Friday, 23 January 2015

Can't Move, You Needed a 4

OK, so what is the big deal these days with activation, and that’s with a capital A. There doesn’t seem to be a rule set which does not go out of its way to stop you doing what you want on the wargame table. Yes, I realise that things didn’t always go well for real commanders and there were subordinates who were tardy at best and downright disobedient at worst, although the former probably outnumbers the latter. But if a general sends an order to a Corps commander to advance, half of his troops don’t suddenly decide to sit put and do nothing because, to be honest I can’t even think of a because, they just wouldn’t. A battalion commander forms an attack plan against a defended farmhouse at 0600 hrs, then for the next three hours two platoons and three sections simply do nothing. We all forget to move someone, or shoot, or manoeuvre, that’s fog enough for me, I have lost battles because I forgot a rule or was so busy doing something at one end of the table I ignored the other end. I have nothing against differing activations as long as everyone eventually gets to do something. I have seen people spend hours waiting for a certain card or the right number on a die to turn up before actually managing to take part in a game.  I have four games with activation of one kind or another, War & Conquest, Dead Man's Hand, Dux Britanniarum and X-Wing, all clever and unpredictable, but everything gets a move, you won’t lose a game because you didn’t role a 4 or get a face card. X-Wing may be predictable but nonetheless it has a clever activation sequence which usually baffles me and leaves my starships acting more like dodgems at the fairground.

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