Close Combat Example I

All close combat systems in wargames are abstractions of real events. The system that I use is even more stylized then most. By stylized I mean that form drives the process. Each close combat becomes a game within a game with its own positioning and movement rules. Since I play solo most of the time, this system adds interest, allows me to fairly (I think) play both sides, and provides for various combat pieces to function together in the same unit (a necessity for musket & pike warfare). The wargaming world is huge so I make no claim to originality.

In the following example (and the next few to follow) I have omitted the command pieces to concentrate on the combat piece. The two opposing units (Red on left, Blue on right) each have six combat pieces (four musket and two pike, with pikes in the center). This would be a fair representation of a typical 600 man musket and pike regiment (or battallia) in six deep ranks. Combat Values (CV) are equal, but pike pieces are +2 when fighting musket pieces. Unit and piece quality (QV) are uniformly set to 4, and each unit can absorb the loss of two combat pieces before breaking (on the loss of the third). Each unit is assumed to be automatically activated with one action to expend per active phase. There are no environmental modifiers (terrain, weather, etc).

Close Combat - Approach

Above, Red moves into contact with Blue. The move is on the oblique because of the requirement that the attacker (when beginning a new close combat) must engage the defender 1:1 as much as possible. If the attacker should have un-expended actions at contact these may be translated to an attack bonus. For the purposes of this illustration I assumed both Blue and Red to be unloaded so no possibility of defensive fire (or fire before contact) presented itself.

Close Combat - Contact

Each Blue piece has been engaged by an attacking Red piece. Pieces are considered engaged when they have full face-to-face contact with the enemy (or the attacker has face-to-flank or face-to-rear contact). Side-to-side contact is not permitted.

Once contact is complete a clear grid pattern emerges around which piece-to-piece combats are fought. The yellow stars indicate where “corner locks” (which I will explain in more detail in a future post) occur. These “corner locks” limit what combat pieces can do and continue to maintain the grid structure during possible additional combat rounds (a round being one player phase of a single game turn).

Combat resolution uses a system similar to that in Flashing Steel which involves multiple face-to-face combats between individual pieces with opposing die as the resolution mechanism. A 1d6 is rolled for each side for each individual combat to be resolved. The Combat Value (CV) of the piece is added to the value obtained by the roll. As much as possible, however, any modifications to die rolls are cancelled out before rolling. Therefore, In this example each musketeer piece has a CV of three and pikes a CV of five. Since musketeers are opposing musketeers and pikes opposing pikes, the CV is simply dropped.

There are four possible outcomes of each pair of close combat rolls:

TIE – both combat pieces move back (away) one piece length (XShort).

SIMPLE VICTORY – The losing combat piece moves back (away) one piece length (XShort).

DOUBLE VICTORY – The losing combat piece moves back (away) one piece length (XShort) AND is Disrupted (marked with a yellow cube).

TRIPLE VICTORY – The losing piece is eliminated from play and replaced by a casualty marker.

Note that cancelling offsetting additions to the roll is an important step! If they are added to both rolls the outcomes will regress toward Simple Victories and near endless rounds of close combat will result.

Close Combat - 1a

The above photo shows the outcome of each piece-to-piece combat with the rolls that brought about the positions shown. Starting at the top:

6 to 2 Blue – a triple (three to one or greater difference) victory – the Red piece is eliminated (a casualty marker is put in its place)

5 to 5 – a tie – both the Red and Blue pieces move back XShort.

2 to 1 Red – a double (at least a two to one difference) victory – the Blue piece moves back XShort and is Disrupted (yellow cube).

3 to 2 Red – a simple (a higher roll) victory – the Blue piece moves back XShort.

5 to 2 Blue – a double victory – the Red piece moves back XShort and is disrupted.

5 to 4 Red – a simple victory – the Blue piece moves back XShort.

Since the initial contact and close combat occurred in the Red player’s phase of the turn and Blue has not yet played out her phase, she may now make her move. First she rolls to see if she can remove the disruption on her combat piece. She needs a four (the QV of the piece) or greater but rolls only a two so it remains disrupted (it may not move, fire, or give support). Had she rolled a one the piece would have been removed from play and a casualty marker put in its place:

Close Combat - 1b

Blue has four combat pieces that can move, but the piece that is corner locked (yellow stars) can not move. If it had only one corner lock it could attempt to disengage (by rolling a 1d6 equal to or exceeding its Quality Value (QV) ). With two pieces unable to move, the Blue player decides to re-engage in close combat. Since corner locks still exist this is considered a continuation of the original close combat. She moves to lock-up the enemy left flank and fully engages on the right:

Close Combat - 1c

These moves result in two face-to-face combats (mutual double corner-locks prevent the pieces of either side offering flank support to the combats).

Close Combat - 1d

As in the previous close combat round, the combats are resolved from the top (in the above picture) down:

6 to 2 Blue – a triple (three to one or greater difference) victory – the Red piece is eliminated (a casualty marker is put in its place)

3 to 1 Blue – another triple victory – the Red piece is removed from play and a casualty marker put in its place.

Red has now received three casualties, exceeding its two casualty limit, and at the completion of Blue’s close combat round the rest of the Red unit is removed from play and a unit casualty marker put in its place:

Close Combat - 1e

If Blue were to still have actions to expend she could immediately use them to re-organize her unit by moving all but the disrupted piece.