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Subject: WIP Legion Atlantica - comments welcome rss

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Paul Tavener
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I’m currently working on a solo colonization game based on the premise that the Romans had reached the new world and attempted to set up a colony.

I’m trying to incorporate multiple time frames to allow unit production, building construction and tactical combat elements in one game:

Annual “production” that has to be specified 12 months in advance for men and materials that will be sent from Rome and will arrive the following year (weather permitting).

Monthly turns where units can be assigned to clearing woods, constructing building/fortifications, patrolling or planting/gathering/harvesting food across the hex based board.

And finally 0,1 or 2 action phases per month where the Indian natives attack. The Roman units would start placed in the hex they were assigned for their current monthly turn role and the Indian units would be placed according to a semi random mechanism that would determine direction of attack, target of attack and percent casualties possible before retreat. The phase would then be played like a mini tactical combat game.

If the Romans can establish sufficient buildings/units and settlers they win after a few years they win.

I’m still at an early stage with just a rough draft set of rules and I suspect that it might take a lot of testing to find good game balance, but does anyone have any thoughts or ideas on this concept? And does anyone know of a similar game?
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David Sevier
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Looks like a cool game idea. I'm a bit too burned out from work right now to have any insightful comments, but it seems to have promise.
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Robin Goodall
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mrslartyb wrote:
...the Indian natives...

Note sure that's the politically correct term
Great idea by the way!
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Paul Tavener
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firewizard wrote:
mrslartyb wrote:
...the Indian natives...

Note sure that's the politically correct term
Great idea by the way!


Thanks.

I guess it's just me being an old world native... perhaps the appropriate term given the circumstances would be Atlanticum barbari. But then again when in a hole it’s probably best to stop digging and hope nobody takes offence!
 
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Timothy
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My thoughts? Well, I like the concept. It sounds like something that I would enjoy.

Question: How do you determine what's sufficient?

Quote:
If the Romans can establish sufficient buildings/units and settlers they win after a few years they win.


Are different buildings worth different points? Do you need one of each building or just enough to fill in the board?
Same goes for the settlers. Are there going to be different types of settlers or just one generic unit that can be assigned different tasks?

All in all I like the direction that this seems to be taking.
Best wishes, mrslartyb.
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Paul Tavener
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Thanks for your input and good to hear you liked the concept Catch22.

How do you determine what's sufficient? A good question. I guess victory conditions would have to be refined following play testing. I was thinking perhaps at least 20 military units and at least 20 settler units surviving for at least a year? Settlers behave similarly to the military units except they can’t attack and defend at half the value of the military units.

I thought the Roman player would be persuaded to build by virtue of the penalties if they didn’t– 1:10 chance of units becoming exhausted every month if they don’t have barracks and 5% food loss if there’s no storage building. An HQ building would be a mandatory first building.

Roman units currently planned
2 types of leader (legatus and centurion), line infantry, settlers and possibly cavalry.

Buildings and structures currently planned
Ditch and field work, Palisade, Palisade gate, Fort tower, HQ building, Barracks building and Storage building.

The majority of the board will start wooded so the Roman player will find it challenging as his forces will initially have to be deployed in the woods for clearance and foraging tasks where they would be most vulnerable to attack. The native forces available would slowly build up over the months.

One thing I am still not sure about is scale.

My original thought was for units of roughly 10 men each and a ground scale of 20 metres. Less than 10 men / unit would result in either too many units or an unrealistically small force of men.

Alternatively up to 100 men per unit and 100-200metres per hex. More than 100 men/unit would result in either an unfeasibly large force or too few units.

But which to use? I was hoping to include ranged fire and try to keep some vague semblance of realism in terms of the building times.
 
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David Sevier
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How big of a settlement would you need to be self-sufficient in a hostile land across the ocean? Probably pretty large, on the order of 1-2000. So I'd probably go with the 100 men per unit.

You should probably try to have something reasonably representing a Roman legion of the time period you envision this being in. That right there should give you the numbers for military force in the settlement, and from that you can determine everything else.
 
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Timothy
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That all sounds pretty good. I hope this goes better than my own attempts. Most of my ideas go half-finished. blush

I agree with David, 100 is a good, round number to use for your units. People are familiar with it on different levels so it won't scare them any. Is there any math involved? While I can look at spreadsheets and calculate scores for a good while, it seems to me that some people get scared off by the + symbol even. shake

Well, I love a good solitaire game and this will definitely be on my radar. Especially since I subscribed.
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Paul Tavener
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I’m glad that you guys are interested. I also suffer from not finishing games off although I do tend to come back to promising ideas and this is my second time round on this one so I’m more hopeful. I also have a rough cut set of rules if anyone is interested (can you post attachments on the forum?).

On reflection I think you’re right 10 is probably too small a number. Perhaps a Roman century would be a good basic unit? (80 men). The settlement would need to be reasonably large so a legion might well be appropriate, although I’m not sure about the logistics of transporting a whole legion and it’s supplies all in one hit so it might take several years to build up.

The build-up could also provide part of the interest of the game in that a choice would have to be made well in advance on the number and type of units to send and what proportion of supplies. The supplies element would be particularly problematic as I imagine they would have to travel in the summer and would probably not be able to sow any crops until the following year, so there would be some logistical challenges from the start - forage, fish, hunt or build?

As to the maths I am reasonably proficient with spread sheets and I think it’s important to go to some effort with theoretical calculations to help achieve game balance, although most of that should be “under the hood” so to speak so people don’t get scared off.

I think I probably ought to start with the basics and do a little research first on Roman ships, logistics, Roman military organisation and give some thought to the options for an Atlantic crossing such as time of year, duration, winds, storms, likely destination and return journey. I don’t want to get too bogged down in the detail but I would like to give the game at least a flavour of believability.

 
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Timothy
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Definitely interested in seeing the rules you've got.
Would you be thinking of dividing times into month or season?
Also, what about the area to be settled? Is that going to be one set map or will it be variable? As in one game you could try to settle a dry, dusty area while in another game you flip the board over and you have humid forests or whatnot.
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Paul Tavener
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I would like to post the rules I have so far. They will need a lot more work but it’s a starting point. It would be better if I could post them as an attachment; otherwise it will take up maybe 10 pages on this thread and I’m not sure if that’s an issue.

My current thoughts were to use months rather than seasons, this giving more time for building, sowing/harvesting and combat between annual resupply, although nothing is set in stone. I like the idea of a variable board, in fact the more variation the better so perhaps including forest counters that could be cleared together with a selection of other terrain and a double board.

Having done some initial research it looks like the most likely initial crossing would have been from the Canary’s to the Caribbean, although anywhere from Brazil to Florida is plausible in fact evidence exists to show that it did occur, although there is no evidence of a return journey which would have involved traveling north to catch the trade winds. So settlement anywhere from Brazil to Newfoundland might be considered in our scenario.

I will post a little more when I have done a bit more research

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David Sevier
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To make this scenario more believable, I'd suggest having Magnetism discovered earlier. Not unreasonable, given the ancient world's technology. And the ability to navigate deep waters would be crucial to actually settling the new world.

Makes a good foundation to this "What-if" scenario.
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Paul Tavener
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I'm sure that navigation would have posed a very serious problem. On clear nights it would have been possible to use the pole star as an indicator of north and sunrise/sunset would also have provided a rough guide to east and west but this might not have been enough.

I will take it as read that some advances in navigation would have been required at least for the return journey.
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Paul Tavener
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I got slightly sidetracked by the mechanics of the Atlantic crossing, which is an important first step but not the main game. So here's the first attempt at the resolution of the Atlantic crossings. All comments welcome. I will now turn my attention to the main game.


Atlantic crossings
First month: move the fleet marker into the 1st month in transit box (no die throw required).
Second and subsequent months: roll 1D6.
1 - 3: fleet arrives at destination.
4 - 6: fleet remains at sea and moves to the in transit box that reflects the number of months spent at sea.

When the fleet arrives at its destination roll 1D10, add any applicable modifiers and check for ship losses on the Atlantic crossing table. For each ship lost remove one ship and any cargo it is carrying from the board. Where different cargos are carried on different ships select cargo losses at random.

When the fleet arrives at its home port of Baelo Claudia (Cadiz) all surviving ships immediately go into the refit box. The following month any ships in the refit box move into the available box and are available for further crossings. 4 additional ships become available at Baelo Claudia in April each year.

When the fleet arrives at the New Rome colony all surviving ships are immediately moved into the sheltered anchorage box and all surviving cargo is unloaded. All surviving Roman units are unloaded in the disrupted condition (after crossing the Atlantic) and may be place on the main board on the month that they arrive.

The amount of wheat consumed on the voyage = number Roman units unloaded * the number of months the fleet was at sea / 4. Subtract this from the total number of wheat units delivered and add this quantity to any that is already present in the colony’s wheat store.



Atlantic crossing (modifiers all modifiers are cumulative)
+1 For each month spent at sea
+1 If outbound route includes December, January or February
-1 If outbound route includes June, July or August
+1 If home bound route includes November or March
+2 If home bound route includes December, January or February

Example
Fleet of 8 ships sales from New Rome in August. Fleet is placed in the 1 month in transit box.
In September roll 1D6 – result 6,
fleet remains at sea and is moved to 2 months box.
In October roll 1D6 – result 4,
fleet remains at sea and is moved to the 3 month box.
In November roll 1D6 – result 6,
fleet remains at sea and is moved to the 4 month box.
In December roll 1D6 – result 2,
fleet arrives at home Port. Roll 1D10 for losses
1D10 =7 + 5 (5 months spent at sea) + 1 (home bound route includes November) + 1 (home bound route includes December) = 14.
Cross reference a modified roll of 14 against 8 ships shows 6 ships are lost so 4 ships are removed from the board and only 2 ships are moved into the refit box at Baelo Claudia(Cadiz).
In January the 2 surviving ships are moved from the refit box to the available box. A further 4 ships will be added in April.









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