Info and data for fans of the play-by-mail games Duel II, Forgotten Realms, and Hyborian War from Reality Simulations, Inc

A matter of speed

by Vincent Wong

This article is written for both novice and veteran players who wish to first of all understand how movement of their units are worked out and how fast each unit move in terms of who goes first. Many times and in most cases, players use their instinct and general guesswork to determine if their units will reach an objective before another player. And there are times, there will be just too much risks involved when an objective must be reach whereby it will determine the future of the players’ realm. Eg. Getting enough relief force to arrive in time to defend a critical position like a city from a nearby enemy who has a larger force. Things like this ought not be left to chance.

It is very important to be able to differentiate distance and speed. Movement Points (MP) in FRPBM is a very important indicator. MP has two aspects, firstly, it is an indicator of your fuel tank (how far you can travel); secondly, it is also an indicator of the top speed you can travel at (in other words, your speedometer.) Most players will see MP as an indicator of distance, very often they don’t realise MP’s second nature – the speed factor. At first glance, most players will assume that all units no matter how high the MP; assumes that they all move together. That is a misconception, that statement is only true if they are group together in a single stack. However, if they are separate stacks, you will always find that the unit with the higher MP (of a different speed range according to the table below) will always move first. This is very important when you are considering tactical moves like PURSUE orders or trying to reach a destination before your enemy.

When is a good time for a player to get into the “nitty-gritty” details, then just to rely on instincts and guesswork, is up to the individual players. So players who like to number crunch the outcome and some don’t; whatever it is; knowing that there is some sure way if knowing the outcome of your unit movement can and will help in most cases instead of waiting for the next turn report to see if your guesswork is correct. The table below is worked out based on my experience and research in playing FR. We begin by taking the lowest unit movement there is available to all units in the game and that is 30 and the highest most significant unit group movement there is, 167 and above. I worked out based on the impulse of 250 of a turn representing a month in game time in FR. Thus movement is conducted from impulse 1 until 250.

All units are moved according to the accumulation of MP per impulse. Thus a Human Heavy Infantry has 35MP will gain 1MP per 7 impulse (250 divided by 35 and rounding any fractions), thus for the Human Heavy Infantry to move to the next hex that is a Clear Terrain, that requires 4MP plus 1MP if it does not belong to you, it will arrive at that hex at 28th impulse, and 35th impulse respectively. Knowing which impulse it will move can help you determine which the best movement direction to achieve accurate rendezvous with other units that you may want to lead that is a few hexes away and to determine when the other units will arrive and join the leading unit according to the fastest route available.

Unit/Group Impulse per MP
MP Range Speed Band
30 – 33 8
34 – 38 7
39 – 45 6
46 – 55 5
56 – 71 4
72 – 100 3
100 – 166 2
167 and above 1
Speed Formula: 

Impulse Speed Band Range x MP Cost (Terrain) = ETA Impulse

Note: MP Cost is calculated first, hex type x features (roads/rivers)

Working Example:

Human Infantry MP40 moving across to a Clear Hex not owned by you, bordered by a Stream and contains a trail connected to the hex your unit is moving from. = 6 x (4 x 1.25 x .75 + 1) = 29th Impulse

While a Human Heavy Infantry in the same working example. = 7 x (4 x 1.25 x .75 + 1) = 33rd impulse, that is slower by 4 impulse.

Also having this table it allows you to get the best mix of characters and movement bonus items when adding to a group. Keep in mind that the bonuses from characters are applied to the character as well, but that doesn’t really matter as the group movement is based on the slowest unit in the group plus whatever movement bonuses from items and characters. Thus mixing 30-33MP units with 34-38MP units do not make much difference, if you look closely just by adding some characters and items that give some bonus can easily move the speed band up by one. So it does really make sense not to mix fast units with slow units unless you do not have a choice. By “maxing” out the group speed band you can get your units to cover more ground. Remember all units do not stop moving until the 250th impulse is up or the unit has moved to its destination, or it has moved a maximum of its MP plus any bonuses. Therefore slow units will take very much longer to finish moving the maximum of 16 directions in a MOVE order depending on the terrain. Thus grouping your units in the same speed band is quite important if you intend to cover as much ground as possible especially in difficult terrain such as tundra or heavy forest areas. Thus it is a matter of speed not just a matter of distance.