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This variant is probably not best suited to large multi-player games where you want everyone on one side to be activating simultaneously to keep the game moving along at a pace. Also, it can be subject to some swings of fortune so perhaps keep it away from any competitive environment :-)
The only real change that needs to be implemented pre-game is that every General now has a rating. I would suggest this is between 4 and 7 and the lower the better as will be explained. I would suggest, on a broad-brush basis, the ratings be as follows:
Standard General – 6 or 7 (or even an 8 for a poor General having a bad day but this should be rare)
Senior General – 5 or 6
Brilliant General – 4 or 5 (or even a 3 for a top General having a good day but this should be rare)
When a Command is activated all the usual TTS rules apply for moving, fighting etc. No changes apply to this.
The very first activation of a Command on the first turn of the game by the active player (see P35 of active / passive notes) is automatic. After this, the following applies:-
After a Command has concluded activating all of its units, the active player chooses and declares to the opponent another of his Commands to activate (it cannot be the same one that has just finished activating). Unless the passive player tries to “seize the initiative” (see later), then the active player draws a card for the selected Command (played on the baseline) and compares it to the rating of the selected Command’s General:
If it is equal to or higher than the rating, the chosen Command activates normally.
If it is lower than the rating then the attempted activation fails and the player passes over to the opponent who may freely activate any of his Commands without drawing a card. He now becomes the active player.
Play proceeds like this for the rest of the game. There is one additional mechanism, mentioned above, and that is the “seize the initiative” ability of the passive player. It is risky but may be worth attempting.
When the active player declares his next Command to be activated but before drawing a card to determine its success, the passive player may attempt to “seize the initiative”. He does this by stating that he wishes to do so and then choosing any of his Commands with which to make the attempt. He draws a card and compare it to the rating of the selected Command’s General.
If it is equal to or higher than the rating, the “seize the initiative” attempt is successful and he now activates the chosen the Command normally and becomes the active player.
If it is lower than the rating then the attempt fails and the play remains with the active player. Moreover, importantly, the active player may now choose any Command including the one just activated and activate it without any card draw being required. Thus, in this way, a Command may activate in successive goes.
You can see, therefore, that trying to “seize the initiative” has its risks and rewards.
As an (entirely) optional rule, to make it more difficult to get a sequence of Command activations for the same side, you can include an accumulating -1 modifier to the card draw for each Command activation attempt for a side beyond first two activations in a series. For example, a side may activate his centre Command and then succeed in activating the right wing Command. If he were then, say, to attempt to activate the centre or right wing then a -1 modifier applies. If this were successful then his next activation in this series would be -2 and so on. This modifier is “reset” by any “seize the initiative” attempt (successful or unsuccessful) and ends when play passes to the opponent and starts again when play returns to the same player.
I have played around using CCA blocks and the map from GMT’s Manoeuvre game and it seems to work okay for an alternative just for fun.
It might sound a little more involved than it really is so I will post an example which will hopefully assist.