General Play

[1871 FAQs]   [General Play]   [Charges]   [Combat Results]   [Command and Control]   [Disorganization]   [Firing]   [Melees]   [Morale]   [Moving]   [Visibility]

Q:  Did you consider putting cavalry on ¾” depth bases or was there some greater need or desire to have based on the ½” ones?  Was it simply to maintain compatibility with the infantry stands? They seem a little cramped and it seems that a 3/4'” depth wouldn’t effect play to any degree at all.

A:  Quite right; 1/2" basing was just to keep the cavalry on the same brass strips I use for infantry.  3/4" would work fine.  All the recommended stand sizes are just that: recommended.  The actual frontage of the units portrayed varied wildly, depending on whether the unit was attacking or defending, full strength or attritted, and whether all elements were on line or not.  The recommended sizes were an average of the historical/regulation and the practical (stands that were too wide tend to be awkward, especially on sculpted terrain).  I use same base size for units representing companies as when they represent battalions because of that same flexibility... and will when I change the game board scale to 1" = 50m (as is necessary for some very small battles).  Bottom line: Doesn't matter.  And:  Who cares?  The game will play the same despite relatively minor differences in basing.

Q: We are used to you-go-I-go alternating movement type rules sets.  We find simultaneous orders sometimes can be a bit nefarious.  How do you play it as we not really up on simultaneous rules that much

A:  Simultaneous play does take a little getting used to, and certainly works best when all the players are gentlemen.  That said, the general rule is: All chits are revealed simultaneously during the activation phase, and stay revealed until they no longer apply.  Everybody knows which unit is withdrawing, which is charging, which is marching in which direction from that moment.  During each player's movement, it is expected that his opponent will be watching closely to see how the order is carried out (or aborted), and will respond to his opponent’s moves as best he can, given his own orders.  Good communication is key here.  Games go fastest -- and with the least discord -- when the players inform their opposite numbers that a charge is being attempted (in case he was asleep!), or that some unit is withdrawing to a more covered position, etc.  This allows his opponent to do what the troops on the ground would naturally do when they notice such things, whether it be directing artillery fire, arresting one's own unit's movement, or whatever.  It’s not uncommon for some moves to end up being pro-rated because of this simultaneous reaction.  The idea is not to "surprise" one's fellow gamer with a move that can be devastating (and thus contentious) because it wasn't noticed by the other fellow, but to allow all the forces on the field the courtesy of behaving rationally.

One convention gamer, for instance, once marched an entire infantry regiment up to an enemy cavalry unit unnoticed, and had difficulty accepting my ruling that he wouldn't be allowed to blast them at point blank range.  He was used to sequential movement, I suppose.  His opponent had been too busy moving his own stuff to see what was coming, and his opponent didn't see fit to warn him.  But the cavalry unit would've seen 2,500 infantrymen walking across the field from 700 meters away... and would have of course not been there by the time the infantry arrived.  Had it been an infantry unit, it wouldn't have been able to march off without a chit, of course, but there’s no way in the real world that the cavalry would have been "surprised" like that, whether the gamer was paying attention or not.

Charges are special cases, being announced at the Activation Phase, but moving and engaging (maybe) at the end of the Fire Phase.  This gives the defender ample time to react to the charge... but does not include running away or reinforcing the threatened area, unless he played a chit authorizing him to do just that.



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