Home Forums General General Reasons NOT to refight historical battles

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 58 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #163003
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    I love gaming historical battle scenarios, for various reasons. This is my preferred game format.

    However, most of my fellow wargamers seem happy to fight non-historical match-ups or generic or invented situations with their historical armies, or to go entirely non-historical and play fantasy, science fiction, alternate history etc. I can enjoy these games too.

    I’ve penned some musings on the good reasons for preferring NON-historical games here. If such games are your preference, I’d be interested to know your reasons for this as well.

    #163005
    willz
    Participant

    Wargaming by its nature is all about compromise, space, scale, money, skill, time, to name a few and gaming pure historical games can be challenging. As you correctly point out some gamers are perceived experts in their chosen period and at times can be slightly over enthusiastic in their approach to gaming.
    I believe that historical games are best played using the concept of fighting a particular battle ie troops, equipment, tactics but leave the planning and fighting down to the leadership of the gamer.
    However one of the biggest problems of fighting historical battles is lots of gamers read history and at times use out of period tactics to fight battles, I have found that fantasy / 40k gamers when playing a historical game play the tactics and period better as they listen to the briefing and game rules / notes without being clouded by preconceived notions of how a particular battle was fought.

    In essence I believe historical battles can be fought but game them using the imagination concept of gaming, ie have the rules, troops, equipment, battlefield, tactics.  Then roll the dice and let battle commence and may the best player win.

    #163032
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Ah! Wargames discussion/argument number 17!

    All wargames are my children and I couldn’t possibly choose between them.

    However…if forced at gunpoint…

    I accept to a point some of your arguments but others are easily skipped over:

    Prep time – yeah fair enough

    Terrain – yeah (see weather/wargamers knowing to much as well here- Austerlitz?)

    Troops – No – I use pretty much the same French for Marengo through Waterloo and have no concerns about Kiwer or Shako and I’m still flaky on Belgic or Stovepipe and frankly don’t care.

    We’re doomed – a problem if you must ‘win’ but define ‘winning’. Putting aside historical inevitability for a mo, a good general is trying to engineer a walkover through strategy and operational manoeuvre (if operational art actually exists – I read journals that say it is a myth) which just needs finishing off at the tactical level. If you are playing the poor so and so left with this end of the stick, ‘winning’ may be simply doing better than your historical counterpart. You just need to recalibrate your criteria of ‘victory’ for the gamer (you’ll still lose the battle but…).

    Super weapon/unit missing – When I was seventeen Dave Hay and I used to field entirely tank armies of mostly Tiger II, Tigers, Panthers, the odd Panzer IVH, T34-85, IS2 and SU152. It was great fun. I’m not sure it would work for me these days.

    What if? – Not sure that, as you describe them, these are all  ‘non-historical’. Ancients used to (and may well still) thrive on French Medieval Compagnies d’Ordonnance vs Carthaginians etc., which is speculative(?) at best (but enjoyable in context). Letting Rommel have the Panzers in June 44 however, pretending the Royal Navy drank all their rum ration at once in September 1940 and Sealion happened, or having Oberleutenant Herbay fire his carbine and retire so the Tabor bridge was destroyed meaning Austerlitz was a very different battle, are ‘potential history’ rather than non historical.

    Button counting – yes annoying but not confined to or essential for historical games – cf certain popular SF games. (And see comments re shakos etc above).

    Nice armies + fun – no problem (at some point for me it probably slides into ‘gaming’ vice ‘wargaming’ but as I seem to be in a pedantic minority of 1 on this classification I’ll have to live with it).

    Limited imagination – all games limit what we do – that’s what makes them a game. At the point where there are no restraints on action it becomes something else. Otherwise my invisible flying wizards, my Alien space fleet using unheard of technologies, or my perfectly formed, average height for his era, Corsican  Ogre, will simply declare victory on turn one and we can all go to the pub.

    Of course it’s not a zero sum game. It’s horse for courses. Do both as the mood takes you

    #163033
    willz
    Participant

    Whilst waking the dog I was contemplating Chris’s question, as gamers we are gaming a battle but not fighting a battle.  I game WW2 and 18th century but I have not be trained as German infantry or Panzer officer so while I may have an understanding of tactics I don’t understand what it is like to be shot at on a ground battlefield.  I have not been through several years of brutal training learning ground assault or fire and movement tactics, me moving my troops across the table is based on my understanding of a set of game rules and a gods eye view of said battlefield.

    In 2000/2001 I ran a WW2 game, Operation Sealion the German invasion of England 1940, we played the game over 8 hours.  The game played ok and in the end the Germans lost by the narrowest margins.  Victory was calculated by the number of 1 foot squares each side controlled, the army commanders on each side had this information (both chose not to pass it onto any of their fellow generals and was there a need?)  The battle was lost as a German Panzer leader would not advance his tank battalion forward as he did not want to lose any of his vehicles as he could see some anti tank guns with his Gods eye view behind a hedge row (his idea of winning was not to lose any tanks or vehicles, when capturing ground was the priority).  As a senior officer whilst he should care about lose of life or equipment in reality he should have put it aside to achieve the mission, that’s what training and experience achieves.

    This is the problem with all wargames we all do it, in a game I was playing I had a couple of regiments of  18th century infantry waiting to advance across some open ground and I can see regiments waiting to engage so I change my movement to counter them (when actually 18th century infantry were trained to fear their NCO / Officers more than bullets from the enemy).  What I should have done was to move my troops forward and attack.

    Fighting historical battles is possible I think by using a card driven concept game, the cards force the player to do what is historically correct.  That is the crutch of the matter as gamers we play to the rules as we understand them.  To game historically accurate battles you have to introduce a system that replaces all the relevant training of the soldiers for the period you are refighting.

    #163034
    Alex
    Participant

    It’s an interesting discussion and interesting blog post.

    Personally I understand why someone would want to recreate a specific battle etc but it leaves me cold.

    I prefer taking inspiration from theatres (so limiting choices for example) and I’m more than happy to play scenarios that aren’t ‘equal’. It’s about interesting challenges, making memories and telling stories for me – and my approach seems to satisfy that to my tastes.

    Alex (Does Hobby Stuff)
    practising hobby eclecticism

    #163038
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    You’ve missed out my main reason. We Know What Happened!

    Wrote this on the Pendraken forum but thought it bore repeating here.

    The moment Jerome takes Hougoumont at the first attempt or the first wave at Sword Beach are wiped out in their landing craft by accurate German artillery fire or the Nervii kill Caesar and his bodyguard and his blood flows into the river Selle or whatever we are into fantasy territory as firmly as any game with dragons, unicorns and elves.

    If you refight a battle and it doesn’t follow the historical path you, or your rules, have missed something.

    If it does, why bother?

    So, fictional battles, with plausible fictional forces are my usual fare. No batteries of Karl Morsers in action, though I have used one as an objective once and as off table artillery a couple of times (you get one shot per game, make it count!). My two Maus models have seen action in my “Last Stand At Kummersdorf” scenario a few times. They are usually bogged down, broken down or knocked out by turn three!

    That said, I’ve had plenty of fun with New Kingdom Egyptians taking on Samurai and the like in my time

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #163039
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Willz – (while trying not to stray too far from Chris’ initial point) I think those problems – visible a/t guns and waiting 18th century musket – exhibit a problem of knowledge in wargaming – both too much and too little perhaps.

    Too much because we see too much and realise the appalling position our troops will be in if we carry on with our course of action. Too little in that we do not (cannot?) share the mindset of the historical commander.

    There are ways round both but generally they make for a removal of ‘fun’ for some people. – eg you use hidden set up for the a/t guns – you don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens – lots of dead tanks probably and eg someone (an umpire if you have no hierarchy of gaming command – most won’t have enough players for this- or enough gamers willing to be sat doing not a lot most of the time as the commanding general once he has set the plan in motion) to ride up and say, ‘Attack by God or I’ll have you in irons you snivelling wretch!’ (cue fist fight in wargame club!).

    I confess a personal distaste for card driven games but can see what you are trying to achieve here.

    I’d prefer (and this is where historical immersion – via reading, well written scenario and victory conditions, or excellent mechanisms – come into play) the player to embrace the period attitude even when their 21st century sensitivities militate against this. That’s not to say for example that the German Panzer leader would be a completely inhuman swine who cared nothing for the lives of his men and their tanks but he should be in no uncertain state about what the Fuhrer expects – advance and take the objective.

    Which is why I like historical battles,  or historically based battles at least, because there is a framework, not simply kit and equipment and tech, but doctrine and social attitudes and a cultural expectation that should dictate actions. I have no idea what Space Commandos (I know its Marine but I’m trying to move away from a criticism of a specific franchise) should be like (no matter how many Codices are written pontificating about them). History doesn’t just give a context – it is the context.

    Other gaming approaches are available

    #163044
    willz
    Participant

    Willz – (while trying not to stray too far from Chris’ initial point) I think those problems – visible a/t guns and waiting 18th century musket – exhibit a problem of knowledge in wargaming – both too much and too little perhaps. Too much because we see too much and realise the appalling position our troops will be in if we carry on with our course of action. Too little in that we do not (cannot?) share the mindset of the historical commander. There are ways round both but generally they make for a removal of ‘fun’ for some people. – eg you use hidden set up for the a/t guns – you don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens – lots of dead tanks probably and eg someone (an umpire if you have no hierarchy of gaming command – most won’t have enough players for this- or enough gamers willing to be sat doing not a lot most of the time as the commanding general once he has set the plan in motion) to ride up and say, ‘Attack by God or I’ll have you in irons you snivelling wretch!’ (cue fist fight in wargame club!). I confess a personal distaste for card driven games but can see what you are trying to achieve here. I’d prefer (and this is where historical immersion – via reading, well written scenario and victory conditions, or excellent mechanisms – come into play) the player to embrace the period attitude even when their 21st century sensitivities militate against this. That’s not to say for example that the German Panzer leader would be a completely inhuman swine who cared nothing for the lives of his men and their tanks but he should be in no uncertain state about what the Fuhrer expects – advance and take the objective.

    You have hit the nail on the head Guy are we wargaming for fun or are we wargaming to recreate historical battles or objectives, me I like somewhere in-between but all said and done its all about personal taste.  I can understand your dislike of card driven games but my idea for using them is to get a game playing and moving in a short time scale of 4 – 6 hours maximum.  Also my ideas are more based on campaign games but also based on the precept that not everyone coming to the table has read the rules fully and may need a nudge in the direction of play.  Ideas and thoughts about playability v historical knowledge.

    #163045
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Wilz. I don’t see ‘fun’ and recreation of historical battles or objectives as at all antithetical.  Both are entirely possible in the same game. It depends on how you derive pleasure from a game.

    As for all games are fantasy

    The moment Jerome takes Hougoumont at the first attempt or the first wave at Sword Beach are wiped out in their landing craft by accurate German artillery fire or the Nervii kill Caesar and his bodyguard and his blood flows into the river Selle or whatever we are into fantasy territory as firmly as any game with dragons, unicorns and elves.

    Nah!

    Only if Jerome flew over the wall, the German artillery had radar guided terminal homing warheads or the Nervii achieved their kill with help from Cernnunos.

    A historical battle set up allows the wargamer, within the bounds of historical possibility, to see what might have happened next. Walking through what happened in a battle is not a game. Game implies the interaction of different outcomes. That’s not fantasy. It’s an exploration of a ‘chaotic’ system with too many variables to accurately predict, to see what other outcomes there may have been.

    That exploration may be more or less flawed depending on the way the rules reflect reality, or not. But it is not an abandonment of real world constraints on action simply because we want to be able to do whatever we want.

    Wargames should be based on what the troops and generals on the ground could and would be likely to do on the ground in their period. Based on what actually happened and what might realistically have happened next.

    When we set up a historical position and begin to play we know at various decision points there will be different outcomes from what actually happened. That makes what happens next different from history but, if we’ve written our rules well, within the bounds of possibility.

    That doesn’t make the rules wrong – unless you think all history is predetermined – it makes them able to reflect possible outcomes that were not followed by events.

    Whereas Fantasy is, by definition, outside reality.

    #163046

    The OP gave plenty of valid reason from pickup games.  Quite frankly I game more fictitious battles than I do historical ones.  Mainly it is the effort to put together a historical battle that puts me off.  So, the British fight the French quite often on a fictitious battlefield at my house.   WW2 is the same.  ACW as well.   Ancient and Medieval battles are quite easy to setup and the battle accounts are vague enough to allow for plenty of wiggle room for force size and troop composition.   With that, I have done a bit more historical battles in those in the Ancient and Medieval eras..

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #163056
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    unless you think all history is predetermined.

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

    Predetermined, no, but once a thing has happened it is immutable. All other options are lost.

    Unless you believe, as some do, that there are infinite universes and that anything that could happen does happen, causing endless branching realities.

    Or is that too science fiction?

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #163058
    willz
    Participant

    Wilz. I don’t see ‘fun’ and recreation of historical battles or objectives as at all antithetical. Both are entirely possible in the same game. It depends on how you derive pleasure from a game. As for all games are fantasy<noscript></noscript>

    I am entirely with you Guy all games should be fun or at the very least the gamer/gamers should derive enjoyment out of the game/games.  I certainly do not perceive that historical or objectives are antithetical they can be mutually supporting but trying to game a historical battle without some form of control to put the game in historical context as you correctly point the game then becomes fantasy.

    As probably you and me would both agree all wargames are fantasy, however at times it is worth it to try and game something as near to the historical tactical situation as possible,, working within in the constants of ones ability, size of gaming area, time, space, money, scale and detail.

    I think the greater population and some wargamers perceives wargamers as deep tactical thinkers with a profound knowledge of all military matters related to the historical period being gamed.  Speaking for myself I liked to get the uniforms and equipment as near to correct as I can but I don’t sweat the small stuff as to my profound tactical knowledge I generally wing it.

    #163059
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Good luck with the multiverse!

    But all those options locked out by the immutability of the event are open in a historical wargame. That’s the joy of running the chaotic model over and over.

     

    PS – Sorry Willz – posts crossed.

    Actually I don’t agree that all wargames are fantasy. Or they shouldn’t be.

    As for the rest – winging it is certainly my most profound modus operandi!

    #163062
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    But all those options locked out by the immutability of the event are open in a historical wargame.

    But then it’s not historical.

    To  say “I play WW2 games because I like the period and the figures and the rules but not Science Fiction ones because the rules don’t grab me and I don’t want to have to come up with paint jobs and the figures are a fiddle to put together” makes perfect sense to me but the idea that one is “real” and the other not baffles me utterly.

     

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #163064
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    But all those options locked out by the immutability of the event are open in a historical wargame.

    But then it’s not historical.

    Rather than repeat what I said above, I think the only answer is; ‘Oh yes it is’.

     

    Re historically based wargaming  and (say) SF gaming:

    I’m sorry you’re baffled.

    One is based on reality.

    The other not.

    #163065
    deephorse
    Participant

    The moment Jerome takes Hougoumont at the first attempt or the first wave at Sword Beach are wiped out in their landing craft by accurate German artillery fire or the Nervii kill Caesar and his bodyguard and his blood flows into the river Selle or whatever we are into fantasy territory as firmly as any game with dragons, unicorns and elves.

    If you refight a battle and it doesn’t follow the historical path you, or your rules, have missed something.

    I can’t agree with either of these statements.  The destruction of the first wave at Sword Beach does not put you into fantasy territory, not by any definition of fantasy that I’ve seen anyway (imagining impossible or improbable things).  In purely game terms that would really spice things up nicely.  You’re still fighting on Sword Beach.  You’re still pitting British against Germans (and maybe some Russians).  This isn’t fantasy.

    Neither have you, or your rules of choice, necessarily missed something if a refight doesn’t go the way of history.  For me, refighting a real battle gives the players the option to go the way of history, or to devise their own plan of attack.  Deciding to attack on the left flank, rather than the historically accurate right flank, says nothing about any player, or any rules they are using.

     

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #163067
    jeffers
    Participant

    All my early toy soldiers games were based on whatever film or Commando book was at the forefront of my mind at the time. I was also happy to use proxies, mainly because I didn’t have the right figures or they weren’t available anyway! As time went on, and I started wargaming proper, my historical knowledge grew and I began to try and make my toys look and behave more like their historical counterparts. And what I didn’t know I researched. Like most wargamers, I’ve been through the simple – complex – super complex – wife & kids – simple rules journey, but throughout my aim was to make my little metal and plastic toys do something akin to what I have read they did in real life. I have always appreciated that this is only an approximation because of the limitations mentioned above, so if it looks about right, without using the f-word (flavour 😁), then that is enough for me.

    Scifant is ‘rules say green space marines get +2 against red space marines’ and that’s it. No research required. So I don’t consider historical wargames fantasy if you don’t refight an actual battle, nor would I mix periods and give Blucher a panzer division at Waterloo (like Michael Bentine did).

    Quite happy to mix battles with periods as scenarios, though. I’ve done Waterloo with ACW and Isandlwana with Romans and Dacians! Let’s face it, Waterloo is just one side defending a ridge with a few farms dotted about. If you know your history you can throw a scenario together in an hour. I threw an Aspern-Essling for British v French together at club night many years ago because the chap organising the Peninsular game was ill. I knew more about 1809…

    No idea where I’m going with this because I’m tired and getting old. So I’ll just stop here. All this were fields when I were a lad.

     

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #163072
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I get what you are saying Mike.
    I think:

    If you fight Waterloo and Napoleon wins, it is not historical as that is not happened in history.
    If you fight Waterloo and Napoleon loses, but captures Hougoumont, it is not historical as that is not happened in history.

    Once something happens in your game that did not happen in real life history, you are saying it then becomes fantasy/sci-fi/imaginations, whatever you will, as it is no longer a reflection of actual history?

    In the above they are historical settings but with a non factual (fantasy etc) outcome?

    #163089

    I must admit I enjoy historically plausible scenarios best. I can see recreating the flow and results of the historical event on the table top as a form of studying the event, but I don’t consider that a game. Once you start making your own decisions (or let the dice decide the outcome), then you’re veering away from the history. That’s OK, though. For me, it depends on how far you veer from the plausible. For instance, I would not pit my Macedonians against my Aztecs. That’s not historically plausible. It’s fantasy. But exactly where that line gets crossed I haven’t a clue. It’s like not knowing how to define pornography but knowing it when you see it.

    On the other hand, the fantasy games I’ve played that have been the least enjoyable are those with dogmatic players or rule systems. Those who claim a world is ruled by canon or it’s wrong. That’s just silly. If you’re going to exercise your imagination why let someone else define the borders?

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

    #163094
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    I’ll add that I’m very very uncomfortable with ‘replaying’ real battles as I think it’s disrespectful those that gave their lives to trivialise their sacrifice in a game.

    This is part of my mental health makeup and a belief that is not shared by many gamers and I’m relaxed over this.

    #163095
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    I think another potential factor against historical re-fights is that the players’ experience of the game can be heavily shaped by their knowledge of the historical event and expectations of what is “supposed” to happen.  It’s very difficult to game (for example) Gettysburg without players engaging in some amount of metagaming to either follow the historical narrative or subvert it, their knowledge of historical events shaping their decisions.

    Now this could be great fun or incredibly frustrating, depending on what kind of experience the people involved are looking for, but it’s something you should be aware of either way.  If you want to re-enact the historical events of Gettysburg, you will need some amount of restrictions to keep the game within roughly historical bounds, likely by essentially playing several smaller games of individual engagements without changing the overall course of events.  Whereas if you wanted to play a game that presented the tactical and operational challenges of the corps and army commanders there, you are very unlikely to get the same sequence of events, and the players’ experience would probably be improved by obscuring and randomizing some of the factors not knowable at the time, such as when and where reinforcements would arrive.

    #163096
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    To all the wise wargamers who have piped in to date:

    Fighting wargames within the context of an historical setting is both possible and quite enjoyable for me. However these games are not historical games in and of themselves. They are extrapolations of or tangents from what happened (as far as we know) but they are ahistorical once we get our grubby little rules, dice and hands on causation and consequence. Therefore while I often set games in an historical context, I never claim that the game is itself an historical exercise. It is “what-if-history” at best and depending on the choices made in scenario crafting, the guiding rules mechanics, the vicissitudes of chance and the transparency or opacity of the fog of war mechanics these game can easily become utterly fantastical, even if based on an historical starting point. Therefore to me historical wargames are an excuse to squirrel history into a fun encounter for miniature players on a big table, nothing more. They are an excuse for me to do research I love doing and to waste far too much time pouring through books and interweb pages as I design the game to try to get the starting point as historically accurate as possible. But the accuracy ends when turn one begins. The chaos which follows is the fun bit.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #163097
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    I get what you are saying Mike. I think: If you fight Waterloo and Napoleon wins, it is not historical as that is not happened in history. If you fight Waterloo and Napoleon loses, but captures Hougoumont, it is not historical as that is not happened in history. Once something happens in your game that did not happen in real life history, you are saying it then becomes fantasy/sci-fi/imaginations, whatever you will, as it is no longer a reflection of actual history? In the above they are historical settings but with a non factual (fantasy etc) outcome?

    Exactly so Mike.

    I’m not saying that people shouldn’t play such games, just that they should be honest with themselves about what they are doing.

    A group of us have played a couple of campaigns set between Stalingrad and Kursk in the years before covid put a stop to us meeting face-to-face. The formations were fictional, as was the terrain, but they were plausible forces based on real world TO&Es with equipment available in the period.

    We also played fantasy campaigns where fictional forces of High Elves, Dark Elves, Orcs, Undead and a few flavours of humans battled for dominance.

    Frankly I don’t see the difference.

    We shared a reasonably common view of how such warfare might be conducted in both cases. We all agreed that Tiger tanks were better armed and armoured than T34s and that dragons were better armed and armoured than giant eagles and so on.

    In both cases, we won some, we lost some and we had fun. Which is surely the point of it all.

    But I remain baffled as to why some seem to think that their games are more “real” than ours.

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #163099
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    The games are both real.

    What they represent isn’t.

    I’m baffled why you don’t understand that.

     

    #163100
    Mike
    Keymaster

    The games are both real.
    What they represent isn’t.
    I’m baffled why you don’t understand that.

    I get the impression he does?
    Anywho, off for the night now, hopefully when I come back in the morning we are all still friends.

    #163103
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    Ooh! I hope we are all still friends. Disagreeing with someone and disliking them are two waaaay different things!

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #163107
    jeffers
    Participant

    Mike H – Totally agree with you, although I disagree with you! 😉

    Guy & Deephorse – Totally agree with you!

    Andrew – Almost agree with you! I think the claim ‘realistic rules’ is in that category. Recreating a real battle on the tabletop should involve researching the real thing, which itself should bring you to respect the participants (to some degree – the SS can do one).

    A-O-S – Totally agree!

    There: all friendly!

     

     

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #163111
    Sane Max
    Participant

    we refought Mars-La-Tour a few weeks back. I understand that a Franco-Prussian War in which the French can possibly win is immediately a fantasy scenario, and yet it was still quite a frustrating experience – sure, I DID do comfortably better than the French did in reality, but that was only because Bazaine Snuffed it in turn 1 (Capitaine! The Army Commander is dead!’ “Oh thank *%^* for that!” )

    Also my very, very first wargame with figures, I was given command of a wing in an ACW Battle, where my task was to advance up a bare, exposed slope under fire from massed infantry behind cover with artillery support…. because that’s how it happened in reality. Put me right off Historicals for years.

    It’s all just a game.

     

     

     

    #163122
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    It’s all just a game.

    Define ‘game’.

    Define ‘just’

    Define ‘all’

    Ludo’s a game. Depends what sort of game you want to play.

    Giving a new player the ***tty end of the stick in their first game isn’t about bad historical gaming, its a lack of empathy – could have happened with Orcs at the hands (hooves?) of the Rohirrim or any other badly thought through scenario.  (It wasn’t Fredricksburg by any chance?).

    As for the F-P War, not fantasy to think France could defeat Germany (highly unlikely given the C3 issues of the French, but not completely impossible) – Chris in his original article says:

    I’ve seen that [being too one sided] offered on several occasions as a reason not to touch the Franco-Prussian War at all, for instance, because people have a prejudiced view of it as a walkover for the Germans.

    As for being friends Mike – I’m sure Mike H and I will continue to disagree (and no doubt be baffled by each other!) but I’ll happily play a game with him – the discussion about the effective range of an Elvish bow vs that of a musket might delay the start however.

     

    #163127
    Sane Max
    Participant

    (It wasn’t Fredricksburg by any chance?)

    Course it was.

     

    As for the F-P War, not fantasy to think France could defeat Germany (highly unlikely given the C3 issues of the French, but not completely impossible)

    Never mind C3, the logistic failure I think is the icing on that turd-cake. Of course nothing is completely impossible, but they really really shouldn’t win. I wish they had, or at least made a proper struggle of it, but it never was.

     

    #163128
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Never mind C3, the logistic failure I think is the icing on that turd-cake. Of course nothing is completely impossible, but they really really shouldn’t win. I wish they had, or at least made a proper struggle of it, but it never was.

    Good point – well made.

    #163133
    deephorse
    Participant

    I get what you are saying Mike.  In the above they are historical settings but with a non factual (fantasy etc) outcome?

    I understand what he is saying too.  I just don’t agree that it is fantasy.  When did fantasy become something that didn’t happen as opposed to something that couldn’t happen?  Are we just making up our own definitions now?

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #163137
    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    One more factor in playing historical battles is that most such battles are b***** big. That means there has to be a large degree of abstraction, unless you want to play on a tennis court area for a week. The game ‘units’ are brigades or divisions, or whatever the appropriate terminology is for the era involved. That may be fine if you are happy with that level of abstraction, but it is a restriction on the style of game.

    For a lower level game, where the units are battalions, companies, or whatever, I know it is possible to play a part of a historical battle, but I think it is then even harder to devise something worthwhile for both sides, without one or the other wanting the game situation to be influenced by the larger setting. If La Haye Sainte is about to be taken by the French, wouldn’t additional units on the Mont St. Jean ridge become involved, and then wouldn’t the French .. etc. Hence, wanting to play at that lower level may then make the game more likely to be a tabletop teaser, or tournament-style, as the ‘boundary’ conditions are then wholly defined by the scenario. Nearly all my games are at that level, and I still see them as ‘historical’, for the reasons Guy said, but realise that the basis in history can get somewhat tenuous.

    I also wonder how far one can go ‘varying the ‘players’ decisions’ in a historical battle situation before the battle bears no relationship to the historical one. Assuming the players know the historical battle, it is likely that they will want to do something different, particularly if they are playing the losing side. Would anyone send the Allied columns off to the south-west at Austerlitz, or attack the heights at Fredericksburg, knowing what then happened historically, if the game allowed them to make a different decision? If they made a different decision, would they still be playing the battle of Austerlitz or Fredericksburg? On the other hand, once you start to constrain the ‘allowable’ decisions, where do you stop before the game becomes a moving diorama? ‘It could have happened but didn’t’ scenarios avoid those issues as well.

    RogerC

    #163138
    jeffers
    Participant

    So if the French don’t surrender the initiative to the Prussians at Mars La Tour its the same as Wizards v Space Dragons? Hmmmm…🤔.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #163139
    Mike Headden
    Participant

     

    I understand what he is saying too. I just don’t agree that it is fantasy. When did fantasy become something that didn’t happen as opposed to something that couldn’t happen? Are we just making up our own definitions now?

    I can imagine having had an affair with a thirty year old Claudia Schiffer (I’m showing my age here aren’t I 🙂 ). I’m real, she’s real. Does that make the affair real? Or fantasy?

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #163142
    Sane Max
    Participant

    I understand what he is saying too. I just don’t agree that it is fantasy. When did fantasy become something that didn’t happen as opposed to something that couldn’t happen? Are we just making up our own definitions now?

    I can imagine having had an affair with a thirty year old Claudia Schiffer (I’m showing my age here aren’t I 🙂 ). I’m real, she’s real. Does that make the affair real? Or fantasy?

     

    It could happen. QED Not Fantasy. You lucky lad.

    #163143
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I understand what he is saying too. I just don’t agree that it is fantasy. When did fantasy become something that didn’t happen as opposed to something that couldn’t happen? Are we just making up our own definitions now?

    Fantasy has always been about things that did not happen. This includes things that could not happen. The problem is that the fantasy genre of wizards and dragons now dominates people’s understanding of what fantasy is. The dictionary definitions of fantasy relate to the use of the imagination and to fictional things. In this respect, all wargames are fantasy to some extent, because we have to use our imaginations to fill in details that are not in our sources, and we allow for possibilities that did not actually happen, but could have, even when gaming historical battles. That doesn’t make our detailed historical research any less worthy, or our games less valid. It’s just an effect of needing more certainty than the historical record provides.

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

    https://envirocitizen.eu
    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/

    #163146
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I get what you are saying Mike. In the above they are historical settings but with a non factual (fantasy etc) outcome?

    I understand what he is saying too. I just don’t agree that it is fantasy. When did fantasy become something that didn’t happen as opposed to something that couldn’t happen? Are we just making up our own definitions now?

    But if historical is:

    of or concerning history or past events.

    Playing Waterloo where Napoleon won was not a past event, not historically correct.
    It never happened.
    The battle actually occurring is historical, but not the outcome above.

    So what is that game, fiction, fantasy?
    It certainly does not represent the reality of the battle.

    I am content to call it historical BTW

    #163147
    willz
    Participant

     

    I can imagine having had an affair with a thirty year old Claudia Schiffer (I’m showing my age here aren’t I 🙂 ). I’m real, she’s real. Does that make the affair real? Or fantasy?

    If it becomes real could I have first dibs on the photo’s.

    #163186
    Paint it Pink
    Participant

    I think people are confusing the issue by conflating genres with fiction versus non-fiction.

    By the very fact that one is playing with models, a game is a fictional what-if.

    If playing a scenario with historical forces then the game is historical fiction, which can then be broken down down into different flavours, which is what genres are.

    If playing orc and elves then the genre is non-historical fiction, commonly known as fantasy, but there are different flavours e.g: Tolkien, Greek & Roman, Norse, GW Warhammer.

    Likewise, if playing in a science frictional setting, then one is speculating about the future of warfare. Again, there are a variety of flavours ranging from Star Wars space opera to near future, plausible technology, or to far future Clarke tech, which can bring you around in a circle to space opera or god like fantasy battles.

    One is good, more is better
    http://panther6actual.blogspot.co.uk/
    http://ashleyrpollard.blogspot.co.uk/

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 58 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.