Sunday, January 24, 2016

Revisiting Rules Requirements

Last week Rob and I finally managed to coordinate a chat about our fantasy massed battle project aimed at a convention game later this year (if all goes well). We appear to be in sync about the goal and about not being particularly happy about how the current rules draft fits the aim.

Dragon's Eye view of a test setup. The Midlish infantry hold a gap against a much larger Turanian army. 

The basic requirements are that:
- each 60mm wide base  is a "unit" and that there must be no firm connection between the number of figures and what it is,
- it has to also accomodate individual characters (heroes, magicians etc) in addition to characters which are part of a base,
- it has to be quick to learn (as in minutes) and quick to play esp in a multi-player convention setting,
- record keeping and tracking things like whether or not a unit moved has to be minimal due to the convention setting,
- as far as possible mechanisms should be ones that were in use by wargamers by the 1970's.

While I was pondering old school techniques and trying not to copy newer rule systems it occurred to me that I have to think more about fantasy novel battle descriptions from books available during the 70's and less about historical research. Oh! Not one of my strong points really, some refresher reading needed probably, and of course it would be best to pick just one reference but that's not an option either.  I need to be more universal in approach.

We started off with a Morchauser base because of the stand=unit concept but I am now leaning heavily towards Featherstonian saving throws and some sort of combat result beyond  "dead or not dead", possibly a push back or morale throw for a group of units. I also want to tame missile fire a bit though saving throws might help there.  I'd also like to incorporate Featherstone's roll for 1st move system but I've come to realize that that really benefits from mutual shooting and melee phases.

Then there is the whole monsters and magic aspect and trying to keep the agreed upon bits of that. Work, work, work...........
And here comes the cavalry!

So no battle report or decisions, just having fun trying to sort an ongoing muddle.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, Old Figures, Rejuvenated Plan

Its a good thing I played that little game last week. There was a lot right, or going in what I thought was the right direction, and yet, there was also something wrong. The obvious course of action was to rush ahead, change everything and see how that felt but I put the brakes on.

I had been so sure that I was on the right course last year that the matter needed thought. So, I fiddled for a few days with minor rules bits and how they affected the feel of the game and of the armies, and I looked at the miniatures and pondered their stories, both real and fictional. After playing with rules for a bit I realized that I had come back to a place where to get the battle to feel right I needed to start grouping stands into temporary multi-unit formations which in turn meant more miniatures per army. I was also seeing that I needed more troop definitions and group morale rules and ....well, from there it was all off course. (Heading sort of DBM vs original HOTT if you will) This is the third time this decade I have started out to do a campaign involving a number very small medieval/ancient/fantasy armies and twice, almost thrice, have ended up working towards two largish armies designed for pitched battles and then wandered off to do something different.

Having a bunch of small forces for small games is not a new idea but despite various forays, for me it is an as yet unrealized goal and largely an unknown country that I have been slowly exploring. It is also something that seems to grow in appeal with each toe dipped.

 All of which is a long winded way of saying I'm back on track, 5 "kingdoms", small armies of no more than 24 stands/elements with rules designed for quick games averaging 12-18 units and several characters whose roles in the game will grow as I find my feet. Should I feel the need for bigger battles taking up more time and space then I can always field alliances. Since part of the fun will be discovering the backstory, part of the plan for this blog is to add a page for each kingdom looking at its background as well as its army. So a bit of painting, a bit of writing and at least 12 games over the year.

It also means another couple of hundred surplus painted 25's who don't fit into the desired setting to my satisfaction will be discharged and hopefully sold even as I paint new units.