I asked whether I should introduce baggage camps to Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Opinions where mixed, of course, but for me the big take away was baggage camps were a red herring. The thing to simulate is cavalry pursuit. The questions is how? I’ve been mulling over pursuit in a couple of contexts. I thought I’d share and see what you think. These are not well formed thoughts. Just a bit a jumble to reflect the various considerations and possibilities.
What context to simulate cavalry pursuit
Cavalry can/did pursue in a number of different contexts. These are related but can be simulated separately. The three pursuit contexts I see are when an enemy:
- Unit routs
- Command breaks but rest of the army hangs around
- Allied army has one ally breaks but other ally hangs around
I’ve been focussing on context 3, with the occasional attempt at context 2, and distant consideration of context 1.
Context 1. Unit routs
Several wargaming rules have cavalry that are successful in melee pursuing their defeated opponents.
In Tilly’s Very Bad Day this could mean that when a Horse or Light Horse Unit has all enemy in contact routed or rally back they pursue.
In practice I don’t think any such pursuit would last long because this localised fight in part of a much larger battle. Other events would quickly distract the pursuers. This is in contrast to the other two contexts I’m considering.
Context 2. Command breaks but rest of the army hangs around
Several of the English Civll War battles feature cavalry commands breaking on the wings and the enemy cavalry pursuing them off table. The fate of the left and right wings were separate, so the left could break and be pursued off the battlefield, while the right wins and pursues their opponents off.
The only element of command morale within Tilly’s Very Bad Day is commander casualties. Lose the commander and all Units lose a Resolve. But that is nothing like all Units fleeing the table as fast as they can.
Possibilities for the command morale are:
- Rely on any new rule to cover Context 1
- Adapt the army morale rules to commands so introduce a command breakpoint
I’ve struggled with these options. For a start I haven’t figured out a good solution to Context 1 i.e. pursuit when a unit routs.
I’ve considered 1/4, 1/3, and 1/2 for command breakpoint. But it isn’t straight forward for me. A low breakpoints makes commands of 2-8 units terribly fragile. A high breakpoint will potentially slow the games.
I’m also struggling to find a command breakpoint that fits sensibly within the wider context of army morale. When does the army break? Stick with an army wide breakpoint (1/4/ or 1/3) or have to break all commands? I dunno.
Some of the approaches I outline in the next context can also apply here.
Context 3. Allied army has one ally breaks but other ally hangs around
Breitenfeld is the big example. There were four allied armies present, two on each side. Tilly’s army comprised Imperialist and Catholic League components but they operated as a coherent whole, at least as far as we can tell from this distance in time. The Anti-Hapsburg allied army, however, didn’t. The Swedes and Saxons fought separately. Swedes deployed on the right and the Saxons deployed on the left. All infantry, aside from commanded shot, were in the centre with the Swedes deployed right centre and the Saxons left centre. The Saxons fled the field rapidly and the Swedes fought on and won the battle. Quite a specular result and a perfect example of the conditions I am trying to simulate.
As I see it the main different between the Hapsburg and Anti-Hapsburg armies at Breitenfeld was troop quality. The Imperialist, Catholic League, and Swedish armies were all experienced and confident troops. The Saxons, although well dressed, were relatively raw, comprising “untrained conscripts and militiamen, and had very few muskets” ( Wikipedia: Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)).
In Tilly’s Very Bad Day I think the best way to represent this is for each army to give allied armies have their own Commands and Units. They should deploy, fight, and win/lose separately from each other.
The combined army must have a single Centre Zone. All Pike+Shot Units, from all friendly Allied Armies, must deploy in the friendly Centre Zone.
I don’t think units from Allied Armies should be able to provide support in Melee. Support in Melee is a candidate rule for the next version of the rules, that I’ve mention before. It is to encourage deploying in multiple lines. It doesn’t make sense to me to allow Allied armies to support each other in this way.
I think it best to use the normal army morale rules for each Allied Army in isolation. An Allied Army “loses” by the normal army morale criteria (1/4 or 1/3 losses). Other Allied Armies fight on and are unaffected by the destruction of their colleagues.
The published rules (version 1) have 1/4 losses as the army breakpoint and I’ve to 1/3 losses in my own games. But the Saxons were really poor quality. So perhaps 1/5 losses would be enough to break them. So, for example, a normal army of 16 Units would have a army breakpoint of 6 Units (1/3 round up) but a Saxon army of 16 Units would have a lower army breakpoint, possibly 4 (1/5 round up).
The question is, what happens when an Allied Army “loses”? Possibilities for the army that has just “lost” are:
- All remaining Units in that army Rout and are removed from the table
- All remaining Units n that army flee across the table to and are removed only when they reach the base line
- The army fights on but all Units lose two Resolve immediately
- The army fights on but turn up morale erosion (another rule that is proving itself in play testing) so for every rout friendly Units must loses Resolve
- The army fights on but for every rout it loses another Unit routed
I think removing all Units is simplest. It accelerates the action to the next interesting bit of the battle. Rather than simulated the destruction of hte component units and how they run away, the action focusses on the forces that pursue the defeated army and what else is going on.
But also what happens to any enemy facing them? This is exactly where cavalry pursuit comes into play. At Breitenfeld the Hapsburg cavalry pursued the Saxons off the battlefield. so I need a cavalry pursuit rule to cover this situation. And it has to have the cavalry disappearing.
Additional or common rules
I thought I’d share some rules I have been toying with that I haven’t mentioned above in the discussion of pursuit contexts. They can apply in any of the contexts.
Cavalry were more inclined to pursue than foot. So Horse and Light Horse should pursue. Light Horse were particularly feared in that situation.
I’m inclined to add in Dragoons because anybody with a horse is going to pursue more effectively than guys on foot.
Rules to stop pursuit
Units continue to pursue until one of:
- charge another enemy unit (pursuing units that can charge must charge)
- pursue off table with potential to come back
- make a successful Command Check (if, for example, you also don’t want to charge)
Simulating fleeing troops
I have thought about:
- Leaving units on table and fleeing them individually so they move across table to the baseline
- Replacing fleeing units with “fleeing men” markers so show these are no longer units in the normal meaning, and then fleeing them individually
- Using “fleeing men” markers to mark on the baseline the destination of any fleeing unit/command/army. Could be a single fleeing men marker (perhaps behind where the fleeing general was). Or could use two fleeing man markers to mark out a sector of the base line, indicating the outer edges of the command/army that has fled. Or could be one per unit that is fleeing. All fleeing/pursing units head for these markers.
Pursuit to stop rallying
Pursuit occurs for two reasons: (1) to inflict casualties and (2) ensure the defeated enemy don’t come back. The two are related of course. More casualties means the defeated enemy is less likely to come back. But if pursuit stops I think there should be a chance to rally any unit, command or army that has fled off table.
The basic idea is to allow players to rally off table units, perhaps with a command check. I’ve toyed with many ideas for how pursuit hinders this, some of which can be used in combination:
- Count the number of pursuing units as a negative modifier against rallying off table units
- Only allow rallying of off table units if there is no pursuit
- Leave routed units on the baseline and let pursuing units eliminate them by touching them; only those routed units that are still on the base line can be rallied
- Leave running men markers on the baseline and let pursuing units eliminate them by touching them; only one unit can be rallied for each remaining running man
Pursuing off table
Pursuers often left the battlefield. It was hard to prevent pursuit and even harder to stop pursuit once it had started. This is, if I take an outrageous liberty with historical interpretation, the reason the Royalists lost the English Civil War.
In Tilly’s Very Bad Day pursuit should lead to the pursuers leaving the table. Need some mechanism to bring them back. Some troops will be more inclined to pursue and leave the table (Royalists) and some less (Cromwell’s Parliamentarians).