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  • Bandit

    All right, I give up, then.   I no longer understand the question(s). … So I just don’t know how to respond.

    Well, I am sorry to see you depart the conversation so quickly and I won’t leave out that I am generally confused as to why but I will respect your choice to do so.

    To address your post I will share several points:

    I can’t tell, from one sentence to the next, whether you’re talking about a game that has turns, or doesn’t,  or which desires historically-accurate movement rates, or doesn’t,  or which uses some sort of fixed time scale, or doesn’t.

    I have not outlined or referred to any given game as the basis for this thread. In fact, I acted against that sort of narrow framing by listing over a dozen games in my original post. I sought a discussion about how various games have handled movement and wanted to have that conversation in light of the fact that few if any seem to be at all consistent with historical rates.

    Bill (McLaddie) is certainly correct when he posits that the place to begin is establishing what a historical rate might have been and I would further concur that using an average gleaned from a variety of circumstances that can be roughly defined (simply so that one can know if the average already accounts for any variation they caused) is the way to go.

    I’m not sure from where you drew the assumption that I was talking about systems without turns or that I was talking about systems without fixed time scales though I suppose at least the latter is worth discussing in the broader topic.

    I’ll  offer one parting thought about that:  one of the mistakes I sometimes see in game design is when people think of a game problem in terms of one discrete action

    I believe this is a self-evident and obvious fact.

    Throughout my participation in discussions of design, criticisms of rule sets and various other circumstances, I have been very outspoken in my view that mechanics must be integrated throughout a system for it to function properly and for any impression of the game representing anything at all to be true. If rules regarding ranges, movement and morale are all independent modules that can be swapped out “without impacting the others” then I could only conclude the system is anything but a system and all such mechanics are entirely arbitrary. Sparker and I once had a real drag out argument on TMP about his view that a strength of Black Powder was the flexibility that such a modular design provides while I felt it demonstrated a fundamental flaw in the system at a conceptual level.

    This is simply to say: “The bits, they must be integrated, duh.” So yes, I am aware and would concur.

    That you point this out and to what depth you go in discussing it seems to indicate that you presume I do not understand it, so I wanted to make very clear that I do.

    As I noted in my response to Grizzlymc, there are games that have been on the market for years and are widely played which include mechanics for providing defender reactions for an incoming attacker. Guns of Liberty does this, Johnny Reb does this, lots of games do this. How such should be implemented and integrated is a question of specifics but your statement that it can only be done in one of a couple ways baffles me completely.

    Further more I’ve got to say that how you end your post is… just negative:

    …in most cases, if the idea was as brilliant and revolutionary as I originally thought, then somebody smarter than me would have already made it work by now.

    On this I have to disagree entirely. I think this drives us in the wrong direction in all aspects of life it can be applied to. To the contrary, while I rarely quote people, a man I knew was fond of saying:

    “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you…”

    He was a pretty bright guy and I learned a lot from him. Optimists are commonly pretty foolish but man oh man, does the world ever benefit from the ‘greater fool’.


    Whilst I tend to agree with your POV, the example is pretty easy to work around.  You can have melee happen in the next turn, or in the next turn if the charge is over half a move distance …….

    Indeed. I concur. Or you could have an “assault declaration step” followed by a “defender reactions step” which each occur prior to contact or perhaps prior to the attacker’s movement even starting. I’m just pulling this off the top of my head because it is a really old mechanic. Guns of Liberty which was written and released… over a decade ago (or more like two?) has the following steps in a turn:

    Charge declarations
    Defender rolls to stand (morale check) – if passes, may react in XYZ ways, if fails a reaction is stipulated
    Attacker is moved
    …Rest of the turn transpires…
    Charge resolution

    So yeah, there are obvious methods of dealing with this and many of them were dreamed up a long time ago and published in various rule sets already. It isn’t a new problem requiring a new solution.



    I think you are requiring the adoption of unspoken presumptions limiting how to address any problems posed by “historical movement rates”.

    Can the defender shoot? How many times? Can he countercharge them? If so, from how far away and with chance of success? Can he react in some other way, like falling back, changing formation, bringing up reserves?

    So the system needs to allow for the defender to react. Sure. Of course it does. I don’t see how letting a division move ~1000-1400 yards in a turn necessarily prevents a defending player from reacting. That is a question as to what other mechanics are present in the system and what they allow for.

    Are you still searching for some sort of historically accurate movement rate?   If so, then you’ve tied yourself down to some sort of fixed relationship between distance and time.*

    I reject this on its face. You said that if someone is seeking to determine a historically accurate movement rate and explore the use of it in games then the only possible outcome is a specific implementation that you define through presumptions later in your post. Remove your presumptions and then discuss it, there are options.

    That of course, then connects you to the limits of the table size, as explained above.

    I’m not certain what you refer to. In this post you say that one has to allow the defender the ability to react, sure, but that isn’t a table size problem. Previously you referred to Mark’s (ExtraCrispy) explanation which I thought was a perfectly good one but I also, I think, requires a presumption. The presumption is that players need multiple turns of movement to come to contact. I object to this as support for your argument now because it presumes your conclusion. I am challenging why it matters if you take 1 turn or 15 turns to make contact and in this instance you just said because people need to move 15 times, i.e. they need to because they need to. Your other argument that players need to be able to react makes sense but 1) that is a separate point and 2) as I’ve said, I don’t see how the universe of all potential designs necessarily prevents a defending player from being able to react if historical movement rates are used.

    And I assume that marching isn’t the only thing that you’ll want to require some historically-justified amount of time. A firefight should last the correct amount of time, too, right?  Or a bombardment, or a charge, or a retreat, and so on.  And all across the table, different units will be doing those different things, in different situations against different enemies, more or less simultaneously.

    I don’t know if you read the post I put up on page #2 of this thread outlining the Battle of Eylau and mapping to a 20-minute-turn timeline of events. Whether someone could accomplish the same as occurred historically with a given set of rules will depend on many factors but through this exercise, as Grizzlymc says, can be determined. Evaluation of if you can accomplish that is a nice place to start rather than presuming it can’t be done or for that matter, presuming that it can be done.

    If you’ve got a suggestion for how to do all of this without turns or phases, or some sort of fixed increments, then by all means share!

    This doesn’t seem like a real question simply because I don’t know why you’d have to throw out turns or phases to accomplish this stuff. Honestly, I’d argue we do all this stuff now in traditional rule sets with traditional mechanics. Like marking “FIRST FIRE” in Johnny Reb with a 15 or 20 minute turn, we’re compressing 15-20 minutes (depending on game revision) of musket volleys into a single outcome. Thus, it is a question of what a designer chooses to combine into a single outcome.

    * Although if the truth be told, even the guys who do all that research and math and think that they’ve figured out a system by which they’ve got their miniatures marching at an historically-accurate rate per turn… still pile on the fudge when it comes to things like advancing after combat, or falling back after combat, or changing formation when the enemy attacks, and so on.

    This, and your example following it, are where you outline the presumptions I mentioned above. You presume that any implementation of “historically accurate movement rates” requires that the tolerances of the time allotted for a turn and the movement rate are so tight that nothing else can occur during that turn without breaking consistency and that is not a necessary truth. This will vary based on implementation of many mechanics not only movement.


    That sir, is why I’m frustrated by these ‘everything is quantifiable’ threads.

    No one is trying to ‘quantify everything’. Also, just in case repetition helps: average ≠ exact.


    A nice idea; no reason wargaming should not be regarded as a kind of art.

    I think design, be it buildings, bridges or games for that matter can rise to the level of art. I would concur.

    And they all fall into different genres right? Beer & Pretzels, Simulation, several others we haven’t defined but certainly exist. Abstract, Realist, etc…

    I wonder how many art critics would make the argument that you can’t do landscape painiting, because you can’t fit a hillside onto an artist’s canvas?

    Or say that you shouldn’t try to paint the drowned Ophelia without first having a go at drowning yourself?

    See these I find very ironic, I also find them dead-on. Look at this thread for instance. Bill and I have been the two primarily saying, “How come our movement rates can’t be more representative of historical movement rates?” Which is easy to label as the ‘realist’ or ‘simulationist’ perspective right?

    The critical response has largely been, “You need to be less accurate and more abstract.” Which is easy to label as the ‘abstract’ perspective.

    OK, fair enough.

    But the two core arguments for why design must be more abstract and less realistic were:

    “Go take your buddies and walk in a field,” i.e. …you shouldn’t try to paint the drowned Ophelia without first having a go at drowning yourself…


    “You can’t fit that much on the table,” i.e. …you can’t fit a hillside onto an artist’s canvas…

    Which I guess frames the discussion more in light of establishment vs challenger…



    Who said anything about wanting to learn how lines and columns functioned? I want to show how they looked.

    Ah! My bad, I must have read too fast.

    I also want to model a battery with all the caissons, limbers, wagons and horses – the entire tail. Then we can discuss why batteries can’t rotate like tank turrets too.

    I think that will be very enlightening to many (the actual look of it).


    And as with many works of fiction, it can be “truer” than fact.

    Sure, Tim O’Brien is a good example.

    Literal replication of “facts” ( of which drill rates are a prime example) is not going to create a good representation or game, just as assembling all of a man’s “factual” body  parts and sewing them together yielded a disappointing outcome for Dr. Frankenstein.

    Yet this I find to be a ridiculous generalization. Keeping with its tone and breath: “A fact based book will never be as good of a book as a historically based novel.”

    The statement is wrong because the statement is absolute.

    Also, there is no “literal” replication of facts being discussed. Nor are exact drill times being proposed by anyone – Bill (McLaddie) and I have been talking about averages, which are necessarily not exact, but most of the disagreement voiced so far has been in one form or another saying that we’re trying to be too exact. Seems to me that we’re (as a group) still talking past each other.

    That is an important aspect of rule design, and becomes part of the design process, but it is merely an ingredient in the creative process of rule design and not the completed dish.

    Sure, but no one is proposing that it is the complete dish. People are arguing against it, but no one is arguing for it.

    If someone were to tell me that they did away with ground scale or time scale in their game design but their movement and weapon ranges were proportional to each other based on historical averages – I’d say that makes perfect sense.

    If someone were to tell me they just picked different distances by throwing darts at a board, I’d say, that seems incredibly arbitrary and the only thing the output has to do with the historical period it is associated with are the uniform colors painted.

    I started this thread because I think the proportionality of movement vs weapons in wargames is largely in the second category, I’m not sure of that conclusion, but it is the impression I get.



    For example, we could certainly do a game with historically-accurate movement rates, as long as we had very short turns.

    This is the premise that I don’t quite get.

    Mark noted that there is concern about table depth – after all we can only reach so far – OK sure.

    He also noted that there is concern over how many turns it takes to make contact – This I want to challenge.*

    My question in return is:

    If the forces start X distance apart, and within X distance any attack would historically be made fairly directly forward, why does it matter if the units cover X distance in 1 turn or 15 turns?

    Or put another way:

    In all games there is a distance “X” where from there on in players are just closing to contact forward, why does it matter how many turns it takes them to do that?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit. Reason: added the line with the *
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit. Reason: corrected a typo

    The only rule set at this level (1:5) really is chef de batallion. Useful but boring. Since my goal is visual splendor and to drive home how lines and columns really looked

    Not to be an oaf but from what I know of Chef de Battalion, if one wanted to learn and explore how columns and lines really worked and functions, wouldn’t that be the thing to use? Little else deals with the evolutions of those formations.


    Should it prove useful at all, I dug out of my notes a “clock” I’d run for the events at the Battle of Eyalu using Petre, Arnold & Davout’s III Corps Journal as source material.

    The exercise was to map the events to 20 minute game turns just to see how things laid out, my thinking was it would then be possible to evaluate if a given rule set would allow them to occur at their appointed time.

    06:50AM – TURN #2, 20-40 MINUTES –
    07:50AM – TURN #4, 60-80 MINUTES –
    08:50AM – TURN #7, 120-140 MINUTES –
    11:50AM – TURN #16, 300-320 MINUTES –
    01:50PM – TURN #22, 420-440 MINUTES –
    03:10PM – TURN #29, 580-600 MINUTES –

    There were three attacks made by the Russians between 6-10PM against Davout’s position, none made any progress.

    *** Indicate events for which I could not find either an exact time or an elapse time relative to another event so it is known it happens in the given order of events but the time is suspect.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit. Reason: added last line
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit. Reason: corrected spelling of L'ESTOCQ

    If it is a fixed period in which a minute and a half of action happens then most of the rule sets you quote above will see Soult on the heights in half an hour or so.  My interpretation is that in general large bodies of men did not cover wide spaces at those sorts of rates.  However, if you buy into the X minute rather than the XX minute turn you can get movement rates out of the drill book and you can take the heights at a speed which is not far off reality.

    Well, kinda. The fast half of the list would cross ~1,400 yards in about 20-40 minutes but the slow half of the list will require over an hour.

    However, when you have finished your 8 hour day (these are government employees after all), there is a possibility that some of your troops will have moved 33km, which would set a near all time record for battlefield movement in the era.

    No unions or employment regs at the time it would seem though as Davout’s men marched and fought for between 12-14 hours, Ney started marching at 6am and reached the battlefield between 7-8pm. They got overtime pay right? :-p

    So doing the math for L’Estoqc at Eylau, he marched about ~12-13 miles and deployed during a roughly 8 hour period (8AM left Hussehnen, 4PM contacted Davout). Deployment can’t have taken less than say an hour so that drops us to ~12 miles in ~7 hours giving us about 1.7MPH minimum. Most estimates have L’Estoqc reaching Althof on the Russian right at about 1pm and then moving east by 2pm. That would potentially drop another hour off his marching time so we’d be at ~12 miles in ~6 hours, or roughly 2MPH.

    I need to dig and see if I can find any good estimates for the duration of Augereau’s attack against the Russian center since it was during a freak blizzard that was so bad they managed to wander left into the Russian grand batteries. I think that whole assault and repulse including the counterattack of Russian cavalry and cossacks took 40 minutes or less. More illustrative is that Murat’s heavy cavalry were roughly 1.5 miles from the Russian lines when they charged forward to support Augereau and their charge and combat wasn’t more than 20 minutes +/-5.

    This does cause me to ponder some questions though: battlefield movement is over short distances, doesn’t it make sense that the average movement rate for shorter distances is faster? Longstreet at Gettysburg was relying on bad scouting and had to countermarch a lot. So that becomes a question of if we should be merging issues with command & control with movement. I think McLaddie’s point that penalizing all troops at Gettysburg equally by reducing their movement rates to account for Longstreet’s two divisions having to countermarch a lot being wrong is a strong one.

    I’d say that Longstreet’s men didn’t move slower because of bad scouting, in fact, they couldn’t have, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a fight on the Union left because due to all the *extra* marching they did, had it been at a slower pace they wouldn’t have reached their launch point in time to fight.

    Players obviously have consistently excellent scouting, so the Player Longstreet never ends up in the march-counter-march situation that the Historical Longstreet did. If it were a campaign or an RPG the game host could just inform you that your men aren’t there yet and you could be confused as to why, but on the tabletop you can see where your men are so you’d never let em get lost right… But I think that slowing movement to address this combines two separate issues.

    Now the Russians at Dürenstein certainly moved through the mountains slower than expected, they planning to hit the French at something like 10am (someone correct me, I think that time is wrong) but actually came out of the mountain gaps at like 4pm having traveled less than 5 miles is something like 12 hours. So movement did vary sometimes.


    This is why it is important to know what you want to represent.

    Very true.

    This is why I am so sympathetic to McLaddie’s view that movement shouldn’t be variable at the division level. If there really was an average of X MPH that was reliable but in extreme cases then it does make one question what variable movement rates – at that scale and scope – model for us?


    Not Connard Sage:

    None of your posts have offer any thing to the topic. The closest most come is to demean its importance. One actually questions if the evidence is valid which would seem like a perfectly fair point but when asked to discuss the evidence you deflected back at me, insinuated I presumed my own conclusion and then declined to offer a substantive counter. It seems that post, which stood out as being of value to the discussion, may have just been bait. Then you challenged me to publish rules to determine the correctness of movement rates but admit that it would answer nothing…

    I’m confused by your intent. The only obvious ones I can conclude are negative but I’m unaware of motivation for them so I’m not willing presume they must be the case.

    If this is how you know to participate in conversation then I suppose it constitutes the tools you have. But you allude to having others and while you may not see benefit for yourself in using them, it would make the experience both more pleasant and more beneficial for others. Seeking to derail the conversation to spur progress is one thing, doing it for no reason is just a discourteous towards other participants and intentional or not, risks stifling the growth and success of the forum.

    Please disagree but offer value through substance.

    Otherwise, in the context of all your posts in this thread, this:

    I’m not fighting, I’m just not taking any of this very seriously. It’s not that important, but while these threads exist, and I’m a member here, I will participate. You may ignore me, or engage me. Your prerogative.

    Just translates into: “As long as I’m present I’ll try to annoy people and derail conversation.”

    And that is a weak justification for an action that adds no value.


    Simply put, movement rates are limited by table size. In a rule set with infantry movement at 2500 yards per hour (picking a number out of the air), a ground scale of 1″ = 50 yards and a 30 minute turn, one infantry unit will move 25″ per turn. Assuming each side advances if they start 50″ apart they will lock in melee turn one. You need a 10′ wide table to allow two turns of infantry movement.

    Below is me rambling through a working example to see how these practical concerns show themselves in a historical battle. I’m writing this after I finished that… my conclusion is that since once opposing forces reach ~1,000 yards from each other they just march roughly forward (sometimes they oblique but they don’t march laterally).

    If all movement within 1,000 yards is largely straight forward then does it matter if it takes 1 more to make contact or 6?

    Lateral movements screened by friendly troops would radically benefit from faster movement, if L’Estoqc can’t march from the Russian extreme right to the far Russian right and deploy in less than 3 hours, then with all other things being equal the Russians can’t be saved at Eylau.

    I think it more comes down to players wanting to make grand tactical and strategic movements on a setup that supports tactical to grand tactical games. That is a valid problem of course.

    Makes me think a bit of the big light table at Gettysburg years ago, really sorry that thing is gone. Players so commonly look at a 5×9′ table and think of it as being Bautzen (or somewhere, name any battle) but it is just crammed with figures and none of the surrounding country is represented. None of the big, sweeping movements they think about happening in history actually happened on the area of that tabletop, but that tabletop is their canvas so they picture them there.


    So Mark:

    If all movement within 1,000 yards is largely straight ahead (historically) then does it matter if it takes 1 more to make contact or 6?

    Would you say that players don’t want to be forced into that level of fatalism (move to contact in 1 turn) even if it what occurs over 6 turns anyway? Or are you of another mind entirely on the question?

    _________________________________WORKING THOUGHTS AND EXAMPLES BELOW_________________________________
    This is a very valid practical concern in my mind. To know how big a worry it is I’m going to do what you just did with the rates and ground scales I’ve been pondering to-date in this thread to see if it changes any or stays the same… devil in the details check and all that:

    • 75 yards = 1″
    • ~20 minutes = 1 turn
    • 20″ per turn, infantry, deployed, moving over ‘open’ terrain
    • table width of 6′ (using this because my regular gaming group uses both 5′ wide and 6′ wide tables…) = 72″

    There are 3.6 moves between the two table edges if someone were just to march straight across.
    Sure, problem exists as you describe it.

    Comparing this to the same scenario with 9″ movements per turn, there are 8 turns of movement from table edge to table edge, so arguably there are 4-6 turns of movement for a given side (depending on if one hunkers down to defend or they both advance right?).

    So my next question is: If I am marching straight at the enemy (other side of the table) why does it matter if it takes me 1 move or 6? I’m plotting straight ahead at them in both cases. If my goal is to come to contact with them, I can do it, will it take me 1 turn or 6 turns is the question, right?

    I think we need to clarify a couple of things. Are we playing the battle of Eylau (for example) or are we playing the approach, deployment and battle of Eylau?

    The reason I ask is that the French line and the Russian line were within artillery range of each other, so say ~1,000 yards or so. That is pretty close. Soult couldn’t jockey most of his corps because he was engaged. Davout marched to the battlefield and arrived roughly perpendicular to the Russian left flank, deployed, attacked, so our table is L shaped when Davout arrives. Davout didn’t march out from the right of Soult, he marched in from the southwest, his corps was completely disconnected from Soult’s right flank until he had joined the battle *and* Soult’s right division (Saint Hilaire) had assaulted forward, their two movements bridged the gap between them and created a roughly L shaped line.

    There were five movement vectors that were used during the Battle of Eylau:
    1) the two main armies staring at each other could and did move straight forward.
    2) Davout marched in perpendicular to the Russian main line having marched from the southwest.
    3) L’Estoqc marched in from the northwest and shifts to an east-by-south-east line of march until he gets to the new Russian left, having marched from one point of the L to the other.
    4) Ney arrives nominally at the point L’Estoqc did and then largely hangs out because it is like 8pm.


    #1 – just a straight forward attacking movement, no real lateral shifting.
    #2 – Davout’s approach is different but once he hits the battlefield he is attacking straight forward.
    #3 – L’Estoqc makes a large amount of what I suppose you might call ‘maneuver movement’ to relocate from where he arrives to where he fights, this is the first lateral movement (from the perspective of the parent army) that occurs during the battle.
    #4 – Once Ney arrives his movements are again directly forward or directly backward.

    I mentioned a 5th which I would argue was the shifting of various elements slightly left and right at the joint of the L by Bennigsen. It was relatively minor, basically “everyone near by, shift towards this huge hole!”

    #1 is not harmed by fast movement in my opinion because whether it takes Augereau, St. Hilaire, Murat or the Guard Cavalry a single turn or several turns to move from their starting position to contact, it is just a straight forward advance, none of them moved significantly left or right.
    #2 is potentially a table size problem for fast movement if Davout’s march to the battlefield is to be included, otherwise, once he arrived, he moved directly to contact and did so advancing roughly straight forward.
    #3 is our big lateral move so I’ll come back to this one.
    #4 is just Ney arriving and sitting there so that is kinda boring.

    I’m concluding at this point that opposing troops within 1,000 yards of each other basically just walk forward to attack. All the flank moves are largely strategic positioning outside of the main battlefield. I think Waterloo would offer the same example, Davout’s proposed flanking movement at Borodino would give the same conclusion and the Russian cossack attack against Eugene’s IV Corps (also Borodino) is similar (stay outside ~1,000 yards to maneuver, inside that distance attack). Wagram is the same, Davout moves into a flanking position and then it is all about going straight forward. Austerlitz is similar too, the Allies spend all night repositioning so that when they attack it can be done without performing lateral marches in front of the enemy.

    #3 is kinda the big one because L’Estoqc needs to be able to laterally move quite a distance, something like 3-4 miles and deploy in about 3 hours (he was in Althof at 1pm per Petre and Arnold, he was attacking Davout at 4pm per Petre, Arnold and more importantly Davout…).

    That means we’ve got 3 hours to deploy and move 3-4 miles, if deployment only takes an hour which seems short but sure, then L’Estoqc is moving through retreating Russian units, on a poor road and cross-country at 1.8-2MPH at a minimum.

    Going back to Davout’s advance to the battlefield… this is a question of if we are mapping the battle or the approach and deployment as well. If so I’d say the problem is our ground scale not our movement rate. At 1″ = 75 yards having a big enough table for Davout’s approach march to be included will be nuts, you’ll be adding several feet at a ~45º angle to the rest of the table.

    From all this I think the actual problem isn’t table size but (no big surprise here) player’s having conflicting expectations. I don’t mean between players of course but within a given player he/she will want XYZ things were at least two of them are in conflict:

    i.e. “maneuver” + 32 figure 28mm units + 5×8′ table + a large scale battle (example made slightly extreme for illustrative purposes)

    Well heck, the big strategic maneuvering can happen on table but you’d have to give up the figure scale… etc.


    Ooooh you’ve done it now Mark, with your rationalizing.

    Apres vous, le deluge

    Done what? What Mark outlined is a perfectly practical concern to discuss.

    Were you over sensitized by some terribly traumatic experience that has led to you skirt the flanks of conversations you say don’t really matter whispering “fight, fight, fight!” in everyone’s ear rather than exposing yourself by participating in the discussion in a productive manner?

    Why are you just walking around with matches hoping to find something ignitable?

    I don’t know Grizzlymc but he seems pretty reasonable in my limited experience so far. I am already aware that McLaddie and ExtraCrispy are perfectly reasonable people and I’m actively seeking discussion over argument so if you thought this was the episode of Star Trek [TOS] where the random alien creature mashes up opponents so that it can feed and grow off their violent conflict… yeah this isn’t that episode.

    Sorry, the song is unlikely to be about you, but it can include you if you can put down the taunting stick and play nice with the rest of us kids.

    Stay loose man, stay loose.


    I think you might be missing the time dilation thing.  It is not so much that a turn is half an hour or 80 seconds, it is that it takes time to bring a corps  across the ground.  Much more time than it does to pace it out with the pas acelere in your headphones.  Wargame movement rates are really there to stop armies rushing around the field like a choreographed mass.  So for an engaged unit, the time is probably 80 seconds, for one outside the scrum it is more like half an hour.

    Could you expand on that some? I’m not sure if I really get it but I am interested. Reading the rest of your post, are you saying the movement rates are indicative of the “hurry up and wait” that is the transmission and resulting dissemination of orders then I guess I’d say it is a design choice as to whether to conflate those two things together or keep them separate. In many games order activation is just an instantaneous thing, if that is the case perhaps it makes sense to “make up for it” in movement rates. However, if order activation and the related delays are accounted for elsewhere, then you’d be doubling it up I’d think.

    Given ammo expenditure the first volley was probably nearly twice as effective as later volleys, the first minute was probably three or more times as effective as later minutes (after time most rates of fire drop to about 1/2 minute) and yet the rules do not model this.  They don’t have to because the first turn of the firefight is short and later ones get longer.  The point is that bullets get traded till someone runs or charges or both.

    Sure, sorta along the lines of the COS of VLB… the event went on however long it did until the situation changed…


    It doesn’t.

    I find all this would- be scientific enquiry over a pastime rather pretentious, hence my flippancy.

    Look it’s totally cool that you don’t care about what I’m “researching”, I haven’t got any gripe with that. But just because I’m interested enough to discuss it on an online message board does not make it pretentious, heck, anything but, this is a pretty low level venue to give anything ‘unnecessarily elevated importance’…

    All I’m asking is that if you’ve got things to say that pertain to the conversation, that’s awesome and I’d love to hear em, and they can be from whatever perspective: abstract, pragmatic, scientifically exacting…

    But stuff that makes me feel like you’re shouting, “this is dumb, why do you even talk about it?!?!” is kinda demoralizing ya know. I don’t know what threads you may start in the future but I hope no one does that to ya cause it sucks. What is important to you doesn’t have to be important to me, or vice versa. Just say’n no one should crap all over something on the basis of ‘it ain’t my thing’.

    I like to think that the people who designed games put a lot of thought into them and a lot of work. There is a real pressure to claim that XYZ mechanic is backed up by ABC historical evidence but a lot of times I think that is a smoke screen because no one wants to just say, “Yeah, I don’t know, it sounded plausible and it worked when meshed with the other mechanics so we kept it,” – and that isn’t an invalid answer either, just shows a different focus was followed.


    It’s cool, no worries, we each got our own priorities and interests.


    You and McLaddie seem to want very precise detail about units speed.

    I don’t think we’re trying to be that precise really though I believe that is how we’re being perceived. We’re talking about averages over given periods of time. The question I’m asking is essentially, how can we arrive at a similar rate of movement as to what is purported to have occurred? Not the same, not exact, just relative to the other elements, similar.

    I’m willing to make some rather large presumptions and guesses but I think that an event should be *able* to occur as it did historically.

    My point is that it’s only one factor amongst other factors in the simulation, that we have a gaming table smaller than a battlefield (this means that you cannot show on the table the moves the units have done since the early morning etc)…

    I still don’t get the “battlefield is smaller” part. The figures are smaller than real men too, so are the trees. This is a question of proportionality which can be influenced and *to a degree* controlled through the rules.

    What bugs me is if we’re gonna play Picket’s Charge but the three Confederate divisions crossed the field of approach in 20 minutes and it takes us (in our chosen rule set, whatever that is) “4 hours” of represented time – then that makes no sense to me. If we are trying to do something that resembles a historical series of events then the rules we use to govern it should allow for the potential of events playing out as they did…

    It’d be like a BattleMech fighting an SS-division…

    Want to know if your movement rates work? Incorporate them into a set of rules, publish rules, see what happens when Joe Wargamer gets his grubby mitts on them..

    I don’t know how that would answer my question. It seems like a “put up or shut up” challenge but it offers no measurable criteria for my question to be answered, nor any relatable relevance to the conversation in this thread.

    Our exchanges feel akin to us sitting around in a bar drinking and talking and I say…

    Me: “Ya know I wonder why so many bars have X policy, in light of Y information I am aware of, X seems like a strange policy to have, is anyone here able to make sense of it?”

    And then you yell across the room at me…

    NCS: “Yeah well go start your own bar and see how it goes without X policy!”

    Causing me to mutter…

    Me: “Uhm, OK, that was weird, why is some guy challenging me to open a bar just because I wanted someone to tell me why so many bars have a similar policy of X in light of Y information?”

    What’s the deal Not Connard Sage? What’s with all the oblique criticism and challenges? You’re choosing to take part in the discussion and I’m cool with that, so since you’re choosing to participate why are you saying so many things that would seem aimed at stifling or begrudging it? Am I upsetting your chi by seeking to discuss this stuff or what?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit. Reason: added a quote, removed a bunch of rambling, added the lower ~1/3

    Ah! Now you are asking me to provide proof that invalidates your source (Nafziger? So secondary at best)…

    Yes, one of the sources is Nafzinger who purports to have translated the rates from their original text without alteration.
    Another is some random Austrian commander who I can’t presently recall and am not disposed to easily retrieve the name of.
    Another is Davout’s reports (Journal of the III Corps d’armée) during 1805, 1806 and 1807.

    Bill (McLaddie) has quoted Dundas and Scharnhorst in the past during parallel discussions to arrive at this average as well.

    I’m not asking you to disprove my selected evidence, I’m asking if you have other evidence that should be considered, not challenging you to prove anything.

    …which for all we know was cherry picked to support your assertion?

    I’m not falling for that one.

    Yeah, it wasn’t a trap… still isn’t.

    What’s the deal with all the presumption of negative intent? I ask you to give some background on how you’re generating objections and you say I may be cherry picking evidence, geeze man, let’s just have an open conversation without the presumption of evil.


    Claim, or could?

    Because reality often differs from the claim. Who was timing these chaps, and with what?

    As Grizz said above, quick march at 100 yards a minute is easily doable on the parade ground. A ploughed field, or one with standing crops, is a different matter if you don’t want to get to your objective as part of a knackered, disorganised mob.

    So your actual question is one of evidence validity? It would be so much easier if ya just said so :-p

    Do you have sources stating the average movement rate was different than 75 yards per minute or are you presuming it is incorrect based on logical conclusion?

    I’ll be forthright that my arrival at that speed is predominately through either averaging the rates reported by others and by scaling rates up and down, i.e. someone reports X distance was covered over Y time and I’d normalize it down to yards per minute and MPH.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit. Reason: added last line
    in reply to: Shooting at lines of troops that you can't see #7984

    Le Feu Sacre does something similar. Bombardment is something that Grand batteries do. The rest is tactical support and is rolled into the firefight/melee.

    I have a copy but can’t say I’ve played it. How do they handle long range artillery fire that isn’t by grand batteries?


    Try this simple experiment:
    Find a ploughed field, take at least 11 of your mates (more would be better) and form a line, or column, in the field. For added realism, starve yourselves for 12 hours beforehand, and spend a largely sleepless night in the rain. If a couple of you could manage to contract dysentery as well that would be splendid.

    March across the field, in step at whatever march rate you think is ‘correct’, without losing formation. If one of you has a drum and can actually drum in time this may help. You can be the sergeant if you like, and beat any slackers with the shaft of your half-pike.

    Now position a few more of your mates in front of you, and get them to shoot at you. Real bullets, none of that nancy paintball stuff. Close the files as your mates drop – you may need to halt, still under fire, to achieve this.

    If you try the above in a field full of standing crops, the obliging landowner may shoot at you too.

    I’d be fascinated to hear the results

    No idea how fast I could do it. The guys who did do it in the early 1800s claim they’d traverse the field at a rate of about 75 yards per minute on average…

    So with that in mind – what’s your point?


    When my players question this, I like to answer that “the reality we want to simulate is, historically – or fantastically -, objectively absolute and subjectively relative, but our perception of the game is subjectively absolute and objectively relative, so the spacetime of the game cannot be proportional to reality!” (and yes I know it’s gibberish but it always gives me more time to play while they try to understand what it means  )

    Sure, but I’m actually asking what you really do mean by all that?

    MN to CA is about 2,200 miles and can be traveled via the I-80 route in 2-3 days by car by a single driver. That is a large variance of a whole day. It can be accounted for based on how long you want to drive for and how closely you follow the speed limit. Presuming that you are willing to drive long hours (first day 13-14 hours with minimal stops) but stay within 10MPH of the speed limit then you can do it in 2 days, driving 6-8 hours you can do it in 3 days. These also requires that you hit a minimum number of delays due to traffic, accidents and construction. Reasonable defined as so few as the trip still completes in the time described without varying the speed more than described.

    That isn’t hard to compute and I don’t think it is much different than march rates. I’ve read period accounts of a division taking up approximately 2.5-3 miles of a road and traveling at approximately 2.5-3MPH. That was written as a general expectation, not exceptional either high or low. Now, in December of 1806 Soult is supposed to march on Golymin I think it was and fails, he hardly gets out of the town he is camped in because the mud is so bad that he moves only a handful of miles the whole day. Just like I could leave MN and hit a huge backup on the highway due to a tanker truck crash and be unable exist to an alternative route. The result would be my 2-3 day estimate (whichever I’d planned for) would be shot.

    That’s fine, both events are totally plausible. Now the question is, how commonly did they occur and is that relative likelihood of occurrence represented in-game?

    I largely concur with Bill (McLaddie) that even the “slow” historical movements appear to be radically faster than a lot of what is allowed on the tabletop.

    My problem in the past with using dice for movement is that you get such skewed results. If we are rolling 2D6 then most of the time I’ll move 6-8″ but sometimes I’ll move 2-3″. Does that make sense as a minimum? Say the ground scale is 1″ = 75 yards and the time scale is 20 minutes, those both lend to easy math.

    Does it ever make sense that in 20 minutes a battalion could only progress 150-225 yards? I am going to stipulate that this is not under fire or in the presence of the enemy because if we are dicing for movement then this could occur both when those conditions are present and when they are not. The movement should make some sense in both cases.

    My present thinking about rolling dice for movement is:

    Can dicing for movement be a good solution provided there is a minimum movement allowed? If we tighten the range by adding some base movement does that help us any?

    For instance: 3″ +2D6 will normally give about 9-11″ of movement. The adjusted minimum will be 5″ and the adjusted maximum will be 15″. Then we ask our question again: Does this jive with historical events? Is it reasonable that troops will sometimes only move 375 to 450 yards in 20 minutes and is the likelihood of that occurring mirrored by the roughly 8% chance of it occurring with 2D6?

    If this is not correct…

    Are there other factors that should adjust this minimum?

    The first ones that come to mind are troop quality (training & discipline) and local commander skill.
    Here’s the thing: simulation isn’t about being absolute and it definitely requires lots of abstraction, it is fine if someone wants to say that they don’t feel such questions as these have any relevance because “it is only a game” but someday should a guy want to use BattleMechs with pulse lasers in the WW2 game you’re about to play, don’t begrudge him – it is, after all, only a game… 😉


    WARNING; contains heresy.

    Everything in a wargame is abstracted to some degree. One needs to accept it, rather than keep chasing realism. A ‘realistic’ wargame would be a boring affair.

    If one can’t suspend disbelief it’s probably time to find a hobby that requires less imagination.

    1) I don’t think anyone disputes this.
    2) Abstraction ≠ infinite inaccuracy, such is a matter of degree and focal point.

    The movements on the table cannot be truly accurate because your game table will never be as large as a real battlefield. The spacetime of the game cannot be proportional to reality.

    This I’m not sure I agree with but maybe I’m not following you. Are you indicating that I can’t predict relatively accurate movement course and speed from say MN to CA on a highway map? Or can you clarify?

    in reply to: Bias in gaming rules? #7916

    Empire is notorious for bias in the unit ratings but that is true of many Napoleonic rules. Frankly, unit ratings aren’t a reason in my mind as they are adjustable, easily by the players…

    FoW’s main bias is that in design they fix any and all problems by seeking tournament balance so I would say they are bias towards tournaments over history.

    Didn’t Fire & Fury provide a +1 for Confederates attacking because they were considered to have more élan? Similarly, Regimental Fire & Fury gives the CSA a benefit in who goes first doesn’t it?

    Hard to say if many of these biases are invalid, frankly, I’d say they are all likely valid, just doesn’t mean I concur with them.


    Or artificially slow movement.



    You also have to look at how the rules are put together.  If the assumption is that the action in a turn takes 80 seconds and the Clauswitzian friction induced effect of that action is spread over half an hour (as is the case with WRG) then you obviously have a range of a factor of about 20 to work with.

    Maybe the pre req for this thread should be “Time and Distance in wargames”.

    That’s a fair point.

    I tried to normalize these as much as I could but you are correct that by doing so I wipe out any “friction” factors like activities that risk disorder or terrain that slows movement per the rules.

    What I can tell you from this cross-section of rules it is largely impossible for these friction factors to occur except in the case of enemy interference or rough terrain.

    in reply to: Shooting at lines of troops that you can't see #7848

    And yet, whilst all these sorts of things are were so important in a Napoleonic battle, they are precisely the sort of considerations that are usually completely ignored in a Napoleonic war-game and most rule-sets.

    Are there any games that allow the players to carry out initial (and continuous) bombardments of the enemy, even if they cannot be seen?

    I’d say that is because the masses of rules are tactical at their heart if not in their marketing. What I mean is that tactical concepts and concerns dominate their core mechanics. But are there any rules that allow such, yeah, I suspect there are but far fewer in number.

    Should those enemy units be deployed as dummy blinds, some real and some fake, and shots are wasted against the fake units but the player who is shooting is none the wiser?

    I’m tempted against this because the artillery did typically know there was an enemy there, they just didn’t know if they were hitting em or not. Using a dummy system you could actually have notably portions of the span with no valid targets, whole stretches of ground that were in fact empty and devoid of enemy. That said, it is an implementation problem not a concept problem.

    How do we model the effects on morale for either side? Perhaps using Blast-markers (cotton-wool is a favourite) that don’t necessarily indicate casualties, but represent changes to a unit morale and/or cohesion instead?

    Or just markers that some effect must be later determined against those targets should they ever become engaged?

    I’ve always wondered about whether the Officers leading Regiments (or maybe the skirmishers) that had just gone over the crest could somehow report back with accurate information on the where-a-bouts of the enemy. Even if they didn’t have their hands full dealing with enemy units on the other side, I’m guessing that there was no way they could give useful information anyway.

    I do not believe there was any reliable system in place to provide that level of detail.

    in reply to: Shooting at lines of troops that you can't see #7794

    Out of curiosity, does anyone have hard stats on the distance bounce through could reliability be presumed to go?

    Nafzinger does provide some data in Imperial Bayonets but it isn’t incredibly directed at that question.

    in reply to: Shooting at lines of troops that you can't see #7790

    Lets not conflate the material effect of artillery fire with its morale effect. And I’m don’t just mean morale effect on the enemy.

    Good point.

    in reply to: Shooting at lines of troops that you can't see #7749

    I think at that scope and scale of game there should be minimal control over the artillery by the player. Too often in games the “corps commander player” will be deciding if a battery shoots this turn or holds its fire until the next turn. At Gettysburg on the 3rd day – not a terribly different artillery scenario from your examples – Longstreet gives Alexander the order to commence the bombardment and then it is up to Alexander as to how it is conducted. The Confederates could not see all of their targets, some certainly but many Union regiments laid down behind a low stone wall. At the distance involved seeing even the stone wall was likely quite difficult in July. We have a reasonable idea of how effective their fire was but the question is equally as much about if any lack of effectiveness was due to their inability to see their targets…

    I would guess that for ranged fire most shots were largely area fire. “I know they are roughly there and so I’m going to concentrate on putting rounds nominally at that point.”

    The factor I’d be more interested in is the shooter’s ability to know how effective their fire is…


    If you say a game is a Beer & Pretzel game, and the designer’s goals for the design were anything but that, his design failed, regardless of someone else finds the game subjectively wonderful.

    Sure, but what I’m asking in part is what made it a Beer & Pretzels game. Why did the market consider it to be that when the designer did not intend it? That has more to do with what the designer output than what the designer intended doesn’t it?


    Did you just insinuate I was a liar? I take offence at that.

    Nope, don’t think he did. He said that he wasn’t certain if you were right / correct / etc… but if you were he believed the point he was making stood even if his example was incorrect in its specifics.

    The rest is just wriggling on your part.

    It isn’t.

    You told him that he got all his categories wrong. He responded with something akin to: ‘OK, well, even if I got all my categories wrong, my point was simply that there *are* categories which you agree there are.”

    That isn’t wriggling, that is staying focused on-topic.

    I await your apology

    I leave others to draw their own conclusions.

    I would ask that we don’t do this sort of thing, it would drag our conversation towards the divisive, off-topic bickering that charactered… another place we all visited once upon a time. We have a nice fresh start here, let’s presume positive rather than negative intent.


    Your lists seem to be grouped by the physical components of the games and then by the designer’s intent or goals for the game.–less or more emphasis on playability. …
    Which means the second list of more or less emphasis on playability is difficult to assess by the designer goals other than establishing what the designer claims is that balance or your own personal assessment of the finished product. What types of design elements identifies it as having more or less emphasis on playability?

    You’ve always been very focused on the designer’s intent, which is something I am very sympathetic to because in literature I am very focused on the author’s intent and this is the corollary. However, as you point out, designers of wargamers tend to either be silent or seeming contradictory of themselves, so I figure all we have are external characteristics to judge by. Many wargamers consider ‘simulations’ to be bad because they are too complex and not playable enough. Whatever those games were meant to be, that is what they are now known as…

    And of course charts are a good example of a ‘simulation’ characteristic as at first glance they can appear to offer complexity, and therefore, it is often supposed, authenticity.

    Indeed, there was a camp that believed more detail demonstrated in more complex mechanics and a greater number of longer charts equal higher authenticity. I do not know that they are wrong but I am critical of the believe that such is *required* to achieve higher authenticity.

    No criteria, entirely based on my subjective notion of relative complexity. I concede that the number of charts, and the word count, weighs heavier at the ‘simulation’ end, but, as a ‘bear of very little brain’, I guess I decided whether or not the rules were for me after 1 or 2 tries, or, foolishly in the case of R2E, after weighing them and glancing through the seemingly imprenetrable QRS!

    But that is criteria. “I find X more complex than Y therefore I believe X is ‘more simulation’ in its style than Y” is criteria. The next question would be, “What caused you to feel X was complex?”


    [Referring to VLB]: Bandit, you’ve probably hears this before, but try Crossfire for WWII.

    I have and I’m keeping my eyes pealed for for a new WW2 set so I’m thinking I’ll need to check it out.



    You’d agree that Black Powder and Empire V are very different.

    Therefore, you’d necessarily have to admit that they each have characteristics that differ, either each has some characteristic that is not present in the other or perhaps is present but is less dominantly expressed. At least some of these characteristics are going to link back to being “more Simulation like” vs being “more Beer & Pretzels like”.

    For instance… typically Simulations have had drastically more charts, this is not necessarily required for a game to be a Simulation but it common among those that are:

    More Charts:
    Bruce Quarrie’s Rules
    Gen de Bde
    Revolution to Empire
    Empire I-V
    Revolution & Empire
    Legacy of Glory

    Less charts:
    Black Powder
    Grande Armée
    Napoleon’s Battles

    This doesn’t mean that all simulation games must have a lot of charts, there are exceptions: Corps d’armée is more Simulation like than Beer & Pretzels like, but it has few charts.

    Therefore, the question of being chart heavy is a common but not defining characteristic.

    Beer & Pretzel games do, however, emphasize playability over historical accuracy – I don’t say this to degrade them, you can conversely say that Simulation games commonly sacrifice playability for historical accuracy which is the key gripe of so many people about them.

    Sacrifice Playability:
    Bruce Quarrie’s Rules
    Le Feu Sacre
    Empire I-V
    Legacy of Glory
    Revolution & Empire
    Revolution to Empire
    Vive l’Emperor
    Gen de Bde

    Emphasize Playability:
    Black Powder
    Grande Armée
    Napoleon’s Battles

    There is also a question of the origin of mechanics. Simulation games commonly have mechanics that are directly linked to historical outcomes vs Beer & Pretzel games which commonly have mechanics based on playability which are then tweaked to provide outcomes similar to history. This is very much about attempting to accomplish the same thing, X, but doing so in a different way and getting a different result.

    When attempting to model an outcome D which occurred following a chain of events A, B & C Simulations typically seem to be designed like this:

    A led to B which led to C which gave D result, therefore the Simulation mechanic will try to mimic this flow of events.

    Beer & Pretzel games typically seem to be designed from the outside in:

    We want to accomplish D.
    X + Y = something very similar to D and is quite playable. Excellent. Done.

    X & Y do not necessarily have any historical basis what-so-ever, the emphasis here is to make it very playable and to arrive at D.

    The objection of the Simulation fan is that since X & Y have no historical relationship to D, this is a bad mechanic. Likewise the Beer & Pretzels guy looks at the simulation and says, geeze man, A-B-C=D is practically unplayable!

    So I do not think it is entirely subjective or arbitrary. It is a matter of characteristics. Food is very subjective but I can still characterize it accurately.


    What McLaddie said.

    Essentially I started this topic to discuss what positives could be pulled into Simulation games from Beer & Pretzel games and what benefits there were as well as to consider how much of that you can do before a game intended as a Simulation comes to be thought of as a Beer & Pretzels game. It is a balance question. Not looking for a magic bullet, rather a clearER* picture.

    Beer & Pretzel games are generally far more approachable than Simulation games as far as how the general audience of wargamers perceives them.

    Many players who’d be happy with a given Simulation game never find out that it is compatible with their desires because Simulation games are commonly not easily approached. Thus, digging into approachability and bringing it into a Simulation game could broaden its audience.

    Having pondered this for quite some time now, I’ll tell you that it has given me a much greater respect for Beer & Pretzels games and caused me to no longer consider the term derogatory. Just because something is “fast play” doesn’t mean it is “ahistorical crap,” though there may be a higher percentage of that occurring in “fast play” than in other genres of games, it isn’t an intrinsic characteristic and such rules should be judged in their own right, not as a group.

    Sorta like games that use troop class systems instead of national characteristics. The Austrians in 1805 may have a higher percentage of Class C units but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any Class As or Bs…

    *emphasized the ER because people sometimes get hung up on a “clear understanding is never possible!” well, perhaps not but a clearer one is…


    War-gaming is a subjective hobby you pays your money and you push toy soldiers over table space.

    No one is saying otherwise, I certainly haven’t said otherwise.


    I don’t find Black Powder ‘intimidating’, I just find it a rather loose mishmash of ‘things you can do, if you like’.

    I found the mid thigh length boots and riding crop vaguely appealing but on their removal the promise did not carry over into action.

    Sure, so in your cases – and I imagine this is typical of those who don’t like Black Powder, you found it attractive & approachable but not compatible.

    In some ways, BP has done that, being widely accepted [relatively], regardless of it’s failings.

    I would agree with that.

    I think I wrote too much earlier and therefore made my point hard to see.

    Attractive – you design to appeal to a specific audience, i.e. people who are attracted to roughly the same things you are.
    Compatible – you provide methods and results that the same audience will agree with / like.

    Approachable – That is a question of if someone will even look at your rules after seeing how low detailed / dense / thick-charted / many stepped / put in whatever you like here, they are.

    Like I said, it’s all subjective. It’s impossible to lay down guidelines like you’re attempting to. One man’s meat, and all that.

    This I disagree with. Just because you can’t influence or define something completely doesn’t mean there is no value in influencing or defining it to any degree. If this statement were actually true, then marketing wouldn’t work… and yeah, lots of people buy lots of stuff because of marketing, so there is *some* value in it.

    I guess my point is that you can make a rules set that a given player is attracted to, would be satisfied with, but will never choose to dig into because the player sees it as not approachable.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit. Reason: added last line

    Approachability isn’t a question of if you are happy with your choice though. For instance, Todd Fisher would tell you he is largely happy with Revolution & Empire (which is not Revolution to Empire, completely different thing by different people), but Todd’s contentment does not make R&E ‘approachable’. Similarly, Sparker’s like for Black Powder does not make it approachable. Rather that means those rules are compatible with those players (more on compatibility at the end). According to the respective partisans, both rules are excellent, and heck, they may be, but the question that has come to light is that of approachability.

    Having spoken with Todd on this subject, he would concur that R&E is intimidating, mostly that doesn’t bother him, the gamer he wrote it for is not one who will be turned off based on that intimidation factor and that is a perfectly valid position.

    Having just read Sparker’s post, he may not feel that Black Powder is intimidating – but I would argue that from a non-partisan perspective, it most certainly is, though for a completely different reason than R&E.

    Revolution & Empire is intimidating because it is so dense and so detailed (per Todd a strength, but still intimidating).

    Revolution to Empire is intimidating because it *appears* to have so many charts (per Mark [Extra Crispy] a strength, but still intimidating).

    Black Powder is intimidating because there is little structure, everything is a suggestion (per Sparker a strength, but still intimidating).

    See a trend here?

    Intimidation is the opposite of approachability.

    Approachability has many facets and considerations:
    • How much effort does it take to become familiar with the sequence of play?
    • How much effort does it take to become capable of chart resolution?
    • Can a player immediately, under the pressure of playing, determine what chart he/she needs for what?
    • How common is it for players to reference the text to determine an outcome or procedure?
    • How visually dense are the charts?
    • How cross-referenced is the text?
    • How thick is the rule book?
    • How complex are the mechanics?
    • How fast does the game play in relation to real-time?

    This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it in order of any kind of priority or importance. Point is, your favorite rules can be amazing, but if players don’t find them approachable, then you *necessarily* have a hard time finding players.


    whereas R2E is the lass with glasses who works in the library

    No, 1) because librarians in ‘hot teacher glasses’ are stereotypically attractive and 2) even if they aren’t, that is a stereotype of the mousy, easily approached woman. The question isn’t about being attractive to the audience, the question is about being approachable by the audience.

    Attraction you can’t control. Different men are attracted to different things, some guys like big gals some guys like skinny gals, some guys like other guys… Attraction is not within the designer’s power to govern or control.

    Approachability is the question of – if someone is attracted to you, do they feel comfortable approaching you? Thus, with wargaming rules one can presume that they are attracted to your favorite set, you apparently by happenstance chose the same scale and scope they play for the right period, etc… Now, when they glance over that rule book, will they feel it is something they can approach or something that is going to waste their effort?

    To lay out some of the terms here:
    Attraction – Exactly how it sounds.
    Approachability – How comfortable your target audience and the masses each feel in spending time with the rules resulting in their likelihood to do so.
    Compatibility – Given that someone was attracted to the rules and felt comfortable approaching them, do the rules do what the player wants for the long haul.

    In the case of Black Powder:
    • Attractive – To some.
    • Approachable – To some.
    • Compatible – At least for Sparker :-p

    That is pretty typical, those who like it, play it, those who don’t, don’t. But when designing I think few designers have considered anything other than attraction and compatibility. They figure they know their rules will be attractive to X gamer and compatible with Y [subset of X] gamer. Thing is, they are likely missing a bunch of people who would found the rules attractive but never determined if they were compatible because they found the rules were not approachable.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit. Reason: clarifications and italics for book titles
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