15 July 2012

Rules and reserach

As I mentioned a while ago, we want to pack 12 hours of battle into 3 hours of play (and less would be better).  Actually, that's optimistic; on August 16 a day at Metz is just 10 minutes short of 14 hours.  I can't really suggest a process to sort out how much time it would take one side to move or otherwise act with the units under its command.  All I can think of to start is to grab a number out of a hat, try it, and refine from there.

So, we will start with turns representing three hours of action and work from there.  That would give a five turn game, which would certainly require players to get quickly to the point.  Anyway, I will look at Mars-la-tour and Gravelotte in three hour episodes and see how a game would flow on that basis.

As for the research part

I've been looking at the Volley and Bayonet rules.  Although they are a stand=regiment set and so two command levels lower, they are clean grand-tactical rules.  There are two mechanisms I paticularly like:

  1. Straight line movement.  Deployed units move in a series of straight line segments, with facing changes (with some exceptions) costing a significant proportion of the movement allowance.  we are talking about stands equaling a division, with multiple layers of interlocking formation having to work together to attain an objective.  Low level concepts such as wheels and formation changes are meaningless to the army commander, but Chadwick and Novak's method allows a simple way to represent the costs of maneuver through difficult terrain, or trying to work around an enemy flank.
  2. March column  represented by "spacer" stands extending the division over the occupied length of road.  Even this is a significant simplification but it is visually clear and gives a role to marching figures, wagons and the like that are pretty on the playing table.
Finally, a nice collection of art and music to remind us of what we are trying to represent.

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