Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Turn Sequence and Disorder

Years ago I likened the role of a turn sequence to the steps of a computer program. You follow the sequence in order, completing all steps one at a time. When you do, you get the result the game designer wanted. The hard part was designing that process by the game designer. And unlike what happened to me with a program I wrote for a billing system, I don't have people criticizing the "style" of the turn sequence (if you must know, it was written in COBOL and I used tricks learned in FORTRAN classes. I can't believe how many "so-called" sophisticated and "experienced" programmers have never heard of "computed GO-TOs" and "Fall-Through" coding; my sin was that I used hard "GO-TOs" not PERFORMS.)

For the turn sequence in these rules we'll use what was from Frederick the Great. Why? Well, it works, and it captures one of the most important things about 18th Century battle: that battle was a seduction, not a rape.

Okay, harsh analogy, but the deployment methods for an army were such that you really needed to march up the day before and offer battle. In the time it took you to perform your processional deployments, the other side could count noses, take the auguries, and decide they didn't like things, and march away. But SPI built a kicker into the whole thing. When you marched away, you used a "force march", and if you exceeded a 6, you burned troops. You added the general's initiative with the roll of a 1d6 to get the final total, and poor old Fritz, with an initiative of a 3, had a 50-50 chance of burning troops. But battle almost had to be by mutual agreement, hence the analogy.

So both sides get a chance to move, though they don't have to take it. And you have to put in some of the other things that happen. So let's jump in and take a stab at it.

  1. Depot Creation
  2. Roll to Remove Disorders*
  3. Side A rolls for movement
  4. Side A moves
  5. Side B announces any forced marches
  6. Side B rolls for those forced marches
  7. Side B executes those forced marches
  8. Combat
  9. Repeat 2-7 for Side B
  10. Supply checking and attrition
  11. Roll for sieges

That's enough for a start.


This is the collective funk that an army goes through after a defeat. An army that fights a battle and loses, is "disordered". This means all morale values are reduced by one. These values are calculated after losses have been calculated and adjudicated. Also, a stack subtracts one from their forced march roll when they are "disordered".

To get the troops back in "order" there are two methods. First, a general (the senior-most general on the stack) rolls against his initiative. If he throws his initiative number or less, the troops are put back in order. The other method is for the stack to move to a friendly fortress, and stay inside for a complete turn. Thus: army enters on Turn 4. They stay there for all of Turn 5. On Turn 6 they are no longer "disordered" and can leave with their post combat losses morale and no longer suffering the -1 on the forced march roll.

We'll talk about the initiative values of our generals later.

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