Pelle Nilsson
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Project currently on hold. Not sure what to make of it. Might make a smaller more tactical game on just a part of the operation before I try to complete a game on the entire operation again.

Placeholder for proper entry thread to be done before april 1 2016.

Subject: Operation Albion, the German conquest of the Baltic Islands in October 1917.

Scale: Operational

Status: Have not quite made up my mind yet about how to represent the naval forces. The plan is to make the game for two players, and that most land units will be battalions, with a few companies for special units.

This post will be updated when new information is available (and with images/download links for components). Progress will be posted in this thread.

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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
First problem: Even with the map size set to A2 (which was as big as I hoped to have to go) the hexes will have to be very small (or very few) to have the intended effect. I might have to go up to A1 (which is 2x2 A3, or about 4x4 letter/A4). Not good. I need to experiment a bit and possibly rethink some rules to work with fewer and bigger hexes instead.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
One solution is obviously to exclude Dagö. There wasn't really anything happening there, because the Russians panicked and evacuated the island the moment the Germans landed. It was also not even part of the original German plan, so it was the least important objective. Might be a low price to pay to get much more detail into the areas where all the action was.

EDIT: I can always put back the at first had in my prototype rulebook about leaving Dagö for a future expansion. It would be easy to add on a map-sheet of its own, maybe even in time for the contest deadline.
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Juan Valdez
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
pelni wrote:
One solution is obviously to exclude Dagö. There wasn't really anything happening there, because the Russians panicked and evacuated the island the moment the Germans landed. It was also not even part of the original German plan, so it was the least important objective. Might be a low price to pay to get much more detail into the areas where all the action was.

EDIT: I can always put back the at first had in my prototype rulebook about leaving Dagö for a future expansion. It would be easy to add on a map-sheet of its own, maybe even in time for the contest deadline.


Sounds like a plan.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
I made a A2-size map (but slightly smaller so it can print on 2x2 letter as well for those that are into that) excluding Dagö. Rotated everything a bit to be able to scale it up a few % (so North will be slightly off).

After some tedious trial-and-error last night I eventually settled for a size of hexagons that looks about right. I think they ended up at around 2.5 km/hex, or anyway big enough that infantry units are not able to make attacks further away than adjacent hexes, and that the frontage of each unit will be well within a hex. I can't think of a reason it matters much if the hexes represents 2 or 3 or 4 km as long as movement-allowances and artillery-ranges are scaled properly?

Then I started tracing the coastline of Ösel. It will take some time to get everything even functional.

Rulebook was prototype-complete already several days ago, except for naval rules that will probably be rewritten (again). Land rules are very traditional, so it is mostly a matter of trying to explain things in good-enough English. Most wargamers will probably just skim most sections to confirm it just plays like they expect it to; you pay movement points just like in every other game and combat is done with an odds-based CRT, so anything that looks unusual is most likely just a bad explanation.
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Nils Johansson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
Nice map. Great subject! Subscribed...
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Thomas Stevenson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
I can send you the program I created to make the War and Peace map if your interested.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
tas1624 wrote:
I can send you the program I created to make the War and Peace map if your interested.


Thanks Thomas, but I have been working on my Inkscape skills for some time and I see this as a good opportunity to keep improving (even if progress is slow). Made some progress with the map today. This is what I have now (and there are no original maps ripped from the Internet visible this time):



I am slightly worried because the road network so far is taken from a map from 1939. They might have built a few new roads in 22 years. Setting myself up here for a future Embarrassing Wargames thread if I do not try to confirm more of what the place was like in 1917.

Some water will have to be cut away because there isn't really open sea everywhere like it looks now. There has to be some tables or other stuff to cover large areas.

Land looks very grey now, but almost all of that will be covered by woods or swamps. Operations were mostly along the roads in this campaign.
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Luke Phillips
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
pelni wrote:
Some water will have to be cut away because there isn't really open sea everywhere like it looks now. There has to be some tables or other stuff to cover large areas.


Yeah it's a bit awkward isn't it, one player is going to be a lot farther away from the main action of the map.

Could you rotate it 45 deg or something? Cutting out most of the bottom right hand corner?
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Thomas Stevenson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
Looks like you have things under control. Good Luck!
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
lukerazor wrote:
pelni wrote:
Some water will have to be cut away because there isn't really open sea everywhere like it looks now. There has to be some tables or other stuff to cover large areas.


Yeah it's a bit awkward isn't it, one player is going to be a lot farther away from the main action of the map.

Could you rotate it 45 deg or something? Cutting out most of the bottom right hand corner?


It is that Sworbe peninsular that makes everything awkward. The map is already rotated as much as I could without having to make it smaller.

The map is actually smaller than a regular single-map wargame map (the hexagons are a little bit smaller probably than we are used to; there will be only half-inch counters because of that) so I do not think anyone will feel too removed from the action. Hopefully.

One thing that could be done would be to, add a smaller sheet. If Sworbe is on its own A4 or so size sheet that is placed adjacent to the rest of the map that might allow for scaling up everything else, and players can rotate things to fit their table. There is no law that a wargame map has to be rectangular I think (at least the map for The Devil's Cauldron: The Battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen isn't).

The map is all vectors so exactly what sheets of paper it is printed to and at what scale can be modified easily.

EDIT: One possibility is 3xA3 (6xA4) (in portrait) and an additional A4 (landscape) below for Sworbe. Slightly smaller of course to also be printable on American paper.

EDIT 2: Like this:



EDIT 3: All those sheets are actually in landscape. That worked better. That also means the top 6 sheets can be replaced with 3 A3 sheets.
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adam wilson

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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
What about moving the Peninsula to the lower right-hand corner of the map where all the open sea is? That way the map would still be rectangular.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
adam wilson wrote:
What about moving the Peninsula to the lower right-hand corner of the map where all the open sea is? That way the map would still be rectangular.


No, I do not want to do that. I think the Turn Track and VP Track (EDIT: and the terrain key!) have to occupy much of that area. You could place the last map sheet somewhere else on the table if it does not fit in its correct position of course (and once the Russians there have been defeated there is no real reason to keep it around at all). I think having the map go together with correct geography is more important than having a rectangular map.

It is a bit early, but I am also considering an optional rule that could be used if there is not enough space for Sworbe. Historically the regiment dug in there surrendered before the Germans had to attack much of it, so it should be possible to play without it using some rule to still force the Germans to move units to that area. But I should worry about completing and playtesting all the non-optional rules first. There is already a rule allowing the Russian player to surrender entire regiments en masse to save VP (compared to allowing the German player to eliminate all the individual units in the regiment).
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
Mapmaking progress: I figured out everything became much easier if I set the background of the islands to be woods terrain and then painted over just the small areas that should be open terrain. Duh.

But I also realized how difficult it is to make map on this scale. Almost every hex contains all sorts of terrains, including a few buildings and trees and some (minor) roads. Lots of decisions to make.
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Thomas Stevenson
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
pelni wrote:

It is a bit early, but I am also considering an optional rule that could be used if there is not enough space for Sworbe. Historically the regiment dug in there surrendered before the Germans had to attack much of it, so it should be possible to play without it using some rule to still force the Germans to move units to that area...


Always liked how the east front was handled in 1914, the Germans commit some troops, wait a while, than roll on a table see when the troops come back, or for losses or VP's, or a delay for re-roll. The more they commit the better their chances. You might add another roll to modify the effectives of the troops before the main roll so a player couldn't send just enough troops to get to the next column for sure.
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
tas1624 wrote:

Always liked how the east front was handled in 1914, the Germans commit some troops, wait a while, than roll on a table see when the troops come back, or for losses or VP's, or a delay for re-roll. The more they commit the better their chances. You might add another roll to modify the effectives of the troops before the main roll so a player couldn't send just enough troops to get to the next column for sure.


1914: Opening Moves does that as well.

I was thinking for Dagö to just give the German player VP for sending a minimum amount of units there (off-map) and of course there could be an optional rule to do the same for Sworbe. If the player decides to go to Dagö earlier than historically you could also allow units to come back after a while (and from Sworbe). Hm. Worth considering.
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Andrew N
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
I'm very interested in seeing the final product. Keep up the good work!
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
Thank you! I also look forward to that...

There has been more work done on the map since the last update here. I just want to make something more significant before posting again. In particular the swamp hexes are so bad now I need to completely redraw them before I dare post again.
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Re: [Idea Phase] Operation Albion 1917 (Wargame Print and Play Contest 2015-16)
You can keep the area with all sea for the CRT table, the TEC or something similar!
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Pelle Nilsson
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Project currently on hold. Not sure what to make of it. Might make a smaller more tactical game on just a part of the operation before I try to complete a game on the entire operation again.

I already started a re-design covering only the battles around Orrisar, but that game will also not be completed in time for this design contest. Seems like a good idea to complete that game first (for next year's contest?). This game requires more research and good naval rules to be worth playing really. It felt too linear without the ships (and aircraft) to worry about.
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David Kershaw
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I think that you've got far enough in this design that it is worth pushing on. Aim for next year's competition. It'll be the 100th anniversary of Operation Albion too.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Thanks!

But I think it is still better to focus the game on the area around Orrissar and make that game first (next year's competition?, hopefully!). Already have a draft rulebook and map.

The full campaign will not be very interesting as the simpler game I was hoping to make, because at that level it turns out to be very linear. I think it needs more units, more detailed naval rules, more player options and more details.
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pelni wrote:
Mapmaking progress: I figured out everything became much easier if I set the background of the islands to be woods terrain and then painted over just the small areas that should be open terrain. Duh.

But I also realized how difficult it is to make map on this scale. Almost every hex contains all sorts of terrains, including a few buildings and trees and some (minor) roads. Lots of decisions to make.


You could always take a page from Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939's book and make woods the base terrain, and have modifiers for movement/combat for clear terrain, roads, etc. Also keep in mind that most games rules don't model all of the terrain in any given hex, just the majority terrain or terrain that has the most impact.
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wernervoss wrote:
pelni wrote:
Mapmaking progress: I figured out everything became much easier if I set the background of the islands to be woods terrain and then painted over just the small areas that should be open terrain. Duh.

But I also realized how difficult it is to make map on this scale. Almost every hex contains all sorts of terrains, including a few buildings and trees and some (minor) roads. Lots of decisions to make.


You could always take a page from Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939's book and make woods the base terrain, and have modifiers for movement/combat for clear terrain, roads, etc. Also keep in mind that most games rules don't model all of the terrain in any given hex, just the majority terrain or terrain that has the most impact.


The problem is that the real-world terrain is so bad at following hex-borders, so there are many hexes that can be interpreted to be anything really. The contents of most hexes is something like this:



I guess this is a problem for every game on this scale, at least if you have found some detailed maps. And yes I will end up making most hexes woods. Movement should be mostly road-bound.
 
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Andrew N
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Another idea is you could do a point-to-point map.
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