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Author Topic: Universalis with minatures  (Read 7403 times)
Tony Irwin

Posts: 333

« on: March 25, 2003, 03:32:09 AM »

I'm not joking!

I've been ill recently and have used the time (never knew just how bad daytime tv really is) to paint up some old Games Workshop stuff I have kicking around. Of course that hasn't helped me in my ongoing battle to resist buying into the Lord of the Rings line Games Workshop have brought out. I figure that if I can just make it past the third movie then I'm safe.

A friend of mine is in the same position. Games Workship fan during his teenage years and its a hard habit to give up. To have a fully painted Fellowship on the table would just be so cool... plus they have this epic scale (5mm?) fantasy line, and I keep thinking to myself "Battle of the 5 armies".

Here's my thoughts - I'll actually be trying this out on Thursday night (using epic scale space marines and orks) and will hopefully post the results here on Friday.

Gimmick, Locations
All location components must correspond to a piece of scenery available for play. Locations can be created and the scenery placed before the first scene. Framing a scene in a new location allows you to place a new item of scenery on the table. Traits can be bought for locations as normal provided that they are suitable to the appearance of the scenery model. The appearance of the model can be used as a fact to challenge attempts to buy inappropriate traits.

Gimmick, Movement
Typical movement rate for models can be defined with facts before play. Events are used to move models any amount of distance, but these events can be challenged using the facts as normal.

Gimmick, Models
All components, especially characters, must correspond to a model. Creating a component allows you to place a model on the table. Traits can be bought as normal, but the appearance of the model can be used as a fact in challenges against buying traits. Components and models can be bought and placed before the first scene.

Gimmick, Scenes
All scenes must centre on locations that have scenery models. Any new components must be introduced at that location. Any events in the scene must involve/target that location or components present. For example you could move models elsewhere on the table directly towards or directly away from that location.

Gimmick, pre-game discussion
All players should be made to understand that they are not playing a particular side in the battle. The emphasis is on creating a story that is interesting to all the players. All players will have full access to all the models. Of course as the game progresses different players will naturally invest more heavily in particular models and particular story outcomes.

Gimmick, groups
Giving a character the group traits allows you to place a simillar looking model beside it. These models are considered part of the same unit and should remain in base to base contact. (Actually I suppose how close they should be would be defined with a fact before play)

Anyway I think it might be a fun way to orchestrate the story of a battle and build up something from fantasy or sci-fi literature. I'd especially love to try starting with just the fellowship in the middle of the table and a few traits for each of them, and then introduce opponents and scenery all around them as play progresses. In fact using the group rule to create mooks would mean that its especially suited to having a core band of well-defined heros opposing large numbers of opponents.

Anyway I'd welcome some ideas :-)
Posts: 5574

« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2003, 05:20:20 AM »

Hah!  That's fantastic.  You must be sure to give an after action report on how it worked out!

I've heard of the game used for LARPing.  I've heard of it used to write FanFic.  But I've never heard (or even *thought*) of using Universalis for Miniatures.

So will you be using the Control and Complications rules for the actual battles?  Any specific gimmicks apply to that?

Tony Irwin

Posts: 333

« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2003, 06:58:28 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
So will you be using the Control and Complications rules for the actual battles?  Any specific gimmicks apply to that?

Well at the moment I'm figuring just all rules as written. Its really tempting to figure out lots of stuff for ranges, and charging, and different weapons and stuff before hand, but I figure that if we just let that evolve through play then we'll only be creating rules that are relevant to where we want the story to go. I am very tempted to try the PC add on, something cool about having your own character on the table, but I think that could easily push it towards a "my guys vs your guys" scenario and mean that all the complications focus on combat.

I'm looking forward to really getting bogged down in lots of cool sim stuff but also want very strong characters that will yield a story. I guess that's another reason the Fellowship would be good for that because they're already mapped out and have lots of relationships that can be represented right from the start without having to get really creative.

I'm thinking it might be worth having a gimmick that once the first scene begins you can't add combat traits to characters. So everybody is basically identical mooks, to get an edge you need to come up with relationships and personal history that will yield you dice in combat. Otherwise we'll just be trying to outspend each other to see who can build the biggest thermo-laser-bazooka (kewl though that would be) for the spacemarines and orks.

Or I guess I could just initiate lots of non-combat complications that will force us to invest in non-combat traits. Like if the upstart lieutenant is vying for command, or giving the unit a moral check, or somebody is trying to bribe the troops. Could force us to come up with real reasons for why these people are there at that time.

Any ideas for non-combat complications suited to a battlefield?

Posts: 1049

« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2003, 09:25:54 AM »

This is *such* a good idea. A while back I remember posting threads to the RPG-Create yahoo-group and to various wargaming groups asking how a wargame could be made more thematic, and less of a number-crunching exercise. I don't know why it never ocurred to me to use Universalis!

Now, the thing is, my gamer friends are not into RPGs. They're into competitive games, like european board-games, and such.

Do you think that there would be some way to disguise this as competition?

Edit: Tony, I forgot to ask, when you're talking about different locations, you mean different areas of the battlefield, right? Do you intend for the battlefield to actually be developed during play? I was thinking that maybe the tenet phase would be a good place to set up the scenario and location.


Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets

« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2003, 10:10:03 AM »

Quote from: Tony Irwin
Any ideas for non-combat complications suited to a battlefield?

No ideas as such, but a suggestion.  Why not rent a few good war movies and look for non-combat complications?  Ones that focus on a single battle (Black Hawk Down, Gettysburg) would seem to be particularly useful.

Just my .02.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf

edited to fix quote code

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Mike Holmes
Posts: 10459

« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2003, 11:28:59 AM »

Aw, c'mon. Non-combat Complications for the battlefield? Yer kidding.

Medics attending to wounded.
Commo guys trying to relay information via radio or whatever.
Terrain to cross like climbing Complications.
Rapidly making hasty fighting positions by digging in or emplacing cover.
Command and Control Conflicts like getting sub-units to do what you want. Or getting leaders to agree to do things according to your plan.
Taking initiative to accomplish some goal (especially under fire).
Boosting morale.
Rallying men with broken morale (very different).
Organizing Intelligence reports.
Analyzing opposing unit capabilities.
Sabotage of supply.
Maneuvering properly.
Establishing fields of fire.
Scrounging for parts and "field expedient" repair.
Running for your life.
Checking meteorological conditions.
Camoflage and just plain hiding.
Tactical analysis of battlefield terrain.
In-battle supply logistics (how much ammo does each man get?).
Dissemintaing battle plans to subordinate leaders effecively.
Security of key resources.
Simple enemy detection and observation.
Assassination of leaders.


Just a few to start.

I mean the possibilities are infinite. I find it ironic that most people think of combat solely in terms of people attacking each other when that's a small fraction of the picture, and has little to do with success, especially on the large scale. Sure, it's the most intense part. But it's just a part.


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