...., is there a specific one that you'd like for us to take for a "spin"?
Tretten or Fortress Hegra simply because I would love to have feedback on how well the elevation and line of sight rules work on those maps. When I first playtested Hegra questions came up about whether Hill hexes created an LOS shadow like a forest or town hex does. I ruled that no it does not if you are on higher elevation aka mountain.
Make sure you download the most current versions of the unit cards. Several changes were made to SAs since they were first posted.
And of course make sure you download the campaign rules because that has stuff about terrain, line of sight and elevation. I just uploaded the current version.
In the last few days I was concentrating on two things.
* Creating two new Polish unit cards: Podhalan Rifles and Motorcycle Scouts. These will be used in my Ankenes scenario which involved Polish / French / British forces going up against German forces. Getting these done now was important because I needed to finalize their unit costs for the next step.
* Did a lot of number crunching. Picked out armies for the five remaining scenarios; Labergal Pass, Bjerkvik, Kuberget Mountain, Ankenes and Orneset Beach.
* All 12 scenarios now have an ID number. They are ordered in chronological order. They are as follows:
Numbers 1-4 will be played in the first round at MaizeCon, 5-8 in the second and 9-12 in the third. The only issue with this order are scenarios 9 and 12. Both feature the same historic French Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade. Both feature an amphibious landing with landing craft. If I don't have enough figures to do both in the same round of play then I may have to get creative and switch scenario 9 with number 8. That way I don't have to have double the amount of boats and legionaries for the convention.
So the plan is still to prepare things for the August 18th playtest day. Once that has occurred I will make any adjustments needed and then post all five scenarios (8-12) for all to see.
One issue which I need to solve is the question of the Polish brigade using French support weapons. Should I create Polish versions of the French unit cards or just use them as is. To be determined later.
Tomorrow is "Der Tag" for the playtesting of 5 scenarios. Numbers 8 to 12 will hopefully all get a full play through to see how well they work and to reveal any issues / problems they might have. During the last few days I have been putting in a lot of hours to prepare for this day.
* Looked at every custom card made to date and made a few graphic tweaks to some of them. Now they have a standard "look". During a previous playtest day I asked players which looked better on the allied unit cards; black or white text. Everyone said black, so now all Allied cards have black text for special abilities and flavor text. Some of the photos were shrunk down to make more room for text. The major change I did was resizing the cards. For gaming they will be 5 x 3.6 inches in size rather than the AAM standard of 3.5 x 2.5 inches. This is something I've done for years. The larger size makes reading the small text much easier. There are two versions for each custom card: one with a historic photo and a second with a photo of the substitute figure being used. The first version will end up in the campaign booklet. The second I use for my own gaming purposes. I do this because not everyone will want to use the same substitute figures that I use. So you can use the version with the historic photo with any figure of your choosing. For MaizeCon I'm giving serious thought to printing out four sets of unit cards on card stock. My plan is to have a maximum of 4 games going on at one time.
* Designed and printed out custom counters for Water Transport, Sledge Transport, Assault Landing Craft, Landing Craft Mechanized, Inside/Outside Tunnel, 105mm Railway Gun, Bogged down and First Player counters for each nationality.
* Overhauled the Campaign rules to include a list of all terrain used on the 12 maps, updated list of available units for play, rules for snow storms, weather, line of sight over elevations with examples given, aircraft rules, naval gunfire rules and a complete list of all the new special abilities.
* Updated the scenario rules for all five that will be playtested. This includes rules for set up, victory conditions, starting armies for both sides, any special conditions & rules for that scenario, list of historic forces for the battle depicted and a short (unedited for now) history of the battle.
* Created reference maps for all five scenarios being playtested with notations for set up areas and objective locations.
So the main questions I'd like to have answered for playtest day are:
1. Are the forces on both sides balanced? 2. Is the scenario winnable by both sides? 3. Are the objectives clear and achievable? 4. Are the game maps understandable and playable? 5. Can the scenarios be played within a 2 hour time frame? (This is probably the most important question!)
I know there will be a learning curve between the 1st and 2nd games played. Players will have to familiarize themselves with all of the new unit cards, special abilities and maps. This is why I'm going to host five rounds of play at MaizeCon. The first three rounds will be the 12 scenarios played four at a time. The fourth and fifth round will be open selection so that players can either replay a game they liked or one that they missed in the previous rounds.
After playtest day is done I will post the five new scenarios on my SgtFury website. The unit cards and campaign rules will also be updated and posted. This playtest will mark the end of development and the beginning of the refinement process. Any adjustments to scenario rules or the maps will be made. Then things will need to be finalized, organized and eventually printed out.
Uploaded just now the latest version of the Campaign rules. Not finalized, but definitely a lot more complete and usable if you wish to download and try out any of the scenarios for yourself. Has anyone tried to do it yet? Armchair General hinted that he was doing it, but I haven't seen any feedback or After Action Reports.
Playtest day just ended about an hour or two ago. Overall, I'm very happy with the results. I filled up two pages with notes that I took during the gaming. All five scenarios were laid out and played. Four of them were played out to something of a conclusion. The fifth one (Orneset Beach) started off very badly for the Allies and would probably have gone on to an Axis victory. So we stopped that game and just discussed that went wrong and what went right. Both players were eager to try it again, but because it was already late we called it a night. We agreed to come back to it this Thursday and try it again.
Some adjustment of forces were suggested in each scenario and was duly noted. At least two unit cards need adjusting. Some adjustments on the game maps are needed, but only slight. A big issue I identified for myself is how will I, as GM, handle the change of forces from one round of play to the next. For the playtest I was using figures stored in zip lock bags. This made things very slow. I had to fumble through bags to find what I needed and it took extra effort to re-bag figures no longer needed in the next round. My solution will be to use boxes with subdivided slots for easy access, storage and organization. I did something similar during my Operation Varsity scenario last year, so I can probably just reuse those boxes.
So how well were my previous questions answered?
1. Are the forces on both sides balanced?
Some scenarios do need tweaking for better balance.
2. Is the scenario winnable by both sides?
Labergdal Pass and Ankenes need some rebalancing and then yes. Bjerkvik and Kuberget were balanced if played correctly. Orneset Beach needs the most work to get it balanced.
3. Are the objectives clear and achievable?
4. Are the game maps understandable and playable?
5. Can the scenarios be played within a 2 hour time frame? (This is probably the most important question!)
The answer depends on the skill level of the players. Newcomers will naturally take longer in order to take everything in. Pros can get through it faster if they don't make an early fatal mistake.
Labergdal Pass - Yes, under 2 hours. Bjerkvik - Maybe 2 hours Kuberget Mountain - Maybe 2 hours Ankenes - Yes, under 2 hours Orneset Beach- Will be replayed for a better analysis.
Once all of this has been digested I will move on to finalizing things.
Here are some brief further insights gained from last Saturday's playtest day:
Labergdal Pass – French / Norwegians vs Germans – Basically a sprint to the objectives for the larger allied force. Move start line for allies from 5 hexes in to 6 hexes in. Forces appear to be balanced. Game length is less than two hours.
Bjerkvik – French vs Germans – Can be slow going for the allied infantry, but if both French tanks survive the landing they can create havoc in the German rear. Control of objectives by Axis side needs to be made more clear by scenario rules. At beginning of play the Axis side controls all five objectives. Allied side must take 3 of them. Rules did not say if Axis side needed to occupy objective at end of play. I ruled that even if unoccupied, Axis side still controlled objective. Allied side would need to occupy objective to get credit for it. Question came up concerning the length of ferry pier on the map. Did it block line of sight? Otherwise forces seem balanced. Game length is about two hours.
Ankenes – Polish / French vs Germans - Royal Navy Gunfire needs to have a range restriction. It is too powerful right now. Perhaps limit range to 12 or 16 hexes. Too many Podhalan Rifles on Polish side. Reduce down and replace with some Polish Mauser Kar Riflemen. Otherwise the Poles are too strong. Perhaps drop one of the two 81mm mortars on the German side and replace with two light mortars. Add some town terrain to the Fagenes peninsula on north side of the map. Forces need some adjustments. Game length about two hours.
Kuberget Mountain – Norwegians vs Germans – Victory conditions need to be adjusted. Drop “adjacent to objective” and say Allied side must occupy 6 out of 11 hill hexes with undisrupted soldiers. Each side has 6 options to choose from at the start of play for reinforcements. For German side, drop the Heinkel He – 111H option and replace with Wehrmacht Expert Snipers. Otherwise appears to be balanced. Game length is less than two hours.
Orneset Beach – French / Norwegian vs Germans - Question came up concerning the length of a pier on the map. Did it block line of sight? Questions on the use, movement and deployment of the 105mm Railgun came up. Water Transports only carry one soldier, so landings are very spread out due to stacking restriction of one per hex. My solution is to increase their speed from 2 to 3 which would make them more flexible & nimble compared to slower ALCs and LCMs. French force appears to be too weak. Legionnaries need more firepower. Forces need to be rebalanced. Game length yet to be determined. A replay has been scheduled.
Other insights dealt with GM ability to handle multiple scenarios playing at one time. Set up and break down need to be speeded up.
Once I have things adjusted I will begin posting the rules for these scenarios.
* I'm renumbering two of my twelve scenarios. Bjerkvik is now number 8 and Labergdal Pass is number 9. This is important only for myself as GM because my intention is to run four scenarios in a round and Bjerkvik & Orneset Beach can't be in the same round. There are too many game pieces that both scenarios use such as landing craft, naval gunfire, Hotchkiss H-39 tanks and the French Foreign Legion. Otherwise I would have to double up on pieces and have the same historic unit fighting two battles at the same time which they did not do.
* Every scenario's rules are getting a through overhaul to make them more consistent with each other and to cut out redundant items that will end up in the campaign rules. Each scenario will also get a half to full page of historical background for players to read. Before I do that, I will post updated scenario rules so that folks can get a look at them and possibly try them out.
* Other than three unit cards being revisited for some revisions (Royal Naval Gunfire, Water Transport and French Forward Observer), card design is done. There is more I could develop such as a Norwegian Engineer, but that will be saved for another day.
* Each game map will be revisited and checked for flaws, needed changes, etc. I have ideas for other maps and actually have a fully developed 13th map (Kjorem), but the time has come to stop designing and begin refining maps. I plan on (hopefully) wrapping the maps up by beginning of September. A second printing of all 12 maps will then be done and that will be it for maps.
* I have been refining the campaign rules and working them down to something that is readable, understandable and usable. I will post an updated version by the end of the month on my website.
* I have already designed several custom counters that will be used in conjunction with several of the scenarios. A few more are needed and will eventually be posted for you to look at.
* Now that the armies for all of the scenarios have been set I was able to do an accounting of how many figures of each type I will need for MaizeCon. Basically took each of the four scenario groupings and counted how many soldier, vehicles and aircraft would be needed. My biggest deficit was figures for the Norwegian Army. As an example, I will need up to 29 Krag-Jorgensen Rifles for the four scenarios of the 4th round of play. I checked Ebay and a couple vendors to look for some extra figures. Miniatures Market is a very good source, especially if you are buying in bulk. I did find some very good bargains on Ebay for a couple figures. The only figure that is giving trouble is the French Hotchkiss H-39 tank. No one has one for sale at them moment. I just need one, so worst case scenario, I will just use a substitute in one scenario. I still have a month and half before MaizeCon arrives, so maybe one H-39 might turn up.
* After all the above has been finished, I still need to redo my cardboard holding boxes that will be used to organize everything while GMing. It won't take too much effort to do this, so it can wait until later.
* And finally, the best news for last. Tonight a gaming friend came over and we did a run through of scenario number 12; Orneset Beach. I played the Allies and had to plan out the amphibious landing of the French and Norwegian troops. My friend played the Germans and worked to stop me on the beaches. I took a beating, but managed to get a landing on the eastern beaches using two waves of French Foreign Legionnaries and the H-39 tanks. My opponent managed to kill almost half of my troops as well as both French machineguns. On the plus side I had managed to gain air superiority by turn 3 after shooting down the Ju-88 heavy dive bomber without losing either of my fighters. The Heinkel bomber was still around, but now I had two aircraft to his one. It would only be a matter of time before that was gone as well. I still had a decent Norwegian force capable of making another landing with the second Hotchkiss H-39 to back them up. My surviving Legionnaries had managed to gain a foothold in the hills overlooking their landing beach and were beginning to drive their way west along the rail line and hills above. The RR tunnels were now working in my favor as they protected my advance allowing me to get behind German defenders sitting atop of them. I may have to make a note in this scenario's rules suggesting the use of enfilade fire rules. On turn four we stopped and discussed how it was playing out. We agreed that both sides could still win or lose the game. I loved how it played out. The big caveat is; I just can't see anyone being able to finish this in two hours. There is just too much detail and complexity to hope that a first time player could play it through quickly. My guess is it's a 3 hour game at a minimum. But that's ok. This will be featured in the third round of play and can go longer than my stated goal of two hour play time. I think the fourth round's run time is going to need some revision. Perhaps budgeting 3 or 4 hours for it.
* I am happy with the pace of work and results so far in this gaming design process. Development and design is now coming to a close. Now things need to be refined, edges smoothed, word processing finished. I'm not sure when the entire process will be done, but I'm confident by mid to late September it will all get done. The end goal is to have everything, and I mean everything, done by the end of September. Rules and maps will be printed and accessories prepared for travel to MaizeCon on October 11th. Some items I will carry in my baggage while others will be shipped ahead of time to Iowa. If I had all the time in the world I will go by car and make the whole thing into a multi-day road trip. But driving is not an option, so I will be flying there and back to Waterloo. So the byword for me will be "travel as light as possible!" This is why I'm bringing paper maps. Carrying drop cloths and terrain pieces would be too much weight to carry on a flight.
MaizeCon III is no longer some distant date on the calendar. It's only seven weeks away! Roughly one and a half months. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones as well. Hopefully, dear reader, I will see you there as well.
* SgtFury website's Norway page has been completely reorganized with campaign rules at the top, followed by scenarios and then unit cards.
* Campaign rules have been updated.
* All 12 scenario rules PDFs have been updated.
* All unit cards for Norway, France, Poland, United Kingdom, Germany and Any nation have been completely updated. All cards posted are sized as 5 x 3.5 inches.
* Sequence of Play chart added.
* Custom counter sheet with counters for Water Transport, Sledge Transport, Assault Landing Craft, Landing Craft Mechanized, Inside Tunnel, On top of Tunnel, 105mm Railway Gun, Bogged down, First Payer indicators and Naval Gunfire. Eventually these will be produced so that some will be double sided counters such as the tunnel counters and First Player counters.
* Unit cards for Water Transport, Royal Navy Fire Support and French Forward Observer have been updated.
Maps still need to be looked over and some changes will be made. They will be updated later.
Wow. I am surprised at the magnitude of this project. You are still very passionate about AAM
I am very excited to play this scenario at Maize-conIII
I wish that I could have been more help, perhaps I can find a local player and try one of the scenarios before the con.
My GM commitments could be finished for the year (4 cons) but kids hockey is just starting
Very impressive work sarge
Originally this was suppose to be a mega campaign, but I decided to scale it back and make it a series of related scenarios on a single theme. So this is now 12 historically based scenarios that players will be able to try out at MaizeCon. Of course, you can also download it and play it at home too.
Thanks for the compliments. I'll see you at MaizeCon!
* All twelve scenarios now have updated game maps. I also reworked each scenario discussion thread giving them better descriptions along with direct links for rules, maps and other needed items for game play.
* Line of Sight example page in the Campaign rules has been updated. The Orneset Beach map was changed, so that part used for the LOS examples had to be changed as well. Now there are hills atop the tunnels which changed some LOS between hexes. If you have already downloaded and printed the previous version of the campaign rules, you only need to reprint the page with the LOS examples on it.
* All twelve scenarios rules were fixed up and formatted. Some photos were added as a bit of chrome. Every scenario now also has a reference map included explaining Allied and Axis setup areas, objectives, any special notes and a compass rose so players will know which way is north.
* Took all twelve map files to my local Staples store to get finalized / finished copies made. I was disappointed with what I saw. There were color streaks running across the maps. It was most noticeable on those maps that had a lot of water / lake terrain on it. Told the clerk this was unacceptable and asked for them to be reprinted. Came back later to look at the 2nd attempt. Looked much better! Clerk explained that some sort of color setting had to be changed. She apologized for the error and said I would not be charged for the bad set. While I was in the store I purchased some cardboard shipping tubes. I'll use them to carry the maps with me to MaizeCon.
* Next goal is to finalize the Campaign rules and create a one page terrain chart. Once that is done, I'll take the scenario and campaign rules file to Staples for printing. Ideally this will be done by next Friday.
* After that, my GM figure boxes need to be constructed. I have all the materials needed already. These, along with the Campaign booklets, will be shipped ahead of time to Iowa.
* and there are still lots of things to produce such as the unit cards and custom counters, but there is plenty of time to do that. I will carry those items in my baggage, so I have all the way up to October 11th to get every little item prepared.
* My wife was nice enough to proof read all of my scenario rules, campaign rules and unit cards. She did find a number of errors in the rules which will be corrected in the final version. Several of the unit cards had some errors in the text such as the word "verses" which should be "versus". "Reroll" has been changed to "re-roll". "rearguard" is changed to "rear-guard".
* One major change to text is the wording of the Prone to Jam SA. It now reads as "If this unit rolls any 1's during an attack, put a face up Disrupted counter on it. This counter isn't removed until the following turn’s casualty phase." This is to make clear that the disruption counter is not removed at the end of the current turn.
* UK Game Card 1 and Norwegian Game Cards 1, 2 & 3 were updated on the Sgt Fury website.
* I am totally done with the 12 scenario rules. These were also proof read and corrected.
* This week my goal is to finalize the campaign rules (already proof read). Need to add things like a forward, history over view, etc.)
This includes the campaign rules and all 12 scenarios. This is the version that will be seen at MaizeCon 2018.
The convention is only a few days away now. I might still add to this thread after returning. Otherwise I am all finished with this design. I've devoted a lot of hours to its' development over the last year. Overall I am pleased with how it turned out. I'm curious to see what type of reaction and feedback that I'll get.
* All of the posted unit cards have been updated with what I'm calling the game version of the cards. I've also included the Allied, Axis and Support card backings so that you can print both sides if you so choose.
* The custom counter sheets have been updated to the final versions. Most are single sided, but a few are double sided.
* I created PDF versions of all 12 scenario rules, posted them and linked them to their own discussion threads. All 12 can be downloaded as a set if you download / print the Campaign Rules PDF.
Tomorrow I leave for MaizeCon. "Der Tag" has finally arrived! Maybe I'll see you there.