Grand Scale BLB?

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Justin Penwith
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Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:17 am

I have always been more inclined to smaller scales and more units. A friend of mine is similarly inclined and I am now sorely.....sorely.....tempted to take my enjoyment of BLB to a new level with building armies in 6mm and basing regiments/squadrons on a single base.

Anyone else have thoughts along the same lines? I know of a few who have gone to 6mm, but appear to have only made that one change (including ranges) leaving basing and rules as though they were playing with 28mm armies.

I don't know that I am heading towards a grand scale "fast play" version, as I like BLB as it is, but I am toying with shifting to a hex system for measurements as I have acquired some hex terrain.

Another thing, although many look at 6mm with an eye towqrds massing figures within a single unit, I am actually considering basing the figures on 60mm x 12.5mm, with the figures in a single line.

I would use 20mm x 20mm bases to represent columns and 12.5mm x 60mm to represent road columns.

The thing is, i like the roster system, but with possibly upwards of 50+ battalions per player, tacking on cavalry and artillery on top of that, fire and melee would be a drag anchor on the game.

Not wanting these games to take 10 hours to play, I am now thinking with adjusting the combat mechanisms in order to keep the speed of play, while still keeping to the "feel" of BLB.

Any thoughts on this? Barry?
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by barr7430 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:19 pm

Well first of all Justin... I am really happy that BLB brings you so much enjoyment. Mission accomplished with that!
Secondly, as most people here know, I am not precious about my concepts so if you can adapt them to a system that accommodates what you want it to do... go for it!

As for the aesthetics and hexes and simplification. Yes to all of the above, I have already adapted ACW rules to fit with hex terrain movement and used 40 x 40mm bases to represent a full regiment in two lines. I calculated unit strength and combat capability using a rule system I developed 10 years ago which has always been known to me as E NUMBERS!

E NUMBERS works extremely well. It works on the principle of a start value which is dictated by unit strength x training class = A number (100 - 1000).
Every more, fire, combat, rally detracts from the base value until the unit is at 0 = operationally exhausted.

With this I was able to cope with battles as big as Shiloh.

Such a system may work for you in the NYW period.

Good luck

B
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:15 am

Thanks, Barry!


I want to see lines of battle in a style reminiscent of the battle maps of the period, but on the tabletop and with miniatures. So, this is my way of going about it.

As I am off for the holiday week, I am converting over the mechanisms of movement and combat to hexes, already.

The melee conversion, in its first iteration is very straightforward.

I'm not touching shooting at this time...although a system utilizing fire factors is percolating.

Time for me to order up the proper scale figures for testing.... :) Until those arrive, Command and Colors blocks are going to stand in.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:01 pm

This is what I have worked up, thus far, with testing occuring next week.

Keep in mind, the rosters are still being used, but the plan is to field more than 80 battalions/squadrons to a side for our biggest battles.

I am considering using "blinds" for each brigade, Horse or Foot, the size of a 3x5 card. Blinds are revealed when within 2 feet of an enemy unit that has line of sight to the blind or within 12" of any enemy unit.

When a blind is revealed, the stands for that brigade are deployed so as to touch or rest on the blind, then the blind is removed.

Grand scale BLB

Game Preparation
Basing changes single base battalions and squadrons. Artillery is one base per gun and crew.
Rule of thumb is that cavalry bases are 2/3 frontage of infantry bases and artillery are 1/2 infantry frontage. (I am looking at 60mm standard infantry, 40mm cavalry, with 20mm wide columns of 20mm-30mm depths. Artillery on 20mm squares, limbered at 15-20mm x 60mm.)
Use of columns and road columns is up to the players and/or scenarios, but basing infantry and cavalry on column bases is recommended, with infantry and cavalry columns at 1/4-1/3 frontage of infantry base; depth being equal to frontage or slightly deeper for cavalry. Limbered artillery is at same frontage as infantry, with enough depth to accomodate horses and limber.

Command and Orders
Unchanged
Formations and Maneuvers
Unchanged (i want to test movement before halving or converting to centimeters).
Terrain
Unchanged
Artillery
Unchanged
Musketry

Each battalion rolls three dice, as a base, needing a 4-6 to hit. Every six casualties increases the to hit number by one, so if a unit takes six casualties, the unit's base to hit is now a 5+, and so on.

The die roll modifiers in the rule book instead become additions or subtractions of fire (or give fire) dice. Additions and subtractions happen only once for each target, with all sources of fire happening at once. Meaning, if three battalions are shooting at the same target in a given turn, all fire dice are rolled, with any additions/subtractions from that round of fire being used once. For example, if two battalions were firing at short range, the bonus would be +4 dice, not +8. The sole exception is first fire, where all first fire bonuses are cumulative.

All fire dice are rolled when shooting, using the unit's current to hit number. If multiple units fire at one target and one or more shooters have different base to hit numbers, use appropriate amounts of different colored dice.

Big battalions (use of which depends on player preference) roll 4 dice and Swedish units roll 2 dice as a base.

Charging
Unchanged

Close combat
One Round of close combat is diced for each turn. If no winner, combat continues in subsequent turn. Adding units to ongoing combat occurs during the next movement phase.
Units in close combat are determined and the side with the most stands in the fight receives a +1 die roll modifier.
Instead of adding dice, the modifiers are applied to a 2d6 roll with the results compared; highest modified total is winner. Take the Difference between losing and winning rolls, add 2 and this is the number of casualties for the loser, winner takes 2 casualties.

Change Penalty modifiers to:

Disordered: -6
Shaken: -6
Opponents in hard cover: -6
Horse vs Steady DaH: -6
In column of manuever: -9

Morale
Unchanged
Fighting in Built Up Areas
Unchanged, except where changes are made to match previous changes to Musketry and Close Combat: example, Pioneers give +2 die roll modifier, not +2 dice.

All else in the book is unchanged, with the exceptions being to conform to changes to Musketry and Close Combat
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:37 pm

Fwiw, yes I do realize that I have essentially swapped the mechanics for musketry and close combat.

However, in our large club games, with a minimum of six players and as many as ten, combat bogs down a bit. It is true, most of my club members do not know the rules all that well, but with two active umpires overseeing the game, it still bogs.

Thus, for the grand scale version I am wanting to play and put on for the club, combat needs to ba a bit bloodier over all, especially musketry, and close combat needs to not halt the game for the four to eight other players.

We've actually allowed the rest of the players to continue on taking turns, with the players involved in resolving close combat picking up at a convient turn start.

We've also limited combat to three rounds per turn, in another effort to keep the ball rolling. If a raw or regular unit routs, great, but if not (because combat see-saws) then rolling dice for more rounds takes a lot of time.

We have had a single combat take a full eight rounds as, with units reinforcing, it took that long to wipe out a principal combatant as no unit won for two consecutive rounds.

As I mentioned above, I hope to tests these switched mechanics around next week, to see if the flow of the game smooths out for us.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:55 am

We were able to get in our playtest, tonight, of the rule changes I am working on for Grand Scale BLB.

I purchased, finally, Hexon II terrain from Kallistra and this was the first time I that I was able to fully unpack the terrain and actually set it up. So, I did end up making some changes to movement that was partially forced by my new investment.

The combat side of things drastically sped up over what we were used to. In previous games, each player (usually 4-8, or more for our club games) commanded about 8 to 12 units, max. Those games, as I mentioned above, started to bog once combat ensued, especially with close combat. However, tonight, both players involved in this test commanded 16 units.


We played approximately 17-18 turns in about two and half hours, and came to a clear outcome. I will link to a blog post AAR tomorrow or so.

As I had anticipated, musketry was far bloodier than typical, but we did have a spread of effectiveness from 1 to 8 casualties dealt to one battalion in a single exchange of fire. Usually, we saw 3-5 casualties caused by a single battalion's fire. There were about thirty instances of battalions exchanging fire (where two opposing battlions each fireed upon the other).

We had four instances of close combat, cavalry on cavalry, with 3 clear victories, resulting in two pursuits, and one draw.

While the amount of combats were too small to really make a worthy test, both players (I was umpire), who have about two dozen games between them, said the game felt as if it played out much quicker than before and they recommended we adopt the changes for our large club games.

In our club games, we rarely get to a point where large numbers of infantry battalions end up taking morale tests due to musketry. In tonight's game, we had a dozen such tests, with three units routing, One retreating, and three shaken results, in addition to the carry ons.

One thought that came to mind, but which I am not inclined towards, was to reduce the three base musketry dice by one for each full 6 casualties received, on top of increasing the difficulty to hit by one also.

A second thought that I have so far rejected, was to include a 6 save from musketry. Neither player felt adding a save against casualties was necessary and I agree.

Both players were most impressed by the changing of close combat to a modified 2d6 roll, with a single round of combat per turn.

The two most extreme musketry results were 8 musketry casualties on an infantry battalion, which rolled a 6 for morale, and a 5 casualty volley on a cavalry squadron which had already suffered a casualty, thus eliminating it.

For close combat, the biggest hit was five casualties on a cavalry unit, which promptly broke and routed for the next three turns until it left the table.

I hope to run another test next Tuesday, with even more players and units.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:17 am

Here are my hex specific rules for what i am calling a grand scale version of BLB2.

They are a work in progress, of course, but I do solicit your comments.

Command radius is 2 hexes, unless in a multi-player game where it is 3 hexes.

Stacking limitations.
Two infantry battalions per hex. Lines in succession, columns are side by side or in succession.
Horse may also have two per hex, side by side or in succession, when in lines. Columns of horse may only be side by side.

Artillery: two guns and crew per hex, but may also be one gun and one battalion or squadron to the flank, rear, or front (this masks the gun).

Infantry lines move 1 hex, columns two hexes.

horse lines move 2, columns and charges move 3.

Generals may move 4 hexes.

Routers move at column speed. Retreats are one hex straight back.

Wheeling is by hex-side and takes one hex worth of movement per hex side.

Where movement is halved in the rulebook, it is now disordering only, whether into or out of. So, an infantry line may enter such an area, but is immediately disordered and may reform within, but must also reform once it leaves.

Fire arcs are the hex immediately in front of the firer's hex, angled out and parallel to the adjoining hex sides (60 degree arc)


Shooting ranges are 1-3 hexes for muskets. Artillery ranges vary for short, medium, and long, but a light gun's long range is 5 hexes and a positional gun's long range is 12 hexes, with field gun's at 9 hexes. Other ranges are rounded to nearest whole increment of 4".

Combats are fought in adjacent hexes, not the samel hex, i.e., Friendly units may not enter into the same hex as an enemy unit.

Chargers must move one hex straight forward immediately before contacting the target, but may make one hex side facing change (aka wheel) during the charge move, payong the movement penalty if it does so..


Morale remains as is in the rulebook, with this one change: support may be from two units in adjacent hexes, also not in close combat or one unit in the same hex, not in combat.

Swedish units move one hex in line, two in column, but may freely change facing with no movement penalty.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by barr7430 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:41 am

Sounds really interesting Justin, would love to see and hear more!
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:17 pm

As soon as I can spare the time, I will get some images and an AAR together. We weren't able to get in a second test, last night, but may be able to this coming Tuesday.

However, I did manage to tailor the orders to use of the hexes:


Orders


Charge
To declare a charge, the unit must have a legal target within its charge move distance and in line of sight (which is the same as an infantry battalion's musketry arc).

Charging infantry move one hex and it must be straight forward; a battalion may not charge through a hex side that it is not facing.

Horse may charge three hexes. Horse may spend a single hex of movement to wheel to face a new hex side during the charge. The final movement must be one hex forward, into contact, so the wheel must be either the first or second movement.


Move

Infantry may move forward or wheel to face an adjacent hex side. The unit may not initiate close combat, but may respond if charged, provided it passes a morale test.

Horse may move or wheel to face an adjacent hex side. Horse may wheel one hex at the cost of one hex of forward movement. This may be done more than once, if the player choose.

If charged, Horse may counter-charge following a successful morale test, otherwise it receives the charge at the halt.

Rally

A shaken, retreating, or routed unit may recover from its condition if it passes a successful morale test the turn it is given a rally order. To recover, the units must first pass a morale check. If passed, the unit no longer suffers from the negative condition. As morale checks happen at the end of a turn, charges and musketry occur before a unit may attempt to rally and its negative condition applies throughout the turn. A rallied unit may not otherwise move, change facing, counter-charge, or change formation. A unit under Rally remains in the same hex once it passes a morale check to recover.


Form

The unit may, instead of moving, reform through a FORM order. The unit may change facing to any hex side or it may change formation or both. A unit suffering from disorder must FORM in order to remove the condition.

Defend

When giving a defend order to a unit, the player must select and then announce either the hex the unit occupies or an adjacent hex. They it may not move further than one hex away from the designated hex, but it may freely change its facing, one hex side per turn (it is considered as moving for combat) Defend orders confer both a shooting and a morale advantage.

Bluff

A bluff "order" may be used by a player to disguise which units are receiving genuine orders for that turn. A bluff order does not count against an army's order allowance for the turn nor does it generate any king of bonus.


Note: I still need to do Rally Back.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:37 am

Image

Tonight's game saw us using Napoleonic figures as proxies.


The above pic was from several turns in. By this time, a few hits has been delivered by artillery, including some successful counter-battery fire, close combat between Horse ended with the elimination of a few squadrons, and the British sub-general had just bought his farm, causing three battalions to go shaken.

This time, we had four players, two per side, with 20 units per army. As I do not yet have terrain for woods/forests, we had some hills to mix up the battlefield appearance, but that was it.

Three of the players were new to this version of the rules, with one never having played BLB before.

Player comments centered around the brutality of combat, compared to past experience, with the cavalry being pretty well used up by game end.

We did have quite a few morale checks, with a large percentage as failures. Two generals were killed, one per side, with the British side suffering 3 shaken results, and the French 1.

As there were more close combat fights, this game, we had about 10 disruptions that had to be dealt with.

For combat results, the most effective fire of the night was a 6 casualty volley; the least effective was 0 casualties for five dice rolled.

Close combat results ended up with a difference of 10 wiping out a full squadron of Horse. The few close combat casualties were the result of a difference of one, with 2 and 3 casualties for winner and loser, respectively.

The experienced players liked the speed of combat, with the more telling results.

A comment was made about the extra brittleness of cavalry. We discussed this at length and came up with the following change:

1) Horse moves and charges three hexes. During charge moves, wheels by Horse are free, but the move to contact must be straightforward.

We felt that the three hex, as opposed to two, move gave Horse a chance to remain at extreme musket range prior to declaring a charge. It is hoped that this slight change will give Horse a little more life.

We dis mull over reducing infantry musketry dice to one, from three, or to increase the base chance to hit to 5+, but we ended up rejecting those options.

The plan is to play again, next week, and ponder over how to handle dragoons.

Image
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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Re: Grand Scale BLB?

Post by Justin Penwith » Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:19 am

I will be adding photos later, but we've played a few games since my last post.

We've (there are five of us involved) wrestled with a few issues and have worked out resolutions or are still in the "working on it" process.


1) Battalions with DEFEND orders, which are shaken/disordered.
We figured that the battalion must be ordered to FORM by its Brigadier or Commanding General, replacing the DEFEND order.

2) Lack of cavalry defense when all musket (bayonets must be assumed?)
With the switching of mechanics for combat, a bad die roll for infantry, or just a bad situation, can cause a massive swing in extremes. Tonight, I had an elite infantry brigade, on DEFEND orders, decimated by four cavalry brigades, through frontal charges. One battalion suffered 11 casualties and a second suffered 13, in one combat round.

The overall combat on my flank, between the above forces, saw me suffer 72 infantry casualties for 56 cavalry casualties done to my opponent. Yes, a complete blow out after about six turns of combat.

We discussed this at length, during the game and after, and decided to test the following:

In cavalry vs infantry combats, infantry that has not lost a complete stand (6 figures) rolls 3d6 and the cavalry 2d6; these are added together and then modified. Once a battalion loses 6-11 casualties, the dice drop to 2, and with 6 or less figures remaining, the battalion rolls a single die.

The concern is that cavalry, under our modifications, is far more effective against good order infantry. An all musket battalion, post 1702, has no intrinsic anti-cavalry modifiers as far as we can determine. Without pikes, infantry cannot form Defense Against Horse, nor do they receive +1 for having pikes. The best they could hope for would be to be Elite or Guard and be uphill from the charging cavalry.

I am toying with the idea that infantry on DEFEND orders are assumed to have bayonets fixed and ready, giving them a +1 modifier against cavalry charges from the front, only. However, we'll wait to see what next Tuesday's test(s) show us.

3) Outnumbering enemy in melee.

This became an issue, post modification, as infantry pre-mod have three stands to a 2 stand cavalry squadron. Another situation where one side outnumbers (stand-wise) their opponent is when a cavalry regiment performs an All or Nothing charge.

Since we are testing the resolution for #2, next Tuesday, we chose not to make another adjustment until we see the results.

It may be that if any further modification is needed, we'd simply add a +1 die roll modifier for the force that has more stand equivalents in the fight.

4) Dragoons.

We still have not addressed how to resolve Dragoons as to movement/combat viz our changes to the standard BLB2 rules changes we made several months ago involving Dragoons.
I am a wargamer; I wargame. I paint wargaming miniatures and, every so often, I blog about it at : http://royalistroundhead.blogspot.com/
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