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 Post subject: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:08 pm 
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Location: Sawfend, Essex, (Innit, Bruv)
Hi, new joiner here.

We are currently about five moves into our first tryout of the rules - our club can leave games set up and keep coming back to them - and so far not too many issues or problems. As with most of you when testing new rules, I have encouraged the players to just try things out, and not to worry too much about winning or losing.

The current situation is that a cavalry squadron has successfully charged an infantry line, without suffering any casualties from fire. In the resulting melee, the infantry lost, but came out shaken from the morale test.

I have assumed that when we come to fight the next round, the cavalry are disordered (and lose half their possible melee dice) whilst the infantry lose half of theirs for the disorder, and half again for the shaken, with a proviso that they will always roll one 'free' dice; am I correct please? The main reason I'm asking is that as an ex AoR player, the opposing unit gained dice when the other one went below one.

Secondly, we are used to rules (such as Napoleon's Battles) where, if a cavalry unit fails to break any opposing one in the first melee round, it immediately falls back either to rally or let a fresh unit take over. I realise that the rationale behind BtLB is that game turns are 20 minutes long and that cavalry units represent more than one actual squadron, but looking at the melee modifiers the number of dice rolled by cavalry in the second round seems to go down quite dramatically. Does anybody have a houserule that such unsuccessful cavalry rallies back to allow a second (or third) squadron to attempt to charge home if it fulfills the criteria for joining an existing melee?

As I said, so far we have enjoyed the game, but only have a small force on the table, about 14 units a side (but it is in 15mm). If it takes off, then I'll rebase and perhaps post some battle reports - might even develop a demo game for some of the shows we go to.

Best regards,
Richard


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:55 pm 
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Richard

A single horse squadron is brittle and very much a one trick pony. Look to page 44 of the rules as an example of two different ways you can move horse around the table. The unit on the left is the one I would use as you have the option of peeling off a squadron in a charge or if really needed you can use the 'all or nothing' charge. You also have another squadron at the ready to reinforce the melee. The formation on the right I would reserve for Elite or Guard.

Quote:
the infantry lost, but came out shaken from the morale test


Question, what are the morale grades of the troops involved? Reason I ask, if Raw the troops break after loosing one bound of melee, drilled two, elite three and guard four.

Quote:
the cavalry are disordered (and lose half their possible melee dice) whilst the infantry lose half of theirs for the disorder, and half again for the shaken, with a proviso that they will always roll one 'free' dice


You are correct. Everyone is disordered after the first bound. I too play AoR and always hated doing the math for pips in melee. :)

Quote:
if a cavalry unit fails to break any opposing one in the first melee round, it immediately falls back either to rally or let a fresh unit take over.


Horse can break off from melee but it is a morale check result that allows them to do so. Melee if fought until there is a winner. In BLB adding another sqdn to the melee gives horse the continued advantage in melee.

Quote:
dice rolled by cavalry in the second round seems to go down quite dramatically


Horse are a shock troop, if they fail in the initial charge to break the enemy its just slug fest.

Quote:
Does anybody have a houserule that such unsuccessful cavalry rallies back to allow a second (or third) squadron to attempt to charge home if it fulfills the criteria for joining an existing melee?


Rally back is an option in the rules to get your horse out of a bad position. Once in melee its a fight to survive. I refer you to my comments on top and page 44 in best how to have supporting squadrons at the ready to reinforce a melee.

Lets look on page 40 as the example of your situation. We will say you charged the the front squadron in the hopes of breaking the foot and holding your second squadron in reserve to exploit the victory. The dice gods not being favorable the melee was won but the foot are drilled so though lost the initial melee are still slugging it out for another bound. You then can commit the second squadron to the fight. They are in formation and range to charge, pass their morale and go in.

So now your dice are; 1 D6 for the principle squadron +2 D6 won previous bound, +2 D6 reinforced by one unit, = 5 D6 - 1/2 disordered = 2.5 rounded up = 3 D6

The foot have 3 D6 base - 1/2 disordered = 1.5 rounded up = 2 - 1/2 shaken = 1 D6

3 D6 to 1 D6. If you win this bound of melee the foot will rout automatically (as I have assumed they are drilled). If the dice gods frown again and its a tie, well then it gets a little dicey in the next bound of melee as you don't have a third squadron to reinforce. But it's a gamble isn't it? And part of the fun. You can expect to win, but will you? :)

Hope this helps clear it up a little bit.

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:02 pm 
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Location: Sawfend, Essex, (Innit, Bruv)
Joe,

Thanks for quick response - yes, the foot are drilled.

The attacker does have a 'spare' squadron to reinforce his attack, but unfortunately it can't get to the infantry as their left flank rests on a wood and their right on another unit. It can obviously reach the rear of the meleeing cavalry, but as I understand the rules that does not count as joining the melee(?)

As this is a test game, I think what I'll do is to go through the melee mechanics of continuing the combat, but also allow the attacker to test to rally back and launch his second squadron subject to a successful die roll. The infantry then test morale as shaken, can't fire, and if they then lose the second round of combat will rout.

Richard


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:17 pm 
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Quote:
It can obviously reach the rear of the meleeing cavalry, but as I understand the rules that does not count as joining the melee(?)


Yes, that is all that's required to reinforce the melee. You do not have to attack from a different direction. (though if you had the ability only 3 sides could be attacked) Check their morale of your extra squadron, if it passes and in range, move them into contact behind the first squadron. This gives you the +2 for reinforcing. If you had a third squadron and the melee lasted into a third bound you would do the same for that squadron gaining +4 for having two reinforcing squadrons.

Quote:
also allow the attacker to test to rally back and launch his second squadron


By the rules this would not be possible. Horse in this period are prima donnas, they expect to win against base rogues on foot. They cannot break off unless they lose a melee and the morale result tells them to. Also once there is a clear winner in melee the fight is over, ie. your unit breaks off. You could not then charge the second squadron until the next turn.

Rally (Back) is a separate order you would give at the beginning of the turn. But I don't want to get off in another direction here.

Hope that helps you understand your situation a little better. Lastly don't think 7YW or Napoleonics, because it's not. :)

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Joe,

Thanks for this - everything is now clear and I can confidently offer suitable advice to the players.

Richard


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:15 pm 
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You're welcome. Barrys' a tyrant about his rules, he would be sure to slap down any errors I make. 8) :P :lol:

I'm kidding of course. :) You will find nothing but friendly banter and help here.

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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:12 am 
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Location: Sawfend, Essex, (Innit, Bruv)
Joe,

Just to let you know what happened in last night's thrilling instalment!

I explained what the rules allowed each side to do, and the cavalry commander decided to reinforce his first squadron. He successfully activated, moved into contact, and both sides rolled their melee dice - result a draw!

As you suggested, the whole thing got into a slug-fest. The infantry lost the third round but morale held up, so it went to a fourth and fifth round before the infantry lost two consecutive rolls and broke, but one of the cavalry squadrons had also been reduced to half strength and routed.

Overall good, positive, comments on the rule mechanisms from the lads, and we can largely understand the rationale behind most of them. Looks like the two of us who have armies based for AoR are going to have some serious rebasing to do; I know you don't have to, but otherwise I've got three spare painted figures per unit doing nothing.

The downside is that I was intending to paint up some AWI figures, but now I've got to beef up my Austrian Kuirassier regiments to either 18 or 24 figures, work out a shopping list for SELWG in October to get additional colours and flags for my unpainted WSS units, and go through the threads on here for proposed amendments so I can use BtLB for my 7YW armies!

Best wishes, and thanks,
Richard


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:09 pm 
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Hi:

I'm one of Richard's players (the other one with an army based for AoR :? ) and, although I wasn't present for the initial week's gaming, I acted as an observer and general devil's advocate for the second week's session. I must say I thought the rules played well and, apart from a degree of surprise at the severity of casualties from a round of musket fire (which wiped out a six-figure cavalry squadron) I don't have any serious problems. I suspect at least part of the reason for this bloody encounter is the intention to allow the players to finish a game in an evening.

We're lucky in that we can leave a game in progress for several weeks so, if I decide to re-base my figures and invest in a set of the rules, I think I might want to see some house rules enacted to avoid that degree of devastation. However, before going to that length, I thought maybe I ought to check that we hadn't misintrpreted something. Not having a set of the rules, I can't offer the details but basically what happened was that a French infantry battalion (La Reine, I believe) was threatened by an allied cavalry squadron which failed to initiate its charge and halted in place. The infantry then ordered a move (4") and advanced to within close range of the cavalry. The infantry (who had first volley benefit) then loosed off and killed all six cavalrymen. I was a little surprised that, having taken a full move, the infantry were not penalised more heavily when firing. We calculated that, with the worst possible dice rolls, they would still have inflicted 5 casualties.

Does it sound like we got something wrong or was this result roughly what you would have expected?

Cheers,

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:36 pm 
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Can't see how you got that result unless you classed the infantry as Guard?
The shooting would go +4 first volley, +3 short range, -1 for moving giving a total of 6. If you roll a one then 3 stands would give you 2 casualties and if you rolled a 6 you would inflict 4 casualties but this is still devastating on a single squadron of cavalry. The secret is not to get cavalry so close to infantry before you launch a charge.
Hope this helps?
Dave


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Right - first, I don't recall that the firing unit was classed as guard. My recollection is that it was classed as drilled (?) but it was part of a brigade in which its companion unit was either guard or elite (the latter, I think), so the brigade might have been classified higher than drilled for some reason (I wasn't there when the game was started). So maybe it got too many plusses when we worked out the modifiers. There were certainly more than 3 stands in the infantry - I seem to recall 5 or 6, so that must have contributed. The figures are based, as we said,for Age of Reason, so not as many figures per stand but more stands.

The cavalry's owner worked out the wisdom of approaching less cosely shortly after the last figure died :). However, it was his first game and I don't think he was prepared for just a -1 when his opponent moved and fired.

An aside: the guard infantry from the brigade was hit by another cavalry squadron in the same bound, failed its test and fired at long range, causing no casualties. It became shaken and was in dire straights when the cavalry contacted. You win some, you lose some but at least you have the opportunity to learn.

Cheers,

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Glad you all had fun. Sounds like someone learned its not wise to charge solid foot frontally. I think too that being based for AoR may have skewed the results depending how you played it. Good luck on your next game and let us know how it goes.

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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:43 pm 
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Oh, we certainly enjoyed ourselves. The existing game is being finished on Thursday evening by Richard and one of the other guys, then we meet up next week to start a new game with more troops.

I for one will endeavour to apply the lessons learned by my colleagues :wink:

Cheers,

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:06 pm 
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Hi Richard, just a suggestion for the troops until you can re-base them. If you are not already doing it.

Quote:
otherwise I've got three spare painted figures per unit doing nothing.


When I first played BLB, the original rules, I too had my figures based to the AoR standard. Four stands of three figures for the foot and 6 stands of 2 figures for the horse. My first game looked like below.
Image

What we did was keep 3 stands for foot who didn't have pike and add the 4th stand behind the center for those who did. Then just treated each stand as having 6 figures, not counting the 4th pike stand if used. We then used 4 figures of horse on 2 stands to represent a squadron. You have to use a casualty sheet since the rules like to keep troops on the table.

It's a simple but effective way to use the troops you have. Also if you've been using all 4 stands of foot the shooting can be devastating.

Joe

One other thing I noticed that you mentioned...

Quote:
but one of the cavalry squadrons had also been reduced to half strength and routed.


Not sure when this happened in your melee but units that win a melee do not have to test morale even if below 50% casualties. After a win they are too busy chasing down routing troops to notice. But they will take a minus in future morale checks.

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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:31 am 
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Joe,

I thought about keeping my WSS figures on their old AoB bases, but I think I'll rebase. Two rows of figures is more in keeping with the Horse and Musket period, and I already have my ACW and one of my Napoleonic armies based that way (for They Couldn't Hit An Elephant and Le Feu Sacre respectively), as well as diorama-type multi figure bases for WW2 (Kampfgruppe Commander).

What I've decided to do also is to use slightly wider frontage bases for Platoon firers, and deeper bases for Rank firers, purely for aesthetic reasons) and might do the same for Blade and Bullet cavalry. I need to go to a local model railway shop to see if I can get some N-gauge barrels, etc for the artillery, although I have some spare Peninsula bullock carts from Battlehonours that might make reasonable tumbrils.

Can I just say that Mike and I have been really impressed by the help, suggestions, and insights given by members of this forum, all of which has been printed off and inserted in the rules to use as background material. It's now one of the first sites I go on to when I log on in the morning.

Best regards,
Richard


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 Post subject: Re: FIRST TRYOUT GAME OF BtLB
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:27 am 
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the_cartographist wrote:
There were certainly more than 3 stands in the infantry - I seem to recall 5 or 6, so that must have contributed. The figures are based, as we said,for Age of Reason, so not as many figures per stand but more stands.


Sorry for not getting back to you sooner but just back from a long weekend at Partizan, the fact that you were using 5 or 6 stands is definitely where your problem is coming from as the rules are basically written for all units have 3 stands shooting. I would suggest just using 3 four figure stands per unit or just use all your figures but only count the unit as having 3 stands firing then I think you will notice a difference to your problem but having stationary cavalry at short range deserves to be shot to bits.
Cheers
Dave


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