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"What about rules for losing control because you're winning???" Topic

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20 Apr 2020 11:30 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "What about rules for lossing control because your winning???" to "What about rules for losing control because you're winning???"Crossposted to Game Design board

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gamer120 Apr 2020 11:27 a.m. PST

Hey guys, hope all is safe and sound:) As the header suggest, here's my question. My question could actually apply to several different time periods, Nappy, Ancients, etc, just picked this one.

I have played tons of rule sets of various periods that cover how players slowly lose control of their troops when they start to lose a battle, normally routing.

BUT I haven't seen any rules that really cover how this can also happen if you start winning, by a lot. I think this is something worth considering because, well……….as many of you know there are numerus cases of it happening in real life. Once a side starts pushing the enemy back and a retreat turns into a route the troops on the winning side can get over excited, zealous, etc and end up chasing the enemy until they are way over extended, lose contact with their chain of command, etc. Depending on what else is going on this could be no big deal or it could lead to a victory turning into a defeat or draw.

Now I wont bother listing specific examples but I'm sure most of you can think of at least one battle that it became a major problem for the winning side/commander. So……..what do you guys think, something interesting worth thinking about? Not worth the trouble, am I wrong? Could it add to a rule set and make games more interesting, say if units win a melee they keep going even if you don't want them to. Something to think about perhaps???

Stryderg20 Apr 2020 11:48 a.m. PST

The only way I see that working would be with a random event card/roll at the critical moment. But determining that moment would be a problem.

Unless you rolled each time a unit routed, but I would think the events should be rare (2 or 3 on 2d6 maybe). And if it's that rare, is it worth doing every game? Maybe make it less rare but only for specific games, to add some uncertainty or to give the 'loser' a second chance?

Sigwald20 Apr 2020 12:08 p.m. PST

Lion Rampant has the wild charge rule for units like knight cavalry. They have to charge any enemy within range unless they pass leadership test. You could add that to any circumstance you saw fit too such as when winning a combat or pursuit etc.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Apr 2020 12:11 p.m. PST

Well, you could do what they do for losers – army morale.

On any turn in which your opponent has to take an army level morale check, you do likewise. Of course, his has the possibility of sending more units into panic.

Yours is the reverse. If you "fail" then each part of your army tests to see if they charge, full speed, toward the closest enemy, with an eye to engaging in close combat.

gamer120 Apr 2020 12:29 p.m. PST

All good idea's and points. Glad that at least some of you folks thought it was worth commenting on. So….I guess the next question is if there is a frequent enough chance it can happen would it add more fun/challenge to the game or add more frustration and take away from the game?
Guess second question would be would veteran/elite/guard troops be more or less likely to do it than green troops? I think you could argue both sides of it? Interesting thought at least? I am beginning to wonder if some battles that have over all descriptions like "the battle sea-sawed back and forth all day" was a way of describing just that event, but on both sides???
After all I remember reading some battles as described as one side would charge, win ground just to be thrown back only to regroup, counter charge until thrown back once again themselves, etc, etc………

Timmo uk20 Apr 2020 1:00 p.m. PST

WRG Renaissance rules cover this.

Zephyr120 Apr 2020 1:49 p.m. PST

Once a unit of your troops starts looting the opponent's baggage train, you should pretty much count them out of the fight from then on…

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2020 1:50 p.m. PST

I developed a "shifting morale" chart for a medieval game which tracked both falling morale and over-exuberance, with a series of columns for morale roll results. Towards the lower morale end of the chart the columns would tend to produce retreats and routs; on the opposite end, impulsive attacks were possible. Troops in a given range of the commander could have their place on the chart shifted either up or down; troops with lieutenants could shift up, but only (and always) up. (So that "Harry Hotspur" over your right wing might keep your men from retreating… or he might decide to live up to his nickname and charge for glory!)

Korvessa20 Apr 2020 3:01 p.m. PST

Isn't this what a pursuit does?
I have had troops charge off when I didn't want them too, only to have them get cut-off, etc.

CeruLucifus20 Apr 2020 3:55 p.m. PST

Warhammer Fantasy covered this by requiring a Leadership check to withhold pursuit of fleeing enemy. Hot-headed units (I forget the name of the rule) weren't allowed this check.

This might take a unit out of position, either vulnerable to be charged, or just using up the next turn or two maneuvering back into position to charge. You could also draw them out of position by charging with a weak unit, making a sacrifice to draw them out of position.

If a unit pursued enemy off the table, normally they are allowed to return, but for a scenario you could rule they stayed off to loot the enemy camp.

khanscom20 Apr 2020 4:31 p.m. PST

WRG Ancients and DBM/DBR provide mechanisms for uncontrolled pursuits and advances after combat.

Martin Rapier20 Apr 2020 10:20 p.m. PST

This sort of thing is very common in rules featuring cavalry charges.

In more modern periods, units will normally need some reorg after a successful assault, during which time they are very vulnerable to counterattack. Making the winners suppressed or whatever is an easy way to show this.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Apr 2020 1:27 a.m. PST

Rifle Wars has this built right into the combat resolution, without having to make a separate die roll or test. Each brigade has a Status number, higher being more aggressive, which is adjusted up or down as a result of each interaction with an enemy brigade. When a brigade suffers a Status loss of -2 or more, each enemy brigade which contributed to it gets a Status bonus of +1, which, if their Status was already high enough, would drive them into an uncontrolled advance.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2020 2:42 a.m. PST

I believe "Empire" had some type of uncontrolled cavalry rule.

coopman21 Apr 2020 4:31 a.m. PST

In the TRIUMPH! rules, certain unit types must pursue if they win a close combat, and any victorious unit must pursue following the elimination of an enemy stand in close combat. This can be bad news for the pursuer depending on the situation.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Apr 2020 5:28 a.m. PST

Certainly uncontrolled charges for certain units are very common.

I think the OP is thinking about something at a higher level. You're doing well on the day and entire chunks of the army, not just a unit here or there, all go over to the advance whether you will or no.

Garde de Paris21 Apr 2020 10:43 a.m. PST

I have not played On to Richmond in this century, but used to love to see dice roll (double 1 or double 6? for Green units) "charge out of control!"

Great way to erase a whole green unit!


Stoppage21 Apr 2020 11:12 a.m. PST

It's an appealing idea – favourable conditions encourage over-confidence – whole formations running amok!

…and then getting into trouble.

rampantlion21 Apr 2020 1:01 p.m. PST

Not only follow up to a successful charge but also units stopping or dispersing to loot fallen enemy or camps (especially in medieval armies)

Personal logo Kaiju Doug Supporting Member of TMP21 Apr 2020 1:54 p.m. PST

If you are Kentucky Militia, never chase the Native Americans into the woods when they "running away". Routed commands can cause a loss of control on both sides. Not really a rare occurrence.

coopman21 Apr 2020 5:07 p.m. PST

It's a trap!

UshCha22 Apr 2020 4:08 a.m. PST

DBM, to some extent does this for both sides, the DBMR rules for caalry that as far as I can see did it for cavalry in a superb way, never fed the mechanism it back into the standard set but would be equaly valid for many ancient armys. It comes at minimal cost in rules and no more wasteing time die rolling.
DBM when not buchered by competion players who have stangee views as far as I an concerned was a massive leap forward in rules technology getting order and dissorder at a minimal price in rules.

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2020 3:41 a.m. PST

Hi gamer1,

Interesting question. As other respondents have said, it's not uncommon for rules to provide for compulsory advance/ exploitation or the like at the unit level. This seems realistic to me.

It seems much less common for rules to provide for this at the formation level (by which I mean, a command that includes several units but is itself just one of perhaps 3 such formations constituting the tabletop army).

As you say, we can all think of battles where a formation became reckless when winning and caused problems for the higher command. However, having trawled through a list of battles, it seems to me that these are pretty rare occurrences. I'd suggest they are best addressed by a special rule for a given scenario, rather than being a standard component of a ruleset. I'd also counsel against making such a rule so strict that players are straitjacketed by history. There are ways to do it so the history can be repeated but does not have to be.


Bloody Big BATTLES!

Uparmored23 Apr 2020 4:58 a.m. PST

I watched a documentary and a US Army artillery unit in Iraq '03 that disobeyed orders to stay at the rear of the column, to rush to the front, get into the fight and get some.

khanscom23 Apr 2020 6:26 p.m. PST

"…it seems much less common for rules to provide for this at the formation level (by which I mean, a command that includes several units but is itself just one of perhaps 3 such formations constituting the tabletop army)…"

Just see what happens in DBM when an opposing command breaks while your units are in proximity -- not always pretty.

Blutarski24 Apr 2020 8:49 a.m. PST

Here is how I handled the pursuit issue in my "home-brew" ACW rules -

Pursuit of Broken enemy
A friendly unit in Confident morale condition must advance a full turn of movement in direct pursuit of any formed enemy which breaks within 1 inch of its front, unless it is restrained by passing a morale test.



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