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...