Saturday, 23 July 2011

The portable wargame: To 'pin' or not to 'pin' ... that is the question ... and here is another possible answer!

My earlier blog entry of today has produced two excellent responses from Dr Vesuvius and Ross Mac.

Dr Vesuvius pointed out the following: '... most of the impact of a recoil result in DBx games is due to the effect of breaking up the enemy's battle line, with the double effect of giving an overlap supporting bonus on any combats with adjacent units AND breaking up the solid block of troops that can be moved with a single PIP.

Since neither of these apply to TPW
(N.B. The Portable Wargame), depending on how far you see units recoiling/withdrawing I'm not sure how much of an impact a recoil result would be.

Also, would it perhaps be more appropriate for some periods/theatres of war than others
?'

I found this comment very pertinent, and it gave me some pause for thought. Luckily, Ross Mac had already proposed a solution along the following lines: 'I was going to propose that a pinned unit that receives a 2nd pin result be forced back instead of collecting additional pins. Thus the first hit pins, if there is additional fire or if the player is unable to unpin the unit then the next pin result results in the unit moving back 1 hex, remaining pinned. The owning player now has to unpin the unit and then try to move it back. '

This is a very elegant and simple solution that meets almost all my requirements as well as answering some of Dr Vesuvius's concerns. It does not do away with the aesthetic problem of having 'pin' markers on the tabletop, but it does remove the problems associated with single Units receiving multiple 'pins'. On the plus side it also introduces a degree of automatic response to events (rather like the existing 'Flight to the Front' reaction that European Cavalry Units have to being 'pinned'), and as a solo wargamer this sort of thing has a considerable appeal to me.

This online 'discussion' and the ideas that it has generated are what makes blogging such a useful adjunct to wargaming in general and wargame design in particular. My ideas for the next draft of the PORTABLE WARGAME rules are slowly but surely forming into something more concrete, and when I begin the process of actually putting them down on paper, I am sure that a new simpler and easier to understand set of rules will emerge from the process.

12 comments:

  1. Blogging is indeed a great adjunct. Almost like a round table.

    I have done some more thinking about the artillery. In order to implement my earlier solution in an effective and efficient manner, and my memory not being as dependable as I remember it once being ..:) I could see no practical alternative to a marker for each battery to indicate where it had zeroed in. I have done that in the past with naval and WWII games but it just didn't appeal to me and the more I thought about the open sights nature of most artillery fire in the 19thC, the less appropriate it seemed. So, I am back to square one.

    On the plus side it is another hot, humid day and I have done my errands and chores for today. I expect to pass the afternoon under the Willow with my ACW figures and the PW.

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  2. Ross Mac,

    Blogging has been a great boon to my wargaming in so many ways. New friends, new ideas, and lots of positive and helpful feedback. It is almost like an electronic version of COW!

    I see why you have come to this conclusion about artillery fire ... and I fully concur, being equally likely to forget who fired at what last turn!

    I hope that you manage to get a battle or two fought this afternoon, and I look forward to reading your battle reports in due course.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Funny, most people usually complain that my comments are impertinent.

    I *really* like Ross Mac's extra pins = recoil idea, which seems to offer the best of both worlds.

    Alright then, next question is, who decides which hex/square the unit recoils into? Away from the enemy, one would assume, but depending on the position that could give a choice of two or more hexes/squares.

    The firer - could be harsh to have your unit driven out of cover into open, killing ground.
    The defender - probably the easiest option
    Some sort of pre-defined rules - e.g. "Always recoil into nearest cover, or rough ground in favour of open." etc
    Random - 1-3 it's this hex, 4-6 it's that hex.

    My first thought would be to let the defender choose, for the sake of simplicity, since 90% of the time they'd probably subconsciously follow the sort of rules you might come up with to create a "realistic" result, and the other 10% would most likely dice for it.

    As for the necessary evil of markers on the tabletop spoiling the aesthetics, what we need is to aesthetificatize the markers, so they look prettier. I'd consider using a whisp of cotton wool as a pin marker, to represent either the dust and smoke thrown up by incoming rounds, or as the smoke of outgoing fire to show the unit is "hard at work" and too busy to respond to orders (i.e. pinned) For the artillery range-in maybe something resembling a bursting shell?

    And finally I am officially green with envy at Ross Mac's planned afternoon - my day has been spent painting figures which is very much an errand and rapidly turning into a chore, though thankfully the end is in sight!

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  4. Dr Vesuvius,

    I have always found your comments to be well founded, and certainly not impertinent!

    As you write in your comment, Ross Mac’s solution does seem to ‘offer the best of both worlds’.

    As to which hex the Unit should withdraw to … well for simplicities sake, I think that it has to be defender, but with the proviso that a Unit that cannot withdraw into an empty hex is destroyed.

    In the case of a dispute, the good old Morschauser rule applies … LET THE DICE DECIDE!

    I take your point about making the markers we use on the tabletop look like they ought to be there, and I may well investigate the possibilities of your suggestion in due course.

    As to envying Ross Mac’s ability to stage wargames as regularly as he does … well I do as well! I have been retired for two weeks, and I haven’t managed to fight one wargame yet!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. There is something of a club feel, I must say. I like battlefield markers, if they're models rather than counters. I use casualty markers to keep track of dead units and vignettes to mark objectives.

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  6. I just had a troublesome thought about troops being forced out of entrenchments by multiple pins. This doesn't seem right.

    Perhaps an exception should be made for entrenched troops?

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  7. Well troops have been driven out of entrenchments by heavy fire. Why not allow troops in entrenchments to flee only after three pins have been inflicted? Or ignore the first pin inflicted in any given turn.

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  8. Wow! Alomost 3 weeks since you have posted! And after posting every day through thick and thin. Hope all is OK. There was no indication that you were going away on holiday. Please let us know that you are fine!
    Dick Bryant

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  9. Conrad Kinch,

    I agree about markers on the tabletop; they have to look like something that could or should be there ... like a pile of ammunition or a dead body.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Ross Mac,

    I am giving the problem some deep thought ... but have yet to come up with a workable solution.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Conrad Kinch,

    Funnily enough, these suggestions are not too dissimilar from the possible solutions that I have come up with.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Maximus Gluteus (Dick),

    As an as-yet-to-be-published blog entry will explain, I have been on my holidays ... again!

    With luck I will be a regular blogger again very soon!

    All the best,

    Bob

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