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Re: (TFT) TFT wargame ideas --> Discussion of Mark's stuff

On Thu, 2006-03-30 at 08:37, Mark Tapley wrote:
> >  ...  .  Unless you make
> >the wargame REALLY complicated most of the
> >fine effects that you want your party to
> >give will just wash out.  ...
> I'm hoping it need not be *too* complicated. Certainly it would be 
> possible to make much of the "chrome" optional in the basic game.

  Very true, but too many optional rules
don't help that much if the cool part of
the game can be found in them.  If you
NEED the optional rules, then they are
not really optional.

  Having said this, I rather LIKE games
that have a few teaching scenarios where
you can have fun while learning subsets
of the rules.

> For example, have several categories of magic for each unit. Ratings 
> in each category for the party would depend on which spells and how 
> many spells the wizards have.
> Information Magic (depends on Far Sight, Trance, etc.)
> Tactical Magic (Teleport, Trip, Drop Weapon, Rope, etc.)
> Protective Magic (Fresh Air, Blur, IQ (disbelieves) etc.)
> Summoning Magic (Illusion, Summon 7-Hex Dragon, etc.)
> Attack Magic (Missile Spells, Fire, Curse, etc.)
> Chemical/Alchemy (Number of throwable potions carried)
> There would be similar ratings for non-magical attributes:

  I like the idea of having several categories
of magic.  But how to show this on a small
cardboard counter?  Maybe every counter has
a minimum magic rating (This unit has a rating
of 'E' or BETTER for all magic categories) so
if your squad has a wizard who covers an area
the unit is weak in, then the whole unit 

  Another possibility is every unit gets an
extra chit that record's that unit's magic.
However I feel very leery of anything that 
requires every unit to have info chits...
> Mobility (Running, adjMA, Swimming, Climbing)
> Protection (average hits stopped by "front line" half of party)
> Ranged Attack (Missile Weapons skills, missile weapons)
> Attack Value (Average hits/attack)
> Awareness (Acute Hearing, Alertness, etc.)
> Tactics (Tactics, strategy, common language, Diplomacy)
> Healing (Physicker, Master Physicker, carrying first aid gear)

  Same problems as magic but more so...

  Also military abilities should be mentioned.
Moral, Intelligence, Training, Organization,
Initiative (in the leaders), Quality of NCO's,
Quality of Leaders, Communications, Ranged
Weapon's Fire, Armor, Size of Unit, etc.

  The thing is that there are LOTS of ways of
distinguishing units, and they all require 
storing the info on the counter, plus rules
to make it work.

> A *normal* game unit would have mediocre values in each category, 
> pre-assigned on the counters (or just standardized for a unit of that 
> nation).

  Yes.  Some armies like to have lots of normal
units and a few elite units (Russians and Germans
in WWII for example).  This would work well in
this game if we have most counters being standard
with a few requiring more information, etc.

> The counter could have a finite set of status states like "Combat 
> ready", "weakened", "broken", "routed", and "slaughtered", maybe 
> denoted by a colored marker placed on top of the counter. At the 
> conclusion of the battle, there'd be a table that shows effects on 
> individual characters based on final unit status for a party unit.

  I feel nervous about any rule that needs an
extra counter for every counter...

> The Combat Results Table would be arranged so that each attack would 
> result in a reduction of <n> steps on the status line, where <n> is 
> determined by a die roll, and probably by some "standard" extenuating 
> factors like units combining 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 in an attack, terrain, 
> etc.

  SPI had a bunch of games with step losses.
Gringo! (by GMT) uses a separate counter for
every unit to show its reduced ST as it wears
away in combat.  This is a real advantage of
the block games: They very naturally handle 
up to 4 levels of step losses.

> For normal game units, that'd be it. ...
> That kind of approach would condense the chrome down into a table or 
> list of modifiers, which would generally be ignored unless a party 
> was present. Or unless some highly specialized units were present, 
> e.g. Wood-Elven scout units (high values for Information Magic, 
> Awareness, Mobility, Ranged Attack)

  One idea I've been playing with is that each
unit has a card with many factors which give
modifiers in several categories.  Many of these
modifiers would affect a few broad rules and 
the modifiers would simply add.  However, any
rules that require every unit to have a off
board card make me feel nervous...

  To make this a bit better, an army would have
standard units and a handful of more elite 

> Blocks, with stickers for the sides? Include a few sheets of 
> laser-printer-safe sticker blanks, and a CD of .pdf's of various 
> things the players might want to add to their blocks?

  Well true, I have made new units for Wizard 
Kings by hand drawing some units on sticky
labels.  But I had to spend some $$ on extra

> >   I have more to write but I'm out of time
> >right now.  Any comments?
> A game that can model a battle with say 200 on a side, with unit size 
> around 10, would be manageable, I'd think. 

   Are you saying 10 people / counter?

> If it could be expanded by 
> buying two sets and placing them side-by-side (and so on), it could 
> scale up that way. Still gets to be a hassle for a really big battle, 
> I guess.

  Any game that wants you to buy many sets to
get enough units for a big battle makes me
nervous (but rich if it is a big hit)...

  The thing is that there is a increase in
complexity as the unit size shrinks.  The 
WWII division level games were often quite
simple as one division can do pretty much 
what ever another division can do.

  Then operational level games like Panzer 
Blitz came out.  They needed a LOT more rules
to handle special abilities of the smaller
units.  Suddenly artillery was not 'rolled 
up' into the division.  You needed an 
attack and defense value per counter because
some units were far better at dishing out 
damage than taking it.  (In most division 
level games one combat factor could be used
for both attack and defense.)  Suddenly you
needed rules for terrain and hills because
terrain affected different units differently.
Some units could do indirect fire, etc.

  Advanced Squad Leader has rules for groups
of 10 men, individual leaders and single
tanks and support weapons and it requires a
3 ring binder of rules.

  Some games (RPG) had each counter represent
one person, and they had elaborate rules for
what individuals could do.

  I think that if you want to have most 
counters deal with 10 people, you would be 
better playing out a part of the battle that 
the PC group is individually involved in.  I 
was seeing this game as one where most counters 
represented from 40 to 70 men.  That would 
allow the GM to handle battles which are too
big to comfortably handle on the Melee level.

> http://www.teachingatozcatalog.com/index.php?cPath=196_203&osCsid=1bd21e6ccbf529b3ab1b26c7b416e786
> These (Cuisenaire rods) have very good geometry and a nice feel to 
> them, but are pretty small to have pictures on the sides. And they 
> are not cheap.

  In my grade 1 or 2 class we had some of these
rods, but I do not recall ever seeing a 2*2*1 
block (nor do I see such a block on the web site
you gave).  If they did make such a block, they 
would be smaller than Columbia Games' blocks 
but pretty close to the ones in GMT's Europe 
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