It wasn't only the set-up that affected the way that the first run through went. I also indulged in a bit of false logic along the way. Like most wargames rules 'Vauban's Wars' use inches; like most people living in the twenty first century I use centimetres. The rules say that sappers can dig 6" of sap/trench per turn of the card; the saps which I made are 10 cm long. I decided that laying one length each time would be equivalent, because by adding the width of the zag to the length of the zig one came back to roughly the same thing. As I say, false logic.
The rules call for what they refer to as a 'Siege Die', a D6 with faces showing 0,1,1,2,2,3. They are used in mining and countermining (which I have excluded from my simple playtest) and when the garrison repairs the walls (which I got nowhere near in my first run through). Obviously, being a wargamer of many years standing, I have some of these dice to hand, so I intend to use them to address the above irritation. Sappers will roll the 'Siege Die' and build that many sections. You will note that the expected value is 1.5, thereby turning 10 cm into 6".
I think there is another possible benefit from this change. I found the facts that sappers would always build the same amount each time the Sapping card is revealed, and also that one is essentially guaranteed to be able to play all one's Sapping cards every turn, was not really to my taste. I prefer a bit more uncertainty in a game, and while the luck of the dice will average out in the long run (*), in the short run it will provide a bit of friction and give both the besieger and the garrison some hints as to where they might wish to direct their effort.
* Cue snorts of derision from many readers.
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