Thursday, 3 January 2013

Mighty Mean-Fowt Fights - Close Combat

I have recently been playing around with a change to my Might Mean-Fowt Fights ACW Portable Wargame variant. I say 'recently' - mostly it was before Christmas, before Battle Cry goodness seduced me. But I have still been thinking about it in odd moments, something I now have more of since I'm back at work ...

Anyway, one thing I did when I adapted the Portable Wargame was add in a sequence in which close combats were resolved. I wasn't entirely taken with the idea of two units rolling to hit each other with, what seemed to me, no reference as to their opponents and very little as to their relative situation. My order of combat took this into account, generally giving defenders a clear shot at an attacker which, given that during a turn only the attacker shoots, redressed what was to my mind an advantage to the attacker.

I think that the current mechanism now favours the defender just a little too much. I know that closing with the enemy is difficult, especially in the American Civil War, but it was done with success and, in the game, where it's easy enough to assess odds, it's often not worth the effort. I needed some way of slightly adjusting the odds in favour of the attacker.

What I'm considering now is a return to a simultaneous roll. Aside from the slight shifting of odds this will provide, I have to say that, for close combat, there's something satisfying about an opposed roll.

My idea, such as it is at the moment, is that both sides roll to hit their opponent, using the same modifiers as before. If one hits, and the other doesn't, then the side that hits wins, and the other side takes the disorder marker and retreats.If both sides miss, then they stand looking at each other until someone initiates close combat next turn. If they both hit, then the side that rolled the lowest number on their D6 hits. If they both roll the same then the defender wins.

Example: Union infantry charge a Confederate artillery battery. The infantry hit on a 4-6 (+1 for attacking artillery). The artillery hit on a 4-6 (+1 for artillery being charged). The infantry roll a 5, so they hit. The artillery rolls a 4, so it also hits. However since the artillery hit with the lower roll, the infantry are disordered and retreat.

Based on a  few quick calculations the actual odds are very, very close to the current way of doing things, but with a roughly 5% adjustment in favour of the attacker (or whoever is disadvantaged in the combat). I still need to play around with it, though, as some of the combat factors may need to change.

I'm also looking at some tweaks so I can use MMFF to refight some South American Wars of Liberation battles. After all, why not? Whilst I'm happy with my HOTT variant for that conflict, there's no harm in trying a different set. My first thoughts are that the weapon ranges will need to be reduced (2 squares for infantry, 4 for artillery - the latter being because, in most battles, guns were fairly light), and I may need to adjust close combat factors to reflect the greater role morale seems to have played and the fact that cavalry charges were more effective.

The best thing about Portable Wargaming is that it's quick in both setup and play - testing changes and variants is easy when you can play through several games in an afternoon. I see a fruitful weekend opening up before me ...

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