Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Troop Morale in BTW --

In the 18th Century rules I am writing for our local gaming (Northern Vancouver Island, BC, Canada), I have five or six morale grades (depending upon how you count them). However, for the most part there are effectively three grades.

This sounds strange, I know. Two of the morale grades (Raw and Poor) are effectively the same. The difference is that Raw units are essentially newly raised units; andPoor units were once Veteran (or better) and have since lost that status.

The very best troops, of course, are the Guards. But in the entire army, only one unit of foot and one unit of mounted are ever allowed to exist at any one time.

Militia are the very worst troops -- but only because they have not received enough training yet. They are the result of a ruler rashly rushing them into action too soon.

So, the three "common" troop types are: Raw/Poor, Veteran and Elite.

In "Bluebear's Tricorne Wars", all troops have "good days" and "bad days" (just as in real life). And no general knows before the battle how any unit will respond on "the day". They will know the general morale grade -- but not how they'll respond that day.

To determine their actual "morale number" for that particular battle, they will dice for it once it becomes necessary for them to know it (i.e., once they're in contact with the enemy). These numbers range from 1 to 5 (higher is better). Most are rolled for with Averaging Dice, which are numbered 2,3,3,4,4,5 although some use a d3:
  • Guard -- roll 2dAv, take higher die (range 2-5) -- but get better of 2d6 when testing
  • Elite -- roll 2dAv, take higher die (range 2-5)
  • Veteran -- roll 1dAv (range 2-5)
  • Raw or Poor -- roll 2dAv, take lower die (range 2-5)
  • Militia -- roll 1d3 (range 1-3)
Thus, even very good troops can have a very bad day or bad troops a good one -- although that's not the way to bet.

These "basic morale numbers", along with various tactical bonuses and/or penalties determine what number (or less) must be rolled on 1 d6 to succeed -- with a "1" always succeeding; and a "6" always failing.

More on "Bluebear's Tricorne Wars" in future posts.

-- Jeff


El Grego said...


Your morale set-up is intriguing - I have never liked the idea of one-size-fits-all troop quality.

By the way, do you make it to Trumpeter SALUTE?


Bluebear Jeff said...


I like a lot of "fog of war" in my games. As tabletop generals we get to see and know so much more than any historical general ever did . . . so we need some mechanisms to help temper that knowledge.

Yes, good troops are more likely to have a good day than poor ones; but history repeatedly shows us that that is not always the case. That's why I've come up with the morale system that I've developed.

I have more "fog of war" systems that I'll write about from time-to-time as I'm working on Saxe-Bearstein and my "Tricorne Wars" project.

As for SALUTE, I'm new up here. We're currently renting, waiting for our old home to sell so that we can buy a place here. Until that happens, I don't expect to be able to make it to SALUTE. Once that happens, I'll hope to be able to attend.

I visited your blog, where are you planning to move to?

-- Jeff

MurdocK said...

Having done some playtest of Jeff's rules idea, I also liked the 'fog' of not really knowing how good those veterans were gonna be 'today' until AFTER they were in a fight.

Funny also can be the 'reversal' of the dice in a bad roll by an elite or (heaven forbid) a Guard unit (though Pete did do it to an elite one...). Making the elites less effective than a raw unit. It was only for the one battle, but such things can be explained and have historical precedent.

Anyway Jeff's system takes care of the details in a simple way that does not impact too heavily on playability.


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