Home Forums General General Is Command&Control in games a myth?

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  • #199876
    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    I was chatting to someone a while ago and they insisted that medieval warfare is “not playable” because the command and control limitations would make it impossible to play. I didn’t agree but it did get me thinking:

    I am sitting here with a big stack of rulebooks on my shelf. All of them are games I have enjoyed a lot (since I don’t keep rules I don’t like).

    And one thing they all have in common:

    None of them have what I would call command & control rules. Some of them have friction rules where sometimes my troops stand around or I can only activate a certain number (a trick I’ve used myself in my own games).
    But they still do exactly what I want when they do activate.

    A common choice is that you can’t activate everything (usually). this is used in everything from DBA to Black Powder to Chain of Command to my own Five Men at Kursk. But when you DO activate a given unit, they automatically do exactly what they need to do, at that time. If the enemy is getting around my flank, I can have a unit at the other end of the table immediately respond and start to move to intercept them even if that unit cannot see the enemy (and perhaps neither can my commanding officer).

    Now there are a few exceptions to this. Spearhead or the venerable Striker miniatures rules require written orders and have a process for changing those orders.

    If the enemy starts outflanking you in Striker, you have to transmit the new orders to the unit (and by the time they receive them, the situation may already have changed). Spearhead gives you a die roll to pass to redo the orders.

    However in my experience most players dislike written order systems and it seems they are not common (and in skirmish games they are basically unknown). Friction was the solution I suppose and it is better than nothing, but is that as good as it can get?

    #199877
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    it’s not real life

    It’s a fudge. Everything about wargaming is a fudge. Fudge, fudgey.

     

    ‘Written orders’ lol.

    Command and control before the advent of radio and telecommunications doesn’t exist. Not in the way your average wargamer thinks it should. Too many variables in play. Too much perfect knowledge of what’s going on. Too much helicopter generalship. Too much confectionery of the fudgey kind.

    Embrace the fudge.

     

    It’s too hot to matter…

     

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #199878
    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    That would seem to solve the original debate quite nicely then eh?

    #199879
    Avatar photoMike
    Keymaster

    With my sci-fi rules, things would always get a chance to activate, but if they succeeded depends on:

    A:  What you wanted them to do.

    B: Troop quality.

    So with A, taking cover was more likely to be obeyed than firing back, and falling back was more likely to be obeyed than fix bayonets and charge into HTH across open ground.

    Raw troops got a penalty to the needed dice roll, veteran troops got a bonus.
    Better troops were mildly better fighters etc, but in my rules, the better troop grade the more likely they are to do what you wanted, they are not super hero troops.

    Each unit was given an order which has it’s own difficulty, the troops quality modified the roll and you saw if they did what you asked.
    Some times they do, some times they don’t, it was about giving the right orders at the right time to the right people.
    All units had a chance to do something, but if they did anything depended on the above.

    Is that waffley or does it make some sort of sense?

    #199880
    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    That makes total sense. You could even have certain troops more likely to obey certain orders. Thats actually really cool.

    #199881
    Avatar photoMike
    Keymaster

    Indeed.
    Running into HTH was always a tricky order to get people to do.

    BUT troops in Power Armour (Ma.K style in my games) got a bonus on top of any quality bonus as they were trained and geared up for it.

    #199882
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    That would seem to solve the original debate quite nicely then eh?

     

    Well do you have a solution? Because I don’t, and neither have hundreds of wargamers and rules authors.

    “Right guys. Written orders. In Old French. Your couriers must convey these orders to the commanders of your Battailes. Of course, the commander might be dead, or embroiled in a hand to hand duel with Sir Chauncey de Pole. Probably need a die roll or two for that. Anyway, when and if he gets them, your commander must make your orders known to his captains. That’ll be another die roll. Then your captains must inform their various units and sub-units. There’ll be some more die rolls, no more than 5 or 6. Probably, Then…Oh sod it, CHARGIER! Entaille et tuer!!!”

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #199883
    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    Not off the top of my head. That’s why I am turning to the sage and wise residents of this forum (or was that the drunk and disturbed?).

    But that is sort of the point right?
    There’s often a sense that certain time periods need more constraining rules, but if its all humbug to begin with, why worry about it?

    Years ago a guy did an experiment on a long deleted blog, to show that the scenario and miniatures mattered more than the rules set. The experiment was using the 40K Rogue Trader rules to run Napoleonic battles using his normal 25mm Napoleonic figures. Much gnashing of teeth but maybe he was right?

    #199884

    Command control (even with radios as my time as a platoon leader I can attest) is always iffy.  Far too iffy for most players’ desires, but not necessarily for the simulationists who can put a narcissistic, vicarious desire to be a “great captain” themselves behind them and embrace the chaos of the battlefield.

     

    Great captains (but not every player out there) in any case, understand that what makes a great captain is a quick eye for the situation (coup d’oeil) and having kept a ready uncommitted reserve available to throw in.  They know that once their forces are committed and engaged, there is no easy way to command units to do anything much under positive control.  It’s all about the timing of release and sizing up and juggling threats, even today with radios and digital communications. In war, the solution is simple to ascertain but difficult to achieve.

     

    Napoleon once stated that the quality of luckiness was more important than “skill” at making a great general.  By that he knew that commanders who exercised minmax approaches ( plan for the worst, hope for the best) would be “luckier” in the long run.

     

    Medieval warfare essentially was the most reductive of situations regarding command. It’s still playable but once a unit is ordered to engage ( the sole decision the commander might have), it fights until it breaks or wins and rarely can go beyond that first engagement even if victorious.  Modern warfare doesn’t really change that much. cohesion is everything.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199885
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    Fair cop. I’m guilty of having a couple of pints at lunchtime.

    Constraining rules? Hmmm.

    I think that when first contact is made, and bloody bits of limbs start flying all bets regarding command and control are off. You might need some rules to stop the blokes in armour on big horses riding down their own team’s infantry…oh, that happened at Agincourt didn’t it?

    Anyway, constraint? Forget it, sauve qui peut because there ain’t any referees in this hypothetical (and hyperbolic) medievals game.

     

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #199886
    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    A game that revolved around reserves could actually be interesting. Once a unit is committed its locked in doing its thing (chopping up the other sides hapless peasant infantry presumably) and only your uncommitted reserves will listen a thing you are saying.

    #199887
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    Command control (even with radios as my time as a platoon leader I can attest) is always iffy. Far too iffy for most players’ desires, but not necessarily for the simulationists who can put a narcissistic, vicarious desire to be a “great captain” themselves behind them and embrace the chaos of the battlefield. Great captains (but not every player out there) in any case, understand that what makes a great captain is a quick eye for the situation (coup d’oeil) and having kept a ready uncommitted reserve available to throw in. They know that once their forces are committed and engaged, there is no easy way to command units to do anything much under positive control. It’s all about the timing of release and sizing up and juggling threats, even today with radios and digital communications. In war, the solution is simple to ascertain but difficult to achieve. Napoleon once stated that the quality of luckiness was more important than “skill” at making a great general. By that he knew that commanders who exercised minmax approaches ( plan for the worst, hope for the best) would be “luckier” in the long run.

    Aethelflaeda gets it.

    The only command rule you need is to make the players Keep A Reserve. Which given your average wargamer’s tendency to throw everything at the other bloke’s army would be akin to herding cats.

     

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #199888

    I remember facing a player in an Albuera game with his Spanish mobs behind the river…(a team game) that I was tasked to pin and distract with my small force of  demonstrating French infantry while our main thrust occurred elsewhere.  Since  i wouldn’t advance but just kept a threat to his front, he finally stated “This is boring” and impetuously charged his mobs across the river right into the muzzles of my waiting lines with no result except to die and leave a big hole in the allied players’ line, one that my forces now exploited.  Game over with several angry team members…

    Since this was a  multiplayer team game, it shows how command control even on an omniscient, tabletop battlefield, remains a constant fly in the ointment of the best laid plan.  Medieval games should always be team games if they are to be simulations!

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199889
    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    General Steinmetz approved this message.

    #199890
    Avatar photoian pillay
    Participant

    You should check out Arrow Storm by Dan Mersey, it’s part of his ‘you commander’ series of games. The clever use of the Command chart makes battlefield command and control really interesting as you are the army commander. The grid system makes it work nicely.

    Tally-Ho! Check out my blog at…..
    http://steelcitywargaming.wordpress.com/

    #199893
    Avatar photoJustin Swanton
    Participant

    Interesting discussion that is also happening over at TMP and the SoA forum.

    The big error IMHO with the approach many rulesets take to C&C is the fact that player represents and acts as all the tiers of command in an army and not just the general. In my own system I have three tiers:

    1. The general who is fully under control of the player since he is the player. The general has perfect command over his unit or battleline of units, but this is only a fraction of the army.

    2. The commanders who must be represented as acting under orders in some way. I personally avoid written orders as they are open to a creative interpretation not available to actual commanders.

    Commanders have a ‘command rating’ varying from 1 to 5. This represents how many times they and their command may change direction (I use a square grid BTW).

    A commander and his command may move forwards with a little diagonal latitude whilst executing an ‘order’. If he wants to change direction and move off to his left, he spends a command point, wheels/turns left and then moves, again continuing in that direction with a little diagonal latitude. If he wants to change direction again he spends another command point, and so on.

    Once he runs out of command points an out-of-command counter is placed in the square his last command point took him to. From then on he has limited initiative, meaning he can range freely only a certain distance from that counter, and very slowly beyond that. This replicates his localised battlefield awareness: he reacts only to what is in his vicinity. So no grand tactical manoeuvres.

    3. The captains are the officers of individual units not under command of their commander, either because they are not attached to his battleline or because they are disordered, or for some other reason. These units move very slowly (the captain has even less initiative than the commander) but they can move their full distance to attack enemy units (the captain at least understands he must engage the enemy).

    Within their respective limitations, each tier of command can be moved freely by the player: he is the general, commanders and captains. It works well.

    https://wargamingwithoutdice.blogspot.com/

    #199894

    And how is impetuosity to be handled?

    I have always liked a random events table or joker card in the activation tables. Sometimes it’s not the passive stolid subordinate that gives the most  problems but the too aggressive one who at the wrong time goes somewhere unplanned.

    I would also hazard to say that even the bodyguard personal unit of the general should not ever be of perfect control. Sometimes the main leader himself is quite unaware of the local situation and might sit contemplating his navel or gnawing a chicken wing only to be surprised in ways that our game playing generals without fog of war are not. He might not have always have the confidence of his subordinates who balk at his command to charge.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199895
    Avatar photoGuy Farrish
    Participant

    C3i is a mess in wargames.

    Mainly because there is usually no-one to command and control or communicate with and the intel bit is laid out in the open for all to see.

    The int bit we can deal with in all sorts of clever, stupid or fun ways but the best way is to have an umpire.

    The C2 is a big problem because what the C2 rules in wargames usually do is almost the opposite of what they are supposed to do in real life.

    C2 is defined by the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre of MOD as:

    ‘A dynamic and adaptive socio-technical system configured to design and execute joint action’
    whose purpose is thereby ‘[to] provide focus for individuals and organisations so that they may
    integrate and maximise their resources and activities to achieve desired outcomes’’

    No: seriously! If you don’t believe me see here! (Introduction p.1. Box 1)

    Or if you prefer old school NATO from 1988: ‘command and control is the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated individual over assigned resources in the accomplishment of a common goal’

    Realistically, getting some b*****d to do what they are told.

    In real life there are many hurdles – your ability to express your commands, their ability to comprehend, distance, time, circumstance, bloody mindedness, do they respect you or are they looking for a reason to get rid of you, are the ‘assets’ involved capable of carrying out the order for a whole set of reasons not normally considered in a wargame- hunger, tiredness, lack of training, integration into the structure, commitment, disease, etc.

    In a wargame if you want division Beauregard to move into position on the hill through artillery fire, they do. Unless your C2 rules stop you. C2 rules constrain your freedom of action whereas real life constrains your C2.

    Rules put in all the factors (or as many as we can stand to bear) that normally restrict our will. Comms too. In a game I don’t need to tell Beauregard to move. He will react as if telepathically alerted as we are the same person. Our comms rules introduce the friction we believe may have happened in real life. Modern voice command is interesting because it is an integral and perhaps major part of C2 – hearing a trusted, familiar and respected voice on the other end of a net telling you what to do is as much Command and Control as what they actually say. Difficult to reproduce in a game.

    So Medieval rules?

    Do you believe there was any realistic C2 on a medieval field of battle? And if so what was it? You can make yourself heard probably to a few dozen people once battle starts. Perhaps a few hundred immediately before.

    Trumpet calls, banner waving/dipping communicate to more – if anyone is looking/listening – but can they react in the midst of battle, assuming they remember a thrice dipped banner means swing left to the hill and not leg it we’re beaten.

    An uncommitted reserve will probably (assuming they are not led by a Stanley) do what you want when you want it. But you have to be in a position to let them know now is the hour.

    Medieval battle is not unplayable because of the C2. But the C2 is so limited that if rules realistically limit the player to the decisions the real commanders had to make the player will probably be bored rigid, reduced to being a calculator deigned to assess who breaks first, with very few of the types of active inputs we enjoy as players.

    Your C2 rules need not correctly reflect reality of course and most don’t because the game is the thing.

    I think there are games to be had from realistic interaction of commanders, their retinues and the rest of the mob forming the army but it won’t generally look like or feel like playing a ‘normal’ wargame.

    On the other hand many people have a very good time playing a medieval looking game with the usual units zipping about bashing each other with abandon and no thought of keeping contiguous front lines so as to avoid being massacred on a flank and using voice over internet protocols to communicate with subordinates. Good luck to ’em. It is fun even if William Marshal or Edward IV would have opened their visors and scratched their heads in wonder.

    #199896
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    Interesting discussion that is also happening over at TMP and the SoA forum.

    And what, you think it’s a coincidence…?? Phht!

    Most gamers are like Chihuahuas, all bark and bluster, no imagination beyond rule sets. [And having lived in a house that had those oversized rats, I abhor their very existence...]

    • It is entirely possible, even a great learning experience, to make players WRITE orders that they cannot willfully change at random.
    • The adherence to ‘simple’ D6 is the problem. Not enough variation for many given circumstances. Adopted it after playing EmpireIII and incorporated into a set of house rules based on the exploits by Paddy Griffith. D20 either singular or as % give better variants.
    • As designer/ ref/ umpire most of my games for experienced players have included real ‘fog of war’ situations giving a scenario, but not telling them all about the enemy. Previous players 30 yrs ago were better at handling this than the current crop.
      My regular opponents know to expect, and think about something ‘outside the box’ in my driven scenarios. And yes quite a lot of the time as self-player I don’t win! So you cant call be GOD!

    _done___ d

     

    #199899
    Avatar photoPunkrabbitt
    Participant

    I think there is a difference between a perfect simulation and a fun game. I am pretty sure that a lot of the suggestions that have been made in this topic could be combined to build a better simulation. But would it be fun? I can visualize nested sets of tables for order reception going down the chain of command to the lowest level of operabilty. But how much fun would it be making 200 dice rolls to find out what the left flank does? I kind of like how the various Rampant-engine games handle this kind of thing, which I know isn’t for everyone. I am also a fan of DBA. I think at the end of the day there could be as many systems as there are gamers out there, and none of them would be “perfect” for the rest of the gamers.

     

    Or something like that.

    Please visit my OSR products for sale at
    www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/17194/Punkrabbitt-Publishing

    #199900

    I don’t think there be need for 200 dice rolls, nor even a tenth of that.  What is pleasant for the simulationist, would undoubtedly be less pleasant to the chess aficionado, but it really comes down to level of fog and control presented. some folks actually like green eggs and ham when they finally try it.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199901
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    And how is impetuosity to be handled? I have always liked a random events table or joker card in the activation tables. Sometimes it’s not the passive stolid subordinate that gives the most problems but the too aggressive one who at the wrong time goes somewhere unplanned. I would also hazard to say that even the bodyguard personal unit of the general should not ever be of perfect control. Sometimes the main leader himself is quite unaware of the local situation and might sit contemplating his navel or gnawing a chicken wing only to be surprised in ways that our game playing generals without fog of war are not. He might not have always have the confidence of his subordinates who balk at his command to charge.

    The PC game Field of Glory Medieval gives a bit of insight into how impetuous movement can really screw up the master plan.

    After breaking an enemy unit, your chaps, more especially knights, have a distressing tendency to pursue it. Which often means they expose a flank as they plough through the enemy regardless. With predictable results…

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #199902
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    An uncommitted reserve will probably (assuming they are not led by a Stanley) do what you want when you want it.

    😀

    Mr F, as usual makes several very good points, some of which build on the bolox I posted with much more clarity and detail.

     

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #199903
    Avatar photoJustin Swanton
    Participant

    Methinks C&C is the best example of how one strikes a balance between historicity and playability in wargaming, somewhere between one extreme and the other.

    Extreme playability

    You do whatever you want with your units who are mind-melded to your will.

    Extreme historicity

    You are part of a multiplayer game. Players sit in a separate room from the gaming table. Webcams give each player only a clear view of his part of the battlefield, with occasional blurred glimpses of areas further away. Players give instructions to the umpire who moves their units for them.

    Before the game starts, one player, the general, has given orders to the other players, the commanders, but he may not communicate with them after the battle has begun unless by primitive clap signals: one clap means advance, two claps means retreat, up to a maximum of about 3 or 4 different kinds of claps.

    The general and commanders may freely move only those units directly attached to their figure base either in a line or a column. Units not attached are moved by the umpire and they move only very slowly.

    I believe something like this has been tried, with hilarious results. But somehow it has never taken off, not even with the most diehard historical purists. Wargaming is gaming, chaps.

    https://wargamingwithoutdice.blogspot.com/

    #199904
    Avatar photoMartinR
    Participant

    I have run games with separate command teams, field phones etc. They are quite entertaining, although in one Stalingrad game, a particularly leather lunged Commisar realised he could dispense with the phone and simply bellow instructions at the unfortunate Soviet commanders. Oh how we laughed.

     

    For Ancient and Medieval Battles, the most critical command decision was the initial deployment, which is why I prefer rules where units have to deploy first. This persisted well into the late nineteenth century until more rapid forms of communication than horses and human voice arrived.

    Anyway, as noted Wargames C2 rules do precisely the opposite of what real life C2 does. As Pattons said, giving orders easy, getting them obeyed is hard. An experience familiar to anyone who has tried to direct the operations of large human organisations. Sadly I wasn’t allowed Pearl handled Pistols in the office.

    I am fortunate in mainly playing  with gentlemanly players who prefer the command experience, so a statement of intentions is fine, and no reacting to stuff they are unaware of. An interesting side effect of remote games (which we still do after Covid, as they work so well) is that they promote forward planning. For tonight’s game I actually have plans from the players  which would make a GSO1 proud, march timetables, Battlegroup compositions, assembly areas, unit boundaries, fire plans, objectives…

    So you can have written orders, in the right environment.

     

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

    #199905
    Avatar photoJustin Swanton
    Participant

    @Aethelflaeda

    And how is impetuosity to be handled?

    Got it. Rate commanders as impetuous, average or timid.

    Impetuous commanders are worth a couple of victory points if they are killed. You need to tweak this so that the loss of the impetuous commander doesn’t compensate for his entire command being destroyed in a suicide mission. He needs to attack but accomplish something worthwhile before he dies.

    Timid commanders are worth more loss points than impetuous or normal commanders if they are killed. So the player is encouraged to hold them back, attacking only if necessary.

    FOC.

    Edit: instead of killing him, maybe just gain an extra victory point if an impetuous commander’s unit routs an enemy unit. The commander isn’t going for a devotio after all.

    The overall idea is to get the player to want his commander to be impetuous or timid. Don’t force it on him.

    https://wargamingwithoutdice.blogspot.com/

    #199906
    Avatar photoGuy Farrish
    Participant

    An uncommitted reserve will probably (assuming they are not led by a Stanley) do what you want when you want it.

    😀 Mr F, as usual makes several very good points, some of which build on the bolox I posted with much more clarity and detail.

    Ta, my apologies, it was late and I forgot to say what I meant to at the beginning – ‘the thrust of most of my meanderings has been summed up succinctly by NCS above’. Read him for the Executive Summary!

    #199914

    Methinks C&C is the best example of how one strikes a balance between historicity and playability in wargaming, somewhere between one extreme and the other. Extreme playability

    You do whatever you want with your units who are mind-melded to your will.

    Extreme historicity

    You are part of a multiplayer game. Players sit in a separate room from the gaming table. Webcams give each player only a clear view of his part of the battlefield, with occasional blurred glimpses of areas further away. Players give instructions to the umpire who moves their units for them. Before the game starts, one player, the general, has given orders to the other players, the commanders, but he may not communicate with them after the battle has begun unless by primitive clap signals: one clap means advance, two claps means retreat, up to a maximum of about 3 or 4 different kinds of claps. The general and commanders may freely move only those units directly attached to their figure base either in a line or a column. Units not attached are moved by the umpire and they move only very slowly.

    I believe something like this has been tried, with hilarious results. But somehow it has never taken off, not even with the most diehard historical purists. Wargaming is gaming, chaps.

     

    It has been tried, and it does take off.  We did this sort of exercise in the actual Army.  It was fun, illustrative and frustrating and my takeaway was why can’t i get this sort of experience more often?  refereed, double blind games take a lot of effort to achieve but really are the ultimate wargaming experience.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199915
    Avatar photoJustin Swanton
    Participant

    I’ve never had the chance to try it myself. Agree that it should be a lot of fun but difficult to implement. Much easier online though. I wonder….could one implement it with a VASSAL module?

    https://wargamingwithoutdice.blogspot.com/

    #199916

    @Aethelflaeda

    And how is impetuosity to be handled?

    Got it. Rate commanders as impetuous, average or timid. Impetuous commanders are worth a couple of victory points if they are killed. You need to tweak this so that the loss of the impetuous commander doesn’t compensate for his entire command being destroyed in a suicide mission. He needs to attack but accomplish something worthwhile before he dies. Timid commanders are worth more loss points than impetuous or normal commanders if they are killed. So the player is encouraged to hold them back, attacking only if necessary. FOC. Edit: instead of killing him, maybe just gain an extra victory point if an impetuous commander’s unit routs an enemy unit. The commander isn’t going for a devotio after all. The overall idea is to get the player to want his commander to be impetuous or timid. Don’t force it on him.

     

    You misunderstand, how do  the irrational actions of an impetuous unit or commander get prompted?  My games often use random events which can dictate mandatory movements with changes in direction, charges, withdrawals and even accidental fire on friendlies.  It is unplanned actions, not just friction.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199917

    I’ve never had the chance to try it myself. Agree that it should be a lot of fun but difficult to implement. Much easier online though.

    Haven’t  you ever played an RPG?  A good GM can provide much of this experience, albeit the competitive side of gaming against an equally situated opponent isn’t there.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199919
    Avatar photoJustin Swanton
    Participant

    I’ve never had the chance to try it myself. Agree that it should be a lot of fun but difficult to implement. Much easier online though.

    Haven’t you ever played an RPG? A good GM can provide much of this experience, albeit the competitive side of gaming against an equally situated opponent isn’t there.

    Never played an RPG. 

     

    https://wargamingwithoutdice.blogspot.com/

    #199921
    Avatar photoJustin Swanton
    Participant

    You misunderstand, how do the irrational actions of an impetuous unit or commander get prompted? My games often use random events which can dictate mandatory movements with changes in direction, charges, withdrawals and even accidental fire on friendlies. It is unplanned actions, not just friction.

    My own guess is that impetuous troops are pretty predictable as regards their impetuousity, i.e. they’re pretty likely to charge in close proximity of enemy. If they don’t charge then they’re not impetuous. So no need for dice to model their impetuosity.

    Personally I don’t like modelling purely random events that substantially affect the course of a battle. They do exist, I know. There was that battle between the Dutch and Spaniards in which a green Dutch army bolted en masse when their powder magazine blew up. Step one: deploy armies. Step 2. Dutch player throws a die. If the result is a 5 or 6 he has lost the game. Meh.

    https://wargamingwithoutdice.blogspot.com/

    #199922
    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    I wonder if early miniatures games had not established morale checks, if we would be having the same debate about those 🙂

    #199923

    You misunderstand, how do the irrational actions of an impetuous unit or commander get prompted? My games often use random events which can dictate mandatory movements with changes in direction, charges, withdrawals and even accidental fire on friendlies. It is unplanned actions, not just friction.

    My own guess is that impetuous troops are pretty predictable as regards their impetuousity, i.e. they’re pretty likely to charge in close proximity of enemy. If they don’t charge then they’re not impetuous. So no need for dice to model their impetuosity. Personally I don’t like modelling purely random events that substantially affect the course of a battle. They do exist, I know. There was that battle between the Dutch and Spaniards in which a green Dutch army bolted en masse when their powder magazine blew up. Step one: deploy armies. Step 2. Dutch player throws a die. If the result is a 5 or 6 he has lost the game. Meh.

     

    no what I am speaking of is a bit different, I am thinking of the something commander of a division, brigade or maybe even a battalion, that isn’t even in proximity to the enemy deciding to march his troops somewhere other than where the commander wanted him to go. It might involve an attack or not, think Grouchy at Wavre or Bernadotte failing to support Ney. Units get lost, misunderstand or willfully defy orders and missions. Some units have a greater impetuosity for combat or persuit, and most ancients games think it’s all about uncontrolled charges to engage the enemy but in horse and musket period and later where large bodies of troops might be separated from the CinC by 1-2 miles or more impetuosity takes on a a different scope.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199924

    You misunderstand, how do the irrational actions of an impetuous unit or commander get prompted? My games often use random events which can dictate mandatory movements with changes in direction, charges, withdrawals and even accidental fire on friendlies. It is unplanned actions, not just friction.

    My own guess is that impetuous troops are pretty predictable as regards their impetuousity, i.e. they’re pretty likely to charge in close proximity of enemy. If they don’t charge then they’re not impetuous. So no need for dice to model their impetuosity. Personally I don’t like modelling purely random events that substantially affect the course of a battle. They do exist, I know. There was that battle between the Dutch and Spaniards in which a green Dutch army bolted en masse when their powder magazine blew up. Step one: deploy armies. Step 2. Dutch player throws a die. If the result is a 5 or 6 he has lost the game. Meh.

    no what I am speaking of is a bit different, I am thinking of the something  like the commander of a division, brigade or maybe even a battalion, that isn’t even in proximity to the enemy, deciding to march his troops somewhere other than where the commander wanted him to go. It might involve an attack at the end of the march or not, think Grouchy at Wavre or Bernadotte failing to support Ney. Units get lost, misunderstand or willfully defy orders and missions. Some units have a greater impetuosity for combat or pursuit, and most ancients games think it’s all about uncontrolled charges to engage the enemy, but in horse and musket period and later where large bodies of troops might be separated from the CinC by 1-2 miles or more, impetuosity takes on a a different scope.

    I don’t know if the reductio ad absurdum argument you presented would be that bad a game.  If the loss of a major portion of the army to a random event occurs, it simply changes what the roles of the player from attacker to now a defender—with new victory conditions.  It could be very exciting, as now you are simply fighting for own survival, despite going into the game with the goal of destroying your foe.  A fighting withdrawal and pursuit are very interesting scenarios…particularly if unexpected.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199926
    Avatar photoJustin Swanton
    Participant

    no what I am speaking of is a bit different, I am thinking of the something like the commander of a division, brigade or maybe even a battalion, that isn’t even in proximity to the enemy, deciding to march his troops somewhere other than where the commander wanted him to go. It might involve an attack at the end of the march or not, think Grouchy at Wavre or Bernadotte failing to support Ney. Units get lost, misunderstand or willfully defy orders and missions. Some units have a greater impetuosity for combat or pursuit, and most ancients games think it’s all about uncontrolled charges to engage the enemy, but in horse and musket period and later where large bodies of troops might be separated from the CinC by 1-2 miles or more, impetuosity takes on a a different scope.</p>

    Sure, that’s the Napoleonic era where armies were far more spread out than in Antiquity and commanders had more initiative since the general wasn’t there to assess the situation and time the execution of orders. In Antiquity and the Middle Ages it was different. Infantry deployed in much greater depth and maintained continuous contact with each other. A battleline rarely exceeded a mile in width – if it did it couldn’t move. That meant that the general had direct oversight and could time what his commanders would do (having told them his plans the night before). There was much less scope for the personalities of commanders to put themselves on display and when it happened it was a rare and notable event, like the tribune at Cynoscephalae who detached the principes and triarii from the Roman right wing to rear-end the Macedonian phalanx on the left.

    https://wargamingwithoutdice.blogspot.com/

    #199927

    I have read of plenty of ancient battles where the cavalry or wings run off on their own to sack a camp or chase down the fleeing, and leaving the battle entirely.  Even in ancient fights there was a lot going on outside the direct LOS of the CinC that he could not control, and not all of those out of command were simply standing around doing nothing while awaiting orders.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199937

    I’ve never had the chance to try it myself. Agree that it should be a lot of fun but difficult to implement. Much easier online though.

    Haven’t you ever played an RPG? A good GM can provide much of this experience, albeit the competitive side of gaming against an equally situated opponent isn’t there.

    Never played an RPG.

     

    If you are interested in a RPG game even online, let me know. I just recently played in Whirlwind’s online double blind Napoleonic campaign so I have an obligation to reciprocate by GMing something. I could do an ancients battle.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #199938
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    An uncommitted reserve will probably (assuming they are not led by a Stanley) do what you want when you want it.

    😀 Mr F, as usual makes several very good points, some of which build on the bolox I posted with much more clarity and detail.

    Ta, my apologies, it was late and I forgot to say what I meant to at the beginning – ‘the thrust of most of my meanderings has been summed up succinctly by NCS above’. Read him for the Executive Summary!

    I wasn’t looking for acknowledgement. I’m not that needy. 😀

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

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