Playtesting With Paper Proxies

I have been slowly tinkering with a homebrew set of pike and shot era tabletop rules since the middle of 2018 after my oldest friend – and chief tabletop miniatures gaming instigator – Eric and I played a couple of games of Baroque and found ourselves starting to house rule much of the game.

(This was all preceded by an even more disastrous attempt to decipher Games Workshop’s Warmaster, which was an exercise in frustration.)

Over the next year and a half, I began cobbling together rules of my own, originally starting from our houseruled version of Baroque (though all that remains of its influence at the start of 2020 is the use of big bases and the each unit takes all its actions at once style of unit activation and orders).

I’ve been extremely hesitant to invest in any miniatures until I felt comfortable with the general direction of the game and its structure and size of bases and minis. That took till December 2019!

Over the intervening months, when I’d playtest my latest revision with Eric, we use a set of paper proxies I cobbled together in Photoshop. Here’s a record of some of those playtests thus far.

March 2018: the first playtest, when we were still working from the Baroque base and using measuring tapes for movement and range.
May 2018: Our first experiment with a grid system. We found we enjoyed how it sped up play and simplified tactics, even at the expense of some flexibility of maneuvering.
May 2018: Closer view of some of the paper proxies.
December 2018: Pleased with the progress of the rules and the grid system, we acquired a custom 2″ grid battle mat for the game. The grid is pronounced enough to be clear, but not so bold as to be obtrusive.
December 2018: The grid really does fade into the background, even without any terrain being set up.

2019 was a fairly disruptive year for me with a 250mi move, relationship changes, family issues, and a new job, so not a great deal of time was spent on the rules. I’m looking forward to circling back to the project now in 2020.

But… wow. There’s a lot of minis to paint and base.

So the paper proxies are going to continue to stick around for a while.


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