Can I pick your brain re WSS, primarily Austrian cavalry and also the various tactics of all sides.
1) Austrian Cavalry. I got the Cuirassier cavalry paint guide from Baccus (though I am doing 10mm Pendraken). However the link to mounted troops (ie dragoons) is ‘404’. Do you have a list of colours?
2) What mods are you using to BP for WSS? I think you may have seen mine on my blog, but we’ve rewritten them since then. The latest discussion my opponent and I are having is cuirassiers- those countries where the cavalry halted to shoot before charging, such as France, did the Cuirassiers do the same. We currently use the following
Cuirassier H to H 9
Charging Cav (eg Brits) H to H 8
Shooting Cav (French) H to H 7, Shoot 1, range of 6 only, no close range mod.
Dragoons (mounted) H to H 6 Shoot 1
I have nothing on Austrian dragoons either. I am also unsure about the terms ‘Austrian’ and ‘Imperial’ that are used for painting references. The Baccus Cuirassier guide is listed as Imperial, but there are separate guides for other Imperial circle troops (Swabian, Fanconian). Even Bavaria was in an Imperial circle. Perhaps all Austrians are Imperial, but not vice-versa.
The only unit I have painted so far that I call Austrian is based on Osprey ‘Marlborough’s Army 1702-11’. It is essentially the same as the buff/red units in the Baccus Cuirassier guide. The Osprey text implies that all Austrian Cuirassier looked the same. I have avoided the problem of dragoons (rules and painting) by not using any so far.
Since we have only played a couple of real games (not solo play-tests), we have not defined any WSS mods. I like to keep things as simple as I can (due to C.R.S. syndrome). I will probably suggest:
1. Limiting the mobility of artillery (maybe require 2 or 3 move orders to limber up, and/or not allow limbering at all after a casualty)
2. Reduce cavalry H2H values or increase infantry defense against cavalry.
3. Make infantry wheels and formation changes more difficult.
As far as cavalry combat styles (pistol vs. sword, trot vs. gallop, etc.), since I want to play big battles, I would just assume that is all part of the close combat die resolution. Other than wargame rules and tactics books, none of the WSS reading I have done gives any evidence of performance differences in battle that can be related to what the cavalry was called or how they were equipped. On the other hand, I have only been working on WSS for about a year (as opposed to reading about the 19th Century for 30 years).
We fell into WSS as an accident. Graham said what period do you want to do, and I said “Something with tricornes”. We were all set to do SYW, until he was offereda couple of Pendraken WSS army packs at £5 off. So for the sake of saving a fiver off what currently stands at £60 for me (more for him) we fell into a period about which we knew almost nothing!
Assuming the latter – remember we have a very specific set of rules for gaming at Graham’s house (as opposed to the club we attend.
Rule Number 1. Open a beer. Hence any rules too complicated tend to not be used.
After posting Graham dropped round to give me a CD with uniform details on. We discussed Charge vs Shoot cavalry. The latest idea is ‘Cavalry’ has 8 dice H to H (both ‘systems’) Dragoons 7. ‘French system’ has a Shoot of 1, as do Dragoons (with carbines), but neither can counter charge. All cavalry can charge as per rules, but ‘British system’/’Charger’ cavalry get Ferocious Charge – they get rerolls on any combat they charged into.
Graham suggested this on the basis that Shooters lost impact due to the stop and shoot, but on the 2nd round of combat that difference in impetus makes no difference – if the chargers don’t defeat the target on the charge, once you come to get involved with a running melee, there is no difference.
I fully inderstand the KISS principle, but feel you have to do these mods. BP is effectively a Napoleonic set, stretched. They are, however, a lot more subtle than people give them credit for. Possibly that was an initial by product, but on play testing they went “Ahhhh – that’s good. Accidental but good.”
I want to differentiate the armies. You don’t have to remember much, just the changes for your army. (Though I have Prussians and Austrians, who are slightly different – the Prussians may have had ‘Charger’, where as Austrians had ‘Shooter’.
I wouldn’t lower the stats, unless you think combat played out SIGNIFICANTLY different to napoleonic. I call it the ‘Spearhead theory’. WW2 Spearhead, and Modern SH have tanks with roughly the same stats. Does this mean an M1 is about the same as a Tiger? No, but they are not going to come up against each other so you don’t have to worry – you can keep the stats simple 2-3-4 range, rather than end up with modern tanks having 15 or 16 as a shooting value.
WSS was the choice of one of one of my friends with a major in history and an almost fanatical devotion to Louis XIV.
I did mean “can’t remember”. Worse every year. I don’t disagree with your rules differentiating the cavalry systems, I just would rather play at a more macroscopic level. Now I would that is. Years ago I used to run Napoleonic and Colonial games with lots of low level detail. I loved studying the tactics/organization/equipment and making up special rules.
If I were to assign different combat potentials to different cavalry units, the things on the top of the list would be training, leadership, horses (breed, gender, condition). Weapons and tactics would be second order effects.
You are probably right that cavalry H2H does not need to be reduced; I have not seen a lot of infantry units overrun so far. In most Napoleonic rules infantry that does not form square has little chance of surviving. Maybe that is wrong, or maybe BP needs a mod to reflect the Napoleonic period.
BP Cav can’t charge squares that are not disordered or shaken. It can charge line. We mod’ed it for WSS, so cav can’t charge the front of a well ordered line – both 18th cent infantry and squares are 4 deep, a real discouragement to horses. Obviously the line has flanks.
I think at a Divisional -> Battalion unit level game like BP it is worth the distinction, especially with infanty, the basic building block. If you don’t show those real differences you lose the sense of the period. It’s like not bothering with French columns in Napoleonic.
Although it was an accident getting into it, I’m getting more and more into the period. I feel its a pity that it isn’t served better. WSS is the start of the new tactics (no pikes). What works, and what doesn’t, is unknown, and leaves its stamp on the next 150 years.