Starting a campaign
Our gaming group is thinking about starting a Napoleonic campaign using the old Empires In Arms board game and ESR for generated battles. One question: what would be your recommendation to convert end-of-battle fatigues into permanent casualties for the campaign’s next turn? Since individual units would not see casualties (except maybe large battalions would become regular-sized battalions), it could mean that units could be dissolved from the Formations (ie combining units due to losses)......any suggestions?
This is a difficult one to address. We have done work on overnight Fatigue recovery to address multi-day battles in a most consistent way, but a campaign setting is very different. While in some cases, battle casualties can be very meaningful (the Austrians at Elchingen in 1805), in other cases they can be effectively irrelevant (the French at Elchingen in 1805…) yet, during the 1805 campaign, strategic consumption during the campaign for the French was high. By the time of Austerlitz the army was very depleted, despite the fact that battlefield losses had been very low and many Formations had not seen any combat at all.
From a gameplay standpoint, using ESR the easiest way to address this would be eventually shrinking Formations (removing battalions/Units), a more satisfying but far more complex way would be to work a combination of Unit reduction, Fatigue permanence, and Formation characteristic (Brittle specifically). One way to work these would be set a standard for how much 'damage' a Formation must take before a Unit is removed, and short of that, based on how much travel it performs during campaign, combined with how much time has elapsed since its last battlefield engagement determines if it is designated a Brittle.
Hope this at least gives you some food for thought.
Interesting topic as I'm awaiting the arrival of my copy of the rules from Magister Militum in the UK but I'm primarily interested in ESR to game out battles generated from our online campaign system which is currently about 30 days into a Peninsular campaign using Nafziger orbats as the basis for our forces. Players control a Corps on the French side, the Anglo Portuguese are split between two players and we have 2 Spanish players controlling armies (although somewhat depleted due to campaign actions like getting surrounded and defeated in detail, and the other one just lost a division stuck inside a besieged fortress).
All units are tracked at a individual man level, with daily attrition, replacements and so forth and while the campaign movement elements are brigades, constituent battalions and regiments are being tracked. For us, the ability to translate any tabletop events back to the database is critical.
I should say that the campaign system is here http://notanotherblog.uk\Campaign and pictures from the latest battle fought using Blucher is here http://notanotherblog.uk/6mm/6mm-napoleonics/battle-of-benevente-pt-2/. As soon as the rules get here I'll be trying out the same battle using ESR
It wouldn't be difficult to home-brew a solution for translating battle losses into long(er) term campaign impact, but it is not something that ESR currently offers out-of-the-box. But, I am happy to help with some ideas that may be useful as a framework for mapping ESR's tabletop 'losses' to your campaign tracking.
If one is determined to track the low level of detail that your group is doing, then my recommendation would be a little different than above:
Setting manpower strength brackets for each nation beginning with the typical/average strength each nation fielded – the Russians commonly have battalions operating in the 300-500 man range, so they are obviously considered effective at that strength. A battalion within the 'average' strength range for its nation would receive the normal, average combat rating for its type – sticking with my Russian example, an 1805-1807 or 1812-1813 Russian infantry battalion would be a CR 5.
Then, battalions which drop below this bracket would be reduced a grade, so a Russian infantry battalion which has been reduced to say 250 men may be considered a CR 4 or at 150 men even CR 3.
Reconnecting this to Fatigue received during an engagement, most Fatigue should be recovered – given time away from the enemy. However, there should be a floor to this. Without having run any simulations, as a working example, let's say 20% of Fatigue (rounding down) is permanent. So if a Formation takes 5 Fatigue in a battle, 1 Fatigue would be permanent and could not be recovered.
In keeping with thee system you are currently using – where you are tracking manpower at the battalion level – you could then say "1 Permanent Fatigue is with X men" and reduce the battalion strengths by that. Over time and engagements, that will result in reduced CR values.
That help any?