He had come up with another variant, but it played sterile....there was no tension to game play.
'While pondering how to re-inject some tension into the solo version of STAW, I glanced over to the other game I have set up in my gameroom at the moment. My buddy Dan and I are in the middle of a rousing game of Across 5 Aprils, a traditional-style wargame on the American Civil War (we are playing the Gettysburg scenario). The game was one of the first designs to use the "chit pull" mechanism, whereby each "formation" has an associated chit. Each formation's chit is placed in an opaque container, and one chit is pulled. The formation belonging to that chit can then be activated by the player. The next chit is pulled, and the same thing happens. This chit-pull mechanism provides a degree of randomization to the turn order, which is meant to simulate the uncertainty of battle, where one's own plans are often confounded by the enemy moving or attacking at inconvenient times.
This should be nothing new to MWFers, as you've seen this in the Tank on Tank games played in the War Room; as well as other systems played, like White Star Rising, and Nuclear Winter '68! It is a proven mechanic to throw in intensity, and randomness to gameplay flow.
Well, I figured I could the same thing with STAW in solitaire mode. I took one of the two captain tokens off of each ship base and threw them into a cup (the same one I'm using with A5A). I drew one at a time during the "Movement/Activation Phase", completing the movement and action selection for each ship before picking another token and repeating the process. I then placed all of the tokens back into the cup, and repeated the process to execute attacks.
Each starship in STAW has a base, in which you place a small chit with a picture of whichever Captain (whom commanded aboard her at some point) you wish to be commanding the ship; one facing fore of the ship, and the other aft. What Leo did here was just use one of the two tokens....I'd use the aft to keep it consistent. The only downside to the solo gamer would be if you are staring with a perspective on a ship side that doesn't have the token....you would have to move around the table a bit to see it, if your memory is so bad you can't remember it
It worked GREAT!
The tension in the game was far better than in the Version 1.0 play test, and I had almost as much fun as I do playing against another person. As it turned out in the most recent playtest, the Federation squadron (Enterprise and one sister ship) defeated the Romulan force (Gal Gath'thong, Praetus, one generic Praetus-class), but had the Gal Gath-thong's token come up before Enterprise's on the last turn of my test game, I suspect there was a good chance that things might have gone the other way.
That last line is the key.....the random chit draw has major consequences thrown in the mix in that you don't know who gets to go first in any round. It just takes one turn to sink a ship!
Now, doing this with the captain chits does devalue the higher ranking captains to some degree, because their initiative values no longer have any meaning. However, the better captains still tend to have added value through their unique special actions and abilities, as well as through their addition of elite talents. This devaluation is a small price to pay in my mind for the payoff in adding tension and uncertainty to the experience.'
I still don't have a good grasp on this game yet, but when first reading this (before getting to this last quote section of the original text), that thought entered my mind; would this drastically alter a major mechanic on the system.