Friday, August 17, 2012

War on Marnon...

 The colonial rivalry between Ruberia and Azuria upon the Island of Marnon came to a head when each began to find the other imposing a limit upon their further expansion.    Negotiations failed to shift either side from giving up an inch of the territory they held, despite awkward border anomalies: the respective salients in the north (Fourborough was almost surrounded by Azurian territory) and the Azurians with only the city of Cinqville linking north and south west of the Sea of Marnon.  Talks led to argument; argument to threats; threats to ultimata; after which both sides began hastily to mobilize.  At last, on 1st April 1869, the Azurian army surged across the border into Ruberian territory.
After a recent trade of surplus stuff, I recently found myself in possession of a bunch of figures and symbolic tokens from the old "War: Age of Imperialism" - an Eagle Games supplement for their figures and board game.  Brian (A fist full of plastic) thought they might go with my 19th century Azuria/Ruberia wars.  I thought the figures a bit on the small side, and yet they might  still come in handy.  Bethinking myself of a post several weeks ago by Bob Cordery in his Wargames Miscellany, could the map warfare be adapted to horse, foot and guns?

Ruberian (Red) and Azurian (Blue) armies mobilising along the border.
About to draw up a map from scratch, I recalled suddenly the map board for the old Wizard's Quest game (one of the few board games that I ever really fancied).  Methought a little war between the forces of Azuria (Blue) and Ruberia (Red) might be a useful context to try out a system similar to that developed by Bob.
The Ruberians have concentrated 3 Army Corps in the south,
 aiming to take  Town #5 (Cinqville) and  #6 (Sixbourg)
Wargames rules for Azuria-Ruberia map game wars:
1.  Units and Formations
    -  Each figure is a leader, or an element of one of the three arms, Horse, Foot or Guns.  Foot elements are infantry or engineers, Horse elements are Cavalry, and Gun elements, Artillery.
    -  Each figure of foot or horseman holding a firearm represents a Division of Infantry or Cavalry respectively.
    -  Each gun or engineer figure (on foot with theodolite) represents an  Artillery Train or an Engineer Train, respectively.  
    -  A mounted figure with sword is a leader - general, marshal or field marshal.  He rolls no combat dice as such, but adds to combat depending on arms present.
    -  An Infantry Division costs 1 Currency Unit (CU) to raise, and rolls 1 combat die.
    -  A Cavalry Division costs 2 CU to raise, and also rolls 1 combat die.
    -  An Artillery Train costs 2 CU to raise, and rolls 2 combat dice.
    -  An Engineer Train costs 3CU to raise and rolls 1 combat die in defence only.
    -  An Army Corps comprises a leader and at least 2 other figures (Divisions), a minimum of 1 up to a maximum of 4 foot; and 0-2 horse, 0-2 guns and 0-1 Engineer.
    -  A Cavalry Corps comprises a leader and 1-4 Cavalry Divisions, plus 0-1 Artillery train.

(Note 1: as it happens, the number of figures was quite limited: 15 infantry, 6 cavalry, 5 guns, 5 leaders and I think 5 engineers, for each side.  I am very tempted to make this a design limitation).
The Ruberian IV Corps holds Tripolis,
 but only small garrisons defend the fortified city
  of  Fourborough (visible at extreme left) and Monoton (out of picture).
  The Azurian III Corps has been posted in the headwaters valley of the Amnon River...
2.Turn Sequence:
   - Both sides roll 1xD6, higher score deciding whether to move first or second.  Call the side that moves first Side A; the other, Side B.
   - Side A rolls 1xD6, the score giving the number of formations (Army Corps) or independent units he wishes to activate this turn.  An activation may be a move from one territory or city to another; an attack from one territory or city to an adjacent one; or a task carried out by an Engineer Train.
   - Note that Army Corps may detach elements, and or add elements to itself without cost, but if separating, the individual elements must pay to move if doing so.
   - Side A moves each Division or Corps in turn, resolving combats as they occur.  Note that he need not decide at the beginning all the units or formations he is going to move, deciding each depending upon the result of earlier movements or attacks.
   -  Side A having used as much of his allowance as he thinks fit, Side B rolls 1xD6 and follows the same move/combat procedure.
   -  Finally, both sides roll 2xD6 to determine available 'funds' (CU) to raise further units.
Azurian I and II Army Corps are poised to attack Monoton and Fourborough.  
The weak Ruberian V Corps  keeps the enemy III Corps bottled up in its river valley...

3. Move distances and rules:
   - Infantry Divisions, Engineer Trains and Army Corps move 1 map area (territory) per turn.
   - Cavalry Divisions, Cavalry Corps and Leaders may move up to 2 territories per turn.
   - Cavalry Divisions and Cavalry Corps can not attack in mountains, but may move therein unopposed, and can defend.  If present in an Army Corps, they add no dice to the attack, but the leader can still count its presence in determining how many dice he adds (this reflects the limited - but not negligible - capability of cavalry in this sort of country).
   - All troops spend 1 movement point entering and another exiting mountains.

   - Cavalry Divisions may move 2 territories in woods only if neither requires an attack.

Having 'won' the roll for first move (5 to 3), Azuria begins hostilities.
To open the ball, I Corps (Azuria) attempts to storm the stronghold of Monoton
4. Combat:
   - Each division and/or Army Corps rolls 1xD6 per infantry and cavalry unit; and 2 per artillery.
   - In addition, the presence of a leader adds 1xD6 per arm present: Horse, Foot, and/or Guns.
   - Finally, an Engineer Train rolls 1xD6 only if part of a defending force (or is attacked when unattached); OR if part of a force attacking a walled or fortified town, subtracts 2xD6 from its defence value.
   - A unit or formation defending a city may add the equivalent of 2 infantry divisions (2xD6) for an unfortified, and 2 Artillery Trains (4xD6) for a fortified city.
A sharp repulse for I Corps at Monoton.  It receives 3xD6 for the 2 horse and 1 foot, plus, having a leader, an extra 2xd6 for the two arms (Horse and Foot): 5 dice altogether.  They fail even to dent the defences.  As an unfortified place, the Ruberian garrison adds just 2xd6 to the 3 it gets for the foot and guns.  There being no leader present, there is no further addition to the number of dice.  All the same, one of the Azurian units will have to retreat...
   - A combat is resolved by both sides simultaneously rolling the number of dice determined as above, with the following outcomes:
     For each Double-1: 1 Artillery Train destroyed;
     For each Double 2: No effect;
     For each Double 3: 1 Cavalry division destroyed;
     For each Double 4: 1 Infantry division destroyed;
     For each Double 5: 1 Infantry division destroyed;
     For each Double 6: 1 Division retreats (whether independent or part of a Corps; if the latter, owning player chooses) to nearest unoccupied or friendly territory or town;
     If a Triple 6 appears, the whole formation retreats 1 map space, after other losses taken off.

Note 2: The sections in red italics represent rules I'm not 100% sure about yet: whether to add them at all, or maybe modify them.

To be continued: an account of the First Marnon War, 1869.


  1. Nice adaptation of boardgame and plastic figures into something new.

    (Sadly, my copy of that boardgame went missing somewhere along the way as things do when you move.)

    1. Isn't it sad when that happens? There comes a realisation that 'H'mmm, I haven't seen such-and-such for a while... I wonder where it is?'; and you can't find it anywhere. My copy of Don Featherstone First Symphony (War Games) has disappeared for no reason... :-(

  2. Good to see these figures in use. Your system seems to be bang on the money for colonial map games.

  3. Thanks, Brian, but it's not really my system, rather an adaptation of Bob Cordery's. But I am finding things that probably need more explicit treatment, such as how to handle reinforcements, what happens if a leader is left 'troopless' (The I and II Ruberian Corps get decimated as you will see), and probably how many troops a map space can hold. Anyway, more of this in my next posting...

  4. Good use of the Marnon map board. Brings back memories of the series of articles in the old Courier magazine when the Mongols invaded Marnon.