14 November 2010

Considering wargame rules for the Franco Prussian War

Every project needs a well defined object. Here is mine:

To produce a set of wargames rules with which I can:

The rules, of course, must be usable for smaller actions in proportionately less time and space -- but not battles where the size of one force or the other falls below the basic resolution of units.

So much for the positive. There are a few negative objectives as well:
  • The game must not be "fiddly." My fingers are arthritic and my vision is blurring. This means that base sizes must be reasonably large and small status and tracking markers must not be too numerous or tiny.
  • The rules must not require specialized terrain boards -- they must work with more-or-less ordinary wargames terrain, preferably from my existing stock.
  • No rosters. Status tracking displays I can build and put on the table or fine, but I dislike paper checklists.
  • The game must not be frustrating. A game must be challenging, but the player must believe that he wins or loses based on his own decisions most of all.
It is also important that the rules follow as much as possible a proper point of view. It is a good general guideline for a wargame that an Army commander should control corps and know where his divisions are, and that a corps commander shoudl command divisions and know where his brigades are. While details below that level can be technically very interesting, they do not belong at this level of games. There are many tactical games that address that level very well indeed.


  1. A promising start.

    Is 6 hours an optimum game length? or a maximum?
    This seems to move it from a possible evening to a full day. As a major event that may not be an issue with lesser actions or a game based one 1 part of the battle as an evening scenario.

    btw, I wonder how a 4" hex grid would work with 10cm hex hills?

  2. Six hours admits that the largest battles of the war are huge, and may well deserve a full day. the frontier battles would be smaller.

    Is it possible to develop a satisfying evening game for the largest FPW battles? It would certainly open it up to an evening or "club night" game.

    Four inches is 10.16cm, so over the width of a 4' table not quite 2 cm. Might be livable.

  3. As a side note, I've set up a poll on WD3. Three-four hours has a clear plurality.