Monday, 9 December 2013

Solo Hordes of the Things

It is a little known fact that the Ottoman Empire was frequently under attack from the ratmen armies which poured forth from the more mountainous regions of its domain.

It is a more well known fact that Hordes of the Things is a great set of fantasy rules for playing out such battles in a small space.

So just as well I had the figures painted! The sad fact is that our study is still crammed to the gills, making it impossible to play anything larger at the moment. I optimistically thought clearing the table would help with this, but the table is useless if I still need to struggle to get boxes of terrain and figures out. Hordes of the Things to the rescue!

Ottoman light cavalry clash with ratmen archers, while their main force comes under assault from packs of wolves.
It also got me thinking about how to play solo games of HotT. Putting pencil to paper, I quickly drafted a few rules about how to deploy the enemy and what actions they would take. Unfortunately this soon bogged down with a lot of 'if-then' type statements, which would drastically slow down the game. Inspiration struck when I realised that a lot of these statements came from me thinking how to best attack the enemy, i.e. not being in column, trying for overlap bonuses, staying away from rough terrain etc. As a result, it was great relief that I found I could replace a lot of these with the simple statement "Make the best offensive move". Job done!

As for the core mechanic, I have borrowed from Two Hour Wargames: When activated, an element rolls 2d6 (the actual number of dice modified by factors such as being outnumbered by nearby enemy, having the general in the group etc etc). Each die which equals or is less than the combat value of the element counts as passed. They then take different action if they pass 2d6 (usually offensive), 1d6 (usually defensive) or 0d6 (usually remaining stationary). This replaces rolling for command points, so you never can be sure how many (or which) of the enemy will activate. Of course, sometimes the enemy might activate more than possible under the usual rules, but hey, the non-player army has to have something to compensate for the lack of brain.

For example, a Warband element with a combat factor of 3 needs to roll 3 or less on each d6. If it does so on 2d6 it makes 'the best offensive move'. If it passes 1d6 it moves defensively, trying to form up in ranks for the support bonus or moving to rough terrain. If it passes 0d6 then it does not activate.

I'm aiming for something simple enough not to blog down the game, but with just enough to it to reduce the amount of 'thinking for the enemy' I have to do.

If it works out okay, I'll post more on the blog for those who are interested.


  1. Sounds pretty cool. I think a battle report of a small game using this mechanic would be pretty cool too!

    1. Sure! I'll get a half workable document together and do that!

  2. 2nd vote for a game report :-) !

    1. Cool, thanks! I'll work on it! :)