result could indicate the stance of the army.
Or maybe it could be a modifier for the command test.

Author:  Bill Peters [ Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Army" morale

In a new series I have been working on over the last 3 years we use Army Morale as well as organization morale too. Thus if an org suffers too much cohesion loss it no longer is offensive capable (meaning you cant issue it an Attack order). The units could still melee to get out of a bad situation (escape) but you could not order them to take a position.

Really - we could do the same kind of thing with this series .. just would take a lot of checking.

Thus if a formation loses 33% for instance you could say that it not longer would initiate an offensive. It would have to hold its ground, retreat or escape. Advancing would only be possible as "maneuver movement" as the rest of the army goes forward.

Formations that lose 66% are hors de combat and must just stay in place as much as possible even if the army advances. They basically have lost any initiative to advance for a day.

Author:  Andy Moss [ Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "Army" morale

Isn't there a sort of army morale with the leadership rating at the start of each turn. When the Command rating goes yellow and the rating may change?

Author:  Ralf Serena [ Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "Army" morale

The BG/HPS games at least (I don't have any others) already know each individual unit's "Fatigue" and "Strength"... so assuming you started the day with 20,000 men with 0 fatigue... your army morale would be 20000/0.. or "infinity" (I guess anything is possible at the beginning of the day).

Then half way through the battle you might be left with 15,000 men and an average fatigue of 5.. so your army morale is now 15000/5 or 3000.

The "morale check" (if we applied something like the R.E Lee process) would now have to be below 3000 to pass, rather than infinity... so units are more likely to rout.

I don't know the full R.E Lee algorithm or logic.. as I described, each unit had a sliding scale for Disorder as well as Fatigue and they both contributed (I guess equally). but you can see how it worked.

Even if you only suffered 5000 casualties, if the fatigue/disorder level changed from 1 to 5, the army morale in this example would change from 20,000 to 3000. If the "fatal" army moral level was set at 2000 say .. our commander with "just" 5000 casualties and fatigue 5... (which let's face it, hardly concerns anyone playing BG/HPS.. ) would now just start to get a little worried.

One other aspect R.E Lee had (Bill reminded me) was that a unit in a particularly bad way would refuse to advance into melee... You would get a surly "No suh!" :displeased: from the game audio and they just wouldn't shift..

You could still move the unit normally :frenchcharge: and use ranged offensive fire.. just the cold steel was out of the question... although if you were wise, you'd realize that this unit needed time to recover. They were otherwise a ready rout-candidate.


Lt Serena

Author:  Bill Peters [ Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "Army" morale

Andy - no, there is no army morale in the JTS Nap series. There is a command check which is to determine if leaders are in command and if their subordinate units can recover from Disorder. That is about as close to "army morale" as it gets.

The JTS Nap series rewards the player that can keep his troops in command control. Andy and I have been gobbling up each other's leaders in our playtest game of the Battle of Messkirch, 5 May 1800. A truly great scenario to play but Andy and I got into a big fight in the center and it cost me quite a few senior leaders, guns and cavalry. Andy will attest that when the new game does come out this scenario will be hugely popular to play. Lots of options for both sides and a map extension gave the French more operational options which led to a more satisfying experience really for both sides.

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