Alpha 2.0 feedback

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Alpha 2.0 feedback
« on: August 29, 2012, 09:01:10 PM »
Ehya :D

Yesterday we had a one-shot of the new version of The Regiment alpha.

We had a lot of troubles, probably because there is some part we didn't understood well. Here are the problems we had:

1) First of all: the battle plans. We aren't sure about how do they work. Are they like a default plan? Must the players follow closely the methods? What sort of benefits grant the Considerations? How exactly are they introduced in the game? What happens if the MC simply tells the players a list of objectives like in the previous version, without considering the plans?

2) You don't roll to attack the enemies? A lot of the "cool stuff" I experienced in the previous games was a consequence of not rolling a 10+ in that move. I don't feel that rolling directly the damage can be so much interisting, since it doesn't give the possibility to add new things to the fiction.

3) The XP part mentions a "end of the session checklist"

4) How do you assing bonds?

5) What's the deployment?



Ehya ;)

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 12:43:03 PM »
Ehya,

Thanks for playing the Regiment and thanks for your feedback.

1) John is probably the best person to answer; but, I’ll take a shot at it. The GM2 sheet is a cookbook and the battle plans we give you are recipes. At the most fundamental level, they are guidelines you can follow, edit, extend, or ignore to shape a mission in the fiction.

If the players are running the show and they want to do a thing, show them the sheet and ask them which one of these plans they are trying to execute. If you are the GM, introduce the battle plan by giving orders : “listen up maggots, see that bunker over there, alpha team will lay suppressing fire from the ridge while bravo team maneuvers behind the bunker and sets explosive charges.” Use the battle plan as a checklist to narrate who’s involved and how the goal is supposed to be accomplished.

As with a cooking recipe, you can do it by the book or you can improvise. In general, you should follow it reasonably close, because the methods summarize the textbook approach. That said, any method that accomplishes the goal in the fiction, satisfies the battle plan.

This is a framework you can use to build a mission in the fiction. Like the GM moves, the goal is to give you storytelling tools that lead you to our intended method of play. If you have another way of doing it that works and want to keep doing it, keep doing it. Use this as a cheat sheet.

Dissecting the pieces of battle plan….
GOAL is the thing you are trying to accomplish with the battle plan. As with a move, if you are doing a thing, this is the general plan or if this is your general plan, this is the thing you’re doing. If you’re desired goal isn’t on the sheet, find something close and modify it or create a new plan.

METHODS describe the typical tactics, techniques, and procedures used to complete that goal. These aren’t the only ways to complete the goal and following these methods does not guarantee that the goal will be accomplished. Per the workspace rules, if you are successful in applying the listed methods, you should achieve your goal. However, also per workspace, if in following through on the methods you create new complications, you may have to deal with those consequences first.

This is critical, the flow of battle is fluid and the enemy are real, thinking adversaries. This means that the enemy also has a battle plan that they are trying to accomplish that is at odds with what the players are trying to accomplish. Just as the players can be successful in accomplish their goals through the described methods, so too can the enemy. This means that the enemy can (and should, now and again) derail the players’ attempt to achieve their goal.

In the course of the engagement, the initial goal of the mission might be accomplished, it might be overcome by events (made impossible or irrelevant), or it might be out-prioritized by a new issue or opportunity.

CONSIDERATIONS
These are advantages, usually in the form of intel or a comprehensive understanding of the situation. These are mitigating factors that, if exploited, should materially improve the players’ odds of success in accomplishing their goals. As with methods, these aren’t the only ways to gain advantage, nor does having these advantages guarantee success. The way considerations improves their chances is by allowing the players to apply their unit’s resources more effectively, concentrating their strength where the enemy is weak. This is a fictional bonus, not a mechanical bonus (e.g. +1 forward); however, GM could conceivably grant a forward bonus to your Op when making the engagement move.

2) Attack the enemy is now specifically the act of shooting. Since the GM has the ability to throw harm at the players when it is established in the fiction, Attack now gives the players the same ability to throw harm at NPCs in the same way. First, let me cover the basics of the three fighting moves.

ATTACK – You shoot someone or are shot yourself.

ASSAULT – you seize ground or some other tactical advantage by force.

COVERING FIRE – you suppress / pin the enemy to enable friendly movement.

Assault and Covering Fire both change the general tactical situation, Attack does not. This is key. So, if it feels like there should be a roll, check one of these moves first.

In Assault, taking ground is pretty straight forward. If you are trying to push the enemy back, whether you’re moving on them or they are moving on you, the roll determines the degree to which you succeed and then you roll damage. Tactical advantage is meant to cover a wide range of possibilities. If you are trying to decide whether to use Attack or Assault, consider what is at stake: if the stakes are limited to the combatants immediately involved and there is no clear advantage to be had that influences the broader, tactical picture (apart from the fact you still could be alive to influence it), you’re probably making the Attack move. If you are shooting the machine gunner before he shreds your unit, the radio operator before he gets a warning out, the squad leader before he leads the charge, etc., then you are attempting to gain a tactical advantage and you are making the Assault move.

I think the line between Covering Fire and Attack is clearer: if you are helping your unit Maneuver (when making that move or when it is established in the fiction), that is advance, retreat, or relocate under enemy fire by using your weapon to suppress or pin the enemy, then you are making the Covering Fire move. The difference between Covering Fire and Assault is that, with Covering Fire, you’re giving someone else an advantage (in the form of the suppress / pinned conditions applied to the enemy and/or freedom of movement); whereas, with Assault, you are the one turning the tide of battle.

Attack covers the act of inflicting violence that is not concerned with Assault or Covering Fire. Again, since “tactical advantage” in Assault is a broad and general thing, you should look to Assault first. With Attack, the stakes can be life or death; but, the ramifications of those stakes are generally limited to those who are immediately involved in the struggle.

Why no +battle roll? Because in the Regiment, you roll for fire you don’t just take harm like in AW. When you establish that there is shooting, GM determines what the VOF (volume of fire) is, based on the situation as established, and then dice are rolled. If the VOF is incidental, then it’s possible to inflict neither stress nor wounds, which could be thought of as a “miss.” Describing VOF and how to apply it is another long discussion, so I won’t cover it here. Suffice to say, the GM uses VOF to establish whether the shooting is haphazard and possibly ineffective (incidental), on target (direct), or brutally effective (concentrated). The player rolls dice to determine how much stress and wounds are caused and that informs the fictional outcome of the move.

To summarize the whole discussion: you are a soldier; you are a trained marksman; when you have the enemy in your sights and pull the trigger, you roll damage dice.

3) You’re right, that’s nowhere to be found on the sheets… yet. See my blog post here for a discussion on session wrap-up XP (see "Letters Home"): http://enigmamachinations.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-regiment-ap-operation-market-garden-session-1/

4) I assume you mean, “how do you use bonds to interfere?” You don’t.

Bond is a positive, uniting force; whereas, Hx in AW works both ways. If you are interfering with another player, you can either use one of your basic or playbook moves or establish circumstances in the fiction that require them to use one of theirs. If you’re being direct about it, you can use Impose your Will or Attack, Assault, or Covering Fire. If you’re being indirect about it, you can Help someone else oppose them or Petition up the Chain of Command to get a superior on your side. You can also do something that causes them to have to make the Push Yourself move.

5) It’s a description of where or what you’re fighting. It could be a place, like “Afghanistan” or “Vietnam” or it could be a campaign like, “Market Garden” or “Torch.” It’s just a place on your sheet to sum up what the war is, for your character.

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 02:35:09 PM »
Woah! Thank you for the GREAT answer!

Maybe I'm starting to understand the Battle Plans. I'll discover it tonight: probably we're going to upgrade to Alpha 2.0 our "Somalia '93" scenario. This means I'll try out again also the new moves: I'll tell you if it's all ok this time.

I read your post about the end-of-the-session checklist. Now it all makes sense.

About the bonds: I was referring to how you create them. The sheet says: "Create bonds with other PCs and NPCs." but I can't find the rules for that. Tuesday I used the same rules of the Alpha 1.0 (Starting Bonds: Choose another PC and take Bond+1 with them. Say how your bond was forged with them. With everyone else, you start with Bond-1.). Did I miss something?

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2012, 03:27:12 PM »
About the bonds: I was referring to how you create them.

John said:

I usually do starting bonds as: one at +1, one at -1, and all others (including NPCs) at 0.

And Paul said:

For bonds, I usually give them +2 with one PC, +1 with the other PCs, and 0 with all other friendly soldiers.

Oh! And very nice write up Paul! I was wondering about Battle Plans as well.

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2012, 10:20:58 PM »
Yeah, it looks like the actual text about how you go about creating bonds was cut from the playbooks. Use the 1.0 method or use what John or I said, as quoted above. I don't think the exact numbers are super-critical. You advance bonds at the end of the session by taking +1 bond with anyone and everyone you've grown closer to. So, within a session or two, any of the approaches to starting bonds will be roughly equivalent.

il mietitore, looking forward to hearing how the game went!

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2012, 01:47:28 AM »
To post-edit my initial response a bit, I'd say that the battle plan sheet is part of what the "threats and fronts" sheet does for AW. When I first read threats and fronts, my response was, "Holy crap, that's awesome!" After reading it and understanding it, I haven't used the actual sheet or process - as spelled out - since. Instead, I fancy myself doing that thing organically as I story-tell. That is, without the formality of writing it down or referring to the sheet. When it comes up in play, I know what the principles are, so I apply them. Same with the GM moves. Putting words in John's mouth, I think the point of this is to help you (the folks playing and running this game) to get it for the Regiment, like I got it for AW. Then you understand what the game is and then you just do it.

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2012, 04:55:19 AM »
Yep, that's the idea. Great responses, Paul.

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2012, 12:09:00 PM »
Thanks, John - you know I won't pass up an opportunity to write a ridiculously-long post about something ;)

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 01:20:23 PM »
Hi

so I finally ran my long threatened Regiment playtest using a Traveller mercs setting. I used the old amber zone "Soft Bunk or what to do when the Zhos attack" as the setup.
The players unit was hired to train a militia on a sparsely populated world just outside the imperial border. They were experiencing problems with the local wildlife. However after 2 weeks of basic training with the militia, the 5th frontier war breaks out and a Zho colonial force is dropped to pacify the dirtball world. Players are imperial citizens and outside the protection of the normal mercenary "rules of war", the local council issues one last order to resist/harass the invaders and...

To be honest I wasn't super happy with the session we played (approx 4 hours including breaks). Part of this was my fault as I was not really familiar with the alpha2 release but I thought there was no point in running it under alpha 1. Also it is the first time I've actually played and teasing out the differences between AW and the Regiment slowed us down a bit. Another problem is that I'm not used to having a longer slot to play any more and so I didn't aggressively scene frame as I might normally.

None the less:

* Not rolling +battle for attacking seemed wierd
* tactics seemed v important as assessing the situation and manoeuvering seemed to be the most vital moves (to us)
* I really liked the v1 map-making read the sitch moves...
* Too much accounting when units of different sizes meet: we had a company fight a platoon (of which the players formed one squad) and whereas stepping up/down the VoF works fine, what actually happens when those hits strike home seems to not scale ie squad fires at platoon => the platoon has 40 guys => 80 boxes of hits (120 if elite) ... too much. When taking a +/- to VoF due to relative unit sizes your hits should scale ie 4 hits = really bad (because you have already paid the penalty in terms of VoF scaling). If you are forced to actually multiply things out then yeuch.
AW gang combat already does this. Classic Trav Bk4 Mercenary abstract combat system does this via %age losses.
* really liked the sniper moves
* really liked the unit sheet
* operational moves worked ok but still issues with player intent not lining up with list of options eg basic scouting - does it require initiative or tactical position to "get what you want"?

In general the alpha 2 seems a bit more confusing than the alpha 1 - bonds missing, regiment playsheet missing.

I'm sure I messed up the rules, sorry for rambling so much.

Re: Alpha 2.0 feedback
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 03:26:57 AM »
1) For Attack, you still roll dice vs. the VOF table. The consequences are still variable and on a sliding scale based on VOF. Attack is used when Assault or Covering fire don't apply. It makes the most sense when, in the fiction, you have them dead in your sights and pull the trigger -- bang -- it happens. This thread sums up our view on the matter.

2) Yep, in a fog of war sitch, knowing what's going on is priceless. If you're using the Assess move a lot, then you're doing it right.

3) Continue to use V1 moves, if you want. We're streamlining.

4) In general, you don't need to keep track of individual enemy soldiers. The NPC health scheme is there if it makes sense to track it. The enemy are human and fearful and are unlikely to fight to the death en masse. If the PCs are trying to push their way through and overcome their defenses, have them make the Assault, Covering Fire, or Maneuver moves. Each of these moves, on a hit, gives them fictional gain. Use that to extrapolate the local tides of battle. On the bigger scale, use Engage, Battle Plans and further extrapolation from the squad-level fiction. The GM decides how the tides of war ebb and flow (and can resolve through dice or PC action). Use NPC health levels only in tight group-on-group firefights where the life or death of a given enemy soldier (or friendly NPC solder) matters. Even then, only if you don't what to handle it off the cuff. Don't check 120 boxes...

7) Engagement moves get you into the fight, so if that's what you're doing, use that move. Scouting could be an engagement move, in which case, having the initiative and tactical advantage are super useful. That's followed by Assess. You scout to get situational awareness and that's what Asess is all about. In general, use engagement moves to start the action and once you're in the action, use the moves on the EW1 sheet; those are character moves.

8) Bonds aren't missing...? The new layout (on 8.5 x 11), which is pure magic on John's part btw, doesn't leave a lot of room for explanation. That's the downside of an Alpha -- there's no rule book for you. Check just under the playbook picture for bonds. For context, check the other threads on this forum or see how I handled it in the game I ran, on my blog: <http://enigmamachinations.wordpress.com/>

I think you have the gist of it. I hope this clears things up a bit. There's a lot between the lines at this point that needs to be codified in supporting text.