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Subject: Which wargames actually give me complete or near complete command? rss

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Salim Khoury
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I asked this question at the end of a recent thread that was asking for a comparison of Up Front & Combat Commander. I had a few good responses but I am really interested in hearing more suggestions and opinion so I thought I'd give my question a more fair shot and not pollute the OP from the other thread...

I was thinking about the fact that both UF & CC have the "Chaotic" element, the randomness of the events and the lack of flexibility to do what you want when you want (gotta have the card to do it, right?), and it caused me to wonder what games you might suggest that bear resemblance to CC but open that flexibility up more.

I'm not sure I even know how to ask it but I guess what I mean to ask is what game would you guys suggest (I'm just assuming one exists) that is as tightly knit, as well designed, as fun to play as CC but is not trying to simulate the chaos of war so much and allows the players to determine if, when, why, & how certain decisions get made.

I love CC but I know I would also love a game that gave me the ultimate command ability and I certainly know that a couple of the people I tried playing CC with did not embrace the chaos as much and so this might open doors for more play time...

I am still a noob in the wargame arena I own all of the Combat Commander Series, I also own and like all of the Commands & Colors: Napoleonics Series. I'm not someone who will own too many wargames especially not of overlapping scales. I love these games but to try and clarify a little what I want is a game that does not limit what I can do by what cards I have. I want to be able to out maneuver my opponent then blow him up as I see fit with a fair rule set. Not get there and be ticked because I don't have a card that lets me attack with the left side of my army. For the record, I'm not pooping on these two games. Combat Commander is one of my favorite games and I really like C&C: N. I just want to add to my collection and this is the direction I'd like to go next (I think). It will give me an entirely different experience and likely be more attractive to at least a couple of my gaming buddies...let me know what leads the pack in this realm.

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Jacovis
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Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 gives pretty clear battlefield knowledge, if that's the only concern. I has been compared to chess in that sense quite often. I enjoy it a lot, as I do Commands and Colors Ancients and Combat Commander. Also, the CoH games are simply gorgeous.

Good luck with your search!

Jacovis
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In ASL (and Starter Kits), you can do what you want with every Good Order unit. Leaders provide bonuses and Rally points, but are not required for action.

Also, ASL does something that many other squad-level games (eg CC, CoH, FF) do not. Every unit may move and fire every turn. You aren't limited to moving only so many per turn based on actions, command points, initiative, or leader range. You never have a lone unit doing nothing on the edge of the board simply because you can't afford to spend a precious action making him useful.
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You might try one of the ASL Starter Kits. The scale is the same as CC, but you have a lot more control over your units - basically, you can move and do combat with all of them every turn, subject to broken morale and other adverse effects of the enemy shooting back.

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Jacovis wrote:
Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 gives pretty clear battlefield knowledge, if that's the only concern. I has been compared to chess in that sense quite often. I enjoy it a lot, as I do Commands and Colors Ancients and Combat Commander. Also, the CoH games are simply gorgeous.

Good luck with your search!

Jacovis


Awesome, this is a new suggestion. I know it is well liked , I didn't know it opens things up in this manner, thanks.
 
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Salim Khoury
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ASL was suggested in the earlier post, isn't it tough to find right now, OOP? For whatever reason ASL has intimidated me, I guess I need to look into it more...thanks.
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Salimo wrote:
ASL was suggested in the earlier post, isn't it tough to find right now, OOP?


MMP has a pretty terrible track record for keeping ASL modules in print, but I believe the Start Kits are easy to pick up.

Quote:
For whatever reason ASL has intimidated me


It wouldn't be the 200-page rule book, by any chance?
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Salimo wrote:
I also own and like all of the Commands & Colors: Napoleonics Series. I'm not someone who will own too many wargames especially not of overlapping scales. I love these games but to try and clarify a little what I want is a game that does not limit what I can do by what cards I have.

You might have a look at Napoleon's War: The 100 Days / Napoleon's War II: The Gates of Moscow, which are quite a bit like Commands & Colors without the cards. You are limited only by the number of commands you can issue. What you do with those command points is entirely up to you. If you don't like the minis and want counters instead, Hold the Line has basically the same system.
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Robert Stuart
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For that, you want Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943 (or Awakening the Bear).
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Salim Khoury
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This is all great, keep em coming. Would Napoleon's Triumph fit the bill? I Can't quite tell...
 
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The games from Lock 'n Load might work. The only aspect that might not fit is the chit-pull mechanism. With this there may be turns where you don't activate some units but other than that you're free to do what you want and the rules are not too difficult to get into.

The Great Battles of History series is another set of games I really enjoy that might fit as well. The rules are more complex but manageable. I enjoy these because the unit facing and formations are an important aspect of the game.
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Just about any game (especially introductory) from the classic
days of hobby - people didn't even start tinkering with things like
limiting the amount of control players had until the late '70's.
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I would argue that virtually NO wargames give you "complete control" over your units, with the exception of something like Bonaparte at Marengo and such games.

Many wargames do give you a lot of knowledge of the battlefield, and allow you to do things with all of your units (or at least try to), but perfect knowledge does not mean perfect control.

Wargames, however, use DICE as a tool to resolve actions, and as such there will always be a point at which you lose control of your units. For instance, in ASL you can move all your units, but they may go berserk, surrender, or fail to rally against your will. In a simple odd-ratio CRT game, your 4-1 attack might go awry despite your best intentions and meticulous planning.

The dice can represent myriad factors in combat, but what they generally do is loosen players' control over situations, so that we aren't simply playing a Chess variant, or a Euro game. Because that's what wargaming is all about anyway: making things happen despite the fact that you aren't completely in control of things. It's a beautiful metaphor for life itself.
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calandale wrote:
Just about any game (especially introductory) from the classic
days of hobby - people didn't even start tinkering with things like
limiting the amount of control players had until the late '70's.


I was just about to write the same thing. If the OP is new to wargaming, I can understand where he's coming from, as most newer designs place a significant amount of emphasis on injecting chaos/fog of war elements into their designs. This of course (and ironically, in terms of the OP) is in response to the complaints of wargamers who for years felt that the designs of the time gave players an unrealistic level of total control of their forces. These original wargamers were also military history buffs, and they knew from their readings that most battles were often confusing affairs with both sides blundering about, in great contrast to the "God's Eye" view and total control afforded in the wargames of the day.

Now, amusingly, we find a newer generation of wargamer who would prefer less chaos and more control! If that's what's desired, all one has to do is to look up just about any wargame published before 1985.
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desertfox2004 wrote:
calandale wrote:
Just about any game (especially introductory) from the classic
days of hobby - people didn't even start tinkering with things like
limiting the amount of control players had until the late '70's.


I was just about to write the same thing. If the OP is new to wargaming, I can understand where he's coming from, as most newer designs place a significant amount of emphasis on injecting chaos/fog of war elements into their designs. This of course (and ironically, in terms of the OP) is in response to the complaints of wargamers who for years felt that the designs of the time gave players an unrealistic level of total control of their forces. These original wargamers were also military history buffs, and they knew from their readings that most battles were often confusing affairs with both sides blundering about, in great contrast to the "God's Eye" view and total control afforded in the wargames of the day.

Now, amusingly, we find a newer generation of wargamer who would prefer less chaos and more control! If that's what's desired, all one has to do is to look up just about any wargame published before 1985.


Agreed. Good points.

I was about to recommend that, for starters, the OP consider games without cards.

The AH "classics" and the next generation or two of their descendants -- a number of which are still in print -- are a good place to start.

And if you want to eliminate the chance involved with dice driven CRTs, the Bonaparte at Marengo or its larger sibling Napoleon's Triumph.
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Rindu wrote:
I would argue that virtually NO wargames give you "complete control" over your units, with the exception of something like Bonaparte at Marengo and such games.

Many wargames do give you a lot of knowledge of the battlefield, and allow you to do things with all of your units (or at least try to), but perfect knowledge does not mean perfect control.

Wargames, however, use DICE as a tool to resolve actions, and as such there will always be a point at which you lose control of your units. For instance, in ASL you can move all your units, but they may go berserk, surrender, or fail to rally against your will. In a simple odd-ratio CRT game, your 4-1 attack might go awry despite your best intentions and meticulous planning.

The dice can represent myriad factors in combat, but what they generally do is loosen players' control over situations, so that we aren't simply playing a Chess variant, or a Euro game. Because that's what wargaming is all about anyway: making things happen despite the fact that you aren't completely in control of things. It's a beautiful metaphor for life itself.


Thanks, and I figured that's why I also wrote "near complete". If I wanted to play Chess, I'd play chess.
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RodgerPW wrote:
The games from Lock 'n Load might work. The only aspect that might not fit is the chit-pull mechanism. With this there may be turns where you don't activate some units but other than that you're free to do what you want and the rules are not too difficult to get into.


A point of clarification, the "Lock n Load" series of games (Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes, Lock 'n Load: Forgotten Heroes – Vietnam, Lock 'n Load: Heroes of the Gap) do not use a chit-pull mechanism. The World at War Series/Nations at War series do!
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desertfox2004 wrote:
calandale wrote:
Just about any game (especially introductory) from the classic
days of hobby - people didn't even start tinkering with things like
limiting the amount of control players had until the late '70's.


I was just about to write the same thing. If the OP is new to wargaming, I can understand where he's coming from, as most newer designs place a significant amount of emphasis on injecting chaos/fog of war elements into their designs. This of course (and ironically, in terms of the OP) is in response to the complaints of wargamers who for years felt that the designs of the time gave players an unrealistic level of total control of their forces. These original wargamers were also military history buffs, and they knew from their readings that most battles were often confusing affairs with both sides blundering about, in great contrast to the "God's Eye" view and total control afforded in the wargames of the day.

Now, amusingly, we find a newer generation of wargamer who would prefer less chaos and more control! If that's what's desired, all one has to do is to look up just about any wargame published before 1985.


This is funny, and thanks for the feedback. I am certainly new to wargaming and I seem to be a rare player. No offense but the historical aspects to the game are great and add to the theme but I'm not a history buff, I'm not even a war buff, I'm just looking for fun games to play. As I stated earlier, I do enjoy the fog of war element provided by the games I have played, now I just want another experience. One that I guess many of you would regard as less realistic but for me would be rewarding. Give me rules, give me parameters, give me a beautiful production, give me fantastic depth, and give me as much realism as possible without limiting my ability to move or attack (or both) when I'm ready to. Honestly it may be that simple.

I'm totally ok with dice, cards, or other mechanics used to create some randomness (hits, misses, kills, etc.). But, I want to be able to move whatever units I want, when I want, and attack with them when I want (for the most part).

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dean_1230 wrote:
RodgerPW wrote:
The games from Lock 'n Load might work. The only aspect that might not fit is the chit-pull mechanism. With this there may be turns where you don't activate some units but other than that you're free to do what you want and the rules are not too difficult to get into.


A point of clarification, the "Lock n Load" series of games (Band of Heroes, Forgotten Heroes, Heroes of the Gap) do not use a chit-pull mechanism. The World at War/Nations at War series do!


Would you please define this chit-pull mechanism being referenced?
 
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Eldard wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
calandale wrote:
Just about any game (especially introductory) from the classic
days of hobby - people didn't even start tinkering with things like
limiting the amount of control players had until the late '70's.


I was just about to write the same thing. If the OP is new to wargaming, I can understand where he's coming from, as most newer designs place a significant amount of emphasis on injecting chaos/fog of war elements into their designs. This of course (and ironically, in terms of the OP) is in response to the complaints of wargamers who for years felt that the designs of the time gave players an unrealistic level of total control of their forces. These original wargamers were also military history buffs, and they knew from their readings that most battles were often confusing affairs with both sides blundering about, in great contrast to the "God's Eye" view and total control afforded in the wargames of the day.

Now, amusingly, we find a newer generation of wargamer who would prefer less chaos and more control! If that's what's desired, all one has to do is to look up just about any wargame published before 1985.


Agreed. Good points.

I was about to recommend that, for starters, the OP consider games without cards.

The AH "classics" and the next generation or two of their descendants -- a number of which are still in print -- are a good place to start.

And if you want to eliminate the chance involved with dice driven CRTs, the Bonaparte at Marengo or its larger sibling Napoleon's Triumph.


Ok, so you think Napoleon's Triumph may fit the bill? Could you tell me a little more @ this one, so far, of the games listed my highest interest is in Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 and Napoleon's Triumph.

Edit - Typos
 
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Salimo wrote:
dean_1230 wrote:
RodgerPW wrote:
The games from Lock 'n Load might work. The only aspect that might not fit is the chit-pull mechanism. With this there may be turns where you don't activate some units but other than that you're free to do what you want and the rules are not too difficult to get into.


A point of clarification, the "Lock n Load" series of games (Band of Heroes, Forgotten Heroes, Heroes of the Gap) do not use a chit-pull mechanism. The World at War/Nations at War series do!


Would you please define this chit-pull mechanism being referenced?


With a chit-pull mechanism, all the units are assigned to a command (be it company, battalion etc). At the beginning of a round, you pull a chit/counter out of a cup. The units of that command are then eligible to move/fire/etc.

In the WaW/NaW series, there are "end turn" counters in the cup and after 2 (or sometimes 3) of the end turn counters are pulled, the round is over. This can result in some units not activating each turn as the end turn counters came out before the counters for those units.
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Salimo wrote:

Thanks, and I figured that's why I also wrote "near complete". If I wanted to play Chess, I'd play chess.


Yeah I was just being a philosopher there, and after I posted I thought, "well he did say near-complete."

I agree with other posters that point you toward older games. However, I would also HIGHLY recommend A Victory Lost, which is unfortunately out of print. This game has the old-school CRT battles, along with perfect knowledge and ability to move everything, but it is chit-pull. But none of the chits are "chaos" chits...it just means that you might not get to move right when you want to.

I recommend this one because it "allows the players to determine if, when, why, & how certain decisions get made." See, in non-chit-pull, IGO-UGO games, you just move everything, declare your attacks and then roll on the CRT. All of your forces are thus automatically coordinated, unless you are a horrible player. Chit pull games force you to think a little more realistically. You might pull off an amazing breakthrough, but then the next two chits are your opponent's and your troops get cut off and destroyed. So you have to consider that possibility and plan accordingly...yet you still have "near complete" control over your own troops, barring interruption of the other player. This is a very accurate look at the sorts of decisions real commanders have to make.

I think that in general, the "higher" the scale, the more "control" you have. It's really tactical level games that introduce chaos and factors such as morale, which cause units to break/rout/do things you don't want them to/run out of ammo/etc. Stick with operational/strategic-level games, and avoid CDGs.
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Salimo wrote:
dean_1230 wrote:
RodgerPW wrote:
The games from Lock 'n Load might work. The only aspect that might not fit is the chit-pull mechanism. With this there may be turns where you don't activate some units but other than that you're free to do what you want and the rules are not too difficult to get into.


A point of clarification, the "Lock n Load" series of games (Band of Heroes, Forgotten Heroes, Heroes of the Gap) do not use a chit-pull mechanism. The World at War/Nations at War series do!


Would you please define this chit-pull mechanism being referenced?


Think of chit-pull like a set of cards, each card permitting the holder to perform a specific action, or even an entire turn. The cards are suffled, and the first card is revealed. The player(s) affected by that card perform the action (some games give the players the option of acting.) Once that card has been affected, the next card is drawn.

Because producing cards is more expensive than a sheet, the information on the cards can be printed on counters (or counters with additional info on tables.) The counters, or chits, are then placed in a cup or a pile, and mixed. They are then drawn one at a time as one would draw the cards.

Other types of chits may be events, such as terminating a turn, or change in weather.

In many cames using chit-pull for command & control, a chit may have the identification of a higher command -- say a corps headquarters -- and when it is pulled, the owner of that corps can activiate all the counters -- in this case, divisions/brigades -- in that command. When the player is done, the next chit it pulled.

Examples of chit-pull systems are Across 5 Aprils and A Victory Lost.

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Salimo wrote:
Ok, so you think Napoleon's Triumph may fit the bill? Could you tell me a little more @ this one, so far, of the games listed my highest interest is in Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 and Napoleon's Triumph.


I don't know anything about Conflict of Heroes, so I can't address that one.

In Napoleon's Triumph, corps commanders are important. A command activates a corps, containing from 2-8 units.

Bonaparte at Marengo has fewer units, so the command activation system is not present. Additionally, in BaM, players may select from one of three different types of combat -- maneuver, bombardment, and assault -- whereas the larger number of units/scale in NT caused the designer to employ a single, "unified" combat to reduce complexity.
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desertfox2004 wrote:
calandale wrote:
Just about any game (especially introductory) from the classic
days of hobby - people didn't even start tinkering with things like
limiting the amount of control players had until the late '70's.


...as most newer designs place a significant amount of emphasis on injecting chaos/fog of war elements into their designs. This of course (and ironically, in terms of the OP) is in response to the complaints of wargamers who for years felt that the designs of the time gave players an unrealistic level of total control of their forces. These original wargamers were also military history buffs, and they knew from their readings that most battles were often confusing affairs with both sides blundering about, in great contrast to the "God's Eye" view and total control afforded in the wargames of the day.

Now, amusingly, we find a newer generation of wargamer who would prefer less chaos and more control! If that's what's desired, all one has to do is to look up just about any wargame published before 1985.


Regarding this comment which is a good one...

Would you agree that these older games are on one extreme with the "God's Eye" view and that games like Combat Commander are closer to the other extreme?

If so let's label the "God's Eye" game (Chess like?) a 1 on the scale and CC a 10. I would like to hear about games between 3-4.

Edit - apparently I can't type, again.
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