July 24th

I have spent the last week wrestling with a problem in the battle cluster. Refer back to Crawford’s First Law: “What does the user do?” I have a great set of verbs for Arthur. The problem is, the other characters have almost nothing to do except beg for help when they get into trouble. How can Arthur interact with other characters if they’re unable to do anything? 

Oops. Crawford’s First Law cuts both ways.

So I needed to redesign the battle cluster to give the characters some opportunities for interaction with Arthur. I think that I have at last figured that out.

The first step was to abandon my previous model for the battle. In that model, each of the characters fought his battle separately from the others, and interacted remotely with Arthur with only two verbs (request help and desperately request help). The new model keeps the troops in place on the front, but keeps the characters at Arthur’s side. The battle is assumed to be small enough that everybody can see all the action from Arthur’s vantage point. 

The commanders observe the ongoing battle and react to the developing situation with any of the following verbs:

Request reinforcements
Request permission to fall back (will shift some of the opposing Saxons to another troop)
Fall back without orders
Request permission to push forward (will increase combat intensity)
Press forward without orders
Dissolve (this is an action taken by the soldiers of one commander; their unit dissolves)
Request permission to retire to reorganize (pulls troop out of the line, shifting all weight onto others)
Ride down deserter (kill a deserter from the front line)
Refuse to ride down deserter
Urge general assault
Urge general retreat

That’s what I have so far.