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Writing Battle Reports
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 07:58   #1 (permalink)
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Shas'Vre
 
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Default Writing Battle Reports

Ok, so Monday I'm hitting the LGS and getting a game in with a friend (well several games, but this one in particular is the focus of the thread), and we've agreed to write a Battle Report on it. He's a member of the site, so we'll post it here. We've both written reports, but as far as I'm concerned they can't hope to rival the reports posted here on a day-to-day basis. The way it seems to go for me at least is that I'll either try to record what happens in shorthand, and then forget the shorthand, or else I'll get caught up in the game and forget to record, and have to guestimate what happened. So here's my questions
1) What is a good way to record what is happening inn the battle, without it detracting from the game?
2) What is the general consensus on dice rolls? Should i record how many hits/wounds/unsaved wounds are taken? Just how many models fell?
3) We both enjoy a good story in a report, and we intend to write a good backstory to this fight as well as a moment-by-moment developing story as the report goes. Is this a good idea? Do people enjoy this, or would they rather get at the meat of the game, and ignore all the frill?

Also this seemed to be the most prudent place to place the thread, but i was thinking Warhammer 40k General might be better. If a mod thinks it belongs elsewhere, please move it for me?
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 11:02   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

I'll just do a quick run through this from my owm point of view;
1) If you're both making the battle report, you should say what your opponenet is doing in his turn and he can record what you do in yours.
2) Generally I'd only say how many died but if there's some interesting rolling eg. 50 hits, 50 wounds, 1 failed 6+ armour save, then mention it.
3) Many people enjoy the story in the battle report (see anything by Bigtoof), the only reason I haven't is because I don't think I'd be good at writing it without going overboard and writing a novel that turns out not being very good at all. So yes, do the story, people do like them, (if you want to accommodate for those who don't as well, write the story on one post and then have a second post where you can start the actual battle report).
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 19:21   #3 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
 
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammerz
1) If you're both making the battle report, you should say what your opponenet is doing in his turn and he can record what you do in yours.
Whats the benefit in your opinion of recording your enemy instead of yourself?
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 19:22   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Watson9801
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammerz
1) If you're both making the battle report, you should say what your opponenet is doing in his turn and he can record what you do in yours.
Whats the benefit in your opinion of recording your enemy instead of yourself?
Probably so that while you're moving your models, i can write about it, instead of you having to stop after every action to write things down
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 19:25   #5 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

Would it be wrong of me to suggest that you set up a video camera on a tripod to one side of the table? You can then just play the game as normal, making sure to speak aloud all important dice rolls and such. Then, at a later point, you both sit down and watch it, using the video to transcribe everything that happened and also to use to make pictures of the battlefield. You can then edit and amend the report as necessary.

Alternatively, you could just edit the video and put it up on Youtube as a video Battle Report.

When I did my Drama GCSE, back in 1998, I took along a dictaphone and used this precise method as an aid to my own memory when it came time to do my write-up afterwards.
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 19:27   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masked Thespian
Would it be wrong of me to suggest that you set up a video camera on a tripod to one side of the table? You can then just play the game as normal, making sure to speak aloud all important dice rolls and such. Then, at a later point, you both sit down and watch it, using the video to transcribe everything that happened. You can then edit and amend the report as necessary.

When I did my Drama GCSE, back in 1998, I took along a dictaphone and used this precise method as an aid to my own memory when it came time to do my write-up afterwards.
Seems like a good idea, only problems being that it would be hard to get the whole table in the shot with any degree of detail, and other people in the store make alot of noise. Also, we're going to be using the Digital Camera to take pics for you guys, so i'm not sure how that would work out
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Old 28 Dec 2009, 02:24   #7 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

1) When I am playing a game, I know I'm going to write a battrep for my opponent knows this, I take notes for each turn of each round. I write down what happened at the end of my turn, while my opponent is moving, and then what he does during his turn. I use a bit of shorthand too, and use acronyms for most units. I mostly just put in strategically important moves, who shoots who, and how many kills they get. Entries will usually look like this:

O2: Snikrot in backside, near bassies. Twitch/Bloo Clovah move up right. Twitch = zzap wreck predator. Bloo Clovah's trukk ---> dread = imm. Snipah's shootas --> scouts 8W/3 die = run off board. Snikrot charge bassies = explode 4 dead Orks.

2) If the dice rolls are crazy I'll put them in too, like when I caused 28 wounds on a Blood Claw, and he passed all his saves.

3) I like to write and read battreps with fluff. It gives the game a reason to be played instead of Space Marine army 1 fights Ork army 2 to a draw. Its much more enjoyable to follow someones battreps over a period of time, and see how their characters perform.
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Old 28 Dec 2009, 04:13   #8 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Watson9801
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammerz
1) If you're both making the battle report, you should say what your opponenet is doing in his turn and he can record what you do in yours.
Whats the benefit in your opinion of recording your enemy instead of yourself?
I think thats a great idea, but I would have a hard time talking some of the store gamers into doing that (takes too long) and thats pretty much all I have to play against, I don't really have any gaming 'buddies' who I can play with at home nearby

I would think a camera, even just a cellphone camera, just snapping a shot from both table points-of-view during each phase 'PRE-MOVEMENT/MOVEMENT/FIRE/ASSAULT/END TURN would help you remember.

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Old 28 Dec 2009, 20:20   #9 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

Quote:
The way it seems to go for me at least is that I'll either try to record what happens in shorthand, and then forget the shorthand, or else I'll get caught up in the game and forget to record, and have to guestimate what happened.
I wish I could tell you to get VASSAL40k. Having the visual cues of 'replaying' the game right in front of me is a great boon for my memory. Thinking back to how I did it before VASSAL40k, I wrote it out and let the battle sequence carry me through my memory. An example would be: "Wait, I charged that unit in turn 3 and killed them, what did they shoot in turn 2? Oh, that's right, they fired their lascannon at my kanz."

Oh, and a little guesstimation is not a bad thing. It's a dirty little secret of us battle report writers that unless you have superhuman memory, you won't remember and record every little event in the battle. Omission is okay too, so long as it doesn't take away too much from the overall flow of the battle.

Quote:
1) What is a good way to record what is happening inn the battle, without it detracting from the game?
Pictures actually work quite good as a visual prompt for your memory if well-taken (I can't take pictures worth beans). They give a clear view of everything on the table. Sometimes that's all it takes ("hey, where did that daemon prince go? Oh that's right, my lootaz blasted him away that turn).

Other than that, play out the battle in your head and don't worry if you miss the smallest of details. Even the bigger details that are missing will become clearer once the narrative begins to flow.

Quote:
2) What is the general consensus on dice rolls? Should i record how many hits/wounds/unsaved wounds are taken? Just how many models fell?
Just how many models fall. You don't even have to be precise about it, unless it makes a direct difference on the game. For example, I wouldn't record that my opponent killed 3 orks in turn two. I usually say something like "the devastators mowed down a handful of orks this turn, with the majority of their shots being absorbed by the cover".

On the other hand, if you want to add to the drama of whittling down an important unit, then it may add to the report to include precise casualty figures, I.E. "Two space marines were lost to big-shoota fire this turn, leaving only the sergeant and meltagunner to hold the objective".

Quote:
3) We both enjoy a good story in a report, and we intend to write a good backstory to this fight as well as a moment-by-moment developing story as the report goes. Is this a good idea? Do people enjoy this, or would they rather get at the meat of the game, and ignore all the frill?
Depends on the person. I love fluff, personally, and feel that if tastefully done it adds to my enjoyment of the report. However, it is polite to note that some people don't share our love of a good backstory. To be kind to these folks, I try and put my fluff in italics so that they can skip over it if they want.
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Old 29 Dec 2009, 02:13   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Writing Battle Reports

I guess I should weigh in on this one

1. I find that the best way to record what goes on is to keep a little pocketbook-notepad. I jot down the opponent's list (roughly) and play the game. Right after playing the game, I write what happened (to the best of my memory), highlighting the big moves and such. This is also a good time to ask your opponent specifics about their list, as they usually have time when packing up or waiting for another game.
The next day, before you start crafting the BatRep, pick up your notebook and check the details (turn sequences, maneuvers and whatnot), you'd be surprised what comes in overnight.
Lastly, organize your thoughts by writing it all out in a nutshell in a word or txt file. You can keep it this way for days (or weeks) until you use it, and there's no chance you'll lose your notebook.
Before you write your report, take another look to refresh your memory and then, boom, you're ready to go.
(But this is just me, as I really do like a multi-step approach You'll anguish at each step initially, and eventually get a good stockpile, but that's just the nature of it )

2. I usually keep dice rolls out unless you're emphasizing certain aspects of the game. Keep track of how many fall, but unless it's a really significant loss or surprising one way or another, it probably won't be noticed. I'm notorious for using the term "handful of Orks," but that's just me

3. I personally love fluff, and I really only write up a BatRep if I can find fluff that will fit the scenario. It's a bit of creative exercise to make things work, but I find the challenge exhilerating. One thing I would recommend is to not write it totally "in character." Some of the more painful BatReps I've read have been in painful Ork dialect or in a very dramatic fashion that well... doesn't really give you a clue as to what is going on. I would recommend keeping the fluff as separate from the actual tactical combat as possible. Feel free to give some drama to your script, but don't let it take so much of your report that it hampers the legibility.
I would start small and then expand as time goes on. Part of making a successful character is letting the audience grow attached to them, and that takes time.

Oh, and the most important thing: Practice.
It's the only way to get better and find what works for you!
Don't be afraid to post a report, and just read the replies and figure out what works. One thing I do is that I try to find out what "clicks" well by reviewing old reports and seeing what exactly works.
(Although I still haven't exactly figured this out, as an old MechEldar BatRep is beating the tar out of all of my other Reps, and it's without pictures and what-not...)

Good Luck!

Best,
-BT

P.S. If you feel very concerned, you might want to have a friend look over your report or even PM it to someone on the boards. But don't worry, the first few Reps are always raw until you get into the swing of things, just don't lose heart!
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