I’ve been able to put a lot of thought and play testing into this recently (thanks to the rain) and the game has moved forward quite a lot.
After a really good robust discussion with Martin (my co-creator/publicist/vexillia owner) I realised that I had effectively produced two games – and that I needed to clarify which side of the game I wanted to jump and then design accordingly. At that point I had a higher generalship resource game, and a good operational tactical game – what I needed was to concentrate on just the one to make the game very clear and concise.
Inspiration here. As you can see W1815 is very simple in construction but quite complex in its play, and it clearly keeps its aim directly on what it is trying to do – replicate the general level experience of the Battle of Waterloo.
First thing to look at was bringing clarity to the game table. Initially the layout was at division level with many more defence points included. I reviewed this and drew the level upward to make it more abstract – this reduced the start units (no longer divisions) from 16 to 9. At the same time I reduced the defence points from by a factor of 3.
As you can see the board is a lot less cluttered, and gives a much clearer, and by perception, a higher command view of the battle.
At this point I also looked at the rules as they were at that stage. I needed to simplify the complexity whilst keeping the layers of interest.
Originally I had 5 sliders on the Generalship card which the player would need to spend points on each turn to manage his battle (logistics, reinforcements, political, training and doctrine) I saw that two of the sliders are spent and discharged immediately so were redundant, and I could redesign how the doctrine advance was managed. This reduced the need for sliders to two.
For the corps the sliders were still two – but on the board we didn’t need these to be sliders – they could be indicated by a single dice for example.
The doctrine advance was replaced by a table, on the board, and the events table dealt with weather and reinforcements, clarifying the turn sequence even more.
This is a little A4 board I set up with some admittedly odd counters. The turn sequence has been cut by half – and everything is now on the board. The game is simple to learn, quick to play, but not easy to master. Tweaking and play testing to come.
Here are some games in progress, on an A3 Board. British to the left, Germans to the right
Here the British have achieved a good advance in the South, leading to a quick dash to capture Bapaume (The British objective) on turn 8 of 10
Here the Germans pulled back to give them time and reduce their frontage. The British are failing to get a break through by turn 7 of 10. On both these examples the Germans have got the ‘change command’ event which allows them more resource dice and a second corps. It helps the Germans and replicates the historical change in command that actually happened. Interestingly the top example it happened late, the bottom example earlier. This might need to still be tweaked.