M&P Wishlist

Lord_Valentai

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The M&P engine and the REN game is one my my favourites for its design bredth but also the way the engine can be used my the modder.

There are some things though I wish would be added either to later updates or to future games which would make the game truly a joy to play.

- Routed units. I've never been really happy with the treatment of routed units in the JT Games. They seem to rout too easily and recover too easily. Since I mostly play against the AI I have routed units with 10% strength and 900 fatigue appearing out of the woodwork in areas behind your lines trying to rejoin the battle. I wish routed units under 25 or 50% strength and/or high fatigue would just keep running.
- Pursuit. Linked to the above, it's rarely worth it chasing down retreating enemies because even cavalry charging routed troops hurts you as much as the enemy by disrupting and losing you casualties. My wish is that routed troops don't disrupt an enemy if there are only routed units in a hex. Furthermore, charging cavalry overruns and removes routed troops automatically provided they are of a certain ratio (up to 2-1 maybe). Since most casualties in these battles were caused by one side breaking and running, it gives the swarms of light cavalry something to do.
If that's too difficult or too complex, simply reduce routed units to counting as a quarter strength rather than half. As it is, the high cost of cavalry rarely makes it worthwhile meleeing with routed troops because of the casualties you take in return.
- More intelligent AI pike use. Right now it still seems to treat pike block formation like Napoleonic Square. This means a pike unit against infantry will often blunder in column into an attack and be unable to fight. Furthermore, allowing a certain ratio of troops to be in the hex and not be skirmishers whilst retaining pike protection would be fantastic.
- Meleeing cavalry with infantry. Right now non missile and non pike infantry can't do anything against cavalry. Adding the ability for infantry to melee disrupted or cavalry not in open ground (at a disadvantage of course) would tilt the balance back somewhat.

Any thoughts?
 
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trauth116

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Guys with arquebus and muskets ( matchlocks if you will) -would not be meleeing with cavalry, especially cavalry with armour. They did take cover behind the pike units, although throughout the course of pike/shot tactics -the ratio of pike to shot gradually diminished, until it disappeared entirely with the introduction of the bayonet.

In thinking about it- it would be fairly rare for shot to decide to melee pike much less cavalry -although I am only thinking about heavy cavalry and shock cavalry.

Pike and AI use - that is an interesting problem, in that it is largely on the lead scenario designer to work out something that works a bit better in the game engine. You are right about it, though, and it is something that doesn't work with AI. GrayMouser posted some interesting information -maybe there is something in it -it certainly is well worth a look. The reason being - that it would be best if the games work with the AI.

Gotta run -will print you post out LV and have a closer read. :)
 

Lord_Valentai

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Thanks for the reply!

I agree that shot would not be meleeing with cavalry. I meant the other melee troops which aren't block troops like billmen, sword and bucklers, oriental footmen and dismounted knights. That's what my meaning was.

If you have any further questions or comments please let me know! :)
 

Lord_Valentai

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I conducted a series of tests today where I used a custom OOB and the editor to have heavy, light and irregular cavalry charge large routed units. The results were, using the standard point systems, not worth it at all. Even though the cavalry charging the rear of the routed troops caused 3-4 times the losses, they suffered heavily themselves meaning that the points were a net equal.

I am now convinced that REN does a fine job provided that we assume these troops are professional Napoleonic era soldiers. However, up to the 18th century the majority of losses still came in the pursuit after a broken line, so it should be definitely easier to run down fleeing enemies.
After all 'losses' doesn't just mean dead, it means wounded, captured and missing too, so it's not unreasonable for routing troops to suffer really harshly from pursuing cavalry.
 

trauth116

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Points are a relative term in the M/P engine - keep in mind that you can set the points to whatever you want in the OOB file; Ren used Rich White's (Ren's Lead Scenario Designer) valuation method.

The OOB's are very flexible as well - in that if you like, you can set what the vp's units are worth as a negative value. If your target was armoured, that would impact the results, even when routed. You can't really make the flat statement that it wasn't worth the points, because if you work with the OOB's then you had the ability to change that (it is a bit of a balancing act to be fair though).

I disagree that the majority of losses in the pre-18th Century came from pursuit of broken lines. I do agree that pursuing broken lines did take forces out of the battle proper. I suppose the obvious example would be the Saxon's at Breitenfeld (1st to be example) - the majority of losses there came from fading away (desertion if you will). If you take the war as a larger topic, by far the largest cause of loss was by disease and desertion.

You are, of course, correct about what losses represent -although a routed unit that has a tough time recovering is basically, functionally, lost as well.
 

Lord_Valentai

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I agree, and for my scenarios I value cavalry units far less overall. I guess the main point is that points or not cavalry has a really hard time running down enemies in terms of casualties if nothing else.

The element of pursuit is interesting, but battles especially in the east (Battle of Vienna 1683 for instance) had heavy casualties caused by cavalry breakthrough and pursuit.

In the end I wish either it was easier to cause casualties on routed troops or that routed troops would keep running and leave the map.
 

trauth116

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:) LV- I know where you are coming from... the routing, staying routed and/or getting off of the map - this touches on a lot of different aspects. In its broadest essence, it is the complete experience of scenario design.

On the one hand- you are also talking about OOB design -and I had a read about the leadership rules (and/or bonuses) given to leaders in game -part of keeping them routed involves morale (naturally) -well actually that would be the routing portion of things (the keeping them routed- touches on command [or lack of it] - here's a thought I had- maybe 'command' is scalable? Say leaders only represent leadership where it had an impact within a scenario -even the badly rated ones can have an impact just by virtue of stacking with a unit ... even ones that are not actually in command of anything yet (say secondary leaders -such as you can find in some of the NB titles) ... the bonuses that they can give might be way out of proportion to the actual scale.

Yes, this is really a judgement call... otoh- that is what scenario design is.

The other thing that can be done is piling on the fatigue. I have seen though that just starting units as disrupted doesn't seem adequate - even very poorly rated ones -can recover disrupt fairly quickly outside the overall disruption of combat (where units sort of sometimes become separated from other units from their larger (well... unit).

Ok -aside from all of that ... I know that this particular period can be difficult to come by reference material (at least in this part of the world ... as I happen to live in Oz as well) ... I have been hunting down reference material usually for my personal library ... and have my eye on the odd book that I might see about if I can get on an inter-library loan... I reckon what I am saying is that I admire the effort you have had to have taken in this topic.

:)
 

Lord_Valentai

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Thanks!

And likewise with your efforts to maintain this forum and the hist-sdc site which is extremely useful.

Actually, you could maybe answer a question I had about morale and leaders. A leader stacking in the same hex as a unit; does he make their leadership equal to his own? So if a ‘A’ leadership leader is in a hex with an ‘E’ unit, how is their morale affected?
Also, when a unit is fired at defensively do they test on the unit’s morale or the leader’s command (as opposed to leadership)?

Regardless, I reckon one way of doing this is to set brigade and division leaders with low leadership, which means that if you want to rally troops you’ll need to use a corps or army leader to do so, which is reasonable.

If only there were a few more settings available to tweak in the PDT, like routed and disrupted melee modifiers.

And finally, do you know how sounds.dat works? I looked at the file, but although there’s 26 numbers I can’t see any pattern as to how they’re laid out or how you edit the sound effects for some weapons. For instance I wanted to add another weapon with the javelin sound to replace K terico but I have no idea how to do this!

Thanks!
 

trauth116

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Leadership boy that is a tough one -I will have to look it up. Actually it is probably not so tough except that there are some many similarly scaled series -and I don't necessarily think all of the leadership rules are exactly alike.

I don't actually have any role on this site other than another post-er like the rest of us :).

I don't really know how the sound files work exactly ( I normally have them turned off) - I doubt it is covered in the manuals... the leadership material -that would be, I will look that up and get back with you on it. It might be a few days, though.
 

TheGrayMouser

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Thanks!

And likewise with your efforts to maintain this forum and the hist-sdc site which is extremely useful.

Actually, you could maybe answer a question I had about morale and leaders. A leader stacking in the same hex as a unit; does he make their leadership equal to his own? So if a ‘A’ leadership leader is in a hex with an ‘E’ unit, how is their morale affected?
Also, when a unit is fired at defensively do they test on the unit’s morale or the leader’s command (as opposed to leadership)?

Regardless, I reckon one way of doing this is to set brigade and division leaders with low leadership, which means that if you want to rally troops you’ll need to use a corps or army leader to do so, which is reasonable.

If only there were a few more settings available to tweak in the PDT, like routed and disrupted melee modifiers.

And finally, do you know how sounds.dat works? I looked at the file, but although there’s 26 numbers I can’t see any pattern as to how they’re laid out or how you edit the sound effects for some weapons. For instance I wanted to add another weapon with the javelin sound to replace K terico but I have no idea how to do this!

Thanks!
Hello, I'll take a stab
A Ist I assume your talking about Leadership tests ie whether or not a unit needs take a morale test OR attempts to recover from rout ( as opposed to Command which is for disorder recovery only)
for un-routing per the manual, if a unit is stacked with a leader in same org or higher, then the leaders Leadership rating is used if higher than the unit, if its the same, 1 is added to the modifier (I assume if lower then no modifier), second, If its a DAY turn and the routed unit is adjacent to an Army or Corp leader "the same modifiers are used as per leaders in same hex routine"..... (based on this it appears the effects are NOT cumulative)
Basically then the program rolls a D6 which is compared to the units now modified morale , pass or fail ( ie A+++ units have a morale of 9 and thus basically, except for nite turns will always unrout the next turn although Im not sure if other modifiers could apply, the manual isn't clear if fatuigue effects etc influence the unrout check....

B when a unrouted unit is fired upon, takes casualties etc, the program decides if the unit is forced to take a morale test, Im not sure exactly how it works but it appears the program uses an algorithm that determines the # of casualties to the overall size of the unit to see if a check is needed. If a morale check is needed then there are a host of modifiers used and a d6 is rolled pass or fail. If failed the unit routs, if passes it becomes disordered (if already disordered it routs if fails, no effect if already disordered, although a negative modifier is applied.)
Leaders appear Only to effect the modifier IF they are in the same hex, it seems any leader regardless of quality or organization simply adds a +1.....
YET, this is contradicted too because all leaders have leadership values that range from 1-6 (just like command values) and these MUST come into play somehow in morale or unrout checks, the manual is void of any info on this though... What I'll do is check into one of my NAp games manuals to see if they shed any lite on this..

Sounds eeks, never tried to modify thoughts but I looked at the file structures in the sound DAT
there is a single line with 26 entries and then a second line w 2
since 26 weapons slots are in the game I assume the ist line is for these, now when one goes to the folder for the actual WAV. files, one can see cluster of various "weapons sounds" with ending extensions 0-4, 0-5 etc so Iweapon0.wav, Iweapon1.wav etc
I believe based on this , the game is hard coded for various weapons slots ( ie A-Z) to uses a certain named wav file (ie Iweapon.wav)
The weapons slots A-z are put into clusters and and each cluster is assigned the wav name to use when the sound is needed by the game. However, each cluster has RANDOM similar sounds for each, thus various numbered ending extensions. The sound DAT file simply tells the program how many Extensions of the same sound there are for each cluster, presumably so it can "roll the random #" in the range to give make the sound...
Based on this I believe if you wanted add more variety to say musket fire you could add WAv files with that cluster base name and add to the # extension, then change the DAT file to relect the additioanll entry
I don't think one could completely add new sound though, without interfering with other weapons slots....
For example, there 10 WAv files called Iweapon with ending extension 0-9 (so 10 total in that group) There is a entry in the DAT file for a 10 is the ist line, other groups of wav files match up similarly
Hope this makes sense and maybe there is a way to sort thru it and add NEw unique sound groups
 

Lord_Valentai

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Thanks for that, that's some great info!

I don't want to add new sounds, I just want to change what a weapon sounds like so I can change its function.

So in theory an A unit would never be disrupted by fire without other penalties getting in the way. OK, cool.

So my idea now definitely is to keep brigade leadership low, C or D at max so they have a less profound effect.

The manual is quite detailed in parts but bare on detail in others.
 

trauth116

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... and in others items are spread around a bit as well.

Disclaimer is that I haven't had a chance to look up the specific rules' section -but I did some command tests for something along the lines of what you were talking about. Part of the issue is I think (and this is part of what I have to check) -that even just stacking with a leader gives a rally/recover from disrupt bonus -something like a 20% modifier or whatever (don't quote me on the exact number)...

What I would love to do is gather together all of the effects of optional rules and slap them into a webpage -also create a pdf file for the series (I have to find all of the effects first though ... :D ).. .

Anyway - I did not realise that I had deactivated pms here, I think I addressed that last night.
 

TheGrayMouser

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Thanks for that, that's some great info!

I don't want to add new sounds, I just want to change what a weapon sounds like so I can change its function.

So in theory an A unit would never be disrupted by fire without other penalties getting in the way. OK, cool.

So my idea now definitely is to keep brigade leadership low, C or D at max so they have a less profound effect.

The manual is quite detailed in parts but bare on detail in others.
++

NO, a unit forced to take a morale check that passes, becomes disordered, if it fails it routs! (if its already disordered it has a penalty to pass!)
What forces a moral CHECK has nothing to do with a units quality. There can be at most 7-8 points of negative modifiers (which include enfilade fire, med and high fatigue, if already disordered , low on ammo etc. The only positive modifier appears to be if stacked w a leader) So a A+++ unit, has a base morale value of 9 is fired on enfilade (-2 ), has high fatuige (-2) would have a 1/6 chance of failing the morale check, 9-4=5 and the D6 roll must be equal or less than the modified morale to "succeed, or pass"
If it passes it becomes disordered!
Fail, it routs

An A quality unit (base moral of 6), same circumstance would fail 4 out of 6 times!

Having a leader stacked in a hex in dangers way can help a lot!
Now I admit, the rules are vague but I would like to think a leaders RATING would help here but it seams the rating only helps to rally already broken units....

Heres the formula from the manual on when a unit must take a morale check (hope its not an issue to post this )

"When a unit suffers casualties due to combat, it may be subject to a Morale Check. This determination is based on a random number R from 0 to 1, the number of casualties taken C, and the strength of the unit S. A base strength B is calculated as
B = S / 10
If the base strength is less than 25, it is made equal to 25 (affecting units whose strength is less than 250 men). The Morale Check is then triggered when
R < L / (L + B)
For example, when a unit with 500 men takes a 25 man loss, the probability that it will take a Morale Check is 1/3, equal to 25 / (25 + 50).
In addition, units with Fatigue level 900 (Maximum Fatigue) that take a Fatigue loss also are required to take a Morale Check."

So as you can see by the manual example , even an A quality unit of 500 men that takes 25 casualties (which doesn't seem like a lot) has a 33% chance to take the dreaded moral check. The quality of the unit has nothing to do with the check ( at least not directly , a high quality unit with lots of armor etc likely wont take casualties high enough to be forced to check)
The prize for PASSING is becoming disordered instead of routing :)

Anyways, one thing I have never messed around with is leader L and C ratings as I cant imagine trying to balance these, too many ramifications for seemingly small changes!

DOH, I was just reading the formula from the manual and it appears to be wrong in the example as it leaves out an important part: R ( random # 0 or 1) < (the rest of the formula) can be true or false
Sine R (presumably) is either 0 or 1 with a 50% chance for each
If R is 0, 0 < .33 True takes check
but if R is 1 1 < .33 False , no check
hmm, statistically I think in this example you would actually have to multiply .50 x .50 x .33 (.0825)to really know the actual % chance the unit would have to test ( 8.25 % chance to take a moral check)
I'm not sure if that is right but it seems a lot more in line with what I see in game , otherwise almost every unit would rout or disorder everytime fired at!.
 

TheGrayMouser

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Ok, heres my wishlist idea for block units in game.
I tend to try and be realistic in my wish list items based on the realities of what could done with the engine without having to change EVERY single OOB, PDT etc After mullying a round with various ideas this is the concept
One: lets assume JT changes the coding of BLOCK. The current binary value of 3 is used for PIKE (and Tercio) in each OOB. This would be changed internally that a unit coded as 3 IS ALWAYS in block (ie it cant change to column ect)
Two: Block of course can melee on its own initiative and can attack gates and walls.
Explanation: pike fought and moved in columns, Ive never read that the swiss had a separate formation for cavalry attack, they simply needed to HALT and ground pike, also, think how much difficulty the AI has with changing in and out of blocks in game…
Three: PDT entries would be added for BLOCK movement values
The presumption of this proposal is units in a stack w a unit in BLOCK would benefit from the BLOCK (or pike, to be specific but only to a certain degree. 50 pikes aren’t going to protect 1500 shot in a stack .
Ist we need a baseline of your typical cavalry vs infantry stack. This is NOT easy as stacking values in Ren generally are around 1600 infantry to 800 cavalry Basically two to one. Based on this ( and thru experience playing the various scenarios, this is likely a good average, as its really hard to even get 400 cavalry in a stack ( especially the types that are good at charge) but also, theres a lot of infantry around in a lot more units. I feel its MORE likely players will face #’s of 3-1 infantry vs cavalry in most stack on stack combats. Anyways, I’’l go with 2- odds
So heres my formula
# men in Block/total men in stack * 100 *(2/3)
The result is the % of cavalry men that is reduced when they charge.
Remember, in my fantasy change, the charge is NOT nullified, the reduction to the cavalry is applied after the charge bonus ( 3x in most PDTS)
Putting it together
A sole 200 man pike block is in a hex and is charged by a 100 man cavalry unit. 2-1 odds favouring the infantry. (Interestingly, if the cavalry just meleed instead of charging , it would be the same, something that always bothered me to some degree)
However in my make believe game engine the game will not simply negate the charge it will apply the above formula so unmodified 200 block vs 300 cavalry strengths. Then apply the formula:

200/200 * 100 *(2/3) equal 67% aprox. (now apply 67% vs the 300 cavalry factor) The adjusted odds now are 200 vs aprox. 100
Basically the same as the engine does now.

Let now take a mixed unit a stack w 100 Block and 100 shot (basically a 5050 mix of pike vs shot, very common) vs 100 charging cavalry
100/200 *100 * (2/3) equals 33% reduction for the cavalry
Now it gets tricky as we must presume as in most OOB’s, the pike is set for nominal melee value, the shot likely getting only 1/3
The actual combat odds here will be (100 pike at 100, 100 shot reduced to 33% of nominal value, or 33)
Infantry 133 vs 200 cavalry
Now you might note that the cavalry does better when charging, other wise the odds would be 133 vs 100 if they simply walked up and poke the infantry with their lances…
If you think this makes the cavalry too strong then consider how the current game engine works:
(It would be 133 vs 300! As the block don’t work when other formed infantry are in the same hex)
Just to clarify too, artillery , leaders and skirmishes stacked would not be incorporated in the formula just pike and other formed infantry. Their inherent melee values would simply be added to the final #
So in the last example, if a 100 man skirmisher unit was in the hex(assuming “no bayonets”) then the modified value would be simply 166 vs 200 (133 plus the skirmishers melee strength in men)
This would take some thought though, what if a stack had the misfortune to have a cavalry unit stuck with them? My guess is I would include them in the “total men in the stack” part of the formula, as the engine already deals very harshly when a stack of infantry and cavalry are together, why change that?
I hope this makes some sense. The idea is simply that a lone block unit will have the exact same benefits as it already does, if stacked with other non block units, basically the effectiveness of the cavalry charge can be reduced to a maximum of 67% reduction. Which correlates to their 3x multiplier. Now it would be harder if a player has a modified PDT with a different cavalry charge multiplier so perhaps one of the #’s in the formula could also be in the PDT so players could adjust accordingly to get the correct effect.
On more extreme unadjusted odds, ie 400 infantry charged by 600 cavalry), cavalry would be better off charging in some situation than if they didn’t simply waltz up and melee, but the effect is not great and why shouldnt cavalry in some situations do a little better by charging mixed stacks ( which has its own risks in of itself, like failing the morale check and becoming disordered)
 

Lord_Valentai

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Something else I'd like to raise is whether it would ever be possible to make the block abilities be based on direction. As it is, a block negates a cavalry charge from all sides like it's a square.
Except, pikes were famously difficult to turn around, and a cavalry charge from the rear should get the charge bonuses because the pikes are just not able to turn quickly enough to form up.
Or if not the full bonus, then at least the ability to push the pikes around and do some serious damage.

Thoughts?
 
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TheGrayMouser

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Something else I'd like to raise is whether it would ever be possible to make the block abilities be based on direction. As it is, a block negates a cavalry charge from all sides like it's a square.
Except, pikes were famously difficult to turn around, and a cavalry charge from the rear should get the charge bonuses because the pikes are just not able to turn quickly enough to form up.
Or if not the full bonus, then at least the ability to push the pikes around and do some serious damage.

Thoughts?
In a general sense, with all the possible historical variances, I would say "it depends" :)

For the REN Engine specifically, BLOCK units already have a facing and if they are attacked in the flank, the attackers get a 40% modifier.
Now this is one of those things about these games combat model I have never really been able to figure out. There are TWO types of combat modifiers. The most common and easiest to identify, are those modifiers which directly modify the effective # of men , for both attacker and defender. An example is a heavy cavalry unit of 100 men attacks, it will attack with the strength of 125 men as heavy cavalry gets a 25% bonus. Melee bonus also directly modify the effective strength.

Now the 40 flank modifier is the OTHER type of modifier that doesn't impact the # of effective men which leads to the ?, what the heck does it modify???

The best I can guess is thru hints in the manual. It appears the game engine takes a high value and low value to create a casualty band range that the attack and defender will inflict in combat. The various manual of all these games indicate the defender will cause casualties of between 40-160 men. The attacker will cause 20-120 casualties. Somehow the game determines the actual casualties based likely on the modified strength of the attacking vs defending stacks and the casualties will fall within those range bands.
Now, I have tried real hard in the past to back into these #'s and I cannot quite figure it out, but I believe the OTHER modifiers (ie the flank modifier ) effect that range band, ie the range band FLOATS and isn't set at those #'s ( the manual call it a "High combat factor to low combat factor")

Anyways, you likely have seen the effects in these games as the defender has a large advantage in any combat. Test it out by attacking exactly equal troop types of the exact strength so neither attacker or defender has any modifiers at all. The defender will almost always win...
 

Lord_Valentai

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I was under the impression that the X/Y Advantage you see in the melee odds window adds or subtracts from the forces for that one melee.

Hence is says that A quality units have 20% added to their strength, which becomes advantage 20. It certainly seems that way.
 

TheGrayMouser

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I was under the impression that the X/Y Advantage you see in the melee odds window adds or subtracts from the forces for that one melee.

Hence is says that A quality units have 20% added to their strength, which becomes advantage 20. It certainly seems that way.
I just did some test and this what I observed

100 man cavalry, heavy(so 25% bonus), attacks infantry in column 100 men 1 melee modifier(so 10% bonus), front to front attack, both units c quality
the melee dialogue displayed this:
"Attacker 125(100 actual) vs defender 110 (100 actual)
modifier
0/0"

now same test but the cavalry is attacking the infantry in flank:
"Attacker 125(100 actual) vs defender 110 (100 actual)
modifier
40/0"

no same test as above and give the cavalry a leader
"Attacker 125(100 actual) vs defender 110 (100 actual)
modifier
60/0"

I believe things that directly impact the # of men are: cavalry charge bonus, infantry column bonus (yes infantry in column get a 25% bonus when attacking only) , melee bonus set in oob's, cavalry coded as heavy or dragoon(25%, when attacking only) PDT weapon modifier(ie "no bayonets, reduces 67%)

things that apparently effect the OTHER modifier: flank attack, leaders, terrain, others??

(I havnt tested if unit quality bonus or mal effects which area, however as the quality bonus/mal is applied to a stack as a whole, my guess is it goes into the "other modifier)

The "other" modifier isn't defined very well in the manual, nor is it 100% clear how it is applied but it is referenced twice, with some incomplete examples, in the melee resolution section, and the combat resolution sections....
 
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Just want to say that I am enjoying your exchanges regarding M&P, folks.
I tend to be interested in the Early American Wars, the Napoleonic Campaigns and the Civil War Battles series.
This thread and your prior one have raised my interest in M&P. Thank you
 
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