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Subject: Proposal for Strategic WW2 ETO to remove God-King Syndrome rss

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Apex
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I have been thinking about pulling Hitler's War off the shelf and giving it a runthrough. The last time I played it was back in 1993, I figured it might be worth giving it another go. However, one that that's struck me recently and was reinforced by the last Guns, Dice & Butter Podcast is this notion of strategic games putting the player in the role of God King.

So ... I started thinking about how to design around this and wanted to get some feedback.

1 - Players hold strategic cards appropriate for the level of the war state. This could be handled in a couple ways, but because of its wider knowledget let's just say it works somewhat like the era decks for Paths of Glory. You meet certain war criteria and your get more deck. These are not deep decks and, at most contain 15-20 cards with each side maybe seeing a total of 52 cards.

2 - The hand of cards the players hold are actually for their enemies. So, in ETO WW2 - if you're playing the Axis, you'd select the Allied objectives.

3 - The cards selected would increase over time as well. At the start, you might simply have 2 or 3, whereas later in the war it might be up to 5 or 6 cards. Players would need to use the cards as guidance for building strategies and would constitute the way in which victory points are achieved. You only get victory points for achieving the goals on the cards which have levels of achievement that might deal with the level of force commitment, the number of turns that objective is held, etc.

4 - Each objective would feature modifiers as well that would require specific generals or combinations of generals to complete the objective via a minimum leadership rating. There'd be a national priority rating, and a diplomatic modifier. Generals would be able to influence the cards played to some degree during conferences that occur quarterly. During these conference turns a specific general (or generals) could use their influence earned through a starting rating and points earned by their relative success in the field to force your opponent to swap a card out for a new one.

In effect - your opponents determine the strategic objectives. You're more or less required to go after those unless your generals wield enough success in the field and through their historical influence to change the course of the war at that time. In this way - you'd get a strategic ETO game that's different every play AND you'd lose some of the god-king syndrome.

Another thought about this might be something to do with variable movement and relative unit cohesion. My suspicion, though I have nowhere near enough historical knowledge or even gaming background, is that units on the size of a division or larger probably don't move as a set piece over great distances very well. For example, the quicker and further they move the less cohesive a fighting unit they are upon arrival. I also suspect fate (weather, mechanical issues, fuel availability ,etc.) play a major role in this as well. So - in addition to your imperfect control over where you're headed, why, and when - I'd also include some kind of feature that effectively creates variable levels of unit cohesion and fighting effectiveness based upon a combination of low-probability random events and high probability (if not required) distances and speeds moved. In this way, coalescing forces, moving them at a reasonable pace, and then putting them in a position to fight will all be considerations as well so it's not just a guarantee that your dudes end up in the hex you want them when you want them there.

Thoughts? Worth pursuing more?
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Roger Hobden
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Great suggestions !

Unit cohesion is handled in a way similar to what you suggest in BAOR, which is part of of a series on WW III.

The scale is operational, though.

I wonder if there is any game on a strategic level that handles this issue in a plausible way.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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If your unit scale is divisions, you are talking about operations and not strategy. You want army scale if the focus of the design is going to be grand-strategic objectives and leadership.
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Apex
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Strategic scale would not be divisional you're right! I used that as the basement for where you'd want to start seeing movement cohesion effects. Below that - there are bigger fish to fry!

At the Corps and Army level though I can't imagine the challenges with getting that many people moved and not just soldiers, but all the drivers, staff, equipment, resources, etc. I know it gets abstracted at the strategic level so you can focus on the war effort - but it strikes me that you don't have to model the specifics of whether THING X got to HEX Y on TURN Z....you just have to say something like "your forces aren't at their full effectiveness right now..."
 
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Darrell Hanning
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Several games on the operational level have used two or modes for units, with higher mobility generally coming at the cost of reduced combat strength.

However, once you get to strategic level, you also need to be looking at the time scale. If, for instance, each turn is a month, it may be too much time to allow for representation of reduce effectiveness while moving - the unit can move and go back to full combat state in less than a turn.
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Apex
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That's interesting. I have no context for what it takes to move men and material hundreds of miles. Every time I go to the airport it always seems like it's darn near impossible....based on how stressed out ineffective major airlines are at the task with far better technology than was present in WW2. lol
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Tony Doran
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"seems like it's darn near impossible....based on how stressed out ineffective major airlines are at the task with far better technology than was present in WW2. lol"

and in WWII they did it without computers...in triplicate..:0
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Darrell Pavitt
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This is simulated to some extent in Totaler Krieg! and other games, where multi step army units must be broken down into component corps in order to be strategically transported by sea or rail, and then recombine at the destination.

Given the limited shipping capability, this can take a while in TK!
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Darrell Pavitt
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Quote:
far better technology


You mean far better bureaucracy...
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