What makes for a good wargame scenario?

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
#1
So, I'm going through some other gaming books/magazines I own, and of course they scenarios for their respective games versus the game I actually play (Warmachine/Hordes and Company of Iron).

I'm trying to figure out which ones are ideal conversion candidates versus ones that might need work or are just bad fits. For instance, Age of Sigmar might have some that wouldn't be bad necessarily, but I'm unsure of how 40K scenarios would fare. Likewise, Infinity has some assumptions I don't think exist in Privateer Press land (such as being able to shoot clear across the map).

In addition, now I'm wondering what makes for a good home-made scenarios. I do GM for my RPG group periodically, so I know there's multiple ways to make things interesting when its me versus them. But, in that case I'm making it a solvable situation, not "balanced" and resilient (ie, easily broken) like you would need for Warmachine, Company of Iron, etc.

Likewise, I'm really, really hoping to start playing Infinity Recon (Guerilla Games' mod) on a casual basis, so likewise converting to Infinity Recon friendly would be great.
 

Crumbs

Registered User
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#2
It really depends on the game. For example a game where you have primarily small easily removable units is probably unsuited for a scenario where you need to hold an objective.

40k will typically work well for warmachine. As a lot of them involve some objective worth a significant amount in a central location.

Warmachine is tricky though because caster killing is always going to be the best way to win a game.
 

Gideon

Registered User
Validated User
#3
I think in skirmish type games there's a lot of potential for making interesting and immersive scenarios, which can often be inspired by the sort of things that also make decent roleplaying scenarios.

In big battle games, quite often the scenario can be anti-fun. Most big battles historically were just destroy the enemy, adding a take and hold or hold this piece of terrain element, works fine, but after that it starts to feel a bit weird. The sort of scenario where you find yourself doing strange things in the final turn in order to win points rather than win the battle always puts me off.

Also, with victory points deciders in any battle you have to be careful. When you start doing stuff like trying to pick off a weak unit that is already leaving the field in order to get easy points, while ignoring a plainly important enemy unit, that's gotta be a warning sign that the victory conditions are anti-fun.

Also, fwiw, I find replaying scenarios like they're chess problems that need to be solved in a certain way, to be against the spirit of battles, which were nearly always one-off attempts at the unknown.

I can't comment specifically in the games you mention, though.

One thing I really like is the Lion Rampant 'Boasts' system, where after you set up the table, one player will boast what they are going to achieve during the battle, and is assigned potential victory points based on the audacity of their boasts, and the opponent does likewise. There are guidelines for assigning victory points, but they have to be agreed between the two players, essentially, so this requires some good will between the players and wouldn't work for a genuinely competitive game.
 

RSDean

Registered User
Validated User
#4
In big battle games, quite often the scenario can be anti-fun. Most big battles historically were just destroy the enemy, adding a take and hold or hold this piece of terrain element, works fine, but after that it starts to feel a bit weird. The sort of scenario where you find yourself doing strange things in the final turn in order to win points rather than win the battle always puts me off.
...
Also, fwiw, I find replaying scenarios like they're chess problems that need to be solved in a certain way, to be against the spirit of battles, which were nearly always one-off attempts at the unknown.
...
On your second point, I came to a similar realization when playing tactical historical board war games some time back. The epiphany came when playing Avalon Hill's Storm Over Arnhem (hold the final bridge in an airborne assault, if you aren't familiar with it, "A Bridge Too Far") and reading an article on how to win the game which was predicated on the notion that both sides knew exactly what was going on with respect to force levels and reinforcement schedules, which is a nonsense situation resembling anything that the commanders had available to them.

On the first, my "go to" resources for large battle scenarios are Charles S. Grant's three scenario books, Scenarios for Wargames, Scenarios for All Ages, and Programmed Scenarios for Wargames.
 

Vanger

Knuddelmonster
Validated User
#5
Most 40K scenarios are pretty standard and light. Sadly not too involved. Aside from some side objectives, like kill the warlord, etc, all that matters is what is the status in the last round.

They changed this in the Chapter Approved 2018 where the new missions require you to be more involved during the whole game.

I still would recommend using the standard missions and choose 6 Maelstrom of War cards as secondary objectives.

Basically a good scenario has:
- primary/major objective(s) that generates the conflict, defined by the mission
- secondary/minor objectives picked by the players
- players should have to interact with objectives during the game, fire and forget objectives are not engaging
 

komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
#6
On your second point, I came to a similar realization when playing tactical historical board war games some time back. The epiphany came when playing Avalon Hill's Storm Over Arnhem (hold the final bridge in an airborne assault, if you aren't familiar with it, "A Bridge Too Far") and reading an article on how to win the game which was predicated on the notion that both sides knew exactly what was going on with respect to force levels and reinforcement schedules, which is a nonsense situation resembling anything that the commanders had available to them.

On the first, my "go to" resources for large battle scenarios are Charles S. Grant's three scenario books, Scenarios for Wargames, Scenarios for All Ages, and Programmed Scenarios for Wargames.
Following up on this post, I'm going to be the weirdo that says chaos and weird, random ( but possibly foreseeable) events.

I sometimes feel like what makes certain battles in the real world memorable is just how lopsided they were, and how full of bad intelligence and unforeseeable problems. So I like that stuff in games, too. At least a little bit.

It's part of the reason I like the 2 Hour Wargames rules so much. It's why I like random movement rate rules so much ( well, that and simplification), and why I'd like to see more stuff in the vein of crit hits/crit fails from RPGs appear in war games more often, and not just for combat results.
 
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