Monday, October 17, 2011

Book of War Rules Justification Part 3

Previously I've shown two different ways of confirming the core Book of War combat mechanic (one, two) -- let's try a third and final way, just to be sure.

This actually came about approximately one year ago. I'd been tooling on the game for some time (years), and last fall I had something of a panic attack/realization that the special types of cavalry, pikes, and archers might not be functioning as I expected in the underlying game. So I took a few months and dug into the RPG-level details of each, and resolved to write a larger simulator program that actually throws large units of D&D guys at each other, tracking the details of each. Here it is (Java in a ZIP file; released under GPL v.2):

The prior program (link "one" above) was a short little thing that, for brevity, only looked at the front file of 5 guys on one side and filled in gaps from "somewhere" as needed (also, it only handled men wielding a normal hand weapon). This new one's a bit more extensive: 14 files and about 1,700 lines. It will track all the individual men involved, move them forward as needed, separately handle mount & rider stats/attacks, let you swap in different AI to compare best strategies, allow men to switch weapons during the fight (needed for cavalry, pikes, archers), etc. By default, it runs 1,000 separate battles and outputs total individual men killed per round, which we can then load into a spreadsheet for mass-level analysis. (There's no GUI, so as usual, you need a Java development environment if you want to tweak or double-check my work).

For example, here's what you get if you just run big units of swordsmen at each other; once again, we see the 4/5/6 target on a d6 for armor types of leather/chain/plate (.xls spreadsheet here):

My point here isn't to be needlessly repetitive. The important thing is that we can use this as a platform to test out the more exotic troop types (pikes, cavalry, archers) and the various interpretations that are necessary for those parts of classic D&D combat that are left ambiguous or undefined (and: to explicate my assumptions in this regard). For example: The effect of mass pikes on closing & sustained combat; the best strategy for attacking a mount/rider, or approaching a unit of pikes; possibly throwing & stunning riders from a downed mount (as in Chainmail); etc., etc. This ties back to some of the "Basic D&D" questions I was posting here last February/March; more on that next time.


  1. I was wondering if you'd done some larger-scale simulations of battle, so I'm interested to look at this - but the link gives a 404 not found error.

  2. Sorry about that! Links should be fixed now.