The Viking Legal Team in Action

The Viking Legal Team in Action
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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.





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