Monday, 25 November 2013

Hold the line again...

Getting to grips with the rules for Highland Charge

I like this game so much I'm spending some time and effort getting properly into the rules. This is for two reasons

1. I think the rules are very good but they are written in a way that makes it hard for me to properly comprehend them. If I take them apart and re-assemble them I will fully understand them (imagine what I used to be like with complicated stuff?).

2. I have some plans for these rules. In particular, once I'm happy I understand Highland Charge I'm very tempted to use them to design scenarios for the battles of Montrose. I can't see any reason why they shouldn't work and may even then take them further and look a the rest of the ECW. The other idea that popped into my head recently was to use these rules for FPW or even WW1. The command limitations and slow movement rates would be particularly interesting for WW1.

BPC, nice wig, shame about the limited command capacity!
So, lets take a look first at the command rules which are the motor of the game....

Action points: Each player has a number of leaders (up to three), one of whom is the overall side commander. Each scenario allocates a base number of APs per side. This varies from one (minimum) to three (maximum). Each player rolls a d3 and adds the score. This score is modified: -1 for each of the player's leaders that have been eliminated but +1 if the player's overall commander had a rest in the preceding turn (i.e. was not activated).

There is also an interesting option to save APs from one turn to the next. The limit on this is the commander's leadership rating. The commander must also still be alive when using these extra APs and they must be used in the turn immediately after they have been saved.

What does all this mean? Well, in the scenarios in the Highland Charge book, the maximum number of APs that might be used in a turn is eight! That is, 3 scenario APs plus maximum 3 on the d3. No leaders eliminated and army commander rested on previous turn (+1). Add +2 APs carried forward (the maximum is 2 as that is the highest commander rating, given to Argyll in Sheriffmuir). That makes 9 but as Argyll's scenario points are 2, the maximum that can be scored is eight.

Analysis: Unlike PIP type games, there is some skill in managing your APs. It is possible to build up to a large scale winning attack. There is still some luck, but this is perhaps less decisive than some of the issues with CnC card driven games which can leave you in a pickle.