Baroque Solo Play

05/14/2016

Since committing to using Impetus:Baroque as my base rules system I want to start putting in place some procedures for solo play. The point of solo procedures is to add more elements of unpredictability to the game so that the player must deal with as many unforeseen events as possible. This helps remove some of the bias for one side (which often creeps in) and basically keeps the game “honest”. The trade-off is solo procedures may sometimes create an unrealistic result. Such is the nature of all wargames however.

While other techniques may evolve, the automated basis is a set of tokens (show in the header picture above) that sets an operational mode for each command. One or both sides may use operational mode tokens. There are six possible modes :

Escape* (E – double red arrow):The units in the command are attempting to move away from the enemy as rapidly as possible.  To operate in this mode the units (if not engaged) must first turn away from the enemy. Multiple move attempts MUST be attempted until each unit can proceed no further! Units MUST attempt to disengage from the enemy. Unit MAY exit the board but are not required to do so.

Withdraw **(W –  single red arrow): The units in the command are generally moving away from the enemy – avoiding contact – but protecting the command when required. Units remain facing the enemy and move backward.  Units capable of a second rearward move MAY take it. Units MUST attempt to disengage from the enemy.

Hold/Defend (HD – yellow bar): The units in the command are defending their current positions, moving to better defensive positions, or moving to support other units in the group (only units moving to support another unit in the group MAY attempt more than one move). A better defensive position may mean either a more robust position OR a position that thwarts the enemy’s advance.

Advance/Attack (AA – single green arrow): The units in the command are moving with the intention of engaging and defeating the enemy. Command cohesion is paramount so only single moves are attempted. However, a unit that has fallen behind the advance MAY use multiple moves to close up. One unit MAY also be pushed ahead (using additional move attempts) as a forlorn. Alignment moves may be taken to avoid terrain issues or to prepare for a charge.

Aggressive Advance/Attack (AAA – double green arrow):The units in the command are advancing and attacking the enemy as rapidly as possible. Units WILL attempt as many moves as necessary to engage the enemy either by fire or sword or both. An alignment move may first be taken but a charge move MUST then be attempted. This is the only mode to require that a disorganized unit that fails to rally still take aggressive action if possible.

Reorder (RO yellow inward arrows) The units in the group are repositioning to recover command cohesion and/or to exchange the position of fresh units with exhausted units. Multiple move attempts MAY be made to accomplish the reordering. Units MAY attempt to disengage from the enemy but aggressive action is still permitted. Units may not move beyond (in any direction) the original location of the units in the command relative to the original center of gravity of the command as a whole.

*The purpose of this mode is to allow for the fastest possible movement away from the enemy. It may result in units leaving the board BUT they MAY stop their movement before exiting. This is, however, the only mode in which an actual Withdraw (2.5.1.1) order may be given to a unit.

**Note this NOT the same as the Baroque “Withdraw” order (2.5.1.1)

Operational Mode Placement

The modes give the general operational parameters that a command will use when each of its units are activated. The number at the top of each token (1 trough 4) indicates the order in which the commands are activated. These are placed beside the officer commanding each command at the beginning of each new turn and flipped over once the command has compiled its play. This simulates to some degree the delay in communication and the fog of war (commanders often don’t recognize the overall battlefield situation).

Since there is often a tendency in solo play to favor one side over the other the mode tokens are placed alternately. A 1d6 roll (no modifiers) determines who goes first (the player with the lower roll). In the event of a tie the dice are re-rolled until a loser is determined. The loser selects the first command to receive a token followed by the winner selecting her first command. The dice are then re-rolled and the loser places their second token followed by the winner and so on until all commands have tokens. The tokens are ALWAYS placed in the order of activation.

Reaction Responses

One or both sides may also use the Reaction Response and/or Pursuit tables below. The command mode is used in these table to shape how a given unit may react to enemy actions.

MODE REACTION RESPONSE TABLE (various testing has shown that this table adds too much complication for any benefit from using – it is better to simply use player judgement with the randomness coming from the required Discipline Test – 04/27/2016)

Withdraw Action 1 2 3 4 5 6
E – Mode None None None None None None
W – Mode None None None None None None
RO – Mode None None None None None None
HD -Mode None None None None Op F Op F
AA – Mode None Op F Op F Op F Op F Op F
AAA -Mode Op F Op F Op F Op F Op F Op C
 :
Move Action 1 2 3 4 5 6
E – Mode None None None None None None
W – Mode None None None None None None
RO – Mode None None None None None None
HD -Mode None None Op F Op F Op F Op F
AA – Mode None Op F Op F Op F Op F Op C
AAA -Mode Op F Op F Op F Op F Op C Op C
 :
Charge Target 1 2 3 4 5 6
E – Mode None None Evade Evade Evade Evade
W – Mode None Evade Evade Evade Def F Def F
RO – Mode Evade Evade Evade Def F Def F Def F
HD -Mode None Def F Def F Def F Def F CC
AA – Mode Def F Def F Def F Def F CC CC
AAA -Mode Def F Def F CC CC CC CC
 :
Charge Action 1 2 3 4 5 6
E – Mode None None None None None None
W – Mode None None None None None Op F
RO – Mode None None None None Op F Op F
HD -Mode None None None Op F Op F Op F
AA – Mode None None Op F Op F Op F Op F
AAA -Mode None Op F Op F Op F Op F Op C
 :
Shoot Target 1 2 3 4 5 6
E – Mode None None Evade Evade Evade Evade
W – Mode None None Evade Evade Def F Def F
RO – Mode Evade Evade Evade Def F Def F Def F
HD -Mode None Def F Def F Def F Def F Def F
AA – Mode Def F Def F Def F Def F Def F Op C
AAA -Mode Def F Def F Def F Def F Op C Op C
 :
Shoot Action 1 2 3 4 5 6
E – Mode None None None None None None
W – Mode None None None None None None
RO – Mode None None None None None None
HD -Mode None None None None Op F Op F
AA – Mode None None None Op F Op F Op F
AAA -Mode None None Op F Op F Op F Op F

Columns one through six correspond to a 1d6 (the reaction response roll).  In cases where a specific situation or troop type prohibits the reaction (a pike unit given opportunity fire for instance), the result is taken from the column CLOSEST to the result column that DOES provide an allowed reaction. If equidistant then 1d6 odd = down, even equal up. The reaction is still subject to a discipline roll. Warbands (HBx excluding HBL), Gallopers (GA) and Lancers (LCR) add one to their +1 to their reaction response roll. Only S, DR, LC (or LCR) may evade.

Def F = Defensive Fire, Op F = Opportunity Fire, CC = Counter Charge, Op C = Opportunity Charge.

If the result from the table is “None” the discipline test is NOT made and the unit is still considered non-reacted. If another unit can be triggered it will then check for a reaction. This is simply a method for simulating a player decision since, at most, only one unit will have reacted.

Notes on Reactions:

  1. Only one unit may attempt to react to an enemy action. Once reacted (even if it did not pass the discipline test) it is marked as reacted and may not attempt to react again until the next turn. (Baroque rule 4.1.3)
  2. If the reaction table provides an “Evade” result this does not count as a reaction and the unit is NOT marked as reacted (Baroque rule 5.6). Note that if a different column is required to be selected (see above) then the unit IS considered to be reacted.
  3. If more than one unit can potentially react to an enemy action, the human player selects the one to attempt reaction. This does have the possibility of being randomized in the future.
  4. The table will occasionally generate a reaction that the human player simply doesn’t want to take. Better disciplined troops have a chance to vacate the reaction (but still must be marked reacted). “C” level unit can vacate with a 1d6 = 6; “B” level can vacate with a 1d6 = 5,6; “A” level with a 1d6 = 3,4,5,6.
  5. Since in solo play the reaction is automated a “trigger” level is added. The enemy unit precipitating the reaction must be visible (or partly visible) and a distance of 2BU or less (if moving) or out to 3BU (if firing). Note that in the case of firing it is actually the move that triggers the reaction and the active unit shooting that extends the reaction range to 3.

Pursuit

Given the opportunity Warbands (HBx excluding HBL), Gallopers (GA) and Lancers (LCR) (Rule 7.1.4) MUST execute pursuit of a defeated enemy (there are rule restrictions however).
Other units with an Impetus value greater than 0 (zero) MAY execute pursuit. The following table is used in solo play when using operational mode tokens:

MODE PURSUIT TABLE  (various testing has shown that this table adds too much complication for any benefit from using – it is better to simply use player judgement with the randomness coming from the required Discipline Test – 04/27/2016)

Pursuit Option 1 2 3 4 5 6
E – Mode None None None None None None
W – Mode None None None None None None
RO – Mode None None None None None Pursuit
HD -Mode None None None None Pursuit Pursuit
AA – Mode None None Pursuit Pursuit Pursuit Pursuit
AAA -Mode None Pursuit Pursuit Pursuit Pursuit Pursuit