Samstag, 2. Juni 2012

It´s your turn! Wargaming with fixed rotating turns and/or unexpected "change of initiative"

Last time I gave you an insight in our self-made tabletop game with the topic "Fog of War".
This time I will write about our general concept of a turn-based gameplay.

There are many options how to simulate a battle:
1. Player A does his turn. He can move and fire. Afterwards player B does his turn. Again player A starts in the next round - etc.
2. Player A does the first half of his turn. He can move. Player B does his first half also. He moves his units. Player A can fire. After that player B has the option to fire - etc.

Up to this point everything goes like in a traditional board game where one player starts first in every turn. Now we arrive at the complexer concepts:
3. Both players move and fire simultaneously. This variation only works if you use hex-fields or other divisions. Movement and firing is done hidden (on a paper). When both players wrote down their actions, the results are played out. Sounds boring? It is...  
4. Both players roll a dice. Winner starts with his turn. Losers turn follows. If the Loser wins next turn, he may move/fire twice in a row.
5. Variation of (4): The Winner can choose if he likes to act first or if his opponent can do his turn first.

Maybe there are other or mixed concepts. We used to play the last variation because of the strategic component to pass the first turn to the opponent.

The Jaffa Tabletop - concept of turn-based gameplay

The initial roll of a dice seems to be a randomized event at the first look - and that is right of course. The players have a 50:50 chance to get the initiative. We added another component to get a "spicier" and more controlled gameplay. The COs (Commanding Officers) and NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) in your line-up come with "Initiative Points" (INI points). COs give 2 INI points and NCOs 1 INI point. The ratio for the initial roll will change if one player starts with more infantery (background info: We have more or less fixed rules when a CO or NCO has to be in the line-up). The INI points serve as a kind of balancing factor between line-ups with many amoured forces (less INI) and line-ups with many infantry (high INI). The more two line-ups differ the more important is a fixed turn-based gameplay because amoured forces have wider ranges (movement and firepower) and could decide a battle in two rounds (in the worst case). However sometimes the player with less INI points will win the inital roll. Then this player has a good opportunity to plan a strategic two-round tactic or just shock the enemy. On the other hand he has to plan what will follow after doing a two-in-a-row strike.   

While playing a battle soldiers get lost - even COs and NCOs ;-) - so the INI value can change. Again it influences the balance if one player gets too strong - the gameplay will become more and more a fixed turn-based one if the a player loses more INI than his opponent.  

Hope you get me right, if both players start with an identical INI value both players have a 50:50 chance to get the initiative in a round. Then the game is more open and riskier. A wrong tactical decicion combined with an unplanned "change of initiative" can have a stong influence on the game. This effect is good! We want to end a battle on the same day we started it!

What do YOU think about our system? Which variations are YOU playing?

Two eye-catchers from the archive at the end of this post:

German troops fend off a british attack 

This german guy can´t miss the russian BA-64

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