Home Forums General Game Design Some thoughts on the turn sequence Reply To: Some thoughts on the turn sequence

Otto Schmidt

We’ve had several go-rounds on the top of Simultaneous Movement on my Society of Daisy List.  Most of the time we end up agreeing that anything but Igougo is not worth the candle. We started this again a few days ago. pretty much what we came up with was the same, but more useful perhaps was that while we could never get simultaneous movement to work what we came up was a “confused” movement might be as good. What I mean by “confused movement” was  that the enemy might or might not be able to react to it.

One of the elements in this is that “Oh God! Anything but a Six!!!” has several elements that mitigate the situation to make simultaneous movment, perhaps, irrelevant. First of all it’s for the musket period and the range of all but artillery is 1 measure, which is the frontage of an infantry stand or regiment. This is 8″ This is either for the melee value or the fire value of units. While this may seem long for melee the turns are theoretically an hour long, and can represent several charges over short distance, back and forth with periods of firing, melee, sparring, rock throwing,  name calling.  all within that time. So yes melee range is fire range , and that tosses out the need for a lot of “fiddely” movement in other games. Granted here are some hot-shot regiments that have a range of two measures, but like artillery which goes up to 4 and 6 that’s a somewhat different kettle of fish. Further, because of the time period (18th Century) there’s no need for such things as overwatch etc.

Overwatch is also not needed because of the movement system.

The system uses initiative in which one side has it and the other doesn’t. The side WITHOUT  initiative moves second and can move up to one measure for infantry and guns and two measures for cavalry. The side WITH initiative can move as far as his “leedle ole heart desires” even from one corner of the board to the extreme opposite corner so long as he doesn’t enter a rough or very rough terrain area, or he comes within 1 measure of an enemy unit, in which case he must stop. So there’s no need for overwatch- he’ll be here soon enough! Firing comes after movement within that one measure area.  We did a lot of work and investigation and found out that “pass through” fire, that is where a unit enters the range of another but does not close with that unit simply did not expose itself long enough for an effective reaction or weight of fire and could ignore it. If it was close enough it would fall under the “within 1 measure” rule and would have to stop and get shot at normally.  Further once the initiative side has his fun with zipping all over the fields his flanks were still open to the enemy when he got close and the defender could make his charge or counter-charge or reaction to the enemy. if he made his movement roll.

My interest in simultaneous move was only as a time saver. That is the side who was not moving would not have to sit there while his opponent piddled away the time finneckying with his troops. I solved this by the simple expedient of spending some cash on some egg-timers. A player could take all the time in the world with DECIDING what he wanted to do with his troops without limit, but once he started his movement he had one flip of the three timers to actually physically move it. Units he did not get to were not allowed to move, and any units still in their hands after the third timer ran out were taken off the field.

It encourages decision and attention!

Note that combat is entirely simultaneous and you can attack anybody within your 1 measure.

In addition there is not only movement, but “maneuver.” In “movement” in order to move a  specific unit you must make the units’ movement value or less on the roll of a die. To this movement value you can add the value of any officer within 1 measure of the unit, thus if a line infantry unit has a movement value of 2, which means you have to roll a 1 or a 2 to move it, if you had a “4” rated officer within one measure you could add that officers value to the unit raising its value to a 6. However you must always have a possibility of a fail, so you can only really raise it to a 5. if you roll 1 to 5 the unit can move, if a 6, you fail. The officer is then tipped over to show he is used and can’t have his value apply to anything else. in Maneuver you are allowed to make a “command group” of however many officers you want so long as they are within 1 measure of each other, and the total is rolled against. If you make the roll you can move any unit within 1 measure of that group and do not have to roll for each unit. Thus if for example, Generals Potzunpans (2), The Prince of Saxe-Hillbilliehausen (1), General Knyppentuck  (1), and general Alt Macdonald (2) are within I measure of each other they can combine for a total of 6,  and roll one die, and if it is a 1 to 5 can move ANY unit within 1 measure as they want. (Remember though 6 there must always be a chance of failure.  The player added Knyppentuck  because he wanted him to move with the units.

Note that with or without initiative the maneuver works for both sides and if the above group had initiative it could have moved as far they wished, even off the board, if the group did not have initiative infantry could move only one measure while cavalry could move two.

This system works very well because


  1. There is no need for the folderol of movement chits or written orders, which invariably leads to cheating (look close with movement chits, you’ll find them squerreled under any bit of loose lichen or a stand ready to be flipped out to evade what the commander actually did, or the inevitable debate on what “Advance as Deemed fit”
  2. Units do not go into a complicated “do-se-do” of movement attempting to fake out the enemy and conform to the enemy action.
  3. Each side gets to do what they want, and be done with it. The person with initiative has the advantage of determining the point of action and making a bold stroke which makes the decisive attack and the enemy gets to counter it as best he can, usually with decisive effect.
  4. Everyone is busier than a one-armed paper hanger, even when not moving, and no one’s sitting around while the umpire goes through a long complicated “activation” sequence. Everybody moves at once and everybody’s eyes are scanning the table top to see ways of countering the move, or what has to be done next turn,  and if they’re not looking at that, they’re looking at the egg-timers hoping the sands flow faster or get stuck!
  5. In short excitement is the rule of the day.
  6. Then there’s the combat.

The combat is simultaneous but quite unique so it does not drag through opposed rolls or looking up modifiers for each situation. I have not described this because it is not pertinent to the idea of simultaneous move.

You don’t need complicated activation sequences of complex orders or chits.