Saturday, August 25, 2012

Riot Squad Saturday: Counters & Turn Sequence

So last Saturday's post introduced the Riot Squad game concept and gave the general outline of the rules. Today, we'll take a look at where I see the turn sequencing going, which is directly related to the information on the counters.

Since I have not established the various scenarios yet, I'm going to move forward assuming that there will be a multitude of scenarios (e.g., gang war, political riot gone bad, etc.), each with its own conditions for "victory." In general, I see victory being related to "ground possession"--that is, which factions have which areas under control after the specified number of turns.


Counter Facing
Something you may have noticed about the counters above is that all of the "civilian" counters face right, and all of the law enforcement counters face left. This is really technically unnecessary, but I thought it would be nice when a riot policeman is giving a protestor a beat down with his billy club, that the two of them are face to face. It seems to enhance the animosity... don't you think? It does have another benefit in the context of Morale Ratings (see below).

Movement Rating
This seems like a given. All counters should be able to move. Otherwise, the game turn would consist of something more akin to a Wild West shoutout, where people just sit and fire at each other from behind the cover of tables, pianos and the bar.

Morale Rating
I don't see how you can have a game about the human spirit without a Morale Rating. In some ways, I see the Morale Rating of a counter as being more important than any other rating. In some scenarios, it will truly be the deciding factor (e.g., at what point does that passive resistor give up and leave?) I also think it's possible that in some scenarios, the Morale Check will act more like a "saving throw" vs. morale, where the citizen counter may find himself face-to-face with a law enforcement counter, and the morale of the citizen is made vs. the "threat" of the law enforcement counter (using the law enforcement counter's Morale Rating as the Threat Rating vs. the citizen's Morale Rating.)

Combat Rating
In some scenarios, I see traditional "combat" being an accepted convention (e.g., lone gunman vs. responding police force). However, in the case of political protests, "combat" may be little more than standing one's ground in the face of an encroaching (police) faction. For that reason, I see each counter needing to be rated for combat (in some form or another). Right now, I see counters armed with ranged weapons as being rated with a number, but unarmed counters being rated with an "H" (for hand-to-hand). This notation/indication may change at the playtesting phase but, regardless, there needs to be an indication there.


Right now, I see the turn sequencing going something like this...

I. Movement
I was going back and forth on this for a while, thinking that the Morale Check should have been first. But then I realized when two counters are "engaged" (after a movement sequence), that's when the Morale Check really comes into play (e.g., that beat cop just stepped up to you and is aiming his gun in your face... NOW make that Morale Check.) I'm thinking that "who moves first" will really depend on the scenario (e.g., in a lone gunman scenario, I think the gunman should first, but in a passive resistance protest I think that the law enforcement faction should move first.) And in some scenarios, I could see rolling for initiative. Regardless, 1 pt. of movement equals 1 hex of movement (generally, that is; there may be additional movement types that will require more than 1 pt. of Movement Allowance to complete.)

II. Morale Checks
I don't think that Morale Checks should necessarily be part of every scenario. I could see them being optional in some, required in others, and not required at all in some. When Morale Checks do occur, though, I'm thinking they'll always be after the Movement Phase.

III. Interaction Phase
Please notice I did not say "Combat Phase." In some scenarios, the interaction phase may be bargaining/negotiating. In others, it may well be gunfire. Regardless, it's going to be the outcome of the Interaction Phase that closes things up for the turn, and helps the players decide their actions for the next turn (beginning with the Movement Round.)

as I move on to outline some scenarios and establish some conditions for "victory."


  1. what about media/journalist ?
    and civilian/bystander

    both with 0 combat rating

    civilians would flee from conflict
    journalists would be attracted to it

    both as some sort of (non-player) friction element that make tactics more difficult for both sides.

  2. I did consider civilian "bystanders" (mostly as collateral damage); in a lone gunman situation this would pretty much be required. I had not considered media, but I definitely like that idea; I could see the presence of media affecting protestor morale, as well as limiting the actions of law enforcement. Something I've also considered the inclusion of are "property counters" - essentially "targets" for vandals or looters.