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This game is an entry in the 2015-16 Wargame Print and Play Contest

Siege Break

They have tried to negotiate, they have tried to starve you out, now they are going to storm your walls

A diceless, hex and counter, solitaire wargame where you have to defend your medieval castle against a larger enemy force.

Number of Players: 1
Duration: 90 minutes

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Map


Counters


Cards


Components
Components 1.0
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Luke Phillips
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
Here is some of the ideas I'm working on

Counters
I have the idea to split the counters between "Units" and "Siege Engines" (catapults, battering rams etc).

Only units will activate but if they are in control of an engine they they will behave differently.

Enemy AI
Since the enemy only really has 1 objective (storm the castle and kill everyone) I think I can develop a simple, but effective AI flowchart to control the enemy units.

I am aiming for a fairly simple game so I would rather a simpler AI that makes mistakes sometimes, rather than a more complicated one that doesn't.

Diceless
Rather than using CRTs and the like I will develop a card based system. Each card will be have multiple uses, and all randomness is built into the cards.

The reason for this is that it's much more immediate than tables and flows much better.

Setup
Setip will be semi-random all enemies will start at the same positions but which actual units and engines will be done by a random draw.

The player will have free rein to setup their units, but it will be before the enemy does.
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adam wilson

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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
lukerazor wrote:
Here is some of the ideas I'm working on

Counters
I have the idea to split the counters between "Units" and "Siege Engines" (catapults, battering rams etc).

Only units will activate but if they are in control of an engine they they will behave differently.


Sounds right, the besieged would often counterattack, drive off the besiegers and destroy the siege engines to buy some time.

lukerazor wrote:
Enemy AI
Since the enemy only really has 1 objective (storm the castle and kill everyone) I think I can develop a simple, but effective AI flowchart to control the enemy units.

I am aiming for a fairly simple game so I would rather a simpler AI that makes mistakes sometimes, rather than a more complicated one that doesn't.


Sounds like a tower defense mechanic could work well.

lukerazor wrote:
Diceless
Rather than using CRTs and the like I will develop a card based system. Each card will be have multiple uses, and all randomness is built into the cards.

The reason for this is that it's much more immediate than tables and flows much better.


Yes, a card deck sounds much better than CRT's. I am trying to mimic CRT's in my own 2 player game, only with specialized dice rolls instead of a card deck. I think a card deck would be less random for a single player game.

lukerazor wrote:
Setup
Setip will be semi-random all enemies will start at the same positions but which actual units and engines will be done by a random draw.

The player will have free rein to setup their units, but it will be before the enemy does.

You could also randomize events so that the player knows what can happen but won't know exactly what will happen. Pandemic does this well.
 
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
adam wilson wrote:
Yes, a card deck sounds much better than CRT's. I am trying to mimic CRT's in my own 2 player game, only with specialized dice rolls instead of a card deck. I think a card deck would be less random for a single player game.


Yes and no. While you might expect to see each value on the cards as you cycle through the deck, because you are using the deck for 3 different things it doesn't come out that way in practice. (I guess a savant could game the system a bit by counting cards as they go through)

adam wilson wrote:

You could also randomize events so that the player knows what can happen but won't know exactly what will happen. Pandemic does this well.


Yeah if you look at the prototype cards in the first post you'll see the set of three symbols. These are the 3 unit types that activate that round. So your never quite sure who's going to activate and in which order.
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
I've added you to the contest thread. I put your wargame under initial ideas phase - let me know if you think you should be in the ready for playtesting phase bit.

One other option you might consider is tunnelling - maybe with decoy and real units.
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
kerpob2 wrote:
I've added you to the contest thread. I put your wargame under initial ideas phase - let me know if you think you should be in the ready for playtesting phase bit.


I'll post an update to the main thread when I'm ready.

kerpob2 wrote:

One other option you might consider is tunnelling - maybe with decoy and real units.


You just reminded me, I did have an idea for tunneling (if only I could remember what it was )
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
lukerazor wrote:
Here is some of the ideas I'm working on

Counters
I have the idea to split the counters between "Units" and "Siege Engines" (catapults, battering rams etc).

Only units will activate but if they are in control of an engine they they will behave differently.

Enemy AI
Since the enemy only really has 1 objective (storm the castle and kill everyone) I think I can develop a simple, but effective AI flowchart to control the enemy units.

I am aiming for a fairly simple game so I would rather a simpler AI that makes mistakes sometimes, rather than a more complicated one that doesn't.

Diceless
Rather than using CRTs and the like I will develop a card based system. Each card will be have multiple uses, and all randomness is built into the cards.

The reason for this is that it's much more immediate than tables and flows much better.

Setup
Setup will be semi-random all enemies will start at the same positions but which actual units and engines will be done by a random draw.

The player will have free rein to setup their units, but it will be before the enemy does.


Hex and Counter war-games are a little out of my wheelhouse but I like the direction you're taking this. I'm not a big fan of chucking dice. *ducks then runs*

I like the cards being used for multiple purposes and I like that it's card driven.

Now I'm thinking of pouring hot tar on people right now.
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
debiant wrote:
Now I'm thinking of pouring hot tar on people right now.


Actually there is a mechanism for pouring burning oil on people

I'm about half way through writing up the rules. Once that's done I'll be ready for public playtesting. Stay tuned
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
debiant wrote:
Now I'm thinking of pouring hot tar on people right now.


Wargame design brings out the best in us.
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
Ok I've finally finished writing up the rules and so I can present the first playable prototype.

Prototype Components 0.7

I would really appreciate it if someone could give me some feedback on how the rules are written. Are they clear? Do they sound fun?

The next step for me is
a) Produce a better looking map
b) Think about how to make the combat more interesting. Any suggestions welcome.
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - Initial Playtesting
I'm looking forward to trying this one. I've taken a quick look at the rules and I think there are some areas for improvement.

Firstly, your language is clear and precise, which is great.

It would have helped me to have the Introduction, section 1 written. I had to refer back to the forum thread to remind myself what the game was about (for instance, solitaire and I play the defender).

You introduce concepts without fully defining them. For example, 2.2 Cards "Each card is divided into 3 sections" - ok so now I have to hunt through the rules to find out what are those sections - why not detail them here and make it clear that this is the definition. Likewise with units and siege engines and other matters.
[On second glance] I see that the picture actually defines the card sections. I don't think that's clear here, and sample cards need to be replicated in subsequent sections of the rules where they are used. This is probably just a colour-scheme issue - as it's hard to understand the existing picture.

Some concepts are referenced, but might still help to give a short summary - for instance the Siege Engine bonus is introduced in 2.3.5. When I read this I immediately searched for bonus throughout the rules to find out what sorts of things can be affected - so it might help to add here "to either attack or defence."

6.3 "attackers" and "defenders" should be "attacker's" and "defender's"


As a general suggestion - have you considered not using hexes for some parts of the map? The hex-aligned walls look unnatural, so maybe the wall, gate, stair etc spaces could be irregular shapes to give a better castle-like impression. Open grass and courtyard could remain hexagonal for general movement.

I get confused by "Enemy" and "Player" - maybe "Besieger" or "Attacker" and "Defender" - as I will need to move both sets of units.

The victory conditions seem a little extreme. Any chance one side might give up when the odds become overwhelming.

On the whole this looks pretty good. I'm a little wary of a 90-minute playtime for such a game, but if the action is good fun, it could be very enjoyable.
 
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - First Public Prototype
My feedback is not really useful, but there it's: it reads very well (rules are clear) and it sounds fun.

I say no useful because I can't not provide any feedback to you for improvement yet. I'll try to play the game this weekend.
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - First Public Prototype
Thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely take what you've said on board for the next version

slashing wrote:
On the whole this looks pretty good. I'm a little wary of a 90-minute playtime for such a game, but if the action is good fun, it could be very enjoyable.


The game does get quicker as you go along (as the units get picked off) which I'm happy about. I do wish the combat had a bit more "pepper" though. I've had a few ideas, but they would all slow the game down a bit.
 
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - First Public Prototype
I've been working on the final map, what does everyone think?



I've just been re-reading your feedback, slashing, and you make some good points.

RE game length, how about some sort of "clock" on the game? I.e. some sort of turn limit. I would need to make the AI much more aggressive so that there would be a reasonable chance of them overrunning the castle before the game ended, but it would possibly be more exciting than the attrition based victory condition now.

I could work it in thematically as reinforcements turning up or something.
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - First Public Prototype
If you can integrate a clock into the theme I think it could work. For what it's worth, I used to play The Siege of Jerusalem (Third Edition). In that game there were strategic turns in which siege engines were prepared and mines dug, and tactical, assault turns. During an assault there were specific objectives that had to be achieved such as 10 units inside the temple complex. So, I'm not sure a clock fits unless you have the assault lasting one day and has to be done before sunset, or even perhaps overnight and done before day break. This would address both the attrition to the last man and the play time concerns I raised.
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Re: [WIP] Siege Break - 2015 Wargame Contest - First Public Prototype
Is the game competition ready, or should it be withdrawn (can be entered next year)?
 
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The game is ready as it will ever be
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Are the 0.7 Rules to be used with the 1.0 Components? Did not see a Rules set that came with the 1.0 Components and only found the rules with the 0.7 Components. Hope I've not some how missed it, I can be really blind some times.
 
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rlkp wrote:
Are the 0.7 Rules to be used with the 1.0 Components? Did not see a Rules set that came with the 1.0 Components and only found the rules with the 0.7 Components. Hope I've not some how missed it, I can be really blind some times.


No, my bad. The 0.7 rules apply to the updated components. I've moved a copy into the 1.0 share folder so people only have to go to one place.

Thx for spotting that.
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Congratulations, you won 3rd Prize for Best Large game.
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