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Subject: Wargame: Go historical, or not? rss

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Mike DeSanto
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I am working on a solo wargame campaign. It will be very story-driven, with several pages of text between scenarios and a range of options, also with significant text, during each scenario. Individual personalities will be a big part of the story.

I am trying to decide if I should make it a historical game. I see three choices:

1) Depict actual historical events.
2) Use a historical setting but tell a fictional story.
3) Use a fictional setting and story.

I asked this question in the Armchair General forums (www.strategyzoneonline.com/forum, the Boardgaming forum) and the vote seems to be tending toward #1 and #2.

What do folks here think?

Mike DeSanto
www.enter.net/~mdesanto
 
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Barry Kendall
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Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but why must your choice be exclusive? You could begin with a historical design (which would help validate your systems anyway) and add either a fictionalized scenario or include an alternative map or terrain situation for a different play experience using common rules and similar forces.
 
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Richard Irving
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It depends on what you are trying.

If the strategic level (i.e. players are in role of generals) you probably cannot get away with fictional campaigns, except with a science fiction, alternate history or near future setting. The history is too well known.

OTOH, a game on the tactical level allows much more leeway. The game could represent an anonymous squad in WW2, fighting in an anonymous town in France--like the TV series Combat!

 
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Mike DeSanto
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rri1 wrote:
It depends on what you are trying.

If the strategic level (i.e. players are in role of generals) you probably cannot get away with fictional campaigns, except with a science fiction, alternate history or near future setting. The history is too well known.

OTOH, a game on the tactical level allows much more leeway. The game could represent an anonymous squad in WW2, fighting in an anonymous town in France--like the TV series Combat!



The game will be Tactical. Each counter will represent either an individual or a squad, nothing larger. I am considering three plotlines:

1) Wild West: Main character and deputies hunt down murdering bandits.
2) WWII - Long Range Desert Group: Raiding behind enemy lines in North Africa.
3) Sci Fi: Space Mercenaries. I'm a sucker for starship combat.


An eariler post asked about mixing the scenarios. The scenarios will form a linear campaign that tells a story. Choices along the way may change the unit makeup, maybe add or subtract a secondary character, but the story will be pretty well set.

I am testing the theory that a single scenario does not need lots of replayability, if there are enough scenarios in the series. I have the theory (backed up by about 10,000 video games) that 10 scenarios with no replay value is just as good as 1 scenario with lots of replay value.

I would be glad to discuss that theory.

Mike DeSanto
www.enter.net/~mdesanto
 
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Steve Bernhardt
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Space mercs, you aren't bound by historical settings, and can have cool toys Read the Dorsai series by Gordon Dickson for inspiration. Or Hammer's Slammers...
 
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Robert Wesley
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I'd concur upon the "Space Mercs" theme as well, for most of the same reasons. Now, someone else mentioned somewhere else that a GAME based upon "Firefly/Serenity" would be highly desirious for them and perhaps others as well, so you could thinly veil YOURS based upon that. It even combines the 'Old West' genre into a Sci-Fi setting, but drop the "ingratuitous" Chinese yapping parts since they SHOULD have been 'spick`n' "Hispanianic" in tribute TO the 'first' "Vaqueros". That way, you won't BE outright 'copying' them and can still remain within that context. Hey, you might even consider some topics such as "the Mark of XERO-G" or "the Cisco System Kid" and even "Tuco-'when you 'have' to 'shoot', SHOOT-don't TALK'!"
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well, historical events can be constricting. So can fictional events if you wrote the story earlier or are using someone else's. I rather like the WWII idea, but that is just me. Space and Wild West have been done a lot in this sort of format, WWII hasn't been so much (I am tallkign about the 'adventure/plotline' business not the individual/squad combat which is obviously already well represented by ASL and others.)
 
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John O'Haver PhoDOGrapher
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My favorite western movie is The Wild Bunch set just prior to Americas entry into World War I.

Ya gots robbers, railrod dicks and bounty hunters. Mexican bandits, Mexican warlords, Mexican Indians, Germans, early semi-automatic pistols including the Mauser Broomhandle I think, as well as revolvers, rifles and shotguns, water cooled machine guns, trains, horses and automobiles.
 
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Robert Wesley
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That's a GREAT 'one' indeed, while I'm partial to "Joe Kidd" with 'Clint Eastwood' & 'John Saxon' & 'Robert Duvall' & even 'Dick Van Patten'(''Eight is Enough'') with plenty of them "Malpaso" folks too! You know like 'Don Stoud', 'Clint Ritchie', 'Paul Koslo', etc. There's been plenty of lesser known, but easily recognized 'bit actors' in many of his films. To me, it was nice to see that HE managed to keep them well employed with some of them being cast as the ''bad guys'' and occasionally, the ''good guys'' in his many productions.
[b]_sauron_
`ninja<---the 'stranger with NO name'
 
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Alexander Brady
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I think that it might be a lot of work, but a histric start with a possibility for a historic base with capability for deviation.
 
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James Pinnion
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Actually I'm not sure about any of the three. The first out would have to be the desert one for me: I cant see any of the scenarios offering all of a "fair fight", not much deviation for of story line for future scenario's and realism.
I agree that the star fighting one may suffer from lack of thematic pull. However it does give you a lot of freedom to make things up without worrying too much about realism!
The bandit hunt sounds most doable; with plenty of the characters being replaceable; but again the fair fight possibility seems like it may have to be quite constructed if you want to create a campaign of ten scenarios. I'd be most interested if the ten scenarios were arranged in order of difficulty for one side or the other; perhaps representing the growing strength of law and order in the west - then when introducing a new player; an experienced player could pick how much of an advantage to give his opponent by picking the scenario.

I'd actually recommend a fantasy setting for this sort of thing - admitadly it's a well trodden path; but the reason for that is because it's easy to make in a fun way. Otherwise I'd go for an anonymous and small set of foot soldiers skirmishing in a "popular" war.
For something more offbeat, perhaps a condottierre campaign in Italy? Because the mercenaries mostly choose to surrender when they had been outfought; the character regeneration would fit perfectly with a war campaign fought between the same opponents.
 
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Michael Von Ahnen
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My opinion is that if you are trying to interest the traditional wargamers, that you will want to make it historic. Even bad wargames (this is not an opinion in any way of your game concept) sell if they are historic. Some people will buy them for the simulation aspect. But many non historic wargames flounder, even if some have some interesting mechanics.

I have zero interest in games like Blitzkrieg, Tactics II (even though I own it), and Kreigspeil. I know people who like games like Blitzkrieg, but frankly, they would probably would be considered "eurogamers" based on the other games they play.
 
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Francesco lari
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Maybe a near future wargame would be an interesting choice.
Why don't do a wargame set on Mars or Titan?
 
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