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Solo experience

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:48 pm
by vitriol
Hi all, is there anyone here that have experienced FOG solo? if yes do you use any special rules?
cheers
luca

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:04 pm
by david53
Paul from Canada has tried this sure he'll contact you soon.

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:40 pm
by shadowdragon
david53 wrote:Paul from Canada has tried this sure he'll contact you soon.
A good thing I noticed this otherwise I would have made a liar out of Dave!

Yes, I do use special rules for solo play. The main challenge is to restrict options of the commanders, otherwise you'll be trying to "out think yourself" and that usually means that the winning side will be determined by your bias. You'd be surprised at how much bias you might have, for whatever reason - such as preferring army A over B, preferring smaller armies, etc.

WRG had a publication authored by Charles Grant on solo wargaming. It's designed so you can play either side A or side B with the other side being "programmed". I prefer to use both sides as "programmed". It does take some adjusting of the details to FoG armies and play but it is possible. Some advantages of the solo play using these restrictions are:

1) By using composition restrictions you end up with troop types in an army that would never appear in a tournament. That's actually more realistic since real life commanders often had to make do with what they had. I'm sure at Zama Hannibal would have preferred not to have poor infantry but lots of veteran armoured spearmen. I create different options based on variations in composition for each army and then roll for the one I'll use.

2) Deployment constraints mean that opposing forces aren't optimized to fight each but are often stuck in inappropriate places - again, just like real life. In some Persian - Greek games I played (in the AAR forum) the Persians had numerical superiority but were really restricted in their deployment area which gave them problems as they tried to "shake out" their lines to exploit their numerical advantage (tough when you're army isn't that manoeuvreable).

3) There should be random options for the battle plan. This produces situations, such as Persians attacking armoured hoplites head-on, which is something they wouldn't do in a tournament but just might happen in real life. If the options produce results that are insane then some modification might be needed. Another way around this is to play it once as indicated by the random plan and then to play the game again making modifications based on the "lessons" from the previous battle.

4) Scenario can be used with objectives, point differences between armies, attacker-defender games, etc. This can avoid some of the tournament problems involving LH versus HF armies.

I usually play the same scenario several times - often with different armies and even from different eras. I have most recently fought an English Civil War battle using FoG:R and then fought the same scenario with Persian vs Carthaginian forces. The fun for me is to see how the tactical advantages of the scenario change across these different match ups.

The main disadvantage of solo play is you don't have the fun of a thinking opponent (which might be giving too many gamers too much credit). However, that means it will take you longer to learn the tricks as you won't have the advantage of seeing how the good, experienced players "do it", but you can get a lot of ideas here on the forum - even if Strategos believes I have a predisposition to frontal attacks (not true Strategos!).

I've posted several AAR solo games for both FoG:AM and FoG:R.

One last thing - if you find that you really are biased for a particular army type I remember someone suggesting that you can subtract from your dice rolls (which might be a very drastic choice in FoG). I've never done that. Maybe I should as all of my smaller, defending forces have always beaten their attackers - or it could just be that it's easier to be a defender and I need more experience with being an attacker.

Let me know if you have any specific questions, but I have provided a fair bit on how I set up the solo games on various Greek vs Persian AAR that are reported here.

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:59 am
by vitriol
Thank you so much Paul for your advices.
If I understand well wargaming FOG solo is not so tough as it seems.
I think that a clearer picture on the process would come form the Grant’s “programmed scenarios”, is that the book you referred to?

I agree with you about the disadvantage but with a little boy just arrived is difficult to go out the evenings for playing, furthermore some practice is always welcomed.

What I like the most is the possibility, as you pointed out, to deploy armies in particular situation, i.e. composition, deployments and terrains (sometimes fixed and subject to the normal rules).

Cheers
luca

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:10 pm
by shadowdragon
vitriol wrote:Thank you so much Paul for your advices.
If I understand well wargaming FOG solo is not so tough as it seems.
I think that a clearer picture on the process would come form the Grant’s “programmed scenarios”, is that the book you referred to?

I agree with you about the disadvantage but with a little boy just arrived is difficult to go out the evenings for playing, furthermore some practice is always welcomed.

What I like the most is the possibility, as you pointed out, to deploy armies in particular situation, i.e. composition, deployments and terrains (sometimes fixed and subject to the normal rules).

Cheers
luca
Yes, that's the book. I'll post an example a little later when I have some time.

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:47 am
by vitriol
shadowdragon wrote: Yes, that's the book.
mmhhh, it's hard to find it

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:26 pm
by shadowdragon
vitriol wrote:
shadowdragon wrote: Yes, that's the book.
mmhhh, it's hard to find it
Yes, I believe it is out of print.

The outline of each scenario is:

1) An overall theme / general situation such as "Hill Line Defence with a defender tasked to hold a low hill line".

2) Variable terrain: The table is divided into thirds with 3 options for each third. The options have to be designed so that roads, hill lines, etc. all match up regardless of which option is chosen for each third. The options are selected by rolling the dice.

3) For each "programmed" player (the idea is to play one side against a programmed player, but I play both sides programmed):

a) Select the force from various Force list options with different compositions and / or point totals. The compositions in the book don't necessarily match a given FoG army so I use the composition variations from to create several options from the FoG army list and then roll for the selected option.

b) Roll for deployment options which is in two parts (i) deployment of light troops and (ii) deployment of remaining forces. This is usually a percentage allocated to the left, centre, right and reserve with options being reflective of a strong flank, evenly spread across the battlefield, etc.

c) Roll to select the option for the side's overall plan (e.g., for the hill line defender one of the options is "hold forward and give no ground but do not move off the defence line"). Probably one could create a list or reasonable options for each side and then roll for each side's selected plan.

d) When a specific circumstance occurs, roll for the given side's response from a list of responses. For example, for the hill defence scenario, the circumstances for which there are predefined defender responses are (i) enemy flank attack reaches the hill line, (ii) enemy frontal attack reaches the hill line, etc. Response options for (i) are (1) "denude the other flank to contain the attack, (2) commit reserve unless specifically prohibited by orders or (3) weaken centre to strengthen the threatened flank.

With a bit of effort one could do something similar to create a solo scenario with some degree of unpredictability. Even with the book you have to do some work interpreting what's provided into something that's sensible for FoG.

Hope that's of some use.