Writing a Wargame – Issues with Tracking

So I’ve a number of things that I’ve had suggestions for and also some items I don’t think are entirely pinned down yet. I’ve also got an extensive work list ahead of me to get this finished.

KEEPING TRACK OF UNIT MARKERS

My first question is, as has been fairly pointed out by Chris Pringle, whether I have too many points that players will need to keep a track of during the game/turn.

What’s Being Tracked?

Strength and Formation will be tracked by Brigade while Morale and Actions will be tracked by Brigade. How will this be done? Firstly let’s have a look at the potential base and solutions that may work.

We’re going for a 40mm wide base for all battalions at present along with a Commander Base which the size has yet to be decided upon. If we assume at present that the Commander Base will also be the same size as a Battalion/Squadron Base we may have the following:

Potential Base Layout

This is a potential solution using 7mm dice holders available from Pendragon to hold the dice on the bases.

For this however, it does require quite a few dice and may also mean adjusting the strength values of each unit.

The alternative option is to keep the markers for morale and actions on the commanders base, but then use a sheet with an order of battle (which I can write a battlescribe file for) to make notes on strength and formations.

Order of Battle

The only issue with this is ensuring that you know which battalion is which by the use of labels of some kind.

This method can also be used to track morale as well should you wish.

However I am worried that this may all become a tedious paper keeping exercise during the course of the battle.

Further options may be to remove formations completely like many other games, however due to the mechanics using a 1-2 combination attack being the most effective between infantry and cavalry attacking enemies and the effect it has on morale I would ideally like to keep this.

Should I drop strength and morale? I feel that morale is a key mechanic of this game. While strength may be a nice to have to track casualties etc to compare to the historical battle that you may be re-enacting.

Another option would be tie strength and morale together into one attribute. A battalion with 1,000+ men may be strength 10 hence a morale of 10, fire dice could then be tied to this by dividing the figure by 2 or 3. If casualties are then to be recorded perhaps players can record the hits made against their battalions (if they so wish) and times the value by 50 to arrive at a casualty figure.

I’m also thinking of keeping the 5 actions per turn, but then also allowing units to make 2 reactions.

GOING FOWARDS

For now I’m running with:

1) I’m going to keep the current strength mechanics of the brigade marked by either 2D10’s on the commanders base or on an order of battle.

2) Returning to 5 Actions AND 5 Reactions per turn. Therefore no need for tracking.

3) Formations can be tracked via a single dice on a battalion base.

4) Morale working as it currently is, with either Dice on the commanders base or on a written order of battle

I’d love to know everyone’s thoughts.

4 thoughts on “Writing a Wargame – Issues with Tracking

  1. Do you envision that the battalions in a brigade will often have different formations, or is it more likely that the brigade as a whole will take a particular formation?

    Many games will use the orientation of the bases in a unit to show the change in formation, which would give you one less thing to track with dice. For example, if the brigade is in line, you could have the battalions in a formation wider than it is deep, if they are in column you have it deeper than wide, and if it’s in square, you have the units all facing out.

    You could theoretically also accomplish this by having each battalion be made of 4 bases 20cmx10cm.

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    1. Hi Patrick, thank you for your comment.

      I do think that battalions inside a brigade will be using different formations denotes by a dice on there base.

      I prefer having the tracking with a single die per base rather than four smaller bases as the issue would be the look of units on 20cm X 10cm bases.

      That being said, I will model some bases up with 6mm models on your suggested base size as well as on 40mm wide to see which gives a better look and feel to the game. I’m not saying no.

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      1. I’ve ordered some bases this size to try.

        I have had a further thought though, although you’d be cutting down on 2-5 dice per brigade depending on the number of battalions, you’ll be gaining an additional 3 stands per battalion.

        For example, a four battalion brigade, you’ll lose four dice for tracking, however you’ll get an additional 12 bases of stands you’d need to move by hand.

        I don’t necessarily think the benefit of losing four dice for a trade of moving 12 more stands is worth it.

        But I will try it.

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