Sunday, 28 March 2010

Card-driven Turn Sequences: More thoughts and more tests

As a result of the feedback and ideas I have had from Jim Wright and Alex Kleanthous, I have decided to test the following card-driven turn sequence:

Before battle commences
  • Each side’s commander is allocated a Command Ability.
    • Exceptional = 2
    • Good = 3
    • Above average = 4
    • Average = 5
    • Poor = 6
  • Each side is allocated a colour – Red or Black.
  • The number of units each side is fielding is counted and a playing card of the appropriate colour is allocated for each unit. These cards form the Unit Activation Pack.
  • Before the first turn the Unit Activation Pack is thoroughly shuffled and placed face down where both players can see it.
During a battle
  • The top playing card in the Unit Activation Pack is turned over to reveal which side will have the opportunity to activate a unit.
  • The commander of that side must then see if they can activate the unit. They throw a D6.
    • If the score is equal to or more than the commander’s Command Ability, they may activate a unit of their choice.
    • If the score is less than the commander’s Command Ability, they may not activate a unit.
  • Once an activated unit has completed all the actions it may take, the playing card is discarded and the next playing card in the Unit Activation pack is turned over and the procedure is repeated.
  • Once all the playing cards in the Unit Activation Pack have been turned over the turn has ended. The playing cards in the Unit Activation Pack are gathered together and are shuffled again before the next turn begins.
The test

For the test I decided that Red commander would have a ‘Good’ Command Ability and the Black commander would be ‘Average’. I also allocate each side 10 units and this generated a Unit Activation pack with 10 Red cards and 10 Black cards.

The test lasted for twenty turns and the results looked like this (the cards that activated a unit have an asterisk [*] next to them):
  1. Black, Red, Black*, Black, Black, Red, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red*, Black, Black*, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red (5 Black and 7 Red [60.00%] of the cards were activated)
  2. Black, Black, Red, Red*, Black, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black, Black (1 Black and 8 Red [45.00%] of the cards were activated)
  3. Red*, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red*, Black, Red*, Black*, Black, Black*, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Black* (4 Black and 7 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  4. Black, Red*, Black, Red, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Black*, Black, Black*, Black, Red*, Red*, Red, Black*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black (3 Black and 8 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  5. Red*, Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Black*, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red, Black*, Black (3 Black and 9 Red [60.00%] of the cards were activated)
  6. Black, Black, Black, Black, Red*, Black*, Red, Red*, Red*, Red, Black*, Black, Red*, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Black (2 Black and 6 Red [40.00%] of the cards were activated)
  7. Red, Black*, Black*, Black, Red, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black*, Red*, Black, Black*, Black*, Red*, Red*, Black (6 Black and 8 Red [70.00%] of the cards were activated)
  8. Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red, Black, Red, Red, Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black*, Black (1 Black and 6 Red [35.00%] of the cards were activated)
  9. Red*, Black, Black*, Black, Red*, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Black, Black* (2 Black and 9 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  10. Red*, Black*, Black*, Black, Red*, Black*, Black, Black*, Red*, Red*, Red, Red*, Black, Black*, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black (5 Black and 9 Red [70.00%] of the cards were activated)
  11. Black, Red*, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Red, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Black, Black* (1 Black and 8 Red [45.00%] of the cards were activated)
  12. Red, Black*, Black, Black, Red, Red*, Red, Red*, Black*, Red, Black*, Black*, Black, Black, Black*, Black*, Red, Red*, Red*, Red* (6 Black and 5 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  13. Black, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Black*, Red*, Black, Black, Red*, Black, Black*, Red*, Black, Red (2 Black and 8 Red [50.00%] of the cards were activated)
  14. Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Black, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Black*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Black, Red* (2 Black and 8 Red [50.00%] of the cards were activated)
  15. Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Black*, Black*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red* (3 Black and 8 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  16. Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black*, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Black*, Black, Red (3 Black and 7 Red [50.00%] of the cards were activated)
  17. Red*, Black, Black*, Black*, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black*, Red*, Red, Red, Red*, Red*, Black*, Red*, Black, Black, Red*, Red* (4 Black and 7 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  18. Black*, Red*, Black, Red, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Black*, Black*, Black, Black, Red*, Black, Black*, Red* (4 Black and 8 Red [60.00%] of the cards were activated)
  19. Black, Red, Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Black*, Black*, Black, Black (3 Black and 6 Red [45.00%] of the cards were activated)
  20. Red*, Black*, Red, Red, Black, Black, Black*, Black*, Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red, Red, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black* (6 Black and 6 Red [60.00%] of the cards were activated)
Overall 33.00% of Black cards and 74.00% of Red cards resulted in a unit being activated. This compares favourably with the 33.33% and 66.66% rates of activation that the dice throws should have generated.

Combining the Unit Activation Pack with the use of a D6 works well. My only reservation relates to the Command Ability dice scores need to activate a unit. Even a ‘Poor’ commander should be able to activate more than 16.66% of the units under their command, and I think that the Command Ability categories should be reduced to:
  • Exceptional = 2
  • Good = 3
  • Average = 4
  • Poor = 5
This would at least give a ‘Poor’ commander some chance to make a game of it!

7 comments:

  1. Bob

    There is perhaps too great a disparity between ability levels. You could try it with a D8 (but leaving everything else the same. This would decrease the disparity. A D10 would so even more, but perhaps too much.

    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bob, It would be easy to add the possibility of multiple activation of units by allowing the player to roll against general's Rating +1 for the second activation, and against Rating +2 for the third. Personally, I would not allow one unit to be activated more than three times in a turn.
    There is another aspect of the idea of card activation you might care to consider: now that activation is no longer an indication of the General's ability {here I'm in complete agreement with the points raised by Alex}, it must represent a combination of succeeding in delivering an order to a unit and that unit's commander implementing the order. So, failure to activate could represent events such as an aide being killed en route to the unit with the order, or the unit commander refusing or failing to carry out the order. In which case, a unit that had been activated in a previous turn should surely continue to execute its previous orders, rather than cease to act because it has not been activated {ie received new orders} this turn?
    I don't like the concept of the commander having to activate a unit on consecutive turns, simply to ensure it continues to execute its orders. I see card activation as a way to randomise the sequence in which units act.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alex,

    I am looking at ways by which the current disparity between Command Abilities can be reduced to a more acceptable level, and your suggestion is a very sensible way to solve the problem.

    My problem is that I have a totally irrational dislike of using dice that are not D6s. I have and will continue to use non-D6s ... but I don't like designing systems around them.

    That said, if your suggestion works (which it undoubtably will), I will have to like it and lump it.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  4. Arthur1815,

    Your comment 'passed' my latest blog entry in the ether, so I will think about what you have written and formulate a reply tomorrow.

    In the meantime I am off to bed to nurse the heavy cold which has been developing all afternoon.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  5. Arthur1815,

    I have thought long and hard about your excellent suggestions. They are eminently workable and would produce a very interesting situation on the tabletop. You have set out a means by which a very realistic command system with variable unit activation could be achieved. The problem is that I think that it is a little too complex for what I want to achieve.

    Basically, all I want is a card-driven turn sequence that imparts a degree of unpredictability to unit activation in my games. The solution I have at present seems to do that.

    Because my rules are primarily designed for my own solo use, I also want to have a simple reflection of the different commander’s ability to activate their units. The dice test does this, and once I have the balance between the different categories of commander sorted, I will have something that works for me.

    If you would like to take the concepts you have suggest further – and I seriously hope that you do – I would be very interested in seeing the results. In the meantime I am going to try to bring my testing to a rapid conclusion so that I can move from the ‘test bench’ (i.e. my computer and its spreadsheets) to the tabletop. Once I begin using my mechanism on the tabletop I am sure that practical experience will show me the direction I need to go in to improve it.

    Many thanks for your ideas, support, and feedback. Even if I do not use your suggestions, thinking about them has helped me to clarify my thoughts and encouraged me to find a solution.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bob, I hope you're feeling better today. I've found your entries on card activation very stimulating: they've made me start thinking about just what systems of 'activating' units during a game could and/or should represent, and helped to clarify my own feelings about what I want to achieve in my own army-level game. If my ideas have been helpful to you - if only by making you decide that you don't want to go down that route! - I'm glad of it. I shall certainly keep you posted on my own system; now I have broken up for the Easter holiday I may actually get a bit of peace and quiet to work on it - famous last words!
    I look forward to reading the results of your next experiment, and to seeing the final version of your Morschauser-derived rules.
    See you at Salute, perhaps?
    Best wishes,
    Arthur

    ReplyDelete
  7. Arthur1815,

    The biggest boon to wargaming that the Internet has brought is – in my opinion – the ability to spark ideas off one another very quickly. Had I not been blogging about my ideas for a card-driven turn sequence I would not have had the feedback and ideas from people like you, Alex, and Jim Wright. Those ideas and comments made me question what I was doing, where I was going, and how I was developing my ideas. It really was a case of one plus several being a whole lot more!

    I hope to finalise my rules very soon, and when I do I will gladly send you a copy.

    In the meantime I am off to my bed for a good night's sleep in the hope that my cold will be a bit better in the morning.

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. I will be going to Salute, and will look forward to seeing you there.

    PPS. I don't break for Easter until Thursday!

    ReplyDelete