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"More FOG-N Observations" Topic


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Ken Portner16 Apr 2012 6:20 a.m. PST

I've now received my copy ($23.99 from Amazon) and read through them. My thoughts and observations about the unusual features of these rules:

1. Some people have commented that the writing is "overwrought." While it is wordy, the "wordiness" is because of the care the authors take to make sure everything is thoroughly explained and all likely questions are addressed in the rules rather than in a subsequent FAQ.

Have you ever read a set of rules and found yourself with numerous questions about how things work because the author apparently assumes you'll just "get it"? You won't have that problem with FOG-N.

An example. In FOG-N the turn sequence is Assault/Move/Fire/Assault Combat. A defending unit can shoot at a charger in the Assault Phase. Can that same unit then shoot in the subsequent Fire Phase? Yes, and FOG-N says that right then and there in the discussion of Assault Phase. I know that sounds obvious, but I can't tell you how many rules I've read where the "obvious" is simply not stated.

2. FOG has a reputation for complexity. I don't think it's deserved. The basic mechanisms are simple. The perception of complexity comes from the length of the rules and the copious examples/diagrams provided to explain the rules. This is a by product of 1. above-- the author's desire to clearly and fully explain everything. I'm sure this is motivated by the fact that the rules are intended to be used for competitions. But I don't play tournaments and I still appreciate a clearly and fully explained set of rules.

3. The basic unit in the game is the regiment. I've seen games where the basic unit is the batallion or the brigade, but never the regiment. Essentially the authors view this as a better building block of Napoleonic armies, for practical and aesthetic reasons. The game is a "corps level" game. There are too many battalions at this level and too few brigades to give them the look they wanted. Regiments fall in between.

4. Recommended basing is 60mm wide for 25/28mm, 40mm wide for 15mm/18mm and 30mm wide for smaller scales. Units are either Small (4 bases) or Large (6 bases). They recommend mounting 8 infantry or 3 cavalry on these bases. This makes for units of either 24 infantry or 36 infantry, rather large if you're used to playing games like Empire or Le Feu Sacre where average units are only 12 figures.

5. Units can also have attachments. For example, an infantry unit can have artillery attached. You replace one of the infantry bases with an artillery base. I think this is a byproduct of the scale of the units. I.e. if you had battalions as basic units you might have a battery operating with them. This allows you to do that in the context of the rules. You can also have an "officer" attachment which represents a particularly good regimental commander.

6. Units don't form columns or lines. They are either in "Tactical" formation or "Extended" formation. "Tactical" assumes that the various battalions of that regiment are in column or line as the regimental and/or battalion commander sees fit. So the regimental unit is representative of an area occupied by those troops rather than reflecting the actual formation of the constituent battalions. The "Extended" Formation represents the battalions all up front in one line rather than deployed in depth. Units do form square and skirmish formation however.

7. Troops are classified as either "Reformed" or "Unreformed." "Reformed" are troops whose army has adopted the "new" doctrine of maneuvering in column and fighting in column or line as opposed to the "old" linear doctrine. In essence, reformed units move faster and can shoot further than unreformed units.

8. There aren't any figure casualties. Hits from fire/combat translate into reductions in the unit's order. The steps are-steady/disordered/wavering/broken.

9. The turn sequence is IGO/UGO. The order is Assaults/Move/Fire/Fight Assaults/Recover. There is some interaction however. The "inactive" side in a turn can react to assaults and also shoots in the Fire Phase after the active side has fired.

10. Infantry can shoot at "close" or "medium" range. Close range shooting represents volleys. If using 15mm figures close range is only 2 MU (movement units) which at the recommended distances is only 2". Medium range (2MU to 6 MU) shooting represents skirmishers. Unreformed units can only shoot at close range; they didn't use integral skirmishers. This is in keeping with the "scale" of the game.

11. Command and Control is accounted for with Command Points. (CP). Most movements by a unit are termed "Simple." Some movements are termed "Complex." Whether a move is simple or complex depends on the type of unit, its status (whether it's in good order, etc.) and the type of move desired (e.g. it's a simple move to interpenetrate a friendly from your own division, but a complex one to interpenetrate a unit from a different division). In order to perform a complex move you have to spend a CP. One CP for each Complex Move. And then you have to pass a test (Complex Move Test). If you fail it you can't do that move (although you can do a simple one instead). A basic competent commander only has 1 CP per turn. This gives you an idea of their scarcity and the importance of spending them wisely. Both Corps commanders (the overall commander) and Division Commanders have CP's. Brigade and Regimental commanders aren't reprsented on the table.

12. Commanders are also used to reorder units. This happens in the Recovery Phase-- the last phase in the turn. They can rally broken units to Wavering, Disordered, Steady, etc.

13. The rule book includes army lists for a number of armies from the 1812-1813 period; Russian, Austrian, French, Spanish, British. Army lists for earlier periods are going to be published in separate books.

I don't see why you need these lists to play among friends. They're only required if you plan to play in tournaments. The lists in the book give insight on how to design your own for different periods.

14. There are two historical oob's presented. Placenoit 1815 and Sacile 1809. These also give you an example on what qualities you might assign units at different periods.

15. The physical presentation is very nice. What you'd expect from Osprey. Considering that new rules these days are costing any where from $35.00 USD to $50.00 USD (with around $50 USD becoming more common) I'd say these are quite a bargain from Amazon at $24.00 USD (spend $1.00 USD more and get free shipping).

That's all I can think of right now. There is a lot I havent' discussed, but I think that covers the highlights that interest most wargamers.

MajorB16 Apr 2012 6:33 a.m. PST

3. The basic unit in the game is the regiment. I've seen games where the basic unit is the batallion or the brigade, but never the regiment. Essentially the authors view this as a better building block of Napoleonic armies, for practical and aesthetic reasons.

How does that work with British armies that typically only fielded single battalion regiments?

Battlescale16 Apr 2012 6:38 a.m. PST

Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.

Steve16 Apr 2012 6:41 a.m. PST

Thanks for a thorough explanation. I have the other FOG books, but wasn't that interested in the "N" version. I might pick it up though since its relatively inexpensive. I'd just have to figure out how to run it with the way my units are based (for Napoleons Battles).

IainJL16 Apr 2012 7:03 a.m. PST

You group a few battalions into in effect a "battlegroup". The British do I think benefit from the attachments system to tool up this formation (particulalry with light infantry). Perhaps a better way of thinking about this is that the rules suggest a number of men represented by a base. Units (called the regiment in some armies but often not fielded that way)consist of 4-6 bases representing a certain number of men, attachments add light infantry (enhancing shooting), artillery (enhancing shooting), cavalry (negating skirmishers) and officers to that unit. A number of these "units" are commanded by a divisional commander with perhaps an exceptional commander as an attachment. An army is a number of these divisions, some of which may or must be mixed infantry and cavalry formations depending on the army, some of which are rigidly separated between horse and foot again depending on the army (and time frame).

Artillery (2 bases)and Cavalry (4-6 bases)are also units and can have much more limited (usually just artillery) attachements. The British can attach a rocket base to an artillery unit for example.

In theory a number of different battalions would form the "unit" above and I'm thinking of painting bases differently to represent this within a unit.

The rules have a diagram that shows several battalions within the 4 to 6 bases covered by the "regiment" area to make the point that this is a covenient grouping to which the divisional commander can allocate his very limited command points to.

MajorB16 Apr 2012 7:09 a.m. PST

You group a few battalions into in effect a "battlegroup".

So this statement:
"The basic unit in the game is the regiment."
- is incorrect?

IainJL16 Apr 2012 7:27 a.m. PST

For the British- yes – more likely a brigade for them. Too easy to get hung up on nomenclature with this set. It's a corps level set where the maneuvre units are broken down to a group of battalions.

seldonH16 Apr 2012 7:30 a.m. PST

Well.. I think he meant it from the point of view of troop strength..
He could have said that the basic unit is about roughly three battalions…
When you combine this with the small or large units this could mean that a unit could be something between 2 to 4 battalions roughly depending on battalion strength…

I think most people agree that it is kind of an awkward choice but it does sort of work… It is visually difficult for both of us that are used to seeing our units as battalions for the tactical game.. or for those that have their diorama style units for the other grand tactical games..

Very nice and detailed observations..
I also liked the explanation about "tactical" and "extended" as some people were thinking that tactical was column and extended was line, which is not really accurate.

thanks
francisco

Ken Portner16 Apr 2012 7:30 a.m. PST

@Steve,

Actually, the book talks about this specifically. They recommend using two Napoleons Battles bases as one FOG-N base.

marshalGreg16 Apr 2012 7:42 a.m. PST

The basic building block is the regiment or small brigade (IE British or French depleted brig 1813/1814, some Russian depleted brigs 1812/1813 etc.)
It essentially represents the foot print of such a tactical organization.
Some interesting concepts
I am having difficulty getting my head around some the rules the way they are presented – got the quick play down load and that has helped in getting ready for a play test.
Game ascetics:
To me it seems to be grand armee/V&B concept for moving/presenting units but with the base divvied up into 4 or 6 pcs to allow some formational ascetics.
A large phalanx of troops representing a regiment or such just doesn't look right. I put AoE in this category

These rules are tough for this gronards to accept.

John de Terre Neuve Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2012 8:32 a.m. PST

Nicely worded review and an excellent overview of the rules. I agree fully that the writing is wordy, but things have been very carefully explained and the basic mechanism of the game is the simplest I have seen.

I would like to say though that the basing is flexible for the non-competition gamer.

I see it is still a struggle though for some, in respect to the units represented in the game.

How does that work with British armies that typically only fielded single battalion regiments?

These rules are tough for this gronards to accept

The individual units represent regiments or conglomerations of individual battalions. So for the British, which seems to give the most trouble, a unit would represent a small brigade.

There is a very nice section in the book which tells you how to convert historical OB's to FoG-N units. For example a 2-3000 man infantry brigade would be one large unit. Simplicity itself!

I have been waiting for some time for a grand-tactical ruleset with a basing structure that I can also use for my battalion level games, I was hoping that Blucher would be this set, but there is no sign that it is going to appear soon. I suspect that FoG-N will do a nice job at this level.

John

ps My last 3 blog posts have been focused on FoG-N

fuentesdeonoro.blogspot.com

IainJL16 Apr 2012 8:40 a.m. PST

I think I am liking it. I do really like the attachments system, both in how they play and in a modelling sense.

Sysiphus16 Apr 2012 11:56 a.m. PST

Nice write up. How was the index layout; adequate or missing the mark?

This was a big issue for me with FOG-A.

Don

Ken Portner16 Apr 2012 1:30 p.m. PST

Don

I didn't pay any attention to the index other than to note that there is one

trailape16 Apr 2012 2:56 p.m. PST

Great observations.
I like FOG-N. It sits nicely with my prefered 'Battalion' Level game (within a Divisional environment) LASALLE and is very similar in a few regards such as basing and how the break down of cohesion is modelled.
Command friction is particularly well modelled.
For me it's like a mix between 'LASALLE' and 'British Grenadier' but at CORP level.
trailape.blogspot.com

Fredloan16 Apr 2012 2:57 p.m. PST

If they recommend 8 infantry per base and 4-6 bases per unit then that is either 32 (small) or 48 (large) figures per unit.

Are these units regiments or battalions? Most of my basing for French and thier allies is 24 figs per battalion in 15/18mm scale. This is 4 per base x 6 bases per battalion. How will this affect me playing FOG-N?

I am new to all this so please bare with me. Novice just learning and painting my first army.

trailape16 Apr 2012 3:13 p.m. PST

If they recommend 8 infantry per base and 4-6 bases per unit then that is either 32 (small) or 48 (large) figures per unit

Correct.
Are these units regiments or battalions? Most of my basing for French and thier allies is 24 figs per battalion in 15/18mm scale. This is 4 per base x 6 bases per battalion. How will this affect me playing FOG-N?

Not wanting to steal Bede19025's thunder, but I'd suggest that each base represents roughly a battalion or half battalion. That said, I simply created my units as a single battalion that is representing the entire 'formation / Regiment'. That is to say my 'gaming' units are either 4 or 6 bases strong with (using a French 4 base unit as an example) with 4 Grenadiers, 4 Voltigeurs, a drummer, an officer, an Eagle Bearer and 21 Fusiliers. Remember, you miniatures are simply a representation of the troops occupying an area of the battlefield.
I hope that helps.
You can see some photos of a FOG-N game played recently on my blog that might help a bit more:
trailape.blogspot.com

How will this affect you playing FOG-N??
Well probably not at all, as there is a section in the rules that discuss using miniatures based for different systems.
Base size (width) is what matters really?

Ken Portner16 Apr 2012 4:14 p.m. PST

All I know is that the designers notes in the book say that the units are regiments, although I think that people are right to point out that this is just a shorthand way of saying that the units are more than single battalions, but less (sometimes at least) than brigades.

While I haven't played, I don't think alternate basing would have a huge affect on game play. The bases of a unit aren't used to take off casualties, they aren't counted for fire or combat. Units are either small or large (this is reminiscent of Black Powder) and so I suppose you could use any number of bases you'd line to represent your units.

I'm sure that some would complain that in doing so you're messing with te ground scale, and it obviously wouldn't fly if you want to play in at tournament, but otherwise I don't think it would present a problem.

trailape16 Apr 2012 4:19 p.m. PST

Bede19025
Would you mind if I placed you observations on my blog together with mine?
You can find mine here:
link
Cheers
trailape.blogspot.com.au

Desert Rat16 Apr 2012 4:21 p.m. PST

For the number of figures on the bases I use 6 to a base with my AB figures. Looks absolutely fine! So that's 24 for a small unit and 36 for a large. Then I tried it with the smaller Essex figures and it still looks fine!

Ken Portner16 Apr 2012 6:14 p.m. PST

Bede19025
Would you mind if I placed you observations on my blog together with mine?

Sure, go right ahead.

I'd have sent you a PM but I can't figure out how to do it!

Ken Portner16 Apr 2012 6:17 p.m. PST

For the number of figures on the bases I use 6 to a base with my AB figures. Looks absolutely fine! So that's 24 for a small unit and 36 for a large. Then I tried it with the smaller Essex figures and it still looks fine!

Is that 6 to a 40mm wide base or are you using smaller frontage?

It occurs to me that another option would be to use the base size recommended for 10mm or 6 mm figures (30mm wide bases) with 15mm figures and then use the movement unit for that smaller scale.

I have my figures on 30mm wide bases with 6 figures and it looks pretty good.

trailape16 Apr 2012 6:44 p.m. PST

Base width is recommended as 40mm wide for 15mm.
That said, as long as you have a frontage of 80mm wide for 'Tactical' and 160mm wide for 'Extended line' you're 'good to go'!
As there is no base removal, (except for 'Spent' units) then it's not really an issue.
If in doubt, just use sabots / movement trays.

Fredloan16 Apr 2012 6:54 p.m. PST

I too base my 15mm on 40mm frontage. I base 4 figs on a 40mm x 15mm base

trailape16 Apr 2012 6:56 p.m. PST

I too base my 15mm on 40mm frontage. I base 4 figs on a 40mm x 15mm base

And that would work

MikeKT16 Apr 2012 8:16 p.m. PST

The order is Assaults/Move/Fire/Fight Assaults/Recover.

Actually, the sequence is different from the above (and from FOGAM and FOGR) in an important way:

Assaults come first, including charge movement and related firing.

Then the Fire phase, Active player firing first, Inactive second (after suffering any adverse outcomes).

Then the Active Player moves.

This means that a static unit gets the advantage of getting in its volleys first when an advancing opponent comes in range. Good shooting can stall the enemy or even throw them back allowing for a counterattack if desirable.

So how to neutralize this advantage before assaults? By preliminary bombardments, of course!

This in theory should also allow the active player to shoot, take the other side's fire, then retire to open the range, which next turn will be longer.

This places more importance on firepower to stop attackers. I liked this mechanism for horse and musket warfare in the old WRG Horse and Musket fast play rules and I like the idea here.

Clay the Elitist16 Apr 2012 8:52 p.m. PST

Yep, sounds just like the good ol' WRG "Bang You're Dead" rules!

FYI – my group loved those rules, but in 30 years NEVER got the sequence of play figured out consistenty….

Desert Rat16 Apr 2012 10:05 p.m. PST

Bede19025,

I use 6 figures on a 40x30 base. The troop density looks good and a bit easier on the wallet with the AB troops.

MikeKT16 Apr 2012 10:41 p.m. PST

FYI my group loved those rules, but in 30 years NEVER got the sequence of play figured out consistenty

Aye. For FOGN Keeping a copy of the sequence on posterboard handy especiaily at demo games will I think be needed, since gamers tend to feel that move and shoot is more natural.

Keraunos16 Apr 2012 11:46 p.m. PST

this whole regiment thing – I think it is being over thought by reviewers.

surely its just a simple 'there, I said it' way to avoid complicated rules about formations and their effects and whether they can be formed in time, and an way to get more types of troops onto the table with the same number of figures

- meaning you can have 4 'units' of line and then you have your 2 brigades of them, and can do something interesting as well now, or you can have one chasseur and one hussar as your light cavalry – instead of needing 3-4 chasseurs before you can paint the hussar, same with dragoons to cuirassiers ratio

plus the 'battles' can be 'bigger' – placenoit as a basic starter game where for a unit = one battalion game you would be looking instead at half or less of the battle on the same sized table

Alan Charlesworth17 Apr 2012 3:00 a.m. PST

I play with toy soldiers for the look of the thing. The problem with these rules for me is primarily that they they don't 'look' right.

They may be a great game or a great simulation. But if that was what i was primarily interested in, I would used cardboard counters or wooden blocks.

A battle with these rules, based on pictures put on peoples blogs, looks nothing like a Napoleonic battle.

This aspect is the biggest turn off for me.

Tarty2Ts17 Apr 2012 3:12 a.m. PST

I play with toy soldiers for the look of the thing. The problem with these rules for me is primarily that they they don't 'look' right.

yes….you beat me to it AC. The look of the battle is important for me also.

MikeKT17 Apr 2012 3:20 a.m. PST

I've played enough games with rules representing individual battalions and even companies. As a neutral & I think intereating question, what DOES or SHOULD a Napoleonic battle look like at this higher scale?

trailape17 Apr 2012 5:10 a.m. PST

I've played one game. It looked like a napoleonic battle to me.
No squares were formed, but then again it wasn't needed.
To each their own I guess.

Alan Charlesworth17 Apr 2012 8:57 a.m. PST

The Word posted this link in another thread. If you scroll down you can see how he has based his figures for Napoleonics.

warandpaint.blogspot.com.au

This is what I meant by figures looking right. This shows higher level formations that still look like their constituent parts. Possible in 6mm and under. Not a practical solution in larger scales. Most FOG-N battles will be fought in 15mm and 28mm scales with 'Regiments' that look like battalions formed in massive columns.

Ken Portner17 Apr 2012 9:40 a.m. PST

This is what I meant by figures looking right. This shows higher level formations that still look like their constituent parts. Possible in 6mm and under. Not a practical solution in larger scales. Most FOG-N battles will be fought in 15mm and 28mm scales with 'Regiments' that look like battalions formed in massive columns.

Fair enough. But that also means that unless you're blessed with a huge playing space and thousands of figures, you won't be able to recreate an entire, or large part of a historical battle in larger scales since only a game where battalions are the basic unit will give the visual you want

nickinsomerset17 Apr 2012 12:24 p.m. PST

I was involved in a huge Waterloo game in 15mm. Three tables each about 4 x 18 and approx 25 players, the Prussians were real Germans. (We were in Germany) Not everyone was familiar with the rules and we started off on the Saturday morning with Port and Red Wine!

Needless to say over two days we did not get very far and the Germans sat quietly in a corner for the whole weekend! This is the problem with anyone who wants to re-fight large battles at Bn level deploying individual skirmish troops, combining Coy, Bn, Regt, Bde and Corps Commander hats in addition to refusing the advances of Josephine!

Something one has to accept in most games is a certain amount of abstraction be it hub to hub tanks in FOW or 24 figures representing a Coy/Bn/Regt/Bde. With abstraction a couple of us can re-fight Waterloo/Boridino/Aspern Essling or a large section of Leipzig over a weekend, drink beer and enjoy a few curries on a fairly regular basis.

That saying I started FPW gaming in 28mm, amassed huge forces and then built up even larger forces in 6mm to be able to fight the larger battles. I have now gone the opposite way in Napoleonics due to those evil Perry Twins, Vile Victrix et al, I know I am unlikely to fight the bigger battles but the figures are beautiful and fun to paint,

Tally Ho!

Alan Charlesworth17 Apr 2012 2:21 p.m. PST

How many players of FOG-N will be doing Waterloo, Leipzig or Wagram? Very few I suspect. In fact most will not even do battles the size of Placenoit or Sacile (the historical scenarios in the book).

Of the 2,600 plus engagements in the period most were quite small. There were very few Borodino's or Aspern-Esselings.

A battalion based set that plays quick can easily accommodate battles up to 30,000 a side as a multiplayer game and smaller engagements one on one. That is more to my liking and actually looks like a battle.

The abstractions and compromises necessary to shoehorn Austerlitz onto a 6' x 4' table in 28mm hold little interest for me (OK I know FOG-N doesn't go quite that far :-) ).

I appreciate others mileage may differ.

Tarty2Ts17 Apr 2012 7:06 p.m. PST

I have found rules with brigade/regiment size units are not my cup of tea unfortunatley. There always seems to be a bit of a trade off with flavour, and brings a certain amount of blandness too the game. I'm surprised Osprey has gone down this track quiet frankly, and for what seems to be a competition set of rules, an interesting approach.

MikeKT17 Apr 2012 11:44 p.m. PST

This is what I meant by figures looking right. This shows higher level formations that still look like their constituent parts. Possible in 6mm and under. Not a practical solution in larger scales. Most FOG-N battles will be fought in 15mm and 28mm scales with 'Regiments' that look like battalions formed in massive columns.

Your comment is valid about how 6mm looks on the table more than the rules, which give latitude in arranging troop "bases" within the unit footprint. I took a look at the rules today and on p85 it diagrams examples of how infantry can be arranged within the "unit footprint" as two lines of battalions for "Unreformed" (old style linear) units, or for "Reformed" troops in line of columns with a skirmish line, or l'ordre mixte with a skirmish line. If "spent" markers are used rather than removing a base, units could be set up as a diorama.

With a new game I always look first at designer's notes to find out what designers think they were doing. Much of that in FOGN is explaining and justifying the use of demi-brigade/regiment/grouped battalions (plus attachments) as the basic units both on grounds of historical usage and as reflecting the corps and divisional level command perspective (where the commanders within those "units" of 1200-3000 foot (and fewer horse) are assumed to be adapting to circumstances).

It is at least a reasonable position, and I think a playable game with a corps or two on a side is going to be an enjoyable alternative in scale vs familiar micro-ing the cut and thrust minor tactics of battalions in a divisional engagement.

nickinsomerset18 Apr 2012 1:56 a.m. PST

Of course one option to achieve the "look" would be to base 6mm figs on 28mm base sizes. I do recall seeing a 1:1 French Bn in 15mm in one of the magazines. Very impressive but a nightmare to game with.

Tally Ho!

John de Terre Neuve Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2012 8:16 a.m. PST

Something one has to accept in most games is a certain amount of abstraction be it hub to hub tanks in FOW or 24 figures representing a Coy/Bn/Regt/Bde. With abstraction a couple of us can re-fight Waterloo/Boridino/Aspern Essling or a large section of Leipzig over a weekend, drink beer and enjoy a few curries on a fairly regular basis.

It is at least a reasonable position, and I think a playable game with a corps or two on a side is going to be an enjoyable alternative in scale vs familiar micro-ing the cut and thrust minor tactics of battalions in a divisional engagement.

I have to agree with Nick and MikeKT. I believe the designers have set forth excellent explanations on their reasoning re the utilization of regiments and demi-brigades.

I reset up Placenoit on a 8x5 terrain, I believe it now looks good and is quite playable.


I have summarized all the formations used in FoG-N on my most recent post.
link

The only downside about the rules and the rulebook that I have discovered:
Is that they are aimed at the points based competitive gamer
There is no downloadable QRS
There is no play test included in the book, which explodes out each phase of play


John

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