Monday, 17 October 2011

Three Steps Forward....



I had the best of intentions this weekend, I really did! I had managed to factor in to the usual domestic schedule a couple of hours for gaming  (actually an afternoon) but when I got to the allotted time was unable to take full advantage. This was frustrating but the news was not all bad.

I wanted to sit down and give the Portable Naval War Game a play test but in order to do this I first needed to tackle some ship charts. This was where the problem arose. Try as I might I could not get these looking like anything other then quite complex - which is the complete opposite of my avowed intention. Whilst grappling with these I was of course referring to my draft rules and the appropriate copy of Conways but something did not feel quite right about the whole thing.

It was the rules.

Something I could not quite put my finger on just did not feel right and try as I might I could not see why. Then it came to me and I felt very foolish as a result! I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say a ship with more guns would last longer than one with fewer - simply because every barrel has a hit box. This skews the length of time a ship can last and gives a big advantage to those ships that have three or even four calibres of gun on board. Adjusting the rules to reign this in would change a number of gunnery and damage related mechanisms which would in effect mean a complete redraft of the entire thing - except for the movement rules, of which I am very pleased.

After a moment's despair I abandoned all thoughts of testing the rules and instead set about drafting, in effect, a new set.

Am I disappointed by this turn of events? Yes and no, to an extent. Obviously it is frustrating but I would rather work on and from a rule set that captures the essence of what I am trying to game than with a set that has such an obvious shortcoming. Rules may fudge to a lesser or greater degree how aspects of a game translate our vision of what we are representing and this is fine but when they are just plain wrong, for whatever reason, that is a different matter entirely.

The revised or new set are in fact virtually ready and I was very surprised (as in 'I could have kicked myself!') I did not think of the system I have used beforehand. Especially as so much work had been carried out on this previously and all that was missing  was the final piece of the puzzle.

Yesterday saw me finding that piece....;-)

10 comments:

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

David,

Sorry to hear about what happened, but at least you are back on track now. What you describe has happened to us all at some time, so don't be too downhearted.

All the best,

Bob

Paul of the Man Cave said...

But a step forward nonetheless!

Peter Douglas said...

David

The link between the number of guns and the damage capacity is a carry over from Jutland I think. Good luck tinkering!

There are no perfect solutions, just acceptable compromises.

PD

Tim Gow said...

Better to discover problems like this yourself than have them pointed out by players!

David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

I think embarrassed is probably a better description! Still, it is all part of the learning process!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Paul,

True enough and any progress is better than none!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

A Jutland hangover is about right! The next version definitely falls into the 'acceptable compromise' category!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Tim,

Now that would be a disaster!

All the best,

DC

Peter Douglas said...

David

I couple of old chestnuts that I tell my students when choosing mathematical models (which is after all what a set of wargames rules is as heart).

1. All models are wrong, but some them are useful. We can replace models with rules and useful with playable.

2. Perfect is the enemy of good (or finished).

Splice yer main brace and have at 'em again.

PD

David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

Not bad rules for life really!

All the best,

DC