Thursday, May 17, 2012

Over the Top: The Dogs of War V0.11 up for playtesting

After several games and many hours of thinking through the combat system. The Vassal Module is ready for some playtesting.

So "What is Over the Top?" Over the Top is a face-off battle game based in the Great War in Europe that pits your strategic management of your available troops against your opponent in a gritty battle where every inch may as well be a mile. Simple to play, but with real depth, players can feint, bluff and strategically lose ground to throw your opponent off balance and win the battle.

To setup, you select your desired side in the setup menu, Axis or Allied. There are Currently 3 armies, 2 Allied armies and 1 Axis army built in. In the Game Pieces menu, there is a setup tab with a list of the components to each army. Using the menus, simply drag the cards needed to the appropriate hand, until the Allied hand and the Axis hand have their armies. Also, note that the map has green zones already controlled by the allied player and red zones controlled by the axis player. There are tokens also in the game pieces menu that can be used to indicate where you control on the map.

To play, choose as many, or as little, troops to commit to the assault. Axis always goes first at the beginning of the game. You then place your cards face down on the table. This is referred to as "going over the top". Your opponent now chooses cards based on how many cards you have laid. When they have laid their cards face down on the table, both sides reveal their cards at the same time. Each card has an indicated number of dice to be rolled, and some cards can act in a combination with eachother. Remember to roll separately for Tanks. When the dice have been rolled, tally up the totals, and whoever has the highest sum wins that wave. Now you tally casualties. Each card has a power level indicated by a blast icon with a number inside. The winning side may only destroy as many enemies as the total power they have committed to that wave. The defender only inflicts damage based on how many 6's they have rolled, up to the total of their power. Casualties are placed in one pile, face down, and survivors are put in a reserve pile face up. The winner of the wave also pushes forward into another section of the map. The loser of the wave now has the opportunity to counterattack and it is their turn to "go over the top".

*Note: Special Weapons cards may not be best played with until you're comfortable with the game. They can be played at anytime, and once they are, they are placed in the casualty pile following their effect.

To win. Winning can be accomplished 3 ways. You can have an Over run, Strategic or Survivor victory. First, if you take over your opponent's final sector, the closest to the end of the board, you have "over run" your objective. This is an instant win. If you have not succeeded in overrunning your opponent, you play until both players are out of active cards in their hand. At this time, whoever controls the majority of the map is considered the winner by strategic victory. If the map is evenly split, count up your surviving troops in your reserve pile. Whoever has the most survivors is considered the winner of the battle by survival. If you choose to play several games in a row, like a campaign, ascribe a point value to each victory as follows - Over run =3, Strategic =1, Survivor =1 To read the cards. There are a couple of terms used on the cards that need to be explained. Support: A card can be supported by only one card of any given kind. Artillery can support 2 cards, Armour (tanks) can support only 1 card at a time. Immediately: When a card says immediately, that means the effect takes place when the card is revealed. Special weapons are revealed when they are played. Time them accordingly. Example: The "Hail of Bullets" axis special weapon does not work before dice are rolled because it is not an immediate card, but it destroys whatever it hits. The sniper on the other hand immediately destroys an enemy card of your choice before dice are rolled.

The module is available for download here (DO NOT decompress the file), and the Vassal engine is available at When starting Vassal, just go to File > Open Module, and find the module file (the zip file). A wizard will start and ask you some questions in order to make sure your opponent cannot see your hand. If you want to play a hot seat game, both sides have access to the same game pieces, just use the available windows to hold the cards.

Have fun and let me know any feedback you may have on how the game is balanced or questions about rules. Russia in particular has not been playtested extensively.

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