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  1. #1
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    [BIRTHRIGHT] Military reserves

    At 12:54 PM 12/29/2005, Lord Rahvin wrote:

    >I don`t think it actually works that way in games though. Not unless we
    >purposefully make the mechanics that way.
    >
    >Four units working together against four units will always wipe out an enemy
    >faster and suffer less damage than sending four units to fight one at a
    >time. The same works for four units against one, regardless of whether or
    >not the one unit is weaker or stronger. Right? I mean, you could look to
    >just about any adventuring game (D&D or otherwise) to see that PCs will
    >never choose to hold back and let their teammate into battle because they
    >know that all of them working together can dispatch an enemy quicker.
    >
    >In a tactical battle game you have a similiar situation. He who has more
    >numbers and can concentrate the force of those numbers (easier to do in a
    >game than in real life, I think...) on one opponent at a time, dispatching
    >the opponent quicker and thus suffering less losses overall. In addition,
    >deploying more of your units means the damage you recieve is a little more
    >likely to be distributed rather than concentrated meaning your forces will
    >not be dispatched as quickly.
    >
    >Am I wrong?
    >
    >I really want to make the game reflect the statement you made about
    >reserves, and I`m looking for ideas on how to do that.

    OK, let me first chime in to say I like this line of reasoning not
    only because it follows a "real life" issue, but because I think it
    could add an interested component to play fairly easily. That said,
    here`s what I`m thinking: The main tactical issue with reserves has
    to do with maneuver more than anything else. At least, as far as
    might be portrayed in a game.... That is, once troops are engaged in
    battle they become very difficult to maneuver and the maneuver that
    they have available to them is generally very limited both in terms
    of options and distance. Before battle a commander has the full
    range of maneuver options available to him (to that extent that his
    troops are capable of performing, that is, which is mostly a function
    of training) but after troops start fighting the commander
    effectively loses a lot of his control over them.

    So, what I think might be a good, tactical use of reserves for the
    issues you describe above is some way of reflecting how troops are
    basically trapped or very difficult to maneuver once "engaged" or
    "pinned" or otherwise designated as "in combat." In fact, it might
    be prudent to recognize that troops once "committed" are basically no
    longer under the control of the commander, or the commander may have
    to perform some sort of check to regain control of them. It`s even
    reasonable to have more than one level of this problem. Once a unit
    is "committed" to a particular place on the battleline it becomes
    more difficult for that unit to maneuver, then when it is "engaged"
    it becomes another level more difficult to disengage and maneuver,
    and lastly it might be possible to have a unit that was "pinned" down
    to a particular location, totally incapable of maneuver until the end
    of the battle or the commander pulls of a heroic act of
    leadership. There are all kinds of parallels to literature, real
    world battles and films that one could site to illustrate each of
    these three conditions. Think of the movies where characters
    actually describe themselves as being "pinned down" and are calling
    for help, the situation of units in the middle of a defensive
    battleline that really can either go forward, backward or die in
    place. Things like that.

    Each of the three conditions might suffer penalties to maneuver or
    maybe other stats, depending on how one wants to interpret the
    situation. It`s not unreasonable, for instance, to assume that a
    unit that is "pinned down" suffers a penalty to its attack rolls as
    the soldiers are basically fighting defensively and ducking for cover.

    Using such a system the benefit of a reserve becomes clearer,
    especially if one employs a system of facing or other advantage to
    tactical positioning. Troops that are committed, engaged or pinned
    are vulnerable to being outmaneuvered, overwhelmed and otherwise
    destroyed in detail. A reserve would, therefore, be used by the
    commander tactically to develop or respond to the moves of his
    opponent. Using such a system one could portray the axiom "victory
    goes to the one who commits his reserves last" kind of issue pretty well.

    Gary

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    [BIRTHRIGHT] Military reserves

    The ideas surrounding the concepts of supply lines and replacing exhausted
    troops seem significant and relatively easy to translate into game
    mechanics, both tactically and strategically.

    Responding to an enemy`s actions with counterstrikes and working with
    limitations imposed by terrain, seem relatively easy to translate into game
    mechanics but not very great gaming strategy. Surely, concentrating your
    forces on your enemy to wipe out his army quickly will always be a pretty
    sure mechanic over keeping a reserve to send against your enemy`s reserve on
    what`s almost a 1 for 1 basis. Also, it seems like only cavalry would be
    able to counterstrike effectively. Likewise, at least on a gaming board, if
    your force is concentrated in a small area on the middle of the board, it
    can only be flanked so many ways and so there aren`t many actions the enemy
    can take that you won`t see coming, right? The early points of this
    paragraph are more important to me than the latter.

    Policing, training, espianage, and guarding POWs, seem like imaginitive use
    of the reserve which could be cool to have, but the effects don`t seem that
    great (especially at the cost of the battle) and it doesn`t seem like you
    would need that many troops in reserve to accomplish these tasks anyway.

    Thoughts?

    (Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it.)
    NOTE: Messages posted by Birthright-L are automatically inserted posts originating from the mailing list linked to the forum.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    [BIRTHRIGHT] Military reserves

    At 01:17 PM 12/27/2005, you wrote:

    >It`s the tactical level I need some clarification on. Is there any reason
    >to have a reserve army at the tactical level or, rather, to commit only some
    >of your troops to a battle and not all of them at once. Are there any
    >practical limitations to the size of an army during a battle other than the
    >amount of troops available to begin with?

    Here are a few things that you may work in one way or another:

    1. Supply lines. One of the functions if a reserve is to facilitate
    the movement of supplies both by acquiring/creating, guarding and
    actually transporting the goods.

    2. Policing. A reserve also prevents looters and other profiteers
    from taking advantage of the general lawlessness represented by
    war. This one might be difficult to portray using a law holding
    system, but the presence of a reserve might lessen things like loyalty shifts.

    3. Counterstrikes. As has been pointed out one wants to avoid being
    flanked, but one also wants to be able to counter an enemies other
    moves. Without a reserve to commit any actions by an enemy go unanswered.

    4. Reinforcements at the front. Cycling those at the front out from
    time to time increases morale and gives the veterans a chance to
    regroup and resupply. A fully committed military does not have any
    flexibility when it comes to resupplying the front lines with fresh troops.

    5. The limitations of attack. There`s only so many troops one can
    put into a particular area. The size of the BR units generally makes
    this one a difficult issue to deal with since they are so small and
    provinces relatively big, it`s hard to justify a size limitation when
    it comes to battles, but the reality is that not all the soldiers on
    an actual battlefield during a fight are actually engaged in even the
    most decisive battles. Too many soldiers in a particular line of
    attack can be dangerous. A reserve is a practical consideration in
    many cases simply because there isn`t enough room for them on a line
    of advance.

    6. Training. A reserve can train and if veterans are cycled away
    from the front lines the veterans can be in charge of this
    training. Experience is the best teacher, but the experienced are
    the second best.

    7. Espionage. A reserve can operate as counter-espionage, making it
    more difficult for enemy agents to gain or transport information.

    8. Guarding POWs. Rarely are POWs given over to civilian control. A
    "reserve" unit (usually a military policing branch) generally guards
    POWs. In a medieval setting, of course, these reserve troops would
    not be referred to as "military police" but the basic function still exists.

    Gary

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    [BIRTHRIGHT] Military reserves

    >
    > If the question is why does one keep a reserve during a battle, one of
    > the secrets to victory is often "he who commits the last reserve wins."
    > Corollary: "unless it`s too late."
    > The other posts have shown viable reasons why a commander might not put
    > all of his troops in line of battle right away. It usually comes down to
    > logistics. Feeding and paying an army have always been the biggest
    > headaches of
    > commanders throughout the ages.
    > As for building an army with mobilizable reserves, are you thinking of
    > militia, which are of uneven quality compared to a standing professional
    > army,
    > or a fully-trained reserve army, which in real life do no exist until the
    > 19th
    > century?



    These are good points, but just to clarify: These are what I would consider
    strategic points to the issue rather than tactical. That is, these are
    considerations handled at the domain level of play by a regent, rather than
    by a general during a battle.

    At the strategic level, you would always want a reserve army in your empire
    to respond to incursions or to attack undefended areas, sure. Feeding and
    paying for a huge army are also domain-level issues handled through the
    economics & trade system (and possibly magic system). Ditto with the
    quality of troops.

    To answer your questions, though, I am referring to a fully trained reserve
    army. My domain system works on a system of convertable assetts. Thus, a
    reserve army is like a regular army but can`t respond militarily until its
    converted. It has less maintenence costs than a regular army (far less),
    but must be converted to regular army units (at significant cost) before
    they can be used. The advantage is that you don`t have to spend the normal
    time it takes to muster these troops. (Normally you can only muster so many
    troops per turn based on your military assetts.)

    But my initial points wasn`t referring to this reserve army. If someone has
    better terms I can use, I`d appreciate it. My post was referring to the
    actual army, committed to a battle in a province. My question is this:
    What are the reasons a general might launch a battle with only part of her
    force, keeping some troops in reserve for use later in the battle. What are
    tactical advantages/disadvantages in this? Why is this usually a good move
    in real world warfare, and what kind of mechanics could be used to make this
    a good option in a table-top game.

    Thanks.
    Sorry for the confusion.
    NOTE: Messages posted by Birthright-L are automatically inserted posts originating from the mailing list linked to the forum.

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    [BIRTHRIGHT] Military reserves

    In a message dated 12/27/05 4:17:51 PM Eastern Standard Time,
    lordrahvin@GMAIL.COM writes:

    << It`s the tactical level I need some clarification on. Is there any reason
    to have a reserve army at the tactical level or, rather, to commit only some
    of your troops to a battle and not all of them at once. Are there any
    practical limitations to the size of an army during a battle other than the
    amount of troops available to begin with? >>

    If the question is why does one keep a reserve during a battle, one of
    the secrets to victory is often "he who commits the last reserve wins."
    Corollary: "unless it`s too late."
    The other posts have shown viable reasons why a commander might not put
    all of his troops in line of battle right away. It usually comes down to
    logistics. Feeding and paying an army have always been the biggest headaches of
    commanders throughout the ages.
    As for building an army with mobilizable reserves, are you thinking of
    militia, which are of uneven quality compared to a standing professional army,
    or a fully-trained reserve army, which in real life do no exist until the 19th
    century?

    Lee.

  6. #6
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    [BIRTHRIGHT] Military reserves

    I don`t think it actually works that way in games though. Not unless we
    purposefully make the mechanics that way.

    Four units working together against four units will always wipe out an enemy
    faster and suffer less damage than sending four units to fight one at a
    time. The same works for four units against one, regardless of whether or
    not the one unit is weaker or stronger. Right? I mean, you could look to
    just about any adventuring game (D&D or otherwise) to see that PCs will
    never choose to hold back and let their teammate into battle because they
    know that all of them working together can dispatch an enemy quicker.

    In a tactical battle game you have a similiar situation. He who has more
    numbers and can concentrate the force of those numbers (easier to do in a
    game than in real life, I think...) on one opponent at a time, dispatching
    the opponent quicker and thus suffering less losses overall. In addition,
    deploying more of your units means the damage you recieve is a little more
    likely to be distributed rather than concentrated meaning your forces will
    not be dispatched as quickly.

    Am I wrong?

    I really want to make the game reflect the statement you made about
    reserves, and I`m looking for ideas on how to do that.



    On 12/29/05, Lee Hanna <LeeHa1854@aol.com> wrote:
    >
    > In a message dated 12/28/05 12:16:54 PM Eastern Standard Time,
    > lordrahvin@GMAIL.COM writes:
    >
    > << But my initial points wasn`t referring to this reserve army. If someone
    > has
    > better terms I can use, I`d appreciate it. My post was referring to the
    > actual army, committed to a battle in a province. My question is this:
    > What are the reasons a general might launch a battle with only part of her
    > force, keeping some troops in reserve for use later in the battle. What
    > are
    > tactical advantages/disadvantages in this? Why is this usually a good
    > move
    > in real world warfare, and what kind of mechanics could be used to make
    > this
    > a good option in a table-top game. >>
    >
    > LH: That`s why I said this:
    > If the question is why does one keep a reserve during a battle, one of
    > > the secrets to victory is often "he who commits the last reserve wins."
    > > Corollary: "unless it`s too late."
    >
    > If you can keep a unit (or group of units) uncommitted for the opening
    > stages of the battle, you have lots of options available to you,
    > especially
    > exploiting weaknesses that emerge in the enemy line. For game mechanics,
    > a fresh
    > unit (no losses, no morale weakening, etc.) should be incentive enough.
    >
    > Lee.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Birthright-l Archives:
    > http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
    >
    >
    >



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    sell a security, provide investment advice, or endorse an investment
    strategy. Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Prior
    to buying or selling an option, a person must receive a copy of
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    NOTE: Messages posted by Birthright-L are automatically inserted posts originating from the mailing list linked to the forum.

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    [BIRTHRIGHT] Military reserves

    In a message dated 12/28/05 12:16:54 PM Eastern Standard Time,
    lordrahvin@GMAIL.COM writes:

    << But my initial points wasn`t referring to this reserve army. If someone has
    better terms I can use, I`d appreciate it. My post was referring to the
    actual army, committed to a battle in a province. My question is this:
    What are the reasons a general might launch a battle with only part of her
    force, keeping some troops in reserve for use later in the battle. What are
    tactical advantages/disadvantages in this? Why is this usually a good move
    in real world warfare, and what kind of mechanics could be used to make this
    a good option in a table-top game. >>

    LH: That`s why I said this:
    If the question is why does one keep a reserve during a battle, one of
    > the secrets to victory is often "he who commits the last reserve wins."
    > Corollary: "unless it`s too late."

    If you can keep a unit (or group of units) uncommitted for the opening
    stages of the battle, you have lots of options available to you, especially
    exploiting weaknesses that emerge in the enemy line. For game mechanics, a fresh
    unit (no losses, no morale weakening, etc.) should be incentive enough.

    Lee.

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