Monday, December 10, 2012

Exhaustion Markers and a Method for Tracking Hits


Well, the Painting Challenge is locked and loaded for the 20th and so I thought I'd post something that's not really about painted figures but more about game mechanics.

In looking for an simple way to track fatigue hits, while also wanting to avoid table-clutter and  bookkeeping, this is what I've managed to come up with. (Actually, I'd be surprised if a variant of this hasn't been done before but I thought I'd post it just in case someone may find it useful.) As you'll see this mechanic could easily be used to track a variety of unit conditions (i.e. casualties, ammunition expenditure, morale, etc) depending on the marker and choice of position.

In our home-brew Napoleonic rules each unit can sustain three levels of fatigue before suffering from exhaustion. I track this by moving the unit label (in our case a small labeled casualty marker) clockwise around the four corners of the unit.


Here is the rear of a French infantry battalion in its normal, rested state. The unit marker is positioned in the upper right corner.



The same unit has now taken one 'hit' of fatigue. To show this, the unit marker is moved to the bottom right corner.



Now with a second fatigue hit the marker is slid over to the bottom right. (I'm sure you see where I'm going with this...)



A third hit has been suffered, with the marker now positioned to the upper left.



When the fourth hit is sustained the marker is moved back to its original position BUT with the addition of a Exhaustion marker placed beside the unit marker to signify that the fatigue threshold of the unit has been breached.

Below are some markers quickly bodged-up using spare plastic bits I had left over from a couple Victrix and Perry boxed sets. I mounted them on small washers and added some texture gel to mimic battlefield debris. I decided to go with a simple grey drybrushing on the flotsam as I liked the stark high-contrast effect and think it will make them more distinct on the tabletop.


Pretty straightforward. The lot of these only took an hour or so to complete, and with one per battalion I pretty much have enough for most of my collection. 


I'm currently working on a few more using slightly larger bases for my cavalry regiments. They'll feature dragoon helmets, split shakos, broken sabers, carbines, sabretaches, etc. I'll try something similar with the artillery. When I get them done I'll put a couple shots of them up here.



Next up will be another marker idea but for a different game system and another time-period...

26 comments:

  1. They look great Curt! Just like you I'm a big fan of self made markers on fields.

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Christopher! Yeah, I really like getting away from too much clutter in order to keep the table pleasing to the eye.

      Delete
  2. Very smart Curt.
    Must admit when we started off playing Black Powder we initially used dice beside the unit to track stamina points... but these kept getting picked up by mistake... we then switched to simple pieces of small gravel/pebbles from the driveway outside. They dont look out of place on the board as little stones etc.
    However your solution is far more aesthetically pleasing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We did the very same thing with many hoots and howls from players.

      'Hey you picked up my casualty die.'

      'Oh, sorry! Here's another. How many hits were on that unit?'

      Um, I think it took only one hit/.'

      'Yeah, right!'

      :)

      Delete
  3. Nice one Curt. The 'count the tufts' system we use works well for us but with this method we can add a second dimension to it. Cheers, Mike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your tuft system as well but we often play on big tables and have players with poor eyes so we opted for something that has a huge visual cue to it.

      Delete
  4. Great idea! I could see myself messing this up though as I move units in the heat of battle and forget what corner the marker was at.

    I've always liked the casualty/exhaustion markers you've come up with, as well as Mike's "count the tufts" idea. I'm actually trying out a variation of Dean's (WAB Corner) poker chips method, and just add more chips to the stack for each hit.

    Jason

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yeah, it takes a bit of discipline for sure but like most things you learn to work with it after a few blunders.

      Delete
  5. Curt,

    Given that Nap battles is mostly a line/collumn afair are the flank positions not intruding (ie when two battns next to eachother how does the system work ?) can imagine that you shift the positions from side right to front right, rear right to rear left (hope it makes sense what I am talking about here...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you are absolutely right and I should have put that in my post. If the space gets too crowded we just move the marker to the corner edge that is not being occupied, or we place the card within the unit on the appropriate corner until things free up.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  6. Hey Curt cool idea (s) - When do I get a copy of the rules to play test / similarly I have been looking at Wellington's Rules by Buck Surdu which have an interesting straggler concept to affect Unit cohesiveness. what size are the smaller markers?
    Cheers
    VFW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, my plan it to do some editing on the rules and get them out to playtesters sometime early in the new year.

      The small markers are based on washers about 18mm across.

      Delete
    2. Hey Curt that sounds great Have a very Merry Xmas and a very Happy New Year! (May you get all the lead you want in your stocking!)

      Delete
  7. I have been using the 'bits' markers as part of games for many years now.

    Your larger marker with the dice in it is neat, though I shall not need one as all my units have tags (for magnetic paper) and I use 'dead minis' (knocked off the stands as all of mine are on magnets) as casualties.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You could use the officer in the rear rank - moving him from left to right to mark the fatigue??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good idea Steve! The only trouble with that is that not all my battalions have officers in the rear rank like this one. Now, if I was planning ahead at the start of the project...

      Delete