TITLE: There Are Your Guns! Warfare in the Age of Steam 1816-1897
AUTHOR: Dennis Williams
PUBLISHER: Partizan Press
PUBLICATION DATE: 2007
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $36.00 (in 2008)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The Age of Steam 1816-1897
There are your guns! (TAYG) is a perfect bound book of 104 pages. It includes a table of contents but no index. The rules occupy the bulk of the book. Only the last 20 pages are not rules but three scenarios. Like all of the Partizan press publications, they are well made, attractively laid out, and nicely illustrated.
SCOPE: There are your guns! is a set of rules designed for European battles. It is not well suited to smaller actions or colonial conflicts, but is suitable for the Crimea, the Franco Prussian War, and other European conflicts of the 19th century.
ARMY SIZE: As with all the rules in the General de Brigade family, units tend to be large, requiring a lot of figures to play. For example, smaller British battalions (regiments) are 16 figures while large Russian units weigh in at 48 figures.
BASE UNIT: The base unit is the battalion, organized into brigades and divisions.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 50 Yards
- Time scale 1 turn = Elastic
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry figure = 20 men
- Recommended Figure Size: None
- Table Size: Not stated
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening
Basing in TAYG emphasizes unit frontage. Depth does not really affect play. The recommended basing for 25 mm figures is:
- Infantry: 15 mm wide per figure and 40-50 mm deep. Thus a stand two figures wide and two deep would be 30mm wide and 40-50mm deep.
- Cavalry: 20 mm wide per figure
- Artillery: 50 mm wide per model gun
The number of figures per stand is flexible. The rules will work with 4-8 figure per base so specific unit organization may, if desired, be modeled. The author recommends basing figures individually and using movement stands to maximize flexibility.
- Initiative: Players roll 2D6. The winner may move first in each phase or make his opponent do so. The player with the initiative is called the Phasing Player.
- Command Phase: Commanders issue orders to their units. One unit per side may attempt to change orders based on the unit commander’s initiative rating. Wounded leaders are replaced, leaders reassigned, and creating new brigades may be attempted.
- Compulsory Movement Phase: All units in retreat, rout, broken or pursuit move during this phase. Units that move in this phase may not move in any other movement phases.
- Charge Phase: The Phasing Player announces all charges, followed by the non-Phasing player. The Phasing player then resolves each charge in turn. Then the non-Phasing player carries out all of his charges.
- Movement Phase: The Phasing Player moves all of his units according to their orders, terrain restrictions, etc. Once complete the non-Phasing Player moves his units.
- Firing Phase: The Phasing Player carries out all available fire combat, followed by the non-Phasing Player. Fire combat is not considered simultaneous - casualties caused by the Phasing Player do not return fire.
- Melee Phase: All melees are resolved. Melees are considered to be simultaneous. Follow-up and push-back moves take place. Some units may need to check morale during this phase if forced to retreat, etc. Some units may need to make a Pursuit test as well. Note that pursuits actually take place in the next turn’s Compulsory Move Phase.
- Moral & Pursuit Phase: Unit morale and then brigade morale are checked as required.
Because these rules are so broad in scope, there is an extensive discussion of troop types, grading, allowable tactics/formations, armaments, etc. This section of the rules discusses, for example, smoothbore muskets vs. magazine fed rifles; which units may deploy as skirmishers; cavalry armament.
The Command & Control System: One of the main features of the General de Brigade family of rule sets is the orders-driven Command & Control system. Each brigade in the army must have an order. Orders are to be written down (players may opt to skip this if they wish). Depending on what order it has, it may have movement and combat requirements or restrictions. Brigades with Assault orders, for example, must charge or advance toward the enemy with at least half their units. In TAYG there are 6 allowable orders:
Each side has a Commander in Chief (CinC). The CinC issues orders to his units. CinCs are rated for ability. The greater his ability, the more likely an order change will be successful. A CinC may issue one order change per turn. If unsuccessful in the current turn, the change takes place in the following turn. To change an order the new order is written and then sent with a Staff Officer to the recipient. In the Command Phase of the next turn, the Staff Officer attempts to issue the new order. To issue the order, 2D6 are rolled, subject to some modifiers. The order is changed on a 7+.
Each side may also attempt to change one unit order per turn through initiative. The Brigade commander makes an initiative check. He rolls a 2D6 and if the modified result is 8+ the new order is accepted. If the roll is 4 or less, he either loses his nerve or panics. Either result calls for a change in orders (though almost certainly not the one intended!).
Movement: As one would expect, each unit must be in a specific formation (line, column, extended line, battalion square, etc.). Units have a base movement rate based on troop type and formation. The rules cover the usual cases such as wheeling, changing formations, commanders etc.
Terrain is outlined in a separate chapter which details both combat modifiers as well as movement modifiers. In Difficult terrain movement is halved, hill contours cost an extra inch of movement to ascend, etc. In Severe terrain, units move half speed and may become unformed as well.
This chapter also provides simple rules for damaging/destroying buildings and other terrain.
Fire Combat: Fire combat is a simple table lookup system, with one table for small arms and another for artillery.
For small arms fire, you roll one 2D6, subject to modifiers. You then cross index the final modified dice roll with the number of firing figures to get a result which is the number of casualties inflicted. Some weapons act as multipliers for the number of figures firing - so if 12 figures fire with breech-loading rifles, they get a 1.5 multiplier, so the 17-24 row is used for casualty determination.
Artillery fire is resolved much the same way. In this case you again roll 2D6 but cross reference with the number of guns firing to obtain a result.
TAYG also includes a special rule for suppression fire. Units armed with advanced rifles may fire to pin. They do half-casualties but of they get at least one hit, the enemy unit is pinned and may not move in its next turn. While pinned units suffer a -1 die roll modifier for morale and firing, may not evade charges etc. If the firing unit rolls any doubles other than double sixes, it is low on ammo and may not use suppression fire for the remainder of the game.
Melee: Melee is resolved simultaneously through opposed casualties. The side inflicting the most casualties is the winner. Each side rolls 2D6. Once all modifiers are applied, the high scorer is the winner. The scope of the victory depends on the difference in the two scores. If one side’s score is just 1 more than the enemy, the loser is pushed back. If the winner wins by 8+ the loser is routed.
Once the winner and loser have been determined, casualties are applied. Casualties are not dependent on the dice roll. Instead they are inflicted at a set ratio. For example, if the winning unit is Cavalry and the loser is infantry that was routed, the loser takes one casualty for every 2 figures in the attacking unit. Conversely, losers inflict far fewer casualties - usually one per 6 figures. (Note - some countries have large units so a Russian unit, for example, might actually cause more casualties in defeat than they themselves took!).
Morale: As with the other core mechanisms, morale checks are resolved with 2D6. Modifiers are applied and a table consulted. Modifiers include +3 for elites, +2 for veterans, +2 for hard cover, -1 if pinned, etc. Units generally pass on a 6+.
Units that fail a morale check suffer one fo these possible results:
- Halt: The unit halts in its current location
- Unformed: The unit has lost cohesion and so may one fire if charged or fired upon; cannot charge or counter charge and remains so until reformed.
- Falter: The unit has lost cohesion and so becomes unformed, may only fire if charged, may not move, etc. until reformed.
- Retreat: This unit immediately does an about face and begins to move toward a friendly board edge.
- Rout: As a retreat, but this unit will not even fight in melee. It gets one attempt to rally - failure means it will Flee!
- Flee! The unit ha taken to its heels and is beyond recovery. It is removed from the table.
Brigade Morale is checked in exactly the same way but with only three possible outcomes:
- Brigade Stands: The brigade has passed its morale check and suffers no adverse effect.
- Brigade Breaks: The entire brigade must retire 18” in the next Compulsory Movement phase. At that time all units automatically rally. Retreating or routed units automatically flee. The Brigade then goes to Hold orders.
- Mass Panic: The Brigade has panicked and its units have fled. Remove all of the Brigade’s units from the table.
Fortunes of War: Each CinC has a number of Fortune Points as determined by the scenario being played. Each FP allows a single die to be rerolled.
Double Six: In certain situations a unit must consult the Double Sixes table. For infantry and cavalry this is usually a simple falter or increased casualties. If a General or CinC, 2D6 are rolled and the results applied immediately. Possible results include:
- Roll a 2: Flees in terror, is caught, then executed in front of the army the next day.
- Roll 8,9: An aide is killed and the General is removed for one turn while he writes a letter of condolence, because the aide was his wife’s cousin.
Optional Rules: There are a number of optional rules included. These are nation specific and include modifiers and additional abilities/restrictions for their armed forces. For example, certain Armies may use mass tactics, while others may use detachments.
The rule book includes three scenarios as well as a short bibliography for the period. Also included are Player Reference Sheets, markers and rosters which will need to be copied for game use.
There are your guns! is a a solid member of the General de Brigade family. Easy to read, well written and with good examples, I felt I could pay right away with a minimal learning curve. There are almost no diagrams at all which is a shame, but otherwise this is a nice manageable rules system. I look forward to the promised volumes delaing with specific periods, scenarios etc.
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