Saturday, July 19, 2014

Essay On The Braunstein - Part The Third - July 19th, 2014 - Rulers, Numbers, And Crunching

Oh, dear...

Last time out, I gave the individual 'team' / 'faction' cards; let's take a look at them in more detail, if we could...

Movement:

Moves on the table should be proportional to the size of the table. Back in Ye Olden Dayes, miniatures rules writers obsessed over 'realistic' ground scales, and how these affected things like movement, unit frontages, and other such topics. If you have a look at my own rules, "Qadardalikoi", you can see that I did this myself - we all did, as it was expected at the time.

Now, if I was playing a 'historical' game set in Tekumel, I'd do things the same way as I did back when I wrote my rules. For the Braunsteins, though, I 'loosen up' quite a bit to make the game play faster and more rapidly. So, I make the movement rates proportional to the game size - the bigger the table, the faster the movement rate. In this particular case, since the table is a nice big 120" long, I went with 12" per turn as the basic movement rate.

This is also largely influenced by the pile of 12" rulers I happen to have to hand; making the move a standard size that also happens to be the standard length of the measuring stick is very, very handy. I also have a huge lot of 6" rulers, which is why the shorter movement rates all tended to be portions of this smaller size.

Keep it simple!!!

Complication in the pursuit of 'realistic accuracy' tends to really slow the game down, and the players loose interest. By give up a bit of 'realism', you can keep things moving along at a smart pace - it's more fun for the players, as they have to think on their feet and stay alert.

Combat Resolution:

I went with that old reliable stand-by, the original "Chainmail"; the stats are more or less from those rules, and one resolves combat by simply subtracting the defense factor from the attack factor and looking on the results table. Quick, fast, simple, and consistent; it keeps things going.

If I can emphasize anything, it's BE DECISIVE! Roll dice, make a decision, and move on! Use your best judgement, and if you need to get your players' input. After the question is answered or the decision made, keep the precedent and run the entire rest of the game that way. That's why you are the GM / referee / Lord of Chaos - you are there to arbitrate and keep things moving. Your players will provide all the motivation and drive that you can handle, so go with the flow and ride the shock wave...

Force Sizes:

Back in Ye Olden Dayes, the gods were on the side of the Big Cohorts. Big units look great on the table, in my biased opinion, but are a pain to move and use by one person. A Tsolyani legion at full strength is 80 figures at a 1:100 scale ration, and works best on the table when it gets broken down into it's normal components - and a live player to run each sub-unit.

I don't do this for my Braunsteins; I give each player between a dozen and twenty figures to use, and make sure that each player has a roughly balanced force. For example, in the game we're using as an example, one faction has bows because they are slightly less powerful in melee; it also makes them worth negotiating with, an additional bonus in our games.

This also takes advantage of the current tendency of miniatures manufacturers to sell their wares in small units (often called 'warbands') which makes them both easier to use on the table and easier to paint. Howard Fielding, he of The Tekumel Project, specifically caters to this with his 'Warbands' and 'Hordes' ; it makes it very easy to make up units with this, and I really find it handy. The figures are great, too!

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Right, then! Next up, game presentation and game aids! (I think I need to shoot some photos, hence the pause...)