TITLE: The Long Road North
AUTHOR: Graham Birkley & Steve Dunn
PUBLISHER: North Hull Wargames Club
PUBLICATION DATE: 2002
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $15.00 (in 2010)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The American Civil War
The Long Road North (LRN) is an A4 bound book of 56 pages. It features a full color cover and interior. Also included is a battle roster, measuring template and two laminated quick reference cards.
SCOPE: LRN is a tactical game of the Civil War.
ARMY SIZE: Units in LRN tend to be on the large size with regiments ranging from 12 to 40 figures. Although the rule book talks about grouping your troops into division, corps and armies, given the scale I expect it would work best with roughly a corp or two per side.
BASE UNIT: Units in LRN are infantry and cavalry regiments and artillery batteries.
- Ground Scale: Not stated. In the rules all distances are given in yards. The rules have a recommended ground scale (yards per millimeter) depending on figure scale:
2mm to 10mm: 2 yards/mm
15mm to 20mm: 1.33 yards/mm
25mm and up: 1 yard/mm
- Time scale 1 turn = about 20 minutes
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry figure = 20 men (but this can vary in certain scenarios).
- Recommended Figure Size: None stated.
- Table Size: 6 x 4’ though larger tables would be required to use the 25mm ground scale.
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening
Basing in the long road north corresponds to the ground scale. Accordingly:
- 2mm Up to 10mm
Mounted Cavalry 12 x 15mm
Artillery with Crew 20 x 20mm
- 15mm to 20mm
Infantry 25 x 30mm
Mounted Cavalry 30 x 40mm
Artillery with Crew 30 x 40mm
- 25mm and larger
Infantry 36 x 50mm
Mounted Cavalry 40 x 50mm
Artillery 45 x 60mm
- Charge Declarations: Charges are declared by staff officers (represented by figures on the tabletop). Units may be put into support and counter-charges may be declared.
- Morale Phase: Any unit required to check morale does so now.
- Secure Battle Roster: A book keeping phase to distinguish casualties inflicted last turn versus this turn, and so on.
- All Movement: Movement is simultaneous, but carried out by type (Compulsory, Charges, Normal)
- Messages: LRN prohibits player discussion and instead uses messengers. Players may send messages to change unit orders or to communicate with other players.
- Firing: All fire - both small arms and artillery - is resolved. Fire is simultaneous.
- Resolve Melees
- Dice for 1/2 Casualties: It is possible to score 1/2 casualty. In this phase a die is rolled to see if they become full casualties or are removed.
The Orders System: The Long Road North uses a map based orders system. Players draw their deployment and orders with the typical arrows etc. Units not within LOS of the enemy are not deployed on the table. Orders are then given, writing them on the map. Then all remaining units are deployed.
To issue new orders or change orders commanders must either send a messenger or move the commander to speak to the local officer face-to-face. Messengers are represented on the table top and there are limits to how many a commander may have in use at one time. Order types are limited to Attack, Support and Hold.
Emphasis throughout these rules is on eliminating the “300 Foot General” from the game. The orders system is one such mechanism.
Movement: Movement is split into two categories: movements and actions. Actions represent certain specific activities such as entering a building, going prone or crossing an obstacle. Change of formation, wheeling, obliques, etc. are actual movement.
Actions in any combination use 1/4 of the unit’s movement allowance. Other maneuvers are simply measured by the distance covered. Units that move or perform actions will have less effective fire.
Formation changes are made by physically moving the stands in the unit. This contrasts with some rules where the change is simply declared and the unit stands rearranged to the new formation.
Morale: Each unit is rated as Elite, Veteran, Drilled, Seasoned, Raw or Green. To test morale a single D6 is rolled and modifiers applied. Besides the unit rating (Elite gives a +2, Raw -1) there are a list of 26 other modifiers that apply. Casualties and leaders also give modifiers. There is a chart for casualties - cross index the number of figures in the unit with the current number of casualties and apply the resulting DRM to the Morale test die roll. Once all the modifiers have been applied, if the result is 3+ the unit remains in good order. Otherwise, it may be limited in what it can do, or even have to retreat. If the final result is -9 or worse, the unit retreats off the table.
Units that rout may be rallied. To rally a unit a staff officer must be moved to join it, and taking another morale test. Units that fail this test, or that suffer a second rout, are shattered and leave the table. Only one attempt may be made to rally a routed unit. Units may be rallied from “spent” the same way but there is no limit to the number of attempts to do so.
LRN also include a rule for fatigue. Units become fatigued for a variety of reason, such as being involved in melee, or rallying from a rout. Fatigue affects fire, melee and morale but lasts only a single turn and is removed automatically (i.e. there is no test to recover from fatigue).
Fire Combat: Both artillery and infantry fire in the same way. The unit’s strength is modified by a die roll as well as other factors such as morale. Cross referencing the unit’s strength with the final modified fire factor on the Casualty Table yields the number of casualties inflicted.
Artillery fire starts with gun type and range. This yields the base firing factor. Modifiers are then applied to this fire factor. Movement, range, target formation, etc. all modify the fire factor. Luck plays a part too - a D6 is rolled which may yield a final modifier ranging from -4 to +2. The final modified fire factor is cross referenced with the unit’s base fire strength on the casualty table and the result applied. Fire strength is different from fire factor. The fire strength is based on the number of guns firing. This may be reduced if the battery has lost guns or has crew casualties.
Infantry volley fire works much the same way. Based on the unit’s fire profile and range, a starting fire factor is determined. This is subject to modifiers for having moved, firing prone, cover, etc. Once the final fire factor is determined, this is cross referenced with the number of figures firing on the Casualty Table and the results applied to the target.
Skirmish fire is resolved the same way but without any modifiers. Simply determine the base fire factor, add the random modifier and consult the Casualty Table.
LRN includes detailed infantry fire rules for skirmishers, allocating casualties across multiple targets, enfilade fire, firing prone, etc. For artillery there are rules to cover firing overhead, canister, field of fire etc.
LRN uses a limited ammunition rule. Units start with a given amount of ammunition and each time they fire they must mark off one “round” of ammunition. Once they have depleted their ammunition supply they may no longer fire. The advanced rules cover resupply of ammunition.
Melee: There are two kinds of melee combat in LRN. In the first, one side has chosen to stand and receive the charge - in the other the target has countercharged.
When the target of a charge has elected to halt and fire, the charging units are moved to within 40 yards of the target. The target then fires. Casualties are then calculated as a percentage of the front row of the charging unit(s). If enough casualties are inflicted, the charger will halt, become fatigued, and may fire. Otherwise they are moved into contact with the target.
Melee is resolved in the same way as firing but with different modifiers. Each side calculates a melee factor. Units start with a value of 0 that is then modified by morale, attached officers, charging uphill, etc. Determine the melee factor and check the Casualty Table. The winner of the melee is the side inflicting the most casualties (including any fire prior to contact).
If both sides are charging, melee is resolved as above with neither side firing prior to contact.
Once a winner has been determined, the Melee Results Table is consulted. Units will become fatigued and may retreat. The melee is now over.
The rule book includes one scenario - Kernstown. They also sell stand alone scenario books built around certain campaigns/themes.