[Solved] 1796-1800 Battles
David, I know you discussed an ACW and 7YW variant of ESR in several venues, but wondering why doesn't the game state that the pre-Empire campaigns are covered. Not sure what the differences would be from playing Lodi or Marengo for the rules versus as an example the autumn 1805 campaign? Structure of the armies? Thanks
The short answer is that when we developed ESR we didn't proof it or test it against pre-1805 battles, so the answer is that it may work just fine as is, or it may requiring tweaking – I doubt anyone would find it to be broken – but since we didn't test it, we didn't include any official support for it.
One of the key concerns that you correctly bring up is the structure of the Armies. Without delving into the research deeply, my surface answer is that many of the battles of pre-1805 become two player engagements (not a bad thing) because effectively the smallest useful body of troops is about a brigade to division in size and reporting to the "Army Commander" directly (this isn't always the case obviously but often). And thus the "Army Commander" is actually in the role of a Force Commander in ESR, however, while smaller, these bodies might behave more like tiny corps than divisions of a corps – this would need to be proved out by research – and if that was the case, then the objective – directive system may not prove sufficient to allow players to recreate events as they occurred historically. The other concern about structure is how long a given body of troops was able to fight and does that match up to the longevity of that size of Formation in ESR.
Let me know if that helps!
With that said, there are people using ESR for scenarios pre-1805. Some use it as-is, others make minor modifications, the most common I've seen is treating each 'Formation' as a 'Force' of a single Formation and generally without a Formation Commander – thus practically tying the Force Commander to the Formation in order to ensure it remains responsive. This allows for different objectives and multiple players. Though there is a double-edged sword there; since it really desires multiple players, but often each player only has a single Formation in their Force – and that Formation is often on the smaller side, it allows for players to get knocked out of the game quickly.