PDA

View Full Version : Planning the Big Battle



TheSil
01-03-2010, 08:36
I am currently planning a very special battle for me: I want to play with all my armies (good vs. evil) and have all my units on the table.
Since I have 11 sizeable armies this might take some careful preparation and I wanted to ask for some advice from you how to handle this.

To give you an idea how big this is going to be:
- I have 2415 models ready for action
- I counted the points of the troop choices and without any heroes or magic stuff I get 15260 points for Good and 16763 points for Evil, in addition there are 3200 points of Ogres that will balance things out as mercenaries
- After the hero and magic stuff is added there might be roughly 24000 points on either side (which makes a total of 48000 points on the table)

The Good side is represented by: High Elfs, Wood Elfs, Lizardmen, Dwarfs, Empire. The Evil side by: Chaos Warriors, Demons, Orcs and Goblins, Skaven, Vampire Counts.
There will not be more than 2 people playing all this.


As you have seen I have not fully decided on how I want to incorporate heroes. Just like in all my other games I very much dislike hero heavy battles and I don’t want to take things out of the hands of the thousands of troops. I don’t want this game to be decided by whatever player has 30 more power dice in the third turn (and thus can easily obliterate the other one with magic). On the other hand I don’t want to miss out on too many of the nice hero choices I have, after all I want to play with everything I have.
I guess a rough 25%-29% cap on heroes and magic items could work well, I could take most of my heroes give some of them decent magic support while others can be happy with mundane equipment or a sword of might and still be effective enough. (I don’t like magic items too much anyway and lvl 2 mages don’t really depend on equipment)
For example I thought about adding 4924 points of heroes + 700 points of magic items to the 16763 troops of the Evil side. That’s about 25% and after adding half of the Ogres I would be at 24005 points in total. Do you think something like that would be well balanced and interesting? Or would it be better to increase the magic item cap a bit?
Regarding dispel scrolls I guess that in a game this size they might be needed to balance out the PD/DD difference. So, maybe I just give each side, let’s say about 10-15 and distribute them among any mages that volunteer...
In any case I will see to it that the magic phase is roughly balanced, as this can destroy the game most easily. (Current estimates are around 33/26 for Good, 40/22 Evil, not sure what I should think about that)


My biggest problem definitely is the space to play. I don’t want to do this on the floor, because my back will hurt quite a bit after that, tables on the other hand are difficult to get and fit into one room.
What do you think how much space I will need for a battle this size??
I have one standard game board (180x120cm) and the GW modular game board of the same size I can paint up for this occasion. Additionally I could manage to organise a third gaming table the same size, which brings me to a total of three standard sized gaming boards.
Now, I know that’s not much for so many troops but I am rapidly running out of additional table space.
Do you think a 25000 point / 2400 model game is nicely playable on such a small space?
If not it would be rather difficult to add much to it apart from two more modular game board pieces.


Deployment and victory conditions are another matter. I thought about multiple objectives and a 7-8 turn limit, but am still afraid that this big battle might degrade into several smaller battles with little connection to each other. Is there anything one can do about that? I usually play total annihilation kind of battles, but even though this could possibly work as long as both sides die out evenly, the distances surviving troops would have to cross to reach other pockets of survivors would make a fight to the death scenario unlikely.
Maybe I could add some "teleport gates" where units can enter other areas of the board to add interactivity between different table areas? I’m not sure about that though, special rules like that usually come with a price and teleportation can be trouble.
Because I might end up deploying most of the forces on my own "hidden deployment" is not really an option, but I can’t get my head around how to make deployment fair yet fast enough to not last ages (placing one unit at a time obviously does not work well here). I want the game to be entertaining but am afraid that bad deployment and tactics like “Wherever there is a hill or enemy artillery only crappy troops will be deployed within 24’ ” might ruin the suspense and limit the use of many units on the table.


Spells that effect "the whole table" like Vampire Counts’ spirit host raising also require some thought. With so many troops they could raise a sick amount of spirit hosts and do unreasonable damage to all armies. I read somewhere that one could limit such powers to “effects only one player”. However its hard for me to be consequent on this, the High Elf drain magic spell for example seems fine enough if it works for the entire magic phase, or is this simply a subjective misjudgement? Introducing a maximum range for all spells (like 40 inch) would be a possibility too...


There are certainly many other things I still have to consider and that I have not fully thought through. So I would be very happy for all your thoughts, tips, warnings and advices about such battles or about any experience you can share.

jullevi
01-03-2010, 11:13
Few years ago, we used to play larger battles - usually five 2999pts armies per side. Army composition rules for characters were simple: every army was required to have a general and a battle standard bearer, no more than two character slots could be used on wizards and US5 flyers were banned. Special characters were allowed to break those rules. Players were encouraged to bring armies that look like armies instead of tournament warbands. For example, Empire armies with more than 200 models were a common sight. Sometimes three of them!

After trial and error, I believe we came up with a good way to deal with magic. Every army receive their dice as normal, including the 2 basic power and dispel dice. Each player or army on the active side have their own casting phase, during which they may cast spells and use bound items. Once the player is finished or the magic phase ends, it's the next players'/army's turn to cast spells (meaning that certain miscast results only end the magic phase for the current player). Any player or army on the defending side is allowed to dispel and use dispel scrolls, but the armies may not combine dispel dice for dispel attempts.

Also, we found out that it was a good idea to limit all game effects (spells or otherwise) with unlimited range to 36".

Condottiere
01-03-2010, 11:45
1. Time - looks like it's going to be a long weekend.

2. Space - attic, garage, cellar; some more dedicated groups would hire a hall or blackmail some colleague with sufficient room.

3. Participants - two seems a little short

4. Refreshments - nearby fridges appreciated, as is a barbecue; failing that, takeout.

5. Placement - tables can be creatively placed, walkways represent no go areas, or you just pretend that despite being separated by three feet, the edges actually connect.

6. Tables - ensure they are sturdy; saw horses with planks work too.

Stuffburger
01-03-2010, 14:45
I'd definitely try to get some more table space if at all possible- In terms of sheer area your 2400 models are going to come out to roughly 17 square feet- and with 3 standard tables having only 36 square feet of deployment space you'll probably be lining up units 3 deep in most places. I don't even want to think about maneuvering those units or any kind of terrain in the way.

You could also have semi-disjointed tables- get one table in a different area with 3k on it as an underground dwarf v. skaven battle, with a terrain peice(s) that connects the underground (ramp up) and above ground(cave enterance) boards, and units can move between the two. You could also have a "realm of chaos" board with, say, Daemons vs. a magically transported LM or HE army, and portals to connect the two in the same way. It might help to let you spread out more and keep the individual tables connected yet differentiated enough to be more manageable.

Just my $.02

Rogue
01-03-2010, 15:17
I have done a few larger battles and I tend to think that if you have too many people it gets bogged down quite easily. This will be a long game (a weekend will be needed to complete IMHO) so the pace needs to be rather quick. In my experience, if you have 8 people playing you will have half of the people doing something game related and the other half in a conversation not paying attention at all to the game. Having a smaller number may help that since there is a lot to do as opposed to just worring about your faction.

The best large game that I was in was one that I organized. Instead of playing all on one table we had one main table and two flank tables. Each flank tables had a pair playing each other and the main table had a doubles game. You could move on to each others tables depending on conditions. This moved rather well, but you needed more than the standard 6 turns to get units onto other tables.

I would agree that table space may be an issue as well. I would look for a fourth table personally if I were you. Table placement is something that can help out in making the forces work better.

Malorian
01-03-2010, 15:52
I've played 10k vs 10k and it took about 6 hours for the two of us.

When you have multiple people per side you really add to the time as they ahve to talk about what they are going to do.

We used an old ping pong table that was about 9X5 and it was ok. Remember you can always use the floor.


Personally I would add the ogres to the evil side and have them come at the good side in waves. This way there isn't as many models (or armies) on the table at the same time and will give the game of a unified force of good against the chaotic hordes of evil :)

goonerslg
01-03-2010, 18:22
I played a 16k a side battle back in the summer. We found that using some units as reserves helped when it came to getting evertything on the table. It took a day and a half, on the first day the first round started at about 11am and we didnt stop for the day until 1.30am!!!!!!
Plenty of beer, a bbq and take away pizza will be required.
There were 4 of us playing and as previous posters have alluded to any more than that and the game gets bogged down in a lot of discussion. Best game I've played in though and worth all the time and effort that went into it.

enyoss
01-03-2010, 18:36
As for the space issue, the best advice I can offer is go deep! We played a similar sized game a while back and it was amazing the difference a 6'x8' board made over, say, a 4'x12'. (you can see some pics here, sorry for all my unpainted High Elves :o http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=156929). The extra space was great for those wide sweeping manoeuvres which every big game should have.

I'd also enact some sort of reserves rule, whereby you can bring held back units onto your own board edge at the start of your turn.

Oh, and victory points don't really work for games this big. We found that the Legendary Battles objectives rules worked well, along with a couple of randomly determined secret missions per side which yielded extra points (e.g. Kill character X in combat, kill all enemy wizards etc.).

EDIT: It's probably best that there's only two of you, as it's only natural that some parts of the battle field will see more action than others, which can lead to some players being left out a bit in multiplayer games.

Malorian
01-03-2010, 19:05
In the alrger battles I had (will call this 6K+) I've found this system to work for who wins:

-several objectives on the board worth 1 point each
-killing a lord is worth 2 point (+1 for general)
-killing a hero is worth 1 point
-killing a special character is worth 3 points
-each captured banner is worth 1 point

Makes it easier to add up in the end and the objective points stops sides from putting everything on one flank.

enyoss
01-03-2010, 19:23
Makes it easier to add up in the end and the objective points stops sides from putting everything on one flank.

Agreed. That is the bane of these kind of games. It's a real pain when one player ends up facing nothing but missile unit chaf, and another gets all the meaty combat units (I had one game where the poor Bretonnian player had no better targets for 18 pegasus knights than dark elf crossbowmen!).

mattjgilbert
01-03-2010, 21:15
This reminds me of the first WD battle report :D

You are going to need a lot of space but it'll look fantastic. How about having reserves come on later in the game from the sides or something - that way you can still use eveything but not have to start with it all on th table at the same time.

I agree with objectives and if you write up a scenario for the game or a back-story, it'll only make it better and more meaningful (and something you'll remember more).

rtunian
01-03-2010, 23:15
things you could do:
- only lords get magic items, all heroes have mundane items
- use a modified version of avian's winds of magic to determine power dice & dispel dice, perhaps rolling 4, 5, or 6 dice instead of 3
- make the board a C shape or L shape instead of a single file
- have x turns of play representing 1 day of battle. after the turn limit is reached, you take all the surviving units and redeploy them on a consolidated battlefield. with as many points as you are talking about, this could take a few "day" periods

enyoss
02-03-2010, 00:48
things you could do:
- only lords get magic items, all heroes have mundane items


That seems a bit tough on Elf heroes, as they more or less depend on Magic Items to counteract their T3. Unless they're mounted and fully armoured, there would be no point taking them.

On a side note, you might want to impose restrictions on the number of gifts Daemons can take, as they have an inexhaustible supply compared to everyone elses' magic items, and at this points level it can count.

TheSil
02-03-2010, 07:36
ok then, I will see to it that I can do something about the tables. An underground table with connection to the surface really seems like a nice idea, I have played such scenarios before and they work pretty well. This way I could fit a smaller kitchen table anywhere in the room where there is space left or even play on the floor with a few troops.

Don't you think the problem with L and C shapes (apart from me quickly running out of big tables) is that it might give one side an advantage over the other? (one side has a much broader deployment area while the other has a natural weak spot that can be overwhelmed more easily)


I guess objectives are a given right now, it really seems like the smart thing to do


the thing with waves and reinforcements is that I really wanted to have everything I own on the table (or tables) at the same time at least once. If parts of my army arive when others are already destroyed I still might not get that feeling. I have used reinforcements as a way to recycle losses before and it isn't really the same thing as having everything lined up for a massive battle



- have x turns of play representing 1 day of battle. after the turn limit is reached, you take all the surviving units and redeploy them on a consolidated battlefield. with as many points as you are talking about, this could take a few "day" periods
this sounds like a really nice idea, after the first day the survivors get closer together, the space problem is solved and they can still continue to fight :)
maybe I will try that after 5-6 rounds, providing that one side does not have a really major advantage that would reduce a second round to "tidy up" work



Any ideas on how I could solve the deployment issue and make an interesting battlefield that does not look too prearranged all by myself?
I thought about drawing a sketch of the battlefield and creating 2-3 battle formations for each side.
E.g: Heavy cavalry here, artillery encampment there, cheap infantry here, two lords and 3 heroes in this area, vampire army goes here, Phoenix guard is the backbone of this formation etc.

Afterwards I might randomly draw one of these formations.
This way I cannot adapt the formation too much on what the other side does and have to think of multiple viable tactics for each side.
I would still have enough freedom in actual deployment to adapt (e.g. decide how much heavy cavalry is worth it or which artillery/heroes etc.)

Disadvantages: it is VERY time consuming and if the two formations fit badly this could possibly imbalance and ruin the game (not more so than any other form of hidden deployment however)



gaming time is not an issue really, as I have up to one week to finish this

ChaosVC
02-03-2010, 07:55
Awww...big battles...

Well if gaming time is really not an issue, here is what I believe you can do.

Set an amount of points of troops as the first wave and set a side the left overs as reserves. Nominate the points where these reserve units will appear from the tables.
This will at least cut down the time needed to deploy your troops by some amount of time depending on how many percentage of troops are set to reserves.

4 6' by 4' can actually make a big 12' by 8. This will make a really neat looking battke field especially with well painted terrians and flocked battle mat. The problem is reaching to those models in the middle. So play around with the possible shape of the battle field. Start by designing the scenario and objective of you games for both sides, take your time how you would like you battle field to look like. I would suggest combining 2 tables to make a 6' by 8' while the other tables will be added to the sides as you see fit.

When you make games these big, balance is no longer and issue TBH. Its all about dice rolling and swooning over the miniatures infested battlefield with pretty terrian land scape. planning to balance the battle will only consume more time and might actually spoil some of the fun. Battle formations will simply be more for asthestics rather than practicality. Believe me, you will have more problem resloving each phase then to worry about balance.

Have fun you lucky dog!!!

Dodgy Ed
02-03-2010, 11:12
Step one, get it all painted:p (it can be done, I've painted ~25K of dwarves)

Step two, beer (or whatever age appropriate beverage you prefer) and grub; this is going to take a long time to play.

Step three, don't worry unduly about characters and magic iteme, stick to the rules in the respective books. At this points level there is a bit of a diminishing return with characters. Once again the caveat is daemons; just don't go over board with thier repeatable gifts, oh and don't take the special character heralds.

Step three.five Don't cast any spells which Affect the entire battlefied, No, seriously just don't do it! I played in an Albion game ay 15k a side and the dark emissary cast fog of death, every unit on the table, friend or foe could potentially take damage; it took nearly an hour to resolve the damn spel:eek:.

Step four, go with Malorians suggested victory conditions

Step five, Have fun

Step six, the most important step of all PICs

rtunian
02-03-2010, 12:52
Step six, the most important step of all: PICS

seconded!!!

TheSil
02-03-2010, 13:11
Step one, get it all painted:p (it can be done, I've painted ~25K of dwarves)

that's all done of course :)




Step two, beer (or whatever age appropriate beverage you prefer) and grub; this is going to take a long time to play.
shouldn't be a problem either




Step six, the most important step of all PICs

Well, I will see what I can do ;)
maybe there is time for that :)
even though it might be hard to get all 2400 models on the camera...

Fredrik
02-03-2010, 16:16
Donīt know if this has been said but prepere before (best is making armies and setting up the day before) or it will become lunch before you even get to roll for spells.

Oh and donīt let anyone esle be ther that is not part of the game (I know it sounds boring), they distract players that are not currently really active. This lessens the overall feel and it also takes more time.

enyoss
02-03-2010, 17:41
Don't you think the problem with L and C shapes (apart from me quickly running out of big tables) is that it might give one side an advantage over the other? (one side has a much broader deployment area while the other has a natural weak spot that can be overwhelmed more easily)


I've never used L and C shaped tables myself, as it always seemed like a bit of a pain. A rectangular table should be fine, just don't go long and thin as it then breaks down into a series of smaller games, which kind of defeats the point.



I have used reinforcements as a way to recycle losses before and it isn't really the same thing as having everything lined up for a massive battle


If it were a case of recycling units (i.e. re-using units once they had been killed) then I completely agree. When I play with reinforcements though I usually only hold back a few support units, maybe a couple of units of 10 silverhelms, or a unit or two of spearmen/seaguard, who can move on and plug gaps or make counter charges should my opponent break through in key areas. I find it doesn't detract from the overall `epic-ness', but to each their own I suppose.



Any ideas on how I could solve the deployment issue and make an interesting battlefield that does not look too prearranged all by myself?


Not sure what you mean by the `prearranged' part here. Still, the most important thing is that you don't set up unit by unit, alternating between players. This always ends up with everyone amassing all their stuff in one place, usually opposite one another, with the rest of the table filled with chaff. A much better solution is to roll off before deployment and let the player with the highest roll decide who sets up first, with the player who sets up first also getting the first turn. It's much faster, and leads to far more even deployment.



Oh and donīt let anyone esle be ther that is not part of the game (I know it sounds boring), they distract players that are not currently really active. This lessens the overall feel and it also takes more time.

Surely this should be the rule for all games, unless there's a very good reason for it (e.g. kyussinchains' wife usually pops her head in when our group plays, but then it is their house and she is looking after the baby, so alls fair :D).