In the original rules a unit routing or retreating through another unit causes a hit on that unit. This seems perfectly reasonable to me. However, in the amendments it also causes a hit on nearby units. This caused rather more havoc in my last game (for both sides) than I would have imagined. In future my regular opponent and I are unlikely to use this amendment, but I would be interested to know the reasoning behind it.
I extended the effect of retreating/routing units because my continued reading about SYW battles (and horse and musket battles in general) led me to believe that in a situation where a firing line was under pressure, one unit breaking could easily take other units with it, and be the catalyst for a more extensive collapse. Units break in combat when their officers and NCOs lose control of them - seeing a neighbouring unit running off would give soldiers the perfect excuse to do the same, especially if they were already suffering significant casualties.
You are quite right to say that this additional ruling can cause havoc in a game of HoW - when playtesting the new rule it was quickly obvious that the effect of this seemingly modest change could cause the collapse of several units in a single move. However, my personal feeling is that the ruling represents what might actually happen in a battle. I have come to enjoy the new rule as it can create dramatic moments, and also tends to speed games up by creating holes in defending and attacking lines.
Of course, you may disagree, and are quite entitled to ignore the rule. My advice would be give it a fair trial, and you might find you enjoy it.
I remember that the even the original rule had a lot of impact on the game. I think that if you want to use the amendment or not is a question of the size of the game. If you have 6 or 8 units only per side it's maybe to frustrating to see half of your army running away. Secondly you know that I added a Special rule for my cavalry. That means that I would have a lot more occassions for my other Units to get hits from retreating units. I use amendments very carefull. HoW is a set of rules easy to learn. Perhaps too many amendments would change this good aspect of the rules too much or too much for my friend at least. Perhaps it would be different if I would have the chance to play twice a month...
Es marschierten drei Regimenter wohl über den Rhein...
We've played several games and have had some melee's where both units get to 4 or 5 hits each in the same round. How do you suggest handling retreats? Is there a priority to this? We have both units simply retreat away from each other but that may not be what you intended. We've scanned the rules and cannot find anything that covers this situation though it is possible that we missed it. How do others handle this situation?
What you are doing is correct. I appreciate this may seem a little odd to some wargamers - my rationalisation is given in the 'Author's Notes' section - see the paragraphs below the 3rd photo down.
Hope that makes sense. Of course, if you disagree with the method you just need to establish some sort of initiative situation in melee - i.e. who goes first, rather than the simultaneous fighting I have assumed. Personally, I didn't do this for simplicity, and because going first would give too great an advantage to the side with the initiative.