Laserburn: Scenarios & Deployment rules

I’ve written up two scenarios Byakhee Rich & I will play tomorrow. I’ll trawl the records and brain cell to add some more as there seem to be very few Laserburn scenarios written up.

One thing that struck me when writing them up and reading the Laserburn rule book was the complete absence of deployment rules. Its totally up to the umpire to decide when designing the scenario – but what happens when there is no umpire ? Who chooses sides ? Who sets up first ? In what order ? How far in ? etc. Now having played different rules sets and different scenarios there are any number of options.

Some ideas for deployment rules:

  • Dice to choose side of table
  • Dice to choose deployment zone(s)
  • Play out the scouting rules as per Chain of Command
  • Hidden movement
  • Scouts & Vanguard movement (WHFB)
  • Place units alternately
  • Place all units in one go
  • Place units in an Initiative determined order (high first or low first)

It got me thinking as to how these rules would affect the way scenarios are run and how the balance of gamesmanship would change. If one side places all its units first, that could give the other side an unfair advantage (advanced intel). This is something that hasn’t come up in AVBCW yet where we simply all pile in all at the same time. Is this better or worse ? On what terms ? In terms of the chaos of war ? In terms of fairness ? Or does it disrespect advanced intel and hence undermine military prowess ? How far do you go when designing a scenario to favour one side or the other ?

I’ve longed to write up some inter war rules sets, and indeed to expand the Laserburn rules so if you have any ideas, chuck them in to the comments. I want to break out of the IGUGO rules and fixed deployment zones and get a really fluid battle going.

Thanks !

Cats and designing scenarios

As most wargamers and games designers know von Moltke wrote:

No plan survives contact with the enemy.

He also did a lot of kriegspiel:

Moltke originated the use of the colors blue for friendly forces and red for hostile forces in strategy or wargaming, hence the term “blue on blue fire” in friendly fire situations.

Obviously this is a simple scenario – open the back door to allow fresh cool air into the house. However the enemy (BlackJack) has taken advantage of this and brought in a new “friend”…which is still mobile and able to get under the tumble drier/washing machine/fridge-freezer.

This scenario illustrates why I do not install a cat flap in the door as it would allow 24×7 access to this sort of outcome.

When designing wargames/role playing scenarios, treat the players as cats: Impossible to herd; and liable to act as the enemy of your intentions. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.

This is another disturbing outcome of opening a window or door: A Cat; A Rodent; and a tangle of wires supporting my iMac, Printer, Hub, Router, telephone, external hard drive and camera.

I’ll be rethinking this nest of wires over the w/e with a view to KISS. And its also a concept to be applied to the forthcoming Bridge Over the River Wye. With 10+ wargamers to manage along with external catering and the general nauseau of setting the game up and keeping things running, KISS is something I can recommend to many GMs ! We’re toying with the idea of some force selected rules and I’m keen to add this sort of individuality, but not at the risk of causing chaos and confusion.

Time will tell if JP and I get it right… :-O