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Subject: (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (Contest Ready) rss

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Pelle Nilsson
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Entry Thread for
Designed for the 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Contest.

Advance Guard 1914 (name not unlikely to change) is a low-complexity solitaire wargame. The player commands a battalion-sized force spearheading the advance of an army into the chaotic meeting engagements fought along the borders on the western and eastern fronts in 1914. You need to act quickly and grab important terrain objectives before too strong enemy forces have arrived.



Download links

Post-Contest Updates

Rulebook version 1.1 2012-12-09 (PDF) (Clarifications plus ruled that a step-lossed unit is also pinned.)

changelog (TXT)

Original Contest Files

Rulebook (PDF)

Map (PDF)

Unit Counters (PDF)

Markers/Chits (PDF)

A ten-sided die is also required.

(Some care must be taken when printing the PDFs. I noticed my computer/printer really liked to scale things up, resulting in very big counters and markers. Ideally all components should be printed in original exact size, or scaled up or down the same amount.)


VASSAL module

Added 2012-11-07: Files used to make the above PDFs (you could find those useful if you want to make your own modified versions for some reason):

map_1.svg

units.svg
units.csv

markers.svg
markers.csv

(To make the countersheets from the svg+csv files you need this: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/299033.)

adv_guard_rules.tex (Some suitable version of LaTeX needed to turn into a PDF. I use pdflatex.).
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
This hurts. I'm reusing some old step-loss prototype cardboard markers I made a few years ago, writing activation chits on the (blank) back of them. I do not like writing on game components, but this was the by far fastest way I could think of to get the prototype playable.

EDIT: No, actually the fastest way I could think of was to write the actions on the back of old business cards, but I could not find the big stack of obsolete cards I keep for this purpose.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
OK, a few major rewrites of the rules, some more markers produced, this is the situation after the very first playtest turn:



It seems like this can work, but lots of work to do.

The image came out rotated. The side on the right is supposed to be down, towards the player. The objective is to capture at least 2 non-open hexes on the map (above the first row, as seen from the player) AND to have 2 units within 2 hexes from the 2 Town hexes (at the top of the map, again as seen from the player).

The numbered markers (reused old step-loss markers) are contact markers placed before play begins. The number is the number of dice to roll when the marker is activated (typically by friendly units moving close). The sum of the dice is used in the Contact Table to see what, if anything, happens (typically some enemy unit appear in the hex.

The colored sticks are infantry units. Two of them in the same hex means the unit has two steps. The gray sticks are friendly and still off-map because I did not draw the chit allowing me to move infantry.

The wooden cubes are cavalry units. The game always starts with the friendly (gray) one moving into the map on first row. The enemy (blue) cavalry unit appeared from a contact, was eliminated by fire from the friendly cavalry... but then a new enemy cavalry unit was triggered when the friendly unit moved a hex to the right. Annoying.

The cardboard counters with riflemen represents machine-gun units (because I could find no better tokens at hand). The blue+red (obviously French) are the enemy mgs. They appeared because of two(!) outflanking events (left and right) drawn from the two events triggered during the turn. That is also what made the enemy infantry appear (2 units on each side).

The friendly (gray) artillery unit has managed to enter the map, but being adjacent to the enemy mg is probably not going to end well on next turn. Each side has one "mg fire" and one "mg move or fire" chit that can be pulled, making them fire more often than other units (inf/cav have a single fire per side, art has a "move or fire" chit only).

The infantry arriving on my left flank advanced quite far, due to moving in the open. The infantry on the right flank is stuck behind the contact markers. That does not seem to be ideal. Need to think some more about that. Maybe will allow enemy units to move into a hex with contact markers after all, and delay activating the contact as long as there is a unit in the hex.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
There will be proper cardboard counters for all unit types later. I'm just using whatever bits I could find around here.

The idea is that it should be possible to use wooden tokens or miniatures instead of the cardboard units though.

Also trying to design everything so that no two-sided counters are required.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Dark purple terrain is buildings (the two building hexes on the right/top will be printed on the map, representing the objective town).

Dark green is woods, light green hills (added LOS/range for artillery and machine-guns), other hexes are open terrain.

Terrain is currently just random shapes I cut out from thin sheets of colored cardboard to have something to test with.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Progress(?): I spent a few hours tonight on my rulebook. I figured if I forced myself to put everything down in words as in a real rulebook I would discover problems and come up with new ideas. Not sure if I did, but I did remember how much work it is to write rules. gulp

OK, I did come up with a few new ideas, and some minor mechanics changed.

The game will have a fixed map (or several), not a randomly generated one. There will be more things printed on the map, less to remember. That's the biggest change. But I decided on that even before starting to write rules.

Next steps:
1. Make countersheets (units, markers, activation chits, event chits)
2. Make map (in pencil; I only have a pile of printed blank hexmaps for this purpose)
3. Playtest using the rules as written a few times.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Next change is likely to be changing the die from d6 to d10. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. I just hope everyone interested in the game also happens to have a d10 around (or do I need to include 0-9 chits?).
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Chris Hansen
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
pelni wrote:
I just hope everyone interested in the game also happens to have a d10 around (or do I need to include 0-9 chits?).

I suspect everyone either has one or could pick one up cheaply at a game shop.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
chansen2794 wrote:
pelni wrote:
I just hope everyone interested in the game also happens to have a d10 around (or do I need to include 0-9 chits?).

I suspect everyone either has one or could pick one up cheaply at a game shop.


There are also plenty of online dice roller applications.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
D10 it is.



(Table is not proofread of playtested. I just wanted to show some indication of progress here. Mostly to keep myself motivated. )

(Gah. It should say "Only if there is no enemy unit of that type on map." Well, I'm still in the idea phase.)
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Chad Mestdagh
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
[q="pelni"](Table is not proofread of playtested. I just wanted to show some indication of progress here. Mostly to keep myself motivated. )
q]

Stay focused, Luke. Let the force flow within you.
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Was temporarily out of internet connection(!) last night. Good opportunity to do a bit of work on this game.

Chit-pull system simplified (and improved?).

Most markers/chits added to a spreadsheet (for generating countersheet, later).

Rulebook PDF layout slightly improved and some rules rewritten.

Came up with a few new random events. Need a few more, but I rather enjoy coming up with them so that doesn't feel much like a problem.

Of course not much of that makes any sense to anyone as I have not said much yet about how the game plays. Guess I need to post the rulebook PDF soon.

Will put countersheets on hold for a while and go on to the next step: playtest map.
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Still hope to complete this game, but not much work done.

Unit counters will probably be simple NATO symbols, like below (might in fact be the final version). Was hoping to find time for some silhouettes instead, but that is not likely to happen. There is always the option of using wooden blocks or miniatures instead.

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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
The countersheet actually includes a few spare units not required for the game. Nice to be able to expand to bigger scenarios without having to print and mount more counters. Also good if I add some last-minutes extra events that require more units.

Would have added even more, but it is nice to be able to blow the sheet up about 200 % for monster-size counters and still print on one A4/Letter.
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Rules proof-read and edited. They are probably a bit confusing and too long, but no time for dramatic improvements now. It should be possible to start playing very quickly, just look up the rules needed to resolve each chit as it is drawn (or that is the idea anyway).

Need to make a proper map, assemble a prototype, playtest... Might post an early version of the rulebook PDF before all of that is done. Hope there will be a few days remaining for feedback before posting a final version.
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
... and some kind of problem with Inkscape on my mac tonight. But I'm a bit too tired now to work on the map anyway. Tomorrow hopefully.
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Alpha rulebook PDF:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/11540578/adv_guard_rules_alpha.pdf

I would love to get some feedback, especially about small things that I can easily fix in time for the competition.

There are probably hundreds of silly language problems and real rules problems (contradictions/omissions...) and things that are just impossible to understand, but other than that I do not expect the rules to change. There will be more Events added, but then I will work only on the map, and on whatever small things can be fixed in the rulebook (no time for big changes), and coming up with some Victory Conditions.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Reading through the rules now.

Quote:
3.2 Map
A game in PDF format is provided.


Which game?

-----

Wow, that's the only thing that jumped out at me as odd. Everything else made complete sense. Will the chits be ready soon?
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Chris Hansen
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
I got them printed and will try to give them a read through this weekend.
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
kurthl33t wrote:
Reading through the rules now.

Quote:
3.2 Map
A game in PDF format is provided.


Which game?

-----

Wow, that's the only thing that jumped out at me as odd. Everything else made complete sense. Will the chits be ready soon?


Thanks!
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Rules updated with typo fix and some minor additions (a few new events, victory conditions).
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Prototype markers/chits (not ready for public playtest):

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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Prototype map (not ready for public playtest):

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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Looks like it's coming together really well.
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Re: WIP (2012 PnP Solitaire Contest) Advance Guard 1914 (idea phase)
Now I looked at the map for Operation Jubilee: Dieppe, August 1942 and realised the little black and white arrows look a bit like the primary and secondary move arrows used on that map. blush That wasn't intentional although that was one of the games that gave me the idea of printing enemy movement arrows on the map (the first such game I played was 1914: Opening Moves... also with 1914 in the title that was also not intentional...).
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