Some (hopefully useful) criticism

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EHamilton
Dwimmermount BackerDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-04-27 16:03
Some (hopefully useful) criticism

After last weekend's playtest, I am feeling more uncomfortable with the recon system from Campaign than I did previously. I've written up some detailed criticism of my experience on my blog which may be of interest to the developers. I haven't seen nearly as much playtest material here for Campaigns as for Battles, making it hard for me to know how representative my experiences actually are.

I do want to emphasize that we had fun, and will probably keep playing through the scenario I wrote next week! I'm currently thinking about changing this section of the rules to suit my taste, mostly to tone down the constant negative modifiers for army size/distance. But if someone can explain how I'm misunderstanding the current implementation, I'd take that to heart as well.

Criticism: http://wildernessoftygers.blogspot.com/2013/10/dw-campaigns-playtest-tho...

Suggestions: http://wildernessoftygers.blogspot.com/2013/10/dw-campaigns-possible-hou...

Scenario background: http://wildernessoftygers.blogspot.com/2013/10/green-pass-campaign-savag...

First playtest results: http://wildernessoftygers.blogspot.com/2013/10/green-pass-campaign-exped...

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Thanks for the feedback. It's interesting that your playtest results are so sharply variant from those in my home games! In our campaigns, forces are almost never split up, and the amount of magical reconnaissance available to all the armies has meant that recon rolls are virtually never failed. Armies generally know where the enemy is to at least a 24 mile hex area, and once they enter the same 24 mile hex, they are easily able to bring each to battle.

A few things do jump out at me based on your notes:

1. In the rules I say, "When there are many small, allied armies under a single leader spread across a wide area, the Judge may consolidate the reconnaissance rolls for those armies into one roll. For example, if there are 10 watchtowers with 1 unit of cavalry each spread across a 24-mile hex, the Judge may treat them as a single observing army with 10 units of cavalry."

I don't know if you overlooked that language, or ignored it because I said "may". If the latter, maybe I need to strengthen that language to say "the Judge should consolidate". Certainly in my home games, we do not make more than 1-2 recon rolls per movement usually - one for the PCs and their allies, and one for the enemy. You should only be rolling more reconnaissance rolls than that if there are literally multiple factions under different leaders...

2. Relative to the size of the map you posted on your site, the amount of forces you have moving around the map seems very small. The map you provided shows an area about 18 hexes by 20 hexes in size, or about 360 6-mile hexes, rough 12,000 square miles. In ACKS terms, per Chapter 10's Realms by Type table, that's a small principality. D@W would assume the armed forces in a region of that size would be about 10,000 men (see Vassal Troops by Realm Size table), or roughly 80 company-sized units. Your order of battle shows about 12 company-sized units, e.g. 1 soldier per 10 square miles. So at least from the point of view of the game's default assumptions, you are fighting in an "empty" campaign region.

3. The terrain in your wilderness is very dense - packed with mountains, forest, and swamp. Realistically speaking, it would strike me as strange at all that a platoon of 15 cavalry would ride past another platoon of 15 cavalry that are 6 miles away in the mountains or forest. A hex is a lot of space.

4. With a force of 1,200 soldiers, I'd have expected at least a couple casters with a flying familiar, a shaman with speak with animals, a thief with spies, or some other mechanisms to increase reconnaissance.

I hope that's helpful. Thanks very much for laying out the troubles you've faced so far. I'll look forward to reading your next update.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Based on your feedback I am adjusting the Reconaissance Rules with the following updates:

FREQUENCY OF RECONNAISSANCE ROLLS
As each army completes its movement, the Judge will make a reconnaissance roll to see if the army has gathered intelligence on any nearby armies. Then the Judge will make a reconnaissance roll for each nearby army to see what it has learned about the army that just moved. The maximum range at which an armies can be reconnoitered is determined by its size, as shown on the adjacent Reconnaissance Range table. The “observing army” is the army making the reconnaissance roll, while the “opposing army” is the army being observed.

Reconnaissance Range
Opposing Army Size Observing Army Must Be Within
120 troops or less One 24-mile hex
121-600 troops Two 24-mile hexes
601-3000 troops Three 24-mile hexes
3,001 troops or more Four 24-mile hexes

There is no particular limit to the number of reconnaissance rolls an army may make – if there are three armies within range, it will make three reconnaissance rolls. If there is only one army within range, it will make only one reconnaissance roll. Reconnaissance rolls should always be made by the Judge, so that the army leaders remain unaware of how many rolls were made, and how many they failed.
If the number of reconnaissance rolls becomes burdensome, the Judge may consolidate the reconnaissance efforts for and against multiple friendly armies within one 24-mile hex into one roll. For example, if there are 10 watchtowers with 1 unit of cavalry each spread across a 24-mile hex, the Judge may roll for and against them as a single army with 10 units of cavalry.

Proximity of Armies: If the observing army is dispersed into two or more hexes, determine the proximity by counting the number of hexes between the closest unit of the observing army and the opposing army. If the opposing army is dispersed into two or more hexes, determine the proximity by counting the number of hexes between the observing army and the largest division (or other body of troops) in the opposing army. If both the observing and opposing armies are dispersed into multiple hexes, determine the proximity by counting the number of hexes between the closest unit of the observing army and the largest division in the opposing army.