The associated pics show our current SoN battle. It's being played on a 12'x6' table, has about 70 units in 16 command groups, and two players a side. It's one-side-go-other-side-go and Events only effect one end of the table depending on which player plays it (each player has an end of table). There is no limit to where players can move or fight after initial deployment. We didn't find it necessary to declare arrival point of reserves other than they had to arrive behind the owning player's initial deployment area. One thing we are trying in this game (the Lads came up with it) is a new way of playing 'How Goes the Day?': Instead of getting victory points you get Event cards. These are dealt blind (not chosen from a hand) and played as the very first cards of the turn and before normal play begins (one card = random end of table, two cards = one at each end). It seems to work nicely, probably because it's so simple.
I've captioned the pictures with details showing just how easy it is to play a game of SoN, this size, without a single roster sheet. One thing not photographed are the trays with each side's VPs (poker chips) in.
The more I play this game the more I like it but, because of the way I play my Peninsular games - big battles; two players a side; on a big table - things don't move far enough for my liking and I felt a tweak here and there, for my personal taste, was necessary. This isn't a criticism of SoN: I just can't help tweaking things! So, just how many tweaks did I need for my SoN games run as I want them to? Answer, not many and to SoN's credit it was a matter of tinkering rather than re-writing whole swathes of the rules. The changes I've made all fit nicely onto my QRS and are simple enough not to require much explanation.
Movement: This is where the biggest house amendments have been made. They have been made to compensate for the table size. Shooting ranges have not altered that much in response and the balance of play has undoubtedly been altered here to a small degree. Before deciding to make the change we did try altering a 'pace' to 1.5" but, we all found the shooting ranges to be preposterously long, especially for skirmish fire (30" with no line of sight restrictions!). Changing movement wasn't as simple as it sounds and what I have come up with is quite different in a lot of ways but, the rules covering basic 'Orders' remain the same and the new movement rules follow most of SoN's basic movement principles. All movement rates (for my 28mm games) are in inches.
Note: Where 2D6, use the highest.
Withdraw / Wheel 45ᵒ / Cautious Advance (can skirmish): -50%
At the Quick: (1 Disruption): +50%
Charge bonus: Infantry D6, Cavalry 2D6 (use highest).
6pdr H.A. limber and move / move and unlimber: -50%
Light Cavalry: Because I believe that the battlefield speed of light and heavy cavalry was basically the same I only have one move rate for both types. It is also my view that light cavalry, in the Peninsular at least, was often called upon to fulfil the role of heavy cavalry in set piece battles and it generally did so quite successfully. To emphasise this dual role, and to compensate for the loss of move rate, I have added the following line (in parenthesis) to the Intimidate rule:
- Intimidate: Heavy Cavalry & Lancers: 2 discipline tests Vs 2 units (Optional: Light Cavalry: 1 discipline test Vs 2 units that are not Heavy Cavalry or in Square) up to 20” away: Each failed test causes 1 disruption.
Artillery: I have chosen to reclassify artillery by type: Horse Artillery H.A. and Foot Artillery. I will allow 6pdr H.A. to limber move / move unlimber but, I will not allow heavier pieces to do so; 12pdr horse artillery does not exist. I have removed the right of any artillery to be manhandled forwards (prolong) because gun batteries, with all the accompanying caissons and other paraphernalia of the train were so very rarely moved this way; repositioning on a Manoeuvre order is still allowed, with the gun stand pivoting on its front centre. Artillery rarely fired at targets much beyond 800 meters, gunners thinking such fire a waste of powder, so not increasing maximum artillery ranges seemed logical to me. Consequently, artillery range changes are very moderate: 6pdrs shoot cannister to 12", shot to 32". 8/9pdrs 12" and 40". 12pdrs 16" and 48". 5.5" Howitzers 8" and 40".
Small Arms Shooting Ranges: Muskets 12", Carbines 8", Rifles 18". Skirmish fire, which is very powerful (over-powerful?) in the rules, remains the same at 20".
Linear Tactics: Unlike some, I find no specific coverage of the Peninsular War in SoN to be a blessing because I can go off on my own tangent and do as I please. In reality, this doesn't mean very much because so little had to be done. Except for Light Cavalry (see above) the only essential rule change is to not allow Anglo-Portuguese or Spanish infantry to form Column of Attack. To compensate, trained or better British and Portuguese units will now be able to re-roll a miss when conducting volley fire whilst in line formation to represent their superior, very steady, fire drill - the Spanish get no compensation, LOL. It's probably worth noting that I had originally thought to increase the number of dice by one: This was tried and would have been fine except that certain Event Cards made this a devastating, over powered, adjustment (see Event: Withering Volley) - rerolling a miss is probably better as the maximums are not effected.
|The Centre. Big table and lots of units.|
No Stand Removal: As said in a previous post:
- ".... one thing we stopped playing after the first game is stand removal. I don't like it because after spending all that time painting I want to see my figures on the table for as long as possible and, as I don't own any 5 or 6 stand infantry units, not doing stand removal also allows a four stand unit to represent anything between 3-5 stands easily, 6 stands at a pinch..... However, in consequence of units having a constant frontage when in line (okay, that's the fudge - I love fudge), we now need to measure all ranges middle to nearest, and one whole enemy stand must be in unit weapon arc to qualify it as a target to all; split fire is done by halving the number of dice, with any odd dice to majority side or player's choice if about equal."
This has moved on a step as I now have dice cell bases for displaying stands (black dice) and disruptions (white dice). Things are much clearer and easier now.
Unit Classification: These have, pretty much, been lifted straight out of the lists for 1813-15 except for one major change. Most Trained or better Line Infantry are now skirmish factor 2 (there are one or two exceptions with skirmish factor 1). Only Seasoned Light Infantry or better are skirmish factor 3. I also downgraded Riflemen to skirmish factor 2 for the reasons given below. It's worth noting that I denote the skirmish factor of units by using the appropriate number of skirmish stands, E.g. Skirmish 2 = two round skirmish stands.
British Riflemen: I've changed the rules for riflemen simply because of the way mine are based up (two figures per base rather than six), and a general belief that they very rarely fought as formed bodies in the Peninsular (and even then, if they ever had to, units were generally four or five companies strong rather than whole ten company battalions - look up Light Division OOB). I fear that allowing otherwise will only encourage players to use large formed units of Riflemen like Gatling guns! My rules for them are as follows:
- Rifle units always count as 2-3 stand maximum units. Rifle units can only use Extended Line (base to base contact in line for these units), Square or Column formation; Rifles may re-roll 1 missed shooting hit. Rifle units are only skirmish factor 2 (due to unit size).
Special Units - Detachments: I have tried the proper rule (Detachments are covered in SoN) and, although it works well enough as written, it's not as elegant as most of the other rules, far too expensive in points, and it doesn't fit well with how I've organised my existing figure collection. Consequently, personal taste and a desire for simplicity will lead me to use my own version of 'Detachments': The Anglo-Portuguese Army can have 'stands' of skirmish screen Riflemen or Cacadores (at half the usual stand points cost) to use as Detachments. A single skirmish stand (Detachment) can be added to the skirmish screen of an Infantry unit, adding 1 to the unit's skirmish factor when its skirmishers are deployed. If the detachment is Riflemen the skirmish screen is allowed to re-roll 1 missed hit; otherwise they operate as per unit skirmishers as standard, using the parent unit's to hit and discipline factors. I think this will represent the generally heavy nature of Anglo-Portuguese skirmish screens far better than the standard rules and bring another counter-balance to their rule enforced linear tactics. Note: Because of the way I organised my Line Infantry Divisions (see below), a unit of Cacadores in a Line Division will only ever be represented as Detachments (up to one per Line unit therein); for each Rifle company attached to a division one Rifle Detachment can be fielded.
|My French, being mercilessly peppered by British skirmishers. Black die indicate |
formed strength, white die indicate disruption. Note, the two militia units (red beads).
Command Groups (SoN Brigades): I will be using my usual Peninsular organisations to fulfil the requirements of 'SoN Brigades'. That is to say, I'll be using 'bath-tubbed' divisions (1 unit represents around 1000 men - a 5000 man division is five units) as the basic command group and I'll detail my Army Lists as soon as they are done.
Using bath-tubbed divisions means that my 'SoN Brigade Commanders' will be termed 'Division Commanders' and my 'SoN Division Commander' will be termed a 'Corps or Column Commander'. This requires only a semantic change to the rules regarding the arrival of a Corps commander on an Event card - the rules regarding what a SoN Corps Commander actually does remain unchanged: When a Corps commander turns up as an Event the table-top commander will gain 'Corps Command Clarity'. If he disappears in an End Phase the table-top commander loses 'Clarity'. If he is killed the table-top commander loses 'Clarity' permanently. If the Division commander is dead, 'Corps Command Clarity' is passed to his second in command (a chosen SoN Brigade commander) until it disappears as a result of the End Phase (leaves) or Event (death). Army Commander rules are completely unchanged. Note: I do not use actual command stands for Corps or Army command arrivals - I use yellow and green pawns instead. Note: I use large day glow orange pawns to note 'Last Order' given.
Beads: I've now formalised my plastic pony bead colours, to display unit information, in the usual 'Olicanalad's fashion', to do away with roster sheets. My army lists no longer use descriptive unit names like "Veteran Line Infantry", which to be honest only confused the Hell out of everyone because the term 'veteran' means absolutely nothing in the rules, and now units are simply listed by 'game quality': E.g. Trained Line Infantry, Professional Riles, Seasoned Light Dragoons, etc. My bead colours, following the usual progression and meanings, are:
- Square number bead: Command I.D.
- Red: Militia Quality.
- Green: Trained Quality.
- Blue: Seasoned Quality.
- Purple: Professional Quality.
- Black: Elite Quality.
- Extra Yellow (above quality): Light Infantry.
- Extra White (above quality): Trained or better unit with Skirmish Factor 1.
- Extra Pink (above quality): Full Caissons for artillery, Fine Horses for cavalry.
I've done some round wooden beads (with initial letters painted on). These are placed above a unit's Command Group I.D. bead if the unit commander has a special ability (E.g. Red bead marked 'HC' = Heroic Commander). I've also done some similar beads for 'table-top commander' special ability.
Apart from needing more dice cells and dice, that's about it, job done and ready to rock.