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Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

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Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Martin on Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:41 am

Diggers and I were chatting on T/S a few days ago, and he suggested trying a few games where we only give orders to brigade commanders, and refrain from ordering individual regiments.  He thought that this would allow us to command larger divisions, and thus play larger battles.

This struck a chord with me, as I have been wondering whether we should try applying a similar house-rule to artillery batteries.  Micro-managing there seems if anything more anachronistic, as moving an individual gun seems more like the action of a sergeant than a general.  This would also allow us to remove the unhistorical clutter of individual gun flags, which would make the battlefield look more authentic.  

3 of us gathered for a coop game last night and decided to give both ideas a try.

IMHO it worked very well, and was in some ways even more enjoyable than the normal game.  I was able to manage quite a large division (4 brigades and 3 batteries) reasonably well, and still had time to ride around a bit and look at the bigger picture.  There were a few times I was tempted to intervene and TC individual units, but I held myself back.  I did occasionally ride over to help rally a retreating unit, which I felt that was still in the spirit of what we were doing.

I would be interested to know what Mike and Stefan thought though.  Gentlemen?

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Leffe7 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:25 pm

I liked the proposal not to micromanage the single regiments.

In yesterdays game, I was in command of 2 cavalry brigades, 1 mixed cavalry/infantry brigade and 1 artillery battery.
As ordered by Mike, my force was guarding the western flank of our main force with the goal to reunite in the center of the map. As I heard cannon fire in the distance I focused on getting to the center, but I also completed the wide flanking march. As it turned out, I soon spotted Rebel flags very close to me, as two large Rebel brigades advance on my dispersed division. This is where I forced myself to try to only control the brigade commanders, but I failed. The cavalry was shot to pieces as it was unwilling to charge nearby Rebel guns and then the infantry came up and flanked my troops. Foreseeing a slaughter I had to take control again and withdraw from that position. I then regrouped near my artillery and was able to stop the aggressive enemy.
My conclusion is that the new rule does not work very well with cavalry units as you need to "babysit" them a bit, otherwise they can be slaugthered very quickly.

BTW, the single guns still had flags.
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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Martin on Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:39 pm

Leffe7 wrote:My conclusion is that the new rule does not work very well with cavalry units as you need to "babysit" them a bit, otherwise they can be slaugthered very quickly.
That's something to bear in mind.  Although I had some cavalry, they were not heavily-engaged.  Most of my fighting was done by infantry.
Leffe7 wrote:BTW, the single guns still had flags.
That's interesting.  I've a feeling Mike might have said the same thing after the game, but it kind of washed over me at the time.  I thought that as host my flag settings would override yours, but apparently not.  It's just a change to gfx.csv, which makes the flags used for artillery extremely small.  They are still there but so small that you cannot see them.  It looks as if everyone would need a copy of the modded gfx.csv.

Did you experience a similar problem with the guns as you did with the cavalry?  

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:26 pm

I a happy to see others giving this a try. To manage brigades this way, you may want to use the courier order system. Breaking contact is very difficult to do via the toolbar if you don't use the TC button. However, the courier system has a set of orders, (e.g. Combat Infantry Orders), which gives the series of orders needed to do just that. It is also critical that the series of orders all arrive in very quick succession. With the courier system, they all arrive as one order. With the toolbar, that's almost impossible. Artillery that is unlimbered and firing can easily be moved to a new location in this way.

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Martin on Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:55 pm

That sounds like a good way forward.

Can you give us the required sequence of courier orders for each of infantry, cavalry, artillery please, Uncle Billy? I've just had a quick look in the courier pane, and I could take a guess, but am not sure I'm right.

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:57 pm

They are listed in the order they should be given. If you give them out of order, strange behavior will result. Likely, that unit will be destroyed so you won't need to worry about giving them subsequent orders, lightening your load.  Very Happy  Everything has a bright side to it.

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Grog on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:16 pm

Good game the other night. Thanks Martin and Stefan.

As CiC with no objectives I decided to keep my two inf divisions together and sweep wide left with Stefan's mainly cav division, meeting in the middle. Strangely enough, the Ai CiC did the same and it was a contest on who could overwhelm the enemy's smaller force quicker (although we were unaware of this at the time).

The replay shows just how close it was and just what a great job Stefan did holding them back (rather like Hays did a few weeks back, perched on a big hill and kicking them down the slope Smile ). Its not surprising that you had to TC, especially using cav.

Martin did a fine job pushing the enemy cav division back and I supported his right.

Martin suggested restricting the TCing which I like and actually usually play this way, anyway. Its only when I get jumbled up that I resort to TCing regiments. I am in favour of being able to TC regiments within shouting distance and for that period only, like we used to play with Ron (on that note, where is Ron?)

Yes, I did have individual gun pennants too.

cheers

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:17 pm

Were the gun pennants added to captured guns, or all guns?

Each player will need to update their gfx.csv for the artillery pennants to disappear, it can't be done via host settings.

On other news my PC is back and working (frazzled main power unit) so I could make a game this weekend.

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:46 am

Digby wrote:On other news my PC is back and working (frazzled main power unit) so I could make a game this weekend.
Great news.  cheers 

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  mitra on Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:18 pm

Personally i don't think is necessary make any rule, If you command bigger units automatically you're forced to not make micromanagement, or to do it in very specific situation. Actually I use it very little only for send a regiment to cover a gap or for place better a gun, nothing of different of what happened also in the reality to a CiC in the field.

I played with full armies of 30000-40000 men in 1vs1 and micromanage is virtually impossible if you want maintain your mental sanity, you're forced to use AI.

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:59 am

This isn't about making another rule, it was a specific playing method we thought might be worth exploring. Its something different to what we usually do, I think, and could give us a different 'feel' of game. It would probably allow bigger games as well. I can see each player commanding a small corps of 2 divisions in this playstyle. It would be agreed before we launched a game if this game type would be in use and if it was then TCing would not be allowed.

But... what Martin and I didn't consider was in Napoleonics we do need to dip down to battalion level micro-management in order to get units to form square. Therefore I don't know if this idea would actually work. It might be a playstyle we could only adopt for ACW games.

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Blackstreet on Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Sorry to arrive late in this discussion, but isn't this thing about not ordering individual regiments exactly what Ron (WJPalmer) was doing with his regular Napoleonic / GCM Crossover thing last summer?  They worked really well I thought, and were very popular.  

In fact, a whole set of interesting rules developed over time, to deal with the various TC issues.

See here:

http://forum.kriegsspiel.org.uk/t806-napoleonic-hits-gcm-event-the-battle-of-busaco-saturday-10-august-2013?highlight=HITS+GCM

Or have I missed something, as usual?
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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  mitra on Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:33 pm

Personally I never take command a part from the captains of artillery for force them to advance, but it happens I give order to single regiment with the AI activated when situation required it, also in situation where I play with a full army. Learn to play with bigger corps dimension, to my opinion, can be done only playing with them in many battles, TC or not makes no difference, you have to start to learn how to use the AI and know how she reacts, also with the possibility to take command (which usually gives little advantage over the level of brigade). When you start to master the AI, the TC becomes only rare action.

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Re: Stepping-back from micro-management in SOW games

Post  Martin on Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:51 am

Good point Ollie. Yes that was indeed what Ron was encouraging, and I enjoyed the few of those games I managed to play in.

That said, I see Mitra's point. As time has gone on, many players seem comfortable with increasingly large commands, and maybe that is effectively addressing the issue without the need for house rules. It can be left to the individual players discretion & preference. But if you are micro-managing with a large division, you are in danger of losing sight of the bigger picture. You may win some of the regimental fights, but lose the overall battle.

I would still like to get rid of all those unsightly (and unhistorical) artillery flags, particularly if we are unlikely to need them! So I would like to try a few games without them. It looks as if that means I should give a copy of my mod to anyone who is happy to try one of these.

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