The Viking Legal Team in Action

The Viking Legal Team in Action
Snorri is unhappy about your bar tab - VERY unhappy...

Friday, May 26, 2017

What's Missing in One-Hour Wargames Rules? P.1: Ancients to Pike & Shot

2/3 of the Horse & Musket OHW Rules...obviously not encumbered with details and differentiations!

What would the design teams of "Empire III" and "Advanced Squad Leader" say about this???

"One-Hour Wargames" rules are pretty sparse - which is why they are so short! Essential mechanics have been left for the players to decide. Some aspects must be defined or clarified, no matter what your gaming preferences are. In other words, there's no way of playing the game without these coming up and then having to be discussed. It's all well and good if you're hanging out with a friend - especially one who isn't a wargamer - but the tendency of people to argue to their own advantage, OR, the need to explain to a willing participant, means you may as well think about them now and make a decision on them.

Missing and Must Be Decided


General

- Premeasuring allowed?
- rounding fractions in favor of attacker, i.e. ANY fraction UP? so 2.25 Hits = 3 Hits?
- Unit Size dimensions are loosely given, typically 4-6" in the rules, with a few like guns being half that. It MATTERS for a number of mechanics AND how many units fit onto the table top in certain spaces, how wide the units are. Depth isn't as important.

Movement

- Crossing River at Ford / Bridge, i.e. rate, cost, bridge model
- Road Movement, i.e. how does the 1-base unit do it?
- Charging; How to Contact [corner-edge? edge-edge? full / partial alignment?]
- Measurement point for move distance to Contact?
- Cavalry retreat from Hand-to-Hand, e.g. 6" move any direction or straight back?
- turning and corner / edge interpenetrating friendly / enemy units.

Shooting

- measurement points to / from Units [center-closest? center-center? closest-closest?]
- measurement point for Unit occupying town?
- Firing Arc, i.e. how is a Unit "within" 45 degrees of the front facing?
- How much of a Unit needs to be seen to be targeted?
- How large a gap does a shooter need to fire through?
- Line of Sight, including through / within / across Area & Linear Terrain, and over units [especially important for artillery Units].
- Can you shoot into a melee [Ancients, Dark Ages, Medieval, Pike & Shot rules]?

Terrain

- How many Units may occupy a town? If 2+, how to work the 360 fire arc?
- what's "in" woods / town terrain?  [entire Unit or Unit Edge] [Partially or fully] within?
- How does a Unit "occupy" a hilltop? Same as "in woods / town" above?

MY DECISIONS

I generally divide the periods into Ancient [Ancient thru Pike and Shot] and Moderns [Horse and Musket to WWII]. The general concept is that modern armies begin when training is widely introduced to make movement and shooting more predictable.

General

Premeasuring is allowed; 
- Any fraction is round UP. This "minimum" Hit of '1' gives a little satisfaction on a bad roll, and it also is justified by how intense and tiring combat is.
Unit SizesFor Ancients, I field units on a 2-1 front / Side base size ratio. My Medievals are all being rebased to 5" front and 2.5" deep. This is close to the WRG / DBx standard of 12cm front by 6cm deep. I then use the Base Width [BW] of 5" and Base Depth [BD] of 2.5" as measurement tools. For Moderns, I will be using multi-stand units about 4cm x 2cm in size, and they take up about 5-6" wide on the table.
- Line of Sight [LoS] I handled using the 2-1 base width-depth ratio. For a shot or charge, an attacker needs a BD of the target unit. So all of a flank and 1/2 the front of the base. The entire LoS needs to be within range, so again it would be the entire flank side of the base, or 1/2 of the front side of the base - the 1/2 front side doesn't need to be center to corner.

Movement

Crossing River at Ford / Bridge, i.e. rate, cost, bridge model
I cross at normal move rates, but always make the river about an infantry move wide. So the most common units spend a turn crossing.
Road Movement, i.e. how does the 1-base unit do it?
for Ancients, I let any contact with the road count, as they are mostly just a rough track or trail, anyway, and hasten movement not due to the quality of the road itself but due to the ease of staying on course. For Moderns, I have multiple base units so they just move along the narrow side of the base, each base upon the road.

- Charging; How to Contact [corner-edge? edge-edge? full / partial alignment?]

I use edge / edge and maximise contact, with the minimum being half the front, or a BD.
- Measurement point for move distance to Contact? I use charger's front center point to the farthest point of the LoS - a full BD of the base side being charged. 
- Cavalry retreat from Hand-to-Hand, e.g. 6" move any direction or straight back?
As I use edge-edge contact, they bounce straight back, HOWEVER, this is a good example where I can see allowing the corner contact along the straight line, and then moving directly back along that same charge line, so no conforming to edge contact.
- turning and corner / edge interpenetrating friendly / enemy units.
I allow this as the Units themselves are an area that has soldiers in it, not that the entire base footprint is entirely packed with people. Also, it's a lot easier on players to move around, especially when they're learning the game.

Shooting

- measurement points to / from Units [center-closest? center-center? closest-closest?]
Front Center point to the entire LoS, which is BD long [half the front, all the side] must be within range.
- measurement point for Unit occupying town?
One Unit per town, so the center of each of the four sides of the square, as tho it was a unit.
- Firing Arc, i.e. how is a Unit "within" 45 degrees of the front facing?
The entire LoS must be with the front 45 degree arc, so 1/2 the front, all of the side.
- How much of a Unit needs to be seen to be targeted?
A BD, or 1/2 the front, all of the side, needs to be in LoS.
- How large a gap does a shooter need to fire through? A BD.
- Line of Sight, including through / within / across Area & Linear Terrain, and over units [especially important for artillery Units]. 
I use a BD across a terrain edge or line that blocks LoS [e.g. woods, hill crest] or a BD within terrain [woods, town]. I don't allow shooting over friendly units, but if a Unit is a full level higher or more than an intervening enemy unit, I allow them to shoot if that unit is closer to them than the target unit.
- Can you shoot into a melee [Ancients, Dark Ages, Medieval, Pike & Shot rules]? 
I say yes, as long as you have a Line of Sight. This is b/c I don't see melee as continuous, but a series of short, sharp attacks with times of breaks in between. This also allows bowmen and Skirmishers to support other units during the game better.

Terrain

- How many Units may occupy a town? If 2+, how to work the 360 fire arc?
One in Ancients - so the square town is like a unit. In Moders, I let them fight through towns like they are woods, in effect.
- what's "in" woods / town terrain?  [entire Unit or Unit Edge] [Partially or fully] within?
I say entirely within area terrain to get a defensive bonus in melee. For shooting, if the LoS has the terrain between, then the unit gets the terrain bonus.
- How does a Unit "occupy" a hilltop? Same as "in woods / town" above?
I use a military crest, usually, so I define this by being "uphill" of the opponent in melee. If both are across the slope and appear "equally" situated from uphill to downhill no one gets a defensive bonus.

While there are many different rule sets out there that handle these mechanics and situations differently, I've tried to choose a series of intuitive, visually obvious means to solve most of the issues in the simplest way possible. Additional nuance is usually BOTH tedious and a-historical. An overall difference is best expressed with something simple, like Cavalry is faster than infantry, so it has a 12" move rather than the 6" infantry move.

Hope this list helps you to more easily prepare to play these rules and start considering your own way to handle the various situations that arise.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Designing Big Battles with "One-Hour Wargames"

Playing with the Maps.
To brainstorm with the scenarios to make larger scenarios for multiple players, I really needed to be able to lay out the maps next to each other and consider what would be happening on each area of the mapboard. Also, the ways that some of the maps fit together requires being able to rotate them. Not that a scenario board can't be mirror-reversed [like I did with Scenario 10] and be the same yet fit to other maps well - they can. But many of the scenarios maps could fit together in completely different ways, again without altering anything substantially or having to rebuild them from the ground up.

The Dangers of Alteration. 
I've found that each scenario and the dimensions of terrain, especially gaps between terrain, etc, are pretty significant. Move something a few inches or get sloppy, and you realize that it is literally the difference between getting two units side by side in a valley v. three, which totally changes the way to approach a scenario. I'm not saying "don't mess with it" I'm just saying give the designer the benefit of the doubt until you've personally playtested a scenario a few times!

The Maps as Puzzle Pieces
I went through quite a bit of trouble to photocopy all the scenarios and maps. I then cut out the maps and because they'd be handled quite a bit, I laminated them 4 to a sheet with my de-lux cheap-o laminator I got at Staples, or Target or somewhere:


I realized part way thru, that all the maps weren't quite the same size! Uncertain if that was my photocopying or the layout and graphic design of the book:


But in the end, with a little playing, I got all 30 printed out. The static cling of the laminating sheets made it no problem to put them within, and I kept some plastic border around so that they were carefully sealed up inside with a full plastic border:


Now, I can take any of the maps and lay them beside each other in various combinations:

The above has scenario 4 and 2 placed above each other. I could still play the scenarios out exactly as written - I'd just have to have the 4 Units that enter Turn 2 in scenario 4 be in the rear of the army in Scenario 2 and facing the other way! This makes for interesting possibilities - the scenarios together make a totally different story. 

Same Scenarios, Different Stories
For example, the two scenarios could now represent a pincer movement of the Blue force from the left and right sides of the board [Board South and North] and trapped between are two Red Units on the hill [facing South] and ten Red Units along the vertical East-West road, with four immediately heading to reinforce the hill to left, and six contesting the hill to right. From a military perspective, it is obvious that holding the crossroads and both hills will put the Red side in a strong position. Conversely, losing the crossroad and the left hill would have the Red army remnants trapped in a valley between the two hills without an easy way to break out.

But, I probably wouldn't see it without being able to play around with the maps!

Design and Deliver
So taking related scenarios [three river crossings] and putting them alongside one another is pretty obvious. But putting together 3-5 scenarios for a grand battle, say along the way to Arnhem in WWII, requires really visually working with the maps, at least for me. With four map sides all rotating and put together in various ways, there's mathematically thousands of scenarios that can be put together using those in the book! So go ahead and play around with the maps - tell your own stories with larger groups of people.

Hope this is a useful idea for you, also.





Monday, May 22, 2017

Scenario 4: Take the High Ground - Tactical Tutorial

Having played this scenario numerous times, and still looking for that "down to the wire / down to the die roll" balance, I decided to double-check this matchup to see if there was imbalance - maybe there is!

A few things should be noted here:
- the present rules and lists show my historical preference, which differentiates the Welsh from the Feudal English. The Welsh enjoy more shooting, but do not have Knights as a troop type. Instead, they have Cavalry, which are Dx melee Knights, who shoot as Brigans, ie on the move for Dx-2.
- the last time I played this, I gave the English 3 knights, 2 Bowmen and 1 Freemen, and they won fairly easily on Turn 9 or so. So for the Big Battle demo game, I switched them to 2 Knights, 2 Bowmen, and 2 Freemen.
- while I'm pretty sure these lists are balanced across the spectrum of 30 scenarios, the greater mobility and shooting of the Welsh with less hitting power may not be a winner in each individual scenario. I'm OK with this, since it is a hazard of national differentiation.
- Many of the tactical details will change if you tinker with the mechanics of movement, melee contact, etc. I've movement of 5", 7.5" and 10" as standard. If you go to 6"/9"/12", some of the below relationships will change. Still, the thought process will remain identical even if some of the tactical nuances are altered - this is how you win using tactics!

Anyway, to battle once again!

A reminder, that the Welsh start with a won game. The English must completely clear the hill of Welsh to win. Anything else is a draw. Demonstrated below, a Freeman with 14 Hits has its toe on the hill - the Feudal English have NOT won the battle!


Turn 1. Welsh deploy their two Freemen behind the hill crest, out of LoS, and therefore may not be shot or charged until LoS is less than one Base Depth [BD] or 2.5" with my basing. English split their Knights, one up each flank of the hill. To left, the Knight advances a Fast Move of two Base Widths [BW] or 10". The Knight to right also advances 2BW but gets a BD bonus by moving along the road, a total of 12.5". The rest of the English army advances 5", with the Freemen in center to attack the hill, bowmen supporting from flanks.

At top of pic, is the Welsh reinforcements, arriving a Turn 2.

Closeup of interesting deployment and Turn 1 decisions. Both Knights advanced the max.


Left Knight out of Charge range. Right Knight easily in due to extra road movement.


To avoid the charge, the Welsh Freemen would have to be pretty far back, if still on the Hill.


But this concedes the uphill bonus of halved Hits to the Knights, which is unacceptable - they can advanced on their turn, get a BD on the hill, staying out of a BD of the Welsh.


Alternatively, the Welsh Freemen can squelch any attempt to flank them by being both on the hill and over the Hillcrest [there isn't a BD of any side over the Crest, so they are out of LoS].

Unfortunately, this loses the Welsh the mutual support of Protected Flanks, leaving them vulnerable to flank attacks at the center of the hill - also unacceptable.

This leaves the below the only acceptable deployment in my book - the Welsh have a Protected Flank in the center and can't be flanked by the Knights turn 2. The Knights have a choice - Charge uphill against the Welsh [an even proposition but it blocks their army] or continue moving forward to work around the flanks, while the foot go up the middle..

These are the kinds of decisions I'm looking for in a game. Easy on the amount / complexity of the rules, but hard choices have to be made that actually matter.

Turn 2. The Welsh Reinforcements enter. Two Freemen up the road, the mounted on the right with the Cavalry leading the way. 
They give the English some tough choices. The Knights can charge the flank of the Freeman on the hill, then be shot Turn 3 and meleed by the Cavalry on the left side on Turn 4 - not an inviting proposition as Knights disappear rapidly when attacked on the flank.


OR, Turn 2 the English can face the Welsh Cavalry but still threaten the Freemn with a Flank charge if the Welsh mounted don't close in, forcing them to commit to their right. After some debate, I choose this course of action.


Meanwhile, Turn 2 on the right has left the Knight in a bind. Turn 3 will have the 2 Welsh Freemen right on top of them, well within threat range of 5". The nearby Bowmen can't charge until they are out of missiles. This has the Knight isolated and unsupported.


Turn 2. English right Knight moves to right, opening space for Bowmen to support. Note that neither of the English Freemen can charge the Welsh: they are both over the crest and out of LoS [which requires a BD of the base to be seen] and they are out of Charge range since 5" won't give either Freemen a BD of a side, the minimum required to be in melee.


Turn 3 on right. Welsh Freemen move full down the road. English close in. Knights charge Freemen for 5 Hits but leaving flank open. Bowmen could advance pretty far up, but need to stay a bit farther away so a BD of a side of either Welsh Freemen is within shooting Arc.


Turn 3 on left. Welsh mounted offer lousy situation to the English Knights: They advance with the Cavalry within Charge Range, but the mounted Brigans to left are within both shooting and charge range of the flank. If English Knights charge Welsh Freemen on the Hill, they will in turn be charged on their flank by the Welsh Cavalry. Ugh!


Yet, the Knights can't reach the Brigans, which would be worse anyway since the Cavalry melee Dx v. Dx-2 for the Brigans, so better to have the Brigans hitting the flank...


In the end, I decide to take the fight to the clever Welsh - Tally Ho! [oops, wrong game...]. The English Knights charge the Cavalry, inflicting 4+2 for 6 Hits total.



Welsh Turn 4 on left. Cavalry inflict 3 Hits. Brigans 4-2x2 or 4 Hits for 7 total Hits.


Turn 4 English Knights hit back for 3+2 Hits, 5 total, bringing the Cavalry to 11 Hits.


Welsh Turn 4 on Right. Freemen take obvious choice, charge Knights in flank, inflicting 3x2 Hits [3 doubled for Flank...could've been 8 or 10 Hits]. Freemen on Front side Hit for 3.


Turn 4, English Knights strike back for 5+2 or 7. Bowmen could shoot at flanking Freemen, but taking the Hill is the victory, so...


They shoot at the Welsh Freemen on the hill for 4 Hits.


Turn 4 Center. Welsh Freemen move over crest to get uphill advantage. Note they cannot charge since they were out of LoS at the start of their moves. on hill. English Freemen charge to get in the first blow, inflicting 3 and 2 hits [halving is rounded up for any fraction].


Turn 5 Center. Welsh hit for 5 and 4. English hit for 6 and 4, but I forgot to halve the Freemen attacking uphill, which would have been one less each. *Sigh...* that's the problem with taking pics and writing narrative - I make little mistakes. We'll see if it is decisive or not.


Turn 5 left. Welsh finish the fight, adding 10 Hits: 4 from the Cavalry, 5-2x2=6 from the Brigans. This brings the Knights to 17 Hits and they are destroyed [15 Hits = destroyed].


Turn 5 Right. I mess up again. I played the English first. They roll 4+2 Hits and destroyed the Welsh Freeman in front of them. They then take for more hits from the Freeman on the Flank putting them to 13 Hits. I should've fought the Welsh Freemen first, which would've destroyed the Knight [as the Freeman to Front has to inflict at least 2 Hits!]. AAARGH!


Turn 6 Right. Welsh destroy the Knights. Had this been done correctly, they would've had the Knights destroyed last turn, and both Freemen would still be on the table: one with zero hits [to left, as is] and one to Front with 12 Hits -2 for Rallying, or ten Hits [which is gone].


Welsh Turn 6, center. Welsh shift over their victorious mounted forces to contest the hill. The Cavalry throw missiles for 4-2=2 Hits on the Bowmen [who are out of missiles, and may charge]. The Freemen inflict 3 Hits each - rolling low is a bad idea at this time!


English Turn 6, Center. Unsurprisingly, the Freemen destroy both Welsh Freemen to their front. The support of the Bowmen was essential - as it should be, since they are unarmored spearmen and I don't see any reason to penalize archers shooting uphill. The Bowmen charge the Welsh Cavalry inflicting 2-2=0 Hits...take that!


Turn 7 Left. Cavalry fight back for 4 hits, the Bowmen, show their stuff by again missing.


Turn 7 center. Brigans advance and throw for 1 Hit. Welsh Freemen position themselves against the BowmenTwo English Freemen advance and Charge respectively, threatening the Cavalry's flank and inflicting 4 Hits on the Brigans.


Welsh Turn 8, left. Cavalry decide to Retreat from the melee, moving straight back a full Move, a BW / 5". They have to do this b/c of the English Freemen threating their flank - the flank charge would inflict a minimum of 4 hits, destroying them.


Turn 8. Welsh Brigans roll hot and inflicting 3 Hits! To the right, the Freemen hit the Bowmen for 4 Hits. The left Bowmen charge the retreating Cavalry, but roll a 3-2=1 Hit.


English Turn 8, Center / Right. Freemen blow it and roll 2 Hits on the Brigans But the other Freemen is now threatening the Brigans with a devestating Flank Charge. English Bowmen roll OK, inflicting 4-2=2 Hits on the Welsh Freemen on the right.


Turn 9, Center / Right. Welsh Brigans also retreat from a flank threat. They roll another '4' and get the Bowmen to 8 Hits. While the Bowmen only inflict 3-2=1 Hit back, their Freemen charge the flank for 3x2=6 Hits on the Welsh Freemen. It's looking pretty tough for the Welsh...they could really use that other Freemen I mistakenly removed! To left, off-camera almost. the Cavalry get 3 Hits, the Bowmen 3-2=1 Hit - slow going for the Welsh, there.


Turn 10. Welsh do 3 Hits on Bowmen from Cavalry, 4 Hits on Bowmen from Freemen, pull back the Brigans. In return, the English destroy the Welsh Freemen, leaving quite a hole. The Left Bowmen miss entirely - again.


Turn 11. Welsh Cavalry destroy the Bowmen. But Freemen move up to threaten them.


More Turn 11. Welsh Brigans rally off 2 Hits. I forget to rally off two Hits each on the English Freemen to right and the remaining Bowmen, it seems - I meant to since they didn't move.


Turn 12. Welsh Cavalry move back, Brigans move over and shoot for 4-2=2 Hits. English Freemen advance against the Cavalry, rally two Hits to 11 on the other. Bowmen position themselves to threaten the Brigans next turn if needed [or they could've rallied 1 Hit]


Turn 13. Welsh Cavalry rally off 2 Hits and Brigans miss, 2-2=0 Hits. English Freemen right advance against the Cavalry and on left rally off two Hits [down to 9 from 13]. Bowmen should've rallied off a hit, but I shot them instead [bad plan], and they put two Hits on the Brigans [waste of time when they only have 4 Hits and it brings them to 6, really]..


Turn 14. Welsh Brigans eliminate the Bowmen - yay! English Freemen rally down to 7 Hits.



Turn 14, Left. Cavalry turn and shoot, rolling a 5 for 5-2=3 Hits! This puts the Freemen at 11 Hits, not enough to destroy them but giving even up odds at destroying them next turn! Freemen in turn charge and inflict three hits, putting the Cavalry at 14 - 100% chance of destroying them if the Welsh blow the shot!


Turn 15 Left. Welsh roll a 3-2=1 Hit, putting the Freemen at 14 Hits - they blew it! Freemen put three more Hits on them in return, and they are destroyed.


Turn 15, Center. Unfortunately, the Welsh Brigans are able to move onto the hill, and the Freemen can only threaten them. No one cleared the hill, so the game is a draw.


A close battle. I think that in this scenario, splitting the Knights is a mistake. They should be kept together for mutual support and go down the road. A Bowmen on the Left is enough to work on that flank in the confined space between the hill and the board edge. Given that there's a better attack up the road, it is quite possible that this force is a bit weak. As it is a small raiding or local force, they should have one additional unit of Cavalry available that can dismount as Serjeants.

Concluding thoughts.
Well, I hope that this quite detailed account serves a few purposes. 
First, that simple rules with good scenarios provide lots of opportunities for interesting tactical play, significant decisions and close outcomes. 
Second, that two armies that are different in play style can meet and have an equal chance of winning, and of all is even, fight to a draw with these rules. 
Finally, that it is hard to keep track of things when you are playing both sides, thinking about explaining tactics and rolling dice around! Unfortunately, the game probably would've been a win for the Welsh if I hadn't removed one of their Freemen by mistake.

C'est la Guerre!

So, this is what I did the last week. It was a bit time-consuming, but it furthered my goals and work for this set of rules and this period in general, including getting more stuff based, smoothing out the rules a bit, and making a QRS, which I've long needed. Overall, I'm very satisfied with the progress, and feel like I'm in a good place with the development of this rules set and the figs / basing / period details to go with it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Big-Battle One-Hour Wargames Game: P3, Lessons

As usual, I forgot to take pics since I was in the midst of GMing - rats!

The host did a solid job setting up, and I dropped by earlier in the day to check on and adjust things so we weren't rushed that evening. The board is 12x6', and we played ona 9x3' of it, with three of the 3x3' scenarios. This is how it looks - be mindful that while one can fill up the blank spaces with lots of cool looking terrain items, for the purpose of a demo, simple is best!


Scenario 4: "Take the High Ground" [left]



Scenario 8: "Melee" [center]



Scenario 10: "Late Arrivals" [right] note this is a mirror image to the layout in the book. The impassible hill now divides this scenario from its neighbor more easily.



Results. Both the Welsh defenders in #4 and #8 lost to the Feudal English attackers. Knight armies are just easier to figure out than counter-attack and denial armies like the Welsh. On the right, #10, one player brought his Pre-Feudal Scots and played two sides of that, with:

- Attackers: 2 Knights, 2 Freemen, 2 Brigans
- Defenders: 1 Serjeants, 3 freemen, 2 Brigans
This was the most even fight. The Attacker chose to hold his knights in reserve, and let his infantry lead the advance. This made for a slower attack. The Defender started with a unit of Brigans in the woods to harass the advance, which he did successfully. In the open, he had a unit of Freemen, who eventually attacked a unit advancing up the road and again slowed the advance up, but of course he was overwhelmed on the flanks. 

On Turn 5, Defender brought in his Serjeants and a Freemen. He put the former next to the Camp and the Freemen in the camp. Both therefore took half hits, so he essentially chose to make the unit of Freemen as good as Serjeants by having them hold the camp. The alternative is to put the Serjeants in the camp, where they get 1/4 hits! But the Freemen would then be in the open, die faster, and the Serjeants would be flanked.


Attacker ended up attacking the camp and and its supporting units, with a Freemen and Brigan entering turn 10 and distracting his knights. However, Attacker just managed to take the camp on the last turn. A tense fight with lots of small decisions by both players that ultimately shaped the game's outcome more than the dice.


Player Feedback

- several said they had fun, which is always good!
- requests for more guidance in setup and scenario tactics.
- "knight are unstoppable!" [if only this were true for mine!]
- running out of missiles is "not fun".
- explanation of rules was good.

Detailed feedback from player / Host:

  1. The game worked well.   
  2. I liked splitting it into 3 one-on-one games.
  3. Mid-game clarifications were few...and expected.    
  4. The rules were very straightforward.   
  5. Your basing works nicely.   
  6. The terrain layout was properly scaled to the game.   
  7. Your use of only a portion of my table worked for the game/scenarios.

Detailed feedback from player / prolific game designer / tinkerer:
  1. the game played quickly and simply. 
  2. the units stats were so simple as to do away with distinction between national armies.    Partly this may be a reflection of the small number of real men each unit represented. I can believe that as numbers go down national differences decrease.  
  3. this does make the game more dependent on good scenario design and on making the best  opening move.  Playing on such a small board makes the opening turn...critical.  I see this especially in Early Warhammer Fantasy and Kings of War games where armies may start as close as 2 feet
  4. Winning or losing can be dependent on deployment. 
  5. As an occasional change of pace the game might be fun to play but I can't see it ever replacing, for me, a more sophisticated Medieval Warfare game. 
Obviously, perspective is part of the comments. I edited them a little to make them clearer as I comprehended the comment. I may be mistaken in a place or two.

Lessons for running newbies through a game


Changes:

  1. The QRS worked fine, but I didn't realize - the printer faded on some of the color headers, so "print a day before and check results better"!
  2. Make all initial decisions for the player - they don't know the game well enough to make them on their own. This includes deploying the initial units.
  3. Nearly identical forces on both sides is easier. Next time I'd have Welsh v. Welsh, Feudal English v. Feudal English, and Pre-Feudal Scots v. Pre-Feudal Scots. One of the benefits is both players can help the opponent remember his troop types.
  4. The "Red v. Blue" explanation from the book were confusing - next time I'll make my own.
  5. Also, I didn't realize it but in two of the scenarios the Attacker went second, and in #10 they go first! This was needlessly confusing.
  6. For a demo, just keep the scenarios totally separate, and let players play turns at their own pace. If someone finishes quickly, they can always play again.
Sustains:
  1. The three separate games alongside each other worked well.
  2. Keeping to the most basic rules - no optional or advanced.
  3. Keeping to related scenarios provides mission focus for each player, rather than just the entire side. Makes for some good variety without complicating things much.
  4. The rules are easy to grasp - resist requests and temptation to add differentiation.
I hope to run a 3 v. 3 or 4 v. 4 big historical game in the future. Maybe a "not hastings" battle, or perhaps the Battle of Lincoln. I think these will enable a group to get through the battle completely within a reasonable evening time limit.