This seems like a useful thing to try and bring into a miniatures wargame, to put a little spin on that old standby scenario - the meeting engagement. So what I am considering here is a system of cards, each with two different pieces of information on it. Each player would, in turn, place one of these cards, from a small handful they have to choose from, on the table, in one of three different sectors.eventually, each player will play two cards in each sector. Each sector would have one card, for that player's forces, that corresponds to one of the two categories of information on he cards (so, one card for forces, and one card for deployment).
The first piece of information is a partial basic order of battle. It would list a number of units that would belong to one of three sectors on the battlefield (left, center, right). Depending on the period and the number of units a player owns, this could be tailored so that a personal collection could provide the figures needed. This could easily be three or four units, or as many as a dozen, depending on period, scale, and rules used.
The second piece of information would control the deployment of forces in that sector. Are the forces arrayed in a single line? Some units off board? In column on a road? Dug in with scouts deployed? Again lots of possibilities, depending on period, scale, and rules.
An example might be this, for Blue Army's Left Flank... (Fictional situation, of course)
Forces Card: Infantry Division, 6 units of line infantry, 1 medium gun battery.
Deployment Card: Probing Line, All units in a battle line, 12" in from base edge. Up to two subunits (converged flank companies, or detached squadrons) can be deployed up to 24" in from base line.
I can see this used in several ways. The easiest, and maybe most interesting, is to deal out six cards to each player, and they need to use all six. The second way, is to deal three cards each, and as a player places a card, they draw a new one. Other possibilities exist, but in all cases, the players roll initiative, and high roller places one card, and then the players alternate until all six cards for each side are played.
I am looking forward to trying a set of these, maybe for Napoleonics first. Loads and loads of possibilities exist, including special event cards, special decks for special scenarios, and ancillary effects of cards, like logistical conditions, weather, or affects to limit or increase command.
A neat project to ponder.