Sunday, May 22, 2011

Some cover ideas and the intro draft

Here are two idea's for the front cover that are probably not gonna make it, but it's a start, I'm playing with styles here.  The cover description is still taking shape as well.

The manual is coming along fine, playtesting has been a real fount of ideas and improvements.  The combat chapter is more or less finished, including close combat rules, overruns, fire groups, and different attacks, including cover fire, prepared fire, move and fire.  The other chapters still are in their skeleton form, being less important at this stage of playtesting.  The only other chapter taking form is the first one, the gameplay chapter.  Here is the first page of the gameplay chapter so far:

Game Concepts

What is Second Squad On Me?

Second Squad On Me is a tabletop game of WW II tactical combat. Players control miniature units representing fire teams, leaders, support weapons, vehicles, ordnance, but also heroes, snipers and head quarters. Units move across the game table, representing World War 2 terrain. The rules and tables assist in resolving movement and combat.

Game Scale

The game is built up around the fire team, a small group of 3 to 5 soldiers, and individual vehicles. Each infantry fire team stands on a single base, as does every vehicle. Other bases represent a piece of ordnance, a support weapon team, or a variety of individuals filling specific roles, like commanders, heroes, snipers, flamethrowers, AT infantry.
The game represents a squad by 2 fire teams. Different types of infantry have different quality levels, which will greatly influence the outcome of battle. They also have different roles, depending on the troop type. Engineers can lay bridges, or just blow things up. Airborne can land using a randomised stick landing system. Elite troops will – on the whole – behave bravely, and green troops will not.

Tabletop Scale

While writing these rules, the following tabletop scales were used: infantry fire teams have a 25 x 25 mm base. Ordnance is based on a 50 x 40 mm base. Vehicles could be based on 25 x 50 mm, but we didn't base vehicles. One man units are based on round 15 mm bases. All of these size are for 10 mm miniatures. Other miniature scales could be used, and other base sizes could be used as well.
On the table, 1 cm represents 10 m. 1” represents 25 m. This scale gives a tactical feel that works well. We used buildings that are over-scale, in order to allow movement within buildings. Terrain scale versus building scale vs unit scale is always a compromise in tabletop gaming.
The game turn represents a 2 minute period.


During one game turn, both sides will move, fire, and reposition. Any turn based game will require a system that forces into sequential phases events that normally take place simultaneously. Every turn is cut into two semi-turns, one per player, and movement is completely sequential. However, during the combat phase both players will be able to fire. After two semi-turns both players will have had the opportunity to fire several times.

A Rant

These rules have been written out of frustration at the dumbing down process that seems to be going on in the gaming industry. Game rules that make no effort to discern between AFV turret and hull armor, and classify tanks as either lightly, medium or heavily armored. Game rules that allow for players to charge enemy tanks head on and hope for the best, instead of looking for an advantageous angle. Here's my vision.

Realism versus playability

Any game system, tabletop or other, attempts to recreate reality by simulation. Simulations attempt to replicate essential aspects of reality. Too much simulated realism will hinder gameplay. Too little will reduce enjoyment: wargamers tend to look for system that feels real, but that does not bog them down in futile detail.
In SSOM, the idea is to offer the player a choice of combat styles, to challenge the player's ability to make tactical decisions time and again. Fire APDS ammo at a tough tank? It might work, but at longer ranges precision suffers. Maybe HEAT is a better option? Should a tank stop to fire and present a better target itself? Or keep moving? It might be the better option if your tank has a gyro stabilizer. Should infantry slowly advance and fire, reducing exposure? Or lay down fire intended to protect an individual or formation making a movement by forcing the enemy to take cover? Organise your fireteams into firegroups, supported by machine gun fire for maximum effect? Or let them fire separately wearing the enemy down?

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