Strategic Primer: 2000-2001 Campaign Log: Part 2

Today I’m continuing the annotated log of the first campaign of Strategic Primer, which I began last month.

Player Name Date Unit Attempted Action Result of Action
Edward Campau 2/15/01 Catapult 1 Move north until finding something, then attack the something. Bogged down, Bogged down, Bogged down, Moves correctly for 1/2 hr (5 mi), Bogged down, Bogged down, moves correctly but out of step for 1 hr (10 mi), Bogged down, Bogged down, moves correctly for 1 hr (10 mi), Bogged down, moves correctly but out of step for 1 hr (10 mi), bogged down, moves correctly for 2 hrs (20 mi), moves correctly but out of step for 2 hrs (20 mi), bogged down, bogged down, bogged down, moves correctly for 2 hrs (20 mi), moves correctly for 2 hrs (20 mi), moves correctly but out of step for 1/2 hr (5 mi). Total distance: 120 mi north.

Because my notion of a unit was a large number of men, and because I was drawing inspiration from second- and third-hand descriptions of wargames, I made a big deal in the game design about whether infantry units were “in step,” by which I mostly meant “in formation.” That has for now vanished from the design—for one thing, the very idea of “being in step” or “being in formation” is a relatively modern invention, something players have to teach their soldiers. And even if it comes back, in the current design I won’t note it unless it becomes relevant because the unit encountered something and had to react.

Edward Campau 2/15/01 None None Currently building Rabble, with 2 turns left
Arthur Pendragon 2/15/01 None None Invented gunpowder and put it in balls with flint and steel so as to explode on impact. Equipped catapults with this.

And here we have the first example of someone taking advantage of the instant-discovery mechanic. As this was before we started using email for the game, and before Wikipedia, this involved writing formulae down, drawing diagrams, and handing this in on paper with the strategy. How times have changed! But note that I still encourage inventions taking technology in directions that our history didn’t go.

Another point about this is that in that campaign, I was a great deal laxer about prerequisites. I didn’t pay the slightest attention to details like what a gunpowder ball like this would be made of, where the materials to make the gunpowder would come from, and where the flint and steel came from—and, most egregiously in retrospect, whether simply putting “flint and steel” inside would even work. (It might, or might not, depending on the design.)

Arthur Pendragon 2/15/01 Crossbowmen 1 Move as far south as possible Bogged down, moves correctly but out of step for 1 hr (14 mi), moves correctly for 1 hr (14 mi), bogged down, moves correctly but out of step for 2 hrs (28 mi), moves correctly for 2 hrs (28 mi), bogged down, bogged down, moves correctly for 2 hrs (28 mi), moves correctly for 2 hrs (28 mi), moves correctly for 2 hrs (28 mi), moves correctly for 2 hrs (28 mi). Total distance: 196 mi
Arthur Pendragon 2/15/01 None None Currently building Rabble, 2 turns remaining.
Pywll pen Annwn 2/15/01 None None None. Currently building Rabble, 2 turns remaining.
Theodore Roosevelt 2/15/01 None None Currently producing Rabble, 2 turns remaining.
Theodore Roosevelt 2/15/01 Rabble 1 & 2 Move east as far as possible or until enemy sighted. Cannot move east, as is on an island.

This was an oversight—I didn’t even set up the game, really, beyond what units everyone started with, until after I’d gotten the first strategies. And even what the measurement units for the map were, and whether it was tiled, and so on, was in flux for a long time at the beginning while I tried to figure out what would work.

And we’ll end this segment of the log here. More will follow shortly.

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