Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Positive Modifiers for the Solo Opponent

As promised, here's the list of positive modifiers for a solo opponent(as opposed to negative modifiers against my side) from my last campaign game. An article in Lone Warrior no. 165, "Towards a Solo Opponent – Part 2" by Jim Zylka provided the inspiration for going down this particular path.

As an aside, Mr. Zylka is the author of one of my favorite LW articles and what is reportedly one of the most requested from LW: "Enemy Behavior in Action: Renaissance Swiss." As of this date it's available for download on the Lone Warrior sample article page and certainly worth the read.

In "Towards a Solo Opponent – Part 2", Mr. Zylka lays out a list of events that benefit his "opponent" tactically and that attempt to replicate the kind of luck and skill a good human opponent seems to have. These events must be carried out the specified number of times or he loses the game, regardless of all else that happens on the table top. 

The list he makes is specific to a particular army. Thus, it should be expected that, while there may be some general ideas to use from game to game, army to army, each game will probably have items on the list pertinent to the resources and applicable historical behaviors available to that particular opponent army. That is, the list for Gauls would not be the same as the list for Romans. Scenario specific events, beneficial to our opponent are also likely to be on the list. All of this means, you'll have to do some preparation to have a meaningful list of your own.

My list, on the other hand, was rather quickly compiled, and is, in retrospect, fairly generic (honestly, it didn't seem that way to me initially), save for the G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. related particulars, so perhaps I can be forgiven if some of the modifiers did not come into play.

Without further ado, here is the list I used to make my opponent more crafty a commander:

Every time
(These are of the form - Every time this happens, do this.)
  • Roll a neg movement modifier of 3 or more inches, re-roll 1x 
  • Charge falls short, move unit into contact

3x per game
(In the article, the events here were better thought out as things which could easily happen 3x or more. For my list, the triggering event - failing a sustain roll for instance, didn't happen 3x. Thus, they should be understood as having the preface of "up to 3x per game.")
  • Re-roll failed sustain roll
  • Re-roll failed morale check
  • Re-roll failed main character save
  • Ignore terrain effect on movement

1x per game
(As with the previous grouping, in some cases, the trigger event just didn't happen - e.g. Riesling failing a morale roll never happened, so there were no routed figures.)
  • Re-roll failed start roll
  • Re-roll vehicle save
  • Routed figures are reduced to moving 12” away from leader/kept on table
  • Flanking an enemy unit becomes an attack from behind with the attendant beneficial modifiers
  • Double movement rate for 1 unit
Although my attempt at formulating a list was imperfect compared to the source of inspiration, those events that did come into play were rather effective. Indeed, I lost to my "opponent", so I think that says something. I'll definitely use this technique again - In particular, I like that it feels more like the enemy is lead by a skilled commander with better luck than mine, than being hamstrung by random events. 

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