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Subject: (WIP) War of the Andes (2016-17 Wargame P&P Contest) (Ideas Phase) rss

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Eurojuegos Buenos Aires
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I'm pleased to share with you my entry for the 2016-17 Wargame Print and Play Contest: War of the Andes.

If you are wondering what the Contest is about, the
Contest Thread can be found here
Check it out. There is still plenty of time to enter!
(entry deadline is April 1st 2017)

Game summary: A grand tactical modern military conflict between South American countries for the control of the Atacama and Altiplano regions. With simple rules laid over a very detailed scenario, featuring company-sized formations, point-to-point movement and human terrain.

Print-and-play components download: TBD (will be available at components-ready phase)
Vassal Module download: TBD (will be available at components-ready phase)
Game entry at BGG database: TBD (game not ready for submission)

Players: 1-4
Playing time: TBD (aimed at 45 minutes per country added, that's 90-180 minutes, not including 10 minutes setup)
Components (not final list): 1x Game board (66x99cm), about 500 5/8' counters, 4x A4 size player aids, 2d6 dice

I would like the game to be considered in the following cathegories:
- Best Original Concept
- Best Tactical

The game will be released under a CC BY-NC 4.0 licence during the Components-Ready and Competition-Ready phases for the purpose of competing in the contest. In respect for all people that contribute their feedback to the project, I'll do my best to not have the game withdrawn from from the contest for any reasons, so you'll have at least the chance to try it as it is when the time comes.


Version 09 of the game board. For the sake of simplicity, the board entering the contest will cover about half the area of this one, taking out all territories south of the city of Salta.

Here's an overview of the design elements:

The game portrays a modern military conflict between the current (as of 2014) forces of Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina in the high and arid regions of the Atacama and the Altiplano.

The scope of the game is primarily grand-tactical in nature, utilizing counters for companies as the basic formation. The counters are double sided with different stats on them to represent two steps of loses. They are rotated to indicate if they are with or without enough supplies for offensive action.

Different formations of different countries are being normalized to a common standard, since company-sized formations of similar capabilities are sometimes called regiments, battalions, groups, or even brigades in those countries.

The map features a point-to-point movement mechanism with points being about 20 kilometers apart, this format will represent both the narrowness of paths in mountain terrain and the very limited valuable positions in a desert environment. There are "zoom areas" depicted in the board (like in some COIN series games) where counters are placed when fighting in urban environments that support large concentrations of forces.

The map also features a special emphasis in human terrain, with every point depicting the current population. Human settlements will especially affect the projection of a zone of control, unit stacking limits and the ability to control civilian population by occupying forces.

In further development the game may include cards with tactical effects. Those cards could be an interesting added layer, both in terms of options and flavor, but they won't be built into the core engine (it should work without them) in case I have to trim that feature due to time constraints of the contest.

The combat mechanism pretends to be simple, using a system inspired by the game Corps Command: Dawn's Early Light – Red Hammer. The attacker uses 2d6 to exceed the defender's health, but many units have an "ambush" stat that may reduce the attacker if his roll matches the ambush number of the defender.

The victory conditions are mainly tied to the occupation of VP positions. Those positions are related to the few population centers in a scarcely inhabited landscape, but also to economic prospects (mining operations), and international support. The later aspect will use a mechanism inspired by the game Angola, where players will blindly bid for international arms supplies that will allow them special actions, at the cost of increasing or decreasing the victory point total they must achieve to win the game.

Overall objective of the design: As it is, I'm designing the game as a fast way to test scenarios of international relations between neighbors of my country. It is not meant to be a design biased in favor of Argentina, or anyone else. Argentina sustains no hypothesis of conflict with their neighbor countries, but the other countries do sustain very real plans for a conflict between them, and Argentina might be drawn to make some hard choices as a result. This is my (not-RAND-serious but serious) take on the military aspect of how it may evolve.

Thanks for reading this far. Please fell free to comment and ask questions on the subject and design criteria. I'm a BGG regular so I'll be posting replies and updates as the design progresses.
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Trevor Henderson
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Am very interested in this one! I am currently researching a similar concept set in the region based on Operation Soberania in 1978.

Regards,
Trevor
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TDHenderson wrote:
Am very interested in this one! I am currently researching a similar concept set in the region based on Operation Soberania in 1978.

Regards,
Trevor


Tackling 1978 Operación Soberanía sounds like a daring endeavor. Will you restrict the scenario to the Ch-Ar conflict in the southern regions of Patagonia, or will you develop the Chilean "Cóndor Alfa" Plan for a 3-front full scale war (Hipótesis Vecinal 3 - Ejercicio Cúpula) including Bolivia and Perú?
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Trevor Henderson
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Still thinking on the concept. A severe lack of details I need is keeping me from steaming full speed ahead. I like the concept, but do not yet have access to the details on forces, plans, etc I would like to have.

I was thinking of a larger scale depiction, mainly Argentina-Chile, but with some "what-if" events thrown in (Peru invading from the north, a Brazilian response against Argentina, etc). Upon initial review, the game system you are developing probably would be a good fit for this potential conflict.

But right now I am in concept phase, but am finding the detailed information I need on forces, OOB's, etc, lacking (at least in English).

Another option would be to go to a smaller tactical scale and just depict a few of the possible battles.

Trevor
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Interesting. Indeed there are no plans from that period publicly available, and most OOB you'll find don't take into account the actual usability of the combat material (which, as an example, was below 44% for the Chilean Air Force, that had to resort to providers in India to maintain the engines of their Hunter aircraft). Embargoes and economic crisis took their toll on combat readiness.

If you are planning to get Peruvian and Brazilian fronts into the equation, I presume the grand tactical scope of "War of the Andes" won't work for such a large scenario. The 5000 kilometers Ch-Ar frontier alone takes four maps as the one shown above, and I had to trim that one in half to make the game manageable for the purpose of this contest (effectively now portraying just an eighth of the Ch-Ar 1978 frontline). It can be done, but at this scale, you are looking at a 18-foot-long monster wargame map!

Let me know if you do it. I want to see that!


Edit: foot measurement corrected from 9 to 18. my bad math
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Trevor Henderson
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Perhaps a better approach would be to look into smaller area maps of just the potential hot spots. Anyway, I don't mean to detract from your subject matter. Perhaps we can continue the discussion off line.

If you need assistance with this project please let me know.

Regards,
Trevor
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David Kershaw
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Lines of Battle: Quatre Bras 1815. Brunswick hussar.
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Is this based on an actual historical time period?
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TDHenderson wrote:
Perhaps a better approach would be to look into smaller area maps of just the potential hot spots. Anyway, I don't mean to detract from your subject matter. Perhaps we can continue the discussion off line.

If you need assistance with this project please let me know.

Regards,
Trevor


Will do. Thank you.

Smaller area maps seems like a good idea. Probably you can make good scenarios from:
Rio Gallegos - Punta Arenas
Río Turbio - Puerto Natales
Coyhaique - Rio Mayo
San Pedro de Atacama - San Antonio de los Cobres

Shoot me a message if you need a hand with 1978. Maybe I can search for the info you need from sources in Spanish.
 
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kerpob2 wrote:
Is this based on an actual historical time period?


Yes. The year is 2016 (as foreseen in 2015).
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Ok. Let's see some counters

Chile Army OOB. What do you think?

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Trevor Henderson
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Looking good. What size will these be?

Trevor
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Thank you Right now, they are 2cm or 0.78in squares
That size it's easier to handle within my limited skill in Open Office Draw
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Pelle Nilsson
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I think they look good, however it seems like the text at that size might become unnecessarily difficult to read, given that it looks like there is plenty of room to increase the font size?

Also perhaps a bit less saturation in the colors? It is a bit overwhelming especially with that strong blue. Makes the text even harder to read, and I think when printed it will be worse than on the screen.

EDIT: One more thing (sorry if I sound too negative) the gaps between the counters will mean you need to make many extra cuts and at least for me the result will look much worse than if they are all packed closely together. And the cut corners will for most of us just result in irregular little grey dots in the corners of counters. But perhaps you intended to re-arrange things into a more compact countersheet without the corner-effect when making the print'n'play version?
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Thanks Pelle for your feedback. You've taken things into account I hardly would approach myself. I even had to search color saturation on wikipedia so as to be sure what you are talking about (yes, I'm no graphic designer).

I've been using plain background colors for all counters so far, but I see that was probably a bad idea. I think I now know what you are talking about so I'll experiment with other backgrounds to try to fix for the next versions.

As for the text in the top left corner, it used to be Arial 9 in the previous version, but when I translated from Spanish to English y dropped to Arial 7 because they looked to large. It was probably too much. I'll try to use Arial 8 and capital letters to see if it improves readability.

Indeed, the gaps between counters will be removed in the print-and-play version. For now, having them not so bunched up together helps editing.

I was planning to use a slightly lighter color for the page background since the counters have rounded corners, so you won't get white dots on all corners after cutting them. Would that work? Rounded counters with a little shadow look better on vassal modules, but I may have to go for two different sets for printing and digital.

Please don't mind pointing out what you think can be improved. I will take your concerns into account to try to improve the game within my skill and time frame.
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2016-09 Update



War of the Andes (WIP) Version 13 board and CH Army Counters. Introduces Force Displays, Urban Control aid, Casualty Track, Objectives Track, Activation Table, unit icon setup references, single step ENG and SIG units.

Force Displays: Four columns in the middle of the board to the right allows players to use force display counters to mark the position of several units without crowding a single position (avoiding counter towering). Force Display Counters are double sided to mark if all units belong to the same side or are engaged enemy forces.

Urban Control aid: in the middle of the Force Displays there is an Urban Control reference aid to easily check if an occupying force is large enough to secure their supply lines or may be subject to roadblocks / sabotage. A failed Sabotage check reduces supply status (offensive capability) of units in supply, or directly reduces units out of supply.

Casualty Track: three of the four sides (professional armies) keep track of the casualties in the ground by means of wooden cubes. They occur when a unit is repelled or reduced. Those are taken from the top of the track and placed over the affected unit. Casualties must be medevac'ed to be returned to the casualties track. Units destroyed or disbanded are placed in the bottom of the track, if units placed there reach a spot where there are no cubes, the player loses 1VP. If all cubes are removed, the player loses 1VP. If unit destroyed reach the top, the player loses 1VP.

Objectives Track: shows how many VP locations the player has captured/lost and the number required to reach Cease Fire / Victory condition. Cease Fire condition allows the player to offer his opponent to be withdrawn from the game. Their score remains fixed, so the withdrawing player may end up winning by VP count, or in a better relative position than he would otherwise have been.

Activation Table: marks which formations have already been activated that round. The order in which you activate your units is important. For example, you may chose to wait for air support to be up before you move your land units forward. That may grant your opponent a chance to retreat or strike preemptively. Activation Table also features a track to mark the number of rounds that have passed. To save in the amount of cubes (33) needed to mark all this information, this table is meant to be laminated and written over with a water marker.

Unit Icon setup references: all counters start in the board. Setup time is reduced by using color-coded formations in counters and the unit icon (NATO symbol) in their at-start stack position (so far CH are the only icons displayed).

Single step ENG/SIG: early testing has shown Engineer and Signals units were imbalanced. They are now reduced to a single step of damage and take 1 activation (without movement) to set up for their special ability to become available. ENG units set up mine fields and defensive positions (providing an ambush check) and clear roads for military traffic (+1 movement modifier). Their strength is increased when set up and reduced when mobile. SIG units set up to allow both defensive and offensive indirect artillery fire and close air support. Their strength is reduced when set up and increased when mobile.

So, how does it look so far?
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Trevor Henderson
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Looking great!
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Will it print out OK in greyscale?
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I'm afraid it won't or at least at this point, I don't think it will

I'm planning to use color codes everywhere to make it easier to grasp the information from the board and counters. I had to compromise color-blind friendly for playability. Sorry about that. I use grayscale in all my prototypes, but this time I sense it would be to hampering for the design. Color is a powerful tool I will have to rely on to make the information clear.

If your concern is about ink use, I plan to have a printer friendly version of the board without the map background. Alternatively, you'll have the vassal module available and ready to play.
 
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October 2016 update for War of the Andes.

War of the Andes is an operational-level conflict simulation wargame, portraying a military conflict in the Altiplano and Atacama regions around the year 2015, between Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina in various possible scenarios.

The October 2016 update presents some hypothesis for the scenarios and the Chilean and Peruvian order of battle.
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Trevor Henderson
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Thanks for the update!

Regards,
Trevor
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TDHenderson wrote:
Thanks for the update!

Regards,
Trevor


Glad you liked it. Thanks to you
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Great work! Cant wait!!
Wouldn´t Peru and Chile engage in naval warfare?
Is this represented anyhow in the game?
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AG97 wrote:
Great work! Cant wait!!
Wouldn´t Peru and Chile engage in naval warfare?
Is this represented anyhow in the game?


Well, they certainly would in a real conflict, but that wouldn't affect the grand-tactical scheme of the scenario. In any case, in such a narrow frame of time, the battle would certainly be decisive in favor of the most prepared, which would likely be the agressor of the scenario. That can be modeled with strategic evironment rules for each scenario without the need to add a whole new layer of tactical representation.

I have my point of view, btw.
In case you care for military fiction (in Spanish):

http://guerradelosandes.blogspot.com.ar/2014/12/29-ariete-na...

Thanks
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November 2016 update for War of the Andes (WIP)





Abilities reference sheet for version 05 land and air counters.

I use these as a basic playtesting tool, since I won't write a rewrite a complete rulebook until I'm fully satisfied by how the game works. Still, I need the basics written down so I know exactly what rules I'm testing and what changed from version to version.

Also, they serve as a reference for counter design consistency and proofread.

Wording and spelling will hopefully improve over time
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Cool

But, dont you think the air zones look kinda lke watermarks? Wouldn´t it be better if they were areas/regions drawn with thin or dotted lines?
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