Saturday, 18 January 2014

Further thoughts on remote war games in 2014

This is my first post using the Blogger app on the iPad and my new iPad keyboard, so apologies to anyone if the formatting sucks wind. I have been ruminating this week on the lack of miniatures wargaming in 2013, and trying to come up with a solution. Part of the problem, I think, was lack of time due to being particularly busy running a business, managing the demands of a family, and simply not having four to six hours to devote to big battles on the table top.

My solution, partly inspired by one of the Oldhammer blogs I follow (Warhammer For Adults),  is to run some games remotely. I luckily have the space to keep games set up indefinitely, while I don't have the time to play them all the way through. Instead, it might be easier to run a game by email, keeping players informed of developments in the battle both via this blog and by simply emailing them photos of the table. Commanders can send orders via email, and the dice can be rolled for them on the spot.

An additional innovation is to inject an element of fog of war into proceedings, possibly by only allowing players to communicate with each other when their figures are within ear shot or if a runner is sent with instructions. A commander in chief might formulate his opening plan of battle, brief his subordinates, and then rely on them to carry out their commands, using their own initiative when required.
Shot from our TSATF game earlier this month.

Another idea is to only provide model's eye views of the battlefield rather than a helicopter view - players would then only be able to make decisions based on what they could see if they were on the battlefield themselves. This would also facilitate movement on the part of forces benefiting from hidden movement.

The pace of the game would be much slower and the rules I use might need to be modified to allow for players to all move their figures at the same time, but I believe a suitably entertaining recreation might be achieved.

My first experiment is likely to be the Zulu War of 1879, as my table is already set up for it. I will use a different scenario from the one we played earlier this month, but my aim is to have all the active players running the British units, with the Zulus run by the umpire using the Every Man A Briton variant for The Sword And The Flame. This will be less a contest between two teams, and more a contest between a live imperial team versus a pre-programmed native army. I may use this blog to keep readers abreast of developments in the ongoing engagement.

Of the rules tweaks I may make, one involves regulation of player movement and firing - I may just accept written orders from players and then have the units implement them within the constraints of the rules. In addition, I may change the spotting rules for imperial troops to one based on percentage dice, rather than the automatic 4" spot rule.

1 comment:

  1. I've been using my iPad to compose posts for some time. If you need to do anything it can't, save and flip to the web version in safari or chrome. The blogger app is crap at photo formatting and labels, but perfectly adequate otherwise. It has the added bonus that if you haz no interwebz, you can still compose a post on the train for instance, and upload when safe home in wiffy-land.