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Subject: Upgraded Vassal module is now available. rss

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Judd Vance
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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Washington's War is my all-time favorite game and it also gave me my introduction to Vassal play. Last year, I was playing a game with Mike and found an error that changed British CUs to American CUs. I set out to fix it, and then like I always do, I start tinkering around with things I want the module to do.

I let it sit for about 8 months, and after updating For the People's module this week (and Empire of the Sun's last summer), I decided to go for the "Mark Herman Hat Trick" and pull it back out and make those changes.

Here is a summary of the enhancements.

Feature #1: Hidden player hands

Improvement #1: Hidden player hands
In the previous generation, you could look into each other "Player Hand" windows. The only way to keep the opponent from seeing into your hand was by masking your cards, which faded them, but at the same time, made them harder to read.
I eliminated that. Your opponent's hand is disabled to you and when you draw cards, they appear face up in your hand.


Feature #2: Random discard

In one of my games, my opponent led with the George Rogers Clark card, which forces a random discard. You can't really randomly discard one of 7 cards with a D6. Generally, we say, "I'll take the 3rd card from your left". I guess if you can see into your opponent's hand, you can check that, but that goes back to me not liking to have keep my cards masked in my own hand because they are hard to read.

Instead, I re-created the "Random discard" button that I used in my upgrade of the For the People module. You click the button on the toolbar of your player hand and it randomly discards a card for you. The way it works is that sends all of the cards in your hand to an offboard deck that automatically shuffles your card, discards the top card of the deck, and then sends the cards back to your hand. But it does it so quickly, you click the button and you see your cards in your hand are rearranged with a missing spot at the end.


#3 Feature #3: Cards in Hand

I copied another idea from my For the People upgrades: the "Cards in Hand" button. When you click it, you see how many cards is in each player's hand. This is a big help when you play the John Paul Jones, George Rogers Clark, or Bancroft card and you need to know how things are sitting toward the end of the year.

I'm not going to upload another picture for this, but it will look exactly like For the People's except the name of the sides is different. Here is a shot of For the People's "Cards in Hand" window:




Feature #4: Right-click card play options:

In this game, a there are 10 different functions for which the cards can be used. However, each card can only be used to take different actions from the 10. With these upgrades, when you right-click on the card, all of the available options will be displayed. This picture shows the right-click options available to the American player for each of the 7 cards in his hand. You will probably need to click the magnifying glass above the picture to see it clearly.




Feature #5: Smart card discard:

Have you ever played the game and forgot to reshuffle after a discarded Hortelaz card or the William Pitt card was played? Did you ever forget to shuffle in the Declaration of Independence and Von Stuben card after 1775? In the boardgame, it's easy to remember, because you place the card on top of the deck. But you can't do that in Vassal, at least if you want a draw deck that continually shuffles.
The previous module had the draw deck and discard deck in one window deck and the removed cards in another. You would drag your card to the map, declare its intentions and then either discard it or remove it from play.
With this upgrade, I placed the draw deck and the REMOVED deck in that separate window as you see in the picture below:



I moved the discard deck toward the the upper left portion of the game map, out of the playing area. in the picture below the "2 OPS" card is in the discard deck. On its left is what I call the "mnemonic deck." Any card that reminds you to shuffle automatically plays to this location. The Declaration of Independence and Von Stuben cards begin there as a reminder. Later in the game, if you made ANY play with the William Pitt or DISCARDED the Hortalez card, it will automatically move to this deck, rather than the discard deck, so that you will be reminded to reshuffle at the end of the year.
On the right is a temporary deck. If you played a one-time only use event, it will discard to the right of the deck, so your opponent can see the card that you played and then you right-click on the card to send it to the "Removed cards" deck. If you click on the magnifying glass on the picture, you see the right-click feature on the Franklin card, as the player gets ready to remove it from the game.
Furthermore, if you play an OPS card to purchase an opponent's discard, rather than place it on top of the discard deck and making you drag it to the side, it will also play to the right of the discard deck, so that you can grab the top card of the discard pile, and the module instructs you to drag your OPS card over and place it on the discard deck.



Finally, when you play a war ends card, it automatically discards the card already in the war ends box and then rotates your card 90 degrees and places it in the box. And like the previous versions of the module, OPS cards played for reinforcement cards still go to their respective locations.




Feature #6: Clear colony control:

One of the biggest gripes by new players is not knowing which colony is controlled by each side. Veterans like me have the control map memorized, but that doesn't help new players. So now when a colony control marker is placed (right-clicked as before), the colony is displayed on the marker.




Feature #7: Attrition made easy:

In addition to changing the CU to a specific size, I added right-click options for instant attrition (ex: turns a 5 CU into a 3 CU) as well as a cloning option, which helps in the case of picking up and dropping off units:




Feature #8 Reinforcements:

No more going to the "Pieces" window to get your reinforcements. The British reinforcements are on the turn track (and won't stick to the turn track). To bring in American reinforcements, right-click on the location:



And if there is a British PC on that space, this option is disabled. Otherwise, it places the CU marker on the space.


Feature #9 Automatic French Alliance tracker:

When you play the Franklin, Hortalez, or Von Stuben card, the French Alliance tracker automatically moves. if you right-click on the tracker, you can also select the event (British defeat, Washington captured, etc) and it will move it the appropriate number of spaces.


Feature #10: End Turn Button:

On more than one occasion, I have forgot to clear out the reinforcement cards. Because of that, I added an "End Turn" button to the toolbar that automatically discards the reinforcement cards and advance the turn marker. Players will still need to remember to reshuffle cards when the time comes. I could have automated that, but as Mr. Scott said in Star Trek III: the more complicated they get, the easier they are to break, and that feature just spelled trouble. Hey, the reminder is right next to the discard deck, for crying out loud!

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David Millette
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Thanks again Judd. I've got this game on the shelf. It's on my short list of wargames to learn to play. Knocking Wilderness War off the list now... Empire of the Sun is on the list too since you made those great tutorials, but it's still a little further down the line.

edit: your link to module links back to the BGG page.
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Judd Vance
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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mille1212 wrote:
Thanks again Judd. I've got this game on the shelf. It's on my short list of wargames to learn to play. Knocking Wilderness War off the list now... Empire of the Sun is on the list too since you made those great tutorials, but it's still a little further down the line.

edit: your link to module links back to the BGG page.


Thanks: link corrected.

Hey, have you ever played France 1944: The Allied Crusade in Europe???

The more Mark Herman games that you play, the more of his games that you want to play.

If you send me a Geekmail with your e-mail address in it, I have tutorials for this game (Washington's War), also. I even have 2 complete games, where I went back in and added commentary on the rules and what strategies are unfolding. This should be the first game you learn, because it's just that good.

By the way, when I learned Vassal design, one of the best ideas for beginners is to grab ideas from other modules and copy them. This is one of my most copied modules ever. Joel's ideas for using invisible pieces over every area and then right-clicking to change them to PC markers was nothing short of brilliant. And the way he did the drop-down arrow on the charts is the best one I have ever seen.
 
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John Smales
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Brilliant. I've played this game more than any other over the years, but have never played it this way. I'll have to give it a try soon. Thanks!

I'm hoping GMT reprints this with all corrected erratum--all minor of course--because this game deserves a DELUXE edition.

Agreed, it's that good, and should be on the shelves at major department stores to bring in a new generation of gamers who want so much more than Risk.
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Josh Lacey
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Great work...sounds like I need to freshen up on the rules.
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