Pax Victoria Mechanics

Last weekend I sent the outline of Pax Victoria off to Saga for consideration for BOD in 2013.

I also spent some time looking at the old Flower Power rules, and what worked and what didn’t.

A key design goal for Pax Victoria, is for player teams to design a grand strategy before the convention, so the night’s game is more about the success or failure of executing that grand strategy.

Game Options in the Pre-game

So, ten teams.  Three players per team.  Plan is to have each player submit one build option for their state each day for ten days leading up to BOD.  So 30 options per team.  If a player goes AFK, I’ll substitute a random choice.  The team also has to select their objectives.  Objectives could be chosen from the following:

  • maintain the status quo
  • largest army
  • best army
  • largest navy
  • best navy
  • gain control of one or more sea zones
  • gain control of Shuttle Island
  • gain control of Blood Stone harvesting areas
  • gain control of the straits
  • conquer other states.

The more objectives you select, the harder it will be to “win”, so I will be giving states with Napoleonic ambitions some bonuses.  I’m still thinking about the math on this one, and I may hide the formula from the players, but a team that wants to play like Germany in 1914 is going to have a much better army to play with than a team that wants to play like Belgium in 1914.

Some options grant absolute rewards, i.e. they result in fixed and predictable changes to resources.  Other options grant relative rewards, i.e. the benefit gained depends on the options selected by the other teams.

A partial list of options:

  • Monument: increase the victory value of a controlled city (possibly useful for a defensively minded team)
  • Fortress: an immobile combat unit placed in a specific hex, useful for defending key objectives like cities, ports, and terrain choke points.  The earlier it is built, the stronger it will be.
  • Railway: expand the railway network, building one hex of rail links for each option phase remaining (so if chosen as your first option you get ten hexes of rail, if chosen as your ninth option you get two hexes of rail), railways are critical for strategic movement of units and logistics.  Building rail will also stimulate the economy, allowing the construction of some additional cities on the game map
  • Factories: produce logistics, which are needed in the option phase to build some units (maybe, will need to do some math here), and in game play to resupply exhausted units.  The earlier you build factories, the larger your stockpile of supplies at the start of the game.
  • Canal: not sure about this, but I might build some narrow land areas where a canal mega-project could be attempted, it would facilitate naval movement.
  • Merchant Ships: factories of the sea, again, not sure if the complexity is needed, but it may add another reason to engage in naval warfare.
  • Army HQ: acts as a rail hex for the purposes of moving supplies, can resupply adjacent units (so if you don’t build any you will lose any war you fight in as your units are slowly destroyed, and if you want to invade a region that lacks railways you will need a lot of HQs to avoid a Retreat From Moscow situation, one per three hexes of hostile border is probably good).
  • Fleet HQ: one is required for each sea zone you have naval units in (so most players need a couple, and anyone going for control of the oceans needs more)
  • Marine HQ: acts as a supply rail head on beach/port hexes (limit one per 10 other HQs, essential for amphibious warfare)
  • Army Training: increase the relative quality of the Army
  • Army Expansion: increase the absolute size of the Army
  • Naval Training: increase the relative quality of the Navy
  • Naval Expansion: increase the absolute size of the Navy
  • Build Elite Unit: converts an existing unit into an Elite unit (as they get an action token of their own, everyone will want a few, plus players can add chrome by giving their elite units special names)

That is probably more than enough options!

Teams also get to choose how liberal/conservative they are.  Liberal states will generally start with larger armed forces, while more conservative states will start with higher quality armed forces and a lower chance of mid-game rebellion.

Combat Mechanic Outline

General philosophy with mechanics is that ground combat is hex positional and attrition based, while naval combat is area based and more decisive than land combat (i.e. the losing side takes more damage).

Each state has two action tokens per map: Regular and Elite.  In a regular action token, all units can move/attack.  In an elite action token, only elite units can move/attack.  I will also have one “Big Push” action token per map, which is sold each game turn to the team bidding the most logistics points.  The Big Push token is a Regular action token with a +1 bonus on all attack rolls.  Action tokens are resolved in a random sequence.  Each time one is pulled, each player on that team can resolve one move/attack.

Each unit has a strength value, an average number for a rested unit is 11, with elite units being 12-13, and weaker units on 9-10.  An exhausted unit generally has half the strength of when it was rested.

When you attack, you roll 1d6 for each unit adjacent to the hex being attacked.  Elite units add +1 to their roll.  Artillery units can contribute with a ranged attack.  The attacker must “flip” counters with a strength value equal to their roll.  You must try to match the required strength loss if at all possible.  If a reduced strength unit is “flipped” it is removed from the board (to be rebuilt later if you have the logistics for it).  The Defender does the same, except they can use terrain to negate die rolls (lowest dice first). So mountains, cities, rivers, forts, etc make it easier to defend.

So you want to attack weak units, or units that can be flanked from multiple hexes.

If you do enough damage to eliminate a unit, then Cavalry units can exploit through the gap.  Otherwise if the defender is weakened, and the attacker has a full strength unit remaining, the defender retreats one hex (towards nearest HQ or city).

Note: due to the slow nature of this combat system, states will be relatively small – the distance from a border to a capital is likely to be three hexes on average.

Naval combat – terrain has no effect at sea, roll 1d6 for each unit in the fleet.  High roll wins control of the sea zone.  It’s unwise to engage if heavily outnumbered.  I may have to develop some kind of “raid” mechanics to allow hit & run attacks by small forces.

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