Recently I've been pondering actually publishing the rules of my game WW2 The Big One. There are nine manuals plus additional material and enough of that to equal a tenth. The current method of delivery is in the form of MS Word documents. It occurred to me that this work deserves to live beyond the playing of the game.

Thirty years of work has gone into this project, writing and revising. That is four or five complete re-writes as new ideas and concepts come up. I think the finished product would be the size of a large novel, around 300 pages.

Why would anyone want it? The answer is that it is a very unique game system that, to my knowledge is not in use by any game but mine. It does away with the need for dice, random number generators, and similar systems. The results of engagements are decision-based and modified by situations, circumstance, and unit mix. In other words, players on both sides of a battle can determine results by comparing details.

A given force attacks a location which is defended by another force. Each player has his unit types and can deploy them to try and gain an advantage based on types. For example, having more infantry on a flank. Players can choose where their artillery will fire, left, right, and/or center. Individual tactics for each type of unit are chosen by the two sides, but sent secretly to the moderator. Also sent secretly are the number of Command Points each player will invest in the fight, and allotted to left, right, and/or center battle area.

Command points are spent by players to win an advantage. Higher command can lend points to the Tactical Officers to represent their interest and focus on an important engagement.

The moderator compares points spent and tactics used, each of which could give an advantage to a player.

Additional advantages are earned for weather, time of day, air support, naval gun support, terrain, experience of the units, past victories of each player.

In the end, the side with the higher total advantages wins the engagement.

Having said all that, by way of explanation of the system, I feel such a technique for settling battles could be applied to other games whether table-top, pbem, or miniatures. It can be used to settle land, sea, or air actions as it is used in my game. However, if nobody knows of the system it will die with the end of the game I am running.

If I put these rules into a book form, suggesting in the introduction that the system is very flexible and that the WW2 game can be viewed as an example of how to implement them, would it be of interest?

For instance, a modern war game might use the advantage and command point system too. The many devices used with modern weapons systems can be translated into advantages. A warship equipped with a surface-to-surface missile could gain one advantage for the type of missile fired, another for the fire-control system in use. Perhaps the missile has mid-course correction ability = advantage. The defending ship could have false target generation and IR flares, each an advantage if certain types of ECCM measures are not in use.

Adding up the advantages for each side and a last one for Command Points used would result in the hit or miss of the missile salvo. It works as well as rolling a die.

My target audience for such a book would be game designers. Players of my game might like a copy, of course. The work involved in producing a proper book is not insignificant. There is also the cost of doing so, at my own expense.

I continue to ponder this idea.

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Comment by brian s. b. on December 10, 2010 at 10:35pm

your "hooked" on your own game-this is a very good sign!

Comment by Mike Raymond on December 10, 2010 at 6:20am

At any rate, the guys seem to be enjoying playing the game. It keeps me,and them, busy. I find myself 'in-game' even when I'm not as I think about it all through the day. The pace is slow enough to be very realistic. I mean, 11 days and not counting weekends equals a month.

I even have lost interest in playing my favorite video war games. My mind keeps wondering if I got any email and I even feel guilty in case someone is waiting for an answer. Just my case. I'm sure the 'guys', at least some of them, find it a bit distracting - having jobs and family and what not.


Comment by brian s. b. on December 9, 2010 at 8:39pm

mike i encourage you to pursue this and thanks for your effort. now,you could try just to put it on and make it available. the only other thing i can think of is perhaps minden games-they seem to be a wargame "publisher" of shorts. but i really do not have any real info. best of luck with this project!

Comment by Mike Raymond on December 7, 2010 at 11:36am
Ah, maybe I should clarify that by publish I mean a paper book, bound copy, as opposed to online published. Doing a little at a time is out of the question due to cost. My novel, for instance, was almost $9 per copy at cost to produce. It is an all or nothing venture for this new project idea. Likely costs have gone up in two year, meaning quite a test of faith.
Comment by Eric Walters on December 7, 2010 at 10:41am

For it's worth, it might be useful to write up a few combat examples that provide your unique twist that will attract players to the game and/or stimulate interest in the system.

I think that for games with limited intelligence, there's a higher tolerance for combat resolution systems that don't involve the luck factor as the experience for the players is such that one can't "fine-tune" the combats very well. We see that in the excellent Bowen Simmons games on Marengo and Austerlitz and it works just fine. For a game with as much detail as yours has, it would work even better.

As far as publishing material on your system, I'd do it a little bit at a time and see what reactions you get! Of course, it helps to start with "designer notes" up front, so people can understand what your system is modeling (and, perhaps most importantly, what it's NOT modeling). Knowing the factors the designer considers most important (and those less important which can be heavily abstracted) helps orient people to the rhyme and reason behind the system.

For what it's worth!

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