22 Aug 2013

A very first outing of the Rosetta Skirmish System

Yesterday, I finally managed to finish a simplistic, bare-bones working edition of the upcoming Rosetta Skirmish System (RSS) that me and Duncan have been toiling away on for the last couple of months (and thus also the reason as to why Two Knights Publishing have been rather silent as of late).

However, instead of just placing troops at random, then I instead opted to create a little scenario, pitting roughly similar groups of fantasy warriors against each other; with the foul necromancer Mortia wanting to acquire water from the oasis (magical water, of course) and then being foiled by local wildlife preservist and local hero Toi-Toi and her rampaging beatmen.

And thus, the scene was set for the very first trial run of the RSS system! Toi-Toi and her gang on the right and Mortia on the left!

An eclectic gathering of miniatures makes up Toi-Toi's Activist Group...

...Whilst a slightly more unified band of Celtos miniatures makes up Mortia's Undead Horde Warband

Now, while I had an idea of using this scenario as a general playthrough of any given scenario, I was interested in seeing how a couple of things that has always annoyed me in my games would work out; Command & Control and Close Combat.

As for Command & Control then it worked out near perfectly. Having already found and implemented my favourite compromise between control and friction in Fireteam Andromeda (FA), I began seeing RSS as a testing ground for a couple of ideas that had been bubbling around in my head ever since I finished up FA.

The first being a slight issue that I've had in regards to units being shaken and them not contributing Command Points. It was mainly something that slightly annoyed me, but I couldn't find a solution back when I started penning FA - it of course showed up just after having released the rulebook. Typical, right?

Anyway - in FA then whenever a unit becomes shaken then it won't grant you a Command Point for being deployed. Simple, right? Except that it could, sometimes, become a hassle counting up all those command points only to then subtract some of them along the way because you forgot about untis being shaken. Not a dealbreaker, but slightly annoying.


The solution, as implemented in RSS, was just as simple as the oversigt; instead of subtracting points form your pool of Command Points (CP) because of shaken units, then you would simply pay 2 CP to activate a unit that was shaken! And yes, upon getting this idea there was a lot of facepalming at the office.

This then extended to the system that is going to be used in RSS wherein each unit grants you 1 CP for being deployed and then it will cost 1 CP to order a unit, and thus activate them.
However, the price goes up by +1 if:
  • The unit is shaken 
  • The unit is out of command 
  • The unit is an excess unit
Brilliantly simple and give exactly the same result as the system implemented in FA! And it even works too! Furthermore, CP's are now also used to utilize various special tactics that an army is capable of; additional special manouvers that all units are capable of, if given enough time (another representation of CP).

Excess units is a simple little modifier that applies to the cost of activating units when the other player cannot activate any further units. It's simple really; it makes it easier for the smaller force to manouver faster and more effecient than the larger mob on the other side; thus negating all penalties in having a smaller force in an alternating activation system. And yes, it worked just fine!


Close Combat - the bane of all game systems, or at the very least the hardest part to make exciting and somewhat realistic. The issue I've always had with close combat in most of the bigger systems out there is that they mostly end up being a giant moshpit on the middle of the board, with very little else happening before either untits suddenly breaks or buys the farm.

While I am aware of the reasonings behind doing so, it has always irked me slightly that you can't make an easy system in that regards that actually makes close combat feel a bit more like, well, like a good old fashioned brawl!


And, unfortunately, then this early draft of RSS isn't without its faults in that regards. While the system itself is streamlined and works like a charm, there's still something lacking in regards to close combat ending up feeling like one big scrum in the middle of the board. Sure, it kind of makes sense, but it makes for a somewhat boring and predictable gameplay - which I don't really fancy. At any rate, I'm trying not to get too hung up on a single outing of the rules - they work, they're playable, they need testing.

So, even though I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to flavor the close combat, I think that the RSS system has proven itself for my skirmishing purposes. There's only 5 pages or so worth of rules (most of which is written in a prose that would mainly makes sense to me and Duncan), having distilled everything down to its absolute basics, it's now time to add seasoning and flavour to the whole deal; leaving me to work on the Science Fiction stuff (Yay!) and Duncan to work his (pardon the pun) magic in regards to the Fantasy version of these rules.


As for a betatest set and so on? Well, i'll probably put one up next month, once I've found out what to do about the basic close combat mechanics and finally figured out how to layout the booklet as well and what to include and what to cut. Ah well, I forsee a great writing frenzy in the near future whilst I start up a small Chaos Warband for a danish Path to Glory competition; so painting wise there's bound to be even more fantasy models here - stay tuned!