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  • in reply to: Stalingrad Flour Mill #174123
    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    That is an exceptional job.  I’ve made some Stalingrad terrain and I appreciate just how much work but also care and attention you’ve invested in that.  Really first rate work.

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

    in reply to: O Group #150090
    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    Smashing question Guy. Dave and I had our last editorial meeting today. Henry and I have the final meeting tomorrow and then it will be with the printer this time tomorrow. After that we get a printer’s proof in a few days. Once we have read that and given them the go-ahead we will know dates and be able to start offering advanced order bundles for sale.

    I never guess about these things, but how does Monday the 1st of March sound?

    Cheers

    Richard

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

    in reply to: Help me choose a book title #139856
    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    ‘A Faculty to Dare’ is a fabulous title.

    Rich

     

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    Afternoon Brendan, drop me an email with you address and I will replace them.

    Rich

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

    in reply to: What is a narrative wargame? #120234
    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    My guess is that anyone using the term narrative wargame can, in fact, be referring to whatever their own definition of that actually is.  However, as a game designer who does use that term, I would say that FOR ME (and possibly nobody else on the planet) a narrative game is one designed in such a manner to lead the players through a story over which they do not have complete control and, rather like life, are important players with the ability to influence the outcome but not totally decide what it will be.  This is not a description which I would apply to all of the games I have designed, indeed it seems to me that the approach suits some conflicts and periods of war better than others.  Once again, which periods I feel it suits is a matter of my own preference.

    So, for some examples, Sharp Practice is designed to be a narrative game.  The card driven activation system is designed to ensure that the order of unit activations is varied but not random so that the players have no influence at all over what is happening.  As an example of play, one red unit and one blue unit may be advancing towards a bridge.  In a more traditional I-go-You-go model with fixed movement rates, both sides could predict who would get to the bridge first with absolute certainty.  Red is 18″ away, Blue is 21″ away, therefore Red will be there in 3 turns, Blue will arrive too late.  With the card driven system nobody is certain which units will activate and in which order.  The card system in question does allow payers to intervene in the running order, but how they do that will depend on their priorities, so at all times the outcome of a situation is in doubt.  That is also enhanced (or at least made more pronounced) when rates of movement are variable.

    Add to that the fact that Sharp Practice focusses very much on the ability of leaders to influence a battle.  There are then the key decisions to be made during play which influence the narrative.  Whether to rally troops or get them to move or fire.  Whether to fire controlled and measured volleys, or to blaze away.  All of these decisions to be made by the player are designed to mimic the decisions required by leaders on the battlefield.  That creates more of a narrative than, for example, a commander having x number of “pips” which simply allows him/her to activate that number of units.

    We combine that with a game system which generates small randomised effects which can influence but not dominate the game so as to increase the narrative feel.  So, a unit firing may, if a random event is generated, see a pall of smoke fall across the front of the unit making firing less accurate; the unit may fire a volley and the, inspired by their own results, surge forward to close the range; a stray bullet may wound an enemy leader; a building may be set on fire; a leader may see his news acquired hat blown from his head and decide to retrieve it.  All of these events are small enough to add colour and story to the game, but not to imbalance it.  Of course, the number of these generates is small, maybe one, two or three per game, but that is sufficient to add to the narrative.

    All of these factors, and probably some more that I am forgetting, act like salt in cooking where a small amount seasons the story so that the gamers feel that they are immersed in a story over which they must wrestle with the vagaries of the battlefield to exert their influence.  That influence will be significant so that they can influence the outcome of the overall story, but will undoubtedly be less than a game with fixed and predictable movement rates, no command system other than possibly command pips and a predictable and formal I-go-You-go game sequence where.

    Other games where we have used a similar (but different) approach would be Dux Britanniarum where the hand management system means that the cards represent the warlord preparing his men for the fight before shield-walls meet.  That preparation is  a much about the psychology of battle as anything else and the game results in both sides attempting to get their men tee’d up for action as best as possible before the battle begins.   Calling on the Gods, combat of champions, even passing round the mead can influence the way the troops subsequently fight.

    Personally I like to have a degree of unpredictability in all games, so I favour variable movement rates as they reflect both how fast your own troops respond to your commands, how the terrain effects the movement (as in not all terrain is as flat and solid as your wargames table) but also how fast the enemy respond to your actions.  So, for example, when my infantry unit rolls 11″ for its movement this determines all of the affecting factors which determine how far they move before the enemy reacts.  As such, each move is its own tactical bound, in game terms, from the point where I make a decision to do X to the point where the enemy can respond to that action.  That does take some influence from the concept of the variable length bound of the early 1980s, but is no worse for that. The idea had much merit but was often rather strangely applied.

    That’s my take on what is, of course a very fluid phrase that can be all things to all men.  However, as  do use it a fair bit I thought it may be of some interest.

    Cheers

    Richard

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

    in reply to: Chain of Command First Play AAR #115650
    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    Abwehrschlacht, we play lots of games with multiple platoons using the free ro download Big Chain of Command notes.  You’ll find them here:

    https://toofatlardies.co.uk/blog/?p=3013

    Steve.  Good to know you enjoy SP.

    Rich

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

    in reply to: Chain of Command First Play AAR #115543
    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    Abwehrschlacht, great to hear you enjoyed your first game.  We are still having far too much fun with CoC six years on; we’ve just played a rather thrilling game recording for Lard TV today.

    With regards MG42s dominating, they are powerful bits of kit.  However, don’t forget smoke and suppressing fire that can negate their powers and allow you to out-manoeuvre them.

     

    Rich

     

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

    in reply to: Suppression effects in infantry games #3505
    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    Personally I think that the effects of suppression should be randomised to a degree.  As a player we should never be able to know precisely how our troops will react.  In our games we use the system of Shock to reflect this issue, and indeed unit morale generally.  There can be times when units will take no casualties but be significantly suppressed, whereas at other time they can die to a man while still fighting effectively.  These are, however, extreme results on the bell curve; the majority of the time you’ll see a general attrition in terms of both numbers and how suppressed the unit is.

    Rich

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

    in reply to: Upgrading my WW2 US forces #3383
    Lardy Rich
    Participant

    Nice work Will.

    I’m just in the process of getting my 29th Infantry Division force together for a post-D-Day campaign.   If only PSC did 28mm tanks!

    Rich

     

    Playing the period, not the rules, since 2002

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)