Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cold Wars Report (4)

Continuing my report of games I played I Cold Wars 2012, I present my third entrance into a DBA tournament, the first that was for 25mm, and the debut of my wooden Early Armenian army in any game. (Which is another way of saying I did not practice playing DBA in 25mm or using that particular army list at all before entering the Grand Melee.)

My other Cold Wars reports are here: one, two, and three.

Games 4, 5, and 6 – 25mm Ancients Tournament (DBA)

First off, it was great actually meeting a lot of the people behind the names of the posts I read on the DBA forum on Yahoo and on Fanaticus.

My first game was against Ron G. (his Fanaticus handle) and his (I believe) Seleucid army. The figures were nicely painted and based and Ron was a real pleasure to game with. In fact, he gave some advice for how to play my Armenian army better (but only after he had kicked my butt). But, I am getting ahead of myself. Game one starts with the Seleucids invading my beloved Armenia ...
So, a 1-4 loss because I (yet again) over-extended my light horse. I did finally kill that bloody elephant, which was my primary goal, so it would not rampage through my army.

Next up was a game against a Greek Hoplite army consisting of ten Spear elements, and two Psiloi elements. I've played a few hoplite battles and always found that the battles against the Thracians and Scythians (or even the Thessalians with their Light Horse elements) were a tough row to hoe.

Game two has yet more Greeks invading Armenia ...
Finally a win at 4-2! I made comment to my opponent (who unfortunately, I lost his name) that I thought that this was a tough match-up and his comment was that he had won two previous tournaments with that army. Well cool!

Game three was against Ted (I hope I got his name right) and his Low Countries late medieval army, consisting of seven Knights and five bows. Again, Armenia was being invaded ...
Another 1-4 loss! I hate saying that it was because I got a bad string of PIP rolls (which is true); I really felt that somehow I could have changed my deployment in some way and done better, but my opponent said he did not think so.

It was an enjoyable tournament, with really nice opponents, and it taught me a lot. Not necessarily how to fight with the Armenians any better, but more that if you really want to do well in a tournament, whether DBA or Flames of War or anything else, you really need to practice. For DBA it is very much about understanding the relationships between elements (what beats what) and being familiar with the combinations certain armies can bring to the table. Hmmm. Sounds the same as Flames of War, come to think of it.

One final note: something I had always wondered about was how the "general wargaming population" (whatever that is) might react to my wooden figures, especially for something as serious as a tournament. The answer is, the reaction was pretty good. At worst I got a grin, but no comment whatsoever. However, I got a lot of positive comments, before, during, and after the games including from passers by. The most surprising comment was "where did you buy them?" Of course one common response was "it must have taken a long time to make them." As indicated on my Wooden Warriors blog, making the Armenian army was originally part of a "12 elements in 12 days" experiment. Although I did not make that goal for a number of reasons, that goal was for making, painting, and basing. And I was not that far off. So no, they do not take that long unless you want them to.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cold Wars Report (3)

Well, I made it back from my trek to Cold Wars 2012. My first two reports are both on my Dale's Wargames blog. The first report was about my game using the It Is Warm Work Age of Sail naval rules and the second report about my second game using the Pride of Lions rules.

Game 3 – Victorian Science Fiction (Hordes of the Things)

This game was entitled War of the Worlds and was put on by the famous Bob Beattie. After having read so much of work and ideas online, I was finally able to meet the man, and it was a pleasure, as was his game.

The scenario was modelled after War of the Worlds – no, not the Orsen Wells radio drama, but the 1898 book by H. G. Wells. In Bob's version, however, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen call up various Victorian forces for good while the "Martian" invaders bring Earth's forces for evil under its control. Bob adapted a number of characters to troop types from Hordes of the Things (HOTT) and added a few scenario rules.

I showed up first so was given the choice of commands and I chose the Invaders as, well, the flying saucer and tripod war machines looked cool! I later found out that I had five elements that required a PIP roll of '6' to come on and a further ten elements (or so) that were Lurkers that could only enter in special terrain that slowly crept across the board and that no one wanted to enter!

Pre-battle view of the entire board
Bob had some absolutely lovely and ingenious figures that he has collected and built over the years. In the picture below you can see Fu Manchu's aerial troops strapped to kites (on the left) and the Invaders' flying saucer and some walkers.

Posed picture of the Aerial Forces of Evil
Every turn another 6" (or so) hex would be added to the board, in a random direction from where the last hex was placed. This represented the invaders' plat life slowly taking over the planet, much like the plants in the movie War of the Worlds (with Tom Cruise). As you can see in the picture below, it is turn five as there are five hexes on the board.

One of the fiercest weapons the invaders had were the Black Smoke creatures (rated as Gods in HOTT) and the invaders had three of them. In addition it had two very large tripods which counted as Dragons. Each of these elements require a '6' on the PIP roll to bring on. Given that it would be very hard to bring these on using normal rules, Bob gave the Invader 2D6 to roll for PIPs, choosing the highest die. This also had the side effect of altering the odds that Gods went away. Normally, a God in HOTT is brought on when the player rolls a '6' and uses all of the PIPs to bring the God on. On any subsequent turn, however, if the player rolls a '1' for PIPs the God is removed. As I was rolling 2D6 and choosing the best, a God (or Dragon) could be called up if either die was a '6', but would only be removed if both dice rolled were '1'.

Needless to say, I never lost a God to a bad PIP roll, and I got all three Gods and two Dragons onto the board. I even ignored calling up the Black Smoke a couple of times that I rolled a '6' as I would rather have used the PIPs for movement.

The Creeping Crud of the Invaders
 It was interesting watching the interaction between some of the other troop types in the armies, but in the end, the Gods (three for me, one for John Carter's forces) dominated the field. I lost count of how many elements the first Black Smoke took out, and it was never destroyed nor removed because of a roll of double '1'.

Are those the aerial troops of Fu Manchu?
 The forces of good were unusually timid and did not make much effort to move, much less attack. Eventually, as shown in the figure below, the Creeping Crud started to divide the board and (randomly) provide a barrier of rough going for me to defend. Anyone daring to enter would be attacked unmercifully by my Invader Brains (Lurkers).

The Creeping Crud cannot be stopped!
 Although I had some interesting and powerful elements – artillery and behemoths in sufficient quantities – they just did not compare to the Black Smoke, so whenever I was short on PIPs I simply moved that rather than all of these lovely elements.

The Invaders' Command
Although I was not bored with the game, I can see that such a force would be rather boring after a steady diet of it. Not that a "normal" game of HOTT would ever play this way. A player willfully choosing three Gods and two Dragons as the majority of their force is just asking not to use most of that force in a normal game. This was only possible because of Bob's generous PIP rule for the Invader command (me).
The god-like creatures of each side battle it out ...
Everything thrown at my first God – Hero General, Magician, Cleric – was destroyed. When John Carter's "God" (I cannot recall their name; they were shiny people) was brought on, it started to rampage through the forces of evil. I eventually called for a Black Smoke creature to stop it (after it had killed one of my tripod walkers). As shown in the photo above, I got a lucky roll and the Creeping Crud grew underneath their God, I then rolled a '6' for PIPs, allowing me to call up my Black Smoke, and then with me at +6 and the enemy at +4 (everyone but Invaders were -2 in the Creeping Crud), I was able to barely beat them, banishing their weapon from the board.

... but the Forces of Evil prevail!
That pretty much broke the morale of the enemy players. Still more Black Smoke rampaged through their armies, taking out aerial heroes, dragons, and all manner of creatures.

The Black Smoke creatures are relentless
 At the end of the game, there were not many losses on the side of evil. Most had occurred on the far flanks, away from the Black Smoke in the center.

The far right flank at the end of the battle
 In the center, the Creeping Crud had absorbed quite an impressive section of board. My forces were largely intact (I think I lost one Dragon and one Behemoth) and although the game was declared "close, but an Invader victory", many players declared it a significant victory for evil.

My forces at the end of the battle


I really enjoyed the game as it was visually impressive and different from all my other games of HOTT, which were the typical Dwarves, Elves, Humans, and Goblins. Even though they were the same rules, they did not feel like a medieval fantasy game.

Bob later said that he should have removed the God if either die rolled a '1', rather than if both did. That would have certainly balanced out the sides, but I think I would have been reluctant to throw in any Black Smoke unless it had been absolutely necessary, given the odds. Bringing a God on would almost certainly have resulted in its loss, unless it came on at the end of the game.

The rules played well, even with some players never having played HOTT or DBA. Clearly some players were more involved than others, so some further balancing of forces is probably necessary, but I am sure Bob will work that out. As it was, for me, it was a fun four hours.

Next up is my DBA tournament using my wooden Early Armenian army.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Next Draft of DBA 3.0 is Out

The Jan 2012 draft of DBA 3.0 is out. Phil Barker has been active on the DBA forum on Yahoo, field questions and addressing concerns (although some still do not like the answers they have received). At first I was a little dismayed by Phil and Sue not really joining in on the debates on the forums (Yahoo or Fanaticus), as Phil had on the DBMM forum on Yahoo. Actually, it was watching (from the public bleachers) the development of DBMM that got me excited when I heard that it was DBA's turn. A chance to interact with the authors, to voice a preference, to be heard. So when Phil did not come on immediately, I really did think like some of the detractors were complaining: Phil did not care about DBA.

Turns out that all things need to happen in their own time and at their own pace. Phil is engaged and providing some very interesting and useful insight into his game design philosophy. And let's face it: for all the complainer's about "Barkerese", his ancients rules - in all their various forms - are clearly the most played ancients rules on the planet. (Might they also be the most played wargaming miniatures rules, regardless of period or genre, out there? Quite possibly, but the Warhammer franchise probably beats them. If counting only historical, quite probably, but it is hard to tell, given the popularity of Flames of War.)

Enough gushing. Here are some noteworthy changes from the last draft (or from the previous version, if I did not note it in the last draft, but it was there):
  • Army lists can now swap three elements from their list with three elements from an allied list.
  • Clarity on terrain piece sizes.
  • Choosing a BUA does not take away the attacker's choice for a baseline.
  • Having a lot of War Wagons in your army does not exempt you from having a camp if you don't have a BUA.
  • Littoral landing force can have a maximum of only three elements now (down from four).
  • You can have a landing force if your, or an allied contingent's, home topography is Littoral.
  • Clarified that a single element only gets a 0 PIP move if on the road.
  • Allied elements cannot make a group move with non-allied elements.
  • The < 1BW slide movement has been clarified.
  • Distant shooting targeting priority has been clarified.
  • Turning to flank when a column has been contacted is now clear.
  • Clarified that recoiling is a controlled retreat (which explains why mounted have a choice in how far they recoil).
  • The Buttocks of Death is no more!
  • Rear support from Psiloi is gone! This got rid of the controversy of rear-supporting Psiloi being destroyed if any of the three elements it was supporting were destroyed, but definitely changed the dynamic of the game. I wonder if this change will survive past this draft...
  • If you recoil but cannot complete the move, you are not destroyed; only if you cannot start the recoil are you lost.
  • Fleeing is no longer "recoil, turn 180ยบ, then move a full move". The initial recoil is now gone.
  • 4Kn (cataphracts) do not pursue like other Knights.
  • Loss of a General no longer results in an automatic loss in some cases; it now simply counts as an extra element lost.
  • Only the first double element lost counts as 2 elements lost; all subsequent double elements count as 1. Given the rumors that the Thebans could have a substantial number of double element Spears (8Sp), this is good news indeed!

The one area that confused me on the previous draft, and which I still do not see in this draft, is where some have complained that "heavy infantry" (infantry moving 200 paces) could, from a previous overlap position, flank a recoiling enemy cavalry element, as shown in the picture to the right. Like the last draft, this draft clearly states that:
An element can move into close combat against an enemy flank edge only if it starts entirely on the opposite side of a line prolonging that edge ...
So why do people think that you could legally move into flank contact just because you previously were in an overlap position, given the above rule? Having said that, I still do not see how people maintain that "closing the door" is even legal anymore. In both cases the element starts wholly (or partly, depending upon whether you define an edge touching a line is on the opposite side of that line) in front of the enemy element, so flank contact is not allowed.

Sometimes, one's knowledge of the previous edition is a hindrance, as you tend to gravitate interpretation towards what you already know, rather than really trying to see what the new version says. As far as I can tell, "closing the door" seems to be a concept no longer supported.
Update: I now see that my reading was incorrect. The reference to "that edge" refers to the flank edge, not the front edge! So those contacts are legal because the element is beyond the flank line.
I am definitely in the camp of buying and playing DBA 3.0 when it comes out. With each passing draft of the rules the writing gets clearer. (Is "Barkerese" now a dead language?) It is unfortunate that the 2.2/3.0 schism appears to not be going away, but some people just do not like the faster movement, changed deployment area, and randomized terrain, all things that I favor.

But, as with choice of WW II rules, fantasy rules, Napoleonic rules, etc. to each their own.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

First Test with DBA 3.0

I finally played my first game of DBA 3.0 (the current test version) and although it was solo, I did not use DBAS; I was simply playing both sides, trying to figure out what rules changed and how things were different.

I played the draft lists of the New Kingdom Egyptians (the b list) versus the Philistines (the a list) and came up with the first issue: the Philistines list the NKE as an enemy, but the reverse is not true. Ah well, hopefully the Barkers have that sorted out.

With an aggression of 3 for the Philistines, and a good roll, they ended up the invaders. The NKE had to place the terrain. As the topography is Littoral, I had to place a waterway. For the optional terrain, I chose a road and a woods; nothing too complex for the first game. The photo below shows the terrain (and troop dispositions at the end of the game). The NKE are at the bottom and the Philistines are at the top.

The first thing that changes is rolling for terrain quarter placement. In this case it was no real challenge as two of the three rolls were a '5', allowing the NKE player to place the terrain as they wished.
On the DBA forum on Yahoo, I could have sworn I saw a statement that the invader could not choose a baseline that contained a BUA, but I could not find the rule that said it. I will have to ask on the forum, but as I could not find the rule I decided to forego a BUA this game.
The NKE decided to setup farther back, in order to get their Bows into action longer. Basically, that did not work. The Bows did nothing except provide the occasional overlap for Blade on Blade battles.

The Blade pursuit made the battles really mix it up. Rather than spending PIPs redressing lines from recoils, I now spent PIPs running my supports to keep up with my pursuing Blades!

Some mention that the games go very fast. Mine was something on the order of 7 turns (14 bounds). Blade on Blade combat is inconclusive. Without a 6-1 roll you will just recoil. Overlaps, even double overlaps, aren't always deadly and a recoil just breaks his line as bad as it does yours.

I liked the extra movement and the 1/2 base width/1 base width recoils.

I will definitely be switching. Plus, my Philistines can now have their LCh (Gen) dismount as a Bd (Gen). Time to paint three more figures!

By the way, the Philistines won, 4-3. The Philistines lost two Bd and one Ps, while the NKE lost two Bw, one Bd, and one LCh.

UPDATE: In reviewing the rules I may have made a mistake and the NKE won 4-3. The problem arose when I realized that the Ps providing rear support to a Bd against a LCh should have been destroyed when the Bd was destroyed on a 6-1 roll. So, that is how close the game was!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Implications of DBA 3.0

The Solo DBA Development forum on Yahoo has been dormant for awhile, primarily waiting for DBA 3.0 to come out. My own DBA gaming - solo or otherwise - has also been lacking. To some degree it was about waiting for 3.0, but mostly it was about rotating the games; I cannot stick with one period or one set of rules, so I have to create a rotation.

With DBA 3.0 in test, and a test version of the rules published in the Files section of the DBA forum on Yahoo,  it is about time to look at them and the implications the new rules may have, with an emphasis on solo gaming. (I will not be covering all changes.) So, if you don't have the test rules, go get them now so we can go over it section by section.

Playing Area and Ground Scale

The 15mm standard battlefield is defined as 24" square, but there is now a nod to the "North American" use of 30" square boards, so players can choose either and not feel like it is unofficial.

Troop Definitions

There is a new troop type - more of a modifier, really - that of Mounted Infantry. This is basically a standard foot troop type (but presumably not of type War Wagon or Artillery) that has a deeper base, moves at the speed of a Knight element, but is shot at and fights as their base element type. This will make for an interesting element type, although I gather that there will be few army lists with this option. Nonetheless, it will add a new tactical challenge that the solo gamer can explore.

Dismounting is essentially the same as before, save that you cannot use a group move to perform the dismount action. That makes dismounting of large portions of one's army much more costly, so that limits a tactical choice one might have previously had. Again, another tactical challenge that a gamer might like to experiment with and refine in solo play.

Battlefield Terrain

This is the area where the rules change substantially, and are almost a boon for the solo gamer. The defender now chooses the terrain pieces to be placed, however a random roll determines which quarter the piece will be placed in (or which player gets to choose the quarter it will be placed in). The defender places the terrain piece, but if it cannot fit (some terrain types must be placed wholly within a quarter) it is discarded, even if a compulsory type. Once terrain is placed, the invader (attacker) chooses the board edge they wish to attack from (with some limitations).

From a solo gaming view point this might simplify terrain selection and placement. Based upon the army type being played you might choose some standard compulsory and optional terrain features, with guidelines on the sizes of the pieces and how they should be arranged. This is a big change from the method I was attempting by specifying exact terrain selection and placement based on army pairings, then looking at how the terrain might appear from all four angles (depending upon which side the invader ended up on).

The Arable topography now has the Rough terrain type, representing boggy, plowed fields. Previously all Bad Going in this topography blocked line of sight (and command) in some way. Great for bow-armed elements to hide behind.

Another aspect of the terrain changes is that all terrain must be at least one base width (BW) from one another, and from the board edges (with the BUA providing the sole exception). This means that using terrain to hug the "edge of the world" and stop the enemy from going around your flank without having to move through Bad Going no longer works, again changing some of the previous terrain placement strategies.

PIP Dicing

Single elements and groups moving entirely on roads make their first move for 0 PIPs. This makes the use of roads much more strategic. With Arable able to place up to three roads, road movement might become much more common.

The nature of a LH army changes dramatically too, as the command radius to them extends out to 2,000 paces (or 20 BW or 32", easily covering a 24" square board), allowing a group of LH to use a single PIP to move when far from the General. (I am already blowing the dust off of my Skythians...)

Tactical Moves

Movement through Bad Going for Psiloi is more generous, making it possible to make group moves in line, rather than in just column and second moves is ending there. This will definitely change how you deploy your troops.

Breaking-off from Close Combat

Fewer troops can now break-off from close combat, so this will reduce the possible defensive moves, simplifying the work I was doing for De Bellis Antiquitatis Solus (DBAS).

Distant Shooting

Now that elements can shoot from or at an overlap position, this changes how Bows could be deployed in the battle line and makes them much more useful and less likely to be nullified from shooting.

Overlapping in Combat

A crucial change to the overlap rules is that an element within 1/2 BW of the battlefield edge counts as overlapped on that flank. This changes the nature of the edge of the board, as it did with terrain deployment, making games where an army anchors its flank on the "edge of the world" less likely (or at least less beneficial).

Combat Outcome

An element providing rear support, save for a Psiloi element, is no longer destroyed when the element it is supporting is destroyed. This makes two ranks of Spears and Warband more viable options for deployment. Given this rule, and the pursuit rule, Psiloi-backed Spears, Blades, and Auxilia might become a less-likely deployment option.


What does it means for solo gaming using DBA 3.0. When I started writing DBAS, I broke down the solo gamer's decisions to:

  1. Determine the composition of the Non-Player General's (NPG) army. How to determine the composition does not change much, but it does some, primarily given that the Psiloi is now destroyed more often while giving support from the rear.
  2. Determine the terrain elements to be placed, if the defender. Again, this does not really change much.
  3. Determine the size of the terrain elements to be placed, if the defender. Now that terrain placement is randomized (at least by the quarter it must reside in), all area terrain other than Gentle Hills must be placed wholly within the indicated quarter, no area terrain may be placed closer than 1 BW to another, and no area terrain other than a BUA may be placed closer than 1 BW to the battlefield edge, selecting lots of large area terrain could result in those selections being discarded due to lack of space in an overloaded quarter.
  4. Determine the exact placement of a terrain element, if the defender. Other than the rules indicated above must be met, this probably makes it easier for the solo gamer. Previously, you had to develop a cohesive terrain arrangement for the NPG – one that would make sense for the type of army the NPG was using, and one that might penalize the player's army – but now the elements are randomized one at a time and placed, so the defender is unsure of the complete set of elements at his disposal while specifying the exact position of the element. From the DBAS point of view, that means thinking of terrain arrangements is nice, but unless the dice gods favor you, you are unlikely to get the exact arrangement you want. Again, that will lead to guidelines on terrain placement, rather than rules.
  5. Determine the baseline to take, if the invader. This does not change much, as again it will be more a set of guidelines on how to determine which terrain to face or occupy, rather than a set of rules.
  6. Determine troop deployment. This changes some, if only because of the change in dynamics of the elements (e.g. Psiloi being destroyed easier in support, versus operating better in groups). However, something glossed over previously is that the movement of all elements has sped up significantly and deployment areas are more generous, making it much quicker to get into contact. The corollary of this is that a player now has fewer moves to rearrange his troops to obtain better match-ups. This is especially true of the defender, who no longer receives the two element pair swap during deployment. That all said, any previous guidelines on troop placement will have to change, in order to reflect the new dynamics, but the nature or complexity of those guidelines won't change much for DBAS.
  7. Determine which elements or groups receive PIPs. In the previous version of DBA, DBAS used a formula for determine who should get PIPs based upon which group or element would have the greatest positive effect on gameplay. This was the heart of the Tactical Engine. Although the rules and priorities won't change much for 3.0, it will have to change if only to take into account new rules for group movement and second tactical moves.
  8. Determine how the elements or groups perform their moves. DBAS ignored this decision in the past, figuring that if the player could determine an effective move to be scored in the Tactical Engine, he already had the exact movement path in mind. That won't change.
So, all in all, a little extra work in DBAS here, a little less work there.

There are a lot of changes to the rules – more than I have gone over – so I suggest you pick up a copy. Remember, this is a draft and thus can change again. There is already a lot of discussion going on at the DBA forum on Yahoo and on Fanaticus, asking for clarification on some of the wording, so I suspect this language will change, if only to ensure we will buy a copy of the rules when they are published!

I, for one, am looking forward to the new rules. I await the new Theban army list so I can base my newly-painted figures. However, based on the language in the draft, I may not have enough figures painted as the Thebans now use some Double-Based Elements (DBE) 8Sp!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Combat Maneuver Type

To recap: This blog entry discussed the three Non-Player General (NPG) Character values (Aggressive, Bold, and Cautious). This blog entry linked the NPG Character values to the three Maneuver Types (Combat, Positioning, and Defensive) and the order in which those maneuvers would be selected. In this entry will focus on the Combat maneuver type, and how to further break it down to find the move the NPG should make.

When I look at possible moves to make, and try to determine which move is better (when I have a limited number of PIPs and cannot make all desired moves), I tend to look at one factor: what is the total combat advantage I will gain by making the move. What do I mean by that?

As shown in the figure above, assume that I use a PIP to move the group of two red Blade elements into contact with the two white Auxilia elements. This results in two combats to resolve: one at 5 to 3 and one at 5 to 3, modified by overlaps resulting from the previous combat (it may be a 4-3, 5-3, or 5-2, depending on who, if anyone, recoiled). As you cannot determine who will win until the dice are rolled, a simple method of calculating the combat potential is to score the combat differential of all the combats resulting from the moves.

So in the example above, the move results in two combats, each of 5-3 or +2, so the move receives a score of +4. The move below, in which two red Blade elements are moved into contact with three white Auxilia elements, results in a score of +3.

Note that if the three white elements were Psiloi, with a combat factor of 2 each, the move would be scored +5, so even though the red Blade elements are moving into a position of overlap, because of the superiority in combat it would rate higher than the first depicted.

Now this is very similar to the original scoring system with the Tactical Engine in DBAS, but the idea is to provide a series of rules of which are the "best" maneuvers and only use the scoring as a tie breaker. So, what are the best combat maneuvers?

In my mind, clearly the best combat maneuvers are (in order):
  1. Results in the destruction of the enemy element if the score is tied.
  2. Results in the destruction of the enemy element if the score is beaten.
  3. Results in the destruction of the enemy element if the score is doubled.
  4. Where the worst possible result for the enemy element is it fleeing.
  5. Where my element would be destroyed on being doubled, but the enemy element would not.
  6. Where my element would be destroyed on being beaten, but the enemy element would not.
  7. Where my element would be destroyed on being tied, but there enemy element would not.
In these cases, scoring is easy ... if all the elements in the maneuver are the same, and facing similar opposing elements. But what happens when a group maneuver results in some combats at order # 3 and some at, say, #5? Use the worst case.

That's the start of the idea. Next I will focus on Defensive Maneuvers.

Friday, September 16, 2011

NPG Character and PIP Usage

So, now that we have established that the Non-Player General (NPG) can have a Character value of Aggressive, Bold, or Cautious, and under what circumstances those values change (see last blog entry), what does each value mean.

I have always viewed the use of PIPs in DBA as for one of three reasons:
  • To maneuver into combat 1.
  • To maneuver out of combat.
  • To maneuver, but neither starting nor ending in combat.
1 Typically the maneuver is into or out of contact, but could be into or out of Bow and Artillery range and fire arc too.
For simplicity, I call these three types of maneuvers Combat, Defensive, and Positioning, respectively. These three types provide an order of precedence that can be aligned with the NPG Character into Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary choices, as shown in the table below.


Note that there is a fourth possibility for a Character value, between Cautious and Bold, which would produce the precedence of Positioning, Defensive, Combat. But I decided to set that aside for the time being.

So, now we have an order to using our PIPs. If the NPG is Cautious, all Defensive maneuvers will be considered first, with Positioning maneuvers second, and if there are any PIPs remaining, Combat maneuvers last.

The next few posts will consider each maneuver type and provide a set of rules for determining the "best" PIP use within each type, hopefully tying it back to the movement scoring entries I started back in October 2010.