Monday, 24 November 2014

To the Strongest! D-4

Thapsus 46BC at Partizan in 2013 using To the Strongest!  Photo by Henry Hyde
To the Strongest! is the set of rules for tabletop wargaming that I'll be launching this Friday. I have developed the rules for gaming both for use here in the BigRedBatCave, and for running huge wargames at shows. They are designed to be simple enough for novices to the ancient and medieval periods to easily pick up, whilst, at the same time, providing seasoned gamers with a challenging battle that can be comfortably concluded in an evening (with a glass of beer or wine to hand).

The rules were originally written to address my passion for re-fighting the battles of Greece and Rome. However, following requests from play testers, I have extended them to cover everything between the Biblical and the Later Medieval eras. They have been tested for both small games with two players and 15mm miniatures on a 4' by 3' table, to large games with ten players and 3000 28mm miniatures on an 18' by 5' table.     

To ensure that games would run as fast as I wanted them to, I decided that I would need to cut out both measurement and dice rolling.

To eliminate measurement, I decided to use a square grid. From my Zama game back in 2010, I had learned to appreciate the speed that the hex grid in Command and Colors Ancients brings to a game. A square grid, however, is quick to mark out and has the benefits of making it abundantly clear where a unit's flanks and rear lie. The grid itself is very subtle; I just mark the corners of the squares with a tiny black dot. The use of a grid also enables figures which have been based for use with a variety of different rule systems, to be used together on the same battlefield.

To eliminate dice rolling, I decided to use playing cards. Once the face cards are discarded from a deck of playing cards, it effectively becomes a sort of large, squashed D10. It turns to be faster to play a card than to pick up and roll a dice, and a card never "cocks" like a D10 does. The cards are used to determine which units can move, to resolve shooting, and, well, for everything. Card play also turns out to be quite exciting, too!

Tomorrow I'll write about the activation system, which is the innovative "engine" of the rules.

Play-testing To the Strongest! on a 4' by 3' table with improvised English and French 100 Years War armies

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