Monday, 17 October 2011

You haven't heard the last of this...

There's not enough conflict in wargames. The really bitter kind I mean. Where are those rivalries and petty disputes in and between the ranks? Following up yesterday's post on points values, and The Angry Lurker's reminder most of all, here's a generic approach.

At the start of the game all players roll a die for every leader in their force, from squad-level right the way up, with the overall commander getting a reroll. This could be left beside the model, or a counter placed; for secrecy, maybe those to the left, which could be matched to a master list.

A low roll represents demoralisation, bitterness at being passed over, a festering rivalry or dirt on a superior; a high roll is recent graduation, a chance at promotion, blackmail over a skeleton in the closet or heads rolling in case of defeat.

Players could be allowed to switch some, to represent the work of the commander over time, massaging egos and making sure the trustworthy figures were in the right places.

What happens next depends on how much the players want this to impact the game. For a high impact, when a unit with a leader present is directly involved with an opposing unit with its own leader, the scores are compared. The side with the higher number gets a bonus on a given roll, to hit say, or even on all rolls, to represent that difference in interest. For less impact, the difference in scores could be used only to break a draw.

For real drama, or late in a campaign, players could need to roll equal to or under the scores each turn to have leaders advance or attack, as if orders were being ignored.

Giving each leader a number like this makes other things possible too. For example, when reserves enter, a die could be rolled to represent possible friendship. If the result matched the score of any leader or leaders already on the table, someone among the reserves, or the individual who sent them, is a friend of one or other, and the reserves would then be placed as close along the edge as possible to that person's position.

It could work with units rather than leaders too, or with individuals in skirmish game.

Again, all thoughts welcome. I think this one has a lot of scope for expansion.


Ray Rousell said...

I like this idea, but it does sound like a description of Fran (The Lurker)demoralisation, bitterness at being passed over, a festering rivalry or dirt, I like the dirt one!!he he! Now he's got to think of some kind of comeback??

Gotthammer said...

A most interesting concept, Porky. Stargrunt had a somewhat similar mechanic in the quality of its troops - it would be easy enough to adapt that system to have quality be a variable thing depending on circumstances.

Still, it would certainly add some spice to a good multiplayer game. I'm also reminded of one of the White Dwarf battle reports featuring a massive Apocalypse game.
Each player had their own secret (and often conflicting) mission objectives, and were under command of a overlord in another room who passed written notes for orders based on photos of the tables.
Sometimes the real life players chose to ignore their orders after getting fed up at not getting reserves or support!

It would definately be a great mechanic for a GM run game.

Von said...

Reminds me a lot of the old Ork Event cards from the first generation of Ork army lists. All sorts of madness in there, and dissension in the ranks may well have been a part of it.

I do wonder if this sort of thing overcomplicates matters from a mechanical perspective, but Gotthammer's point about the GM would probably mitigate that.

Porky said...

Thanks guys. It's certainly an extra layer. To reduce the complexity it could be limited to some leaders only, maybe only those with the more prestigious units, the closer rivals to the top dog. With a GM of course the thing could really come into its own, and be more easily kept from both players. All kinds of related events could come up too.

I remember that massed tank battle with Varlak and Ian Pickstock's tanks, if that's the one, and there was a Warhammer version around the same time too which had a similar mechanism. Great fun, especially for three or more a side.

Re the cards, I miss events decks, and I'd say GW could do well out of some themed examples for 40K. It looks to me like minimal risk, and they could even be made collectible. Then again, the fate deck for Dreadfleet wasn't everyone's cup of tea.