Clarifications of Liberators QPR

The supplement to Liberators (Fletcher, 2006) includes a set of Quick Play Rules (QPR). This pages addresses some of the questions about the rules. The clarifications are by John Fletcher, the author, on the Liberators 1810-1830 Yahoo Discussion Forum..

See also my House Rules and the official errata is in the Liberators 1810-1830 Yahoo Discussion Forum FAQ section.

Purpose of Liberators QPR

John Fletcher says the rules:

were developed for convention games. The goal was to explain
them in 5-10 minutes and have people pretty much playing on their own by
turn 2. With that in mind, many situations just require a little bit of
common sense, fair play or a simple roll of the die.

Rally as “Resurrection”

Question

Rallying routed units that teleport and reappear immediately after routing does seem a bit odd.

John Fletcher’s answer:

The rally rules are an abstracted procedure designed to fit with the concept of “Quick Play”. I wanted a simple, quick method for both getting units off the table and getting them back on. I’ve found that in most games only one or two units end up getting rallied, which is about historically correct. I think this is a perceptual issue as Scott mentions the idea of a unit reappearing 6″ behind the line being daunting; apparently it would not be equally as daunting to rout that unit, have it fall back 6″ and then rally. I mention this not to be snarky but to observe that I think the “resurrected” unit is perceived as some kind of reinforcement, as opposed to a rallied battalion. Perceptions are important and maybe this concept is too “quick play” for some gamers, especially at a battalion level.

The idea is that the commander is bringing stragglers together, forming ad hoc units and doing whatever he can to keep the battle going. For example, at Vilcapugio Belgrano rallied 200 men and tried to hold a rear guard. This would be akin to him rallying a unit in our game.

Wheeling versus Oblique Movement versus Change Facing

Question:

units can move within 45 degrees, but on a straight line within that
arc. We assumed that meant wheels. Correct? What about oblique movement?

John Fletcher’s answer:

This does not mean wheeling. There is no wheeling in the QPR. To get the
effect of a wheel you first change unit facing, which takes half the unit’s
movement. You then move in a straight line within a 45 degree arc. This
straight line within a 45 degree arc is oblique movement.

Square versus Hasty Square

Question:

The rules say that infantry charged by cavalry can form square on a
morale roll (we called this a hasty square). Separately the rules also says
a formation change can replacement movement without a morale roll. We
assumed, for squares, both options were valid, i.e. a leisurely change of
formation to square without a morale roll or a hasty square when charged by
cavalry with a morale roll. Correct?

John Fletcher’s Answer:

Correct.

Hills

Question:

Andrew wanted to know if hills have crests or were flat. Given an
“elevation” block LOS we decided each elevation was flat so there were no
crests as such. Correct?

John Fletcher’s answer:

The main hill in this battle is very difficult to depict in game terms. It
is a rather large, conical hill; much like those styrofoam model railroad
hills you see. It must have 30 degree slopes. It would make for some nice
exercise. The other two hills are very much crestline type hills: long and
gently sloping with a crest that runs along the lengthwise spine of each.

This same problem presents itself in the historical game. I have never been
to the battlefield but the hills are considerable. A good way to picture
them is in modelling magazines where they show the technique of rolling a
newspaper and then covering it with plaster. They have a certain rounded or
“loaf” like appearance to them. Real world hills are always a problem in our
games as our rules and our table representations usually do not do them
justice.

Question

Elevations halve speed. Does that mean the whole hill or the bit
on the map that has an contour line? We played the whole hill. That makes
all hills difficult terrain which might be a bit harsh.

John Fletcher’s answer:

For Maipu that is a harsh. The battlefield was has long since vanished but I
have a photograph taken in the early 1900s that shows it as being a gentle
hill, almost more like rolling terrain than a hill. When I wrote the rule I
was thinking of the considerable hills that we see on Andean battlefields,
Chacabuco being a good example. These hills were often 100+ meters high and
steep sided.

Question:

What, if any, are the benefits for troops defending a hill? All
we could find where that the crest blocks line of sight. Blocking line of
fire was certainly a historical benefit – Wellington was keen on it – but
should there be other benefits for being on a hill?

John Fletcher’s answer:

There is nothing as written. Defender on higher terrain -1 bonus in melee
seems fair.

Rally from Disorder

Question:

“A unit stays disordered for one full turn.” For example, if disordered
in Musket Fire, when can it Rally? In the Rally phase of the next turn or
must it skip a turn? I suspect it is the former but “full turn” suggests
Musket Fire phase to Musket Fire phase. Or to put it another way, does the
reference to “full turn” just mean it cannot rally in the turn in which it
was disordered.

John Fletcher’s answer

An easy way to keep track of this is to put 2 markers on a unit when it is
disordered. The next rally phase take 1 off. The next rally phase take the
2nd one off. It can now be rallied. In the phase when you take the 2nd
marker off. This will play weird as many times you’ll put the 2 markers down
only to take one off within a couple of minutes but it will help you keep
things straight.

Question:

Is it possible to rally from disorder when in contact with enemy?

John Fletcher’s Answer

Yes.

Infantry hiding from Cavalry

Question

Why aren’t infantry better off in difficult terrain than
cavalry? For example, infantry hiding in difficult terrain – up hill or in
woods – to avoid cavalry. This seems to have been a feature of warfare
through the ages and of the Liberators period in particular. Under the rules
both troop types are equally disadvantaged and the cavalry would just go in
for the kill.

John Fletcher’s answer:

Woods or other difficult terrain would be “soft cover” and give the
defenders a -1 bonus.

Initiative and Simultaneous Movement / Shooting

Question:

Is shooting by the player with initiative alone or is is simultaneous?
Melee explicitly mentions that both players can attack but this isn’t
mentioned for firing.

John Fletcher’s answer:

Good eye. This is poorly written in the QPR, my apologies. All phases are
“Side A then Side B”, sides determined by the initiative roll at the
beginning of the turn. The effects in each phase are simultaneous in that
phase (stands killed in artillery fire are removed at the end of the phase &
are not available for musket fire, stands killed in artillery fire and
musket fire are not available for melee).

As it stands, initiative doesn’t mean a whole lot except in the movement
phase. If you really want it to be a big factor you could modify the rules
so that casualties within a phase are not simultaneous. Therefore, Side A
fires and Side B takes casualties. Side B now fires with its reduced forces.
Same with melee. This could be a fun way to put some more fog of war into
the game.

Change Formation

Question:

Is it possible to change formation when in melee?

John Fletcher’s answer:

No.

Fire Combat and Melee

Question:

Can troops fire into melee, i.e. fire at enemy units in contact with
friends?

John Fletcher’s answer:

Only in the turn when contact was initiated and then only the
defending/charged side.

Melee Combat

Question:

The rules say that corner contact doesn’t count for melee so how
are units expected to line up? Presumably the normal change face rules …
which seems quite difficult and hence a bit odd.

John Fletcher’s answer

This is an attempt to restrict
movement and keep players from “scraping” units and calling it melee (the
movement rules are so generous you could exploit them very easily here). If
you want to melee someone, line up and charge them properly.

Questions

The melees in our games were slow and indecisive. Seems odd for the period. If troops got into contact the melee was quick one way or the other.

Why is there no rule for defender troops stopping a charge with fire?

John Fletcher’s answer

Melee in this game means “really close range stuff”; whether that be musketry at 10 paces or hand to hand fighting or shouting insults at each other while trying to steel the nerve to charge. If you don’t like how long it takes perhaps you could roll all melees to a decision one way or another; meaning keep at it in a series of rounds until you have a clear victor. That should speed things up quite a bit.

Charging versus Ambling into Melee

Question

Are there really two ways to enter melee? Charging (requiring a
morale test and giving a bonus) and just moving into contact. The two ways
to achieve melee contact are mentioned in the first paragraph on charging.
How come two ways?

John Fletcher’s answer

Charging gives you a bonus.

Victorious Cavalry Pursuit after Melee

Question:

The rules has a complicated section on charging cavalry pursuing after
destroying enemy. When using the no casualty removal house rule (recommended
by John) this clause can no longer apply. Is there as substitute or just
ignore it?

John Fletcher’s answer

I’m guessing the “house rule” you mention is the FAQ/Errata on
this site. If there are no casualties there is no pursuit. The units are
considered to have “bounced” or fought to a standstill. So ignore it.

Squares in Melee Combat

Question

How does a square behave in melee? How many stands fight? The
stands that are in contact fight.
Particularly if charged at a corner?

John Fletcher’s answer

The stands that are in contact fight.

Question

What happens if the square has to withdraw from melee?

John Fletcher’s answer

It withdraws 4″ in
square. Don’t argue with me, it’s a quick play convention game. 🙂

Artillery Movement and Firing

Question:

Can artillery deploy and shoot in the same turn? Can they, if deployed,
move 2″ and shoot in the same turn? Can they change face and shoot?
Actually, can they change face when deployed? In all cases we assumed “yes”.

John Fletcher’s answer:

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Attached Generals

Question:

Generals attached to units provide an extra die for shooting and melee,
but do they affect the units rally roll? I couldn’t find a mention of this.

John Fletcher’s answer:

Yes.

Melee Outcomes

Question

Melee has three independent outcomes: casualties, disorder and retreat.
Seems odd that you can inflict more casualties and disorder the other guy
but still be forced to retreat leaving them holding the ground.

John Fletcher’s answer:

Messy thing, war. 🙂

Gamey Ganging up

Question

We suspect it is possible that a player with a 3 stand unit can position
them in a gamey way against a two stand enemy to enable all three of their
own stands to fight but prevent other enemy units coming to the rescue of
the two stand unit.

John Fletcher’s answer:

To be honest, there are many gamey things you can do in this rules set. Some
of the worst are with 1 stand units. It’s one reason I’ve been tinkering
with a next generation/new version for quite some time.

Overhead Fire

Question

Any overhead fire? Particularly artillery firing from higher elevation.

John Fletcher’s answer:

Howitzers can fire over units. I’d have no problem with higher elevation
artillery firing over friendly troops if the enemy is farther than the
distance from the artillery to the friendly troops.

Cavalry Speed

Question

Cavalry felt slow compared to infantry. Obviously they had a faster movement
but it didn’t seem much faster. Inf Line, Inf Col, Cav Line, Cav Col = 4″,
6″, 6″, 9″. So an infantry column and cavalry line have the same movement
rate. Not sure if this is realistic or not.

John Fletcher’s answer:

The speed of cavalry in battle is an eternal argument. Many people will tell
you that Napoleonic cavalry seldom moved at more than a trot and usually at
a walk. You can bump it up if you like.

References

Fletcher, J. (2006). Liberators! Supplement 1: The War in the South. Grenadier Productions.

Includes a fast play set of rules, 6 new scenarios, and 125 uniform illustrations.

Liberators 1810-1830 Yahoo Discussion Forum

Particularly the errata in the FAQ section.

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