Friday, July 6, 2012

Idle Thoughts 4

By stands and individual figures. Each stand and some individuals have a combat value, this is the number of dice they roll in combat. Some modifiers will add or take away dice . Other modifiers might add or subtract from the total. And some things may allow re-rolls or drop the highest or lowest dice rolled. (maybe not all of those will be part of the proceedings)

Multiple units can combine their roll if they are all in full contact with the enemy. This way 2 or more weaker units could “gang up” on a single stronger unit. Or several individuals could group together.

In hand-to-hand combat each side rolls the number of dice allotted and then the totals are compared. The loser is removed from play. If there is a tie the combat continues in the combat phase of the next player’s turn. If a “unit” which includes a stand and one or more attached individual figures or multiple individual figures acting together loses the combat roll even odds to see who gets removed from play. For example, if there is a stand with 1 leader figure roll 50/50; if there are 3 figures roll 1-2/3-4/5-6. Alternatively, remove standard-bearers and musicians first, then randomly determine which, officers/leaders/heroes/stands get removed?

A musician or standard-bearer might add 1 dice to the total combat dice (but may not be able to fight on their own?). A unit that is uphill or mounted might add another dice. A leader attached to a unit might allow a re-roll of 1 die (player’s choice, presumably the lowest die).

Some examples:
A stand of goblins might get 2 dice, while a stand of dwarves might get 4 dice. A large beast like a great dragon or dinosaur might get 5 or 6 dice (or more).

Procedures apply to both small arms and artillery, unless noted otherwise.
As with combat each stand and some individual figures have a ranged combat value (maybe different from their hand-to-hand combat value?). And, as with hand-to-hand combat, this is the number of dice they start with. Both the firer and the target roll (do I need a third attribute for a unit's defense/"resistance" versus firepower? hmmm, getting away from simple?), but only the firer can inflict casualties (alternatively, they can return fire if able?). Modifiers would include removing dice and/or adding/subtracting from the total for longer range, target in cover or armored, etc. Multiple units do not combine their rolls; each fires separately. Totals are compared and if the firer’s total is higher the target is removed from play.

Some of my thinking behind this: Again I think the procedures/mechanisms are fairly simple, and basically the same for hand-to-hand combat, small arms fire and artillery fire, so no need to learn different basics for each. (as usual, keeping in mind these are untried half-formed (and half-baked?) thoughts). I also think it would make for quick resolutions and fast games. I don’t think morale rules would be needed, as units and figures would be removed from play and eventually one side or the other (or both?) would either fulfill victory conditions or become unable to through lack of troops. This doesn't mean units are fighting to the death, but just to the point that they are no longer effective.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Idle Thoughts 3

Use sticks or some other measuring device like a ruler or tape measure, with short, medium and long moves. Lengths are 3, 5 and 8 inches. Movement is in a straight line. The one exception is movement on roads follows the road. Facing can be changed before and after each move segment. Firing can be done before or after any move segment.

Movement rates clear terrain                        rough terrain
Line infantry      1 medium (5 inches)           1 short (3 inches)
Light infantry     2 short (3 and 3 inches)      2 short (3 and 3 inches)
Regular cavalry 1 long (8 inches)                 1 short (3 inches)
Light cavalry     2 medium (5 and 5 inches)  2 short (3 and 3 inches)
Foot artillery     1 medium (5 inches)            Only on roads

Units must stop when they reach a terrain feature. That ends that move segment even if the unit didn’t move the full segment. If the unit has another move segment it can then move through the terrain feature. All movement that starts in terrain features uses short segments, even if part of the move ends up being outside the feature. Foot artillery can only move through terrain features on roads.

There could be variations due to terrain type, unit type, presence of some sort of guide with a unit, etc..

Some of my thinking behind this: It's fairly simple, but still flexible. I think it simplifies terrain effects and avoids requiring calculating remaining movement rates or fractional moves as you move through different terrain, allows light troops to be more flexible and quick in rough terrain or getting around obstacles. Units like regular cavalry can be fast at the expense of maneuverability.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Idle Thoughts 2

These are untried, untested ideas, mostly"borrowed" from or "inspired" by various rules sets.

Possible turn sequence:

1. Roll for Action Points (AP)
2. Act (Fire, Move)
3. Conduct Hand to Hand Combat

Action Points: The active side rolls 2D6. The result is the number of AP that side has to work with. If the result is doubles also draw a random event (card, chart, or other mechanism). AP are spent to move or fire (or other possible actions). Hand to hand combat is separate and costs no AP. Disciplined troops, like British Colonial armies, can use up to 2 AP per unit. So a unit could move and fire, fire twice, move twice, and in any order, so they could fire and then move or move and then fire. Undisciplined troops, like natives, can only use 1 AP per unit. The player decides which units act when and how.

Each unit spends 1 AP to move or fire, where a unit is defined as 1 individual, 1 stand or group of figures or 1 stand and attached individuals, acting together, doing the same actions.

Some of my thinking behind this: It's simple, with 1 die roll per turn. It gives the player control over which units act if not all are able to. It gives disciplined troops an advantage over undisciplined ones, which, to my thinking, is important in Colonial games and some fantasy games. It gives me freedom and flexibility to add to it later without changing the basics. For example, I could add other types of actions such as demolition of a bridge, breaching a wall or barricade, and other engineer/sapper tasks. I could add some actions that take more than 1 AP to complete (in a single turn or over multiple turns). Or I could have modifiers to the die roll, for example, a very good commander might add 1 to the roll. I'm sure there are downsides to this idea as well. Of course, this is not a new or original idea either.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Idle Thoughts

Lately I seem to have little time or little energy for much gaming or painting, so my mind turns to thoughts of gaming in brief idle moments. Thinking about what kind of gaming I want to do, where my inspiration comes from, and where my interests and hobby "habits" take me.

As far as inspiration goes, mine is more of the cinematic and literary sort. I do enjoy reading about history from time to time. But what really gets me interested in games is the story. Larger than life characters, exotic locations, compelling stories, pure entertainment. Especially in the manner of old Hollywood movies from the 30's and 40's, Beau Geste, Gunga Din, Lives of a Bengal Lancer, various westerns and adventure movies. Usually there are a few named major players and the often numerous unnamed extras and minions and masses. With room for sequels and/or serials.

As far as the kind of gaming and my hobby "habits" go (my disinterest in painting large numbers of similar or identical figures, my often slow painting output, my inclination to collect and paint all sorts of miniatures for diverse eras and genres that catch my eye, to name a few), simple rules with simple mechanisms, simple turn sequences, no bookkeeping, no tabletop clutter, small footprint, and a small numbers of figures are all key.

I want to play games where I can use a small number of figures (and possibly stands) to fight something that feels more like a battle than a skirmish. I want to have larger than life main characters and also groups or units of "extras", where the units of "extras" could be as few as one figure or maybe as many as 6 or 8 (or maybe even 10 or so for a horde of natives or goblins, for example). I want to be able to include monsters, dinosaurs and other beasts, vehicles, as well as musicians (especially pipers for my Highlanders), sergeants, standard-bearers, scouts, medical persons, and even recurring villains. And I want to keep it simple! (ha ha) I want to be able to play solo without tacked on or clunky mechanisms to get around rules designed for non-solo play. That means things like hidden movement, card hand management and other "secret" information and planning should be avoided. I also want there to be enough randomness and spontaneity and tension to make an interesting engaging story for me while I play, but I also want to have some control and input. I want to play the game, not have the game play itself.

I have played various games and rules over the decades, and have had a look at numerous others, but have yet to find any rules that match all of my criteria. (rules I have tried that have come closest to fitting the bill include, but are not limited to, TSATF (I am aware of the small unit variations of these and other rules), some of the THW rules, GASLIGHT, Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame, the "Song of" rules, HOTT, Pith Helmet). There are quite a few things I like about all of those, but none of them "tick all the boxes". So that takes my mental wanderings into the realm of writing my own rules. I am by no means a Bob Cordery or Ross Mac and have no pretensions to think I can write something original or that anyone else would find useful, but maybe I can play with ideas that appeal to me. As I have written before I often play "fast and loose" with rules (or with "not so much rules as more guidelines") so who knows where this will take me.

Now, some of the thoughts I have had include the following:
1. Roll for initiative once, before the first turn. Alternatively, a scenario might give one side the initiative, for example, if one side ambushes the other. Then it's "you-go-I-go" after that. First step in a side's turn is to roll for "action points". Action points are used to perform actions, which include moving and firing, in any order. This way who is doing what when will go back and forth. (this is just an intro to the whole concept)
2. Movement and ranges for any ranged combat use sticks divided into 3 distances, short, medium and long (borrowed from the "Song of" rules). Units can only move in a straight line on any one "stick", but maneuverable units might get multiple "sticks". For example, a light infantry unit might get  2 short "sticks" vs. a line unit getting 1 long "stick".
3. Still trying to work out how combat and firing should work. I'm torn between using stands for units (fewer "pieces" to move around) vs. individual figures (more flexibility), or possibly a combination (maybe stands for units and single figures for individuals, getting back to the cinematic idea of named players and extras). Of course I could play with my magnetic bases until I get the basing sorted out. I want to be able to have small units of Brits and their allies stand up to "hordes" of natives, for example. I also want to do something similar with my fantasy armies of dwarves and orcs and goblins and elves, and others.

I will likely be posting more "idle thoughts" as I ponder some more, and will try to entitle all such posts as such for ease of skipping over for anyone who is not interested. If anyone is still here, my thanks to you! I would be interested in any thoughts you might have to share.