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Subject: Games With "Fake" Fog of War--Wargame Player Mistakes In Play rss

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Eric Walters
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"...the art of manoeuvering armies...an art which none may master by the light of nature. but to which, if he is to attain success, a man must serve a long apprenticeship." -- G.F.R. Henderson
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Was inspired by the thread on how to simulate "real" Fog Of War (FOW) in wargames/conflict simulations. Then there are those sessions we've all had where we--the players--managed to befuddle ourselves without any aid of special rules or design techniques. Sometimes we find out we've completely screwed up how to play the game/apply the rules/understand the scenario and we stop the progress of play and start over. But then there are those other times where we just keep going in the game...well beyond the point of commission of the error....

At least one game formally encourages this kind of "self-induced" friction and fog of war--the infamous/notorious "A.2" rule in Advanced Squad Leader, which says:

Quote:
A.2 ERRORS: All results stand once play has progressed past the point of commission. In other words, if an error is discovered after play has passed that point, the game cannot be backed up to correct the error, even if such an error is in violation of a rule. For example, assume an attack is resolved without application of a proper DRM [dice roll modifier], and a subsequent attack is resolved, or another unit moved, or play proceeds to another phase before a player remembers he was entitled to a DRM in the previous attack, thus changing the result. His failure to apply that DRM at the time of commission has cost him his right to claim that DRM. Or perhaps a player moves a unit before remembering that he wanted other units to attempt rally in the RPh or fire or entrench in the PFPh. Once the phase for execution of a particular action has passed, the player has lost any claim to that capability.


So while I'm sure the ASLers could regale us with many interesting and entertaining tales of how they were able to self-induce friction and fog of war (what we'll term as "fake" FOW for the purposes of this posting), what other stories do you have? Here's some ideas to get you started:

-- "FAKE" TERRAIN FOG OF WAR: Has this ever happened to you? You start a scenario in a tactical game only to realize mid-way through that the map is oriented in the wrong way? Sometimes that matters a great deal (especially when there are geographic victory conditions (exit that board edge, seize these buildings/hills, etc). But sometimes it doesn't--at least directly? I've seen some AARs for the first scenario ("Autumn Mist") in Panzer Grenadier: Elsenborn Ridge that shows Board 25 oriented the wrong way! The scenario plays a little differently, doesn't it?

-- "FAKE" REINFORCEMENT (OR LACK THEREOF) FOG OF WAR: Has this ever happened to you? Either your opponent brings on all his reinforcements too early or forgets he has to "roll for them" or you don't bring on your reinforcements or you "roll for them" when you don't have to...and then you realize your mistake way too late. At least you have a ready excuse when your opponent wins and you lose.

-- "FAKE" BATTLE DURATION FOG OF WAR: Has this ever happened to you? This invariably happens in games where turn length is variable, either through chit-pulls, dice rolls, alternative activations, etc. The turn is supposed to end according the rules for some seemingly arbitrary reason (a certain number is rolled on the dice, both players pass in sequence, whatever) but you keep playing, unawares of that. Or, you prematurely end a turn through a misunderstanding of how the turn end rules are supposed to be applied. "What do you mean I can't use my "Advantage" chit now to extend the turn? Why can't I expend my "Momentum" marker to reroll that turn end die roll?" You get the idea. This happens a lot when playing series games that feature such design devices but the rules applications are a bit different from game to game.

-- "FAKE" HIDDEN UNIT FOG OF WAR: Has this ever happened to you? Those games that have hidden/concealed/unspotted units that for some reason don't get revealed/unconcealed/spotted, even when the rules call for it in certain situations. Neither you nor your opponent catch it and you blithely play on! "Wait a minute, I could have SWORN I searched that hex and would have seen that guy!" Yeaawwwp.

-- "FAKE" SILVER BULLET/SUPER WEAPON OR SPECIAL RULE EMPLOYMENT: Has this ever happened to you? Typically in some detailed tactical game, somebody is reading the national/equipment capabilities chart/table/card wrong and attributing a capability for a side/weapon that just doesn't exist given the timeframe of the scenario. A few extreme examples would be German infantry using panzerfausts in a 1940 Advanced Squad Leader scenario (I've seen that happen with noobs), using Armor Efficiency for Soviet tanks in 1941 scenarios in Panzer Grenadier: Eastern Front, using late model Spitfire or BF109 aircraft data cards in a 1940 scenario of Achtung: Spitfire!. Some design your own games let you purchase weapons/ships/etc that really weren't available during that timeframe, etc. One of my favorite (and very typical examples) from the very first scenario in ASL's Beyond Valor: ASL Module 1, "Fighting Withdrawal," between two noobs--"Oh, no wonder the Russians won against the Finns...we forgot about how Soviet Machine Guns can't use Fire Lanes (A9.22) when under Ammunition Shortage (A19.131)." Or they'll say, "No wonder the Finns won, we forgot to roll for Wind every turn and Kindling/Spreading Fire for the Flame counters that started the scenario on the board!"

Ooops.

All the wiser ASL grogs will simply nod their heads and simply say, "A.2." (Usually pronounced either "AAAYYY TWO" or even "AAAYYY DOT TWO")





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Jim F
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How about all of the above, especially when playing ASL...whistle
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Carl Marl
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I'd prefer to call it limited intelligence rather than fog of war.
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Wulf Corbett
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We got to turn 3 or 4 of a game of Panzer Grenadier: Beyond Normandy before realising what we thought were hills were really valleys, and vice versa...

...it did change the LoS conditions a bit...
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Mike Windsor
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I've often had to explain how it can be fun to play a game solitaire. Depending on how you feel, you could call this the "Tunnel Vision FOW" or the "I'm Stupid FOW". I can't count the times I've played a game solitaire, only to suddenly think, "Wow, look at that great opportunity!" How could I not have seen it earlier? How come my opponent, who is as smart as me, didn't see it earlier?
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Eric Walters
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"...the art of manoeuvering armies...an art which none may master by the light of nature. but to which, if he is to attain success, a man must serve a long apprenticeship." -- G.F.R. Henderson
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fambans wrote:
I'd prefer to call it limited intelligence rather than fog of war.


Indeed, in these kinds of circumstances, the players often feel that their intelligence limitations are the crux of the problem!

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Judy Krauss
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The first time I played Turning Point: Stalingrad, I forgot to bring on my re-inforcements. But I, playing the Russians, was doing okay, anyway. We decided to start over, not because I messed up, but because (I think) he realized that if I was winning without re-inforcements, he probably had no chance if I got them...
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Sim Guy
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All of these types of mistakes are common in a time limited move game. I played a lot of 'Blitz' PanzerBlitz at 5 minutes per turn. What you didn't get to, you didn't get to.
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Charles Phillips
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In the group that currently plays at my house, if we discover partway through the game that we've made a rules mistake, we usually just finish the game using the same rules, to keep the game consistant. Then play it the right way the next time.

Our biggest (recent) blunder that I can remember concerned initiative in Tide of Iron. After playing several games of TOI, we realized that command points spent on initiative were supposed to accumulate from turn to turn through the game. Previously we had been removing command points from the initiative cards each turn.

It was one of those, "oh...wow...that changes everything!" realizations as we all looked at each other and the implications of our error dawned on us. Suddenly, there was a whole other level to the game that we hadn't realized before. And we'd played a good half dozen scenarios before we realized our error...

blush

A long time ago at GrognardCon, one of the pre-cons to the WBC, about 2 a.m on Sunday morning, I was playing a game (I can't remember which one) and I was having terrible luck. About halfway through the game, we realized that I had been rolling a d6 the entire game instead of a d8. I have no idea why; I was very tired.

snore
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Cpl. Fields
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Jude wrote:
The first time I played Turning Point: Stalingrad, I forgot to bring on my re-inforcements. But I, playing the Russians, was doing okay, anyway. We decided to start over, not because I messed up, but because (I think) he realized that if I was winning without re-inforcements, he probably had no chance if I got them...


I did that recently playing Red Star Rising solo. I forgot a big group of Soviet reinforcements in the fall of '41, and by the time I noticed (end of the following turn), fixing the error would have been like unscrambling eggs. I was too discouraged to restart the game so I just packed it up.
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Roger Hobden
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This thread should be renamed "Fog of Brain".
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nick P
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I played my first Conflict of Heroes adding the defence factors of units to a dice roll and wondering why three turns in no-one had suffered any casualties.
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Damo
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ClineCon wrote:
A long time ago at GrognardCon, one of the pre-cons to the WBC, about 2 a.m on Sunday morning, I was playing a game (I can't remember which one) and I was having terrible luck. About halfway through the game, we realized that I had been rolling a d6 the entire game instead of a d8. I have no idea why; I was very tired.

snore


Similar situation, except I incorrectly added up VPs. If I'd done it correctly, I'd have won, but my friend won on the next turn before either of us realised, so we went with that.

Ah well, lesson learnt - If you think you need coffee, you probably do.
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Damo
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zuludawn wrote:
Jude wrote:
The first time I played Turning Point: Stalingrad, I forgot to bring on my re-inforcements. But I, playing the Russians, was doing okay, anyway. We decided to start over, not because I messed up, but because (I think) he realized that if I was winning without re-inforcements, he probably had no chance if I got them...


I did that recently playing Red Star Rising solo. I forgot a big group of Soviet reinforcements in the fall of '41, and by the time I noticed (end of the following turn), fixing the error would have been like unscrambling eggs. I was too discouraged to restart the game so I just packed it up.


As an opposite, in Iwo Jima: Valor of Arms, 19 Feb. – 25 March 1945 troops are withdrawn towards the end of the game.

After a few turns I began to notice the small letters on the reinforcement chart and realised that half my forces had suddenly evaporated.

Oops! blush
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Dan Hyer
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When the inevitable mistakes are uncovered, I just tell everyone that we're just playing a variant.
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Darrell Pavitt
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I did forget to implement the Russian winter effects for 1941 in The Barbarossa Campaign. The Germans never had it so good!
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Kevin Conway
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I'm currently learning OCS and DAK2. On the very first turn of a solo run through the training scenario (Operation Compass) I rolled "Rainstorm" for the weather. I then proceeded to forget the weather completely throughout the first turn. The turn took me 4 or 5 hours to complete, as I was taking my time and going step-by-step through all the procedures and reading up on the relevant rules.

At the beginning of turn 2 I rolled for weather again, and only then did I realize that I forgot to apply the weather for the entire first turn.

As an aside, I think I just realized that 90% of my posts the last two weeks have been about learning and playing OCS. I must be hooked!
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Russell King
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Hebden Bridge
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For stupidity, this beats it - I had a solitaire game of Montys DDay just after Xmas - a terrific and very underrated game. Doesn't help though when you land your troops on an area and can't get them off the beach before the tide comes in and drowns them. Pride forces me not to reveal the true extent of the casualty toll.......
 
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