I’m always thinking about ways to add player-controlled variation to wargaming scenarios. Player-control variation as opposed to random variation is my preference. Random variation requires no thought or planning input by the player and would include such things as rolling for a unit in a scenario order of battle to see if it shows up or not. The player has no input to the result though he does have to respond to the condition. My preference for player-controlled variation would still have variation but would have some input from the players so the variation is not completely random. One such player-controlled variation method I’ll detail below.
Let’s call this technique a “recon game.” Other game systems I recall use a “recon game” such as Poor Bloody Infantry from Peter Pig, but the one I’ll describe has Command Decision-Test of Battle (CD-TOB) in mind as the game system.
As with a normal scenario, both sides would have an order of battle and set-up restrictions from the scenario designer or game master. For this recon game to work, the set up areas for the players need to require main force set-up area and a recon zone in between the opposing main force areas. For example, on a five-foot wide table, the attacker could set up within one foot of his friendly edge and the defender within two feet of his friendly edge. The two foot area in between would be the recon zone.
The “recon game” would start with each player placing recon markers to denote the area of the pre-battle recon and patrol efforts.
First the defender would then determine the number of recon markers by a roll f a d6 adding one for each recon-rated stand in his order of battle. The player could modify his order of battle to create patrol stands from full sized stands per the CD-TOB rules. The penalty being that patrol stands created must start the battle as patrol stands though they could recombine during the course of the game as the rules allow.
The defender would then place the recon markers per his setup restrictions. The intention from placing the markers is to deny areas to the enemy player for set-up, establish a skirmish or outpost line and screen any vulnerable flanks or attack routes. The markers would be placed either within line of sight of the friendly main force set up area or within sight of another marker and not in the enemy main force area.
Next the attacker would create patrol stands and determine recon markers the same as the defender. He would place the markers within line of sight of his main force set-up area or within line of sight of another of his marker and not in the enemy main force area.
Now resolve any conflict where one sides markers are within 8” (line of sight not necessary) of an opposing marker. Assume fire is simultaneous between the markers and each side automatically achieves a hit. Roll hit effects. Ignore forced back results and continue in rounds until one or both markers are eliminated.
The defender can now setup his forces in his main force area and out to a line connected by his recon markers. The only restriction is that main forces cannot setup within line of sight or an enemy marker or 4” if the marker is not in LOS.
After the defender sets up, the attacker may set up with the same restrictions as the defender.
I plan to try this out at our next CD-TOB game.