View Full Version : Just test ran a WW2 game and oh boy...

2015-10-24, 11:56 PM
I just finished running a World War 2 themed test run...

This "game" is just an encounter with an objective. Defend this area, Take this area, assassinate this person, assault this bunker. The players strategize their approach, and execute it. The Game Master, or War Master as I named it, is in charge of enemy plans and execution. I use a visual map so its easy to keep track of people, and the game is won or lost based on the execution and adaptation of the players strategy. I do have a commander class who overrules all decisions, and it must be made in a short amount of time or I move the game along and that opportunity may have closed because I move the enemy to new positions. ALl this was on one map I called "Corner store".
I wrote in a separate map for D-day, and that was my fatal mistake. Of course they chose this map, its a prominent battle in WW2. I wanted it to be realistic, so I gave the commander 36 troops (how many fit in the boats) and that was the death limit until they lost.
If the commander died, I allowed them to just take a loss of another man, rather than the next player become in charge (after all, this was a test run and by the time they made it to the sand dune that was about 50 feet from the landing zone they were down to 17 men). But thats the problem: 19 men were killed by random rolls of a 1d6 to determine who was hit by the MG42s stream of hot lead. Thats a lot to keep track of, and on top of that I have players making Perception rolls and not knowing what to do next. That was the whole base of my game, that the group would have a plan and execute it. One they made up... D-day is pretty straight up. Take that bunker. Run forward, dashing from cover to cover. Lose 19 men within the first 10 seconds if game world time, which took about 7 minutes real time. It was a mad bull rush. It was messy and choppy. Every bullet that flew toward and actual PC took three rolls. Anything towards the remaining NPCs (those poor 13 men alongside the 4 PCs) I rolled a 1d6, and if the number was 4, 4 NPCs died. By the time they took the bunker system they were responsible, 6 men were left. 4 Pcs and two NPCs. Realistic? A bit, yes. Successful test run? No. Any game to do with guns, is hard. Adding 32 friendly NPCs to the battle was insane, not to mention the 4 MG nest men and 12 others inside the bunker who came out to fight when the group successfully flanked (all of whom were killed by grenades, which dont get me started on how I measured that because its a broken system that needs desperate attention)
Any thoughts?

2015-10-26, 12:27 PM
It sounds like you may have accidentally made a computer game instead of a tabletop game. A computer can handle all the dice rolls quickly, while you know how that goes on the tabletop.

If you are committed to the table top, you clearly need a little more abstraction. Fewer rolls, maybe more static defenses instead of rolling contests, and see what you can chop out and still retain the feel.

Alternately, change your focus. 36 men is a lot to model at the level you did, and to be honest D-Day is big and impersonal and you could do everything right and still die. Maybe your system is better suited for something smaller; commando raids and such. It sounds like that was your original design intent, so maybe scrap the D-Day map. It sounds like it was a good learning opportunity, so it's not a waste.

You might also ask to have this put in the Homebrew Forum by reporting your own post; but I wouldn't stress about it.

Brother Oni
2015-10-26, 12:44 PM
Alternately, you could still use D-Day, just a different aspect of it. The British (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Tonga) and American (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_airborne_landings_in_Normandy) airborne landings prior to D-Day lends itself to small units, especially if they've been separated from the main drop due to enemy fire.

2015-10-26, 05:16 PM
If I could be forgiven some blunt honesty, it sounds to me from your initial post that you know exactly what went wrong. If you don't want to do an extensive rules rewrite- honestly, even if you're just kind of unsure- schedule a fresh playtest and don't bring the D-Day map. If your playtesters don't even know it's an option, they won't exactly feel like they're missing out on anything, and you can test under rather more controlled circumstances. It sounds like the D-Day scenario was more of a stress-test for you than for your system, which might be good for personal growth, but isn't terribly helpful from a design standpoint.

All that being said, I'd tend to agree with Glimbur that you need more abstraction. As a general rule of thumb, if you're needing to pay more attention to the NPCs than the PCs, something's not right. Most players don't care how an NPC vs. NPC battle is resolved on a crunch level. For that matter, most players don't care how a PC vs. NPC battle is resolved on a crunch level if it's not their character :smalltongue:

2015-10-28, 03:07 PM
Thank you all for replying :smallsmile:
I will take all that into consideration, and I have requested this be moved too :smalltongue:

Mr. Mask
2015-10-28, 09:52 PM
I'm going to ask a series of tough questions. These aren't meant to demean anything you did, but to work as a hard survey for your system, to give you ideas and things to think about.

There are various questions about the system that come to mind. For example, were you going with DnD initiative for the 50 combatants? In a D-day scenario, if there are turns, I'd suggest it should be Allies then Axis, more like Advanced Wars.

Were you calculating MG fire per MG, or just based off how many MGs had line of sight on the players' forces? In this scenario, you can lump all the attackers into a sort of, "volume of fire" roll. Then its simply calculating how good the cover is versus how many things can shoot you, then roll to see how many casualties result.

Were the 36 guys individual figures, or did you separate them into squads, where each squad represented 6 guys? This can save you a ton of pain in movement with large numbers of troops.

Could any of the three rolls for attacking players be combined? Say, combining the to-hit and damage roll, which ranges from 0 damage to max damage, followed by a location-roll?

With rolling perception, did the enemies roll Hide, or did you pre-roll or pre-define their hide values before the game started?

What aspect of the game took the longest? Just the rolling?

Those are my first thoughts with the system, for handling large encounters.