Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Rules Tweak: FreeMove Turn Sequence

Had a rare moment of clarity on the way to work the other week and decided to have a go at developing a turn sequence with no subphases. In other words, no "Fire-Move-Fire-Move-Morale-Comms" etc.

I was always attracted to the simplicity and uniqueness of Arty Conliffe's tape-measure-free Crossfire game mechanic. If I have understood this correctly, initiative switches to the other player when or if an element fails in an attempted activity. For example, a player attempts a risky shot, fails and so play switches to his opponent. In this way, a player can keep control of the initiative as long as possible by executing the less dangerous tasks first. Also, elements can move from cover to cover, ad infinitum, should they escape detection and an effective countermeasure.

It is a beautifully revolutionary idea and although I haven't played a Crossfire game I can't work out how certain anomalies would work out. For instance, it would appear to me that an FT17 could be sent way out on the flanks and make it all they way round in one subphase, so long as it was not detected or successfully defended against. So an FT17 can effectively move just as fast as a Panhard 178.

I had been subdividing my Turn Sequence into small, specific subphases and arranging the firing order and certain activities into a strict and exacting order. This worked pretty well but I couldn't stop thinking about some kind of freer system with fewer restrictions where player choice might determine the sequence of play instead of a dice roll, card-based unit activation or rigid firing order.

My initial idea was to allow a player to execute any one (but only one) of the smallest of actions but then there has to be some sort of 'group move' otherwise an advancing line of units would get scattered all over the place. In Crossfire, initiative switches when one fails in an activity (shooting, rallying, etc) but if there is a close-range firefight there is a distinct possibility that all the elements of one side might successfully hit their targets to the detriment of game balance. By reversing the initiative switching to when an action is successful, a player can loose off all his risky shots and only loses the initiative when something goes right.

Holding up the advance

So I had an even smaller game than normal using this method and the section command rules mentioned in another post. It did work but next game I will use an initiative determination tweak I have just thought up.