Historical OB's vs ADC allotment

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Historical OB's vs ADC allotment

Postby CATenWolde » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:57 am

Hi,

I asked this question over on TMP, where it was suggested that I swing over here. I want to stress again that my question comes from the perspective of wanting to understand the thinking and implementation behind the ADC system, not to nitpick. Although ... it IS Napoleonics! ;)

(TMP post; http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=459450)

*****

I've been reading through the GdA rules and have found a lot to like, with the use of ADC's as a sort of hybrid command point / order system being very interesting. It's obviously meant to be a core element of the game, but when I started to puzzle through its application to actual historical OB's I was confused by the examples in the rules. So, the following should be taken as a request for clarification on perspective and intent rather than a nitpicky criticism. ;)

In the core rules, a commander receives a number of ADC's equal to the number of brigades he controls, modified by +1 or -1 only if they are truly great or truly terrible commanders, but also receiving +1 per "double 6" rolled when the ADC pool is activated for the turn (you roll 1d6 per ADC, with a 1-2 meaning he is unavailable for use for that turn).

Now, when you actually get to assigning your ADC's to their tasks with individual brigades, the trick is that there are several tasks that require two ADC's, several nice combinations where it would be great to assign three ADC's doing different things, and even one powerful task (Take Command!) that requires three ADC's on its own.

So … a commander is better off commanding more brigades, as it gives him a greater pool to roll for, thus increasing his number of likely received ADC's each turn, and also greatly increases his chances of getting a bonus ADC with a double 6, and also makes it possible to use some of the 2-3 ADC combinations.

However … the great majority of Napoleonic divisions consisted of two brigades. Divisions with three brigades were not unknown, but were an exception. Divisions with more than three brigades hearken back to the ancien regime use of clumsy "columns", which the Napoleonic C&C system was meant to replace.

But … checking the example OB's in the rules, it appears that they are actually corps, with the CiC being a corp commander, but with the individual brigades portrayed but the division generals completely absent. This is where I started to get confused, so I checked the Optional Rules, which somewhat confusingly have rules for Corps Commanders, although it seems the basic game places the CiC in that role, even though they are described as division commanders …

And … as I said, I would just like some clarification on the designed perspective of the game. If I play a game with a typical corps (two divisions of two brigades each, perhaps with a third division of three brigades, and an independent brigade of cavalry), was the game designed to have that be a single command of 5-8 brigades, or was it meant to use the full optional system with corps/division generals?

My actual thinking is that the optional rules for corps commanders (who have a larger pool of ADC's to distribute) would make good rules for a typical historical division commander, commanding only two brigades but being active in their battlefield role – as opposed to the corps commander who is more likely to stay out of the fray.

Thanks in advance for any positive discussion!

Cheers,

Christopher
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Re: Historical OB's vs ADC allotment

Postby DCRBrown » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:49 am

C,

In the core rules, a commander receives a number of ADC's equal to the number of brigades he controls, modified by +1 or -1 only if they are truly great or truly terrible commanders, but also receiving +1 per "double 6" rolled when the ADC pool is activated for the turn (you roll 1d6 per ADC, with a 1-2 meaning he is unavailable for use for that turn).

So … a commander is better off commanding more brigades, as it gives him a greater pool to roll for, thus increasing his number of likely received ADC's each turn, and also greatly increases his chances of getting a bonus ADC with a double 6, and also makes it possible to use some of the 2-3 ADC combinations.


Sort of, but remember that although, yes you have a greater chance of a double six, you also have more brigades to keep in the order and avoid being hesitant. So it's actually "reasonably" even across the board from small division to large division. As a kind fellow said over on TMP -"Yes more commands = more ADC roles but you never have enough and if you spend them on special commands (anything other than the re-roll) you will generate a lot of hesitant commands which do nothing and cost you in the initiative phase."

However … the great majority of Napoleonic divisions consisted of two brigades. Divisions with three brigades were not unknown, but were an exception. Divisions with more than three brigades hearken back to the ancien regime use of clumsy "columns", which the Napoleonic C&C system was meant to replace.

Well, not quite, yes the two brigade infantry structure was common in the French army but there are many and numerous exceptions, especially when one includes the cavalry brigades often attached to divisions. Just looking at a few quick examples most of Soult's divisions at Austerlitz were three brigades, most of Wellingtons divisions at Bussaco were also three infantry brigades , (two British and one Portuguese), while many of the Allied brigades in 1813 had three brigades. Like all things in warfare it's just not a hard and fast system that one can apply across all nations for the entire Napoleonic period. While the earlier Allied columns again varied with two, three or four brigades and weren't that much larger than their opponents. I think they were clumsily because they lacked a dedicated command structure rather than because they simply had more brigades. The rules try to replicate this poor command through the C-in-C ability role where the Allies are far more likely to pick up a Commissariat, (so lose an ADC), whereas the French more likely to receive a Campaigner or even Incomparable C-in-C.

But … checking the example OB's in the rules, it appears that they are actually corps, with the CiC being a corp commander, but with the individual brigades portrayed but the division generals completely absent. This is where I started to get confused, so I checked the Optional Rules, which somewhat confusingly have rules for Corps Commanders, although it seems the basic game places the CiC in that role, even though they are described as division commanders …three brigades, and an independent brigade of cavalry), was the game designed to have that be a single command of 5-8 brigades, or was it meant to use the full optional system with corps/division generals?

My actual thinking is that the optional rules for corps commanders (who have a larger pool of ADC's to distribute) would make good rules for a typical historical division commander, commanding only two brigades but being active in their battlefield role – as opposed to the corps commander who is more likely to stay out of the fray.

The rules introduction states that the game is designed for a large division, two divisions or even a corps level wargame. So who commands? Well a large division is easily and sits with that divisional commander, (the C-in-C). A two divisional game would simply see the more senior divisional commander take command or the corps commander, it really doesn't matter. (I know the command you field is called the "Division" in the game when it can in fact be two or more but that is just for simplicities sake. I'm trying to use the military phraseology of the period rather than words such as "force" or "wargames army", that doesn't sit right, with me at any rate.) Stepping up a multi-divisional game would have a corps commander (or wing commander) commanding your various C-in-C's. At this level I don't see Divisional commanders as left out but simply subsumed into your senior command officer, again to avoid numerous command levels that probably/may have had limited impact in reality but would certainly add more rules and more complication to the game, that was designed to go the other way! And would corps commanders stay out of the fray? I'm not so sure....Marshal Ney might well disagree!

DB
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Re: Historical OB's vs ADC allotment

Postby CATenWolde » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:48 pm

Hi David,

Thank you for taking the time to reply in such depth. I do appreciate it, and I think that when reading your last paragraph I may have had an "Aha!" moment and understood the larger premise behind the system.

Would it be too much to say that the higher levels of on-table command - and their modifiers to the number of ADC's - were meant to subsume and reflect the number of quality of intermediate (division) commanders?

This is a way of thinking that I could find very useful when designing scenarios. So, for instance, a column led by Prince Incompetent all by himself would find him rated a Commisariat or Blusterer. If he was technically leading a corps and had the assistance of Duke Ditherer and Count Clueless, these gentlemen could be ignored and the rating of Commisariat or Blusterer kept - or, if they may have had some slight command benefit, the Prince could be promoted to an Aristocrat corps CiC, removing the negative effects of Commisariat or Blusterer but proffering no advantages. On the other hand, if the Prince was assigned two veteran division generals, their effect could be modeled by promoting him to Veteran corps CiC - he might be incompetent, but the effect of the two veteran division commanders would then be represented.

This idea could be stretched all sorts of ways I suppose, which seems very flexible.

Am I not too far off?

Cheers,

Christopher
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Re: Historical OB's vs ADC allotment

Postby DCRBrown » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:20 am

C,

Yes, you can use any combination of C-in-C and corps commander abilities to produce the command situation for your desired scenario.

But if you give a player both Count Clueless and Duke Ditherer - maybe you could give them a few grenadier brigades to make up for it! ;)

DB
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Re: Historical OB's vs ADC allotment

Postby Archdukek » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:23 pm

Thanks to this conversation when I ran our General D'Armee demonstration game at Claymore today I assumed both sides had a Veteran Corps Commander which gave them a couple of extra ADCs apiece. This made it easier to demonstrate the way ADCs work without overcrowding the table with too many troops. It worked a treat.

John
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