Insomnia

I have suffered from insomnia for many years, and last night it was particularly bad. 1.00am, 2.00am, and 3.00am came and went … and I was still awake. Finally at some point after 3.15am I began to doze off … and then I suddenly had an wargaming idea that woke me up again! Obviously my subconscious mind had been whirring away whilst I was lying there unable to sleep, and as I had begun to go to sleep my brain had ‘dumped’ my subconscious thinking into my conscious mind.

So what was my wargaming idea? A possible way to meld together elements of various wargames rules that I have used or developed to create a new, simple operational-level set of ‘Modern’ wargames rules.

I am thinking of incorporating the following elements into these new rules:

  • Unit/Formation Order/Status Markers as used in Megablitz
  • Degradable unit strengths similar to those used in Memoir ’44
  • The use of a playing card tile unit activation system
  • Allowing units to ‘stack’ in hexes (i.e. allowing more than one unit in each hex)
  • A separate artillery fire phase as used in Joseph Morschauser’s rules
  • An artillery fire effect resolution system wherein all units in a target hex are affected by the artillery fire
  • An artillery fire effect resolution system that reflects the type of artillery that is firing (i.e. mountain, field, medium, and heavy artillery)
  • Area movement using 10cm hexes, with each hex representing an area that is 2.5km from hex face to hex face
  • Movement distances based on those used in Megablitz
  • A hex-to-hex combat system based on those used in Joseph Morschauser’s rules
  • Logistics and re-supply rules similar to those used in Megablitz

I woke up this morning tired but enthusiastic about putting my ideas down on paper … and I have a feeling that I may well turn these ideas into a set of wargames rules in the near future.


Hexblitz II … or Memoir of Modern Battle with knobs on?

In the midst of dealing with my father’s future care, I have still been plugging away at drafting HEXBLITZ II. To be honest I have wasted a lot of time on this project … but it has given me something to think about at a time when my mind needed some form of diversion.

Currently my draft looks less like HEXBLITZ and more like MEMOIR OF MODERN WAR (MOMBAT) with knobs on! I started by grafting the system for calculating a unit’s strength or combat value from HEXBLITZ onto the MEMOIR OF MODERN WAR (MOMBAT) game structure. I also added the playing card tile-based Turn Sequence from my PORTABLE WARGAME: WARGAMES RULES FOR THE LATE 19TH CENTURY, and the stacking limits and support rules from OPERATIONAL ART. The resulting draft still needs some work … but I can at least see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Although this was not what I originally set out to do, it seems to work … and once my father is settled into his temporary care home placement I hope to play-test the completed draft.


Going round in circles

I have spent over an hour this morning working on my third draft of HEXBLITZ II … and have just realised that I have metaphorically painted myself into a corner. From past experience I know that when this happens I need to leave things as they are and have a serious re-think.

The problem is that I am trying to bring together features from a number of my previous wargames rules (HEXBLITZ, OPERATIONAL ART, and MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE (MOMBAT)) … and I cannot seem to get the elements to gel together. They almost do … but not quite.

What I now intend to do is to print off copies of the rules I want to meld together and highlight the various elements I want to use. I will then literally ‘cut and paste’ the highlighted passages together, and then I will have a basic draft to work from.


Bad Day on Shooters Hill

Today has not been a good day.

Firstly my father’s health continues to give my family and I cause for concern. The doctors know what is wrong with him (dysphagia) and have begun a course of treatment that should help his health improve … but despite everyone’s best efforts he seems unwilling to co-operate.

Secondly our Internet connection has been extremely ‘flaky’ for most of the afternoon, and neither my wife nor I have not been able to ‘surf the net’ or send or receive emails. I think that I have finally fixed the problem … but who knows how long the ‘fix’ will last.


Finally I have spent quite a bit of time today trying to write the first draft of what I hope will be HEXBLITZ II … and after three or four hours of work I have realised that everything I have written is over-complex and very ‘clunky’. I have therefore walked away from trying to complete this task today. I have done this in the hope that a break will clear my mind, and that when I return to this task later in the week, the results will be a much simpler (and workable) set of wargames rules.


Hexblitz II?

I am just about to start drafting what I hope will be HEXBLITZ II (that is the current working title, anyway). It will be a set of rules that fall just below the level of command covered by my OPERATIONAL ART rules and at about the same level of command as HEXBLITZ and MEGABLITZ. In other words the main playing pieces will be battalion-sized units (or their equivalent), and these will be represented on the tabletop by a single base of figures and/or model vehicles. The tabletop will be divided into a hexagonal grid (in my case this will be Hexon II terrain) and all movement and weapon ranges will be expressed in hexes.

I had hoped to use the Battle Dice from MEMOIR ’44 for the combat system, but yesterday’s comparative tests were not encouraging, and for the moment I have shelved that idea. I may well return to it as it is very simple to use … but for the time being I will carry on using a combat system that uses traditional D6 dice.


Hexblitz meets Memoir ’44: comparative tests

The test scenario that I set up so that I could compare the outcomes of the HEXBLITZ and MEMOIR ’44 combat systems was a simple one. I envisaged two Russian Rifle Regiments (rated as ‘Trained’; each has an SP = 3) supported by an Artillery Regiment (also rated as ‘Trained’ and with an SP = 2) attacking (and hence ‘Moving’ against) a German Infantry Battalion (rated as ‘Trained’ and with an SP = 3) that was in a defensive position (and therefore ‘Defensive’). (The ratings and order ‘states’ do not affect the outcome of the MEMOIR ’44 results but do affect those generated using the HEXBLITZ system.)


First I recorded the outcome of twenty five combats using the existing HEXBLITZ combat system. Under this system each side totals up the SP of all the units involved in the combat and throws a D6 die for each SP. The results are read from the following table:


The results were as follows:


Under the existing HEXBLITZ combat system, although the Defenders are at a numerical disadvantage (3 SP as against the Attacker’s 8 SP), their Defensive ‘state’ more that equalises the disadvantage. The Defenders had a 96% chance of inflicting a ‘hit’ on the Attackers whilst the Attackers only had a 76% chance of ‘hitting’ the Defenders. In none of the Test Turns would the Attackers have prevailed over the Defenders in a single turn.

I then recorded the outcome of twenty five combats using the MEMOIR ’44 combat system. Under this system each unit ‘battles’ in turn. The procedure used is as follows:

  1. Identify the unit that is attacking (i.e. the Attacker) and which unit it is attacking (i.e. the Defender).
  2. Verify that the unit being attacked is within range or in contact with the attacking unit.
  3. If the attacking unit is Infantry or Armoured, verify that it has line-of-sight to the unit being attacked.
  4. Count out the number of Battle Dice to be thrown, based on the attacking unit’s type (Infantry, Armoured, Artillery) unit and the range to the unit being attacked. (In this test scenario all the attacking Infantry normally throw three Battle Dice, as does the Artillery; the defending Infantry also normally throws three battle Dice.)
  5. Make any Battle Dice reductions due to terrain.
  6. The Battle Dice are thrown, and the icons on the battle dice determine the number of ‘hits’.

Because the unit being attacked (i.e. the Defender) is behind sandbags, the number of Battle Dice thrown by Infantry (and Armoured) units is reduced by one.

I have aggregated the results to make the comparison somewhat easier. (Please note that I specifically only selected those results where the icon was either the soldier or the flag. I did not count the grenade icon as a ‘hit’.)

The results were as follows:


Under the MEMOIR ’44 combat system the numerical advantage enjoyed by the Attackers more that outweighs the fact that the Defending unit is behind sandbags. The Defenders had a 116% chance of inflicting a ‘hit’ on the Attackers whilst the Attackers had a 248% chance of ‘hitting’ the Defenders. In thirteen (!) of the twenty five Test Turns the Attackers would have prevailed over the Defenders.

These comparative tests are by no means conclusive (the test sample was too small) BUT they are indicative of the fact that replacing the existing HEXBLITZ combat system with the MEMOIR ’44 combat system would seriously change the nature of the rules. This does not exclude the possibility that the MEMOIR ’44 Battle Dice could be used in place of the standard D6 dice currently used in the HEXBLITZ rules BUT it would require a completely revised combat system.


Hexblitz meets Memoir ’44?

I have been thinking about the suggestions that David Crook made to me in a recent email … and how they might influence any potential HEXBLITZ II rules that I might write.

I like the idea of using my existing MEGABLITZ figures and vehicles, and I like the combat system used in MEMOIR ’44 … but I am not sure if they are compatible. If time allows I might run a few comparative tests of the two combat systems (HEXBLITZ and MEMOIR ’44) using the same scenarios to see if they are. If the tests are successful the results may well influence the direction the design of HEXBLITZ II might take.