Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Rules Mechanisms 1 - Firing

I love the rattle of dice in a cup. So to it seems did the early Masters of War Gaming. Six-sided dice abound. Let's take a look at the effect of firing our little toy soldier regiments at each others.

Eligibility to fire is determined by a number of factors such as line of sight and firing arc. As a sidebar, I strongly feel that the firing arc for the Infantry should be nothing more nor less than perpendicular to the firing line for the reason that was how they engaged historically.

Firing itself is managed via the firing group of six or more figures mediated through the mechanism of a single d6 throw. The result of this throw is modified by a range of factors - soft cover, hard cover and so on - and the result is equal to a number of "hits" that are randomised among the opposing firing group.

Different methods are on offer for randomising casualties. Basically they are there so that volley fire is not used to snipe at officer figures. In the example of the grant rules, each figure in a six-figure firing group is numbered one to six. Let's say that three of them become casualties. We throw three d6's to determine who gets hit. Let's say this results in a two, a three and another three. This means that figures two and three of our six figure group get hit. Poor figure three has been hit twice. Ouch.

This can result in some extraordinary destructive fire. If for example we were to carry the example above over an entire unit, the result would be the removal of a third of it's effectives and a morale check. A few luckier rolls of the dice would see the unit almost completely annihilated in one devastating blast!

I prefer to moderate this effect by increasing my firing groups to eight figures while retaining a d6 per group for the purpose of determining hits. I am toying with the idea of giving all infantry a d8 for first fire just so I can simulate feats like the devastation of the Gardes Francaises at Fontenoy or that volley at Quebec that lost New France for the French Crown.

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