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  • #63773
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Do you prefer scenarios where the players know each other’s objectives?

    On one hand, trying to figure out what they are up to can be a lot of fun, on the other hand, if your opponent knows, I find that sometimes it helps focus the objective for yourself as well.

    Thoughts?

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    #63774
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Unless it is part of a campaign I am not sure I would care what their objectives are, assuming I win by completing my objective.
    Let us say I have to take out the bridge to keep my commander happy, then that is what I will focus on.
    If they are doing something over there by the farm I am not inclined to care.

    But in a campaign then I would be curious for sure.

    #63779
    MartinR
    Participant

    I almost always keep both sides briefings secret – forces, objectives, intel etc. They all get a chance to explain why thing think they’ve ‘won’ at the end.

     

     

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

    #63780
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I’m happy to play either way. I’ve found with secret objectives that they usually become obvious fairly quickly anyway as each player gathers their forces to achieve them. As long as the objectives require the players to mix it up on the table and cause them to do so, all is good. For my own gaming group (consisting of my friend Steve and myself) known objectives are easier purely because there are only two of us, but we have played some good games where we draw random objectives from a deck and keep them secret until the end.

    Unless it is part of a campaign I am not sure I would care what their objectives are, assuming I win by completing my objective. Let us say I have to take out the bridge to keep my commander happy, then that is what I will focus on. If they are doing something over there by the farm I am not inclined to care.

    If you wind up in a situation where both sides can win by ignoring each other, that sounds like poorly constructed objectives to me.

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    #63784
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Mike – I suppose time would be a factor.

    f.x. if they can finish their mission in 3 turns but it’ll take me 4 turns,then I’ll have to interfere with them 🙂

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    #63786
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Ah but if them finishing before me does not prevent me from completing my objective the next turn…?

     

    We both win?

     

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Mike.
    #63788
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Ah but if them finishing before me does not prevent me from completing my objective the next turn
?

    I guess then it depends on whether it’s a “sudden death” game (the game ends as soon as victory is established) or if it continues until a given time (or until the players retreat off the field or agree to end). 🙂

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    #63790
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Ah but if them finishing before me does not prevent me from completing my objective the next turn
? We both win?

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with games that both players can claim a victory in, but I would suggest that it would be a boring game if it is set up so that neither of you has to interfere with the other’s actions. In the example you gave, I have to ask why you each have different terrain objectives on the same battlefield and there is no requirement to defend the other side’s target. It just does not seem logical, and does seem like poor scenario design. I would suggest sacking the scenario designer and getting a new one!    Then you can recast the victory conditions as ‘take your objective while stopping your opponent from taking theirs. Any other result is a draw’, or, as Ivan suggests, make it a sudden death game. Hey presto, you have neatly dealt with the problem.

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    #63791
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Maybe it keys into a bigger question actually?

    A “sudden death’ game that declares a clear winner and loser is a more satisfying “Game” but is maybe less realistic?

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    #63792
    Mike
    Keymaster

    In the example you gave, I have to ask why you each have different terrain objectives on the same battlefield and there is no requirement to defend the other side’s target. It just does not seem logical, and does seem like poor scenario design. I would suggest sacking the scenario designer and getting a new one

    I agree.
    DA.

    #63802
    Patrice
    Participant

    Different and secret terrain objectives can be interesting if the objectives, although different, are somewhat entwined. For example if the farm is somewhere behind the bridge; or if roads to get there pass through the same village; or if one hill can dominate both objectives. A players not knowing what the opponent wants to do will be under stress if his/her moves seem threatening, more than if the reason is known.

    You can also have an obvious objective and a second, secret one.

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    #63807
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    I wouldn’t say I “prefer” secret objectives – for the historical refights I predominantly do it’s not really practical and they work just fine with everyone knowing the objectives – but I would certainly like to play or run games with some particular situations where secret objectives might work better. These could include:

    • a rearguard action where the pursuer doesn’t know whether he is up against just a screen or the whole army, and has to balance aggression and caution;
    • reconnaissance actions where the more enemy you can get to open up on you and reveal their positions, the better;
    • situations where a player has the option to call on reserves but the risk is that he is facing a feint attack and the reserves will be needed more elsewhere.

    Chris

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    #63830
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Maybe it keys into a bigger question actually? A “sudden death’ game that declares a clear winner and loser is a more satisfying “Game” but is maybe less realistic?

    Is it necessary to have a clear winner, or just a fair shot at winning? As long as both players think they can win, a stalemate or draw is an acceptable result in the end. I’ve played a few games like that where there was an option for a draw (mostly ASL scenarios) and they were still good fun, even when they did end in a draw.

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    #63847
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I don’t think a clear winner is a must, but for the more competitive players, maybe that’d be different?

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    #63849
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Fair point. It could well come down to how competitive the players are.

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

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    #63851
    Mike
    Keymaster

    How would it work?

    Let us say my secret objective is to blow up a bridge.
    Let us say your secret objective is to stop me.

    I am going to assume that because destroying the bridge is my objective that this will be detrimental to your force, and as such you will try to stop me.
    In this case I would be correct.

    What kind of games would there be where your opponent is not trying to stop you from doing your objective, or where it is a race for both sides to do something first?

    In order for it to be a fun game there should be some conflict, and that will only happen if something is contested, given I know what I have to do, then it should be obvious what they will be trying to do?

    I am thinking for their objective to be a surprise (why make it secret otherwise) it would have to be not related to mine?

    #63864
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    In order for it to be a fun game there should be some conflict, and that will only happen if something is contested, given I know what I have to do, then it should be obvious what they will be trying to do?

    Perhaps. But the conflict can also be indirect. I might have objective A, you have objective B, but B can only be reached by negating A. It might not say so in the briefing.

    Good scenarios do not always have to be able to declare a winner. Games can as well end in a tie, or victory for both sides, or even victory for the side who didn’t reach its initial objective. History has many examples of this.

    The best scenarios are with intents defined for both sides – not the same as clear-cut objectives defined in rules terms. After the game, a short discussion and briefing usually reaches a decision on who has “won”. Not for all types of players though 😉

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    #63881
    Grimheart
    Participant

    On balance I like secret odjectives as it creates that little bit more fog of war and interest for the players.

    They do need to be set up with some thought though in case they unbalance the game.

    Of course the “kill all the enemy” type games can also be fun and are good for casual or pickup games.

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    #63888
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    I don’t think a clear winner is a must, but for the more competitive players, maybe that’d be different?

    Actually the most competitive and tournament-minded player in our group is also the one who most loves a draw. He says a draw always leaves him thinking about how he could do better next time. (We play historical scenarios, so it is possible to fight the same game several times with different plans.)

    Chris

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    #63916
    Deuce
    Participant

    I think there are a couple of ways of approaching it.

    For instance you might have a scenario where both sides’ objectives are mutually exclusive, but different. As a basic example, side A has the objective “seize the bridge”. Side B has the objective “destroy the bridge”. Both sides can guess at each other’s objective but can’t necessarily be sure, which is probably realistic; however, they can’t both succeed. Not knowing each other’s objectives might lead them to play in ways their opponent doesn’t anticipate.

    On the other hand you might have one where Side A has “rescue the spy from x location”. Side B has the objective “Break/destroy 50% of the enemy army”. If both sides are ignorant of the other’s objectives, A might throw away troops in order to achieve theirs, while B might inadvertently let A rescue the spy in favour of attacking units elsewhere on the table. At the end, both sides might have achieved their goals, in which case it would probably be fair to call it a draw. The game is likely to be very different depending on whether each side knows their opponent’s objective or not.

    Or you could adopt a “victory point” model where achieving an objective contributes towards, but doesn’t entirely settle, the battle. The problem there is it can lead to armies just hammering at each other and only making a token attempt to fulfil their objectives, if the weighting is wrong.

    I have no particular preference; I think it probably depends on the scenario. It may also, obviously, depend on whether there’s an umpire or other neutral third party to adjudicate.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Deuce.
    #63919
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Good call on victory points. It’s easy to get the impact wrong and either make the objective too important or not important enough.

    An article I read years ago suggested that the objective should be worth between 30 and 40% of the total army value (on the basis that you can usually count on about half their force being destroyed and worth VP)

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    #63970
    MartinR
    Participant

    I try not to over think objectives, just give each side two or three sensible things to do (some of which may conflict).

    Ideally I try and find the original operations orders and use those, but some of them are hilariously useless (like 15/25SSPGR at Cheux who were helpfully just ordered to fight to the last man and last bullet by Corps HQ). In those cases I’ll base them on what the units actually did and what they might have achieved in the overall context of the operation. Sometimes I’ll use them as triggers for historical events to enhance the game narrative.

    It is all about telling a story, I don’t care so much for competition.

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

    #64061
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    Not a big fan of victory point systems (probably because I’ve never played any!) but I am a bit against quantifying stuff after watching several Bolt Action games in a tournament. They were about beating the VP system not playing the game.

    As Martin says, the players all get a chance to explain why they think they won in the end but I’d go further and say all players get to say what they thought were the more interesting events and who played the best or most interestingly, rather than won.

    Having a discussion about the game afterwards would be my preferred method. Probably wouldn’t go down too well these days in the ‘Determining The Winner’ chapter, however!

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    #64071
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I really like that method, that does sound super interesting.

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    #64072
    Norm S
    Participant

    My answer assumes Ivan is asking with a thought to commercial scenarios.

    Secret objectives are fun in face-to-face games.

    The downsides are, they can kill a game for those many gamers that play solo and scenarios may not be very replayable once fixed secret objectives are known by the parties due to previous play.

    I like commercial scenarios to have some thought for solo gamers, even if that means an alternative victory condition set that has been play tested. Doing this might also deal with the replayability issue, making the secret objective part of the scenario something of a one shot wonder, so in effect players can always default to standard known conditions and only play hidden conditions when useful to the players.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Norm S.
    #64077
    MartinR
    Participant

    That is a nice idea Tim, I remember you describing it before but I’d forgotten the details.

    Commercial scenarios generally specify the objectives for both sides in any case (so fine for solo play), my version of making them “hidden” is just to give each side their specific briefings. It isn’t exactly exam conditions. Like hidden movement, it is something you can take or leave, and if you are doing something like e.g. Borodino, it is fairly obvious what each side is likely to be up to anyway.

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

    #64086
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I have to ask why you each have different terrain objectives on the same battlefield and there is no requirement to defend the other side’s target. It just does not seem logical,

    I think that unless you’ve got a very wide table with objectives on both ends, you will still have lots of interaction. In particular, a lot of great rule sets out there make it difficult in a game to outflank another force. In such a situation where opposing forces are focusing on different directions on a table, you’re going to have opportunities for such things.

    I can see that there is likely to be interaction on most game tables, because of the lack of flanks, although flank marches are a feature of many rules sets now, so it is maybe not quite the problem it used to be. Regarding the terrain objectives, my issue really is that if a particular terrain feature is significant enough to be an objective for one side, I struggle to see why the other side would not recognise it as such too, and defend it. I do like your idea for each side assessing the value of the objectives themselves and then swapping the envelopes at the end. This is something that I may well borrow for future games. The difference between your system and the originally posited situation, though, is that each side had different terrain objectives in the original scenario. With your system, both sides have the same objectives, but could assign different values to each. In the original scenario, even without flanks on a small table, it might well be possible to turtle on the objective and refuse to engage, unless the other side actively moves towards something that has no value to them.

    The focus in this discussion seems to be largely on terrain as objectives, so it might also be worth considering tactical or strategic objectives. I enjoy Command Decision:Test of Battle which includes a system for scenario generation. One way of doing this is to create a mission deck from which each player draws their mission which defines their objective. The cards are revealed at the end of the game. Missions can include an all-out assault, probing the enemy lines, recceing the enemy, fighting a rearguard action, etc. Many of these don’t have terrain objectives, but rather require you to get your troops to a specific point on the table and then return the information, or to eliminate a percentage of the enemy force, etc. (NRBTH at the mo so can’t state specifically all the missions or their details). By not including duplicates of missions that would result in no conflict (e.g. 2 delaying action cards) in the deck, you can have secret objectives that ought to result in a decent game without needing an umpire.

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