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Subject: Which one is easier to learn, TCS or OCS? rss

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Andy K
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This may be an obvious question but is TCS easier to learn than OCS? I'm debating between GD '42 and Tunisia and love the ideas of both systems such as the Ops Sheet for TCS and Supply for OCS but will go either one that is easier/quicker to learn.

Thanks!
 
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Ethan McKinney
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Hoo, boy, this isn't obvious at all! They're both fairly complicated systems. Actually, TCS has a large number of fairly simple systems, but that can leave even fairly experienced players picking up the rule book to check on exceptions and how to apply a particular rule to a particular unit type. ("What's the effect of firing anti-aircraft guns at unarmored vehicles?")

I'm not really an OCS player, but I kept up with the system from Guderian's Blitzkrieg (the original) up through the latest edition of the series rules. It's probably because I haven't used the rules that I find them more complicated (just from reading through them). On the other hand, the basics, like movement and odds-based combat are pretty simple. Even the effect of troop quality on combat is easy to remember after the first two or three combats. I don't find the supply system terribly complex. The air rules are the most complicated part of the rules, partly because they seem counter-intuitive in places (the end results are right and the concepts are right, but they system isn't what we expect in most wargames).

In the end, my advice is non-advice: pick your poison. You might consider price as a deciding factor
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Todd Pytel
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They're completely different scales, so it's a very strange choice you're posing IMO. I haven't played TCS, though I've browsed the rules. OCS I've played some. Both are serious systems, not at all suitable for a casual wargamer. Both are very focused on particular problems appropriate to their scale - TCS on command and OCS on supply. Both are composed of subsystems that aren't that hard in themselves, but have many possible interactions and a significant learning curve before using them effectively. Both tend towards long to very long games. In other words, both are entirely typical of The Gamers.

I wouldn't call one any easier than the other. Neither one is anywhere close to easy on its own. And they're so different in scale that I don't know what to suggest except to decide what it is that you want.
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Colin Hunter
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I agree with Todd and ethan. Personally I found OCS slightly harder if for no other reason than you can ignore the OP sheets in TCS and make learning a lot simpler. While in OCS you can't just leave out supply. Still they are of comparable difficulty. My suggestion is go read the rules to both and make up your mind. You can download them all here
http://www.gamersarchive.net/theGamers/archive/

I'll say this, I find OCS the cleaner system and I think more approachable to non grognards. Sure it is complex, but it doesn't have some of the oddities that I think TCS has, once you get the stuff from the gamers I don't think it matters, but I found TCS took me a minute to really understand, while OCS seemed immediately obvious (as to why it is a good game).
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Andy K
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Wow thanks for the fast responses! I own both GD '42 and Tunisia (and most of the OCS games for that matter) and wanted to get back into wargaming. I played AH's Tac Air religiously back in 1989 and played a few wargames here and there since.

I really want to start back by playing a system by the Gamers because their rules seem to be exactly what I'm looking for. I was set on playing Tunisia of all the OCS games but then I got my copy of GD '42, my first and only TCS game. Given that I have gamer ADD, naturally I couldn't decide.

Tunisia counters are punched but I think I'll go with GD '42 especially since the Ops sheet rules can be left out... even though that is the reason I was leaning towards TCS. I had a hunch they were fairly comparable in complexity and your responses have been helpful!
 
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Peter Vrabel
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I have to agree with the other posters, they're roughly equal in complexity, with TCS being slightly simpler. However, I consider OCS a better series, I found TCS just too slow an incremental.
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Ethan McKinney
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Sprue Rubbles wrote:
I played AH's Tac Air religiously back in 1989 and played a few wargames here and there since.


gulp Nice game, terrible, terrible simulation. Terrible. Did I mention that it was so terrible that it was silly?

Sorry, not meaning to deride your experience, but Tac Air still makes me twitch.

Sprue Rubbles wrote:
Tunisia counters are punched but I think I'll go with GD '42 especially since the Ops sheet rules can be left out... even though that is the reason I was leaning towards TCS.


Don't bother playing TCS if you're going to leave out the Op Sheets. It's not worth it. Just pick up Panzer Grenadier or Panzerblitz: Hill of Death instead.

Op sheets don't add much complexity because you only draw them up every 10 turns or so (often longer between them). After they're in effect, you're just following the orders, which actually makes play a little simpler by preventing you from running hither and yon all over the map.

LordStrabo wrote:
I found TCS just too slow an incremental.


I have no idea what this means. Or is it a typo for "and incremental"?

Yes, TCS is "incremental" in that units (infantry platoons) don't just die in a single turn. This is perfectly reasonable, given the low lethality of long-ranged fire. This may slow that game and make it less exciting for some, but ...

The TCS morale system offers several levels of morale effects, the lowest of which is "Suppressed." Units are frequently suppressed by fire without taking any losses. Suppressed units can still do quite a lot, but they can't do opportunity fire (call Overwatch fire in TCS). This encourages realistic fire-and-movement tactics: suppress the defenders with fire, move the assault forces into position, and then launch a close assault to drive them out of the position or kill them. For me, it fits together rather elegantly.
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Andy K
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elbmc1969 wrote:
Sprue Rubbles wrote:
I played AH's Tac Air religiously back in 1989 and played a few wargames here and there since.


gulp Nice game, terrible, terrible simulation. Terrible. Did I mention that it was so terrible that it was silly?

Sorry, not meaning to deride your experience, but Tac Air still makes me twitch.

No I totally understand the arguments against it. Despite the fact, I loved being able to play a wargame with the then-modern tanks and planes and while it may not be a simulation, it was still a lot of fun!

elbmc1969 wrote:

Don't bother playing TCS if you're going to leave out the Op Sheets. It's not worth it. Just pick up Panzer Grenadier or Panzerblitz: Hill of Death instead.

Op sheets don't add much complexity because you only draw them up every 10 turns or so (often longer between them). After they're in effect, you're just following the orders, which actually makes play a little simpler by preventing you from running hither and yon all over the map.

I'm inclined to agree and go ahead with the Ops rules (so tempting to ignore 6+ pages of rules) because it seems to be vital to the fun/tactical aspect of the game.
 
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Charlie Sheppard
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I'll chime in.

I've only been playing wargames for a few years but I've played Leros from the TCS series and a number of OCS titles. I really enjoy both but of the two I find OCS to be both cleaner and simpler. OCS is simply more refined despite the fact that TCS is the older series but TCS suffers from two additional drawbacks IMO.

First, the OP sheets leave *a lot* of room for interpretation. I've found that without someone on hand with real world experience writing military op sheets most players, regardless of wargaming experience, find themselves floundering.

Second, TCS strikes me as a game that plays simultaneously at two different scales. First, there's the battalion level game with the OP sheets and then there's the company level game where you're maneuvering units and engaging in combat in accordance with your OP sheets. It feels like you're operating at two different levels of command when instead you should only be operating at the battalion level and relying on the game system to somehow abstract the company level details for you.
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Lee Forester
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Charlie is right, TCS does operate at two levels, the battalion commander and the regimental commander. I think that's one of it's charms, not a disadvantage. The Op Sheet system is unique in games and, while perhaps a bit different and not always easy to master, it gives you an appreciation for the military simulation in a way that simply pushing counters cannot.

The tactical game with the 4.0 rules I think is a great exercise in combined arms and the use of cover, terrain and proper tactics. Differences is player skills make a HUGE difference. This is also an advantage I think.

Obviously it's not everyone's cup of tea, but having read lots of AARs from WWII/Korea and watching how TCS games play, it is amazingly true to life. They take a while to play, but each game can be a VERY rewarding experience. I like fast games too (like A Victory Lost, outstanding game) but to me those are good TV episodes. Playing TCS is like reading a novel ;-)
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Dan Owsen
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My wife got this for me for my birthday! cool

Looking forward to checking it out after reading most of Glantz's book on Mars (Zhukov's Greatest Defeat).

 
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Paul Saunders
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I have to admit I thought long and hard before purchasing GD 42.

I have played a number of scenarios from the TCS system and if you want a feeling of how slowly command of an engagement can work in 'real life ' then this is the system for you.

It is claimed that the latest rules are backwardly compatible, not sure I'd completely agree with this but there is no harm in trying. Artillery has gone through a large number of iterations since 'Bloody 110' and the current version of the rules has changed significantly since the first game in the series.

We have a very realistic 'Ops sheet' system but the game system, IMHO was let down by the armour. Platoons of infantry but individual tanks. To try to employ the 'Panzerkeil' was unrealistic in game terms becuase it was detrimental to stack AFV's. Hence we have 1 tank every couple of hexes.

Changing orders in the smaller scenarios is almost impossible for most nationalties due to the weighted turn system.

That said the components in GD42 are absolutely top notch, the maps are particularly attractive and there has been a welcome font change in the tables :-)

It looks as though the armour system has been altered in the latest rule version (steps) and there looks to be some change in artillery rules. I will be playing this at some point in the future, that's for sure.

OCS. This is the 'Jewel in Crown' of the old 'Gamers' games. Superb system. Huge campaign games along with some reasonably smaller scenarios.

As a system I prefer OCS. Although, be warned, some of the larger CG's will demand a huge committment in time and also space!


Both are of a similar complexity. My own opinion of TCS is that the games are well researched, offer good historical set ups and tend, more often than not, to end in the historical result.

Thanks

Paul

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