Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Thinking About Activation

I've gotten some time to work on things and am currently working on some farm pieces. I should have a post on these maybe next week when I return from vacation.

For quite some time, I have been mulling over methods of activation. Lately, the idea of strict I go/you go games have repulsed me at a visceral level (or maybe it's just my body is still reacting to not having a gall bladder). I've been exploring the various means of activation and how they might fit into a solo game. Here are some in no particular order of preference. I'm sure you all familiar with most.

Alternate Activation
It's been called the new IGOUGO system. Each side takes turns activating a single unit.

Chit System
IGOUGO but each side gets a certain number of chits representing how many units can be activated.  Can be a fixed number or randomized like DBA.

Random Cards
There are a whole bunch of rules that use card activation, I Ain't Been Shot Mum is an example of card activation. For my purposes, each unit, probably consisting of a company gets a card. You mix up the cards and pull out a card. That is the unit that activates. Now, once you've activated a unit, there are probably a number of ways to decide who does what within the unit. The issue I see is that might be too random at a level above skirmish. There is no sense of coordination among units. Combat Cards is another set of card-activated rules. I reviewed this set of rules in a while back.

Warmaster/Cold War Commander
Its been awhile since I've read through the rules, but I like the ability to activate a unit more than one time with the fear of command fail ending the whole shebang.

Infinity the Game/Iron Cross
Once again, TheEvileMonkeigh at Delta Vector has an excellent game review, this time of Infinity. I downloaded them, but never really looked at them. They have a system that seems to allow for a great deal of decision making depending on how you want to spend your points. As far as I can tell from thereviews, the new WWII rules Iron Cross uses a very similar system, which additionally allows for the opponent to use their points to react to any actions.

One of the issues with all of these is how to translate them into solo gaming. I think some will work better than others. Would a hybrid syem be the way to go? For example,  I would use the Infinity mechanism whereas the AI would randomly drawn cards.


  1. Chris,

    For my money, cards are the way to go, particularly for solo games (though the boy and I are doing the same with our Napoleonic games). However, I don't do like IABSM, where each unit has a card. I simply count the units and put that many cards in the deck, shuffle them up, and draw. When the player's color comes up, he gets to decide which unit to activate.

    This randomizes things, making it sufficiently unpredictable for me, but without making you feel helpless (when is that unit's card going to come out!?). You get to be the commander, deciding what your priorities are and doing your best to coordinate, but never knowing what is going to happen next.

    I've also had a lot of fun using the Blitzkrieg Commander style of activation (on my blog, the Hell on Wheels campaign and the French Foreign Legion in Perplakistan campaign).


  2. I'd throw in what I don't know what to call: IGOUGO but with limited activations.

    So ala Chain of Command, Nuts/5150 or, if I may toot my own horn, FiveCore.

    The players take turns but you are limited, usually by dice roll, in how many things you can do, meaning not every figure typically activates.

    For solo gaming, I think cards or other random draws is typically considered the ideal.

  3. I'm probably going with cards. Ivan, I'm also looking at your latest rule's method too .