Thursday, 19 May 2011

The portable wargame: An arms-length play-test

Good old Ross Mac! Yesterday I sent him a copy of the latest draft of the PORTABLE WARGAME rules as amended for use with hexes ... and within a matter of hours he and his friend Ron had set up a battle where they play-tested the rules!

To read Ross Mac's battle report, visit his blog 'Battle Game of the Month'.

10 comments:

  1. I believe you got that backwards Bob, the hex test was planned days ago, it was your hex draft that arrived hours before the start of the game. Thank you!

    This was the 1st time I had a chance to play the rules against an opponent and we were both very happy with how it went.

    There were of course some minor questions and a quibble or 2 for use with the 18thC as noted in my report.

    The 1st question surprised me, Ron assumed that the command stand was counted like any other stand when determining dice activation dice as well as getting its bonus dice for being a command stand. I had assumed the opposite. Turning to your example, both interpretations gave the same number of dice so was no help! Luckily it was a minor point.

    This is the first game I played using the pin rules. I had looked at the pin results but hadn't really looked closely at the score to cause a pin until it was time to fire. I was surprised that only a 1 would miss. I'm not sure if that is too severe or not.

    I'm also not sure about the automatic pin by artillery at 2 hexes which makes it impossible to attack guns with infantry unless you have at least 2 units (though you can, and Ron did shoot the gunners if you have firearms.) That might be ok, but I'm not sure about it. More play testing seems to be called for!

    Ron had tried out the rules briefly with Afghans and British and noted that the poor Brits didn't seem to have much chance now that they can't move and fire. With their double move, the natives can charge into contact from outside rifle range and if rifle armed are just as good in melee while the spear armed ones are almost as good. (a quick look at the odds suggest that in the latter case the Brits should win nearly 1/3 of the time but win or lose have a 2/3rd chance of being destroyed. Natives with rifles have the same to hit score and equal melee, but can move twice making them all around superior troops. Food for thought, I am going to have to break out my Zulus and give them a try. If the Brits take shelter in a zariba, they should be ok and if I use twice as many Zulus per unit, it might not look as bad.

    I admit that I find the melee values high anyway and lean towards those in Morschauser's original musket game. ( 3 for infantry instead of 5, though 4 would seem reasonable for troops with breechloaders and magazine rifles )

    Anyway, thanks for rushing that draft to us, it was a most enjoyable game and I'm looking forward to more.

    -Ross Mac

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  2. I always try to read Ross' blog . . . it is usually "good stuff".


    -- Jeff

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  3. Hey Bob, I just posted an AAR of a Nap playtest of your Portable Wargame Hex rules my son and I did here yesterday! Thanks for the fun and interesting rules!

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  4. Cheer up, Bob, I found this while browsing around online - someone else trying out your rules!
    http://littlejohnslead.blogspot.com/2011/05/having-go-with-hexes.html

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  5. Ross Mac,

    Thanks for the very detailed and helpful feedback.

    Ron's interpretation regarding the Command Unit counting as a Unit when totalling up the number of Units in the army in order to calculate the number of activation dice (as well as adding a bonus activation dice on its own account) is the one that I had intended. I will try to make that clearer in the next draft of the rules.

    You are right about the Natives being able to get into contact with European troops before the latter can fire at them if the latter allow themselves to get caught out and not to destroy the Native at long range. As long as the Native commander uses the two activations = double move rule, it is possible (unless I extend the range of rifles ... which is a possibility).

    I introduced the 'pinning' rules to stop Units getting wiped out too quickly. I could remove it, but I will leave it as it is until there has been some more play-testing.

    You are probably right about the melee values being too high, and I will look at them again after some more play-testing has taken place.

    As soon as I make any further changes, I will let you know.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Bluebear Jeff,

    Ross Mac's blog is a daily stop on my trawl through the blogosphere. It is one of the best there is.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Littlejohn,

    I am glad that you enjoyed using the rules. I will try to pay a visit to your blog later this evening so that I can read your battle report.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Mike,

    Many thanks for the link. As soon as I have finished answering my emails and blog comments, I am off to read littlejohn’s battle report.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Bob I think the pin is about right for the late 19thC. I'm just wondering if a 1,2 = miss would be better for the 18th/early 19thC.

    Hopefully in 6 weeks time you'll have more time for playtesting.

    -Ross

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  10. Ross Mac,

    As firepower was not as effective in terms of accuracy and range during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as it was in the latter part of the nineteenth century, I think your suggestion makes a lot of sense.

    All the best,

    Bob

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