Wargame Thoughts and Commentary

Die Marching!


Die Marching actually began its development process over a year ago, in a form that has morphed and changed steadily over the last year. Initially, I intended to publish Die Marching last year, but, instead, and fortunately, chose to do both Die Fighting and Zouave II first. Quite apart from both rule sets selling well, especially Die Fighting, the process of developing those games led me to several new ideas and mechanisms that have improved Die Marching, and make it a terrific game.

What is Die marching? Well, it is a campaign game, but VERY unique in its design. It allows gamers to generate several different kinds of maps for fictitious campaigns, historical campaigns, campaigns in unknown territories that combines exploration with combat, simple campaigns to be played over a few hours, or mega-campaigns that last for months. The odds of any two generated maps being the same are astronomically small-you’ll win the lottery before a map repeats!

Die Marching may be played in any horse and musket period, and will be readily adaptable to periods from ancients to WWII once the mechanisms are understood. I’m even contemplating a fantasy/sci-fi version! Various turns of the game may be played out in DIFFERENT periods! Yes, you can, if you so choose, fight the battles in several different periods, while the results could be integrated into the same larger campaign! This allows you to fight one battle in the SYW, and the next battle could be done using your ACW troops! The system makes sure the results are consistent and credible-regardless. Doing a single period will be the preferred option for most gamers, but some may find this “twist” great fun!

Die Marching includes provisions for optional naval action, as well as the creation and use of railroads in the later 19th century. It includes political, as well as military, leadership considerations, and focuses on resources, strategic decisions, and not just two armies blundering into each other for a disappointingly quick, one battle, campaign resolution. Optional, weather patterns and effects are provided, and are just as patterned but unpredictable, as the real thing!

The game occurs in campaign years, with four seasons, wherein possibilities for various actions vary. Each season has a variable number of turns within it. The two opposing forces may not have equal opportunity in any given campaign season, but the possibilities are always fluctuating for the armies as their resources and plans unfold.

The campaign may be played just on the map, as every battle may be resolved either on the map or on the table top, completely at the choice of the gamers. The table-top games will have forces, terrain, and tactical advantages stated for the gamers-simply and logically. Results from either resolution method are interchangeable to the campaign system. More importantly, ANY tactical rule set may be used for the table top game, though, of course, specific recommendations for Die Fighting, Zouave II, and, yes, (with Brent Oman’s permission) Piquet, and FOB2, will be provided within the rules. But, to repeat, any rule set may be adapted.

The system allows great flexibility in miniature army size as it is agnostic when it comes to the tabletop battle rules used. It is unaffected by army unit’s size or organization. Historical, semi-historical, or fictional OOB’s my be used.

Die marching includes systems, including notation, for long distance play via email and Skype. Campaigns may be played between gamers living on different continents! Whether played face to face, or at great distance, the fog of war is amply, and simply, provided. Exactly where is the enemy? How large are his forces? How good are his units, his military leaders, his political will?

Most of all it is very easy and simple to play, but complex in decision making and planning-you can’t do everything, nor can you answer every enemy action. Your possibilities are limited by your resources and decisions. The tools used are commonly, and cheaply available, or are provided with the rules. These tools are:

  • A set of Double 12 Dominos
  • D6 dice in several contrasting colors (red,yellow,green, and black)
  • A Campaign Rondel*
  • A set of paired colored pawns or paper markers(2 Red, 2 Yellow, 2 White, 2 Green, 2 Blue, 2 Black)
  • A Set of Army OB Sheets (these are primarily for reference)*
  • Each gamer has a set of 6 Army Posture cards*
  • Player aid sheet*
  • Optional small blue and black stickers*
  • The rule booklet*

(Asterisked items are provided with the rules.)

The game is not difficult or involved to play-on the level of a very simple board game-such as House Divided, maybe simpler. It requires little or no record keeping or intricate “supply” tracking. Of all the things mentioned by gamers on the Yahoo! forum these last two were the strongest no-no’s! The supply system used is simple and Excel sheet free!

The Yahoo forum will be used to post some full color add-ons to the strategic map, that I think people will find fun. The forum will be used, as it is now, for strong support for gamers to ask questions and propose new ideas.

The physical package will be a rule booklet of comparable size and production values to Die Fighting and Zouave II. It will include the army posture cards, a full color Campaign Season rondel, and color stickers, The roster and player aid sheets will be included in text for photocopying. Tentative price remains at $29.95. Discounts will be offered to past purchasers of either Die Fighting! or Zouave II as part of a pre-publication pricing, I anticipate sending it to the printers, and offering the pre-pub sale in late October or very early November, and posting it to customers in early December. Merry Christmas!