OK, cooler heads have prevailed. After handling a few figures and rereading some old posts (to avoid having to actually think the thoughts again and re-discuss the old discussions again), I have decided to again post pone the late 19thC/early 20thC glossy toy soldier adventure and to stick to last year's decision to park the historical early 19th campaigns for a bit longer and just get the Atlantica collection sorted. I have also remembered 2 of the stumbling blocks. One is that I need to sculpt some more figures and have been stalled on the sculpting side. The other is that while I have a vague of idea of how I want the games to look and feel, its hard to write vague rules! I could just stick 'em all back on bases and play Hearts of Tin but I want the games to look and feel different (largely as an excuse for multiple collections of troops).
So here I am looking at Charge and fiddling with MacDuff again and wondering if its fair to use the same name if the rules end up being very different and wondering what else to call them. OK that can wait. What I found myself writing last night when supposedly updating the intro, was a rant on consistent scales and the dampening effect it can have on games design, esp since no one I've met, other, perhaps than Von Reischwitz, has managed the time issue and he wasn't writing a solo or 2 player game but a training exercise with a team of umpires.
Weapon ranges are easy enough. There is lots of data on % hits at various ranges so one can just translate that into range bands and dice scores. Of course in real life there aren't discrete range bands with a drastic reduction in effect between 99 yards and 101 but you could always use more range bands or a sliding %. Oh and of course each turn usually represents more than one volley so really you need to calculate the effect of each of those separately, and make it interactive........
Time and interactiveness are the real difficulties. The rate at which troops move is also easily calculated but is meaningless without a time scale and time scales which give reasonable bounds on the table are usually incompatible with the total length of time required for even a small battle. All of this is of course old hat well discussed in the 60's and probably earlier.
There is always the design for effect but the trick is to get the right results/effect without losing all flavour, especially if playing a low level action rather than a large battle where the player is a Corps or Army commander, above the smell of smoke. It would be fine if skirmishes between less than 1,000 men were usually over in 20 minutes, but based on studying various War of 1812 actions amongst others, such things could easily last 3 hours or more despite the lack of troops.
In real life, hurry up and wait applies, there are pauses where not much happens, then there is a burst of activity then another burst of activity. How best does one get this on the table top and keep it interesting?
There have been lots of attempts to find the best way to convert the continuous flow of time into a game format, from IgoUgo, to simultaneous moves, continuous action, variable length bounds, impulses, card decks and on and on. I'm afraid I'm not bright enough to out think all those who have given it a go in the past but I'm still struggling towards finding something to suit me right now. At least, since this is to be primarily a solo project, I don't really have to worry about finding something that works for any one else.
I'm currently revisiting an old idea that almost worked. On a high level, it would involve fairly long movement with some sort of reaction-interference by the enemy, an interactive combat resolution, usually decisive, probably with the possibility of more than 1 phase. There needs to be a reason to not commit all troops at once and there needs to be time to regroup but turns need to move quickly when there is little or no fighting.
Good luck to me.
EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)
"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."
-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Born and raised in the suburbs of Montreal, 5 years in the Black Watch of Canada Cadets, 5 years at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean followed by 4 in the navy. 25 years with CPC in IT simultaneous with 23 years running a boarding kennel. Inherited my love of toy soldiers from my mother's father. Married with a Whippet, 10 Italian Greyhounds and 3 cats. Prematurely retired and enjoying leisure to game, maintaining our 160 yr old farmhouse and just living.