Prev: RE: Tuffleyverse, States of Europe Next: A review I read in MARS

Movement thoughts for FMA from Mike - my reply

From: "Thomas Barclay" <Thomas.Barclay@s...>
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 1999 22:18:04 -0400
Subject: Movement thoughts for FMA from Mike - my reply

Now tell me I've missed something....

Cheers, Mike Elliott

** I think so. Let me take it up as a reply to your post.


To summarise, a "standard" movement action is a fixed distance
8" for an average figure). A combat move
is a doubled die (e.g. D8 x 2 for a typical trooper) or 2Dn depending
your perference. Dn x 2 is the method used in SG2.

** First: Standard move action (1 action): 6". Standard Combat Move
Action: d6x2".
Two actions per activation. Average on combat move is 7", so on
average you will move farther than a normal move. Also, you will
certainly have a greater potential - 24" if you do two combat moves
(unlikely but possible). So there is a quantitative difference.

Now in game terms, the player decides to activate Pvt Parts. The aim
is to
get the figure across to the cover offered
by the skip. OK let's make a combat move. Roll a D8 and double it.
Rolled a 3. That means he moves 6" and is now stuck in the middle of
street. He ends his activation and is now prime target no. 1 for every
guy on the table.

** No, it doesn't end his activation. He executes his second action as
a movement and rolls 2d6 again. But that's okay... if he sucks there,
yes he COULD be stuck out. This is the point of combat movement: You
can get stuck out. More to follow.

Hold on, lets run that again. The player decides to activate Pvt
Parts. The
aim is to get the figure across to the cover offered
by the skip. Lets take 2 normal move actions. That gives me a maximum
of 16". No problem, the skip is only 11" away.
Pvt Parts dashes across the street to the cover of the skip. The ONLY
guys who can shoot at him are those who
are either on Overwatch or any figure that has not yet activated and
using Reaction Fire. In other words, its a good idea
to wait until most opposing figures have activated before dashing
the street.

** Well, if you interpret (as some do) some of the stuff in the
rulebook, you could conclude that as he is double moving, anyone who
has not activated can actually fire at him in the middle of a full
move in view of their unit. But that is another point.

Well, I know which way I'd do it! The only advantage to the combat
method is that if successful you get to fire with
your second action. You pays yer money and you takes your choice....

** You've hit one thing on the head. The combat move is a risk. It
represents getting from A to B and the vagarities involved. It could
move you further than a normal move (up to double) or it could move
you pretty near nowhere.

If you think about it then, the "dash across the street" problem has
gone away.

** It isn't meant to! The problem with a deterministic set 6" move is
*IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY* (afaics) in the world outside of games.
Pvt. Parts could twist his ankle, or slip and need to getup, or a
stray shot (these things don't happen in waves in the *reality* of the
game, as Jon T points out, but rather the turns mask the true
continous nature of the combat - there are no pauses...just because
someone has fired...) forced him to duck and momentarily not finish
his sprint. Or he planned to go and his webgear came loose when he got
up to run, so he had to adjust it while staggering about, etc. etc. -
Or his judgement of the distance and his timing was FUBAR. Real combat
doesn't gift us with perfect distance measure, or perfect timing.
Sometimes we think we can make a rush and can't (I've seen this way to
often in paintball and that is with innacurate weapons and low
velocities and RoF).

** Of course, the wise gamer (someone who should IMHO (only my own!)
be playing chess or bridge since they have set rules and clear cut
moves) says "But I can move 6 inches! Why take the risk of a combat
move!" - The answer is because in combat your soldier has *NOT* got
that choice - his move is a combat move! He won't *saunter* from a to
B, nor will he march. He might dash (roll a combat move, hope for a
six to let him move 12" in one move to avoid mid-move fire!) or he
might do the "Up-he-sees-me-down" thing or some combination of
dashing, ducking, and even rolling around dodging bullets... assuming
he doesn't trip or stagger. But the time it takes him to get from A to
B is a range of possible values. Boy, would most of the Warrant
Officers in any military I've encountered just love it if their whole
squads would move together, or even if any one individual would snap
to an order all the time without fail. But combat is by its nature
stressful, random, and isn't turn based. So we place it into a turn
based abstraction of a game with small lead men who don't panic,
hyperventillate, zone out, or trip or otherwise do dumb ass stuff that
is the natural province of men being shot at.... and so we try, by
whatever method, to preserve the non-deterministic feel of combat. The
combat move should (most likely) be the only form of movement once
combat has been initiated. There are varieties of how it is executed
(the dash from cover to cover, the A2C up-run-down, the combat crawl,
the Airborne Shuffle, whatever), but it is very rarely deterministic.

** Now, YMMV. But I like Jon's idea of making the game fraught with
chaos and random factors. It keeps us from *knowing* that the other
player has all activated (boy would i love that knowledge in RL - make
street fighting much safer!), from *knowing* Pvt. Parts can make the
run to the skip, and from knowing a bunch of other stuff and letting
that make the game a far more "gamer-ish" (not badmouthing gamers
here - but not good in a game with a pretense and atmosphere of
reality) feel by reducing risk.

** And, for FMA Skirmish, I'll close this reply back by saying: A
squad can handle two forms of movement - that is an abstraction of the
milling about of four to ten guys... whereas an individual has several
quite distinct movement types - a cautious advance using bounding or
A2C style, marching in column (not used in combat since they invented
the rifled musket and for good reason), jogging in column, crawling,
or madly sprinting from one street corner to the next. These are all
distinct from one another an are significant (or probably should be)
for a game that addresses the options of the individual. In some
senses, an individual has more choices than an SG2 squad. But I don't
believe the answer is to not reflect the nature of combat or the
nature of the range of individual choices - rather it is to have
simple, easily memorable mechanics and let people play with 6 guys
instead of six squads in SG2.

** Anyway, YMMV, and I'm only some piker from the Colonies, who
rambles a lot. :)

Thomas Barclay
Software UberMensch
xwave solutions
(613) 831-2018 x 3008

Prev: RE: Tuffleyverse, States of Europe Next: A review I read in MARS