Sunday, 4 November 2012
Mummerset Reflection & Overview
It has been more than a year since I last ran a game, which makes me ask what do I and the players want, or expect from playing the game? A better question perhaps is what makes it so hard to run regular games? I guess that as I no longer go to a games club each week the opportunity to play games is reduced, and that all of us have jobs and family commitments, which all leads to less games played. I will have to think about a new plan of action that addresses this problem, as the current one is not delivering the goodies.
Some of players have asked me is the Mummerset campaign based on Vietnam? No, not really, though it has some shout outs to Vietnam, like airborne formations and riverine operations. The genesis of the Mummerset campaign is rooted in the inter war period, especially the Spanish Civil War, with bits taken from the Russian Civil War. I like the whole feel of the period with its ad hoc use of armour, and mix of old and modern tactical doctrines. And yes House Steiner is a nod towards the German support for Franco, as played by General Whales. Saying that though, the campaign is not meant, or set as a Nazi Germany parable. The real villains are a blast from the past that have only just been revealed.
The campaign falls under Operation Sandbox, because it is my sandbox where I can kick around ideas. I use BattleTech rules, but these really focus on battlemech combat, and presents a vision of combat that is rooted by the constraints of being board game based. My goal is to develop rules to help speed up the amount of time each turn takes, and play games where the focus of the game is on combined arms where the battlemech is important, but doesn't work alone. The focus is also on playing with the miniatures on nice terrain too.
Currently I want to polish up the artillery rules, and write them up for the blog.
Then I want to work more on the infantry rules, which are proving to be problematical. This seems to be down to a combination of the size of the figures, which makes them hard to see clearly, and a lack of understanding of how to deploy infantry in BattleTech? The basic BattleTech rules for infantry are really rather simple, all things considered. Platoons get an attack value based on size and weapons. It all leads to rather bloody combat. I want to get players to enjoy deploying infantry, rather than them being some after thought that gets in the way of the battlemech action. I can see that I'm going have to rethink the organisation into squads/sections and make it easier for the players to understand and use.
When we do the next AAR role-play debrief, and plan the next phase of the campaign, I will sit and talk through the problems the players are having with using infantry. Meanwhile I shall go and jot down some notes and think about how to base the figures so that the organisation tracks both the number of casualties, and allows one to calculate the attack values without having to use a record sheet.
Finally, I've been thinking about using the BattleTech introductory rules from the box set that eliminates all the critical hits and internal structure from play. However, a part of me loves the detail, so I'm caught by the desire for fast, yet at the same time, detailed games of giant battlemechs fighting it out. I know that if you reduce the stats for the battlemech too far you end up with something like BattleForce. Quite frankly this doesn't satisfy me as it seems to me that there is still too much paperwork, with none of the atmosphere that comes from the details of playing a regular game of BattleTech.
I enjoy the feel of a game where the battlemechs are having bits & pieces shot off and degrading slowly under fire. If I can keep that, and get the game to run with a battalion per side in under four hours per game, I will have cracked it.