Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thoughts on Solo Mechanics


As I get closer to the point of gaming the first land battle in the Gambusian campaign, I need to start thinking about the mechanics of a solo game. For rule sets, I have several in mind. They are:

A Fist Full of TOWs version 3 (FFT)

Cold War Commander (CWC)

Modern Spearhead

Pz8 1975-2010

I am not going to review any of these rules, but more than likely, I will probably use one of the first two, simply because I have studied them more. However, the Pz8 series of rules are pretty simple and straight forward. Plus, this recent version of their modern rules have been expanded a little more in terms of weapon types, so I might consider them, too.

None of these rules are really set up for solo gaming. One could argue that the rule set that has the most potential for solo gaming is Cold War Commander. So, I am going to use one of these rules, but in conjunction with some sort of solo mechanics. I need the solo mechanics to do the following:

1. allow for a random sequence of events

2. allow for units to react to circumstances

After reading a number of solo websites, articles from the Lone Warrior, and looking at various mechanisms of rules (not necessarily microarmor rules) that supposedly can be used for solo gaming, I felt like throwing up my hands! Actually, I've come up with three possible systems. They are:

1. I Ain't Been Shot Mum! system (IABSM).

2. Two Hour Wargames' reaction system (THW).

3. A overly complex algorithm of my own design, which I am no where near finished making.

I have studied the THW reaction system quite a bit, but recently I have been looking at various aspects of the IABSM system, particularly the use of activation cards. What I am working on now is to merge parts of IABSM and THW.

The Plan:
I plan to use unit activation cards and blinds similar to what is done in IABSM. Each activation card will represent a company. Within each company are platoons. In both FFT and CWC each stand of infantry and each vehicle represents a platoon. As each company gets activated, the members of the company can do various things, move, shoot, whatever. In CWC, units can keep doing things until they fail a die roll. I could do that, but my goal is to remove as much of my own control over things. This is where the THW reaction system will come into play. Based on the situation, the units will react in different ways. I have not worked out the reaction system, but here is an example of what I am thinking about. Lets say there is a recon company ahead of the main body probing for enemy units. The recon company comes near a blind (a hidden enemy unit). There is a table to determine if enemy units are spotted or not. I look up the appropriate numbers and roll the dice to see if it spotted the enemy. Based on success or failure, I then consult the algorithm below:

If nothing detected, then on a D6:
1-3 move half move forward
4-5 move full move forward
6 halt

If enemy spotted, then:

If spotted at close range:
1-4 fall back to nearest cover
5-6 engage enemy

If spotted at medium range:
1-5 fall back to nearest cover
6 engage enemy

If spotted at long range:
1-4 fall back to nearest cover
5-6 halt

The reaction system in addition to using the activation cards, will allow me to have less control over the various units and keep me from being biased.


  1. Chris, all but one link (CWC) doesn't work.


  2. Jim,

    That's odd. They work when I click on them.

  3. I noticed that a lot of them didn't have the www. in front of them. I wonder if that's the problem.

  4. Chris,
    Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I think I got the links fixed.