Friday, 4 December 2015

More SYW playtesting

And back to wargaming. James has posted extensively on his blog about the current game which is testing some rule changes. I thought that it was a most enjoyable night, despite things not going completely according to plan for the Russians. As discussed before, Piquet isn't to everyone's taste, but I really like it. Specifically, I just love the fact that if we played exactly the same scenario again it would inevitably develop in a completely different way even if both sides started with the same plan.  We (for which read James) are always tinkering with the rules, but I don't see that as a problem. The objective is not a simulation, but rather a good game in which the flow of the battle develops in a way that seems historically appropriate; the trick is to get the two objectives - enjoyability and verisimilitude - in balance. Anyway, here are a few thoughts to supplement James' report:

  • James had determined the forces and terrain, but otherwise this was a scratch game. Naturally none of us could remember exactly how one did that in Piquet, but we busked it through. I would, I think, make one small amendment to the process we followed: I would allow switching of qualities of units of the same type within the same command after they have all been rolled for. This is purely a game thing; it just gives one the possibility to partially ameliorate bad dice rolling.
  • My original intention had been to rush my troops into the town along the road, taking advantage of the extra Infantry Move in the Open card that I had drawn during the morale set up; that's why they were in column. It didn't work because of the way the cards fell, but then again, on a different day, it could have been a masterstroke. To repeat myself, it's that unpredictability that makes me enjoy the game so much.
  • On the plus side, my other unit of grenadiers in the centre did make it across the river and in to the town. They had originally rolled up as unknown quality, but when first into action the re-roll made them superior - a purple bead. Coupled with their commander having also rolled up purple means they will be very hard to dislodge; indeed they have already recovered all losses incurred so far.
  • I think the morale challenge rules are working well so far. I hadn't thought through the effect mechanism that in Piquet allows one to pay a chip to re-roll a morale dice for the cost of a chip, but I think that the approach that we ended up with is the right one. There isn't any great logic to the original rule, but I think it adds a moment of choice to the game so I'd be loath to lose it.
  • Prognosis? Not good for the Russians, apart from anything else my infantry is pretty poor. quality. I could do with winning the initiative and then turning Artillery Reload and Cavalry Move as my first two cards.

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