Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Return of Riot Squad Saturdays

"Soldiers of Ukraine's Internal Troops in riot gear and protesters clash at Bankova str, Kiev, Ukraine.
December 1, 2013" by Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe .

Partly due to the recent events in the Ukraine, and partly due to the fact that Welbo and I are in the final stages of the pre-beta release of the Valley of the Five Fires wargame, and partly due to the fact that I'm having to give a serious "re-boot" of my blogging after a period of work-load inundation, I'm re-starting Riot Squad Saturdays.

At this point, I really have nothing new to share or report regarding further development of the game, other than I think I really need to focus on what the basic scenarios are for the game. (This is something I knew but didn't want to admit, and it took Welbo pointing it out for me to say, "Okay.")

Now, some of you who've read these posts in the past may remember this is an idea I've had sitting around since the mid-90s. (Damn! Really? This idea is 20 years old? Wow.) Okay, anyway... back then, I'd only developed the thinnest of skeletons of an outline (e.g., movement was nothing more than a outline item labeled as "Movement"). I did, however, think through how I wanted the dice mechanics to work - simple counter vs. counter resolution, where (based on initiative) the "attacker" rolls and decides the fate of the "target". The charts were originally 4d6-based. Why? I have no freaking idea why I wanted something that cumbersome, or peaked at its center-point (percentile-wise in terms of chance of the result). But in re-looking at those charts, I realized 2d6 was more than adequate, provided more variance in result, and felt more "old school." Below are the adjusted charts (only the numbers under "roll" changed from a 4d6 to a 2d6 spread, otherwise, the content is essentially the same per the original mid-90s charts).

At this point, my thinking is that movement will be scenario-based, and that game resolution will be primarily driven by the resolution charts. By comparison, the Valley of the Five Fires games requires a lot of referencing of the rules based on the specific encounter (e.g., there are 8 different types of place encounters, each of which has its own way of affecting the game). Ultimately, the Valley of the Five Fires game is encounter driven, while I see Riot Squad as very resolution driven.

As a reminder, here are the various scenarios I've imagined so far...

SCENARIO 1A: "Protective" Protestors vs. Police
Protestor Goal: Protect target zone from "invading" force (e.g., eco-protest vs. corporation).
Police Goal: Break protestor zone of defense to occupy target zone.

SCENARIO 1B: "Aggressive" Protestors vs. Police
Protestor Goal: Expand zone of control by increasing protestor population.
Police Goal: Reduce protestors' zone of control (minimize population).

SCENARIO 2: Revolution
Revolutionist Goal: Expand zone of control to entire map.
Government Goal: Quash revolution (eliminate all zones of control).

SCENARIO 3:Traditional Riot
Rioter Goal: Looting and vandalism.
Police Goal: Arrest looters and vandals while keeping collateral damage to a minimum.

SCENARIO 4: Gang War
Gang Goal (Multiple Gangs): Increase zone of control and grow body count of opposition.
Police Goal (Optional): Arrest as many gang members as possible.

"Black Vulmea" Mike suggested an alternate condition regarding the arrival of media/reporters on the scene. This actually brings up a new discussion point regarding the game. Welbo and I have always tried to rely on the conceit that anything we develop for "old school" products (e.g., this sort of "zip bag" wargame) be seen from the POV of the time period in which we wished we'd developed the game. In 1980, that meant something much different than 2014, where social media outlets put things in the public eye within seconds of its occurrence. But I'm not opposed to offering "1980 Conditions for Victory" vs. "Contemporary Conditions for Victory," with the alternate rules conditions based on "the way things were" vs. "the way things are."

Thoughts? Scenario ideas? Feel free to comment below.

TO BE CONTINUED... next Saturday.

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