Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A Confused Affair

Like many a skirmish, only the vaguest stories bear witness to what took place during the long struggle to get the convoy to the town. (ie 10 turns played over 4 days with various rule changes)  Partly this was because of domestic distractions not to mention minor pain, a foggy head, and the like, but largely due to the unresolved uncertainties that I have about the style of the rules and desired "feel" for these Prince Valiant inspired games. 

With the Hun Chieftain having unexpectedly driven back Prince Micheal's riders, wounding the prince in the process, the Persians pulled out all the stops, flipping the initiative and reaching the crossroad Oasis before the Roman light troops could get clear. A confused, inconclusive melee followed before the Roman light troops could escape. 

Every time I seem to have a set of rules that I think should work, I either play a particular scenario which doesn't work with some part of the rules so that I have to improvise or I find myself  not enjoying the way a new version works, or the "feel" just isn't quite right, or I've let myself be detoured by a harebrained idea like rewriting the rules to play on a portable hex grid suitable for playing in an institute in some uncomfortable future and thus need a good slap to the side of my head to bring me back to the task in hand. 

Ellie charges through into the Roman infantry. It turned out to be scary and not much fun for either side. (Never put your trust in dice son.)

There are also a few inner conflicts I have about mechanisms like armour saving throws vs combat modifiers for armour and fixed vs adhoc units that I need to sort since the answer to these love/hate/habit questions will affect the whole system but these are questions of preference and 'feel' rather than better vs worse. In other words I have to make up my mind.

It was an odd dice day for sure and the handful of light, but apparently tough, Hun light infantry along with the last Huns, held back the Duke's cavalry until the convoy could move clear. 

At the very least, having reviewed each Prince Michael game report and the rules used, and trying several minor variations during this game, I have identified most of the issues. I also have a pretty good idea of how the rules need to be structured to handle the sort of variety of scenarios and games that I want to play: flexible, not too simple or too complex, and not involving too many tediously repetitive die rolls or being too random or too predictable.  

After one last effort, and a short, inconclusive duel with the Satrap, the Duke waved his men back as they came into range of the artillery on the town walls. Rearing their horses, the opposing commanders saluted each other as the wagons rolled through the gates.
(The red discs indicate "wounds" on characters who can survive more than 1 hit.

Unfortunately for me, no one page quick reference sheet is going to do it. I need to sit down and write something more comprehensive and that is going to take me a while.


  1. I’m not sure anyone is every fully happy with their rules, there is always room to tinker, with the danger that a single change can impact on other parts of the rules. Are you planning a series of cosmetic alterations or a root and branch change of the actual building blocks of the rules.

    1. That remains to be seen. This is the closest I've come to an unintended collection built up over nearly 20 years because I found a few at a flea market. I have a good idea now of the feel I want now after lots of experiments so it'll be mostly a matter of choosing between tried alternatives and changing from a few vague, often changing one page quick references, to a more complete, comprehensive set of rules including putting unwritten habits into writing to add some consistency.

  2. >no one page quick reference sheet is going to do it.

    I dunno 'bout anyone else, but I'm certain this is an *exact* quote repeated more than once by Zeus & the Bunch from yestermillenia....

  3. Interesting report and musings on rules. Good to see Ellie and some of the other new figures getting to the table.

  4. The game looked great, whatever your reservations about the rules. That nellie is a real show-stopper. I really enjoyed your musing reflections too. Having always been a bit of a rules tinkerer, I have come to the stage in my own version of the hobby where working on the rules-system is as much a part of it as researching the history, designing scenarios, collecting/painting figures, making terrain, imaging the whole thing and even playing the odd game (both contexts there). It's all part of the continuum for me.
    Most interesting to read the thoughts and experiences of someone who is a bit similar (except you play heaps more games).
    Regards, James