Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A 'new' combat system for Morschauser's 'Frontier' wargames rules

I have been doing some serious thinking about a 'new' combat system for my latest version of Joseph Morschauser's FRONTIER wargames rules. My initial thoughts were that each side in a combat would throw a D6 die and then add that score to their unit's Battle Power. The side with the highest total score would then win the combat. In addition, if the winner's total score was twice (or more than twice) that of the loser, then the loser would be destroyed; otherwise the loser would have to retreat two grid squares at once. If the loser could not do so, their unit would be destroyed.

I very quickly realised that the probability of a unit ever destroying another equivalent unit were very, very low, and so I had to have a re-think ... and came up with the following:
  • Both sides in a combat throw a D6 die and add their die scores to their unit's Battle Power.
  • If the resulting scores are the same, the combat is a draw and both units survive until the next turn.
  • If the resulting scores are not the same, the side with highest score wins and if the winner's D6 die score was a 6, the loser's unit is destroyed, otherwise it must retreat immediately. If it is unable to retreat, the loser's unit is destroyed.
To see the effects of this 'new' combat system I set up a spreadsheet to test the results:
  • A machine gun unit (Battle Power = 6) in combat with a European infantry unit (Battle Power = 5) has a 58.33% overall probability of winning the combat (and a 16.67% overall probability of destroying the enemy unit), a 27.78% overall probability of losing the combat (and a 11.11% overall probability of being destroyed in the process), and a 13.89% overall probability of drawing the combat.
  • A European infantry unit (Battle Power = 5) in combat with another European infantry unit (Battle Power = 5) has a 41.67% overall probability of winning the combat (and a 13.89% overall probability of destroying the enemy unit), a 41.67% overall probability of losing the combat (and a 13.89% overall probability of being destroyed in the process), and a 16.67% overall probability of drawing the combat.
  • A Native infantry unit (Battle Power = 4) in combat with a European infantry unit (Battle Power = 5) has a 27.87% overall probability of winning the combat (and a 11.11% overall probability of destroying the enemy unit), a 58.33% overall probability of losing the combat (and a 16.67% overall probability of being destroyed in the process), and a 13.89% overall probability of drawing the combat.
  • An artillery unit (Battle Power = 1) in combat with a European infantry unit (Battle Power = 5) has a 2.78% overall probability of winning the combat (and a 2.78% overall probability of destroying the enemy unit [i.e. if it manages to win the combat it will automatically destroy the enemy unit]), a 91.67% overall probability of losing the combat (and a 16.67% overall probability of being destroyed in the process), and a 5.56% overall probability of drawing the combat.
This 'new' combat system appears to be a lot less 'bloody' than the existing combat system as well as being simple to use. It is not difficult to remember that if you throw a 6 and win (rather than draw) a combat, the enemy unit is destroyed. The 'new' system also allows less powerful units to have a chance of destroying stronger enemy units in the right circumstances.

I hope to play-test this 'new' combat system in the very near future.

4 comments:

  1. Will you have any cases where a unit's only hope of winning is to roll a '6'? Say a factor of '5' vs a factor of '1'? This would mean that they either always either lose or destroy their opponent.

    Not a bad mechanism, otherwise. Worth thinking about, and then stealing in its entirety :)

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  2. Kaptain Kobold,

    If an infantry unit gets into combat with an artillery unit the latter can only destroy the former by throwing a 6. But don't forget, this will only happen if the infantry unit manages to get into a grid square that is adjacent to the one occupied by the artillery unit. I doubt that anyone is likely to let that happen; either the artillery unit should have shot at - and destroyed - the infantry unit as it approached the artillery unit OR the artillery unit should have been pulled back before it was likely to be overrun.

    I think that this mechanism need play-testing ... and I hope to do so very soon.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Reasonable twist; I suspect it may prove to be a little too far the other way, i.e., not bloody enough... but playtesting will tell a lot more in that regard!

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  4. Gonsalvo,

    It may well not be 'bloody' enough, in which case I can change from only destroying on a 6 to destroying on a 5 or 6.

    As you say, the proof will be in the play-test ... which I will - of course - write a battle report about.

    All the best,

    Bob

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