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Army types and non-localised armies

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

Background: It's for a civilization video game like game.

I have used a mechanics recently for the ships in my game that I really like, and would like to transpose it to armies. The ship mechanics works as follow.

Each player has a number of fleet markers outside the board. When they want to use a ship to colonize or move troops by sea, they simply flip the fleet token. Fleets can also be placed in a sea area on the board to guard/intercept enemy ship passing though the surrounding hexes. There are 3 type of fleet right now:

Galley: Hold 1 unit, move 2 hex, need to stay close to land

Galleon: Hold 2 unit, move 3 hex and can move through sea hex

Air Ship: Hold 1 unit, move 3 hex, can fly over land hex.

Now I really like that ship mechanics because it removes all the fiddlyness of moving them on the board and determining where you should place them when they do nothing.

Now I would want to do the same thing with armies. The idea is that cities has a default defense force that does not need to be managed. You only need to manage mobile armies. So my idea would be to have all armies works the same way.

My first idea is that there could be different types of armies. Most of the time, all armies are not composed the same way because they are used for different purpose. So I was thinking to have army types that has different unit composition. But I need ideas about what kind of unit types that can exist. Here is a few Ideas I wound:

Defense army: Used to protect cities

Mobile army: A mostly cavalry army with high mobility to explore or used to intercept troops in an area.

Siege Army: A slow army equipped with siege engine for easier city assaults.

Flying Army: A flying cavalry mobile army which can pass over land, sea and mountains.

Like ships are armies will be kept off side the board and players flip them to use them. It will also be possible to place an army on the map to defend the surrounding areas. It works well for ship because they are actually support units, but I am a not really sure it would work well for military unit. Ships need to start sailing from a level 2 city, I was thinking to have a similar mechanic where an army must start it's movement from a certain level of city to reduce the "I can move anywhere on the map"

The other idea is that there armies could be located by continent instead of hex. When an army is moved to a continent, it can do anything it wants on that continent.

Do you know any other game that use a similar mechanic of having army off board and bring them into play as soon as you need them?

simons's picture
Joined: 12/28/2008
Axis & Allies does something

Axis & Allies does something similar. There, you move individual units. However, if you want to place a large number of pieces in a small territory, you can put a token with a number on it instead. Each token corresponds to a card where you put the units. Thus, instead of there are 10 units in Central Asia, you can just put a (2) token there, and then the 10 units on the #2 card. I would say the lack of presence of a big army can occasionally have a confusing psychological effect, but generally it seems to work well.

And I'd say it certainly sounds like a neat idea for a wargame.


Joined: 03/27/2011
Commanders on-board, forces commanded off-board

I've thought of using a somewhat similar organizational tool (it's not really a game mechanic), representing an army's commander on the board, but having a metaphorical "box" to the side in which all units under that commander are put. It might even be a literal box, concealing the contents, introducing some "fog of war" by preventing other players from seeing just which units and how many are in that region/hex/whatever, until battle is actually joined, or some sort of scouting/espionage card is played, etc.

One approach I've thought of is to have the forces being commanded represented by cards, and the commander represented by another card; the forces under that command are physically under that commander's card. That way the other players can get a ROUGH sense of this commander's army being small, medium, or large from seeing how thick the stack is, but only a rough sense.

The appropriateness of categorizing armies as you have only you can decide for the game world you're building, but in historical settings armies didn't tend to be broken down that way. Certain COMPONENTS were more useful in this, that, or the other role, but I'd worry that you'd be limiting forces to much to declare an army as being tied to one particular style of combat, when military forces were/are adaptable to differing degrees.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I taken some pictures

I tried to take some pictures to make the idea clearer. The first 2 pictures shows how fleet movement works. there is 3 type of cities, ships can start their movement only from city or capital level city.

Galleys always need to stay in a hex with a shore and the have a movement of 2. So the picture below show the possible hex that could get visited with a green token.

Galleons can move 3 hex and can move in full water hex. Here is the movement for a galleon.

Now I wanted to have a similar mechanic for army deployment. The only difference with ships is that there is more hex with water than hexes with land. So the possible movement area is less interesting.

In the pictures below, I have switched the town and the cities of place. I improvised the rules that a hex adjacent to a city (not town) can be invaded if it is connected by land to a capital.

So the first picture shows possible invasion possibilities without the use of ships.

The second picture shows the same thing except that the 2nd continent now have a capital and a city.

It would be possible to have faster armies that can move 2 hex that could allow walking through your towns to increase your attack range.

The idea of having a capital on a continent to deploy seems interesting, but the continents are so small that I could simply say that if you have a capital there you can deploy anywhere on the continent. It would just make the rules more simple.

The idea of capital also reminds me Twilight Imperium and axis and allies where you need a Space dock or factory in a certain area to place troops.

Since capital placement has some restrictions. There is always the possibility that a player cannot have access to a capital on a certain continent. But ships seems like an alternate deployment option. If you want to defend an area, players could pre-deploy their army in the target area.

So does it makes sense?
Have you seen anything similar in a published game?

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