Friday, 15 February 2019

The Judean War Scenario Generator.....

The Great Experiment...
As touched on in the previous post I have decided to go for the "harder option"  in my "This Ain't The Judean Revolt" project....

The board/Revolt Table was printed out for me by the jolly chaps at the print shop and we have begun.....



First Moves of the Scenario Generator (me playing as Procurator).

First move the Agitators decide (dice) to go for an Assassination, so we leap to an "Assassination" scenario. This works as follows......

Agitator as NP Assassin; Target and Location Decision Mechanics:

Action One: Throw 1D12 to discover Level of target, then within each group for type of Target. Those marked with * asterisk will have bodyguards. Those marked ** have a 25% chance of having Military Bodyguards. Dice for this.

If the assassination is successful the Type value equals the number of Squares moved towards revolt . Half that number for number of squares back towards Stasis if it fails. Less than 1 = no effect.

1-6: Low-level Collaborator - businessman, farmer, minor priest/levite, minor official.

7-10: Medium-level Collaborator , Rival or Roman: wealthy businessman/contractor*, wealthy farmer*, tax collector**, important priest or preacher, Rival agitator minion, solitary sentry or off-duty Roman soldier/s.

11: High Level Judean or Roman: Sanhedrin-level Priest/Elder, Local Ethnarch**, Nobleman*, Rival leader*, Important Roman Civilian*.


12: Senior Roman Official: High-level Administrative or Military Officer **- even the Procurator or Member of his family. These will have significant protection at different levels of access. If outside their official locations/homes they may not only have bodyguards, but also a significant military guard.



Then dice for the Target Location:

Location (2X12d): 2-3; Open Road/Countryside, 4-12 Street, 13-16 Public Event/Meeting, 17-22 in street within close vicinity of Home/Place of work, 23 in Home /Office/Place of work, 24 Temple.

If the result is an Open Road/Countryside or ordinary Street attack then 1x6D throw again to see if this is a Planned or Opportunistic attack. A result of 1-2 means this is a chance encounter. Any result above 2 means a Planned one. All other Target Locations are Planned attacks.

If result is Temple dice again 1x6d. Result 1-5 at entrance/street in vicinity of entrance. Targets attacked outside the Temple MAY flee inside. Assassins individually dice to see if they have the bottle to chase on - 6 on a 6D.

If result is 6 on the location dice the Assassination attempt occurs within the Temple Complex (the public areas only).

The Temple Complex has it's own enforcement teams and is closely monitored by the Auxiliaries of the Antonia. Both parties may intervene but Auxiliaries may NOT go beyond the Balustrade.

If failure occurs within the Temple Complex an additional 6 spaces towards revolt are lost).                                      



On this occasion dice decide that a Low Level Collaborator, in this case a low-level priest/levite is the target.

The Location throws make it a Planned "Street Attack".

I then throw for the number of assassins allocated to the task (throw 1x6d for a Low Level Target. Add 1 to the dice throw for a Planned Attack to add a spotter/assistant assassin. Medium Level Target 2x6d. Add 1 to the total for a Planned Attack to add a spotter/assistant assassin.
Throw 3x6D for High Level subtracting 2 from the total for an Unplanned Attack and 4x6D for Senior Roman Targets subtracting 3 from the total for an Unplanned Attack.

In this case I throw a 1 on the dice, but it is Planned, so I get an assassin and a "spotter".

I next throw to see how aware/informed in advance of their danger the target is. 1-2; is either unaware, overconfident or too unworldly for the threat to register. 3-4 aware - and keeping a sensible eye out, but not enough to take any special precautions. 5 - very aware. Will take all reasonable precautions, including varying routes, never travelling alone. 6 - practically paranoid. Will be constantly watching. If rich enough will have bodyguards.

The Target throws a 1...... I then build the Narrative:



"Picking off the Priest"

The setting is a sleepy, prosperous suburb, just outside the city walls, home to Matthias son of Aaron of Hebron, a minor priest attached to the Temple. His family is not one of the great priestly families but he is well respected locally for his wisdom, public profile and good works. However.....

Lately he has been speaking out against the Freedom Movement in the small private and public gatherings in this cosy little community; arguing that peace, prosperity and the so-called religious "freedoms" granted by the Oppressors are important in themselves, and that provoking the Romans with what he calls "nationalist dreaming" will only bring about a massive retaliation. He EVEN used the term "status quo" !!!! This kind of talk goes down well in this neat little settlement... They need a lesson.....

Judah ben Simeon and Saul of Gadara have been despatched to demonstrate to these comfortable people that their secure little cocoon is an illusion - and that those who are not with are deemed against us..........

My two assassins take post where they can see Matthias's house and wait.

Each move the following happens:

Throw for Matthias. He may leave the house alone or with his wife (throw 1xE6D. 5 or 6 and the missus is coming with him part of the way). Matthias leaves his house on the throw of 6 on a 1x6d, adding 1 to the dice for each move he hasn't emerged. However, if at any time two 1s are thrown in sequence when testing for this it is found he has already left or the assassins have missed him because he is wearing a different outfit from usual. He will be between them and the Cite Gates. The assassins must check each man in a keffiyeh between them and the gate. To so so they must get within 3cm of the suspect, then throw 6d. A "6" and it is Matthias.



Local traffic will move randomly (1x6D each move, testing at each junction for direction to take).
If in a traffic jam all movement is at half speed. Confrontation between large bodies/wagons etc . will be decided by dice throw, adding two to the largest/highest status group. The other must try to back up.

We do not expect there to be an enforcement presence but throw a dice each move. On a throw of 1 an enforcement team has wandered into view. Here in this quiet suburb the only official enforcement presence is likely to the the local beat vigiles (in pairs). Anyone else will just be passing through (throw 12d 1-11 means vigiles. 12 means military unit passing through).

As the assassins wait and watch at the corner of the town square they see Matthias emerging from his house. Dammit - his wife is with him. A complication, but he is coming up the alleyway leading to where our lads are waiting, so that's good..



Local traffic moves - two slave drivers with their charges and several pedestrians decide to go down the alleyway leading to Matthias's house. My lads wait....

The next move there is obviously a jam in the alleyway. Matthias must avoid pollution from rubbing shoulders with the slaves, so he checks (dice) and retraces his step to approach the square by the other street. My lads have lost sight of him...!!! Not good.... They have a choice -run, and draw attention to themselves, or walk. They walk...



Bad news... Their casual ambling means that they run into traffic- a litter bearing a wealthy merchant, his bearers, staff and bodyguard. In going round him they get separated by a casual pedestrian. They lose two moves due to bad dice and the traffic- then another as the litter bearers come face to face with a hand cart... The cart backs up - but the litter needs to go in THAT direction (all diced for).. Another move of disastrous dice for the assassins - they are stuck in the crowd..



Luckily - out of sight to them - Matthias has been accosted by local worthy Lukas (there is a chance of this every time Matthias meets a person of higher status) and they stand chatting for several moves..



My lads are getting frustrated then - oh, oh...... The Enforcement Check goes against us; a pair of vigiles round the corner leading from the palm grove... That's ALL we need......

 

More delays,  but once the traffic chaos is sorted my lads finally get though the crowd, slipping past the vigiles unnoticed....
Matthias hoves into view - but the vigiles are still in the square checking up on the slave dealer's licence... It's a tough call. Do we try to take the target now, or wait, and possibly run into more traffic...?

We decide to lurk and wait.



















As Matthias enters the square the guys move in, but he sees them out of the corner of his eye and turns... In the scuffle Judah and Saul both wound him - but nothing fatal...




And oh dear... An enforcement throw... What are the odds.... Two tents loads of legionaries arrive at the edge of town. But they're just passing through....

One of the vigiles turns at the noise, tests for courage and charges in with his baton - clouting Judah... His mate follows....

 

 














Saul gets in a killer stroke on Matthias, then briefly has a go at the one of the vigiles. Now Matthias is down both assassins turn make off at speed - job done; and they're not there to fight.... While one Vigile tends to the casualty the other gives chase....



Meanwhile the Legionary unit arrives in the square.... "Looks like some inter-Judean squabbling... What can you expect..? Let the Vigiles sort it out...".



 
There is a brief chase though the street, but the lone vigile gives up... Seriously; he does NOT get paid for this...




And, scampering off into the palm grove the assassins make off.. A couple of baton bruises, but otherwise unscathed... 




Mission accomplished.. That was great fun..... Lots of tension. The traffic issues and unknowns felt "realistic" and all in all I was happy with the mechanics..

The successful mission will have an effect on the Revolt Table... I wonder what the next scenario will be...?






Sunday, 27 January 2019

Judean War - 1/72 2019

How to proceed..... Thoughts...

Now that the figures & scenery are well on track I'm still undecided on exactly how I want to approach my solo Judean War project..... I could:


A) Simply fight out a range of Narrative-driven scenarios (fun, and quick to develop/set up).

B) Create a zone map and simply "fight a campaign" as I did with my "This Ain't Siluria" campaign last year - with socio-political aspects in the background, but with the revolt already in progress and the main emphasis being on the military operations. Simple enough to prepare... 

C) Create a simple "Box" type zonal map and run as above.

All well and good....



 



















However, I have become more intrigued with the concept of not initially fighting the actual Revolt (which, let's face it, is primarily sieges) so much as gaming the period BEFORE things really kick off... 

Hence the idea of a "Run The Province" challenge - basically trying to PREVENT a revolt ("You mean I painted all those guys and now they're NOT going to fight....???!!!") - or a "Raise the Revolt" challenge ("Happy now..?"). This concept has caught my imagination.

In this I would using a "Revolt Table" (draft pic below), with tokens used by the "player" and the AI to diffuse/exacerbate the situation; with me fighting scenarios triggered by the Revolt Table and token use  - the results of the scenarios themselves then feeding into progress on the Revolt table........

 



































 

This will be a lot of work - but could be a LOT of challenging fun....First thoughts have been running along the lines of: 
 
The Procurator, Sanhedrin and Agitators will each have a number of tokens (initially placed in their respective boxes). These may be applied in different ways, as decided by the Player/AI (dice) so as to move the "Revolt Level" up or down.....

Actual token numbers undecided, but lets' say starting levels of:
30 for the Procurator; these may be used for concession/conciliation or repression.

10 for the Sanhedrin (I'll use this term for all the religio-politico groupings with a desire for stability. Basically the wealthy classes with influence). These may be used to help keep the pot from boiling over, undermining the Procurator's position with Rome, intriguing with the less extreme Agitators  -and Parthia.

12 for the Agitators (a cover-all term for Zealots, Sicarii, religious extremists, nationalists and banditti; basically those with a desire to upset the status quo, either for ideals or for their own ends).

There are also two non-player boxes. A Parthian Intervention box and a Rome/Syria Intervention box. Tokens from these boxes may be taken by an appropriate player in lieu of playing a token that move.

There are 5 tokens for the Parthians ("Intervention Box Right"). They would just LOVE the kettle to boil over.

There are 3 tokens for Rome/Governor of Syria; Non-player. Their only interest is stability - and that rebellion does not thrive. The Procurator's fate is incidental. 

Starting with the Agitation Player each player may play a token (Sequence: Agitation, Procurator, Sanhedrin) or "pass". A token held by the player may be applied to any of the choices open to that player.

Once each player has played a token or passed that is a "move". Each Player token is used to carry out any one of the Players optional actions listed below. Used tokens are either discarded or placed in other player boxes if so described. AI decisions are dice-driven.

 
Victory Conditions: 

If playing the Procurator I lose if the land revolts (playing time to be decided, sy 50 moves, each move representing, say, two weeks) or if "Recalled".

If playing the Agitators I lose if there is no General Revolt. I win if there is a Revolt AND I have more tokens in hand than the Sanhedrin - i.e. everything descends into anarchy with "MY Mob" having the upper hand.

If playing the Sanhedrin I win if the Procurator is recalled before any revolt. I lose if there is a revolt without me still having more tokens in hand than the Agitators. Basically the rich and powerful will try to maintain the status quo (i.e them at the top of the tree). Keeping a Procurator off-balance helps. However once things start going too far towards a revolt they need to remain in control - hence they can change attitude.




Table/Track Box Effects:
As movement along the track progresses some boxes trigger scenarios (to be described in details as we progress). Victory or defeat (and fulfilling Victory conditions) will further affect progress forwards or backwards on the track.

The second "Occasional Open Protests", the "Civil Disobedience", "Mass Protests", "Mass Civil Disobedience"  boxes, if landed upon, will create the "Peaceful Demonstration?" scenario.

The "Vandalism" boxes prompt the
"People Called Romanes?" scenario.

Any of the "Attacks on...." boxes a suitable "Attack" Scenario, with Romans being attacked.
Any of the "Harassment" boxes a suitable "Harassment" Scenario.
The "Assassination" boxes will create an "Assassination" scenario, where Sicarii attempt an assassination.

Inter-community fighting/massacres will create "Civil Strife" scenarios, as local ethnic groups fight among themselves.

The "Taking Fortresses & Magazines" box will prompt a
"Fortress Sneak Attack" scenario, with Zealots trying to take a fort.
The "Seize the Temple" box will create a
"Seize the Temple" scenario, with a Zealot attack on the Temple itself.
 


PROCURATOR'S TOKENS
can be used for:


1) Concessions - Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - ).

2) Rejection of Petitions: Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - effect). Add 1 token to Rome Intervention pile.

3) Escorts for Officials - Reduces Revolt Index by dice throw. If Harassment of Officials has begun this creates "Tax Escort Scenario".

4) Arrests of High Profile Suspects - Creates "Arrest Scenario".

5) Appeal to Syria for Intervention: Reduce the Revolt level by 6. Take up to two tokens from the Syria Intervention Box. Add the next two expended tokens to to the Repression box

6) High Profile Execution - Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - effect). If attacks have already begun creates "Rescue" scenario.

7) Collective Punishment (fines) - Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - ).

8) Collective Punishment (confiscations and destruction) - Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - ) +/-2. Creates "Collective Punishment" scenario. If attacks have already begun creates "Resistance" scenario. Add 1 token to Rome Intervention pile and 1 token to Parthian Intervention Pile.

9) Collective Punishment (executions) - Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - effect) +/- 4. If attacks have already begun creates "Resistance" scenario.

10) Martial Law; Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - ) +/- 5. Add 1 token to Parthian Intervention Pile.

11) Area Sweeps: Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - ) +/- 6. Create "Dragnet" scenario. Add 1 token to Parthian Intervention Pile.

12) Overt Military Action: Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - effect) +/- 10. If inter-community fighting has begun then "Taking Sides" scenario may be created. If attacks have already begun creates creates "Battle Scenario". If already the militia has been raised, Temple taken, forts/magazines taken or towns fortified or the Antonia attacked then the scenario may relate to any one - or more - of these. Also, a major force may be attacked. Dice for choice.

13) Seizure of the Vestments: Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - effect) +/- 12. Remove three tokens from the Sanhedrin and place them in the Repression box. Creates the "Seize with Care" Scenario.


Once used, t
okens used for Repression are placed in the Repression box, those fo conciliation in the conciliation box. 
 
Rome's Attitude CheckToo repressive an approach (if ineffective) may cause Rome to question your ability... Or loyalty......

Tokens used for Repression are placed in the Repression box. Throw a 12d each move one or more tokens are added to this box. Add 1 for each token in the repression box then 1 for each square already moved Revolt-wards on the track, then minus one for each token in the Concession Box. If the score equals 48 then you are "Recalled"....

If more than 50 you are recalled with an invitation to slit your wrists.... Either way it is Game Over...

 


Sanhedrin Tokens
can be used for:

1) Calming the Masses: Reduces Revolt index by one dice throw.

2) "Render Unto Caesar!: Reduces/Increases Revolt index on dice throw (+ or - effect). Takes one token from the Agitation box.

3) Official Protestation: Reduces Revolt index by 2 plus one dice throw. Place this played token in the Repression box. Also, take one token from the Agitation box. Creates the "Aiding the Civil Power" scenario.

4) Appeal to Rome: Reduces Revolt index by 2 plus one dice throw. Place this token in the Repression box. Place one extra token to the Agitation box. Creates the "Kill the Messenger" scenario.

5) Covert encouragement: Add 5 to the Revolt table. Take one token from the Agitation box. Creates the "Whose Friend are You Anyway?" scenario.

6) Suborn the Civil Power: Take or Add 3 to the Revolt Table as chosen. Creates the "Jericho Road" or "Hop's Escape" scenario if not already played.

7) "Better that One Man..": Reduces/Increases Revolt index by 3 plus dice throw (+ or - effect). Takes one token from the Agitation box. Creates the "Stop That Preacher" scenario.


8) Bad Omens: Take or Add 5 to the Revolt Table as chosen. If reducing the Revolt level add that token to the Procurator's Box. If adding take one token from the Agitation box.

9) "My Enemy's Enemy": Take two tokens from the Parthian Intervention box. Remove two tokens from the Repression box and one from the Syria Intervention box and discard.

10) Overt Support: At anytime after the Taking Fortresses & Magazines stage has been passed Revolt-wards the Sanhedrin may throw itself behind the Revolt. Each token used for Overt Support moves the Revolt table forwards y one square. For every two tokens so used an token is taken from the Agitation box.



Agitation:

1) "Romani Ite Domum": Add 2 to the Revolt Table. Creates the "People Called Romanes?" scenario.

2) Taking isolated fortresses: Add 3 to the Revolt Table. Creates the "Fortress Sneak Attack" scenario
.

3) Suborn the Civil Power: Add 3 to the Revolt Table. Creates the "Jericho Road" or "Hop's Escape" scenario.

4) Incite a Preacher: Reduces/Increases Revolt index by 3 plus dice throw (+ or - effect). If a plus result creates the "Arrest a Preacher" scenario. If a minus result and followed by a Procurator's Arrest or Collective Punishment token creates a "Massacre of the Innocents" scenario.

5) Assassination; Add +/-3 to the Revolt Table based on dice throw. "Creates an "Assassination" scenario.

6) Attack on Roman Officials. Add 3 to the Revolt Table. "Creates a "Raid" scenario.


7) Attack on Roman Unit: Add 6 to the Revolt Table. "Creates a "Unit Attack" scenario.

8) Stirring up pogroms/inter-communal violence. Add 8 to the Revolt Table. Creates the "Civil Strife" scenario.

9) Disrupt the Temple:
Reduces/Increases Revolt index by 3 plus dice throw (+ or - effect). If a plus result creates the "Kick Out The Money Changers" scenario.

10) "Eat the Rich": Direct and public verbal attacks on the Temple Hierarchy. t Adds 2 to to the Revolt Table. Take 1 token from the Sanhedrin box.

Syrian/Rome Intervention:

Every turn after the "Taking Fortresses & Magazines" space is passed going towards revolt throw a 6 dice. On a throw of 6 take a token from the Syrian/Rome box and give it to the Procurator. However, the next three tokens expended by the Procurator automatically go into the repression box.

Parthian Intervention:
Every turn after the "Fortifying Towns" space is passed going towards revolt throw a 6 dice. On a throw of 6 take a token from the Parthian Box and place it in the Agitation Box.


The Scenarios:
As can be seen from the above, this is basically a "Scenario Generator". The Table/Track will provide a "narrative" or context for the scenarios, which will be fought out with figures and written up as I progress...

Some will be small, just a dozen or two figures. Some larger. But all will have a part to play in the "Story".....


All of the above are first draft/arbitrary and will need playtesting, but this will be a fun challenge..........







Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Another New Year. Another Plastic Mountain.....



Trundling on....

Am (finally) getting somewhere with my Jewish Revolt project: with bods painted (most of them), some scenery coming together, a scatter of one-off scenario thoughts prepared and a campaign map drafted.

A pic and outlines of thoughts below. As usual with me there has been an element of “Mission Creep”, but whatcha gonna do….?


 



My furious rebels have assembled (below).. Well, most of them...
I wanted a mish-mash of “official” militia units of "respectable people" in reasonable looted and out-of-the store-cupboard kit, and more irregular bodies of light troops representing a right old hotch potch of town bods (some Hellenised), militarised resistance groups, countryside fellows, figures to represent folk from the Diaspora (in Judea as pilgrims), Souk sweepings and badmashes and loads and loads of skirmishers.

The (rough) pic (at the end of my workbench) shows the "official" guys in looted Roman kit at the back, a Temple Guard type unit and various mixes of light spears, shield folk, non-shield folk etc. etc. with a range of outfits and weapons/protective gear.



There are still some more to paint (if I must) but I have enough for some large engagements, as well as some “chrome n’ character” bods for skirmishes. 

I need to do more standards and command folk, plus some distinctive figures for Zealot groups, JPF etc.... I probably ought to consider some chaps to work captured catapults and so forth....

Buildings are also work in progress (some at the back of the pic)....

This project is taking a while to get together... However, the mix of figures  ( because I am one who bases my lads individually) means, with a little poetic licence, that I have also gained for myself some bodies of bods who will do service as:
Non-uniform auxiliaries and/or Client King supporters (friendly or otherwise) for my 1stC Romans.

"Generic" Hellenic/Punic-ish/Mediterranean light troops a plenty…

Multi-period North African/middle eastern lads (inc. s
ouk sweepings and Barbary pirate types) for all sorts of games....

So, lots of armies for the effort on one (say I..).

Scenario and campaign ideas are collecting, plus I have been tweaking my House Rules, so a lot of activity offline at this end - but not a lot to report......

Watch this space, as they say.....





Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Yet another Stop-Gap

Another token Post....

Just in case folks are thinking: "Hello, another Blogger run out of steam..."  tis not the case - just work and painting/modelling and writing been getting in the way....

Leaving work (paid) out of the picture (despite previous suggestions by drinking buddies this is NOT a pic of me with work colleagues...).




I have been painting my 1/72 schilton (Strelets bods, with plastic broom handle bristle "lang spears") and getting bods & buildings converted and painted up for my "Was going to be Summer but looks like Winter" Jewish Revolt project....

The schiltron is bigger than I'd planned (the ol' "mission creep" - a serious fault of mine...) but getting there.

My Jewish Rebel army is apparently going to be, um, an army (mission creep again) - and not just a skirmish-level force (I have around 600 1/72 Romans, legionaries & auxiliaries  - with more half-painted; but no way will I match those numbers in rebels.... We don't mention how many Western Barbarians I have. Seriously. We don't....).

I have (among other things) been sticking Roman heads & shields on good ol' Robin Hood bods and generally going mad; with variants of all types to make the rebels look a hotch-potch.......



The buildings will be a mix of cheapy, self-assemble MDF adobe types & some posh, purpose-built Roman building kits bought online. Plus scratch building.
Cheap palm trees should be en-route. Civilians also being processed (Strelets Roman bods mainly).

I also want to make a more Mid-eastern-looking teddy-bear mat at some stage, but this may wait a few months.

Research-wise I've been reading up Josephus etc. and gawping at Google Street View (pic) and maps for terrain ideas and sketching maps. My campaign map may be in zones, like my "This Ain't Siluira" effort.... 







Writing: I've been asked to put out my House Rules as a PDF, but of course that means I tweak them, then test the tweaks, then tweak again etc. etc .etc........ New rules for schiltrons developed - and also to allow for that that pesky business of why making some formations 8 to 16 ranks deep is a plus (having been squashed into combat impotence in shieldwalls only four ranks deep I DON'T buy into the "they're all pushing" myth.....).

I have also been writing some scenarios - and "Tax Collecting" ("Get the cash - but please try not to kill anyone this time") rules; of which more later...

And so it goes.....




Friday, 16 November 2018

Yet another Interim Post...

Painting for the next big 1/72 project is proceeding. Meanwhile, a quick word about:

Campaigns, Maps & Mapping ...

I like campaigns, though I rarely have time to do them justice. They not only supply a narrative background to my battles, but give me a "reason" for my bods to be battling in the first place. To me this is important; one of the reasons I am largely a solo player is that I have no competitive spirit (in Art , as in Life). Battles which have no narrative drive behind them, unless the rules are themselves something new and interesting or the company is particularly special, can therefore be as personally meaningless (and dull) to me as watching a sports fixture (yes, I really am that person. Sports do not entrance me at all). However, stories grab my attention - and a campaign has all the elements of a story: characters, a plot, a narrative and - hopefully - a satisfying conclusion. Below I am going to run through a few methods I use to generate these stories...




A) From Board to Table: a simple way out.


Table battles fought as part of a board game. Out of the huge range of board wargames out there a significant number lend themselves to producing table battles with meaning with minimal preparation. The strategic map has been done for you. The rules and make-up of the armies are already there. Supply, politics, the backstory etc. etc. has been provided. All you need to do is play the board game, then fight the battles out on your tabletop. You may of course chose to do a little extra research, tweaking or add paperwork re. casualties etc. but that is down to you. Basically the background is already there. Play the game, and fight out any resulting battles on the tabletop.




The trick is, of course, to play the board game solo too. Many of the methods I will have touched on/will touch on in this Blog can be adapted to board games - e.g. attitude of the "players", introducing imponderables, "choice of action" tables based on IMP/political/supply issues/personality of commanders/councils etc. etc. 




 Once you have a battle you can, with Google Maps (see a previous post) and a bit of research, get an idea of the type of terrain in the area where the battle is to take place. Add your normal solo tweaks and you have a battle - and, most of all, the story and strategic reasons for it taking place at all.

There are lots of good boardgames (or half-decent but tweakable games) out there. For the ancient period my own favourites are SPIs "The Conquerors",
GDWs "Eagles" & AH "Caesar's Legions " but there are others out there. I have also used Robin Hood board games as a basis for developing table-fight scenarios. We are only limited by our imagination - especial when someone else has done all the hard work... 



B) The Home-made Map Method.


My "This Ain't Siluria" posts gave one example of how this can be done, using a stylised zone map, roughly based on real geography, but meant not as an actual recreation of a real campaign, but more as a historical theme (in that case the Roman subduing of a Celtic area). This had elements of a board game approach - and I have used this method before, using home-made hex or square grid maps maps, very successfully. 




I have also used sketch maps/traced actual maps or made maps of real areas; but the type of maps depends very much on what one wants to do. They can be closely detailed, or very basic.

For some years (literally) I ran a Middle Eastern wargame covering the post-Davidic period (from The Brook of Egypt, across to the Euphrates, down to Edom and up to the Anatolian foothills) using a series of hand-drawn & coloured maps traced from atlases.





My actual battles were fought out as boardgames, rather than with figures, but this was a very satisfying exercise; from grand scale politics down to dusty skirmishes. With this type of thing a War Diary is essential. 




C) The "Where The Hell Are We?" method.

Great for exploring games/ventures into the unknown, from Darkest Africa or Darkest Peru to the darkest outliers of the Krikkit Nebula. Start with a known area (a port, a coast, a known and mapped inhabited zone) then set off into the Blank Space; generating hazards or terrain based on cards & tables, drawing the map as you go. 




In the "Spanish Expedition" venture (see below) each day of movement I threw a dice. On a throw of 4-6 there was some change in terrain for that day's movement. The suits were stacked/shuffled separately, I recall, and I threw again to see which suit changed. In the case of draws a card was pulled from all drawing suits. Thus a map was created as I went along.



Ambushes/raids could come from uncontacted minor tribes on rout of march or the "Main Enemy". Ditto Embassies (to allow for allies, delaying tactics by "the "Main Enemy" - or "buying off" of any of my detached forces) .




Your map can be as simple or detailed as your skill or desires run. Warning... This is FUN - and addictive !!!

D) The Unplanned - a tabletop campaign.

Occasionally a campaign will start with what is meant to be a one-off, but an interesting, battle - but I think "Lets leave the table up and refight" continuing the narrative.

An example of this is one from the other year (written up on the FB Groups I've referred to before) - a Roman v Celt scenario; "Rescue the Romanised Rascal" (a simple get in, locate a target, get it out situation). This was going to be a one off game to test and write-up/demonstrate some ideas for one of the FB groups.



The Romans (that is, I ) blew it (unlucky dice/cards; in the dark before dawn my my lads ran into a returning raiding party of locals, and the maroons went up - destroying any chance of a stealth attack), but I thought - "OK, I have the scenario backstory, and the table is set; let's continue".


A second rescue attempt became necessary - but the locals were now alert to the possibility of a rescue attempt. THAT ended successfully for the Romans, but not without them getting a bloody nose; with several units of Romans being treated disrespectfully..

The story then logically progressed of itself. "Would the Romans put up with the loss of prestige involved? Could they afford to, out here on the frontier?" . The answer to that had to be a big fat "No". So a "Butcher & Bolt" punitive mission was launched. Simple idea.... But..

THAT, again, ended really badly for me; the locals had realised they'd overstepped the mark, so had tooled-up and roped in some friends (cards & dice). My lads panicked at an unexpected flank attack - and several Roman units ran from the field. Prestige went right out the fenestram.

In the end the Imperial forces turned up mob-handed in "total overkill mode", set up a camp on the field, caused serious ecological damage and freaked out the locals' allies.





After two skirmishes, a night raid and an attempted assault of the Roman camp (plus a lot of Celtic argument among themselves) the troublesome tribe finally felt the firm smack of Roman retribution (i.e annihilation).




From one table I therefore got eight very different battles & skirmishes, each with their own different objectives and quirks, and a satisfying narrative of a little, local campaign. 




Well, there we are. A "proper post" working in a "proper scale" will be produced shortly. meanwhile, as always any queries or thoughts are welcome.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Intermission Post...... More "out Of Scale" action....

"A long Walk on a Small Planet" or "In space, no one can hear you scream at the bloody dice...".

Just for a change, and a bit of a filler twixt 1/72 scale projects; something sci-fi I posted on the the FB Solo Group last year...

Basically this was an experiment in "dealing with unknown quantities, with a monkey on your back".

Backstory: 

Terra-forma Station "Trefusis-12", on the semi-terraformed planet Char-Li Karoli, went off-line a week ago. A maintenance team dispatched to deal has not reported in, so a section of Alliance troopers have been sent to investigate........

Who knows what they'll find....

The troopers are bound by Standing Orders and First Contact Protocols.  This means that a gung-ho "Shoot first and worry about an interstellar diplomatic disaster afterwards" exercise is NOT on the cards... In theory....




Interference from the (insert explanatory sci-fi mumbo-jumbo phenomena here) has prevented the section landing close to the station. However, a short cross-county yomp should be no problem.....
Two four-man teams and the command team debus....

Activation will initially be by drawing tokens for Team Leaders and Troopers.  However, there are other tokens in the mix. This token will bring "something/s" onto the field at p
re-set Deployment Points...

Rules are my "House Rules"... Basically think Sharp Practice meets Space Hulk....

At this small scale action I Activate individual troopers/team leaders with Activity Tokens (drawn randomly from a tin). However, amongst the activity tokens are several blanks, a "Tiffin" token (as per SP) to end the move and a couple of "Hostile Blip" tokens.

The hostile "blips" will appear at the board edges as per deployment points & move "Zombicide style" following noise/sightings. A scenario table will decide what those "blips" are once in "LoS" of my guys...

The weapons my guys have are bog-standard automatic projectile weapons, but Command team has a comms. guy (to call in support fire) and a target-seeking missile launcher... Nothing fancy re. the shooting rules, except a very high hit chance if firing aimed at target stationary & in the open.

Guys have three move or fire actions per activation. Can be put into "overwatch" etc. etc. . Pretty simple rules...


Things proceed without incident. By move three Beta (left flank) and Charlie Team (right flank) have moved forwards.  Of Alpha (command) team only one grunt gets an activation.

Suddenly a "blip token" turns. I throw a 12d for the table side, then another to find the deployment point for the blip location An Ave. die throw decides the number of "blinds" which appear per blip token (in this case 4 no. blinds). The Blinds can represent a false alarm, or up to 5 "somethings".

Beta team react to the blips on their head-up screens and take cover in some rocks, using Activation points to go into concealment, with two troopers also going into overwatch...




One of the problems with the Alliance Terra-forming Program is that near Earth-like planets, and worlds where life is already present, tend to be prioritised - and works actioned in a manner that might best be termed as (ahem) "somewhat rushed"; with pre-forming planetary surveys suffering as a result.... Sometimes there are life-forms in situ we didn't know about......
 T
hanks tokens... The blip "blinds" move and.. "WHAT THE SMEG...!!!??"


The survey teams sure fouled up THIS time.... We have NO idea what these things are - nor how sentient they might be - nor what their intentions are (nor where they bloody live/hide etc.)...

Assuming that something ugly, fast, 12ft high with foot-long talons and fangs is going to be hostile smacks of species-prejudice....

They have not seen the troopers (concealed) and are moving towards the Station... The chaps are on overwatch... To shoot, or not to shoot....?

Or radio to get confirmation of invoking "First Contact Protocols".... Hmmm.....



For the record: the table deciding what each batch of blip blinds will be is based on a 6d roll... Result of 1-2 = More of the Creatures.   3-5 = something else (don't want to spoil the surprise), 6 = Ditto.

Now we have a "decision" as to what might be here, for every subsequent "blind reveal throw" 1 will be taken from the dice score . If an unmodified "6" is thrown thereafter, then I throw again. A 5 or 6 thrown on this second dice means option 6 above "Something Else") is invoked on the blind....

Brave team leader orders his chaps to hold fire while he asks for direction from Section Command. Overwatch opportunity is lost....

Neither Charlie Team nor Alpha team can see the creatures. Section Command fails activation - so no decision is made. Three more - blips arrive alongside those already on table (very close, so will automatically match those on the field), then two more unidentified appear blips way away far right...

The next move is very short.... Charlie team moves forward. More blips arrive next to the ones already on the table.. Whatever they are there are lots of them... The ones in the open see Charlie Team and make a bee-line towards the nearest trooper (on overwatch).

The future of relations between "Unknown Species CK-1" and Humanity rests on the trigger finger of Trooper Huìqì 131313.... Oh, dear......






But Trooper 131313's training cuts in (morale test) he holds fire..

Next move: A Command point for the Alliance turns up. Alpha Team Leader makes a decision (dice) - "First Contact Protocol" to be followed pending orders from the Mother-ship. Another lucky Activation chit - Instructions passed to all teams by Alpha; Order passed "No team to fire without instructions/overt hostile action by unidentified species...".  An update with request for orders gets passed "upstairs" to the Mother-ship. 

Charlie Team gets an activation and the guys pull back.

Meanwhile the visible aliens likewise get activated again - and make a decision; will they run towards the "strange grey creatures", run towards the waterhole, run towards the Station... ?

Their throw decides that they will run to the waterhole.. Little darlings.. Maybe they're just gasping for a drinkie..... Tiffin - end of this move.....





Things rumble on... So long as the guys keep hidden, the "whatever they ares" don't go looking for them... Charlie Team swing round the swamp, soon to be followed by Alpha. The bunch of aliens mooch half-heartedly around the centre and the other blips seem to go into paralysis....





Alpha Team gets a response from Base (each move after an update/request to the Mother-ship I dice. on a throw of 6 a response is received): "Continue mission but Command confirms First Contact Protocol active pending BWV assessment of alien lifeforms. First Fire Situation prohibited at ALL costs. Repeat FFS prohibited. Report on assessment Trefusis-12 ASAP".

The group (herd?) of aliens wander back and forth in the centre, as if searching for something. Bravo Team finds their nerves stretched as the creatures come within yards of their positions - two team members only holding their fire because of their team leader using (handy) Control Points.

Alpha Team holds to support Bravo in case something goes wrong - the woods to Bravo's left is FULL of blips.....

Over the next few moves Charlie team moves up to the Terra-form Station, getting within yards without incident until.........




Suddenly two "blips" emerge from behind the Station, revealing two of the alien beings. The creatures race towards the Team with claws outstretched. The Team's fire discipline holds and not a shot is fired as the move ends with the strange entities only yards away............. 





The first token drawn happens to be C team... Team Leader passes a morale test, as does trooper 131313 (nearest the "things"). Trooper 131313 lays down his weapon... The two troopers furthest from the aliens go into overwatch, just in case.....

Next token drawn: THIS pair of aliens are activated... They test for attitude... Maybe bending down and putting something on the ground is thought to be a pre-courser to an attack in their culture..? Maybe they're just ravening beasts....? Or simply unpleasant bastards..?  Anyhoo, they charge and barge Trooper 131313, who is knocked to the ground...



The two team members on overwatch test for THEIR reaction - and fire...... The two aliens drop.....

Aliens 1 - Troopers 2.  First Contact Protocol - Ooops....!!!!


That moves ends.... The following move Charie Team gets an early chit and runs to get into the Terra-form Station, dragging 131313 with them......


But the alien group in the centre react - making a bee-line for the Station - and the noise...



Suddenly the tokens bring out the group of blips in the woods on Bravo Team's flank... Another 16 creatures (!!) - who (dice decision) also make for the station, drawn by the noise....?   B Team dice for reaction at seeing the Horde of The Things, but pass it, so do not open fire...




Though it is tempting.....

Each trooper has their own token in the pot. If drawn - and in a situation where they have a choice - the drawn trooper has to test to see if they shoot or carry out any other action..

In this case; B Team have heard shooting & radio traffic indicating an attack on C team. A large bunch of aliens have emerged heading towards C Team's location. B Team is on overwatch & concealed, so could shoot. Any trooper whose individual token comes up BEFORE the Team Leader token will be tempted to shoot (so has to pass a simple  "restraint" test)...

But First Contact Protocol is in force, they have orders to hold - and no local instructions from the Section Leader to support C. These are trained Alliance troopers - not Hollywood mavericks. The two troopers who have to make a check pass - and remain concealed...


Next move; Charlie & Bravo gets a chit drawn. Bravo holds. Charlie Team gives a sitrep and hunkers down in the Station..

There is also a Command chit drawn. If I wish this could be used to add to a moral'"do I shoot" check. However,; this isn't necessary, so I use it to radio in to HQ to update & seek instructions...

More tokens come out (lower image).... Trooper 3 takes a "do I fire" check. The other guys whose chits come up are not in firing position/range. The aliens make no further move.

The second Command chit is used by Alpha Team to verify instructions to all teams - "Hold. Await Instructions"...

The third Command chit is pulled just before End Turn.. This is used to check Trooper 131313: he is ok - walking wounded but alive...



Next move: Group 4 of the blips (not revealed yet) move - they dice & go towards the station.... All visible creatures are heading that way already..... Oh, dear....

The tokens continue; Troopers 2 &4 of Bravo Team test, but remain in control of themselves. Troopers 6 & 7 are not in LOS of any aliens and are with their Team Leader so need not test.

A Command Chit is drawn... Transmission from HQ (diced decision) to Team Alpha leader....

"Section is to withdraw from planetside pending further assessment. Return to shuttle immediate. Do NOT engage alien lifeforms except in immediate self defence. Repeat do NOT engage except in immediate self-defence".....

Next move: will my Alpha leader obey and pull A & B teams off-board...? In which case what will happen to Charlie Team....?

Charlie Team, in the Station, are probably wishing there were blinds on the windows.......


Endgame...

Next move more aliens move up to the Station, but nothing else...

The following move The bods of Bravo team ALL get individual tokens turning up - inc. the Bravo Team leader - but their training holds, and they stay under cover and do not fire...

Charlie team radios in (their command token got drawn). Charlie Leader acknowledges the "pull-back" order, but is surrounded and does not want to trigger an incident. 
The Station door has been barred from the inside. There are no firing loopholes, so Charlie Team cannot shoot UNLESS the aliens break in.  The Station seems secure and Trooper 131313 does not need  Medevac. - he is only slightly wounded. Charlie Leader will hold pending instructions.... (All decisions decided by dice).
Alpha Leader gets his token come up and decides (dice) - duty, orders and the strategic aim, or concern for Charlie Team...? Again, the Alliance training and discipline hold. He controls the desire of his men (and himself) to go get their mates, all guns blazing....

Bravo Team get their token and run to meet up with Alpha, as instructed..

One last move sees the members of Alpha and Bravo teams gather, and return to their shuttle...

Meanwhile, Charlie Team watch (and film & relay to HQ for assessment) the mass of alien creatures circling Trefusis 12 - while listening to their chittering....

And their talons scraping at the plexiglass.....


Rules;
A) For the Alliance - nine numbered tokens ( 1-9; one token for each trooper - they being themselves numbered) , three (home made) "leader tokens" (marked "A", "B" & "C"), three "command tokens" (for special actions). 
B) For the aliens/hostiles: Four "blue command" tokens; each time a blue command token was drawn this represented a number of "blips" (ave. dice decided the number of blips). These blips were then placed on the board as a "unit" out of LOS from my guys. I had allocated on the the board 12 "deployment points", so just diced for the placement of each "Unit". 
The drawn blue command taken and one blank were removed each time a blue command token was drawn/unit placed and a numbered token for that unit was placed in the Token Bag.

The "blips" I used were the old Space Hulk blips face down (I couldn't be bothered to make my own). These were drawn randomly from their tub. Each blip could represent from 1 to 5 "whatever they ares". The number - and type - would not be revealed until in sight of my guys... Sentient/RPG enemy enemy would have got a blue "command token" placed in the bag for each 4 figures up to 4 such tokens.) 



Movement/actions:

Once activated each Alliance figure/leader had three "actions" per move - occasionally added to by Command Tokens. . These could be used to move (one dice per action used), shoot, go into overwatch, give orders, communicate etc.

Random movement for the aliens in this scenario was based on a dice-based "movement spider, supplemented by IMP/visual sighting factors etc. The aliens moved in their groups/herds. If the aliens had gone truly hostile then "Zombicide" rules (go for those in sight 1st, then for the noisiest) would come into play.

Shooting was very simple (basically Space Hulk rules).

Things would have got more complicated if the "blips" had turned into other types of actual hostiles.

Well, that was fun. Simple rules, basic decision tables, lots to keep me guessing.... I had expected a "shoot 'em up", but it didn't gel that way...

The alien "things" (still undecided if they are sentient or "just" animals) were just one of the three possible options for encounter... Could have been MUCH more hostile (and tooled-up..).

Need to weight down my Genestealer bases though; obviously used to racing along corridors - a bit too light for a Teddy-Bear fur environment.


Next post should be news of a "back to 1/72" project.... As always comments & queries welcome..... 



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