The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

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ochoin
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The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by ochoin » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:51 am

Apologies for the parochial reference in the title. The above mentioned local Brisbane show, run y & meant to benefit train modellers, has for the past 14 years featured a wargame: us.

I think I've stuck up photos of various games from the annual, two day show. We always try to feature something new: last year was the ECW.

2020 was meant to be that other civil war, the American one. We're planning on doing Antietam but with a fairly ambitious terrain re-make & the several thousand figures needed, we thought a postponement to 2021 would be conducive for our sanity. It will make this year focussed on the ACW but that leaves what to do for the Show.

So, the plan is to do something we can stage without much effort. Leipzig, 1813, the Battle of Nations was our decision. I,alone,have more figures for this than we can place on the 6 metre by 4 metre table. Terrain items are already in order & using the variable polystyrene tile base, covered in teddy bear fur, means any topography is achievable.

The rules will be 'General d'Armee' & we will have 4, possibly 5, people to game it.

My questions lie in the area of organisation. Four questions:
1. organisation of the players
2. how to structure the game
3. size of the forces
4. Victory conditions

I believe Gd'A lends itself to big games. Is it better to work in two teams, with super large armies, or to give each participant an army of his own (Swedish, French Line, French Guard, Prussian, Austrian & Russian - some doubling up but the Russians don't arrive till the second day)?

If so, would it be best to let each independent force go through the game stages rather than have the eg entire French army Charge, Move, Fire etc? So have two or three mini games in the whole?

As indicated, we have lots of figures good to go but I'm leaning towards making them unified in size & almost compartmentalising them.
EG each of the allied armies gets a single "Corps" of 2 cavalry brigades of 2 regiments each, 3 brigades of infantry with 3 battalions each etc. The French would get a strict 75% of the total of the Allied strength in 2 Line & 1 Guard Corps etc.
Clearly while not strictly historical, it gives the game more balance & control.

Finally, winners & losers (this event makes us all winners BTW but you know what I mean). Even with two full days to game, it would be best to have achievable & manageable goals, preferably with an historic bent. A set number of turns for the French to survive (whatever that means)? A "get as many French & Confed. troops over the Elster before the bridge goes" (dice roll) game? Other ideas?

Discussions are about to start up between us (mostly via email) but as the head Nap-guy, I'll take the lead & would like to hear your views before I float ideas.

Thank you.

donald

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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:17 am

Got to admire a bunch of people who decide to put on The Battle of the Nations as a stop-gap because the battle they had planned to stage requires more troops than they currently have!

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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by grizzlymc » Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:52 am

Your ambition humbles me.

ochoin
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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by ochoin » Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:59 am

Yeah, yeah, we're magnificent.....now how about some useful opinions?

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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:03 pm

Never played General d'Armee, so I'm not sure how relevant my views will be, but I do have some experience of "big game" (ie multi-player) Napoleonic bashes, so treat this accordingly.

1) It is tempting, if everyone is equally familiar with the rules and can be relied upon to play at a similar pace, to split the table into convenient sectors and let each pair (or set) of opponents essentially play their own game. This will prevent one side standing around for ages whilst all of the other side's contingents finish their go. It would also prevent unrealistic co-ordination between contingents.

2) The downside of this is: what happens if one sector plays faster than the one next to it (possibly because one has more combats and gets bogged down), and then the forces from the first sector decide to intervene in the second? In essence, each sector is working to a different time frame and it may become difficult to merge the two together.

3) Since it is unlikely that a heavily outnumbered Franco-Confederation army will triumph in a conventional sense, I think asymmetric victory conditions are your best bet to keep the game interesting. Inflicting greater losses on the Allies should be a pre-requisite of any outright win, but equally a sliding scale target for units exiting the board to safety might act as a useful deterrent to stop the F-C players becoming too "gung-ho".

4) It might add a bit of spice to the game to allow players to "negotiate" changing sides at awkward moments, or suddenly experiencing an "attack of neutrality", or allowing self-interest to dictate how vigorously they participate.

In terms of explaining the game to the passing public, do you have an "MC" or do you just allow people to wander up and ask questions of any player? It might help the players focus on the game if someone is dealing with the more serious questions; I know it is something of a myth that show games help "recruit" players, but you never know......

Laters, dude!

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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by ochoin » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:06 pm

Thank you for your wise comments.

Your point on fracturing time is well made (didn't think of that!). Maybe if everyone records Game Turns, it would stop such 'time travel'?

One issue with a game that uses exiting the table as a condition is that the player might just virtually turn & run off, fighting as little as possible in order to maximise his victory chances. This doesn't make for much of a game. Maybe a quota of retreating units a turn?

I don't have any Saxons to turn coat but nice idea. Maybe my Bavarians could change sides on a dice roll?

The "Standard" army size is fine? I know it's not historical but it would make for a more manageable game.

As for talking to 'Joe Public' we all do it, even at the expense of slowing down the game. It's one of the highlights as many of them know nothing about wargaming (it's a Train show). Indeed, one reason we've been invited back each year is we actually do talk....many of the Train exhibitors only talk to each other.

donald

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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by Shahbahraz » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:17 pm

I've experienced the time shift in even quite small games. My reaction is that you should just let it happen, if the games overlap then it reflects one commander pushing his troops at a higher tempo. If it is critical, then we have used a 'token' such as a baton or similar, to indicate when the turn has completed, and force this to stop operations in other parts of the table.

Exiting the table is a nice mechanic, but I would suggest that it be very limited. One can imagine the consequences if it was obvious cowardice and 'Boney' ever made a comeback.
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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by valleyboy » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:36 am

Wow that's a big game
I've played quite a bit of GdeA and even 20 units is quite a bit to manage
The other issue is the table size and the need for a player to manage a length or section of the table
Is it worth breaking it down to a section of the battle?

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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by ochoin » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:31 pm

valleyboy wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:36 am
Wow that's a big game
I've played quite a bit of GdeA and even 20 units is quite a bit to manage
The other issue is the table size and the need for a player to manage a length or section of the table
Is it worth breaking it down to a section of the battle?
Without getting too technical, our Show games start with a foundation of either 3 or 4 boards @ 1x2m each. The polystyrene tiles are placed on top. There is an option for a fifth board to be placed assymetrically if needed. Our bigger Show games, with the 4 boards, have proved to be wieldy in the past. The proposed Antietam game will be a 4 board game. You cannot reach across the width & need to go around to the other side to do so when that's necessary (& it usually isn't) but it also means you have room for manoeuvre in most games of less than 2000 figures.

A section of the battle would mean beefing up an Allied army (easily enough done) but leaving out 2 or 3 of the Allied armies. Spectacle is important, so in this case, no.

Your comment on 20 units a side is very interesting. By scaling things back & having a standard sized army & by, crucially, assigning separate commands to the 5 of us, everyone except for the French Line commander would have a few units less than 20 to manage.

Keep in mind, two whole days to game (we set up on Friday night, so the dice rolls from early Saturday morning to 3 00pm on Sunday afternoon.

donald

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Re: The Pine Rivers Train & Hobby Show: your opinions?

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:22 pm

Yes, but do you get to make the trains run on time?

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