'Hordes of the Things' for ACKS Mass Battles...

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Maxwell Luther
Joined: 2012-03-25 18:48
'Hordes of the Things' for ACKS Mass Battles...
While I appreciate the angle the guys are taking with Domains of War, I'm thinking it's going to be a bit much for me and I'm thinking of ways to adapt Hordes of the Things (the fantasy version of DBA) for use in ACKS, instead. I figure these are the three main things that need to be reconciled to get the two to cooperate... 1. Economy: How much does a HotT/DBA element cost in terms of the ACKS economy? I would normally say that each of the companies listed in the ACKS rulebook would equal one element of that unit type, but maybe it isn't that simple? 2. PC Interaction: Normally, I would set up or improvise some specific battle scenarios that could occur as the battle swings one way or another or moves towards specific landmarks or objectives (for instance, if a Church is within an inch of a fight, maybe the PCs must defend it from looters). I'd like to provide something that moves the battle along more directly however, like PCs fighting enemy characters or cutting down hordes of things. I can see doing it abstractly (add your STR bonus to the combat result of the battle, reduce a loss by your CHA bonus to keep the unit from breaking, etc.) or by givign a bonus for certain activites that are played out using ACKS, like giving the PCs a full turn of actions and determining how much that adds to the combat. Anyone have other ideas? 3. Magic: This is the big one, as an element isn't really a set number of HP or HD in HotT. I could just have the wizard casting spells as part of the 'battle turn' I mentioned above, but I like the way Alex is thinking, with wizards acting in units as artillery or as personal guns for an individual element (he is really on to something with the Napoleonic approach, although it is looking to be more detailed than I like). Any ideas?สินค้าออกกำลังกายผู้หญิง คุณภาพ ราคาพิเศษ
Maxwell Luther
Joined: 2012-03-25 18:48

I'm taking it that not many people here know HotT?

ScrivenerB
Domains At War Backer
Joined: 2012-04-22 13:50

I think you're right. I at least recognized the abbreviation DBA, but even so I've never played it so I can't say anything useful.

Chris
Joined: 2011-08-03 02:10

I love the HOTTness.

However I think the strict abstraction of unit elements in DBA and HOTT armies doesn't quite equal DAW units on a 1 to 1 ratio. (Don't DBA armies all have 12 units? No more, no less?)

I think DAW definitely is geared for unbalanced scraps between forces, that HOTT & DBA don't exactly model, although I am biased since I am making counters for the DAW rules. (The sizing would fit HOTT unit sizes nicely however, don't tell Alex I said that.)

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Hey there -

I'm very familiar with HOTT and its historical counterpart DBA. I played HOTT/DBA extensively in college (I got so good my foes insisted DBA stood for Defeated By Alex) and competed at Historicon and a few other tournaments. When I was adapting ACKS for mass combat I looked closely at DBA/HOTT, and there are DBA-like elements in the game. However, I ultimately decided the DBA/HOTT model was not the appropriate model for ACKS. 

I'm going to attempt to answer your questions, but in the course of doing so I'm most likely going to end up explaining why HOTT's not the right choice for ACKS.

 

1. Economy: How much does a HotT/DBA element cost in terms of the ACKS economy? I would normally say that each of the companies listed in the ACKS rulebook would equal one element of that unit type, but maybe it isn't that simple?

ALEX: Elements in HOTT are abstract. A Horde, a Lurker, and a Hero stand represents vastly different sized units. Moreover, the implicit scale of HOTT suggests that elements are thousands strong. (You can calculate this by comparing the range of archery fire to the size of an element, and then calculating known number of troops that can fit into a formation of that size). 

2. PC Interaction: Normally, I would set up or improvise some specific battle scenarios that could occur as the battle swings one way or another or moves towards specific landmarks or objectives (for instance, if a Church is within an inch of a fight, maybe the PCs must defend it from looters).

ALEX: The entirety of a mid-level band of heroes would appear as a single Hero element in HOTT. Alternatively, very high level PCs might appear as Hero, Cleric, Paladin, or Wizard stands in HOTT. The nature of HOTT combat makes this feel very unsatisfactory. 

3. Magic: This is the big one, as an element isn't really a set number of HP or HD in HotT. I could just have the wizard casting spells as part of the 'battle turn' I mentioned above, but I like the way Alex is thinking, with wizards acting in units as artillery or as personal guns for an individual element (he is really on to something with the Napoleonic approach, although it is looking to be more detailed than I like).

ALEX: HOTT's inability to incorporate magic into the battles is the main reason it's a bad choice for ACKS. To give you an example, in our home campaign, we recently fought a battle in which a defending army guarded a river ford against a rampaging force led by a powerful wizard. The battle involved (a) the evil wizard using Lower Water to allow his units to cross at unexpected points, (b) the defenders using Dispel Magic to restore the water level and drown enemy units crossing the river, (c) the evil wizard retaliating by using Move Earth to carve a canal into the defending formations, flooding them, and (d) the defenders retaliating by locking down the attacking units in Growth of Plants vine-barricades. You simply can't have that sort of thing happen when using HOTT.

ALEX: A final problem with HOTT is that at the end of a HOTT battle, you have no idea what your casualties are. The game offers no way to know whether a unit was attrited, destroyed, surrendered, etc., and since each fight is an all-or-nothing die roll without any accumulating effect, you can get outcomes that are very very strange ("No casualties at all this battle!")

If you are experienced enough of a wargamer to be able to play DBA/HOTT, you honestly ought to have no trouble playing DAW: Battles. The two games take about the same amount of time to set up, and ACKS battles don't take very long to resolve - we usually can incorporate 2 mass combat battles in a given game session without an issue, so it's 1.5 hours, basically the same as a HOTT battle.

 

Maxwell Luther
Joined: 2012-03-25 18:48

Hmmm, I see your point (especially concerning 3 and 4).

Is there a chance I can get a look at the latest version of DoW? My main concern was the level of detail in the units. I don't want to faff about like a quartermaster with the things, I want to be able to say 'you buy a unit of X' and have that function on the table as a unit, not worry about the specific HP of every soldier in the thing. I don't mind something a little more detailed that HotT/DBA (I love, for instance, Warmaster Ancients) I ust want to to be quick and somewhat abstract.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Send me an email at alex at autarch dot co and I'll send you a playtest copy, Maxwell.

Maxwell Luther
Joined: 2012-03-25 18:48

Sent you a couple of emails, Alex? Are you not receiving them?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I got them, I have just been swamped! I will respond shortly. Sorry for the delay.