Saturday, 23 August 2014

Pushing even more toy soldiers about on the tabletop

I decided to make a few changes for my next play-test of my card-driven unit activation system ... but they were all to do with the location of the 'battle' and the two participants. I decided that I would set up a meeting engagement between two similar sized opponents (in this case the Nuevo Ricans and the San Theodorans) in the desert that forms part of the border between these two bellicose countries.

For this play-test I reverted to my original card-driven unit activation system. I allocated both sides appropriately coloured playing cards with values 1, 2, 3, and 4 from two packs of playing cards, and added two Jokers to the pack. The pack was thoroughly shuffled and placed face down. The top playing card was then turned over, and the side whose colour was on that card was allowed to activate up to the same number of units as the value of the card.

The rules used were a slightly modified version of MEMOIR '44.

Scenario
A small exploration team from one of the major American oil companies has been working in the desert border region between Nuevo Rico and San Theodoros ... and has found what they think might be oil-bearing rock. As a result both nations have claimed the desert as their own, and are determined to enforce their respective claims with a military presence in the area. Nuevo Rica and San Theodoros have sent small expeditionary forces into the desert to look for sources of water and to set up military posts.

Please click on the image to enlarge it.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.
Nuevo Rican Forces (Black)
  • 2 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Armoured Unit
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
  • 1 x Aircraft Unit (This will appear when the second Joker is turned over)
San Theodoran Forces (Red)
  • 4 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Artillery Unit

The Battle
The sequence of playing cards turned over was as follows:
  • Red 1, Black 3, Red 4, Red 3, Black 1, Black 3, Black 2, Black 3
The situation after eight unit activation cards had been turned over.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.
  • Black 1, Red 2, Red 3, Red 2, Red 3, Red 1, Black 2, Red 2
The situation after sixteen unit activation cards had been turned over.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.
  • Joker: The pack was re-shuffled.
  • Black 4, Red 2, Black 1, Red 4, Red 3, Black 1, Red 4, Red 3
The situation after twenty four unit activation cards had been turned over.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.
  • Joker: The pack was re-shuffled and the Nuevo Rican Aircraft Unit became available.
  • Red 2, Black 3
The arrival of the Nuevo Rican Aircraft Unit was devastating. Its first attack destroyed a San Theodoran Infantry Unit.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.
  • Red 4, Black 4
The Nuevo Rican Aircraft Unit's second attack wiped out the remaining crew member of the San Theodoran Artillery Unit.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.
At this point I decided that neither side was going to win the battle. The Nuevo Rican's had managed to push back the San Theodorans at great cost, thanks mainly to the effectiveness of their Armour and Aircraft Units. The San Theodorans had inflicted a serious defeat on the Nuevo Rican Infantry Units and would have seized the border desert area had it not been for the Nuevo Rican Armoured and Aircraft Units.

Conclusions
I was much happier using this version of the card-driven unit activation system, and I think that I will continue to use it in future. The result of the battle was far more even than I had expected, although the arrival of the Nuevo Rican Aircraft Unit did ensure that the San Theodorans were not going to win.

The battle took about thirty minutes to fight, including taking the photographs. This means that I can fight several small battles during an afternoon or evening and still have plenty of time to record what happened as I go along. This is what I had hoped to achieve ... and I am very pleased with the result.

4 comments:

  1. Good start Bob.

    How do you think this method will scale up to say double the size of forces?

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  2. Jim Duncan,

    An interesting question ... and one that I am already thinking about.

    If I double the size of the forces involved, it is tempting to just increase the value of the cards that I use (e.g. using cards with numerical values of 6, 7 and 8) ... but my thoughts are more along the lines of using low value cards (e.g. using cards with numerical values of 2, 3, and 4) from three or four packs of playing cards. I think that this is a better way forward ... but both options will require some experimentation before I make a firm decision.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Good to see the toys out again and even better to here that the games were a success.

    If you did double the forces, I think it would be interesting to include a few of the higher cards.

    It might also add a twist to allow 1 or both sides to keep 1 card and pass at some point. From then on it could play either the new card or the one being held. Not much suspense when solo but a chance for the commander's to try and prepare for a big push and to face the dilemma of picking the optimum moment to play a good card if they do draw one.

    It might also beinteresting to blindly discard one or 2 cards from the deck so that the exact mix would be unknown.

    -Ross

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ross Mac,

    Thanks for the very useful suggestions.

    I hope to use one or more of them in my next play-test.

    All the best,

    Bob

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