Monday, July 7, 2014

An Idea for Soloing DHC7B to Preserve Initiative

Playing Nuts! (Two Hour Wargames) lately, and my own Featherstone's Nuts, has got me thinking about solitaire Disposable Heroes: Coffin for Seven Brothers (Iron Ivan). Like most ideas, this one came to me in the shower.

Although I was thinking specifically about DHC7B, this method would work for any game where the sides roll for initiative and the winner can choose to go first or second.

In the past, I've tended to either change the rule such that the winner always goes first, or replace the initiative mechanism with a card based one, by unit. The problem with the former is that it doesn't give the winner the opportunity to take a reactive posture, whereas the latter is that it doesn't as easily account for relative leadership ratings (although it can).

Stealing from the Solo DBA rules, we can assign to the Non-Player Commander a rating of Cautious, Neutral, or Aggressive. It might seem easiest to say a Cautious commander always goes second, a Neutral commander 50/50 and an Aggressive commander always goes first.

Except, that doesn't quite feel right - surely there are circumstances when a Cautious leader still wants to move first, and situations where an Aggressive leader might prefer to react.

Better might be:

  • Cautious: First - 25%, Second - 75%
  • Neutral: 50/50
  • Aggressive: First - 75%, Second - 25%

Since DHC7B uses d10, I'll go with:

  • Cautious: First - 20%, Second - 80%
  • Neutral: 50/50
  • Aggressive: First - 80%, Second - 20%

The second issue is that activation in DHC7B alternates between sides until all units are activated. 

Previously, I replaced the initiative mechanism with an activation deck to determine which unit went next. Besides ignoring leadership factors, it meant that one side might have a run of several units in a row moving. There's nothing wrong with that from my perspective, but if I want to play closer to the designers' ideas, then that won't do. 

What I can do, whether utilizing the method above or not for initiative, is give each SIDE its own deck. Thus, the choice of which particular unit goes when is equally random for both sides (that is, it doesn't favor the solo player) and still allows me to use the intended initiative mechanism.

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