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Subject: Which is the more popular style? rss

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Ken Shin
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Strategic, Operational, or Tactical Wargaming?
 
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Mark Ernst
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Morrison
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I prefer operational most and tactical least. I like games that have a lot of scenarios and it seems like most of the time that means operational.
 
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hm, of the games I own, the tactical games are the ones with lots of scenarios, not the operational ones. A Victory Lost is only one situation, but Great Battles of Alexander Deluxe has 10 scenarios.

I have no idea which is more popular. I like tactical level.
 
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Darrell Hanning
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There are a lot of devotees to both tactical and operational level, but I think it's the strategic level where you see some "crossover" in audience. I know gamers who wouldn't touch most operational or tactical games, but enjoy strategic-level games, whereas the reverse isn't usually true. There are a lot of Axis and Allies players out there, and that is very much a strategic-level wargame (although not a conflict simulation in even the most generous use of the term).

But there have been some strides made, of late, to turn that around a bit - to wit, Combat Commander:Europe, C&C: Ancients, and the upcoming Tide of Iron. The turnaround comes in where the strategic-level games increase in depth from a kickoff point such as A&A, to games such as Europe Engulfed or Third Reich, and the time investment starts spiraling skyward. At that point, tactical and even operational games start looking more attractive to a lot of players.

Each tier has its proponents, because each ideally offers different considerations and challenges, from the allocation of theater-based resources at the strategic level, to the challenges such as commitment of reserves at the operational level, to the puzzles of breaking an enemy position at the tactical level.

If you were to look at what has historically been the situation having the most games published, I think it's probably still the Battle of the Bulge, which is operational level. But each level of command has had games that were immensely popular.
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Richard Irving
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The scales are actually so different that it entirely pssoble to enjoy stactical but not strateguc games and to like both, etc.

In general, strategic games are about allocating your overall resources and deciding which areas/targets to emphasize. Tactical games are about using your resources to achieve a specific goal. Operational games often have both elements.
My expericance is that tactical (not operational) games havee the most scenarios.
- Tactical games have by far the most scenarios, because they focus often on a small part of battle. This is done bu using geomorphic mapboards (that fit together in many ways), terrain tiles or occasionally different maps for different scenarios.
- Operational games tend to focus on a specific single battle or small campaign, so they are less amenable to different scenarios--though often a "new" game will involve using the the same ruleset to design a game around a different battle.
- Scenarios in Strategic games often are simply ways to play a part of the war they portray in order to save time.

Ken, you seem to be newbie to wargaming. My advice is to pick a game (probably relatively easy one) and try it out and see what you like. If you (and your opponent) enjoy the game, that's all that really matters. Who cares if it is popular?
 
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Jim Ruddy
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Don't make me choose just one!

Regardless of the game scale, I enjoy wargames that reward the effective use of *both* Tactics and Strategy.

I find highly tactical (less strategic) games less enjoyable. The only example that I can think of (in recent memory) is Memoir 44. OK, so maybe it isn't even a wargame, but I'm not going to go there... The random nature of the card system impedes strategic planning, though you could form a strategy of balancing your troop locations on the board to best compensate for the random cards... but then you are using hokey game strategy, not military strategy.

I think a decent balance is needed for myself. Games like Axis & Allies seem too strategic & not tactical enough for me.

Does this make me an Operational sort of guy?
 
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Steve
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DarrellKH wrote:
There are a lot of devotees to both tactical and operational level, but I think it's the strategic level where you see some "crossover" in audience. I know gamers who wouldn't touch most operational or tactical games, but enjoy strategic-level games, whereas the reverse isn't usually true. There are a lot of Axis and Allies players out there, and that is very much a strategic-level wargame (although not a conflict simulation in even the most generous use of the term).


Good post Darrell, I completely agree.
 
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rri1 wrote:
- Tactical games have by far the most scenarios, because they focus often on a small part of battle. This is done bu using geomorphic mapboards (that fit together in many ways), terrain tiles or occasionally different maps for different scenarios.
- Operational games tend to focus on a specific single battle or small campaign, so they are less amenable to different scenarios--though often a "new" game will involve using the the same ruleset to design a game around a different battle.
- Scenarios in Strategic games often are simply ways to play a part of the war they portray in order to save time.


Actually tactical games at the level of a single battle or smaller. Operational games are campaigns, not single battles. So for instance two Gettysburg games would both be tactical even though one is brigade-level and the other regimental. Strategic level games are at the level of entire wars or greater. A single operation might be a good scenario for a strategic level game.
 
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