Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rough Practicing

Somewhere in Scotland, 1547, The English have been moving to besiege a Scottish town but their heaviest siege gun has bogged down on the way. The Scots and their Auld Allies move to make sure it never gets there. 

While Rob & I are signed up to run two 16thC games at Huzzah, I had left the details somewhat sketchy. This morning I ran through one of the scenarios I am considering. I won't say too much about the scenario itself, partly for copyright issues, partly because it has occurred to me that it is possible that some potential players might be reading these posts and while I am happy to encourage readers to do so if they can make it or to at least step by and say "hi", I don't want to give away too many thoughts on what strategy worked,  what didn't and what might have.  So I'll just say that the game took about the right amount of time for a convention, especially where players won't know the rules, that I think there was just about enough for each player to do, but maybe room for just a few more troops, and that the game was once again close and hung in the balance until  the final scheduled turn. In other words, it looks like a good candidate for me so I'll see what Rob agrees.

Note how the Scots, familiar with the  area are hanging about on dry ground while the English and various foreign mercenaries are floundering in the marsh and thumping each other?
Smarter then we look sometimes....

Its been a couple of years now since Rough Wooing has had a public outing.  Its well known that I'm dangerous when left on my own with a set of rules and a bunch of toy soldiers but at least in this case, I have Rob, the co-author, as a check of sorts. Its tricky getting the right balance between making the rules fast playing, decisive and simple enough for new players to pick up at a convention while still having enough flavour to represent the period and having enough meat to make a game satisfying. Many of the games played in between conventions are small affairs focusing on cavalry and light troops and I sometimes lose sight of the difference in the game once the table starts filling up and the number of players, especially new players, grows.

The core rules are fine, maybe they could use more nuances but I think they do what needs to be done.  The command rules for subordinate commanders can be frustrating but I usually don't make players roll if an out of command subordinate commander represents themselves, only for non-player commanders.

The main issue I had today was logistics. This is going to sound familiar but tracking hits by stand is a good idea in theory, especially since there are no fixed units, only temporary groups, but its a pain in the donkey when there are even 50 or 60 stands on the table, each of which can take 3 hits.  By turn two I was back to just tracking them by group and taking off stands when enough had been accumulated.

As the day closes, the last 4 stands of English foot see off the last of the French cavalry and their German lackeys. Every body else gave up and went home the turn before.

The empty battlefield syndrome cropped up again during the last 2 turns but having a Battle break and leave the table when it has lost over 1/2 its stands is easy to manage and several proposed alternate rules have caused their own problems so I'm ok with it. (Its amazing what offensive uses players will find for troops who aren't allowed to shoot or charge or move towards the enemy)  I'm not so ok with our apparently not having decided, or at least not having written down, when such a determination is made, right away? when activated? at the end of a turn? A minor issue but it will have to be discussed and decided.


  1. I used the same 'gun' scenario with slight tweaks for a recent English Civil War game - its a great little scenario and we enjoyed the game

    -- Allan

  2. It is a good little scenario. I had somehow lost touch with your ECW blog, I'll have to go catch up.