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Scythe» Forums » General

Subject: Does Scythe include 4th generation warfare concepts? rss

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Inno Van
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I've been reading David Lind lately and interested in his ideas about 4th generation warfare.

He points out that most western nations are still stuck in 1st generation warfare: Line up like it's a football match, then run forward into machine gun nests and get a lot of people killed.

4th generation is recognizing that the ability to put metal into targets can actually be counter-productive if you're hoping for cooperation from the local population. It also recognizes the collapse of state loyalty from their populations, and that while people drafted by the state would frankly rather break their rifles in two than fight to support it, the same people will fight very, very hard for non-state affiliations, like religion.

Some people want more combat. They want to have Napoleonic warfare of men in lines shooting muskets and politely marching off to receive 60% casualty rates, never revolting against leadership. Except they want to do it with Mechs. They want games emphasizing 1st generation warfare tactics.

I am proposing that Scythe's warfare is not 1st generation warfare, but 4th generation warfare. Encounter cards, with their 3-4 popularity swing between the different options, and the ability to spend actions and money on improving popularity (I suppose your troops are spending that turn installing water wells and other improvements for the locals) both have a large game effect, as is the ability to improve your cultural intelligence so actions made for the locals will be more effective.
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Chris Hoisington
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It also has pretty colors and lots of different shapes.
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Jason Brown
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I think you need to read more about or watch some gameplay of this game. It's not a war game by any stretch of the imagination. Combat consists of selecting a power level and added my to it with combat cards. There is no tactical aspect whatsoever, let alone a distinction between generations of warfare.
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Ben Rubinstein

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Innovan wrote:
I've been reading David Lind lately and interested in his ideas about 4th generation warfare.

He points out that most western nations are still stuck in 1st generation warfare: Line up like it's a football match, then run forward into machine gun nests and get a lot of people killed.

4th generation is recognizing that the ability to put metal into targets can actually be counter-productive if you're hoping for cooperation from the local population. It also recognizes the collapse of state loyalty from their populations, and that while people drafted by the state would frankly rather break their rifles in two than fight to support it, the same people will fight very, very hard for non-state affiliations, like religion.

Some people want more combat. They want to have Napoleonic warfare of men in lines shooting muskets and politely marching off to receive 60% casualty rates, never revolting against leadership. Except they want to do it with Mechs. They want games emphasizing 1st generation warfare tactics.

I am proposing that Scythe's warfare is not 1st generation warfare, but 4th generation warfare. Encounter cards, with their 3-4 popularity swing between the different options, and the ability to spend actions and money on improving popularity (I suppose your troops are spending that turn installing water wells and other improvements for the locals) both have a large game effect, as is the ability to improve your cultural intelligence so actions made for the locals will be more effective.


Not knowing anything about this academics definition of 2nd and 3rd generation warfare, yes, Scythe is much more 4th than 1st. But I think you already knew that
 
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Brett Burleigh II
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epilepticemu wrote:
Innovan wrote:

... most western nations are still stuck in 1st generation warfare...

4th generation is recognizing that the ability to put metal into targets can actually be counter-productive if you're hoping for cooperation from the local population.


Not knowing anything about this academics definition of 2nd and 3rd generation warfare, yes, Scythe is much more 4th than 1st. But I think you already knew that


Not being cheeky, I was also hoping for a brief introduction to the broad concept at hand...

Oh well, off to wiki...
 
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Inno Van
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>There is no tactical aspect whatsoever

Tactical warfare is maneuver, engagement, and battle. However, warfare occurs at three levels: Strategic, Operational, and Tactical. The mechs, cavalry, and infantry warfare in Scythe are included at the Operational and Strategic levels of warfare, not the tactical.

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Inno Van
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brrrmanza wrote:
I was also hoping for a brief introduction to the broad concept at hand...


I recommend spending the $3 on kindle and getting the well edited version of The Four Generations of Warfare for non-military. Otherwise you can get a more military wonk version for free, but when you try to then read The 4th Generation Warfare Handbook you may be a bit lost since he just assumes you've read the previous $3 short book.

I will also note that 3rd and 4th generation warfare assume greater autonomy and initiative by the boots on the ground, so not simulating at the tactical level for a 4th generation warfare game would be appropriate. And the core story of Scythe about The Factory is about ...a state failure. While the Encounter Cards are all interactions with the non-state entities that remain in the wake of this state failure.
 
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Jonathan Kinney
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Innovan wrote:
>There is no tactical aspect whatsoever

Tactical warfare is maneuver, engagement, and battle. However, warfare occurs at three levels: Strategic, Operational, and Tactical. The mechs, cavalry, and infantry warfare in Scythe are included at the Operational and Strategic levels of warfare, not the tactical.



Keep in mind that I'm someone who has read a lot about the game, but only played twice.

While, it definitely leans towards being a more non-traditional warfare can it be categorized in terms of a generation of warfare? Probably not - at least not in the 4 generations you talk about. But it sure is different. In fact, I would argue that combat is simply used as a terminology that is easily relatable to people to imply direct negative interaction between players. Because that's really what it is. It's not really fighting.

Power could easily seen as a measure of economic/political/military/intelligence. In essence you are applying pressure to expel an enemy. They don't need to pay to bring their mechs/population back - you've cost them time and space, but not cash/resources. They just move again. In fact, it can be used as a strategic tool of your mechs are too far from home and you want to get them back quickly.

Heck, even the fact that one faction is allowed to use combat cards as resources, says to me that power has been abstracted into a non-traditional combat tool.

And then there's the "Hearts and Minds" aspect of the combat system. Disrupt the local population and it impacts your ability to operate effectively (lose popularity). This does two things that are beautifully thematic: first it means that you think twice before attacking where people have workers because you don't want to disrupt them (unless of course you have built up a siginificant amount of popularity capital...brilliant). But secondly, the idea of human shields becomes readily apparent. One of the best strategies is to move your mechs/hero to the back and create a wall of workers at the front. This means that you can do more damage to your opponent than direct conflict with a mech/hero AND expeling a worker doesn't get them a star! And conflict with a worker doesn't cost YOU any power or combat cards!

I hate to talk about it in the concept of abstraction - because it implies soulless, themeless, and monotone. Scythe is far from any of that.

But it is NOT a traditional wargame by any stretch. It is completely possible that an entire game can be played without a traditional "shot" being fired. But is it 4th generation? I don't know. The definition that I see is that you are talking about a conflict between a state and a non-established nation (PLO, IRA, Al Quaeda, ISIS). And I don't really see this. I see it as an alternative method (something a lot more holistic) in its approach to conflict.

If I were to compare it, I would think of it in terms of how the NVA approached the 2nd Vietnam War and the fight for South Vietnam. Where 4th Generation warfare seems to be more along the lines of the Viet Cong (if I'm understanding it correctly).

I was a history major as an undergrad, so I always love to chat about this stuff. Sorry for the long response.
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Jonathan Kinney
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Innovan wrote:
And the core story of Scythe about The Factory is about ...a state failure. While the Encounter Cards are all interactions with the non-state entities that remain in the wake of this state failure.


Is it?

The way I read it is that the Tesla factory was something that began as technological research and development facility (independent of state control) to be used for all human progress (Tesla was naive like that) that, as usual, was manipulated into a means of developing instruments of war. And when war broke out Tesla abandoned the factory as a way of trying to ensure he wasn't further responsible for future conflicts. I'm not sure it was ever intended to represent a state, but more as an isolated research zone (maybe I've read too much into this...I've poured over the art book quite a bit).
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Andrew B
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Innovan wrote:
brrrmanza wrote:
I was also hoping for a brief introduction to the broad concept at hand...


I recommend spending the $3 on kindle and getting the well edited version of The Four Generations of Warfare for non-military. Otherwise you can get a more military wonk version for free, but when you try to then read The 4th Generation Warfare Handbook you may be a bit lost since he just assumes you've read the previous $3 short book.

I will also note that 3rd and 4th generation warfare assume greater autonomy and initiative by the boots on the ground, so not simulating at the tactical level for a 4th generation warfare game would be appropriate. And the core story of Scythe about The Factory is about ...a state failure. While the Encounter Cards are all interactions with the non-state entities that remain in the wake of this state failure.


I've not read the book and do not wish to seem too harsh towards it and its author.

I'll be as diplomatic as possible in saying that it seems to push a very clear and targeted political agenda in presenting the idea. It also seems, at a glance, that it does not follow scholarly standards in dealing with the subject matter, which is a dangerous prospect.
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Jonathan Kinney
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andrewbwm wrote:
Innovan wrote:
brrrmanza wrote:
I was also hoping for a brief introduction to the broad concept at hand...


I recommend spending the $3 on kindle and getting the well edited version of The Four Generations of Warfare for non-military. Otherwise you can get a more military wonk version for free, but when you try to then read The 4th Generation Warfare Handbook you may be a bit lost since he just assumes you've read the previous $3 short book.

I will also note that 3rd and 4th generation warfare assume greater autonomy and initiative by the boots on the ground, so not simulating at the tactical level for a 4th generation warfare game would be appropriate. And the core story of Scythe about The Factory is about ...a state failure. While the Encounter Cards are all interactions with the non-state entities that remain in the wake of this state failure.


I've not read the book and do not wish to seem too harsh towards it and its author.

I'll be as diplomatic as possible in saying that it seems to push a very clear and targeted political agenda in presenting the idea. It also seems, at a glance, that it does not follow scholarly standards in dealing with the subject matter, which is a dangerous prospect.


oooh...is there an emoji for <"academic popcorn"> instead of just <"popcorn">
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Noel
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Using "generation" as a term implies progression or evolution, but I don't see that here.
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Mus Rattus
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jonocop wrote:
Innovan wrote:
And the core story of Scythe about The Factory is about ...a state failure. While the Encounter Cards are all interactions with the non-state entities that remain in the wake of this state failure.


Is it?

The way I read it is that the Tesla factory was something that began as technological research and development facility (independent of state control) to be used for all human progress (Tesla was naive like that) that, as usual, was manipulated into a means of developing instruments of war. And when war broke out Tesla abandoned the factory as a way of trying to ensure he wasn't further responsible for future conflicts. I'm not sure it was ever intended to represent a state, but more as an isolated research zone (maybe I've read too much into this...I've poured over the art book quite a bit).


From the description:
"It is a time of unrest in 1920s Europa. The ashes from the first great war still darken the snow. The capitalistic city-state known simply as “The Factory”, which fueled the war with heavily armored mechs, has closed its doors, drawing the attention of several nearby countries."
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Danwarr
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jonocop wrote:
Innovan wrote:
And the core story of Scythe about The Factory is about ...a state failure. While the Encounter Cards are all interactions with the non-state entities that remain in the wake of this state failure.


Is it?

The way I read it is that the Tesla factory was something that began as technological research and development facility (independent of state control) to be used for all human progress (Tesla was naive like that) that, as usual, was manipulated into a means of developing instruments of war. And when war broke out Tesla abandoned the factory as a way of trying to ensure he wasn't further responsible for future conflicts. I'm not sure it was ever intended to represent a state, but more as an isolated research zone (maybe I've read too much into this...I've poured over the art book quite a bit).


This is my understand from the art book blurb as well. The Factory was some sort of autonomous entity that existed on land between major countries. Tesla's initial vision of The Factory was sort of a peak of Modernism/"better living through chemistry" type philosophy and he created the Automata and the mechs to help people. But various countries, I think primarily Polania and the Rusviet Union, were looking for military advantage over each other and the mechs turned into weapons of war instead of machines of industry. Tesla abandons The Factory following The Great War and The Factory falls silent. However, the Automata somehow restarted The Factory and now various countries are sending their operatives to find out what is happening and attempting to subvert each other's attempts to lay claim to The Factory.

A full Scythe novel or comic series would be really interesting.
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