Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Thought on Leaders

During my recent fantasy battle, I experimented with rules for leaders. Initially, I just gave units with attached leaders a +1 to their Attack. Then I thought that leaders should help with defense by rallying the troops and bolstering morale. So I allowed a +1 to defense. This just made leaders way too powerful. For example, Sir Dennis's infantry (pictured below) went from a 2/2 rating (that's 2 Attack dice and 2 Defense dice) to a 3/3. Sir Dennis practically became invincible!

Sir Dennis (bottom R) ready to receive an attack
Since then, I've been thinking about the rules for leaders. I can see a leader having an effect on both attack (leading from the front and getting the men to follow) and defense (encouraging them to hold their ground). But this would just be too powerful. Then it dawned on me - would a leader be able to do both at the same time? Probably not. If he's up front, it would be difficult for him to encourage the laggards. And if he's behind, the troops probably won't rush forward. He needs to choose one or the other.

This revelation creates an interesting new decision point during the game. Each turn, the player needs to decide what to do with the leader. There are 2 options:

  • Lead the Charge - the leader is in front of the unit, leading the way. +1 to Attack
  • Bolster Morale - the leader is walking behind the line, encouraging his men. +1 to Defense.
For the non-player side, I can either roll randomly or just use one option throughout the entire game. For example, I think the Evil Army will only use Lead the Charge (I may call it Drive Them Forward for evil leaders. They don't lead from the front; they push their troops forward through fear and intimidation, heedless of any losses).

With this change, leaders are still going to be powerful but not as much as giving bonuses to attack and defense. Furthermore, the player now has an extra decision - how to optimize a leader's abilities. It sounds promising; I'll have to try it out soon.

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