Thursday, July 26, 2018

Return to Foz d'Arouce

Church at Foz d'Arouce
Well, it is somewhat hard to believe that the combat at Foz d'Arouce has been standing idle on the gaming table since April.  Perhaps hard to believe but true.  One of the pleasures of having a dedicated game room and table is that a battle can remain set up for any length of time needed.  On the flip side, the downfall is that a battle can remain on the table for a long time.

Such is the situation with the Combat at Foz d'Arouce (FdA).  Last gamed in April, plans included refighting this action several times before mid-summer activities turned towards an August Zorndorf game.  With August quickly approaching, time remains to get one last run through on FdA  before clearing the deck and beginning preparations for Zorndorf.  As a reminder for the scenario, please see (Foz d'Arouce Scenario).

Having witnessed the game play and direction of the battle in that first refight (see BatRep Combat at FdA), a few modifications seemed in order.
Initial deployments and objectives
First, Marchand is receiving reinforcements in the form of two battalions of infantry.  In the historical battle, two battalions of the 69e Ligne Regiment were present near Foz de Arouce.  In the first game, I omitted this regiment due to oversight.  Given that Marchand had a difficult task in keeping both Picton and Craufurd at bay long enough to effect an escape over the bridge, two reinforcing battalions will be most welcome.

Second, skirmisher rules have been simplified through abstraction.  No longer does a division commander need worry about deploying and positioning skirmishers.  While active skirmishers add a bit of nuance to the battle for solo play, for group play, abstracting skirmisher interaction is both reasonable and improves speed of play.  Skirmishers still fill a battlefield role but their effect is inherent to the parent unit.

A few other slight modifications appear in the most recent rules' version but the game remains mostly as before.  Unit Combat Effectiveness ratings have been adjusted too.
British storm Poisao in an earlier game
With a busy second quarter, few chances to schedule a Friday Night at the Fights.  Now, with a small window of opportunity, time to resurrect FNatF and get the game underway before this fleeting chance vanishes.

Will Ney be able to withstand Wellington's attacks in the fleeting Portuguese light of day?  We will see. 

27 comments:

  1. The extra two battalions will no doubt make an interesting difference and nice to see that there is full justification for this balancing tweak. I do like that church.

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    1. I like the church too! It will likely feature in many a future Peninsular War battle.

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  2. Just excellent - looking forward to report - i enjoyed the one in May very much. The perennial conundrum of skirmishers is very familiar - my best compromise to date (nothing particularly original) is an element of abstraction in the form of unit weightings in favour of those with better skirmish abilities, plus - where necessary - employ skirmishers in larger "units" at brigade level. I should know this, but what rules are you using?

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    1. Tony! Glad you enjoyed the earlier account of the FdA battle. Hopefully, this upcoming account will prove equally entertaining.

      For this battle, the rules are of my own doing with the core concept of Combat Effectiveness (CE) derived from Howard Whitehouse's "Old Trousers." Even after years of tweaking, Howard would likely recognize some of his key concepts.

      In the interest of speeding play, I utilized a skirmisher abstraction of a linear differential. That is, each battalion has an inherent skirmisher rating. In ranged fire, the difference between these two ratings is added (or subtracted) from the Firing unit's die roll. Having a superior skirmishing capability enhances one's chance to inflict a degradation of the the target's Combat Effectiveness. Conversely, a firing unit, with an inferior skirmishing capability wrt it target, is less likely to cause a CE degradation.

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    2. I think the abstraction of the skirmishers for this game worked wonderfully. The simplified rules really helped streamline the game and not bog this down.

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    3. Jake, glad the skirmisher change worked for you!

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  3. I was reading another blog this morning, the single base represents the battalion. Basically only skirmishers and artillery can fire. Infantry have their Fire all rolled up in the close combat calculations. An interesting way to differentiate between line and skirmisher, while still playing at the higher level of command.

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    1. Norm - that's familiar - "Big Battalions" and "Grande Armee" both used this approach, and I adopted it for my own rules for a while. Which blog were you reading, if I might ask?(!)

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    2. Norm, I have seen rules where ranged fire was limited to only skirmishers and artillery. My own, higher level Napoleonic rules in which each stand represents about 1,000 men, only artillery has ranged fire. Everything else is considered Close Combat. Skirmishers are abstracted and each BMU is given a Skirmish Rating based upon their effectiveness in skirmishing. Mustafa's Grande Armee does something similar wrt skirmishers.

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    3. Tony, yes, "Grande Armee" does something very similar but I have not tried "Big Battalions."

      Your Napoleonic rules are based upon Commands & Colors, no?

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    4. I have some house rules which used to live on a computer, but I've been working to get them working with dice - simplified the game a lot - computers are happy to check morale and the routers and test the weather and handle off-table or concealed units until the cows come home, so I'm aiming for a simpler game. I use C&CN for big battles.

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  4. Well that took some hunting down, I was being lazy above and hoping to get away with it :-)

    Anyway it is a post on the Lead Adventure Forum, link below, it is all worth looking at, but post 40 is specifically my source. Jon says his rules are a mash-up between Black Powder and Lion Rampant, that alone should peek interest.

    LINK
    http://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=106763.0

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    1. Thanks for the link to the interesting topic, Norm!

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  5. Last batrep was fun I look forward to the next and also to seeing your splendid church in an Italian wars AAR!
    Best Iain

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    1. With luck, the next edition of FdA will be entertaining. I really do need to get the Italian Wars collection out and onto the gaming table.

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  6. Great to see and read! Thank You sir!

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  7. I really liked this scenario last time. These tweeks seem well thought out. Enjoy the game. Looking forward to the AAR. 😀

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    1. Thank you. I am looking forward to a Friday night game after a hard week!

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  8. It still looks great and looks to be fun when you play it!

    Christopher

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    1. Might have to knock the dust off the figures but it does still look good!

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  9. You have marvelous toys - I love the buildings / terrain.

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    1. The terrain tiles I made probably 20 years ago. Still holding up after all of the intervening years.

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  10. Very, very cool and inspiring, Jonathan! Right up my alley! :)

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    1. Your brushwork on your 28mm Napoleonics inspire me!

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  11. Looking forward to the re-match; let us see if the French can put on a better show with the benefit of the extra troops!

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    1. Better French outcome in Game 2 but still no victory.

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