Army Creation

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Army Creation

Post by poet on Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:14 pm

Greets,

I am going to open a few topics, each topic will have some content about things I have come to think about during my time as a tabletop gamer.

I have always felt that the method for army creation in most games, is a bit lacking.

The point system:
This is the most common I have seen. Every unit/model has a certain point cost. Some systems allow you to modify the unit/model by purchasing equipment, with more points.
I always feel this is a bit one dimensional.
Are points enough to keep things balanced? How do you cost a model?
If you cost models with double digits, then you can a lot of fine tuning, but can you really tell the difference between a 97 point model and a 96 point model?
When you make it in the single digits, then you always get a feel of whether its "worth" the points or not, but then you're restricting yourself. A model may not be worth 3 points, and too good for 2 points. So you're left with the option of changing the rules, as you can't make a 2.5 model. And if you could, you'd be back to double digits.

Restrictions:
You may only take so many of a specific/type of unit/model.
You must take a list as many of a specific/type of unit/model.
Most of the times this is used to maintain balance, you don'y want players making their army entirely out of the super strong monster thingies. Or games when the enemy has only ranged units are unfun.
I think that if you resort to this, you have to go back to basic design and see why an entirely ranged army is so effective, and maybe it needs to be toned down.
Generals bring to war the most effective army they can bring, the game system should reflect this.

The question is, what can they bring?

You have many constraints in a time of war, the most noticeable, and least represented in the war games I have seen, is men.
How many men do you have? 3? 15? 100?
The second, is time. How much time do you have to prepare for war? Do you have a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks? A lot can be done to prepare for war in a few weeks.
And last, is money. You need to pay your soldiers, you need to buy equipment, you need food, and you need repairs. All those cost money.

My idea is that instead of talking to your opponent, and asking "how many points do you want to play?" and proceed to build an army, you'd ask "How many men, how much expenses, and how much time?"

So how many men do I have?
Well, it can be handful, or it can be hundreds, it all depends on how you want to play. The important thing is, we're talking about troops, untrained, or very green. Veterans, characters and leaders fall into a different category.
What can you do with those men you have? well, you can equip them with money, and you can train them with time.

So what can I do with time?
Well aside from training, you could send scouts ahead of you, and see what the opponent is up to. Or you could go to a town and have your troops do some R&R to boost morale. You could even take to pillaging a village, maybe get some more money.

And what could I do with money?
Well, you can equip your men, obviously. But here comes the veterans part. If you pay for veterans, they stick around, so the more you pay for veterans, the more experienced they are. You can also pay some mercenaries. Mercenaries can be cheaper, as you need to pay them one time, but they are less loyal, and in a tight situation, they may skip on you.



Anyway, those are my thoughts on army building. I see army building as a stage before the game, a stage full of strategy. You sit across from your opponent, and proclaim "Ok, week one" Then you both do some writing on your army roster. When you're done, you go to week two. Do some more actions, and eventually, you meet at the battlefield.

From here you can easily take it to campaigns, or you could design scenarios where one player is surprised, and doesn't have any time resource at all, or very little, while the other has to pay more for supplies.


I'm just putting this out there, I have more ideas, on different parts of a rules system, and I will post them separately.
Hope you like it,
poet

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Re: Army Creation

Post by S W Dickson on Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:31 pm

Nice one. Hadn't really thought of points as yet. I reckon it's a fairly fine balance of "realism" to "Gameplay".
As in, do you want the players to have control over what they bring to the battle, or do you want to tell them what they can bring? Even points and limits to selection does this to a degree under the banner of balance.

Too early to tell.

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Re: Army Creation

Post by poet on Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:36 pm

I admit, I have less problem with points and more problem with restrictions. Why can I bring only 33% bows in LOTR? that doesn't make sense, bows are powerful weapons, I want as many as I can get.
If it affects the enjoyment of the game too much, tone down the bows is what I say.

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Re: Army Creation

Post by sucramreverse on Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:53 pm

Hmm...An interesting idea with the men, money, and time. I think most point systems try to reflect this, but they do tend to fall just a bit short. mostly because they are not kept up to balance, with one army being updated regularly, and others not for years ( Rolling Eyes ).

Perhaps some sort of compromise between the two would be interesting. use points for units, with veterans costing more points. upgrade them with money, and restrict what heavy support you have based on time.

50 men, 50 credits, and 1 week
I decide I want a veteran, which is equal to 5 men, and a tank worth 10. I field a veteran, a tank, and 35 troops.
I want my veteran to wield the newest in battlehammers for 20 credits, and purchase some gun upgrades for my troops with the remainder.
I take into account that I only have 1 week to prepare, and consult a list of what I can get sent to the field in that time. I find out I can only get up to a light tank, and that is the one I chose.

I think this would be sort of interesting. A strategic mix between points and realism.

Of course point systems are still a lot easier to pick up as a beginner, and any sort of RPG spin would have a steeper learning curve. If we stuck with points I don't think we'd have issues with balance since an online community can playtest and update the rules on the fly.
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Re: Army Creation

Post by poet on Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:56 pm

You could always have a conversion system. If you want to only use points, then you just have 300 points, 10 points to buy a man, 50 points to do what you can do in a week etc.
Points would be less restrictive, and as a result, will require less strategy in creation.

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Re: Army Creation

Post by Lanrak on Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:51 am

Hi all.
Most composition lists try to emulate the Tables of Organisation and Equipment, that are used by real world military.
Every commander has limited resources , what they want and what they get are very different.
These restrictions are often used to give different armies themes.

IMO Points Values should be directly indicative of in game performance.The same abilities should cost the same no mater what force/army they are in
However ,thematic and tactical worth of elements should be controlled by composition limitation.

Eg what counts as a 'Common' in one force/army could be classed 'Specialised' in a differnt army.

Personaly I would prefer to keep 'campain mechanics' completley seperate.(What it costs to train -upgrade and maintain forces...)

If its a small skirmish game , why not just write senarios ,and let the players use a bidding system to decide forces used?

What ever we use it needs lots of playtesting to get right.

TTFN
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