Sunday, June 18, 2006

An "Actions" move

I was daydeaming yesterday morning in the shower.

I was thinking about what I'd been re-reading in "The War Game". I was also thinking about points which had been somewhat discussed of late on the OSW Group.

Points do strike me as a very useful concept, not so much in terms of providing game balance - I'm not really very interested in balanced games; give me a long, losing retreat any day. I like points as a measuring stick, either of damage done or to limit what may be done.

Apropos of nothing I started applying the concept of points to the move.

For the sake of argument, lets say a unit has 20 points to spend on actions per move. Unspent points are lost.

10 points - fire a volley;
5 points - move 3" (5" if cavalry...);
5 points wheel 90 degrees;
10 points to change facing of rear rank;
15 points to about-face the entire unit;
5 points stand fast.

Any casualties are removed at the end of the "actions" move - before the "melee" move begins.

I suppose you could make an argument whereby a unit that stands fast for so many moves (shall we say 3?) may accumulate 5 points per move that may be expended on movement only. Perhaps this could represent a charge that descends with the fury of a thunderbolt?;^) Perhaps such a charge ought to get a bonus in HtH combat?

Give me a week and I'll try to draft a one-page ruleset to test the idea and I'll put it up here.

Any comments?


Pat Wingfield said...

Just got to this blog via Battlegames reference. I like the idea of points to be expended in a move. I had been mulling over this sort of idea as a way of allowing for delay in a move. After all in my reading of things military there is a lot of waiting around and then bursts of frenetic activity. The trick I am trying to come up with is how to make the two parts of the move more visible. This is rather than having the get out that the actions take 3 minutes but 'never mind' just assume the bound is one hour long.

Bloggerator said...

G'day Pat, I'd have to say that my reading chimes very much with yours.

I'm interested in your comment on the artificial nature of time in the move. This does rather focus my attention on the issue of turn-based games and the contradiction of a 'real' battle being fought over the course of a day (shall we say) which is counterbalanced by wargames rules modelling firing as part of the move (not movement ;^)), an activity measurable in minutes... I think sometimes it might be best to do away with firefights altogether and submerge it in melee. That being said, it does rather take away the fun of unleashing a shattering volley upon an enemy unit. To be continued, I suppose!

All the best,



pat wingfield said...

Hi Greg,

Thanks for responding to my comment.
I have played games where the firing and the melee are all part of the same thing and they seem to work reasonably well. Of course this is the system that DBM uses for ancients. However, at the moment I am trying out a system which penalises changes to actions. Thus if a unit is ordered to advance it will do so and no delay will be incurred as long as it continues to advance at the same speed and in the same direction. The moment it wants to do anything else delay is incurred. The more complicated the change the greater the delay.

This approach does two things: it makes people think ahead because they do not want to get caught in delay mode when the enemy is charging down on them. It also allows different nationalities and generals to have a major impact as better training and generalship, at the unit level, means less delay for any action.

Anyway that is where I am but I have yet to work through all the wrinkles in the concept.