Recommend
20 
 Thumb up
 Hide
62 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Wargames and Supply: Best practices? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Charles F.
Germany
Berlin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Logistics may be an unglamorous aspect of warfare, yet all the more critical to a war's (or campaign's) outcome.

Which games stand out in featuring elegant supply systems that give logistics their due without burdening players will with less fun tasks?

Any particularly commendable games?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack Smith
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
The OCS system with all its games I think is very good. Elegant and not too fiddly.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
flag msg tools
Boston Redsox
badge
New England Patriots!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have always liked the system used in Fire in the East. There is a rail element ( rail lines often need to be repaired as well as regauged) , a truck element and an overland element ( not to mention possible air and sea supply). If this sounds complicated it really isn't once you get used to it. If a supply line gets to far from a railhead a truck can always be depleted to put a few guys in supply. Watch out if all your trucks are depleted and the weather turns bad ( the usual German predicament in late 41')!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Hancock
United States
Charleston
West Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
OCS has my favorite supply system of any and every wargame I have ever played.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
flag msg tools
VENI, VIDI, VISA - my reaction on entering my FLGS.
badge
Like a good red wine, I improve with age... and being laid.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you are into massive block wargames then I can recommend Columbia's WestFront II, EastFront II and EuroFront II, which have an elegant supply system. For a smaller scale, in L2's Bitter Woods (fourth edition), supply is paramount.

Regards,


Jim
Est. 1949




6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
flag msg tools
"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
badge
"Today is the yesterday you won't be able to remember tomorrow" -Pinkwater
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The HQ system in EastFront (and, of course, EastFront II) is sheer brilliance, IMO.

I also like the simplified supply in Rommel in the Desert, though it's not really in the same league as EastFront.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Avtges
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
CONCEALED -3
badge
It's not easy being green.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There's a good geeklist on this:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/29811
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Christopher
United States
Salem
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's a shame that I haven't played more games with supply considerations, as I do like that aspect of wargames. In my limited experience, both Stalingrad Pocket II and especially Afrika: The Northern African Campaign, 1940-1942 (1st edition) had fun supply rules. Both are part of MMP's Standard Combat Series.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gordon Watson
United Kingdom
Banstead
Surrey - United Kingdom
flag msg tools
ASL - other tactical wargames call it Sir.
badge
Beneath this mask there is an idea.....and ideas are bulletproof.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I quite like the way it was handled in Russian Front - where the supply/logistics was represented by having to convert the rail guage to keep up with your armies. Very neat.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
Germany
Düsseldorf
NRW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another vote for Craig Besinqe:EuroFront II/WestFront II/EastFront II and not to forgetRommel in the Desert
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J

Mt Crawford
Virginia
msg tools
Avatar
Rather than simply adding another voice to the chorus of OCS supporters (I liked OCS the couple times I have played GB, but that is the limit of my experience with it) I will mention the beast itself The Campaign for North Africa aka "Lust in the Dust" (my guess is that the beast cries out for a PC however).

Also Panzerkrieg which uses the simple method of tracing supply a short distance back to railheads and thence back to a friendly board edge. This is an approach used in many c20th games.

more off-beat...

If memory serves, and it has been a long long while, various OSG Kevin Zucker Napoleonic campaign games all feature supply in terms of "lines of communication".

Clash of Monarchs which is a very untypical CDG exposes forces which do not garrison their supply paths to raiding by theatre light forces which can cause them to hasten back to their depots.

even more off-beat...

The Crusades and the more recent The Rise of the Roman Republic and Carthage: The First Punic War model the effects of supply using an attrition system.

Unfortunately my reading of "Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army" which is a classic book for any period until the advent of the railroad would lead me to a more waterborne-centric conclusion.

Opinions as to "what's best" I try to avoid, but I will make some observations from my own experience and you can take them for whatever they might be worth - no promises.

Certainly OCS succeeds in my opinion based on what little experience I have with it, and makes for a great game (supply being only part of that reason) if you keep the scope at an operational level and avoid the urge to play all of WW2 at that scale! I do wonder though if that level of logistical detail is really needed. For instance if there are sufficient theatre level resources why is it not sufficient just to trace (albeit through already-friendly-controlled non-neutral hexes) via a short road net to a port or friendly-connected railroad (provided allowance is made for interdiction by ground and air forces) without actually moving tons of supplies around the map, making special cases (beach-heads and air-drops) as needed? Where there are local supply choke points such as might occur with airdrops and seaborne invasions, or isolated troops, can't you produce the same effect by limiting the number of full-strength attacks within such a group?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
flag msg tools
VENI, VIDI, VISA - my reaction on entering my FLGS.
badge
Like a good red wine, I improve with age... and being laid.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Warning: Coffindodger Annecdote

I was having a conversation on this with Tom, the owner of one of the two FLGS in Glasgow that I frequent and on querying if he could recommend a good wargame with realistic supply rules, he suggested EastFront II. I said, "OK, I'll take it." whereupon he replied, "Sorry, Jim, it's out of stock."

I'm picking it up this weekend.



10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Elwyn Darden
United States
Richmond
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I have praised both Campaigns of Marlborough and Napoleon's Last Campaigns for supply rules that are both simple and evocative. I do so again.

In Campaigns of Marlborough, your army has counters for a depot and a depot-under-construction. At the start of your turn you decide which one is your real depot for this turn and place the depot-under-construction at another location. This allows you to feint without actually moving. The kicker is that the British under Marlborough have two depots-under-construction, so he can threaten in two directions at once, and finally steal a march on the French to start of a key campaign. This imbalance drives the game and makes it a success as a simulation. Marlborough's actual exploits are understandable in game terms without resort to onerous command control or idiocy rules.

In Napoleon's Last Battles each army is tied to a specific supply source, with the requirement that the supply line proceed from the supply source to the army's area, unimpeded by enemy forces or unmasked enemy fortresses, by the fewest possible number of areas. The potential of major disruptions to supply lines by threats deep in the rear forces all of the armies to practice some dispersion and creates the opportunities for the small scale engagements that, in fact, dominated that campaign. Armies that are out of supply are not in an immediate crisis, but can only fight one further battle.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
oneilljgf wrote:
I said, "OK, I'll take it." whereupon he replied, "Sorry, Jim, it's out of stock."

Now that's realistic supply! angrylaugh
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Longabaugh
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
What time period and level of war are you interested in terms of logistics, there are many differences.

At the WWII operational level, I agree the OCS series has one of the best logistics systems. Although inaccurate in many of its details as a logistics simulation, it does a good job of simulating the overall effect logistics have on operations. Particularly the transportation aspect and also how logistics constrain your ability to act when and where you want to do so, the go and pause, go and pause.

Two games I would love to play but just don't want to pluck down the big bucks on Ebay are Fire in the East, mentioned above, which I understand has a decent system and Campaigns of North Africa which has the reputation of have the most deatailed and possibly the most accurate simulation of logistics in a board wargame.

There are a plethora of operational level WWI games that I have not played, can't comment on them much, my assumption is there are very Jomini like in there theory and design, relatively simply railway and depot systems. I have got The Western Front 1914-1918 and 1914 Twighlight in the East, I'm dying to try them out.

There are many strategic level games that deal with economic resources of the various belligerents, many I have not played because they don't interest me that much. The ones that I have played, Third Reich, WiF, only deal with how you allocate your available resources into types of units built and some transportation in the form of strategic movements, but not much in terms of food, fuel, ammo, maintenance, etc. Empires in Arms does have a little bit more in which you can build depots to suppy your various Armies or you have to forage. I believe War Between the States also has a depot system similar to EIA, but I haven't played it, not sure. Its been so long since I have played any of these games I definitely could be missing some bit of their logistics systems, maybe someone can expand on these some.

For tactical level wargames there is very little in the way of logistics systems, particularly after the 19th Century time period, which makes sense given the short amount of time covered at this level. Some Napoleonic and Civil War games have ammunitions wagons and resupply but the latest version of GBACW has watered down its ammo rules in the standard version, artillery no longer goes ammo low or depleted, it becomes disrupted instead. Overall though it still achieves the basic effect most often found in a tactical level battle, no ammo, no fire.

I have often bemoaned how much game designers have ignored logistics in their designs, I think the assumption has always been that gamers aren't interested in it and won't play games with lots of supply or logistics, but I think OCS has proven this to be a fallacy, it is enormously popular. I also think there is a great deal of ignorance about logistics and combat support in general in the wargame community. Logistics is not something that is separate and distinct from stragegy, tactics, fire and manuver, it is intergral to all of it, they mutually influence each other. The fact is for every unit or soldier, sailor or airman represented on the board by a cardboard counter, there is at least one invisible support unit or soldier that is not represented on the board. Think about that for a minute.



4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
flag msg tools
Boston Redsox
badge
New England Patriots!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The above post reminded me of another game with interesting logistic rules The Western Front: 1914 to 1918 .This game and the entire Der Weltkreig series does a good job of showing what its like to do a "Big Push" offensive in the Great War.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Longabaugh
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
IrishBouzouki wrote:
Unfortunately my reading of "Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army" which is a classic book for any period until the advent of the railroad would lead me to a more waterborne-centric conclusion.


Great book BTW, highly recommended. Your conclusion is pretty accurate, but there is as much myth as truth about railroads and logistics. The direction of campaigns and thier avenue of approach were almost always dictated by the availability of river and sea LOCs all the way through Malboroughs day, except for relatively short marches or periods of time. Water transporatation has always been and still is by far the most cost effective way to move large quanities of supplies and equipment. Even today, over 90% of all supplies and equipment that move from the U.S. to Iraq and Afghanistan move by ship to ports in Kuwait and Pakistan.

Water supportable approaches were still extremely important all the way through to even the mid 19th century. Railroads could move large tonnages to places that rivers didn't or coast lines didn't go, but they still created bottlenecks at the railheads. From there they had to be transported by horse drawn wagons to the forces in the field, not much different than Alexander the Great would have done. This continued to be the case to a large extent even in WWI and to a smaller but significant extent in some WWII armies. During the ACW steamboats carried more than twice the tonnage of supplies as did railroads, See James Huston's Sinews of War: Army Logistics 1775-1953, Louis Hunter's Steamboats on the Western Rivers: An Economic and Technological History and Charles Gibson's Assault and Logistics: Union Army River and Coastal Operations 1861-1866. So even though railroads get all the credit, boats and ships did most of the work. IMO, motorization in 20th Century did more to free armies from a nearby river or sea LOC than did railroadization in the 19th Century.

Oh boy, I can go on and on about this subject.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
flag msg tools
VENI, VIDI, VISA - my reaction on entering my FLGS.
badge
Like a good red wine, I improve with age... and being laid.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
billyboy wrote:
The above post reminded me of another game with interesting logistic rules The Western Front: 1914 to 1918 .This game and the entire Der Weltkreig series does a good job of showing what its like to do a "Big Push" offensive in the Great War.


Bill,

In my humble opinion, one of the most under rated games is Phalanx's The First World War. It considers supply and takes a Grand Strategic view of WWI. Please correct me if I am wrong.


Jim
Est. 1949

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Colin Hunter
New Zealand
Auckland
flag msg tools
badge
Stop the admins removing history from the Wargaming forum.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
To state the obvious, OCS

I like EFS too, most recently Barbarossa: Kiev to Rostov, 1941
I also like 1914: Twilight in the East (A great CSR winner).

edit: All the games I mentioned are probably too challenging for you char;es, but another one that comes to minf with very few pages of rules is Africa 2nd edition from the SCS series. Very low complexity, but has some decent OCS style supply rules.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
flag msg tools
Boston Redsox
badge
New England Patriots!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
oneilljgf wrote:
billyboy wrote:
The above post reminded me of another game with interesting logistic rules The Western Front: 1914 to 1918 .This game and the entire Der Weltkreig series does a good job of showing what its like to do a "Big Push" offensive in the Great War.


Bill,

In my humble opinion, one of the most under rated games is Phalanx's The First World War. It considers supply and takes a Grand Strategic view of WWI. Please correct me if I am wrong.


Jim
Est. 1949




I have never played it Jim I'll have to check it out.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Longabaugh
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
IrishBouzouki wrote:

Certainly OCS succeeds in my opinion based on what little experience I have with it, and makes for a great game (supply being only part of that reason) if you keep the scope at an operational level and avoid the urge to play all of WW2 at that scale! I do wonder though if that level of logistical detail is really needed. For instance if there are sufficient theatre level resources why is it not sufficient just to trace (albeit through already-friendly-controlled non-neutral hexes) via a short road net to a port or friendly-connected railroad (provided allowance is made for interdiction by ground and air forces) without actually moving tons of supplies around the map, making special cases (beach-heads and air-drops) as needed? Where there are local supply choke points such as might occur with airdrops and seaborne invasions, or isolated troops, can't you produce the same effect by limiting the number of full-strength attacks within such a group?


Great questions John, but this assumes an unlimited transportation assests, road, rail and air, to move the enormous quanities of supplied consumed by a WWII army and this was (and still is) never and I mean never the case. Theater level logistics, like the OCS system, links the ecomomic assets, (supplies, equipment, manpower, etc) at the national/strategic level to the fire and manuver elements in the combat zone. Getting supplies and equipment to the edge of a theater of operations is not enough, it has to be distributed down to the lowest levels not only to the combat units but also to the Division, Corps and Army logistics support areas.

But that is not all, there are several dimensions to logistics operations: is it avaialble, is it at the right place, at the right time, in the right quanity and in the right mix of commodities. Making all this happen requires tremendous transportation and distribution capabilities, which are always in short supply and are often over-used and abused. Throughout history it has been transportation that more often than not is the biggest logistical problem to be solved, getting it there when and where and in sufficient quanitities needed. This is to a large part where the OCS succeeds; it simulates the transportation problems of logistics at that the theater level. If you want to learn more about the design and theory of operational level logistics check out Moshe Kress's book Operational Logistics: The Art and Science of Sustaining Military Operations.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Luta
United States
Henderson
Nevada
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I will join the chorus about how well the Kevin Zucker games emphasize the importance of keeping open a line of communications, without getting bogged down in the details of how supplies actually move from depot to the front lines. It is not only a question of food and ammo, but also being able to transmit orders to subordinate commanders efficiently, versus having to rely on their own initiative. Though particularly true before the advent of radio, even today there is something to a physical link between the front line and rear areas which reassures the sharp end they have support--cut this line, and many modern cases have shown radio messages tend to be less effective at getting a plan followed. (Though, I tend to think the opposite should also be a factor in modern games, front line units should sometimes suffer from too many orders, too much information, and be unable to accomplish anything as their commanders try to comply with everything....)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Interesting thread!

I agree with the previous comments about supply difficulties in the 19th century and all earlier periods.

Please don't consider it boastful if I mention my Civil War block game...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/299495

...which uses relatively simple rules to reflect three levels of supply that are based on the availability a railroad or river; the rules also reflect supply lines running through contested areas.

Some otherwise fine games about the Civil War have supply rules that offer a player that wanders away from a supply source a bit too much leash. Others use a somewhat artificial method for creating a "supply depot" that does not reflect the historical situation..
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
Graduate of Barlinnie
flag msg tools
VENI, VIDI, VISA - my reaction on entering my FLGS.
badge
Like a good red wine, I improve with age... and being laid.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pete belli wrote:


Please don't consider it boastful if I mention my Civil War block game...


OK, you impudent pyuredeadbrilliant comentator, I consider it boastful.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Longabaugh
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This all begs a question worth discussing,

Why do game designers assume wargamers don't want detailed supply systems in their wargames? There seem to be so few games with good detailed supply systems that do a good job of simulating historical logistics. But why?

Is it because wargamers don't want logistics in their games? I'm not convinced this is the case across the board, one because there is certainly a large segment of the community that don't mind complicated simulations and two, look the tremendous success of the OCS series with its extensive supply rules, there are several other very successful North Africa games that include the moving of and expenditure of cardboard supply to move and fight and probably a few others I'm not yet familiar with.

Is it because game designers themselves have no interest or in depth knowledge of logistics? I don't know why this would be the case either, most designers I have met seem to have a very studious nature and seem considerably more intelligent than the average bear.

Me, I love moving my supplies around and getting them to the right place at the right time in concert with my overall plan, it makes the simulation so much more interesting and challenging. It seems that a design that puts careful thought into a supply system can be successful, can be a closer simulation of history and a more challenging game.

Edit: I added the missing "don't" in the first sentence
3 
 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.