Friday, February 17, 2012

Solo Gaming and Reaction Systems Test (4)

New Readers Welcome

Welcome to new readers JF and Jacko. Hope you like the blog.


Shaun brought up some great points in the comments on the last blog entry, mainly that I was playing the rules wrong! Using the provenance of Rally Round the King (Warrior Heroes before it and Warrior Kings before that) he showed that there is no concept of moving and firing and therefore no concept of voluntary fire.

I'll be honest, that rule is bad design and now reminds me of why I set these rules aside.
  1. It does not model skirmishers very well, which generally use movement as a defense mechanism.
  2. It does not model mounted skirmishers at all.
  3. It creates a reverse Gotcha'! with skirmishing against heavy infantry.
What the Heck is a Reverse Gotcha'!?

The first time I heard the term "Gotcha'! Gaming" was from Wally Simon in the old PW Review gaming journal. It basically describes the effect of the worst type of IGO-UGO games (which Two Hour Wargames professes to cure with their reaction system). Take a certain space fantasy miniatures game that is tremendously popular. Their rules allow side A to move up into weapons range of their opponent, fire to full effect, remove casualties from side B, all before side B can do anything. Gotcha'!

A reverse Gotcha'! comes about when you change the action allowance from move and fire to move or fire. Side B gets to yell Gotcha'! when side A moves into range. In RRtK this happens with missile troops if they cannot move and fire. They are forced to stop when within missile range (3" for skirmishers), but if they cannot fire they will get charged by the enemy. So they will have to pass a Being Charged test, which is pretty hard for a thin line of skirmishers. Even if they succeed in the test is it not possible to fire in defense (they are not Dual Armed). Essentially this means that there is no offensive missile fire unless the enemy chooses to stand there in front of you and take it and no defensive fire for skirmishers. Found a missing page!

I think I have shown the concepts that I want to with these rules, which is primarily how to use Mythic to make major decisions like deployment, battle tactics, and precedence for receiving activation (PIPs in DBx parlance).

Given that these rules are broken, I will pass on completing the game. I know that NUTS! is not broken, and I do want to do a skirmish game, so I may pick up the reaction system banner on them soon.


  1. Hmmm, while I am eager to see how it goes with NUTS! I'm sorry to see the RRtK example be done. I obviously need to re-read the rules because the whole no voluntary fire thing escaped me in my first read through. And just one more thought, did you ever bring this up on the THW group? I could certainly see Ed saying just play it how you feel.

  2. Thanks. I always enjoy reading blogs and things about solo mechanics.


  3. Does this mean a new turn is in the works?

  4. Yes. It is in draft now. I am trying to play the game to conclusion before publishing it.

  5. Actually I really like RRtK because of the way it models skirmishers! It was actually the way skirmishers worked that pshed me from like to lovin' these rules. I realise you have now found out skirmishers fire and retire on being charged. i may also mention that skirmishers can move in any direction while other troops are hampered by some restrictions on turning. And as skirmishers do not cause enemy threat tests, they can turn up on the flanks or rear of an enemy and cause havoc as the enemy try to move in retaliation (as I have learned in the past being on the receiving end). If you haven't changed your mind (I'm not expecting you to like the rules, but at least understand how they model skirmishers). Finally, I offer you this tidbit on horse archers from the Warrior Heroes Q&A (seems like being quite a handy document):

    I have a question about how missile fire works. Let us suppose we have a battle between two Mtd Skirmishers. Let us refer to them as stand A and stand B. Where Amoves to the side of B so that A in not contacting B and A is now in range of B. A would not get to fire be cause he just moved. A would not cause a reaction test because it is not a melee unit. It would now be B’s turn. B may not fire at A since A is not facing forward or rear. B now moves to A side so that B is not contacting A and B is now in range of A. (This would be easy to do since a Mounted Skirmisher can move in any direction and have no wheeling requirements) This would not trigger a reaction test from A because B is not a melee unit.

    And now...

    B would not get to fire be cause he just moved. B would not cause a reaction test because it is not a melee unit. So this could go on forever unless I am missing something which I hope I have.

    The only way to engage in this scenario above would be to move to a point to allow the opponent to fire at you first.

    Sounds like a Mongol player to me. Yep, the only way to fire at someone would indeed be to move to a point where they could fire at you, that is of course if they had missile weapons.
    Here's the explanation. To represent the fluidity of the horse archer units they are allowed to move great distance, fire front and back, and not be concerned with wheeling. This is pretty much realistic in my point of view. Now, here's an example. Real life, now, not pushing lead. Two horse archers units, A and B, close against each other. In what circumstance is A going to stay still and allow the B to run up along side of it and fire freely? I can think of only two, if the A is pinned in front or if B is attacking from ambush. Otherwise there is no way that happens as A would be able to manoeuvre to keep B off his flank. Instead they would meet face to face, if at all.

  6. i exceeded the number of characters for comments and so here is the another related Q&A that did not fit into the first comment:

    If A closes to missile range to B then B may now turn to face in reaction to A unless B it has already faced off with another unit. This would make sense to me as a Skirmish unit, mounted or not, it would be able to react quickly to a single threat. A missile or melee type unit would not since they would have a harder time wheeling about. Would that make sense to you?

    Are you talking in game terms or reality? In reality even melee or missile units would turn to face, if even just the outside file. (See Richards march to Jaffa in the third Crusade where the crossbowmen turned outward to engage the Saracen horse archers. In your example B cannot turn in reaction to A to the flank as the skirmisher doesn't qualify for the Threat test. However, it could turn on its (Bs) turn then would not be able to shoot as it moved and then A can have the first shot on it's turn.
    As for the Mongols, Warrior Kings is the rules for them for a few reasons.
    1 - They can function in groups of 2s and pass their checks REP5 +1, where others must work in groups of 3'sand then are not guaranteed to pass.
    2 - If you play a campaign and win a battle the loser gets decimated. Check out the Major Pursuit rule.
    Don't let retiring bother you as the Mongol troops are relatively cheap and will almost always score 2 hits on their target before they even have to worry about REP loss from retiring. When they do just use them to encircle the enemy so when the enemy is forced to retire they run into them instead and rout. Then in the major pursuit they out distance almost all other troops and are allowed to inflict even more losses on the routing army.
    Give it a few goes, I've gamed with you before and you'll easily learn how to maximize the Mongols. Personally, I wouldn't be too keen finding you as a neighbour in a campaign!