The wargames being played with this rule set are designed to be played between a solo player and an artificial opponent. This means the the artificial intelligence (AI) must be designed in such a way to ensure that it has the same success potential. This takes some doing. How can the AI out maneuver the human player? How can we ensure that the solo player does not know the AI’s next move?
Perhaps the best way to help the design here is to look to what has gone before, not in terms of wargaming, but in terms of military history.
History gives us the background to leaders, motivations and the reality of battles won from unexpected reinforcements or the unpredictable actions of one’s own forces. If this can be factored into a game, whilst not dominating the activity completely it will be of great benefit.
To that end I think that there needs to be key moments which suddenly produce opportunities or threats to the solo player. This might be the unexpected routing of a unit to produce an open flank, or the appearance of fresh support to press home an attack. I am also keen to think about key characters in history. Not necessarily famous generals, but those of lower ranks whose heroism saved others from catastrophe.
It is also important to think about wargames in a more sophisticated way than the management of numbers. Combatants do not have a “score” to follow where, at a given moment, they recognize that they are victorious. Instead there are clear circumstances at which the outcome is clear, or the uncertainty suggests neither side has gained a clear advantage. As a result there needs to be clear objectives set. There may be timelines added. However, in all cases the morale and “will to fight” of forces is key. For me it is important to recognize that it is possible that troops have had different experience and that combined with the quality of those who lead them, may decide to leave the field. This can happy at any time, however unlikely, and not when we have reached a set measurement. I think about tanks or even ships taking a “critical hit” taking them out of action and infantry and cavalry are much the same. It is these types of uncertainties which add so much to any wargame.
So far I have covered a view and approach, but I want to add a physical distinction between the AI and the wargamer. The mechanics of the game will be split into the use of playing cards – representing the AI – and of dice for the solo player. How I will do this will be made clear as I go however one of the reasons for this relates to the YouTube videos I produce. For some time I have used coloured dice to represent different forces, such as blue for French or green for British troops. However, this is not necessarily clear to the observer and indeed where visual impairment is concerned, such as colour blindness, I also think this may be challenging. I add that, after losing much of my eyesight as a child, these slight considerations can make a considerable difference to individuals. Thank you in advance for working with me on this.
Alright enough rambling. Some “Game Principles”;
- A game is comprised of two forces with specific objectives
- A game is played with clear winning criteria
- A game is played with the use of dice and playing cards
- A solo game comprises of two “players” one being the AI
Finally the rules are continually evolving and therefore I am not creating a “Version 1 and 1.1, 1.2” and therefore the rules are “correct” as of the point you pick them up and put them down.
The Durham Light Infantry Advance – France 1940