Skip to main content

Point to Point roleplay mapping

Other than AFS magazine, Chris over at the Hill Cantons blog is a big proponent of point to point rpg maps.

http://hillcantons.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/pointcrawl-series-index.html

Another point to point map I created was for a climbing session. There is a 'flare' at the top of a column in the great cave that switches on and off irregularly. The players are sent to fix it. At the top if an ancient structure / device that is essentially a light house. A lot of the adventure involves climbing the column and choosing different paths up it.



Makes more sense to use point to point for such a map. Hexes give granularity but sometimes it's too much. Some modern games like Dungeonworld recommend point to point maps / flowchart campaign structures. This got me wondering a bit. There are a lot of forum threads along the lines of; How do I actually run an rpg session? Part of the cause of these threads is in my view the move of rpgs away from something simulated and structured to something very abstract. I don't have an issue with abstraction but it is more counter intuitive. In a world where the explorable area is mapped and rules govern how far you can move it is easier to understand the imaginary. If the game is series of connected 'scenes' it is harder to conceptualise.  My advice to any new GM is to draw maps of your world, dungeon, village etc. Make the world as real as you can.

Point to point maps have their origin in war games;


They were a response to a problem with area maps. 


The argument being, that area maps are sometimes unclear.  For instance if four areas meet at their corners can you move diagonally between them? Usually not. Point to point maps show clearly all the routes an army can take. I usually think that point to point maps can look a bit ugly in war games and prefer areas. Also when I'm thinking about conquering a country, I think of capturing areas, territories, not points. Sometimes point to point can look very good though, and in wars where the pathways were more important than territories it makes sense. I know Martin Wallace used point to point for A Few Acres of Snow because it was the routes down rivers and trails that were important in the war. Another advantage of point to point is it is easier to show movement restrictions. If you have a path between two areas that only one army a season could fit down, showing it by colouring the point to point line is easier than colouring a border on an area map.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Play Thru: Washington's Crossing

Being a man who likes diversity I bought / pre-ordered 4 games for Christmas about dudes in flashy coats with muskets marching around road networks. I’ve already Quick looked at Nappys Nemesis 1813, Metz is yet to be released from P500, Autumn of Glory is on the shelf, so this weekend I have played Washington’s Crossing.




The Patriot opening more or less followed the script. Washington moved with his stack, crossed the Delaware with decent movement and ferry rolls and come morning was sat just outside Trenton next to Rall’s Hessian garrison. The American gets a rather scripted +5 to surprise rolls when attacking Trenton, plus it being dawn and a prepared attack gave Washington very favourable odds but the roll was terrible and Rall escaped with only 25% losses and a retreat.
Further south Greene collected a few detachments of militia and drove the other Hessian garrisons north.



The Hessians forced marched out wide forcing Washington to either hunt them down for a few extra vps, or look el…

Quick Looks; Red Star / White Eagle

I generally hate it when people describe designs or ideas in games as dated, because many of the most innovative games  are older than I am. Equally it implies there is something innately good about new designs, which I don't think there is.

Dune is arguably the best multiplayer 'war' boardgame and the 70s basic DnD is in my view still the best RPG. I wasn't born until the late 80s and didn't discover these things to the mid 2000s so this isn't nostalgia doing my thinking, its just that some old ideas are better than new ones, despite our apparent 'progress'.



But having said all this Red Star / White Eagle is a dated game design. And this matters if you are looking at popping £70 on a new reprint of it from Compass Games. I am a wary cheapskate so I picked up a second hand copy with a trashed box of ebay for £20. It was worth it, but only just.


Red Star / White Eagle is a GDW 1979 Hex and Counter wargame covering the 1920 Russo - Polish war. Everything …

Quick Looks: The Pacific War: From Pearl Harbour to the Philippines

Imported games have the allure of being foreign and expensive, they also often come with the glamorous trappings of bad rules translation. Pacific War is all of these things but first the good;
It’s short. I’m not being factious here, generally Pacific Theatre war games are long and complicated, which is fine but it leaves the shallow end of the dream pool rather empty. The Pacific War clocks in around 2-3 hours and feels engrossing for this life span.
You’ve got a point to point map, pretty and functional but no pageant winner, a deck of cards, and a load of counters representing ships that come in on a historical reinforcement schedule. Each year long turn you get a variable number of cards. Players take action rounds discarding a card to win the privilege of doing something and then either play an event card, or move some ships, or resupply some ships (so they can move again). Once out of cards they roll off for priority in taking more actions but if they roll doubles the year ends.