Friday, 6 February 2015

Hidden Movement -The Beauty of Whatsapp and the start of the Thule Game

Most people now have access to Smartphones, even if we don't always know how to use all their functionality. Whenever I have been involved in games involving off table of map movement it has involved copious use of paper and pens which is not always what you want in a game.

For this game we decided to use the Whatsapp 'app' as a way of sending instant messages on troop movements to the umpire rather than pen and paper. Not only are the messages timed and dated but it is then easy to keep a log of who moved where and when for the post game debrief.

At 99p for a years use for the app and using normal Wifi connection it was well worth the  small investment. The Allies created one talk group and the Axis another. The Umpire obviously had access to both. It also meant there was no inadvertent spying on the opposition..

It seemed to go really well and more importantly it was quite quick. I think we ran through ten map turns as well as some on table encounters in the evening.

The Background to the Game is

Ice Station Thule is located at the northern end of Spitzbergan Island. It is partially buried in the ice face of the Vulkan Glacier. It has been developed from the pre existing Norwegian scientific research station Vulkan.

The Norwegians were exploring the now extinct volcano and were experimenting with geo thermal energy. There is a large magnetic anomaly at this site which often disrupts radio communication. It is believed that this anomaly also generates the unusual and intense Northern lights which appear randomly at this location.

The Axis are conducting experiments at the location, presumably the Allies will try to impede them.

Both sides were given the map below


The crevasses are marked in blue. The two part Hungsforden Massive is impassable but other crevasses can be crossed assuming you have the right equipment............ and pass the appropriate tests.

The solid blocks are ice walls, these are impassable.

Each unit, tracked, animal or on foot can move one square per turn. Visibility is affected by the wind direction so you may be able to see downwind but not up.

Each side messages the Umpire with the callsign for the unit and the map reference they are moving to and from. The Umpire has a master map on which he plots movement and additionally he has already marked squares where there may be 'encounters' These include wolves, dire wolves large polar bears, zombie penguins ( yes, there are rules for these) and a potential for a Yeti.

The Ice station is in row 20 at the top of the map, I think around row J and K but the map will not quite show this.

The game starts with the Axis moving their resupply vehicle 'Thor' towards the  Ice Station from any point on Row 1. As far as I know the Allies have a 3 turn advance onto the table also from Row 1.

Tests are made for breakdowns, events, soft snow and breakdowns (which impedes vehicles but not animals or troops on foot) and cold weather (which affects those exposed to the elements but not in vehicles).

Just got to update Picasea and I will be able to provide a Day 1 report

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