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"medieval battleline rules question" Topic

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HappyHiker05 Jun 2020 2:12 a.m. PST

Look for some help on modelling a battle line. I'm modifying Rank and File ( napolionic) to work with Medieval. I've got most of the mechanics but want to encourage a battle line. I do the usual +1 on melee if in battleline(supported). But have modified the moral rules and want to check if its the way a line really worked.
So rank and file works from 1d6 for each stand in combat hit 4+ (modified). Each side rolls causing damage, who ever causes least damage loses, retires 2d6 and drops a morale status.
I've made 2 changes for battle lines. Loses does not auto retire, but takes a morale check first if pass they drop a morale status but stay in line. This results in a battle line lasting more than 1 combat round and various units going unsteady all good so far. 2nd combat round one of the unsteady units is going to break and rout. Here I've added the rule that on a rout any adjacent unit must also take a morale test to see if the rout causes a chain effect.

There are 2 ways of modelling this. <br/>1) do the adjacent morale check immediately even before the unit fights. <br/>2) resolve all melee then do all morale checks.

2 would seem the most obvious but can result in both battle lines collapsing. 1) is a bit weird but often results in the first unit breaking then the whole line or a good portion of it routing before the 2nd round of combat really gets started.(first unit to breaks causes a chain).Often each battleline has a partial collapse. Is either of these realistic?

Just wondered what really happen in a battle line, would 1 routing unit cause the whole line to collapse. Would both lines ever break and run from each other ? Would partial collapse be more realistic ?</p><p>I could just drop the whole adjacent unit moral check thing and just allow holes in the line to be exploited by more combat rounds. (overlapping bases in the hole get additional die in R+f)

Thoughts ? <br/>

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2020 7:42 a.m. PST

My reading is limited but one problem with writing rules for medieval is there weren't really "units" in the way we think of them.

HappyHiker05 Jun 2020 10:34 a.m. PST

Well yeah, but y'know, they probably didn't use dice either and it took 16 years to grow a new soldier, 😀so within the confines of a game, how did battle lines break ? Gradual break up, bits(units) routing, held fast, until it didn't so, total break up, whole line would move back?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2020 11:08 a.m. PST

My guess is "all of the above."

Maybe a line force marched and is hungry and one good shove shatters it. Another is well rested, and defending their home so only breaks in bits here and there. Or a noble falls and his followers lose heart, but others carry on.

I doubt there's a one size fits all anwer.

William Warner05 Jun 2020 12:02 p.m. PST

I have read before that battle lines tended to break from the rear. That's where the lest well armored and less enthusiastic troops tended to be. If things to their front began to look dicey, they would be the first to head for the hills. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this probably proved true well into the age of firearms.

Cerdic05 Jun 2020 12:39 p.m. PST

That's probably right.

If you are in the front rank and want to turn round and run away, how are you going to push your way through all the blokes in the ranks behind you?

On the other hand, there you are in the front rank minding your own business, when you suddenly realise that everyone behind has Bleeped texted off! So what do you do then…?

HappyHiker05 Jun 2020 1:31 p.m. PST

Yes I suppose running from the back is right, but difficult to model in a game. Are there any online resources that describe the breakup of a battle line ? I saw a youtube video that talked about the push and shove, give and take of a line, but I don't know how historic that really is? I've tried various searches for battleline but most give reviews of some old board game instead of anything useful.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jun 2020 2:09 p.m. PST

The problem is that for much if history we simply don't know.

HappyHiker05 Jun 2020 2:40 p.m. PST

Well no ok. So what do we know ? Presumably written fragments exist that show battle lines were formed. Presumably that was done to protect flanks. I've seen battle reports where it mentions turning a flank, which I assume means flanking a battleline and then moving down it so a unit is pinned from the front and flanked. I'm sure I've even read about the center breaking and allowing troops to flank the now split battleline. Even Ptolemy fragments mention things like that (it's been a long time since I read Ptolemy so I might remember it wrong)

Pattus Magnus05 Jun 2020 3:43 p.m. PST

Just a thought, but the process of breaking from the rear might be modeled where elements/units lose points as they are damaged. The lost points represent troops running away, as well as combat losses. The unit would keep its combat capability but be removed when it reaches the tipping point. It seems like most unit-removal games (as opposed to figure-removal games) would work.

Prince Alberts Revenge05 Jun 2020 7:54 p.m. PST

I don't think there is going to be one manner in which a battle line breaks, but I imagine it would begin with those not directly in contact with the enemy failing their bottle test when they see things reaching a critical level.

I read someplace and can't recall the battle, but I think it was between Anglo Saxons and Vikings and the moment that the smaller battle line started to get its flanks enveloped, the line started to dissolve. Good luck in your endeavor.

uglyfatbloke06 Jun 2020 6:38 a.m. PST

Just as an aside – it was not a universal practice for the best -armed men to be at the front, especially when MAA dsimpont to fight ampong the spears/bills; probably better to think of them as junior leaders/corset staves keeping the rest of the guys in order.

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