Brigade Command

From the first clash at Manassas to the epic confrontation between Lee and Grant, the Brother Against Brother series will bring new levels of historical detail and realism to the battles of the Civil War. This regimental-level game, created by the developers of the award-winning Forge of Freedom, builds on that game’s acclaimed tactical engine, adding scrupulously researched orders of battle, high-quality map graphics, command and control rules reflecting the numerous challenges faced by army commanders, and plenty other features. Beginning with The Drawing of The Sword – which recreates the pivotal opening battles at Manassas , Wilson ’s Creek, Mill Springs and Williamsburg – Brother Against Brother lets you refight the Civil War from start to finish.

Moderators: Gil R., ericbabe

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miller7219
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Brigade Command

Post by miller7219 »

Enjoying the game. One source of frustration I'm experiencing with the brigade posture order mechanics is the inability to deal with certain situations that arise because of the current posture limitations.

For example, I put the brigade in hold posture. An enemy regiment appears on a flank and is approaching. I want to shift a regiment to that flank to engage the threat directly. The hold posture prevents me from moving a regiment within 4 hexes, so I can't effectively address the new threat. I have to change posture of the entire brigade to allow effective movement of that single regiment to engage.

Another example, is that I want the 3 regiments holding the left of the line to hold (to gain increased firepower), but the right 2 regiment overlap the enemy line so I want them to advance and prepare to assault. Again, I have to change the entire brigade posture...and mind you maybe it will change, and maybe it wont! Regardless, I loose my firepower bonus of the 3 regiments on the left that I do want to hold.

These are just a couple of quick examples. There are many situations that can happen that make the posture mechanic unwieldy and arguably not realistic.

It seems to me a Civil War brigade was capable of more flexibility than what the current posture mechanic allows for. Obviously some brigade commanders and their staffs were more capable of managing flexibility than others, but all brigades were capable of some degree of on the fly tactical flexibility.

I would suggest each brigade be given a "general" brigade posture as usual, but they could also "override" that general brigade posture order for 0-3 regiments within a 1-2 hexes range and issue a different posture order good for that turn only. The better the commander's admin and/or tactical rating the more regiments they can issue an on the fly posture order change to. This amounts to the general shouting to a Colonel/subordinate of a Colonel's staff or sending a runner 100 yards quickly to tell a regiment to not hold with the rest of the brigade, but to shift right and advance on that tree line.

I'm having a great time with BaB. It seems the system is really designed to simulate brigade level command at it's core. It just feels the brigade is a bit stiff in how current implementation limits it's use.

Hope to hear other opinions.
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Kumppi
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RE: Brigade Command

Post by Kumppi »

This is my experience also.

I think brigade commanders should be able to have a chance to change the posture of a regiment or two depending on his command or leadership rating. In the same way that he can urge regiments.
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FroBodine
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RE: Brigade Command

Post by FroBodine »

Excellent suggestions here! I would love to see this level of control.
miller7219
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RE: Brigade Command

Post by miller7219 »

Yes, I agree the attempt to issue a "Tactical Posture Order" should be chance based. The better the general's stats the better the chance. If you are successful at some under the hood dice rolling and gain 2 tactical flexibility chances this turn and they both fail, then it's not your day and the only option is to change the entire brigade's posture or wait until next turn and hope you get tactical posture chances (if so, hopefully they succeed). By then though, the threat triggering the need for tactical flexibility may have worsened to the point of putting the entire command in jeopardy! So goes war.

The degree of tactical flexibility should be limited as well based on his stats. A better General and staff would be able to effectively "commandeer" and manage control of multiple tactical situations at the same time, while a poorer general and staff might be lucky to even remember to issues a general posture order to the brigade as a whole and/or the ability to even get it distributed down chain effectively!

I've read accounts of a brigadier riding up and in a tactical initiative issue direct orders to a colonel or standing behind the line directly involved in the ever-changing tactical flow of the engagement sending runners ahead giving tactical instruction to his Colonels. That's what a good brigadier was expected to do and that's what this suggestion is trying to capture.

The brigadier didn't decided the objectives or where to deploy in general, but once orders came down stream to go there, or defend that hill, or line up to the left of "xyz" brigade, etc...it was now the brigadier that decided the details of the engagement, hence the focus level of a tactical level simulation like BaB. They best tactical game on the subject made yet IMHO. But being the best doesn't mean it can't get better!

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ericbabe
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RE: Brigade Command

Post by ericbabe »

Gil has recommended allowing a brigadier commander to be able to put one or more regiments under his command on something like "special orders" that would allow those units more flexibility in moving, even if only temporarily. This would be a good way to distinguish superior brigadiers (who would be able to do this often) from average and inferior commanders. Having written that, I wouldn't want to make brigades too flexible. Even at the brigade level it took time to prepare the brigade for a change in orders, and players need to choose their brigade orders based on their best guesses about what's going to happen in the next few turns of the game. I wouldn't want to make the system so flexible that it would remove this constraint.

We're having a separate discussion in our developer forum on making the red-X's perhaps show up only in hexes that represent moves closer to enemy units, so that units on hold orders will have more flexibility. That's something we might try doing as well.
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RobearGWJ
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RE: Brigade Command

Post by RobearGWJ »

I think the alternative to this is to consider it from the other side. If you have worked hard to flank an opponent and surprise them, is it reasonable to have them usually react quickly and efficiently to this, nullifying your hard won advantage? This would reduce the value of tactical maneuvering, at the least; there'd be a tendency towards maintaining contact and grinding away at the enemy, rather than maneuvering for an advantage that probably would not pay off. I think there also has to be a careful consideration to the fact that this kind of special action *would* take resources away from the management of the rest of the brigade, and I agree with Gil that this is something that would be more likely with very experienced commanders and subordinates, rather than an ordinary response to a sudden change in circumstances.

It seems to me that for the majority of the war, instances of commanders failing to react usefully to threats were all too common and resulted in suddenly changed circumstances. If that gets ironed out too much, the game will become more deterministic and perhaps reward aggressive commanders less than they should be.

As a thought, perhaps this kind of exception could hinge not just on the ability of the Brigadier, but also of the regiment/company he's attempting to divert.
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Kumppi
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RE: Brigade Command

Post by Kumppi »

Just make it so that the possibility to change posture of a single regiment for one turn is low even for good brigadiers. This way it does not compromise the great system we already have in place. This would also enhance the differences between bad and good brigadiers which just gives the player more to think about in a good way.
miller7219
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RE: Brigade Command

Post by miller7219 »

Maybe there should be a penalty of some sort for a brigadier utilizing tactical flexibility.

1. I would think commandeering a regiment or two would occupy the general's full 20 minute turn, and thus the player must choose to use either focus or tactical flexibility, not both each turn.

2. Maybe there should be a penalty(s) to the regiment(s) tapped for tactical flexibility. Possibly they could receive a mild negative fire modifier that turn, be limited on how many volleys received in some way that turn, and/or have a chance of becoming disordered or incurring a slight loss of morale when tapped for tactical flexibility (determined by both the BG and Col's ratings). All simulating that the brigade has drilled to function as a formation and when a regiment(s) is taken from the group (and most likely it's suddenly and in the chaos of battle) there will be a degree of disruption to the effectiveness/cohesiveness of the regiment.

I really like the concept of the posture system in BaB and don't want to break it, but the brigade just seems much more inflexible than what IMHO it actually was. Those brigades that got flanked and routed because they failed to recognize developing danger, did so not because the brigade structure wasn't capable of the necessary flexibility to counter, but because the commanders where inept and incapable of seeing what was developing and acting accordingly (or through just dumb bad luck). Because of the many wonderful command checks going on under the hood there is a chance even the most talented brigadier will have a bad day and fail their tactical flexibility roll(s) to even be able to "commandeer" a regiment(s) or that a regiment successfully tapped for tactical flexibility will fail to adopt the desired posture (but still suffer the negative effects mentioned above). All some of the many beautiful things about the Bab system. No other game at this tactical level has built in so many ways that leader quality can aid you or kill you!
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ericbabe
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RE: Brigade Command

Post by ericbabe »

No other game at this tactical level has built in so many ways that leader quality can aid you or kill you!

[:)] That's what I was trying to do with the game design. I'm glad it comes across.
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