Showing posts with label rules. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rules. Show all posts

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Munera Sine Missione - Update

Things have been quiet on this blog for a few days. But they haven't been quiet on the gaming front, as Victor and I have been thrashing out the latest set of changes to Munera Sine Missione. The changes are sufficiently radical for us to consider the next update, when it comes, to be a brand new version - Version 3.0.

So what can you expect to see?

Well, the core game is still basically the same, so rest assured that you'll still recognise the game of gladiator mayhem you all know and love. The biggest change we have made is to how Fatigue is managed. this had a knock-on effect into most of the core mechanisms, and gave us a chance to tweak and refine a few things there that weren't quite right. At present Fatigue is something a gladiator acquires randomly, and is a figure which is compared against their stamina to see if the gladiator is fresh, tired or exhausted. In the new version a gladiator chooses to acquire fatigue in order to gain extra actions. However instead of the fatigue total being compared against the current stamina, there are situations where the fatigue is cancelled and converted into stamina loss. In other words we have (i) made fatigue something a gladiator chooses to acquire and (ii) combined the effect of wounds and fatigue into one statistic. This opens up extra choices for gladiators, and makes the bookkeeping easier as well.

The new mechanism allowed us to change some of the Special Events, and also led to a method by which lighter gladiators can try to avoid damage by dodging. Where possible we have tried to use existing die rolls to drive any changes, rather than adding in new tests and checks. This means that the game still flows quickly and smoothly.

The recent optional rules for the referee and for gaining favour with the crowd have been made part of the core game, as we found they add significant colour and that we weren't ever playing without them.

As ever, there have been several tweaks to weapons in order to better depict a range of gladiators from all eras of Rome's history. Victor has put together a list of gladiators by historical era, including their equipment and opponents. But the game still allows you to quickly determine game stats for any figures you have, even if they aren't entirely historical.

The biggest addition will be the campaign rules. Victor and I have both developed a system for running a single gladiator through a career in the arena, and regular readers of this blog will know that I have a similar system which allows a number of players to run gladiator schools against each other. Neither system is that sophisticated, but we thought that the time had come to at least include them in the published rules.

I'm very excited about these changes, and think they greatly improve the game, whilst keeping its original flavour. And you'll be the first to know when we finally get around to publishing it.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Spandau and Lewis - Proper Release

I first started writing the game which would be known as 'Spandau and Lewis' back in 2008. Ever since then it's been in what I've always described as a 'Draft' status, as I constantly tinkered with the mechanisms. Well, having had it back out on the table this week, I finally decided to stop messing around, tidy it up and call it a release.

You can find it here:

Spandau and Lewis v1.0

There's a lot missing that I was planning to include. I still have notes for attacking ground troops (and their shooting back), AA fire, balloons and bombing, as well as a few more oddities. But what's in that document should be enough to get you flying and shooting with the aircraft of your choice. The sample aircraft lists at the back represent those I have i my own collection, plus a few I've used in scenarios I've tried out. It should be easy enough to extrapolate your own designs, but I will post a more complete list one day, since I have a pile of aircraft stats derived from those in the old Aces High boardgame.

As a bonus, here's a link to a thread by an artist called Peter Hill, who seems to specialise in WW1 air-warfare paintings. There's some interesting pictures in it, including this one of Alphonse Pergoud, who features in my previous post.

'Random WW1 Subjects' by Peter Hill


Sunday, 19 February 2017

More Dice-Based Initiative for 'Clobberin' Time'

When I posted the rules for switching Clobberin' Time to dice-based initiative the other day, I left out the necessary changes to abilities. I did it deliberately because, frankly, the whole post was already a bit long, and I didn't want to overload you.

So here are my very brief notes on the necessary changes and, as a bonus, a couple of extra abilities.

Ability Changes and Updates for Dice-Based Initiative

Existing Abilities

Adapt - Assign marker to opposing character whenever the character with Adapt is set to ready.

Boost - Only gives the extra dice if the character was activated on a 4 or 5.

Mind Control - If the character has a control marker on them, then the player with the marker can activate them as if they were one of their own characters

Outwit - If you are currently ready, you may declare your activation when an opposing character in range and line of sight declares theirs. You act on their roll instead of them. You may not take the activation of another character with Outwit unless you are a higher level than they are - R

Slow - If the character has been activated, then they may only be returned to ready at the end of a turn.

Quick - If this character is activated, they may be returned to ready on an initiative score of 5 or 6.

Tactics - If the initiative roll is not a double 1 or a double 6, then the side with the character with the highest level in Tactics may choose reroll their initiative die.

Loner - If you win initiative with a 2 or 3, then you must activate a ready character with this trait if one is available. If you have more than one Loner, then determine which one activates at random.

New Abilities

Egotistical - There may only be one Egotistical character on a team. If this side wins initiative with a 6, and has a character with this ability that has been activated, then the roll must be used to return the Egotistical character to ready.

Unlucky - The character is the source of more sub-plots than usual. They are affected by doubles which are less than, equal to or one greater than their level. If one greater, however, the level of the sub-plot is only equal to their level.


I have played no proper games this weekend so far, but have moved a few figures around just to test out the ideas, and essentially the system works. Nate has tried them out a little more comprehensively, and has posted some reports on his blog. He seems to think the initiative itself work, but that the sub-plots don't. This is OK; the sub-plots were an afterthought anyway, and the system doesn't require them, although I do like the idea of building his extra scenario wrinkles into the game via some mechanism, rather than just as part of the scenario design. Mostly because I'm a lazy scenario designer, and prefer the game to do the work if it can.

In other news, I've been busy painting a new HOTT army this weekend, one I printed a couple of weeks ago. There will be pictures of the completed army in due course, but here's some teasers of it on the printer.

And finally some pictures of figures straight off the printer, some of which have made it into the army, and some of which haven't.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Squares in 'Simplicity in Practice'

In a post on the Heretical Gaming blog, JWH was wondering how to incorporate squares into Neil Thomas's Simplicity in Practice rules, but doing so without actually changing formations (since the rules use single-base units) or using markers.

I suggested a couple of ideas in the comments, but having now played a couple of games and read through the design notes I think I have come up with something simple an workable.

The rules already penalise cavalry from charging infantry frontally, by giving the infantry a combat bonus. In addition only one unit may ever engage an opposing unit in melee. So I thought that I would work with these two factors.

So, my idea is this. Before melee is resolved, COI that have been charged in the flank by HC, DG or LC may make a roll to see if they can 'form square'. This succeeds on a 3+, and allows the COI to immediately turn to face the cavalry. However subtract 2 from the roll if the cavalry are eligible to receive support from at least one friendly ART or COI unit.

The rationale behind this is as follows. Cavalry are penalised if they attack COI frontally, so flank attacks become attractive. 'Square' basically allows the COI to avoid flank attacks and put the cavalry at a disadvantage. The roll covers whether the unit forms it in time. You could adjust it for unit quality if you like, but see below. However squares are vulnerable to enemy infantry and/or artillery, so I make the roll harder to achieve of the enemy cavalry is supported by such troops.

I did consider adding in a modifier based on how many DP the infantry unit has, but these are already factored into the melee calculation anyway. To some extent the rules for unit quality factor this in as well, so can be excluded from the roll on that basis.

I have tried to keep the rule, and the thinking behind it, in keeping with the original design parameters and the Neil Thomas Way of Doing Things. The next step is, of course, to try it out in an actual game.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Gladiator Testing

I've been running a few gladiatorial bouts this evening. MOAB is coming up in October and, once again, we will be running some games of 'Munera Sine Missione' on the Saturday. Over the last year or so Victor and I have been coming up with more tweaks and changes to the rules to make them even better than before, but they need some fine-tuning. I'd like to have a new version of the game available by MOAB, so testing is required.

What will you be seeing? Well, there will be some streamlining of the weapon definitions. Some of them are redundant, and others could do with a rewrite. The end result should see more consistency in how they work, and fewer special cases to remember.

We have also been looking at ways of toning down the effects of two of the criticals, either of which can pretty much end a fight straight away. We think we have a solution now, which balances the need for there to be some form of instant disaster (because it's fun) against games ending abruptly on a single die-roll.

Dirty tricks is another area we are working on. Your gladiators can already work the crowd to gain adulation, which then propels them to greater feats. But we also liked the idea of gladiators who cheat their way to victory, even though it earns the hostility of the mob and risks them being disqualified (or worse) by the referee.

There are a number of smaller tweaks ongoing as well, some of which you'll probably only notice by reading the rules carefully. But trust me, they'll be awesome.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Supanova and Clobberin' Time!

I was stupidly busy this weekend, with Supanova on Saturday and the Waterloo refight on the Sunday. But I did find time to pull together the various notes I'd been making regarding changes to the current draft edition of Clobberin' Time.

Some of the changes have been tested and, I'll freely admit, some of them haven't. But I have been excited to discover, in recent weeks, at least two other people playing these rules, and they have suggested ideas which I thought were worth introducing into rules and putting out there for further testing and discussion.

Draft 0.3 of Clobberin' Time is now available on my FREE STUFF page. In it you will find improved rules for lifting and throwing, new rules for knockback, optional rules for making use of the Jokers in activation and for engaging multiple targets and a number of new abilities - Boost, Regeneration, Tactics, Heavy and more. Get into that phone-booth, ditch your everyday identity and fight some villains. It's Clobberin' Time!

I mentioned Supanova above as well. Catherine and I had a grand day out there on Saturday, but I ended up taking no photos aside from our own cosplay.

Here's Catherine as Fireball XL5's Dr Venus:

And here I am as Crack Comics' 1940, Madam Fatal - Maybe a sweet little old lady ...

Possibly a daring crimefighter ...

But definitely a dedicated transvestite!

Now we've got to start thinking about costumes for next year.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

One Hour Wargames ECW Rules

Weeks ago I promised I'd post my One Hour Wargames variant for the English Civil War. Well here it is:

One Hour Wargames - ECW

The current version is still missing a few bits I have mentioned in my game reports, specifically the command and control rules. That's mostly because I'm not sure I've got them quite right yet, so am not willing to commit them to paper. But the game works OK without them.

Friday, 21 August 2015

One Hour Wargames - Great Northern War Rules

I have now added the rules I have been using for my Great Northern War games to my 'Free Stuff' page.

The 'Free Stuff' page is HERE

As ever, comments are welcome.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Recording Hits In The One Hour Wargame

In the simple rules in One Hour Wargames units can take 15 hits, then they're gone. Obviously you need some way of recording how many hits a unit has taken. Now when I've played the rules I've just used a piece of paper. After all, there's only a maximum of twelve units on the table at one time, so it's pretty easy to keep track of them even without labels - flag colour and horse colour help in most cases.

I was pondering a way of doing it without using paper today, though. Now if you follow this blog regularly you'll see that in games where units take small number of hits - five or less - I use small stones to mark them. I find that they're relatively unobtrusive (unlike dice, or counter with number on), and work regardless of period (unlike specific casualty figures, as nice as those are).

However for 15 hits I thought that the stones were a bit much. Until I realised that I have them in two colours ...

So, here's a couple of units from the South American Wars of Liberation, made up of a couple of elements each from my paper figures. On the left is a Venezuelan infantry unit which has taken three hits. The llaneros (cavalry) on the right have taken one hit. Easy.

Here's the cavalry again. My idea is to use the grey stones to record hits that are multiples of five. So you'd place up to four red stones behind a unit, then replace them with one grey when they take the next hit. So in this picture the cavalry have taken a total of seven hits - one grey and two red.

And now the infantry are in trouble - two greys and a red mean a total of thirteen hits, and that cavalry, still only on seven, is ready to charge ...

So with those lances levelled and glinting in the South American sun, we'll leave our sample units to their battle.

I think it's a pretty easy system to keep track of, and eliminates unnecessary table-clutter. The next time I try a game with units like this I'll give it a proper run-through.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

'See The Elephant' For The Great Northern War

I still haven't come up with a decent name for my Great Northern War square-grid rules, but I have finally posted the latest version to Google Drive.

You can download them here:

GNW Square Grid Rules v1.1

This is the version I used for the Poltava campaign game the other day, as well as the Charles S Grant scenarios. The biggest change is that rolls which aren't used for activating units must be used to rally units instead - in a turn a unit may either activate or rally, but not both.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Thoughts On 'See The Elephant'

The problem with throwing together your own rules is that you never stop thinking of ways of tinkering with them, always with a desire to improving them. What you get, of course, is not always what you desire; the tinkering doesn't improve, but actually damages the game.

And so it transpires, maybe, with 'See The Elephant'.

The rules I added in for troop quality are basically some I came up with a year ago for my Mexican Adventure games, and they seemed to work OK at the time. No troops fought better or worse than any others, but good quality troops were harder to score hits on and those of poor quality easier to damage. I bolted them into 'See The Elephant' as something worth keeping.

However the games I played over the weekend, in my pseudo-refight of Price's Missouri Raid, suggested that they may not be quite as perfect as I'd hoped. They may quality Cavalry rather too good. The problem is that there is a 50% chance of a single die roll inflicting a hit on an Infantry unit, and the rules for good quality troops effectively reduce this to 33%. The odds get more complex when you roll more than a single die, because quality only allows you to discard one die roll, but the principle holds. However Cavalry only have a basic 33% chance of being hit. True they make up for this by having fewer hits overall, but with the bonus for being good quality this drops to 17%. This makes the Veteran Cavalry I was using in a lot of the Missouri scenarios very hard to damage. I'd wondered about it at the time, but only worked out some of the numbers afterwards.

So I am wondering if I need to change the Good Quality bonus. I have considered, and even tested, alternative methods of inflicting casualties - in once case I came up with an idea which rewrote the entire combat mechanism from the ground up, but I quickly realised that was more flawed than the rule which inspired the rewrite.

I'm tempted now to actually go back to the original rule I used - that good quality troops get one more hit than other troops - so Elite Infantry take 5 hits and Elite Cavalry and Artillery take 4. With some kind of rally rules this may work.

As for rallying, one thing I have found with 'See The Elephant' is that games can sometimes turn on wild swings in activation rolls, with one army getting very few units actually doing anything for a couple of turns, whilst their opponent runs rings around them. I don't want the predictability of every unit acting every turn; for a start the combat is bloody enough with the limited activations that the game has. I have rules for rallying in the game, but a rallying unit must be activated and then do nothing. This rarely happens; it's generally better to shoot or attack, even when damaged, because the chances of rallying off a useful number of hits is pretty small. I have been looking at some method of free rallies, and today it came to me.

As before, a player rolls one D6 for every on-table unit. A die which scores 4 or more can be used to activate a single unit to move and/or fight. All units not activated get a rally attempt at the end of the turn, as described in the rules. This means that if you get a particularly poor set of rolls for activations there is a chance that some of the hits you've taken will be removed, rather than your units sitting around and getting shot to pieces, unable to respond or reply. 

Obviously this will keep units in the game slightly longer, and this may affect the game dynamics somewhat, but it's an idea I shall perhaps try out this weekend.

In summary:

(i) Veteran units take damage as normal, but can take one more hit than normal units of their type. Green units take one extra hit if any of the combat dice roll a '6'.

(ii) When rolling activation dice, those that score 4+are used to activate units, whilst the others are assigned to units that have not been activated, allowing them to make a rally attempt.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

See The Elephant

Over the last week I have been playing more square grid games, mostly based around scenarios in 'One Hour Wargames', but a couple of my own design. This lead me to refine, rework and, I hope, streamline the rules I've been using, both the basic American Civil War version, and the slightly more complex Great Northern War set

In terms of the ACW set, I have now taken my scribbled pencil notes and things that were drifting around in my increasingly overloaded brain and put them to paper. And, what is more, I have found a name for the rules.

So, Version 1.1 of my ACW square-grid rules is now available. I give you:

See The Elephant v1.1

What's different? Well, I have tidied up and organised the terrain rules into their own section, moved a couple of optional rules into the main text (since I was using them in every game anyway) and streamlined the combat procedure so that modifications are easier to apply in the order in which I think they should happen and in a way that's logical.

As a bonus, how about a scenario?

The 1864 Battle of Westport has defied me as a playable game for a long time (although I was 'presented' with a Prussian-Danish 1864 reworking of it as my final game at my UK wargames club before I emigrated), but I managed to strip it down to its bare essentials and stick it onto a chessboard to give me something that played out pretty well.

The Battle of Westport - 1864

If those links don't work, then you should be able to get hold of the goods by going to my Free Stuff page.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Peter and Charles

I like to name rules, as I feel that it gives them personality and something to get emotionally attached to. So, for now, my Great Northern War square-grid rules are going under the working title of 'Peter and Charles'. This may change.

Anyway, I have been considering tweaks and changes, and tried a few out today. Some of them are specific to the rules, whilst others are more part of the general mechanics and will be fed back into the, as yet untitled, American Civil War set.

So, what are the changes?

(i) I have been playing around with how to depict Poor troops, based on a comment that earlier Russian armies should have them. I agree with this, and have a means of factoring Poor troops into the rules. The original mechanism was that they suffered an extra hit if a Retreat was inflicted on them, but after a couple of games I have changed this such that a '6' inflicts an extra hit.  The aim in these rules is that quality doesn't make you fight better, but does make you more or less resilient.

I have changed the Russian army composition tables accordingly - all Infantry are now Poor, and the Veteran troops are regular Infantry. The Swedish tables remain unchanged.

A problem with this in the One Hour Wargames scenarios is that the scenarios are designed for fixed number of units. It is possible to adapt them for different numbers, but I'd like to be able to use them on the fly using the rolls on the army composition tables. Having an army made up of mostly Poor units does give the Russians a severe disadvantage. In 'ordinary' games, poor quality is often offset by larger numbers. To reflect this, when playing games using the OHW setup of six, four or three units per side, Poor Russian Infantry can take six hits instead of four. It's assumed there's more units packed into the square.

(ii) The Swedish Infantry charge is a little too strong at four dice. I have dropped it to three dice, but if any of those three dice score score a hit or retreat then you roll a bonus dice to hit. The end result is that most of the time you will get that extra dice, but not always. I may go back to the four-dice charge if I feel the extra effort required for this rules doesn't offset the slight drop in the infantry charge strength.

(iii) The rolls to hit are very much based on the odds on the pictorial dice in Battle Cry/Memoir '44. M44, for example, gives  1 in 2 change of hitting an infantry unit, 1 in 3 chance of hitting armour and only 1 in 6 of hitting artillery. This is offset, to some extent, by the variable number of hits the units take.

However cavalry and artillery, to my mind, still seemed to difficult to hit. So I have changed the combat table slightly.

On a roll of '2' a hit is scored on Infantry, as before. A roll of '2' inflicts a Retreat on Cavalry. A roll of '2' inflicts a hit on Artillery, but only in close combat. So now Artillery are more vulnerable in close combat (as they should be), Cavalry are more prone to running away (easier to do if you have a horse under you) and Infantry as as vulnerable as before.

(iv) The +1 square move for Cossacks is OK, but I have dropped it in favour of allowing them to make one diagonal move each time they activate. This is to more easily allow for the inclusion of skirmishing infantry further down the line, when I add in Turkish armies.

The pictures are of some of the test games I played today using these changes, and they seemed to go OK. I used a full four-base Maurice unit to depict the Poor infantry; they just fit into the square, and look suitable imposing. The changes seemed to hold up OK as well, but I'll try some more games later today or sometime tomorrow.

Monday, 29 December 2014

The Great Northern War Squared

In previous posts I have mentioned that I have fought some of the One Hour Wargames scenarios using my Great Northern War figures on a square grid. The rules I used are derived from the ACW ones I posted yesterday - indeed the principles are exactly the same. But there are a few changes in them to allow for more aggressive (and effective) cavalry charges, Swedish infantry attacks and the less mobile artillery.

Here are the rules.

As ever, comments and criticism are more than welcome.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Chessboard ACW

Over the last couple of years I have been playing around with square-grid games, some of them using mechanisms lifted from games such as Battle Cry and Memoir '44. Up until now I'd not really written the rules up in any form; bits of them appeared in various blog posts, but mostly they just floated around inside my head. But since I spent a lot of yesterday using them to try out scenarios in 'One Hour Wargames' I thought that it would be worth actually writing them down in a coherent, playable form, so people could see where I was coming from and, if they like, make use of them.

So here they are. No imaginative name, no frills. Games on a chessboard.

Square Grid ACW Rules

Any comments are more than welcome.

And, as a bonus, here's a game I prepared earlier. This is scenario 2 from 'One Hour Wargames' - Pitched Battle (2). The armies start on opposite sides of the board, all troops deployed. The winner is the side who controls the hill (I assumed the centre square) and the crossroads. The scenarios in 'One Hour Wargames' are very sparing on terrain, and this works OK for some of them. But for this game I decided to break up the battlefield a little, randomly placing a field of crops in each side's half of the battlefield. Crops block line of sight and provide cover from shooting. In a strange twist of fate, both fields ended up next to the objectives.

The armies deployed, Union at the bottom of the picture and Confederates at the top. Both sides rolled four Infantry and a Cavalry, with the Confederates getting Artillery as their sixth unit and the Union a Veteran Infantry.

Early moves saw the Union cover the crossroads, using the field as cover.

The Confederates seized the hill.

The Confederates did well for activations early on, and advanced on the crossroads with infantry and cavalry. The Union did less well, and spent their effort fighting back, failing to start their own advance on the hill.

The Confederates pushed past the crossroads, and took the field.

Only to lose it to a counterattack.

On the far Union right one of their infantry units was routed by steady fire from skirmishing Confederate cavalry.

Finally getting some decent activations the Union start their advance on the hill, their veterans leading the way.

The Union troops defending the crossroads, however, were under a lot of pressure.

The Union advance on the hill was stalling under artillery fire, although the veterans reached the cover of the field, ready to make their attack.

The Confederates finally captured the crossroads as the last Union unit on that flank ran..

Another Union unit was lost, as artillery fire from the hill proved too much for it.

The Union veterans, however, took the main part of the hill, although their position was precarious; two Confederate units were in a position to fire on them, and they only had one hit left.

They survived the fire - due to the veteran status allowing them to ignore certain hits - but were forced to retreat.

Up until now the Union cavalry had done nothing but remain in reserve, but it now made a bold thrust towards the crossroads, and ended up charging its Confederate counterparts.

The Union had reoccupied the hill with the veterans, and it was now the final Confederate move. A good series of combats on their part could see the Union cleared from the hilltop, and it being recaptured. However they rolled a single activation; there would be no coordinated assault.

The Confederates made a single bold attack up the slope, but couldn't dislodge the Union infantry.

The end of the game. The Union failed to activate anything on their last turn, so a final lunge at the crossroads by the cavalry didn't happen - the cavalry could have moved to close assault the infantry on the crossroads and if they had scored a retreat occupied the space themselves, winning the game.

So the battle ended in a draw, despite the Union only having two units left to the Confederates' five.

The truth is that the scenarios would adapt better on a 9 x 9 board, as a bit of fudging is required to fit the terrain onto one 8 x 8 (I divide each side up into sections of 3/2/3 squares if that helps). Indeed it would be easier to tweak movement distances and ranges and run them on a 12 x 12 board; that makes each square the equivalent of 3". If someone tries that before I do, let me know how you get on. I think six units a side would get a bit lost on it if each one only occupies one square.

I have played quite a few scenarios in 'One Hour Wargames' using my Great Northern War figures, also on a square grid. Here's how they looked - two 1" bases in a 2" square for each unit.

UPDATE - The rules I used for the Great Northern War games can be found HERE

My next job will be to write up the GNW variant. It works surprisingly well all things considered.
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