Vendome and Ga Pa (part 3)

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This is a command stand with the Vendome figure from Front Rank.  The other command figure is from Front Rank also, a French general I think, but I’m not sure.  I imagine the generals can be used pretty interchangeably in armies either French or Allied.  I’m not sure there was distinctive general attire for the different nations.  If there were, I’d love to learn more about that.

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They are nice figures.  I’m not sure I like the orange horse.  I keep working on Duns trying to make them better.  It looks a little more orange in the picture than it does on the table, but it’s still a little too orange I think.

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I promised in a previous post some more about Ga Pa.  I’ve covered setup and command, the command being the key part of what makes Ga Pa a really excellent game.

All unit behaviors are governed by a table called the TQ table.  TQ stands for troop quality.  Troops are rated from highest (fanatic) to lowest (rabble).  Each army has lists (of course) that allow you to determine what your composition of troops should be.  The French army for example is made up mostly of horse considered Green and line infantry considered Trained.  There are of course better troops, the Vieux regiments are veterans, as are the Maison du Roi.  Elite troops are rare.

For just about anything you need to do with units in the game, whether it is making an uncontrolled move, firing, charging, or resolving close combat, you make a roll against the row on the table corresponding to the quality of the troops attempting the action.  The row being used can be increased (but not very often) or decreased (more likely).  So, for example, a typical French chevaux-leger unit, once disordered, will be testing as if rabble, rather than simply green.  To determine a result, 2d6 are rolled against the row and the result can either be decisive success, success, failure, or decisive failure.  This is cross referenced with whatever is being attempted on the relevant chart (charging, firing, or close combat for example) to determine the final outcome.  I keep threatening to make a poster of the TQ chart and hang it on the wall of my game room when we’re playing because you use it so often but haven’t done so yet.  I imagine that if we played more frequently, we’d have it memorized.  Typically by the end of a game you don’t really have to check that table because you’re pretty sure you know the result.

Fire combat is straightforward and very constrained.  You shoot straight ahead and if you’re target isn’t straight ahead of the middle of your unit, your fire against it is halved.  To roll you throw 2d6 against your TQ, and cross reference the result with the amount of firepower your unit has.  The results are variants of heavy casualties, casualties, or light casualties (and of course, when you really need to get a hit the inevitable, No Effect!).  The defender then rolls on the TQ and cross references the result against the receiving casualties table.  Units can disorder, fall back, or flee, and may suffer a step loss.  A step loss represents a permanent loss in capability for the unit, degrading its ability to fire and be effective in close combat.

The most direct way to get into close combat is to get close to the enemy then close in the closing phase.  Mounted can sometimes charge but most of the time and for everything else, one needs to close in the closing phase.  Close combat is resolved on the close combat table, typically defender checking first.  Close combat continues until one side breaks off.

These mechanisms are all simple and elegant, and taken together with the order system and uncontrolled movement result in games that are very believable for the period.

The next time we play I’ll take some pictures and notes along the way and describe how the game gets worked out using the rules.  Hopefully this will be soon, as after writing this, I’m kinda jonesing for a game.