One of the most important and often underrated aspects of wargaming is movement.  We need rules to move the troops realistically, or at least believably, about the battlefield.  Scale and time have little to do with wargaming.  Rather, the relationship between movement and range are very important.  If troops move to quickly, then they could be upon an otherwise potent enemy before he can get any shots off.  If they move too slowly, then troops are generally at the mercy of longer ranged enemies.  So it is important that even the fastest troops be vulnerable to fire though not too vulnerable.

While our discussion is not period specific, we can make some generalizations about how troops move.  Troops are usually classed as heavy or light.  They also can be mounted or foot.  In modern periods we can also add classifications for vehicles.  They could be tracked, wheeled or even half tracked.

Lets limit ourselves to non-mechanical movement.  We can assume the following moves:

Heavy Infantry 6″

Light Infantry 8″

Heavy Cavalry 10″

Light Cavalry 12″

So you are probably thinking that cavalry moves too slow.  Anyone that has ever been to a horse race can tell you that horses move much faster than humans do and over longer distances.  But Cavalry usually don’t dash about the battlefield at top speed.  Actually, under most situations they will advance at about the same speed as foot.  Otherwise, they would get to far ahead of the main line and would probably find themselves cut off and outnumbered by enemy troops.  Cavalry usually did not even charge in at full tilt the whole way.  They would advance perhaps at a trot and then during the last 30-50 yards break into a full gallop.

Arbitrarily, for any shooting up through the Napoleonic War, we can say that the maximum range is about 12″ excluding artillery of course.  We could break this down further to say that All shooting at 3″ or less counts as close range,  6″ or less is maximum effective range and anything over 6″ is extreme range.  All of this is important when it comes time to fight.  Infantry will have at least 2 turns of firing before contact by other infantry and will get 1 turn of firing upon mounted troops and possibly 2 turns if the situation is right.  Even light horse which could cover the entire range of our standard weapon would suffer at least 1 round of shooting.

With the exception of the modern era, there should be a cost associated with turning units of troops.  For our purposes it is probably best to allow troops to change facing by turning about the middle of the formation.  A 90 degree turn is allowed but only at the cost of the entire move.  As the player wishes, a formation change may be performed at the same time.  Units may also about face and march away at half speed.  Finally, a unit normally may only move straight ahead at full speed.  They may move in any other direction, while maintaining their original facing and formation at half speed.   Charging is generally done in a straight line.  These rules are probably good for the Ancient period up through the early black powder era, perhaps until the beginning of the French revolution.  Troop drill became much better after that.  Formation changes could occur at the cost of half a move and facing while in column would also only cost a half a move.  Little things like that can be done to modify the game to suit the period being played.


2 Responses to Movement

  1. Lex says:

    What about move distance of medium cavalry and medium infantry?
    Lights: no or min armour
    Medium: regular troops
    Heavy: quality armour
    It is difficult to find a good balance in troop categories, but imo medium troops must be the standard.

    By the way i am happily surprised by the fast tempo in which you develop your rules. But you seems to have a lot of experience – e.g. testing ‘fistful of miniatures’ (saw your name in introduction): very pleasant rules.

    Keep on going…..


    ps for shooting: moved troops: i propose: only half can fire.
    So firing long distance and moved: only 3 fig can fire out of e.g.12 figs.

  2. acarhj says:

    Funny thing about the medium category. It really is not an often used military category throughout history. For instance, most of the WW2 weapons are classified as light and heavy. Light machine gun. Heavy machine gun. Squad leader introduced us to the “medium” category for that. In ancient and medieval combat, troops are classed as light and heavy. They are classed by function and not by equipment. You do bring up a good point though. Troops laden with armor and equipment should move slower than lighter counterparts. I was still mulling over how I was going to do that. Probably a simple entry along side the armor used should do.

    To answer your question: 36 years and going. I think I was tinkering even at year 1! 😀

    Thanks for the kind words.


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