Saturday, 19 March 2011

Work ... and still more work

I have managed to take a short break from my work on the NSS, and I have specially made time to read all of Ross Mac's thoughts about the way he is developing his own version of my rules for my portable wargame.

I think that many of his ideas are not only excellent but improve upon my original rules. I will probably 'steal' some of his ideas ... with his permission, I hope.

In the meantime, it is now time to get back to the NSS. Hopefully I will manage to make some time tomorrow to do some wargame-related activity, but if today is anything to go by, I will be lucky if I do!


  1. Bob,
    Thanks for the link to Ross Mac’s rules developments – many interesting ideas therein.

    I have been thinking about the Activation dice, the die rolls that determine how many units can act that turn and therefore limit a general’s ability to implement his plans and coordinate different units/arms of service.

    I asked myself: what are the limitations on a general’s ability to issue orders? And came up with the following answers:

    Time/personal activity: a general engaged in close combat, rallying troops, galloping across the battlefield &c., cannot simultaneously issue orders; the time represented by a turn also limits the number of verbal/written orders that could be given.

    His personal ability to analyse the situation and think of new orders.

    The efficiency of his Military Secretary/Chief of Staff/HQ staff in transcribing verbal orders.

    The availability of ADC’s/messengers and/or the time they take to deliver orders.

    The working of mechanical systems of communication – radios, heliograph, Morse telegraphy, semaphore &c.

    Army organisation may permit one order to be delivered to a subordinate commander who can then transmit it to multiple units – so one activation by Army CO can result in activation of more than one unit.

    But most of these are not actually random events!

    The system also appears to require the activation of a unit each and every turn to enable it to execute orders already received, so a low roll in a subsequent turn may prevent all units from continuing with orders they began to execute last turn.

    I’m thinking of using one or two Order Dice, modified to reflect the above factors, that would place a limit on a general’s ability to issue NEW orders in a turn. Units that had been given pre-battle orders or received new orders in a previous turn would simply continue to attempt to execute them until successful or otherwise.

  2. Arthur1815,

    I am presently still up to my neck in NSS (and likely to be for at least the rest of the day) and so cannot write a long reply.

    I think that your suggestion makes sense for what you want to recreate, which is closer to a simulation of an actual 18th/19th century battle whilst I am more concerned with creating a game. Herein lies our different approaches, both of which are valid for what we want to achieve.

    I think that your idea of Order dice will enable you to achieve what you want to achieve; my problem would be trying remember what I had previously ordered Units to do so that I could move them correctly next turn! Its my age you know ... the memory starts to go when you reach sixty!

    I look forward to hearing how your developments go, and how close or divergent they will be from what Ross Mac is doing.

    Good luck with what you are doing ... and please keep the ideas coming!

    All the best,


  3. Bob,
    Thanks for taking time out from your work to reply. Like you, I want a plyable, entertaining game - and that has priority over so-called realism! On the other hand, I do like rules to be intuitive, rather than completely abstract/stylised whenever possible, so I prefer moving an ADC figure to transmit orders rather than measuring a command radius - unless the latter refers to the general's girth, in which case a larger command radius actually reduces his ability to mount up and gallop across the battlefield!
    I think/hope that the chessboard will enable really simple orders, such as 'Advance to Square C'; 'Attack enemy in D5'. or 'Hold E3 at all hazards'.
    Off to do my chores now, so expect no more today...

  4. Arthur1815,

    Time for another break from NSS.

    Command radius being equal to a general's girth? This would be an interesting concept if it were applied to wargamers!

    I must admit that I had no properly considered the use of the annotations on the chessboard as a means of recording a Unit's orders. Thanks for reminding me of the possibilities of this feature.

    All the best,