I planned to have a test today of the various ideas I have been messing around with for a set of Grand Tactical 19th Century rules. Messing around with turned out to be an apt description of the game I tried for a number of reasons that I had not considered. I will not describe the action in detail but will summarise it after I have listed the points arising from the test.
- Skirmishers - These fight first - either each other or against any other enemy. I have assumed that equal numbers of these would largely cancel each other out. The problem though, was considering what they should do as their part of the action. My thinking was a little fuzzy on this but I have allowed them to only be destroyed on an infantry hit (I am referring to Command and Colours type combat dice). If hit by an enemy skirmisher with a flag result they are assumed to have fallen back on their supports (if present) and take no further part in the combat. If they survive (and the enemy skirmishers do as well) then they cancel each other out and take no further part in the action for that turn. In a nutshell, skirmishers can only be destroyed by enemy skirmishers or cavalry. If only one side has skirmishers then these can be added to the defending infantry strength.
- Formations - Halving the number of combat dice for an attacking column in conjunction with the defending unit 'firing' first means that the columns are invariably shot to pieces before having a chance to fight back and when they do it is at a greatly reduced effect. I have no real problem with this per se but it does mean that attacking in column can be an expensive business unless well supported - again, this makes sense from a historical perspective. For the psychological effect I am tempted to allow the attacking column to double the number of combat dice it eventually rolls.
- Artillery - No real problems with this - at close range it was suitably effective.
- Facing - This is something I need to think about as attacking an enemy in the flank or rear should be more effective - perhaps some bonus combat dice may be the answer.