Theatre of War FAQ

In gearing up for the campaign that my group is running, I had (as the referee) lots of questions for the Piquet group and they answered all of them graciously and with much enthusiasm for my upcoming adventure.  One of the long time Piqueters, Alistar B., compiled all of the questions into one email as a FAQ.  With his permission I am reposting it here as a place to help others who want to use this wonderful little book on running campaigns.  As the campaign progresses I will add to this list as needed.

Here they are:

Campaign Hand:
Q:When getting your campaign hand you draw 4,5, or 6 cards from your sequence
deck. Does the turn end when you complete using those cards you have drawn
or when you have used up the sequence deck?

Also does the Battle Hand come from the 4,5, or 6 cards you have taken from
the sequence deck? If I'm understanding this correctly you play a card for
1 impetus and its an Attack card so you pull that to the side for your
battle hand. Does that also cost an impetus point?

A:TOW, page 29, End of Turn -

The turn ends when either side exhausts its sequence deck (not the battle hand), on a tied Command die roll, or when a tabletop battle occurs.

A:TOW page 19, Battle Hand:

The battle hand is a concept - a subset of the total 4, 5 or 6 card hand, that is only manifest when played in the context of a contact between forces. This hand can be played from added to, or discarded from (unwanted Battle cards) at a cost of 1 impetus per card. It cannot exceed the original number of cards (but could be less due to playing cards without replenishing them).

Q:So the Battle Hand can be played from cards that have been discarded? That
seems weird.

A:No, but cards you don't want (battle or otherwise) can be discarded to make room for ones that might suit your plans better!

Q:I met with my two Commanders last night to go over the rules and how to
play the campaign and when I was making up the sequence deck I noticed that
the Melee Resolution cards have two meanings. They are listed as a Engage
in Battle card and as a Strength Card. Is there a reason behind this? I
ended up using the Melee Resolution cards for the Engage in Battle cards
and the Artillery Reload for strength.
We ended up not getting a turn done as there were lots of questions and we
ended up doing a mock turn sequence to understand the procedures etc... We
will end up skyping a turn some time this week.

A:It means the card can serve as either meaning during the campaign. You could use it to Engage or play it as a Strength card when you have a battle.

A:Right, the dual meaning is intentional. Each card can only be used for one or the other, but if you had to Melee cards in your Battle Hand, the second would count as Strength - or if you were the defender and had one (or more) in you Battle hand, each one would count as a Strength card.

A:I always thought that this raised an interesting decision for the TOW campaign player. Do you push the pace of the campaign movement or try to build a hand that will help you in a battle? I'm sure there will be moments in Victor's campaign where players will struggle over playing that certain card they were holding in case a battle was joined.

Battle Groups:Q:When using a Dummy BG and its scouted or revealed by forcing a battle and
it is removed, can it come back or is it gone forever? Personally, I'm
leaning toward them being gone forever.

A:I would remove it forever. It makes players less likely to waste their dummy BG's

A:We actually allowed them to be "resurected" by "splitting off from any other friendly Battle Group on a subsequent MOVE card (obviously, the other side then no longer knew which was a dummy, or indeed if both were "real". 

I'm sure it will work either way, as long as concerned are clear how they will be handled.

Q:I am finally hoping to get this campaign kicked off this weekend and another question came up.  How do you use scouts/dummy units?  I understand that they function just like everything else but what happens when a scout enters the same area as another scout or real unit.  How do you resolve what it sees and can report back?

A:Basically, when 2 opposing Battlegroups (real or dummy) first enter the same area, Side one has to declare if it is real or dummy. If it is not a dummy, then the other side must make such a declaration for its counter. 

You can decide it is always the moving side (or the stationary side) that must declare first, or do it by nationality. Maybe even better is to rate the opposing armies "scouting" abilities as a die type, and low roller must declare first, on ties both must declare regardless. "Revealed" dummy Battlegroups are removed from play.

So, for example, 1809 French might be D10, Austrians D8

1813 French might be D4 (loss of cavalry/horses in Russia), Prussians D8, Russians D10 (Cossacks!), Austrians D6 (uninspired leadership). 

And so forth. The advantage of declaring second, of course, is that in a Dummy vs. Dummy encounter, your status won't be revealed... and his will. Otherwise it will be a wash anyway. 

You can also play it boring: that both sides must declare dummy or not upon contact.... but what fun is that? :-)

Actually "Scouting" beyond that takes place on the "SCOUT" campaign card, if any - see page 23 of TOW.

Battle Objectives:Q:In reference to page 64 when talking about Generating Battle Objectives it
states, "The number of locations that may be determined as Victory or
Morale Point locations by each side is equal to the Opportunity Point Limit
for that side." Is this referring to the Opportunity Chips that each army
has for a battle?

A:Yes, you are correct.

Causalities:Q:What do you do with causalities after a battle? Lets say a unit goes down
2 stands, do you let the unit fight on as a 2 stand unit or do you combine
units that are shot away like this? Also if a unit is totally eliminated
do you leave it that way for that Battle Group?

A:No, you don't track casualties ar all in a conventional sense, BUT after a battle, depending upon trhe degree of victory or defeat, the units in the involved battlegroups will have a certain pewrcentage of the units improve or drop a level in quality. Don't have the rules with me, but it's in there. This is elegeant and in keeping with the level of abstraction, and greatly simplifies record keeping. 

Q:I caught the after battle ups and downs for quality and that totally works
for me. One of the guys in the group asked about casualties and how they
work and my response matched yours but it got me thinking about it. It
would seem if a unit in a BG is completely destroyed then it shouldn't
return to that BG and if this happens a lot to that BG then it would
facilitate the need to combine BGs. It just seems like a normal attrition
part of the campaign.

A:It is probably best not to count battle casualties too literally. They represent morale loss aswell as physical loss. If you look in the files section for "Isle of Fob Campaign" you can see how I did it, and with some success.

A:If you wanted to, you could factor some form of unit elimination into your TOW campaign. I would consider eliminating unique, elite units if they were completely destroyed during the battle. For example, if your French Old Guard is completely eliminated during a battle, you could remove them from the campaign roster and replace them with a normal infantry unit.

This might encourage players to use these elite units sparingly and not commit them to attacks where they would be doomed to destruction.

This rule would give some players the feel that their elite units are special without making the campaign too difficult to manage.

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