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Subject: How do wargames simulate poor or changing leadership from the top? rss

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Brian Current
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I am not yet a grognard but I think about wargames in light of news and history.
My question is: “Are there ways that wargames with a strategic or grand strategic scale simulate being under poor political leadership or changes in political leadership?
For example are there games in which gameplay would be different having Neville Chamberlain as the political leader versus his successor Winston Churchill? (I know the joke – just look at the box for a while and then when Churchill is elected open it and begin playing) I am trying to stay out of recent or current politics with my question.
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Nomadic Gamer
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In ACW by TSR the leaders have seniority #s. The top general (Butler?)
stinks so you put him in command of an island off Virginia so the # 2
merely incompetent general can be put on a stack of troops...laugh
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They simulate poor leadership from the top by letting us take command.
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Jeremy Fridy
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davedanger wrote:
In ACW by TSR the leaders have seniority #s. The top general (Butler?)
stinks so you put him in command of an island off Virginia so the # 2
merely incompetent general can be put on a stack of troops...laugh


In For the People the generals with the highest seniority are Fremont and McClellan. If they are bypassed for Army Command when an Army is formed, the US loses Strategic Will (National Morale,) if you fire a general from command, you also lose strategic will based on their seniority (it's halved if they just lost a battle.) You do have some outs. Form a second rate army for them, OR play event cards that promote them to fight Indians in the West or to a Cabinet Staff post, either way they leave the board and no Morale is lost, since it's a "promotion".
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Jeremy Fridy
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In Totaler Krieg many cards are not playable until Churchill takes office, which is a card.
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In the advanced game of A House Divided, the number of activations varies by year and by North/South.
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Victory Games' The Civil War has Union generals coming into play randomly. The Union command structure is, quite literally, a mixed bag.
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Fifth Frontier War has ranked commanders. The highest ranked commander must be placed in command of a fleet, even if there is a better commander with him. Rearranging the commanders so the good ones lead the best fleets is an art form.
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Some games depicting the Seven Years War have a rule covering the shift in Russian policy after the death of Empress Elizabeth.
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SPI's Drive on Stalingrad had the infamous "Hitler Directive" rule which forced the German player to respond to the whims of Der Fuhrer.
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BC Indy wrote:
I am not yet a grognard but I think about wargames in light of news and history.
My question is: “Are there ways that wargames with a strategic or grand strategic scale simulate being under poor political leadership or changes in political leadership?
For example are there games in which gameplay would be different having Neville Chamberlain as the political leader versus his successor Winston Churchill? (I know the joke – just look at the box for a while and then when Churchill is elected open it and begin playing) I am trying to stay out of recent or current politics with my question.


In addition to the examples already given, random event variants, as in Rise and Decline of the Third Reich come to mind, not necessarily corresponding to actual occurrences.
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BC Indy wrote:
I am not yet a grognard but I think about wargames in light of news and history.
My question is: “Are there ways that wargames with a strategic or grand strategic scale simulate being under poor political leadership or changes in political leadership?
For example are there games in which gameplay would be different having Neville Chamberlain as the political leader versus his successor Winston Churchill? (I know the joke – just look at the box for a while and then when Churchill is elected open it and begin playing) I am trying to stay out of recent or current politics with my question.


To be effective it has to be done very carefully or people find methods of circumventing the system. It can also be controversial as people debate the merits of the different commanders. Chamberlain gets a bad press yet it was his government that declared war and did put into effect the military changes that, for example, produced victory in the Battle of Britain.
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Eric Walters
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One of my favorite systems were the optional command rules in John Schettler's eastern front operational-level games, particularly for Edelweiss and The Last Victory. To do certain operations in the game, you must obtain a "Command Decision" from the high command. These operations are always the "iffy" type--things like making withdrawals, leaving a city, transferring units between formations, etc. Can't do it without high command blessing. The mood of the high command will affect your chance of success (running from Reasonable to Uncertain to Obstinate to Outraged). You have to consult with certain leaders and you can add them "Weight of Opinion" in making your case. Use certain leaders too much and they might get removed/reassigned. Fail and you may be forced to disregard the high command using Initiative. But this may be perceived as Disobedience by the high command who may exact Punishment, removing/controlling leaders. Headquarters may be Controlled/Intimated.

This system gave you the eerie (and historical) feeling that you weren't sure who was the bigger enemy--your opponent on the game board or your own higher command!
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Lee Kennedy
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Some games that use cards, like Combat Commander: Europe and Commands & Colors: Ancients, represent leadership with different hand sizes. Poorer leadership = fewer cards = fewer options.

For the People gives each general an activation rating between 1 and 3. To activate a general (and his troops) you need to play a card with an equal or higher activation value. A 1 general can be activated by any card, a 3 general by 1/3 of the cards.
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I saw a computer wargame that ran the 1864 presidential election (based on what factors I couldn't say). If Lincoln lost, then the game ended with a Confederate victory.
 
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BC Indy wrote:

My question is: “Are there ways that wargames with a strategic or grand strategic scale simulate being under poor political leadership or changes in political leadership?


The specific wargame come to mind at strategic level that deals with changes in political leadership is the Japanese in Axis Empires: Dai Senso!. They were changing the government and pursued different strategic options given by the cards. meeple

But quite frankly, I don't think there is a huge difference made by political leadership at strategic or even grand strategic level.
 
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Eric Walters
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Am very anxiously awaiting MMP's/John Poniske's Lincoln's War, a game wherein a player can see the value of the "political generals" in the American Civil War...and thus make it difficult to get rid of them.
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In Red God of War: The Soviet Operation Mars, 1942, if the Soviets are not making sufficient progress in the campaign, Stalin will begin to divert supplies, and eventually troops, to the Stalingrad offensive in the south. On the other hand, if the campaign is going well, the theatre reserve (Third Tank army) will be released to exploit the success.
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Ethan McKinney
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Few of the replies seem to be actual answers, veering of onto operational, or even tactical, situations.

I don't know of any (beyond the good suggestions suggestions of Totaler Krieg and Dai Senso), but CDGs seem the most likely format with "deck changes" like Paths of Glory. "No Retreat" rules in conventional wargames are very difficult, given all the ambiguities ...
 
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La Grande Guerre & later Paths of Glory (maybe earlier examples I'm
not aware of?) force offensives by various mechanisms.

Peloponnesien War (solo) side-switching mechanic.

Vietnam (and other games) giving one side the consistent choice of
who gets to act next. Vietnam also has effectiveness of ARVN forces
determined by random leader selection - but the US can attempt removals,
at the highest level, by supporting coups.

Europa Universalis (wargame?) taking Empire of the Middle Ages' (not
a wargame) Monarch ratings idea - in EU, these influence economic,
technological, and diplomatic actions. The game also uses the strictest
military hierarchy rules I've seen, but these are probably too
restrictive; any loosening starts opening up room for loopholes
which violate the principle though, so it's tough to decide what
the rules should be.
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Hi there,

I believe it is Liberty Roads that has an explicit Hitler Approval track.

When you do well (from the criteria in the rules) he's happy, when ypou make him angry by losing battles and cities, his approval falls and you get hamstrung, till eventually he's so annoyed he sacks your commander and he's replaced.

I haven't read the rules, but it sounds like it adds an interesting dimension in that it forces you to think about how an erratic, unreasonable political leader can mess with your plans.

Check it out, \I hear good things about it. You go from invasion to the rhine
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Fury in the East has Hitler Directives to follow and also shows the Stalin effect by forcing the Russian units to attack if they are adjacent to German units.
The Punic Wars has the Romans electing new Consuls every turn (leaders are thrown in the cup every year and new ones are picked randomly).
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I was recently reading an AAR of Lebensraum by Simulations Canada. In that game leaders are replaced by pulling a leader chit out of cup to replace leaders that are removed by combat effects. I don't have the game but it seemed to simulate the way you never know how good or bad a general is going to be until he is actually in combat. I thought it was a really neat idea and would like to get the game, however it is out of print.

Dan Stueber
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elbmc1969 wrote:
Few of the replies seem to be actual answers, veering of (sic) onto (sic) operational, or even tactical, situations.



And yet, some replies were bloody brilliant, on-topic, and succinct.

For example, mine.

Quote:
Quote:
BC Indy wrote:
I am not yet a grognard but I think about wargames in light of news and history.
My question is: “Are there ways that wargames with a strategic or grand strategic scale simulate being under poor political leadership or changes in political leadership?”
For example are there games in which gameplay would be different having Neville Chamberlain as the political leader versus his successor Winston Churchill? (I know the joke – just look at the box for a while and then when Churchill is elected open it and begin playing) I am trying to stay out of recent or current politics with my question.



In addition to the examples already given, random event variants, as in Rise and Decline of the Third Reich come to mind, not necessarily corresponding to actual occurrences.


Can't please everyone, I guess. whistle

Quote:
I don't know of any (beyond the good suggestions suggestions of Totaler Krieg and Dai Senso), but CDGs seem the most likely format with "deck changes" like Paths of Glory. "No Retreat" rules in conventional wargames are very difficult, given all the ambiguities ...


Disagree, naturally. Random chit draws, as in Third Reich would be another possibility. Not a good one, necessarily, but another possibility. I don't recall all the possibilities from Third Reich, stuff like Turkey entering the war, early American entry, etc. Certainly events like these could have been tied to political leadership.
 
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ericmwalters wrote:
Am very anxiously awaiting MMP's/John Poniske's Lincoln's War, a game wherein a player can see the value of the "political generals" in the American Civil War...and thus make it difficult to get rid of them.


I believe John also said somewhere that there are also mandatory event cards that require you to move an army and attack. Basically, you're not ready, but the "powers that be" want to see results.
 
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