Something’s happening here

An announcement from Rich Barbuto, Lone Warrior editor:

Effective Feb. 1, John Yorio will take over as manager of the Lone Warrior website. John is a long-time member of the Solo Wargamers Association and has an extensive background in IT. He also has experience in running his own wargaming blog at

https://54mmorfight.blogspot.com/

He can be reached through the Contact form on the Lone Warrior website:

Contact Us

He will be taking over from George Arnold, who has managed the website since its startup in 2011. George will be continuing as a contributor to Lone Warrior and to the website.

Posted in Lone Warrior website | 1 Comment

‘Battles Map by Map’ reviewed

Rob Morgan reviews a coffee table book from DK featuring maps of battles from the ancient world until today and finds much to like about it.

It’s on the Reviews page.

Posted in Wargaming | Leave a comment

‘Panzer IV vs Char B1 Bis (France 1940)’ Osprey review added

Jonathan Aird has reviewed this Osprey title from their Duel series and finds the analysis of the differences between the two tanks refreshing.

It’s on the Ospreys at a Glance page.

Posted in Periods - World War II | Leave a comment

More musings on a campaign game

By George Banic

Hi All,

I had promised to send in an article when I got my ideas sorted out, but I’m still in the process of developing my ideas and, seeing the enormous value I got out of our interactive discussion via the earlier thread, I thought to throw out my ideas so far and see what you guys thought, whilst hopefully sticking to the concept of keeping things simple.

For context, I’m looking at developing generic campaign rules for horse and musket/rifle era. I have 10mm figures/armies for the Franco-Prussian War and ACW, with the FPW based along the lines of Bruce Weigle’s ‘1870’ rules. For the ACW, I was going to base for the ‘Fire and Fury’ rules. My intent is to game battles involving multiple corps, typically three or more per side in a battle, and around three armies active per side in the campaign.

My initial focus is working out the mechanics for a single campaign year, assuming that winter puts a halt to any sustained large scale operations. Depending on the fortunes of war during the campaign year, the war may end through some form of negotiated settlement, or may continue unabated into the following year, and so on, for as long as either side can keep up the fight.

The Solo Wargaming Guide (SWG) by William Silvester appears to offer a lot of very useful and easy to use mechanics to develop nations, armies, cities, terrain, lines of communication etc. So I think I will have a very good baseline set of rules which I can tweak to capture some of the aspects of war I’d like to see replicated.

SWG has a simple mechanism to reflect national intelligence and preparedness for war, by dicing for the respective start of mobilisation. I think these are good enough for the KISS principle, but one overlay I’d like to experiment with is the effect of better intelligence (spies, informers, sympathisers, etc) to provide a better appreciation of the war plans of the targeted nation. For national (campaign) strategy, SWG uses the mechanism of determining three plans of action per side and dicing for the one(s) to be implemented. This can present some interesting results which would be entertaining to play, but what I would be looking at would be allowing the option for the better informed nation to respond to the opposition’s war strategy.

This option would also be affected by the competence of the national leader (or war council), as to whether they are able to effectively use the opportunity and act on the intelligence. Similarly, I’d like to look at mechanics to allow manoeuvres for deception, e.g. feint deployments, etc that may result in the enemy deploying forces away from the key area of intended operations.

The overarching goal of any additional mechanisms is to affect the ability of the respective commanders to concentrate their forces at the right place and right time to offer battle on the most advantageous terms (e.g. good ground).

Better situational awareness should allow a commander to fight on the most advantageous terms, depending on his competence and character (timid, rash etc).

The first step to developing that situational awareness is understanding the enemy’s war aims and strategy. The next level is the conduct of scouting/reconnaissance once hostilities begin. The KISS system usually compares respective light cavalry and gives the advantage to the numerically superior side ‘out scouting’ the opposition. This scouting advantage is usually translated into the out-scouted side having to deploy all forces first for a battle, with the superior scouting side able to deploy forces to best advantage against the enemy battle line. Any flanking attacks/movements made by the out-scouted side would be known to the superior scouting side.

One overlay I was looking at was the competence of the light cavalry for the scouting role. History is replete of armies being caught by surprise because their cavalry did not do their job of scouting properly. Hence, just looking at raw numbers of respective cav forces and giving the advantage to the higher numbers is a bit too simplistic for my liking.

Instead, I would be looking to consider the scouting competence of light cav formations and also the competence and initiative of their commanders. Another aspect is the ability to screen your movements from observation by enemy cav. My thinking is that light cav only can be used for scouting and both light cav and dragoons can be used to screen. Heavy cav such as Reiter, Cuirassiers and Carabiniers are shock cavalry and cannot be used for scouting or screening.

I thought to work out scouting results via map movement, basically putting a cross hairs on the centre of mass of each army and having four sectors that scouting/screening would be conducted in. My initial leaning is to have an ‘X’ shape to delineate the sectors rather than a ‘+’ shape, but this could be either depending on circumstances. Advancing through hostile territory where the location of the enemy is unknown, an ‘X’ makes sense, giving you a 90 degree front arc, two 90 deg flank arcs, and a 90 degree rear arc. Once contact is made, or prior intelligence indicates likely general enemy location a ‘+’ configuration may be better with the axis aligned to the anticipated location of the enemy, this gives two 90 degree arcs to either side of the axis pointing to the expected enemy, so scouting a 180 degree arc to your front, or where you expect the enemy to be.

Both sides would allocate cav units to conduct scouting and/or screening, with the ‘out scouting’ determination now driven by number of opposing units in the contested scouting sector, i.e. scouting units vs opposing screening units, modified by quality and competence of cav units and commanders. An ‘out scouted’ result leaves the failing army vulnerable to surprise attack, out flanking, order of battle and line(s) of march revealed etc. This allows the army with superior scouting with the potential to successfully manoeuvre to block or otherwise counter the enemy’s movement without detection by the enemy, limit or confuse the enemy’s knowledge of own location, composition and/or movement, allow the opportunity to attack a smaller and/or isolated portion of the enemy force before the main enemy force can intervene etc.

So the upshot of the enhanced scouting rules should be to provide an army with superior scouting ability with distinct advantages to either bring superior numbers to bear in battle against any enemy weak points or to offer battle on ground that maximises the tactical strengths of the army and/or minimises the effectiveness of the opposing force. But the competence of the Commanding General will also be a factor in whether the intelligence is correctly interpreted and acted upon.

That’s the gist of my initial line of investigation. I’m happy that I have suitable rules and mechanisms for the actual battle (and also looking to use Adjutant Introuvable for the non-player generalship). What I’m trying to capture are the key events/actions/decisions that lead up to the initial battle, starting from the decision of one side to go to war.
Will flesh out these concepts in greater detail over the next few days and hopefully play test them a bit too. I’ll let you know how I go.

Once I’ve got that sorted, the next line of effort will be the post-battle outcomes, e.g. pursuit, casualties, losses of supplies & materiel, POWs, morale etc. I haven’t seen all the videos on SWG on the Joy of Wargaming blog yet ( I think he’s done around 23 videos on SWG) but my initial take is that I’ll be wanting to beef up the existing mechanics, so have highlighted the areas I’m particularly keen to address.

Any thoughts/comments you guys may have would be most gratefully received and appreciated, especially if some or all of these ideas have already been addressed by someone and turned into workable game mechanics!!!

Cheers,

G

p.s. My apologies for some of the poor grammar in my previous emails, am using my smart phone and the auto correct isn’t that smart, or maybe it’s a bit too smart! Anyways, hopefully this all makes sense and I’ve corrected all the auto corrections!

Posted in Current projects, Periods - Nineteenth century, Solo wargaming | 6 Comments

A Sample Article for January

This month’s sample article from previous issues of Lone Warrior is by Joao Lima and is titled “A Solo Wargame Engine”. The author shares two different systems for simulating an opponent when solo gaming. Although they are written for hex-based games, the systems are readily adaptable to other wargames.

It’s on the Sample Articles page.

Posted in Solo wargaming | Leave a comment

A reader seeks information

<George Banic writes the following from Australia.>

G’day from downunder!

I have just discovered your website and am trying to find ideas/solutions to automating the opposing force (or both forces) in a solo wargaming context. I am also looking to run a campaign to provide a reason for my battles. My main periods of interest are the Franco-Prussian war, Napoleonics and am also starting to get into Ancients.

I have been looking at reviews on solo wargaming books written by Donald Featherstone and Stuart Asquith, but the reviews appear contradictory. Whilst great for nostalgia and also presenting interesting ideas and concepts for solo gaming, the reviewers indicate that these ideas are not fleshed out enough to be implemented in games. Yet other responses give high marks for there usefulness!

The main aspect I am looking to address is to generate challenging and plausible AI responses to an opposing force’s manoeuvres, both tactical and strategic, either to play against as a solo gamer or to have both sides ‘automated’ and play as an ‘observer’ to a campaign as it unfolds on the map and tabletop.

Have any of these aspects been addressed already by the SWA? Very keen to get in touch with kindred spirits to discuss further!

Cheers,

George Banic

Posted in Solo wargaming | 22 Comments

Christmas greetings to all Lone Warriors!

In the spirit of the season, here’s hoping each of you finds your stockings stuffed with everything your heart desires — more Ospreys perhaps, or some Featherstone classics? Or simply more lead to add to the pile? And don’t forget another year’s subscription to Lone Warrior, even if it’s a gift to yourself.

Merry Christmas to all!

Posted in Solo wargaming | 1 Comment

Two Hour Wargames Reviewed

Jim Rohrer shares his impressions of the solo-friendly rules from Two Hour Wargames and finds that though they were difficult to grasp, they are well worth the effort. It’s on the Reviews page.

Posted in Solo wargaming | 2 Comments

Fir tree models for winter terrain

Jonathan Aird found some fir trees that should work with smaller-scale figures and reviews them on the Reviews page.

Posted in Wargaming | 1 Comment

The latest issue is on the way!

Editor Rich Barbuto informs that the latest issue of Lone Warrior is being finalized for publication within the next few days. While we wait for issue No. 217, here’s a quick preview of what will be included.

  • “Old Hickory and the Mortain Counterattack,” by Peter R. Barkworth. Background and a game report on an August 1944 clash between the U.S. 30th Infantry Division and counterattacking German armored forces.
  • “In the Deep Midwinter … Christmas and New Year Quiz,” by Rob Morgan. Some challenging quiz questions for fellow soloists.
  • “The Encounter at Nimy Bridge (1914),” by Jim Rohrer. An encounter games using “One-Hour Wargames” rules to re-create the historical encounter on the Western Front.
  • “Me and the Goddess Dragon Quest,” by Marvin Scott. A modified matrix game report with sample idea lists for solo adventure gaming.
  • “>>EXTERMINATE!<<,” by Paul Le Long. Ideas for incorporating Daleks into wargames, using “One Hour Skirimish Wargames” rules.
  • “Metz 1870,” by Nic Birt. Hex-and-counter campaign structure designed to lead to tabletop refights of the battles around Metz in August 1870.
  • “Battlegame Design,” by Brian Cameron. A detailed look at and an example of the author’s game design process.
  • “Frontier Wolves: Thoughts on a Solo Retreat,” by Rob Morgan. Finding wargaming inspiration in Rosemary Sutcliff’s “The Frontier Wolves.”
  • “Chaos and Order: A Rules Revolution: Episode 2,” by John Barnard. The author continues their celebration of the “no map” campaign. In this installment, they look back at the ideas that led them here.
  • “Another Strange Wargaming Year….” by Jonathan Aird. The author bids 2021 farewell with an inspiring round-up of their hobby activity.

All this and the usual extravaganza of color photos, maps and charts. Non-subscribers? Don’t miss your chance to subscribe and get in on the fun! Details here.

Posted in Latest issue of LW | 2 Comments