Mass Battle Play... How do you fight?

I first picked up SWM largely to play 'Mass Battles'.  Originally I figured I would either use WEG rules or modify the SWM rules to reenact larger battles that skirmish play.  Now I am trying to write my own rules from the ground up.  I just wanted to get a sense from the community how people are playing larger scale battles.  If yo have a few moments could you comment on the following or anything else relevant to mass battle play.  I am not trying to draft a survey, just interested in peoples thoughts.


What do you consider mass battle play?


How many minis are you putting on the table per side on average?


What era are you recreating?


What rules do you use?


If you are using SWM rules how do you modify them for use in mass battles?


Do you have any command or control rules that you use?


Do you maps or terrain are special rule involved?


How long does it take you to play. 


 


 

swmgamers.com/e107_files/downloads/lesma...


This is something that I have been working on and finally got it up for the commuity to enjoy.


Takes at least 4 hours to play if not 6.


All the rules are spelled out in the pdf. If you have questions PM me


swmgamers.com/e107_files/downloads/lesma...


This is something that I have been working on and finally got it up for the commuity to enjoy.


Takes at least 4 hours to play if not 6.


All the rules are spelled out in the pdf. If you have questions PM me





I took a good hard look at your scenario before I posted my thread.  Thanks for posting the link , I was very impressed.  Can you chat about the process you went through to create the scenario.  Also how did you decide on the pt level you decided to use?

I use the War Engine rules


 


You can get them at


www.warengine.darktortoise.com/index.php...


You can use them to build how ever you want with whatever you want.


Many of the special abilities that make a cost you can change to the star wars mini abilitie name.  You build a force consisting of points at whatever level you want.  The size of the armies is determined on how you spend your force building points.


 

Every move in this game is a mistake, the hope is that your opponent makes a bigger mistake when he makes his move.


I use the War Engine rules


 


You can get them at


www.warengine.darktortoise.com/index.php...


You can use them to build how ever you want with whatever you want.


Many of the special abilities that make a cost you can change to the star wars mini abilitie name.  You build a force consisting of points at whatever level you want.  The size of the armies is determined on how you spend your force building points.


 





I have looked at Warengine pretty closely.  Have you modeled up unit stats for Star Wars.  I will probably give it a shot for a Kashyyyk scenario I have been thinking about running.

I've created an Endor Mass Battle Scenario with heavily modified rules.  The stats are pared down and the game is played on 3-D terrain.  The intent was for play at conventions and designed for people who have never played minis, but could learn the rules in 10-15 minutes and play.


Each side is broken down into "teams".  There are up to 5 predetermined teams on each side and the same number play each other.  I've had games of 2vs2 and 3vs3, but they are all pretty well balanced.  Each team has "infantry squads" for the basic units.  Each squad has 4 minis that move together and get one attack.  Attack value is determined by how many units still survive an one is removed for each hit taken.  The squads are placed in cardboard trays 2x2 squares in size to keep them together.  Each team has 8 squads (32 pieces), 4 regular troopers, 3 commanders, a huge unit and 2-4 Uniques. So, there are about 40 pieces per team, but less than 20 activations.


Other general rule changes include no cover and line of sight to all enemy targets.  I set up three "zones" in the battle area which is 4'x6' in size.  Each piece can target any character within its third of the battle grid and some characters have extended range.  I modified the stats for the units to build in for stealth and other abilities.  Activations are by type of character.  Infantry squads all activate first following initiative order, then other trooper units, then all commanders, huges, and finally Uniques.  It does speed play a bit than just two at a time and makes it a lot easier to track which pieces have gone or not.


When we've played, the first round usually takes about an hour and a half and the following rounds closer to an hour.  Activations get cleared off in a hurry.  Stsparks72 has a very similar scenario created for Hoth without as many terrain restrictions but similar ideas with the squads and various activations.  We worked to co-ordinate rules whenever possible for convention players to learn one set and be able to play the other one.


I'd be happy to share more details if you like, but don't have the rules and squads together in a concise way to post.   I can email them all if you are interested, just PM me.

Stsparks72 has a very similar scenario created for Hoth without as many terrain restrictions but similar ideas with the squads and various activations.  We worked to co-ordinate rules whenever possible for convention players to learn one set and be able to play the other one.

I'd be happy to share more details if you like, but don't have the rules and squads together in a concise way to post.   I can email them all if you are interested, just PM me.



Ditto for my Hoth Scenario.  The current rule structure can be downloaded HERE.
 Although for 2010 threre will be a  couple minor additions to the current rules.  I'm going to create a point system for determining tie breakers.

Cool

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I use the War Engine rules


 


You can get them at


www.warengine.darktortoise.com/index.php...


You can use them to build how ever you want with whatever you want.


Many of the special abilities that make a cost you can change to the star wars mini abilitie name.  You build a force consisting of points at whatever level you want.  The size of the armies is determined on how you spend your force building points.


 





I have looked at Warengine pretty closely.  Have you modeled up unit stats for Star Wars.  I will probably give it a shot for a Kashyyyk scenario I have been thinking about running.



 


Well my squad changes each time I have done it and never really thought to keep the stats I have used  (smacks head)

Every move in this game is a mistake, the hope is that your opponent makes a bigger mistake when he makes his move.

The prohibitive thing about Mass Battles, I believe, is that they require more table space than most people have.  I would think a good mass battle board would need to be at least 4'x4' (4'x6' would probably be better).  Otherwise, I've found no matter how you try and deploy troops it basically just ends up with one side all bunched up in a densely packed line versus their opposition, who are also all bunched up in a densely packed line.  This results in a very unstrategic kind of battle.


 


I've been toying with some mass battle ideas, and I think I would prefer to go with a "Squad Based" option, so that each side is constructing an army made of separate distinct squads which activate.


I think the trick to making good Mass Battle rules is to really work around CEs and to focus on army construction and formation.  These rough ideas could be a foundation to that:


 


Command Group: 1-5 models, represents the army's commander and his or her tactical group.  Whenever this squad activates, any characters within it may "Give Orders: replaces attacks, target squad with at least one Mouse Droid or Com-Link (2 points, added to cost of Squad Leader) within it gains the benefits of this character's Commander Effect for the rest of the turn."


Each Squad can contain only 1 Leader (unique character, character with a CE, or a unique character with a CE) [A leader's CE applies to all and only the characters in its squad, regardless of printed range]


Each Squad should contain between 5-10 characters.


Each Squad must be comprised of non-unique characters, with the exception of the Leader.


All characters within a Squad must be within 2 inches / squares of another member of their Squad.  If, during the start of a squad's activation any of its characters are farther than 2 inches / squares from their nearest squadmate, that character must spend its entire activation just moving so as to be back within the squad's closeness requirements (it may not attack or do actions that replace attack).  At the end of each squad's activation, all characters must be within 2 inches / squares of their nearest squadmate, and if any characters are not they are considered defeated.


Characters with Mounted Weapon or Emplacement act as their own squads and may not have other models within their squad. [note: mounted weapons have no way to benefit from CEs under this format.  Not sure if that is a pro or con]


(Special abilities like Rapport and Fire Control would have to be changed to apply only to the squad that the model with the ability is present in, just for balance purposes).


 


Ranges: Ranged Attacks have a Range equal to their base damage, in inches / squares.  Not sure if this would make base 10 Damage pieces unplayable, but it would be extra incentive to use the typically overlooked 30 Damage shooters / heavies.  Otherwise, make all ranges 20 inches / squares.


 


Activations: Sides would take turn activating much like the current rules.  The winner of Init activates 1 Squad, then the loser of Init activates 1 Squad, and it rotates as such.


 


I have no idea what kind of points total would be suited to these sorts of Squad battles, but there would be lots of strategic decisions people would have to make.  Should they have more squads of cheaper figures to have lots of activations, or fewer elite squads.  How many points should they poor into the Command Group?  Should the Command Group have all characters with CEs to benefit the rest of the army as much as possible, or should some of the spots be reserved for Bodyguards for protection or heavy-hitters to allow for some damage-output during the activation of the Command Group?  Should I use my first activation to activate my Stormtrooper squad to make 10 Ranged attacks against that enemy squad right away, or should I activate the Command Group to pass out some beneficial CEs for future activations?

You have some nicely laid out rules here roguethirteen. 


 


I love the idea of squads and commander effects.  A buddy of mine played out a mass battles Mandalorian vs Old Republic and I thought the biggest downfall to mass battles was that one fig with a commander effect with no range limitation could screw up the whole game mechanic making that commader unfair to play. in a mass battle scenario. 


I'd use almost all of these rules. 


I might modify the CE rule slightly though.  Maybe a lone fig could Spend his full turn to join a Squad within 6 squares or something like.  So then a decimated squad could regroup with a healthy squad if you wanted to waste your turn doing so.


What's the largest mass battles point game you've done.  I've done 1200 and the Commander effects really make it unfair if you don't balance it somehow


 


 


 

Thanks.


I haven't actually tried out these rules yet, though some friends and I have been discussing attempting a mass battle game for something different and these are some rough ideas for rules I've thought about implementing.


I like your suggestion for "lone models" being able to rejoin another squad with their turn.  If nothing else, it allows for yet another layer of decisions to be made by the player, which is always a good thing (I think) for a tactical game.


What do people think about making some kind of restriction to army construction like this:


 


Command Group Squad (0-5 models; each army must have one and only one command group. During this squad's activations, characters within it may take the following action: Give Orders: Replaces attacks: target friendly squad with Mouse Droid or Com-Link is considered within range of this character's CE for the remainder of the turn)


Hero (1 model; each army may have 0-3 Hero Squads.  This character may begin the game as part of any basic troops squad.  This character may take the following action: Regroup: replaces attack: this character leaves any squad it is a part of and joins a new target squad with at least one model within 2 inches)


Basic Troop Squad (5-10 models; each army may have any number of Basic Troop Squads; each army must have an equal number of Basic Troop Squads and other types of squads) Each Basic Troop Squad may have only one leader (a unique character, a character with a CE, or a unique character with a CE).


Armored Support Squad (0-3 models of the same name with Mounted Weapon; each army may have 0-2 armored support squads. Characters with Mounted Weapon may only be in an Armored Support Squad)


 


 


So, a constructed army could look something like this:


Command Group: General Grievous DAC, Battle Droid Sgt, 3x Bodyguard Droid


Basic Troop Squad 1: Battle Droid Officer (leader), Mouse Droid, 8x Battle Droid


Basic Troop Squad 2: Battle Droid Officer (leader), Mouse Droid, 8x Battle Droid with Sniper Rifle


Armored Support Squad 1: 3x Homing Spider Droid


 


Just a rough start of ideas.  Any other suggestions would be welcomed.  Some issues would need to be resolved. 


 


For instance, to keep melee competitive, if a character with melee attacks a squad, they should probably be able to gain a "Follow Through" bonus:  If this character kills an adjacent enemy with a melee attack, it may immediately move up to 2 inches and make a remaining Extra Attack, if applicable.  This may be repeated until the character as long as the character has Extra Attacks remaining.  This would allow characters like jedi to cut their way through an enemy squad a little more quickly, since otherwise at the mass combat scale melee would be too severly disadvantaged.


Similarly, additional restrictions need to put onto Ranged Attacks.  For one, Ranged Attacks should be risky when firing past friendly squads.  If a Ranged Attack is made that passes through a friendly squad and the attack misses, it hits one friendly character in that squad.  If a Ranged Attack is made against an enemy that is adjacent to a friendly model and the attack hits, the enemy has a save of 11+: if successful, the attack hits the adjacent friendly model instead (save 16+ if the attacker has Accurate Shot or Sniper).  This way, if I charge a squad of Jedi Knights led by Windu into a squad of droids, the entire enemy army can't just shoot willy-nilly into the fray with only a +4DEF Cover penalty.


Obviously, a lot more fine-tunings need to be added, but it's a reasonable start.


 

I came up with a very simple way of doing mass battle.  Its not really in line with what most people are discussing (and these are all great ideas).  It came about when I was considering a dilema.  My brother and I loved playing 400pt-500pt games but didn't always have the time that it takes to play a game of that point magnitude.


My solution was simple.  Play a squad (300pt or more) according to normal skirmish rules and then set a victory condition with points that are less than a squad itself with a lead requirement.


For instance, play a 500pt game with the victory conditions being the first player to score 150pts with at least a 50pt lead over the opponent.  The idea being that you lose once your army is on the run.  We found it was a great way to play the large squads we wanted to play without spending 4-6 hours playing.  We are actually able to play multiple games in the same space of time.



swmgamers.com/e107_files/downloads/lesma...


This is something that I have been working on and finally got it up for the commuity to enjoy.


Takes at least 4 hours to play if not 6.


All the rules are spelled out in the pdf. If you have questions PM me





I took a good hard look at your scenario before I posted my thread.  Thanks for posting the link , I was very impressed.  Can you chat about the process you went through to create the scenario.  Also how did you decide on the pt level you decided to use?




I will work on getting the steps typed up.



swmgamers.com/e107_files/downloads/lesma...


This is something that I have been working on and finally got it up for the commuity to enjoy.


Takes at least 4 hours to play if not 6.


All the rules are spelled out in the pdf. If you have questions PM me





I took a good hard look at your scenario before I posted my thread.  Thanks for posting the link , I was very impressed.  Can you chat about the process you went through to create the scenario.  Also how did you decide on the pt level you decided to use?



 


I have been asked to go through the steps of creating the Geonosis Arena mass Battle.


I will be real honest I am not sure where, when, or how I came up with the idea.  I know that a few years ago I picked up The Complete Locations of Star Wars: Inside the Worlds of the Entire Star Wars Saga.  When I bought the book I researching the Pod Racer map that I have never finished.  Hey it has only been three and a half years.  Over time I looked at making a game map of Jabba's palace, that were a little bit more true than the maps that were out there at the time.  I also used the book to look at the Hoth Mass battles that are out there.  In that book they of course have the huge battle at Geonosis.  I would guess this is what originally.


So I assume it was during one of our after minis meals at Arby's that the idea really took hold.  Our group had  a mass battle Hoth a few times and there was interest in finding something new. 


I started by doing some research and making lots of notes.  I viewed the Geonosis arena battle movie scene from EP II more than I can remember.  I think I even went through it frame by frame at least twice.  From the scene in the movie I pulled out the characters that had minis and looked at the numbers of droids that would be needed.  I also used the movie scene to drive the pace of the game.  I also looked at Wookieepidea for ideas and to research what Jedi were there.


So the beginning part was pretty easy to figure out.  Obi, Ani, and Padme are tied to pillars.  The arena map has pillars, so some things just made sense.  I know, which Ani to use was debated by my close friend and right hand man on this, Rob.  Rob actually helped out a ton on this project. 


Figuring out how to represent all the droids and Geonosians took some time.  But I kept going back to the movie and telling myself that a lot of Jedi died in this battle.  The droids have to be able to kill the jedi.  The seven destroy droids rolling out is right out of the movie.  The battle droid officer seemed to fit the battle.  The super battle droid commander was added to boost the droids.  Since most of the Geonsians scattered when the fighting broke out I knew I had to have at least some of them in there as well, but not too many.


The movie also determined a few other parts of this battle.  Giving unique Jedi  a small bump in force seemed obvious and helped them out quite a bit.  Next were the droids coming out of the main doors is also out of the movie.  Dealing with Mace coming up behind Jango and Dooku was part that was a bit difficult to deal with.  His battle with Jango takes a long time and sort of threw of the timing of the original design.  Originally I planned on 20 rounds.


At this point we play tested it and quickly realized that 20 rounds would take forever to play out.  We also tweaked how some of the characters interacted.  By not allowing characters to freely move from the arena floor to the balconies forces the three prisoners to fight rather than run to where the savage characters cannot fit.


We have worked on a scaled down model, but it didn't feel quite right.  The Jedis were scaled down to 4 man teams.  It does cut the play time down, but it also took out some droids as well.  At this point we also looked at how the Jedi groups were paired up.  Some changes were made, while other suggestions were not used.  There were also characters in the movie that were left out on purpose.  R2-D2 fall into this catagory.


With the release of Jedi Academy I added more unique jedi to the battle.  So, there are a few jedi that you council argue that might not have been in the battle.  Now with the release of the new Kit, I am not sure how to go from here.  The Seps could also add the Battle Droid Sgt.  I know for certain they were in the movie so they might be added to the next version.  This will require some more play testing.


 As for the point cost.  We moved jedi around on the map so that each group were close to being balanced based on points and attack power. The droids were scaled up and down based more on the time it took to play them.


I hope this answers some questions


 


 

leshippy


Many thanks for the write up.  Arby's as muse, who'd a thunk it!  I was particularly useful to read through modeling up process.  My first attempt at refighting SWM on a grand scale was Geognosis.  I was overly ambitious, over 100 Basic Battle Droids (with potentially double that with reinforcements), 6 Destroyers, 50 Super Battle Droids, Geognosians about 50 Jedi (lots of Jedi Guardians, knights etc...), complicated reinforcement rules etc....  All to play out on my own.  I took hours to complete the first turn and I was never able to finish the scenario.  I am an experienced historical miniature player so I should have know better.