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Brigade Models • View topic - Fractal Brigade, thinking

Fractal Brigade, thinking

Moderator: Brigadier Tony

Fractal Brigade, thinking

Postby Erik M » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:10 pm

I am a thinker and a tinkerer (TnT). And a few times I feel confident enough to pipe up about it too.

Background ~ I'm not overly fond of any contemporary 6mm system. They are not bad, they just don't really make my heart pound.

New ground ~ I usually use the term "Frynt" for my games. Frynt from Swedish fryntlig, ie jovial. But I think it's time for a change. And fractal sound both "ahead" and chaotic enough to appeal to my senses. So Fractal it is.

And below here comes my present almost done TnT for 6mm Sci-Fi.

Opening statement:
I hate micro management. If you win due to one (1) either or neither or hither or dither, then there's something wrong. And this tend to creep over to everywhere. In the end the game is more about how to solve a system situation than playing with our beloved micro dolls.

So do I think I can solve this?
Indeed I do!

In broad terms I've looked into Orders, Tests and Terrain to see what can be made to speed things up for movement and shooting and assault.

Special care is taken to make everything happen in the same time period (which isn't the same as at the same time, mind you).
If you start doing something early, then you got more time to get it done. You shoot better and you advance further if you start early. But if I shoot first and am lucky, then your dead before you hit me with your well aimed shoot.

The second gripe I tend to have is measurement, of all sorts. I don't like them as they are far to subjective. Far better to have clear-cut cases.
And so I looked at the typical battleground. There's a crop, a road, a village, a wood, a field. Everywhere there was something. Something that could be defined from other things.
The road goes between the wood and the field. The crop lies between the village and the knoll. And everything is sort of of the same size, roughly.
If a field is to big, then it can be one part "south of the wood" and another "west of the wood".
Furthermore only one can control an area. And the troupe can be "towards the wood" or camped in the middle. But they must be pushed away to loose control. But no more micro measuring. In the area, or out of the area.
Yes, there will be some situations that need to be governed. Mainly when one troupe control more than one area at the same time. But far better to solve it with "towards the field" than "that's 10.1, not 9.9".

Orders are a nice twist to being forced to act strategically on the tactical map. You have to think first. In the end it also speed things up as you only have one, albeit big, decision to make.
And testing for orders is workable. Failed orders loosing you the evenings game isn't that nice thou. (In a way IC's interference is good, it's not a failed die that crumbles the order, it's your opponent.)

Tests is tha biatch of gaming. How to roll them dice in a good way.
As I'm trying to ditch micro managing there's a few things to do here. First of all a platoon's bazooka is picked up if the usual bazooka guy is down. And that goes for all. So we can stop try to pick of specialist already. Just that function saves us most time of all I think. If it's not necessary to position the exact base in the exact position, then it's enough with "someone cover that area". And this is 6mm brigade gaming, not 28mm fireteam "I'm out of ammo" skirmish.

Ah yes, you want to shoot someone too?
Well, it's not just you shooting, right? It's the whole platoon.
And the whole platoon is this *roll dice, look at damn short table, tell opponent what to dodge, he roll dice* effective and get to remove so and so many enemies.

Yes, this need to be proper rule text, but is the principles above understandable and possibly playable for YOU?

Ah, why Fractal Brigade?
Because brigade is the smallest self-contained operational unit.
And I believe interstellar ground warfare will be with what can be loaded on one cruiser and deployd from it.
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Postby Failure16 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:59 pm

Well, you know, Erik, I've looked long and hard at this proposal and am just not seeing how workable it is. I even went so far as to lay out a very compacted set-up of my own to try to have the info gel and I'm seeing the potential drawbacks as being larger than the rewards.

I mean, there is a reason that gaming has evolved to the point where it is today, not so? (and I'm not trying to be mean here, merely trying to lend a supportive ear...)

From the top:

o I don't see the problem of "making" or "missing" by 1 on a die roll as being that bad a concept. If I aim my M4 at someone and miss them my a meter or a kilometer, that is still a miss. If I am three steps out of cover or 300, I'm still a viable target to every bad guy within range and LOS. And this ties in with your "in the wood/out of the wood" concept later, which we'll touch on.

o Measurement is par for the course in gaming, just as it is in real life. Of course, in real life we don't often have the luxury of whipping out a tape measure to get the range to target, but we have range-estiamtion techniques, laser rangefinders, and other sorts of sensor(ry inputs)s. So...in your proposed system woudl there be no ranges, only "fire to the next terrain feature"? If so, Crossfire might put your mind at ease, but that is a skirmish game, and not a microarmor system.

Fact of the matter is, ATGMs function well at certain ranges and so do tank guns. A 20mm autocannon has a much different engagement envelope than a 120mm main-gun, and those nuances need to be reflected in the game. So, you are going to have to have some measurement system in place, I feel. Additionally, does this concept hold for terrain modifiers as well as direct attacks (see immediately below for extrapolation)?

You have called measurements "subjective", but I can't help but feel that a system that arbitratily divides a large field into different parts based on a stand of trees as anything but. In other words, I simply can't understand how the system could work with people who A) didn't design the system and/or B) are not steadfast friends. Again, no malice here, but this part in particular is a sticking point for me.

Let's take a look at a little scenario: I have a tank platoon of four Strv-103s (Team A) holding an area agaisnt some encroaching T-64s (Team B). My S-Tanks are in some woods while the scurrillious Russkies have passed a farm and are headed across an open field. In your game terms, the S-Tanks are "in the woods" and the T-64s are "in the field". Presumably both are within range of each other, so that a wash for discussion purposes. I am going to take a leap of faith here and say that Team A is declaring its action first and wil lchoose to open fire; this also means that, in the woods or not, Team B will be able to return fire if an when the time comes. Thunder rolls over the once-quiet countryside, flames jet from hatches, smoke bellows from rents in armor, and men shriek as they burn to death within their steel coffins.

PRO: no measuring was needed, and there were no arguments about how much cover each side had because of 'X' centimeters away or within cover they were. Team A was within cover, and Team B was not, end of story. CON: what if the situation had T-34/76s versus some IDF Panturions, where the 76mms would have made much shorter engagement ranges than the 105mms? What if the field was very large and was dividided into two parts? Would that not require some form of measurement?

Either of those could matter very much to me and any other casual gamer I might run across, whether in a pickup game or a tourney.

o Orders and Tests have been covered in a multitude of systems, take your pick (I perfer DSII or my own burgeoning ruleset, but that's personal preference for ya). Stargrunt already has a system that alleviates the gamer tendency to pick out individual squad elements, but real life shows us that heavy weapons infantry teams and C2/ADV/ATGM assets are prime targets first. I'm okay with an aggrgate system, but if you are doing a platoon level 6mm game (with the overall force on-table is a company or company team), then going for the CEV or TOW-track is a valid tactical option.

o I would be very wary of trying to pitch a game in the current era with an Ogre/GEV or Avalon Hill-style Combat Results Table (and I say this using a CRT of my own within the confines of my own personal system, albeit not a ratio-driven one). Modern wargamers sometimes view them with trepidation, but that is not a constant. I don't mind them, for instance.


In summation, interesting ideas, but a bit too far out from my current tastes and without the benefits that would make me change (for the moment, and I do see some promise with the underlying concepts). Thanksfor posting!
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Postby Erik M » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:22 am

Thanks Failure (sometimes that name is a contradiction... :lol: )

I started out wanting a square/hex system to get away from micro management.
(The 1 on a roll was exactly that, one step on one roll to decide a battle.)

Neither square nor hex satisfy my aesthetic side.
But if you removed the strict areas with the de facto areas you got something that could work. But you still got to keep an eye on the strict forms. So an area is from 4-11 inches long. (4 and less is either not, or a Small Feature.)
If you really want to see what this look like you could use all them discarded CD's. Scatter them over your usual set up table and see what happens if they are your movement areas. (Yes I know, they are a fraction smaller than 5", but you get the idea.)

So, back to your 76mm vs 105mm. The 76 would probably have a range like five and the 105 something like seven? And the mean distance of five areas is 5x6", so ~30". The bigger one get one of ~42" so could stand two areas further away.

I saw Gettysburg last night, and my system was exactly what they used, especially on that last long charge unto Cemetery Hill.
"From this here wood and over the field (1st) to the pickets, over that field (2nd) to the road, over that field (3d) to the picket line and over that field (4th) and then unto Cemetery Hill itself (5th)."

Some help in visualising?
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Postby Failure16 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:48 pm

Hey, Erik. Pardon the very long time in this reply... :oops:

Your idea is making a little more sense now, and it's something that I approve of.

I personally like hexes as a way of making things easier, both for ease of measuring purposes (weapon ranges and movement both, as well as limiting arguments that can arise within the course of a game. But your system could do just as well.

So, in your proposed system, a given unit of AFVs/infantry would have different movement capabilities (a WWI Mark IV or infantry unit might have a movement of 1 Area, while a modern M1A2 could well have a movement of 4 Areas, for example?), but ranges would still be measured, hmm? And different types of terrain areas could have varying costs, eh? Say Clear Areas cost 1/2 and Heavy Woods cost 2 Areas?

It would make things easier, I'll admit, which has an added benefit of letting the focus rely on C2 and morale. Looking at it now, I can say that "I wish I'd thought of it first!". Heh, heh. On the balance, this way is still similar to the way things are done in other games, just on a larger scale--say using Kallistra or GHQ 4" hexes isntead of 1.5" hexes on a more usual board.

Still interested, I'll say.
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Postby Erik M » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:36 am

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