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Subject: Geographical span of a wargame rss

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M@tthijs
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As a wargamer, I like the massiveness of ww2 Eastern Front battles. I've very interested in games like Turning the Tables, Ring of Fire: The Fourth Battle for Kharkov, August 1943, A Victory Lost. But I'm somewhat dazzled by the place & time. How does it fit in the bigger context? Third Battle of Karkov? What were the other two? Gorky Station? Is that a place? How does the map of AVL compare to Ring of Fire?

So I'm thinking about a way to make the subject of the game more transparant. I'm thinking of a map (world map, European map) where a rectangle shows the game board. (Something like the TV news, were you know at a glace about what part of the world they're talking about) In the map, a date or time frame. If this could be saved as an image, it would be (IMO) a great addition to the pics galery, so you know where & when this game takes place.

I could dabble around using Paint Shop Pro, Google Maps, Visio & the like. But that would all be very rudimentary. So my questions to my fellow wargamers:

1)- would such maps interest you?
2)- does anyone have a good idea to create this in way that can be used for multiple wargames?
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I think I would be interested in something like that, but I really need to see an example.
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It might be awesome, with different squares of different sizes and that include some of the operational scale battles on a larger European map. It also might be a lot of work for you, but if you're up for it, let me know when it's finished!
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Hm... The more I think about it, the better it sounds.
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As an example, I made one for A Victory Lost using, as said, Google Maps, Visio and Paint Shop Pro.


However, I'm more thinking along the lines of a widget, or something inJava, that could make this, in stead of this labor intensive way. And although I'm an Office savy and can do things with Excel that dazzle most people, I have absolutely no knowledge of web widgets, Java &the like. Pics like this are (relatively) easy for me to make, but making a tool with which to make pics like this?...
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I like it. It would go nicely in the files section, although to be honest I'd really like to see maps like this (wouldn't have to be very big) in the historical notes section of the rulebook.
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Sure, it is of some interest. However, not to discourage you, but I know European geography in particular well enough to 'know' pretty much were it's located based on the place names on the wargame map. I suppose that wouldn't hold for a 'tactical' level made with minor villages etc., but certainly places such as Smolensk, Kharkov, Rostov, Rzhev, Demyansk, Kursk etc. (not to mention the more 'famous' ones such as Leningrad, Moscow or Stalingrad).
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Varus wrote:
I like it. It would go nicely in the files section, although to be honest I'd really like to see maps like this (wouldn't have to be very big) in the historical notes section of the rulebook.
I agree, but that's what I miss in many rulebooks: a lot of text and place names, but no map to put it in context.
Personally I prefer the image gallery, because that way it's easier to use in threads, geeklists &the like.

deadkenny wrote:
Sure, it is of some interest. However, not to discourage you, but I know European geography in particular well enough to 'know' pretty much were it's located based on the place names on the wargame map. I suppose that wouldn't hold for a 'tactical' level made with minor villages etc., but certainly places such as Smolensk, Kharkov, Rostov, Rzhev, Demyansk, Kursk etc. (not to mention the more 'famous' ones such as Leningrad, Moscow or Stalingrad).
Fair enough. Speaking for myself, I knew for AVL where the south& east border of the map were, based upon my geography knowledge. But I didn't have a 'good feel' about how far the map reached north and west.

Likewise, if I'm looking at a game board about the Gettysburg Campaign, I have no clue where it is, let alone how far the 'rectangle would stretch' on a US map.
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Interesting idea.
Pics like that can probably be made with the google maps api (http://code.google.com/apis/maps/). I don't know about that caption, but the rest is pretty easy. You just need to find out the right coordinates.
Here's an example:
[IMG]http://maps.google.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=53.956086,3...\
&zoom=4&size=640x512&maptype=roadmap\
&path=color:0xff0000ff|fillcolor:0xFFFF0033|weight:1|51.013755,34.628906|51.013755,46.230469|46.13417,46.230469|46.13417,34.628906|51.013755,34.628906&sensor=false&key=ABQIAAAAAoNAEne7O2m95fL014MJehRheLbxPN00VE5EQ_OlAbyfLA7LDxSztw64jyrvERWQBHeJN09R1aReIw[/IMG]

Image url code:

hxxp://maps.google.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=53.956086,31.640625\
&zoom=4&size=640x512&maptype=roadmap\
&path=color:0xff0000ff|fillcolor:0xFFFF0033|weight:1\
|51.013755,34.628906|51.013755,46.230469|46.13417,46.230469|46.13417,34.628906|51.013755,34.628906\
&sensor=false&key=ABQIAAAAAoNAEne7O2m95fL014MJehRheLbxPN00VE5EQ_OlAbyfLA7LDxSztw64jyrvERWQBHeJN09R1aReIw


Now just adjust the latitude and longitude for the center and path and maybe the zoom and size for each map.
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_Kael_ wrote:
Fair enough. Speaking for myself, I knew for AVL where the south& east border of the map were, based upon my geography knowledge. But I didn't have a 'good feel' about how far the map reached north and west.

Likewise, if I'm looking at a game board about the Gettysburg Campaign, I have no clue where it is, let alone how far the 'rectangle would stretch' on a US map.


Agreed. I was also speaking from my own perspective. As you've pointed out, players' knowledge will differ across various eras and locations around the world. Even a good knowledge of modern Asian geography might not help much placing maps of Alexander the Great's campaign to India!
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Wow, when the idea was mentioned it seemed like a good idea... but seeing the actual image moves it into "brilliant" category!

While some people have a good enough sense of time and place to understand where the conflicts occur and what the scale is, some people (like myself) find it very hard to visualize without the help of a larger map.

I really like this idea!
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@ YosT:The URL takes me to the west coast of Africa!

But this looks good thumbsup

Could you elaborate how you did this?

And how to find the coördinates? Where to put them in the URL? Or an easier option: box movable by mouse?

(Edit: premature answer of mine: I haven't studied the first link you mentioned. Will do.)
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_Kael_ wrote:
@ YosT:The URL takes me to the west coast of Africa!

Yes, the url isn't quite right. You need to remove the \'s at the end of the lines, then it should work.

_Kael_ wrote:

And how to find the coördinates? Where to put them in the URL? Or an easier option: box movable by mouse?


You can use this to find the coordinates: http://www.satsig.net/maps/lat-long-finder.htm

You put them in these parts:
center=,; This is where the center of your map will be.
path= ....; the , combinations here should describe a square path on the map. It will move for point 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and back to 1. This will be the highlighted square on the map.

A point and click version of this can probably be made or maybe it already exists somewhere.


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It would be really interesting, but I'm not sure it would be worth the effort.

In any case, adding the identity of the belligerents / parent units and the general front line to the maps would be great.

(Such as "Army Group B" for the Germans, "Stalingrad/Southwestern/Don Fronts" for the Soviets, and the positions before and after Operation Little Saturn for AVL)
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_Kael_ wrote:
As an example, I made one for A Victory Lost using, as said, Google Maps, Visio and Paint Shop Pro.


However, I'm more thinking along the lines of a widget, or something inJava, that could make this, in stead of this labor intensive way. And although I'm an Office savy and can do things with Excel that dazzle most people, I have absolutely no knowledge of web widgets, Java &the like. Pics like this are (relatively) easy for me to make, but making a tool with which to make pics like this?...


Very cool! I did something similar a while ago when I did a blog entry (remember when we had blogs around here) on Axis & Allies Guadalcanal:



It helped put the game into geographical perspective. I like your idea!
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I've been playing with the google maps api a bit. Here's the result so far:
http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AerCMsuBbxkIZGY0Ynd6OW5fMG...

copy/paste the text in the document to a text file and save as a .html file. Open it in your browser. left click anywhere, then right click anywhere and a rectangle should appear.

Adding features is easy for someone with a little javascript knowledge.
Hope this helps you a bit.

------

I found an easier way. Sign up for a google account. Go to maps - my maps. There you can create maps, draw shapes on the map and add comments. It's real easy.
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YosT wrote:
I found an easier way. Sign up for a google account. Go to maps - my maps. There you can create maps, draw shapes on the map and add comments. It's real easy.
I'll try that
[frantically looking for his allready existing user-id + pw in the pile of another zillion accounts & pw's]

I tried the first part of your post too, but that only gave a blank map, with no effect on my left- and right-clicking. I'm on IE8.0

However, making the maps using Visio is pretty easy. I now made maps for A Victory Lost, Battle for Germany, Turning the Tables and 1941. BfG (2nd I did) more being a test to see how easy is is to replicate the procedure.
Of course, IMO the best way would be some procedure anyone can use easily, so all (war)gamers will start uploading pics of the geographical location of the zillion games that use a 'real world based map'.

The advantage of Visio is that it's easy to change to angle of the rectangle when needed (see 1941).

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A small technical point, however, depending on the are portrayed you might also want to consider the particular map projection used for the wargame map as well as for the map used in your graphic.
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deadkenny wrote:
A small technical point, however, depending on the are portrayed you might also want to consider the particular map projection used for the wargame map as well as for the map used in your graphic.


Not to mention that a 2009 Google map will show a lot of different countries and borders to one of say 1939 or 1918 or 1815 or whatever. Generally speaking (in Europe) the more the borders have changed. If you could show a contemporary historical map, then you'd really be on to something.
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OldGDWfan wrote:
deadkenny wrote:
A small technical point, however, depending on the are portrayed you might also want to consider the particular map projection used for the wargame map as well as for the map used in your graphic.


Not to mention that a 2009 Google map will show a lot of different countries and borders to one of say 1939 or 1918 or 1815 or whatever. Generally speaking (in Europe) the more the borders have changed. If you could show a contemporary historical map, then you'd really be on to something.



Also many of the cities have changed names. Leningrad, Stalingrad, Kalinin............
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HeinzGuderian wrote:
It would be really interesting, but I'm not sure it would be worth the effort.
In any case, adding the identity of the belligerents / parent units and the general front line to the maps would be great.
(Such as "Army Group B" for the Germans, "Stalingrad/Southwestern/Don Fronts" for the Soviets, and the positions before and after Operation Little Saturn for AVL)

a) That would be a massive amount of research&work for one game
b) IMO you should set up the game (real, or Cyberboard/VASSAL) and place the units as much to their historical whereabouts as possible. Then make a pic and add frontlines & parent units using something like Paint. Anyways, what I mean is: that would be interesting, but would be on the game board, while I'm now concentrating on where the game board is.

deadkenny wrote:
A small technical point, however, depending on the are portrayed you might also want to consider the particular map projection used for the wargame map as well as for the map used in your graphic.

I'm not sure what you mean. The game board hightlighted on a bigger map (like Europe). And that map also highlighted on a world map?

OldGDWfan wrote:
Not to mention that a 2009 Google map will show a lot of different countries and borders to one of say 1939 or 1918 or 1815 or whatever. Generally speaking (in Europe) the more the borders have changed. If you could show a contemporary historical map, then you'd really be on to something.
Personally I like the modern maps to put in in perspective. And Google is quite handy. If you know any dB/ site with "contemporary historical maps", please post them.

But what's this talk about 'you'? Please feel free to help and make maps for the 1300+ wargames listed on the Geek.
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_Kael_ wrote:

OldGDWfan wrote:
Not to mention that a 2009 Google map will show a lot of different countries and borders to one of say 1939 or 1918 or 1815 or whatever. ...


Personally I like the modern maps to put [it] in perspective. ...


Agreed.

While period maps are also very useful, there is some benefit to seeing where conflicts took place according to current day geography... if only because I am more familiar with current countries and borders than with how things were at that time.
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_Kael_ wrote:
deadkenny wrote:
A small technical point, however, depending on the are portrayed you might also want to consider the particular map projection used for the wargame map as well as for the map used in your graphic.

I'm not sure what you mean. The game board hightlighted on a bigger map (like Europe). And that map also highlighted on a world map?


By 'map projection' I mean the method for 'converting' the areas on our (more or less) spherical planet onto a 2D map. Some background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection

If the 'Google maps' that you're apparently using are based on a different 'projection' than was used for the wargame map, then the areas won't 'line up' properly - at least not in terms of a simple rectangular area. Of course this would only matter if a wider area was being considered. For example, look at the projection used for Objective Moscow: The Death of Soviet Communism.
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deadkenny wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
deadkenny wrote:
A small technical point, however, depending on the are portrayed you might also want to consider the particular map projection used for the wargame map as well as for the map used in your graphic.
I'm not sure what you mean. The game board hightlighted on a bigger map (like Europe). And that map also highlighted on a world map?
By 'map projection' I mean the method for 'converting' the areas on our (more or less) spherical planet onto a 2D map. Some background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection

If the 'Google maps' that you're apparently using are based on a different 'projection' than was used for the wargame map, then the areas won't 'line up' properly - at least not in terms of a simple rectangular area. Of course this would only matter if a wider area was being considered. For example, look at the projection used for Objective Moscow: The Death of Soviet Communism.
This is a valid point. However:
1. I have no degree in mathematics, nor am I intending to get one.
2. I do believe the majority of wargame designers use whatever map the have at hand, and do not bother about this
3. I'm looking for a way to easier locate the real world area the gamemap depicts. If map projection becomes an issue, the gaming area is that big that I will know where that is, without a bigger map.
So although I appreciated the wiki ref and read it with interest, it's not something I will use.

I now did 5, last one being Battle for Moscow (first edition)

I still look up in Google maps four cities on the map (left, right, upside, downside. Based upon them, I draw my rectangle. Based upon a line (W-E, N-S) between two cities I correct the angle.

I still hope other people will pick up this idea and more wargames will get a map pic on which the game map is highlighted. Maybe they have good ideas how to implement your technical projection point. I have no clue.

So only 1300+ wargames to go, on BGG
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deadkenny wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
deadkenny wrote:
A small technical point, however, depending on the are portrayed you might also want to consider the particular map projection used for the wargame map as well as for the map used in your graphic.

I'm not sure what you mean. The game board hightlighted on a bigger map (like Europe). And that map also highlighted on a world map?
By 'map projection' I mean the method for 'converting' the areas on our (more or less) spherical planet onto a 2D map. Some background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_projection
Maybe the solution presents it self when drawing existing mapboards on google maps. Is this what you mean? :
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