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---> Living Rules (detailed game mechanics) <---

Wed May 17, 2006 7:57 am

1 - List of shortkeys used in the game, manipulating the playing pieces

- Del: cancel the last move made by the army or fleet
- Mouse wheel: zoom in / zoom out
- Click on mouse wheel: alternatively zoom in and out, both at 100%
- End: alternate zoom out and zoom in at 100%
- Page up: zoom in
- Page down: zoom out
- Left-click on sprite / unit: select sprite / unit
- Ctrl-click: select a sprite that is “hidden” behind another
- Tab: move to next map filter
- Right-click: unselect current unit / sprite (and returns to messages display)
- F1 to F4: shortcut to ledger pages. A click on the globe located above the mini-map also opens the ledger as per F1 key.
- C: center map on active sprite
- E/R/T/Y to browse backward or forward your armies or your fleets. Press CTRL additionnaly to skip moving units.
- S: sentry the selected stack (will be skipped by the browsing keys E/R/T/Y)
- CTRL-S: Remove all sentries orders.
- CTRL-C, with 2 weakened units: Combine them in a single one.

On sprites:
- Drag & Drop on another region: move sprite;
- Drag & Drop on same region: cancel the whole move;
- Drag & Drop on another sprite: either an interception (if the other sprite is enemy) or a merge (if the other sprite is friendly);
- Drag & Drop on city, port: enter city, board first fleet in port;
- Drag & Drop on a thumbnail: merge with the army or fleet the thumbnail identifies.

In the unit list of the Stack Panel:
- Ctrl-click: select/unselect multiple units;
- Mouse wheel scroll: move through the list of units;
- Right-click on detail window: opens the Detail window;
- Select a unit (or any one among a multiple selection), then drop on map or thumbnail: create a new army / fleet. This is used for disembarking in a coastal region without a friendly port.

- A, O, D, P: Change the stack to the corresponding posture

Operational orders (if applicable):

- Shift + T: Enter Town upon reaching destination
- Shift + F: Build Fort
- Shift + D: Build Depot
- Shift + S: Sortie from structure
- Shift + M: Force March
- Shift + A: Set an Ambush
- Shift + R: Raze Fort
- Shift + B: Burn Structure (land units)
- Shift + B: Bombard (naval units)

Messages List:
- Simple-click: go to region where event occurred (if relevant);
- Double-click: display messages content (if message is red) and opens specific message window;
- Mouse wheel scroll: to scroll up and down the message list.

- F9: Process the turn.

2 - Strategic Rating & activations

To simulate correctly some of the issues of the period, each leader has a strategic rating, ranging from from 1 (very poor) to 6 (very good). This strategic rating is rolled each turn with a 6 sided dice. If the result is equal to or lower than the Strat Rating then the leader is active. You always know when you play your turn if the leader is active (bright envelope) or not (darkened envelope).

If the leader was potentially active the previous turn AND has not moved, he gets a -1 bonus toward his activation roll this turn.

A non-activated leader can still move (this is to ease gameplay) but at 50% speed. he can’t switch to an assault/offensive posture and can’t perform special orders (entranching, force march etc.). Basically he will only be able to slowly move troops.

An active leader has no such restrictions.

Now it has to be understood that it is the leader who is (not) activated, not the troops under his command. If you detach an activated leader with some troops from the army, they will perform without restrictions.

Some other considerations:
Leaderless troops suffers from the -50% speed penalty and full combat penalty as soon as one of the units in the army needs one command point (see below).
Naval leaders or embarked land leaders are always active. Naval fleets may have a delay in their orders, depending on the quality of the admiral.

The commanding leader of an army is not the best one available but rather its highest ranked, most senior commander. See Gage (English side, 75 Campaign) in Boston for an example of a bad leader in command!Command Penalty:
The Command Penalty is included to ensure that you can’t easily discard the bad leaders. ...the game rules are set so that it is slightly better (can depends of circumstances true, if you really want to attack eg) to have an army with a bad leader, compared to an undercommanded army with a good leader.

Each leader can command x units, that need command.

Units that need command are most of the regular regiments , artillery and supply units. Indians, rangers, partisans, embarked land units and some naval units (privateers) don't need command points.

A one star leader provides 2 CP
A two stars leader provides 4 CP
A three stars leader provides 12 CP

if your leader can’t command the entire army then the troops will suffer from a command penalty: a reduction in speed and an increasing percentage chance in combat to loose 1 Rate of Fire and have their initiative halved (you always keep 1 ROF though). Believe me, these penalties are dire: you fire second, and rarely!

Dont hesitate to comment (even on typos) or questions.

3 - Military control

Each nation can exert military control over the regions. This control is acquired from 2 sources:

a) by having military units in the region, without any enemy units, the more the better. Cavalry and irregulars are better at this job. If you are not besieged, you can leave the units inside a city, if one is present. If you are besieged, then your units won't be considered.

b) by gaining some ground when attacking an enemy in the region. The army must be in an offensive stance for this gain to happen (and only if you take fewer losses than your opponent). This seldom happen in BoA, as there is not much front warfare, but the game engine can handle this situation. The 2 armies facing each other at Boston can trigger this effect if one beats the other.

Military control of a region is a rather interesting bonus for a nation:

a) if you have 51% of better, you gain 2 detection points even without any units in the region. You can spot regular units with this value but don't expect to see indians or rangers.

b) In some special cases, if you lack sufficient control you will suffer from adverse effects.

These special cases are:

1. you can’t retreat into a region with less than 5% military control. Blazing through the enemy countryside can be lethal if you are defeated at some point of your campaign.

2. If you have 10% or less control and land from a ship you are considered to be landing on the beach against enemy fire. This is also true if you cross a river and there is a battle. Not enough control means not enough territory controlled and results in a small bridgehead on the other side of the river. In this case you will suffer from the crossing penalty.

=> Military control in BoA, with the options given by the various stances and the fact that a city is another compartment in the same province, try to capture the feeling that 2 enemy armies can exists at the same time in the same region.

4 - Loyalty

The Loyalty rule only exists in the AWI scenarios (American War of Independence). For simplicity sake, there is only only threshold value to memorize: 51%


If you have 51% or more of loyalty, the region is loyal to you. This provide you with some benefits:

a) You generate 2 detection points in the region.
b) You don't need to garrison a strategic city or objective region with a regular or cavalry regiment to get the benefit of it.
c) the region is considered hostile to your opponent, thus disabling it as a potential apparition point for scripted events.

A regular regiment is a regiment of line infantry. Just pass the mouse over a regiment to get his nature on the tooltip. Militias are not regular, but continental army rgt, British foot rgt, grenadiers and such are. Cavalry are not regular strictly speaking, but are considered ok to put martial law in a city.
In the AWI, only 3 or so cities have initially more than 50% of loyalty toward the english. This means that the english player will have to spread his infantry to garrison towns.

Benefits of a strategic city:
i. you get one victory point (VP) each turn.
ii. You will get more militia levies from the Grand Region (Deep South is a grand region for example).
Benefits of a objective region:
i. you get a VP from it each turn.

The last and important benefit is also to fulfill your scenario victory condition...

Winning hearts and mind

There is basically 2 ways to shift the population in your favor. A very slow one, martial law, and a faster one.

Martial law is based on a percentage chance, depending of the sum of the police factors of your units. Cavalry are good in policing the population, as line units. At most if the roll succeed, you will get 1% toward you per turn. Don't expect that a iron boot will win you easily the population.

The best method is to capture strategic cities. This will impress your loyalists and demoralize the other side. A strategic town on capture will send ripple of loyalty checks across the map, toward the nearest regions but also toward all other strategic cities.

5 - Combat mechanic

The Battle Engine will be called BE hereafter.

Who fights?

One of the first step calculated by the BE is: what armies are fighting initially, and which ones are not fighting. This is determined by the posture of the various armies and where they are in the region (out of a structure or inside).

The first armies to fight are the ones in Assault/Offensive posture, outside the structure. There are several priority criterias, for example non moving armies are choosen first, and then whose which are not too "busy" (already fighting).

If there is not enough opponent armies on offense, then defense, then the passive ones will be picked.

A note on defensive armies: If one of your defensive armies is picked, then all others are commited (they do not engage themselves one by one), for a given region sub-location (outside structure or inside). This can lead to a multi-round commitment though, where at first only your army on offensive fight, and then if you are overwhelmed your defensive ones join battle.

If there is no opponent outside the structure, and you have an army on assault, then the same process is used, but you will be fighting inside.

Who retreats?

Now that we know who will exchange blows, then we have sufficient information to have the BE decide if one side wants to retreat. This is done at the faction level, but each army, if the retreat is decided, will have to make a successful retreat roll to end the battle.
So there is a 2-steps process here:

a) Decide if a faction wants to retreat: This is determined by the ratio of power of the fighting armies, modified by the aggressiveness of the Commander in Chief (the highest ranking, most senior leader of a side), and if some entranchements are set.

b) if the faction wants to retreat, then each army will roll for a retreat, the dice being modified by various parameters (how big or sneaky is the army, if you have some cavalry, if the opponent has some, etc.)

On to the battle!

Ok time, to actually fight. Well not yet... Before starting an hour of battle, the BE will pick a subset of your unit to actually fight. Why a subset? Because you can’t really expect to have 70.000 men actually fighting on a beach if you land, or assaulting at the same time a fort, or even firing in a dense forest. This is where the Terrains Contingencies kick in!

Terrains Contingencies

Some examples:

9 regiments of regular can fight at the same time in clear terrain. Add to that a bonus for each point the Commander of the army has (either in offensive or in defensive, depending of the posture chosen) and another bonus based on the rank he has (so a 3 stars leader can always field a good amount of regiments in plains, even if he won't perform clever tactics!).
The 2 leaders bonus only apply on clear terrain.

The other terrains are simpler to deal with: there is only a TC amount to consider. Take wilderness for example: 3 regiments of regular will fight at a given time there (the elements will be rotated after each hour of battle, so you can wear off the enemy though), but 10+ indians tribes/rangers/partisans can be engaged (that's theoretical, you will have problem finding this number of units in your OOB, but it's to show that you can inflict very serious losses against an enemy in superior numbers, depending of the terrain).

If a unit is adequate to a terrain, few TC points will be used, so you can pile on more of them, or have some more room for costlier units (eg 3 indians tribes + 2 milicias).

Just use common sense, and it will work: dense terrains are not fit for regular units, but are the realms of lighter ones. A fort can't be assaulted by too many men at a given time, etc.

After this procedure, the BE will now actually start to make your units fight. But that will be the subject of the second part of the battle mechanic post.


Each element (a company in BoA eg) choosen to fight for a given round (= hour) of battle has a range associated with it. Some terrains and climates reduce range, to the point that at time the fight will only start at range 1 (near close contact). On the other hand clear terrain and fair weather allow maximal range, and thus favors artillery and such.

Each element has also an initiative, that can be improved with some abilities, with experience, and be degraded if the army is under commanded. High initiative will make the element fire first, if at range, but not always. There is some luck involved too.

Each element has a Rate of Fire, the number of time the element can fire in a single round. There is a penalty of 1 if the element is under commanded, and another penalty if shaken. Anyway, you always have a minimal RoF of 1 (to prevent endless fight...).

Shaken: An element is considered shaken for a given round, if he has sustained losses and fail a morale check. To pass a moral check you have to roll a 10-sided dice equal or less your TQ (troop quality). This is where some abilities shine, like Militiaman that gives +2 to the TQ of militia. When the losses start to pile up and the moral checks are required, this make a tremendous difference.

Excluded elements:
Elements are also excluded from acting in the following cases:
a) Ships without enough ammos (land units can still fire but with a penalty)
b) support element in close combat (artillery eg)
c) leaders
d) embarked troops

Firing (or assaulting):

At last!

Each time an element acts (firing or assaulting) these parameters are determined:

Command bonus:
Each point in offensive, defensive or assault from a leader gives a 5% bonus, substracting the value of the enemy leader, with a minimum of 0. eg if you have a leader with 3 in defensive and your element fire against an element commanded by a leader with 6, you don't have a penalty.
Command bonus is altered with the command penalty also.

Wind gauge bonus:
if a ship and the fleet has the wind advantage.

Battle bonus from an ability:
The battle bonus is a very versatile ability that can be given to any unit, not only to leaders, by the scenario maker. This ability can boost the fire value, assault, rate of fire, initiative, protection, TQ. Some examples: Militiaman is a battle bonus ability, as Artillerist or Cavalryman. These abilities can be tweaked to be restricted to some units, terrains, areas... Cavalryman is a bonus only given to cavalries in clear terrain for example.

Some abilities cumulates, some does not (this would be a whole thread). In BoA these abilities have been set so that even if the leader having it is not the commander in chief, they works. This mean that cavalries in Washington's army (commanded by Washington) benefits from the Cavalryman ability given by a subordinate.

Terrain bonus and penalties:
Terrain can alters the fire, assault, TQ, protection values. If your army is in defensive or passive posture, you get the defensive side of the terrain matrix. If your army is in assault or offensive, you get the offensive side. Note that some terrains still heavily favors some units, even in offensive, and heavily penalize some units, even in defensive. For example when you set an ambush, your party is in offensive, but still get huge bonus for irregulars in offensive and in forest/wilderness etc.
If you are the owner of the structure and the fight is taking place in it, you always get the defensive matrix and the attacker get the offensive matrix.

Entranchements give a bonus (2 points) of protection for each level (in BoA level is restricted to 1) and a penalty in assault (to the attacker)

Crossing/landing penalties:
If your army is crossing or landing on a beach, you get a penalty.

Failed Retreat & passive penalty:
if your army attempted (and failed) a retreat or is in passive posture, you get a penalty (they do not cumulate though, the highest is used)

Lack of ammos or food penalty:
self explainatory

Forced March penalty:
[/color][color=Black]self explainatory

Supply bonus:
If your element is firing (not assaulting) in an army with a supply unit that have some ammos left, or in a region with a depot with some ammos left, you get a +10% bonus to fire (fire x 1.1)


The base is the offensive fire, defensive fire or assault value, time 4%, and altered by the various parameters. each point of protection reduces the % chance by 4% too.

A simple example:
English regular (Fire 9) commanded by a leader with a 3 rating: 9 * 1.15 * 4 = 41.4%

If the element hits, the opposing element take a certain amount of hits (it varies depending of the firing units, can be 1 to 3).
The receiving element do'nt fire back immediatly! It will fires only when its turns has come.

Assault is handled differently. To assault, the acting element must pass a TQ check, if failed nothing happens.
What's more, the one who has the highest TQ further reduce the probability of the opponent to score some hits.
Finally, assault is a 2 sides affair: if the acting element assaults, the receiver always strike back.
=> When the range close, troops with the highest quality have very big chances to inflict extreme losses. In BoA the english regular has a tendency to have a higher TQ compared to the american militias, this is why american losses tend to be rather heavy if the english close by (if the battle is not too unbalanced...).

Finalizing the action:
if the element kill the receiver, you get VP and the element gains experience. If a leader is commanding the element, a fraction of the experience thus gained is also given to the leader. If the receiver was commanded, a fraction of the experience is substracted from the commanding officer amount.

If you benefit from the Petty War rule and have lost an irregular, you give one additional VP to your opponent.

The battle process like that, range by range, hour by hour, element by element, until one side successfully retreat, is destroyed or 8 hours have elapsed. Each hour enable some "units rotation" meaning that battered units have a tendency to be replaced by fresh ones, if you have units in reserve (meaning terrain contingency prevents you from deploying and using all your army in a given hour).
6 - Fog of War, Detection and Hide Value.[/color]

When the region is in gray it means you have 0 detection points in the region. If the region is not labelled as being in FoW, it means you have at least 1 point.

Points are generated by 3 sources:

a) you have at least 51% in military control: you get 2 points.
b) you have at least 51% in population loyalty: you get 2 points
c) you have troops: the troops with the highest Detection rating give you his points (Add indians or rangers with a regular army, it can be useful!)

these 3 sources are not cumulative, instead the highest is used.

Note that in case of c), each group (an army or a fleet) has a detection value against land units, and one against sea units.

Once the sources are computed, the engine checks if regions adjacents to a source can benefits from it, by using either the highest value between the region, or the best adjacent source detection points with a penalty of 1.

A source won't be able to give points farther than 1 region away (ie adjacents to it).

Being detected, or not:

If a group is in a region with a structure (your or enemy) and is not in passive posture, the Hide Value is 1, and nothing else is checked. This has been done to solve several problems, like a sneaky rangers in defensive outside a structure, who can go unnoticed but still able to prevent the capture of the structure... or indians besieging you, and being so stealthy that you can't even see who is the offending besieger, etc.

A group has the hide value of the unit with the lowest hide value in its rank.

If you have only leaders, +1
If you have 2 or less units (leaders not counted), +1. This is the number of units a one-star leader can command.
If you have more than 12 units (leaders not counted) -1. This is the number of units + one more than a 3-stars leader can command.
Being in a region with sneak terrain (wilderness, mountain, ...) +1
Harsh weather such has blizzard: +1

The 2 values are checked against each other. If you have a detection value equal to the hide value, you detect the enemy, but with reduced accuracy (you know that there is x leaders and y regulars for example)

Based on the excess of detection points which you possess, the accuracy of the intelligence information you will receive will increase. The game recognizes four distinct levels of intelligence quality.

7 - Supply rule

a) Supply sources and chips:

Supply is generated each turn by regions, with an amount expressed in supply chip (SC). A SC can be of 2 sorts: the full one, which hold 5 supply points and 2 ammos points, and the basic one, which hold only 5 supply points.
The countryside of a region, along with city/village (if not besieged) of level 1 generate only basic SC. Full ones are generated by city of level 2+ (if not besieged), forts, depots and harbor (if not blockaded).

The amount generated, by structure level, is indicated in the structures files located there: \BoA\GameData\Structures, the key being Supply =. Namely a depot generated 10 supply chip per level (but depots can only have one level), port and cities 1 chip/level, etc.

There is no supply lines per se in BoA. A structure generate or not SC, but thats it.

b) Getting supplies
Units, supply wagons included need to be refilled. To do so, units can draw supply chips from the region they are in, or the regions adjacent to them. These chips are then converted into supply and ammo points, to refill their stock.
So the initial continental army before Boston in 75 is refilled by the rebels regions around for example. Or an english fleet can be refilled from a friendly coast.
When ammo are needed, full chips are used first. If only general supply is needed, basic chip is used first.
SC don't stockpile from one turn to another, but as supply wagon can hold much supply, resupplying them is making stockpile.
Note: Supply wagon are a moving stock of supply, not a source. Only friendly regions are a source.

c) Using supplies

Each unit use supplies each turn and once in battle, with the important exception of ships which use ammos once for each round. Each unit has a maximum stock, both in food/water (general supply) and ammos. To get details on that:

i. regiment panel: you can check the supply/ammo gauge of the army.
ii. tooltip over a unit: you get infos on supply stock
iii. clicking on a element (bottom right panel) of a regiment: this open the detail window where you get ... details (!) about supply usage and current stock.

d) The 3 additional roles of Supply Units
Supply units can be seen as unimportant in many situations. This is because, in areas where you controls cities or harbors, those structures are sufficient to replenish all units without using up the supply unit.

This is not the case in some severe conditions (advancing into hostile regions without any control of nearby cities, in winter, mountain, etc.)

But supplies are useful for other things besides providing food & ammo. There are 3 important additional roles for these slow wagons:

1. A supply unit with at least some ammo points remaining gives a +10% offensive/defensive fire bonus to all units in battle.

2. A supply unit with at least some general supply points will prevent your troops from surrendering in case of a siege.

3. A supply unit can absorb the hit points taken from bad weather by negating 1 hit point of damage with an extra 5 supplies points' usage (no limit on that, it can dry up your wagon!). Note that the message lists the theorical damage, without taking into account this special "supply shielding rule". You will see the difference in your army though.

[color=Black] comments on typos and rewording appreciated :) [/color]

Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

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Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:06 am

Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:20 am

Juste quelques petites erreurs de typographie :

additionnaly -> additionally
from from -> from
entranching -> entrenching
dont -> don't
indians -> Indians
american -> American
english -> English (adj de nationalité avec une majuscule)
only only -> only
fulfill -> fulfil
criterias -> criteria (1 criterium / 2 criteria)
choosen -> chosen
offense -> offence (celle là je la fais aussi tout le temps)
defense -> defence (idem ci dessus)
commited -> committed
entranchements -> entrenchments
milicias -> militias
self explainatory -> self explanatory
immediatly -> immediately
gray -> grey / greyed
adjacents -> adjacent
infos -> info

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Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:29 pm
Location: Brescia (Italy)

Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:05 pm

efforts impressionnants, un grand merci !!!

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