Tuesday, March 20, 2007

First Thoughts on "Orders" --

Some time back I explained how Generals and Brigadiers in "Tricorne Wars" might (depending upon a die roll) interpret the orders given them.

Today I'm going to post my initial thoughts on what those "orders" might be:

Commands (and, in some cases, individual units -- those "out of command") must operate within the limits of whatever "Orders" they are under (or were last under if "out of command"). While their immediate commanding officer (usually a Brigadier) may have improperly interpreted them -- that doesn't matter -- they must follow his orders as he interpreted them.

The Player C-in-C should diagram the table with arrows drawn from each Command toward their objectives with the Abbreviation of their Orders. If an area is to be Defended, that should be indicated by a rough circle (which may well have an arrow with its own command drawn to it). If the order is "Hold", simply place an "H" by the command. With other orders, indicate the enemy command which is the target of their actions.

Note that references to "all units" do not include any Artillery. Artillery should support their Brigade; but need not (and often will not) advance with it. Generally speaking the only artillery that might move (other than to get into position) during a battle is Light Artillery.

Possible Orders (from most aggressive to least) and their "abbreviations" are:

  • Assault (Ass): All units must move as fast as they can toward the Enemy and must Charge (or Countercharge) as soon as they can. Units under Assault orders receive a +2 modifier on their Charge Test. (as always, a natural "6" fails).

  • Attack (Att): All units must move toward the Enemy and may Charge (or Countercharge) as soon as desired. Units under Attack orders receive a +1 modifier on their Charge Test. (as always, a natural "6" fails).

  • Advance (Adv): At least half of units in Command must move toward the Enemy; and may Charge (or Countercharge) as when desired. Units under Advance orders receive no modifier on their Charge Test.

  • Hold (H): The "default" order if no orders are given. Units may change facing -- but otherwise remain in place. Infantry may shoot but cannot Charge; Mounted troops may not Charge but can attempt to Countercharge. Such Countercharge attempts suffer a -1 penalty to their Charge Test. Reserves are often given "Hold" orders. Commands on "Hold" receive a +1 bonus on the "Inertia Roll".

  • Defend (Def): The terrain area to be "defended" should be indicated on the map. The officer in command of the unit with Defend orders may deploy his troops as he wishes within the area to be Defended. Infantry units are not permitted to charge; and mounted units suffer a -1 penalty to charge -- and must "rally back" to the area to be Defended -- they may not pursue. However, mounted units may be placed on "Overwatch", so that the resulting +1 cancels the -1 Defend penalty allowing them to to Countercharge more easily. Units with "Defend" orders are +1 on their Charge Reaction Tests.

  • Delay (Dly): Commands with "Delay" orders may advance toward the Enemy they are to Delay and may shoot at them -- but they may not Charge. They should Evade most Charges -- but foot may Stand to Receive a Charge by mounted troops.

  • Withdraw (W): The bulk of this Command must attempt to disengage and withdraw from contact with the Enemy. They may not Charge but may leave a unit behind to slow down pursuit while the rest of the Command withdraws. Unless the Command's Orders are changed, they will withdraw off the table and not return.

  • So that's my current thinking. Comments are appreciated.

    -- Jeff


    Stokes Schwartz said...

    Hello there Jeff,

    Interesting choice of actions, but might there be others to consider as well? Or is the idea to simplify things by reducing the range of possible orders issued to units? Forgive me if you covered this earlier. I'm still recovering from my flights and fighting crowds in terminals as well as the beginnings of a cold. :-(

    Best Regards,


    Snickering Corpses said...

    Sounds like a pretty good set, but I'd strongly suggest expanding the bottom end of it. I'd divide Withdraw into two options....one involving withdrawing to a specified position, and one involving general retreat.

    Perhaps also a move or maneuver order to instruct a unit simply to shift its position, avoiding combat unless forced to defend itself? Or do the Hold and Defend orders carry with them the assumption that a unit will move to a specified position before beginning to carry them out?

    Snickering Corpses said...

    How would you handle stacked orders? I'm thinking, in particular, of the situation at the Battle of Cowpens I believe it was, in the AWI, where the militia were given orders to deliver two volleys when the British entered a certain range, and then withdraw behind the next line to regroup. Or are orders like these at a lower level than the commands here, and therefore more suited to how a Brigadier implements his Defend order?

    Bluebear Jeff said...

    Thank you, Gentlemen. Some good comments so far . . . please keep them coming.

    -- Jeff

    Grimsby Mariner said...

    Keeping the choice to a minimum is good. Don't want to get too confusing.
    As for "stacked orders" then taking the cowpens context all you'd have to do is use the "withdraw" order with a qualifying statement.
    Having used the rules in a few games we've found they work well and the ability o the commander is the crucial thing (no good changing orders if the commander isn't capable of interpreting them!).

    Snickering Corpses said...

    > no good changing orders if the commander isn't capable of interpreting them!

    Of course there is. It gives you the justification to dismiss/execute them later. ;)