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(TFT) TFT Wargame 4

  I have made a list of things that are important
for modeling the strength of military unit using
modern military science thought.

  I will assume that these values or measures are
"true" as I believe that most medieval commanders 
lacked our history of thought behind military 
science.  (Also I work with what we know...)

  However, I started thinking about how this 
would be used by players (the mini-maxing beings 
so many of them are) and realized that if we made
how the unit's strength calculated then it would
act as a road map to improving their forces.

  This is fine unless you want them to be in 
character and not have modern knowledge.  Hmmmm,
I'll leave that up to the GM, lets see where 
this takes us for now.


  Let us say that the PC's are the leaders of
a company of 30 to 100 men.  We have them write
up a card that organizes the important info 
about their company.  They crank thru some 
calculations and come up with values to draw 
onto the counter that represents their company.

  A similar process applies to each wizard &
his apprentices and to each leader & his body
guard.  These are treated as specialty squads
which will have special rules for handling 

  (Basic game is very straight forward, with 
all rules for specialty squads being advanced 

  So PC's can show up in the TFT game in two
ways: Their adventuring party can either be a 
wizard / lord squad OR they can train & outfit 
a full company.  In both cases the complex 
calculations happen BEFORE the game.  The 
wargame should play fast and clean.

  I think this should work.


  Here are some things that the game should 
capture.  Odd facts, my biases and some thoughts
in a not very organized way...

- Maintenance of the Objective.
- Economy of Force.
- Security (kill the spies!!!)
- Flexibility.
- Entropy.

- Reserve.  Out of combat perhaps resting.
Ready to be moved to the front at short 

- Movement.

- Meeting Engagements.  Two forces advancing
on each other will try to find and ambush
each other.  Ambushes cause the highest %
of enemy casualties so this should not be

- Construction.  Building forts, castles,
roads, siege weapons, etc.

- Patrol. Going into enemy territory and
scouting around.  Very dangerous & very

- Defense.  

- Attacking.  Two basic varieties, an 
assault with heavy casualties on both sides
and attrition / sniping which takes a lot
longer but reduces the risk to the attacker.

- Pursuit (chasing down a retreating force.)
Dangerous for the pursuer.  However the 
retreating force can take a LOT of damage in
the retreat if the pursuit is aggressive.  
Cavalry excel at this of course.

  As armies become larger and more specialized
these tasks are broken out of companies and 
placed into separate units.  An advantage of 
having them in separate units is that we don't
have to record the expertise of each company
for the following specialties.  The disadvantage
is that PC skills don't show up unless they are
placed in a special unit.  

  Let us consider a specialty unit for healers.
We could build a special squad like a leader
squad that holds a dozen or so physickers and
assistants.  This would keep the company 
counters simple.  If they have lots of physickers
they get a healer squad.  If they have LOTS, they
get TWO healer squads.

  Use this system on all the support units below.

  Ok, all specialty units are SQUADS.  We allow
unlimited stacking of squads in a hex so a 
company with many specialties has a basic 
counter and a cluster of squads with it.  This 
is a nuisance, especially if we allow two or 
three companies to stack in one hex.  

  The basic rules stay simple for the game.

  One problem with this idea is that the other
player can look over your stack and learn a lot
about its special skills.  Far easier than would
be realistic.  If we put the special squads off
map and record which company they are in, this
adds busy work.  (However if they leave their
company, then having a squad counter is a

  Anyway, here are some possible specialties... 

- Engineers (Used for building forts putting up 
stakes, digging ditches, digging holes to trip up 
horses and building palisades.  Engineers are also 
used for building and using siege weapons.)

- Signal.  (Sending battlefield communications, 
flags, horns, whistling arrows, drums, couriers 
on foot or horses.)

- Transport. (Mules and wagons.)

- Military Police. (We can likely dispense with.)

- Medical.

- Headquarters.  (Maps and orders.)

- Intelligence. 

- Magic.  Can be used for all of the above in
addition to their direct combat utility.  


  Moral is key and must be represented.

- Conviction that soldier should be fighting.

- Modified by Leadership, training, situation,
politics, weather, etc.

- Nations with a long & systematic system of 
preserving military knowledge have an advantage.  
They tend to think that this wisdom is eternal
truth and not just a passing solution to a

- Scientific training.  How easily available
are correct military texts and how many leaders 
learn from them (directly from reading them or 
indirectly by being taught by people who know 
the same thing.) 

- Understanding the enemies weaknesses.

- Picking leaders: 
--> Gentleman Officer (poor)
--> Aspirant (good for small unit leaders)
--> Exams (poor, but enforces text book knowledge)
--> Seniority (poor unless mixed with the above.)

- Strategic Intl. (1 report per month fine.)
- Operational Intl. (1 per week.)
- Tactical Int. (daily.)

- Cryptography (based on math).

- Cavalry Scouting.  This is key and not easy to
represent.  Cavalry's most important job was to
act as the eyes of the army.  However in a top 
down map of the battle, the players can see 

- Spies <-- See art of war for several types 
of spies and how they are used.

- Diplomats and vacationers.

- Analysis. Figuring out what the data means
and 'selling' it to those who need it.

- What is chance that allies / mercenaries will
turn on us.  (Note most games do not do a good
job of handling unreliability of mercenaries.)

- In long campaigns, more men die of disease
than fighting.  We can likely ignore this as
our game is operational level.  So problems 
with disease would be scenario specific rules.

- Step losses and gradual damage to units.
Block games do this well for up to 4 steps.
If we include attrition and low intensity 
combat (and I would like to) then this becomes
more important.  Also if you can take less
than total damage, physickers could reduce
or eliminate some of this damage which would
give them something to do.  For now assume
that there are a few damage states that are
shown with counters.  Maybe put a die on the
company to show how much damage it has.  This
gives us 7 states (no damage = no die, and
then 6 levels of damage before unit dissolves.)

- Observation: this design seems to be going
to a low counter density (good) but has many
specialty counters to show game state and 
specialty squads (bad).

  According to my books, the following are how 
strongly the following situations affect the 
strength of military units (assuming competent 
generalship).  This is based on modern warfare but 
can act as a base for our game.  

Factor:                Minimum Multiplier:
-- Terrain:                
Mountains             * 0.75 to * 0.5 
Swamps                 * 0.80 to * 0.6
Hills                  * 1.0 to * 0.8
Sand or soft         * 1.0 to * 0.8
Buildings             * 0.9 to * 0.8

Above with forest   Defensive bonus to above.

-- Weather:                
Wet                     *1.0 to *0.8 
                         Wet kills bows.
                         Wet slows movement.

Fog / mist           Helps attacker as less time to be shot.

Extreme heat / cold   Increases attrition.

-- Command Factors:
Leadership 1           * 0.75  Superior small unit leaders
Leadership 2           * 0.75  Superior NCO's
                           Note good leaders speed training.

Training                * 1.0 to * 0.3

-- Posture:
Retreat                 * 1.0 (multiply by attacker's force.)
Hasty defense         * 0.9
Prepared defense     * 0.8
Fortified defense    * 0.6

-- Air Superiority (Magic superiority?)
Slight superiority   * 0.95
Decisive "              * 0.8
                           Note the side with out air 
  superiority will move more slowly in addition to 
  the above force multiplier.
                           Also if air superiority persists
  the other side is likely to develop supply problems.

-- Surprise            * 1.0 to * 0.6
                          Surprise can locally  help either 
  side but generally favors the attacker. 

-- Supply / Sanitation problems (Combine in this game)
                           * 0.8 to * 0.5

--  Command, Control, Command & Intelligence:
C^3I                      * 1.0 to 0.3

-- Moral:               * 1.0 to 0.2

  The 'resolve' of troops can be considered to be 
the willingness to keep fighting when outnumbered.
(Where outnumbered is the number of troops times
the equipment bonuses times the factors listed 
  When the odds ratio approaches 10 even extremely
determined troops start to fall apart.  Some
fanatics may fight to the death but other units 
will surrender or melt away.  Advanced Squad Leader
handles this with their ERL values but this takes
a bunch of accounting.

  Note that many of the strongest factors (moral, 
C^3I, supply / sanitation & surprise) are generally
not handled well in wargames. 

--> Moral
  Squad leader system where moral is on counter,
and units make saving throws vs. it in various
  Some games rate units with moral and they must
do a saving throw to DO actions. 
  In strategic games, often the moral is included
in the combat or defense factors for the unit.
  A miniature game I played had units roll for
moral any time they took damage.  They had 3 levels
(elite, regular, green).  Elite units rolled with 
an averaging die to show they were immune to 
extreme reactions.

--> C^3I
  In Memoir '44 / Battle Cry this is handled by 
having to play cards to do things.  The side with 
a better Command Group gets more cards --> usually 
better & more flexible choices.
  In ASL, some scenarios have you roll dice to
tell you how many of your units can move.
  Striker uses an initiative rating for units.
High initiative units do things on their own with
out orders, lower initiative units must be ordered
or personally lead.
  Several games use distance from the commander to
rate how units move and fight.

--> Supply and Sanitation
  I think this is best handled with scenario 
specific rules.

--> Surprise / Fog of War
  Block games do a nice job of this.
  ASL uses hidden initial placement (pre recording
some units starting locations) and ? counters to
prevent looking thru stacks of units.
  Some games (e.g. Invasion America) use upside 
down counters to hide values.  (In Inv. Am. the 
value is hidden from BOTH players!)
  Various games roll vs. stealth and ambush 
values on units.
  Thoughts on magic.  Perhaps magic can be a 
general talent that can do anything that needs to
be done.  Need signaling but don't have a special
signals squad.  Fly an image of a gargoyle over
there to give an order!  Need intelligence?  Fly
a dragon above enemy and see what he is up to.
This captures the flexibility of magic with out 
magicians having a giant combat effect which seems
right for TFT wizards.

- Personal losses of a few percent per day / division.  
(And losses include wounded not just the killed.  
Usually 3 people are wounded per death.)

- Infantry.  Only 100 to 200 days before combat stress 
causes a break down.  Casualty rates of 2% / day.

- Preparation.  (If an army thinks it is well prepared 
this improves moral.)

- Friends. The 'primary group' squad or platoon, is key 
to moral.  Must work together for a few months before 
combat to mesh.  Don't add new people while fight is 
going on.  Wait until unit is recovering in reserve.

- Men need 3 kg of food &  10 kg of water per day.

  Sorry the above is not better organized.  This is
largely intended as a survey of things I would like
to include in the TFT game & to spark some discussion.
Command and control was a huge problem for ancient
armies, I think it is really important that it be
handled some how in our game.
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