Saturday, July 12, 2014

Board-less Experiment

This morning I did a quick experiment using the board-less wargame rules. The idea is to create a quick wargame that can be played on a computer or even on paper without having to set up a board with terrain. For this experiment, I created the game in Excel, complete with a dice-roller.

My boardless wargame Excel tracker.
The "board" on the left merely tracks Morale Points (there is no maneuvering on the board).
To the right is the dice-roller
I ran a simple battle to see how it worked. Both armies are identical and they meet on flat terrain (no mods). I randomly determined that Blue would be the attacker, although it did not make much difference in this game as there is no defensible terrain.

For simplicity, I am referencing left/right based on the direction on the screen (essentially from Red's point of view).

Battle Report:
I stood upon a hill to the rear of the Redgravian army as it met the Bluderian invaders on Flatbottom Valley. The Bluderians advanced quickly, determined to come to grips with their enemy. The two sides clashed. On my left, there was only desultory skirmishes. On the right, the Bluderians began making headway, but the center was an absolute disaster for their attack. There, the Redgravians stood like a stone wall, unwilling to give an inch. Their steady fire poured into the Bluderians, scything through the ranks. The Bluderian general tried to stabilize his attack by sending in reinforcements, but they were equally unsuccessful.

[Blue won on the right, but were doubled in the center. I spent a reserve point to re-roll but the result was the same - 2 morale points lost in the center.]

The Bluderians continued to push forward on the right and began to make progress on the left. In the center, the Redgravians smelled blood and began to advance. It looked like the Bluderians would collapse, but timely reserves staved off utter defeat, for the moment.

[Red won in the center again, but this time the re-roll resulted in a tie.]

The Redgravians counterattacked on the flanks and repulsed the Bluderians. A massive melee ensued in the center. With a final massive push, the Redgravians broke their opposition.

[Red initially won in the center. Blue used its last reserve point to re-roll and won. Red countered with its own reserve point and swung the fight back to its favor. With the loss, the Blue center was down to zero Morale Points. The center was lost]

The victorious Redgravian center turned upon the enemy on the right. Their arrival was just in the nick of time; the Redgravian flank was worn out and ready to break. The reserves turned the tide of battle, and the slowly but surely ground down the Bluderians. Meanwhile, neither side was able to make any progress on the left. Finally, the Bluderians on the right broke. Defeated, the Bluderian general called for a general retreat.

The Redgravians pursued, but the unbroken Bluderians on the left performed a skillful fighting retreat, preventing any further damage to their reeling army. Realizing the futility of further bloodshed, the Redgravian general called off the action, well pleased with his victory.

[Once Blue lost its second wing, they were forced to retreat. Red had a reserve point left so I allowed it to be used to pursue the enemy. Red got one shot at Blue, but lost, allowing the remaining Blue wing to escape unscathed].

The game is essentially an exercise in dice-rolling, but the use of Reserve Points to force a re-roll added an interesting bit of strategy to the game. As you can see from the battle report, there was a lot of back-and-forth, despite Blue's opening disaster in the center.

Nevertheless, the game felt a little off. Perhaps because it was over so quickly. I'm toying with ways to extend it. I have the sides roll initiative. The winning side gets a random number of command points (1-3) and can order that many wings. That way, not all wings will be rolling every turn. It will also introduce another decision-point.

Another issue is the lack of distinction between infantry, cavalry, and artillery. I'd like to add some rules that would take the different arms into consideration (e.g. preliminary bombardment, etc.)

Finally, I received some interesting suggestions in the comments to the original board-less wargaming post and I'll have to consider using some, even if I don't do EWC games.

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