Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Facing and Orientation ...

After out latest Antares 2401 game, we had a brief discussion on facing and orientation of individual figures on the Kallistra-hexes. The hexgrid is an integral part of our game, since we use it to link action points per figure to movement (1 action point per hex), and use the hexes as a distance metric to resolve fire (roll D8 >= distance in hexes).

When writing the initial draft of the rules, orientation and placement of individual figures did matter as well:
  • A hex can contain at most 3 figures (this rule prevents cluttering up figures in a single hex);
  • At most two figures can be oriented towards each hexside.
  • Firing arc is 60 degrees, and central direction is determined by the hexside an individual figure is facing.
Orientation and placement of figures is detrmined by hexsides.
For most scenarios we played so far in the campaign, these rules seemed to function quite well. However, during the last game, it suddenly dawned on me I was probably overcomplicating things.
  1. The rule that figures needs to be oriented towards hexsides leads to the placement of figures next to the hexside in question (look at some of the photographs of our previous Antares games). Since only the hex in which a figure is present is important, and not the placement within the hex itself, figures are placed w.r.t. clarity for their orientation. This does not help visual appeal, and since visual appeal is important in miniature wargaming, it needs to be addressed.
  2. Terrain features do no always match the hexgrid. I try to force them when laying out the table. The underlying assumption is that a single hex (e.g. woods) or a single hexside (e.g. walls) is a single terrain type, and die modifiers due to terrain are unambiguously clear. However, sometimes players want to position a figure at a finer resolution than a single hex, especially when the terrain suggests this (e.g. a wall or the corner of a building inside a hex). Thus, if we relax the restriction, placement of figures becomes more organic.
  3. Line of sights is suggested by connecting hex-centre to hex-centre, rather than figure-to-figure. But this also feels unnatural at times. Figure-to-figure LOS feels more natural, but this in turn then suggests free placement of a figure inside the hex.
  4. The main reason orientation of figures is important is because of firing arc, and for flank melee attacks. The first is easy to solve, since a figure usually only shoots at one or two targets. We can stipulate that if shooting at multiple targets, they have to fit within a firing arc, but the actual direction of the firing arc is free to choose.
 So, I arrived at the following conclusions, which probably still need some more tinkering:
  • Figures can be positioned within a hex anywhere to match the terrain inside a hex.
  • Any repositioning within the hex costs 1 action point.
  • LOS is traced from figure to figure.
  • Orientation of a single figure is not important. When engaging multiple targets using fire, the targets cannot deviate more direction-wise than a single fire arc.
  • Since orientation of single figures is not important, any effects due to flank attacks etc. are eliminated.
In essence, we use the hexgrid for counting movement and counting firing ranges, but use the actual terrain and inner-hex details for cover, LOS, etc. By over-using the hexgrid in the rules, the hexgrid spilt over in the placement of individual figures, which was not a good thing and felt not good in a skirmish ruleset.

This all might seem trivial, and in some sense it is because I am already using similar principles in other games (check out other posts relating to hexes), but sometimes it takes some time to purify a set of rules before you reach a more elegant coherent whole.

1 comment:

  1. I had no problem with the 2 figures per hex side rule, but I agree with dense terrain the visual appeal is suffering.

    So good idea to simplify things!