Dammit Mulholland you've side-tracked me again!
Kieron's beautifully written reasoning for getting off his arse and writing his own gaming system has inspired me to do the same. You may recall that a few weeks ago I posted up a (now defunct) link for the Skirmish system I'm developing, or in all likelihood probably not. I'm not normally one for blowing my own trumpet, I much prefer to let others make their own decision about what I create, some things work, others don't initially but normally by the end of the process I've created something I'm reasonably happy with.
So what is GIMPS Skirmish and why is it different to everything else?
Primarily it was inspired by the fluff of the 40k universe, a place where aliens could fight dragons, knights on horseback go toe-to-toe with genetically enhanced super-soldiers and hordes of spear-wielding savages attack mechanised infantry. Basically it's designed to branch across all genres, the only real limitation being scale and even that can be waived if you're happy to play a mismatch.
The core differences? There is a lot of talk about Fog of War, the importance of discipline and too much reliance on the vagaries of dice rolling but very few systems actually embrace the mentality to change the established precepts, I did whole-heartedly and built the system around these three principles.
Firstly, Fog of War: in GIMPS skirmish each turn begins with the issuing of orders. These must be decided before any model is moved or test is made. Once issued the orders cannot be changed, only exchanged for a reaction. The second and most important part of the Fog of War is how units activate, but i don't want divulge too much on an open blog so PM me if you want a copy of the WIP rules. ;-)
Secondly is the importance discipline plays on a battlefield, the first compulsory action every unit has to complete is a check to see that they will hold steady and remain on the battlefield, essentially a poor deployment will see you defeated before you even begin.
Thirdly, and finally, I brought all the multiple dice rolls to calculate casualties down to a single open-ended roll. Essentially, you beat the target value and models die.
How does it play? Well completely differently to anything else I and my play-testers have ever played (thanks to Will & Jimbo amongst others). Once you drop preconceptions and stop trying to do what you normally would it turns into a very, very tactical game. I knew I was on the right track when Will told Craig in the dying days of Park Gardners, "I've been sat here for 5 minutes just trying to work out what orders I need to issue because I don't want get it wrong" and that was just with the Zombie Survival intro game!
How does it read? Erm, it makes sense to me but my brain is wired differently to most people's. If you're interested PM me for the links and I'll try to clarify any questions you have.