Monday, 1 February 2021

Amiable Indifferentism

"Having, then, once introduced an element of inconsistency into his system, he was far too consistent not to be inconsistent consistently, and he lapsed ere long into an amiable indifferentism..." - Samuel Butler

I have taken opportunistic advantage of a break in the weather to do some spray painting, including of the bastions currently being besieged. I have therefore abandoned my resolve of only a couple of days ago to play another turn of Vauban's Wars and instead I shall reset it and - once the bastions are dry - go again based on what I have learned. Speaking of which:

  • I think that there is an interesting game in there. I am aware of how patronising that sounds, given that the author spent quite a number of years developing and playtesting the rules, but it isn't meant to be. Just take it literally.
  • It's by no means the average wargame. That isn't just the asymmetry; lots of wargames - e.g. all colonial games - offer different challenges to either side. I also don't think it's just because the tactics required are unfamiliar to most of us. The game seemed to me to have a lot of similarities with some boardgames that I have played; and I don't mean board wargames, I mean boardgame boardgames. There are, for example, multiple routes to victory for both players and each has imperfect information about which is being pursued by his opponent and, often, how close the game might be to finishing.
  • It's not a solo game. That should be obvious from my previous point, but is slightly disappointing because Piquet games usually work well as such. The small card deck and the balanced initiative mean that it ends up comparatively close to being an IGo UGo game masquerading as Piquet. It would be interesting to see how it played out with a larger deck and using the initiative method from classic Piquet rather than Field of Battle. Having said that, it's almost inevitable that the defenders would get all the initiative and the thing would drag on for ever.
  • There is what looks like a well thought through and influential espionage element. Unfortunately I can't tell you any more because it's something that, as far as I can see, is unplayable solo. It is through this mechanism that players seek to understand what the other side is up to. Sadly, I think that even a Donald Featherstone tower of matchboxes wouldn't make it work for one person, so it will have to await a two player game. 
  • I still don't really know what the best tactics are for the besieger in particular. Furthering my analogy with boardgames, players have fewer actions that the things they would like to do, so prioritisation is important. This starts with assembling the forces, and I definitely went with too many infantry and too few siege guns for my run through. The surest route to victory is massing the guns close to the wall and trying to blast it down. Or is it?
  • I feel a bit more laser cutting coming on, when it is legal so to do of course. Ravelins would be straightforward enough. More difficult, but actually more important, is a glacis and counterscarp. The defenders need some secure way of moving troops around the front of the fort to mass either for a sortie or against an assault. In classic wargame blog fashion, I have some ideas.
So, another run through of a few turns will occur at some point. I have at least one small amendment which I shall make to make it slightly more solo friendly, but nothing that will distort the core game.

1 comment:

  1. I tried to design a siege game a few years ago. It was a lot harder than it looked! I took a break, ordered a few more figures and never went back to it...