Friday, 20 May 2011

The portable wargame: Yet another arms-length play-test!

This morning's batch of comments about yesterday's blog entry that described littlejohn's play-test of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules brought news that he had fought a second play-test. This time he re-fought an historical scenario, the Battle of Quatre-Bras.

Having read his battle report, I was very pleased to note that the result was realistic, the battle took about an hour, and, most importantly, he had fun!

He did make a comment about the need to find a use for the Command Unit (other than being a target that tried to keep well away from the enemy!), and it made me think about one of the options that I had considered adding to the rules; namely, that if the Command Unit is in an adjacent hex to another Unit (or Units), it improves their fighting ability by increasing their Close Combat values by 1 or by adding 1 to any firing dice scores.

Something to think about, especially for battles fought during the early part of the nineteenth century and for Colonial battles of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In both cases, Commanders played a much more 'hands on' front-line role.

8 comments:

  1. I recall reading somewhere that the key to promotion or winning a medal was to wait until someone important was watching and THEN do something of note.

    Which would justify a bonus with the commander near by.


    -- Jeff

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  2. Bluebear Jeff,

    I have read something similar as well, and if you were a career-minded officer it would certainly give you a good reason to 'do well' when the boss is around to see!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. We had contemplated something of that sort as well in addition to contemplating a distance limitation (our command stands lurked well in the rear). In the end we decided to wait on the first until we had more games under our belts and thus a better feel. On the 2nd, we decided that the extra complication wan't worth it. Having a reason to bring the commanders forward to support would solve both issues.

    That Quatre Bras game was good!

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  4. Ross Mac,

    I think that going down the route of giving the Command Unit a supportive role makes a lot of sense, and despite the lamentations that will not doubt emanate from certain quarters about my continual rules tinkering, I am seriously considering adding it to the next draft of the rules.

    What I liked about the Quatre-Bras battle was that not only did it look great, but the description indicated that it ebbed and flowed like a battle of that period, and that the outcome was not a foregone conclusion. It also seemed to gently force the players to do things the right way (i.e. to keep reserves so that they could exploit a breakthrough or plug a gap).

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Bob,
    Rather than have the Command units supplement battle ability, I think they should facilitate issuing orders to nearby units. Implement a Command Range, then make ordering a unit outside that range cost an extra action point.

    Just a thought.
    Regards,
    John

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  6. John,

    I had considered doing something similar, but at the moment I think that if I do make a change, it will be to give the Command Unit as supportive role.

    That said, if and when I develop the rules for the early to mid-twentieth century, then the command radius will make more sense as it will reflect the problems inherent in communicating orders to more distant Units.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Rather than making the command stand make nearby units better, could you perhaps make them less bad? By which I mean offering nearby units a saving throw or something similar.

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  8. Conrad Kinch,

    Anything is possible, but I must admit a penchant for using bonuses rather than adding another mechanism to the existing rules.

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. You are not encouraging me to tinker with my rules, are you?

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