Thursday, 18 July 2013

Some very helpful feedback

Overnight I got a number of very useful comments and emails about my latest draft wargames rules, as a result of which I have already made a few changes.

Firstly I have increased the distance a Mounted Cavalry unit can move from 2 to 3 grid squares. Kaptain Kobold quite rightly pointed out that there was no difference between infantry and cavalry in the original draft ... but there is now!

Thanks to The Ferrymen (John) I have made it clearer that only one unit at a time may occupy a grid square, and that interpenetration by friendly units (i.e. passing through an occupied grid square) is not allowed.

Finally, Archduke Piccolo made a suggestion about how the mechanism for determining where shells fell could be improved. His suggestion actually made me look at the mechanism in a different way, and although I did not adopt his suggestion, I have changed the existing one so that it is easier to remember ... I hope!

His suggestion was as follows:
  • 1 = under
  • 2 = left
  • 3 = on target
  • 4 = on target
  • 5 = right
  • 6 = over
I prefer the 'high is good, low is bad' school of wargame design ... but his suggestion made me realise that using a clockwise numbering sequence made more sense and made it easier to remember. The draft of this section of the rules now looks like this:
  • Die score = 1: Artillery fire lands in the grid square beyond the target grid square (i.e. at 12 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
  • Die score = 2: Artillery fire lands in the grid square to the right of the target grid square (i.e. at 3 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
  • Die score = 3: Artillery fire lands in the grid square before the target grid square (i.e. at 6 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
  • Die score = 4: Artillery fire lands in the grid square to the left of the target grid square (i.e. at 9 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
  • Die score = 5 or 6: Artillery fire lands on the target grid square.
I look forward to receiving more feedback ... but my main priority is to play-test the existing draft before making any further changes ... and that is unlikely to happen whilst my toy/wargames room remains so hot!

(The room is located in the loft extension to my house. It has a black roof and faces south-east, and as a result it is in sun and absorbing heat for most of the day. I cannot sit in there for more than a couple of minutes without feeling very hot ... and that is with the door and windows open and the 18-inch fan going at full speed!)

6 comments:

  1. You mean you don't play your solo wargames in the nude? I thought everyone did!
    ;oP```

    John


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  2. The Ferrymen (John),

    Don't go there ... just don't go there! The image it conjures up is one I don't want to think about!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. I envy you your warm weather right now! When I made my suggestion I was trying to remember whether or not you were of the high is good low is bad school of wargames design. That my suggestion was useful, I find gratifying anyhow.

    I'll tell you why I take a different stand on this. I have had too many games in the past in which a string of sixes and/or a string of ones has been the decisive arbiter of the game. Eventually detecting the hint of a pattern emerging, I've sought designs in which what constitutes a 'good' roll varies with context.

    So, for artillery firing canister, a 6 is a very good roll. For musketry, 6 is a poor roll, 3 or 4 a very good one, and a 1 at least gets you something. And for morale, a roll of 1 is likely to see even a badly mauled unit right; a 6 might well see a none-too-badly battered unit disappearing over the horizon.

    The beauty of it is that it is quite hard to tell if you're having a good or a bad 'dice' day...

    Each to his own, of course. I don't reckon we would enjoy war gaming so much if we all thought and acted the same.

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  4. " Kaptain Kobold quite rightly pointed out that there was no difference between infantry and cavalry in the original draft ... but there is now!"

    Actually there was before, but it was just a minor one to do with crossing hill-countours.

    I was considering that cavalry could move 3 *unless* they moved into a combat position, in which case only 2. So they are good a redeploying, but would probably operate on foot or with caution close to an enemy.

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  5. Archduke Piccolo,

    The temperature (and humidity) was slightly less yesterday ... and it was far more pleasant! As to your suggestion ... well sometimes we just take things on assumption, and it does us no harm when people question that assumption ... and make us realise that there are better alternatives.

    Interestingly I used to use all sorts of different dice/chance mechanisms in my wargames, some of which were 'high is good, low is bad' and others that were the direct opposite. I ended up opting for the 'high is good, low is bad' school because of feedback from players who got confused.

    I recently took part in a game where the combat scores required to inflict damage on an enemy unit were 1, 2, or 10 on a 12-sided die. This caused no end of complaints from some players as they felt that it did not make sense.

    I suppose that we make the design choices that suit us ... which in my case (as I get older and find things difficult to remember) means 'high is good, low is bad'.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Kaptain Kobold,

    I have introduced the categories of Mounted Cavalry and Dismounted Cavalry to allow for just such a distinction. The former move faster and the latter move at the same speed as Infantry. I am thinking about having differentiated battle Powers for each as well ... but at present it is just a thought.

    All the best,

    Bob

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