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Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

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Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Father General on Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:43 am

To facilitate improvement in the game, I have spoken to a number of individuals who have some very useful ideas. I have selected what I feel are the best ideas and would like to put them to the group for discussion.

As per the campaign rules, both corps commanders must agree for any rule change to take effect.

Here are the suggestions:

1. The mission outcomes will no longer be defined by the umpire. Aside from overseeing starting parameters, each mission will play itself out with the leadership of both sides making all decisions. There will be no more "winners or losers," with one exception. The side with the higher points score will win more promotions and laurels than the other.
2. If an army decides to remain on the field following battle, they may do so, with the understanding that the battle will continue on the next day from their current position. An army locked in battle from one day to the next cannot receive any reinforcement, so think twice before being obstinate.
3. A commander may them move troops (during the course of a battle) to an exit point on the map in the direction he wishes to move. This may cut supply and allow wide, strategic-level flanking maneuvers. I will identify these exit points, normally consistent with roads. And unit that ends the battle on this exit point, if unengaged, may move to the next node along the way, if desired. Likewise, an army may enter the map from that direction, or another available direction provided it made a legal movement the strategic map to do so.
4. You may not block armies from entering by “occupying” an entry/exit point. That wouldn’t be KS, it would be BS.

My greatest concern with these ideas is that an army may choose to remain on the battlefield and the campaign will come down to a single, persistent battle which amounts to a slug-fest. However, as the umpire I cannot and should not direct the course of the movements or battles…

I can only admonish the commanders to behave sensibly.

Reports to follow.
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:52 pm

Personally I prefer our simpler system. This just seems to be complicating things and dragging out the decisions for longer.

There is a logic loophole in that if a battle lasts more than one day then reinforcements should be allowed to arrive from an adjacent node.

I would say there is always a winner/loser and that would be defined by the umpire with the loser departing the node.

Its so much simpler, easier, quicker and cut-and-dried that way.

I was hoping to see some discussion about the usefulness of cavalry on the map in this thread (right now it doesn't seem very useful at all and provided poor quality intelligence at New Market and immediately prior - a side that has cavalry vs a side that does not should run rings around the enemy in terms of gathering information), and some resolution of the artillery capture discussion, both of which seem open-ended still.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  kg little mac on Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:25 pm

Father General wrote:I can only admonish the commanders to behave sensibly.

Coming from you, FG, that's pretty funny.

sunny
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Baldwin1 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:58 pm

I agree, cavalry is not giving that much of an advantage as both sides use their avatars to scout in the manner cavalry may and towards the end of the battle it is used for fighting so it would be better to have infantry instead. As far as two sides bashing it out, I'm thinking that is going to keep happening until the both armies are split in two so maneuvering counts more. Perhaps two objectives spread apart on each opposing side (4 total) on the campaign map may give motivation for both sides to split their army. You would get more interesting battles that way. Or at least add asymmetrical goals for the tactical battles so it's not just attack/defend or this will get old quick. I'm surprised that wasn't suggested, as well as adding one more div commander to the OOB on each side, even if it means remaking the master and updating the numbers by hand. Because we know both sides don't want 8-9 brigades plus batteries all under one guy.

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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:44 pm

You may have misunderstood me Baldwin. Cavalry is useless on the ACW battlefield in SoW and rightly so. Its only useful function is on the map and sadly here the rules give it very little benefit - I'm talking mainly about the two main armies where the CSA have 1000 cavalry and the Union have zero, and since Strasburg the CSA cavalry has been in close contact with the enemy army, yet the CSA got extremely poor intelligence about the enemy before the battle. We didn't even know how many brigades they had. It would be interesting to know what intel the Union had about the CSA forces... if it was similar then the rules for cavalry scouting definitely need changing.

Baldwin1 wrote:I'm surprised that wasn't suggested.
I suggested a pretty subtle arrangement of Victory Points for each node held for a certain amount of time and would have adjusted it by strength of force in position but in the needs of getting the game started very very quickly, my idea was overruled. We'd have had both a very different and a much more interesting game if my sugggestion had been accepted I think.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Father General on Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:36 pm

It is now time to hear from the corps commanders on these ideas, please.

-Neal
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Father General on Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:40 pm

Mr. Digby wrote:You may have misunderstood me Baldwin. Cavalry is useless on the ACW battlefield in SoW and rightly so. Its only useful function is on the map and sadly here the rules give it very little benefit - I'm talking mainly about the two main armies where the CSA have 1000 cavalry and the Union have zero, and since Strasburg the CSA cavalry has been in close contact with the enemy army, yet the CSA got extremely poor intelligence about the enemy before the battle. We didn't even know how many brigades they had. It would be interesting to know what intel the Union had about the CSA forces... if it was similar then the rules for cavalry scouting definitely need changing.

Baldwin1 wrote:I'm surprised that wasn't suggested.
I suggested a pretty subtle arrangement of Victory Points for each node held for a certain amount of time and would have adjusted it by strength of force in position but in the needs of getting the game started very very quickly, my idea was overruled. We'd have had both a very different and a much more interesting game if my suggestion had been accepted I think.

Digby, you were given a range of possibilities in Union strength, 6-8 brigades. This was intentional, and based on a die roll. I was not very inclined to give perfect intel to a freshman cav brigade based on one night of scouting in enemy controlled territory. In time, this will improve.

The Union had much less information to go on...

-Neal

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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:06 pm

I disagree its enemy held territory, since Strasburg is a friendly Virgina town. Remember all the contact is happening in areas sympathetic to the rebellion and hostile to the Union.

We were told some troops had remained in Strasburg and that seems to be wrong as well.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Uncle Billy on Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:51 pm

First I'll respond to Neal's proposals.
I interpret point 1 to mean that we will have meeting engagements rather than an objective to take/hold. The outcome will be determined by the game scoring system. I do not have a problem with that. Since nearly all our regular KS MP games are played in that fashion, everyone knows how they work. They usually lead to interesting battles. However, we need to use the game AI initial orders for moving to some area of the map. Otherwise, the battle just becomes a race to Culp's Hill or some other uber strong point on the map.
I agree with point 2 only if the game scores the battle as inconclusive. Otherwise, the defeated army should retreat.
Point 3 is an interesting idea and merits discussion. However, given the efforts needed to get enough players together on a given date, we need to ensure there is a battle. We don't want to spend 2 hours trying sneaking around to the enemy's rear undetected. So we need to plan just how to implement this.
Point 4 is obvious.

Although I was not present at the battle, I did read all the comments on the question of artillery capture. The rules actually address this point:
6.15 Captured guns become the property of the capturing side’s divisional commander. They may be reassigned to batteries, or new batteries formed, as desired.
I understand the issue is that the artillery disappeared from the game, so there was no opportunity for recapture. But I view this as the chance a commander takes, if he deploys his guns in the front line and then does not remove them when things start to get hot. Since it doesn't seem that a side can actually add the guns to it's OOB given the limitation of Hays' program, I'd suggest, if possible, that inferior guns in a battery can be replaced with better quality captured guns. For instance, a 6 pounder can be replaced with a captured Parrott. This would be at the division or corps commander's discretion.

With regards to enemy activity information, the Union has received precious little. This is not surprising since they are invading hostile territory. We only knew that the enemy was in strength at New Market when we finally bumped into the main rebel force. I agree that this early in the war, rebel information would be far from perfect. But given what Neal relayed to them, it was much more accurate than anything the Union has received.

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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Leffe7 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:21 pm

I'm generally in favor of the suggested rules in the first post. But I think some points still deserve more discussion.

Overall, I like the idea of battles without objectives. This is already common in our sandbox games.
The more complex and assymetric objectives we would create, the more scripted the battles become and there rises the need for having the umpire to declare the results which might lead to discussions on that declaration. On the other side if we want 100% obvious objectives we would have to use the built-in objectives system, which doesn't work well with KS style.
So, I agree with point 1. In addition, the umpire still sets the battleground (map) and declares placement restrictions for both sides before the game. After the battle the gains (experience, weapons, guns) shouldn't be disclosed to the opposing side. Also the factor used in the OOB calculator (victory/draw/defeat) should be set by the umpire based on the battle (how?), but this shouldn't be disclosed clearly to any players.

I like point 2, but we should discuss how we can avoid having eternal battles (both sides always stay). Do we still need some sort of Umpire ruling in this case? If a battle lasts several days, the umpire could apply some penalties (morale, fatigue, ammunition, deserters...), maybe based on the number of days fought, the % of controlled map area or control of exit roads to friendly nodes.
And what about reinforcements. No reinforcements at all? Or based on controlled connections to friendly nodes?

Point 3: I agree. This could lead to some interesting manouvering / battles and is IMHO very historic: The manouvering of forces to block an enemy movement or to occupy good grounds first, often without any need for real combat.
Though some question arise. An exit road could be very close to the arrival point of the "attacker/mover", denying the "defender" any chance to arrive there in time to prevent the "mover" to occupy this exit road. If a battle cannot be finished by just moving to the neared exit road, then I think it's ok.

Point 4: As for entering, it's obvious and should be eased by the map placement restrictions by the umpire. But you are allowed to block an exit point, so the enemy cannot use that road connection to another road, yes?
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Hays on Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:57 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:Since it doesn't seem that a side can actually add the guns to it's OOB given the limitation of Hays' program.

A number of changes have been implemented into my Carryover Campaign tool.

Captured Guns can know be assigned to the other side.

There are now five end of battle conditions.

Major Union Victory - Union get Casualty Bonus, CSA get Penalty
Minor Union Victory - Union get Casualty Bonus, No CSA Penalty
Draw - No Side gets a Casualty Bonus/Penalty
Minor CAS Victory - CSA get Casualty Bonus, No Union Penalty
Major CAS Victory - CSA get Casualty Bonus, Union get Penalty

Divisional Commanders can now be added to the OOB as necessary to enable easier control.

Hays
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  M.Jonah on Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:27 pm

Ultimately there is a function we need to consider and the is the one where the side that remains on the field at the end of the day regardless of the casualties suffered. The objective in any battle is to either hold the ground or the town at the end of the day. To so this you need to kill the enemy.

So the winner ultimately will have completed 1 task hold or take the specific objective.
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Leffe7 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:45 pm

M.Jonah wrote:Ultimately there is a function we need to consider and the is the one where the side that remains on the field at the end of the day regardless of the casualties suffered. The objective in any battle is to either hold the ground or the town at the end of the day. To so this you need to kill the enemy.

So the winner ultimately will have completed 1 task hold or take the specific objective.

If I understood point 1 correctly we wouln't have objectives anymore. The commanders decide if they wish to stay and fight or leave the area by using one of the controlled exit roads.
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  M.Jonah on Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:04 pm

The primary objective of any battle is to be the standing army at the end of the day. But we all know at Antietam the battle was fought to a standstill with no clear winner and we know McClellans main objective was to crush lee and destroy the army under his command we know he failed to complete this objective but Lee decided to leave the field to fight another day. This is always going to be the commander on the days view.
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Baldwin1 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:05 pm

Leffe7 wrote:
M.Jonah wrote:Ultimately there is a function we need to consider and the is the one where the side that remains on the field at the end of the day regardless of the casualties suffered. The objective in any battle is to either hold the ground or the town at the end of the day. To so this you need to kill the enemy.

So the winner ultimately will have completed 1 task hold or take the specific objective.

If I understood point 1 correctly we wouln't have objectives anymore. The commanders decide if they wish to stay and fight or leave the area by using one of the controlled exit roads.

Are you talking about on the campaign map? Because I don't think 13+ players would want to show up just to march and withdraw off the map.
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Leffe7 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:43 am

Baldwin1 wrote:
Are you talking about on the campaign map? Because I don't think 13+ players would want to show up just to march and withdraw off the map.

I meant the in-game battles.
I don't think we would have a battle where no side moves or tries to attack the other. But it could in extreme.
I like to leave that decision for the field commanders to make. As by point 1, there shouldn't be a set location on the map like a standard objective marker which determines the outcome of the battle. Thats too scripted and unflexible. Both sides should be able to manouver and the field commanders decide when and where to attack - or troops can clash somewhere unplanned of course.

If an army is set to attack a defended node and then wouldn't do anything in the battle and just leaves again, this should result in a morale penalty / desertion on those troops.
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  MajorByrd on Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:26 pm

I think we need set objectives and an objective umpire to determine a winner/loser otherwise it would leave way to much space for argument afterwards. It doesn't always have to be a landmark but might as well be "don't get routed off of the field" or "rout the enemy forces" or whatever. It should be defined clearly, preferably through more than one objective so we can categorize them as minor/major/deceisive, reaching 1/2/3 objectives etc. The umpire needs to rule deceisively, in the best case the outcome should speak for itself.

As to all this reinforcement and sending off troops stuff, if people are into that I don't really mind it but the campaign seems to be fine the way it is.
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:11 pm

I think the winner/loser would be obvious at the end of any battle, as should objectives be at the beginning. If its not, umpire ruling is used and the losing side retreats.

This does not affect Hay's carry over tool calculation, though the calculation would obviously bear a relation to who stands and who withdraws.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  MajorByrd on Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:32 pm

Mr. Digby wrote:I think the winner/loser would be obvious at the end of any battle, as should objectives be at the beginning.

I agree with the second part of that sentence. New Market's aftermath nonetheless has planted the seeds of doubt regarding the first part. But I agree with the spirit of your first post in this thread; I think the overall campaign, besides maybe 1-2 minor issues, is fine as it is.
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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Martin on Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:53 pm

MajorByrd wrote:
Mr. Digby wrote:I think the winner/loser would be obvious at the end of any battle, as should objectives be at the beginning.

I agree with the second part of that sentence. New Market's aftermath nonetheless has planted the seeds of doubt regarding the first part. But I agree with the spirit of your first post in this thread; I think the overall campaign, besides maybe 1-2 minor issues, is fine as it is.
Yes that's broadly my feeling too, Sven. Based on the last battle, folks are coming to very different conclusions.

Granted there were several factors to consider in estimating victory at New Market: possession of the town, possession of the high ground, casualties, capture (or not) of guns, who had more regiments routed. There are probably others. So I can quite understand why legitimate disagreement could arise. That will no doubt happen under the current process each time there is not a very one-sided battle result.

But why do we even need to go there? If the Union want to think of the battle as a victory, and so do the Confederates, well let them.

Provided the decision to retreat or not rests with each side’s commander, and not the umpire, whatever the players *say* on the forum, the key test of their feelings will be whether they accept the risk of fighting tomorrow. Among other things, that will depend on the condition of their army, how bad shape they think the enemy are in, the nature of the ground, and their own state-of-mind. It seems to me that taking this decision out of the players' hands leads to the need to artificially define ‘victory’ and hence argument as to who won, where none is really necessary.

Historically, whether to retreat after an engagement was for the force commander to decide, so why should we operate the campaign any differently? Surely the key Union decision at Gettysburg was to stay and fight after the initial Confederate success. That was made by Hancock, and endorsed by Meade when he arrived on the battlefield. Under the current process, the commanders could not take that decision.

Similar comments apply to setting objectives. There was nothing in Lee’s orders which said he had to take Gettysburg, or the high ground to the SE. He chose to attack on the 2nd and 3rd day. Longstreet might have taken a different path. It seems to me therefore that the selection of objectives would also be best done by the players. This again might avoid at least some arguments.

Neal has put a lot of work into this campaign, and I think there’s a lot more right with it than wrong. I think he should be commended for having the flexibility to improve it, and this particular idea seems like a ‘win win’ to me. More historical and fewer arguments.

Martin (J)

PS for the sake of transparency, I should say that I contributed to Neal’s latest suggestions, so am not entirely disinterested Smile

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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Yendor1958 on Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:22 am

As one who has not been involved other than as a by-stander, the question as to the winner or loser of a battle should surely be secondary to the outcome of the campaign as a whole. If the concern is not the effect that the battle has on the strategic aims of the two sides, then the campaign becomes a complicated way to choose the "pitch" for the next game.

This may seem a trifle trollish, but I think having the function of the campaign clear, either as a game in its own right, or as a means to an end, will colour the discussion of the campaign rules

Again, I am not a participant, so please feel free to ignore this contribution.

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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

Post  Martin on Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:46 am

Yendor1958 wrote:As one who has not been involved other than as a by-stander, the question as to the winner or loser of a battle should surely be secondary to the outcome of the campaign as a whole. If the concern is not the effect that the battle has on the strategic aims of the two sides, then the campaign becomes a complicated way to choose the "pitch" for the next game.

This may seem a trifle trollish, but I think having the function of the campaign clear, either as a game in its own right, or as a means to an end, will colour the discussion of the campaign rules

Again, I am not a participant, so please feel free to ignore this contribution.
Not trollish at all, Yendor. I think you frame the question very well.

Speaking just for myself, I see the campaign as the main event.

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Re: Rule changes before next battle - discussion only

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