Thursday, 10 September 2020

Tables & Redundancy in Wargames Rules

I recently discovered a free series of rules from Quick Play Rules released via Firepower Gaming and was particularly taken by the set for the American Civil War: Rebels & Yankees.

At only 29 pages, with a clear well spaced layout, the rules are very easy to read with a good structure and lots of useful tables etc.  If they play as quickly as they read I'll be well pleased.

I did spot a few things that I would class as glitches in table layout and design but that doesn't detract from the rules themselves.  However, I would like to use them to highlight how simple changes can have a large impact of clarity and readability.

[1] Resilience Table (Page 10):

Here's the portion of the page which defines the process and the lookup table.

Looking at this in detail:

  • Rolling 1d6 cannot give a score of more than six so the 6+ is misleading.
  • Logically, the bands are not exclusive as 3+ includes 5 and 6.
  • Novices may not know when Gettysburg was so the periods are "loose".
  • The Zealous classification looks strange in a column of dates.

A quick rework gives this table:

Now each part of the table is specific and mutually exclusive.  The classification of the Confederate troops as "Zealous" has been moved to a footer but it could equally be an additional one-entry column.  The latter is a bit excessive for one entry.

[2] Resilience Outcomes Table (Page 12):

Here's the portion of the page with the lookup table for the results.
Looking at this in detail: 

  • The row for a result of 7 is exactly the same as that for 8-9.
  • Not sure what "Carry On" means as it's not defined in the rules.
  • Not sure what "Charge" means, specifically is it the same for those charging and those receiving a charge, as it's not defined in the rules.

Again a quick rework gives this table:

This version assumes that the actions in the table are all compulsory so "Forced" is superfluous. Even so it's still a bit busy with lots of "Carrying On". 

I did try a version that merged like cells across rows, as there's a lot of duplication, but it was a touch too hard to lookup values in columns. One way to solve this is to merge some cells as follows: 

I think this is still sub-optimal but it just goes to show how hard this is.


  1. As the author of the rules, I do welcome the feedback about and having seen the examples of improvements, I does show clearly these effects. I will be implementing the suggestions above in the specific rules mentioned and my other sets. Again thank you for the time and feedback. Nigel

    1. Not a problem Nigel. Glad to help. My wife says it has kept me quiet today so that's another benefit.

      If you'd like further help do get in touch.