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Subject: :Nutso" Britannia--six turn "Minimus" rss

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Lewis Pulsipher
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A mad attempt to play Britannia Minimus (six turn Britannia).

Having done Brit in 10 turns, I got the Nutso idea to try it in six. This is the first time through, so I’m doing a lot by the seat of my pants.

There are no Cals, no Jutes, no Dubs, no Boudicca or Belgae revolt.

To achieve sufficient events in six turns, the entire movement/sequencing method must be changed. Armies can move five, and can engage in multiple battles in the course of that movement. Because it would be too difficult to keep track otherwise, once an army or group of armies starts moving, it must fight and move all the way to the end of its turn before another group can start. The group can be reinforced as it goes by armies that have not yet moved.

The combat system from Hellenia(TM) is used to reduce the amount of luck, reduce the amount of dice rolling, but not require much thinking about the fighting (the Brevis card method requires a little thinking, which takes time). We’re aiming at as short a game as we can get! In this system it takes two hits to kill an army; a wound marker (such as the “25" point markers) is used to indicate an army has suffered one hit, and a wounded army must suffer a hit before an accompanying unwounded army can be hit.

Leaders or cavalry (in clear terrain) add two to die roll, difficult terrain subtracts two from attacker die roll. Both sides roll. The relevant part of the table is (result is number of hits):

Number of armies
Die roll 1 2 3 4
-1 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 1
1 0 0 0 1
2 0 0 1 1
3 0 1 1 1
4 0 1 1 1
5 1 1 1 2
6 1 1 2 2
7 1 2 2 2
8 2 2 2 3

So if three armies roll a 3, they inflict one hit. As you can’t get more than four armies into a battle, that’s it.

You can see that in a 2-1 without leaders or cav, the defender will always survive the first round. It can then retreat, but retains the wound until the end of the current Nation Turn.

I intended to try stacking of 1 in diff, 2 in clear, one more for the overstack, one more for a leader (so max 3 in diff, 4 in clear). But I kept forgetting and allowing 2 defenders in multiple difficult terrain. So I finally decided I might try 2 normal in any area, 3 overstack in any area, plus one if a leader is present–that’s what I seemed to be doing, anyway. Simple, and it might work out well.

Movement order in Round 1 is Romans once, then the usual order, then Romans again .

So the Roman wipes out the Belgae, kicks the Welsh out of non-Welsh areas, and out of Devon, and leaves seven Romans “wounded”. The Welsh send three and Caratacus to Hwicce against a legion and a fort. They kill the legion (two hits) and take a hit. Against the fort, they burn it without loss. Now they leave the “wounded” army and go, with another Welsh army that hasn’t moved yet, to March. Defenders get lucky (needed a 5 or 6) and kill an attacker, while the legion dies. The fort alone does not get +2 to attack (only when legions present). It is killed with no loss. Caratacus and one now go back to Powys. Gwynedd is empty, and the Welsh are in five areas. They score for two armies and two forts (8, for the time being).

The Brigs are subject to D/D. So six can move, after Increase. Three attack N Mercia, where the legion is already wounded. (In Hellenia the wounds are removed when your Nation Turn is over; here I’m leaving them on in this round.) The Brigs lose one and score 4; one army must stay, but the other goes back to Pennines.

Picts send three against Dunedin (there are two Brigs in Dalriada). Both sides miss completely; the Brigs retreat, then two Picts go back to Mar and Alban.

Now the Romans finish the round. They’ll score for capture after this (yes, R1–they’ll be gone after R2). They are still retaining their wounds, but they will come off at the end of the round.

With this fluid movement and combat sequence, submission works somewhat differently from a tactical points of view, because they can try an attack and find out about a submission choice before they send more attacks. One attack on Dyfed is good enough for the Welsh to submit, anyway.

Brigs can submit at 4. Romans get to Mar (success) and Brigs try to fight, but when down to 3 areas (they could submit at 4) and taking a wound in Strathclyde from the one Roman attacker, they submit. Five Brigs, 2 Penn, 2 Dalriada, 1 Strath.

Romans have 11 areas beyond England, all in England. This would be 22 points in Brevis, here I don’t know. There will be only three scoring rounds, after all, 2, 4, and the last.

The Romans reorganize their defense in their nation turn 2. Belgae are gone (this is what happened almost all the time in Brit 1, for those who have not played it). Welsh and Brigs don’t have much to do.

The Picts get three raiders who will go away (if they survive), and they feed reinforcements into Dunedin until they kill one legion and chase the second then kill the fort; then they kick the Brigs out of Dalriada, and leave Skye open for the Scots.

Four Irish (blue) stare at the Welsh (green) and Romans. Can raiders use boats to land, go back out to sea, and land again (now having a movement of five)? You still can’t move through two sea areas. Well, let’s try it.

Three Irish (max stack) hit Avalon where there is one legion and a fort. An Irish dies, the legion is hit. The last Irishman comes in to help, and the legion retreats to Wessex where it just may fight again when the Saxons come. Irish finish off the fort. As they’re raiders do they have to leave one at the site of a won battle? No, but they have to leave one at sea then. So they leave one here. The other two go back to sea, to Dyfed. No hits, Welsh retreat, Irish leave one and the last Irish goes to Gwynedd. Both get a hit, both stay, the Irish get a hit to wipe out the Welsh. Irish score 2 points plus 5 territorial points.

I have no idea how many the Angles and Saxons should have, so I’m trying 8 each, though 6 might work better in the long run. There is not much time for the English to build up before the Vikings come, and they’ll be fighting R-Bs as well. Angles take Norfolk. The two who can continue, plus another from the sea, attack Lindsey. Another burned fort, another dead Angle. That’s the end of the turn for those Angles, as they’re in difficult terrain so they’ve moved 5 (2 +1 diff (3) =5). Two others move to Bernicia and burn a fifth fort. Yes, 8 Angles might be too much, or I’ll have to cut down the points for forts a LOT, not just half. Trying 2 each here for forts and legions.

3 Saxons die while burning four forts and a legion.

The Romans and submitted hold 16 areas, 16 points.

At this point, still Round 2, the 8 RBs show up, get Increase and play. Once again, no points for killing enemies other than leaders. I might give the Saxons a leader in R2 to provide a target... But the R-Bs do score because it’s R2 (I had them at the start of R3, but then they wouldn’t score). They also get the cav and Art. Score 13. The only army they actually kill is the Welshman in March (bad luck, just wanted to push him back).

Things have to happen so fast when there are only six rounds, so the first big A-Saxons push, Roman withdrawal, and R-B revival all happen in R2 (235-450). It’s perhaps early for “Arthur”, but if he came at the end of R3 there’d be almost nothing left. And Arthur is just literary license, after all. In R3 the A-S will crush the R-Bs, more or less.

In Round 3, Cadwallon and men kick the Irish out of Wales, but lose an army in the process. The Brigs have only 5 armies, but attack Dunedin with Urien and 3, then fall back (but for the 1 that must stay). The Picts 3-1 on Dunedin, but lose an army while only wounding the Brig, who falls back to Strathclyde!

Irish get three more. There’s only one R-B in Devon (because of stacking limitations, the big stack is in Downlands). Two go in and succeed. One of those and the last from the sea attack Dyfed again, and the Welshman escapes.

Scots put 3 and Fergus into Strathclyde (here’s where the lack of opposition in the north makes it easier for the Scots and Picts (both red here). Brigs retreat to Lothian, and a Scot goes back to Moray, left open by the Picts.

The Angles have lots of troops and lots of problems. Next round the Vikings start coming. There are lots of RBs, lots of Picts and Scots, and some Brigs. They could wipe out the Brigs, but then who helps them fight the northern Reds? The RBs are a buffer against the southern reds, too. They get around: at the end of their round they have 12 areas.

Saxons end up with 9 areas, including all of South Wales. There are still 6 RBs, with a way to East Anglia and the Angles, if they wish. 14 Angles, 11 Saxons. The RBs push the Angles out of Suffolk. No Bretwalda. (I find it difficult, playing solo, to decide who votes for whom. As both red and blue have even numbers, I call it a draw.)

Half the game is over, and Round 4 starts. 6 green Norse and Ketil, and 6 yellow Danes will come, others will get leaders.

Welsh begin with a 2-2 on Dyfed (they can’t move 3, have a total of 5 and no leader). This fails. 7 points.

4 Brigs, only 2 can move. (It’s possible that I’ll get rid of the D/D in this game, but it shows so well how fragmented “nations” function poorly that I’m likely to keep it.) 2-1 on Lothian. They take it but lose 1, so cannot go on to Strathclyde. 4 points.

Picts build 1 and are at their max (maxes haven’t changed). They drive the Angles out of Dunedin and score 7 (their scoring centers have changed). Irish sit and score 2.

Scots absorb a couple Picts (now there’s four) and hold four areas. In this game I might have to have some Picts become Scots automatically?

Angles have lots of troops, and go for points–this is their big time, the time of Mercia and Offa. They end up with 11 areas, 22 points.

Now come the Vikings. The Norse take Heb, Ork, Sky, Dal, and Strath in that order (leader helps a lot, especially in allowing a 3 high overstack). 8 points.

Danes raid only, get 1 per area touched, 1 per army killed. But they score only 5 before going back to sea. The survivors go away, that is, are not part of the Danish force next time.

The Saxons wipe out the southern R-Bs, even take Gwent, in the course of dominating the south. One RB survives in Cheshire, gets Increase, and the two now spread out and score 4 points.

At this point I can see from the scores what I feared, that Saxons-Picts-Scots is just too much. But I don’t see another color combination that will work, even if I abandon having Scots and Picts on the same side. The Ultimate Balancer is to add free points to green (and possibly blue) and subtract from red, but I’d prefer not to do that. And I could (once again) revive Jutes and Cals for green and blue... Sigh.

No one seems to be King.

So in Round 5 the big push is the Danish Great Army, followed by the double play for the Saxons as they retake the Danelaw. The Norse have as many areas as the Picts and Scots, though not as many armies.

Welsh are down to 4 armies, but they can attack Dyfed just to see if they get lucky... or maybe I’ll give them Rhodri Mawr. Let’s try it. Now we’re talking, and they take Dyfed at 2-2 with no loss. I wonder if the Saxons will kill Rhodri, as they did historically?

Brigs have 2 armies and get a third. Two attack Cumbria (one would starve, so it gets to move). The Angle can’t retreat because of overstacks, and dies in succeeding rounds.

Picts drive the Norse with leader out of Strathclyde, and another Pict gets absorbed by the Scots in Alban. Irish are gone.

Scots send 2-1 to Skye. Both sides get a hit, and the Norse bail out.

I haven’t made the Angles suffer full disorder in this game, but they cannot attack the Saxons. So there are 12 Angles, and 6 can do something. 3 attack Dunedin and kill the Pict. 3 then clean Brigs out of Cumbria.

2 Norse from the ATL chase an RB from Cheshire. 2 from Dalriada reinforce Heb and Ork.

Now the Danes, 12 of them with a leader, and they play twice (second time without leader). Saxons get “defense as if always in difficult terrain” to represent Alfred the Great. Danes take 11 areas, 11 points. Saxons can submit at 6. But if they do, they can’t attack the Danes in the first of their two plays this round. They don’t submit.

The Saxons in their double play take enough areas to be King. I wonder if 4 points is too much for this game? Still 8 Danes on the board, and 7 Angles. 13 Saxons. RBs sit in March.

Now the last round. We have Cnut coming as well as “Four Kings”. If that works?... I may need The Reckoning just as I’m using in Britannia Brevis. That or I skip Cnut?!?!?

Welsh with Gruffudd ap L. try to take Gwent. The Saxons are hit and bail. Welsh score... hmmm, should I hold the scoring til the end, as I do in Brevis? I think I’ll try it. Maybe it will discourage “adventurism”. [Changed my mind later, and recorded scores as of end of Nation Turn.]

Brigs try to take Strathclyde, and die. One Brig is left, in Galloway. Picts take Dunedin, but kill no Angles. Scots with leader Malcolm III take Dalriada at 3-1 without loss. Norse get a new army and send 3 from Cheshire to Strathclyde. They luckily kill the defender on the first roll, send one back to Cheshire, and one to Dunedin that kills the defender in an even battle!

7 Angles can move 4 of them because one would starve (they can’t get their Increase army because there’s nowhere to put it). Not much going.

There are a LOT of Danes. They rampage, the Saxons submit (at 8), Angles end up with one army in Strathclyde. Danes get King Cnut points. 13 areas, but am I scoring King-candidates now or after The Reckoning? After or during.

Now Norwegians, Saxons, and Normans. Norwegians take 7 territories and Harald hides up in Lothian. Saxons with double increase come after Harald, but in the 4-4 battle lose one immediately and retreat to Bernicia. William wipes out many Saxons, though they survive farther north and in difficult terrain. 7. Oh, wounds are retained by the king candidate nations through to The Reckoning.

Now The Reckoning, half of the king candidate’s forces counting those at sea (3 with S. Estrithson). S.E. takes Norfok to hide (but doesn’t hide in difficult, which would remove his “candidacy” as though he was dead). Harald goes farther north to Dunedin. Harold follows and kills him. William kills S. E. with one army left. No king.

There are many ways to manipulate the final score, but the clear point from this game is that blue and green are well behind red and yellow. The Roman score can be reduced easily enough, but I don’t know about the red scores, other than simply to declare a minus, which I am reluctant to do.

The new sequencing system works well, a little reminiscent of History of the World or Vinci at present in the way you can keep feeding more guys in–but they actually have to maneuver there, not merely appear. Big attacks tend to peter out when they run out of armies to leave behind, rather than because they get armies killed. The combat system works fine.

Even adding Jutes, the green are defensively minded. Blue will benefit from Cals. So just as in Brevis, I’m forced to revive the Jutes and Cals. Oh, well.

Anyway, it can work even with six turns, with the right movement and sequencing system and combat system. It’s rather different but it’s still Britannia.

Now I’m adding this the next day. Originally I thought that some kind of interception or “marching to the sound of the guns”–defenders joining the battle from adjacent spaces–would be necessary. In the event, I used neither. However, the result is that the big invasions are VERY one-sided, as the attacker often has a 3-1 (or 4-1 with a leader, since the leader adds one to the max size of the overstack). 12 invaders against 12 spread-out defenders means lots of dead defenders and no dead invaders, as the invader drops the “wounded” army after victory and goes on with the unwounded ones.

There are several things I can do about this. One is to require that the “dropped” army be unwounded, so the wounded one would need to go on to the next attack. The player could drop two, but that will soon take the steam out of an attack. Another is to keep track of wounds for the entire nation, so that in the next battle the wound will count. Some people would see that as “unrealistic”–“why is that one wounded when the last fight was ‘way over there?”

More extensively, I can allow adjacent defenders to join a battle, perhaps one per round. So, say, the Romans attack Kent to begin the game, the Belgae can have the army from Sussex join the fight before the first round of battle. (OR, this support might only be available after the first round of battle, perhaps better.) (And maybe the attacker can only add one army per round–but that’s how it works out anyway, most of the time, as the attacker will very rarely lose two armies in one round.)

Several people have suggested some of these more interactive methods in the past, but this is the first time I’ve actually used them in a game. So lots of experimenting could be done.

Unfortunately, I doubt that I’ll have much time to work on this one. “Brevis” is more practical.

I’ll have to think about allowing multiple battles in The Reckoning in Brevis.

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George Van Voorn
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I've been trying it in seven turns, and also in seven turns on a map with fewer areas. There are seven rounds, with the first round without scoring. Round 1 is rounds I-II-III, round 2 is round IV-V, round 3 is rounds VI-VII, round 4 is rounds VIII-IX-X, rounds 5 is rounds XI-XII, round 6 is rounds XIII-XIV, round 7 then is rounds XV-XVI. Scoring in rounds 5 and 6 is like at the end of round XIII. Reinforcements are added for all rounds, so e.g the Irish get 3 reinforcements in round 2, 2 in round 3 and 2 in round 4. Population growth goes twice as fast (per 3 instead of per 6).

It works rather well, except for the beginning and the end, i.e. the Roman invasion is troublesome and the landing by William doesn't gain nearly enough points. Perhaps a triple-turned major invasion will do the job nicely.

I don't think the idea is that "nut-so", though the deeper tactics/strategies in Brit come from the longer time span/more rounds. A shorter game is and will be more luck-dependent, in my opinion.

I like your mechanisms to reduce die-luck. The "wounded" can be replaced by double-sided counters, with one spent side (this mechanism is used in the game Age of Napoleon by Renaud Verlaque).
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