Maori Wars

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Captain Reid
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by Captain Reid »

i'd go with Fowling Pieces and Light Infantry.

The Buck & Ball notion's not a bad one although it's one more thing to remember.

As is the out of LoS if in a trench unless they fired. Perhaps allow any skirmish troops to 'go to ground' for one Action and, if gone to ground, count one level of cover higher, or out of LoS if in a trench? Probably only the Maori would use it but it then becomes a more general thing and so possibly more easily remembered - it also allows the slightly greater possibility of them being caught by fire before they can lie down again.

Don't agree with No Bayonets because it's already well established in the rules that it's not a literal thing, and the Maori are armed for and well capable of melee. I'd suggest the greater number of British in a Group (8 vs 6) is enough to give them an edge in a close fight, especially if they have Stubborn.
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sjwalker51
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by sjwalker51 »

Some good points there, Captain.

What’s your reasoning on the preference for fowling pieces rather than Muskets, in game mechanism terms? I started off thinking the same (to represent poorer quality kit) but the latter are generally more effective at 12” or less, which is where I want the effect of double-barrelled shotguns at short range to be represented:

On the ‘No Bayonets’ point, I know what you mean BUT the difference in group size doesn’t make any difference to the number of dice that Line and Skirmish troops start with, Regulars and Lights are the same quality (hence my dilemma about rating the Maori as Skirmishers) so the only ‘edge’ the Brits get is being stubborn.

It’s very similar to the discussion about representing Zulus within the rules - definitely well equipped for Fisticuffs but at marked disadvantage when coming up against well trained infantry equipped with kit that out-reached them by several feet and completely unable to counter cavalry if caught in the open. So I’m thinking, while not taking the description too literally, it can be used in the context of its original intention to as a dice modifier when troops are somehow disadvantaged in Fisticuffs under certain circumstances - granted, it’s another thing to remember, but I’m sure the British player will be all too happy to remind the Maori when the situation arises! 🙂

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Captain Reid
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by Captain Reid »

On melee, it's true that a Line Group of 8 throws as many dice as Light Infantry Group of 6, but they remain above half strength for longer. Personally I think that's enough, especially as Stubborn means they can manage a 'lost by one' result.

Perhaps keep fowling pieces as the armament but give them a 'Shotgun' special rule which functions as Buck & Ball but for weapons fired at effective range. Then they'd be hitting on 5 + 1 (Light Infantry) + 1 (Shotgun) = 3 at close range (it's be 2 with muskets, which is pretty tasty to say the least . . .) and rather than deny the first kill at long range, have it inflict a -1 to hit.

So at close range the Maori hit on 3s, but at long range it becomes 6 +1 -1 = 6s, which seems better to me and will encourage them to reserve their fire.

So Shotgun: Fires as a Fowling Piece but with an additional +1 to hit at effective range and a -1 to hit at long range.

I confess as I count all Skirmish Troops hit as flank/rear if caught in the open by cantering or galloping cavalry in all eras anyway, so tghat's how I get round the cavalry issue.

My experience of running Aggressive Light Infantry as natives in French Indian Wars leads me to believe that Regular Line Troops do pretty well against them despite the dice deficit - the lights simply cannot cope with losses because they tend to have fewer Groups anyway. They can sometimes win a straight up headlong charge, but it's generally Phyrric unless the enemy have been reduced and shocked first. If you're not rating the Maori as Aggressive, then that effect would be more marked, I think.
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sjwalker51
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by sjwalker51 »

I’m liking your thinking - though the -1 to hit at long range is quite a penalty, given that a each Group is going to be carrying a mix of shotguns and muskets (albeit often poor quality), it’s probably appropriate and neatly does away with the idea of making them Poor Shots.

I’m avoiding ‘Aggressive’ as, while considered worthy opponents, there’s no evidence that they were much more so than their British adversaries (ritual cannibalisation notwithstanding) but might apply it to the odd group of traditionalists armed only with Big Choppers, if only for a bit of variety! Might give the other Maori groups some benefit in first round of Fisticuffs to represent the use of those darn shotguns at point blank range if loaded at the moment of contact.

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Captain Reid
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by Captain Reid »

How about:

Tūpara: a unit equipped with Tūpara fires as if equipped with Fowling Pieces. Any shots at Effective Range gain +1 to hit; any shots at Long Range suffer a -1 penalty to hit. In addition a unit equipped with loaded Tūpara counts as Aggressive in the first round of Fisticuffs (an unloaded unit gains no such benefit).

Maori:
Light Infantry. 6 models. 9 points.
Formation - no, First Fire - no (?), Controlled Volley - no
Crashing Volley - 2, Step Out - 1, Drill - 0
Moveable Deployment Point, Tactical, Tupara

I'm not sure how you'll be rating British Regulars though.


Maybe give the British 'bayonet charge' allowing them to count as Aggressive if they initiate Fisticuffs'?
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sjwalker51
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by sjwalker51 »

Liking that - maybe limit the Crashing Volley to Close (Effective) Range only and cut the cost to 1 CC?

On a related point but not specifically Maori-related regarding ‘First Fire’: while the common understanding is that it mainly relates to the care with which the first round is loaded, and the effect of a near-simultaneous first volley, how much do you think it also reflect the lack of ‘confusion’/chaos, ‘din of battle’, smoke etc that ensue once battle has been joined? Would you allow well disciplined infantry with breech loaders to have this characteristic in some cases, for example?

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Captain Reid
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by Captain Reid »

Given the Maori will only hit on 6s at Long Range, i think it might be okay to keep CV at 2 (or reduce it to 1 if you like, it would give them a lot of decisions about how to best use cards if you did).

That's a really good question about First Fire. Given it does descriptively mention careful loading, etc, it would make some sense to give it to everyone with muzzle loaders. I confess I've tended to follow the way Rich has done it in his lists and to therefore deny it to some poorer troops or to those with dodgier weapons.

I'm not convinced on breech-loaders. I can see the argument that they should get it, but my feeling is rather that there's less to get right with the actual loading (and so you can't really take greater care in the same way). But it's not a position I'd defend to the death, I think it probably comes down to what one reckons more than most other things do.
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Captain Reid
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by Captain Reid »

Thinking some more.

Maori:
Light Infantry. 6 models. 10 points.
Formation - no, First Fire - no (?), Controlled Volley - no
Crashing Volley - 1, Step Out - 1, Drill - 0
Haka, Moveable Deployment Point, Tactical, Tūpara

Haka: if the Unit is Activated by a Leader who spends two Command Cards, it may charge with 3d6 worth of movement and counts as Aggressive in any ensuing Fisticuffs.
Tūpara: a unit equipped with Tūpara fires as if equipped with Fowling Pieces. Any shots at Effective Range gain +1 to hit; any shots at Long Range suffer a -1 penalty to hit. In addition, a Unit with loaded Tūpara that engages in Fisticuffs will roll d6 for each figure in the Unit, inflicting a point of Shock on the enemy for each roll of 5+ before Fisticuffs begins.

Perhaps make the British Bayonet Charge be triggered by a Leader Activation using a single flag and making the Unit count as Aggressive in ensuing Fisticuffs?
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sjwalker51
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by sjwalker51 »

Based on reading so far (“Soldiers, Scouts & Spies” by Cliff Simons being the latest, and a good addition), I think there’s a good case for giving Maoris ‘first fire’ as there’s repeated accounts of them holding their fire for maximum effect at short range and it encourages the use of historical tactics. My initial thoughts on ‘Haka’ was to allow the Maori to remove Shock. Force Leaders should also be considered Prominent as well.

Most British Line should be ‘skirmish trained’, capable of switching between Line and Skirmish order as required, as I suggested in my article on 19th century tactics in the Christmas Special - not yet sure if ‘Thin Red Line’ remains as appropriate by the 1840’s, but I do think something similar like ‘bayonet charge’ would be apt.

I’ll try to pull all these ideas into a first draft in the next week or so - it’s been a while since Rich posted any ‘Lard Approved’ Force lists to the downloads section, but at the rate I work, it’ll be Christmas again before it’s in a useable format!

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Captain Reid
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Re: Maori Wars

Post by Captain Reid »

I can't see an objection to giving them first fire, although with the choice between hitting on 3s at 12" and 6s at 24" anyway, I think most players would reserve fire anyway. That said, a Crashing Volley hitting on 2s, even from just six figures will be appropriately shocking! So why not?

I don't think I'd use Thin Red Line in NZ myself. I can see it being appropriate, perhaps, elsewhere in that period.
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