Starship Combat

December 14, 2017

I was reading a 1 page rules set I got from Wargame Vault.  It is based on the old computer Star Trek game.  You go from quadrant to quadrant, killing enemies until your patrol is complete.  It  looks like a simple and fun game.  More importantly, it got me thinking about some simple rules that I’ve never been able to articulate until now.

The basics go like this.  Each ship has a set damage track.  The total number of hits each ship can take before being destroyed is based on the class of the ship.  Escort 4, Destroyer 8, Cruiser 12, Capital ship 16.  The attack modifier is also based on size at 0 through 3 respectively.  Movement is 6 through 3 respectively.  Finally, defense is 3 through 6 respectively.  When one ship attacks another, a single die is rolled.  If you roll above the target’s defense, you score that many hits to the target.  When a target reaches 25%, it receives a -1 for all functions.  At 50%, it receives a -2, at 75% it receives a -3 and at 100% the target is a hulk.  Every time the target takes damage over 100%, roll a die.  If you don’t roll over the deficit, the target explodes.  Thus a target is 2 points below 0, a roll of 3 or more will destroy the target.

Some ideas for special weapons:

Torpedoes which always attack at +5 but subtract the target’s top speed for a modifier.  Each point of damage caused does double damage.

Fusion guns might have shorter range but get a bonus to hit on top of the normal attack bonus.

Ion cannon hit on a 4-6 but don’t cause any structural damage.  Instead, they cause -1 per hit.  These hits can be repaired on a 4+ checked at the beginning of the turn.

Fighters come in two styles.  Interceptors hit other fighters on a 5or 6.  They have no effect against ships.  Bombers can attack adjacent ships and count as a normal attack with a +1 per fighter left in a group.  Normally 6 fighters per group and -1 per fighter hit of course.

I’m sure I can come up with other ideas.  Each ship should get a basic laser attack plus one other weapon type.  The attack number  is the basic number of attacks in the case of an ion cannon.  And the attack number +1 is the number of torpedo attacks that ship can make in a game.  Thus an escort can carry 1 torpedo while a capital ship can carry 4.  If a ship is to carry fighters, it can carry the attack number in fighter wings and the type must be determined before the game begins.  Thus a destroyer can carry 1 fighter wing and a capital ship can carry 3 fighter wings.

Finally, there should be some modifiers for a ships style.  A wedge shaped ship like a Star Wars star destroyer would get a bonus of 1 to hit when making an attack dead on.  It would get a 0 for the front arc and -2 for any other arc.  A broadside style ship would get a 0 out of the broadside arc and a -1 forward or aft arc.  A wide sweep style ship would get a 0 through 3 arcs and a -2 to the rear arc.

Movement would be on hexes or free form with an observance of 60 degree turns.  It would be non-inertial style movement to speed play along.  Some standard rules for turning and side slipping etc.  I think it could be a workable system.  Now if I only had some ships!


Battles of WWII by Osprey Publishing

December 7, 2017

I found two great books from Osprey Publishing this past fall at Southern Front in North Carolina.  The books are reprints from a set of older titles.  The first is on Libya in 1940, dealing with the Italian invasion and subsequent retreat to the Libyan frontier.  The second covers Rommel’s opening moves and carries the reader through Operation Battle Ax.

As usual, the books are well illustrated with maps and period photos though with fewer artist illustrations than more current Osprey Titles.  The summaries of the fighting are well written and very easy to read and follow.

In the section illustrating the armies, there are some fairly detailed orders of battle for the various combatants.  These OOBs are book specific with the Germans only appearing in the Tobruk book.  As an extra surprise, the bok on Libya has a small section in the back with wargaming ideas for gaming the campaign.  Both enjoyable reads and well worth picking up.

OHOTR D6 Conclusion

November 28, 2017

The last 10 turns took a little over an hour to play out.

Somewhere about turn 7 the Confederates press home the attack. A crack brigade swings around the Union flank.

The pressure mounts. Confederates inflict losses all across the Union line. The union rolled a steady stream of ‘6’s, missing wildly. This looked as though the Rebs were going to take the town before the last Union reinforcements showed.

Finally, Union forces arrive with another infantry brigade and a cavalry brigade. The Confederates were so close that the Union cavalry entered the field dismounted.

Towards the end of the day, Confederate troops failed to charge and sweep the union brigade from the field on the right. Another ill-fated charge from a rebel brigade in a bid to overrun the Union artillery resulted in heavy losses. The artillery actually won the melee and inflicted a stand of casualties from shooting.

I ended the game after turn 14.  The Confederates were in better shape but were clearly not going to take the town on Turn 15.  It was a fun little game and my suspicions were confirmed.  One Hour Wargames scenarios can work well for a good many games.  I’ve played it with Dux Bellorum, Throw me a 6 and now On to Richmond.

OTR played out well.  The new melee system needs more testing.  I did not get any overwhelming victories but mathematically, they should happen.  Even with a marginal victory, it is a good way to eject an enemy from their defenses.  My one messup was that I apparently did not scale down movement.  Movement rates were as per the original game but shooting ranges were essentially halved. I’ve been using a simple modification where each additional morale marker drives a unit back 1 move.  With the larger moves, that means that a unit would fall back more quickly than intended and might make it impossible for an enemy to march forward and give fire.  I’ll slow everything down by half.

One Hour On to Richmond D6

November 27, 2017

The title is a little clumsy but that is exactly what it is!.  I managed the first five turns of scenario 10 of One Hour Wargames.  The situation has the Yankees fighting a delaying action and protecting a town.  The Rebels have to advance through a narrow gap flanked by trees and an impassible mountain.  The game is moving along at a good clip.

Union forces consisted of 4 infantry brigades in 2 divisions, a rifled artillery battery and a cavalry brigade.

The Confederate forces consisted of 3 infantry brigades, 2 crack infantry brigades and a smooth bore artillery battery.

I made any crack unit (Zuoaves as they are called in OHW) have a combat value of 4.  The other brigades are either trained or veteran, randomly determined.  As it turns out, all regular infantry on the field are veterans.   I determine the combat value of a unit at the first time the unit grade is needed.  Seeing the elephant.

The situation after turn 1. Both forces would come to grips by turn 3.

The Union started the fight by inflicting some losses on one of the Confederate brigades.  The battle ebbed and flowed through turn 4 with the Union brigades grudgingly giving ground.  At one point, a Confederate brigade made an uncontrolled charge and got one a minor victory over a Union brigade in melee.   The gap was so narrow that the crack brigade formed a reinforced line and took its chances with the dice roll for shooting, as it could only bring 4 stands to bear.  Turned 5 went to the Confederates.  The picture below says it all.

Turn 5 was a mixed bag. The Yankees failed to inflict significant losses. However, the union artillery and part of the second division can be seen deploying around the town.

I will hopefully have a conclusion tomorrow.


Friday Grab Bag 11 – It’s one louder

November 26, 2017

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post.  Mostly it’s been a very busy and somewhat ugly week.  But that is all passed now…thankfully.

I posted last time that you could randomly select the 36 scenarios in One Hour Wargames with 2D6s read as percentages.  While this is true, there are actually only 30 scenarios.  You can still randomly roll for the scenarios with a D30.  “What’s this?  You need a computer?”  No.  You roll a D10 and a D6.  If the D6 comes up a 1-2, then read the D10 as is.  If the D6 comes up 3-4, add 10 to the result of the D10.  If the D6 comes up 5-6, add 20 to the result of the D10.  The best part is that you don’t have to mark up your book.

Speaking of One Hour Wargames, this is really a great book for scenarios for those that just want to game.  You can use the 3X3 board and play slimmed down versions of just about any game you want.  On to Richmond or Fire and Fury both can be played with standardized units.  I plan on playing some Bloody Big Battles (Maybe that should be small?) with these scenarios. The army generators in the book will translate well for most eras.  For those armies with more unit variety than the book allows, you can randomly determine what type of unit it is.  For instance, is it light cavalry or heavy cavalry?

The shopping season is upon us.  My post is late for the Black Friday sales which have come and gone.  Lulu sent out a 30% off coupon for print books.  I passed on it as I am not really interested in much they have to offer right now.  However, in the past, they’ve sent out a 40% off deal for cyber-Monday.  Here’s hoping.

I have not been able to playtest my slimmed down version of On to Richmond.  I may get a game in this afternoon or evening if my son is up for it rather than fantasy.  He seems to have an aversion to history.  He does like battles but is not much for learning more.   He’s not even interested in medieval which much of the fantasy games out there are based off of.  Maybe in a few more years that will change.

Friday Grab Bag #10 What’s it all about again?

November 10, 2017

I’ve been playing a good bit of Battle for Wesnoth lately.  It is a computer game that plays both like a miniatures skirmish game on hexes and a strategy game where you have to capture towns to maintain your upkeep.  It has a series of scenario driven campaigns.  I’ve been playing for years but have never embraced the full strategies which sometimes can be the downfall to make even the easiest campaigns seem difficult at times.  When I first played, there was a scenario called “The Scepter of Fire” which is set in the bowels of a volcanic mountain.  You have to battle through several enemy leaders and their minions.  It seemed so difficult at the time that I actually hacked the game to put the scepter right in front of my general.  On turn 1, I grabbed it and left.  Yeah.  I totally mulliganed that one.  I have since played this campaign several times including that scenario – unhacked thank you very much!  Last night, especially, the scenario was a walk in the park.  I had done all the things a good player should do.  Stay away from the lava.  Soften up the enemy with one of your ace warriors and finish it with a low level guy to gain experience and level him up.  One thing that has really helped is that I’ve gone out of my way to protect the “loyal” troops.  Wesnoth has an upkeep system.  You must pay a cost in gold equal to the total number of levels of troops deployed on the board.  For example, if I’ve deployed 4 level 3 units, I will pay 12 gold per turn for those units.  Loyal troops have no upkeep.  I think I have six of them in my army right now.  All are either level 2 or level 3.  I can highly recommend this game.  It is free so you have nothing to lose, except maybe time as you play it.

Paul, of Paul’s Bods blog, has been doing a good pit of fantasy lately.  Much of it deals directly with the Lord of the Rings, especially in the area of Balrogs and Trolls.  Both come from Dark Alliance Miniatures.  He’s done a wonderful job painting them.  He admits and reaffirms my one lament about 1/72 scale plastics.  For specialized creatures such as these, you end up with way more than you actually need!  I suppose you could recreate battles of the Simarillion if you so choose.  There are all sorts of miniatures, mostly plastic 1/72 scale, that he has been painting for quite some time.  Well worth a visit every now and again just to see what he’s been up to.  The scratch built projects are especially nice!

I do still breeze through TMP every now and again to see if there is anything new and interesting posted.  I rarely post content anymore.  I’ve drilled down into some thread of interest and read through, only to find some poster has started grinding his ax about this problem or that.  That, and the content can be a little racey.  There was one in Science about “Sex Dolls” that I was not willing to click on.  I am pretty glad I don’t participate in TMP anymore.  I will say that Wargames Website is a fine place to be with some fine contributors but it doesn’t have the same amount of traffic that TMP does.  Who knows.  Maybe that will change.

Campaigns in One Hour Wargames are done with the toss of a 6 sided die.  The first battle comes from the first 6 scenarios, the next from the next 6 and so on.  This is fine but what if you wanted to choose from the entire body of 36 scenarios?  Or what if you don’t want a 6 game campaign.  Maybe you want more or less?  You can truly randomize the scenario selection by rolling 2 different colored 6-sided dice.  Count one color as “10s” and the other color as “1s”.  So if you rolled a 2 and a 5 you would read it as twenty-five.  Then simply label each scenario, starting with the first 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and so on until you get to the last, which would be 66.  Roll.  Find.  Play.  It’s that simple.

There hasn’t been a lot of time to get a proper wargame in lately.  Between my son playing soccer and the regular duties of parents with 2 children, the weekdays have been tough.  My daughter is running a race this weekend and my son has a soccer tournament both this weekend and next.  Then it is off to the Thanksgiving holiday and the in-laws.  I also have an article to finish for The Wargamer’s Notes magazine.  Hopefully, December will be more kind.  Who am I kidding.  It’s the holidays!




On to Richmond – Re-imagined!

November 7, 2017

On To Richmond is on eof my very favorite games.  It is old and does have a few warts, melee combat being one of them.  It’s just way too “mathy.”  I had a crazy idea to make my own version of this fine game.  The rules I have so far, though untested and quite a rough draft, generally follows the flow and vibe of its venerable predecessor.

The game still uses the card activation system with each division going in turn as its card is turned up.  One change I made was to distill everything down to a single six sided die.  Yep!  That’s right!  no more ten sided die.  It actually fell in line very nicely.  Musketry, for instance has a 50% chance of causing a casualty and a 30% chance of causing a morale marker.  A total of 80%.  In D6 terms, that would be 1-3 causes a casualty and a 4-5 causes a morale marker.  About 83% chance.  As it turns out, artillery falls into the same pattern.  It was easily reproducible with a six sided die.  Modifiers were greatly simplified to about a half dozen.  Mostly +1 or +2 for various cover etc.  Several minuses for flank fire or shooting at a column.

Melee is the big change.  The base value is 1 for each side.  Then each player rolls a six sided die.  Each total is modified for various situations including numerical advantage and the unit with the higher combat value gets the difference between the two units’ combat value.  The winner usually will lose a stand.  The loser will lose one or more stands based on how severe the loss was.  The loser is also driven back a half move per stand lost.

Morale works similar to the original game but, you guessed it, it is a simple chart based on a six sided die.  The basics are covered including half moves, redeployment routs, retreats and even revenge moves.

I hope to post a clean draft in the next couple of weeks and even a battle report or two.