Friday, 25 September 2015

30 games in 30 days using Ancient Battlelines Clash and programmed opponent

I have not played much with my Ancient Battlelines Clash ancient rules  and always enjoyed them when I did.  I am testing the rules themselves by replaying Peter Side’s ancient and medieval scenarios.  It has been slow going as I read up on each battle prior to playing it.  I enjoy the researching into the battle, but it is time consuming.

In 2013, Dale Hurtt on his Solo Battles blog discussed creating finite state machines to assist with unit actions for solo play.  His example was for Saga, but in April 2014 I built a programmed opponent for my ancient rules and tested them out with a few games.  I have been meaning to get back to them to test them out further but was side tracked into other projects.

In 2014 I also considered for my annual November solo challenge doing 30 games in 30 games.  Alas, I was busy and did not do anything special.  The idea hung around though.

I already had built an excel spreadsheet that randomly created a complete game setup – the two opposing forces, the terrain and the programmed opponent deployment and orders for each side. A database would be a better option but the last time I touched anything like that was 25 years ago.  Excel may be an ugly substitute but it works.

I only had about 40 armies to choose from. I prefer to play historically matching sides.  So I took the DBA 1.1 enemies list, converted it to match my ABC army lists and now can create a complete random setup that ensures a modicum of historically matched pairs.  I also created about another 35 armies lists (some were in various states on completion anyway) to create a decent spread of historical opponents.  This all took a few months and many many hours when I could have been gaming instead, but I love doing this sort of stuff as much as gaming.

The focus of the 30 games with random armies is three fold:
  • To test out the programmed opponent with different types of armies
  • To get some of my little used figures on the table
  • To play some games!
I was going to wait until (solo) November for the 30 games but thought that I am just about ready now so will do it in October.  It will not be one game a day, but so long as I can get 7-8 games in a week that will be fine. All the pre-battle work gets done, except for physically getting out the miniatures and putting them on the table.  But I am not going to write up each one individually.  Not quite sure yet whether one long post or a few and whether to include the troop lists and how many pictures per game.  If I want to play 30 games, I am not going to have much time to write up in detail each battle.  I did think about randomising all 30 games at once and working through them chronologically, but think I will just to the next couple coming up, a least to make it easier to get the minis sorted prior to playing.

Of course, I have not played any games yet and may have jinxed it by writing it down.  It may end up being 3 games in 3 months!

I have generated the first three games and so it may start a few days before 1 October:

  1. Early Republican Roman Vs Later Selucid
  2. Mid Imperial Roman Vs Early Saxon
  3. Viking Scandinavian Vs Later Gaul and Briton

I am looking forward to 2 and 3 as I have never used the well painted Imperial Romans I got in 2012 and the Viking figures (painted to a below wargaming standard) I obtained about 4 years ago and managed to base last year.


  1. I look forward to watching this play out - good luck!

    1. Thanks - I may need the luck to find the time!

  2. Shaun,

    Surely you jest, Sir!!! 30 games in 30 days; it's not possible! But I'd love to see you try ;)

    Rather it was WWII or Cold War, but you go ahead with your half-naked savages and we'll see what we can figure out. But thirty fights without a single mortar or machine gun doesn't seem right to me ;)


    1. I am going to try. I am also gong to try some 6mm WW2 in a few months but not so many. So I will get back to bullets eventually.

      I have a retort ready for if you start playing with your Napoleonics :-)

    2. Hell, I want to, I just don't think I'll ever get any painted and based up...