Converting from Liberators QPR to March Attack

I gave March Attack a go for Liberators when I fought Alternative Chacabuco. March Attack are a battalion level set of Napoleonic rules from Crusader Publishing. They appeal to me for a variety of reasons, not least because each unit is two stands, just like my big base armies.

But to do the refight I had to translate the orders of battle from Liberators QPR, the game I’ve used most for big battles in the Liberators period, to March Attack. The main issues are Troop Quality and Commander Ratings.

Troop Quality

I have to decide how to map from the troop quality in Liberators QPR to troop quality in March Attack. Here is an example of of the mapping using the Chilean 1st Infantry Battalion of 480 men when they fought at the Battle of Maipo:

  • Liberators QPR: Militia 7/7/6 s, i.e. Militia unit with Fire rating of 7, Melee 7, and Morale 6 with capability to detach a skirmisher stand
  • March Attack: C 7, i.e. Conscript with a Combat Value (CV) 7

Liberators quality ratings

Liberators QPR has these troop ratings where the numbers are fire/melee/morale for 1d10 and low is good:

Peasant (8/8/7)
Militia (7/7/6)
Regular (6/6/5)
Elite (4/4/4)
Guard (4/4/4)

March Attack quality ratings

March Attack has a couple more options for troop quality where the numbers are the Valeur et Discipline score for 2d6 and high is good:

Untrained (4)
Militia (5)
Conscript (6)
Regular (7)
Veteran (8)
Elite (9)
Guard (10)

Mapping Troop Quality

I’m intending to use this mapping:

Liberators QPR March Attack
Peasant (8/8/7) Militia (5)
Militia (7/7/6) Conscript (6)
Regular (6/6/5) Regular (7)
Elite (5/5/4) Veteran (8)
Guard (4/4/4) Elite (9)

What is in a name?

You might be wondering why I don’t just use the names. Both rule sets, for example, have a quality rating called “Militia”. However, when it comes to troop quality, the name isn’t very helpful as they are more or less made up by the authors to sound authentic. So for the purposes of mapping the ratings I have ignored what the quality ratings are called in different rule sets.

Percentages are king

To get these mappings I looked at the percentage change of passing a morale test. If a troop quality has a similar percentage chance of passing a morale test in both Liberators QPR and March Attack then I’ve made them equivalent.

For example the chance of passing a morale test for a Regular unit in Liberators QPR is 60%; in March Attack it is 58%. Similarly for the other quality rankings I listed.

In contrast a March Attack Untrained unit only has a 17% chance of passing a morale test – they are really, really, really bad. Whereas a Peasant unit in Liberators QPR passes 40% of the time. Quite a big differential.

But aren’t Spanish troops rubbish because they are Spanish

I can’t see any reason to treat Spanish troops as worse than their European peers. Admittedly I’m a Hispano-phile however the Veteran Spanish units in South America had a fearsome reputation.

Nor do I see reason to down grade South American troops because they are not European. From my perspective a Regular unit is a Regular unit regardless of the theatre they are operating in. Admittedly there are likely to be a lot of Militia and Conscript units in Liberators armies.

What about Guards and Untrained

My mapping scheme does not include either of the March Attack ratings Untrained (4) or Guard (10).

I’m reserving Untrained for really rubbish troops. As I mentioned above an Untrained unit only has a 17% chance of passing a morale test. So, for example, Untrained rating may be appropriate for that mixed Militia and Indian unit that is a reinforcement in the Gavilan scenario. In the Peninsular the Untrained rating would be great for Spanish units that were recruited one week and thrown into a major battle the next week, e.g. the units that routed at Talavera at the sound of friendly artillery.

I cannot justify having “Guard” units in South America as there was nothing that compared to Napoleon’s Old Guard.

Cavalry Weight

Liberators QPR does not have cavalry weights but March Attack does. I assume that South America has no equivalent of the European Heavy Cavalry defined as big men on big horses. And I’m not convinced there was a significant difference between the Light and Medium Cavalry in South America, but for the moment I assume:

  • Units designated as “Cazadores” or “Hussars” are Light Cavalry (L)
  • Other cavalry are Medium Cavalry (M)
  • Lancers are designated as such (L) in addition to weight

Commander Ratings

Liberators QPR has a variety of ways to describe commanders, but March Attack only has two. Colonel Ordoñez, perhaps the best Royalist commander in the 1817-18 Chilean Campaign, is an example:

  • Liberators QPR: Good (5/5/4); inspiring, high initiative (+1 to all initiative rolls)
  • March Attack: E / C = Excellent (+3) Command ability (E); Charismatic (+2) Inspirational Value (C)

March Attack commander ratings

In March Attack Leaders are defined by their inspirational value and their command ability. Inspirational value affects morale and melee and is rated as Charismatic, Normal and Uninspiring. Command ability affects whether orders are obeyed and can be Excellent, Good, Average, Poor and Terrible.

Liberators QPR commander ratings

John Fletcher’s Liberators books categorise commanders in four ways:

  1. General quality rating of Excellent, Good, Average and Poor
  2. Fire / Melee / Morale ratings just like normal units. The general quality rating informs the Fire / Melee / Morale ratings:
    • Excellent (4/4/4)
    • Good (5/5/5)
    • Average (6/6/6)
    • Poor (7/7/7)
  3. Descriptive attributes e.g. San Martin is a “strategist”, Osorio is a “coward” with “low initiative”.
  4. Special rules, e.g. -1 to all initiative rolls. Usually linked to the descriptive attribute, e.g. -1 to all initiative rolls is because of “low initiative” or being “inexperienced”

Mapping commander rating

The combination of Liberators attributes suggests the March Attack equivalent. By default a commander is Normal inspirational value (N) and Average Command Ability (A). Use the Liberators general quality rating to give the March Attack command ability. This goes up or down due to the other Liberators commander attributes.

Liberators General Quality Rating March Attack Command Ability
Excellent (4/4/4) Excellent (+3)
Good (5/5/5) Good (+2)
Average (6/6/6) Average (+1)
Poor (7/7/7) Poor (0)
Terrible (-1)
Liberators Attribute March Attack Commander Rating
“Inexperienced”, “Low initiative” and/or “-1 to all initiative rolls” One rating worse for Command Ability
“High initiative” and/or “+1 to all initiative rolls” One rating higher for Command Ability; up to Excellent (+3)
“Inspiring”, “Brave” and/or “Impetuous” Charismatic Inspirational Value
“Coward” and/or “Despised” Uninspiring Inspirational Value

Generals of the 1817-18 Chilean Campaign

General San Martin:

  • Liberators QPR: Good (5/5/5); strategist (sets up 2nd)
  • March Attack: G / N = Good (+2) Command ability (G); Normal (+1) Inspirational Value (N); strategist (sets up 2nd)

I’ve retained San Martin’s “strategist” special ability.

General O’Higgins:

  • Liberators QPR: Poor (7/5/7); brave, impetuous
  • March Attack: P / C = Poor (0) Command ability (P); Charismatic (+2) Inspirational Value (C)

Mariscal del Pont:

  • Liberators QPR: Poor (7/7/8); inexperienced (-1 to all initiative rolls), despised
  • March Attack: T / N = Terrible (-1) Command ability (P); Normal (+1) Inspirational Value (N)

General Osorio:

  • Liberators QPR: Poor (7/8/7); coward, low initiative (-1 to all initiative rolls)
  • March Attack: T / U = Terrible (-1) Command ability (P); Uninspiring (0) Inspirational Value (U)

Colonel Ordoñez:

  • Liberators QPR: Good (5/5/4); inspiring, high initiative (+1 to all initiative rolls)
  • March Attack: E / C = Excellent (+3) Command ability (E); Charismatic (+2) Inspirational Value (C)

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