The main thing I've been doing, as the title suggests, is revising existing ideas. The main thrust has been ease of play.
I have one basic principle of game design: use as few rules systems as you can, but no fewer.
This means I'm ok with complexity that adds value but I want to make it all happen with the same basic process. In BotG that means everything is based on rolling D12s for the acting player hoping for low numbers and then the same process for the reacting player.
The ProblemA big thing I really want included is persistent effects. When you have an MG suppressing an area I want that to matter all the time so there will be a marker on the table showing the affected zone. Artillery barrages work the same. They don't just come and then stop for the movement phase but continue throughout the turn where they will certainly weigh on the decisions of the players.
In the first iteration I bent thick copper wire (so they could be left in place and worked around) to make templates for things to show their beaten zones. It was effective but it was a bit cumbersome since I'm using a linear ground scale rather than the telescoping distance many wargames have. So an 80mm mortar in this method has a 12" template. But more than just the individual templates being large at times it also means each type of weapon had its own one.
LMG, MMG, HMG, grenades, lt mortar, med. mortar, hvy mortar, light howitzer, 75mm tank guns, 88mm tank guns... and on and on. It was way too many but I couldn't bring myself to conflate more than a few of the types.
I did try. First I made all MGs use the same template and tried giving MMG and HMGs multiple templates and eventually just letting them be moved to show their effects. Neither was very satisfying. That worked better with explosives since you could just flip it to show who was covered.
But moving them was fighting against the idea of persistence.
Yup. All the templates are gone from the playing surface. I still have them but they don't clutter up the table anymore.
Instead I'm churning out tokens marked with their nationality and the weapon. A black cross on grey for Germans, a white star on green for US, a red circle on white for Japan. Their airplane markings basically.
Each token is paired so there are two German tokens that each say 'HMG1' with arrows on the bottoms. To use them you place one on the target and one on the shooter and then point the arrows at each other. So far its surprisingly easy to keep track of everything this way.
And of course its much less clutter and much less effort to make a bunch of tokens for each weapon than it is to make templates.
The tokens do tend to add up but its easy to see when one is near enough to influence your decisions once you get down the basics.
MG: These cut a long swath across the field. The template is just a 2' long rod. One end goes on the target token and the other extends in the direction of the shooter. That is the area the gun can threaten without changing targets. So its king of holding roads and open spaces. Crossing the line is a bad plan and even getting close stops infantry in the same way that coming up to the edge of a minefield does.
Artillery: Each type of artillery has a killzone where you have a chance of being injured regardless of cover. After that anyone without sufficient cover suffers a suppression attack based on the incoming shells but anyone with cover is safe. There's no range limit but what counts as sufficient cover gets easier with distance. For mortars every 6" away improves cover while for howitzers its 12". This is to represent fragmentation and the simple fact that men go to ground when shells start falling nearby.
All in all I think this is a good direction since it does what I want without being too cumbersome. it also goes along nicely with the topic of my next post: firepower.