Friday, 26 February 2010

Points Mean Prizes

It almost seems like heresy, but there are various mechanisms that can be introduced into the framework of the Charge! rules according to the taste of the wargamer. Long ago the group I played with fought Napoleonic battles with 15mm figures. These were, of course, tawdry affairs between massed ranks of popinjays garbed in peculiarly shaped headgear and not a decent tricorn in sight. But they are worth recalling because we used a variant of the Charge! melee rules (I have no idea where this variant first arose) that is of some interest. Such a system might be used for the Seven Years War as easily as for Napoleonics, and so I thought I might present it here.

Melee is resolved using individual combats as per the original Charge! rules. This is a point of importance to me, as the procedure generates some excitement (as well as occasional bad language and unkind remarks). But Charge! uses a single dice throw for each side, with multipliers according to the number and type of figures. With the variant rules, each side uses a 'score' which is calculated as the sum of the melee values of the figures involved plus the value of a dice roll.

The melee values we used in our Napoleonic battles were:

Heavy Cavalry = 3
Light Cavalry = 2
Infantry = 1

So if two light cavalry troopers are fighting one heavy cavalryman we'd be comparing (2+2+Dice) vs (3+Dice). A casualty would be removed if a difference of two or more in scores result (as the ordinary Charge! rules dictate), although an additional saving throw of 6 on a single dice roll is allowed for cuirassiers.

It should be noted here that infantry are decidedly weaker in melee than before; no less than three of them are needed for an equal combat against a single heavy cavalryman. I believe this to be a considerable advantage over the original rules where infantry, if they have significantly narrower bases, can rather too easily mob cavalry. As John Preece has noted: allowing only one infantryman to fight any given cavalry trooper can be a useful amendment to the original Charge! rules.

Dragoons Versus Cuirassiers

So much for detail. Now it so happens that Smith, with a full cavalry regiment of thirty all ranks, has been manoeuvring to charge a regiment of Jones's dragoons. I suspect it will come as no surprise to most readers if I disclose that the latter regiment, for a variety of reasons, numbers only twenty.

1 comment:

johnpreece said...

It is difficult to amend the rules without unbalancing them. In infantry combat the Grenadiers get a bonus but the cavalry mechanism is much more difficult.

I shall try your solution. One simple idea I came up with for Guard Cavalry or Cuirassiers v dragoons etc. I called 'super sixes'.

The better cavalryman will always win a one to one combat if he throws a six, even if his opponent also throws five or six. If my mathematics are correct this will result in winning one combat in eighteen which would have been a draw before. A slight edge but not devastating.