Friday, 13 January 2012

Computer Song of Drums and Shakos

These last two weeks have been a very busy period both in work and home, so the chances to find spare time for wargaming in the basement have been scarce. However, since my Song of Drums and Shakos ruleset is an e-book, this astute wargamer found a brilliant solution to overcome this problem: to play the Wethau bridge Scenario as a virtual tabletop wargame!
The computer tools were few and easily available in a computer: the three main programs of the Microsoft Office package: Powerpoint instead a game table, Word instead pen and paper and Excel instead the dice, although any 'Office-like' package would be adequate for the 'anti-Microsoft' or the 'open-software' people.
Well, let us take it in parts as Jack the Ripper said (an old Spanish pun, sorry!).
The table. I designed a basic slide showing the game table (see this post) combinig all the scenic features in a single object used as background.The models were colored circles (dark blue for French and gray for the Austrians) that were moved upon the background (i.e. the table) according the ebb and flow of the game. Game incidences - shots, moves, fights, deaths and so - were marked with standard drawing  symbols. Every new turn a new slide was generated by the simple expedient of duplicating the last one.
The game report. The report was written on a normal word proccesor document regularly saved (a wise method!). Some windows, with the e-rulebook, the Scenario rules and the Roster, were always open side to side for an easy access during the virtual gaming.
The dice. I used the RANDBETWEEN and IF functions available in EXCEL to design a simple worksheet implementing D6 dice and the Doghi solo rules for activation. You can use the equivalent ones in your worksheet program,
So armed, the game was played in the spare time (lunch time, night…). Being my first game of SDS, I made several mistakes, the most serious being to forgot use the Leader and Elan special rules that add +1 on Quality rolls for activation purposes. However, the error was made on both sides so the net effect, i.e. a more difficult activation, affected both sides in the same way.
Yo can see below one of the slides (after Turn no. 14), showing an Austrian Jager instanly killing (a fortune shot!) one of the French Voltigeurs. The dead are shown as black spots, and the general picture is that the bridge is now in Austrian hands, and the Jagers are forcing the retreat of the French towards the house.

The game is now near the end, but the French seem willing to fight for their lives.

1 comment:

  1. Good idea!

    If you have a moment checkout Battle Chronicler - it's free, and is very pretty indeed for running a little virtual game...

    For dice I use this site: