Saturday, 24 January 2015

Has a year gone by so fast?

Really, it's been two years. Very little progress on the VSF front since March 2013 or there abouts I'm afraid. I've been doing more things with Fantasy, I suppose, but even then last year was pretty empty of painting opportunities.

And this isn't going to help much, as it's about VBCW, which is something that has been simmering away under the surface for a long while now. As not much gets done re: VBCW, there's no point it having a blog of its own so I've put stuff up here before - I think about 5 years ago, I posted about some plastic Cluedo figures I'd got hold of and was thinking of using for '20s-'30s gaming (in fact here they are in their raw plastic state).

Well, that's still ongoing. What I have done is thought of some rules for them - at least, for VBCW skirmishes.

VBCW is a bit weird. The main things about it that I'm pulling into my gaming are that there are 3 factions - the Socialists, the Anglicans and the Fascists - and there are lots of card activations that happen.

So I was thinking what I could do with the Cluedo characters and decided on a few simple rules.

First - the Cludo characters would be 'card activated' too. If a player drew a card, that character would wander into the skirmish and get involved. That means I need six cards - one each for Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Reverend Green (in versions outside the UK, I believe this is 'Mr. Green, the Businessman' but in the UK version he's a clergyman), Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard.

Second - each character would grant some bonus. This I decided was quite tricky. Colonel Mustard I thought should be a combat bonus. Professor Plum maybe a bonus to shooting? A lecture on ballistics or something that increased a unit's ability to shoot. Then I realised I could pair up 'opposites'; and there are a lot of opposites in VBCW.

Third -each character would have some affiliation. The idea of affiliation is a bit weird though. There are three sides, but not every game has three sides. So affiliation can also work negatively and this is what I decided to concentrate on. Who wouldn't someone ally with?

So taking the last question first, I decided that straight off the bat that neither Colonel Mustard nor Mrs Peacock would side with the Socialists. Colonel Mustard is too military to fight for the Bolshies, and Mrs Peacock is too rich and aristocratic. They'd either fight for the Anglicans or the Fascists. So I needed to work out who wouldn't fight for the other factions.

Reverend Green obviously would fight for the Anglicans, but we already have two Anglican/Fascist characters - what I needed was two who would fight for Anglicans or Socialists, and two who would fight for Socialists or Fascists. As there seemed no reason for Reverend Green to avoid the Anglicans (in fact it seemed daft) he was down for Anglican/Socialist. And the pattern of opposites (and abilities) began to emerge.

I'd already reasoned that Colonel Mustard would boost fighting; and Mrs Peacock could perhaps show some chaps how to handle a gun, bein' a huntin' shootin' and fishin' type herself. Prof Plum could also be an expert on guns... so if I made a wheel, and put Prof Plum opposite Mrs Peacock...
That's how it came together in my head. Each character has a primary allegiance - Plum and White to the Socialists, Scarlett and Mustard to the Fascists, and Green and Peacock to the Anglicans. But because of where they 'never' go, each character also has a secondary allegiance. Plum and Scarlett, I decided, were far to unconventional ever to join the Anglicans. And I already knew that Mustard and Peacock would never join the Socialists.

So this way, in a two faction battle, each side could get three allies. In a fight between Socialists and Fascists, Mrs Peacock would join the Fascists with Miss Scarlett and Col. Mustard; Rev. Green would join the Socialists with Prof. Plum and Mrs White. In a fight between Socialists and Anglicans, Miss Scarlet would join the Socialists with Plum and White, against the Anglicans with Green, Peacock and Mustard. And in a fight between Anglicans and Fascists, White would join the Anglican side while Plum allied with the Fascists.

The abilities each has paired up quite neatly too. Reverend Green's effect on morale (a nice sermon to rouse the Anglicans, or a bit of fiery Christian Socialism for the 'redder' troops) balances Miss Scarlett's singing (I imagine her as a sort of celebrity coming to to entertain the troops); Col Mustard teaching hand-to-hand combat balances Mrs White fortifying the troops with tea; Professor Plum's ballistics lectures complement Mrs Peacock's teaching of the same subject. And the way the forces split means no-one would ever be on the same side as their 'opposite' with the same skills.

There will be two ways these characters can be used. If one draws a card with a character from 'ones own' army - let's assume, it's Socialists v Anglicans and the Socialist player draws Mrs White - then that player gets to place the Mrs White figure with whichever of his units he wishes, as she has wandered into the battle with a tray of tea 'for the lads'. All effects take one turn to come into play: for that turn the chosen unit cannot attack, but after that, for the remainder of the game, that unit counts as having a bonus to hand-to-hand attacks (exactly what bonus would depend on the games system of course). But anyway, the Miners' Militia, fortified by a turn of drinking tea, later assaults the enemy's positions with renewed vigour.

On the following turn, the Anglican player draws - calamity! - Miss Scarlett, an 'enemy' card. The Anglican player can't play Miss Scarlett in his own army but can, perhaps, still use her to his advantage. As Miss Scarlett's ability is improving morale, it would be best to 'waste' this ability on either a unit with high morale anyway (so the increment is not noticed so much) or on a unit unlikely to have to check morale. The Anglican player has a choice - place Miss Scarlett with the enemy command (where she may distract them with her singing thus possibly preventing them giving orders, depending on the system, but in any case unlikely to need an increase in morale) or with that unit of snipers hiding in the trees, who have to stop shooting for a turn in order to be entertained - even though they're unlikely to be making a morale check.

This latter effect, where a friendly character is placed by the enemy, can be regarded as the result of misinformation or deception by spies or double agents. Not the characters themselves - but whoever sent Miss Scarlett there at just that time - obviously, working for the Anglican League...

So where does this all leave VSF? I'm still working on ways to include these six into 'Torchwood: 1891' but without the three-fold alliance structure it's difficult to see how something like this is applicable. I think I might go back to my original idea to link them to D&D-type abilities: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom (Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Mustard, Plum, Green?), then perhaps Scarlett could represent Dexterity (and Thieving?) White could represent Constitution (generally fortitude and endurance) and Mrs Peacock Charisma - as a 'lady' she was probably born to rule...

Still thinking about that - I'd say 'watch this space' but if it's another year until I post you might get round to thinking that I was a bit presumptive!

No comments:

Post a Comment