Nugget 234

I posted the latest issue of THE NUGGET yesterday, and it should be with full members of Wargame Developments by early next week.


I had hoped to upload the PDF versions of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website today, but problems with the web authoring software are presently making that difficult. I hope to solve the problems tomorrow so that they will be available by the weekend.


My priorities for April are …

  1. Finish testing my card-driven turn sequence.
  2. Write the latest draft of my development of Joseph Morshauser’s wargames rules (incorporating the card-driven turn sequence).
  3. Play-test the rules (which will be an excuse to fight some tabletop battles for a change!).
  4. Finish the map of Maldacia.

If I manage to do all these things, I will have done very well indeed!


I blame my cold …

I sat down this evening to set up what I had hoped would be the final set of tests I will need to run before I finalise the card-driven turn sequence … and then I realised that I had got the numerical values for the different Command Abilities totally wrong in my last blog entry!

The card-drive turn sequence that I will be testing should read as follows:

Before battle commences

  • Each side’s commander is allocated a Command Ability.
    • Good = 2
    • Average = 3
    • Poor = 4
  • Each side is allocated a colour – Red or Black.
  • The number of units each side is fielding is counted and a playing card of the appropriate colour is allocated for each unit. These cards form the Unit Activation Pack.
  • Before the first turn the Unit Activation Pack is thoroughly shuffled and placed face down where both players can see it.

During a battle

  • The top playing card in the Unit Activation Pack is turned over to reveal which side will have the opportunity to activate a unit.
  • The commander of that side must then see if they can activate the unit. They throw a D6.
    • If the score is equal to or more than the commander’s Command Ability, they may activate a unit of their choice.
    • If the score is less than the commander’s Command Ability, they may not activate a unit.
  • Once an activated unit has completed all the actions it may take, the playing card is discarded and the next playing card in the Unit Activation pack is turned over and the procedure is repeated.
  • Once all the playing cards in the Unit Activation Pack have been turned over the turn has ended. The playing cards in the Unit Activation Pack are gathered together and are shuffled again before the next turn begins.

The only thing that I can say in mitigation for this very stupid mistake is that I am currently suffering from a very heavy cold, and when I wrote yesterday’s blog entry I was not totally with it.

That’s my excuse anyway …


Card-driven Turn Sequences: Even more thoughts

Having had time to sit and digest the latest test results – and in response to a very well argued comment that the disparity of results due to the differences in Command Abilities was too great – I have reconsidered the number of different levels of Command Ability are decided to reduce them to three. They would be:

  • Good = 5
  • Average = 4
  • Poor = 3

In theory this should mean that a ‘Good’ commander should be able to activate 83.33% of their units, an ‘Average’ commander 66.66%, and a ‘Poor’ commander 50%. The disparity in the result should be much less than those generated by having four or five levels of Command Ability.

Something more for me to test …


Card-driven Turn Sequences: More thoughts and more tests

As a result of the feedback and ideas I have had from Jim Wright and Alex Kleanthous, I have decided to test the following card-driven turn sequence:

Before battle commences

  • Each side’s commander is allocated a Command Ability.
    • Exceptional = 2
    • Good = 3
    • Above average = 4
    • Average = 5
    • Poor = 6
  • Each side is allocated a colour – Red or Black.
  • The number of units each side is fielding is counted and a playing card of the appropriate colour is allocated for each unit. These cards form the Unit Activation Pack.
  • Before the first turn the Unit Activation Pack is thoroughly shuffled and placed face down where both players can see it.

During a battle

  • The top playing card in the Unit Activation Pack is turned over to reveal which side will have the opportunity to activate a unit.
  • The commander of that side must then see if they can activate the unit. They throw a D6.
    • If the score is equal to or more than the commander’s Command Ability, they may activate a unit of their choice.
    • If the score is less than the commander’s Command Ability, they may not activate a unit.
  • Once an activated unit has completed all the actions it may take, the playing card is discarded and the next playing card in the Unit Activation pack is turned over and the procedure is repeated.
  • Once all the playing cards in the Unit Activation Pack have been turned over the turn has ended. The playing cards in the Unit Activation Pack are gathered together and are shuffled again before the next turn begins.

The test

For the test I decided that Red commander would have a ‘Good’ Command Ability and the Black commander would be ‘Average’. I also allocate each side 10 units and this generated a Unit Activation pack with 10 Red cards and 10 Black cards.

The test lasted for twenty turns and the results looked like this (the cards that activated a unit have an asterisk [*] next to them):

  1. Black, Red, Black*, Black, Black, Red, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red*, Black, Black*, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red (5 Black and 7 Red [60.00%] of the cards were activated)
  2. Black, Black, Red, Red*, Black, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black, Black (1 Black and 8 Red [45.00%] of the cards were activated)
  3. Red*, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red*, Black, Red*, Black*, Black, Black*, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Black* (4 Black and 7 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  4. Black, Red*, Black, Red, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Black*, Black, Black*, Black, Red*, Red*, Red, Black*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black (3 Black and 8 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  5. Red*, Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Black*, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red, Black*, Black (3 Black and 9 Red [60.00%] of the cards were activated)
  6. Black, Black, Black, Black, Red*, Black*, Red, Red*, Red*, Red, Black*, Black, Red*, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Black (2 Black and 6 Red [40.00%] of the cards were activated)
  7. Red, Black*, Black*, Black, Red, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black*, Red*, Black, Black*, Black*, Red*, Red*, Black (6 Black and 8 Red [70.00%] of the cards were activated)
  8. Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red, Black, Red, Red, Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black*, Black (1 Black and 6 Red [35.00%] of the cards were activated)
  9. Red*, Black, Black*, Black, Red*, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Black, Black* (2 Black and 9 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  10. Red*, Black*, Black*, Black, Red*, Black*, Black, Black*, Red*, Red*, Red, Red*, Black, Black*, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black (5 Black and 9 Red [70.00%] of the cards were activated)
  11. Black, Red*, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Red, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Black, Black* (1 Black and 8 Red [45.00%] of the cards were activated)
  12. Red, Black*, Black, Black, Red, Red*, Red, Red*, Black*, Red, Black*, Black*, Black, Black, Black*, Black*, Red, Red*, Red*, Red* (6 Black and 5 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  13. Black, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Black*, Red*, Black, Black, Red*, Black, Black*, Red*, Black, Red (2 Black and 8 Red [50.00%] of the cards were activated)
  14. Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Black, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Black*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Black, Red* (2 Black and 8 Red [50.00%] of the cards were activated)
  15. Red*, Red*, Black, Black, Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Black*, Black*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Red* (3 Black and 8 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  16. Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black*, Red, Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Red*, Black*, Black, Red (3 Black and 7 Red [50.00%] of the cards were activated)
  17. Red*, Black, Black*, Black*, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black*, Red*, Red, Red, Red*, Red*, Black*, Red*, Black, Black, Red*, Red* (4 Black and 7 Red [55.00%] of the cards were activated)
  18. Black*, Red*, Black, Red, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Black*, Black*, Black, Black, Red*, Black, Black*, Red* (4 Black and 8 Red [60.00%] of the cards were activated)
  19. Black, Red, Black, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red, Red, Black, Red*, Red*, Red*, Red, Black, Red*, Black, Black*, Black*, Black, Black (3 Black and 6 Red [45.00%] of the cards were activated)
  20. Red*, Black*, Red, Red, Black, Black, Black*, Black*, Black, Black, Red*, Red*, Black*, Red*, Red, Red, Red*, Red*, Black*, Black* (6 Black and 6 Red [60.00%] of the cards were activated)

Overall 33.00% of Black cards and 74.00% of Red cards resulted in a unit being activated. This compares favourably with the 33.33% and 66.66% rates of activation that the dice throws should have generated.

Combining the Unit Activation Pack with the use of a D6 works well. My only reservation relates to the Command Ability dice scores need to activate a unit. Even a ‘Poor’ commander should be able to activate more than 16.66% of the units under their command, and I think that the Command Ability categories should be reduced to:

  • Exceptional = 2
  • Good = 3
  • Average = 4
  • Poor = 5

This would at least give a ‘Poor’ commander some chance to make a game of it!


Card-driven Turn Sequences: Jim Wright’s ideas

I can always rely on Jim Wright to give me excellent and constructive feedback as well as good ideas that I can develop. His ideas about my card-driven turn sequence ‘experiments’ is no exception to this.

His main suggestions can be summarised as follows:

Before the battle starts

  • Before the battle starts, each commander is given a rating.
  • Commanders are rated 1 to 5
    • 1 = Poor
    • 2 = Average
    • 3 = Above average
    • 4 = Good
    • 5 = Exceptional
  • A special unit-specific card is made for each unit in the game or a pack of ordinary playing cards is used and the cards are allocated to units by making a list of which card equals which unit.
  • Count the number of units each player has on the tabletop.
  • Divide this number by 2, rounding up any fractions.
  • This is the number of cards in the Unit Card Hand each player will start the game with.

At the start of each turn

  • At the beginning of each game turn, each player’s unit cards are shuffled and each commander is dealt a number of cards equal to the size of their Unit Card Hand.
  • The rest of each player’s unit cards are placed face down where all the players can see them as they may be needed later in the turn.

During a turn

  • Players take alternate turns playing one of the unit cards in their Unit Card Hand. This activates that unit.
  • When a player runs out of cards, they must take a Command Test to draw a card from their face down pile of unit cards.
  • Command Test
    • Roll 1 D6.
    • If the result is less than or equal to the player’s Command Rating, the Command test has been passed and the player can take the top card from their face down pile of unit cards. That unit can now be activated.
    • If the result is greater than the player’s Command Rating, the Command Test has been failed and the player cannot draw any more unit cards this turn.

When does a turn end?

  • A turn ends when one of the following occurs:
    • Both sides have drawn all their unit cards.
    • One side fails their Command Test whilst the other side has drawn all their unit cards.
    • Both sides have failed their Command Test.

This is quite a simple method of achieving the sort of result I want, and Jim’s ideas will give me considerable food for thought over the next few days … and may well lead to a solution that matches my criteria.


Card-driven Turn Sequences: More test results

For my second test I used a pack of cards that contained 8 Black cards, 6 Red cards, and 1 Joker. The results were as follows:

  1. Red, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red, Joker: 10 cards (6 x Black, 4 x Red)
  2. Red, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 13 cards (8 x Black, 5 x Red)
  3. Red, Red, Red, Red, Red, Joker: 5 cards (0 x Black, 5 x Red)
  4. Black, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 4 cards (2 x Black, 2 x Red)
  5. Red, Joker: 1 card (0 x Black, 1 x Red)
  6. Black, Red, Red, Black, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Joker: 9 cards (5 x Black, 4 x Red)
  7. Black, Red, Red, Red, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 11 cards (5 x Black, 6 x Red)
  8. Black, Black, Red, Red, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Joker: 12 cards (6 x Black, 6 x Red)

This proved to be a difficult pack to shuffle because it was too small. In addition, the results were still far too variable for my requirements.

I therefore doubled the size of the pack of cards so that it contained 16 Black cards, 12 Red cards, and 2 Jokers. The results were as follows:

  1. Red, Red, Joker: 2 cards (0 x Black, 2 x Red)
  2. Red, Black, Black, Red, Red, Red, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Red, Joker: 15 cards (6 x Black, 9 x Red)
  3. Red, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Red, Joker: 26 cards (15 x Black, 11 x Red)
  4. Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Red, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 19 cards (11 x Black, 8 x Red)
  5. Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Joker: 6 cards (5 x Black, 1 x Red)
  6. Red, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red, Red, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Joker: 18 cards (9 x Black, 9 x Red)
  7. Red, Black, Red, Joker: 3 cards (1 x Black, 2 x Red)
  8. Black, Red, Red, Joker: 4 cards (2 x Black, 2 x Red)

Because this pack was much bigger the automatic shuffling machine had no problem shuffling the cards, which would indicate that a larger pack is going to be easier to manipulate than a smaller pack. Although the results were closer to what I want to achieve, they were still too variable in places. I therefore decided to make a minor change to the pack (i.e. remove one Joker) to see if that made any significant difference. The results were as follows:

  1. Red, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Black, Joker: 10 cards (6 x Black, 4 x Red)
  2. Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 9 cards (6 x Black, 3 x Red)
  3. Black, Joker: 1 card (1 x Black, 0 x Red)
  4. Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Red, Red, Red, Joker: 8 cards (3 x Black, 5 x Red)
  5. Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Red, Black, Red, Red, Red, Black, Red, Joker: 27 cards (16 x Black, 11 x Red)
  6. Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 11 cards (7 x Black, 4 x Red)
  7. Black, Black, Red, Red, Red, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 19 cards (12 x Black, 7 x Red)
  8. Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 5 cards (3 x Black, 2 x Red)

This looked quite promising, so I continued with another eight turns:

  1. Red, Black, Black, Black, Joker: 4 cards (3 x Black, 1 x Red)
  2. Red, Red, Black, Red, Red, Red, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Joker: 18 cards (8 x Black, 10 x Red)
  3. Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red, Red, Joker: 12 cards (7 x Black, 5 x Red)
  4. Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black, Black, Joker: 13 cards (9 x Black, 4 x Red)
  5. Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red, Black, Joker: 13 cards (8 x Black, 5 x Red)
  6. Black, Joker: 5 cards (5 x Black, 0 x Red)
  7. Black, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Joker: 12 cards (9 x Black, 3 x Red)
  8. Black, Black, Red, Black, Red, Black, Black, Red, Black, Black, Black, Black, Red, Red, Joker: 14 cards (9 x Black, 5 x Red)

The average length of a turn was 11.06 cards. This compared with 15 cards for the test I conducted yesterday and 8.125 cards and 11.625 cards for the first two of today’s tests. In addition the ratio of Black to Red cards turned over was 1:0.67, which is much closer to what is should be (1:0.75) than the ratio in yesterday’s test (1:0.85) and the first tests held today (1:1.03 and 1:0.9 respectively).

This still needs more testing and possibly some further modification, but I feel that I have almost got a solution that matches my criteria.