A Player’s Guide to General d’Armee
General d’Armee plays like a flexible and scaled up version of General de Brigade, with some of the best concepts of Black Powder added in. The focus on command and control is simple, fun, and calls for careful decision-making and frequent head-scratching.
Scale: GdA has a flexible figure scale (like Black Powder), but I base the figures at approximately 33:1. The ground scale is approximately 35 yds per inch and the time per turn is approximately 15 minutes.
Units: Units in GdA are infantry battalions, brigade skirmish screens, cavalry regiments (or multiple squadrons), and artillery batteries. Leaders represent Corps commanders, division commanders, and down to brigade commanders. No Leaders are represented below the brigade. Units are classified as Large, Standard, or Small (again, similar to Black Powder).
Unit and Leader Ratings: Unit ratings are Elite, Veteran, Line, and Recruit. Special rules encompass the “Grenadier” subrating for Line troops, the “Reservist” subrating for Line troops, and “Enthusiastic” subrating for Recruits. These special rules will be discussed later.
Leaders are also rated , with the important concept that the higher the rating, the more ADC’s will be available to the leader.
Command and Control: The ADC (aide de camp) is an abstract way to simulate command and control. Look at the ADC as an activation point. ADC’s can be used to task individual brigades with special missions (ie Artillery Assault Fire, Redeploy, or activate Reserves) or can be sent to a brigade in order to gain a re-roll of a brigade activation. ADC functions are listed in full on the QRS.
Brigade activation: Brigades must be activated in order to move, fight, or fire. Brigades can be in the following states:
- Steady (fully activated)
- Hesitant (can not move forward in any way, and can only fire straight ahead)
- Faltering (This is caused if a brigade has a unit routed or 2+ units retreating. Faltering brigades are not rolled for activation normally; they have a separate chart to roll on and they can possibly rally, become hesitant, or retire/rout). An ADC must be attached to every Faltering brigade; this simulates a breakdown in command and control.
After ADC’s are rolled for to see how many are available ( a 3-6 on a 1D6 means that the ADC is available), the division commander attaches these ADC’s to his brigades simulating the division commander’s command focus. Corps commanders are tasked with coming up with the overall plan of attack and add ADC’s to a specific division commander to use as necessary. After ADC’s are attached to brigades, each brigade must roll for activation. A result of 1-2 on a 1D6 means that the brigade is Hesitant, with 3-6 becoming Steady. An ADC attached for a Brigade Attachment means that the brigade gains a reroll of its activation die.
Example: A division officer with 3 brigades has 3 ADC’s available and uses 2 to attach to a brigade for Artillery Assault (grants extra casualty dice to battery fire). The remaining ADC is used as a Brigade Attachment to an advancing brigade to keep them moving into the fight.
1st Brigade passes its activation roll with a 5 on 1d6 and automatically becomes Steady and adds the Artillery Assault tasking for this turn. The 2nd Brigade rolls a 1 on 1D6 and becomes Hesitant, but with the ADC attached, gets a re-roll and promptly rolls a 6, becoming Steady. The third brigade has no ADC’s attached, but rolls a 4 on its activation and is also Steady.
Initiative: GdA is an IGO/UGO game with the side winning initiative moving (and more importantly Firing) first. Firing is not simultaneous…...fire casualties and morale results inflicted by the side winning the initiative are counted when the second side fires.
Each side rolls 2d6. Each side subtracts 1 for each Faltering brigade. The winner is the side with the initiative. Special Rule: French may use ADC’s to add +1 or +2 to the initiative roll.
Charges: Charges are written down simultaneously, and then declared first by the side with the initiative, and then by the side moving second. Reactions to charges are also declared.
Charging units are moved to within 5 cm of its target and the target conducts all defensive fire (if able). Any casualties or morale results are immediately inflicted on the charger.
Although cavalry brigades may conduct multiple charges, infantry brigades may only charge one unit per turn, UNLESS the infantry brigade is on an Infantry Assault Order (which costs 2 ADC’s and does not have to be renewed each turn, only when the objective is gained). Infantry on an Infantry Assault Order may conduct multiple charges AND use other units within 5 cm as Supports. These Supports move with the charging unit and grant a re-roll of one of the Charge die rolls. A charging unit can have up to 3 Support units (1 to each flank and 1 to the rear).
Example: A unit in a brigade with an Infantry Assault Order conducts a charge on an opposing infantry battalion. One other unit in its brigade is within 5 cm to its rear, so it is declared a support and moves with the charging battalion. In the subsequent Charge roll (2D6 rolled by each side), the die rolls are 1 and 5. The charging player does not like the 1 result and decides to use the Supporting unit to reroll this die: the new result is a 4 and gives the charging player a total of 9.
Both sides roll 2D6 and the charge is typically resolved with one side or the other giving away or halting. There is a smaller chance of Melee happening, which is resolved at the end of the turn.
Movement: At this point in the turn, the side with the initiative will conduct regular movement and/or formation changes (formation changes are conducted differently depending on the unit’s morale rating). After the side with the initiative moves, the second side will then move and/or conduct formation changes.
Firing: Standard firing is conducted typically by rolling 2D6 and consulting the fire charts for infantry and artillery. The side with the initiative fires first and any casualties/morale results are applied immediately.
The firing charts have a series of modifiers based on the situation, rating, formation, casualties, etc. Typical of most rules. In some situations, Casualty Dice (1D6) are added to the roll. Casualty Dice work similar to Black Powder in that 1-3 misses and 4-6 causes a hit.
Skirmishers (and BUA garrisons) only use Casualty Dice and the number of dice is determined by the size of the Skirmish screen.
Example: A French Skirmish screen made up of 3 bases fires with 3 Casualty Dice at an opposing battery. The rolls on 3D6 are 2, 6, and 4. Skirmishers hit on 5-6 (instead of the normal 4-6) and cause 1 hit on the battery.
Fire Arcs: Fire Arcs for infantry and artillery are 45 degrees from each base edge. If a brigade is hesitant, the fire arc is reduced to straight ahead only.
Melees: The last part of the game turn is to resolve any melees that occurred during charges earlier in the turn. Melees are conducted differently than the Charge roll. Each side will add up Casualty Dice depending on the situation or type of unit. After these dice are rolled, the number of hits on both sides are calculated and the winner is determined due to that result.
Morale: Morale effects can happen any time during the turn and can cause a unit to Rout, Retreat,or become Unformed. Unformed units must take a full move to Reform. Routing units cause the brigade to Falter (on the next command phase), and 2+ Retreating units can also cause a brigade to Falter. Also, skirmish screens are considered separate units and are not expendable…..a skirmish screen that routs or disperses will cause a brigade to Falter.
Discipline Tests: This test has to be made in the following circumstances:
- As a Firing Result or a Double 6 from Skirmish Fire
- Infantry in Line or forming square when charged by cavalry.
- Charged in the rear
- Evading a charge.
- Cavalry Opportunity Charge.
- Moving in square if enemy cavalry are within 15 cm.
Special Unit Ratings:
Line infantry can be further classified as either Grenadier or Reservist. Recruits, such as many 1813 French conscripts, can also be classified as Enthusiastic.
Grenadier: These units are classified as Veterans when taking Discipline Tests.
Reservist: Units below 4 casualties are considered Fresh. When a Reservist Line unit reaches 4+ casualties, it is then classified as Recruit for the remainder of the battle.
Enthusiastic Recruits: When taking a Discipline Test while Fresh (less than 4 total casualties), a 1D6 is rolled. A result of 1-3 means that the unit is classified as Recruit. A result of 4-6 means that the unit is classified as Veteran. These results only apply to each individual roll.