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"Which version of this Rout rule do you prefer?" Topic


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734 hits since 10 May 2020
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Comments or corrections?

Last Hussar10 May 2020 8:30 a.m. PST

This is about FoG:N, but I'm looking for an opinion, even if you don't know the rules.

FoG has 4 Cohesion levels
Steady->Disordered->Wavering->Broken
At the end of a turn, one unit per Division may attempt to rally back one level

If I understand the rules correctly

1st edition;
If a unit reaches Broke, it may get a chance to rally back. If it doesn't it routs off table
If it does it classes as 'spent', and suffers permanent loss of effectiveness.
A 2nd Broken routs it

2nd Edition
A broke unit routs automatically at the end of the phase it was broken.

Is the 2nd edition rule too harsh? Can a unit reform in the battle?

Todd63610 May 2020 8:52 a.m. PST

I'd be fine with them routing automatically. It does take quite a bit even to get to the broken state. Not knowing the rules, but I would guess a broken unit is pretty combat ineffective, so I wouldn't be too concerned if they just routed away. I think I would be focusing my efforts on the wavering and disordered units.

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 9:09 a.m. PST

This is very similar to my Unit Cohesion rules: each unit has 100% effectiveness at the beginning of the game. Loss can be regained, but never regained as much as it was at the beginning of the game. Therefore, should a unit suffer results that would take it over 100%, the unit is removed from play as that event represents a situation where the unit's leadership has no chance of regainging ANY control over the unit during the timeframe of the game. Until that point, each unit's leadership should have a chance to regain some control over the men.

Last Hussar10 May 2020 9:12 a.m. PST

A broken unit cant fight at all – its about whether they have a chance to get back to 'Wavering' before running off. If the Divisional commander tries to rally (5+ on either of 2 dice- not over on 2d6) he cant rally another in his command, as only one per turn.

Close range is 2 'move units', infantry move at around 4MU. If no firing was at Close then you can't be broken, no matter how many hits, but if any fire comes from Close then units that started at Wavering automatically break, even if no hits are caused.

Very few 'Unreformed' infantry (ie 'old'/'Prussian' method) can fire at medium range – you need skirmishers for that.

Stryderg10 May 2020 1:53 p.m. PST

I think it depends on the number of units on the table and how much paperwork you want to do. Simply removing the Broken units decreases the amount of tracking you need and lets you focus on the rest of your army. But if your army consists of three units, recovering that broken unit becomes really important.

RudyNelson10 May 2020 2:02 p.m. PST

A unit is broken due to losses included dead, wounded captured and those who have lost the will to fight and scattered. Wargaming loss levels are significantly higher than in reality. 15% would often impair a unit and 25% would render a unit none operational.
Only a charismatic Leader would have any chance a rallying a unit to just stand its ground. Attacking for these units would no longer be an option.

Garth in the Park10 May 2020 2:22 p.m. PST

I think the notion of routed units rallying and coming back dates from the games of the 1980s, which assumed that players had a lot of time and wanted to represent a lot of time. It was rarely worth the effort since rallied units were usually so beat up at that point that they couldn't do much more than sit around and sulk.

I'm trying to remember what was the first popular game in which routed units just went "poof" and disappeared. I think it might have been Tactica? But that was the start of a new genre of simpler games, designed to play in less time and to get to a decisive conclusion more quickly.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 7:21 p.m. PST

I don't think a "broken" unit should be permitted an attempt to "rally" at all, at least not in the middle of a battle.

Disordered. or wavering perhaps, with varying levels of success, but certainly not "broken" ones.

Even in WWII, broken units would take months to refit and recover, if they weren't broken up, and troops shipped off to fill in other, more stable units.

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 8:24 p.m. PST

Last Hussar: Unless the Divisional Commander was with the unit when it received the result, how would that guy even know the condition of the unit so quickly? (Aren't there more friendly units in his command that are also demanding some of his attention at the same time?)

I think a few folks might have gotten the concept of losses mixed up. A unit can lose 5% (or 10 or more or less) casualties/effectives but lose 80% (or less) of control over the men -keeping them acting in concert as a unit. The number of effectives has nada to do with the unit acting as a whole. (I have a great T shirt from the HAWKS that says "Dead Men doen't take morale checks") Probably the easiest way to paint that image/concept.

Again, pick any period of history and you'll find units running with little or no casualties while others seemingly fighting till the last man. That fact alone should stand as an example that numbers and casualties are not THE determining factor of a unit continuing to function. Of course, if you like "game mechanics" to prevail instead of the historical record, then don't claim it being a "historical" game. (In that sense, it's only historical due the figures being used.)

Of course, it's the results that we are ultimately interessted in, not how we got there. A commander that COULD have done something different , but did not, cannot go back into time and choose a different action in real life- why allow it in a game? The gamer, acting as that commander, should also be made to make decisions based upon what the SITREP is at this time in the game. Afterall, the real-life counterpart has to deal with the current SITREP too.

IMHO, you are headed down the right path as to what is/is not the right value set to measure how well a unit acts. The old (and now dated) casualty based/ morale driven (being in anyone's military is NOT an exercise in democracy…to do as you are told regadless of how you feel…or else!) game mechanics seem to ignore the combined efforts of the unit's leadership in keeping control over the men. "Oh Sgt….I am using my "time-out" card now….." is not real life outside of the new basic training….

But far from it for me to say that if you enjoy playing any set of rules and are having fun, that it's a bad thing! This hobby is large enough to have many differing points of view and life experiences to view rules designs and punters that take the "it's my way or the highway" point of view. There will always be more sets to turn to (or even design one of your own by using parts of seberal sets that you like.) It should be about fun, but not about claiming it being historical.

Sometimes it's like playing old maid with toy soldiers! While "My Orc cannon just totally demolished your PzKfw IV despite it having a 75mm L48 with HE shells,into a flaming hulk of lead!" That can be fun as a Big Box fantasy company says it's OK in their world to do so. It does not have to be so!

I am NOT comparing your design efforts anywhere like that example, I just used it as how some folks are only interested in rolling dice, pushing figures around and kabbitzing and could care less about the history nor the work put into the game by the hosts. Same with rules designs. The "OOOH, Shiny" will always sell a few copies until the dice meet the table…unless the rules have something new to offer. Press on, my friend. Best of luck to you as I feel you are getting close to discovering something new to offer.

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 8:38 p.m. PST

Thresher01: In WWII, the US sent over replacements into "Repo Depots". Many of these newbies from stateside training had trained together yet assigned to units irrespective of that common experience. They would be lucky if anyone in their new units would even care enough to show them the ropes. The casualty rates were quite high on those replacements. The unit's they were sent to did not have the luxury of having long periods of time to refit and reform. I get your point, though.

Desert Rat11 May 2020 2:28 a.m. PST

As someone who playtested both editions of the rules, you really need to understand what "broken" actually means. The definitions for each cohesion level was never included which, I believe, is unfortunate.

A broken unit does not necessarily mean the men are routing. Some may be and some may be streaming back in disorder. Anyway, a broken unit has lost its fighting cohesion. Bear in mind that the scale of the game is a Corps or a small section of a larger battle so all up you are looking at a two or three hour time period (approx 6-8 turns). That really isn't enough time to rally up – look at d'Erlon's Corps at Waterloo. Those infantry units weren't routed in the classic definition but neither did they play much of a role in rest of the battle. Same with the Allied 3th and 4th columns at Austerlitz. They were broken but never reformed.

One of the main reasons was to speed up the game – I once had to break a French Guard Cavalry unit FOUR times before it disappeared for good!

Also it is one unit per COMMANDER that can be rallied, not one per division. It is a viable tactic to assault with one division so that the Corps commander, Division Commander and any attached Brigade commanders can rally. That's three attempts for one division which should keep the cohesion of the units in that division.

Sparta11 May 2020 3:22 a.m. PST

This is actually an interseting discussion of speed of play. We often seem to equate speed of play with the complexity of the rules or the number of modifiers. However, the fastest games are those were one side disappears on contact, whereas the slower games are those were you really have to grind the enemy units through multiple combats or preparatory fire. I was recently made aware of this through a review of Snappy Nappy on Little Wars TV, where they discussed that the rules were really not very simple but worked really quickly because units disintergrated in no time.

Guess my point is that I have come to realize that I am old school – I like that the Old Guard cavalry can come back for 4 beatings even if means delay…..

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2020 8:00 a.m. PST

I think it does depend on just how many units you are trying to keep track of, but it does make sense that in over the course of a battle the chance of a broken unit rallying and doing anything useful is pretty remote

As to the WWII issue, it is instructive to consider the German vs US approach to replacements – the Germans would pull units out of the line after they were badly beaten up and send them to the rear for requipment and reinforcement – as a consequence the replacements had a chance to fit in; the US just pushed replacements into front line units, which resulted in big losses among the replacements and didn't help unit effectiveness very much!

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP11 May 2020 10:04 a.m. PST

It seems that the player has several opportunities to see this coming (the earlier levels).

Also, if you can rally back from the other levels, I would say the first rule is too lenient.

Last Hussar11 May 2020 3:58 p.m. PST

Desert Rat – Typing I forgot that 'Brigadiers' could rally. Also as Wavering troops can't close to get to Broken the unit would have to under the cosh.

I prefer Reducing Morale rules to casualty removal, except at 1:1 levels I don't see why you would use them.

I like the BP version, where when a unit gets to its Morale level, extra hits trigger tests, at -1 per excess, but the excess is cleared after each test. It gives that feel of watching units at the edge, wondering if they will go.

I only managed 1 game of 1st ed, and have played a game of 2nd ed. Its that problem of thinking you know a rule because it didn't register its been tweaked, and its hard to concentrate on stuff you think you know!

Although Sparta has a point, being continually being able to beat up the Old Guard has its attractions, especially if your opponent is one of those who only ever fields the Imperial Guard!

Teodoro Reding11 May 2020 7:50 p.m. PST

I think the key issue us, as someone said, whether a unit us broken (routing) or rushing back in disorder after an unsuccessful attack. At Vimiero, Talavera, once (almost all) the French units had been broken – that was it. They were in no condition to attack again; all knew they couldn't achieve later what they couldn't achieve fresh.

With assaults on positions/villages, or with cavalry, successive assaults seem to have occurred, often with the same troops (hence breaking Guard cavalry four times).

I HATE it when units go ‘pouf'
At the very least I want to see them rout across the board, infecting triops around them. And uf they rally but are beaten up, they can still gibe ‘rear support'

I usually use my own rules but have also just started using ‘Over the Hills'
It works with Fatigue Hits (FHs) units wear out. You rally off these FHs with your generals.
They have an optional rule with which you also keep a tally of all FHs for a brigade if battalions. Once they've chalked up 50% (including those rallied off), they can take no further action.

I just refought Alcaniz, which sees a French frontal assault on a Spanish position (guns backed by infantry). Without the optional rule, the French front line pair of batts would get beaten up, be replaced by second line, replace the second line when it was beaten up, and so on, till with some help from a supporting flank attack, they broke through and won.
Playing the optional rule, the assaulting brigade was screwed pretty quickly.

A) Which is more realistic? (Compared to historical battle)
B)Which was more fun?
C) Which took ages?

A) with the optional rule. The French attacked, broke, rallied, withdrew
B) without the optional rule. Really tense. Exciting.
C) without the rule, obviously

Still not sure what to conclude from the experience!!

Sparta12 May 2020 2:42 a.m. PST

Teodoro, you just summed up my point very precisely. We discuss this to little in rules selection and often discuss "complexity". As you write, the games produced by rules are very different depending on the staying/recovery power of units and impacts the type of game massively. In your example I guess some players will go for the optional rules game to suit their taste/playing style, where I am definately in the other camp – have not interest in a game that is just a few hours…

If players want a fast game, quick resolution, last man standing after two hours, they should have a ruleset with high losses and morale effect and no possibility of recovery.
If you want a long tactical fencing/slogging match, where the succes of an attack depends on you softening the enemy with fire and multiple attacks, go for rules with incremental and cumulated effects, with possibility of at least partial recovery of morale effects.

I use a homegrown set similar to you, where casualty and morale combines into disorder levels, which can be rallied leaving residual "combat fatigue".

Your points about Talavera is also intersting – what if Welleington had attacked, would the french units hvae been able to put up a good effect. I believe offensive power decrease faster than defensive power and have tried to model it by letting combat fatgue erode offensive qualities before fire/defense.

One thing that is also striking in the Napoleonic wars is how the french and later allied troops converted into skirmishers when they dissolved – as D´Erlons corps at Waterloo – so units also behave differently under pressure, which is a very interesting game concept.

1815Guy12 May 2020 9:01 a.m. PST

imho there needs to be an event, a situation change that resets a unit's status. MAybe a General rides over to them, or an enemy unit is seen defeated/withdrawn etc.

This is possible while the unit is still together, say standing in line looking shaky, or retiring away from the enemy.

But when a unit goes into 'sauf qui peut' mode the unit disintegrates in all rearward directions like a shotgun blast.
I dont see any unit cohesion at all to organise a localised rally in anything other than just a few small groups of men.

Reports routinely state that any nearby woods were often stuffed with routers/deserters. Digging that lot out and back into the line would be a bloomin miracle.

Similarly, at Waterloo there were so many Allied troops fleeing Northwards on the Brussels Road that Ney thought Wellington was retreating and sent in the cavalry. There's no way that lot were coming back on a lucky die roll; in fact when they got to Brussels they spread news that Wellington was defeated.

So yes, imho I wouldnt allow an auto rally for Routing troops in a potentially dangerous place. Maybe in a rear "reserve" area, eventually.

Teodoro Reding12 May 2020 10:36 a.m. PST

I think the key issue us, as someone said, whether a unit us broken (routing) or rushing back in disorder after an unsuccessful attack. At Vimiero, Talavera, once (almost all) the French units had been broken – that was it. They were in no condition to attack again; all knew they couldn't achieve later what they couldn't achieve fresh.

With assaults on positions/villages, or with cavalry, successive assaults seem to have occurred, often with the same troops (hence breaking Guard cavalry four times).

I HATE it when units go ‘pouf'
At the very least I want to see them rout across the board, infecting triops around them. And uf they rally but are beaten up, they can still gibe ‘rear support'

I usually use my own rules but have also just started using ‘Over the Hills'
It works with Fatigue Hits (FHs) units wear out. You rally off these FHs with your generals.
They have an optional rule with which you also keep a tally of all FHs for a brigade if battalions. Once they've chalked up 50% (including those rallied off), they can take no further action.

I just refought Alcaniz, which sees a French frontal assault on a Spanish position (guns backed by infantry). Without the optional rule, the French front line pair of batts would get beaten up, be replaced by second line, replace the second line when it was beaten up, and so on, till with some help from a supporting flank attack, they broke through and won.
Playing the optional rule, the assaulting brigade was screwed pretty quickly.

A) Which is more realistic? (Compared to historical battle)
B)Which was more fun?
C) Which took ages?

Teodoro Reding12 May 2020 11:03 a.m. PST

Sorry about the double post – was open on my phone.
I actually very much agree with both of you.
I like Over the Hills with the Fatigue Hit concept, but my own rules are very old school, with an attempt to get decisive results yet with historical casualties. In those rules, I have reintroduced Don Featherstone's saving throws. Some hits are casualties (1 or 2 on the die) some are stunned (fatigue hits essentially) and a 6 saves completely. Stunned troops count as lost (frozen, in the wood, run back, ‘helped wounded' etc). A unit can't advance after 33% casualties (including stunned) and starts edging away at 50%.
Works well. In a recent refight of Albuera, Godinot just could not get over the bridge because it was covered by a Portuguese battery in canister range – so the battalion trying took too many hits approaching and crossing.
Yet when that battalion was pulled out of the line and rested, the stunned troops reintegrated. However it was no longer fresh (a disadvantage). After trying twice, he gave up (as historically) – but he had not lost 2 batts (a third of his force). But his force had been blunted and was later defeated when tried to attack the (by this stage fairly empty) Spanish centre – because of Walloon Guards. After that attack failed, the whole brigade withdrew off the board – but with a historical level of casualties.
As Sparta says, this is all very satisfying if you have time (= basically solo play).
Not so practical though for games with your opponent because everything just takes too long.
The OTH people say they use the optional FH rul in their club games.
Much as I enjoy the micro action and forces remaining on table, I can see why.

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