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Aaron Stark
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Does anyone know of a website with information on general strategy/tips for a newbie wargamer? I tried Google using many different queries and came up empty. I just want to get some good footing. I tried playing a few games online and am getting my ass handed to me.
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Rui Serrabulho
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I am a newbie so other BGG users must have more substancial suggestions than me. I suggest the Wargaming School by Joe Steadman (part 1 and 2) about wargames, in the following link: [geekurl=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvOv7p29s9A][/geekurl]
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Jim F
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Difficult to give general tips. If l was getting beaten regularly in the same game l would be looking at what my opponnent did right and trying to learn from that. Most games here have strategy tips on how to play them.

That said, watching your flanks, getting your troops to where the battle is going to be decided and trying to keep the initiative might be some things to bear in mind. Especially the last one. If you are doing a lot of running around just reacting to the other player you need to have a rethink. Dont get discouraged, experience will help you and even though wargames can have a steep learning curve the eventual pay back is considerable. Best of luck.
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Pete Belli
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You can apply a few of the Principles of War to our hobby. Two of the most important are:

Objective: Every military operation should be directed towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective.

Economy of Force: Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.

Surprise is another crucial principle but many wargames don't offer opportunties to really catch an opponent off guard... block wargames might be an exception.


You can also learn from the experts:


"Get there first with the most."

Nathan Bedford Forrest


"In the next battle, put in all of your men."

Abraham Lincoln
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Ronny S. Mo
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What games are you playing (historical period, level of abstraction, scale)?
What is your background in history? I.e. have you read anything of note in military history, logistics, tactics etc.

Hard to give anything but platitudinous generalities if there isn't more to work with.

But hey I have one:

Use the terrain to your advantage.

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Dan Stueber
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I initially tried the library for books on wargaming but most were about miniatures and did not help me much.

A good book to get is The Art of Maneuver by Robert Leonard. It is about modern airland battle but the principles really helped me with wargames. Basically hit the enemy where he is weak and you are strong; simple to read but hard to do in a wargame. Also, depending on what battle you are refighting I always try to get a book on the subject to get a better understanding on how the actual generals fought.

Also, make sure you read the victory conditions for the game and understand how to win. I remember several games where I thought I was the winner at the end until I read the victory conditions and realised I had lost the game due to not fulfilling the victory conditions.

I also usually set up the game and just look at it for a while. I will find what I have to do to win, check out the terrain of the game, what forces I have, what reinforcements I am getting, etc. I then try to come up with a simple strategy to accomplishing my goals.

What game are you playing?

Dan Stueber
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Ted Spencer
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metal134 wrote:
Does anyone know of a website with information on general strategy/tips for a newbie wargamer?
Yeah, here. Fill us in on what game you're playing. That will help us help you. So much depends on what kind of game you're playing that it's difficult to give even general advice other than what others have already said.

What I see new wargamers repeat is this: (1) ignoring victory conditions and (2) playing by only some rules, not all, and neglecting the powerful interrelations of some rules. For example, weather on terrain effects for Armored. Gotta love a frozen river!

So, are you playing a turn-based wargame? RTS? Is it a board wargame PBEM? Vassal? Is it a strategic level game, operational, tactical?

And you can check out Video Game Geek for more your specific game. If the title is there, you can ask specific questions about winning the game.

As far as very general strategy/tips, try http://www.chinapage.com/sunzi-e.html or http://suntzusaid.com/.
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Carl Marl
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Here are a few principle I generally try to observe.

Try to look ahead in making moves and planning attacks. If you win, how will you follow up? If you lose, how will you compensate? What kind of counterattack can your opponent make?

Each turn you need to decide if you are primarily on the offense or defense and act according. If you're attacking, how do you coordinate your forces? If defending, how can you make it difficult to be attacked?

For a specific game, you need to know and understand the rules thoroughly. Before you play a real opponent, set the game up and play a few turns by yourself, to explore the mechanics. Try to learn what situations favor you and which ones don't.

Learn from your mistakes. If you're playing an experienced opponent and you have no experience, you may not do so well the first time.
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Bartow Riggs
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Without knowing the exact game specific hints are difficult. For general hints I think the best one is:

Get inside your opponents thought process and force _him_ to react to _you_.

And then there is this:

Decide the decisive point and gain a preponderance of physical forces and material advantages at that point.

Make the best use of the fewest means.

Never lack calmness and firmness...without this firm resolution, no great results can be achieved. (In other words don't get distracted!)

Always analyze and make the choice between the most audacious and the most careful solution.
- Clausewitz
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Enrico Viglino
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The biggest issue I've always had is expressing my
strategy/tactics within the mechanisms of the game.
In some cases, that's just learning the peculiarities
of the game; in traditional hex operational games,
there's often a fairly general rule though - 'when in
doubt, every other hex'.
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brant G
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metal134 wrote:
Does anyone know of a website with information on general strategy/tips for a newbie wargamer? I tried Google using many different queries and came up empty. I just want to get some good footing. I tried playing a few games online and am getting my ass handed to me.



hard to believe no one pointed you this way:

http://www.hyw.com/books/wargameshandbook/2-how_to.htm
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Moshe Ben-Sira
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A few general guidelines, just to steer you in the right direction (this is by no means an exhaustive list).
1. Ascertain your goal, i.e. what do you need to do in order to win, and the opposition's goal, so if you can't achieve your goal, you can deny the opposition's goal. Have several short-term goals as well – these should only be goals that will help you achieve the main goal.
This is known in US Military Doctrine as the OBJECTIVE principle - all your operations should be directed to attain the objective.
2. Study the map, especially terrain (when applicable). This will help you assess routes of attack, maneuverability, traversable terrain for Tanks, other vehicles etc…
3. Assess the opposition force/OOB and disposition, always try to look for a weakness to exploit, as well as try to guess what the opposition will try to do in order to achieve their goal (see step 1). This is in order for you to concentrate an overwhelming power (this is not the same as concentrating all your forces) at the SCHWERPUNKT, i.e. focal point that will maximize the effect of your attack. Look for the narrow angle (if that term makes sense), i.e. attack with maximum power where the enemy is with his minimum power (for example, rear attacks, flank attacks, Para drop, or attacking a house from the side with the least windows, etc…).
This is known in US Military Doctrine as the MASS principle.
4. Seize the initiative and exploit it. Maintaining initiative gives you the freedom to pursue your goals, rather than to react to the opposition.
In US Military Doctrine this is known as the OFFENSIVE principle.
5. Economy of Force – your resources are not endless (unless you are playing the USSR in 1945 or the US from 1943 onwards), therefore use you forces wisely, never committing more forces than are necessary to attain the OBJECTIVE, and never have forces without purpose. Reserves have a purpose – use them to decide a battle, for example to exploit a gap, stop a surprise attack or to counter- attack - so always keep reserves on hand.
6. Secure your flanks, supply lines, and rear (units OOS in most games are eliminated or heavily penalized). This means allocating forces specifically for that purpose.
7. Be flexible. Rarely do plans survive the first shot, however if you planned according to the above, you should have a general idea as to how to achieve your goal, therefore your will be able to change your plan as the situation develops, while still having a general framework.
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Mike Hoyt

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Quote:
A good book to get is The Art of Maneuver by Robert Leonard. It is about modern airland battle but the principles really helped me with wargames. Basically hit the enemy where he is weak and you are strong; simple to read but hard to do in a wargame. Also, depending on what battle you are refighting I always try to get a book on the subject to get a better understanding on how the actual generals fought.

Dan Stueber


Dan gives excellent advice, but his memory for authors is just slightly off. The book is:
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Maneuver-Warfare-Theory-Airland/dp...

A fantastic game which also lets you apply Leonhard's ideas is EastFront II
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Aaron Stark
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Some good info,thanks guys. As far as what I'm playing, I've been starting off with "Napolean at Waterloo". At the moment, I'm limited to the games I can play on "Hexwar" just simply for a lack of face-to-face opponents.
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Ted Spencer
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bayonetbrant wrote:
hard to believe no one pointed you this way: http://www.hyw.com/books/wargameshandbook/2-how_to.htm


We were waiting for you!
 
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Wendell
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Not necessarily just for newbie wargamers, but I found some GREAT geeklists about wargames and strategy, operational art of war, etc, and put them all together on this geeklist: Attention - Excellent Lists on Wargames and Art of War
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Justus Pendleton
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I'm probably in the minority but ignore everyone who tells you to read anything about US Army doctrine or tactics or whatever. That's not how you'll win wargames. You'll win wargames by understanding the game mechanics and taking advantage of their gaminess.

I haven't played any of the games on Hexwar but it looks like traditional hex wargaming so off the top of my head (none of these will ever appear in a field operation manual but are vastly more useful to actually winning boardgames than much of the nebulous advice given above):

- Count factors. Memorize the CRT. You can figure out your odds perfectly so do so.
- Abuse the IGO-UGO format to prevent your opponent from striking back, making breakthroughs, etc; especially in conjuction with the above.
- Know your opponent's MP allowance so you know with certainty the maximum amount they can advance in a given turn.
- Abuse lack of traffic management rules to funnel massive amounts of troops through narrow checkpoints.
- Take advantage of stacking limits and factor counting to perfectly optimise your defense at key locations, knowing your exact odds of a successful defense. You know exactly where the enemy is coming from, in what strength, and how many CF they need to have a chance of beating you.
- Abuse your ability to choose where units retreat to in order to block your opponent (i.e. maintain ZOCs, etc) and setup future advances on the next turn.
- You don't have to worry about scouting. You have perfect knowledge of the terrain and its effects on your combat effectiveness at all points on the map. You know exactly where the fordable streams are and where the impassable rivers are. Place your troops appropriately and without worry.
- Don't worry about near-suicidal attacks. There is no tomorrow. It doesn't matter if your army is shattered so long as you hold the VP locations. You don't have to worry about your career, your historic legacy, or the morale of your men over the course of an entire campaign as a rule of thumb.
- Take advantage of your perfect command & control to setup wide ranging complex maneuvers and make your opponent's life as hard as possible. The more places you can attack the more likely he'll make a mistake and forget to order a unit or misread the terrain modifiers or forget about a fordable stream. Warning: if your opponent is smarter than you this is likely to backfire.
- Utilize artillery in a reckless manner confident that they will never miss slightly and hit your men who are standing nearby. Units don't block LOS so feel free to just shoot right over their heads. They don't mind.

Wargames are just like Go or chess or any other boardgame. The best way to get better is to play the same game repeatedly. One of the proverbs for people starting in Go is "Lose you first 100 games as quickly as possible." Since wargames aren't as deep as Go, you won't have to lose 100 times before you get the hang of it but the general principle remains.
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Ted Spencer
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metal134 wrote:
Some good info,thanks guys. As far as what I'm playing, I've been starting off with "Napolean at Waterloo". At the moment, I'm limited to the games I can play on "Hexwar" just simply for a lack of face-to-face opponents.
Try the Napoleon at Waterloo page. Read everything in the forums. When you get that first win, don't forget how you got there!
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Enrico Viglino
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hoostus wrote:
I'm probably in the minority but ignore everyone who tells to read anything about US Army doctrine or tactics or whatever. That's not how you'll win wargames. You'll win wargames but understanding the game mechanics and taking advantage of their gaminess.

I haven't played any of the games on Hexwar but it looks like traditional hex wargaming so off the top of my head (none of these will ever appear in a field operation manual but are vastly more useful to actually winning boardgames than much of the nebulous advice given above):

- Count factors. Memorize the CRT. You can figure out your odds perfectly so do so.
- Abuse the IGO-UGO format to prevent your opponent from striking back, making breakthroughs, etc; especially in conjuction with the above.
- Know your opponent's MP allowance so you know with certainty the maximum amount they can advance in a given turn.
- Abuse lack of traffic management rules to funnel massive amounts of troops through narrow checkpoints.
- Take advantage of stacking limits and factor counting to perfectly optimise your defense at key locations, knowing your exact odds of a successful defense. You know exactly where the enemy is coming from, in what strength, and how many CF they need to have a chance of beating you.
- Abuse your ability to choose where units retreat to in order to block your opponent (i.e. maintain ZOCs, etc) and setup future advances on the next turn.
- You don't have to worry about scouting. You have perfect knowledge of the terrain and its effects on your combat effectiveness at all points on the map. You know exactly where the fordable streams are and where the impassable rivers are. Place your troops appropriately and without worry.
- Don't worry about near-suicidal attacks. There is no tomorrow. It doesn't matter if your army is shattered so long as you hold the VP locations. You don't have to worry about your career, your historic legacy, or the morale of your men over the course of an entire campaign as a rule of thumb.
- Take advantage of your perfect command & control to setup wide ranging complex maneuvers and make your opponent's life as hard as possible. The more places you can attack the more likely he'll make a mistake and forget to order a unit or misread the terrain modifiers or forget about a fordable stream. Warning: if your opponent is smarter than you this is likely to backfire.
- Utilize artillery in a reckless manner confident that they will never miss slightly and hit your men who are standing nearby. Units don't block LOS so feel free to just shoot right over their heads. They don't mind.

Wargames are just like Go or chess or any other boardgame. The best way to get better is to play the same game repeatedly. One of the proverbs for people starting in Go is "Lose you first 100 games as quickly as possible." Since wargames aren't as deep as Go, you won't have to lose 100 times before you get the hang of it but the general principle remains.


Afraid I have to agree nearly 100% on this - though there are some
games that try and reduce some of the worst sounding offences here.

Overall, it's why I prefer to play with people who AREN'T playing
wargames 'in order to win', but rather with a fair feel towads
trying to make the simulation work.
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Ted Spencer
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calandale wrote:
hoostus wrote:
I'm probably in the minority but ignore everyone who tells to read anything about US Army doctrine or tactics or whatever. That's not how you'll win wargames. You'll win wargames but understanding the game mechanics and taking advantage of their gaminess....

Wargames are just like Go or chess or any other boardgame. The best way to get better is to play the same game repeatedly. One of the proverbs for people starting in Go is "Lose you first 100 games as quickly as possible." Since wargames aren't as deep as Go, you won't have to lose 100 times before you get the hang of it but the general principle remains.


Afraid I have to agree nearly 100% on this - though there are some
games that try and reduce some of the worst sounding offences here.

Overall, it's why I prefer to play with people who AREN'T playing
wargames 'in order to win', but rather with a fair feel towads
trying to make the simulation work.


+ 1 for each quotation: play more often and play to learn the game. You'll learn to play piano quicker when you practice more.
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olivier R
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My advice is to have some sort of plan and not simply push counters on the map.

It doesn't matter if the plan is not very elaborate, actually it is often better if it is not, because it is more flexible this way and you can adapt to how the situation unfolds and what your opponent does.

But you need some sort of general plan. Even if you don't win, it is often much more satisfying to have one anyway.

But of course it also helps if you know a couple of military principles and have studied the rules carefully.

My 2 cents.
 
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Caleb
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3:1 odds, my friend.



ninja
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cannoneer wrote:



3:1 odds, my friend.



:ninja:


Not in everything.
 
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hoostus wrote:
I'm probably in the minority but ignore everyone who tells you to read anything about US Army doctrine or tactics or whatever. That's not how you'll win wargames. You'll win wargames by understanding the game mechanics and taking advantage of their gaminess.

I haven't played any of the games on Hexwar but it looks like traditional hex wargaming so off the top of my head (none of these will ever appear in a field operation manual but are vastly more useful to actually winning boardgames than much of the nebulous advice given above):

- Count factors. Memorize the CRT. You can figure out your odds perfectly so do so.
- Abuse the IGO-UGO format to prevent your opponent from striking back, making breakthroughs, etc; especially in conjuction with the above.
- Know your opponent's MP allowance so you know with certainty the maximum amount they can advance in a given turn.
- Abuse lack of traffic management rules to funnel massive amounts of troops through narrow checkpoints.
- Take advantage of stacking limits and factor counting to perfectly optimise your defense at key locations, knowing your exact odds of a successful defense. You know exactly where the enemy is coming from, in what strength, and how many CF they need to have a chance of beating you.
- Abuse your ability to choose where units retreat to in order to block your opponent (i.e. maintain ZOCs, etc) and setup future advances on the next turn.
- You don't have to worry about scouting. You have perfect knowledge of the terrain and its effects on your combat effectiveness at all points on the map. You know exactly where the fordable streams are and where the impassable rivers are. Place your troops appropriately and without worry.
- Don't worry about near-suicidal attacks. There is no tomorrow. It doesn't matter if your army is shattered so long as you hold the VP locations. You don't have to worry about your career, your historic legacy, or the morale of your men over the course of an entire campaign as a rule of thumb.
- Take advantage of your perfect command & control to setup wide ranging complex maneuvers and make your opponent's life as hard as possible. The more places you can attack the more likely he'll make a mistake and forget to order a unit or misread the terrain modifiers or forget about a fordable stream. Warning: if your opponent is smarter than you this is likely to backfire.
- Utilize artillery in a reckless manner confident that they will never miss slightly and hit your men who are standing nearby. Units don't block LOS so feel free to just shoot right over their heads. They don't mind.

Wargames are just like Go or chess or any other boardgame. The best way to get better is to play the same game repeatedly. One of the proverbs for people starting in Go is "Lose you first 100 games as quickly as possible." Since wargames aren't as deep as Go, you won't have to lose 100 times before you get the hang of it but the general principle remains.

What a list: You've condensed forty years of gaming experience into 10 maxims as useful as Napoleon's or Frederick's. I'm saving them for my newbs as Pendleton's Code. cool

My oldest gaming friend lives by these guidelines, and he is very tough to beat - I've only managed it a few times myself, as I prefer a more historically grounded approach to my gaming.
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Enrico Viglino
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SimGuy wrote:

My oldest gaming friend lives by these guidelines, and he is very tough to beat - I've only managed it a few times myself, as I prefer a more historically grounded approach to my gaming.


What I wonder about is the desire to play with
someone who plays that way. Hell, if you're into
the tournaments and all, you're stuck with it, I guess,
but where's the pleasure in facing what amounts to someone
playing the game system rather than the battle for someone
who prefers the history (vice versa as well - though at
least they get what they most seem to want - a tick mark
in the win column)?
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