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  • #77373

    As we use several rule sets in our various games, it is not surprising that some allow pre-measurement & some don’t.

    Those rule sets that don’t certainly offer gaming excitement. My own home-groan SYW set of rules doesn’t. On several occasions my guesstimate of a charge distance has ended with my French cavalry only mms away from their target. The ensuing close range volley inevitably ends with “Louis’ pride & joy” routing off the table. Equally, as a first volley attracts a firing bonus, we tend not to fire that initial volley until we can see the whites of the little figures’ eyes in case we waste those extra dice.

    However, is this realistic?

    Military units are commanded by more or less professionals, part of whose training is in estimating distance. Weapons’ ranges are second nature to squad leaders, colonels of battalions and leaders of units of archers. Accurately estimating the distance to the target of a charge is mostly within the ability of a chef d’escadron to judge. We even know that on the site of many a battle, if there was time, artillery ranges were paced out & marked by battery commanders. This would leave little to chance.

    My ability to judge distances in a game is schooled by a few hours play, not a life time’s experience & asking me to do this may be great gaming fun but not realistic.

    Your thoughts??

     

    donald

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Deleted User.
    #77378
    craig cartmell
    Participant

    In our rules we don’t allow pre-measurement as it brings in a little uncertainty.

    As for realism, during an engagement the fog of war, the hyped adrenaline, loss of confidence or over aggression, smoke, fear, ineptitude and a multitude of decisions to be made can easily overwhelm an officer and their staff.

    Cheers,
    Craig

    The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare

    #77379
    Gaz045
    Participant

    Personally I ‘m not keen on pre-measurements…..so much so that my ‘in-house’ rules often allow a variable into the movement distance…….it can be a ‘bonus’ die roll of distance or a complete 2d6 of indeterminate distance…much hilarity when the panzerfaust gunner charges into the street all of 2-3 inches of or when the Rangers fail to make it into the next building…….

    With games of DBx type and a more rigid style, part of the fun is not knowing if the troops can/will close as expected or in the ‘turn time’ ………charging home before the enemy can get off a panicked volley or those crucial seconds allowing a calmer, controlled volley to empty saddles………

    "Even dry tree bark is not bitter to the hungry squirrel"

    #77387
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    I don’t like variable movement and can’t abide rules that forbid pre-measurement. I’m not sure what the mechanisms are supposed to represent that aren’t better covered by combat die rolls and variable activation.

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #77392
    irishserb
    Participant

    I tend not to care for pre-measurement, but think the argument for or against is dependent on the structure of a given rules system.

    #77394
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    (Pre)measurement has not so much to do with being “realistic” or not, but everything with how to run the game. Some people like it, others don’t.Sometimes you can rationalize it a bit better based on a historic equivalent, but essentially, it’s simply about how you want to enjoy the game.

    And yes, estimating distances is/was part of military training, but it’s not as if a charge distance or shooting distance is set in stone. Training manuals often specify distances to work with, but those are themselves averages. And estimating distances is hard … you can still make mistakes.

    Bottom line: there will always be variations in how far a unit can charge, how far a weapon can shoot … If you want that uncertainty to be added to the gaming table, use variable distances, or disallow pre-measurement, or whatever you think is appropriate. If you don’t like that variability, use some form of pre-cognition such as pre-measurement.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.

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    #77399
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    I vote in favour of allowing measurement. I want victory to be decided by who makes the better tactical choices, not by who is better at estimating distance. Also, it means that any debates about whether a unit is a millimetre inside or outside charge range can be resolved before the critical decision to charge is made.

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

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    #77405

    I think disallowing pre-measuring is a clunky game mechanism because, as the OP says, in an age of professional officers, estimating distance and effectiveness is part of the job. On the other hand, it does mean that occasionally players will misjudge and thus lose unit effectiveness. There are numerous historical examples of troops firing too early, chargers misinterpreting the roughness of the terrain, etc. And, occasionally, this has affected the outcome. So, I can see range estimation as a way of simulating these small details which may not be represented in the rules, per se.

    Personally, I’d rather see some variability in charge distances and range modifiers to cover these factors. But that’s just me. I’d play games either way.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
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    #77406
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I am for measuring before deciding.
    Maybe as simple as before the whole host looses its arrows, the best archer fires a single shot to check range?
    Maybe scouts measured the distance a few days prior?
    If modern then weapon ranges are such that almost certainly everyone is in range, and if doubt is there, then modern tech can measure range pretty accurately.

    I don’t mind games that don’t allow as I am pretty good at that sort of thing, which can cause issues when the other person is not.

    Maybe you could have a commander rating, if the commander is inexperienced that unit/division/whatever can not measure.
    But if your commander is experienced, that unit can measure?
    Could be a way to represent better commanders rather than a die modifier?

    #77409
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I like having to estimate the distances and have enjoyed several rules sets that do this. However, in recent years I have played against a few people with visual impairments that prevent them being able to estimate distances at all. Not permitting pre-measuring puts them at a serious disadvantage because of their disability, so I would rather see variable movement instead of a no pre-measuring rule these days.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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    #77413
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Like Phil said – it all depends on what you like and how the rules are set up.

    It might seem realistic to have to estimate distances but if you were going to charge you didn’t charge your 6″ (scale 60yds? or whatever) and come to a dead stop two yards short of the enemy, so it all depends on how the mechanism for handling close combat (move to contact and counter fire and whether someone stands or not) is decided. I have no commitment either way providing you don’t get the silly situation of someone being a centimetre short and not counting as charging next turn.

    As for shooting – well estimating whether you are in range or not was part of the skill in real life but again it depends how the rules work whether it is worth enforcing no premeasuring.

    I do like estimating non pre-registered artillery fire in more modern games however – it is quite a nice mechanism for reflecting all sorts of map reading errors.

    #77420
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    A few thoughts:

    “Pre-measurement” can mean many different things. E.g.:

    • allowing pre-measurement before you take the decision to charge or shoot or do something else (but otherwise not allowing pre-measurement when deciding how far to move …);
    • allowing pre-measurement to place yourself just outside charge range of the opponent. And if you allow that, do you allow a pre-measurement measuring 2 turns ahead? Or 3 turns ahead?

    … two different instantions of pre-measurement, with different impact on how the game is being played.

    As for the argument that it would be silly if you’re 1mm short: that goes for all sorts of distance measuring. If your shooting range is 15cm, but you measurement gives 15.1cm, is shooting allowed or not? BTW, this also applies to variable distances.

    Claiming that professional officers are used to estimate distances, and so pre-measurement should be allowed, is a slippery-slope argument. After all, professional officers were also trained to make tactical decisions correctly, or to go into formation at the right time … Why put one type of skill with the player, but not other types of skills?

    As I said before, it’s a decision on how you want to run the game. You can rationalize pre-measurement in any way you want, that doesn’t make the game more or less “realistic”. The only good argument is whether you like the gaming style that comes with allowing pre-measurement better compared to not allowing it.

    Personally, I dislike pre-measurement. Not allowing it adds some uncertainty and tension to the game. And if you want to stay outside the 15cm shooting range of the opponent, well, you should not take risks and stop at 25cm 😉 And vice-versa, if you want to make sure you are within the 15cm shooting range, move up to 10cm.
    And if we are in a situation where an action depends on a few millimeters, we simply roll a yes/no dice to decide whether the action is possible or not (we also handle ambiguous line-of-sight issues that way).

    The only real problem is when you play a game and you like pre-measurement and your opponent does not. That’s a difficult situation to resolve 😉

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.

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    #77439
    Norm S
    Participant

    I am for pre-measurement and since I largely play on hexes, it is virtually my default position….. whether I like it or not

    It is certainly an equalizer between players, I know that I would better at guesstimating distance than my usual opponent and really don’t see the point or pleasures in exploiting that.

    As for chaos stuff, there are plenty of other ways of injecting that into systems and ultimately the die roll is accounting for a lot of these variables, but not if you simply see a die roll as a pass or fail, it has its own narrative every time it is rolled.

    #77451
    Nathaniel Weber
    Participant

    I allow pre-measuring in my games. I figure that 1) soldiers are usually pretty good at assessing ranges and have tools, in addition to training and experience, to do so; 2) dice rolling and other variables already account for unpredictability; 3) mis-guessing a range and falling a quarter inch short of a charge doesn’t make for fun gaming, in my opinion.

    If a player goes really slow premeasuring everything—a common argument against premeasuring, but something I’ve never actually witnessed in 20 years of wargaming—they can be gently encouraged, probably without incident, to hurry up.

    #77453
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    As for the argument that it would be silly if you’re 1mm short: that goes for all sorts of distance measuring. If your shooting range is 15cm, but you measurement gives 15.1cm, is shooting allowed or not? BTW, this also applies to variable distances.

    Well I agree, the range is not that precise, but we are not saying that every bullet/arrow/javelin stops at precisely 15cm. We are saying that the effective range, the range that a significant number of projectiles will hit and cause damage to a formed body (or whatever the particular target is), is below 15cm. After that the particular characteristics of the weapon is not worth factoring in to the calculations for the game. Yes, you could day that the boundaries between effectiveness rates are gradients rather than cliff edges, but we are working with practicalities that reflect reality rather than tracking every projectile.

    The charge situation is different. The unit will at some stage run out of puff but an officer would in most cases be able to control a charge to arrive at the enemy in decent order and a few yards would be neither here nor there (particularly depending how you think charges worked and how you resolve them in the game – hence the agreement with you about it depends on the mechanics of the game). I understand that the boundary between blown and in good order could keep getting extended by this argument and I don’t want to see charges going on for miles but 1cm here or there seems a little rule mongery to me. The breakdown in distance ‘chunks’ is fairly arbitrary and it seems odd to me that someone who is 15.1cm away would get blow to smithereens and someone 14.9cm away would hit the enemy untouched. If that were the case – time for some tinkering with the rules to my mind.

    #77461
     I understand that the boundary between blown and in good order could keep getting extended by this argument and I don’t want to see charges going on for miles but 1cm here or there seems a little rule mongery to me. The breakdown in distance ‘chunks’ is fairly arbitrary and it seems odd to me that someone who is 15.1cm away would get blow to smithereens and someone 14.9cm away would hit the enemy untouched. If that were the case – time for some tinkering with the rules to my mind.
    Well, you have to draw a line somewhere. Artificial? Of course, but in a wargame, what isn’t?
    We artificially break a game up into turns & events that happen in that turn.
    In a Horse & Musket game, the Charge Phase is  the time it takes to charge a given distance. Timed well, you hit your opposing infantry before they can re-load & fire at close range. Mis-time it & you receive that most deadly volley. So, to rationalise a charge that falls short, the commander has mis-timed his charge due to mistakes in his perception of time & distance.
    If by luck, the charge that falls short is not blasted into infinity (cue the artificial “Oh no! Powder’s wet no casualties” ie a poor firing dice roll), the charge smashes home (artificially) in the next turn.
    No tinkering required.
    donald
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Deleted User.
    #77463
    Bandit
    Participant

    Et sans résultat! (ESR) allows pre-measuring. When running games at conventions we get asked about it from time-to-time. My answer is typically that I’m a fairly young guy with quite good eyesight, and it seems poor that someone else would be penalized in game play because they were older and their vision wasn’t as good.

    ESR also uses largely familiar measurements that people can guesstimate fairly well. Depending on the ground scale you play at, most people can visualize 6 inches, a foot, two feet, roughly correctly. 3 3/4″ is not a measurement anyone can be expected to correctly guess by looking.

    Another factor of this debate that is often ignored, is that natural rulers exist. We commonly play on tables we know the length and width of, we often know the approximate footprint of buildings we’ve set on the tabletop, the frontage of units is almost universally known, for those who play with roads and rivers that are set on top of the tabletop in strips, those lengths are commonly knowable. Which is to say, there are already rulers present and allowed in all games simply by default.

    To allow or disallow pre-measurement is obviously the discretion of the game designer, game host, and group of players playing. To my mind, it simply seems impractical to disallow it.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #77466
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    I am for pre-measurement and since I largely play on hexes, it is virtually my default position….. whether I like it or not

    Very true …

    But in one of my rulesets, we use variable move distances on hexgrids, e.g. when charging you can move D4+2 hexes. Sometimes these charges fall short 😉

    In the end, it all depends on what mechanic you like best. No right or wrong 🙂

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.

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    #77468
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    Well I agree, the range is not that precise, but we are not saying that every bullet/arrow/javelin stops at precisely 15cm. We are saying that the effective range, the range that a significant number of projectiles will hit and cause damage to a formed body (or whatever the particular target is), is below 15cm. After that the particular characteristics of the weapon is not worth factoring in to the calculations for the game. Yes, you could day that the boundaries between effectiveness rates are gradients rather than cliff edges, but we are working with practicalities that reflect reality rather than tracking every projectile.

    I agree, but I was just giving this example to illustrate that these cliff-edges are present in all sorts of procedures in most rulesets. But as you say, the actual impact strongly depends on how the rules handle such situations.

    Allowing pre-measurement can alleviate some of the unwanted effects of being 1mm too short, but then it is simply another gaming mechanic that becomes part of the rules, and hence will guide gameplay. I’m totally ok with people allowing pre-measurement (although I don’t favor it as a mechanic), but arguing for or against it based on historical realism is a bit weird to me. That’s like arguing D6’s are better than D8’s, using historical realism as an argument.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
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    #77470
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I agree, it’s the wider game mechanisms that make it more or less realistic within the obvious constraints no-one is going to die, be maimed or lose their career.

     

    As for pre-measuring any of this – as I said I have no particular commitment either way, I have played rule sets that do and sets that don’t and enjoyed (and disliked) examples of both. Just so long as they don’t produce weirdness – like an enemy insouciantly sitting there just out of bayonet/sword reach at the end of a move blowing raspberries at a ‘failed’ charge.

    Ochoin’s solution would suit me fine.  (although I have played rules where that would most definitely be ‘tinkering’)

    #77480
    Don Glewwe
    Participant

    To my (unsettled) mind, the two facets of the issue (movement and weapon range) are distinct.

    While weapon range is more-or-less technical (with a host of variables), movement distance depends as much (if not more) on the time spent as on the terrain covered and/or the ability of the troops involved.

    Variable movement (my preferred method is dice, not estimates) reflect how far a unit gets before other units (friend or foe) can react – the variable is time, not distance.

    https://brawlfactory.net/

    #77482
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I’m ok with both.

    #77506
    MartinR
    Participant

    I think you have to look at this in the context of the overall rules, however in the main I would suggest that pre-measurement implies that geometry and the arbitrary distances imposed by rules mechanism are somehow significant.

    Rules which involve geometry and the minutiae of various distances, also generally involves a lot of faffing around and grown men arguing about whether something was ‘in’ or ‘out’ of range. This can also encourage over optimistic movement aka cheating. Now, I don’t mind this stuff in the context of Funny Little Wars, which is played in a heroic and gentlemanly spirit, but when it comes to say, DBA it puts me off completely.

    If you want friction use cards, randomised movement, orders, hidden moves or whatever with reliance on arbitrary ruler based distances a distant last.

     

     

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

    #77601
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I go with whatever the rules suggest.. or I would if my regular opponent wasn’t my wife who absolutely hates guessing distances.

    Hence, we usually always pre-measure 🙂

    I do get bothered by “guess range” mechanics for artillery. That’s one of the few deal-breakers mechanically for me.

    Nordic Weasel Games
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    #77605
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    The upside of disallowing pre-measurement is that it reinforces the idea of miniature gaming as something that has “physicality” and “spatiality” to it, i.e. not just something that boils down to text, charts, dice rolls and game mechanics that ultimately don’t need to be represented physically/spatially. I think the instinctive assumption with a lot of people is that a physical/spatial game is also a more fun game than a purely cerebral one.

    The downside is that forcing players to guesstimate distances can feel like a ham-fisted, arbitrary, inequitable mechanic. If a game is going to require physical skill (and that’s what judging distances by eye without measuring tools ultimately is), then why not ditch the dice and resolve combats by thumb-wrestling?

    In my opinion the downside outweighs the upside.

    I do get bothered by “guess range” mechanics for artillery. That’s one of the few deal-breakers mechanically for me.

    I agree completely.

    Another thing that bothers me is when a game represents differences in levels of technology or skill/drill (usually in regard to shooting) with divergent rules for who gets to pre-measure and when. It’s too “meta”.

    #77608
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Another thing that bothers me is when a game represents differences in levels of technology or skill/drill (usually in regard to shooting) with divergent rules for who gets to pre-measure and when. It’s too “meta”.

    Oof yeah, especially as a player who is good at eye-balling distances would not be penalized at all.

    Nordic Weasel Games
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    #77614
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I’m interested as to why ‘guess range’ mechanics for artillery evokes such a dislike. I’m ambivalent about direct fire artillery range measuring in pre 20th century games – doesn’t bother me really one way or the other. But I was sort of presuming Ivan was talking about indirect fire (which is what I meant when I sad my bit above.

    It is an inoffensive means of putting a little bit of uncertainty into artillery fire  (depending on level of command and combat we are talking about) that isn’t too far removed from reality  (at least before satellite and gps systems start getting precise).

    So why the dislike? Not offended – interested.

    As for ‘physical’ vs ‘cerebral’, I don’t get it I’m afraid. Range estimation is a visuo-spatial thing and definitely cerebral unless you are throwing things at targets as well! This isn’t the hand/eye coordination bit of games playing it is purely estimating distance (and pretty small ones at that).

    Actually I am quite a big fan of various ‘different’ methods for inclusion in wargames. Yes – probably mostly just for fun. Shooting at targets for finding out if you hit enemy planes/first person shooter skirmish games etc. Paper chits for air drops (as discussed elsewhere recently), stone paper scissors for personal combat. Never tried thumb wrestling though. Andy Callan wrote a game for Papua New Guinea warfare where the measurement was initially related to handspan and then moved to flicking figures mounted on bottle caps, like Subuteo figures. Brilliant fun.

    #77616
    Bandit
    Participant

    So why the dislike? Not offended – interested.

    Part of the reason that I dislike it is the scope of game I generally play. If I were to play a very low level game, I would not object to it. However, the scope of games I generally play involve a lot of “you hired people for that” – as in the officer running the battery of artillery is at least one if not multiple levels of command below the player. Thus, there is an “apparatus” of knowledge surrounding the player.

    The other, more general reason, is that; as someone else pointed out; the overwhelming majority of command officers have *some* level of training. The direct analogy to the wargamer is how familiar the player is with the rules. As a community we commonly talk about how we “want to play the history/period/whatever, not the rules” and to my mind one of the ways to help that desire come to execution is to assume the player has a base of command knowledge “built-in” that prevents him or her from making ridiculous mistakes. An easy example is: the player chooses to deploy artillery *way* out of range of the enemy because they don’t realize the effective scale range of the artillery. That doesn’t get to the question of should players be required to correctly judge/guess if something is at 3″ vs 4″ but it is addressed by the same general rules design.

    The broad facet of the question is what all the actual actors had available to them for addressing such practical concerns, and is the player provided with those same ones? For artillery, one example of that is that guns generally would fire for range before firing for effect. While some (few) game systems provide that as an overt mechanic, many either effectively include it by allowing pre-measuring, or do not include it by denying pre-measurement and not providing a different mechanic.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #77621
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I’m interested as to why ‘guess range’ mechanics for artillery evokes such a dislike.

    ‘Guess the range’ mechanisms generally, not just artillery rules, are ableist. I’ve played regularly enough against an opponent with very poor depth perception to appreciate that they are physically incapable of guessing ranges accurately, so we have to permit pre-measuring to play on a level playing field. I, personally, don’t dislike these mechanisms, but I recognise that my opponent cannot play rules that require guessing of ranges, and that this problem affects up to 10-15% of the population to a greater or lesser extent, so I prefer not to use them these days.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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    #77622
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    So why the dislike? Not offended – interested.

    Part of the reason is that it feels a tad schizophrenic to me, to use such fundamentally different categories of determinants in the same game. Why are some things determined by dice rolling and others by eyeballing the table and saying a number? I’d sooner replace the latter with more dice rolling for the sake of uniformity and consistency – or, if I’m feeling adventurous, replace all of the dice rolling with some other single game mechanic, such as cards. Perhaps I might go so far as including both dice and cards in the same game (as long as both mechanics stay simple), but at least they’re closer to being in the same category of things the way I see it.

    As for ‘physical’ vs ‘cerebral’, I don’t get it I’m afraid. Range estimation is a visuo-spatial thing and definitely cerebral unless you are throwing things at targets as well! This isn’t the hand/eye coordination bit of games playing it is purely estimating distance (and pretty small ones at that).

    I’ll argue there’s still physical instinct involved. Denied measuring tools, I have nothing else but physical instinct to rely on to estimate what a foot of distance looks like, and I don’t see how that would get any easier with smaller distances (I’d be as likely to mistake 1 cm for 1.1 cm as to mistake 12″ for 13″). Once the game is setting expectations for my physical instincts, I’m feeling stressed, under pressure. I come to this hobby to get away from all that.

    That’s not to say I never find relaxation in games that are based on physical instinct, but there’s far better, more breezy and refreshingly inconsequential alternatives than miniature wargaming for that sort of thing. Mario Kart, for instance.

    I also don’t mean to say I want my miniature games to be very cerebral exercises, either. If I’m having to calculate odds or build complex decision trees in my head, that’s also putting me under the pressure of expectations. All I want from this hobby is some freedom from pressure. Rolling some dice to have a course of events play out before my eyes can be soothing that way.

    #77623
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Okay, I can see all of those arguments against have validity.

    However, (sounds more professional than but) I still don’t get the antipathy – you adjust for your audience – if people have depth perception problems we shouldn’t use that mechanic – but does that mean I can’t use that mechanism for those who aren’t so affected?

    As for ‘size’ issues – my ‘small’ distances meant measure your artillery call of shot from the door post the table is in – so c 3x4metres?  vice several kilometres in real life, not 0.1cm!

    As for relaxation – I find estimating physical distance to be immensely relaxing compared to calculating my way through charts etc.

    It is I guess horses for courses, so I am happy to premeasure, estimate distances or use charts, tables and dice if you prefer. (I have to confess to a certain distrust of the use of cards in games – they normally smack of gimmicks to me and do little that dice or simpler mechanisms can’t deliver).

     

    Oh PS – Bandit – Players, no matter how new to the game should be advised of the game range of their weaponry – if they choose to deploy at 48″ range when effective range is 24″, then they should be advised of their error the first time, allowed to correct this, and thereafter any mistakes are up to them.

    #77624
    Bandit
    Participant

    Oh PS – Bandit – Players, no matter how new to the game should be advised of the game range of their weaponry – if they choose to deploy at 48″ range when effective range is 24″, then they should be advised of their error the first time, allowed to correct this, and thereafter any mistakes are up to them.

    Sure, but consider that ranges vary so much that effective range might be 9″, and they might deploy at 11-12″.That’s a, 25-30% difference which sounds big, but it is also only 3″ out of 9-12″ which is small.

    A new player is keeping track of a lot. Without being allowed to check the range, how do I know if it is even material to remind them as to the ranges? I’ll observe those conversations sometimes in a local group. “You know that can’t fire more than 10 inches. Yeah. I don’t think you’re at 10 inches.” And then you have people trying to help the new player by everyone debating how far they think the distance is…

    This can obviously be resolved a couple of ways. You can prohibit table talk – but that has some downsides. Or someone can simply measure the distance to determine the question. Obviously these are not the only two options for resolving it, but I mean such as an illustration.

    Something I often hear said by gaming groups is: “We encourage players to converse about their intentions so there is no debate later”. This is not a bad disposition, especially in a friendly game. Its intent is to prevent a player from doing something counter to their intention and attempts to head off the question of “are we just inside 4″ or just outside 4″, I can’t quite tell? Well, I intended to be just outside 4″. Oh, OK sure.” Pre-measurement is a bit in the spirit of that.

    In the end, it should all be whatever works best for the given group of gamers.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #77625
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    “Antipathy” might be a bit strong. To me it’s just a preference to opt out based on a weighing of pros and cons. I do like acknowledging the “spatial” aspect of the game, setting it apart from games that can be played with no physical representation of the scene (like many modern card games and board games that emulate various kinds of conflicts in an abstract/conceptual manner), but that attractive aspect is, unfortunately, outweighed by unattractive ones.

    #77626
    Don Glewwe
    Participant

    Tangent alert!

     

    I do like acknowledging the “spatial” aspect of the game…

    Dunno how much of an impact this has on games where figures (and in some cases: terrain) has little resemblence to the ground scale, but as far as games where the two scales (figure/terrain:ground) do misalign I think it may have an impact – however subconcious- when it forces a player to translate scales in order to make a game/commander decision.  The visual picture presented by a game table is rarely (if ever) at 1:1 – the closer one can get to that the better, imo, soas to reduce the effect scale translation has on a player’s decisions.

    Estimating ranges when the figures/terrain presented do not match introduces yet another variable in player ability that may or may not be desired.

    https://brawlfactory.net/

    #77627
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    The visual picture presented by a game table is rarely (if ever) at 1:1 – the closer one can get to that the better, imo, soas to reduce the effect scale translation has on a player’s decisions.

    6mm Skirmish gamers rejoice 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #77631
    Bandit
    Participant

    Estimating ranges when the figures/terrain presented do not match introduces yet another variable in player ability that may or may not be desired.

    Yes, that is one of the factors I meant to implicate when making reference playing the rules or players knowing the rules.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #77657
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    This has become a rather interesting thread, since it touches on the question what mechanics are considered to be “acceptable” in a miniature wargame these days.

    I fully agree that a good set of rules encourages you to “play the period, not the rules”. Combined with the notion that the position identification of the player in the game is a military commander commanding his troops (a wholly separate discussion :-)), this then easily leads to arguments that we should not include mechanics in the game that a real commanding officer would not bother about. In the case of pre-measurement, this means estimating distances on the tabletop.

    But this is a somewhat strange argument. Although the wargame (and the mechanics of the rules) might be inspired by real military history and practice, we are still dealing with players playing a game, and making decisions within the framework of the game. As such, we expect from players a set of skills such as being able to read a set of gaming rules, having some notions of estimating probabilities before making decisions, analyzing a simple decision tree (“if I do this, the he might do that, and then I will do this … “) etc. None of these immediately translate to skills needed by let’s say Harald commanding his troops at Hastings. Or only in the very vaguest sense.

    Hence saying that not allowing pre-measurements does not make sense because real military leaders knew about distances or either outsourced them to junior commanders is a bit strange. The question should be whether that specific mechanic leads to a better game on the table, and will introduce some information (or lack thereof) and decision-making that would have an equivalent IRL. Not the mechanic should be the focus, but the result. After all, Napoleon also didn’t roll dice, but nevertheless, we all think that rolling dice is an essential part of any wargame.

    Let me offer some examples of mechanics that have been part of wargaming rules over the last 100 years, but have fallen out of favour:

    • shooting toy cannon at toy soldiers (Little Wars, HG Wells). Frowned upon these days, although it’s probably one of the few activities that has a direct link to real military activity on the battlefield.
    • estimating shooting ranges (Fletcher Pratt naval rules) – a very popular set of rules in the 30s, and estimating distances was considered to be part of the game and skill of commanding a warship.
    • writing orders – if there’s one thing real commanding officers do, it’s writing orders. But we have removed it from our current wargames almost completely.

    You can argue that all 3 of these activities have a direct equivalent in real military practice. But yet, they are not widely accepted (anymore) as mechanics in a wargame. Instead, we use tables, dice, rulers, … that have no direct equivalent. This is not right or wrong, it just shows that our thinking about wargaming mechanics can be very selective.

    A good example of a set of rules where you do not allow pre-measurement is the space combat set Full Thrust. Each turn, you have to write orders about acc/dec your ship, turning, etc. Each player does this in secret, and all movement is executed simultaneously. The core engine of the game assumes you can think ahead, by estimating distances and turning arcs without pre-measuring them. In some cases, you even have to think 2 moves ahead because of moving asteroids. Although no-one would think that spaceships in the 45th century (or whatever …) do not have all sorts of automated navigation systems, allowing pre-measurement in Full Thrust would destroy much of the tension of the game. Hence, disallowing pre-measurement is not a direct translation from procedures IRL (or at least what we think they would be …), but a mechanic to make the game work.

    A final note about players not being able to judge distances on the table:
    Some players also cannot process numbers and probabilty and will attack cavalry with infantry without thinking, etc. A game is putting one player against another, using a set of skills. If you want to exclude any imbalance in skill, you should play a game based purely on luck. So again, I do not think this is a valid argument in favor of allowing pre-measurement as such.
    It somehow reminds of the classic game of Monopoly. Kids just roll the dice, and move their pawns around the board without too much thinking. Once you know a bit or two about probability, you can better assess the relative value of properties in the game. What if one of the players does not realize this, or does not understand that some properties have a higher frequency of getting landed on? And if you’re really serious about Monopoly, you know it’s in essence a trading game, and players with better trading skills will win. What if a player is shy and does not trade well?
    Taking into account all possible differences in skills of all players would lead to a very boring game …

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Phil Dutré.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
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    #77662
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    A final note about players not being able to judge distances on the table: Some players also cannot process numbers and probabilty and will attack cavalry with infantry without thinking, etc. A game is putting one player against another, using a set of skills. If you want to exclude any imbalance in skill, you should play a game based purely on luck. So again, I do not think this is a valid argument in favor of allowing pre-measurement as such. It somehow reminds of the classic game of Monopoly. Kids just roll the dice, and move their pawns around the board without too much thinking. Once you know a bit or two about probability, you can better assess the relative value of properties in the game. What if one of the players does not realize this, or does not understand that some properties have a higher frequency of getting landed on? And if you’re really serious about Monopoly, you know it’s in essence a trading game, and players with better trading skills will win. What if a player is shy and does not trade well? Taking into account all possible differences in skills of all players would lead to a very boring game …

    This argument presupposes that miniature gaming can primarily only ever be a game of skill, not one of storytelling like, say, a pen-and-paper RPG.

    I play a fair deal of boardgames based on strategic/tactical skill with friends who are uncommited to miniature gaming, and I lose disproportionately often because I’m just not that good at it, or because I don’t thrive under the pressure of skill-based competition. My friends seem to be somewhat oblivious to my mild despondency over these games because they’re too caught up in the rush of winning more often than they’re “supposed” to (which they might not even have fully realised). One of the things I look for in miniature gaming is an escape from all that.

    In my games, the task of the players is simply to interpret the “prima facie” situation on the table in terms of what would be the natural behaviour for characters or commanders, so the story can progress at every decision point. The purpose is to progress the story, not the contest. Therefore, I strive to keep skill-based decision-making at its necessary minimum. If anyone starts calculating odds or eyeballing distances for purposes of “playing the margins” (e.g. staying just barely out of charge range, or moving just barely within range to charge next turn so the opponent doesn’t realise the danger), then they’re not playing by the spirit of the game.

    If some basic knowledge of the particulars of warfare for the period or setting is prerequisite for judging what the prima facie natural behaviour ought to be, such as the example of not having infantry attack cavalry, then that should indeed be treated as prerequisite: Some effort should be taken to make sure all players have that knowledge at the start of the game (that’s one reason I don’t like beginner-unfriendly historical rulesets that assume of the reader to not need explanations for what the rules are modelling). Failing that, the more knowledgeable players should be prepared to act as guides, even if they’re playing the opposing side. There’s no reason that shouldn’t work, as my games are not competitions from the players’ point of view; they’re a cooperative modelling of courses of events, with a storytelling/roleplaying slant.

    I’ve strayed a long way from the original subject matter, so I’ll stop here.

    #77700
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    if people have depth perception problems we shouldn’t use that mechanic – but does that mean I can’t use that mechanism for those who aren’t so affected?

    I may have expressed myself a bit strongly. If so, I’m sorry. There is no reason why a group of consenting gamers should not use range guessing as long as they are all happy with it. If someone joins your group who has a specific disability that affects their ability to use certain mechanisms, then it would be the kind thing to make allowances for that. I’m not calling for banning that specific mechanism outright.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
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    #77702
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    A final note about players not being able to judge distances on the table: Some players also cannot process numbers and probability and will attack cavalry with infantry without thinking, etc. A game is putting one player against another, using a set of skills. If you want to exclude any imbalance in skill, you should play a game based purely on luck. So again, I do not think this is a valid argument in favor of allowing pre-measurement as such.

    It comes down to whether they have a disability or are merely inexperienced/inept. In the former case, you make allowances for the disability. In the latter case, you encourage them and teach them to help them improve their game, because, if they play a better game, then you should have a better game with them.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

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