Help support TMP


"Mapping without a physical map" Topic


18 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Game Design Message Board

Back to the Maps Message Board

Back to the Solo Wargamers Message Board



911 hits since 26 Sep 2015
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Blind Wargamer Inactive Member27 Sep 2015 9:39 a.m. PST

Hi All,

So I've been absent from the wargaming scene for a while, mostly due to running into problems playing with the materials I had available. I've recently become interested in trying again, and am wondering if anybody has any thoughts.
Mapping was one of a couple related issues I had last time around. While I love the idea of a tactual map, getting enough space for one in this crowded house is a bit difficult. So I'm wondering about alternate approaches.
One thought i had was stealing the idea of "zones," from some roleplaying games, such as Fate. The map is a collection of discrete places: a hilltop, a farmhouse, or what have you depending on the scale. Units occupy and can move between these places, rather than worrying about movement in inches or squares or hexes.
I think some war-games already use a system vaguely like this, but I'm not sure which those might be. I think it would be suitable for a skirmish scale, because I could keep track of individual men in a narrative fashion.
My ultimate interest is in campaign play, either fantasy-based or in, for instance, the American Civil War. But for now it would be nice to get a system for individual battles ironed out.
I wonder if i need to come up with my own. Has anybody seen something like this before? Did it work?

Thanks much for any input.

FABET01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2015 10:12 a.m. PST

Lots of examples for zone to zone. For board games look at Storm over Arnhem for one example. For miniatures DBA used a zone to zone for a campaign. They work fine.

You may also want consider using a card campaign system like GW's Necromunda.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Sep 2015 12:37 p.m. PST

Battlefield In A Box is the answer!

link

Blind Wargamer Inactive Member27 Sep 2015 12:44 p.m. PST

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not familiar with any of those except DBA. Diplomacy is another game which has a map I could probably steal from, though it isn't very solo-friendly.

I'm happy to see that a lot of wargaming books are available in an accessible format, thanks to John Curry. I don't know how useful much of the advice will be, since it seems to be quite visual at times, but it's still a great resource.

Bill McHarg Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member27 Sep 2015 1:27 p.m. PST

We used this idea a long time ago for a western gunfight game on a really large table. The table had several different areas on it. A town on one side, a couple of different ranches, a mine area, etc. There were various places to score victory points. If you got outside of close range from an opponent, you could invoke the "meanwhile back at the ranch" rule. You could move across country to another area, any distance, as long as you stopped outside of short range of a "feature", such as a ranch, etc. (they all had npcs in them that would shoot at you.) It came from watching really old westerns, where they would take off riding horses that always seemed to be there to get to whatever plot point was coming up next. It worked pretty well.

Garth in the Park27 Sep 2015 1:32 p.m. PST

There was an ancients game called Strategos a while back that did this pretty well.

The problem is that once you commit units to a "zone" it becomes very hard to establish things like Who is in Front of Whom? Who can shoot through or past whom? If I have four units in a zone and the enemy has three, can ANY of my four attack ANY of his three?

In other words, the problem with zones is that you have to abstract away all sense of relative position, or come up with some fairly complex rules for keeping track of it.

There were some Napoleonic boardgames about 10 years ago – they did Marengo, Waterloo, and Borodino, maybe Austerlitz too, and they had units as wooden blocks that were not placed "in" the zones, but rather along the edges of each zone, and that worked decently well as a means of committing you to some sort of facing and relative position.

MajorB27 Sep 2015 1:59 p.m. PST

There was an ancients game called Strategos a while back that did this pretty well.

The problem is that once you commit units to a "zone" it becomes very hard to establish things like Who is in Front of Whom? Who can shoot through or past whom? If I have four units in a zone and the enemy has three, can ANY of my four attack ANY of his three?

"Lost Battles" (the successor to "Strategos") handles all of that easily using the concept of a "lead unit".

MajorB27 Sep 2015 2:00 p.m. PST

MWWBG Issue 390 has an excellent article about how to run a campaign without any map at all.

MajorB27 Sep 2015 2:06 p.m. PST

Diplomacy is another game which has a map I could probably steal from, though it isn't very solo-friendly.

You can easily run a simple campaign using the Diplomacy board. Each area on the board can host one army. When an army moves into an area occupied by an opposing army a battle occurs. If the attackers win, the defenders are removed. If the defenders win the attackers stay in their original area. Convoying with fleets works as in the original game. Soloing is easy – play each country in turn. Decide what orders to issue for that country and then execute the order. Then move on to the next country. It does mean that you don't get the support of a move by one country by an army of another, but that is a small loss. At its simplest just have two opposing countries rather than seven.

warhawkwind Inactive Member27 Sep 2015 2:49 p.m. PST

I've seen where a guy with little room for play surfaces put magnets on counters and then hung a metal board on the wall. It wouldnt really be miniatures tho, unless you glued magnets to figures. Dont know how well that would work…easy to knock them onto the floor.
I think you've got a good idea going with area movement. Have you looked into Memoir '44? It might be adaptable to skirmish size. Just change "Panthers" to "cavalry".
There's a WWII system called Poor Bloody Infantary that uses area movement. It might scale down too.
Good luck.

Maddaz111 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member27 Sep 2015 3:42 p.m. PST

I like the relative range concept, so you are approaching the next objective from long range, then closer range, then short range, then having to decide where you will go next, by turning over one or two cards and choosing one..

so I am approaching a village, when I get there, I defeat the defenders, and then flip one or two cards depending on my mission (defined in the scenario), and have to choose one to go towards next. the fighting takes place around the location, so if its a wood, its fighting through it, if its to a river then its down slope, cross a river and up the other side.. etc.

I did a game like this sometime ago, and had the defenders on blank playing cards, so the village might say play three defenders cards.. (some were blank and a couple said to draw two extra cards.. it made a mini campaign across northern france..)

Mako11 Inactive Member28 Sep 2015 1:28 a.m. PST

"In other words, the problem with zones is that you have to abstract away all sense of relative position, or come up with some fairly complex rules for keeping track of it".

Theoretically, that may be true, if you want absolute realism. However, you can also abstract this too, and just presume your scouts/recon units are working out ahead of the main body of forces for both sides. If you go with that, you could then come up with a table to determine the relative facings for each side, e.g. frontal contact, flank attack, rear attack, etc., etc..

"When an army moves into an area occupied by an opposing army a battle occurs. If the attackers win, the defenders are removed. If the defenders win the attackers stay in their original area".

In the Sci-Fi space combat boardgame, Imperium, forces that enter the same hex become aware of one another, and are assumed to be at long-range from each other to start. One side may opt to move away from combat, and cede the sector of space to their opponent, if outmatched. Otherwise, combat starts at long range, and then may transition to short range, if desired.

That could easily be done with naval gaming, aerial gaming, and land combat gaming as well. The faster side has the advantage, and option to close the range, or open it, much like those RN cruisers did when shadowing the Bismarck, during her ill-fated sortie into the Atlantic.

MajorB28 Sep 2015 2:20 a.m. PST

I think you've got a good idea going with area movement. Have you looked into Memoir '44? It might be adaptable to skirmish size. Just change "Panthers" to "cavalry".

Simpler to just use the ACW version of the M44 gamw "Battle Cry".

warhawkwind Inactive Member28 Sep 2015 9:23 a.m. PST

MajorB, Thanx, I didnt know about the Civil war edition.

Blind Wargamer Inactive Member28 Sep 2015 12:28 p.m. PST

Thanks, all. :)

A lot of these ideas are very interesting. THere's a company which has made "accessibility kits," for several board and card games. I wonder what they'd make of Memoir 44.

I'm not sold on needing to use miniatures exclusively. I feel like a lot of the aesthetics are lost on me, but the games which use them do seem to be the most visible aspect of a rather niche hobby. The name of this site definitely supports this view :)

That being said, I wonder if anybody has more info on soloing that doesn't require minis per se? Matrix games as a concept are interesting, and I feel like their solo potential is under explored. I was reading DBA last night, and saw reference to a few other ideas—tactical exercises without troops, etc. which I was wondering about. Is there a better place to ask about this kind of thing?

MajorB28 Sep 2015 1:47 p.m. PST

That being said, I wonder if anybody has more info on soloing that doesn't require minis per se?

Any game that doesn't require miniatures (i.e. any game that has the figures based in multiples) can be played solo. I have yet to find a game that I cannot play solo!

Matrix games as a concept are interesting, and I feel like their solo potential is under explored.

Yes, you can play a Matrix game solo, but personally I find it hard to come up with a third reason (!!!) so I find solo play a bit tricky.

I was reading DBA last night, and saw reference to a few other ideas—tactical exercises without troops, etc. which I was wondering about. Is there a better place to ask about this kind of thing?

A TEWT (Tactical Exercise Without Troops) is not really a game being based on the "staff ride" training technique. As such it would not work very well as a solo exercise since much of the value is the discussion about alternative options amongst the players.

Meiczyslaw Inactive Member28 Sep 2015 7:27 p.m. PST

If you want to disconnect even further from a map, there's always Up Front. It's a card game, and deals with the lack of a fixed board very well — you have terrain types at a location, keep track of the range between fire teams, and the occasional flanking maneuver.

Obviously, it assumes that the opponents start across from each other in a sector, but the concepts should be readily adaptable to similarly-scaled games. (The game is currently available on Wargame Vault.)

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2015 9:34 p.m. PST

You might want to check out Piquet's Theatre of War. Its a complete campaign system that's straightforward and not very complex. As with anything Piquet, its wide open to adding your own modifications to fit your personal expectations.

link

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.