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"Elchingen 1805 - Polemos Ruse de Guerre" Topic


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369 hits since 3 Aug 2022
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

shugyosha03 Aug 2022 3:15 a.m. PST

Inspired by Heretical Gaming (Whirlwind on TMP) I gave this Polemos rule set another spin.

Elchingen Battle Report

Durban Gamer03 Aug 2022 3:40 a.m. PST

Exciting AAR with lovely kit and useful comments on the rules. Thanks for posting!

Glenn Pearce03 Aug 2022 11:25 a.m. PST

Hello shugyosha!

Thanks for sharing your exciting Elchingen Battle Report using Ruse de Guerre. Also thanks for including your comments on the rules. All great stuff and wonderful to see that you enjoyed yourself.

I don't think there were actually a lot of different troop types in horse and musket warfare just because there were over a dozen different troop names. RdG makes it easy for new and experienced players by simply using three types or grades of troops, poorly trained, trained and well trained. As you noted RdG does not show all the different names of cavalry in the Napoleonic Wars. This system allows the players to rate their cavalry how they think it should be. It's simple and makes the players happy.

The Tempo or bidding system is an attempt to represent the tempo of warfare. In warfare the army that has the tempo is believed to have the better chance of controlling the course of the battle. In your game when the Austrians (defenders) controlled the tempo they generally had more options on how they can control the battle. The first is as you noted deprive the French (attacker) from being very effective. However, it also opens the door for the Austrians to have an aggressive defense. A course of action taken by lots of wargamers and some historical armies as well. In our recent game of Elchingen the Austrians did just that. They launched a counterattack on the French left flank before it could fully deploy. So it allows for the historical flow or back and forth of battle.

Most games of RdG are not solo and the Tempo bidding becomes a game within a game between the two C&c's. There is often total silence in the room when the commanders announce their bids. Some solo players simply use a dice roll as their bid while others rate their commanders to modify the bid. Now that your aware of the full consequences of your bid take some time to design how you think it should play out. You can also ask Whirlwind as he's being doing it for years.

RdG was intentionally designed to let you the player fiddle with rules in pretty much anyway you want to match up your own personal ideas about how warfare should actually transfer to a wargame. The rules originally had three shakes and you're out. Over years of play testing we realized that this actually did nothing more than delay the game. Once a unit becomes shaken your immediately forced into a matrix of decision making. Do I carry on, do I reform, do I try to rally or do I pull back. All of these have consequences that are multiplied by the variables in different situations. So the full pressure is immediately on the players to make a decision. Times the other units that might also be shaken. Now all of this feeds back immediately to your next bid! The time to act is now, no time lost waiting for a second shake. Most of our games are big ones with 6 to 8 or more players. Spread these problems over a table with a couple of hundred bases and the pressure becomes too much for some people to handle and some of them don't enjoy being the C&c. So the only thing I recommend is before you make any changes get a few games under your belt and if possible with more players.

If you have any questions, I'm delighted to answer them for you.

Best regards,

Glenn

shugyosha03 Aug 2022 12:07 p.m. PST

Thank you for your insightful comments Glenn. At the level RdG portrays, just grading heavy cavalry as "well trained" felt right and it cuts back on special rules needed for troop types otherwise.

My problem with the tempo bidding, and the defender "issue" came from solo play and probably also from the way I see the Austrians at Elchingen. I deliberately wanted them slow and sluggish. I will probably go back and make my thoughts clearer on the blogpost, as I can certainly see the reasoning and appeal of the mechanic in head-to head play.

As for the deadliness: I can see that this might be less of an issue in a bigger game for me. But as said it is just another aspect of solo play that I have the time and enjoyment to draw the action out a bit.

Regarding the C-in-C in your games: Do you always use the d10 as written when generating tempo? I read that Whirlwind uses a slight variation and I did so as well as Ney and Riesch seem worlds apart. With a d12 against a d8 I gave Ney more chances to control the flow of tempo.

nsolomon9903 Aug 2022 4:55 p.m. PST

Very nicely done.

I'd comment that the terrain of the Elchingen battlefield is quite extreme, more so than many other European battlefields, and it really dictated not just the initial dispositions but also the direction of the French attacks.

Glenn Pearce03 Aug 2022 5:29 p.m. PST

Your welcome shugyosha.

Yes, I normally rate heavy cavalry as well trained as well and as you say it cuts back on special rules.

I also think your idea of softening the shake sequence by changing it from two to three is a good one. Especially in solo games or small battles with two players where game time is not important. For large battles with lots of players and lots of moving parts, it simply bogs the game down too much.

Yes we always only use a D10. We don't try to emulate the historical characters. We expect the players to step into their historical roles but use their own skills to win the game. We also found out over time that any edge in Tempo bidding can change the game dramatically. So no handicaps. However, once you own the rules you can do whatever you want to them to meet your expectations of how a Napoleonic wargame should play out.

Looking forward to hearing how your next game goes.

Best regards,

Glenn

Glenn Pearce03 Aug 2022 5:42 p.m. PST

Hello nsolomon99

Yes indeed the terrain of the Elchingen battlefield was difficult and put a lot of pressure on both sides to maximize it to their advantage. Here we now have three games using the same rules with different layouts due to their different sizes and number of players. Two small solo games and one large 4 player game. They all had terrain problems but had similar results.

Best regards,

Glenn

Whirlwind04 Aug 2022 1:14 p.m. PST

Hi Shugyosha,

Very nice game, really enjoyed reading your AAR.

If you think it is too bloody, you could always let troops take a second shaken level: most of the other Polemos rules use this, although it makes things a little more complex. If doing this, treat automatic break results from fire or melee as causing 2 shaken levels.

Regarding tempo in RdG, here is how I approach it:

The first stage determines how many tempo points are available. If I am just using a d10 roll for each side, if the attackers win they will choose to use the high number, the defenders will choose to use the low number.

If circumstances dictate then that might be reversed. If I want to reflect command capability then I might use a d8+2 or a d6+4 for the better commander, and a straight d10 for the worse commander. Anything you like really. I would be wary of using a system which generates more than 10 tempo points here though;it is better to have the less good commander generate lower numbers if required.

I use similar systems to randomize the actual tempo bids. a different die works well (the better commander with a d10, the worse commander with a d8, or d6, or I guess even a d4.). You can use a constant d6+4, or d4+2 or whatever; that works okay too.

I don't use the tempo-stealing mechanic playing solo, I find it makes it considering best actions too complex.

shugyosha05 Aug 2022 2:38 a.m. PST

Thank you for your insights Whirlwind. I will probably do something along those lines the next time I play RdG.

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