Sunday, 11 February 2007

Colonel and Co. Rule Musings #1 C&C

Tas and Maksim have made some interesting comments on the rules that the Colonel and I have been working on. I though I would do a few short posts on what our design decisions were and why.

Command and Control:
Ok, command and control is a bit strong when discussing VSF / Colonial rules featuring steam powered walkers. But, as we are playing a miniature wargame, who gets to move their figures when and in what order is important.

Our design objective was to be able to run a large, convention game with 4 - 8 players who would not know the rules. (Yes, I know this smacks of meglo-mania) Bill, Tony, and I have all run convention games in the past, and are keenly aware that you have to keep people doing things so that they are engaged and do not wander off to the trade tables, etc.

We started playing GASLIGHT, but for the size games we were playing, one card per unit was way to slow. Next game out, we did one card per force, still to slow.

Over several phone calls and a hearty breakfast a couple of weeks ago, we settled on a order placing system. Here's how it works:
  1. Players place a covered order chip behind each unit. There are only 2 orders, move or stationary. Move chips have an arrow on them.
  2. Everyone reveals orders at the same time (uncovers)
  3. Units with move orders move, and MUST move in the direction the arrow is pointing. Units that wish to charge also add a charge bonus to their move distance.
  4. Random events occur (for us, this is the random appearance of Martians)
  5. Simultaneous shooting. Charging units may not fire, moving unit have a significant negative modifier.
  6. Melee (resolve charge and receive charge morale tests)
  7. Everyone takes all morale tests that are results of shooting and melee.
So far (one game) this seems to work well, everyone is constantly engaged in the game and it moves quickly.

We are still fiddling around with some of the rules, let me know what you guys think. next time I will expound on what we went with d10's, unit formations, and the shooting system.


dafrca said...

I agree that C&C may seem harsh for a game that is targeting fun and silly. But I think that the better designed games prove that you take the rules serious and then allow the subject to create the funny or silly moments.

Cudos to you for dealing with this up front.


Tas said...

I think that while combat and movement arethe heart of any game system, Control and Morale rules are the soul. Without effective mechanisms the others are useless. Of course that is way too serious an analogy for VSF so I'll just say HUZZAH is a very loud voice.

I would like to see the older systems that you used also with cards per unit. That level of optional detail can add much flavour to gamers in non-convention settings when they can relax a bit more

Anonymous said...

Thanks guys. I agree, the heart of a game is "When do I get to move my guys."

Of course every game is set of design trade offs. The systems we therw away were:
1) Conventional GASLIGHT, where 1 card per unit is shuffled into a deck and drawn one at a time. With the size games were were going for it was to slow. We were probably running to large of games (4 - 6 players with 5 - 7 units per player)

2) Battles by GASLIGHT: Seemed to have promise, but there was still a lot of standing around waiting to do stuff.

3) TSATF-like one card per player, move and shoot all your units. Still a lot fo standing around.

The method we settled on has everyone doing stuff at the same time (placing orders.)

We probably need to play a few more games, I'll let you guys know how it goes.

Tas said...

I can see why you have gone the way you have, and think it will admirably suit your tourney gaming.

I do love the random nature of TSATF though - you never know what will happen next and inevitably that elads to some very unforseen circumstances - just the thing for VSF!

Those morale rules from "They Died for Glory" were correct BTW

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!