Friday, March 20, 2009

Mega Battles: Tips and Tricks

Twice a year, my club does a large mega-battle and with the advent of apocalypse, it has become simpler to run and organize. Despite this though, it still requires a lot of time and effort to get it right.

As well, this is mostly a guide for larger groups, and not so much a small 2 on 2 apocalypse game.

1- Figure out a date a ways before hand.
2- As soon as a date is decided, start finding out who will be there. Make sure to get commitments at least a month before hand.
3- Choose a theme. This includes just a standard Apocalypse games, but there are other things you can do. Here are some examples from my club and just other possibilities
-Fortress assualt (Large attack force, smaller defenders)
-Jungle fights
-Amphibious assaults
-Cross linked tables/objectives
-Themed forces
4- Come up with any special rules needed for the battle. Try and get as much input as possible. Put it to a vote with your group. What you think may be fair rules for a amphibious assault may be horribly unbalanced in actuality. Have others place a check on this possiblity.
5- Set a date for either lists or just point costs to be in. KPs are also a good idea to get. This allows you to early on balance the sides and set up teams. Make sure you have plenty of time before the battle to do this, as some people will be delinquent on this.
6- Decide on what assets will be allowed and which won't. Certain ones are just broken when playing battles with 6 players per size. Ambush is broken when 8k flankmarch.

Terrain Suggestions
1- Require all players to bring a piece
2- Decide a layout before hand. Some themes will require this. My club once did 2 table with crosslinked objectives, so things had to be specifically set up. Amphibious and Fortress assaults are the same way.
3- For abundant area terrain just use paper with things like "Rubble" or "forest" written on them. Because of LOS in 5th ed. this may not be acceptable, but often it can be generally agreeable how tall tress are. A tip here is to break up what trees you have to have on or two per forest area. If the LOS passes beneath the canopy of that single tree, then LOS is blocked.
4- Buildings/inpassible terrain can have its outline drawn on poster paper. While you can't have second stories, you can have doors and windows by leaving open places or dotted lines respectively
5- Build terrain quick and dirty for the one use out of cheap materials like cardboard, paper plates, etc. etc. Spray down with spray paint (textured for some extra zaz).

Objective ideas
1- Attach assets to cetain objectives, such as sheild generator.
2- Crosslink objectives. An example: as long as a shield generator is up, a building can't be captured elsewhere on the table
3- Make KP's an objective

Playing the Game
1- Give a time for arrival of everyone. If setup needs to be done, show up early.
2- Schedule in a lunch/break time for EVERYONE somewhere in the middle of the game.
3- Limit turn lengths. In the beginning, movement and shooting are going to take longer, towards the end it will be the assault phase. Things like Turns 1-3 10 min move, 20 min shooting, 10 min assualt, 5 min flexible. Turns 4+ 7 min move, 10 min shooting, 23 min assault 5 min flexible. Figure out a good time for you.
4- If you realize the game is moving faster than the alloted times, relax them/suspend them and just let people play.
5- Give an hour for set-up and and hour for starting the game. Schedule time for clean up at the end.

Okay, seeing as I am posting this in the wee hours of the morning check back later and I amy have changed some things. It will say UPDATED at the top.