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"Where Do I Begin ..?" Topic


17 Posts

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712 hits since 18 Apr 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 2:57 a.m. PST

For those of you who recognize the lyric quoted in the title, congratulations. I guess.

But for scenarios, how far apart do you like to start forces?

For me it is 1-2 moves by each side outside max engagement range.

I like this because players are constrained by the initial conditions given to them by history (the scenario), but have a little flexibility. If one side decided to really try to change things, they can probably get three or four moves before engagement range. If both sides do, there is usually enough room for a few rounds of cat and mouse maneuver.

So … a little option initial maneuver, but pretty much right into conflict.

irishserb Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 3:57 a.m. PST

It depends completely on what genre/period we are playing, and on the type and purpose of the scenario. There is no preconception (on my part) that every or most game(s) should start out any particular way.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 5:21 a.m. PST

Around the limits of the longest ranged weapon. Just in or out depending on how they line up their forces.

X42

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 5:23 a.m. PST

There is no one size fits all answer as Irish points out.

Some times you want to see if you can do better with a given deployment than history.

Some times the goal is to come up with a better deployment.

Are we given free deployment or not?

With only 1-2 moves in many games that leaves no interesting decisions. I may have to decide what formation to use to take the hill, but I have no purview to ignore the hill and concentrate on the orchard.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 6:01 a.m. PST

For a convention game or one at the FLGS where time is an issue, get them stuck in as quickly as possible and keep the action going.

For a more leisurely gaming situation, a move or two or maybe even three if time/space allows as OP describes.

Maybe I should have just said irishserb, x42brown and Extra Crispy +1.

Old Wolfman18 Apr 2019 6:52 a.m. PST

Wargaming means never having to say,welll…. you do the math. ;^)

Decebalus18 Apr 2019 8:03 a.m. PST

If you have fast rules, a small army and a big table (for example DBA on a 180*240 table), it is very interesting to let the armies march to their point of engagement. You will try to have the frontline at a specific point, but will you get there?

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 8:12 a.m. PST

I ran a fantasy siege game a while back. The attackers had two Siege Towers, and two Battering Rams. They also had Trebuchets, and Catapults. My intent was for them to run, full speed, to reach the walls ASAP. The Towers and the Rams had movement rates of 6" and 3", respectively. If they ran full speed, they would reach the walls by Turn 4 and Turn 6…

The delay in reaching the walls, was to give the defending team members options before the wall fight began. They took advantage of these opportunities, as expected.

The player running the attacking general, decided to soften up the enemy with artillery, before advancing… We played 12 Turns: the Towers barely reached the walls, but the Rams never reached the walls! They were really a distraction, as it turned out -- or table dressing/eye-candy, or, at best, a psychological weapon against the defenders.

The real disappointment was that the attacking general's two other teammates, had nothing to do, for the bombardment phase, which lasted two hours… It ruined one player's interest in fantasy gaming, altogether.

There are many variables involved in each unique game situation. It depends upon your players, your scenario, and your goal, as a scenario designer.

I had expected the attacker to rush forward… When he took to bombardment, wasting Turn, after Turn, I was deflated. I noticed his teammates boredom, and disappointment, but there was little I could do, without being quite heavy-handed, over-ruling the designated "commander".

Design your scenarios based upon your players' styles. Set up the scenario, accordingly, to achieve your desired scenario outcome (I wanted a wall fight, not a drawn-out bombardment game). Even if you brief your players, instructing them to rush forward (I stated the attacking general has already conducted severe bombardment, and it was time to rush forward…), they may ignore your instructions completely. Bear in mind that your players will likely see it differently than you, and they will often do something you did not anticipate… Cheers!

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 8:51 a.m. PST

I always enjoyed incorporating pre-battle manuevers onto the battle table.

I like units to have to move into line of sight before they start blasting away at the enemy.

I always cracked up at 40k games at my local store where both sides lined up in a single file line in sight of eachother and then just yelled "go" like a demolition derby.

emckinney18 Apr 2019 8:56 a.m. PST

Depends on how many turns the game should last?

Oberlindes Sol LIC18 Apr 2019 9:15 a.m. PST

I agree with what everyone else has said, that is, "it depends".

Stryderg18 Apr 2019 10:03 a.m. PST

I got to play a game that was being tested by Larry Brom. Basically, each side deployed at the table edge. Then rolled secretly for movement and jotted that number down. Did that 3 or 4 times, until everyone thought they had the movement distance to reach the enemy or where they wanted to be. Then everyone displayed their numbers and moved each amount per turn. Led to some pretty quick movement and decisions until everyone got into weapons range. Then everyone was in weapons range…

Russ Lockwood18 Apr 2019 3:14 p.m. PST

Start with the objectives and pretend no enemy are on the table and units move full. How many turns will it take for the lead unit or units to reach the objectives? Then figure out how many turns you can do in an hour. Then figure out how many hours you have to game.

This, of course, assumes units CAN move full and don't have any dice rolls for movement/non-movement.

If a complete turn (both sides do everything in the turn sequence) takes a half an hour and you have three hours, then setting up a move or two apart makes sense. If a complete turn (both sides do everything in the turn sequence) takes a half an hour and you have all day, then you can start farther apart for more maneuver possibilities.

The main point is not to put objectives so far away that units cannot reach them with full movement in the time allotted. If in doubt, edge 'em closer. :)

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2019 8:09 p.m. PST

Wherever the scenario has them start.

UshCha19 Apr 2019 10:45 a.m. PST

There is no ideal distance. in an urban area everybody could be hidden within a few meters of each other. On an open battlefield you may want to be a good couple of km's apart. If your rules are any good the scenario should set the boundary conditions not the rules.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2019 12:40 p.m. PST

etotheipi:

For me it is 1-2 moves by each side outside max engagement range.

I like this because players are constrained by the initial conditions given to them by history (the scenario), but have a little flexibility. If one side decided to really try to change things, they can probably get three or four moves before engagement range. If both sides do, there is usually enough room for a few rounds of cat and mouse maneuver.

So … a little option initial maneuver, but pretty much right into conflict.

Extra Crispy

With only 1-2 moves in many games that leaves no interesting decisions. I may have to decide what formation to use to take the hill, but I have no purview to ignore the hill and concentrate on the orchard.

Russ Lockwood

Start with the objectives and pretend no enemy are on the table and units move full. How many turns will it take for the lead unit or units to reach the objectives? Then figure out how many turns you can do in an hour. Then figure out how many hours you have to game.

There are two issues here that have nothing to do with historical practices or 'what you want', though I agree, it all depends, mostly on the designer.

The two issues are:

1. How far a unit can move on the tabletop and the usual designer solutions, and

2. How to represent the attrition aspects of long range/artillery fire when units historically could move pretty fast. [Infantry 2 to 3 miles an hour]

The solution to the first issue is to make units historically very slow so they don't scoot across the table in one turn, and then justify it with 'well, there was a lot of hurry-up and wait' and 'lost orders' arguments.

This creates the problem with slow units taking forever to get into action. For example, in Snappy Nappy, the units move very slowly. If you play the Austerlitz scenario you will find that 1. Distances have been skewed, shortening them and 2. players can not recreate the actually moves made by the French and Austrians. The entire battle runs one to two hours slow--at best. Units are moving less than one mile an hour.

Solution? Have the scenarios set up units very close. For instance, in Regimental F&F almost all scenarios have initial placement of units one move or 300 yards from the enemy. This ends up having units able to move @ half a mile an hour.

As Extra C. notes… most of the interesting decisions have been made and it is a slogging match, nothing left but to dive in…which is how a lot of tabletop wargames end up being…if the opposing sides reach each other.

Russ has mentioned the need for slow units so artillery can have the attritional effect they did originally. I am not sure whether Russ explained that in the designer's notes or an email to me.

Rick Priestley has made this unit speed/weapons ranges into a formula:

M = Tabletop width divided by 8. [T/8]
For Rick, T is normally 48."

So, movement and ranges:

slow units= M/2 Short range weapons = M
Standard units = M [6"] Standard Range = 2M
Fast Units = 2M Long Range weapons = 3M+

Now, neither the movement rates or weapons ranges have anything to do with reality or historical evidence… it is just the simplest way to handle the table top limitations… and now it is a convention: typical Movement distance is 6-9" regardless of the period.

Designers fiddle with the ground and time scales, but then end up with 6" to 9" per move… or less on smaller tables… base widths… Oh wait, often it is 3" bases with a 2B movement distance.

Little attention is given to how fast historical units
moved. It just complicates things.

UshCha19 Apr 2019 11:49 p.m. PST

Perhaps the first system (so NOT MINE) that broke this dreadfull mould was DBM for regular troops. The improvement was stunning alloweing interesting re-creations of historical battles. These had far better limitations, but again they come at the price of requireing more thought in deployment and not repeating the conventions realy unchanged from Featherstone.

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