Forum Replies Created
2. Universal Carrier.
Nothing else passes the 10,000 mark.
Read the original twice.
The lack of specifics left be lost for the authors intent.07/03/2022 at 17:33 in reply to: Many Rivers to Cross CoC campaign Holland 1940 (updated 19 07 22) #169692
Ah, Meneer De Gruyter. Vier kaarsen alstublieft.
Deephorse (above) has said most of what I was going to say.
Why Wargame Shows:
Let’s eliminate “Attract new blood to the hobby”; what non-hobbyist would attend a show (and leave thinking “That’s what’s missing from my life”).
Demonstration games: Too many where the only audience interaction is the back of the player’s heads. A happy few with enough staff to provide a few “talkers” to illuminate passing members of the public. I truly enjoy those who make the effort to address their audience, and pity their inevitable encounters with the rivet counters.
Participation Games: Oh brave ones who stage these. It’s a tough job running a short but meaningful game, over maybe 5 or 6 iterations in a crowded noisy hall. It really takes effort, vision and a larger than you thought staff to make these work. I’ve joined in some stinkers over the years, but the good ones leave excellent memories.
Trade Stands: Now you’re talking. An opportunity to browse and buy from the small traders who are the lifeblood of the hobby. See the goods, make a purchase and skip the delivery time and cost. Top up your collection of paints and brushes while you’re at the stall.
Charity: There’s sometimes a worthy cause attached. In a world of so many worthy causes, an association with your hobby can help you think beyond the big ones.
In response to the original poster, we tend to not have “Turn up for a full game of these rules” in the UK, because that’s what we do at our clubs.
It’s certainly a lot easier to pile in additional situations, modifiers, troop types and mechanisms for your 2nd edition.
A harder, and under some business models, less profitable, route is to iron out the wrinkes in 1st edition and optimise play.
My own experience has a happy few systems where the 2nd edition represents a major improvement.
Rather a lot where a fun game starts to creak under the weight of additional abilities, super troops, supplements or splatbooks.
The rules I enjoy tend to reflect the character of units, portraying strengths and weaknesses. This often requires more than a simple stat-line with different numbers, or the notorious “+1 for sharing the author’s nationality”. Often rules that reflect effectiveness when charging, impetuous troops, at taking advantage of cover, or movement in rough terrain.
I also enjoy it when the proportion of game time consumed by different activities matches the importance of those activities to the battle. If the battle is likely to be decided by a clash of two heavy battle lines, I don’t mind some time and detail occurring here, but I would hate it if skirmishers were moved on individual bases, used detailed measurements for shooting range and cover, and consumed more than 50% of the play time.
Waterloo is a tough ask for a manufacturer compared to ACW.
More variety in every direction: Line and light infantry, cavalry of all weights in different costumes, horse and foot artillery.
Also no equivalent Kallistra range to fill out the obscure little corners of the offering.
And that all before considering the mem-like fickleness of the Napoleonic gamer.
I wish them luck, and look forward to seeing the figures in action.
What sort of bourgeois counterrevolutionary doesn’t spend support points on a team?
A commissar will be along to instruct you on proper revolutionary thinking.
Some excellent looking titles there.
Hard to go wrong and <£5 per volume.
It’s certainly the case that fast play owes a lot more to the players than the rules.
Players who have put some effort into learning the rules, are aware of their play options, and share some determination to play to a finish in the allotted time will tend to create fast play.
Those who don’t prepare, dither over moves and argue the toss. Well the play may not be that much slower, but it will certainly seem like the hours of your life you don’t wish back.
A am making a second read through For King and Parliament at present.
I like what I see, but once again wondering whether I can justify expanding the lead pile.
I played Ancients as a secondary interest during the WRG numbered rules, and happily moved on to DBA. Then the rules-lawyer / micrometer brigade ruined DBA.
Since then I’ve revisited Ancients about every 5 years.
The last “dip” tried, and was disappointed by, Warmaster and Hail Caesar.
Next time out I have To the Strongest / Sword and Spear on my wish list.
Thanks for the replies.
Looks like 130 – 150 points then.
I am actually very keen on cards and grids; having wasted enough life on fiddle measurement and die-rolling shenanigans. Both cards and grids seem to offer a lot of “get on with the game” value.
My sticking point is more likely to be whether I can really make time to paint the figures for yet another army (or five).
I actually don’t care either way, as long as I feel I am playing with someone who isn’t trying to manipulate the rules in a cheesy or games-lawyering way. I used to know a man who had measured his arm, elbow to finger tip. Then he’d, ahem, ‘casually ‘ lean on the table to assist his next estimate. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise when he turned out to be completely unreliable in real life.
And then there’s the fellow whose tape measure is always left conveniently close to the action, who over extends it (as far as enemy lines) when measuring movement, or (I almost admire this one) whose terrain pieces are built to weapon range dimensions.
There’s a very old story about an outdoor 1:1200 scale naval battle with range estimation. One player noticed that the ground was tiled with 2 foot square slabs. He won, decisively. “Superior German optics, old chap”…
There’s something to be said for the old Igo-Ugo. Earlier this evening I cited Kings of War (Mantic Games) as a system which accomplishes speed of play by taking Igo-Ugo to its extreme. Most other games present a more interleaved turn sequence, as described in Chris’ original post.
The original post talks up Igo-Ugo in a multi-player context. Here the friction of new-skool command systems is ably replaced by the stubborn refusal to cooperate of several rugged individualist “Alied” commanders. And it works surprisingly well.
We shouldn’t rule out the new-skool systems altogether though.
Multi-player games; done right, assign each commander a dedicated section of frontage. In most games this means the commander will fight almost exclusively against one opposing player who he faces across the table.
I learned during the early days of Crossfire (Very new-skool second world war infantry rules) that the best approach to multi-layer was to let it flow. Rather than coordinate turns, between payers, let each local combat proceed at its own pace. In Crossfire, the game is usually up once one force breaks through, pouring through the breach, flanking and rear-ing the remaining enemy.
Where a player fails to “stay in his lane”, delays may be necessary. Well written scenarios will also make provision for blue on blue casualties as the support assets of neighbouring formations continue their ordered missions.
The most important things with multi-player is that everybody present feels involved, and has fun.
I’m coming very late to this, but would like to highlight two rulesets. My first pass through each one had me thinking “Yes, the author gets it, and has designed to make the game flow”. Each has compromises to provide that speed of play.
Kings of War by Mantic Games is a fantasy ruleset which is unashamedly competition based. It accomplishes its quickness by going to an extreme of Igo Ugo, with one player completing all his movement, shooting and close combat in one go while the opponent does nothing in response. The passive player’s forces don’t fight back when charged (at least not until the following turn). The active player even rolls the saves/kills.
While this sacrifices a lot of traditional wargame mechanisms, it utterly locks the slow player out of delaying his opponent’s attack. The actual attacks are fairly streamlined (Provided you have the immense numbers of dice pre-counted). Use of a chess slock or similar timer is encouraged during tournaments.
Some will be horrified by all this avant-garde. Me, less so; I don’t do tournaments, so not my hill to die on. I did admire the authors uncompromising commitment to time limits.
Tournament players will inevitably ask themselves: Is not rolling my own saves actually worse than that time I suffered 4 draws due to opponents timewasting s***housery?
To The Strongest by Bigredbat? is an ancients wargame played on a grid. Activation and combat outcomes are determined by the turn of a single card from the top of a pre-shuffled deck. The movement by squares, and combat by card eliminate two significant sources of delay: fiddly movement and measurement, and die rolling shenanigans (“What number do I need to roll?”, “I’ll just shake a little extra luck into them”, “Now where did I put my special reaction test die?”, “It’s gone on the floor, can anybody see what it rolled?”).
Combat is relatively simple, most units having two steps or reduction. The horrible ancients matrix of outcomes (an all Vs all table) has also been replaced. Some would argue that the huge number of named troop types are equally confusing, through most armies feature just a handful of these, and lights troops are pretty similar across the entire period.
Some gamers will immediately regard grids and cards as two heresies too far. Others claim they are the greatest thing to ever happen to wargaming. They are certainly a lot closer to the mainstream than Kings of War.
The rules feature in a number of tournaments, and appear to be well supported.14/10/2021 at 22:07 in reply to: Fantasy harder than History? (alt title: “Fantasy harder than you think?”) #163230
It’s worth looking at Role Playing Games and the 10 commandments for new Dungeonmasters.
Somewhere around number 4 is “Nobody cares about your worldbuilding (beyond the surface it provides to play upon)”.
I’d happily settle for a page or two of background (Who is fighting, and where do they live). I really do not wish to know about their foundation rituals, pantheon of derivative deities, or the eternal war in the nine planes which means that the owlfolk and kangaroo men can never be at peace. Those pages will be the first ones sacrificed in the coming toilet roll crisis.
But, I’ll forgive a bit of self indulgence if you have tight rules and good miniatures.14/10/2021 at 13:09 in reply to: Fantasy harder than History? (alt title: “Fantasy harder than you think?”) #163187
It doesn’t have to be harder.
But if you, or your group get drawn in to the extensive fantasy background, there is almost limitless research, and fancy painting to be done.
To put it another way:
If you and your group get suckered into the manufacturers ever-growing pile of fluff, you will be running to stand still with the latest developments in an artificial arms race.
I read an AAR once where one player seemed to do everything right and everything happening turned out in his favour. While mopping up the last few enemies he send in his vastly superior General, rolled extremely unlucky, General dead, Game lost. Ha ha, I would have gone crazy! Personally, I believe that to be rather bad game design than being the fault of the dice (or fortuna for that matter).
I believe it was rashness on the part of the player. Perhaps he, and his general, fell victim to the ‘couldn’t hit an elephant’ rule…
It sounds very much like Cyrus the Younger, getting himself killed when his mercenaries were well placed to win at Cunaxa.
I’d also say rash leadership than bad game design; what’s the design alternative – Generals can’t die?
Across a game, some die rolls are much more significant than others. Examples form a couple of popular rulesets (which may not be what the designers intended).
Black Powder by Warlord Games: [Odd rolls swinging the battle]. Pile up hits on a unit to force a reaction throw, is the saving unit rolls high it stands in place, and excess hits are discarded. At the point in the game where armies are wavering, 2 good reaction rolls will frequently swing a battle.
Hail Caesar also Warlord Games: [Multiple dice “evening out” too predictably] . Opposed units roll their buckets of dice and saves before comparing hits. The good infantry of their era (Romans, Assyrians) frequently roll 9 dice and save on 5,6. Their less militarised enemies typically roll 5 or 6 and save on 6 or have no save. At first glance this seems fair enough – small differences with the odds for the heavier armoured. In practice the odds of the 6 dice, save on 6 brigade winning a single fight are miniscule. I’ve played scores of combats with neither Romans nor Assyrians losing a single melee.
Whatever system one uses, it’s a good design principle not to mix possible modifiers to the die rolling procedure. Either: – use classic die roll modifiers – add or remove dice (e.g. in bucket of dice methods) – change the type of die (d4 -> d6 -> d8 …) Mixing these 3 base systems is a big no no and only adds confusion while playing.
I think this nails the classic methods (Though I’d avoid d4s, and use d6, d8, d10) with a standard hit on either 4 or 5 (See Congo and Pulp Alley).
D&D’s advantage / disadvantage – roll extra dice and take the best/worst score. Neat in fairly limited circumstances.
GW’s “Rinse and repeat”, reroll the successes / failures creating a diminishing “bucket”. Slow, clumsy, awful.
And then there are opposed rolls. 2 sets of modifiers, a comparison, and a lookup on an outcome table. Considered revolutionary at the time, which illustrates the awfullness of other contemporary methods.
This would be prejudicial against those who consistently roll high or low. We write rules that deliberately vary between high and low as a good result, so, for example, that combat is high and morale is low.
Does any player genuinely consistently roll low? Or do some players just remember their low rolls more?
Only the ones with biased dice.
Do you want to build on what you have?
If so: Late War Russians to fight your late war Germans. Or Late-ish Italians to resist your Americans coming ashore in Sicily and Salerno.
You could add Late war British to fight the Germans, but they may deliver a similar experience to the Americans (Bigger guns on some of the Shermans, and swap out your Bazookas for PIATs) – so may not add much.
A whole different theatre (Pacific or North Africa) will require 2 new armies, and new terrain. So more effort and investment.
Barker, in his endless quest for ‘precision’, came up with a game that was like chess but not confined to a gridded board like chess is. Having thus hamstrung himself he then proceeded to introduce all sorts of geometric wrangling.
What “geometric wrangling” do you have in mind? Please be specific. Having never had the slightest difficulty with the movement rules in any edition of DBA I’ve played, I find it hard to picture the difficulties other people have if they are not explicitly stated. All the best, John.
An example that springs to mind is the internet discussion that gained notoriety as the Khazar Mounted Drill Team. Possibly old enough to have happened on Usenet (The pre-web forum for the Internet).
Discussion raged for months concerning whether a column of troops could turn to flank and end up in line – all as part of a group move.
It included discussions of whether the aspect ratio of unit bases would help / hinder the process (Chariots and Elephants being better suited to that sort of thing than infantry (obvs).
Another geometric wrangle, borne of clashing measurement systems (I’m noting if not topical), rather than arcane language, was whether an element could “shut the door” on a flank after eliminating the enemy to its front.
Oddities of millimetre basing, but inch movement meant this worked in 25mm but not in 15mm (or vice versa – it was so long ago).
The blind playtest is indeed the gold standard.
How many here remember the club days, when we used “Bob’s Rules”, which worked really well.
Except those three weeks when Bob was on holiday, when nobody could find any of the important rules clauses.
This may help you.
I tried to create a game where the owner and opponent didn’t know a unit’s status once it started taking casualties. It isn’t easy and I doubt there’s a perfect solution.
What I did was record the “shots” against each unit, and only rolled the saves when the unit entered or left close combat.
This allows a unit that’s taken a lot of fire to close with the enemy, but you only know whether it was shot to pieces, or largely unaffected as the cold steel comes into play. Likewise you record melee successes, but only roll the saves after one side or other breaks off.
If that sounds interesting, you’re welcome to give it a try.
Two things I learned while developing this.
Where a unit has been thoroughly “mullered” a big number of shots are enough to destroy it with fire alone.
Avoid rules where units exert a significant zone of control – because it’s embarrassing to have been pined by a unit that wasn’t really there.
Chess is a boardgame with a small playing area and very limited movement and “combat” rules. The options for confusion or misinterpretation are limited. No rules on Knights crossing linear obstacles or Queens moving through bad going or built-up areas. Personally I’m looking forward to a new edition of Codex Black
Don’t get me started on the unimaginative paint jobs (Come on Chess guys, would a bit of drybrushing or a dip kill ya’?), not to mention the monotonous terrain and the inflexible army lists. The teams don’t even represent proper historic nations.
Seriously: There appear to be two leading causes of rules questions.
- An author who struggles to clearly communicate (It’s a much harder job than you’d expect, but editors, playetesters and second opinions can help).
- Players who struggle with reading comprehension (let’s cut some slack here, we didn’t all get A* in our English A-levels).
On point one: I own several sets of rules that were released to a big fanfare, and turned out to be poorly written, incomplete, rambles. Caveat Emptor, I guess. There seems to be a lot less of this in our modern digital age, where blog reviews are up almost as soon as rules are released.
On point two: We’ve all browsed fora(ums) where somebody asks “What’s the shooting range of a Churchill Crocodile, I can’t see it anywhere”, followed by 4 or 5 replies saying “Page 18 on the British Equipment list”.
Something that’s occasionally classed as “rules support” – but isn’t: Releasing regular rules updates that the punters have to buy, and selling massive picture books with the latest special rules and army lists.
I don’t expect much, but in the 21st century, I’d expect a commercial publisher to maintain an online presence where.
a) Players can raise queries and have them answered (especially concerning glaring typos or contadictions that escaped the editing process).
b) Publisher maintains a live Errata, so they don’t have to answer the same question multiple times in full.
Anything over and above that is good marketing, but not expected.
Just three observations.
- Some gamers suffer form “magical thinking” around their dice. I’d expect regular gamers to understand fundamentals like 5,6 on a d6 being one third probability.
- Most games have one or two critical rolls: Usually a save, or the break test after a unit takes a drubbing. Even if dice did “even out” (They don’t) these are the rolls that make or break the army.
- “Luck” as a proxy for all the random factors in a game, is not the opposite of “Skill” (another nebulous term). Reducing the number of die rolls does not make a more skillful game. Eliminating all randomness makes for an extremely dull deterministic game. Learning to work within the bounds of probability is one of the higher levels skills in wargaming. I’d put it that “Luck” and “Skill” inhabit orthogonal axes.
The designers of Hail Caesar didn’t really want to do lists. They make it plain they wanted a set that allowed you to put your toys on the table and play. But, having done lists, they seem to have gone out of their way to make life difficult for those of us that, GIVEN a set of rules to work to, feel uncomfortable breaking them. Their basic approach is ‘at least / up to’ and this causes a lot of juggling, even before you hit the list where they made a mistake and made it actually impossible to adhere to (Sassanid Persia) The (Goths) list I am painting for now demands no more than 25% cavalry, of which at least half must be heavy cavalry, at least 75% non-skirmish infanty of which at least half must be warband, and so on. so I start with 12 warband, 4 units of archers, a couple of skirmish units…. so I can have 6 cavalry…. oops I am a few points over, I will remove a skirmisher unit… dammit now I am over on cavalry…. and so on. It’s a pain in the calculator is what it is. what is your own preference for the most elegant way these sorts of limits can be applied? (Just for the record, I am very much of the ‘I think I know what they should have had in their army, let’s do that and check the lists are happy with that’ approach, but I recognise there are different strokes for different folks.)
Ancients is heavily list oriented, probably due to its close relationship with competition gaming.
I think that the WRG (5th?) edition lists are pretty good where the army is a simple one.
The same lists run into real trouble when you start to combine early/middle/late era armies into one list, or incorporate other exceptions like regional or rebel armies.
The model persisted through DBM, and has clearly influenced Basic Impetus and To the Strongest in the ancients Genre.
I really have no idea what the Hail Caesar guys were thinking when they assembled their lists (or indeed points system).
Depends. D10 is I would say better than D8 for the reasons stated by Mr Average, ie granularity, I think is the term. D2 is a 50-50 coin toss and D6 is stuck with increments of 17%. That’s why D% makes sense to me. Does what it says on the tin and can replicate the rolls of all other commonly used dice systems.
I guess the clarification here is “Why is granularity a desirable thing?”
Does it bring anything to the game?
Relatively new member, and late to this conversation.
I have seen “narrative” used in a different context where it is often used interchangeably with “cinematic”.
Games of this type tend to draw from a few common features, which help players follow the developing story.
The scale of the game is frequently “Large skirmish” with around half a dozen smallish units.
One or more officers, often with specific traits, are represented, and can add their traits to units they accompany.
Turn sequence tends to interleave, opposing units may alternate, or there may be an activate until failure mechanism.
Rather than formal phases for movement, shooting and melee; units have a choice of actions when activating. They tend to do their thing, and sometimes trigger responses for the enemy units they interact with.
Combat results are applied immediately, and are often more decisive than actual history would indicate.
The result is a game where the “story” follows the activated units, and events occur in a clear sequence.
Some games are designed to have this quality (Several of the Osprey Blue Books), others have different design objectives, but also embody a narrative play sequence (Arty Conliffe’s Crossfire).24/05/2021 at 15:29 in reply to: Which Second World War naval rules do you like most, and why? #156759
I’m a very occasional naval player.
Mostly GQ1 – which still gets the job done.
Downloaded find Fix and Strike 2 days ago, and am still assimilating the rules.
There’s a lot to like there with Air and Torpedoes presented in a manageable way for tabletop play.
The campaign system also looks promising for folks who want to conduct carrier battles.
The RAF considered 8 browning machineguns (1150 rounds per minute each) necessary to knock down enemy aircraft.
The bullet is the same as the PBI’s rifle, but you would need a lot of Tommies to match that volume of lead.
Light AA fire served more to hurry enemy aircraft and prevent them loitering over a target, there was little expectation of causing kills.
Only automatic weapons were provided with specialized AA sights.
Weird Fact: The Japanese service rifle (Arisaka) was issued with a crude anti-aircraft sight.
On a similar theme (but 28mm)
Count Binface (Recent London Mayoral Candidate).
He’s coming to a pulp League on my tabletop soon.
A great pulp setting, full of adventure opportunities.
New York, New York, a helluva town
The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down
The monsters come from hole in the groun’
New York, New York, it’s a helluva town!
Thanks. How do actions work? Jungle Girl seems to have infinite dodges with no penalty for each successive one?
Yes, when attacked, a character can shoot or brawl back, or dodge.
Needless to say you cannot brawl against an enemy who is shooting you from distance.
Shooting or brawling suffers a 1 die penalty for each additional use in a turn, but a winning result can damage the enemy assailant.
Dodges don’t suffer the multi-use penalty, but you cannot hurt your assailant. Useful for staying alive, but not for writing down the enemy league’s strength.
Something that seems to have accompanied the move to “Starter Boxes” is the demise of house rules.
Grognards of more than 3 decade of “proper” gaming will recall house rule discussions on Usenet and the like. No self respecting gaming group played “rules as written” and house rules were barely worth the name unless their page count rivaled the actual rules.
Modern gamers seem to have avoided that obsession with “fixing” their rules. Maybe they are better indexed and edited, or maybe the trend is to play the game and quit grumbling.
We do still see the tinkerers, but these days their energies seem better spent extending or adapting rules: There’s a War of the Roses adaptation based on original WW2 rules. Also a cowboy gunfight based on some WW2 tank rules.
The main thing is to have fun!
I’ve played a couple of non-violent games.
My entire army failed to activate, or suffered a morale failure; before the armies came to blows.
I wanted to get into Frostgrave when it first came out, but d20 put me off. Those dice roll forever, never seeming to stop until they rolled off the table.
Have you tried rolling them into a box lid, a tray or something similar.
I think that asking about rules / scale compatibility is a far more credible question.
Some rules are very flexible in a “Fill the base with figures” sort of way.
Rules that deal with individual figures are more inclined to favour figures matched in scale with the games move and shooting ranges.