The project is a new computer-moderated set of wargaming rules that I'm writing and programming. The system will use mobile devices (tablets, phones, etc.) for data entry. Each player can either enter their own information or have an opponent do so for them. In use the device screens serve many of the same purposes as the quick reference sheets most rules use, and after a test session Charlie and Ralph think using the mobile device as a 'smart' QRS and doing your own data entry while playing may be preferable to having an opponent do the data entry for you.
Using multiple tablets streamlines the data entry process. This eliminates the need for players to wait for the GM to enter data for them, while still providing the fog of war and detailed record keeping that the computer allows. While we only used 2 tablets for our test session, the system will be able to scale up to huge games with dozens of tablets if desired. This is a mobile-friendly web application and not a device specific 'app'. This allows it to function equally well on Apple, Android and Microsoft portable devices. Entering each unit's information is done completely with button clicks in the interface. No typing skills are needed and everything is simply presented to further streamline use. I wanted this system to enhance the gaming experience, not get in the way.
As expected, the play test revealed many places that need a large amount of improvement. My test scenario was a reduced order of battle of the battle of Freeman's Farm. While we were happy with the flow of the user interface, I still have some significant adjustments to do in the morale calculations. I also still have to add passage of lines and fatigue to the system. During play several other smaller suggestions were made which, once implemented, I feel will be great improvements.
The system will handle battles from the black powder era: post 30-years war up to about the Franco-Prussian war. My play test progression will be AWI, then ACW and finally Napoleonics. Each period adds additional complexities which will fully test the development of the system. For the foreseeable future this is a personal project. Possibly a year or more from now I may feel it ready for public consumption. Until then please feel free to comment and live vicariously through the blog posts....oh and wish me luck!
Video of a couple of units being entered into the system: