Thursday, 7 April 2011

The portable wargame: Latest draft almost finished

I have almost finished the latest draft of the nineteenth century version of THE PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

I have revised the basic wording of the rules in the hope that they are unambiguous and relatively easy to understand, but by far the biggest change I have made is to introduce the possibility that Units can be 'pinned' by fire. For example, a Unit that is advancing across open country and is hit by artillery fire is either going to be destroyed (5 or 6 on a D6) or pinned (1, 2, 3, or 4 on a D6). If it is under cover when it is hit, it is going to be destroyed (6 on a D6), pinned (4 or 5 on a D6), or unaffected.

This addition has necessitated the amendment of other rules. For example, a Unit that is pinned cannot move until it unpinned (which requires a player to opt to use one of their activations to remove the pin) but it can fire.

I hope that these changes will make the battles less bloody, last longer, and require players to exhibit an even higher level of generalship. For example, should they use precious activations to unpin Units whose advance has stalled, or use those activations to continue an attack with those Units that are still unpinned.

How well these changes work will depend upon the results of forthcoming play-tests ... which will be whenever I get a long enough time slot in my somewhat crowded timetable!

8 comments:

  1. Bob,

    Interesting ideas. I particularly like the idea of using activation points to make a 'pinned' unit resume the advance. The officer going forward to animate the men could be a potential casualty.

    You might also want to consider the phenomenon of 'flight to the front': unit comes under fire and increases its rate of advance towards the enemy to get out of the fire as quickly as possible. This was seen, for example, during the Charge of the Light Brigade when Lord Cardigan reprimanded men for riding so they might overtake him.

    I suspect 'pinned' or 'flight to front' may depend on the morale and/or training of the troops - one can also imagine raw/green troops panicking and running to the rear [included in your definition of 'destroyed'?] - and whether there is any cover available in which to shelter...

    Arthur

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  2. Arthur1815,

    The pinning idea arose from the various discussions and comments people have made about previous drafts.

    I want to see if it works before looking at developing the idea to possibly include a morale related element.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Sleep addled, I read the title first as "the potable wargame". Really must write one of those.

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  4. Good idea. I agree that troops under cover might be less likely to be destroyed (whether this is morale or physical) but I suspect units in cover that come under fire might be very reluctant to leave it and thus are even more likely to be pinned than units in the open that might continue to rush forward.

    You might also consider pinned units to have gone to ground like the British in the Boer War or Prussians in 1870 and treat them as "in cover"

    So (this is sort of coming together as I type) a unit advancing in the open takes fire, it might be hit and destroyed, it might be pinned or it might continue to press forward (a miss?)

    If it is pinned, it is at less risk of being destroyed than units which pushed forward but needs a push to keep going or tries to win the fire fight.

    I like it.

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  5. Bob

    Looking forward to trying it out.

    Interestingly I tried the current version with Brits (5 bases) and spear armed mahdists (10 bases) and it gave a quite a close game - perhaps pinning might not be an option for more irregular/fanatical armies?

    Nick

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  6. Conrad Kinch,

    If you ever make it over to COSW you will find quite a few potable wargames taking place ... especially on Saturday night!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Ross Mac,

    You have grasped the subtlety of the change very well ... although I had not thought of adding that 'pinned' Units counted as if they were in cover even if they were in the open. An interesting idea that might well be worth adding.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Nic101,

    You game sounds quite balanced in terms of the forces engaged (2:1 in favour of the less well-armed but more aggressive Native army), and the result is what I would have expected.

    As to Natives not being 'pinned' ... well perhaps a 'pinned' Native unit would not be able to make a double-length move rather than being forced to stop (i.e. the Unit is reluctant to close with the enemy, but not to move forward cautiously).

    All the best,

    Bob

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