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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:26 am 
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@Jim Pfleck
My research so far has only reinforced my initial considerations. Not only from a historical perspective but also from a simple game perspective.

In the 1809 games the quality difference is basically the same as in the Austerlitz game but after 1805 the French quality decreased because of the continuing campaigns and the restructuring of 1808, while the Austrian quality increased, so if the 1809 quality values are correct the 1805 values must differ.
1805 showed the best French forces against the worst Austrian forces, and I mean that for a period from the start of the Revolutionary Wars to Waterloo. Every aspect one can check when comparing Austria & France in 1805 will show that the Austrians are in a worse and some times terrible state. The only thing better with the Austrians is the infantry ammo, the Austrians had 60 while the French had 50 shots with each infantry men.

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:41 pm 
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Perhaps, some of the Austrian army should be demoralised by this point in the campaign and have D quality. The Russians certainly presented themselves well. Fragmented allied command was the real failure. By this time the Austrian field commands should have recovered from Mack's pre-campaign re(dis)organization.
What all optional rules are you playing with? Hate how Austerlitz never received a top down zoom in.


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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:30 pm 
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We haven't reached the Austerlitz battle yet, currently at the Battle of Caldiero we play with this.
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In phased gameplay the bogie of no melee eliminations turned off is not nearly as troublesome as in turn gameplay. Such rule change seems to have more impact on the players behavior than on the battle itself, because I think there were only 2 situations when a unit was eliminated and this in a battle with I think about 40-50k men. So far I'm happy with it, not perfect as some rules that were turned of because of the NME rule might be activated again, but closer to a final set of rules.

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:58 am 
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Melee Issue List

The density multiplier should affect melee resolution.
There should be a frontage density for musket fire and a total density for melee and artillery fire.
There should be a density movement multiplier.
Hexside modifiers should affect melee resolution.
Hexsides and terrain should not cause disorder.
Charging cavalry should be denied movement into obstructed terrain.
There should not be any ZOC blocking (reduction to 0 when adjacent to enemy facing).
ZOC hexes should require additional MPs.
Melee and firing should require MPs.
All units within a hex should be automatically faced in a single direction.
Units should be moved one by one instead of in groups. Group movement automated 1 by 1 in program.


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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:35 pm 
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Geoff McCarty wrote:
The density multiplier should affect melee resolution.

With the 1:1,66 in place and defender fire already more effective with the proper OR, there is no need for it unless the melee calculation is set down to a 1:1 modified by each sides formations, quality, etc.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
There should be a frontage density for musket fire and a total density for melee and artillery fire.

There is somehow because fire value from shortened line is reduced compared to normal or extended line. For melee see above, and for artillery... why hampering grand batteries even more with the already too low fire values on distance?

Geoff McCarty wrote:
There should be a density movement multiplier.

There is, if you move stacks of any size along road for example, seems unnecessary in open terrain as even the 1800 stacking limit isn't enough to fill a 100x100 meter hex, and that 2 battalions trail behind or side by side doesn't seems to make it necessary. ALl I could think of is the CW or "Mixed Organization Penalty" as battalions from different brigades might run into each other.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
Hexside modifiers should affect melee resolution.

They do, either by disordering the attacker or by taking the highest hexside modifier if attack is conducted from multiple sides.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
Hexsides and terrain should not cause disorder.

What??? For melee disorder is automatic I think so it doesn't matter, and hex sides and hex terrain should definitely cause disorder.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
Charging cavalry should be denied movement into obstructed terrain.

Charge multiplier doesn't work on obstructed terrain, that makes any charge by cav into such terrain futile.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
There should not be any ZOC blocking (reduction to 0 when adjacent to enemy facing).

Well if this is not so what are ZOCs there for anymore? If the one who ZOC it is doesn't get a chance to react the whole point about ZOCs is gone. Unless we get somekind of auto reaction system into the game this can't be changed

Geoff McCarty wrote:
ZOC hexes should require additional MPs.

See above.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
Melee and firing should require MPs.

Would be nice but that is a simple conversion of the whole engine to an action point driven system. I doubt that this could even happen if WDS takes the series over.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
All units within a hex should be automatically faced in a single direction.

Why should a battalion passing behind another battalion face in the same direction? And what about skirmishers, the joke about the is that these companies can be used for flank cover so can't face in the same direction.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
Units should be moved one by one instead of in groups. Group movement automated 1 by 1 in program.

Well stacks will face drawbacks like loosing road movement, and this 1 by 1 already happens with using the alt key and ordering movement.

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:13 pm 
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Personally instead of getting lost in details I see more sense in finally bringing the psychological aspect stronger into the game.
If fire combat and melee can be clearly separated, what is not he case currently as often enough it's stated that melee includes short range fire what explain the 1:1,66 ratio, then we could adjust each type of combat in the necessary way.
Melee for example was always a test of will(or balls if you want to say it that way), so why not do a moral check before combat to actually see if hand to hand combat takes place at all, the outcome will then result either in a bloody(high casualty) melee or one side withdrawing respectively holding its attack what comes with much less if any casualties but high fatigue gain as they failed to show their will to fight(or their balls).

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:58 pm 
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Christian Hecht wrote:
Personally instead of getting lost in details I see more sense in finally bringing the psychological aspect stronger into the game.
If fire combat and melee can be clearly separated, what is not he case currently as often enough it's stated that melee includes short range fire what explain the 1:1,66 ratio, then we could adjust each type of combat in the necessary way.
Melee for example was always a test of will(or balls if you want to say it that way), so why not do a moral check before combat to actually see if hand to hand combat takes place at all, the outcome will then result either in a bloody(high casualty) melee or one side withdrawing respectively holding its attack what comes with much less if any casualties but high fatigue gain as they failed to show their will to fight(or their balls).


I thought a morale check just prior to initiating a melee?

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:12 pm 
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I find it annoying to be replied to in this fashion (since the days of usenet) but, I'll give it a go.

Christian Hecht wrote:
With the 1:1,66 in place and defender fire already more effective with the proper OR, there is no need for it unless the melee calculation is set down to a 1:1 modified by each sides formations, quality, etc.

A density multiplier has nothing to do with the base combat results. The density multiplier should affect both sides in a melee depending on their state of being overstacked.
Christian Hecht wrote:
There is somehow because fire value from shortened line is reduced compared to normal or extended line. For melee see above, and for artillery... why hampering grand batteries even more with the already too low fire values on distance?

Frontage density means firing into either a packed line of infantry in 3 ranks or a single line of skirmishers and that firepower being divided by the possible men struck. Melee and artillery would affect the entire target hex and not just the unit up front like musket fire (although some balls would beat around and behind the front unit).
Christian Hecht wrote:
There is, if you move stacks of any size along road for example, seems unnecessary in open terrain as even the 1800 stacking limit isn't enough to fill a 100x100 meter hex, and that 2 battalions trail behind or side by side doesn't seems to make it necessary. ALl I could think of is the CW or "Mixed Organization Penalty" as battalions from different brigades might run into each other.

One way I could correct my statement is to say terrain should have a density value and that would be the primary obstruction. Easier still is to just use the PzC road transport function which is what I really meant. You should be able to march 500 man sized units down a road no matter if they're in different units.
Christian Hecht wrote:
They do, either by disordering the attacker or by taking the highest hexside modifier if attack is conducted from multiple sides.

Ahh, I another thing I've forgotten. Thought I made an attack across a fort recently and the defenders didn't benefit.. maybe because he had just moved there.
Christian Hecht wrote:
What??? For melee disorder is automatic I think so it doesn't matter, and hex sides and hex terrain should definitely cause disorder.

Disorder should represent the unit being out of order not slowed by moving through woods or crossing a stream.
Christian Hecht wrote:
Charge multiplier doesn't work on obstructed terrain, that makes any charge by cav into such terrain futile.

Cavalry cannot turn while charging naturally the easiest means of having them cross streams during a charge would be to deny them the ability.
Christian Hecht wrote:
Well if this is not so what are ZOCs there for anymore? If the one who ZOC it is doesn't get a chance to react the whole point about ZOCs is gone. Unless we get somekind of auto reaction system into the game this can't be changed

ZOC should not halt the progress of the enemy immediately because he has marched too close. It should slow them before they enter the hex due to the care needed not being shot at or suddenly charged.
Christian Hecht wrote:
Would be nice but that is a simple conversion of the whole engine to an action point driven system. I doubt that this could even happen if WDS takes the series over.

That is the current format in Panzer Campaigns the father of this engine. Although, in PzC fire requires 1/3 movement and melee requires enough MPs to move into the hex.
Christian Hecht wrote:
Why should a battalion passing behind another battalion face in the same direction? And what about skirmishers, the joke about the is that these companies can be used for flank cover so can't face in the same direction.

Of course skirmishers shouldn't be used to 'protect flanks' from assault columns. Breaking troops and shiltroming columns is retarded and gamey. All hexes without actual flank protection should be vulnerable to flanking. Units should be spread out to disallow flanking not bottled up and turned thats the opposite of right.
Christian Hecht wrote:
Well stacks will face drawbacks like loosing road movement, and this 1 by 1 already happens with using the alt key and ordering movement.

Well stacks should face drawbacks than if they're moved in such a way. Group movement disallows defensive fire and is used to suddenly order several units to do something without automated response. It is a simple technique Kroger developed to allow per-move responses by the tactical AI.
Christian Hecht wrote:
Melee for example was always a test of will(or balls if you want to say it that way), so why not do a moral check before combat to actually see if hand to hand combat takes place at all, the outcome will then result either in a bloody(high casualty) melee or one side withdrawing respectively holding its attack what comes with much less if any casualties but high fatigue gain as they failed to show their will to fight(or their balls).

A unit under command should attempt melee. Units should follow all orders while in command I think. Disordering due to formation change while the enemy is closer is pretty silly. The threat level should be used to influence morale checks not movement orders.

This looks awful and I will never do it again.


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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:41 am 
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A lot of what you ask for is in some way in the game already, likely not in that detail but as the whole game is an abstraction the basic are there.

Density multiplier
In what should overstacking result here? more or less casualties?

Frontage density
There are some modifiers, skirmishers will take much less casualties compared to a line who itself will take less casualties compared to a column, cavalry will get higher casualties if closing in on artillery. Besides this there are ORs that help here too like "Column Pass Through Fire" & Target Density Modifier.

PzC road transport function
Is surely good for that operational level, not for our tactical level, columns on road would be so much longer if all the train would be depicted properly. Just think of the Prussians in 1806 with the battalion guns that were always at the head of each battalion. It's again an abstraction as you can say that a large battalion is too large to be on the road in our 100 meter hexes, then again smaller units are too small to cover the road properly and waste the road, at the end it comes down to the average what seems OK.

Disorder
Comes as a natural slower to any movement as any unit that is out of order will not only move less effective but officers mighty lowering if not stop it to get it back into order. AFAIK this is usually not don on-the-fly.

Cavalry
Not sure why you want to deny them their movement, if they disorder by it's their fault.

ZOC
Just have to be that way or it doesn't make any sense in the turn/phase environment we are in as units can just bypass defender with them doing anything because they don't get a chance to do anything, a slow down doesn't work here unless we get some automatic reaction that the defender can properly define.

Panzer Campaign
Might be the father here, but things there are different because it depict an operational level, detailed but still operational. 1km hexes and 2 hour turns are hard to compare with 100 meter hexes and 10 minutes turns. That is why some things can be easily applied even if it looks easy as cake.

Flank protection.
The Prussians I think showed it already in 1806 with their Crescent formation, that means the end of a line a division(half company) bends backwards, if stationary 45 degrees and if withdrawing 90 degrees do discourage any attempts to flank. That is what you should think about if skirmishers are used in the same hex as a line and turned so that flank attacks are futile. Multiple units in line afaik disorder with they don't match facing, and columns won't as I get various variants of a column formation in a hex and they surely can have different facings without stepping on each others foot.

Group movement
Only a trouble in turn gameplay, what should not be done. The predecessor of this game engine had afaik no turns and all was done in phases, and all the additional optional rules won't help here as the really necessary things are missing to equal turn & phased gameplay. There are much more gamey ways to trigger defensive fire or protect own units from it in turn gameplay. Unless we get a system of defined reaction settings, maybe similar to what Steel Panthers allows, we don't get anywhere here as group movement is the minor problem with the whole concept of turn gameplay doesn't work.

Geoff McCarty wrote:
A unit under command should attempt melee. Units should follow all orders while in command I think. Disordering due to formation change while the enemy is closer is pretty silly. The threat level should be used to influence morale checks not movement orders.

Here I have to get into detail. A unit under command and ordered to charge might ATTEMPT it, but that doesn't mean they pull the attempt through. Disordering in the face of the enemy is pretty normal, be it column goes into line or line goes into column as the situation usually dictates the outcome and not what is ordered.
1. A unit being order to deploy in line close to the enemy is not like opening a beer, who of the guys in the back wants to form a line where he can be hit better?
2. And a line standing close to the enemy and exchanging fire with him is unlikely to stop that when order to form a column, what officer can bring his men to stop firing and form a column while the enemy is still shooting at him?
All the above counts twice for maneuvers in the face of enemy cavalry or artillery.
But yes, it would be nice if threat levels could be applied as a modifier for moral checks.

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:45 am 
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I'll just try to pin down one item at a time. My density multiplier does deserve to be clarified.

Density multiplier would probably best be used to replace the combat value generator. The baseline value 1000, should be replaced by the nominal stacking value 1200. LCV would be the current target force density *0,01 and HCV *0,1. That way combat results would be directly calculated upon target mass / unhindered stacking. All the integers I've chosen for these examples are arbitrarily based on current parameters to be representative of my calculation changes alone:
Example 1: 300 man platoon fires muskets (FE 5 range 1) at 540 man battalion. 300 * 5 * [540 * 0,01; 540 * 0,1] / 1200. A casualty result range of [6,75; 67,5]
Example 2: 540 man battalion fires muskets (FE 5 range 1) at 300 man platoon. 540 * 5 * [300 * 0,01; 300 * 0,1] / 1200. A casualty result range of [6,75; 67,5]
Despite more muskets in the 540 man battalion there were less men to strike in the 300 man platoon. Exact similar casualties in both examples. This signifies the effects of volume of fire. In order to out-gun your enemy in Napoleonics you needed either to use less men at the front who couldn't stand very long or more men who would receive much greater force on force attrition percentages.

NBs combat value generator is based on superfluous values not directly representative of circumstances. Therefore it becomes necessary to use dozens of string modifiers to bring the CVs into realistic ranges. A compounded density multiplier based 'srand(time)' generator could be used making many string modifiers concerning density (and debased metrics) obsolete. Afterwards (and after you've digested this), then actual physical realities could be applied as modifiers to the combat results equation such as a frontage versus an entire hex multiplier.
---
edited to use European standard math punctuation.


Last edited by Geoff McCarty on Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:28 am 
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Panzer Campaigns is not the father of this engine, I believe it is the old Talonsoft Battleground games.

Geoff, I agree with some of your points but with any video game or simulation compromises have to be made--for example, frontage and stacking--you can do exactly as the drill manuals (which were not necessarily followed in battle, especially after 1812 with so many conscripts in all the armies) and realistic physics (for stacking values and frontage), but will that lead to a game that provides an approximation of what we read in the history books, contemporary diaries, and after action reports?

In theory I like the idea of moving into a ZOC costing action points and not just causing a dead stop. But the flip side of that is will this lead to an increase in blitzing? And to fix that do we need 5 minute turns instead of 10 or 15 minute turns (I almost exclusively play the games with 10 minute turns)? And how many of us want to play a game with 5 minute turns in which infantry can move 2 hexes max and cavalry maybe 3? It is hard to balance all of the historical factors and these games were never billed as simulations--they are board games using some of the available computer power to do the math for us. They are based on an engine created more than 20 years ago. And the engine is pretty much bug free and always has been. We all have things we would love to change but I do not think any of us have a few hundred thousand dollars to make a new game. And as you can see form this thread, if 5 of us spent $250,000 to make a new game we would have 5 very different game..

We are a very niche market and the Napoleonic games are the worse selling Tiller Games. He basically has a full time job working for the Air Force and has basically said he is done updating the engine here unless there are bugs. Campaign Eylau is in the works and, I assume, so is the rest of the Peninsula War, and then that is it for the battles in this period He still updated every game in the series when something new comes along, and I cannot think of another company that still updates games more than 15 years old.

So while I would love to see some changes, in the next 1 to 3 years we should be able to play pretty much every single battle of this era and that has never been available in a computer before...


Geoff, are you finding ways to enjoy the games or are you getting frustrated?

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:22 am 
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I find it frustrating as soon as shots are fired and combat results are askew from what I perceive they should be. Than manuever in combat is wholly broken where it is most beneficial within the game to pack an entire hex with assaulters in a zerg horde ASAP rather than form linear musket lines and wait for the enemies front to deteriorate so that assaults can be driven through. My melee suggestion list is for rhetorical purposes of discussion in this thread. Just hashing out systemic ideas that maybe able to fix flaws in the current design. ZOC movement cost would probably hinder assaults and formation changes within the ZOC hex because it cost "AP" just to get adjacent to or reform into assault column within close quarters of the enemy. It is more about realising scale of time and movement potential though.

Quick history of the Battleview engine from what I can gather is; Battlegrounds was written in MS Visual C++ v4. It was a casual game with state of the art graphics that borrowed alot of design elements from a complex DOS game called Battles of Napoleon. Which included threat values and charging phases used from boardgames in the '70s but, much more detailed computations obviously. East Front and the Campaign series was written and expanded Battleview's concepts into WW2 turn based play. It also influenced later development by tying the game format to simplistic (arbitrary?) die-rolls. Then around 2000 Tiller finished PzC Smolensk '41 written in MS Visual C++ v6 which is the standard for all future titles. Excepting Panzer Battles which I believe is using a newer .NET version of MSVC. When John spunoff PzCs back to Battlegrounds orgins he recycled the old coding routines that were simliar with Panzer Campaigns. He ditched stuff like the cavalry charging phase because the version language was too disimliar. Hypothetically, according to this version history Napoleonic Battles is a subset of Panzer Campaigns as adapted from Battlegrounds and not the other way around. Therefore, code exchanges from PzC to NB would be simple to instrument. Changing string names in headers and footers of certain source files that process functions like road movement would be simple if the programmer knew the code tree relationships (how it passes strings between source file modules that run in the program).

Here is an example of a MSVC 6 wargame engine that uses a hex/turn combat interface.
https://sourceforge.net/projects/wargam ... p/download
Not at all an example of NB coding but, some universal concepts like AI breath-first-guess pathing and how string names are called and used to pass data around can be shown. It's all greek to me but, I guarantee I could modify 'wargamers' simple firing modifiers without a problem. That would be just logical integer editing. Doing something like what I said in my last post would require a real experienced programmer.


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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:14 pm 
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Geoff McCarty wrote:
Example 1: 300 man platoon fires muskets (FE 5 range 1) at 540 man battalion. 300 * 5 * [540 * 0,01; 540 * 0,1] / 1200. A casualty result range of [6,75; 67,5]
Example 2: 540 man battalion fires muskets (FE 5 range 1) at 300 man platoon. 540 * 5 * [300 * 0,01; 300 * 0,1] / 1200. A casualty result range of [6,75; 67,5]
Despite more muskets in the 540 man battalion there were less men to strike in the 300 man platoon. Exact similar casualties in both examples. This signifies the effects of volume of fire. In order to out-gun your enemy in Napoleonics you needed either to use less men at the front who couldn't stand very long or more men who would receive much greater force on force attrition percentages.

Not sure why the fire of more men shouldn't cause more casualties. 300 men firing at 540 would surely spare some at the left and right end of the line because the lines would be 100 men vs 180 wide. While the opposite leads to enfilade fire as the ends of 180 men line have to point their muskets inward get them aiming at 100 men line at all.
There is a reason that the optional rule density fire modifier kicks in only at 2/3 of the stacking limit.


Geoff McCarty wrote:
I find it frustrating as soon as shots are fired and combat results are askew from what I perceive they should be. Than manuever in combat is wholly broken where it is most beneficial within the game to pack an entire hex with assaulters in a zerg horde ASAP rather than form linear musket lines and wait for the enemies front to deteriorate so that assaults can be driven through.

Play in phases , add the right optional rules and maybe add something that lowers the melee stacks of the attacker like "only one attacking bat. per hex" so that he has to fan out his battalions and does not create super stacks.

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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:57 pm 
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That would be oblique fire not enfilade. Physically linear, oblique and enfilade fire are directed against a target which is an amount of men. Unequal forces generate an equivalency in force during opposition. In this case because more attackers are firing at less defenders and vice versa the resulting force, casualties is equivalent. If you cannot accept the concept of equality in attack and defense of formations as a formulae than there's no point in continuing the example with physical modifiers like frontage and area effects.
Using MDF and exchanging 3 phased files per turn in an already snails paced 10 minutes per turn (1 turn/day virtually) game system is unacceptable. A different house rule solution idea I posted in another thread was to deal with infantry/cavalry melee and charging at the beginning of a turn. Only allowing for adjacent units to melee while charges function normally. Perhaps due to preperation needed for assaulting. Haven't tried the one assaulter per hex yet. It's probably a better solution than that embedded melees first concept since it's easier to swallow. Natural drawback for 'one assaulter per hex' is the defender can easily establish unassaultable hardpoints especially hindering cavalry vs. cavalry combat.


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 Post subject: Re: The Melee Elephant
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:21 pm 
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Volume of fire is generate by the amount of men firing. If you want to apply modifier to it go ahead, but alone from a calculation point I don't see any reason to equal such fire only to apply modifiers that make it unequal again.
More men, more bullets = more casualties
Less men, less bullets = less casualties
600 men firing on 300 men don't kill the double of 300 firing on 600 but they surely don't have equal kill numbers.
Would love to see a statistic that proves this in actual warfare.

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