Thursday, 12 July 2007

Boltsdorf game - observation on rules ...

Douglas (of Noverre) who lives only a few miles from me came over for an evening during which we fought the battle of Boltsdorf. It was very useful as it enabled us to play test the rules I had chosen - "Weight of Fire" (

The battle resolved down to an infantry contest by firepower, and we did not get a chance to try out the melee side of the rules.

Things we found we needed to define/modify just through playing the game:
1) How long is a 'turn' in real time - we think it should be something like 15 or 30 minutes. This can be helpful for scenarios etc, when you may set the aims of one side to "hold the bridge for 4 hours till ...".
2) The need for markers for shaken and exhausted units.
3) Moral - casualties - Perceived loss - ie morale is taken when unit loses 1/12th of its original size and goes exhausted after 50%. Maybe 1/12th rule should be to its current size ??
4) When taking morale there is no modifier for an unsecured/in danger flank.

I expect we'll pick up some extra things as we use the rules more.


  1. I would venture to guess that most rule sets have many many "house rules" depending upon the particular vision of those playing them.

    By this I mean that you and Douglas (since I presume that he will be your usual opponent) should mutually decide what you think should happen in various situations.

    If the rules don't model this, then add a "house rule" to model it . . . or try out a different rule set that you think DOES handle something the way you think it should be handled.

    There are a great many diffent 18th century rule sets available. Find (or modify) one the two of you like and have fun!

    My personal feeling is that testing at say 25% and at 50% is more reasonable than at 9% and 50%. But then, I'm not playing those rules.

    If you are liking them, fine. If not, modify them or find a different set . . . but it is up to you two, so talk about what you like/dislike and want/don't want in a rule set.

    -- Jeff

  2. 1) How long is a 'turn' in real time -
    *this can be a real bugbear for strict 'definition', since it will also affect ground scale since speed=timexdistance if you set a time scale too long or short your movements of troop will become similarly distorted.

    2) The need for markers for shaken and exhausted units.
    * I admit not reading this ruleset, but one idea is for 'shaken' (or first level of disordered) troops is to 'twist' each of the troop stands 20 degrees off center (making the unit look sort of higgledy-piggledy) exept for the 'command stand' leave it alone as a marker for the whole unit correct location. Then use the other markers for the next 'higher' levels of troops morale degradations.
    * Another solution (often used by me as well) is to have a collection of rocks, or muskets or wagon wheels or other battlefield debris (like broken mini bits) that is set into a 'marker' (like a fender washer) these can then be used in groups to indicate the unit problems, one=disordered, two=shaken, three=broken etc.
    * Make a 'flag bearer' separate from the unit and use a system like Bluebear Jeff does in his tricorne wars, where the flag location and direction shows the unit condition (thus only one marker per unit is needed).

    3) Moral - casualties - Perceived loss -
    * another bugbear in design considerations. Typically there are things like troop capability taken into consideration here, like guards are going to take a pounding, while conscrips may run from the sound of the guns. Normally such things as 1/3 or 1/4 losses are the first 'testing point' but have little impact on incidental other tests, however losses over 50% are noticable even to the battle hardened veterans and as such should have an impact beyond the single test of morale.

    4) When taking morale there is no modifier for an unsecured/in danger flank.
    * two incidents are mentioned here, 1 unsecured flanks...for veterans and above this should not be a big problem (it should be a bonus to have them 'secured').
    2 in-danger...this is a subjective item and again should not matter to veteran or better troops, it may also be said to have no impact on green or below troops since they do not understand the nature of the battlefield and might not react to the enemy presence. Now if the fire is coming from the flank or rear or a cavalry force is attacking the flank or rear I consider that a more immediate threat and would consider such a thing to have negative impact on overall control of any troops.