Justen Brown
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Into the Mouth of Hell: The Battle of Balaclava
by Justen Brown

"You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now." -Rudyard Kipling, The Last of the Light Brigade

Into the Mouth of Hell is a micro-wargame set during the Battle of Balaclava. Imperial Russian forces mean to disrupt the siege on Sevastapol from the combined forces of Britain and France. Personal grievances within British command led to the ill fated charge of the Light Brigade. While Balaclava was a strategic victory for Russia, it became a point of pride and valor for the English back home.

Into the Mouth of Hell is designed as an introductory wargame. The focus is not on being a chrome laden simulation. Both players generate the same command points used to activate units. In this way, the game is about efficient use of limited resources.

Players: 2
Play Time: 60 minutes
List of Components:
2 six-sided dice
Two counter-sheets (one double-sided)
Two-page map
Rulebook and reference sheets







Rules and Order of Battle

Map and Counters

----

Game takes place between 0600 and 1200. Each "hour" is three rounds.

A round is:
-Command
-Attack Declaration
-Player 1's turn
-Player 2's turn
-Resolve Combat

During the command Phase both players roll d6. The difference is the amount of command points both players receive.

During the Attack Declaration phase, player 2 declares all attacks followed by player 1. An attack is declared by placing a target marker (arrow token) in the destination hex which must be adjacent to an enemy unit. Note: Two attack markers cannot be on opposite sides of an enemy (historically this would result in heavy friendly fire).

Russia begins with the Initiative card. The initiative card can be passed to the other player to use the Regroup ability.

All units move 4mp. All units project a field of fire (FoF) in hexes adjacent to them. A unit cannot enter an enemy's FoF. All units adjacent to an attack marker, friendly or enemy, cannot move as they are participating in the attack. There is no stacking. Friendly units can move through each other but cannot end their turn in the same space.

Note: Combat is under construction. I don't know if I want a simple CRT or a more deterministic by-the-numbers system. Playtesting will hammer this out but it's a rough first draft.

Friendly units that could attack the defender, and do not cross an enemy FoF, may join an attack by placing a target marker. Infantry receive a bonus if defending from a ridge. Cavalry receive a bonus if attacking from a slope.

The player with Initiative resolves attacks first.



Example 1: British cavalry A resolves its attack. British cavalry B may join the attack in a pincer formation.



Example 2: British cavalry A resolves an attack. British cavalry B cannot initiate a pincer formation because it would enter the FoF of a Russian infantry.



Example 3: British cavalry B could join the attack in a different hex. However, if the attack fails it sets up British cavalry B for a two-pronged counter attack.

If the attacker wins, attacking units enter their target hex. All defending units in an enemy's FoF are shaken (flip over) and forced to retreat. A retreating unit must move at least 1 hex and stop so that it does not end its turn in an enemy's FoF. It may move further but in this case cannot end its movement adjacent to an enemy's FoF.

If a retreating unit passes through a friendly unit during its retreat, that unit must also retreat. If an attack would have no defender (because they retreated) the attack is considered a success and attacking units move into their target hex.

A shaken unit has a combat value of 0. An activated shaken unit rallies, flipping them over even if attacking or under attack.

Regroup: Player 2 can pass the initiative card to use this ability at the start of their turn before activating units. The player may retreat any units. The player may then activate units as normal.

Any attack markers remain on the board. It is possible with this ability for an attacker to retreat and have the attack picked up by another unit.
 
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mike heim
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Re: [WIP] Into the Mouth of Hell [2017 Mint Tin Design Contest] [Idea Phase]
Subscribed.
Looks like it'll scratch my itch on ol' wargame itch.
Reminds me of some of the hex and counter mini games from GENERAL magazine. I loved them back in the day!
 
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Justen Brown
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Re: [WIP] Into the Mouth of Hell [2017 Mint Tin Design Contest] [Idea Phase]


Working prototype on the table. Movement and command works as intended and was surprisingly breezy. Some changes of note:

Scale is smaller (larger?) than anticipated. Units move 2mp.

Activated cavalry can cancel their attacks which counts as a win for the defender (meaning the defender moves into the targetted space). This is an easy way to simulate feints and cavalry screens, allowing you to "kite" units.

Working on objectives. Historically the Russians took the redoubts guarding the road and captured the British's naval gun emplacements. But this was a battle of valor for the British.

Current plan is an assymetric victory condition focused on the British. British earn valor points (vp) for being aggressive and holding redoubts. They lose vp each turn Russians hold redoubts and if they bring out French reinforcements or the detachment of marines off map. Vp starts at some number (let's say 10) and they automatically lose if it reaches 0. Russians win if they hold majority of redoubts at end of the game or capture a British reinforcement point (historically cutting off a communication's route to Sevastapol).

Also working on a CRT for combat. I don't want units to be eliminated, this is a relatively low casualty battle primarily fought between cavalry. Combat results in no gains or forced retreats. Units retreated off the map aren't lost, they can return when activated.
 
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Justen Brown
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Re: [WIP] Into the Mouth of Hell [2017 Mint Tin Design Contest] [Idea Phase]
First draft of the rules are up.

A weekend of playtesting is to come then the design of the finalized components.
 
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mike heim
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Re: [WIP] Into the Mouth of Hell [2017 Mint Tin Design Contest] [Idea Phase]
jaybeethree wrote:
First draft of the rules are up.

A weekend of playtesting is to come then the design of the finalized components.

Finalized?? I hope you mean component ready instead. It'd be great for some of us to get a chance to blind-playtest the comp-ready game. Looking forward to it!
 
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Justen Brown
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Re: [WIP] Into the Mouth of Hell [2017 Mint Tin Design Contest] [Idea Phase]
Yes, of course. Although at this point I'm more worried that the damn rules won't fit into the tin. I may have to ditch the traditional lawyerly wargame rule setup and do something simpler.
 
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Justen Brown
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Re: [WIP] Into the Mouth of Hell [2017 Mint Tin Design Contest] [Idea Phase]
Alright, 31 days after posting my game is component ready!

Rules and Order of Battle

Map and Counters

The rules fit on a single page double sided in 2 column format at 6 point font in Word. The counters are .625x.5" (I wanted long counters like the long blocks you see in war maps). The map prints on two 8.5x11 sheets of paper. The CRT can be cut out and pasted on the tin itself while the order of battle fits two-column width on a card sized for the mint tin. The tin doubles as the Initiative Card. Two small Chessex D6 are needed.

I'll post a picture and complete component list after work.

To Do
-Final playtesting and tweaking
-Finish editing rules (all mentions of British player should read Allied player, Kadikoi is not marked on the map but is the little blip two hexes north of Balaclava)
-Create final artwork
-Order some custom tins to pimp out (although Altoids are a British confection so I may keep it, I also have a sweet British cigar tin I'd like to use)
-Write designer's notes
-Print and play other entrees
 
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Justen Brown
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Re: [WIP] Into the Mouth of Hell [2017 Mint Tin Design Contest] [Component Ready]




 
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