I do a lot of my game design in my head. Wrestling with how things will work / play / look. But with some things it helps to write down the challenges I’m facing. Here is my latest design quandary. With my Musing on Free Form and Area Movement and my subsequent thinking about big base sabots, I’m back to thinking about ground scale in Deep Battle, my draft rules for Operational level wargaming. Should I go for a tight fit, regular or loose? WARNING: This is a very abstract discussion; do not read if ground scales either terrify or bore you.
Summary: Good game. Rules were simple but played well. The scenario needs tweaking as favours the defenders too much. And that contributed to Chris’s victory as the Germans.
Although Tilly’s Very Bad Day is for the Thirty Years War, I’m thinking of expanding the system into other periods. The Ancients, Medieval, and Gunpowder settings all look suitable. I’ve already experimented in the South American Wars of Independence with Bolivar’s Very Bad Day. I’m looking for inspiration so in this post I explore the attributes assigned to units in Tilly’s Very Bad Day.
Summary: After losing a general in the preliminary bombardment, Parliament fought well but could not break the Royalists within the game limit. Royalist victory at the “Battle of Chalgrove Field”.
Summary: Much better game. The shield wall clash was realistic but took too long to resolve. Battles on the wings were interesting and had an impact in the
Vincent Tsao and I have been playing around with a version of Twilight of the Sun King for the early medieval period in Britain. I started with a rewrite of my original 2001 version of Twilight of the Sun King and incorporated ideas from Vincent’s Battle of Hastings variant. The result is called “Twilight of the Britons: Fast play rules for the English invasion of Britain”. I got Adam and Chris to give an early draft a go. So early I’d only written the rules that day, so isn’t wasn’t so good.
Summary: Too much dark age shield wall stodge. Not enough heroics. But a glimmer of hope for the rules.
Chris, Adam and I had a go at Live Free or Die. The scenario was Alternative Chacabuco so a Liberators game using my Live Free or Die house rules for Big Base Liberators. Chris was the Patriots, Adam the Royalists and I was rules interpreter.
Summary: The game system defeated us. After hours of play we were no where near a conclusion so we gave up.
Andrés Ferrari suggested I have a look at Live Free or Die: Tabletop Battles of the American Revolution. Not because I play the American Revolution, but because he thought these could be adapted to the South American Wars of Liberation. So I got the rules and now I have to figure out how to play them with my kit. The big question are my Big Bases but there are a few other points worth touching on so, where appropriate, I compare Live Free or Die to Liberators QPR because this is what the scenarios refer to. Using the concepts discussed here I have I’ve also written a Alternative Chacabuco Scenario for Live Free or Die.
Summary: Good game. Infantry slog felt like an Napoleonic style infantry fight. Columns pushing through lines in a bloody and extended battle Cavalry fight was brutal and heroic, more Lord of the Rings than South America, and took too long.
Following our first play test I thought I’d make some tweaks to my Small Kircholm scenario and try it again. In this play test the Hussars are just Superior Horse and there are five Hussar units, not six. Chris bravely took the Swedes for a second time, hoping to benefit from his experience in the first game. Adam took the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In Tilly’s Very Bad Day terms this is a small game on a small table with small armies.
Summary: A really good game. A better game balance than the first version. Both players played well with particular credit to Chris for quickly compensating for the crippling Swedish deployment. But the Poles took the day, again.
I’m still keen on playing with my brand new Polish-Lithuanian Army so when Chris came over I suggested we play Small Kircholm. The scenario was very draft and I expected to find that it favoured the Poles too much. In particular the experimental Hussar rules were probably a touch too punchy. In Tilly’s Very Bad Day terms this is a small game on a small table with small armies.
Summary: Poles rolled over the Swedes in three game turns. Scenario needs tweaking. The experimental Lancers were a super troop type – and we don’t need that kind of thing.
Adam and Chris came over for a Big Base DBA set in the Reconquista. El Cid (Chris) leading a Castilian/Spanish army against the fanatic, Moroccan, Caliph of the Murabitun (Adam). Feudal Spanish versus Fanatic Berber according to DBA. Any one who has seen the Charlton Heston “El Cid” movie will know what this is all about.
Summary: Fun game. The action was all cavalry with the infantry hardly involved. Ed Cid and his Hidalgos (Knights) triumphed after a long and fierce struggle. The Caliph died at the head of his army.
The easing of Covid-19 restrictions allowed me to get my brand new Polish-Lithuanian Army on table. Chris, Jamie, and Adam came over and we played Swedish versus Polish using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. This was a pick up game with pre-generated army lists and terrain chosen via Terrain Cards. It was also the first time we played an Eastern Army.
Summary: A really enjoyable game. It see sawed but eventually the Swedes won the infantry battle and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth won the cavalry battle. Pretty standard outcome for these historical opponents. In this case the Swedes caused enough damage to take the overall victory. But it was a very near run thing.