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Need ideas for a war game...

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Anonymous

Hi!

I have some ideas for a hex based wargame with square cardboard counters to represent armies of differing strengths. What I need are ideas from people on how to resolve combat.

I'm trying to avoid complicated rules with all kinds of modifiers and math and charts and such. I'm also trying to cut down on the luck factor as much as possible.

The Axis and Allies combat system is simple and straightforward. I like it. However, it's really heavy on the dice/luck factor.

I also love the pure strategy of chess. No luck, all thinking and skill.

Any ideas?

Anonymous
War Games

One suggestion i read recently said something along the lines of "few people will play a game based purely on skill, and no one will play a game based entirely on luck, unless it's for money." Striking a balance, it seems, is important. One system that i think does the job quite nicely is the one used in Stratego; it involves some luck and some forethought, and i think Stratego is a simple and playable idea that stands to be greatly improved on.

Does that help?

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Need ideas for a war game...

If your game is to be primarily a wargame, then the combat engine needs to be the heart and soul of the game, and unfortunately, if this is to be "your" game, you're going to need to invent that yourself!

A couple of games you might look at for inspiration:

Axis and Allies is indeed a nice system, but look at its "big brother", Samurai Swords, for a more satisfying system that is built on the same principles.

You might also look at the system of Dune, in which each player decides how many units he will lose if his combat is successful. Each player can also add a "leader", and "treachery cards" to spice things up a bit.

My current favorite system is that of Wallenstein, in which players' armies are represented by cubes, and combat is resolved by throwing all of these into a "cube tower". Some of the cubes will fall out, but some will stick in the tower. The ones that fall out resolve the battle, but the ones that stay in the tower remain to possibly influence the outcome of future battles.

Lord of the Rings: the Confrontation uses a "modified Stratego" system where the numbers on the units can be modified with "power cards" from the players' hands. A Game of Thrones: the Boardgame uses something very similar. It makes for some nice (and tense!) decisions.

None of these games have much in the way of math, modifiers, charts. Some do involve strong elements of luck, but in a managed and interesting way.

Good luck with your game!

-Jeff

Anonymous
Need ideas for a war game...

cometsnake wrote:
Striking a balance [between luck and skill], it seems, is important.

I know you mentioned you want to cut down on the luck factor, but I think war games especially lend themselves to a little infusion of luck. Nothing is certain on the battlefield that you're trying to simulate, and circumstances (call it luck if you like) can often turn the tide.

So I would agree with cometsnake on this one. A method that comes quickly to mind involves armies (your cardboard squares) with a base strength that can be modified both by a die roll or card draw (luck), and further modified by cards played (skill). The source and destination hexes may also contain modifiers (more skill) to simulate terrain bonuses.

It might also increase the interest and complexity level if many armies can enter engagements, and their strength is added through the law of diminishing returns (i.e., two armies are more powerful than either singly, but not simply additive in total).

In any case, I wish you luck, hammiesink. Hopefully we can give you a hand.

--Greg

Anonymous
Need ideas for a war game...

The stratego method is interesting to me. Right now the way I'm leaning is a combination: players can stack their counters, so the opponent can only see the top one. Each player can then see these stacked armies approaching, and can estimate how strong each is, but not exactly. Combat resolution would then be similar to Axis and Allies.

Anonymous
Need ideas for a war game...

That's a pretty cool idea. So you could put your weakest or strongest unit on top and bluff your strength a bit. I like that idea.

As for the cards to modify unit strenght. I'm exploring that idea as an alternative to dice, and I'm liking the results a lot.

stumps
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Need ideas for a war game...

I like this idea of stacking to simulate estimation by both armies of eachothers strengths. I think an axis/allies dice system will probablly do well as well with this idea considering it's versitility between units without getting too complicated.

Another idea you might think about is reinforcements.
They may not show up on the original field but may enter later on the flanks or to simply add strength. This would make more important the guessing game of strength that you have going on already.

The determination of how much you could have on the reinforcement list could be something simple involving money.
Perhaps you need "X" amount of currency to go to battle (or rather this would simulate the cost of going to battle...supplies, etc...), reinforcements could add more to that cost.

And you wouldn't want to allways blow all of your currency on one battle or reinforcement movement because you just might need some money to re-build a good amount of your army after your win/loss. Or possibly to push forward further into your campaign.

Battles that are won could likewise give money to the victor in a value of relation to the forces they defeated.

Just a few simple ideas that came to mind while reading.
Hope they inspire ideas for you.
-Stumps

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