Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Cohesion" in Tricorne Wars --

I have already (September 27, 2006) somewhat discussed "Morale Grades" in my SYW rules, Bluebear's "Tricorne Wars".

Today I wish to discuss "cohesion". Essentially, a unit's "morale grade" is an abstraction of how well they adjust to adversity. "Cohesion" is a measure of some types of that adversity.

Perhaps the easiest cohesion state to understand is "Separation". If a unit is in skirmish order, its component elements (stands) are "separated". The unit is in a state of Separation. But a unit is also in Separation if they are in terrain that has temporarily disrupted their normal order.

In both of the above-mentioned examples of "Separation", that state ends when the factor causing it ceases to be. If a skirmishing unit returns to a solid line; or a unit in "separating terrain" leaves it, "Separation" ends.

However, Separation is a cohesion state that exists separately and along side the other cohesion states. These other states are:
  • Good Order -- your best cohesion; all set to follow orders and fight
  • Rattled -- minor loss of cohesion
  • Disordered -- more serious loss of cohesion; like Separation, but not cessation-cured
  • Shaken -- very serious loss of cohesion; unit is in bad shape; needs to rally
  • Broken -- all you can do is rout and hope that you can rally them
Please note that a unit could be (for example) both Separated and Shaken. When the cause for Separation ends, the unit will still be Shaken.

Colour stands

I hate little bits of colored pipe cleaner, cardboard chits, casualty caps, printed labels and various other ways which some games use to indicate a unit's status -- such as their current "cohesion".

Therefor, in "Tricorne Wars", I urge the use of "colour stands" to indicate the unit's current cohesion. It is a simple, yet effective way of showing it on the tabletop without destroying the visual impact of the battle.

In "Tricorne Wars", the unit's "command stand" will contain figures of an officer and musician -- but not any flags. The flags (or more appropriately, "colours") are mounted with their bearer by themselves on a full width (but often reduced depth) stand.

The position of this "colour stand" in relation to the rest of the unit determine's the unit's current cohesion:
  • Good Order -- Colour stand is in front of unit, leading it
  • Rattled -- Colour stand is in front line of unit -- often displacing command stand
  • Disordered -- Colour stand is behind unit, facing front of unit
  • Shaken -- Colour stand is also behind unit, but facing to the rear
  • Broken -- Colour stand is several inches behind unit, routing away
Because the Colour stand is really a "cohesion marker" rather than a part of the unit, I use it even for units, such as converged grenadiers or skirmishers that usually did not carry colours into battle.

Artillery is a bit of a different problem. Flags don't look right with artillery pieces . . . so I use a "Gun Captain". This is some sort of distinctive "artillery figure" mounted separately (rather than on the gun stand). His position (in front, beside, behind, etc.) can be used to show the current cohesion of the gun crew.

Note that those who object to flags with skirmishers may do a similar thing as long as it is clearly identified to your opponent.

Anyway, that's what I'm doing for Bluebear's "Tricorne Wars" . . . perhaps it will give you some ideas as well.

-- Jeff

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