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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:37 pm 
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Hi Geoff. I think this is taking measurements too seriously, or to literally, and overlooking the large amount of abstraction at work here. A hex is not really a piece of hexagonal terrain of a precise measurement, it merely symbolises a piece of terrain of about 100 x 100 meters. Comparing the game map to a real map one could say that all hexes are equal but some are more equal than others. The modifications I made are meant to curb the extremes. I use 700 men as splitting point for battalions, but I know that in the real world a 675-men three-rank battalion in line would not fit in 100 meters of frontage (let alone a 2-rank battalion, which would be nearly all Allied infantry). I view stacking limits in the same way; there should be some leeway but the completely unrealistic should be disabled.

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1e Luitenant Hans Boersma (Rtd.)
Former Commandant 1e Brigade
2e Nederlandsche Divisie
I Corps
Anglo-Allied Army
(2001-2004)

Wargaming the Waterloo Campaign


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:01 pm 
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I like the extension feature. It's one improvement over 'Battles of Napoleon' from old AppleII/DOS days. I hate how it costs all MPs to extend though. The amount of muskets a battalion may bring to bear on the opposition is the primary consideration of Napoleonic warfare. Denying that facet makes the game less tactical and more about checkerboard counter strength capabilities. Even if the grid were considered staggered squares than the units which are supposedly 100m apart when firing would necessarily be 50m from their facing direction's edge. Clarifying the dimensional parameters should help in presenting a better simulation of history.

The url in your signature line has an erroneous /url directory.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:38 am 
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Well, I have explained my view on the extended line feature. I would accept it if it were non-optional (so no shortened line) and indeed would not take up all movement points. The problem of lateral shifting from a 2-hex to a 1-hex unit would however remain. This might perhaps be handled by always deploying to the left or right flank when going back into column or square, so the other player can anticipate.

Disabling the extended line feature does not make the game less tactical, it is just a different approach to the fact that certain game pieces do not fit in one field. The game is much like chess, which is actually what I like about it. There is no shame in being a variation on the mother of all wargames. The hexes are something like "staggered squares", so again the distances you mention are not that precise. Rather, it is all very imprecise and averaged. Adjacent units are somewhere between 0 and ±100 meters apart.

Now, taking your position (as I see it), I would not object if the game would apply rigorously accurate sizes, fire power, movement etc. related to the game's scale (so that a hex is indeed a hexagonal piece of terrain of an exact size, a unit is in an exact position within that hex, fits in it etc; in other words, accepting the symbolic as being 100% real) if it would produce a playable (enjoyable) game that is also acceptable from a tactical-historical viewpoint. After all, we might just as rightly argue that, if this is a game, it should be rigorous about things like what fits in a hex and what doesn't. I can't see how it would work, but it would be great if it could. It would mean a major redesign, and frankly I am not able to say what such a redesign would entail exactly, or oversee the ramifications it would have on gameplay. So I limit myself to historical accuracy, insofar possible (oob, unit placement, reinforcement schedules) and to at least curbing what I see as overly unreal, like never having to worry about ammo and being able to arrange a 700-900 men line formation on a ± 100 meter frontage. Or the sun setting five turns too late.

Signature fixed, thanks!

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1e Luitenant Hans Boersma (Rtd.)
Former Commandant 1e Brigade
2e Nederlandsche Divisie
I Corps
Anglo-Allied Army
(2001-2004)

Wargaming the Waterloo Campaign


Last edited by Hans Boersma on Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:51 am 
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When you're right , you're right. The extension feature is poorly handled despite my insistence that it is a major improvement on traditional Nap tactics games. Removal of shortened line and the immediate change from a column attack into extended linear formation would be a code fix to that. Though I doubt any other army than the early Imperial French could handle formation changes on the advance as smoothly.
What was the situation of the Walloons during the 100 days campaign? Did any of them join up with the French? When I read about the """United""" Netherland combatants all their names are Dutch. I doubt many Walloons were conscripted into the Anglo-Allied cause. I'd guess they saw the emperors return as a collosal mistake and sat out on the definite eventual total defeat.

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2ème Division,
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La Grande Armée


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:35 am 
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Yes, going from column into extended line in one move would seem very quick and smooth. But if a turn is 15 minutes it seems well in range of what was possible (well, on the parade ground anyway): Nafziger gives 1.1 to 3.9 minutes to go from column into line. In the game a unit would be able to quickly fill a hole by going into (extended) line, though it would at least draw fire in automatic defence mode. This lateral shifting remains a weakness, I think: it would be very hard for the other side (the French) to anticipate, especially if there are a lot of units that have this capability. This is where we bump into the disadvantages of a turn-based game sequence. So you see splitting battalions is not so bad — though it is certainly not ideal. But I wouldn't know what would be. Perhaps two units that have to be adjacent (or stacked) all the time.

My knowledge about the internal Belgian issues of the time is sketchy at best. I don't know if there was such a distinct difference yet between the Flemish and the Walloons, for example. I think French was the official language for both. I know that Dutch (Flemish) only became an official language after World War I... Before that, Dutch was not taught in school, not accepted in court, etc. Belgian units in 1815 were indeed predominantly Belgian, and they included many officers and NCO's who had served with Napoleon. This did not stop the 5th Dragoons, for example, from charging their former brothers-in-arms at Quatre Bras. But, as I recall, the Dutch regarded Belgian militia battalions as unreliable because they were plagued with desertion. Which may well have been caused by bad feeding, clothing etc. The Army of the Netherlands was young and still had many problems, one of which was a severe shortage in horses (thanks to the French). Bijlandt's brigade at Waterloo had hardly been fed. Regarding names, what about Chassé, Ghigny, d'Aubremé, Perponcher? Orange? Anyway, no conclusions can be drawn from names. Vandensande (7th Line) is a Dutch sounding name (though in Dutch it would be Van den Sande) but he did not speak Dutch. And Van Zuylen van Nyevelt (Staff 2nd Netherlands Division) ends his divisional diary at 15 june, noting that he did not have one officer who had mastered the Dutch language to continue it for him.

This old site might be of interest (if it works):
http://www.oocities.org/waterloo1815be/Inhoud.html

I think the loyalty of soldiers to a common identity should not be overestimated. There is no doubt in my mind that West Germans and East Germans would have fired on each other if the Cold War had turned hot.

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1e Luitenant Hans Boersma (Rtd.)
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2e Nederlandsche Divisie
I Corps
Anglo-Allied Army
(2001-2004)

Wargaming the Waterloo Campaign


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:04 pm 
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Bill Peters wrote:
Thus max stacking in a hex (at most) should probably be about 1000-1200 men. 1/3rd to 3/7th that amount for cavalry. [...] So two battalions in a hex maximum for the most part unless they were undersized. Three at the most.

Bill,

Looking at the infantry stacking limit: Adkin also shows a Prussian column for a 800-men battalion, giving it a 45 metre frontage with two 200-men companies up front (3-rank). About 20 metres deep (closed up). You see what I'm getting at: wouldn't a stacking limit of, say, 1200 be too restrictive? They would not be able to put two battalions in one hex (side by side) though the frontage of Prussian and French attack columns, going by Adkins, is the same. Perhaps the Prussian attack columns needed more space between them? I could imagine they would, with 800 rather than 500 men, to change formation.

Regarding cavalry: are you sure? 1/3 of 1200 men for example is 400, which means many cavalry units exceed the limit. 3/7 (504) would also be bad news for many a regiment. Or do you favour having them as squadrons only?

Thanks,

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1e Luitenant Hans Boersma (Rtd.)
Former Commandant 1e Brigade
2e Nederlandsche Divisie
I Corps
Anglo-Allied Army
(2001-2004)

Wargaming the Waterloo Campaign


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:11 pm 
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There are 8 zugs in a Prussian battalion so it would be a 200 man division probably around 60m in frontage. 45m for 400 men in 3 ranks would necessitate men horse-walking sideways. Prussians had some stupid combat practises at this time but, not that stupid. I think frontage is a more pertinent aspect of Napoleonic war than depth many times over. Especially the frontage of men and horsemen that may advance to contact over a given area. Cavalry would be constrained to platoon strength over 100m followed by their sister platoon. One concept I had to 'fix' the melee dominance in the game was a house rule of only one assaulting unit from each hex per round of melee. Multi-Infantry melees could be enabled to allow wave attacks in a 15 minute turn that should help this limitation overcome enemy hardpoints to a great extent.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:07 pm 
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Geoff McCarty wrote:
One concept I had to 'fix' the melee dominance in the game was a house rule of only one assaulting unit from each hex per round of melee. Multi-Infantry melees could be enabled to allow wave attacks in a 15 minute turn that should help this limitation overcome enemy hardpoints to a great extent.

Interesting approach, when you have more experience with this house rule I would like to know if it plays out well.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:50 pm 
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There's too much variation in unit size. Too much advantage to battalions closer to max size compared to smaller ones.

Lots of issues with melee, but 1 unit/attack is too mechanistic and would cause more problems than it solves.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:21 pm 
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Well I'm glad we're all in agreement here. Meanwhile, since it is Friday evening, how about a song. Because, the things one can find in the staff archive...

CRUISING DOWN THE MEADOW
(Melody: Cruising Down The River)

Cruising down the meadow
On a Sunday afternoon
With all my peers
They're fine Lanciers
We croon a jolly tune!

A Brunswick head comes crushing
All 'round my steadfast lance
My fellow off'cers blushing
"Oh do give us a chance!"

The blood so red
and sticky too
comes splat'ring all around
It gently flows
Where my sabre mows
With a most amusing sound

Just you and me together
Or well, what's left of you
Just cruising down the meadow
On a Sunday afternoon!

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1e Luitenant Hans Boersma (Rtd.)
Former Commandant 1e Brigade
2e Nederlandsche Divisie
I Corps
Anglo-Allied Army
(2001-2004)

Wargaming the Waterloo Campaign


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:01 am 
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Gary McClellan wrote:
There's too much variation in unit size. Too much advantage to battalions closer to max size compared to smaller ones.

Lots of issues with melee, but 1 unit/attack is too mechanistic and would cause more problems than it solves.


Agreed. And we often forget that battles were not fought in hexes ... units advanced together in various formations such as echelon left, right etc.

I think one thing that is a shame about the slicing up of the battlefield into square or hexes is that you lose that combined effort of an attack.

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Infanterie-Brigade Hessen-Kassel
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Scenario Designer for Napoleonic Battles series - John Tiller Software


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:29 pm 
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I've been thinking about that as well when I started splitting battalions, because indeed unit sizes remain unequal. To a lesser agree, but there are still battalions that are too large. So I wondered what it would be like to have standardised unit sizes of, say, 500 men. "Men" would then be "strength points" and losses would be indicated by percentage only (Christian might like this). Large units would have two counters, and overall strengths would be levelled out so that proportions within and between the sides would remain the same. You would lose historical flavour but the simulation might benefit, and the somewhat illusory suggestion of precision would be much less.

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1e Luitenant Hans Boersma (Rtd.)
Former Commandant 1e Brigade
2e Nederlandsche Divisie
I Corps
Anglo-Allied Army
(2001-2004)

Wargaming the Waterloo Campaign


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:38 pm 
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Realizing that I'm still very much in a 7YW kind of mindset, I dislike splitting units from first causes. With the exception of some smaller skirmishes (below the size this engine works for), battalions didn't really split off into separate maneuver elements.

Beyond that fussbudgety point, I'm not as much a fan of generic strengths. I admit, I have lots of that in 7YW where I don't often have detailed breakdowns of unit strengths in a battle, so they're kind of set to the "average", but if the information is available, I think it's meaningful to see a clear difference between a worn down battalion, regiment, division or corps as opposed to a fully fresh one.

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Portner Grenadier Battalion
Austrian Army

Scenario Designer:
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JTS Seven Years War


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:44 pm 
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Battalions didn't fight over hexagons either, or jerk-moved in 15 minute time-jumps... but as said, I know splitting is not ideal.* Regarding strengths, I didn't express myself very well. What I meant was that unit strengths would only be indicated (and calculated) by percentage. So a player only gets the information that a certain unit is at 100% strength, or 85% after losses, etc. Fatigue also in percentages. I'm not sure I would like it, it's just a thought that came up.

Fussbudgety, I like that.

*Another disadvantage is that half-battalions can form battalion squares, with a 360º ZOC. Talking to a very experienced reenactor the other day, he confirmed that three or even one company could easily form a closed square from a closed column, but such a square would of course be much smaller and might well leave a hole in a defensive line. So such a square shouldn't have a ZOC really. On the other hand, battalions that have lost half their strength can also still form full-size squares...

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1e Luitenant Hans Boersma (Rtd.)
Former Commandant 1e Brigade
2e Nederlandsche Divisie
I Corps
Anglo-Allied Army
(2001-2004)

Wargaming the Waterloo Campaign


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:50 pm 
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Yea, squares with 6 instead of the usual 2 ZOC hexes simply suck. As cavalry was able to pass them by it may be best to not give a square any kind ZOC as it is already too much if it blocks the hex like a wall.,
But well, all talk is futile unless some company(like WDS) takes up this series and gives it the attention that is needed.

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La Grande Armée - 3éme Corps d'Armée
"Vive la révolution, vive la france and vive L’Empereur!"


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