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  • #44904
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    Are there any rulesets that use or build on the following:

    Let’s say we are in turn/phase/pulse X. When a unit performs an action, the action is carried out, but the unit can only act in turn/phase/pulse X+d. The number d might be action-dependent.

    I know roleplaying games have used such systems in their combat systems, but I was wondering whether something similar has been done in (miniature) wargaming.

    The closest I could find was that when you give an order to unit, it takes a number of turns for the order to arrive or take effect.

    The reason I’m asking is that I am currently experimenting with such a system in my house rules, but I don’t want to reinvent the wheel …

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #46228
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Apart from artillery plotting rules in some tactical boardgames (“Grunt”, “Tank!”, “Sniper/Patrol”, “Firefight”) I don’t know of any games that use such a mechanism. Generally, I think gamers dislike planning, and successful wargames have a game-turn length tuned to the typical decision-maing “battle-rhythm” of the appropriate level of command. On the other hand, I think the typical “line up on each side and advance” miniatures battlegame often involves almost no significant decisions at all after the first turn, since, as Clausewitz said, it is impossible to rectify errors in the initial deployment.

    An attempt at modelling tactical planning was made in Frank Chadwick’s “Assault” series (GDW), whereby players could accumulate command points if they had a TOC set up. However, the accumulated points could be spent on whatever you liked; there was no prior commitment to a future course of action, which is the essence of planning. Likewise the command chit system in VG’s “Panzer Commander” served as a useful method of letting the Germans beat the Russians despite being outnumbered by technically superior tanks and guns, but did not really model the lead-times inherent in planning.

    The only game I think I have seen require the kind of advance planning I imagine you have in mind is I think “Robo-Rally”, where if my memory fails me correctly the robots are controlled through a stack of orders chits, which are acted on in the order they are stacked.

    I have always wanted a game that shows something of the need to co-ordinate plans that runs through staff activities at brigade and battlegroup level. The choreographic element of this is highlighted in the term “panzer ballet” by which it is sometimes known. The co-ordination becomes that much harder (as Richard Simpkin pointed out) when some elements are moving on foot, some by track, and some by rotor blades. Of course this does horrific things to time scales, and will usually bring from the voodvork out a band of doom-mongering gnurrs cursing the name of George Jeffrey and insisting that no functoning variable-length bound system can ever be devised. You have an easy answer for them if you use a small fixed-length bound, and count them off by tens and hundreds if necessary.

    All the best,

    John.

    #46237
    PatG
    Participant

    Panzer Ballet – There was an old (SPI?) WWIII board wargame that tried to combine ATGM, helicopter, vehicle and foot movement. Each turn was only a few seconds long which allowed you to steer your TOW across the board but it also required tanks and foot to accumulate movement chits until they had enough to move one 50 meter hex. Good idea but very clunky and made for very, very slow games.

    Many black powder era games feature artillery reload times with heavy pieces especially firing every other turn or less often. This can lead to some interesting timing issues especially when cavalry out of sight but withing charge range is involved. There is a recent game, whose name escapes me, in which orders are given using cards with elites acting on the order cards immediately but regulars following the cards the turn after they were played.

    GDW’s Striker SF combat game required regular units to be given clear orders at the beginning of the game (e.g. advance to hill 420, dig in and hold). The player/commander would have to take specific action to change those orders, only had so many things that could be done in a turn and of course had to deal with communications difficulties. It’s a great idea but it can suffer a bit from the DBx Ancients problem where the forces are lined up and let go with minimum player intervention. It does however build upon the long, and sometimes hated, tradition of written rules. There are other ways of achieving the same goal such as the turn by turn pre-plotted movement of Wooden Ships and Iron men – and now I guess X-wing.

    #46278
    Patrice
    Participant

    It will probably not answer your question, it’s only an adaptation of some old systems, and it is devised for VERY role-playing minded miniature skirmish games …but it has become quite popular in my gaming groups when uncertain questions need a quick answer; see page 6 here:
    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/pdfs/meteo-emoticon-dice-en.pdf

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #47939
    John D Salt
    Participant

    PatG wrote:

    Panzer Ballet – There was an old (SPI?) WWIII board wargame that tried to combine ATGM, helicopter, vehicle and foot movement. Each turn was only a few seconds long which allowed you to steer your TOW across the board but it also required tanks and foot to accumulate movement chits until they had enough to move one 50 meter hex. Good idea but very clunky and made for very, very slow games.

    I think you’re thinking of one or both of Tony Merridy’s games on helicopter gunships. Operational Studies Group (OSG, a small band of SPI refugees led by Kevin Zucker that did not last long, but I gather has since been resurrected with a Napoleonic focus) published “Air Cobra”, and later West End Games (another home for SPI refugees, although one thinks of Victory Games as the main refuge for them) published “Air Cav”, which used simular mechanisms. As I recall it each element had a number of action points a turn — not unlike the system for individual combatants in SPI’s “StarSoldier” and “TimeTripper” — and, of course, helos got a shedload more actions per turn than mere tanks. Although I own both games, I have never played either, because it seems more or less inevitable that the helos will be dancing about while the ground-based AFVs crawl around like slugs wading through molasses.

    No doubt it is the difficulty of writing mechanisms to cope adequately with events at helo speed and at tank speed that makes helicopter wargames rarer than rocking-horse manure. Apart from the two games mentioned above, the only individual-vehicle resolution board wargames I can think of that include helicopters are SPI’s “Raid” (which Tony Merridy developed — a game with some supreb game mechanics, and some bloody awful scenarios) and I suppose “Grunt/”Search and Destroy” (original game by John Kramer, second edition by John Young), although that included no counters for helos, they were just the means by which American troops magically appeared on the board, or got ammo resupply or medevac.

    Given the fabulous fun factor implicit in “wokka-wokka-dakka-dakka” helicopter gunshippery and taking a poke back at them with Shilkas or Strelas or Stingers, it is on the face of it very odd that wargames have neglected rotary wing operations to such an extent. It’s worse yet in the naval sphere, where I have yet to see a sensible attempt at capturing the excitment of a vectored attack after the SWO says “Action MATCH” or the decisions facing the dip captain in a team of hunting Sea Kings. Nor, for that matter, have I seen anything much in the way of fixed-wing ground attack games, despite the potential fun one might have shooting up merchant shipping in a Torbeau, skip-bombing Japanese amphib trasports in the Lae Gulf, flying a Typhoon over the Falaise Gap or driving a Shturmovik over the Kursk salient. Why not? I suspect the question of how to deal with the timing is what defeats designers.

    All the best,

    John.

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