Saturday, 24 July 2010

Movement and Curses

What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) html editors are hard to find and rarely successful. Sadly, the blogger 'compose' mode editor conforms to type and can best be described as a What You See Is Not What You Wanted editor. So, after much bad language, I have reverted to editing in pure html mode and have switched off the 'compose' mode so that accidentally invoking it does not allow it to work its evil deeds on my efforts.

This post refers to the movement table at the end of this section of rules.

There is one rules mechanism in Charge! that I am eager to be rid of. Charge! instructs us that moving within a set distance of other companies (rule 7c page 56) reduces a company's movement rate: this is the method by which the rules prevent a battalion deployed in line moving at the same rate as a battalion deployed in coulumn of companies. There is good reasoning behing this idea: if a column has room to its flanks then it can navigate around terrain features that would throw it into disorder were the unit compelled to march through them.

But it matters very little to the individual infantryman whether he has thirty or a hundred men to his right and left: he is still expected to advance at the regulation pace of so many strides of regulation length to the minute. If a battalion in line advances across ideal terrain that happily resembles a parade ground then it will advance as rapidly as a single company in line. But if the same battalion advances in line across a battlefield which has all the typical features of a rural landscape, it will find its advance slowed as its various companies encounter obstacles.

If we can model the problem of terrain in our wargame, then we will see that the rate of movement of a line will be dictated by the frequency with which parts of it become entangled in obstacles. So we can replace a somewhat awkward rule with a more pleasing simulation of the problems of manouevre that were associated with linear tactics. This is made easy because we have hexagonal terrain, and so we are able to define unambiguously which terrain areas have the potential to impose these kinds of delay on a formation. We have only to scatter hexes that represent this terrain around the battlefield judiciously. Movement rates for the company in line and in column are therefore all that are needed.

I can therefore use a hex-based variant of the movement table (page 59) with the reduced movement rate for infantry in battalion line removed. I have reduced movement distances so as to favour a smaller table than the original authors of Charge! envisaged, using 1 hex as equivalent to 6 inches even though my terrain hexes are actually 4 inches across. For consistency the same system will be used when determining firing ranges.

No comments: