Monday, 26 November 2012

Alternative Close Combat Mechanisms for the Portable Wargame … fourth (and hopefully final) attempt!

After spending even more time today looking at how improve Close Combat mechanism used in my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, I think that it has now reached a stage where it needs some serious play-testing before I make any further changes.

As before the chart is too difficult to include within this blog entry, and so I have added it below as an image. If readers click on the image it should become large enough to read.


The most notable differences between the previous draft and this draft are that:
  • The scores required to 'hit' enemy Units have been changed to reduce the underlying chance of a 'hit' from 50% to 33%
  • Additional bonuses and penalties have been added.
Most of these changes have come about as a result of reader feedback and suggestions, and the resultant Close Combat mechanism does seem to be a lot easier to use and has the potential to be 'tweaked' quite easily to suit a particular historical period.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Bob,

    Why not just say everthing hits on a 5 or more and then just list the two exceptions Mounted Cavalry and Horse Drawn Transport?

    Even better, just say EVERYTHING hits on a 5 or more and then add modifiers:
    +1 for Mounted cavalry
    -1 for Horse darwn Transport

    Just a thought
    Mike

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  2. Mike,

    A good point. It is done that way to allow people to tinker with particular values for specific types of Units.

    The feedback I get from people who have used the rules is that they like to adjust things to suit their own requirements ... so I have left it so that they can.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Bob,
    Whilst Mike makes a good point in the context of one particular set of PW rules, in other versions it may not be the case that there is so little variety in scores required to 'hit', so I prefer your layout, which makes it easier to adjust for individual troop types as users see fit. Easier, IMHO, to look at the rules for one troop type than to search through a list of modifiers, which will include those for temporary situations &c.

    Arthur

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  4. Arthur1815,

    You have summed it up very nicely for me, especially the points about it being easier for users to modify the values to suit their needs and to find a particular Unit type.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. I was going to make Mike's point as well, but I fully understand and accept the flexibility offered by Bob's approach.

    That said, I'm a fan of the single line chart ('5+ to hit') with modifiers, as my own close combat variant shows :)

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  6. Kaptain Kobold,

    I did think of adopting Mike's suggestion when I was re-drafting the chart, but decided against it for the reasons I have stated ... especially as I have a high expectation that users will 'chop and change' it for their own use.

    All te best,

    Bob

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  7. OK Bob, I understand your reasons for keeping the full list. How about highlighting the exceptions in bold? Would make them easier to see.

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  8. Mike,

    Thank you for your suggestion. I will see what it looks like and the decide whether I can introduce it in the next draft.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Hi Bob,
    From the point of view of trying to do more intuitive the close combat mechanism I think this new system is a little bit better. But sometimes I find that is less flexible. For example all units are almost the same capacity to hit the enemie whit no difference among units. If I use this mechanism in other periods there is not the same capacity to hit one enemie by a musket unit than by a Pike unit for exampleand I believe that your previous system could give more flexibility although less intuition.
    Well, having said that, let me share with you my other touhgt: Using the new mechanism to hit the enemie you focus in the offensive capacity of the unit otherwise in the previous one the focus is in the deffensive capacity. But in none of both mechanisms the enemie is never taken into account.
    And here my , maybe silly conclusion, what about to combine both mechanisms?? For example, the attacking unit roll the die to hit the enemie, if yes then the defendig unit roll for its survival. The process goes on now with the defending unit act as a attacking one.
    Well sorry for this long comment. Just to share the thoughs I had last nite playing some tests.
    Perhaps I am saying sylly thinks or make the game too complicate. In fact the idea is to take into account ofensive and defensive troop's capablities and also how can change these capalities depending on the enemie you are in front.
    I will appreciate your comments.
    Best Regards
    Carles

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  10. Bob,
    Carles offers an idea which would be easy to incorporate into a PW game if one wished. The player commanding the offensive unit will thus know that its action has - probably, but not certainly - caused damage, unless the damage is so great that there is an immediate, visible effect, such as a rout; only the defensive player will normally know exactly what damage his unit has suffered.
    It offers the possibility of a double-blind wargame in which only the offensive player knows the capability of his units and rolls secretly to determine 'hits', informing the defensive player accordingly. The latter rolls secretly to discover the effect, if any, of the 'hits' on his troops.
    Only to be used by opponents who trust each other absolutely to adhere to the Cordery Code...
    On balance, I feel the simpler option is for the defensive player to roll for hits and effect upon his troops - but then, in my preferred periods, musketry and artillery fire was pretty random, anyway!
    Arthur

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  11. Carles,

    I have not replied to your comment sooner because I have been thinking long and hard about what you suggest.

    The problem that I have is that I fundamentally agree with what you are suggesting, but if I were to go down the design path you are suggesting I could end up with a more complex game mechanism than I want.

    Originally I had intended that only the attacker would throw a dice to see what effect their attack would have … but then I thought that the defender should – in most circumstances – be able to fight back and either cause the attacker to fail or at least force a draw.

    The present mechanism recognises that the attacker should be more successful when they catch the defender at a disadvantage and that if the defender has a level of protection from attack (e.g. uphill from the attacker, in some form of fortifications) it will make an attack less likely to succeed. Even in defence, a defender has an offensive capability.

    I can see situations and historical periods when your suggested mechanism would be a better one that the one I have currently developed, as in your example of pikes fighting musketeers. The problem is that I don’t know enough about the military history or tactics of the era to create a more representative Close Combat mechanism.

    I would hope that you could pick up this baton and take your idea further and develop a suitable mechanism. If you do, I would be more than a little pleased to publish it on my blog or to write a blog entry that would link to your blog. This would enable other people to use your mechanism in place of my own should they wish to.

    Many thanks for your comments and feedback. It was very thought provoking and has helped me to crystallise my thoughts about the current Close Combat mechanism I am using.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Arthur1815,

    I totally agree that Carles has put forward some very interesting ideas, and you are right in suggesting that it does offer some very interesting possibilities. I had not considered the fact that it could produce a situation where an attacker has not idea what damage they have done to the defender (very much along the lines of the combat system used in MEGABLITZ). You are right – however – to point out that you would need to trust your opponent … and that is something that I cannot guarantee!

    I am going to stick with the current Close Combat mechanism for the time being. It may well not survive play-testing … and if it doesn’t I may well re-visit Carles’ suggestions.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. I'm all for minimising die rolls - when rejigging the close combat system for my own ends I'd considered having a roll to hit followed by a save, but that potentially gave four rolls per combat. I;d be apprehensive of Carles' idea on that basis.

    The way I reflected advantages and disadvantages was to make the combatants roll to hit their opponent in a set order (which is basically flank attackers first, defender second, and finally the attacker, with one adjustment for cavalry) and apply one or two tactical modifiers. So artillery gets a +1 (canister), for example, but so does any unit attacking artillery. However the artillery fires first, since it will always be defending in close combat. The unit that rolls first has an edge because if they hit the other unit doesn't get a roll back (they've either been destroyed or forced to retreat in the basic PW).

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  14. Kaptain Kobold,

    I have considered adopting your 'roll in order' Combat Mechanism for the reasons that you state, but have decided – for the moment at least – to stick to using it 'as is'. (I think that the 'roll in order' is very applicable to the ACW and possibly the Napoleonic era.)

    I need to play-test the current Combat Mechanism before I make any further changes. If I find it wanting, then I will revise it in the light of the excellent feedback you and other users have been giving me.

    All the best,

    Bob

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