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"Do You Make Use of Reserves?" Topic

32 Posts

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26 Jan 2019 2:11 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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714 hits since 26 Jun 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian26 Jun 2018 6:50 p.m. PST

In your historical miniature wargaming battles, do you hold back some of your forces to act as a reserve?

KevinV26 Jun 2018 6:54 p.m. PST

I/our group try to hold a reserve. Sometimes we just rush everything into the fight.
The side that does use a good reserve often or usually wins.
I like a reserve.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2018 7:15 p.m. PST

I personally like a reserve and try to structure my scenarios with reserves on both sides. But as we well know, plans fall apart as soon as gamers get their hands on the figures.


Rich Bliss26 Jun 2018 7:18 p.m. PST

Almost always. The rules I play most often really reward it.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2018 7:18 p.m. PST


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2018 7:22 p.m. PST

In my historical gaming, I try to do what the scenario and rules together both permit and gives me the best chance of winning. The "ambush" answer is not the same as the "linear defense" answer.

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2018 7:53 p.m. PST

In ancients games, no. Hoplite warfare was more about crush/kill than committing fresh men… hmmm… exceptions, exceptions.

In WW2, almost anything not actually shooting at anything else counts as a reserve so, I suppose yes.

Horse & Musket? Sometimes. Depends upon the terrain restrictions and does my second line count as a reserve.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2018 8:57 p.m. PST

It depends.
If I'm putting on a historical scenario that had reserves, then they have them.
If all forces are set up in one line, well…..

Tassie Wargamer26 Jun 2018 10:42 p.m. PST

I generally prefer to keep a big reserve with which to deliver a powerful counter attack after my opponent has committed all or most of their forces.

TMPWargamerabbit26 Jun 2018 10:54 p.m. PST

For H & Musket period games. Ancient generally limited to none for most scenarios. For napoleonics. the integrated Army morale, order issuance, fatigue, and victory determination system (MFP) sort of forces players to have commands in reserve. Otherwise generally what happens one side becomes "army fatigued" before the other and starts a declining slope of negatives towards morale and combative ability every hour.

advocate26 Jun 2018 11:23 p.m. PST

Ideally, yes.
But the rules have to make it worthwhile. If victory is determined by losing a proportion of your force, then all may be list before you can send in the triarii.
Rules which are forces held in reserve to be activated and moved more easily give a reason to hold reserves – Blucher, Chain of Command.

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 3:48 a.m. PST


If I am the commander of a game at an operational level with multiple players per side, one of the measures I use for the strength of the victory is how many uncommitted reserves my side has left. Conversely, I also keep track of how early the opponents rushed their last reserves into the game.

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 5:00 a.m. PST

Yes, they come in handy at the right moment.

CSherrange27 Jun 2018 5:20 a.m. PST

Yes, nearly every game of Bolt Action i play. Also in Napoleonics, and in air combat

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 5:57 a.m. PST

It depends on the battle and my strategy. Usually, I do not always commit all my forces up front.

Many of our scenarios have "off-board" reserves that will be called in later in the game based on (pseudo-)random chance, events in the game, or a hybrid of both.

F'r'ex, in a law enforcement scenario, the LEO side may begin with first responders and have back up en route. They may also be able to call for additional support and special units. Sometimes the Adversary side has a hidden victory condition related to getting the LEO to put all their forces on the board (i.e., this is a distraction a la that one Die Hard movie … 2? … 3.14? … 17?).

… or is that a different poll?

Vigilant27 Jun 2018 6:17 a.m. PST

Scenario's frequently involve reserves, or later arriving troops. Also event cards can generate reinforcements. Makes for an interesting game.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 6:42 a.m. PST

Depends, my great northern war swedes are out numbered and keep reserves would be asking to loose. But in a Napoleonic game, you need to keep reserves. Shuttling about reserves is part of the Napoleonic feel. (After all many Napoleonic battles were just bloody resource management games. )

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 7:13 a.m. PST

When possible, yes.

21eRegt27 Jun 2018 7:50 a.m. PST

I almost exclusively play 1750 and forward, so yes, whenever possible or practical. I typically find the person who is last to commit reserves wins.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 8:00 a.m. PST

More often than not


Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 9:23 a.m. PST


IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 9:47 a.m. PST

Yes, when possible.

John Leahy27 Jun 2018 10:20 a.m. PST

If you play Field of Battle you really need a Reserve. Otherwise, bad things can and often do happen!



Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 10:24 a.m. PST

Yep! A fellow without reserves is a fellow without a plan. grin

rmaker27 Jun 2018 11:15 a.m. PST


Legion 427 Jun 2018 2:45 p.m. PST

Depends on the situation …

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2018 3:26 p.m. PST

As much as a I can, up to a third. But sometimes you can't have any.

khanscom27 Jun 2018 6:13 p.m. PST

Sometimes… but it doesn't always help.

Augustus Inactive Member27 Jun 2018 7:27 p.m. PST

Yes. Hex Command series will punish you. Many is the time the CNC system punished you for not having a reserve.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP29 Jun 2018 6:41 p.m. PST

Only if it is off board. If it's on the table it's going in. SOMETIMES that works sometimes not. I've never been accused of being afraid to move troops into contact.

UshCha30 Jun 2018 1:03 p.m. PST

Use of reserves rely on the game being able to deploy the reserves in time. Some of the Featherstone clones do not do this well.

Our rules and our play means that reserves are a key to a good plan and a successful action in attack or defense.

Dagwood01 Jul 2018 12:05 p.m. PST

Usually only a single cavalry unit (ancients). But my Camillan Romans have reserves built into the three line system.

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