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Marqod created the topic: Demo lists

4 years 8 months ago

One important thing when getting people to play a new ruleset is to present an interesting game setup that gets players interested without overwhelming them.
Of course, decisions like this are always limited by available minis as well.

For my recent demos, I tried two different kinds of force matchups:

Demo 1: Denmark Strait


Prinz Eugen

Royal Navy:

HMS Prince of Wales

HMS Hood

For this setup, I took one of the most iconic naval battles of WW2: HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood vs Bismarck and Prinz Eugen.
I also gave both sides equivalent-level leaders (three-star) and put the Germans in one squadron while the Brits were in two, giving both sides an equal amount of orders.
The playing field I provided was also entirely clear of any weather and obstacles, keeping things even simpler.

During gameplay, things proved quite balanced but perhaps a bit small-scale for an experienced wargamer.
For those who are newer to wargames or easily distracted, the difficulty is probably at a reasonable level.

In terms of appeal, the fact that this is a rather well-known historical battle does add that bit of extra flair. Will you do better (or worse) than the historical commanders? Even if you get your arse handed to you as the British side, you might have done better than the historical figures.

Demo 2: a generic Pacific cruiser clash:
This demo setup was mostly limited by what I'd gotten in 1/3000 scale, but thankfully I'd made that purchase with potential demos in mind.
IJN: Main Body Support Force (Coral Sea):

5 - Oficer: Tai-Sa

32 - Furutaka (Kako)
28 - 1 Fubuki (Sazanami)

36 - 2 Mutsuki (Mutsuki, Uzuki)
26 - 1 Yubari (Yubari)

127 total

USN: Cruiser Attack Force (Coral Sea):

5 - Officer: Captain

31 - New Orleans (New Orleans)
34 - 2 Farragut (Dewey, Farragut)

27 - Leander (mod) (HMAS Sydney)
29 - Northamption (USS Chicago)

126 total

This is a bit more of a proper force, more suited to the tastes of an experienced wargamer.
The sides are fairly balanced, with the same number of ships and the same amount of orders.

However, there is a clear asymmetry in the force compositions that really invites different gameplans for both sides.
While the Allied side really wants to stay at a distance and engage in the gunnery duel where they are superior, the IJN want to close and apply their brutal long lance torpedoes.

This is also a matchup where some terrain really spices things up, providing some cover and limiting movement.

The lack of big-name ships does mean that there's less of that instant identification with the forces, which means the gameplay itself will have to do more of the attention-grabbing.

Do these work?

In my experience, yes.
I might end up tweaking the "advanced" scenario a bit once I get more 1/3000 scale minis, but I feel this is about the level you want to max out at in terms of complexity and force sizes for a first game.

If a player has already watched a game played between two others, with perhaps some explanations, I might try aiming a bit higher, but not by too much.

How have you run your demo games?
Do you think I'm on the right track here, or are there things you do (or would do) differently?
Let's get this idea ball rolling.

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