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"Map Movement game to tabletop battles?" Topic

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Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2021 10:16 a.m. PST

So I recently learned of the Dragonlance Drungar boxed set of rules expansion for 2e BattleSystem. Being a 2e BS hardcore fan, I found a copy of the booklet (no map poster, no box), on e-Bay, and I bought it. Upon reading through it, I discovered a plethora of official expansion rules, and more RPG magic spells converted to 2e BS rules systems, which I think I already had, from the Internet. However, there are plenty of other new rules.

What I really was motivated to buy it for, however, are the map movement rules for a campaign system. It comes with a Dragonlance Campaign surrounding Drungar, which I am not familiar with. It addresses how to adapt their Drungar example to your own campaign setting, and this is what intrigued me.

One of my players, in my 2e AD&D RPG game is building a castle in a large valley. He pushed out a sizeable tribe (kingdom, actually) of Hobgoblins, who were forming an alliance with Hill, Frost, and Fire Giants, in the surrounding mountains. There are other enemies who are helping the Giants and the Hobgoblins (using them as pawns) to help crush the Humans setting up shop in the valley. The campaign system is 4-day Turns of troop movements, plotted on a map by each side. When Units meet, they may/may not precipitate a battle for the tabletop. I love the concept, but I'm not sure it will work…

My historical gaming group has done such map games, before, to generate tabletop battles, using the Napoleonics period armies. It lasted a very short time, as the map game was just not that much fun. They decided to just skip the map game and play out the tabletop games.

As a DM, I like the map game, as it requires players to manage their troops, and their resources. Consequences of battles have lasting impact on future battles. I'm just afraid the map game will not work out in the long run. I cannot see us playing the map game, then, on the same day/session, putting together a tabletop game based on the map game meeting of forces. I'm not accustomed to putting together tabletop games that quickly! Hmmm… I need to dwell on this for a while.

What really impresses me is that the presented map game can easily be adapted to any genre: space games, modern land and sea battles, black powder games, medieval tech games, or even cave men! It can also be adapted to sea sailing ship games. To be honest, I could see using this map game for an Army Men campaign, as well. What happens in one battle, will affect the troops/army in the next battle. Managing troop resources does matter. While I like that, I just don't know if it will play out well, with the players playing the map game. Conceptually, I love it; execution wise, I think it will be still-born. Ugh! Cheers!

Col Durnford25 Nov 2021 6:12 p.m. PST

You could do the map element with email the week before the game. For my own enjoyment, I have 2mm figures for all my ACW and colonial forces and have used them for map games.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2021 7:51 a.m. PST

The tricky part is always translating map to tabletop. I'd recommend a pre-made map for every possible battlefield, and for same-day work, battlefields made from standard components for quick assembly.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2021 8:01 a.m. PST

Excellent time saving ideas, robert piepenbrink! The author of the Drungar book shows four basic table layouts, sans terrain, to help with troop deployments. Your suggestions take it even further. Thank you! Cheers!

Thresher0126 Nov 2021 4:06 p.m. PST

Makes sense.

I was thinking about using boardgame hexmaps and terrain as the jumping off point for various encounters.

It certainly would make battles more interesting, and permit more flanking maneuvers, as opposed to repeated frontal attacks only, battles.

UshCha27 Nov 2021 11:59 a.m. PST

We went a diffrent way. We found a number of issues. Moving from a real map to the tabletop in a plusible manner for us proved not possible. Drawing all possible tables can be very tedious as many will not be used. What we did find is that at least for moderns but aso for many periods invasions/wars even in the 1680's in the UK, they went down the main trunck routes as did much even of Gulf War 2. We also found that there are limitations even for us who have lots of terrain about what can be produced on the tabletop.

So we drew a map of connected wargames tables. A virtual map in some cases and in our test event just a couple of routes on an 8 by 6 tabl as shown below


This is a map for a small game involving a re-enforced Battalion. The objective of the attacker is to start at the left lower edge and exit the lower right edge. The thick black lines represent internal table edges that are impassible. In this case you have two routes to the exit. The density of the terrain is very high in these games so units need to be replaced due to losses, ammunition, fuel and fatigue. Now this essay in the carft, fits on 1 8ft by 6ft board. Later games used a virtual board 16ft by 6ft. Again by carefull design you cam limit the viewing ranges to that of the available table so that you can always fit the battlespace on the table.

You could add boreing open bits of terrain, like in the real world were typically neither side would want to fight. We found at least for moderns adding lengths of terrain added little as nobody wants to fight over these sections and the real time eater is not, moving down the road in coloumn but the deploying to line of battle, and back again. Again the nature of this system is that all this is covered without extra rules.

It does give variations in flanks and routes even at this level. Deployment of assets is a key issue as even as the attacke you can't attack on two fronts at once.

Fell free to ask questions.

Now you could say this is no diffrent to an episodic campaign that moves from table to table. However we found that in such a situation much of the last ditch stand type battles did not happen as the game ended at a finite bit of terrain. In the cointinious table there is more flexibility (or more added interesting confusion) as neither side has to deploy on exactly this or that table. This makes it much more challengeing for both sides to decide where to deploy and where to reconoiter. In a more complex table the alternative routes assd that element of game throry as to where and when to strike. The great gift to this sort of game is a camera so you can record where the game ended each week so its easy to re-set up each time. In the case even of this game we only ever set up those sections of the table we actually were likely to use, speeding set up and take down time.

This is not a conventional approach but if it spurs you on to more thought about what you want out of a canpaign IN DETAIL whre the devil is it will have done its work.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2021 6:48 p.m. PST

SmugMug requires a login. Appreciate the TMP write-up though. Cheers!

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