Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Bridge at Strudelberg

Following some very kind advice from the Old School Wargamers* on running a participation game, I've been thinking rather on scenario design.

My preliminary thoughts (dreamt up while lying insomniac abed whilst trying to get over my jet-lag!) are these:

One idea I have found really helpful in approaching the scenario is to use Victory Points. I'm working toward the idea that the first side to hit a certain number of VPs wins the game. It seems to be a useful way of allowing me to introduce some tension for the players - a tension between means and goals.

To illustrate, I am thinking that one party, the defender, is going to have one main goal and that is to retreat over a bridge, blow it and sail off happily into the sunset. That's his main goal; if he manages that he wins the game... provided he also picks up a subsidiary goal as well that I need to think about as evilly as I may.

Anyway, to this end he's going to have to hold out against roughly 2:1 odds (that's very roughly) whilst a party of pioneers prepares the bridge for demolition. They'll be successful from move "x" on on either the roll of a value on a d6 or the draw of an event card. The spanner in the works for him may well be that as a random event, the Colonels' daughter Miffy may well decide that it's a lovely day for a trip into the countryside. Naturally Miffy's capture will be a major (say 40-60%) flow of VPs to the attacking side.

Likewise, his position will be open to a flanking movement that might put enemies in a position where they can attack the defenders' pioneers and make the destruction of the bridge difficult/impossible. This will also present the difficulty to the defender of having to detatch a sufficiently large force to defend the pioneers. Perhaps the destruction of part of the pioneers will delay the happy moment when the bridge might be blown.

As to the attackers, I want a tension between having to recklessly attack on the one hand and the knowlege that each figure lost gives the defender VPs. I think this will be created by the knowlege that any move after move "X" could yield the event card that says that "Yes, the bridge is ready for demolition". I like event cards!

Likewise, Miffy is a rich source of VPs, but is the risk of snatching her worth the expenditure of soldiers when a determined attack on the defenders at the bridge might end the game at a stroke?

That's about where I am at the moment.

*You know who you are!


Bluebear Jeff said...

Greg, I have always enjoyed those scenarios that had more than a single goal.

What if there was a significant item that needed to be transported across the bridge . . . say a nice big gold reserve . . . which, of course is at a considerable distance from the bridge AND needs a wagon to transport it . . . and the enemy suspects its there. BIG VPs for capturing lots of gold.

Or there could be a foundry that had turned out a bunch of cannon barrels . . . not yet mounted on wheels, so they are of no use in the current fight . . . but are both a valuable resource and a great prize if captured. They too must be transported by wagons . . . and they are on the opposite end of town from the gold . . . and wagons are limited . . . and, of course, the enemy knows where the foundry is.

Just a few ideas to perhaps spawn some more.

-- Jeff

Steve said...

Greg - can I suggest you have a look at one of the pages I host on Blogger dedicated to the "Table Top Teasers" that Charles Grant wrote in the late 70's?? The first Teaser (from Feb. 78) was called "The Bridge Demolition" (you may see where I'm going..!) and has some idea's that may be particularly pertinent to your problem.... in this case the secondary goal was to make sure you got as many of your own guys back across the bridge before it was blown.... Steve.