B&B Dev Update

Combat involves a LOT of dice rolling. Like Yahtzee or Farkle, so it might be fun, and I don’t really see any reason to change it.  Just roll a fist full of six-siders, pick out any kills and knock down some minis/scratch off your unit HP.

combat matrix

Morale rules are less fun and may be fairly incompatible with standard monster morale ratings from basic games.

morale check

I feel like a failure as a technical writer because I haven’t figured out how to better explain and simplify the morale rules yet. I want to at least include a faithful recreation of the base mechanics of Chainmail, even if I intend to leave out the historical flavoring optional rules, like ‘Swiss just murder everyone’ and ‘all Polish troops are elite’.  But Morale and Cannon fire are doozies.

Anyway, to accommodate using morale from basic games for the S3M, I’ll probably need to make some major changes in how retreat and end of melee works.

I’m almost done with the core mechanics, but I find myself doubting the usefulness of B&B as a product.  I’m hoping that the S3M & Unit Cost Guide will justify and validate its existence in the OSR.  Unlike HALLS, though, I intend to see this through, because if S3M works it will actually be a functional cross-system module/mini-game that any group can use for platoon to company level fantasy combat.

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2 responses to “B&B Dev Update

  1. It’s kind of hard to argue with “print this out, cut out these quick and dirty counters, and you can be playing this with a twelve year old in about fifteen minutes.” Also, “the game you can drop into your campaign in the middle of a D&D session and not make the players cry.”

    (And you probably know this, but the interface between character stats and battles is a big draw of Domains at War. But just throwing that out there!)

    • I’ll have to take a look at Domains at War and see what I can beg, borrow or steal out of it.

      I’m really going for the latter, and hoping that I can create enough integration to make it worthwhile. One of my main ‘value-adds’ is I want to include numbers on how much it would cost PCs to hire, equip and maintain small mercenary forces based on numbers out of Moldvay/Cook. I haven’t quite decided yet how I want to work character stats in beyond Chr scores, but I do want to make something where if the players want to do some single combat during a melee, they can do so.

      Most of my war-gaming has been done in the abstract, but after seeing all of the folks talking about how “it’s all there in the manuals” re:OD&D, I guess I wanted to see if the same were true for Chainmail. The problem is that Chainmail assumes a scale that seems large even for typical miniatures games. But given some of the rules for 1 on 1 combat, I can see where the idea of heroic characters, maybe even named characters, would become emergent in play, ultimately leading to a more nuanced RPG-type experience. When a person has a nice mini for a heavy infantry-man, and that heavy infantry-man gets a number of lucky kills when using 1 on 1 combat rules, he no longer becomes a lucky infantry-man; he becomes Frederick or George or something, and the player gets attached to him, and, in recounting the heroic deeds of Frederick the Footman, a unit on the battlefield becomes a legend, a person in the mind of the players.

      But back to what I was saying earlier, I’m just trying to test out that given the premise that the answer to big combat is found somewhere in Dungeons & Dragons, and it is not found in Swords & Spells (where B/X refers us) and is certainly not found in Mentzer’s War Machine, maybe it can be found in Chainmail?

      And if it isn’t, I’ll at least have something to show I tried!

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