I’ve been toying with an idea for Brinkwood I’ve been calling the “Combat Clock” or “Minuet”. Basically, it’s a grid-esque layout designed to visually display the positioning / facing of characters and enemies in an “ambush” set-up. The idea is that cards representing the opposition would be in the “middle square” and represent the facing of enemies, and the PCs would have figures / tokens / etc to represent themselves that move around the flanks of the enemy.
The design inspiration comes from Che Guevera’s “Guerrilla Warfare”, where he describes the action of an ambush as being similar to a “minuet dance”, with the goal of the ambusher being to attack from different points of the compass in sequence to keep the opponent off-balance and to have difficulty firing back.
I’ve been thinking about visual representation systems to try and cut down on the “dissonance” between how different players see the shared fictional space, ie the situation of “I shoot the bad guy” “he’s standing right next to you, so that’ll be desperate” “Oh, I thought he was fighting Dave”. I’m hoping to codify some rules for the GM, stuff like firing from the flank of an enemy is a Controlled position, the consequences for how an enemy reacts to getting shot at, etc.
I’m also thinking about adding a “Morale Meter” or something on the side that changes dynamically over the course of the battle that moves down when the players attack from the flanks / take out officers, and moves up if the enemy manages to close with the players, inflict damage, rallies, etc. Each “rank” on the meter would carry some mechanical weight to it, like affecting the Effect of players actions, but I’m not sure how much mechanics there are to vary. My goal is to represent a dynamic situation that uses mechanics to feel less “arbitrary” in representing how the battle is going.
Thoughts, feedback, and critique are very much appreciated!
Edit: I formalized the rules around the Combat Clock and Morale Tracker a bit, if anyone cares to have a look / provide feedback.