Mus Rattus
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The contest

I have some ideas I want to work into a rules set for a skirmish-scale tactical wargame with a Wild West setting. Primary inspirations would be Infinity, and Gunslinger. Each player would control something like 5-10 dudes, and rules should be as light as possible.

Approximate Playing Time: 1-2 Hours
Players: 2+

In addition to the default categories, I would like this game to compete for
-Best tactical
-Best short/quick/small
And if it's not inappropriate, Optional Spaghetti Western Rules could qualify it for
Best game with this year's theme: ITALY


I asked in the contest thread if rules for a miniatures like Infinity or Malifaux would be appropriate, and received a great deal of encouragement and interest. But I thought some more, and took a look at Gunslinger, and realized that PnP and play-testing would be much easier with chits and hexes than with standees taking the place of miniatures.

My motivations are:
-create a cool nomogram (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1626631/2016-17-wargame...) for combat resolution
-experiment with random and deterministic mechanics for different game systems. specifically, try making things that are normally random deterministic and vice versa
-develop satisfying (but simple) rules for horses. a comparative lack of melee combat should make this easier
-create scenario rules that aren't simply "kill the other team" or "sit on the objective tokens"
-steal as many ideas as I can from Batman Miniatures Game (not likely to be many as I am aiming for something a lot lighter)

More to come, but slowly
 
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Quentin N.
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Nice idea!

I have a set of rules for horses in mind, they are really consistent and nice but do not really fit your need to be simple. Will you use hexes only for playtest or keep it in the final version?

Here is some ideas of scenario:

-release someone waiting to be hanged.
-steal cattle (cattle could react to gun noises, screams, if not tied to a tree or captured by a player).
-some scenarios in wich some characters start the game drunk.

and of course don't forget to include trains, mines, saloons to your rules!

Maybe you could also give to the players some unknows roles in some scenarios. I remember a game with a sheriff (the only role known to the others, has to kill the bad guys), one deputy (has to keep the sheriff alive), two bad guys (have to kill the sheriff) and a renegade (has to survive alone).
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Mus Rattus
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Mimolette wrote:
I have a set of rules for horses in mind, they are really consistent and nice but do not really fit your need to be simple. Will you use hexes only for playtest or keep it in the final version?


I remember a friend was trying to build a Mordheim warband that was mostly mounted characters, but couldn't find a ruleset or armylist that would let him do it.
I'm thinking something like movement and melee bonuses (plus ranged penalties) while mounted, actions to mount/dismount, and hits taken while mounted will potentially unseat the rider.

I think I will keep hexes as an option for the final version. The choice will be be between chits on 1" hexes, or 28mm minis on 1" bases. Using miniatures gives fun options for measuring true LoS in 3D, but without available terrain and minis tokens are a better option.

Quote:
Maybe you could also give to the players some unknown roles in some scenarios. I remember a game with a sheriff (the only role known to the others, has to kill the bad guys), one deputy (has to keep the sheriff alive), two bad guys (have to kill the sheriff) and a renegade (has to survive alone).


That's a great idea. I also like your scenario suggestions. One of my favorite aspects of Infinity is the secret information (Lieutenant, airborne troops, hidden deployment) so it would be fun to see how I could work that in.
 
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Zigi Hogan
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What's it going to be then, eh?
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You should probably use this rule set as a starting point, it may give you ideas/inspiration for your version. These can be pretty tough to locate (I have one for trade ) but these are the only miniature rules of this type I have ever seen.
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David Bukata
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You might also want a point of reference of these two items:

TSR's Boot Hill

Time Life's book series on the West


-Dave
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James Arias
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I have (bits of) the original Gunslinger, and Infinity has some cool ideas (I love their "silhouette" concept for resolving LOS...thematically makes sense).

I am biased to minis for skirmish variable terrain big tabletop type games, but it's dang hard to find western minis (at least gobs of prepainted plastic 25-28mm).

Take a look at Blood Gulch too, neat ideas on teams.

And of course, for a more dungeon crawler approach, Shadows of Brimstone for Weird West.

Good luck ... still waiting for "the one" in this theme.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Or... Instead of looking at whats gone before... Instead make a the game with your own ideas.
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David Bukata
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There are quite a few minis out there in metal and some affordable painters (two in Sri Lanka come to mind first).

Try this site if looking for minis at least as a start:

http://theminiaturespage.com/

Im waiting for "the one" in this category also. Started something many years ago, just stopped on it and never got back to it.

Happy Hunting!

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Kai Scheuer
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MusRattus wrote:
The contest

I have some ideas I want to work into a rules set for a skirmish-scale tactical wargame with a Wild West setting. Primary inspirations would be Infinity, and Gunslinger. Each player would control something like 5-10 dudes, and rules should be as light as possible.

Approximate Playing Time: 1-2 Hours
Players: 2+

In addition to the default categories, I would like this game to compete for
-Best tactical
-Best short/quick/small
And if it's not inappropriate, Optional Spaghetti Western Rules could qualify it for
Best game with this year's theme: ITALY


I asked in the contest thread if rules for a miniatures like Infinity or Malifaux would be appropriate, and received a great deal of encouragement and interest. But I thought some more, and took a look at Gunslinger, and realized that PnP and play-testing would be much easier with chits and hexes than with standees taking the place of miniatures.

My motivations are:
-create a cool nomogram (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1626631/2016-17-wargame...) for combat resolution
-experiment with random and deterministic mechanics for different game systems. specifically, try making things that are normally random deterministic and vice versa
-develop satisfying (but simple) rules for horses. a comparative lack of melee combat should make this easier
-create scenario rules that aren't simply "kill the other team" or "sit on the objective tokens"
-steal as many ideas as I can from Batman Miniatures Game (not likely to be many as I am aiming for something a lot lighter)

More to come, but slowly


Awesome!

There are not enough cool wild west skirmishes around, anyway!

You might want to look into Blackwater Gulch for even more inspiration!

Also, if you look into native american mythology, you will find some cool animal like spirits and monsters (such as the wendigo), if you want to go down that route..



Kind regards,
Kai
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Mus Rattus
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First of all, I want to say I'm very grateful for all the support this thread has received.

I decided I should start with the feature I'm most certain about.
I know I want to use a nomogram for a combat results table.
I really like how CRTs work (though I know they are old news to most wargamers). But a common complaint is that they look intimidating and involve confusing math. Nomograms look really cool and make solving equations easy, so it seems like a great match-up.

CRTs work using a ratio of attackers to defenders.
Nomograms can calculate ratios in the N or Z form (http://www.projectrho.com/nomogram/ntype.html), or by using a parallel logarithmic scale.

Here is a a rough example of such a (z-type) chart:



Obviously, with such simple numbers and rough delineations, the benefits are small. But a more precise scale, along with colors and symbols could make calculating obtuse ratios quick and easy.


CRTs also involve a die roll. For now, I want to leave that out. Randomness will come into play in other areas.



The next question is, how are attacker and defender values determined? For most wargames, the answer would be the strength of units attacking a space compared to the strength of units defending it.

For a skirmish scale game, a straightforward choice would be to compare the strength of a single unit attacking another unit.

But gunfights in the movies are chaotic affairs. Aside from quick-draw duels, most fights have good guys shooting at bad guys from all angles, and hot lead flying.

Instead of units making discrete attacks upon other units, I want to try having players maneuver their dudes around and then, at certain semi-predictable intervals, a shoot-out happens. The players would count up all their dudes that are in each fight, total their numbers and bonuses, and then consult the nomogram to see who bought it.

But how do you determine what units would be fighting each other? How to divide the state of the field into separate combats to be evaluated?

My first thought was line of sight, but that can lead to tricky situations. A more fool-proof method would be to use distances and hard-cover to break things up.

This may sound very confusing, but I'll add some diagrams to explain in my next update.

Thank you all, again.
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Mus Rattus
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Haven't had much time to work on this project, but I haven't stopped thinking about it. I have a good amount of rules written up (even before I posted this thread) but don't want to post them until after a real play-test. Theory-crafting can only take you so far.

I think I have a solution to the problem of dividing the field into engagements. By starting from un-engaged units, we should be able to avoid daisy-chained engagements that stretch around corners/across the map. I hope to play-test this weekend.
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Mus Rattus
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So, I withdrew this game from the contest. Did not get that play-test in.
Anyways, here's a rough run-down of the rules I was going to test.

Initiative - Handled through hands of Texas Hold'em. Use a 52 card deck with jokers.
One player is red, the other black.
Each turn, they are each dealt two cards, and three cards are dealt face up.
Each player adds one of their two cards to the end, then a sixth card is dealt, then players add their other card, then a last card is dealt.

In the end, we have a row of cards:

[F] - [F] - [F] - [P1] - [P2] - [T] - [P1] - [P2] - [R]

Players may play one of their two cards face-down if it matches their color, and if there are no face-down cards in the row. If neither plays a card face down, the last card from the deck is dealt face-down.

Using 9 cards, the game lasts 6 rounds.

Starting from the left, for each card, the player with the matching color activates one of their units. I had planned that different numbers or face cards could afford different options.
If the card is face-down, a gun-fight is resolved instead of activating a unit.

Activating a unit meant moving it, or performing some non-combat action (maybe related to objectives).
Nothing particularly interesting. I wanted to create some good rules for fighting on horseback, but no ideas came to me.
A unit could also use its activation to "Take Aim", providing a combat bonus that is loft after combat or moving.


Determining Gunfights
What I wanted was a way of dividing a table's worth of units into a discrete set of shoot-outs. I thought of many solutions, and this is what I ended up with. I'm pretty happy with it, but have not tested it.

1. Choose the unit with the highest Speed. Break ties between players, players may choose from among their fastest units.
2. Choose a target unit within the Line of Sight of the first unit. If the target is already engaged, the chosen unit joins that engagement. Otherwise, create a new engagement with the chosen unit and the target.
3. Repeat step 1 with the next fastest unit that is not already in an engagement. Repeat until all units are in engagements, or have no targets in their Line of Sight.

Engagements could be tracked by righting things on paper, or using unit cards and putting those in piles.

Resolving Gunfights
For each engagement, add up the combat power of the units on each side, add the highest applicable range bonus that each side can apply, and add +1 if more of the opposing side's units were surprised, or +2 if all opposing units were surprised. (A unit is surprised if it is in an engagement with a unit that it did not have Line of Sight to)

Then, consult the Combat Result Table. I wanted to create a nice nomogram for this (and it would be a simple N or Z type nomogram for devision) to make things quick and easy. You'd just find your number on one side, your opponent's number on the other, and the line would tell you what to do.

The Combat Results would instruct players to roll on either the Light Wounds Table, or the Grave Wounds Table. They might need to roll for one of their units, one half of their units, or all of their units depending on the result. They may also have a penalty or bonus to their rolls. I considered having just one Wounds table.

Results on the Wounds Tables would range from Dead, Dead at the end of the next Round (+ can't move), to knocked down, falls back, or no effect.

And I hadn't even begun to think of Scenario rules...


Anyways, I had hoped to get away with writing some rules, producing a diagram and calling it there. But then the game needed tables, and would be improved with unit cards... It didn't feel right to submit something like this alongside the far more polished entries that I saw in the thread and I stopped work on it.
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