Recommend
21 
 Thumb up
 Hide
58 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Card-driven wargames: I want to be convinced, I really do rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Isaac Citrom
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

There are a bunch of good and popular wargames that are card-driven. In particular, I'm really attracted to the Command and Colors series in several periods. But, every time I take another look and come across site or sound of the card-driven aspect I wince, kind of like when a kid realizes there's brussel sprouts for dinner.

I have a few card-driven games and the mechanic just doesn't sit right with me. I can't get past the arbitrariness of what I cannot do because I don't happen to have the right card in front of me; as well, playing a card I don't really want to and for no other reason than there really isn't anything better to do. It itches my brain.

I can understand the rationalization of a unit doing something other than what you intended. History is full of that. But the CDG mechanic doesn't do that at all. It just limits what you can do.

I've heard the rationalization that when you can't order a unit it's because you can't communicate with it. Fine, I'm OK with that. But, then I can't think of any other reason to rationalize the mechanic. It seems to me that the entire mechanic is nothing more than a communication on/off button; it's totally random, it's on all the time, and it randomly jumps all over the field so that (radomly mind you) someone somewhere is always out of touch. Planning--forget about it because it is essentially pointless.

Yes I know, matters rarely unfold according to plan. But, there is a logical deviation. If something goes wrong, one tries to fix it. But, you can't fix a random occurrence; there's no point in adjusting to it. Each turn is its own game because you can't count on what you may be able to do in subsequent turns.

Well that's battle. But no, it's not. Reacting intelligently to the unexpected is not the same as arbitrariness.

Perhaps the answer to my dilemma is that CDG is just not for me and it is what it is. I really would like to like it though.
.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
isaacc wrote:

Perhaps the answer to my dilemma is that CDG is just not for me and it is what it is. I really would like to like it though.


Perhaps you should just try it once - and then decide whether you like it or not ? A bit like with those Brussels' Sprouts really.


11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Scrivins
United Kingdom
Brighton
Sussex
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I share your pain. Like you I want to like CDGs a lot more than I actually do, but I find the luck of the draw factor quite high given the length of the game.
For me, two things would improve CDGs a lot:
A draw deck per player. This balances the luck effect and ensures that a bad hand of cards now is balanced by a better hand later. Some CDGs already do this, but many don't.
Opportunity cost. If you want to play a powerful card, it costs you other cards to play it (think of San Juan/Race for the Galaxy). I've yet to see this in a CDG, but plenty of design potential here.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Stearns
United States
Houston
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You talked me out of trying to convince you. In regard to Command & Colors Ancients and Napoleon, and Combat Commander, I like randomness and chaos in my games. They also give me a break from the hardcore war games I usually play. For me they are also a lot of fun. I think some people try to over think and over analyze games and their mechanics and totally miss the fun aspect. In my experience this seems to be especially prevelant amongst war gamers. Why does it matter what the rationalization of why you have limited options due to a bad hand is? BTW there is another thread about the "Dead Hand" in C&C:A's.
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Diosi
Canada
Newcastle
Ontario
flag msg tools
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Perhaps you are over thinking the CDG mechanic and what it does and does not represent.

Take a hex and counter chit draw wargame, especially one where chits are left in the cup from turn to turn for one reason or another. Would it not be the same argument (and perhaps you agree and wouldn't care for chit pull games either) that the division/regiments/battalions etc that didn't get to pull their own chit for activation are being randomly left out of a turn?

Another example is a wargame where supply or activation points are doled out to a HQ unit that spends those points on units to attack/move. If there aren't enough points then some units can't attack (usually explained by there not being enough fuel/ammo to mount a proper offensive) and although not random it might be considered arbitrary that two units really would attack in a desperate situation but only one can be supplied to do so? The point is that even without enough ammo/fuel perhaps a last ditch low odds attack would be performed but the rules/mechanics of the game have deemed that it can't happen.

I guess I see your point as one that may have more to do with your desire to play a simulation than a game? I happen to like CDG's and you pointed out that maybe you just aren't cut out for them...and that's ok. If you mull over what I have said here maybe it will give you some internal arguments to not look at the cards as random restrictions to what you can and can't do and more as a challenge to do what you want with what you have in hand (sorry about the pun whistle )

BTW you CAN plan once you've played a CDG a few times because you know the cards that you and your opponent have available in the decks. I can imagine this doesn't help the feeling you are moving away from a good wargame experience but consider that knowing the decks is no different than playing poker and knowing odds of certain cards to play your hand. I realize you can play poker if you want poker but this aspect of CDG's allows another layer to plan/maneuver/anticipate above and beyond the the typical hex and counter wargame.

At the end of it all if its not for you...so be it, but I hope this might get you back at the table to try a CDG in a different light and see if it makes a difference.

Good Luck
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich Shipley
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
the liberal unsavory type
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Command and Colors is intended to be a pretty light game system, not a detailed simulation. It isn't clear if you have played one yet, but it makes for a fun game. And even though it uses cards. it isn't what many mean when they use the CDG acronym.

A traditional CDG is usually a strategic level game where the cards give you a variety of options, not just limit to moving a particular unit type or section.
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Boeren
United States
Marietta
Georgia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was about to say something similar. Command & Colors does not represent all CDG's. I personally wouldn't even call it a CDG, it's pretty much its own thing. Like rshipley said, it grudgingly gets allowed to use the term because there are cards, and they in a sense drive the game, but that's ALL and nobody really considers it in any way similar to the other CDGs out there.

So in essence, you're saying "I really want to like broccoli but I'm not sure I do. I've never actually tasted it but I've tried brussels sprouts on several occasions and they were nasty."

You want to know? Try the broccoli. It's much better than the brussels sprouts.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Isaac Citrom
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rshipley wrote:
Command and Colors is intended to be a pretty light game system, not a detailed simulation. It isn't clear if you have played one yet, but it makes for a fun game. And even though it uses cards. it isn't what many mean when they use the CDG acronym.

A traditional CDG is usually a strategic level game where the cards give you a variety of options, not just limit to moving a particular unit type of section.


You see, I didn't know that. I own Battlelore and Memoir '44, the other Borg games, and I thought that's exactly what CDG meant.


And yeah, I read that thread on the "dead hand". It seems that the "Borg design" is like a flavour of ice cream. Some like the taste and some don't but nobody is disputing that the taste exists as it does.
.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One game you might consider is the Napoleonic game Advanced Vive l'Empereur. While outwardly very similar to the Commands & Colors series, in AVE, you select 6 of a possible 10 cards to be in your hand. During the next turn, you select the 4 cards you didn't use, but you also include 2 cards of your choice. So, there's more of a concept of planning the turn.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In the case of Washington's War, Lord North approved of John Burgoyne's plan to drive on Albany and cut off New England. However, Howe sat on this thumbs and did nothing for a long time (and when he did, he sailed for Philadelphia, rather than up the Hudson River, but I digress). Clinton was another general who sat on this thumbs. Burgoyne and Cornwallis were go-getters in terms on not sitting around. That is why it easier to move them.

Granted, Washington's War is more abstract than simulation, but this is captured in the cards.

How many times did Lincoln want McClellan to move? I guess you can wish in one hand and crap in the other: see which one fills up first.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex H.
Germany
Berlin
flag msg tools
badge
welcome your reptilian overlords!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
isaacc wrote:


You see, I didn't know that. I own Battlelore and Memoir '44, the other Borg games, and I thought that's exactly what CDG meant.



When people talk about CDG on BGG they usually mean games like:
Twilight Struggle, Paths of Glory, Wilderness War, Hannibal:Rome vs. Carthage, Washington's War, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, Here I Stand, Successors, Sword of Rome, Pursuit of Glory, etc.
They play very different from the games you mentioned.
In any case, I know folks who had the same complaints you raised here with regard of CDG. I have stopped trying to convince them. Either you like the chaos and the luck and enjoy mitigating both by your clever hand management or you don't. There's plenty of games out there - I recommend to play the ones you really enjoy.
24 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Paradis
Canada
montreal
Québec
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
isaacc wrote:


I have a few card-driven games and the mechanic just doesn't sit right with me. I can't get past the arbitrariness of what I cannot do because I don't happen to have the right card in front of me; as well, playing a card I don't really want to and for no other reason than there really isn't anything better to do. It itches my brain.


Interesting... I do like CDG just because of that: You have to make do with Arbitrary limitations (serious or not, it all depends), and I find this models "real life" very much: you are NOT in control of every small factor!!! There is some games where you can indeed control everything, if it suits your play style better. "Go" and "Chess" and "Stratego" come into mind.

OR, you could try a more "middle of the road" approach. Some games use cards, but they are not the driving factor. I call them "Card-Enhanced Games".

BTW, just for fun, let me "rephrase" your text:

I have a few DICE-driven CRT games and the mechanic just doesn't sit right with me. I can't get past the arbitrariness of what I cannot do because I don't happen to have ROLLED the right DICE in front of me; as well, ROLLING a DIE I don't really want to and for no other reason than there really isn't anything better to do. It itches my brain.

P.S: Cool to know that there is other serious gamers I don't know about in the greater Montreal region!

P.P.S: I gave away for free two complete ASL and World in Flames game collections to keep away the pain. Yes, I am that bad. devil
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Zwinak
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't played a ton of CDG's, but I have to say I really dig the whole idea of having bits of history in my hand and letting them fly when I say so. Twilight Struggle is a blast, but maybe that's not really wargame to you, which I can understand. Unhappy King Charles! is a fairly tight system and has lots of options no matter what cards you get, since each hand has two "Core Cards" of 1 and 2 operations.

But I do see what you're getting at with paralysis. During my one play of Combat Commander: Europe, I felt completely stalled hand after hand, but perhaps I was just playing it badly.

May I ask which CDG's you've tried?

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In Commands and Colors and Combat Commander I find that if you're thinking about the games in a linear, literal fashion then they can appear absurd but if you realize that they don't model time and location in a linear fashion then they begin to make more sense.

In Combat Commander I like to think of every event that occurs between time track advances to be a "turn." If you look at all the stuff your dudes have accomplished between time advances then usually they've accomplished quite a bit, perhaps the same amount that would have been accomplished in a standard turn in another game. The time scale is fluid and can create a sense of tension once you have a couple of quick time advances and you realize you don't have as much time as you thought you did.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the cards are not only to limit command and control but also to simulate fog of war. A common criticism in Combat Commander is that your guys won't fire at troops moving up to them in the open if you don't have an opportunity fire action available. The common explanation given is that your men were reloading or distracted, which is fine. However, if you remember that time isn't linear in this game, you can also realize that those men were there all along and your guys didn't notice them. That move order didn't necessarily occur after your men were in position, it could have occurred before, or your troops were moving simultaneously. There's your fog of war. It's just a different approach from concealment markers or simultaneous plotted movement. It's also how the game models simultaneous real-time movement in a turn based format.

Some of these principles may be harder to apply to Commands and Colors given the nature of the game (scale and flat, open battlefields) but honestly I find my atrocious luck with dice to be far more limiting in that game than my hand.

Spamalama wrote:

But I do see what you're getting at with paralysis. During my one play of Combat Commander: Europe, I felt completely stalled hand after hand, but perhaps I was just playing it badly.

Hand management is definitely part of the game and is a learned skill. I'm still learning proper management after a few plays. You'll get better if you play more.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Iain K
United States
Arvada
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
isaacc wrote:

I've heard the rationalization that when you can't order a unit it's because you can't communicate with it.


Précisément!

The issue I have with CDGs is they are even more ignorant of DOCTRINE and the roll of orders than traditional wargames. Specifically, units are issued orders prior to an engagement, what laymen call standing orders. Further, countries have national tactical, operational, and strategic doctrines that dictate how units should behave.

In other words, units should being moving, fighting, holding their ground, etc, without their commander having to issue them any orders during the battle. They SHOULD be following their orders dictated prior to the battle, they SHOULD at the very least be following doctrine. In fact, they should have very little flexibility to stray from their doctrine.

Again all wargames ignore this to a large degree (saving several Gamers designs) ... but CDGs take the ignorance to the extreme.


Worse still, CDGs often make a situation more interesting by presenting gamers with tense choices, that never existed.

Example, in Paths of Glory, the otherwise tedious nature of WWI is masked by choices. Do you do something with the French or with the Russians! Why on earth can't both "do something" simultaneously? The game would be less interesting, but much more realistic. i.e. there is NO reason that the French and Russian could not simultaneously operate ... but restricting the gamer to chose between the two makes for a better game.

And that's the CDG bottom line. Often CDGs take rather uninteresting historical situations and make them interesting games by being very gamey.



10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
flag msg tools
Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
badge
http://thegamebox.byethost15.com/smf/
Avatar
mb
citizen k wrote:


Example, in Paths of Glory, the otherwise tedious nature of WWI is masked by choices. Do you do something with the French or with the Russians! Why on earth can't both "do something" simultaneously? The game would be less interesting, but much more realistic. i.e. there is NO reason that the French and Russian could not simultaneously operate ... but restricting the gamer to chose between the two makes for a better game.





Oddly, La Grande Guerre, a game I greatly respect,
seems to make this same effort - limiting the number of
attacks that uncoordinated allies can make in a
season. I think this is based on the historical aspect
where a reprieve granted by an offensive in another front
would be taken, rather than exploited as a chance to fully
express the attrition war. Without it though, the game
would fail completely - the combined might of Russia
and France could easily wear Germany down, if allowed
to attack in all salients with all forces.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Moshe Callen
Israel
Jerusalem
flag msg tools
designer
ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
badge
μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The C&C series is markedly different. It uses cards, but saying CDG usually indicates something using the evt/OP system like Twilight Struggle or the event of movement like Age of Napoleon.

The last of these gives one a wide range of options, and cards are used to pay for moves plus events from left-over cards in the next round.

To me, the OP sounds like you just don't like the C&C series which is not the same as CDGs.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Val Ruza
Canada
Elmira
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
licinius wrote:

P.P.S: I gave away for free two complete ASL and World in Flames game collections to keep away the pain. Yes, I am that bad. devil


Do you happen to have any more complete (or part for that matter) collections of either ASL and/or World in Flames that you would like to give away to keep the pain further away?
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Follow me for wargames!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I get the frustration. Historically, people didn't "get the choice" of action or having an event occur around them. They both happened, and events just didn't disappear because Option B was taken.

I'm not a fan of CDG's, but I play them because that's generally what people out here play. Those, and whatever just came out that week.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
whac3 wrote:
The C&C series is markedly different. It uses cards, but saying CDG usually indicates something using the evt/OP system like Twilight Struggle or the event of movement like Age of Napoleon.

The last of these gives one a wide range of options, and cards are used to pay for moves plus events from left-over cards in the next round.

To me, the OP sounds like you just don't like the C&C series which is not the same as CDGs.


I imagine the confusion arises from the fact that BGG lists both as "Campaign/Battle Card Driven" under mechanics. They're superficially similar but I never get the same feeling when I'm playing Twilight Struggle as I do when I play Commands and Colors.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ed Lizak
United States
Fairfield
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmb
Anyone who has been on a real life mission can tell you there are a ton of things that may be going wrong to cause friction in your plans. These things happen at every level and can build up to the point where nothing is happening or maybe things are happening but not what you planned when the order went out. "For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost".

It may be the units in question KNOW you want them to advance but they've been slow to form up, or encountered more difficult terrain than they expected, part of the force got lost and they need to reform. There could be countless reasons why things aren't going according to plan. A "simulation" would really need to be very complex to try and track all of these factors and incorporate them into the flow of the game. Or it could just accept that they all add up to the same thing - friction - and use some random variable to represent the entire range of things that could be going wrong (or right).

The term fog of war is also been thrown out there. I think it us the single greatest underrepresented aspect of warfare in our games. In real life why do units guard the flanks when there is no one there? Why do commanders ALWAYS try to have an uncommitted reserve that they can use quickly? Because they don't know what is out there and where they might need to plug a gap. How many games really put you in the same state of mind? Most allow you to see where everyone is and it's easy to calculate how far the opposition can move versus how far you can move. No real surprises even when dummy counters are in play.

So short of using an umpire how do you put the player in the same state? Allow the units to not only fail to move automatically, but give the opposition the ability to move multiple times without a response from the player. Does that mean the enemy moved 3 times as fast as your own men? Or that your own guys just sat there while the enemy moved around their flank? Not really, it represents the fact that they were moving and you didn't realize it until much later.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, a random move mechanic is much closer to representing reality than the traditional IGO-UGO mechanics employed in "simulations".

All that said, if you are frustrated by not having complete control and don't enjoy those types of games, then don't play them. Games are there to generate fun, not frustration.
20 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
flag msg tools
Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
badge
http://thegamebox.byethost15.com/smf/
Avatar
mb
J.L.Robert wrote:
I get the frustration. Historically, people didn't "get the choice" of action or having an event occur around them. They both happened, and events just didn't disappear because Option B was taken.



Clash of Monarchs put a nice bit of movement on this -
putting more random event type effects into good ol'
table format, whilst keeping card events to represent
situations that the strategic command level at least had
significant input into.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enrico Viglino
United States
Eugene
OR
flag msg tools
Slowed - BGG's moderation policies have driven me partially from here
badge
http://thegamebox.byethost15.com/smf/
Avatar
mb
Cincinnatus wrote:


Contrary to what a lot of people think, a random move mechanic is much closer to representing reality than the traditional IGO-UGO mechanics employed in "simulations".



Depends on scale, and level of abstraction.

If you're talking chit-pull, it improves the situation
over what most of the games of the 70's had. By the 80's,
you're seeing a lot of games on the cutting edge using
impulse systems (especially popular in VG). By the 90's
significant command control concepts moved over into
the mainstream from minis (GDW I think started this in mins/
The Gamers created several rich board systems for it),
where units might just not do what you want, and maybe not
exactly when you want it.

But chit-pull's always had a problem - lack of player influence
on the situation. This strikes me as nearly as unrealistic
as straight I-go-you-go. A commander should be able to focus
to push units to do what he wants. Actually, the hell with
my barb against the 70's - Zucker's Napoleonics handled things
VERY well back then.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Kluck
United States
Hudson
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
isaacc wrote:

Perhaps the answer to my dilemma is that CDG is just not for me and it is what it is. I really would like to like it though.

I feel your pain, I really do. I still not certain I like Maria or Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan because of exactly what you describe.

Paths of Glory is what gives me hope, the game is incredible and even with card draws and luck with dice anyone losing that games really deserves too.

On the tactical scale Fields of Fire uses cards but wouldn't be considered a CDG and while your plans are sure to devolve on the battlefield it won't be because of random card screwage ala Combat Commander.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Warren Bruhn
United States
Roseburg
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sitnam wrote:

Paths of Glory is what gives me hope, the game is incredible and even with card draws and luck with dice anyone losing that games really deserves to.


Andrew and everybody else who mentioned Paths of Glory are right. That's the game to play to see the potential of the mechanic. Among games that actually involve moving military units and resolving combat between them, it's the #1 rated wargame on BGG. One thing that is great about it is that each player has his own deck, and cards are added to that deck as the war escalates (mobilization, limited war, total war).

Another game that is fun, though not nearly as tense as Paths of Glory, is Sword of Rome. That is another one that has a deck for each player. Personally, I prefer that to playing out of a single deck.

There are alternatives to CDG for breaking up military action into smaller bits, rather than IGO/UGO. VG The Civil War uses generation of command points via a table for each side, followed by rolls of 2d6 each player to dice for initiative. How much each player gets to do at a time depends on the amount of difference in the numbers that the player rolled on the 2d6. Each play of this dice difference is called an impulse. That game lacks all the historical chrome of the events in a CDG like Paths of Glory, along with the choice between playing the card for the event or for ops points. But the tension and drama of the military campaigns is just as good, and there are plenty of hard choices to make between taking reinforcements, moving leaders, building fortifications and depots, or moving forces. This is a remarkably exciting strategic game that predates the CDG mechanic by a decade.
6 
 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.