Monday, April 22, 2013

Solo Piquet Tutorial Part 2: The Battle of Cross Keys

This is Part 2 of my Piquet Tutorial ACW Battle.


The next step in preparing for the battle is rolling for the quality of the commanders.  At Cross Keys, the Army Commanders were Ewell for the Confederates and Fremont for the Union.  The Hallowed Ground supplement has modifiers for this d20 roll: -2 for the Union and +2 for the Confederates.

I rolled a "4" for Fremont, modified to a "2".  This makes Fremont an Abysmal Army Commander.  He adds 2 Command Indecision cards to the Union Sequence Deck.  These cards will wipe out the Union's current impetus when they are flipped.  His command radius is only 8".  This seems pretty historical.

I rolled a "5" for Ewell, modified to a "7".  This makes Ewell an Average Army Commander.  He has no effect on the Sequence Deck and a 12" command radius.

If I had rolled a modified "19" or "20" for him, Ewell would have been Superior and he would have added two Brilliant Leader cards and had an 18" command radius.  Brilliant Leader cards are wild cards that can represent any card in the deck.  Awesome, but sadly not for this game.

There are 4 brigade commanders in the battle.  Their quality ratings establish their command range and how well they can rally units under their command.  The Union has 2 brigade commanders: Julius Stahel and Henry Bohlen.  There are no modifiers for Union command group commanders for this period in Hallowed Ground.  I rolled an "18" for each!  They are each Skilled with a 12" command radius!  Too bad they have to work for Fremont.

The Confederates have 2 brigade commanders: Isaac Trimble and Arnold Elzey.  Hallowed Ground modifies Confederate command group officers by +1 for this period.  Trimble is rated by the scenario as Superior, so he has a command radius of 18".  I rolled a "3" modified to a "4" for Elzey.  This makes Elzey a Poor brigade commander with a command radius of 12".

So that's it for the commanders.  I would normally go through the same process to roll up the quality of the units in the battle.  They are also modified by Hallowed Ground.  For example in this period, Union artillery are +1, cavalry are -2, and infantry are +0.

However, I like to wait until the unit actually does something in the game before I roll for its quality.  Using my method, you never know whether that unit of elite Texans is Tired or Determined until they actually get into the action.  So, we'll go over this when it occurs during gameplay.


Now we determine the Army Character using the Army Characterization Deck.  This will establish whether the armies get any special cards, stratagems, additional sequence cards, combat bonuses, and how many morale chips they will have.  Morale chips allow you to rally units, pass army Major Morale checks, and challenge the enemy's morale.  You lose morale chips when you lose melees, your units rout or become disordered, or they suffer casualties, Once you run out them, you are in deep trouble.

I added up the number of units in each army.  Guard and Elite units count double.  The Confederates have 9 units and 1 of them is elite for a total of 10.  The Union has 11 units and 2 of them are elite for a total of 13.  You then divide this total number by the card divisor number in the Hallowed Ground army list for this period (3 for Confederates, 4 for Union).  Remainders are lost.  So both armies will flip 3 Army Characterization Deck cards.

The Confederates flipped a 9, a 4, and 10 for a total of 23 morale chips.  That's a lot!  They should defend the battlefield with grim resolve.

The Union flipped an Extra Infantry Move card, a Cavalry UP 1 Die in Melee card, and a 5 card.  You have to have at least as many morale chips as you have units if you want to keep the special effect cards.  Since the Union have no cavalry, I gladly discarded the Cavalry Melee card and drew a new ACD card: a "3" card.  Still not good enough, so I had to also discard my Extra Infantry Move card.  The replacement card was a "4" card.  Not great considering these cards range from 2-10 in my ACD deck.  So the Union has 12 morale chips.  More than the number of units in the Union army, but not good.

Army Characterization Deck cards from the deck I designed.
ACD cards come with the Piquet rules, but they don't look like these.
However since the basic Piquet rules are like $5, that's pretty good.

So to sum up so far, Fremont is terrible (literally "Abysmal"), but his brigade commanders are really good.  Ewell is average, Trimble is Superior and his partner brigade commander is Poor.  The Confederates are well-fed, rested, and motivated by lots of morale chips.  The Union army is high quality, but tired and brittle with low morale chips.  We can probably blame Fremont for that also.

Next, Part 3, a discussion of optional rules I'll be using and then we'll start fighting the battle!

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