Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Scurge of the Solo Wargamer - Stat Lines Part 1 of N

Playing Solo wargames can be fun, the only problem is that most rulesets are not designed for solo gaming, and those that have a solo option to play often have their solo elements tacked on to a two player ruleset, there aren't really any wargames I know of that were built as a solo experience from the ground up.

So what's the main problem when it comes to solo gaming?

In my experience it's looking up statlines. I'm happy to play both sides when there's no decent engine to run an AI opponent the only problem is you don't have two minds to remember statlines. This creates a constant flicking from game to army list or game to the more convenient but still tedious unit card. The goal then is to create a game that either has no statlines - every body hits on a 4+, or whereby the stats are there but invisible. How is that possible?

I've wondered about using a card driven system. Where each unit has a card for each stat - move, shoot, melee etc. And when the card is drawn the unit can choose to act upon the card or save the card. When the unit acts upon the card the card has the stat written on it - '5+' for example - roll your D6, no need to look it up. The problem comes with armour, or defence values, because as 'passive' stats a character wouldn't have the card in the deck. What would you do if you drew your characters 'armour' card? Nothing, but maybe save it for an attack... and then if your character hadn't drawn their armour card would they die instantly from an attack? Another idea I had was to write the defence value of the character on the base, but that can mess with the aesthetics of a game, and annoyingly practically excludes a character improvement system... unless you're willing to keep painting over and painting new numbers on bases. Hit points then seem a likely system. A higher defence character simply has more hit points. This works well enough... but does have the added drawback of the need to keep track of hit points, which for me normally means dice cluttering up the play area.

Is there an easy solution? Is this even a problem, or is it just me? Stay tuned as I mull this one over and come back with a part 2.


  1. Interesting ideas. I look forward to part two. Actually if you come up with a rules engine I might be interested in it for publication.


    1. Thanks! Even more incentive to get going on it!