Help support TMP

"Area Movement proposal - Help Please" Topic

14 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

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Ruleset

Savage Worlds: Showdown

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

Small Storage Packs from Charon

When you only need to carry 72 28mm figures (or less)...

Featured Workbench Article

Building a Simple Data Set for Army Builder 3

Learning how to set up a new game system for use with Army Builder, the army design software from Lone Wolf.

Featured Profile Article

Instant Mix Epoxy

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian learns to pay attention to all of the details when buying two-part epoxy...

Current Poll

518 hits since 20 Dec 2020
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Last Hussar20 Dec 2020 5:30 a.m. PST

I'm looking for views/help on the following proposal. Please keep an open mind, because I don't think I've seen any game like this.

For many years now I have been tinkering with an idea for a Company level WW2 game. At the heart of it is a 'Delayed fire resolution' – When a shoot action is carried out, you don't roll the dice, you mark the number of fire points against the targets. When a unit activates the player declares what he is going to do, then rolls for the FP, with a hit number dependent on what he is trying (Move, 4+, Firing 5+, Hunker down 6+, etc) Any hits are rerolled for effect; 1=miss, 2-3, pin etc. Thus no-one know what state a unit is in, until it tries to do something – your firebase may well have put loads of fire in, but until you try the close assault, you don't know if you suppressed them.

A Base represents 3-5 men. Ground scale is approx 1:200 (the idea is you can use 6-10mm at the same as vertical scale, giving a view of what it really looks like). Base widths of 30mm, some measurements are in Base Widths, so you can eyeball command radius, rather than fiddle with mm (if it looks like it's in command, it is.)

I put all this in case it is relevant.

I need a movement system. Have range bands for weapons (however see below), but wasn't sure how far to allow a base to move. Then Friday my mind was off on a little wander (work is really quiet during CoVid), and was musing on what I'd read many years ago about Kingmaker board game, in that it had area movement – the easier the terrain, the larger the area, so you moved further for one movement, roads being long and thin, forests small etc.

And I wondered – could this work on the table top?

I am thinking 3 types nominally called at the moment "OPEN", "ROUGH", "DIFFICULT"
OPEN is between 20 and 30cm in diameter (but not necessarily square/circular, it could be a oval 22 x 29)
ROUGH is 10-15cm
DIFFICULT is 5-10cm
ROAD is 30cm long, 2-3cm wide

A movement would be from one area, to any point of an adjoining area. Vehicles can move multiple times (2? 3?) on ROAD, tracked vehicles can move twice in OPEN.

Where terrain is classed BLOCKING LoS, you can see in, but not through. This includes from Blocking terrain into other blocking terrain. Thus a large, dense wood would be a lot of 7cm approx patches. Where appropriate OPEN and ROUGH can be smaller (eg, an forest clearing).

If you think about it, this isn't so far removed from gridded systems. The idea is I want players to think about the actual process of commanding, not the metagame of 'If I move 7.5cm I can fire, but he can't'.

Addendum – Firing ranges.
While typing, I wondered if you could use it for ranging as well, for the same metagame reason. MG fire 3 areas, rifles 2, SMG 1. There could be a query over things like marshes – a large marsh of numerous DIFFICULT would halve the range, but you just say 'This terrain is DIFFICULT, but only counts as half or third an area for purposes of range. (I would say always a third – troops moving is DIFFICULT are easier to hit due to concentrating on footing as well).

As I said, the whole purpose of all of this is to stop the metagaming (the delay fire stops perfect knowledge – how do you KNOW the enemy is pinned until you close assault?). Coy Commander 'Lieutenant, get your men on the flank"… "Smithy, take your section into those woods." Nobody actually goes 'Well, its 185 yards across there, but if I stay in cover its 98, but I will move slower, lets do the maths…"


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2020 5:53 a.m. PST

I believe Megablitz had a firing system in which the target rolled the combat resolution dice and secretly recorded the results.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2020 6:01 a.m. PST

I find your ideas interesting.

Some board games use similar mechanisms that you might consider for inspiration, um "research":

GMT's The Last Hundred Yards uses delayed fire resolution. The designer is willing to share his ideas and the rules are on the GMT site.


Osprey's Undaunted series uses area movement.

YouTube has several engaging videos on how these two games work and can provide some food for thought.

Please let us know on how you progress!

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Dec 2020 6:48 a.m. PST

For the type of artillery spotting and fire you are discussing, cell based movement does not work well.

For a visually sighted system like this, Probability of Hit (Ph) and Effect of Hit (Eh) are a function of Quality of Targeting (Qt) (how well do I know exactly where to fire) and Accuracy of Weapon (Aw) (how well does the ordnance go where I wanted). Both of these degrade monotonically with range, which will not be proportional to number of areas crossed.

The longer the range, as with artillery, the worse the correspondence will be. Counting cells does not work well for this.

Qt and Aw also degrade WRT terrain specific conditions (obscurance) that is not proportional to distance. This is a perfect place for cells, since they replace granularity of rules and statistics with granularity of artifacts, as you describe above.

Both range and cells should be combined to give a good representation. Weapon Hit – Range Penalty – Obscurance Penalty = Effective Hit.

The combination also makes it easier to take elevation (particularly relevant for WWII artillery) into account. If I am bombarding troops in the woods, I can't see them well. But I may have better Ph and Eh if I am shooting at the same troops further away, but in the clearing behind the woods.

For movement, you have the same challenge with speed and hindrance (as I will call it) being proportional to and not proportional to distance, respectively. The cell transition problem can be illustrated with a 2 section straight road, moving from left to right.

If I start at the left of section 1, I can move to the right side of section 2. But I f start at the right of section 1, I can still only move to the right side of section 2. A difference of 30cm move. The distortion is increased when you move from an easy to a harder type of terrain.

This distortion is reduced as you reduce the size of the cells and proportionally increase the number of cells moved. So a 4 section road of 15cm stretches has half the incongruity. If you extend this argument, eventually you end up with thirty 1 cm sections, and a move of 30, which is basically the same thing as just measuring. In fact, this is how computer simulations handle movement – really tiny cells that eventually appear to be continuous.

Again, the distance-cell combo works well.

Two caveats:

(1) This works best with cells that have different obscurance and hindrance values. That allows you to distinguish between, say a level meadow clearing and a mud flat – different in movement, but equal to shoot across. To accommodate this with single names, you increase the number of terrain types geometrically.

(2) The stats may need to be unit dependent. Armour vehicles may be able to forge through thicket that slows down infantry. Infantry may be able to weave bakc and forth though large rocks that stop vehicles.

For the delayed damage – the challenge is you want the owner of the troops to know their current state, but not the opponent. With chits and roll later, the owner does not know. Rolling and recording secretly has social implications; an arbiter (a referee or application) can alleviate those.

Another option is to have a large set of chits with different damage values. Depending on the quality of hit, of which the shooter would have a reasonable knowledge, a number of chits are drawn, but the actual damage kept secret until conditions (surveillance, contact, etc.) have them revealed.

Chits do not have the same randomness qualities as die rolls. If the number of chit value series (how many sets of one through six do you have to represent a d6) is large compared to the expected number of draws, these differences are minimized.

All of the distortions discussed above are a function of how many elements (cells, draws/rolls) you expect to transit per order. If the number of elements is in the 3-4 range, the in most situations, the distortions will be low (there will still be outlier cases where the outcome "does not make sense").

One last bit – the metagame element for cells is no different than it is without them. The player is still accounting for specific conditions of the artifact, no matter how they are implemented. I've only seen one instance where playing the metagame, while not impossible, becomes untenable for most players across the entire surface of play (not completely at all times).

Last Hussar20 Dec 2020 7:03 a.m. PST

Thanks – isn't 'Undaunted' (I assume you mean 'Normandy' and 'North Africa' squares in a hex pattern? With mine the areas are irregular, both in size and placement. I think the closest comparator would be Crossfire, with it's unlimited movement.

As I said, I'm trying to take away the metagame – the mechanics – from player decisions. Men will do what you tell them, unless they have been under fire, when they might do what you tell them, depending how risky it is.

I really need to get my 10mm WW2 back from my son to test them, I don't have any obvious proxies.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2020 8:06 a.m. PST


That sounds great! Sorry but I wish I had a clue what you were talking about. I have a hard enough time figuring out if I want to roll a 6 or a 1. Maybe that's why I don't write rules.

Last Hussar,

Undaunted uses off-set squares.

In a similar manner to Crossfire it may not be important that the areas are irregular nor that clear areas may be larger than areas containing important terrain features. In fact it may turn out to be desirable.

The Last Hundred Yards uses markers that indicate the probability of a unit receiving damage at the time of the shooting(s). The damage isn't assessed until all shooting and moving are complete. I'm not explaining it very well but it looks intriguing as explained in much clearer terms by the author.

A little play testing using cardboard or plastic proxies might be useful to try some of your theories. That is until the troops return.

Last Hussar20 Dec 2020 8:48 a.m. PST

Artillery isn't something I have yet considered (on purpose). These are company level games. It will probably be more traditional game mechanism where used.

I see the point on the road (hence I want to test them) – As we are talking country roads, they can be called boundaries if crossing them, unless there is a reason not to – eg bocage.

I didn't think to write it down above, but linear terrain may just be a boundary (no cover), or give cover, or slow movement (you cross, but must stay next to it), or both.

Big Red – Offset, that's the word I was after, but you can see why I think hexagon!

Last Hussar20 Dec 2020 9:08 a.m. PST

Further to last this is a response I have just given on another forum

[Yes,] I see woods as being multiple areas. Where type of terrain is 'blocking', such as trees, you can fire into or out of but not through so if you have

Field Wood1-Wood2-wood3,

you can fire from or across the field into Wood 1, but not Wood2. Someone in wood 1 can fire out into or beyond the field, or into wood2, but not wood3.

Someone on TMP pointed out that crossing roads is really slow I've sorted that now I think.

Under the 3 area range idea MGs in the example would have a range of 60-90cm across the open (depending on the layout of the areas) Now that is only 180m, and pedants will point out MG34 had a 3500m range. But then I found this

"In the early 1950s, the American Operational Research Organization (ORO) compared British AORG WWII studies of the European Theater and ORO studies of the Korean War and found:

The agreements of the two independent studies is striking. For attack and defence in European actions, it was found about 80 percent of effective rifle and LMG fire takes place at less than 200 yd and 90 percent at less than 300 yd, according to the estimates made by the men interviewed. About 90 percent of LMG fire was at less than 300 yd."

The '3' area was an initial idea I chucked out while typing, I can make it longer, I'll check what I wrote in cm. Its a bit like tank ranges in Modern spearhead most of them outdistance actual spotting range. If you walk across much of western Europe the chance of you having LoS to see someone 400m away is pretty low!

Decebalus20 Dec 2020 10:06 a.m. PST

Nothing new under the sun.

Crossfire has something similar. You can move as far as you want, but are stopped, if you encounter any sort of terrain. (Crossfire is 20 years old, but so innovative, you should take a look.)

Realtime wargames has some rules, that do exactly what you are trying to do (if I understood it). Every terrain piece (open terrain can be a terrain piece too) is an area. You move from one area to the next. In the end it is an area boardgame, that looks like a miniature table.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2020 10:27 a.m. PST

One interesting game with area movement our group plays is "Of Armies and Heroes" by Genesha Games.

"The tabletop is divided into
patches of terrain or geographical
features. Each of them is an area. A
hill, a castle, a village, a forest, a
cultivated field, the eastern and the
western banks of a river, are all
examples of areas. Long terrain like
a road or a river is divided into
sections by bridges, fords, or milestones.
Every area has a stacking
limit (SL) the maximum
number of stands it can contain.
The SL is 4 for very rough terrain, 8
for rough terrain, and 16 for clear.
An average table will have at least 15
areas but may have 48 or more,
depending on the scenario. Movement
is by area. Area movement
makes for a faster game and avoids
geometry problems like calculating
angles of impact or doing errors in

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2020 10:53 a.m. PST

I like fire resolution following movement, though you'll have a little trouble working out how far from their objective some of the attacking troops go to ground.

As for areas for fire and movement, you seem to have reached a point at which it would be easier to go to straight grid. Range is a specified number of uniform squares or hexes, but movement through some costs more than movement through others. Just because Avalon Hill did it that way doesn't mean it's wrong.

RudyNelson20 Dec 2020 11:06 a.m. PST

Area movement does not require range grids. A unit a unit base will often have mixed weapons since you conducting fire team or squad bases. You need to make it as simple as possible.
They can fire into an adjacent area or through an area into the next area. As pointed out above terrain in an area will affect movement, make it harder to hit the target, limit Line of Sight to an adjacent area.
Ranges and ground scale are more hex or square grid concepts.

DesertScrb20 Dec 2020 12:44 p.m. PST

Bobgnar, the title is Of Armies and Hordes by Ganesha Games: link

UshCha21 Dec 2020 2:11 a.m. PST

So thinking in text (not out loud).

The groundscale is 1/200. (1mm table represents 200mm real world) That means your typical 6ft by 4 ft board is 240m by 360m.

Now if we take say a Bren Gun The US description of UK equipment published late and hence after the war says the Bren is no more effctive closer than 400m to the enemy.

On that basis on such a small table the Original Sensible Crossfire approach of unlimited ranges seems sensible provided there is always some blocking terrain, a sort of pre-requisite for crossfire to work sensibly.

Artillery is never going to feature, danger close is around 200m if you are moving so really onless one side is well dug in then artillery is either all or nothing. Your board is very close to a platoon sized target anyway.

Movement speed – Infantry 2.8 mph (me walking nearly flat out for 2 hrs) is about 1.25m/sec. So walking allong the long edge takes a bit under 5 min. If the terrain is sensible you will never go that far before something goes wrong. Therfore It seems to me an unlimited movement per "turn" is sensible, If sombody shoots at you you may not get there or will go somewhere safer. Vehicals, the LAW 72 manual notes you will not normally see vehicles doing more than about 15 km/hr or about 4m/s so with starting and stopping, proably in such tight terrain, which to be honest is wildly unsuitable for vehicals, generally unlimited movement aross the table seems plausible.

On that basis the key is not so much moving as controlling movement. The Platoon commander needs to keep most of his men in contact to co-ordinate movement. That may be the limiting factor. Maybe you should look not at terrain but how many orders he can give. Its easy to wave the whole platoon to move out if all can see or hear him. Much harder if they are out of sight due to terrain, smoke (deliberate or otherwise) or ear shot due to distance or gunfire.

So do whatever you want, but if plausibility is what you want, hopefully the above helps get a grip on the situation you are modelling.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.