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  • #73943
    irishserb
    Participant

    … to know if you’ve won?

    I ask this as I was recently reading a game scenario that had these elaborate and convaluted victory conditions.  Reading them was a little like reading tax law.  After considering them for a couple of days, it occurred to me that I usually embrace an objective, develop expectations as to what I should be able to achieve with the given forge, and then play the game towards what I perceive as the objective.  Usually the objective is something simple, like taking the high ground, destroying the enemies warfighting ability, or denying them resources, but those objectives can come with strings, like in taking the high ground you must take the box of twinkies, the port-a-potty, and tree shaped like a chicken.  If you take all of the highground, but the enemy eats the twinkies, you lose.   Dude, if I achieve a 10 to 1 kill ratio, destroy your ability to fight, capture the rest of your troops, and do it in less time than given, I won.  Whether you eat the twinkies or not, in my heart, I know I won.

     

    Another thing that mixed into thinking was game I played a couple of months back, a space fleet game, where I had to destroy a mining operation.  I had a favorably sized force, and rolled a favorable start positon (actually bad deployment for the enemy).  During the game, I made two huge tactical mistakes, but in the end achived the objective.

    During the game and after the first mistake, I could not shake the feeling that it was a lost cause.  I had screwed up and lost the game.  When it was over, I still had a favorable kill ratio, did it within the time envelope, and achieved the main objective of blowing up the base.  But… I should have done a lot better, given the set-up.  The victory conditions gave me an overwhelming victory, but in my heart, I knew that I was beaten during the game.  The other player out-played me, and was just given a nearly unwinable situation.  The victory conditions were irrelevent.

     

    So, I am curious.  Are victory conditions important to you?  Or is winning and losing more of an internal issue, or otherwise, often detirmined in a different way?

    #73945
    zippyfusenet
    Participant

    …elaborate and convaluted victory conditions. Reading them was a little like reading tax law.  

    Sounds unpleasant. Well chosen victory conditions shape a game and give it flavor. Poorly chosen victory conditions distort the game and suck the joy out of it.

    The old ‘meeting engagement with balanced forces attempting to destroy the enemy’ gets repetitious, flat, kna’wha’mean?

    http://oglaf.com/gaugamela/

    Victory conditions don’t have to be complex. ‘Shoot down the enemy fighters’ is dull, and often results in an inconclusive, turning dogfight. ‘Protect the bombers against the enemy interceptors/shoot down the bombers before they destroy the bridge’ is a much better game. ‘The top gunner in the lead bomber has a personal grudge against the Fiat company, and gets 2 extra VP for every hit he scores on a CR.42’ is a silly, fussy distraction.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    #73950
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I agree with irishserb.

    “Binary” victory/defeat conditions (where winning or losing is like a switch that can only ever be in an “on” position or an “off” position) don’t capture the intricacies of reality well enough, nor the intricacies of fiction for that matter.

    Some rulesets use victory point systems to add more complexity and make the matter of victory/defeat more of a sliding scale, but I find victory points artificial, and I don’t like boiling down the result of a game to cold numbers that turn the actual “in-world” events into something ancillary.

    Players tend to know what’s a good accomplishment and what’s a failure from the “story” of the game. It also allows players to walk away after a concluded game with some notion of what they did well instead of fretting the numbers, eg. “at least I gave those Jomsvikings a bloody nose!”. And if an ambivalent conclusion to a battle or skirmish leaves the players with divergent subjective conceptions of who won and who lost, that’s perfectly fine! I welcome it.

    Of course, all this is not to say that a game shouldn’t have some story as to what the specific goals and motivations of each side are. I’m just saying I don’t see the necessity for “official”, strictly quantifiable victories and defeats.

    Campaigns are an exception, I suppose, unless a campaign has been designed to involve freeform, abstract, intuitive storytelling as a means of setting the conditions for the next battle based on what happened in the previous one.

    Tournaments are another exception in the case of games designed to be conducive to that sort of gaming, but that’s not my scene.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Rhoderic.
    #73951
    irishserb
    Participant

    I agree completely with you Zippy.  I guess “well chosen” is the key here.  I like a scenario that has a mission to it, and unbalanced is great, as far as I am concerned.  What I often see, strikes me as being more or less, balanced force meeting engagements that have goofy victory conditions to give them flavor, or otherwsie, contrived objectives with unjustified and sometimes unjustifyable military inportance.

    I guess that is why I focus so much on campaigns these days.  They create reasons for things to be done, and unbalanced scenarios that can be a hoot.  For me, winning the game, or feeling like I’ve won or lost is rarely decided by some sort of subjective point system.

    I guess that I just find that often, these point systems/victory conditions yield “false” wins or loses, and most recently, I found myself on the winning end of one of these.  So, I was just curious if it is just customary for authers to include them, or if they are actually relied on.  My gaming groups have rarely relied on them.

    #73961
    willz
    Participant

    Shoot them games are great but if victory conditions are required I have always found simple victory conditions work well with any scenario, keep it simple shipmate (KISS) has always been my mantra.

    Last weekend I played a WW2 wargame with an umpire, both sides were not told of the victory conditions.  I felt both sides played better tactically and in period, by not knowing x objective or item was worth so many points.  We had to game by the seat of our pants and work out what was important for the battle / mission / campaign, had an excellent game even though I lost, I lost gloriously.

    I would highly recommend gaming with objectives but not knowing what they worth, does not cloud the mind with false aims and targets.

    #73963
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    As I wrote in one of my most-viewed and commented-on blog posts,

    “In the past decade or so I have become convinced of the virtue and value of tightly framed scenarios with fixed turn duration and clear victory conditions, as an important part of the High Quality Gaming Experience.”

    For my full explanation, see here:

    http://bloodybigbattles.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/victory-conditions-in-wargames.html

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

    https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BBB_wargames/info

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Chris Pringle.
    #73969

    Seems like a quantitative vs qualitative situation. They both have their merits if properly applied to the scenario. I’m not sure I really have a preference but I do believe complex quantitative goals can diminish my enjoyment of a game. In real life I think complex goals tend to lead to chaos when timing, command and communications break down.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #73974
    Norm S
    Participant

    I think we need victory conditions in any scenario, the framework will provide direction.

    They are essential when playing against someone who ‘has to win’ and could not be relied upon to have a subjective view at the end of play as to who had the better game.
    We tend to end a game by a) completing the victory conditions, 2) discussing whether the game could have gone a different way and 3) making a judgement who got the better game.

    Often, we run out of time and cannot complete a game in an evening, so having enjoyed the experience of play, we just talk about how the game would have been likely to pan out. Both of us play to win as per the victory conditions, but neither of us feel we have to win – makes game play more enjoyable.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Norm S.
    #73979
    Mike
    Keymaster

    My sci-fi games normally have conditions for major and minor victories.

    Such as blow up the bridge = minor.

    Blow up the bridge and destroy over 40% of any enemy you encounter = major.

    In a campaign setting a major victory gives you more points to bolster your force but at what cost does the extra fighting come?

     

    Another example would be that both sides have a major victory to extract a person.

    But one side has a minor victory if they simply stop the other side from extracting him at all.

     

    #73981
    willz
    Participant

    If you lost, then you should be claiming it was a stupid system, what’s wrong with you, anyway? 😀 Seriously though, in the game you describe, both sides were given objectives I would imagine?

    Tim I walked through the door rolled two D6 and told to lay my troops out.  It was great fun the Germans had been told to head for Paris and the French to head for Berlin and the battle was in Belgium, but what we were not informed was what each tank, vehicle, village or holding ground was worth in points for victory conditions.  I loved it.

    When I said lost gloriously I meant to say “I carried out tactical redeployment of current forces available”

     

    #74028
    MartinR
    Participant

    If I’m designing a scenario, my general preference is to do a short list of objectives for each side (generally 2 to 4 max) based on the historical situation. They are usually something around doing as well or better than their historical counterparts, or at least something militarily probable. The briefings are kept secret for each side. Sometimes I do separate briefings for each player.

    The players can explain to everyone else at the end why they have “won”.

    I’m quite happy to play games with open objectives, and those complex mathematical and logical victory conditions where you do lots of adding up of points etc, I just can’t be bothered to design them myself! Different kind of game.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by MartinR.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #74030
    Alexander Wasberg
    Participant

    Victory conditions makes the game more interesting for sure, as long as they are cleverly crafted.

    #74042
    Blackhat
    Participant

    I am in favour of simple victory conditions – I am a big fan of the “hold 2 objectives from a possible 3” type of conditions and also a fixed number of turns.  The Neil Thomas OHW scenarios work well because they are clear about winning and limited to 15 turns.

     

    Mike

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Blackhat.

    Black Hat Miniatures -
    http://www.www.blackhat.co.uk/

    #74068
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    Yes, you should have victory conditions to drive the game forwards. But victory conditions should not determine who has “won” the game. 😉

    “Victory conditions” really should be named “scenario objectives”. It’s what each side is trying to do. In the ideal gaming world, scenario objectives and victory conditions are the same thing, but when playing an actual game, “victory” is better decided after the game (unless you’re a competition gamer …). “Victory” in a wargame should be measured by how well you managed to reach the scenario objectives.

    E.g. suppose my objectives are to capture a bridge by turn X. When turn X comes around, the bridge has not been captured yet, but the enemy has been hammered so badly that the bridge would have been captured decisively in turn X+1. Or, you managed to put a single vehicle on the bridge by X, but you will certainly lose it the next turn without any chance of recapturing it the next 10 turns. In both cases, victory conditions are not a good indicator of “victory”. Literally sticking to victory conditions often produces very “gamey” moves and weird situations.

    In my gaming group, we have scenario objectives, and victory is declared during post-game discussion 😉

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Phil Dutré.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
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    #74094

    victory is declared during post-game discussion 😉

    Yes, regardless if the game is a simple meeting encounter or one with a Byzantine mix of conflicting &/or complementary goals it is *after* the game, when we sit down over a drink for a post-mortem, that all is settled. This, BTW, is one of the best parts of a game.

     

     

    donald

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Deleted User.
    #74104
    James Manto
    Participant

    I agree with the last post .

    A pyrrhic technical victory might leave the winner in a weak position.

    Or the commander might be cashiered.

    In my modem Afghanistan games the Canadian team usually gets their tactical objective. Win or loss is determined by the cost.

    One game the Canadians took so many casualties I said “there will be bad headlines in the news and heated questions in parliament.  You’ve won but jeopardized the entire deployment and  you (the Canadian commander) are probably getting sent home! ”

    So it was a strategic loss in the post game analysis.

     

    #74126
    irishserb
    Participant

    Thanks for all of the replies, I find it interesting to see how others approach the hobby.

    Phil’s comments above about victory conditions and scenario objectives probably strikes at what I was asking about.  It is not terribly uncommon in my experience, that the two don’t quite lead to the same end.  Or, lead one or more players to play the rules/conditions, rather than the opponent/battle.  In any event, I appreciate everyone sharing their views.

     

     

    #74136
    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    Does the importance of scenario objectives depend on the size of the forces involved? For most ‘army’ level battles, it seems to me that the principal objective was to destroy or at least cause sufficient damage to the enemy army. Terrain features may be means to that end, but taking them was rarely an end in itself. As the forces get smaller, objectives other than damage to the enemy become more important. Skirmishes will, almost always, be for some reason other than the destruction of the opposing skirmishers.

    I wonder if this influences some of the answers above, as it is evident people are thinking about games of different sizes. Meeting engagements may be fine for games representing clashes of ancients armies, but are unlikely to be rewarding for clashes of small forces.

    RogerC

    #74144
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Lots of good thoughts, gentlemen. I do like this topic!

    Somehow I messed up the link in my post above, sorry. Edited now but here it is again:

    http://bloodybigbattles.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/victory-conditions-in-wargames.html

    A couple of key extracts (and I’m really talking about big battles here, not skirmishes):

    “While the ultimate aim was often the destruction of the enemy force, the way this was usually achieved was by driving him off his chosen ground or by stopping him doing the same to you.[…] The side that fails to hold or take the ground it needs often does so because it has suffered too much in men and morale. Possession of objectives at the end of a battle can serve as a simple proxy for the state of an army.”

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

    https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BBB_wargames/info

     

    #74151
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    It might be worth distinguishing between objectives and victory conditions in this discussion. As I see it, an objective might be something like “Conduct the supply convoy across the site of the ambush… oh, and do try to stay alive while doing it, won’t you?”, to which a victory condition might be “You qualify as having conducted the supply convoy across the site of the ambush if at least 3 lorries with no more than 2 boxes of damage each make it off the far side of the table by turn 9. Also, Captain McCaptainface must remain alive, and the escort forces must not be reduced to below 50% fighting strength.”. It’s victory conditions I consider fairly dispensable, not objectives. I didn’t really take this thread to be about the necessity or triviality of objectives in the first place.

    (EDIT: Reading this after posting, it strikes me that it looks like I took what Phil Dutré wrote and tried to claim it as my own. However, the point I’m trying to make is that objectives and victory conditions need to be seen as distinct and separate, not just two different terms for almost the same thing. To me, objectives and victory conditions are so different, they’re two separate categories of things.)

     

    victory is declared during post-game discussion 😉

    Yes, regardless if the game is a simple meeting encounter or one with a Byzantine mix of conflicting &/or complementary goals it is *after* the game, when we sit down over a drink for a post-mortem, that all is settled. This, BTW, is one of the best parts of a game.

    That’s kind of what I’m getting at. It strikes me as counterproductive to that cause if any one player can shut down the discussion by saying “I scored 4 VPs against your 2, so I won, and that’s that”. More productive, IMO, if there’s no absolute, quantified definition as to how many dead/injured marines Hill 552 is worth, or whether Will Scarlet’s untimely demise is enough to offset Guy of Gisborne’s, or what exactly is the minimum distance from enemy ships for the crippled, targeted Battlecruiser Gilgamesh to qualifiy as “protected” by the end of the final turn of the game, or whatever.

     

    Does the importance of scenario objectives depend on the size of the forces involved? For most ‘army’ level battles, it seems to me that the principal objective was to destroy or at least cause sufficient damage to the enemy army. Terrain features may be means to that end, but taking them was rarely an end in itself. As the forces get smaller, objectives other than damage to the enemy become more important. Skirmishes will, almost always, be for some reason other than the destruction of the opposing skirmishers. I wonder if this influences some of the answers above, as it is evident people are thinking about games of different sizes. Meeting engagements may be fine for games representing clashes of ancients armies, but are unlikely to be rewarding for clashes of small forces. RogerC

    Speaking as more of a skirmish gamer than a massed-battle one, I agree that skirmish games tend to have more elaborate objectives. However, with that elaboration comes complexity and “blur” which, IMO, make it harder to quantify victory. For instance, in a “treasure raid” scenario where there’s numerous pieces of treasure that may or may not be reached, seized and carried off, how many pieces of treasure should count as enough for the raiding party to be victorious? How large a value of treasure should each casualty to the raiding party cancel out? Do these things even need to be defined? To me, they don’t.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Rhoderic.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Rhoderic.
    #74162
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello irishserb!

    I think Roger Calderbank is pretty close to my thoughts.

    I’ve played a lot of games over my 50 years of gaming easily 1,000 plus. I’ve seen victory points/objectives used in all kinds of ways and never liked one of them. Their either so bloody obvious there pointless, or they destroy the game by forcing players into the victory box (the points force the players to do things). Once players get into the victory box all other rational plans fall to the wayside. Now if your just “playing a game” or a “fictional exercise” then it can be fun. On the other hand if your trying to reflect real life or historical gaming then you have sunk the boat before it even leaves the dock.

    Most historical battles had one objective only, to destroy the other side or at least stop the other side from doing that. To accomplish this their armies were deployed in a formation that would best achieve this goal. They would subsequently commence activities to support this. Once you put players into the victory box the entire dynamic of the game changes. The goals have changed so must the style of play. Even the language of the game changes “got to take it for victory points” vs “if we destroy their center their army will collapse”. Players become oblivious to the real point of actual tactics and maneuvers. Victory points/objectives become the only thing that matters.

    In the early periods armies were designed from the ground up to destroy their enemies in the open where the only objective was clearly the enemy in front of them. Break that down into 2 points for that tree and 2 points for that rock and the entire army (player) is forced operate in a totally different manner then what it was trained for.

    So these types of games are certainly enjoyable for those who merely seek to play a game. If your trying to reflect any sense of historical realities it’s a major failure for those players.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #74177
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Most historical battles had one objective only, to destroy the other side or at least stop the other side from doing that.

    Plevna: if the Turks inflict 2:1 or more casualties on the Russians but lose all their redoubts, who wins?

    Mars-la-Tour or Sedan: if the French inflict 2:1 or more casualties on the Germans but fail to break out, who wins?

    Wilderness, Spotsylvania: Bobby Lee inflicts 2:1 casualties but Grant gets past him on the road to Richmond, who wins?

    Geographical objectives do matter.

    Chris

     

    #74188
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Chris!

    Obstacles are not objectives. Results are not objectives. Casualties are not objectives.

    Napoleon took Moscow and lost the war and his army. Why, because he failed to destroy the other army. Geographical objectives mean nothing if you fail to destroy the other army.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #74200
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    ‘When a state decides to use military force, a clear and militarily achievable objective must be given to the commander of the forces involved. The military objective may be the destruction of another armed force, the capture and occupation of a specific piece of territory, the denial of a designated location to another country’s use, or any similar objective.’

    The Framework of Operational Warfare, Clayton Newell, Routledge 1992.

    Which isn’t necessarily a ‘victory condition’ for a game. For example: we may well be playing the defender in a rearguard action from the ‘real world’ and there is no hope in hell of destroying the enemy army (or even the bit of it we are facing) but our mission is to hold the advance guard for as long as possible at a particular defence line. We can set the defender’s ‘victory condition’ as  holding longer than the real life counterpart did. So he/she can’t ‘win’ the battle, but they can  ‘win’ the game they are playing by doing better than the original defending commander.

     

    Trouble is we tend to use ‘objective’ (and many other words rather indiscriminately).

    #74212
    Norm S
    Participant

    Most historical battles had one objective only, to destroy the other side or at least stop the other side from doing that 

    That would depend, a big battle might have immediate military objectives with the ultimate purpose of gaining a subsequent political objective, but the latter needs the former. At the other end of the scale at the tactical level, capturing the crossroads will be a ligitimate and purposeful local objective, the limited focus of which is not immediately about destroying the enemy force, but rather is one based upon the tactical necessity of controlling ground.

    Objectives drive the scenario, so that it unfolds in a way that meets with the narrative that the deisgner is intending. Such things seem essential to play, while sitting down afterwards and having a friendly discussion as to how you nearly won is a nice thing to do, but not essential to play and it very much depends on the disposotion of those that you game with – though from the posts already made, it sounds like we are fortunate in that we tend to game with like minded people and perhaps not in competitions etc.

    Gamers who call a game prematurely simply because the game no longer seems balanced as to outcome ( ie they don’t think they can win) totally undermine the sense of objective and narrative and simply change the emphasis of play to one of simply winning. … just an opinion

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Norm S.
    #74217
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    For example: we may well be playing the defender in a rearguard action from the ‘real world’ and there is no hope in hell of destroying the enemy army (or even the bit of it we are facing) but our mission is to hold the advance guard for as long as possible at a particular defence line. We can set the defender’s ‘victory condition’ as holding longer than the real life counterpart did. So he/she can’t ‘win’ the battle, but they can ‘win’ the game they are playing by doing better than the original defending commander.

    That reminds me of some “last stand” scenarios I’ve seen where the defenders win when they get slaughtered to the last man past a certain turn and no sooner 

    Not that I’m against last stand scenarios, or that the defending player in such a scenario shouldn’t be motivated to fight. I just prefer to speak of “acquitting themselves well” rather than “winning”. That may be a matter of interchangeable terminology to some, but to me the difference is that between hard values and soft values (or perhaps the difference between discrete data and non-discrete data, although I’m not sure that comparison would hold up to exacting scrutiny).

    I don’t mind hard values for things like army construction (although I don’t need them either), and certainly not for gameplay where I quite like mechanics like “Margin Of Success” values for dice rolls, but once it comes time to judge the result of a game, I prefer phasing over to softer values. There’s no particular reason that’s better, but the point is, there’s no reason hard values are automatically better, either.

    It might be worth pointing out I came into this hobby by way of games where victories are always quantified as hard values, and those quantities often obsessed over. Learning to stop focusing on the quantity of a victory, or the quantity of victory conditions that “flip the switch” from the discrete result of defeat to the discrete result of victory, was a breath of fresh air.

    #74221
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Hello Chris! Obstacles are not objectives. Results are not objectives. Casualties are not objectives. Napoleon took Moscow and lost the war and his army. Why, because he failed to destroy the other army. Geographical objectives mean nothing if you fail to destroy the other army. Best regards, Glenn

    Napoleon arrived at the gates of Vienna in 1797 and won that war. The Austrians had lost a lot of men (as had the French) but their army was not destroyed, they still had plenty more, just in the wrong place. If Napoleon’s army had still been in Italy it would have been different.

    Glenn, I’m happy to acknowledge that casualties can be important in determining victory. I don’t understand why you insist that geography never is.

    Chris

     

    #74229
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    NB – I wasn’t talking about Last Stands Rhoderic!

    I always envisage getting away from difficult situations!

    I mean things like holding the bridge until the main force gets over the river, or the next river and you can get over yourself before you blow the bridge.

     

    If the umpire estimates it will take 6 hours for the main body to be safely across their next defensive line (or in reality they took that long), then you need to defend the approaches to this obstacle for that long – more and you’ve definitely won, – less and you haven’t done quite as well. But the enemy will take your position anyway- and you are needed for the next battle! So not too many futile gestures at this stage of the war please!

    #74232
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    No worries, I got what you were talking about, I just struck off on a tangent 

    #74243
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    #74244
    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    Hi Chris. Thanks, you’ve made me think hard about geographical victory conditions, I can see that they can be important, particularly in the context of a campaign as a whole.

    On the other hand, if at Mars-la-Tour the French had damaged the Prussians so badly that they had fallen back for a couple of days, wouldn’t the battle have been a French victory even if Bazaine still hadn’t taken the road towards Verdun? Equally, if all the French line corps had got away, but the Imperial Guard had been destroyed holding off the Prussians (as I could imagine in a wargame where the French ‘victory conditions’ were to get as many units away as possible), would Bazaine have reported a victory to his Emperor? Actually, I can’t see what Bazaine thought his ‘victory conditions’ were. He seems to be a commander who wouldn’t recognise a victory if it was handed to him.

    In the example in your later post, Napoleon was at the gates of Vienna in 1797 because he had defeated the Austrian armies sent against him. He hadn’t ignored them, or sought to bypass them, just so that he could take a geographical objective. The strategic geographical objective came as a result of one army defeating others in the battles of the campaign.

    I rather think I’m getting away from the original point of this thread. Most seem to think that some sort of victory conditions are useful, even if we debate what they should be in any particular situation. I couldn’t imagine playing a game where I didn’t know what a good (not necessarily winning) outcome would be.

    RogerC

    #74246
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Chris!

    Sorry if my comments confused the issue. Cities are strategic points in a campaign.

    Playing a game that reflects a historical battle of some size completely distorts it if you use predetermined geographical objectives. I’m not aware of any historical commanders who operated under those conditions. A historical battle is almost a living thing (as living things make it happen). That means its subject to change as conditions change. As an example an actual commander could be ordered to move his command to given point during a battle. As he moves towards his destination he encounters a building occupied by the enemy. Now he’s probably into an area where he has to evaluate his orders and decide for himself what to do or send a runner back to his commander. If your playing a “victory condition” game an entirely different process is used by the player and it has nothing to do with history.

    VC games force players into a “box” that dictates the best way to play a game to win. History had no such “box’, all the options were on the table.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #74283
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Hi Chris. Thanks, you’ve made me think hard about geographical victory conditions, I can see that they can be important, particularly in the context of a campaign as a whole.

    Thanks, Roger. I’m not saying locations as objectives is the only good way to establish victory conditions, but there are many situations where it is a good way.

    Sorry if my comments confused the issue. Cities are strategic points in a campaign.

    So how close you get to important cities could be a measure of success and … victory? I refer you to my Wilderness / Spotsylvania examples.

    Playing a game that reflects a historical battle of some size completely distorts it if you use predetermined geographical objectives. I’m not aware of any historical commanders who operated under those conditions.

    You’re right, of course, Glenn. Making an Arnhem game revolve around how many bridges the Allies hold at the end would be an utter distortion. I can’t imagine the bridges figured in Urquhart’s briefing at all, no historical commander operated like that. If the paras managed just to hole up on a moor 10 miles away having beaten up more Germans than they lost, they’d have won by the casualties measure, obviously. Or have I misunderstood?

    Glenn, your position is so extreme and absolute that I find it absurd. I’ll happily agree with you to an extent, that victory locations do focus or channel players’ actions, and therefore can distort things – but only if the scenario is poorly designed. There are plenty of situations where ignoring the geography would be a bigger distortion.

    I apologise to any innocent bystanders who may have incurred collateral damage while Glenn and I have been sparring!

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

    https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BBB_wargames/info

    http://bloodybigbattles.blogspot.co.uk

     

     

    #74313
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Chris!

    “So how close you get to important cities could be a measure of success and … victory?”

    No, the subject is “victory conditions in a game”. Campaign objectives are normally outside of that and would be an entirely separate and different conversation.

    “You’re right, of course, Glenn.”

    Then what’s your problem?

    “Making an Arnhem game revolve around how many bridges the Allies hold at the end would be an utter distortion. I can’t imagine the bridges figured in Urquhart’s briefing at all, no historical commander operated like that. If the paras managed just to hole up on a moor 10 miles away having beaten up more Germans than they lost, they’d have won by the casualties measure, obviously. Or have I misunderstood?”

    Yes, you missed the boat completely. My position only involves major historical land battles (mainly 1700 – 1815), not raids, skirmishes or obvious objectives.

    “Glenn, your position is so extreme and absolute that I find it absurd.”

    Oh my, that sounds a little harsh. I have studied my position (1700 – 1815) for years and if it’s different from yours wouldn’t a few questions suffice?

    ” I’ll happily agree with you to an extent, that victory locations do focus or channel players’ actions, and therefore can distort things – but only if the scenario is poorly designed.”

    They are all poorly designed. Unless of course if the objective is just a game and not an attempt to replicate a “large historical battle”.

    ” There are plenty of situations where ignoring the geography would be a bigger distortion.”

    So the lesser of two evils?  Certainly not a game that I would enjoy.

    Was there a particular reason that you seem to have ignored my example?

    Best regards,

    Glenn

    #74314
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Chris!

    “I’ll happily agree with you to an extent, that victory locations do focus or channel players’ actions, and therefore can distort things – but only if the scenario is poorly designed.”

    I’ve pulled this sentence out of your message again to raise a couple of points that I don’t think should get lost in the overall discussion.

    You clearly admit that my position has merit “victory locations do focus or channel players’ actions, and therefore can distort things”. The use of the word “can” seems like your trying to protect a known faulty position (yours). Which is further enhanced by your qualifier “but only if the scenario is poorly designed.” Surely just the fact that victory locations do focus or channel players actions in itself must result in a scenario that is poorly designed. It can’t be any good if the players actions are artificially focused and channeled. Players are now totally at the mercy of the scenario designer. Most designers that I have ever met who design games like this generally have limited knowledge of actual historical battles beyond a few references. Almost none of them have ever actually spent much if any time studying in detail battlefield behaviour. To top it off after every game I’ve ever played in (and it’s a lot) the designer admits that if he did it again he would change the victory conditions.  So I repeat my statement above, “they are all poorly designed”.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

     

    #74320
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Glenn, let’s just agree to disagree.

    Chris

    #74327
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Guy, I see you sent me a PM, but I don’t have the membership rights to read it. Please could you email me direct? bbbchrisp

    at ISP

    yahoo.co.uk

    Thanks!
    Chris

    #74375
    Noel
    Participant

    Controlling locations have certainly been objectives in battles for both strategic and tactical considerations.

    No general is going to tell his troops “go fight and see how it goes,” terrain objectives are a critical part of waging war.  I think there is confusion as to a junior officer’s assessment of the situation and how to use that, versus actually being told to “take the heights” or “hold the road”, “destroy the communications”, etc. as their battlefield objectives.

    Location objectives are realistic and fun.

    They don’t have to be the only type of objectives that drive game play.

    Another fun type is personality objectives.  “Lt. So’nd Sou wants to prove how brave he is, you must attack frontally.”  “This dude is this other dude’s second cousin’s adopted son, so he wants to beat him but not so keen on killing him.”

    Make the objectives appropriate for the level of fight that you are trying to play out, for the battles that you are playing.  Or for generic games, work it out or even randomize it.  Make some cards with objectives and have players draw X of those cards to set their objectives.

    Each side can have completely different objectives and neither side needs to know what the others’ are.

    Attrition and breaking morale make for boring games if that’s all you ever play.

    In my opinion, games are a lot of fun when players are given goals to achieve and must figure out how to allocate their resources and come up with plans to achieve those objectives.

    #74386
    Glenn Pearce
    Spectator

    Hello Noel!

    Controlling locations have certainly been objectives in battles for both strategic and tactical considerations. No general is going to tell his troops “go fight and see how it goes,” terrain objectives are a critical part of waging war. I think there is confusion as to a junior officer’s assessment of the situation and how to use that, versus actually being told to “take the heights” or “hold the road”, “destroy the communications”, etc. as their battlefield objectives. Location objectives are realistic and fun.

    I fully agree, except in war the objectives come from the commander, not a scenario designer. They also are never quantified with “because their worth 2 points”. They can, will and do change during an actual battle. Very rarely if ever in a victory condition game, until afterwards when the scenario designer admits he could have done better.

    Best regards,

    Glenn

     

    #74422
    Noel
    Participant

    Hi, Glenn.  A colonel is told where to go by a general.  If I’m playing a colonel, the scenario designer is effectively the general.

    There is always a higher authority.

     

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