Home Forums General Game Design What is a narrative wargame? Reply To: What is a narrative wargame?

Just Jack

My understanding of narrative games are much like what Kyote is describing (though I play my games in the way AB describes).

You set the table and lay the forces out.  Unlike ‘normal’ wargames, there are no real rules, there’s no set turn sequences, no movement rates, no reactions (per se), no firing mechanism, etc…  One side starts, and he gives his narrative, such as “I wish these three units to advance on the enemy here (pointing to spot), while these five units move on the right flank (here), via this route (sweeping).  These three units (pointing) will remain in reserve, with an eye towards enemy activity surfacing in this area on our left flank (pointing).”

Then his opponent says, “well, you’re advancing on my central position whilst moving on my left flank, so I’d like to thin my central position by three units, leaving three units in place to counter yours, then I want to move those three plus my reserve of three units left to counter your flank march, and I figure they’ll meet you here (pointing).”

Then the first player will argue, “there’s no way you’d have enough information to allow your commander the option of thinning his central position,” and the second will say, “yeah, you got me, but I still have the three units from my reserve marching to counter your flank attack, meeting you here (pointing).”  Then the first player will say, “I think it’s a bit optimistic of you to think you’re reserve will meet me there on the flank, I think it will be further into your line.”  They’ll argue/debate for a bit, then when it can’t be agreed upon, they’ll either set odds for several scenarios (okay, 10% we meet on you side, 40% we meet in the middle, and 50% we meet on my side) or a straight up opposed roll, high die wins.  Either way, the dice decide the location the two forces meet on the flank.

Then they come up with battle outcomes, i.e., “my guys will take up covered positions here and ambush your guys still on marching on the road.”  “No, my guys will see yours crest the ridge here, realize the severity of the situation, and so they’ll double time to here, thus beating yours to the covered position.”

And on and on.  So, there are no real rules, just opposing forces squaring off via the provision of verbal orders, with die rolls to sort out disagreements.  At least that is my understanding, hope it helps.