Basing for different size battalions  

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F_rendla@hotmail.com
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22/04/2019 2:23 pm  

How would one base figures for different size battalions? Should we keep the same number figures  for infantry bases of 10 and use different size bases, like 20x20, 40x40 etc in addition to the average size of 30x30? Or keep to the standard size base and vary the number of troops from maybe 6 to 10 to 15?


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David
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22/04/2019 2:45 pm  

How would one base figures for different size battalions?

Hi!

ESR plays perfectly well with all Units/battalions normalized as the same "size" – which is why we standardized on 30x30mm bases for our ESR Box Sets.

Variable base frontage recommendations to allow players who really wanted to represent different sizes of battalions have been included in ESR since prior to the release of our ESR Box Sets. There are some net negatives to using variable battalion sizes, specifically: compatibility between different player's Armies, and reusability of Units for different scenarios and campaigns. On the flip-size, the combat mechanics intentionally make the benefits of variable sized battalions quite minor – multiple smaller battalions vs a single larger battalion result in a net zero modifier for each side.

-David


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F_rendla@hotmail.com
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22/04/2019 8:56 pm  

That is fair enough. I do see different base width for different size units for non-150 yard scale in the intro of the rule book but I can see the logic of standardizing the base size. It is a game. A game after all.

I guess the real question is, when attempting to simulate history, does a large Austrian battalion perform the same as a smaller French battalion although both are represented by a 30x30mm base in the game? And if they do perform differently in combat how would that be noted if they are essentially visually equal in the game?

I am perfectly happy if the answer is that some abstraction is built into this. I really like the approach ESR takes to Napolenics being a grand tactical and perspective based game. I just don't want to miss any detail. Thanks David


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David
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22/04/2019 9:28 pm  

I guess the real question is, when attempting to simulate history, does a large Austrian battalion perform the same as a smaller French battalion although both are represented by a 30x30mm base in the game? And if they do perform differently in combat how would that be noted if they are essentially visually equal in the game?

As designed, unless one is designed by the players/game host as "larger" than the other, they behave the same way. If two Units are in combat and one is considered "larger", then the "smaller" of them suffers a -1. Frankly, this is too large a benefit in a 1v1 combat. To address that, we provided the variable frontage option for players who wanted to represent different sized battalions. In a practical sense, when using variable frontage battalions, it is far more common to see 2v1 combats – because a larger Unit will have greater frontage allowing multiple enemies to contact it easily. Therefore, the negative modifier for the larger Unit for being in combat with multiple enemies was also made -1, so in the initial fight of the 2v1, both sides are equal. If the larger Unit wins against the first of the smaller Units, then the second smaller Unit will receive a -1 modifier, representing the disadvantage for its friend running away.

Combat resolution is in fact abstracted, we don't know what tactics a given Unit or even group of Units is/are employing. In many, many cases, players are rolling evenly opposed dice – and this is intentional, because the intent is that ESR is played and won at the higher level of knowing how to coordinate division-sized bodies. Also, a battalion doesn't actually take up all of its base, rather, it is assumed to be able to exert control over its base's footprint.

We designed this in the original edition of ESR because we had a lot of play testers who expressed a lot of interest/concern about being able to represent different sized battalions. When it came to releasing ESR Second Edition, we kept it largely to maintain compatibility and because if it was ignored – i.e. if people just used "standard" battalions – the was little to no discernible impact on game play. So, in essence, no harm done and no one upset.

The question of whether a larger battalion should have an advantage, or a smaller one a disadvantage, can be – and is – hotly debated. What we found was that getting any historical data that points definitively at an answer to: "Do larger Units have an advantage over smaller Units in combat?" is exceptionally difficult, to the degree that we felt, practically, no definitive answer exists.

Nearly across the the board Russian battalions were smaller than their French counterparts during the first half of the 1812 campaign, and during all of the 1805 campaign. Yet, we've never come across even general observations that the Russians were at a notable or perpetual disadvantage due to this.

So, to answer your question more directly, I don't believe there is strong evidence to support a clear answer regarding advantaging larger battalions over smaller ones. Thus, when representing history, ultimately the question is how above or below the average Combat Rating [CR] should a Unit be rated, and how much should be left to the dice.

Does that help?

-David


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F_rendla@hotmail.com
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23/04/2019 8:28 am  

Your answer does help a lot. The base standard does make sense, especially now and definitely from a corps commander's view point. I didn't consider that a larger unit would more easily be ganged up on due to it's larger size on the table, but that makes sense. In thinking about it, in combat if  a 600-man battalion faced off against a 900-man one, there would be a lot more factors involved in determining the victor other than the extra men the larger battalion has. So standard basing it is. Thanks for your reply. 


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