Scalability

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Scalability

Post by poet on Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:36 am

I put some thought into scalability last night. As in, how do we make a system that works in the skirmish level and work in large battles?

I think that in order to get to such a system, we first need to determine what is the difference between those two scales, and what we expect to be different.


I personally, haven't really enjoyed large scale games such as warhammer fantasy, the reason being, you got a whole lot of very "stale" models. You look over an army book, and you see stats upon stats, and they aren't very different. I mean, great, this unit has one more strength, and that one has two more toughness!

There is a complete lack of awesome special rules that make a skirmish game interesting for me.


So I need your input, why do you like large scale battles?
A friend of mine says he likes warhammer because he gets to roll 20+ dice instead of 2-3 fr each of his "combats" and it balances out a lot faster. But this really is just a matter of system. You could roll 20+ dice to determine if my elf hit your dwarf.
Is it because you just get to put a whole lot of models on the table? Yeah, that's pretty cool, I can relate to that.
Or maybe its because of the lack of special rules? Do you prefer to concentrate on positioning and maneuvers?


If the reason is, to put a whole lot of models o the table, I have a suggestion for a fully scalable skirmish game. I'll use mycombat system as an example:
In a skirmish game, you have individuals, you need to hit them individually, and kill them individually. If an individual is tough, you need to hit it several times.
What if you treated units as individuals in larger scale games?

Say I have a master swordsmen, a character, up against a master archer, wanting to take him down.
So I'll be rolling to hit with my archer, rolling 2D6 and adding my archery score. I need to pass the defense of 12 of the swordsmen with my archery of 8. I hit, and I hit in a critical location. He has a helmet, which means he has an armor of 3 in his head. Against my bow's power of 10, he needs to roll 7, he gets a (2)/6 which deals 2 damage to his head, he's sturdy so he doesn't die from it.

Now larger scale:
Say I have 20 swordsmen, up against 20 archers. The archers draw their bows, and shoot directly at the advancing swordsmen. I roll a single to hit, getting some bonus for having 20 archers, say +1 per 4 archers. I roll 2d6 and add their archery skill of 6, I have a 11. I roll 2d6 and get a 4, resulting in 15. I need to meet or exceed their defense of 12, no problem there. Obviously, I will hit something with 20 archers. I get 10 hits. I hit them in a non critical area, which means just troops. If I had hit 1, I would have hit their leader.
They have an armor score of 5, against the bow's power of 10 + 1 per 4 archers, which is 15. They need 10 or higher to shrug off any physical damage. Rolling the dice, they get a (5)/2 which means they suffer 5 damage + 1 per 4 archers, which is 10 damage. Poor swordsmen lost 10 men.

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Re: Scalability

Post by sucramreverse on Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:59 am

I think your system could use some better explanation, but I think I get the gist of what you intend. And I think it is actually a pretty neat idea, and could actually scale pretty well. Just changing what the hit roll means (head/body vs leader/troop).

I think this system has some strong merits, I don't know about the opponent rolling for a save afterwards though. And keeping track of the damage for the skirmish scale you describe means bookkeeping . affraid
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Re: Scalability

Post by poet on Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:07 am

Well, yeah, it needs better explanation. If people will like it, we can work on it further.

I honestly don't think you can avoid tracking health in a skirmish game. Without health, it means everything dies to one shot. If you have 5-10 miniatures ont he table, that's either going to be very fast, or very boring. Very fast, is I roll 5+ on my dice, you die. very boring, we both keep attacking and missing for 3-4 turns.

Unless of course you have a different idea, in which case I'd be happy to hear it Wink\


EDIT: I used my combat system just as an example. The important thing is the concept. Instead of attack with individuals, you attack with units, and treat them as single entities.

It works on all levels. and individual may have 5 health, a unit may have 5 troops.
the more an individual is damaged, the worse he will perform. The less troops you have in a unit, the less powerful their attack. etc.

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Re: Scalability

Post by sucramreverse on Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:23 am

oh no, don't look at me, I don't play games that small, lol.

In fact, I think that's one of the things about a larger scale; the bookkeeping is simply done with the models themselves. If your super knight takes damage you have to write it down/using a dice for tracking. Whereas if my troop takes damage I just take models off the board.

actually I'd kind of like to see/make a model with it's wound stat built into it, like maybe little pegs that you pull with each wound you take until you run out and die.
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Re: Scalability

Post by S W Dickson on Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:57 pm

Seen a few models with dials for tracking wounds and pegs and stuff. Too fussy - the dice method tends to work okay until they get knocked over, or accidentally picked up for a roll...

I usually use my old hero quest wound markers - just card tokens with skulls and numbers. No mistaking stuff there.

I was thinking a similar line myself for units as "ubermodels" - but couldn't think of a better system than the known "many single-wound models" concept that would work in concert with many-wound heroes and monsters.

The biggest hero of them all would still get taken down if he was surrounded on all sides by a dozen blokes with stabby knives. Ever notice how as soon as he's surrounded, James Bond puts his hands up - he knows he's not going anywhere.

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Re: Scalability

Post by poet on Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:25 am

I'm thinking, but I currently have no idea how to make a skirmish level game without tracking health.
Larger scales, like sucramreverse pointed out, allow to do the bookkeeping with the models themselves.

Still, if you want a warmachine, or a monster, you'll want to keep track of its health somehow.
Simply making them harder to damage, means a lucky roll could take them out early, and all it takes is a single such roll.

It is always possible to use markers, such as coins.

Maybe you have a battle against a very formidable foe, you need to win twice (for example). So if you hit him, you gain an advantage (coin).
If you hit him again, he dies. If he hits you, you lose an advantage, if you don't have an advantage, you die, cause you're not a monster.

You could have a statistic for monsters, characters and such called Stamina with a statistic of 0-3
You need a number of advantage coins equal to the Stamina statistic before you can deliver the killing blow.

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Re: Scalability

Post by Kane on Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:28 am

I was a big fan of the GW health tracking in their skirmish games. Regular troops had a single point, but when they took damage, you rolled to see if they were knocked down, knocked out, or out of the fight. Could easily have a "tough" trait that forced two rolls with the result being the better of the two.

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Re: Scalability

Post by sucramreverse on Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:41 am

That's a good idea actually. Can keep the basic stats, and just add another trait(or one already in their statline, only used for this) if playing a "skirmish" size game. if split evenly 1-2=out of the fight, 3-4=knocked out, 5-6=knocked down. only a 1/3 chance of actually dying. would make most units quite a bit stronger. and if given another D6, with the best being taken, that makes it 1/9 chance...3D6=1/27, 4D6=1/81 Shocked That's near Boromir level heroism, of course I never bothered counting how many arrows struck him myself...
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Re: Scalability

Post by Kane on Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:57 am

That is a bit high, eh? Could just give them a +1 to their roll so that only a 1 would kill them. Could even have both with the +1 for minor heroes and the 2D6 for legendary heroes.

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