Quality v Quantity – onside report
I ran a tryout of a set of rules that attempted to address the noticeable quality differences between some armies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
What I was after was a set of rules that could be used in a mini campaign that had a reasonable speed of resolution but still managed to prove the sort of narrative of battle that might be had from a more detailed tactical game. I wanted a little more than totalling combat factors and rolling a dice.
Some of the design was inspired by Bernie Ganley’s 1866 megagame design, although I had units at approximately Battalion level rather than Division/Corps. Partly the change of scale was around the armies being much smaller 150-200 years earlier. Partly it was to bring together units that players might have raised and trained as part of the campaign game.
I had four people for my session, and I’d also brought a scenario of the Battle of Ameixal in 1663 where a brigade of former New Model Army troops turned the tide of battle even though outnumbered.
There were several things wrong with my rules from a playability perspective. They did however seem to be good as a simulation. What the game needed was more for the players with the poorer quality troops. As written the better quality troops went first, and they got three goes before the worst quality troops could fight back. Mostly the poorer units would have broken first.
We put in place a couple of quick fixes on a reset of the scenario and also discussed some others.
- Artillery became a phase in itself, after setup and before the cavalry battle.
- Order of play to be reversed with all units able to act in phase 1. The better units also act in later phases.
- I needed to sort out the tactical cards, both to have enough and also to make them better fit the likely scenarios.
I also took away some things to think about more