Added flags for larger battles?

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lilljonas
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by lilljonas » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:45 pm

My experience is that the game, played according to the rulebook, bogs down a bit if you have too many leaders. There's simply too many draws that change very little: a lvl 1 or 2 in a formation with a superior officer can barely do anything, especially if you haven't suffered shock yet. This means you get a lot of draws where you look at the table, realize you can't do anything, and move on, slowing the game down.

To play larger games we simplified activations. Our way to do it is to only keep cards in the deck for the superior leaders, whenever a formation has several leaders in it. If you have two lvl 1 leaders and one lvl 3 leaders in a formation, just use a single card for that formation. When you draw it, the lvl 3 leader as well as the two lvl 1 leaders can act at the same time.

With this relatively small house rule we manage to play much larger games than the rules are probably meant for (200+ points at times), while not being very different from the base rules. You can also keep the number of flags down, which means that you also won't get slowed down by a lot of random events.

E: we also houseruled that random events require four flags, and that the four flag double activation only counts for one formation, not as many as the leader has command initiatives, making it less of a game winner. It's still good, but it's not as amazing. But then, we love to tinker with games and make house rules, while I realize others prefer to play it according to the rulebook.

Contrarius
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Contrarius » Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:01 pm

lilljonas wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:45 pm

E: we also houseruled that... the four flag double activation only counts for one formation, not as many as the leader has command initiatives, making it less of a game winner. It's still good, but it's not as amazing.
Cripes :o , can you really do that? That's certainly what I would call playing the rules rather than the period.

Archdukek
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Archdukek » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:13 pm

Contrarius wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:01 pm
lilljonas wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:45 pm

E: we also houseruled that... the four flag double activation only counts for one formation, not as many as the leader has command initiatives, making it less of a game winner. It's still good, but it's not as amazing.
Cripes :o , can you really do that? That's certainly what I would call playing the rules rather than the period.
Yes you can really do that. 4 Command Cards is a bonus activation for a single Leader who can the spend his Command Initiatives as he sees fit including activating any units within his command range even those which have already been activated that turn.

It's meant to be a potential game changer if used well as the Leader dramatically seizes the initiative to wreak havoc on the enemy. Which is why I share Captain Reid's nervousness about increasing the number of Command Cards too much which can make it a too frequent occurrence.

John

Archdukek
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Archdukek » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:16 pm

Hi shamus2d6,
A mechanism of cascading leader activations similar to what you suggest was used in the playtesting of a new set of Napoleonic rules from TFL which eventually ran into the sand. It actually lengthened the game considerably and I would advice against using it for SP.

John

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Captain Reid
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Captain Reid » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:19 am

I really like the four flags mechanic and while it is powerful, the fact that it is normally quite rare mitigates this. In fact the best game of SP2 I think I've played was one where my opponent got four flags out three times in four turns, which allowed him to use his late-arriving Status III commander to completely turn the battle around.

My riflemen, safely ensconsed in buildings, had shot off his cannon in short order, his first column of conscripts was looking easy meat for my Guards and the game was pretty much set for a rather dull win for me.

And then, after aout six turns, his force commander chip came out and he brought on his skirmishers and second column.

There then followed the aforesaid four flags three times in four turns (as well as a random event that let him move forwards), which led to the shattering of my previously impregnable-seeming position. Narrative-wise it was obvious that he'd just arrived fresh from a furious morning argument with his mistress (hence his delay) and was thus enraged and fortified with brandy and so, in the manner of Ney in his pomp, roused his men forwards with vim.

Very much in the style of the period novel to my mind.


On the other hand, I've been on the receiving end of basically the same thing but with my side having 4 command cards and the opposition with 6. Their monotonous series of double actions and sharp practices didn't then seem an amusing quirk of the cards but more a remorseless result of a stacked deck. It's the only game of SP I've played that I didn't like so much.

I'm not saying that adding command cards is a bad thing, just that it needs treated with caution and should be balanced between the forces too (so equal numbers in the deck - the side with more will have a big advantage)
Faith! If they tried to outrun a Hielandmon, they stood but a bad chance, for Whash! went the broadsword.
- James Thompson, 78th Foot.

The Saindoux Campaign, 1757, my French and Indian War blog

Cerro Manteca, 1811, my Peninsular War blog.

Munin
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Munin » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:49 am

Maybe double activation should not be limited to simply "4 flags" but rather to "all the flags you have in the deck." That might keep things on a relatively even keel, statistically speaking.

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Captain Reid
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Captain Reid » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:44 am

Unfortunately it wouldn't even out statistically. It'd be harder to get 5 command cards out of 5 with 26 chips in the bag (as a for instance, 15 leaders total, 5 command cards per side, tiffin) than 4 out of 4 with 24 chips in (ie 15 leaders, 4 command per side, tiffin).

It's why I've toyed with the idea of 'half flag' cards that would not count towards the 4 flags but could be used after tiffin and (possibly) for activating characteristics. But as I say, I've not myself found a compelling need for more flags even with 7 Leaders and 10 Groups on one side versus 9 Leaders and 15 Groups on the other (which is about as big as I care to go).
Faith! If they tried to outrun a Hielandmon, they stood but a bad chance, for Whash! went the broadsword.
- James Thompson, 78th Foot.

The Saindoux Campaign, 1757, my French and Indian War blog

Cerro Manteca, 1811, my Peninsular War blog.

Contrarius
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Contrarius » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:47 pm

Well, I find my the inability in larger games to use Sharp practice, Pas de Charge, and all the other wonderful mechanisms available in the rules as compelling enough to need those extra flag cards or maybe half-flag cards? Now, we just need to set down exactly what those half flags allow you to do...

I would suggest half-flags:

* Do not count towards the two, three or four cards required for interrupts and bonus activations.
* Can be used for any other card-activated features such as Sharp Practice, Pas de Charge, Stepping Out, etc.
* Can be used for temporarily raising the level of a commander and/or removing Shock.
* Can be used after the Tiffin Card to activate units not yet activated that turn.

Have I left anything out?
(In essence, it's only the first point that's important; other rules for flags apply as normal. This gets round the biggest problem raised on this thread, namely additional interrupts and bonus activations.)

Popsical
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Popsical » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:59 pm

Why not buy a second set of chits and paint them yellow and green. Then divide the forces into halves and play the game as two sides of two sets of chits. Have 4 flags per colour, sure you will have more chance of random events, but you should when more units are involved.

Munin
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Re: Added flags for larger battles?

Post by Munin » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:02 am

You're better off simply doubling up leaders per chit, actually. It runs much more smoothly than having more than two colors of chits.

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