The Waving Flag: ADLG: Complex Movement Options

Sunday 10 September 2023

ADLG: Complex Movement Options

Way back in the days of Art de la Guerre (ADLG) V3 I tried tabulating the various processes involved like movement, shooting, melee etc.  I found the exercise useful but the tables were somewhat cumbersome in use.  Nonetheless the exercise always helped my understanding the rules.

With ADLG I have found understanding is not the same as learning.  So, when V4 arrived I decided to use a different approach and play with just the play sheet if at all possible.  So far I am doing better during games but afterwards I still can't resist digging into the workings of ADLG.

I find this post game, reverse engineering helps my understanding as it often exposes the complex variations and plain old quirks of the rules; something I've enjoyed doing since I played DBMM.  My reworking of the ADLG mega table is the most recent example of this.

One question that has cropped up regularly during my recent games is when can players wheel, slide or turn during movement.  It's occurred so often that I have re-worked the table I prepared for V3.  I find it useful because it's a visual representation of rules spread across five sections and that aren't on the play sheet.  You can download it from the ADLG V4 resources page.

Getting tactical?
So far I have used a lot of cavalry armies under ADLG V4.  As my playing style develops I've found it useful to know how to exit a Zone of Control (ZoC) and disengage from combat.  These, plus evading, should be part of every cavalry commander's tactical toolkit.

These are amongst the more complex movement options so I thought I'd do a bit of digging in the rule book and see if I could come up with another aide-mémoire or table.

My well established view of ADLG is that its a series of simple rule mechanisms combined with a set of case by case exceptions.  It lacks consistency at times.  It acquires complexity by the combination of subdividing the simple mechanisms and the overlay of the many exceptions.  This makes it difficult to remember everything; for me at least.

The triumvirate of evading, exiting a ZoC and disengaging neatly illustrates this view:

  • Disengaging is perhaps the simplest of the three.  If allowed to, the unit, or group of units, moves directly back still facing the original enemy.  The distance and cost in control points (CPs) varies by unit type and whether it is unmaneuverable or not.
  • Contrast this with evading which, when allowed, involves turning (sometimes) a group or unit, an option to realign after any turn (at the player's discretion), a variable move distance with wheeling and or sliding to avoid any obstacles.
  • Exiting a ZoC is by far the most complex with two discrete sub-divisions and a special case.  The special case involves mounted with a slower unit's ZoC to their rear: they can ride away.  Units that can evade make a variable evade move turning as necessary.  Units that cannot evade may have to pivot in place (note: not turn), suffer a disorder penalty (sometimes); all this unless they are faster mounted and are a special case.  I nearly forgot: the special case and evading units can do so in groups whereas the others must move as individual units.  The cost of the moves varies from 0-2 CPs and this can be per group or per unit.

As I expected, in isolation each rule is both sensible and logical but taken together there's an awful lot going on.  The three moves may or may not involve a turn or a pivot.  The distance may be variable, full, restricted or fixed depending on circumstances. The move may involve slides and wheels, be directly forward or straight back.  Sometimes units can move in groups; sometimes as individual units. CP costs vary widely.

Now nothing in the individual rules strikes me as unreasonable or unplayable.  They do strike me as complex and a touch inconsistent.  There's a lot to remember and, more importantly, to apply correctly.  Imagine trying to explain these rules to a new player.

Once I'd been through the rules I did manage to create a table highlighting the differences.  I do not consider it a suitable playing aid.  I will carry it with me but mainly to jog my (incomplete) memory and for the page references it contains.

Download the table.

Let me know if you spot any errors or ommissions.


Vexillia said...

Further thoughts.

After reviewing this post I realised that there's a general issue pertaining to all the moves that aren't covered by the evade rules.

When evading, the move ends when the unit "arrives within 1 UD of [an] obstacle or the minimum more than 1 UD if a wheel is required" (p48). It isn't that clear, but I assume the obstacle in question is one that can't be avoided.

With all the other complex moves the situation is different.

[1] Non-evaders leaving a ZoC must stop when they meet an obstacle (includes enemy units) (p37).
[2] The special rule for Mounted in a ZoC to their rear is silent on contacting enemy or obstacles during the move.
[3] Disengaging units "may not contact any enemy" (p40) but the stopping distance isn't specified.

Apart from the inconsistency, it raises further questions:

[1] When stopping after exiting a ZoC is there contact with the enemy (or obstacle)? If not how far away does it stop?
[2] Does the answer to [1] apply to mounted moving away from a ZoC to their rear?
[3] How far away from enemy units do disengaging units stop?

It's all a bit messy. Perhaps all that's required is a blanket rule along the lines of "stopping 1 UD from new enemy or friends it can't interpenetrate" is required?

Vexillia said...

The author of ADLG has commented on the ADLG forum providing a general rule for such situations:

"For all the cases that specify "just before contact", the unit must stop a few millimetres before the contact. In the evade move, the unit can react 1 UD before the obstacle because it allow the unit to pivot to avoid the obstacle."

This deals with questions 1 & 3 above. I assume this is intend to apply to both enemy units & obstacles and to mounted moving away from a ZoC to their rear.

Vexillia said...

It has been pointed out to me in private chat that there are only three cases where units are allowed to contact the enemy and for that contact to lead to combat. They are listed on p41 under the "General principles" heading of the "Contacting Enemy" section. This further supports the "stop a few millimetres away" ruling.

Vexillia said...

On reflection the "few millimetres away" should only apply to enemy units not all obstacles.

Vexillia said...

Corrected table and related pdf. This due to the ambiguity over how a mounted unit (that can evade) exits the ZoC of a slower unit to their rear. It's not 100% clear whether they evade or move straight ahead. I'm trying to get this clarified. I think the ambiguity is due to layout in the rules: the heading for the special case makes it look like it applies to all mounted when it may only apply to those that cannot evade.

Oh! The delights of ADLG.

Vexillia said...

Corrected the table and related pdf again. Hopefully for the last time. The author of ADLG has resolved the ambiguity regarding the special case:

"If the unit can evade, it does an evade move. The [mounted] units that cannot evade apply the special rule for exiting the ZoC [to their rear]."

Simple really. All tidy now.

Salute The Flag

If you'd like to support this blog why not leave a comment, or buy me a beer!

Salute The Flag