Introduction



Thanks for visiting my page. To help with navigation, here is a list of popular pages all about Marching in Colour

* The History of Marching In Colour - who is the man behind the words and service, how did it all come about

* Commissioning Models for Painting - how the process works, start to finish, and what you can expect

* Gallery of Artists Work - with over 20 years experience, here is a small sample of finished commissions

* Items For Sale or Trade - as well as painting models, I also sell pre-painted models and assorted loose models and scenery. Click the link for the current lists

* Trade in your old models for Painting Credit * click here for details

* To see details of all current commissions booked-in and estimated completion dates - click here

SCENERY and TERRAIN - for pre-made, handcrafted items of scenery and terrain, please click here

For TUTORIALS please follow this link - click here


Saturday, 30 March 2013

LoM Part 4 - Combat and 'Turning the battle'

 
Howdy all. In this update I want to give you a look at how combat works in LoM, the importance of Command Points, and how losing a combat could change the very flow of the battle.
 
We will start with two Infantry units facing off against each other. The Red player holds the Initiative, and both players have issued Order Tokens for this turn.
 

Red reveals his Order first, and its Double Triangle. Blue has the option to 'react' by paying 1CP's, but as this example only uses two units, 1 for each side, Blue decides to save his CP's.

Instead, he reveals his own order token after Red has taken his first move.
Blue is also on Double Triangle and moves his unit forward.

 
The phase now passes back to Red, who takes his Double Triangle Second Move, and closes the gap. Red also removes his token to show the unit has taken all movement available to it.

 Blue also removes his token. All though it was Red who connected with Blue's unit, both units were under Double Triangle orders, and both had moved.
Therefore both are counted as having 'charged' into combat.


This is where combat gets really interesting. Each unit has a base amount of damage that it will inflict on its opponent. No dice rolls are required. The amount of damage is based on the units 'Combat Value', its 'type', and what type of enemy it is fighting. For instance Heavy Infantry will fair better in combat against Light Infantry, than the Light will do against the Heavy. Even if both units have the same 'Combat Value'
 
This stands true for all combat in LoM, except where players decide to spend 'Command Points'.
CP's represent Commanders taking charge personally. Rather than saying 'go fight that unit', the General or Officer shouts commanders to 'Hold... hold.. hold... CHARGE!' at the moment he sees a weakness in the enemy.
 
There are several effects available to use from Command Points, but all CP's are limited, and once they are spent they are gone for that battle.
 
Lets continue the example and see how Morale works and what options the combatants have. Here we can see Blue wins the combat by inflicting 5pts of damage on Red, while Red responds by inflicting 3pts on Blue.

Unless a player uses Command Points to steady his unit, the loser is automatically moved back a distance equal to the difference in the scores. Here the difference is 2, so Red withdraws by 2cms.
 
Blue, being the winner, now has two options - to hold position or to pursue.
 
Morale is only ever tested by a unit which loses combat, and is not in combat. If Blue pursues, combat will continue next round (with Blue picking up a winners bonus), but Red will not need to test for Morale, his men are too busy fighting for their lives.
 
A player who wins combat always has a tough choice, do they press and inflict more damage, but continue to take damage themselves, or do they hold and hope the enemy has had enough and runs off.
 
In this example Red holds the initiative, and the gap is very close. If Blue leaves Red, and Red doesn't route, the Red player would activate a charge move before Blue could react, and Blue could be in trouble!
 
 


In this example we are going to assume Blue holds, and Red fails his Morale test and begins to route!
 
A routing unit is always issued Double Triangle orders, face up, and is moved before the normal move period begins. Here we can see Red is running away, pursued by Blue under Double Triangle Orders.

 Blue's Infantry move at the same speed so wont catch the routing Red, so lets throw in a Cavalry Unit for Blue, fast enough to catch Red.

In most historical battles, the majority of casualties are caused when an army runs away, and of these, Cavalry where renown for causing the most on fleeing infantry. LoM is no exception - attacked while routing hurts! But it also carries with it another danger... the change of Initiative!

When a routing unit is attacked and takes damage, the player causing the damage can start a challenge for the Initiative. This is a battle of wills between the Commanders and costs, yes you guessed it - Command Points!

LoM asks, is this the moment history will record as the time the battle changed?
 
As usual - thanks a lot for reading. I hope you enjoyed this intro into how combat works in LoM.
The whole idea of LoM is to transfer the concept of winning/losing onto the player, and the actions he or she takes. Your men will fight, but can you Command?
 
thanks
Chris

Friday, 29 March 2013

LoM Part 3 - Early game, deployment and opening moves

 
Every game has to start somewhere, so in this update I want to look at the start of LoM, at how units are deployed, initiative determined and in what order troops move.
 
I will explain a few concepts as we go, and to keep you entertained there is a very real dilemma at the end of this article. I pose the question - what would you do?
 
Before we start, all units in this example are marked 1-10, and consist of Infantry or Cavalry. It isn't all that important at the moment to know the stats or type of each unit, except to know that Blue's Cavalry numbered 1 and 2 are Heavy Cavalry, and Red's Cavalry numbered 1 is Heavy, and numbers 2 and 3 are Light.
 
 
Deployment and Pre Battle Manoeuvers
 
In LoM the game starts before the models make it onto the table. The Generals bring their armies close to each other and make camp. Scouts from both sides attempt to gather information, and command elements study maps and charts.
 
Each Commander has a limited supply of 'Command Points', which represent his leadership qualities both tactically on the field, and strategically pre battle. It is with these points players now bid, in secret, to help them gain an early advantage.
 
In this case the Blue Player losses by 2pts, and must deploy 2 units to the battlefield first. 
 
 
 Play then continues with each player taking a turn to deploy one unit. As we can see, this gives Red a slight advantage in that he knows some infomation about his opponents deployment, and would also be the last to deploy, giving him an additional position advantage.
 
 

Deployment continues until both sides have placed all units. At this point comes the battle for Initiative. Both armies now face each other, likely hurling insults, while Officers give morale boosting speeches.
 
The job of the Commander is now to pick the ideal moment to launch the attack.
This is where Command Points again come in to focus.
 
Both Commanders choose one of two options - to force an opening, an advantage, something they can use to gain the upper hand, maybe a unit out of place, a gap in a shieldwall etc or to wait to see if an opportunity presents itself.
 
Taking direct action costs Command Points, which if the enemy player is also burning Command Points looking for an opportunity to take the Initiative, would cost both players but grant neither of them any benefit.
 
This period continues until one player gives up, but for each round that the players attempt to out smart each other, the troops grow impatient. Those with low morale look to leave the battle field, while those with high morale look to get the battle started. If the player is not careful he runs the risk of losing a portion of his army, or that the units themselves start the fight!
 
 

 
Once Initiative is won by one player, the battle will begin.
Both players issue 'Order Tokens', face down to each of their units.
 
 
The player who holds the initiative, in this case Red (shown by the i in the top right corner) may reveal his first order. There is a set routine to this, with troops issued 'Double Speed' orders moving before those with slower orders.
 
Red reveals his Cavalry are under Double Speed orders, and takes his first move.
Although Red holds the initiative, it is assumed that movement happens almost simultaneous, so Blue does have the option to respond, but this direct intervention would cost him valuable Command Points. He choses to pass.
 
 
Rather than move each unit individually, there are times when a player may want to mobilise groups of units. This can be achieved by activating units, but having them 'hold' till other units are ready. This procedure follows the same initiative order, and Blue is able to react as normal at anytime by paying Command Points. Here Red gets ready to mobilise his main body, and reveals number 7's orders, but has them wait.
 
 
One by one Red reveals numbers 4,5,6 and 8, and gets ready to move them. This is a large mobilization that the Blue General would see. He could order his own units to react at anytime, but chooses not to, happy to keep his Command Points.
 
 
Play continues until Red has resolved all his Double Speed, first move, orders. Note in this example all of Red's units have the same order token, but there is also a slower 'Single Triangle' order token, which means slower move, or no move.
 
 
Play then passes to Blue who follows the same routine, with one exception - Red cannot react to any of Blues moves. As it happens, Blue has all the same order tokens and takes all his moves.
 
 
A Turn in LoM has 3 movement phases - Double Order First Move, Single Triangle Moves, Double Order Second Moves. There are some minor rules attached, for instance Double Speed means very fast move, so units under Double Speed second must move a minimum distance to account for momentum. The Initiative order is the same - Red plays first, Blue may pay to react. This time, order tokens are removed from the table to show the unit has completed its order.
 
 
Lets move the game forward an extra turn...
 
 
Now we reach the 'What would you do?' dilemma.
Red has the initiative, and his Light Cavalry are within charge (Double Triangle) order distance of Blue's Heavy Cavalry.
 
LoM uses a chart for combat, rather than dice, so you can check the possible result ahead of it happening. A quick look at the chart shows that the Light Cavalry would do 2pts of damage each, while the Heavy would inflict 3. At first glance it seems Red is fine and will win the combat. But...
 
Blue's Heavy Cavalry have a better charge bonus. As we know the reacting player may pay Command Points to respond to enemy moves, so its very likely Blue would respond with a counter charge, which would tip the combat in the favour of Blue and his Heavy Cavalry.
 
There is an option to use Command Points to issue what is known as a 'Decisive Charge', where a General waits for the exact moment to issue orders for his troops to engage. The trouble here is that the option is open to both players, and would result in an expensive bidding war.
 
Red could try to hold Blue's Heavy cavalry with one unit of Light, he holds the initiative and would move first, this would give his 2nd unit the time it needs to get behind the enemy line. The trouble here though is the main way to lose initiative, and all the bonus it provides, is to lose a round of combat - the enemy sees this as a chance to turn the tide!
 
What would you do?
 
Its all about the Command Points. They can buy you the charge, buy you the combat boost, buy you the boost to morale to hold the charge. They could buy you time to react. They could buy you a chance to flip the initiative. They can do lots of things, but this is only one engagement on one flank, in the first couple of turns of the battle. And remember, Command Points are limited.
 
 
 
Now, that's a lot better than rolling 20 D6 don't you think?
 
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this first look at LoM interesting. I am looking for play testers to help out with the game, if you are interested you can email me direct at 'Project_Vehemence@yahoo.co.uk'
 
Thanks again
Chris
 
 
 
 

LoM Part 2 - First draft and First Art Commission!

Greetings all,

Its been a tough few days of scrawling through notes and old printed rules, cherry picking some parts and trying to decipher just what that spider writing is supposed to mean, but I think I have something like a readable 1st *rough* draft.

It is more a collection of bullet points than a rule set, it contains no fluff and no examples, and not really much in the way of description and is wrote as '1.0 Blah Blah....    1.1 More Blah Blah... '

It does however provide anyone familiar enough with wargames to put together a little test game. Simply scrawl down a few numbers and follow the steps. What is missing in this draft is the purpose, or value of the numbers. There are no rules covering how many bases, or what troop types you should use, nor the values of those troops, or the amount of crucial 'Command Points' each side should have.

I would recommend anyone trying the game to use a selection of 10 unit bases, and open up with 30 Command Points. See how you go from there.

What I really want at the moment is not so much feedback on the numbers, but on the mechanics.

Does movement feel scaled?
Do units behave how you think they would?
How does the structure to the turn feel?
Are Command Points too complicated?
Can you spot any areas open to major abuse?

Thoughts on areas like that and not so much on areas like '35pts of Heavy Cavalry should do 6pts of damage not 5pts of damage'. The maths and the numbers can be worked on later.

The rules are available in two formats - OpenOffice and as PDF

At this stage I am asking anyone interested in play testing to email me direct - Project_Vehemence@yahoo.co.uk - for the links rather than posting them here. This is so I can keep track of how many people are helping, and discuss ideas in depth without getting swamped. I think its only fair if you take the time to help that I take the time to listen.

So, please email me for the first draft rules, even if its only to read them and say 'good idea' or not!


On to the second topic of business for today - the first Art Commission!

I know that's what plenty of you have been waiting for, as the response has been amazing, so many talented people offering their services. Its going to be very hard choosing the first artist.

This is the first piece (of hopefully many) that I will be commissioning, please bare with me as it might be a painful process, I don't have much experience in this part.

What I am after is something for the main cover. I have an idea of what I want, see the example below, but SERIOUSLY lack the talent to do it myself (see the example below!).



What we have is a central face, looking up at the viewer. I want this guy tough, aged, brooding, slightly miserable, slightly 'You dare disturb me....'. He is supposed to represent the general of an army, and hopefully will have the look of 'about to beat the enemy in battle' about him.

Regarding his helmet. I would like something regal, but not over the top. I also imagine this guy as man who leads from the front when needed, so some dents, or battle damage, scratches that sort of thing would be nice. But balanced with the fact this guy is chief and can afford good quality strong armour.

The guys to the left and right, the black silhouettes, should look something like Viking age warriors to Medieval men-at-arms. Swords, spears, shields, helmets, chainmail and leather armour, a banner flowing in the wind etc.

Aside from this idea, I am open to suggestions from the artist as to the best way to do this, I really don't know much about sketch, ink, colours, digital etc I do want this guy to look realistic though.

PRICES!
Charges, commission rates etc. Please let me know your offer, as well as link me to your previous work (if I don't have you on my list already). I am not after ripping anyone off, as a man who paints toy soldiers I appreciate art, but offers should remember, this is a one man operation, just an average guy. Not a big international corporation. This project has received interest from some very talented people, with some impressive resumes, but chances are if you have worked for big (or even minor) game companies I am not going to able to afford your talents!

There is also some legal mumbo jumbo regarding copyrights and claims etc. I will be requiring people to sign contracts, but honestly I want this part to be as fair, and as stress free as possible.


Very much looking forward to hearing from play testers and artist! Email me, please!

thanks
Chris



Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Project LoM Part 1 - Introduction

It's been a while since I had the time to post anything here, it's not because I don't have anything to post (I have about 2 months of painting to show), its a problem of time, the lack of it! Real life lately has been very hectic, so in the spirit of things, I have decided to complicate it even further, I have decided to take one of my home made little projects, that hasn't seen any life beyond my own small circle of friends and gamers, and to make it into something available to all.

Welcome to the start of 'LoM'

'Leaders of Men' (or 'Leaders of Monsters', when I decided to take it down a fantasy road), was initially a small ruleset I wrote for use with 10mm models from a local manufacturer - Pendraken - to be played amongst my small gaming group. Like most home made games it was enjoyed for a while, chiefly as a break from the norm, and was positively received as a nice rule set with some good ideas and features.

That was 6 years ago.

Now I feel is a good time to return to the ruleset, work on it, and make it available to other gamers with an interest in its specific style.


What is LoM and how it differs from the 'traditional' wargame

The chief difference that sets LoM apart from other games is how it handles the 'random factor'. There are very few dice rolls in the game! Instead, player skill is rewarded.

That's not to say everything is predictable and the outcome known 100%, but you can be sure that a combat will not be dictated by who rolls the most '6's or '1's.

LoM falls somewhere between a game like Chess, with simple outcomes (a piece kills off a piece, by occupying the square, no questions asked) and a traditional wargame with the ebb and flow of battle, troop movements, hand to hand fighting, and cavalry charges.

The 'reward player skill not dice' comes from a system unique to LoM - 'Command Points'. A player can be certain that if he orders his men to walk forward and fight the enemy, they will. In most cases that's what they came to do. However, if he wants them to do something a little special, he must pay the Command Points.

Spot a weakness in the enemy ranks and need a decisive charge NOW? - Command Points

Left wing about to buckle under stress of combat? - Command Points will temporarily rally them.

Enemy charging the flank? - Those troops will only turn immediately with direct leadership, spend Command Points.

A less experienced player may not see those moves, his troops will still fight, but they will be at a disadvantage. Skill conquers dice. Where the game gets REALLY interesting is with players of roughly equal skill. While they attempt to out manoeuver and out think each other, the battle continues and the troops fight. Spend too long trying to micro manage every engagement, or be super tricky, and the battle could be won or lost!


Where LoM stands now, and plans for the future

The ground work is there. The ruleset has been wrote. I am concentrating on two major changes,

Taking it from 10mm to 15mm.
While I still enjoy 10mm, I feel the game looks much better in 15mm.
What is lost in the 'mass effect' of troops, is made up for in the units feeling more individual. 10mm swordsmen look the same as 10mm axemen when there are 30 models. In 15mm the unit types are more clear, and I feel this reflects better in the skill needed for the game.

The excuse 'Oh I didn't know those models have spears, no wonder my Cavalry wouldn't charge, that's why I lost' is less viable when the troops are more clear.

Streamlining.
The original LoM has a chart 140 places long, with 7 different coloumns for working out damage to the exact point.

While this sits with the idea of reducing the random factor it can easily be streamlined by playing with the numbers. Halving all the numbers in the game streamlines it a lot.
The challenge will be cutting it enough to find the right balance between time taken to find results, and the scope for flexibility of results.


What I need - Play-testers and Artists!

Finding the correct balance as well as any major and minor flaws in the rules themselves will be the aim of the play-testers.

Does Heavy Infantry perform too strongly against Light Infantry?
Is there a loop allowing troops to move in a strange way?
Does the math simply not add up on something?
Or when choosing A,B or C, will people always choose C because the incentive to choose A is too poor?

Artists and Illustrators
The original LoM is a home printed set of black and white rules (with pencil errata scrawled in!), and a few diagrams done in MS Paint. Small office technology, as well as distribution has advanced a lot in the last few years. I feel comfortable in stumping up some real money and paying for some real talent to draw nice eye candy for LoM.

Does this make LoM a commercial product?

Yes, and No. I am under no illusion that my ruleset, system, and world that I will write to support the game, is anything but one very very small fish in a very large ocean, and that getting people interested enough to try LoM, let alone spending any money on it, will be an immense task.

But what I hope to achieve is not to make a lot of money, but rather to keep money in the hands of people who deserve recognition.

If I sell 10 rulesets at £3.99, I can commission a new piece of art for £39.99.

My own speciality is painting models, and this is a miniature wargame. If I paint a £100 LoM army, I can work on a £100 expansion for the game.
Or who knows, maybe even commission a sculptor to make some models for LoM.

Thanks for reading!

If you are interested in LoM, or in helping out as a play-tester or maybe a commissioned artist, please keep checking back on this site for updates, or the threads I will be starting for the project over at 'theMiniaturespage.com', 'deviantArt', and 'boardgamegeek.com'.

You can also email me at 'Project_Vehemence@yahoo.co.uk'

Any advice or suggestions for people who have done similar projects like this, would also be much appreciated!

Thanks Chris