FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

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richafricanus
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FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by richafricanus » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:15 pm

We're finally in a position to re-start the discussion on FOG version 2 on the forum. So where is it at?

Brett and I now have the go ahead from Slitherine and Terry to take the lead on this project. Terry won't be involved on the day to day due to other commitments. Over the last few months, we have created a working draft of version 2 in consultation with Terry and have been doing play-testing with the local gaming community in Australia and New Zealand.

In addition to referencing the discussions that have already happened on the forum, the principles we've tried to stay true to in making the changes are the following:
1. Clean up the rules to make them easier to read
2. Speed up the game to deliver an 800 point game in at most 3 hours
3. Err on the side of allowing easier movement and more action
4. Simplify the rules by removing unnecessary exceptions to general rules
5. Review the efficiency/cost of troops we see often or seldom to assess if they are over- or under-powered

We are not making changes though that substantially change the feel or balance of the game as it is inherently an excellent set that just needs some renovation, not a whole makeover.

Reviewing the lists is in scope and will be done as a 2nd phase of work. In the interim, as there will be some points changes, we will likely issue an errata to the lists but possibly also include some more generic lists in the body of the rules that cover a nation for the whole period (e.g. Austrians 1792 to 1815).

We are reviewing all publishing options including a new printed book or alternatively a paid for download of a copy of the rules and lists.

So we would now like to open up play-testing and proof-reading to the broader community. If you are interested in being part of this, please send me a pm with your details and I will send you a summary of the changes so far.

In terms of timings, we don't want to rush into print and then have a ton of errata, so we will probably complete play-testing and proof reading through the Aus/NZ "tournament season" to end July, and be looking to press print some time after that. That's only a goal however. Brett and I both have day jobs that pay the bills and annoyingly these do sometimes get in the way of our hobby!

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by Bar853 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:53 am

That is Great News! Will there be anyone going to Cancon this year? Might be a good opportunity to have a look at the draft and get feed back.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by richafricanus » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:20 am

No FOG N won't be at Cancon this year as virtually everyone who played it last year hav opted for ADLG. However, we will be having our Melbourne tournament in July where v2 will be played (expecting around 24 players again) and there are several NZ tournaments in the next few months where it will get a run.

If you'd like a summary of the proposed changes send me your details and I'll email them to you.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by MCorbett » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:04 am

Great news - looking forward to this. I'll see if I can find a partner for play testing (looking in Nottingham/ East Midlands area).

The suggested aims sound right to me.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by Bandolier » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:06 am

Myself and a friend are based in Sydney and are interested in being part of playtesting. I sent a PM but it thinks I might be spamming...

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by richafricanus » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:41 am

Hi Bandolier I did get your pm and replied. Let me know if you don't get it.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by Bandolier » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:35 am

Got it. Thanks mate. We look forward to helping out.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by martymagnificent » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:32 pm

Whereabouts are you in Sydney? I thought the small group I played with were the only ones in this neck of the woods.

Martin

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by Bar853 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:20 pm

Thanks Richard for the summary of the proposed changes. We haven't had much of a chance to go through it all at this stage. I would like to start by saying Thank You, to yourself, Brett and Terry for taking this on and like what you have done with the changes.

So to get the ball rolling and start the discussion, I was wondering about the change to "Cav effect on shooting ,-1 dice reduced from -2 dice " and how this is going to impact on the use of Rifles in the game? Not that I care that much as I get to play French most of the time, but it seemed to get up the nose of my counterpart with all the Green Jackets.

Thanks again.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by Bandolier » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:55 pm

martymagnificent wrote:Whereabouts are you in Sydney? I thought the small group I played with were the only ones in this neck of the woods.

Martin
Down Campbelltown way. It's usually just the 2 of us, and we've been a bit slack the last few months so this is good motivation to get back into it.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by BrettPT » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:45 am

Bar853 wrote: "Cav effect on shooting ,-1 dice reduced from -2 dice " and how this is going to impact on the use of Rifles in the game?.
This rule doesn't actually effect rifle attachments at all. They remain exactly the same as in v1. A rifle attachment adds a dice for shooting and loses 1 dice if enemy cav are about Still cost 10 points. Still kill commanders on 4+ rather than 5+.

It's muskets of course that are enhanced by this rule. They now lose only 1 (not 2) dice around cavalry. This change makes musket skirmish attachments more attractive and gives the standard small reformed unit a chance of still doing something at medium range if cavalry are around.

The impact I've seen in test games has been an increase in (previously invisible) musket skirmishers being fielded - and less of the v1. no-brainer-auto-upgrade to rifles.

So we are seeing less rifle skirmish attachments being used, but only because some are being taken as musket armed instead.

In practical terms you now pay the extra 2 points for rifles to give you a better chance to kill attached commanders. A small benefit I know, but every now and then you may pop a commander which is always fun - and it's only 2 points.

Cheers
Brett

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by shadowdragon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:11 am

Should we post comments in the FoGN beta folder to avoid a very long thread here? So...a couple of comments post in the beta folder.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by shadowdragon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:56 am

shadowdragon wrote:Should we post comments in the FoGN beta folder to avoid a very long thread here? So...a couple of comments post in the beta folder.
Apparently not since some don't have access...so here's what I posted to the beta folder.

Skirmishers: To clarify - I understand that the proposed change is to eliminate the skirmish formation for both regular and irregular light infantry...not just regular light infantry. Are irregular light cavalry still considered in skirmish formation?

Artillery: I can understand limiting the number of artillery units, but I'm puzzled by why all artillery units must be in a single division.

Dragoons: Are these all non-shock heavy cavalry?

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by richafricanus » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:27 am

No units are classified as skirmsihers anymore, but Irreg LC can evade.

Artillery represent the corps reserve and this reflects the Corps commander sending them to a critical point.

Yes, good point, when we say Dragoons we mean all non-shock heavies.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by BrettPT » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:23 am

On the artillery thing, it's a result of focusing on what an artillery unit represents. We have attachments to largely represent supporting divisional artillery and artillery units to represent massed or position artillery formations (of 2-3 batteries). These position artillery were usually corps reserve batteries, sometimes with divisional artillery pulled in or army level artillery assigned in support.

At Corps level, I have struggled to find examples of more than 1 artillery mass being used. Fielding 2 artillery units is pretty common on tabletop, but the current rules encourage these 2 artillery masses to be deployed in different places. By switching the '1 per division' rule to 'all in 1 division', we better encourage batteries to be deployed closer together and perhaps get get a closer representation of how massed artillery was used.

As a spin off, having artillery units concentrated in one sector of the battlefield will make that sector strong in defence, but another sector without artillery units may become comparatively vulnerable, which encourages grand tactical movements as players seek to exploit (or cover) perceived weaker sectors in their line.

Cheers
Brett

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by shadowdragon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:47 pm

BrettPT wrote:On the artillery thing, it's a result of focusing on what an artillery unit represents. We have attachments to largely represent supporting divisional artillery and artillery units to represent massed or position artillery formations (of 2-3 batteries). These position artillery were usually corps reserve batteries, sometimes with divisional artillery pulled in or army level artillery assigned in support.

At Corps level, I have struggled to find examples of more than 1 artillery mass being used. Fielding 2 artillery units is pretty common on tabletop, but the current rules encourage these 2 artillery masses to be deployed in different places. By switching the '1 per division' rule to 'all in 1 division', we better encourage batteries to be deployed closer together and perhaps get get a closer representation of how massed artillery was used.

As a spin off, having artillery units concentrated in one sector of the battlefield will make that sector strong in defence, but another sector without artillery units may become comparatively vulnerable, which encourages grand tactical movements as players seek to exploit (or cover) perceived weaker sectors in their line.

Cheers
Brett
Hi Brett,

If the rule was that both artillery units "may be" in a single 'division' that represents the corps artillery reserve - with one small infantry (or perhaps cavalry for cavalry corps) unit for protection, then I'd be okay. Rules shouldn't enforce good generalship (e.g., concentration of firepower) but reward it through better results.

I disagree that the artillery attachment solely represents divisional supporting artillery and that artillery units represent massed artillery formations. Divisional artillery can be used in close support to particular parts of the division - often being deployed by sections. This is what I see as an artillery attachment. Divisional artillery can also be used in a fire power support position (in modern language this would be 'direct support'). The artillery in this case is manoeuvred separately from the infantry or cavalry of the division. I'm reading Thunder on the Danube and there are several instances of one, two or three batteries providing firepower support to a division. These batteries were maneouvred separately from the infantry or cavalry of the divison. Great care was taken to remove these batteries in a timely manner if things started to go badly - this is more difficult if the artillery is upfront in close support and the artillery likely to be lost (as are attachments in the game).

The artillery unit of 2-3 bases (12-30 guns) isn't a battlefield manoeuvre formation. The corps artillery reserve / artillery park is an asset management organization - allocating batteries as directed and ensuring that the batteries are supplied with ammunition. The 'grand battery' isn't a maneouvre formation either but an assembling of individual batteries to a particular location for a massed firepower effect. Reading some detailed accounts of Waterloo, I note that after the bombardment of Picton's position, the 'grand battery' artillery was manoeuvred by battery to provide, for example, greater firepower support against La Haye Sainte. The FoGN artillery unit of 2-3 bases is an abstraction due to the level of aggregation of the rules. One could also argue that the infantry regiment isn't a manoeuvre unit either but an administrative organization - several critics of FoGN have had just that complaint - i.e., that one infantry unit = one regiment. Thunder on the Danube is quite good at providing detailed deployment information and frequently individual battalions are deployed separately from the rest of the regiment. Of course, there is a morale advantage to keeping all battalions of one regiment together. Perhaps FoGN should have had artillery in units of 1 or 2 bases, but regardless, as part of a division, it represents dedicated firepower that's not 'close' firepower support. Whether the batteries are beside each other or in separate locations is more a function of suitable positions and fields of fire. In my view it is not a 'grand' / massed battery but a game abstraction and one shouldn't get pedantic with comparisons to 'grand' batteries simply because of the number of guns in the aggregate, game representation. Just as we don't know the deployment of the individual battalions in a FoGN unit we don't know the specific deployment of guns in an artillery unit.

Finally, consider Marmont's VI corps at Leipzig - 3 divisions each with 2 medium batteries (16 guns) and a corps artillery reserve of 3 heavy batteries (24 guns) and 2 horse artillery batteries (12 guns). Would one force the heavy and horse artillery units into the same 'division' to be used together? Would one take a battery from each division and create a medium artillery unit for the reserve - and attach the horse artillery to units? Those are options but I wouldn't force them.

So, yes, I support the idea of a 'division' as a corps artillery reserve as an option. I mostly do historically based games and have often felt that the one artillery unit per division was a problem - especially for the corps heavy artillery which likely wouldn't be under control of a infantry division. I wouldn't use the rule as written.

Sorry for the length of the post.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by BrettPT » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:47 pm

Hi Shadow

Thanks for taking the time to set your views out in detail. It's great to see reasoned argument.

There's been a lot of discussion on how/whether to make any changes to how artillery organisation is structured in v2 - with differing viewpoints on the matter.
It's safe to say that whatever changes are/are not made, we are not going to get unanimous approval on this one.

Our starting point in looking at this has been the v1 definitions.
The rules describe artillery units as "Position Artillery" - 'artillery deliberately placed in a position where it could bring sustained fire at longer ranges onto massed or large enemy targets'.
"Support Artillery" is the term the rules use for 'artillery assigned to individual infantry or cavalry formations'. 'Typically they deploy in the line with infantry in defensive positions or move forward with infantry/cavalry into positions of tactical advantage close to enemy. All artillery attachments are support artillery'.

There is nothing stopping us changing the definitions and concepts of what attachments/units represent for v2, but the above has been our start point.

So we have this loose concept of artillery units being a grouping of guns with a bombardment role, while artillery designed to provide support to particular infantry (or cavalry) formations are modelled as attachments. At first glance this would seem to support modelling divisional artillery as attachments and Corps/Army or otherwise grouped together batteries, as units.

I do note your reasoning that divisional artillery can be seen as providing a 'firepower support' role to the division as a whole (rather than individual units) and therefore could be modelled a unit.

We have been heavily influenced by game design and balance considerations in looking at this. The questions raised have been:
1) Does the removal of LI skirmish formation mean that artillery will become more dominant on table? Feedback from testing has warned this may well be the case.
2) Is it a good thing for the game to have artillery more dominant? Artillery-heavy armies on table probably don't facilitate a more enjoyable or quicker game (lots of artillery = more standoff tactics).
3) If both the above are correct, what should we do - if anything?

The solutions have been to firstly limit overall numbers - for now to 2 units (1 for early armies). The army list books can provide more nuance once revised. Secondly, to see if we can perhaps encourage artillery units to be deployed in one part of the table - ideally freeing up other areas for potential attack. We had a chap troll the books and his feedback was - for the most part - a Corps would be unlikely to have more than 1 artillery 'mass' - ie concentration of guns with a bombardment (rather than support) role.

We did look at the idea of having artillery units all under the direct control of the CC - so not part of any division and using the CCs pips/rally abilities. We also considered possibly placing artillery units into a division after seeing terrain/deployment (a bit like some armies do with attachments). But these options seemed to involve new rules or concepts, and we ended going for 'just dump them all into an existing division' - which involves the least degree of change from v1.

However it's great to have discussion and feedback on these things.

Cheers
Brett

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by hazelbark » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:17 pm

I think to add to Brett's points. A 800 point game is also an influence on the v2. At 800 or even 900 points (which I play more of) you are really talking about a smaller Corps.

Particularly 00-07 the OB for a Corps is approximately 1 battery per division and the equivalent of 1-2 Corps level battery assets. So I think there is a strong case for these limitations in those constraints.

On my to do is a more methodical review of late period OBs. The 1813 armies obviously, 1812 Russians and parts of 09 are ones to evaluate. It is important to review those OBs in the context of 800-900 points as some of those Corps clearly wildly exceed that many points.

I usually took max artillery units in V1 so I am looking at this carefully.

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by shadowdragon » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:23 am

BrettPT wrote:It's safe to say that whatever changes are/are not made, we are not going to get unanimous approval on this one.

Our starting point in looking at this has been the v1 definitions.
The rules describe artillery units as "Position Artillery" - 'artillery deliberately placed in a position where it could bring sustained fire at longer ranges onto massed or large enemy targets'.
"Support Artillery" is the term the rules use for 'artillery assigned to individual infantry or cavalry formations'. 'Typically they deploy in the line with infantry in defensive positions or move forward with infantry/cavalry into positions of tactical advantage close to enemy. All artillery attachments are support artillery'.

There is nothing stopping us changing the definitions and concepts of what attachments/units represent for v2, but the above has been our start point.

So we have this loose concept of artillery units being a grouping of guns with a bombardment role, while artillery designed to provide support to particular infantry (or cavalry) formations are modelled as attachments. At first glance this would seem to support modelling divisional artillery as attachments and Corps/Army or otherwise grouped together batteries, as units.

I do note your reasoning that divisional artillery can be seen as providing a 'firepower support' role to the division as a whole (rather than individual units) and therefore could be modelled a unit.

We have been heavily influenced by game design and balance considerations in looking at this. The questions raised have been:
1) Does the removal of LI skirmish formation mean that artillery will become more dominant on table? Feedback from testing has warned this may well be the case.
2) Is it a good thing for the game to have artillery more dominant? Artillery-heavy armies on table probably don't facilitate a more enjoyable or quicker game (lots of artillery = more standoff tactics).
3) If both the above are correct, what should we do - if anything?

The solutions have been to firstly limit overall numbers - for now to 2 units (1 for early armies). The army list books can provide more nuance once revised. Secondly, to see if we can perhaps encourage artillery units to be deployed in one part of the table - ideally freeing up other areas for potential attack. We had a chap troll the books and his feedback was - for the most part - a Corps would be unlikely to have more than 1 artillery 'mass' - ie concentration of guns with a bombardment (rather than support) role.
All very reasonable, Brett.

In a post somewhere either Terry or Mike had a comment about grand batteries and bombardment not really being captured in the existing rules. Lord knows where though. Perhaps that's correct. FoGN is about a corps fighting a part of battle so it may not capture the lengthy preparatory bombardments.

As for roles it seems to me that the artillery attachment captures the concept of dedicated brigade artillery (e.g., used by the Austrians and others) and not that of divisional artillery support - for the reason you mention above, which is that the attached artillery can only support one unit and not all units in the division - the artillery attachment has limitations. The French artillery superiority was because they were leaders in the 'divisional artillery' under the command of aggressive artillery officers who were semi-autonomous, which is why I don't equate these batteries with "attached artillery". They don't quite fit the "positional artillery" concept you quoted above either.

It's a pity that artillery units are 2 and 3 bases. Perhaps 1 or 2 bases would have been more appropriate. A divisional artillery unit of a single base would seem less of an issue for game balance and more in keeping with most of the orders of battle I've seen where divisional artillery is one or maybe two batteries at most - with the possibility that one or both batteries might be pulled out for a corps level mission as happened at Friedland - over the objections of divisional commanders.

For what it's worth - I don't play in competition games but do games based on historical Orbats. What I do there is pool all of the corps artillery (typically one battery = one base) and parcel out as attachments or group into artillery units. One possibility is that a player buys artillery at the normal artillery unit rate and then allocates to units or attachments. I suppose from a points perspective one unit base should probably yield two attachments.

I also agree that there's too much artillery available. I don't find that all available artillery is in the shop window. Quite a bit is held back in reserve - probably for a number of reasons. So I agree with the limitations and with that in mind here are some thoughts....just thoughts...

1) Artillery bases are purchased according to the main list (i.e., artillery bases in the attachments section of the list aren't available).
2) A purchased artillery base can be used to create an artillery unit (2 or 3 bases according to list limitations) or it can be broken down into two attachment bases for attaching to infantry or cavalry according to list limitations.
3) After creating attachments there should be no more than one artillery unit (E&E) or two artillery units (ToN). The rest should be attachments which could be attached to the artillery units if a list allows it.
4) Where a list currently allows just one artillery attachment per division - increase it to two attachments. Otherwise there are no changes in the restrictions and limits on artillery attachments per division in the lists.
5) Attachments still have to be allocated in the appropriate phase according to each list. However, bases in artillery units do not have to be broken down into attachments until that phase.

I like this concept since it replicates managing a limited resource and making decisions about how to fight with their artillery - mass it or allocate it. Also, allowing 2 attachments in a division where only one is allowed currently spreads out the divisional support better than just one unit with an attachment in the division - certainly would help unreformed armies that can only have one attachment in a division.

So, maybe that's a compromise of sorts.

Cheers

Paul

ETA: If you don't have it, I recommend Napoleon's German Artillery by Paul Dawson

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Re: FOG N 2nd Edition - it's back!

Post by shadowdragon » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:55 am

I suppose the crux of my argument is that, for many lists, a single attached artillery base in a division can leave it quite vulnerable, especially if it's an unreformed army with a current limit of 1 skirmisher and 1 artillery attachment per division. Adding to the challenges for such an unreformed division is the proposal that cavalry only reduces musket skirmishers by 1 dice.

I've played a number of 1806 Prussians versus French battles - with 2 infantry units in the front line with attachments (1 rifle and 1 artillery) plus an artillery unit and cavalry, the Prussian division would have 11 dice at medium range. If the French had cavalry around that would be 10 dice. If the opposing French had an artillery unit and one artillery attachment, they'd have 14 dice (or 15 dice with one skirmisher) - reduced to 10-13 dice for Prussian cavalry (depending on whether the cavalry affects one or both front line units).

With the proposals and the above divisions being one of the divisions without artillery, the Prussians would have 5 dice reduced to 4 dice, which spread out over two units don't really amount to a hill of beans. The French would have 8 dice (or 9 with one skirmisher) reduced to 6-8 dice for cavalry - just enough of a difference to swing it from a French advantage to a walk-over.

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