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Author Topic: Introducing unpredictability into solo games  (Read 917 times)
GridGame
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Posts: 26


« on: 26 January 2020, 08:11:24 PM »

Traditionally One Hour Wargames (OHW) rules work to an IGOUGO system. Playing solo I have looked for ways to add a level of unpredictability. I have tried the following:
A] Dice at the start of each turn to see which side goes first,
B] The side losing the least casualties in a turn goes first in the next, (a draw on scores results in a dice throw), and
C] The use of chance cards (as suggested as an option in OHW when playing solo).
Does anyone else use any of these? What are others experience in how well they work?
I appreciate that not all are aware of OHW but believe these or similar mechanisms are used for other rules systems and I’m interested in ideas from these as well.
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fred.
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« Reply #1 on: 26 January 2020, 08:18:03 PM »

These suggestions, randomise the order of units between the sides, within the turn.

You could use Bolt Action style draw a dice (or bead) from a bag containing 1 dice per unit,  with a colour for each side (could also use cards for this).

You could go as far as to assign each unit to a card and then draw these to see which unit goes when.

Most rules work pretty well with random turn order, but not all. I'm not familiar enough with OHW to know if any of these suggestions would break the game.

You could introduce an activation roll for a unit (like Warmaster, BKC or Black Powder) so a unit might do nothing, or might do more than 1 thing.
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paulr
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« Reply #2 on: 26 January 2020, 09:11:45 PM »

You could also add an end of turn card/dice/bead or two so the turn may end before all units have had a chance to activate

We use two “Tea Break” cards when playing ‘If the Lord Spares Us’ and both have to be drawn to end the turn, particularly important when there are a lot of units cards
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Big Insect
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« Reply #3 on: 26 January 2020, 09:13:59 PM »

We play a very good (playing) card driven 28mm Cowboy game called 'Liberty' and you draw a hand of cards and top up the ones you use next turn.

Each suit allows you to do something specific - so Clubs allows you to shoot or initiate had-to hand combat (for example), Spades is movement (have not got these right ... Shedman will no-doubt correct me) but you can use any cards to move (if you don't have movement cards) but you use them at half their face value.

You could use a similar system in Solo games - using a hand of cards for each unit or command maybe. When it is your move, if your unit just has movement cards it only moves, but others might have movement and firing cards. Some might just have firing and defensive cards.

Combat/Shooting is conducted by the firer placing their shooting cards and the defender countering (beating) the score of the firer (with a Heart). Casualties are scored when the shooter's card value beats the defenders save value.

Sometime you just get a hand of movement and saving cards, so that allows you to multiple move and defend against enemy fire.
We have had some truly memorable and hilarious games ... we each have tailor made 'gangs' of 5 figures ... mine is the Nolan Sisters!

 
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steve_holmes_11
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« Reply #4 on: 26 January 2020, 09:24:34 PM »

I'm not familiar with he one hour wargames, so an initial consideration is whether a big advantage comes with "tempo" (Chessplayer's term).
How much does going first allow the player to dictate the shape of the game?
If tempo is relatively unimportant, then the situation may not need fixing.

Assuming you want to fix it, here's something I read back in the 1970s.

Forces alternate turning cards.
A black card indicates the "black" team activates: One units for an ace, two units for a court card and one units for cards numbered 2-10.
A red card grants the same activation options for the opposing team.
Units cannot activate twice until all have been activated.

That was all, but the system is easily upgraded to incorporate some more modern considerations.

4 players is easily accommodated by assigning each player a distinct suit.

A premature end of turn (or Tea Break in Lardie lingo) can be introduced by retaining the joker cards and deciding that the turn ends early when either one, or both jokers appear.


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petercooman
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« Reply #5 on: 26 January 2020, 10:45:03 PM »

to make it more unpredictable, you could always roll for the value of the units when they first engage:

d6 roll:
1 militia/conscripts/green start at -1 to damage rolls or at 13 hitpoints
2-5 regular: start at normal stats
6 hardened/veteran start at +1 to damage rolls or at 17 hitpoints


I like the ideas to use bolt action draw mechanics or the card draw mechanics as well. The draw mechanic from the lardies 'sharpe practise' would fit very well too with some adaptions : each unit has a numbered token/card, each has 4 flag tokens/cards and there is 1 end of turn token/card. The numbered tokens allow you to activate the corresponding unit, the flags are kept when drawn, and when the end token is drawn, you can then activate any unit that has not been activated in the turn for each flag you have ORwhen you get 4 flags before the end token is drawn, one of your units gets a bonus activation that can be made on top of it's normal activation.
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Glorfindel
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« Reply #6 on: 27 January 2020, 10:19:48 AM »

When I have played the odd solo game, I found an effective mechanism to introduce friction
was (a) use of a multi-layer command structure and (b) simple written orders that have to
percolate through from the CinC to the individual Battalions / Regiments.

I drew a flow diagram of the command structure for both sides.   Simple orders were then
physically written on a small piece of paper and moved down the structure (with pleas for
help etc moving in the opposite direction).

At the beginning of each turn, roll to see how far the order moves through the command
structure and to see whether it is subject to delays / possible loss etc.

This all sounds complicated but it was actually very easy and created some fun situations
where vital orders were lost or lower level commanders received orders that made little
sense at the time.



Phil
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steve_holmes_11
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Posts: 782


« Reply #7 on: 27 January 2020, 11:48:26 AM »

When I have played the odd solo game, I found an effective mechanism to introduce friction
was (a) use of a multi-layer command structure and (b) simple written orders that have to
percolate through from the CinC to the individual Battalions / Regiments.

I drew a flow diagram of the command structure for both sides.   Simple orders were then
physically written on a small piece of paper and moved down the structure (with pleas for
help etc moving in the opposite direction).

At the beginning of each turn, roll to see how far the order moves through the command
structure and to see whether it is subject to delays / possible loss etc.

This all sounds complicated but it was actually very easy and created some fun situations
where vital orders were lost or lower level commanders received orders that made little
sense at the time.



Phil

It does sound rather fiddly, and I'm sure the inherent delays would be immensely frustrating if playing with a group of opponents.
One of the beauties of solo play is that you can focus in on aspects of the battle that fascinate you, so this wouldn't be such a problem.

I know that friction is a big thing (and a divisive thing) in modern rules.
It is typically implemented in a highly abstract manner.

If the main focus of your interest lies in command and control (a critical differentiator between armies in some periods of history), then this seems like an excellent way to place it front and centre of your games.
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GridGame
Cadet

Posts: 26


« Reply #8 on: 28 January 2020, 03:21:50 PM »

Thanks to all for the replies. A wide range of useful ideas to investigate.
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Norm
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« Reply #9 on: 28 January 2020, 08:27:20 PM »

I know you favour ECW. There is a chap (Peter) who runs a blog in which he has several variants for OHW, one of which is for ECW (link below) and he has slightly ammened the sequence of play, plus there is a bunch of other stuff there that I am sure will interest you.

Link
https://gridbasedwargaming.blogspot.com/p/d3-english-civil-war-wargaming-rules.html
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Edmund2011
Second Lieutenant
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Posts: 133


« Reply #10 on: 20 April 2020, 12:24:01 AM »

Hi, this is what I do:

- For Warmaster the system itself gives you can some kind of uncertainty/fog of war in each player turn. I usually add random deployment of the enemy after my deployment (even in flancks of the table) to force me to manouvre against the unexpected.

- For Battlecry and Memoir '44, in the "opponent" turn just draw a card and do what is more logical in that sector/situation. Any doubt about that logical decision just randomise it. If the card is not possible to be used discard it and draw a new one. If that is impossible too, draw a third and final card.

- For Armati I introduce the battle cards from Hannibal (Avalon Hill). A hand of 3 or 4 cards for me. Left attack card activates all divisions in the left sector, frontal assault all divisions in the center, double envolement activates divisions in both flanks and Probe all divisions in the army. At the beggining of the turn I select the card I am going to play and after that I draw a card that is what my "opponent" will do. Then roll for initiave, and play a normal Armati turn with the limitations of the cards played.

This method of the cards of Hannibal is quite fun, you have to decide without knowing what the enemy will do in the same turn. In fact I want to use it against a human opponent as I like a lot the idea that both players decide at the same time what to do, and you can't not just move all your army while the opponent is "frozen" and then he moves and you are "frozen". Anyway the only person I know that plays Armati with me doesn't feel very conformtable with the idea of trying the experiment...

- For skirmish games I use the figure activation with cards (one or two cards for each figure), and a wild card to end turn. Each enemy figure activated rolls in a table with actions I have written (withdraw, look for a corpse to loot, move to the nearest cover, I decide what he does, shoot nearest enemy, etc, etc). I am working on this currently.

Ah, Crossfire had a solo rules made by somebody quite good. The enemy is placed on the table with tokens. When you are in sight the token rolls in a table and may shoot you (you roll in other table to discover what units are hidden in the token), or may move. You can also see what is under the token shooting or assaulting it. I played it a couple of times and I liked it, but it was a little bit complex.
« Last Edit: 20 April 2020, 01:04:46 AM by Edmund2011 » Logged
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