The War of the Dark God / Throne of Cofain Frequently Asked Questions list

List of questions answered here:

Q: What do the small markings to the left of hex numbers mean?
Normally the presence of units in a hex is shown on the map by a small marking immediately to the left of the hex number. See the help page on map symbols not documented in the rules.
Q: Can I get non-player nations to change their policy towards my nation?
No, not in "War of the Dark God" or "Throne of Cofain" as these are scenarios in which the sides are pre-set.
Q: Why is the game called "basic", is there an advanced version?
Originally there was only one version of the game system. The first couple of test games revealed that the game was too complex for newcomers - simply too many rules to learn. On the other hand, die-hard veteran fans were clamouring for more features and even greater complexity. I therefore decided to split the game system into a "basic" version and an "advanced" version. For the basic version I stripped the original system of some of its more complex features. The most important changes were:
  • "Hex edge" positions were removed. In the original system units and locations could be positioned at seven different sub-positions within a hex: in the centre or at either of the six edges. To move from the centre of one hex to another you first moved to the hex edge and then on into the other hex, and armies could be blocked by enemies guarding the hex edge to cross. Battles could be fought across edges in a battlefield composed of two different terrains, and features like rivers, bridges and fords would also be present in the battle field if they were on the strategic map. Ships and aquatic units could move along river hex edges. Removing the edge positions means that in the basic games units move directly from hex centre to hex centre and also removes some complexity having to do with a move across half a hex not necessarily taking a whole number of phases. It also means that it is a lot harder to get scouts or even whole armies through enemy lines as there are simpky fewer positions to be in.
  • Ships were removed and replaced by an abstract naval movement system. Ships used to be separate units but it was a pain for most players to properly coordinate the movement of land and sea units for transportation. Half the time, the fleet would move off without the army the player intended it to transport, or an army would not be dropped off as it should.
  • Battle tactics were cut down to a bare minimum of five choices (flee, avoid, defend, attack and charge). In the advanced game you can specify any combination of 6 movement tactics, 3 melee tactics, 3 missile tactics and 7 placement options for combinations like "attack in the front defer melee use missiles if safe", "receive in the middle prefer melee" or "penetrate in the extreme front never use missiles".
  • "Reaction" was removed. This governed how your units reacted to enemies spotted on the strategic map and was one of "ignore", "stand", "engage" and "evade". In the basic version everyone has the equivalent of "stand". Inexperienced players had a lot of trouble with this because they tended to confuse it with their battle tactics and put their armies on "engage" which would mean their armies often ignored their orders to chase after small unimportant enemy armies, or even scouts.
  • The "transfer" order was introduced to make direct transfers of resources between players possible. In the advanced game you have to load the resources on wagon trains and actually move them across the map, with the delays and chances of interception that this implies.
  • The concept of "rebels" was removed. Units which were not paid would rebel in the original system but in the basic version they are just dissolved.
  • The tax and villeinage system was simplified so that income is now fixed. In the original system you could change tax rate and villeinage rate to increase your income short term but at the cost of losing population long term.
  • Construction of roads and bridges was removed. This was rarely used anyway because players generally preferred to use their resources for more troops...
  • The ability to hide was removed. Hidden units were harder to spot (of course) and would move around at half speed. The reason for removing hiding in the basic version was that players often forgot to un-hide their units and therefore were unexpectedly stuck with the reduced move speed. A better way to solve this problem would have been to make the move order automatically unhide all units and then introduce a special "sneak" order for when you want to move around hidden. Hiding has actually made its way back into the basic game with these modifications in the May 2002 edition of the rules.
For the advanced version of the game system, I intend to keep most of the features of the original system and add a couple of new ones, the most important being a trade system to allow trade of resources in cities (and taxation of non-player trade). Availability of resources (and therefore also prices) would be partially governed by a net of caravan routes and sea trade routes which would be affected by e.g. the activities of enemy armies or pirates/bandits in the hexes they go through, and would motivate some patrolling of the most vital routes.
With the experience of the many basic games which have been run I now feel that the old navy system should probably not make it to the advanced game. I will probably introduce a more detailed version of the abstract naval system from the basic game (remove the sea lanes and allow river movement and free ocean movement but also require a minimum of one full ship assigned to each embarked force to stop scouts from going all over the place).
Q: When will the advanced game be offered then?
When the player base is large enough to warrant it. As it turns out, the basic version of the game system is quite complex as it is and most players are quite happy with that. But when enough people have played the basic game and are asking for more so I can reasonably expect an advanced game to fill up quickly it will be offered.