I had hoped to play a test game today or at least make a decision on some things that I have been pondering but its been one of those sorts of days and tomorrow I am off to try C&C Ancients with 25mm figures.
So I'll just briefly mention a few of the uncertainties hanging over my table.
To grid or not grid. Part of me is attached to the idea of the glossies being used in a traditional ungridded environment but I'm still intrigued by the abstraction of the squares, the "game" feel and the impact that has on rules and a lingering fascination with terrain modules not indulged in since the early 80's. This is a pure matter of choice of flavour between equal but different options.
Retreats. The subject of when and why troops retreat has been of interest to me for a while (see question post and followup Post from Jan 2011). The crux for this venture is the question of when it should be the player's choice that troops retreat, when and how should the game decide it and when should it be shown by the destruction of units? I'm pretty much decided that I want the game to decide that one side has lost a close combat/melee and force a retreat and that I want units incapable of fighting to be removed rather than tracking them across the table but that leaves the question of Battlecry style retreats from flags and various versions of Giving Ground rule in Square Brigadier.
Scale and Size. One of the attractions of the grid is that I find it easier to abstract scale. My problem is that the more natural the game looks, the greater I want to make the ranges pushing artillery and reserves off table and also the larger I want the units to be. The question returns, is it better to have fewer large units or more small units and what is the optimum number. I have been happy enough with Grant's teasers over the years to stick with 6 to 16, say a dozen on average.
Orders. Closely allied to scale and style of game is whether all shooting should be played out or whether it should be assumed that troops with an enemy in view are firing without dramatic effect and ordered fire is somehow more significant, a concentration or increased voulume perhaps. This is tied to the delicate balance of being able to move/act with enough units without moving too many all the time, primarily from a gaming POV. The question about why real armies don't often have everyone moving at the same time is different but related. Bringing back the distance penalty and either group moves or dice for subordinates are both possibilities.
Originality. I really wish this was not on the table at all but when I found myself contemplating something that looked a lot like Memoir combat with DBA activation I felt somehow lazy and diminished yet an original bad idea is not superior to a good existing one and its getting dashed hard to find something that someone, somewhere hasn't already tried.
More on Thursday.
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
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
We now return you to regular programming
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, 4 cats and a bird. Prematurely retired and looking forward to leisure to game, garden and sculpt in our 150 yr old farmhouse.