In lieu of rolling a 1D6 to determine the number of PIPs, substitute a blind draw from a modified deck of ordinary playing cards. Each player should start with a 52 card deck and modify it by removing the 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, and King cards of each suite. That should leave you with 24 cards. Treat Aces as 1s. Shuffle your 24 card deck and place it face down. Then draw the top card at the beginning of each bound to determine your PIPs for that turn. If the game lasts longer than 24 bounds, then reshuffle the discards and start over.
There is no particular rationale for this system; it's offered just to be different. It does have the virtue of evening out the luck, since each player will have the exact same PIP opportunities over the course of a game and there is no possibility of drawing more than four straight 6s or 1s. If you've ever hit a cold streak with the dice, you may appreciate this approach. Also, if you draw well (or poorly) early, you'll know your luck will eventually change.
To add an element of strategy, you might allow each player to sort out their 24 card deck in a particular order. For example, you could put your low PIP cards near the top of your deck (e.g., a slow-starting army) so that you have plenty of PIPs to work with when the battle reaches its climax. Or you might want to use your high cards early to develop your battle plan quickly and reach a position of advantage.
Another option is to insert wildcards into your deck. In addition to your 24 ordinary PIP cards, place a single Jack, Queen and King in the deck. These three cards have the following effects when drawn:
|Jack (Jack of Knaves)||Single element of "allies" treacherously deserts the field. Treat as PIP result of 3 and select any single element not currently engaged in close combat which flees off the nearest board edge and is removed from the game. The deserter counts as an element lost for victory purposes at the point it is removed.|
|Queen (Queen of Battle)||Troops are worked up and ready to go. Treat as PIP result of 7 and give +1 close combat modifier to any single element of choice for balance of the game)|
|King (Suicide King)||False rumour of CnC's demise spreads through the ranks and stunned troops lose their initiative for one bound -- Treat as a PIP result of 0 and give a -1 modifer to all elements engaged in close combat or distance shooting in that bound only.|
Keith Venables: The pack of cards method of generating PIPs could be useful for handicapping strong players/armies. For example, you could allow the weaker player to have 4 sixes to replace the aces. You could use a similar approach to reflect historical differences in command and control; e.g. Romans get a better mix of cards than Gauls.
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Last Updated: Dec. 22, 1998Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, firstname.lastname@example.org.