Eve of Battle

The Eve of the Battle
The game is to allocate a quick scenario for a table top battle, which hasn’t to be necessarily ballanced, but will be contested by two opposing players for the most favourable conditions. The aim is to simulate the thrilling chase of screening troops or vanguards and the hunt for the two generals for the right moment and most favourable ground for their troops to meet and beat the opponent. 
Which commander can concentrate as quickly as possible, sufficient units or can afford to wait for better conditions? Fortuna fauvet fortibus!

The Game
Each player draws two new cards  and decides if he wants to add one new card to his screening stack or if he wants to test his luck and see if that card brought him a favourable event or terrain or weather condition. All red cards must be played in that turn. All others can be kept on hand (up to five) the minimum is two. 
But beware, sometimes only the ‘played‘ ones are safe. How long can you push your luck or will the situation worsen every turn?

Sequence of play
Each player gets at the start 5 cards on his hands. Each round one player is entitled, in any order: a) to draw two new cards (mandatory), and b) to place up to one card on his screening troops stack (optional) and c) to play any cards on his hand to any other stack (optional). ‘Red’ cards must be played in the turn they are drawn. Then it is the opposing player’s turn and so forth until one player annonce the start of the battle or the cards are forcing them to do so. The maximum number of cards on the hand at the end of his or her turn is 5, the minimum is 2. Note that the Red card rule can force the player below the minimum of cards on hand. The players can‘t simply discharge cards, all cards must be played. in normal turns.
In case of announcing the start of the battle, the announcing player has to discard all of his cards on his hand  while his or her opponent might play all or some of his remaining cards on hand.The announcing player has to deploy first in any case. He or she also has the first turn, if the cards do not dictate otherwise.

There will be five different stacks where the player can detach their cards to. Each player will have his “Screening troops” stack and his “Event” stack, that tells what kind of hopefully favorably events will occure on that battle and his or her ”Battlefield item” stack right in front of him or her. Also there will be one ”Battlefield” stack, which determines the woodland coverage, and one “Weather” stack that will show what kind of weather condition it will be. And a discarded cards stack for ‘played’ event cards 
of course.

Screening troops
The “Screening troops” stack  represents the units off table or reserve units, which are in the area and might or might not be called into battle as fate or skill might dictate. It is the unturned card reservoir for the player where, once the battle has started, the amount of troops he or she can order or upgrade to or that can block other cards from the opponents screening troops to do so. Also it can ‘buy out‘ red cards in a ratio of 1 to 4.
There is a hierarchy in blocking though: from Attillery to Infantry to Cavalry. Horse can block all, Foot can just block Foot and Guns, and Guns just simply can’t block at all. 
For blocking one unit, one needs two cards to do so. The ‘Guard’ cards can either upgrade or buy (not already upgraded though!) or block. To upgrade one commander you need an Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry card. Upgrades cannot be blocked. The player who started the battle must decide what he buys, blocks or upgrades, then followed by the opponent. It is advisable to start with similar strength ‘rump‘ armies. One can ‘buy‘ up to any unit that is of course available to the players (recommended is  a ratio of 7:3).

Deployment rules
Each player deploys at his side of the table opposing to the side of his opponent to an agreed distance. The road will start from one side of one player and leading off to the other players side, randomly determined. The area covered by wood will also be randomly determined; as palyers agree, they can also divide this area up as they agree upon and see fit. After this has been determined, the battlefield items, such as villages or hills, each player has drawn, will be randomly determined and placed in his or her half of the table. Further deployment will be determined only by the cards. After this has been determined, the player can start to deploy their units as the cards demand.

Optional Rules
If the players agree, and of course enough screening cards are available, the opening player can declare up to one operational objective for the opposing player at a cost of three cards of any troop type. Objectives can only be singular battle field items in the half of the declaring player‘s table, i.e. hills, farms, villages or bridges or fortified positions, never an area of wood, a road, a river or swamp. The opponent who has the second move, has the choice to either buy another objective or to ‘bid‘  higher by paying four cards for the benefit of deploying the former objective in his zone (randomly determined). Does the opponent occupy an enemy objective for one turn in the half of the players table the opponent wins automatically.

A rule independent scenario developing card game for tabletop stategy games. 
Design and game development and copyright by Michael Schneider.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya,
    Thx for this ...makes the process much clearer however I would add a typical result of such a pre-game...I found this on your Blog that I found very illuminating.
    "Paul was playing the British forces, three Brigades, with two pieces of Artillery and even a small unit of Light Dragoons, while I was trying to led the American forces, consisting of similar forces but of lower quality, out of the danger or even victory.

    We had set up the battle with the help of my card game pre-determinator, I will now humbly baptize, ‘Eve of Battle‘. Paul had the upper hand, as he managed to secure a mostly woodland free area (woodland 25%), no good ground for the Americans to start with. He had drawn a farm building (good defensive position) plus additional barricades, and were able to upgrade his Chief in Command, 'buy' another gun, upgrade his cavalry to elite status and draw in two extra Hessian units. Splendid.

    I had upgraded two of my commanders, bought another gun, had also my cavalry upgraded, but was just able to drew in only one additional unit of our beloved French allies.

    Event wise, both sides had extra 'barricades', Paul had the 'scouts' and a 'surprise attack', while I had a 'delayed enemy', which can delay one enemy unit of my choice and 'lost depeche' which gives the right to re-deploy after all enemy deployment, even after his 'surprise attack‘. So Paul needed to leave his strong positions to get to the fight, while I was risking being fought to near the table end. I also had the ‘speech', which raised the moral of my troops"

    BTW the thing that most impresses me about your games is the omniprescent beer ...my sort of gaming

    rgds Zel