Sunday, December 2, 2018

A few design thoughts from our work with Rebels and Patriots

Thought I would share a bit about some of the rules in Rebels and Patriots and a bit about our thoughts regarding them. The minis in the pictures converted perry and vitrix minis from my Mexico-American war project that I started due to the playtest of the Rebels and Patriot rules, was to be a small project but ended up in a total of 180 infantry, 24 cavalry and 3 guns.

Mexican Officer attached to a unit of Line Infantry

Officer, as I have a background in roll-playing games and always have liked to be able to get some kind of campaign feel to my wargaming games. For The Pikeman´s Lament I introduced a larger focus on the Officer of your Companies and the development of the Officer linked to his battlefield deeds. As it seems like most people liked the concept so Dan and I decided to stick to it

We use more or less the same rules for Offier, you gain Honour depending on how god or bad your Officer and company solved their objective during the scenarios. The Officers give bonuses to units close by and we introduced a new stat for them Tactical Value that are a bonus to add when you decide Attacker and Defender, if your Officer are a tactical wonder he have a greater chance to influence if he shall be aggressor or defender.

3 units of American Line infantry and a unit of Skirmishers escorting 
the damsels in distress to a safe haven

Troops, the basic company is as always 24 points and the different Troop types most often cost 2, 4 or 6 points and they have a bunch of different options so you can customize them as your gaming group want to represent different troops during the era you games. Please look at the troop types in their own historical context, you can’t really compare a Line Infantry unit from the AWI with a Line Infantry unit from AWI even if they use the same Troop type.

For example if you are gaming AWI and want to run a Bunker Hill inspired battle you have to think about how to best represent the different troops involved, the American Militia and the British Regulars would be represented by the same troop type: Line Infantry, here is where the Options comes in play. 

The American Militia everyone would say was not as good as the British regulars, but how would that be represented in the Rebels and Patriots rules? 

If we in this case decide that the British Regulars are the norm and use the basic Line Infantry stats for them, for the American Militia we now have to use different options to downgrade them like making them Green, they now have a negative modification on Activation and Morale, we might also give them the option Timid to represent their lack of bayonets and reluctant to stand a British charge.

So I urge you to take some minutes to think about how to let the abstractions in the rules represent different historical effects like for Rifled muskets with miné balls compared to Smooth-bore muskets with buck and ball, what is the norm in your game? If the Rifled Musket are the norm then the Smooth-bore would need to be represented with the downgrade option Poor Shooter etc. I hope that you better understand a bit of our thinking behind troop types, options compared to historical performance by the troops.

Mexican Grenadiers in Close Order formation screened by Mexican Skirmishers, all by the drill book

The game turn, we think it is correct that battles should see more units doing more things by this time of history, unlike the less well drilled armies of earlier centuries and sins the Activation-roll reflects the command and control of you force, we decided to let all units have a chance to be activated each turn.

So when a unit fails its Activation that does not end your turn. the turn ends when you tried to activate all your units or does not want to try activate any more of your unactivated units.

We also decided to only use one value for activations and morale etc. and then modified that depending on circumstances like morale effects etc. If you roll 6 or more on 2D6 you have succeeded with your Activation etc,. 

In short there is a 72% probability to activate a unit, if no possitive or negative modifications are in play, that might feel like a pretty good chance, but be sure that you often, at the most crucial moment, will fail your activations...

To increase you chances of success we have tried to take in account things that we feel effected linear warfare, like the Officers influence on the unit, the unit’s formation and it training/experience, in short a Veteran unit, in command and a in a Close Order formation will succeed 97% of the times. 

French Legionnaires on a Mexican adventure, the unit has 2 Dissorder markers so indeed in a bad state and need to be rallied on their next activation. (Minis painted by my matey Andy)

Morale, to show the attrition of battle, units gain Dissorder markers and if a unit gain to many the unit will rout and be removed from the game. The Dissorder markers effect the units performance very much and even if some Officers will continue the fight with a disordered unit it might be a much better ideea to try to Rally them and get back their combat effectivness and also minimising the risk that the unit will turn around and run for home. Once again, experienced troops in good command and formation will sustain morale effects much better.

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