I have written a number of blog posts about my use of cards for a new skirmish system I have been developing. I was reading a recent article in Miniature Wargames about generating enemy forces for solitaire play. Now, I’ve never done much solitaire gaming, as I’ve generally been lucky enough to find or build a gaming group whenever I’ve moved to a new area, but this idea intrigued me. The author of the article had some really interesting ideas. I did enjoy Ambush some years ago. I was thinking, however, that I could replace the use of charts and tables to generate enemy units, locations, cover status, and activities with cards. The US Army has something called a SALUTE report (Size, Activity, Location, Unit or Uniform, Time of report, and Equipment). If we eliminate “U” and “T,” it seems to me that you could divide up the card by the other letters. Then you could use a series of card draws to generate enemy forces.
First draw: Is there a new enemy unit?
If so, second draw: What is the size of the unit? A vehicle? A squad? This would cover both the size (“S”) and whether they have any special equipment (“E”), such as a machinegun, flame thrower, etc. I think the results in this section of the card would need to be made generic so that a player would be able to select something “about right” from the figures and vehicles he has on hand.
Then make the third draw: What is the enemy’s location? (Yes, this is out of order for SALUTE.) I see a dial of some sort like I use in G.A.M.E.R. It seems to me that the randomly-generated enemy should be sort of cover, but perhaps not. I guess I just don’t like the idea of a lots of enemy units popping up in an open field at short range. It can happen, of course, but shouldn’t be the norm. (By the way, just because they’ve been put on the table doesn’t mean that friendly forces have spotted them. Normal spotting rules would still apply.)
Fourth draw: What are they doing? This might be dependent on the location draw. If the enemy is in cover, then they are … If they are in the open, then they are … Options might have then fire at a nearby player unit, moving toward a player unit, defending something, etc. This needs to be fleshed out. Thought experiments while running will only go so far. I’ll need to put this on the table many, many times to come up with a good list of options.
When do you initiate this process? Is there a maximum number of enemy units that can be placed? Lots of questions, but it seems worth fiddling with at some point.
I have too many other irons in the fire just now to spend a lot of time on this, but it will keep me busy on my next few runs. I am thinking about this as a companion to G.A.M.E.R.