Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 Hide
51 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Exploring how soldiers should act vs how they would act in tactical games rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Øivind Karlsrud
Norway
Bjørkelangen
Unspecified
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar: My two sons
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've been discussing squad level systems again, and tried to understand why I like ASL so much. There are several things, but one thing I've realized, is that I like the IGOUGO turn order in general, and I like having phases like in ASL. More than in any other squad level games, I feel I am executing a plan when I play ASL. I'm going to try to place smoke over there, prep fire with those guys over there, then storm across the street with some other guys. Other squad level systems break things up into micro steps: You activate a few squads, then I activate a few squads, and that makes me feel less like I am executing a big plan.

Now I know it may be unrealistic to have the kind of control you have in ASL. Even though your plan may go wrong, you are able to coordinate your units far better than any real life commander. Real combat probably is complete chaos. Once the fighting starts, planning stops, and you have to trust the training of your men. But that would be a very boring game. I want an unrealistic amount of control, so that I can explore different tactics, and how the soldiers should act, not necessarily how they would act. At least this is what I want in tactical games.

So in the end, it's not realism I want in a tactical game. I want the game to reward real life tactics, but that's not exactly the same thing. The end result could be much more uncertain in real life, because there is so much chaos and uncertainty which can make your plan fail. But in a game, I want my plan to have a higher than average chance of succeeding, if it's a good plan. If we, for the sake of argument, imagine that a good plan only raises your probability of winning from 50% to 55%, it could still raise it to 90% in a game. Then the game would be unrealistic, but it would reward good real life tactics. And it would be more interesting as a game than real life, which in this case would be too much like gambling to be much fun.

Even though I say this, it's still important to me that a tactical game in general gives me a story and outcome that could have happened. I won't use a game to find the probability that a certain historical force could win against another force, but I want real life tactics to work well in the game, and I want plausible outcomes.

BTW, can anyone tell me if the Great Battles of History series is such a system for ancient battles? Does real life tactics work, even though you have an unrealistic amount of control, and are the outcomes plausible? I certainly feel ASL is such a system, for WWII combat.
19 
 Thumb up
0.08
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Brock
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
oivind22 wrote:
I've been discussing squad level systems again, and tried to understand why I like ASL so much. There are several things, but one thing I've realized, is that I like the IGOUGO turn order in general, and I like having phases like in ASL. More than in any other squad level games, I feel I am executing a plan when I play ASL. I'm going to try to place smoke over there, prep fire with those guys over there, then storm across the street with some other guys. Other squad level systems break things up into micro steps: You activate a few squads, then I activate a few squads, and that makes me feel less like I am executing a big plan.

Now I know it may be unrealistic to have the kind of control you have in ASL. Even though your plan may go wrong, you are able to coordinate your units far better than any real life commander. Real combat probably is complete chaos. Once the fighting starts, planning stops, and you have to trust the training of your men. But that would be a very boring game. I want an unrealistic amount of control, so that I can explore different tactics, and how the soldiers should act, not necessarily how they would act. At least this is what I want in tactical games.

So in the end, it's not realism I want in a tactical game. I want the game to reward real life tactics, but that's not exactly the same thing. The end result could be much more uncertain in real life, because there is so much chaos and uncertainty which can make your plan fail. But in a game, I want my plan to have a higher than average chance of succeeding, if it's a good plan. If we, for the sake of argument, imagine that a good plan only raises your probability of winning from 50% to 55%, it could still raise it to 90% in a game. Then the game would be unrealistic, but it would reward good real life tactics. And it would be more interesting as a game than real life, which in this case would be too much like gambling to be much fun.

Even though I say this, it's still important to me that a tactical game in general gives me a story and outcome that could have happened. I won't use a game to find the probability that a certain historical force could win against another force, but I want real life tactics to work well in the game, and I want plausible outcomes.

BTW, can anyone tell me if the Great Battles of History series is such a system for ancient battles? Does real life tactics work, even though you have an unrealistic amount of control, and are the outcomes plausible? I certainly feel ASL is such a system, for WWII combat.

Hmmm.

First, I tend to agree with you about how I want my tactical games to work. I'm not playing them so I can watch as my plan falls apart and leaves events totally out of my control. I want plenty of chaos to force me to rejigger my plans, or possibly create whole new plans on the fly, but I want to be in a position to manage that chaos, not to have it overtake my plans completely. In that sense, I care that the game rewards real life tactics, but not that it is "realistic" about C&C. This is why I prefer ASL over CC, despite ASL's shortage of C&C aspects.

Second, some of real life tactics are actually there primarily to deal with the limitations of realistic C&C. Reserves, in particular. It's hard for a game to make reserves meaningful when it can't simulate most of the reasons for having reserves in the first place. In that sense, the quest we are on is rather hopeless.

Third, I've only played a couple of scenarios worth of GBoH, so I'm no expert, but I felt that it was not the "holy grail game" for its period the way ASL is to me for WWII.

GBoH is much more about limiting the player's C&C ability than ASL. One can certainly argue that you do not have an unrealistic amount of control in GBoH, and that may be a turn-off to you. It's much less about creating a plan and executing it than ASL, and much more about doing what you can with the troops you currently have under command.

I personally did not have a problem with this. There wasn't a great deal of chaos otherwise in the game, so adding this level of chaos to the C&C rules was generally welcome to me.

However, I didn't find that the results gave very plausible outcomes. There were too many times where I had too little control over one thing and too much over another. Particularly, I couldn't just blow the trumpets and order my entire army to advance toward the enemy... but at the same time, when I did order a formation to charge, I had too much control over, and too much requirement to micromanage, every individual counter in the formation.

In this regard, I vastly preferred the computer game versions, which are now very ancient tech. You had two options on charging with a formation; one was to move the whole formation as a block and accept that your troops would be orderly but half of them wouldn't get into combat. The other was to order the formation to all-out charge, in which case every counter would try to get into combat but the results would be total chaos. This felt like a very realistic level of C&C.

In the non-computerized world, I find that despite its high degree of abstraction, C&C: Ancients gets just as plausible outcomes, with a lot less rules overhead.
8 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M St
Australia
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
oivind22 wrote:

BTW, can anyone tell me if the Great Battles of History series is such a system for ancient battles? Does real life tactics work, even though you have an unrealistic amount of control, and are the outcomes plausible? I certainly feel ASL is such a system, for WWII combat.

Actually, GBOH has a big problem in that it imposes some limits on command but these limits are partly artificial, and other limits that are equally relevant are not imposed.

Specifically, the limit that GBOH imposes is that it keeps the playing from getting formations to moving quickly. Yet, even the most un-professionalised warband was able to deliver a quick and potentially devastating charge (though it would be the only they would deliver in a battle). However, except for the occasional game specific rule, GBOH imposes no limit on where they go, or when they stop (which normally wasn't until they hit the enemy). As a result, the top level dynamics of GBOH battles are very different from the historical events; as a reviewer once put it, a GBOH battle is virtually never won on the backhand blow. Waiting for an opponent to commit for a plan of action and then exploiting that commitment was a tactic of some of the best generals of the age. But in GBOH I have seen players comment the direct opposite: "Cannae shows how the Romans could not even begin to move before they were encircled by the Carthaginians". I'm sure that Hannibal and Varro would be equally astounded at that interpretation. (I note that this has nothing to do with the level of detail of GBOH, it is a top level, macroscopic concern, that it gets wrong. Now, of course you could argue that this is about battle strategy, not unit tactics.)

I have actually found C&C:Ancients to be at least as good if not better at getting the decisions of an Ancients battle across, and it does not mislead the player into thinking that it has all the answers by presenting what looks like an authoritative level of detail (but isn't).
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Øivind Karlsrud
Norway
Bjørkelangen
Unspecified
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar: My two sons
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
M St wrote:
As a result, the top level dynamics of GBOH battles are very different from the historical events; as a reviewer once put it, a GBOH battle is virtually never won on the backhand blow. Waiting for an opponent to commit for a plan of action and then exploiting that commitment was a tactic of some of the best generals of the age. But in GBOH I have seen players comment the direct opposite: "Cannae shows how the Romans could not even begin to move before they were encircled by the Carthaginians". I'm sure that Hannibal and Varro would be equally astounded at that interpretation.

This is something which would bother me.
Quote:
I have actually found C&C:Ancients to be at least as good if not better at getting the decisions of an Ancients battle across,

This is something which doesn't matter to me. I want the overall story from the game to be plausible, and I want real life tactics to work, but not necessarily by letting me make real life decisions. I never imagine myself in the shoes of a commander.

I think this explains why I have never thought the suppression system in Band of Brothers is much of an improvement from what we already had in ASL. Yes, this system creates the sense that you never know which units will fire at you, just like a real life commander would never know if an enemy squad is actually suppressed or not, while in ASL you know which squads are broken and which are not. But the tactics you use, and the story you get, is much the same. I think both games reward real life tactics, and both create plausible stories, so both pass my test for tactical games. I'm sad to hear GBOH may fail it.

Anyone else have opinions on this? Does GBOH reward real life tactics, and does it usually lead to historically plausible results? The fact that Mark Herman is one of the designers tells me that the series should be based on research, and should be reasonably historical. I have less experience with Richard Berg, but I think the same is true of him.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Janik-Jones
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
badge
Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
oivind22 wrote:

I think this explains why I have never thought the suppression system in Band of Brothers is much of an improvement from what we already had in ASL. Yes, this system creates the sense that you never know which units will fire at you, just like a real life commander would never know if an enemy squad is actually suppressed or not, while in ASL you know which squads are broken and which are not. But the tactics you use, and the story you get, is much the same. I think both games reward real life tactics, and both create plausible stories, so both pass my test for tactical games.

Don't take this the wrong way, because you are one of the many posters here whose thinking about wargames I read and admire, but up until this point I thought we were about to embark on yet another blinders-on, love-fest for ASL.

So I thank you for this statement because, at least for me, this is what makes BoB a more elegant system than ASL (but obviously not as comprehensive) ... taking the immense amount of chrome away from ASL and still getting it right. Simplicity in rules and mechanics to get "realistic" results, is a huge part of what makes a game elegant for me. Now, before someone assumes I'm going to go off into a blinders-on, love-fest for BoB (or Combat Commander, or one of my unpredictable Jeckyl-Hyde rants/lovefests for Fields of Fire), I'll jump in with my thoughts about your original idea on how men behave.

After four decades of tactical games I'm thinking that every single one of them (except for the awful duds) gets one or two things correct about tactical combat, and leaves everything else outside of their model/game because the game would bog down too much otherwise. ASL/CC/BoB/FoF/TCS/et al all get something(s) right, and ignore the other things. (Yes, I just said Fields of Fire gets some things right. No, the world isn't going end this morning, carry on.)

I think that how men actually behave in combat, however, is one of the most poorly modelled aspects of every tactical WW2 wargame. Taken all together, the simplistic two-state model is wrong, we don't model leadership at a section/platoon/company level correctly, we completely lack any real-life modelling of command and control (which affects how men behave), casualties aren't done right, and fear and chaos is nowhere to be found. Plus, men break and flee all the time when they see casualties being taken ... we can throw good cardboard after good cardboard in such an unrealistic way because they aren't real men and we don't model their behaviour at all.

The utter lack of any platoon/company organisation and orders requiring time to implement and effort to motivate men to even fight and fire their weapons (i.e., our ability in wargames to make counters run willy-nilly from this objective to that one) is so utterly dead wrong in all the tactical games we love it borders on the absurd of a Eugene Ionesco play. You simply didn't just decide, "Hey, this farm manor is too tough to take, let's go over there and assault those other enemy troops in the woods, instead" is so silly as to be comical.

You either assaulted and took that farm manor (either with massive casualties or by finding out the enemy had bugged out the night before in the darkness), pulled back and waited for support, or got yourselves slaughtered trying. You won the objective, or could have had 75% of your company as casualties after trying (killed outright, captured, wounded, driven to ground until nightfall, etc). You didn't wildly deviate to your right or left from your platoon boundaries and orders because you'd wind up in fire lanes from friendlies on your flanks. You manoeuvred straight through that open field (using what small cover you could find using fire and bounding movement) like you were ordered. When the MG42 opened fire, you fell down (and usually stopped). The platoon/company (who, suddenly, is nowhere to be seen because they've run into their own problem, what the hell?) on your flank is supposed to be taking that woods, not you.

And that's the other thing, our tactical games rely too much on the wrong scales of ground, weapons range and unrealistic volume of fire effects, and unit frontages (to compress the action, I guess?) so how can we model men's behaviour if we don't even have the basics right?

For example, the correct Russian defending frontage on a typical Combat Commander map (assuming the attack/defence is across the map oriented to it's long axis) would be to have three squads, maybe a single leader counter, and a single light mortar and maybe a MMG team defending that map 11 hexes high, against 9-12 German squads plus support weapons.

Furthermore, most of us couldn't set up a proper defence in depth, keep back and deploy reserves correctly, or do anything tactically to save our lives (at least, that's what Master Corporal "N" kept shouting at us all the time in my infantry regiment when he wasn't berating us for our poor shaving skills ["What the hell did you shave with this morning lad, a blunt rock?!!"] or the spit and polish of our boots).

And that completely ignores other things that we don't model well like complete fog of war ... especially intel about enemy forces strength/ support/positions being usually imperfect at best and completely wrong at worst, incomplete knowledge of the topography and terrain, weather/mud/snow/rain, and also the damning lack of understanding of the higher ups about the real conditions on the ground; battalion and higher level commanders expecting impossible advances when the hellish conditions simply will not physically permit such gains are frequent themes in combat.

This is a great question ... but the answer is elusive and probably not even worth debating except over a friendly beer/tea/coffee/soda since our tactical wargames are all such simple and unrealistic things. How do we model these and the behaviour of men in chaotic and hellish conditions of a battlefield? Pick the ones you love, play them for the narrative/tactics/fun/puzzle they provide, and get out of them what you like. The best systems give us semi-plausible and seemingly roughly historical results and we enjoy it immensely, however we weakly try to model those real terrified young men into cardboard counters or as 10mm pieces of lead miniatures.
62 
 Thumb up
4.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Les Marshall
United States
Woodinville
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
oivind22 wrote:

Even though I say this, it's still important to me that a tactical game in general gives me a story and outcome that could have happened. I won't use a game to find the probability that a certain historical force could win against another force, but I want real life tactics to work well in the game, and I want plausible outcomes.

BTW, can anyone tell me if the Great Battles of History series is such a system for ancient battles? Does real life tactics work, even though you have an unrealistic amount of control, and are the outcomes plausible? I certainly feel ASL is such a system, for WWII combat.


Never been an ASL player and have little experience with GBoH (though I am trying) but, I think you strike at a central consideration. War games generally embrace too much knowledge/control to be simulations and Fog of War mechanics can often leave a player with some dissatisfaction over the disconnect between outcomes and decisions.

I've come to embrace many Fog of War concepts over the years as I think they make for a more immersive narrative experience of a game that, for me, is more important than outcome, particularly for historical games. I especially like systems that abandon the typical IGOUGO scheme which make for a too predictable tempo.

You ask about GBoH but, have you tried GMT's Musket and Pike series? All units belong to wings with dedicated commanders. Activation of wings is prioritized by order status (Charge/Make Ready/Receive Charge/Rally). Changing order status requires a die roll which can be modified by leadership of commander. In addition to morale values, units have cohesion states which are impacted both by combat and by terrain so that stopping your units to reorder them becomes an issue. For my money this is a very good tactical system with difficult decision points and it feels pretty intuitive for the period they are trying to capture.
3 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
+1 to everything David said.
Tactical games are ridiculous from the point of view of attempting any kind of simulation of what an infantry unit actually does and goes through.
Any game that did approach anywhere near this would be snubbed by most players as not-fun, too-chaotic, why-should-I-have-to-count-ammunition, I-just-wanna-roll-dice-and-kick-ass, etc. etc..

An interesting approach to this is Paddy Griffith's Men Against Fire: multiple players playing the roles of individual riflemen, each one facing away from the board and each other, relying on the GM's descriptions of what they see and what they can do, and trying to live up to their individual victory conditions (which, for some players, involves never firing your weapon).

A game can possibly, sometimes, create a sense of confusion and chaos in the mind of the player.
It cannot create the sense of fear, vulnerability and isolation that is the province of a rifleman.

Brian
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron A
United States
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DaveyJJ wrote:

... what Master Corporal "N" kept shouting at us all the time in my infantry regiment when he wasn't berating us for our poor shaving skills ["What the hell did you shave with this morning lad, a blunt rock?!!"] or the spit and polish of our boots).


Never was in the military, closest I can come was a Boy Scout uniform inspection, Scoutmaster looked me over and asked 'Did you comb your hair with an eggbeater?'
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Grant Whitley

North Carolina
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
M St wrote:

I have actually found C&C:Ancients to be at least as good if not better at getting the decisions of an Ancients battle across, and it does not mislead the player into thinking that it has all the answers by presenting what looks like an authoritative level of detail (but isn't).


C&C:A rewards waiting for your opponent to commit to action, but often this ends up being because of the scarcity of cards that allow you to charge/move in line, which as you note is ahistorical.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Paradis
Canada
montreal
Québec
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ltmurnau wrote:
+1 to everything David said.
Tactical games are ridiculous from the point of view of attempting any kind of simulation of what an infantry unit actually does and goes through.
Any game that did approach anywhere near this would be snubbed by most players as not-fun, too-chaotic, why-should-I-have-to-count-ammunition, I-just-wanna-roll-dice-and-kick-ass, etc. etc..

An interesting approach to this is Paddy Griffith's Men Against Fire: multiple players playing the roles of individual riflemen, each one facing away from the board and each other, relying on the GM's descriptions of what they see and what they can do, and trying to live up to their individual victory conditions (which, for some players, involves never firing your weapon).

A game can possibly, sometimes, create a sense of confusion and chaos in the mind of the player.
It cannot create the sense of fear, vulnerability and isolation that is the province of a rifleman.

Brian


I do find that the Combat Commander: Europe series comes very very close to simulate what happened (with a few house rules added). But it's a squad-level game.

The solitaire series Ambush! also do a great job.

For more immersion you have to get into computer games, some of whom are excellent at this scale. I played for a logn time the very very realistic WW2 online game. http://www.battlegroundeurope.net/home
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
licinius wrote:

For more immersion you have to get into computer games, some of whom are excellent at this scale. I played for a logn time the very very realistic WW2 online game. http://www.battlegroundeurope.net/home


Unless I get to immerse you in a bucket of cold water, hit you in the side with the empty bucket, roll you in mud, and scream and let off firecrackers behind you while you are trying to play the game while looking through a shrub, it's not that realistic.

Seems to me the best candidate we have so far for a truly immersive experience is paintball, where you can actually practice some basic section tactics (fireteam/"brick" drills, fire and movement etc.) while experiencing the difficulties (casualties, concern for personal safety, miscommunication).
But it costs money every time you play, and you have to get up early if you want to catch a ride with Hugh....

Brian
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
L. SCHMITT
France
Alsace
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
BTW, can anyone tell me if the Great Battles of History series is such a system for ancient battles? Does real life tactics work, even though you have an unrealistic amount of control, and are the outcomes plausible?


Command and control in SPQR is unrealistic, since your paper armies have zero inertia : no points, no actions... however, activate an elite leader and you create a warp zone called momentum where space and time are abolished. But you seem more interested in close actions, don't you ?. So do tactics work ? Yes, but the "grand question" is : are they real ? If you take the Roman Legions for instance, the game is really detailed but also full of speculations. We don't know how the pre-Marian maniples inter-acted, especially how and on what scale the famous line relieving was done. As for the triarii lumbering behind the two other lines in the game : there is no evidence of it, it's just an ( abusive in my opinion ) interpretation of a single Roman expression. Many other Ancient troops are barely known. Overall, weapons interactions seem pertinent in the game considering what we know, or at least what we believe to know.

Personnaly, I prefer playing Legion or Lost Battles : they are less detailed, but it seems IMHO that less speculation = more realism at the end.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael McLean
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SBGrad wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:

... what Master Corporal "N" kept shouting at us all the time in my infantry regiment when he wasn't berating us for our poor shaving skills ["What the hell did you shave with this morning lad, a blunt rock?!!"] or the spit and polish of our boots).


Never was in the military, closest I can come was a Boy Scout uniform inspection, Scoutmaster looked me over and asked 'Did you comb your hair with an eggbeater?'


I have found combing one's hair with an eggbeater to be an experience not to be missed, but also one never to be repeated.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Øivind Karlsrud
Norway
Bjørkelangen
Unspecified
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar: My two sons
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DaveyJJ wrote:
oivind22 wrote:

I think this explains why I have never thought the suppression system in Band of Brothers is much of an improvement from what we already had in ASL. Yes, this system creates the sense that you never know which units will fire at you, just like a real life commander would never know if an enemy squad is actually suppressed or not, while in ASL you know which squads are broken and which are not. But the tactics you use, and the story you get, is much the same. I think both games reward real life tactics, and both create plausible stories, so both pass my test for tactical games.

Don't take this the wrong way, because you are one of the many posters here whose thinking about wargames I read and admire, but up until this point I thought we were about to embark on yet another blinders-on, love-fest for ASL.

So I thank you for this statement because, at least for me, this is what makes BoB a more elegant system than ASL (but obviously not as comprehensive) ... taking the immense amount of chrome away from ASL and still getting it right. Simplicity in rules and mechanics to get "realistic" results, is a huge part of what makes a game elegant for me. Now, before someone assumes I'm going to go off into a blinders-on, love-fest for BoB (or Combat Commander, or one of my unpredictable Jeckyl-Hyde rants/lovefests for Fields of Fire), I'll jump in with my thoughts about your original idea on how men behave.

First, thanks for the kind words. The feeling is mutual, because I have a lot of respect for your opinion too (well, maybe not your absurd rating of Agricola... ). I know that my preference for ASL is subjective, just like your preference for BoB, so there's no reason to try to convince anyone that ASL is best. I agree that BoB is more elegant, and that this is an advantage, but in the end I just like the IGOUGO structure of ASL better.

I basically agree with everything you say. For me, the biggest weakness with the games I have played, is the lack of platoons, companys etc., which you mentioned. In real combat, a squad from one company wouldn't suddenly take part in a neighbouring company's fight. Maybe this means it is best to keep the scenarios small, so that it's not completely unrealistic to assume that the squads have a lot of freedom to move within the given boundaries. But even the mixing of squads from different platoons feels wrong. Suddenly a squad from 1st platoon is intermixed with squads from 2nd platoon etc. I think this is the most implausible part of the story a typical squad level game creates.

The things you say about how men behave in combat doesn't bother me so much, and it goes back to the fact that I will rather play a game in which my squads can do (or try to do) what they should do, not what actual humans would do in a combat situation. That would probably create a game which was almost completely random, once setup was done. Crazy and unexpected things should happen in a squad level game, but not all the time, and probably not as often as in real life, IMO. Today I had a leader left alone in a hex just as the enemy was about to advance into it, because the squads with him routed and left, while he was just pinned, and was thus not allowed to voluntarily rout with them. Unlucky for me, but things like that creates a great story. I just don't want crazy things like that happening all the time, because then it's not much of a game anymore, for me. In real combat, I think things are rather chaotic, though.

This reminds me a little of a computer game I once used to play: Full Spectrum Warrior. You led a squad (or two squads) to solve a mission. You could order those squads to take cover, give suppressive fire etc. The combat was deterministic in the sense that as long as you did the 'correct' thing, your men would never be hit. I think US Army sponsored that game, so the correct thing to do, was probably what the US Army considered the correct thing to do. Now, I want some randomness in my squad level games. I want situations like the one I mentioned above to occasionally happen. But it's perfectly fine by me if 'correct' tactics works a little bit better than in real life, and that you're able to execute it more perfectly than in real life. As long as the end result is within the bounds of what could have happened.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Confusion Under Fire
United Kingdom
Warrington
Cheshire
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
David, congratulations on what I think is the best post I have ever read on BGG. I found myself agreeing with every point you made which included some of the more negative points of tactical gaming. I think that the "perfect" game is probably something that will never be reached as we are wanting two things which seem the opposite of each other. The confusion and Fow mixed with the ability to formulate a plan and see it through to the end. I think CC has a good balance of the two and maybe this is part of it's popularity.

Brian, after reading your first post in this thread I also thought of Paint Balling as something that is probably closest to what we are after, without the physical side of course.

I did try a system where orders were given to units, eg Assault the church then Hold until relieved. Each turn this order was put into an AI and the action for that particular turn was decided. This meant the actions were out of player control and could reflect such things as nationality traits, morale, training and even confusion. A plan could be formulated but less control was given to players. I feel that players wanted more control over their units but I still feel there is something in that system that might work.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks, Confusion, I do remember you talking about that system.

I recall some miniatures rule sets (Phil Barker's 20C rules come to mind, but there are others) where one would give general orders like "take and hold Pixie Hill" at the start of the game, and they were supposed to not deviate from this without considerable delay and angst... but what counted as within the pale of those general orders was probably the subject of a lot of arguments.

The basic problem, as you put it, is that players want to have and keep too much control.
Until this attitude gets adjusted, many of us are still largely playing fancy chess.

Brian
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Øivind Karlsrud
Norway
Bjørkelangen
Unspecified
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar: My two sons
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
santino el cato wrote:
Quote:
BTW, can anyone tell me if the Great Battles of History series is such a system for ancient battles? Does real life tactics work, even though you have an unrealistic amount of control, and are the outcomes plausible?


Command and control in SPQR is unrealistic, since your paper armies have zero inertia : no points, no actions... however, activate an elite leader and you create a warp zone called momentum where space and time are abolished.

This is only a problem for me if it leads to an implausible chain of events. I don't care so much about how that chain of events comes about, as long as it is plausible. In real life, everything may have been pre-planned, while in the game you are able to influence things as you go along. That just means the game is not at all like being a commander. But when I play a tactical game, I want to be able to look back at the story the game told, and say that things could have happened more or less like that.

Apart from that, I want a game which is fun to play, something which of course is completely subjective.

BTW, the game which inspired me to write this post, apart from ASL, is Conflict of Heroes. I am sure experienced CoH players can avoid some of the stupid situations I get when I play, but when I see a defending squad running from it's position to attack the attacker in close combat, because the attacker is spent in the game, that destroys the immersion for me. In this case the player is able to take advantage of the system to do something which is completely implausible: A defending squad leaving it's defensive position to run across an open field towards the attacker. I just haven't seen things like that in ASL, at least not yet. Of couse, some people think skulking in ASL is just as stupid, but I am able to interpret that as a squad trying to avoid exchanging fire as much as it can, so that doesn't bother me. But that's just me.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Gagniarre
France
Ermont
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
@ David :

This is one of the best post I've ever read on BGG.

It's like a light in the dark.

Definitely bound to be a "classic".

Thanks for the personal involvment and true sincerity.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Confusion Under Fire
United Kingdom
Warrington
Cheshire
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ltmurnau wrote:


I recall some miniatures rule sets (Phil Barker's 20C rules come to mind, but there are others) where one would give general orders like "take and hold Pixie Hill" at the start of the game, and they were supposed to not deviate from this without considerable delay and angst... but what counted as within the pale of those general orders was probably the subject of a lot of arguments.



Brian


I first discovered a similar order system in a miniature set of rules called Firefly.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
DaveyJJ wrote:
(at least, that's what Master Corporal "N" kept shouting at us all the time in my infantry regiment when he wasn't berating us for our poor shaving skills ["What the hell did you shave with this morning lad, a blunt rock?!!"] or the spit and polish of our boots).


In our armed forces, the Master Corporals are called Majors.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Gagniarre
France
Ermont
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Eldard wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:
(at least, that's what Master Corporal "N" kept shouting at us all the time in my infantry regiment when he wasn't berating us for our poor shaving skills ["What the hell did you shave with this morning lad, a blunt rock?!!"] or the spit and polish of our boots).


In our armed forces, the Master Corporals are called Majors.


In such a context during my (French) military service, my Sergeant Major used to say : "What ?! Did you shave with a wet crispbread ?!?"...

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Sadler
United States
Olney
Maryland
flag msg tools
From the Halls of Montezuma...
badge
...to the Shores of Tripoli...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you can imagine doing days of immensely dangerous yard or farm work, around a bunch of deafening diesel engines, while you are scared shitless a lot of the time, you will have captured the essence of tactical combat.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Brock
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
oivind22 wrote:
Does GBOH reward real life tactics, and does it usually lead to historically plausible results? The fact that Mark Herman is one of the designers tells me that the series should be based on research, and should be reasonably historical. I have less experience with Richard Berg, but I think the same is true of him.

The GBoH system places great emphasis on research and on being historical, though as someone noted, there's only so much info that can be researched on the period. You may also want to be aware, though, that the converse is also true; by placing so much emphasis on being historical, it sometimes sacrifices being fun to play. Some aspects can be very "fiddly", and many of the scenarios are not designed to be equally winnable by both sides.

However, the designers take great pains to explain their thoughts on balance versus historicity for each scenario, so at least you are warned going in. I always found the scenario books fascinating as history lessons, regardless of the game.

I second Les' mention of the Musket and Pike series, and I would agree with what he posted about it. I think that it does a very good job of modelling the aspects of C&C that GBoH gets wrong.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Brock
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
ltmurnau wrote:

I recall some miniatures rule sets (Phil Barker's 20C rules come to mind, but there are others) where one would give general orders like "take and hold Pixie Hill" at the start of the game, and they were supposed to not deviate from this without considerable delay and angst... but what counted as within the pale of those general orders was probably the subject of a lot of arguments.

The basic problem, as you put it, is that players want to have and keep too much control.
Until this attitude gets adjusted, many of us are still largely playing fancy chess.

This is as much in response to Jason's comment a couple posts above, as to Brian's that I quoted:

Per the original post here, the OP isn't looking for "realism" or "immersion". He's fine with the fact that he's largely playing fancy chess. He just wants his fancy chess to have rules that imitate and promote realistic tactics.

To put it another way, it's only a "problem" that players want to have and keep too much control if they think that, by playing these games, they've actually experienced reality and thus know something about the real thing.

I don't play wargames to experience reality, I play them to feel like I'm reliving the accounts I have read (or alernate histories) of the wars in question -- complete with things like:
- a comprehensible narrative that could only be assembled after the fact, and was not discernible to those involved;
- skipping over the boring parts and focusing on the interesting ones;
- offering the perspective of a variety of command levels because it facilitates the first two.

Fancy chess? Of course. Is that a problem?

(If one feels that it is somehow dishonoring the pain of the historical soldiers to play a game with that attitude, then I'd submit that this is not the right hobby for that person.)
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seth Owen
United States
Norwich
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jwb3 wrote:
ltmurnau wrote:

I recall some miniatures rule sets (Phil Barker's 20C rules come to mind, but there are others) where one would give general orders like "take and hold Pixie Hill" at the start of the game, and they were supposed to not deviate from this without considerable delay and angst... but what counted as within the pale of those general orders was probably the subject of a lot of arguments.

The basic problem, as you put it, is that players want to have and keep too much control.
Until this attitude gets adjusted, many of us are still largely playing fancy chess.

This is as much in response to Jason's comment a couple posts above, as to Brian's that I quoted:

Per the original post here, the OP isn't looking for "realism" or "immersion". He's fine with the fact that he's largely playing fancy chess. He just wants his fancy chess to have rules that imitate and promote realistic tactics.

To put it another way, it's only a "problem" that players want to have and keep too much control if they think that, by playing these games, they've actually experienced reality and thus know something about the real thing.

I don't play wargames to experience reality, I play them to feel like I'm reliving the accounts I have read (or alernate histories) of the wars in question -- complete with things like:
- a comprehensible narrative that could only be assembled after the fact, and was not discernible to those involved;
- skipping over the boring parts and focusing on the interesting ones;
- offering the perspective of a variety of command levels because it facilitates the first two.

Fancy chess? Of course. Is that a problem?

(If one feels that it is somehow dishonoring the pain of the historical soldiers to play a game with that attitude, then I'd submit that this is not the right hobby for that person.)


Well, the problem is that if you want "realistic tactics" you probably have to replicate the factors that cause those tactics to work, which necessarily means modeling command and control, morale, weapons effects, fog of war, etc. Or simply having rules that force imitative tactics by fiat, I suppose.

ASL does strike me as "fancy chess," which is why I eventually lost interest in playing the system extensively as I personally was looking for a system that gave more insight into the tactical dynamic. I think it is a valid point that no playable system can capture the entire dynamic. In fact, I think a case can be made that the entire dynamic isn't even understood and that formal tactics are just the best approximation that institutions can make to capture what is ultimately pure chaos. For that reason two of my personal favorites are Ambush! and Up Front.

On the other hand, there's certainly nothing wrong with "fancy chess." In fact, I'd characterize the majority of all wargames regardless of period or scale as being no more than that.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.