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Many game designers give lip service to the importance of command and control in their rules, yet many designs give the appearance of having had the "command control" portion of the rules tacked on as an afterthought.
For the designers of Bound For Glory, however, the issue of command and control takes center stage. As they explain in the Introduction to this rules booklet:
[The design's] main objective is to provide a game system that simulates the problems of command control and benefits of well-handled units...The small-arms fire, artillery fire, and melee tables have been designed so that they resolve quickly and realistically, based on numbers and research of the period. This allows players to concentrate on developing their battle plans against a rapidly changing situation.
Of Leaders And Men
The highest-ranking leader on each side is the Commander-in-Chief (usually a division- or corps-level commander). The lowest-ranking leader in play is the brigade commander. Depending upon the size of the scenario being played, intermediate leaders (division leaders) may also be involved.
All leaders are given a ranking – charismatic, superior, average, or inept. For historical leaders, scores can be taken from the lists provided (25 pages of general officers, rated for their performance at brigade-, division-, and corps-level). For fictional scenarios the referee can assign values, or the players can agree to roll dice and consult the Random Leader table.
The Fighting Units. The smallest unit in the game is a regiment, typically composed of somewhere between 6 and 21 figures (which, depending on how you choose to base the figures, works out to be at least 2 stands, and possibly as many as 7 stands).
A brigade is composed of 3-7 regiments, plus a brigade leader stand. Each brigade is given a Morale Rating (elite, veteran, green, or militia).
A division includes a division leader stand, plus 1-4 brigades.
The Sequence of Play
The game is played in Turns, during which both players take actions in the appropriate steps or Phases. Each turn is composed of these steps:
|Order Phase||Commanders-in-chief can issue new orders to their subordinate officers.|
|Movement Phase||Both players can move their Unengaged forces.|
|Command Phase||Brigade-level officers take special Command Actions.|
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|Combat Phase|| |
|Melee Phase||Units in contact must battle.|
|Leader Casualty Phase||Casualty Rolls are required for all leaders exposed to battle.|
|Morale Phase||Engaged brigades make morale checks. The non-Initiative player first tests his units, then the player with Initiative tests his units.|
A quick note on terminology: A unit is considered Engaged if it is within 18" of the enemy (i.e., in range of fire); otherwise, the unit is Unengaged. A unit is considered Pinned if it is within 4" of a functioning enemy unit.
The Orders Phase
As it enters play, each brigade, division, and/or corps must be given an order by the Commander-in-Chief. This "order" simply consists of instructions, including specific goals or objectives. A unit must make an honest attempt to follow its current orders, no matter how out-of-date or far-fetched.
New orders must come through the Chain of Command. When a leader issues a new order, a die is rolled to determine the time delay before the subordinate officer(s) receive the news. The delay will be 1-3 turns, depending upon the leader's rating, distance, and (for corps and army commanders) the proximity of headquarters.
An exception to this general procedure is made for units which have been given orders to hold themselves in Reserve. Units in reserve respond to a new order immediately if the leader is near enough, or with a one-turn delay at worst.
During this phase, leaders may also attach themselves to Unengaged units. ("Attaching" allows a leader to more easily influence a brigade or regiment.)
The Movement Phase
Only Unengaged units may move at this time, and only if within the Command Radius of their leader. (All leaders have a fixed command radius, based on their rank.) A unit's movement rate depends upon its type (infantry, cavalry, or artillery) and formation.
Infantry and cavalry regiments can use three basic types of formations – column, line, or skirmish. There are two special forms of Line Formation: Open Order (stands spaced ½" apart), and Double Line (two ranks of stands).
Another special formation is the Brigade Assault Column. The brigade's component regiments each form a row in a brigade-sized column.
Artillery movement requires that the guns be limbered, with the exact rate depending upon the type (horse or foot), guns (light, medium, or heavy), terrain (road or field), and whether the unit is galloping.
Making a formation change costs half of that unit's movement rate. Artillery units similarly pay a penalty when limbering or unlimbering, as do cavalry when mounting or dismounting.
The Command Phase
(Note: For purposes of this article, I refer to this phase as the Command Phase. The rules alternately refer to it as the Command Control Adjustment Phase, the Tactical Adjustment Phase, or simply the Adjustment Phase.)
Based on his ranking, each leader may spend a certain number of Tactical Command Points (TCP's) per turn. For each point spent, the leader can perform one action (known in the game as an Adjustment). However, each leader may affect only a single brigade per turn, and only one adjustment may be made per regiment or battery. Only non-Pinned units can be adjusted, unless the leader is attached to the unit. Units must be within Command Radius of the leader to be affected.
The possible Adjustments are:
|Rally||Allows units to trade in 2 Hit markers for 1 Casualty marker.|
|Change Formation||The only way an Engaged unit can change formation.|
|Change Facing|| |
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|Expand Frontage||Allows a regiment to move into the brigade's front line, if it has sufficient movement.|
|Relieve Unit||Allows a non-Pinned regiment to take the place of a badly-hit regiment, movement rates allowing. The relieved unit moves to the rear.|
|Inspire||Leader's chance of success depends upon his rating. The commander is considered to be "leading from the front" if successful, and risks a greater chance of death. Once inspired, a unit remains inspired until Unengaged.|
|Regroup||Allows a leader to reform a Disordered unit.|
|Attach||Allows a leader to attach to a brigade or regiment. (This is the only way to attach to an Engaged unit.)|
|Detach||Allows a leader to un-attach from a unit. (This is the only way to Detach from an Engaged unit.)|
All Adjustments are considered simultaneous.
The Tactical Movement Phase
(Note: The Tactical Movement Phase is what I call this portion of the turn. The rule refer to this phase as sub-phases B and C of the Combat Phase.)
First, both sides roll for Initiative. Modifiers apply due to leaders, orders, inspiration, and the number of brigades per side. The player with the highest total has the Initiative for the phase.
(If the battlefield is broken by terrain into distinct areas, then the Initiative Roll should be made independently for each area.)
The player with the Initiative may move his Engaged, non-Pinned units. The units must be within the Command Radius of their leader, and must strictly conform to their orders.
Afterwards, the opposing player may move his Engaged, non-Pinned units. All movement rates for his units are halved, due to not having the initiative.
Opportunity Options. Each player may take certain actions during the opposing player's moves. A counter-charge is allowed against a charging enemy unit. Also, units may make a pass-thru fire attack against enemies which moved through their firing arc but are no longer an available target at the end of movement.
The Combat Phase
(For readers trying to follow along in the rulebook, what I call the Combat Phase is what the rulebook calls combat sub-phases d and e.)
The Combat Phase is divided into two sub-phases. First, units which have neither moved nor fired this turn may make fire attacks. All of these attacks are considered simultaneous. Second, units which moved but have not yet fired may make their fire attacks. Again, all of these attacks are considered simultaneous.
Small Arms Fire. The attack is resolved by counting the number of figures in the firing regiment and matching this against the second column of the Small Arms Table. This indicates which line on the chart to use (i.e., the Base Number).
Modifiers now apply, which have the effect of changing the Base Number and shifting the attacker to different lines on the combat chart. Modifiers apply due to such factors as morale, movement, target formation, and terrain.
When the final Base (or chart line) is known, the player now finds his weapon and range at the top of the table, and correlates this against his chart line to find the combat result. The result is the percent chance of scoring a hit. If the percentage is greater than 100%, one automatic hit is scored per every 100%.
EXAMPLE: A Union cavalry regiment (10 figures) opens fire on a Confederate infantry regiment behind a fence. The range is 4".
A 10-figure attack puts us on line 5 of the combat chart. However, these modifiers apply: Elite (+1), Moved (-2), Mounted (-2), Fence (-1), for a total modifier of -4. That takes us down to line 1 of the combat chart.
Using this combat chart line, we compare against the column for carbines at this range. The listed result is 20%. Rolling the dice, the Union player get a 90 – no hit this turn!
Artillery Fire. When an artillery attack is made, the gun type (siege, heavy, medium, or light) is compared against the range on the Artillery Chart to determine an attack value. This value, multiplied by the number of guns in the battery, is then compared against the second column of the Small Arms Table to determine which line of the chart to use.
The artillery modifiers adjust the chart line, after which the hit chance is found under the Artillery column. Modifiers include effects due to morale, having an attached leader, terrain, and the nature of the target.
EXAMPLE: A Confederate battery now takes the Union cavalry from the previous example under fire. The battery consists of 4 "medium" smoothbore guns. The range is 7".
According to the Artillery Chart, Medium guns at this range have an Attack Value of 3. Multiplied by the number of guns (3 x 4 = 12) gives us our total attack strength.
A 12-point attack puts us on line 5 of the combat chart. However, these modifiers apply: attached leader directing fire (+1), crack crew (+1), flanking fire (+2), cavalry target (+1), for a total modifier of +5, moving us to line 10 on the combat chart.
The Artillery Column on Line 10 tells us that there is a 500% chance of a hit. This means that the Confederate gunners get five automatic hits on the Union cavalry.
The Melee Phase
Units which are in contact during the Melee Phase must resolve combat.
The unit which initiated the melee is known as the Attacker, the other unit is the Defender. Comparing Morale levels on the Melee Table provides the percent chance of the attacker winning the melee.
Various modifiers apply to this percentage, due to such factors as terrain (first turn of melee only), inspiration, attacker having held his fire until now, formation, ratio of strength, and attached leader.
The Attacker then rolls the die. If successful, he wins the melee this round; otherwise, the Defender wins this round.
Another dieroll is made to determine the results. The original chance of success is correlated against a dieroll, modified due to four conditions (terrain, flanking, disorder, and inspiration). The possible outcomes are:
|Fire Fight||Loser falls back 2". Both sides disordered. (The melee is considered to have aborted itself.)|
|Engaged||Both sides suffer casualties.|
|Fallback||Loser retreats 6", both sides suffer casualties.|
|Retreat||Loser retreats out of firing range, takes casualties. Winner can advance.|
EXAMPLE: From the previous example, the Union cavalry and the Confederate infantry are now in melee. The Union started this, so they are the Attacker.
Comparing the Attacker's Morale (Elite) versus the Defender's Morale (Veteran) on the Melee Table shows the Attacker has a 60% chance of success. But this is modified as follows: +10 ("average" Union leader attached), -15 ("superior" Confederate leader attached), -15 (Confederates behind a wall), -10 (Confederates are inspired), +25 (Union has a 2:1 manpower advantage), for a final result of 60 + 10 - 15 - 15 - 10 + 25 = 55.
Rolling the dice, the Union player scores 93 – too high! It's a Confederate win.
The Confederate player now consults the Melee Results Table. His chance of success (45%, the reverse of the Union chance) indicates which column to consult, and he has a +20 modifier (due to being behind a fence, and being inspired).
The Confederate player rolls "75," modified to "95." On the 45% column, this indicates a Retreat. The Union cavalry must immediately retreat out of small-arms range, is disordered, and takes 1 hit. The Confederate infantry has the option of advancing.
Hits, Casualties, and Morale
Regiments receive hits as the result of combat. Once the unit has three hits, it must immediately make a Morale Check. In addition, it must make a new Morale Check whenever it receives a new hit, unless the regiment is able to reduce its total hits below three.
Depending upon its morale, the unit will be given a target number for the Morale Check. This number is modified due to the situation, including such factors as being fired on from the rear, an attached leader, terrain, and the regiment's current strength.
If a unit fails its Morale Check, there are four possible results:
|Fallback||Unit retreats to cover.|
|Retire||Unit is disordered, moves out of small-arms range.|
|Rout||Unit is disordered, moves to the rear, and takes several hits.|
Obviously, it is a good idea to reduce the number of hits which a regiment has received. For Engaged units, this is done through the Rally adjustment, when Hits are turned into Casualties. (Unengaged units automatically convert Hits into Casualties, as do units which rout.) Casualties do not force Morale Checks, and cannot be gotten rid of.
(The rules suggest using two colors of cotton puffs to mark Hits and Casualties.)
If all figures in a unit are Hits or Casualties, the entire unit is removed to the rear. It will automatically convert Hits into Casualties each turn, and cannot move until this process is completed.
Leader Casualties. During the Leader Casualty Phase, a Casualty Roll is made for each attached leader whose unit was Engaged this turn, and for each unattached leader who was in range of a firing enemy unit this turn.
Modifiers apply to this dieroll, depending upon terrain, whether the leader is mounted or not, the attached unit (if any), and whether the commander was "inspiring" his men.
There are two possible penalties for failing the Casualty Roll. The leader could be killed, to be replaced by a Replacement Leader in several turns. Alternately, the leader's TCP capacity might be reduced by one point (reflecting the loss of staff officers). The leader rid himself of this penalty only when Unengaged.
Brigade Morale. During the Morale Phase, the morale of each Engaged brigade must be tested. Brigade morale is considered to be the average of the morale of the regiments of which it is composed.
The Brigade Morale Check is similar to the Regimental Morale Check, but uses different modifiers and has different results if failed. Conditions which prompt modifiers include regimental strength, loss or seizure of objectives, and leaders, plus there is a random modifier.
The possible results of failing a Brigade Morale Check differ, depending on if the unit is considered an Attacker or Defender. The options are:
|Fatigue||Brigade takes one Fatigue Point.|
|Fallback||Brigade must withdraw out of small arms range of the enemy.|
|Retire/Repulse||Brigade retreats, and all units become Disordered.|
Disorder and Fatigue. Brigades accumulate Fatigue Points through failing Brigade Morale Checks. Fatigue acts as a penalty during melee, and during future Brigade Morale Checks. On any turn that the brigade is Unengaged, it can remove one point of Fatigue.
Units become Disordered as the result of melee or a failed Morale Roll. A Disorderd unit moves at half speed, and suffers penalties in fire combat, melee combat, and during Morale Rolls.
In order to restore its fighting qualities, a Disordered unit must Regroup. This happens automatically if the unit is Unengaged. An Engaged unit can only Regroup through the intervention of a leader (and if the unit is Pinned, the leader must be attached directly to that unit).