Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Dragoncrawls and behavioural deployment

Still here. One of the posts I put up ahead of the lull was Dragons & Dungeons, on reversing the standard emphasis, and since then Red Orc and Jens D. have given the idea a bit more thought.

Suggested reading order would be the original post, Red Orc's follow-up then the latest.

I'm still wondering how it might work in wargaming. Maybe the forces would be set up based on likely unit activity, and the terrain simultaneously? Each force could be divided into a few categories, say Special, Scout, Column, Support and Patrol, which already happens to some degree in various games, with organisational charts, special rules etc.

In the case of a simple meeting engagement, one unit from the Special, Scout or Patrol category might be set up first, in the centre of the table, and have a given chance based on its category of being in cover: a higher chance for a Special, as if on a mission, and lower for a Patrol, as if actually patrolling. A terrain piece would be placed by that player.

This would then prompt the deployment of one or more units from the other force, determined randomly from one of perhaps the two most likely categories: a Special might trigger a Patrol or Support for example, a Scout might trigger a Patrol or Column, and a Patrol might trigger a Special or Scout. The new unit would then be deployed within a certain range of the first, based on category, also with a given chance of terrain.

A turn could be played out immediately between the units present or deployment could continue uninterrupted, with the new unit then triggering another, and that unit another, and so on, until both forces and all of the terrain are in place. Some categories could have a range that allows them to be left off a given table edge as reserves, as if drawn in.

This is actually very similar to the 'Getting out of the boat' approach, with its fluid set up.

But that's digressing. For now, Red Orc also has some posts Oldhammerers might like, including alternate histories - more topical in these End Times - and Jens is working on an OSRPG, Lost Songs of the Nibelungs, introduced as 'Germanic-Noir Tentacle Horror'.


Desert Scribe said...

Glad to see you posting again. I like your idea for setting up opposing forces in a wargame based on the type of unit. I might have to try it the next time I run a game of Ogre, to simulate the fog of war.

Porky said...

It's good to see you here as well. Go for it I say. Knowing the rules as well as I imagine you do Ogre's should make it all the more of a buzz.

Red Orc said...

I'm a big fan of the general concept of 'Troop/Elite/Fast Attack/Heavy Support' and using that information to pattern encounters. I even designed a small campaign for 40K breaking a large force into separate groups, in order to fulfill special missions based on the unit types. Either of the following makes sense using that pattern: 1-set up Heavy Support first then Troop then Elite then Fast Attack (moving from least to most responsive, repressenting the commander's ability to structure his deployment to information coming in about enemy forces in the area); or, have Fast Attack arive on Turn 1, Elites in Turn 2, Troops in Turn 3 and Heavy Support in Turn 4 (representing the forces arriving and ammassing at the point of cotact, but giving deployment priority to the smaller lighter forces that are more manoeuvrable).

Also, I think it's an interesting idea tying the unit to terrain. I'm not sure how it works now, but in Warhammer, Wood Elf players were allowed to deploy an extra stand of trees at one time. Something like that seems to be in order. What price going near that area of tumbled rocks, where Dwarven tunnellers or Goblin braves might lurk, or the pond that could house Lizardmen assassins?

Perhaps some units could have exclusionary rules for terrain - rather than 'place unit x and terrain type 1 within 6 inches' (which was my assumption for what you're suggesting) the rule could be 'place unit y and terrain type 2 NOT within 12 inches' (more useful for artillery or cavalry types perhaps). A list of terrain types and the units they can be positively or negatively associated with seems in order.

You could combine this with 'hidden deployment' - place three ponds on the table, but only one of them contains the Lizardmen. Your opponent would be wary of all of them - but which is really a threat? The choice I guess then is, does the deployment rule require you to pick a pond (ie, you know the 'trap' is sprung when an enemy approaches pond 3) or do you get a choice even after the game has begun (ie, the 'first pond with enemy within 6"')? I suppose then, do you have to deploy from the first pond (so you opponent knows he sacrifices a small unimportant unit to your Lizardmen knowing his archers standing a little further away can cut them up in return) or can you wait until his elite infantry have passed and attack from the rear? Perhaps a leadership test would be in order for that.

Anyway, the notion that the creation of the battlefield depends on the forces fighting on it is intriguing. I'm sure I'll be thinking further on that.

Porky said...

There's an element of this in Epic: Armageddon as well, with the base tournament scenario allowing each side to place three objectives, which people often model. This is usually done to have them be unobtrusive modelled markers, but by agreement the system could comfortably accommodate using larger pieces of terrain.

The thing that ties it in to your last point about hidden deployment is the fact that some forces can upgrade an objective to an access point of some kind, notably a webway portal in the case of various Eldar lists. By agreeing with an opponent not to announce the deployment methods for the formations held in reserve (objective, planetfall or teleport) it would be possible to get a similar effect.

E:A, like all of the Epics in fact, is a pretty good game. Two house rules could achieve a lot of what we're talking about here and that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Desert Scribe said...

Red Orc's post reminded me of a similar rule I used for hidden infantry in my Siege of Monopolis scenario for Ogre:

HIDDEN INFANTRY: A player may designate some or all infantry units as hidden infantry. They are not placed on the map during setup. Instead, hidden infantry deploy as follows:

-- On any turn, at the start of the defender’s fire phase, the defender rolls a d6 for each unit to be placed. On a roll of 4+, that unit may be placed in any Forest, Rubble, Swamp, or Town hex unoccupied by enemy units.

-- Multiple hidden infantry units may be placed in the same hex as long as the rolls are successful.

-- Once a roll fails, the defender may not attempt to place any more hidden infantry until the next turn.

-- Hidden infantry fire normally on the turn they are placed, and move and fire normally after that.

I like fog of war, but I wanted to reduce recordkeeping such as writing down which hex your infantry are hiding in (and my map doesn't have numbered hexes). This is a good way to have concealed units while cutting down on paperwork.

Porky said...

I agree with the thinking on record keeping, and it can definitely get confusing if it's done with odd scraps or different conventions, although the naturalistic nature could be integrated a bit by having the notes be written out in character, like orders.

Counters are quite useful as potential location markers as well, with a given number of blanks to represent false alarms, like a flock of birds at a skirmish level or odd residential generators maybe on a larger scale. The Space Hulk blips are a classic example of that.

If the playing pieces are all counters, just turning them over and adding more blanks to the table or board is another way, and the need to flip everything to keep track as the controlling player is then a great representation of the juggling in information management.

One key question again is whether the controlling player should know where the units are going to be, and be able to change the intended location, but the arguments both ways are compelling. It makes sense some units would go out and maintain silence, and could end up in unexpected places, or not get word of a change.

You've also captured well the potential for variable time of appearance, with the roll for the 4+ almost suggesting a commander willing a silent unit out or muttering about where they might have got to.

Desert Scribe said...

Thanks, you're describing the commander's uncertainty that I was trying to emulate with that roll to place the hidden infantry.

Sometimes it results in an ambush that changes the tide of the battle. Other times, it just has the commander grinding his teeth in frustration that his infantry won't come out of hiding.

ChoiceGenie said...

It's good to see you here as well. Go for it I say. Knowing the rules as well as I imagine you do Ogre's should make it all the more of a buzz.
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