Design for Fast Skirmish Combat

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josta59
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Design for Fast Skirmish Combat

Postby josta59 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:03 pm

Building on my previous post in Proving Grounds, dreaming up a "Simple Chanceless Tactical Wargame," I've modified Bob Cordery's Portable Wargames rules to come up with a version of the old online wargame I keep talking about, Online Frontlines, the one I first learned on that gave me such a thirst for victory.

See this new post for a playtest of a version of these rules I used yesterday to play a quicker version of LnL's Heroes of the Gap (technically a different game, but it looks just like HotG):
http://www.militarywargaming.com/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=1798&sid=e028a5a057a11b2ec080853352fa7819

I went a few steps further today and abstracted combat even further. Cordery's rules use the "hit point" mechanism that I was going for in my chanceless game, so that fueled this idea.

See here for the Portable Wargames rules I've been using this week:
http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~warden/portable_wargame/BBPWHexed/BBPWM%20Hexed+Air.pdf

Unlike Online Frontlines, combat between infantry takes place at greater than 1 hex, meaning the scale of the map is smaller. So I've now created a game that works like Online Frontlines but at a smaller scale, which is exactly what I wanted.

Combat will be very fast because no dice are thrown. All attacks hit automatically, and there's no dice save either. Defending units lose strength points according to the terrain they're in (1 SP if in cover, 2 SP if not in cover). So gameplay will be very fast, much faster than in Cordery's game. At a distance of 1 hex, damage is increased by 1 SP, so it pays to get in close, but it costs, too: As in Cordery's game, defending units attacked up close return fire after resolving damage. But if reduced to half their original SP, they can't return fire, increasing the incentive to not take damage.

I haven't tried this yet, but it's similar to Online Frontlines and Portable Wargames, so I don't expect problems. At the same time, it's very different from both of them. Playtesting should be interesting.

Two important features I'll keep from PW that OF didn't offer are commanding officers, which will increase damage even more when within 1 hex of a firing unit, and the possibility of not being able to activate all units. The latter is a very nice feature that depends on the number of commanders and units available, and is dependent on a dice roll in each turn. The only dice rolling in the whole game will be for initiative and number of each player's units available, so a total of 3 dice rolls per turn. And if not all units activate, well then the game's even faster.

Some things I'm tossing out from PW for now are facing, flank attacks, and automatic retreating. They're nice features, but they're not part of OF and they're not needed when you want a super fast game. These things are ignored in much more complex games like HotG, too.

PW also has a rule for exhaustion, which is simply that the game ends when both sides have used up 2/3 of their total SPs. So a small calculation will be necessary at the beginning of the game, but it will result in an even faster game.

Solo play will be fun with yet another idea from OF, and that's fog of war. At a distance of 3 hexes from all player units, non-player units will be blank. When they're in range of sight, you simply roll or draw a chit to see what type of unit it is. If in woods, enemy units aren't revealed until they're 1 hex away.

PW has rules for vehicles, artillery, and planes too, all of which were part of OF. So once I get some practice with infantry, I'll start bringing in vehicles and hopefully have some very fast but very epic battles.

You can imagine how great this would be for a forum game: No dice rolling for combat! As in Tank On Tank, a player moves all available units at once, so you'd just post your movements and attacks, and, as in chess, you already know what the results will be. Then the opponent has to decide how he or she will respond.
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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Re: Design for Fast Skirmish Combat

Postby josta59 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:55 pm

After some good hours of playtesting, I feel like I've come up with the best game in the world. :lol:

What I tested today was a modified version of what I described above. I decided I and most other wargamers probably do want a little chance, so I decided a d6 would give the number of strength points a targeted unit would lose, with modifiers described by a simple table I made. This actually can result in a miss, depending on the number of modifiers applicable. But it moves the game along because misses don't occur as often. I even have an optional rule that every attack results in the loss of at least 1 SP, which isn't realistic but helps the game move along faster.

And the game is still simplified compared to Portable Wargames because I've reduced combat to just one die roll. There's no damage check in my game, which definitely speeds things up. One die roll tells you how much damage was done, rather than whether the target was hit or missed.

I have ideas for some scenarios I'd like to play, so watch for an AAR. I feel like I can play a lot more games with such simple but fun rules.
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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Re: Design for Fast Skirmish Combat

Postby josta59 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:02 pm

I'm not at all surprised by the apparent lack of interest in my new game, which I now call Showers of Blood, but the important thing is that I've finally found the perfect game for me, even if I had to design it myself. I played a fantastic solo game this week with two units facing off in a city, including tanks, amphibious infantry vehicles, and assault choppers, all starting out in farms in opposite corners of the map:

city setup.jpg


One building in the town was the objective, and it was a thrill to watch the infantry and vehicles duke it out over the building. My simple rules made it so fast and easy, allowing me to really focus on tactics and to have a lot of fun. And not bothering with a write-up at the time made it even more fun, so you may be seeing fewer AARs from me, due to both lack of interest in my game and more enjoyment for me when I'm not thinking about what I'll write or when to save a picture. I may play on this map again soon.

Today I playtested a man-to-man version of the game on a Firepower map, and that worked fine. I didn't have to change movement distances on the smaller-scale map because I simply changed the time scale instead. Troops move a shorter distance because the turns represent a shorter amount of time vs the larger-scale game on ASL or LnL maps. So these rules are super versatile, too. Heck, I could probably play a strategic-level game with these rules if I wanted to. Wouldn't be much different.

Not sure what I'll do next, besides playing lots of fun games alone. That's the bummer, knowing that I'll probably never have an opponent until my kids are older. But how much fun we'll have then.

I'm thinking about using that chess combo idea I had recently, playing out chess moves using a wargame. That could be fun.

Time will tell what kind of involvement I'll have on this forum in the future. I love it here, but it's so quiet, and now I have my own game to keep me busy, a game that may never interest anyone else. So I may become the hermit of the forum, just checking in now and then to see what's happening with you guys.

Scott
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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Re: Design for Fast Skirmish Combat

Postby 50th » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:43 pm

I have invented several games myself. one I invented for the 1:144 armor and infantry that I bought. It is called Quick War because I wanted something easy to play without a multitude of tables. I played a game with a friend (who also had 1:144 miniatures) and his game had so many charts. You looked up one chart, to see which other chart to look at for your result. I thought that there had to be a better way, and there is. My game includes rules for Infantry, Artillery, Armor, hidden units, and more. Here is a pic of a game I once played with a friend:

Image

The dice represent hidden units. The number of dice representing hidden units is more than actual hidden units. So you don't really know if there is a hidden unit there, or if it is a decoy. The white puff ball represents smoke, meaning a unit is damaged. Red puff balls represent fire, meaning a unit that has been destroyed.The light green felt is a hill, and the yarn across the middle is the crest of the hill. Dark green felt is woods. The balsa wood is a stone wall. Clear and red markers are for moved and fired markers. If you want to see the rules, I will add them. This game rocks!
Close up of some German units:

Image

Close up of some American units:

Image
"It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." Douglas MacArthur <><


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