Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rules Comparison

Following the FOG battle at Nick's last night I set up similar armies (though 15mm) and fought the same battle solo, using Nick & Carl's battle plans & Camp Cromwell Rules.  I made all the heavy infnatry the same quality except the 3 on Carl's right as Spartan Citizens ahd a +1 in combat.

This time the cavalry fight locked up despite Nick's advantage in numbers. 

Nick's won the infantry fight on his far right (helped by defending in a rough field)  and the winning unit turned left to roll up the Spartan left.

But when the Spartan right hit home, their quality won out and they too rolled up the enemy left.

This left both sides with 3 routs & on the brink.  It all came down to the cavalry fight which was still deadlocked on the flank.  Then Carl's cavalry suddenly got lucky & won it against the odds to kick Nick's army over the edge & win the battle.

So the same result was achieved though slightly different means.  The pics are all taken from behind Nick's left.

 The comparison is interesting:

Skirmishers:  The treatment of skirmishers is quite different.  CC treats skirmishers as true skirmishers - dispersed troops that cannot fight in close combat except against other skirmishers & simply get out of the way of the heavies.  But what FOG calls skirmishers, are actually treated as formed light troops. Once you think of them that way, the rules for them make sense.  In both cases skirmisher fire on heavies can be a significant help, but seldom decisive, but in CC skirmishers could only hold up heavy cavalry by hot shooting.

Close Combat:  The duration & chanciness of combats was similar, but the CC method is much simpler & quicker to do.  CC also provides much more advantage to flank/rear attacks.

Time:  The FOG battle took over 3 hours between experienced players with 2 spectators to help look up rules.  The CC exercise took 45 minutes.   Of course a solo game will go faster, but the difference in combat resolution time & rules reference time is stark.

Overall result:  Very similar.

Conclusion:  FOG will make a small simple scenario into a night's entertainment, but larger actions could become very hard work.  It's a good system for those who like mastering a complex set of rules for its own sake and who don't mind a bit of mental gynastics.  CC rules are designed for large historical battles, so the processes are simple & fast to do.  As a result small simple scenarios can lack depth & be over quickly, but large historical actions can be done in a night without brain fade.   It's not a matter of better or worse, the 2 rules systems are designed to do different things.  I can see what Carl & Nick like in FOG, but my own preference is for more efficient rules systems that achieve results with less work.   Maybe Hail Ceasar (Black Powder for ancients, coming soon) will do that & please us all.

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