Formats and Meta-Rules
Copyright © 1988 by Herr Wiz
General Procedures and Turn Formats.
General Procedure: Find two players who agree on the scenario they want to play, and get them to agree on ALL of the relevant conditions of the scenario BEFORE SET-UP. This cannot be stressed enough. Relevant conditions include, but are not limited to: Optional rules such as unit substitution, new units used, advanced scenario(s), variant rules such as Airstrike and the GEV sighting rules, map(s) being used if different from the one the scenario uses normally, and victory conditions.
When the conditions of the scenario have been agreed upon (through e-mail), it's time for set-up. Request first turn setup and/or attack formation(s) from both players simultaneously; this prevents you, as a fair and impartial GM, from inadvertently giving players clues about their opponent. Both players, in their set-up post, should also tell you any special tactics they might wish to employ, as well as the "defaults" for infantry stacking, unit attack/defense odds preferences (does s/he want a single 2-1 or two 1-1's or what?), and, if cruise missiles are used, when the player wishes to fire on it/them with limited-use weapons (such as Ogre missiles . . . ).
The setup, after movement but before combat, for the first turn should be processed and posted as soon as possible.
Here's a (the?) format for the Set Up post:
1. Defender's set up:
- Infantry (broken down by strength points) and the hexes they're in. Ex.: Infantry (3): 0404, 0406, 1418 (2): 0523, 0622, 0522 etc.
- Armor units next; they can be identified by an I.D.# or by their hex number – generally, ID#'s work better for an attacker, and hex #'s for the defender, but it's really personal preference. Ex.: Heavy Tanks: #1 0403, #2 0303, etc. The ID numbers could be omitted.
- Command Posts, buildings if any, Ogres, and any other special piece(s) go last for the defending set up – these can be ID'd any way you like. Usually, there aren't very many "special" units on the board at any given time, so they're really not too hard to keep track of.
2. Attacker's first move: What you want to do here is post ALL of the attacker's initial movement so it's easy to read. Also, posting his/ her movement BEFORE determining combat results for Turn 1 verifies that you've received the hex numbers correctly, and it lets the defender set up the attacking units on his/her board. Format for this can be anything legible, but I prefer columns, like so:
|Unit Type/ID||From Hex||To Hex||AU cost||Comments|
|Heavy Tank 1||0223||0220||1||** none **|
|GEV 1||0223||0219||1||** none **|
- When you want to emphasize something, put asterisks in front of it; more than two, if you have the room, because just one looks like you're going to refer to something at the bottom.
- Leave room on EVERY line that refers to a single unit for comments, even if it's only 2 or 3 spaces . . . if space is limited, put symbols in the comment space, and put the comment at the bottom of the page. You'll wish you did if you don't . . .
When both players have signalled that they have the current set-up correct, it's time to process the first combat turn! I suggest that, if you have a word-processing program, you use IT instead of keeping a log of the combat with pen and paper and transferring it to a text file later – less room for error. Try using this format; it works fairly well so far, but it is a bit long:
Hex number #### – (contents of hex; i.e., 2 GEV's, 2 LGEV's v. 3 infantry).
|1||2||GEV's v. 1 infantry||4-1||6||X||1 pt. REDUCED.|
|2||LGEV's v. 1 infantry||2-1||6||X||1 pt. REDUCED.|
Units Remaining in Hex ####: (whatever)
Note: each type of unit has its own terminology (detailed below), and the "Odds" and "Roll" columns are optional. I WOULD leave the "Result" column in, though. Having the "description" part is not necessary, but it alleviates heavy bookkeeping; at the end of the turn, you can just check it to see what you have to put in the UNIT UPDATE section.
|Hvy Tank 0414 v. LGEV 0413||4-1||4||X||LGEV ** ELIMINATED.|
|LGEV 2222, LGEV 2223, GEV 2120 v. Hvy Tank 2122||1-1||3||D||Hvy Tank DISABLED.|
*** Examples are Single and Multiple unit combat. "Standard" terminology for the Description section follows:
|Unit Type||Reference Type||Combat Result Terms|
|INFANTRY||Strength points & hex #||REDUCED or ELIMINATED|
|ARMOR (all)||ID # and/or hex #||DISABLED or ELIMINATED|
|TERRAIN: Towns, bridges, forest, (buildings), etc.||hex # (and SP remaining)||DESTROYED or (REDUCED)|
|OGRE systems||ID # and/or hex #||DESTROYED|
By standardizing the language, someone can tell what's going on by simply reading the "description" column.2nd Phase Movement: This is simply a list (in columns, of course . . . ) of any/all GEV-type units, as well as aircraft, that are making their 2nd movement, and to where they are moving. Overruns, if any, take place (and are documented here) as normal.
Unit Update: This is the current turn's casualty list. Separate the losses by side (Combine/Paneuropean), and list them in "order": Infantry, Armor, Ogre parts, and Special – Terrain, CP's, Cruise Missiles, etc. Example:
|Combine update:||1 pt. infantry 0413 eliminated.|
1 pt. infantry 0414 eliminated.
Hvy Tank #1 0520 disabled.
*** This section also allows each player to double check his/her map for accuracy, which is a help . . .
Current Score: Current turn and Total VP's are figured here. This section is purely optional, but it's kind of fun to see the progress of each army. It also adds suspense (of a kind), because each player, as well as the audience, knows exactly how well they are doing. I like to add the VP's up for the players by putting the formula out there:
|Combine:||Current – 6 + 2 + 2 + (8 × 4) = 42|
Total – 42 + 184 = 226
That way, if you make an addition mistake, they can catch it, too . . .
Comments: Again, another optional section. This is where you can load praise on and/or condemn players for their play (heh heh heh). You can also put any "descriptions" you made reference to down here. This is where the next turn's information should be put; reinforcements, "radio interceptions", "sightings", etc. This is where GM creativity could / should play a role, and you SHOULD live it up . . . I sure do!
When the next turn is received, the procedure starts all over again . . . but every time, it gets easier. Move, Overrun, Attack, 2nd Move, Update, Score, Comments.
For advanced play/players, some comments, since I haven't run anything like this yet:
- Tell each player only what s/he can see with his/her units (per Dave Seagraves' GEV Sighting Rules). BE CAREFUL with this one! It's easy to lose track of what each player can/cannot see . . .
- Post only the RESULTS of combat, not the units involved or the odds/rolls/etc . . . just the UPDATEs and new unit positions . . .