Sunday, June 8, 2014

"Klytus, I'm bored....

What plaything can you offer me today?"
                                  - With apologies to  Emperor Ming "The Merciless"

Over the past week, I've been struck by a sense of ennui regarding my recent choices of sci-fi rules. Mostly this stems from two decades of playing GDW's old game "Command Decision". That game left me with the desire to model more 'grand-tactical' level games. I don't want to push a squad (or even a platoon) around the table - I want that mid-level of command - something at the Battalion / Regiment.

But wait - there's MORE!

I also want a game that is (wait for it...)
  • Simple - The rules need to be straightforward and uncomplicated.
  • Fast Moving - Speed of play should be king. Players should get to do stuff and often!
  • Easy to pick up - I want to be able to run this at conventions with people that have never played before.
  • Does not require boat loads of charts - I don't want to spend a lot of time looking up unit data to result combat.
  • No cardboard landfill! - It does not result a 'table clutter' from a plethora of markers
  • Does not take all day - Ideally it can be finished in a 4-6 hour gaming session. Most of my compadres don't have 8+ hours they can spare for the mega-gaming sessions of our youth.

Does such a thing exist? Is this a fool's errand?

I dunno, While at Cincycon this year, I had a wacky thought about a "Road Warrior" type game that would be based on a popular Horse and Musket set. The key would be capturing the flavor of the period without bogging the game down in the details. That train of thought is leading me toward a similar concept but for the sci-fi type game. Generic basing, but tweak the movement and combat effectiveness  to reflect the following;

  • smallest unit is the fire team ( I struggle with this. I think it should be at the squad level, but in many cases I think the team is the smallest element to represent, be it a fireteam, a weapons team or a command team.)
  • Unit's have an effective range, but can generally shoot at anything they can see. This covers the typically gaming table experience.  (At low tech end this get's modified for infantry systems?)AT the higher end, "Effective range" is anything you can see.
  • Troop quality must be reflected.  It could be some combination of 'morale rating' or even better fire dice (d8 versus, d6, etc.)
  • Command Control must be reflected - and it must reflect the flexibility that high-tech networking brings to the battlefield. That high-tech unit invariably gets thinned out over a greater frontage as command control allows it. 
  • Diverse units must be reflected - anything from ground pounders through ground vehciles to helo's/VSTOL through grav tanks and assault landers.

So....I don't much much, do I. The creative side of me want's to start cobbling rules together and playtest some of these ideas. The slacker in me says "why are you trying to reinvent the wheel?" Just work with something that's already on the market.

What say you? Any interest in such an idea? Should I go dig out my old prototype Command Decision: Striker modifications that I wrote in the 90's (before Striker II hit the market). Or boldly strike out and try to create something new and different?


  1. I would definitely be interested in something along these lines. And if it married into Traveller in some form or other, that would be a second big plus.

    1. Okay! I'll give it a go. Don't how far we'll get, but I start by outlining the core concepts and we'll see where it leads.

  2. Ray, have you looked at Striker II, and possibly up-scaling it for battalion level play? Mechanics are similar to CD, and of course, same author.

  3. Used to have a copy ages ago. Back in '93 I drafted modifications for converting CD II for Striker. Geared mostly for FFW, I'd knocked out the TO&E for most of the units in the game and ran through weapons ratings extrapolated from the original version of Striker. I'd even sent GDW a copy, but never heard back from them.

    If I went that route it's more a question of seeing if I can dig up the 20 year old documents and update them a bit. If they still exist, I think they are stored on a 2.5" floppy disk. I've been running across sections that had been printed over the years, but as I moved, those have mostly been pitched.

    Biggest problem is that - just like Striker - Hi-tech units with good fire control had really stupid movement and fire ratings. (like 10's if not hundreds of tabletop meters).

    To be honest, I was leaning toward something stupid simple as a foundation - Volley and Bayonet.

  4. I have been working on a set of rules that meet some of your criteria. It is fast and I have been using it for several years now. It is skirmish level and does not use command chits like in CM. I don't see why it couldn't be used on a larger unit size. Best thing is they're free.

  5. How would a reader acquire said rules?

    1. I can email them to you. Or you can email me and I will send them to you.

  6. Tomorrow's War. Covers most of what you are looking for. The first supplement, By Dagger or Talon, is supposed to really flesh out the core rules, giving one the ability to rate/create alien species. I was told back in the winter that they would be having another print run "soon", but no dice. One can buy the pdf on the Ambush Alley website.