Blowing stuff up Pt. II: Running away

28 08 2011

Getting shot at is unpleasant.  I have no first hand knowledge of this but I’ve seen Saving Private Ryan a bunch a times and it just seems like it sucks.  I seriously doubt that soldiers, even tough soldiers who have seen Saving Private Ryan, could do this overlong.  To model this we need some system to handle units getting fed up with being shot at and doing something about it.

I imagine that staying in position while being shot at requires tremendous discipline.  Discipline is a commodity that soldiers enter the battle field with a ready supply of.  When in this controlled state the unit can be described as being in “good shape”.  It mostly wants to do what it’s told.

As the battle wears on though this discipline is torn away by fatigue, disorganization and shock.  At a critical point in time a unit reaches a tipping point and functionality degrades.  Units become less likely to react, and follow orders.  In this state a unit can be described as “shaken”.

Shaken units that continue to suffer the effects of battle will eventually get fed up and leave, regardless of what their commander might wish.  These soldiers will run to a position of perceived safety to the rear of the fighting, preferably behind friendly troops, preferably in a barn.  In this state a unit is described as “routed”.

Units can, over the course of battle. improve their condition with time, distance and some proper coaxing but that is the subject of another blog.

Morale checks

After each fire command or reaction fire where a unit takes a hit that unit will need to make a skill check to see if its moral status degrades.  If multiple units are ordered to fire at a single unit in the same command then all fire is resolved before a morale check is made.  Morale checks are made with the following modifiers:

  • -1 shaken (negative morale is negative morale modifier.  FUN!)
  • -2 if routed (More FUN!)
  • -1 per stand lost
  • -1 if flanked (any of the shooting units can not be shot at)
  • +1 partial cover (fence or tress)
  • +2 full cover (building or works)
  • -1 if disordered

Note: all skill and rolls for effect are modified +/- a die based on the elite/green status of the acting unit.  I may sometimes forget to mention it but its always true.


If a unit is in good shape and fails a morale check, then it is now shaken.  Shaken units immediately take two straggler hits (yellow ring) minus one for successful die on a skill roll.  This roll (a straggler roll) is made modified by the same table above.

A unit that is shaken gets a shaken counter and has the following limitations

  • -1 on all skill checks
  • no more than a quarter movement may be spent moving towards the enemy.
  • No assaults
  • No supporting an assault
  • Not thinking about assaults


If a unit is shaken or routed and fails a morale check, then its now routed.  Routed units immediately:

  • Take two straggler hits and make a straggler check as above
  • Becomes disordered
  • Flee 150% of regular move towards “the rear” (typically 12”)

“The rear” is an abstract concept and not something you can make a rule for.  When fleeing both sides should discuss where the proverbial barn would be.  Fleeing troops would likely flee not only to a place of safety behind friendlies but also towards other fleeing troops.  Also… units are unlikely to move past cover so the 12” movement is a guideline, not strictly speaking a rule.

This entire process is known as “fleeing” and may come up again in other blogs.

A unit that is routed gets a routed counter and has the following limitations.

  • Routed units must remain disordered
  • The only order that may be given to a routed unit is a rally.
  • The only reaction that a routed unit can perform is a full movement to the rear.
  • – 2 on all skill checks
  • If enemy gets within 4” then the unit automatically flees again (new straggler roll!)

Example of Morale Checks

When last we left 22nd Kentucky they had taken two hits!

Post Fire

This is a bunch of getting shot.  To make a moral check the 22nd Kentucky must get at least one success on 4 dice (3 dice +1 for being elite)

The will need at least one ‘4’.  There are no modifiers on this roll…. should be easy.


Oops.  And I’m all out of Battle Karma too.  Bummer.

One more example… This time from the beginning! (Including shooting!)

The 22nd Kentucky decides to grab some cover to its rear and shoots ineffectively.  The Confederate unit then moves to conform and shoots again.


Less than 4” and more than 2”… That’s medium range.  The 22snd is behind a fence (partial cover).  To hit the confederates need “6”s (4 +1 for medium range and +1 for the fence).  The 22nd should be fine here.


Crap!  A 6!  Boo.  No Battle Karma left… dangit!  This is the third hit on the stand so its gone.  22nd Kentucky just got smaller.

This morale check is gonna be a good bit tougher.  4 dice (3 +1 for being elite) and the 22nd needs a 5 (4 +1 for being shaken +1 for being down 1 stand, –1 for being in partial cover).


Poop!  No “5s” or “6s”!  Is that a barn over there?!?!  RUN!


12” to the rear and now the 22nd is disordered.  Note: 2” of movement are spent crossing two fences to the 22nd’s rear so only 10” are moved.  (These rules and many others are covered in movement)

Let’s see if we take straggler hits.  The 22nd still get 4 dice but now then need “7”s! (4 + 2 for being routed, +1 for being down a stand)


Good news/Bad news.  We got one “7”.  We rolled two “6”s and got pretty excited but we could only turn one of the “6” into a “7”.  If this makes no sense then refer back to our rolling for effect blog.

Next time we will see if we can’t get these guys back in game!