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First playtest of "Te Wapen" report

December 30, 2004 2:59 PM - Posted by Phil - Category: Rulesets

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m developing some fantasy rules for quick and easy battles. The system is based on the Battlecry / Memoir44 engine, but of course, with the necessary fantasy flavour thrown in.

Bart Vetters, Vincent Mattelaer, and myself gathered in my gaming attic (which also saw the first game happening there), around my knee-height gaming table. I did prepare 2 scenarios from a wargame scenario book. The first one was a classic ‘hold the ridge’ attack and defence scenario, while the second was a break-out scenario. We also played a third battle, which was more an encounter-type battle.

We used the rules as I had written them up, but the game produced a few comments and thoughts on how to tweak the system. An updated document of the current rules can be found here.

One of the things we noticed is that the BC/M44 system is very much tuned towards ranged combat. Troops run around, seek a good spot, and try to fire on the enemy. In fantasy (or ancients for that matter), the emphasis is much more on close combat, and you sort of expect the ‘frontline’ to remain somewhat intact, at least during the intial stages of the battle. Instead, the games had a significant skirmish feel to them. Troops could run around, attacking foes on the side, or sometimes in the back. This is not a bad thing, but at least for me, it didn’t quit satisfy me. The rules so far have no concept of flanks or rears for individual units, so a ‘clever’ charge in someone’s rear does not give you any bonuses. This could be solved by giving the troops an orientation, but then it was felt this would overcomplicate an otherwise elegant and simple ruleset.

Skirmish games are not bad of course, but my hope is still to come up with a ruleset that can recreate in feeling and visual appeal famous fantasy battles such as Pellenor Fields or the Siege of Minas Tirith. I have a strong feeling it can be done with this engine, but some more playtests are necessary.

Bart took some pictures of the table, so I expect they will be available soon.

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