“Seize the Citadel” – Simulating battlefield communications via Discord
I am planning to run a game in November’s session, and would like to trail my game design thoughts.
My game aim is to see if I can design a game for the online environment. My previous online game at CLWG was After the Battle of Towton which was a shoehorning of a real world game into the online environment.
Seize the Citadel contains a very simple tactical problem. I am sure experienced Clwgers will rapidly understand and solve it. This game’s design aim focuses on the problem of battlefield communications between units from different brigades and arms as experienced during this action.
The scenario is set on 8th September 1939 during the invasion of Poland.
The German 4th Panzer Division is advancing on Warsaw after breaking through the Polish defences. Things are a little disorganised as you may expect after a breakthrough and various units have got lost, or busy reorganising and Generaloberst Georg-Hans Reinhardt has issued the order “Seize the Citadel”. [I’m making up that actual order, but I bet he said something very similar. I appeal to dramatic licence.]
It is a game for at least 3 players, I would prefer 4, but I could go upto 6.
All players will represented Brigade and Battalion commanders in the 4th Panzer Division.
The Polish are not played and are setup prior to the game with a timetable of events etc.
Running the Game
The game is designed to be run online using Discord and Google Slides.
Turn Order & Timetable
The game has to run to a strict timetable.
At the end of each turn all players will return to the CONTROL audio channel and Control will issue any needed directions and notices, and hopefully clear up any issues as they arise.
At the start of the next turn the players will go back to the Discord audio or text channel of their choice. All players will have some restrictions on what channels they will be able to see. For example the Panzer Battalion HQ will not be able to use audio to talk directly to Infantry Battalion HQs, though they can write messages in the relevant HQs text channel – or in real terms, send a messenger on a motorbike.
For units involved in combat Control will direct them to a particular “location” text channel where they will only be able message other players in the same location. This could mean they are on their own!
Combat will be resolved by the players.
When a player arrives at a “location” they will find a link to a google slide that will effectively contain the map, counters, rules etc. for that location. The players can then run their own mini-game. At the end of the turn all players will be requested to return to CONTROL audio channel.
Map and Unit Positions
I will place a map with all the unit counters (Google Slides) under the control of the Brigade commander and his Chief of Staff. They will be responsible for updating this map based on reports they have read from their subordinates.
I can see a number of ways this could go horribly wrong.
It is heavily reliant on the players not getting lost, confused or deleting important data on Google slides.
It is reliant on the players not cheating.
However, I think it could go brilliantly right. I think the risk is worth taking as I suspect I am going to learn a lot.
I am interested to discuss this idea with Clwgers before the game. Any thoughts or comments welcome.
I am minded of my extremely daft game “Aaland Islands” I did in about 1994 at the actual Chestnut Lodge.
In that game I restricted each player’s type of comms based on their real life setup. I remember watching two players shouting at each other whilst one was inside a toilet cubicle and the other at the open door of the toilet. Ah… the good old days of analog.