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Rules for mass battles anyone?
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Author:  biggsy [ Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:29 am ]
Post subject:  Rules for mass battles anyone?

Hi all

I know that a lot of players do some mass battles from time to time. Now i'm planning to do some large scale battles (500+ points) with my friends and was wondering if some of you would like to share any rules or tweaks you use for your mass battles? I have read through Iron Lightsaber's Battle of Hoth rules among others, but they're often kind of scenario specific. What i'm looking to do or find is some basic rules that can be used with virtually any setup.

I have a couple of ideas but nothing fancy. More like limiting the number of commanders or limiting the range of otherwise boardwide commander effects. Not allowing tempo control or Mas Amedda would be good too i think, as it would probably screw up the game if included.

There's been made several maps that connect with eachother now, and that really helps. The battle of Hoth is easily set up with 3+ of the snowy maps we have. Tatooine is available for mass battles thanks to Jedi Cartographer and we can battle it out in the cargo facility that Map Maker has made. These are all things i look forward to try, but i would also like to try to do some games without squares on a board with 3D terrain.

With that in mind, i recently got a copy of the Star Wars Miniatures Battles rules book from West End Games (1993?). There's a lot of inspiration there, and i especially like the idea of seperate squads. Each squad could then have an assigned commander who only affects the members of that squad, one or two 'specialists' (heavy troopers, scouts or something else) and a number of regular grunts. Also, i've never played Warhammer or anything like that so the rules for movement, morale etc are also ideas i will have to take into consideration. What would be really awesome, is if it would be able to make a fusion of something like this and the regular SWM rules. If anyone has done this, i would really appreciate it if you'd share your ideas and experiences.

I hope that you all have some great input to share, so we can get the battles going!


Author:  Darth_Jim [ Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

One thing that I've done when running a large game at a convention (such as the Hoth battle) that involved a large number of participants was to streamline the initiative process. Instead of everyone rolling each turn, and having to deal with the chaos of re-rolling multiple ties and such, was to take a deck of playing cards and pulling out the appropriate number of cards equal to the number of people playing. I assign each player a card, shuffle them up, and draw initiative that way. If I want someone to have some sort of initiative control, I merely ask them before shuffling what order they'll want to go, then shuffle the rest. I've been doing this for years and it works great.

Author:  armoredgear7 [ Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

I'm actually working on a set of generic rules for Mass Battles right now.

The major change to the turn order is that figures in your army are organized into squads of approximately 50-70pts with exactly 1 commander in each. Instead of activating 2 figures per phase, the team chooses which squad will active for that phase and all figures in that squad get to activate.

The squad organization has a handful of benefits:
-Faster gameplay since you're activating 5-8 figures at a time

-CEs & stat-boosting abilities all become range 6, or apply only to the squad the commander is part of. Some CEs need to be reworked slightly for this format, but most stuff works well already.

-Army composition can be controlled by creating 2 levels of squad construction requirements: infantry squads and special squads. The former containing generic figures only, the latter including support units like huges and more powerful commander Uniques. An army can have 1 special squad for every 2 infantry squads it brings.

-The commander of each squad, for instance a Clone Trooper Sergeant for a republic infantry squad gains relay orders (to allow the squad some CE support) with a restriction: Each commander must choose which CE in play to relay at the start of that squad's activation. This helps massively to cut down on stacking CEs.

-If you want a mass battle system in battlefront-style, this army setup works well with controlling command points. Squads can resupply at allied command points to recover any casualties as long as the squad commander is alive. If the squad commander if defeated, the remaining troops can either fight it out, or retreat. Both options let that player bring out a new squad.

The base rules set is coming along nicely and I'll be doing some playtesting soon. When I've got a draft rules set, I'll be sharing it here for feedback.

Author:  swinefeld [ Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

@Darth Jim - That initiative process sounds great.

@AG7 - lol, I was just in process of writing a post to ask whether something like you just outlined has been spelled out before. I eagerly await the results of your efforts. :D

Author:  biggsy [ Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

That's actually a good idea. I've played some 2vs2 games and even there it's a pain sometimes. Also i guess it's a good idea to save as much time as you can for these huge games, as they tend to go on for hours.

Wow that's so close to what i was thinking of doing, it's almost scary!
I really like the squad idea, very similar to what i had in mind. It saves a lot of time when you activate a whole squad at the time. And the 'one commander per squad' makes it more realistic in my oppinion, and also limits the ridiculous amount of CE's that would normally apply. The relay orders option is a fun addition though.
Following your rules, would a jedi be able to lead a squad of clones for example, or are they put in one of the 'special' squads? I'm guessing the latter, but it would be cool if a jedi general could lead troops into battle.
Also, are you going to make this compatible with squared maps, free movement, or both?
I'm very exited about this you know. Really looking forward to seeing your rules set.

Some other things that the WEG rules had, inspired me as well. For example dividing range into short, medium and long range so that units firing at the enemy from afar will suffer some kind of penalty. And also, different cover bonuses and movement penalties, depending on what kind of terrain the units are in (i guess this is only relevant if you're playing with 3D terrain).

Author:  Xphile [ Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

Late to the party, but I can say I'm really interested to see what AG7 comes up with. While I like SWM, I always like combat on a much bigger scale... and with the focus being on normal troops.

Author:  biggsy [ Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

Has anyone gotten any bright ideas for mass battles during the last year? I found this over at gameboardgeek.com the other day, and it got me looking into this again: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2245476

I'm still looking forward to seeing what AG7 has been up to, if he's had time to work on this.

Author:  R5Don4 [ Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

He ran a mass battle event at Gencon this past year with the rule adaptation he came up with. Here is just a taste of the rules, I`ll leave it to him to post the entire rule set when he is ready.

The main concept is to have the majority of the fighting to be done by grunts.

It was played on a huge (size of 4 normal maps) custom map he created for the event.

Here are some of the major points:

All CE`s are Range 6 to the Commander units.

All units are broken up into one of four classes. Standard Unit, Elite Unit, Standard Leader and Elite Leader.

Armies consist of a number of Elite Squads with subordinate Standard Squads.

Elite Squads consist of an Elite Leader and any combination of other units up to the set squad maximum.

The Standard Squads consist of a Standard Leader, 1 Elite Unit and the rest of the squad is made up of Standard Units.

The Elite Leader`s CE is in effect within Six Squares of the Standard Squad`s Standard Leader.

CE`s only effect related squads.

During each Phase of a Round an entire Squad activates.

There are also rules for bringing in reinforcements to replace defeated units.

Author:  biggsy [ Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

That sounds very promising, i take it that it was a fun event?

I've tried to come up with a ruleset of my own, inspired by ideas i've seen here, on wizards and from other sources like that BGG article. But if AG7 has a solid playtested ruleset, i'm going with that :D
I have some Mos Eisley buildings (yeah everyone does that, i know ;)) in the making, and i'm really looking forward to host a Tatooine mass battle at some point in the near future.

Author:  biggsy [ Sat May 26, 2012 10:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

Having completed my Mos Eisley game board, i'm once again looking into some rules tweaks for mass battle play. So i'll just throw some thoughts and ideas out there. Input is much appreciated.

The squad concept is a nice touch, and i like the 'elite' and 'regular' idea posted above. One question though, how many standard squads would there be for each elite?
I had come up with a similar idea, where each player has a command squad. Each time a regular squad activates, the squad leader can relay one CE from any one character in the command squad. I don't know which version i prefer.

Another thing i can't decide is whether or not you would be able to target a single unit within a squad, or if you should target the squad as one and then the defender chooses who dies. I think it would probably ease gameplay some if you do the latter, but would it change the rules too much?

I think limiting range on a 3D board is a good idea, so how about dividing range into short, medium and long range?

Regular blasters/ranged weapons:
Short range (1"-6"): No penalty.
Medium range (6"-12"): -2 penalty to attack.
Long Range (12"-24"): -4 penalty to attack.

Units with mounted weapon, heavy weapon, missiles etc:
Short range (1"-12"): No penalty.
Medium range (12"-24"): -2 penalty to attack.
Long Range (24"-48"): -4 penalty to attack.

Anything further away would be an automatic miss.

Other modifies:
Targeting a character in light cover (<50% in cover): -2 penalty to attack.
Targeting a character in heavy cover (>50% in cover): -4 penalty to attack.
Units that have moved and fired: -2 penalty to attack. (maybe this should not apply to units with mobile attack, greater mobile attack, charging fire, charging assault and furious assault?)
Targeting a squad/character on a lower level: +2 bonus to attack.
Targeting a squad/character on a higher level: -2 penalty to attack.

Should units that are engaged in melee combat still be able to fire at other targets? Maybe with a -4 penalty to attack?

Climbing or descending from buildings should be possible to prevent camping, so i thought i would allow vertical movement as long as the character can end its turn on a plateau. Characters with flight or using force leap would be able to move on top of buildings/terrain without climbing.

That's all i have for now, but i'll be back with more :)

Author:  R5Don4 [ Sun May 27, 2012 6:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

biggsy wrote:
The squad concept is a nice touch, and i like the 'elite' and 'regular' idea posted above. One question though, how many standard squads would there be for each elite?

As AG7 isn't around too much these days, I'll fill in as best I can recall from his system.
There are two subordinate Standard squads for each Elite squad. The Commander of the Elite Squad's CE applies to the Standard squad as well as the Elite squad. All CE's are range 6 from the squad commander and only apply to their own squad.

If I remember correctly, if the squad commander is killed the whole squad is wiped off the board at the end of the round and a new one is brought in from the starting area at the beginning of the next round.

Author:  biggsy [ Mon May 28, 2012 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

I'm guessing the objective was to score some sort of victory points then? Otherwise, it's pretty drastic to kill off the whole squad once the commander dies. Accurate shot would rule :D

Author:  Randy [ Mon May 28, 2012 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

I bought some movement trays for the Lord of the Rings Miniatures game. The holes are round and hold 8 SWM figures perfectly.

Each squad gets an attack for every figure in the front row and the back row combines fire.

I give each squad up to 2 commanders, but the other 6 possitions have to be the same non-unique. And commander effects are just for the squad they are in.

We have done 1500 point battles in around 30 minutes.

Author:  biggsy [ Thu May 31, 2012 2:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rules for mass battles anyone?

The movement trays are a nice touch. I especially like the ones where the minis aren't just lined up in rows but in a loos formation. It makes them easier to move for sure!

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