A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Solo Wargaming - I may have lost something

Nothing serious, but I have been enjoying Ross's posts over on Battle Game of the Month about refining his solo rules, and I realised (with what must have been a pang, I guess) that I haven't been doing much solo wargaming in recent weeks and - since much of my wargaming is of the solo variety - this means I haven't been doing much wargaming. The reason is not hard to identify. My new, and very enthusiastic, commitment to Commands & Colors:Napoleonics as my miniatures rules of choice has left me a bit stranded, since the solo options for that game that I've seen thus far are not brilliant.

My in-house rules, which use a computer for activation, record keeping and calculation, do have the advantage that they support solo play pretty well. However, the simplicity and logical flow of CCN - which make the in-house game look more than a little turgid - have won me over, and recently my own rules have been unused.

I guess this is easily fixed. This morning I spent a little time fishing around on Google and there is a fair amount out there. The problem with playing CCN solo is that the Command (activation) cards do not work well if you can see both hands. A number of the workarounds I've seen use a dice system to replace the cards - I had already started thinking about that approach. Another places the "ghost" opponent's cards in an unseen stack, two cards are turned over, and the one which suits the ghost's position best is chosen, both cards being subsequently discarded and replaced. Or both players can be ghosts, treated in the same way. I have only just started thinking seriously about this, so I am not pessimistic - something will come up, I'm sure. At the moment it's a bit like "how you gonna get them back on the farm, after they've seen Paree?". The CCN game is so much better than my previous rules that I'm reluctant to use anything else, and CCN with an opponent is so much better than my solo attempts with it to date that there is a strong temptation just to find something else to do in the evenings.

I'll have to get moving on this. I've written a post-it to myself, this very morning - that should get something happening. I could try using Ross's rules, I suppose, but that would mean learning something new (ouch). Or I could try to recruit a new opponent locally, but people tend to take to their heels when they just hear about my soldier collection. Or I could try to get my son up to speed on CCN, but he is only 8, and it feels a bit like exploitation. Hmmm.


  1. I'm not on the details of CCN but it seems to me that any game actually using hexes ought to be suitable for play with a remote opponent.In this case. a remote player with his own copy could handle his own deck and choose cards as usual then just pass orders for you to follow. Shouldn't take much longer than an ordinary game.

    Rob Dean & I discussed the possibility of a Skype video conference game but the game host would need a web cam that could survey the table and we would both have to be available on the same day so no progress has been made.

  2. Ross - that's a sound idea. GMT, the publishers of CCN, have a software tool called (I think) Vassal which is designed to give on-screen support of online games, and I think the CCN version exists - that would even look after the card drawing, since it will manage a single (electronic) pack of cards. This is all great except - for historic reasons - my hexes run the wrong way on the tabletop for CCN, so I always have to adapt the scenario layouts a little, and it wouldn't work on Vassal. Also my armies are nothing like the standard GMT set, and my battles will tend not to be set scenarios - in future I hope they are most likely to be contact events from a campaign. I can (and keep promising to) change the table, but I also have a faint unease about Vassal compromising my hands-on with the toy soldiers and turning it into a sort of video game. Skype is interesting anyway - I know little of this, and must look into it.

    Nah - I'm quibbling again. Good idea. I'll also keep working on the new contacts bit. Thanks.


  3. Hi
    Al rule-sets can be adapted for solo-play in a way or another. The idea to turn over two cards and to choose the best suited is a viable alternative, I think... However I don't know CCN so I can be mistaken