EXCERPT 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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Maintaining the Aim

There are many things to think about when preparing to run a participation game at a convention but the primary aim  MUST be to provide an enjoyable experience for the gamers who have committed their money and time to sign up and play. 

Sunday's game using the Tin Army variant of the Square Brigadier.
From my experience, there are some key elements to keep in mind for a multi-player game with strict time limits where the players will be unfamiliar with the rules. It must be possible for gamers to pick up enough from the briefing to be able to make a battle plan  and make reasonable tactical decisions and be able to play fast enough to reach a conclusion before the time is up. Beyond that players should each have enough of a force to keep them busy without being overwhelmed and should have the opportunity to make small decisions throughout the game rather than just being woken up periodically to roll some dice. Its also best if the game is somewhat interactive so they stay focused on the game during the enemy's turn rather than wandering off to see what's happening elsewhere.  I also prefer to avoid all or nothing situations or rules where one or two unlucky die rolls can put a player out of the game early on. 
Another midgame shot.  The Allies are feeling confident of another victory but the day is not yet over.
The game on Saturday was OK but I didn't feel like it would deliver what I described above. I let it stew awhile and decided to try again with changing the sequence of play to A moves, B fires, resolve melee while stripping out some of the finicky bits as well as bringing back the option to cancel a hit by "going to ground" (ie "pinned"). These are all part of the 2014 Square Brigadier variant that I called "the Tin Army".

So much for rules, I also fiddled with the OB's to provide 4 clear commands on each side, each with  a battalion or equivalent. Artillery was shared out with the hope that players will negotiate the best use for it in the absence of an on table player CinC. 

End of the game, the Germans have seized the outlying farm but their attempts to go further were blocked by the armoured car and artillery. 
The result was a game that flowed much better and was interactive all the way through. It also saw repeated German attacks being repulsed while allied losses grew until finally, some of  the gaps couldn't be filled. A final push followed by a weak 11th hour counterattack saw the game end with the Germans ahead by 3 VP's to 2.

End of game on the far flank. 

This was the first time the Germans had even come close and it was close. I liked the flow and I think the rules will be easy for people to grasp. I'm comfortable that I can take this to Huzzah so now I can focus on adding some missing figures and working on terrain before another play through in late April or early May, hopefully with live guinea pigs again.

Link to the Tin Army variant of the Square Brigadier

9 comments:

  1. Glad it went well. The game certainly looks the part too.
    Alan

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  3. Ross,
    Looks good Ross- hope you are successful at the Convention- your certainly putting in the ground work. Cheers. KEV.

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  4. It's always a pleasure to read about the thinking that took you to a decision point. This article was no exception. It would seem that the upcoming game will be pleasant, well thought out and even a bit exciting!
    Jerry

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    1. I do what I can, after that its up to the players but I've been lucky there so far with very few difficult ones.

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  5. Trees, ground, figures, vehicles, everything looks nice to me...Great pictures Ross!

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