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  • #128245
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    Let us assume you are playing an historical battle.
    Let us assume that both opposing forces are historically accurate as is the terrain, as is everything.
    The set up is, for all intents and purposes a mirror of the actual battle.

    Let us also assume that both players move troops as actually happened on the day.
    The troops actual movements and everything are faithfully mimicked.

    Now, let us assume that one player had consistently better dice rolls than the other.
    This player however loses the battle, yet in the historical battle this side one.

    So even with deploying and moving as happened on the day, and with good luck on side, the side that won in real life, lost in the game.

    Bad rule design?

    #128246
    Geof DowntonGeof Downton
    Participant

    Bad rule design if you’re looking for a simulation, but it may make a better/more enjoyable game.

    …I think…

    One who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off.
    Ahab, King of Israel; 1 Kings 20:11

    #128248
    OB
    Participant

    Battle is a tricky business I think good rules reflect that.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #128250
    Howard WhitehouseHoward Whitehouse
    Participant

    What we don’t always have much of a sense of is the die roll equivalents of the actual battle, if that makes any sense. At Waterloo we know that Napoleon was unwell, with piles. We don’t know if that should be shown by consistently bad com and die rolling, or some sort of restriction in the game set up. At Talavera a British cavalry regiment charged across an unseen ditch, too small even to be shown on a wargame table, became disorganized and lost a melee badly to their French counterparts: did they roll a ‘1’ there?

    I do all my own stunts.

    #128256
    Thomaston
    Participant

    My read on this is even though the dice favored one side for the most part the few times it favored the other side, happened where it mattered most.
    There was a qoute from Sun Tzu along the line of
    50% of your army contributes to 1% of the outcome
    33% of your army contributes to 16% of the outcome
    16% of your army contributes to 33% of the outcome
    1% of your army contributes to 50% of the outcome

    Tired is enough.

    #128258
    Darkest Star GamesDarkest Star Games
    Participant

    So even with deploying and moving as happened on the day, and with good luck on side, the side that won in real life, lost in the game. Bad rule design?

      I don’t think so at all.  The whole point of replaying historical battles is to see “what if?”  When viewing historical battles there are often very pivotal moments that could have happened an entirely different way that might have swung that battle in a different direction entirely and a good game allows these sort of things to happen, as well as generate the historical outcome.

    I mean, if you design a 1066 game to only allow that fateful arrow to the eye, then you will only have that one single result and thus not have a game, just an exact simulation, right?

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #128266
    deephorsedeephorse
    Participant

    My read on this is even though the dice favored one side for the most part the few times it favored the other side, happened where it mattered most.

    This is my view too.

    Before I joined Facebook I thought that a) most people were reasonable and intelligent, and b) they could spell words correctly. Guess what ......

    #128268
    Thorsten FrankThorsten Frank
    Participant

    I´m with Darkest Star Games here (like so often). The point is that I experienced even in excercises small unlucky events and I´ve got experiences like a boar hitting our squadron during a tactical change of position causing three 2tons crashing in each other and causing 7 WIA. This allowed the EX-Opfor to exploit an unobserved gap and that would have caused even more losses to our unit. It wasn´t planned that way and some of the brass were seriously pissed off (I think they had to pay a few rounds in the casino….). And this was just one example from many.
    The real problem is: you can´t really simulate conflict/war. There are so many variables that´s it´s more or less impossible. Even most video games can´t (think of it, would you charge around the next corner sub-machine gun blazing if your lifes at stake? Or try that split-s at 2000ft with an fighter jet?).  And btw, that´s my personal problem with historical wargames, as much as I like AARs of historical games,  and my preference for sci-fi (and now heroic fantasy).

    "In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda

    #128273
    Norm SNorm S
    Participant

    I think when building rules / scenarios, the historical outcome should be possible within the range of outcomes, but not assured.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #128276
    Sane MaxSane Max
    Participant

    I think when building rules / scenarios, the historical outcome should be possible within the range of outcomes, but not assured.

    Oh I totally agree. My Very First Exposure to wargames was an ACW game with a group of much older blokes. It was Fredericksburg. and I had one part of the Union Left. My options were to advance and get mown down, over and over again. It was offputting I have to say.

    I mean, if you design a 1066 game to only allow that fateful arrow to the eye, then you will only have that one single result and thus not have a game, just an exact simulation, right?

    Yes, agree. I would say it’s an unsuccessful game if there is NO WAY things can turn out the same way as the original battle. But if they MUST, then you might as well watch a movie of the battle and save time..

    #128337
    Brian Handley
    Participant

    Good or bad frortune can sway a battle. if it was  a close run thing.

    A playoon of infantry in the open asleep  if  attacled by a company will die , there is a poosibility if the weaker side rolled a 50 consecutive  ” 20″ on a D2o it might change but that is extreemly remote, but mathermatical possible.

    The other example is, is ther any free will in the general.   I won an English Civil war battle.   Turns ou it ran klmost too the book except at the very end I was not inclined to follow up routing troops as that would be unsafe in my judgement.  In the real world my side did and were cut to pices by the cavelry.

    Often there are unexpected bits that shape a battle that are out of control of the rules.

    Like the man said the outscome should sit within the statictical scatter of the rules provided all unusual events are accounted for, but the answer will never be identicale.

    Even in the first example the results would be a win but the result will not be identicle betwee re runs, as the statistical bit will vary (statistics of small numbers).

    The best one can ever expect from a simulation is that in rewards historic tactics but by definition it is a ststiscical model so repeatablity is not perfect.

     

    #128339
    Geof DowntonGeof Downton
    Participant

    rewards historic tactics

    This, for me, is the important bit, ‘though after  “historical” add, “(or within the expectations of the fictional/mythological world in which the game is set)”

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Geof DowntonGeof Downton.

    One who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off.
    Ahab, King of Israel; 1 Kings 20:11

    #128350
    Guy FarrishGuy Farrish
    Participant

    I pretty much agree with what Brian and others said above.

    Couple of thoughts though – history (and myth) tells the story backwards from the known outcomes and we create the reasons for those outcomes, deriving a logical narrative out of chaos.

    Narratives are built around all sorts of things, like hinge points or critical events (the bunker at Omaha Beach), or the Great Man Theory (Wellington, Napoleon, Patton, etc) or National Characteristics (Furia Francese, German Tenacity, British Stoicism) etc, but they only work after the event.

    Games/Simulations try and reverse this process, taking the variables, producing a set of rules and trying to make a prediction from them (and a bit like Economic Theory, it doesn’t work well this way round).

    The problem is that our narrative explanations often confuse wishful thinking with fact – there is a lot of chaos and we have to ignore most of it to draw out a ‘reasoned’ thread. The rules often, if they bother at all, wrap up all the chaotic events into a die roll. That we get different results from the original is hardly surprising.

    Even if the rules are perfect, in the sense of allowing correct interaction of weapons performance, movement and terrain, they are almost never going to produce an exact replay of the historical or mythological outcome. All those inputs  – usually human factors, but sometimes weapon performance variables – we subsume into one or two dice rolls and they are there specifically to introduce those elements we cannot (at least easily or in any meaningful sense) model in precise detail. They will and should produce variance from the historical outcome – maybe not dramatically depending on circumstances but there will be that statistical spread – unless we believe in a form of predestination.

    A simulation doesn’t, or shouldn’t, attempt to recreate the exact outcome of a historical or mythological battle – that is a reproduction or run through of an event using our narrative constructed after the event. A simulation reproduces certain factors in model form as near perfectly as possible and then plugs in variables – often command (we are the commander) to see what would happen with those inputs altered. A reproduction of the original events should be possible but not predetermined.

    To return to the original question – if all the set up and moves are exact reproductions of the original, but the dice rolls alter the outcome you have to know what the dice rolls are representing to know if the rules are ‘bad’ or not.

    As for rewarding historical tactics – Ah! What a nice idea – if only most wargames rules did. Generally they don’t.

    #128352
    irishserbirishserb
    Participant

    My expectation is that if the rules are designed properly, you should have reproducible results as you run a historical battle in a historically fashion.. Tthe game becomes a reconstruction  of the actual event.  I would expect variation within the results, and there may be the occasional exception to the historical result, but there should be a high degree of consistency and repeatability.

    If the game is run historically, and you get a wide range of results with multiple “playings”, and little to no repeatability, then I would argue that the rules may produce a game, but as a set of historical rules, they present an invalid or inaccurate model.

    From a gamer standpoint, if playing what is represented as primarily an historical game, I prefer what I believe to be an “accurate model” that allows me to make different choices than the historical counterparts and see what happens.

    That said, I don’t think that all rules need to be written with that intent.  My colonial rules were designed to produce an adventure similar to what you might find in a “B” movie.  I think that do that okay, but they do not historically model warfare in the period.

    #128361
    Guy FarrishGuy Farrish
    Participant

    Reproducible certainly, – predetermined decidedly not: unless the original was a cast iron cert from beginning to end.

    Most battles are going to have 5(?) outcomes – strategic victory, tactical victory/winning draw, draw, tactical defeat/losing draw, strategic defeat.

    If games replaying historical battles flip flop from strategic victory to strategic defeat too often there may a rules error, but it may be a finely poised battle to start with or there may be player error, or any combination thereof.

    A cast iron cert that consistently produces opposite results to real life probably suggests a rules error, but there may be hindsight problems. Some battles that produced significant strategic victories seldom follow the same result in tabletop refights because of this whatever the rules used – Waterloo anyone? (not a cast iron cert by any means I know). And Austerlitz usually requires draconian set up and or house rules to get the same flow of battle as the original.

    I totally agree that ‘I prefer what I believe to be an “accurate model” that allows me to make different choices than the historical counterparts and see what happens’. If those different choices make no difference to the outcomes at all I would suggest that either that modelling is faulty or the rules writer has a  very deterministic view of the world.

    Rules written specifically to give an adventure film style game (we aren’t going to kill the hero off in the first reel/combat are we?!) will not of course be bound by the above considerations.

    #128640
    Robey JenkinsRobey Jenkins
    Participant

    I think Geof pretty much nailed it from the off.  Clearly a poor simulation but not necessarily a bad game.

    That said, if one side makes all the right tactical decisions and has good luck and still loses then, yes, bad design.  But in the case in hand, this assumes that the moves of the winning side (historically) also made all the right tactical decisions.

    In historical battles, victory can always turn on a single coincidence that is hard to replicate in a game.  One lucky arrow and the king is dead.  But few, designers would write a game that allowed your centrepiece general model to die that easily and, even if they did, they probably wouldn’t also design a system that then meant the whole army turned tail and fled (you can imagine a cascading morale system, of course, but a good game would make it impossible or, at least, very unlikely that a whole army would flee as a consequence simply because that’s just not any fun).  But in history, sh*t happens.  And whole armies crumbling as word spreads that the top guy is dead… well, that happened a lot.

    #128645
    Guy FarrishGuy Farrish
    Participant

    And whole armies crumbling as word spreads that the top guy is dead… well, that happened a lot.

    I read this idea a fair bit in wargames rules – but did it really happen? A lot? At all?

    Harold, Richard III and James IV of Scotland all died in battle but their deaths were not the cause of the battlefield defeat but as a result of defeat (possible argument over the timing of Harold’s death I suppose – but no evidence it precipitated a rout).

    Gustavus Adolphus was killed in battle but his army didn’t collapse.

    I’m sure there have been instances, but lots?

    #128663
    Robey JenkinsRobey Jenkins
    Participant

    Actually, fair point.  Within the full spectrum of millions of battles fought in human history, it is definitely the exception rather than the rule, so I stand corrected.

    #128725
    McLaddieMcLaddie
    Participant

    So even with deploying and moving as happened on the day, and with good luck on side, the side that won in real life, lost in the game.

    Bad rule design?

    Happy New Year Mike and everyone else. I haven’t had the time to sit down and comment until now.

    There are two types of simulations: Static and Dynamic.

    Static Simulations are movies [and movies are static simulations] The simulation recreates events. Play it a hundred times and you will get the same events and results every time. Everything is scripted…not much of a game.  What you describe until the die rolls is a Static Simulation.

    Dynamic Simulations create environments where the users [researcher or player] create the events, the narrative instead of a script. The chance events created by die rolls is part of creating that environment… the probability of X happening should mimic the probability of X happening in the real world…or whatever is being simulated.

    So, your set up is a bad ‘design’ because it mixes Static and Dynamic structures.  IF you were going to create a functional Static simulation, you wouldn’t roll dice, but instead resolve the combat etc. exactly the way it happened in the actual battle. [using the game parameters for combat etc.]

    Mixing efforts to recreate battlefield events with attempts to create a battlefield environment is bad simulation/wargame design. Neither a functional Static or Dynamic simulation is achieved… it is doomed to failure every time. Hence your problem with the Dice rolling [creating events] in what is a Static simulation of a scripted events.

     

    #128726
    McLaddieMcLaddie
    Participant

    The real problem is: you can´t really simulate conflict/war. There are so many variables that´s it´s more or less impossible.

    Thorsten:

    Yes, all of war can’t be simulated…thanks goodness, but a great deal can be simuated even with all those many [even unknown] variables. All efforts to simulate dynamically any environment in the real world face innumerable variables.  It is much easier to simulate events.

    So, any simulation/wargame designer faces those uncountable variables.  So, how are they approached?

    1. Limit the scope of what is being simulated
    2. Determine through statistical analysis what happens how often.
    3. Determine which variables are important and which have minimal [rare] impact, again through statistical analysis.

    Here is an example. I have a friend who many years ago was researching what galaxies did when colliding. He had a software program which, with a few thousand pixels attempted to simulate two galaxies colliding on a black computer screen. Now, both galaxies would actually have billions of stars and planets, dust clouds etc. etc., all affecting the gravitation of any collision. Lots and lots of variables…far too many to program into the program even if he knew them all.  These galaxies were hunreds and thousands of light years away and hundreds of light years across. He didn’t even know about dark matter at this point.

    He simplified, where one pixel represented hundreds or thousands of individual stars, ignored all the rest as either part of the pixel count or lack importance in this case with this question.  He got the pixels to act like spiral galaxies and then had them collide.  The images he got allowed astronomers to identify galaxies that were colliding and had in the past… because the images matched up with the observable events.

    I can give an example from a wargame I am designing if you are interested.

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