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  • in reply to: Game Design Forum? #7313
    Bandit
    Participant

    I am still very sympathetic to the point that this is a young forum and thus there is plenty of time to add more boards later.

    With that said, there does appear to be at least a small amount of evidence that the game design board would get some use since the most busy topic in the Napoleonic forum is about game design and is not specific to Napoleonics:

    http://www.thewargameswebsite.com/forums/topic/the-intersection-of-simulation-and-beer-pretzels/

    57 replies, 9 people, 3 pages…

    And here is the most awesome thing – none of us are being rude while all of us are being reasonable! Crazy, I know. Just say’n that doesn’t happen on, “some forums I used to visit.”

    Bandit
    Participant

    And what we’ve reach is the “approachability factor”. I trace a lot of things in my mind back to dating. Doesn’t matter how willing, single or interested in you she is, if she doesn’t look approachable then the decent “nice guys” will never go talk to her. Just the way it is. She’ll still get attention, she’s a woman at a bar – but will it be the attention she was looking for? Eh, perhaps not. And it is similar with wargame rules.

    If a rule set is conceptually straight forward, historical, etc… but it is not approachable because the charts look huge and are dense, the text is laborious and drones on for 150-200 pages, etc…

    So, yes, some players will jump into it, but a lot are going to pan it. Perfectly good gamers, gamers that would have made a great boyfriend / husband / longterm stable guy for that gal sitting at the bar.

    Intimidating ≠ approachable.

    She can be really smart, lots of guys like smart women, but if she makes the guy feel dumb… yeah guys don’t like to feel dumb cause well no one does.

    If the rules are incredibly well researched and the mechanics represent that research, excellent, but if the mechanics are so laborious that it takes five minutes to learn how to resolve movement… unlikely perspective gamers will hang around.

    She can have a great career, today’s men don’t mind women working, maybe because we just aren’t hung up on it, maybe because so many women work we’ve just accepted it and moved forward. But in any case if she gives you the impression that you have to compete with her in order not to be made small by her great career advancement… yeah, no guy wants to be the “also ran” in his own relationship.

    So these well researched, historically accurate rules seem to cover everything, and that is awesome, but *everything* has a special case rule, if playing the game is like some sort of quiz on how well do you know the rules and how well can you guess the designer’s perspective on X random situation – not a lot of wargamers are going to stick around for that.

    Anyways, I got to rambling and making analogies to dating but point is, 16 pages of charts are intimidating and the average player is unlikely to ever find out how simplistically or straight forwardly they function because neither of those change the intimidation factor which causes him to run well before making much use of those charts…

    in reply to: Allied OB at Lützen #7291
    Bandit
    Participant

    Could it be one of those instances where the commanders of the Brigades had been replaced recently (for whatever reason), meaning that the names of some of the brigade commanders in the O-O-B and on the battlefield diagram don’t tally up?
    If the *number* of brigades is the same on the O-O-B and the diagram, but its just the names that are different, that could be the reason.

    The Allied lists for 1813 are a real head-ache……

    It could be. Problem is that I can’t really verify it because the map key just states the brigade commander and not any of the units so there is no way to say, “oh yeah this brigade listed here is the same as that brigade listed there just with a different commander.”

    Bandit
    Participant

    Bandit wrote:
    If I buy a set of rules, I want a set of rules. Not a flippin’ toolkit.

    Well, I didn’t actually write that, Not Connard Sage did. Regardless.

    Bandit
    Participant

    part of the B&P ethos

    but BP is just too bloody random for me

    I concur personally but I think he was referring to B&P as “beer and pretzels” not BP, aka Black Powder.

    in reply to: Game Design Forum? #7026
    Bandit
    Participant

    I think it’s too early to start adding boards. Give it a while, a few months at least, then see how people feel.

    Do you think a games design board will have more posts than a terrain board?
    Everyone uses terrain I would think, but not everyone would design games…

    I think both of these are very strong points.

    Regarding the “hurry up and wait” I suppose that seems the most sensible approach. This forum is new and providing too much too fast just prevents people from focusing in on what they are looking for.

    Regarding the terrain board… I wonder. Terrain boards on most forums are along the lines of, “look at this terrain I bought” or “look at this terrain I made,” vs game design which is more of a discussion topic.

    I’ve always wished more people posted how-tos on their homemade terrain but it seems quite uncommon.

    Bandit
    Participant

    Whilst leading cavalry charges, how could Ney tell Jerome to stop assaulting Hougomont and march up behinnd the cavalry screen?

    The example I always like to use is Jena where Ney, against orders, attacks head on with the couple battalions and couple squadrons of his advanced guard while his *two whole divisions* march to their appointed positions towards the rear and …wait… cause hmm, “Hey, anyone know what we’re supposed to do once we get here? Where’s the boss man anyway?”

    The examples of Davout micromanaging his battalions at Auerstädt or Wellington adjusting positions of battalions here and there throughout the day are not incorrect, it is just that for every one of those examples there are literally hundreds or thousands of times when the subordinates did it on their own. So are we setting out to simulating the model or the exception?

    One of my objections to many rule sets (regardless of their category) is that they address many common situations through special-case rules. My issue with this is that then playing the game is practically a quiz on the rules where the player who knows the various special-case rules better and can apply them to his advantage is likely to prevail. Talk about attempting to design systems where you “play history” but end up “playing the rules”.

    I played a game at a convention earlier this year. It was an Empire successor rule set. I was going to attack some troops in line, I was in column at the moment. Before moving to contact, I asked, “Do these rules favor attacking in line or column.” I got a long rambling response as to how the French always attacked in column and the English always attacked and defended in line. Yeah, that’s nice, depends on who you read but in any case, immaterial to my question: Do I get a benefit for attacking in column? Yes. OK.

    One has to ask themselves, when playing a tactically nuanced game and attempting to “play the history” whose history is represented. We can all debate about columns and lines until we die, but as this pertains to rule development, such things presume the players will have the same perspective as the designer on such matter. No matter what position is taken, if the player has has a different historical bias than the designer, then that player will be forced to play the rules, not the history.

    Bandit
    Participant

    Are they of a scale that should allow your units to use column, line or square? Because if you’re pretending to be much more than a colonel in a Napoleonic army, what formation the damn units are in aren’t your concern

    Any time I’ve said that (I’m not Peter or a Polemos player) I always have someone tell me about how Davout chose the formations of damn near every battalion at Auerstädt. OK… sure. But he didn’t do that every time any of them did anything, nor did he do it at every battle. There isn’t enough time in the day. And as Bill [McLaddie] likes to point out, army commanders who did have time didn’t do it either, perhaps because they trusted “the machine” or perhaps because they knew it was impossible to micromanage hundreds of individual units over a several mile front. In either case we fall into the trap of not only doing it but *requiring* it.

    Bandit
    Participant

    In the finest traditions [of] the internet we are deviating a bit here…

    Indeed. So to bring us back a bit:

    Can these two things [Simulation and Beer & Pretzels] be successfully combined and do justice to the positives of either? Would anyone be satisfied?

    Mark (ExtraCrispy) points out that he believes the two can *necessarily* be combined through choosing what you will specifically simulate.

    I tend to agree with him but I am biased as it is my hope / cause. The second part of the question is:

    Would anyone be satisfied?


    And that is of great concern to me.

    Bandit
    Participant

    What’s a VLB?

    Oh hell.

    OK, so the long and the short of it was that a man named George Jeffreys came up with this concept called “the variable length bound” where the amount of time that occurred during any given turn – called a “bound” – was variable. Instead of having a fixed turn length determine when you got to make your next decision, instead you made your first set of decisions – AKA orders – and those orders were in effect until a “change of situation” or COS occurred.

    Sorta like, “I send my cavalry down the road,” so the cavalry move down the road until they come within range of your infantry which is considered a COS and that COS allows me to make a new decision. The act of moving down the road may have taken ten minutes or ten hours.

    The problem with the VLB is that since it does away with time as a constant, it becomes difficult to conceptualize game flow. It is sorta like saying that you are going to allow the water to flow without structure to guide it and just know that wherever the water goes is where it is supposed to be. The VLB may very well be the true Zen of wargaming. It is also a unicorn because thus far it has proven impossible to provide rules for that can be executed by the masses.

    Bandit
    Participant

    mmmm VLB… tastes like the tears of unicorns, if only VLB were as real as unicorns…

    Bandit
    Participant

    I think this perfectly feasible.

    I hope so.

    The problem with the vernacular use of the word simulation amongst wargamers is we tend to think it means we have to account for every last bullet at Borodino.

    Indeed and if you simulate everything you likely simulate nothing as you create innate conflict through contradiction. It is hard. Sometimes Davout micromanaged his battalions, sometimes Wellington did. So should every corps commander in the game be required to at every opportunity? Well, hmm that isn’t realistic either because there were times that Wellington and Davout let them do their own thing… and here we have the problem. I can simulate that it was done but do so at an unrealistic level of occurrence, or I can remove it completely – both of those are easy. Hard is trying to allow it to occur without requiring it to occur. And I think that is what has dogged a lot of “simulation” designs over the years.

    Bandit
    Participant

    Sparker,

    I’ll eat my hat if even the most successful battlefield commanders didn’t steadily develop tunnel vision as the battle developed, and concentrated their nervous energy, and fleetest ADC’s, on ensuring a particular Corps carried out their wishes! Which is a long winded way of saying, the game’s command activiation mechanic, in forcing the player to prioritise his impact on the action, is realistic in its effect if not in its format or phrasing.

    Tunnel vision sure, but in wargames you wind up with players doing this:

    • Let’s see, if I attempt to move the 3rd Brigade first it is more likely to fail because I’m so far away from them and then I’ll be done for the turn, so instead I’ll move the 2nd Brigade since they are within 4″ of me, then move the 1st Brigade because they are within 6″ and then I’ll attempt to move the 3rd Brigade last.

    And wargamers do that *every turn*.

    While I am sure one can find plenty of examples of a battlefield commander saying something akin to, “Bring me my fastest and most trustworthy courier!” to send off some important message, that is far different than the above example and it is also far less common than another typical wargamer example:

    • Well, my first target roll is low, so I’ll use that on the X unit knowing that it might be the only order I issue for the next twenty minutes because apparently I only have one courier who owns a horse. Then, if by chance I make my other rolls, I’ll be able to issue orders to my other formations.

    The reality is that *most of the time* commanders issued orders to all their troops to do all the desired things with a fair expectation that the desired action would occur. If commanders did not feel there was any likely hope of response to their orders then over several hundred years the system would have changed fundamentally rather than just evolutionarily as it has. No large system of people does something that fails to achieve its most basic goal the majority of the time without revising the system substantially.

    Please understand my constant references to something like, “most of the time,” as I’m willing to grant there are lots of examples where the opposite is true but I am talking about the overwhelming majority of orders issued. There are many C&C systems in wargames that would fail to have a battalion march across a parade ground successfully during peacetime. And that is poor to my mind.

    in forcing the player to prioritise his impact on the action, is realistic in its effect if not in its format or phrasing

    Basically this is what I’m objecting to. Forcing a historical outcome by providing ahistorical motivations to my mind is a poor method of design, it is not always avoidable but I think better design results when historical motivations drive historical behaviors rather than the aforementioned alternative.

    in reply to: Online vs Traditional Campaign systems #6527
    Bandit
    Participant

    It seems to me it is a rather large undertaking but a good execution could be hosted anywhere and available to anyone. Logging in provides a player with their daily intel report, automated updates from NPC subordinates and real messages from other players. You’re only aware of what you are aware of, you might not be aware of the location of all your elements let alone the rest of your army or the enemy. Fog of war becomes very real.

    Linking such to maps could be hard. Choosing what features to begin with and which to roll out later might be key.

    But modeling a lot of fundamentals like attrition can be done without any player maintained bookkeeping. So there are some large upsides.

    One very central question is how to handle time. Real-time is too invasive into our lives, all of a sudden the retired guy has a huge advantage over the player who works for a living or wants to go fishing with his kid. Sorta destroys the whole point of taking the system out of the basement and into the internet.

    On the other hand, waiting for every player to turn in their next turn means that everyone’s game is slowed for the sake of the procrastinator.

    in reply to: Game Design Forum? #6507
    Bandit
    Participant

    To better make my case, when getting ready to post something in the Napoleonic board it came to mind that it didn’t make much sense to post there if I was just going to post about design concepts without any attachment to a given period. Therefore, in this case since my development work is primarily in Napoleonics, I pick the Napoleonic board and I begin reframing the topic so that it has some obvious Napoleonic relevance. However, this means that I can’t really post anything that is truly period agnostic without attaching it to a period – sorta a contradiction in terms there.

    I would concur regarding the general non-proliferation philosophy but game design is akin to “Terrain and Scenery” more than anything else. A single board within the General boards would suffice. Proper use of tags would then allow visitors to find those that do tie back to their period without seeing the period specific boards filled with topics that do not relate to the period in question in any direct or exclusive way.

    ADDED VIA EDIT: For the time being I’ll post to the General board and see where it goes.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Bandit.
    in reply to: How do you play yours? #6079
    Bandit
    Participant

    Do you typically utilise an umpire/games master?

    My local group: Yes.
    Me: It varies.

    Do you tend to play games with one regular opponent regularly?

    My local group: We dice off for sides so there is not typically any specific player vs another specific player game after game.

    How long do your games typically last or want them to last?

    My local group: Approximately 3 hours, sometimes extended to 6 if played over two nights.
    Me: Approximately 4-6 hours.

    Do you utilise a campaign system and generate battles in that way?

    My local group: In recent history only when I do it.
    Me: Whenever possible.

    Do you design scenarios regularly?

    My local group: The handful of us who host games, yes.
    Me: Constantly.

    Do you pick armies from an army list up an agreed point maximum for an ensuing battle and then pick or dice for terrain just before playing?

    My local group: It varies widely, normally the host tries to make the game “balanced” in one way or another.
    Me: I attempt to avoid such and work with historical scenarios as much as possible.

    Do you typically utilise free rules, scenarios and, army lists?

    My local group: Entirely commercial rules, mostly stuff we’ve played for years or more, occasionally newer stuff.
    Me: Mostly old commercial rules, I’ve never been one for “upgrading”, and my own Napoleonic project.

    Are you willing to try anything at least once even if their is a cost associated?

    My local group: They vary, mostly they are down on new things.
    Me: I’ll play anything at least once so long as I don’t have to host or if the cost is moderate, I will hold off on buying new rules until I’ve played several times and developed a good feeling about them.

    Or regardless of cost, do you read blurbs, reviews and other info first before making a decision as to whether or not to give them a try?

    My local group: Mostly yes but there are a handful of guys who get captured by “ooh shiny” and just buy anything they don’t recognize.
    Me: Yes, I read up a lot on rule sets before buying them, everything I can find, I’ll browse in the store if I can and I aggressively seek out reasons to rule sets out.

    in reply to: Welcome to the General Forum #6017
    Bandit
    Participant

    OK, that’s it, I’m going to start visiting more often!

    🙂

    in reply to: Welcome to the General Forum #6013
    Bandit
    Participant

    Would it be possible to maybe allow both supporting and non-supporting to ‘see’ and respond to postings in the Trading Post. Totally appropriate to limit initiating posts for sale or trade to Supporting only, but won’t allowing everyone to see them greatly increases the likely hood of making a sale. I ask this cause the marketplace section of the previous website I had been frequenting is about the only thing left there of much interest to me.

    Had been thinking the same thing. It also encourages more users to become supporting members since they can see the activity.

    Bandit
    Participant

    Contacted George, he confirmed it is due to be published in December by “Helion” who I am not familiar with but in any case he says he will be selling it himself as well. The whole thing will be published as a single large volume. Sounds quite exciting.

    in reply to: Which rules? #3795
    Bandit
    Participant

    And here I thought Sparker was the ***only*** guy who played something other than General de Brigade with 28mm 😉

    Anyways, I don’t have a horse in this race as I play 15mm but I’ve seen enough people get excited about GdB and 28mm that I thought those two were kinda a pair.

    in reply to: IGOUGO or not #3498
    Bandit
    Participant

    I’d maintain that any rules which exhibit IGOUGO are such regardless of variation. For instance, if you use randomized activation of either units, unit categories or sides by cards or by dice, if only one side is allowed to move something, everything or anything at once.

    I’d also agree with Sparker (this is a strange and bizarre alternate message board universe we’re living in just now) that IGOUGO is especially adept choices for solo game play.

    in reply to: IGOUGO or not #3382
    Bandit
    Participant

    For me it depends on both period and game scope and scale.

    For instance, in a tactical Napoleonic game – no, I can’t stand IGOUGO. But, we do play FIW skirmish games commonly using Muskets & Tomahawks which is essentially card driven IGOUGO and I find that perfectly acceptable.

    The less dynamic my impression of the period, the more willing I am to accept IGOUGO. We also play Guns of Liberty (American Revolutionary War), which is IGOUGO tactical and that is just fine.

    But for Napoleonics and ACW, tactical or grand tactical… too static and thereby restrictive in reactions.

    Bandit
    Participant

    Sparker,

    I take it you’re familiar with Michael Leggiere’s first volume in the Cambridge Military History of 1814?

    I am, though I haven’t acquired a copy yet. I am hoping his second volume does come along.

    I believe that George Nafziger is on the cusp of publishing a continuation of his 1813 trilogy on 1814, so that should be good for OOBs! His maps are usually pretty good too!

    Oh wow. That I did not know. Can I ask where you heard? I may need to ping George, that would be very exciting indeed. I have his OBs for 1814 but if he is putting together maps similar to his 1813 books… man, that’d be nice.

    in reply to: Welcome to the General Forum #3113
    Bandit
    Participant

    Sparker,

    …and of course the Bandit is a tower of Napoleonic intellect…

    That is an incredibly kind thing to say of me. And considering that I am quite certain I could count on one hand the number of times you and I have agreed… on anything… and still have plenty of fingers left to hold a glass of Irish whiskey… I consider that one hell of a compliment coming from you. Thank you very much.

    in reply to: Suppression effects in infantry games #3101
    Bandit
    Participant

    I’ve always thought that suppression / pinning was an involuntary reaction of a target. The firing unit may intend to suppress the target but does not generally have the ability to accomplish by choice.

    The idea of a target choosing to become suppressed over potentially taking losses seems a bit odd to me simply because of the involuntary nature of suppression that I presume.

    in reply to: Wargaming Rooms #3088
    Bandit
    Participant

    For flexible wall mounted storage, I’d argue for pegboard being the most flexible. I’ve moved all my unpainted collection to hanging on pegboard. All my buddies think the place looks like a retail store but it is easy to find, gets it up off the floor, I can pop shelves into place instead of hooks any time. Very nice, clean, flexible.

    Bandit
    Participant

    Keeping players in the game is generally one of the big struggles wargamers face in running campaigns.

    This is largely another benefit of the way we are running ours. Since there are only two players running campaign moves the others do not have a vested interest in how the overall campaign is going, thus, they have no motivation to quit when things get bad on the map. These players just roll off for sides for each tabletop battle. At battle one you could be playing Union, at battle two, could be Confederate…

    Keeping the two campaign generals in the game is of concern still though. One of ours doesn’t handle losing particularly well and he is prone to decide he is losing before shots have been fired. He quit the campaign at the start of our second battle but another player stepped forward and has a longer view of the strategy involved. So far, so good.

    in reply to: Seeking Flames of War Alternatives #3084
    Bandit
    Participant

    Hello,

    Blitzkreig Commander II
    I’ve not played this game though I have played Future War Commander which I think is fine for a Sci-Fi skirmish game. In different periods I look for different things and value different things. In Sci-Fi, well, I figure once you are firing plasma rifles from 30′ tall walking tanks, I can let go of most all conceptions of realism and historical accuracy. Not sure if I’d like some of the FWC mechanics applied to WW2 but perhaps it is worth a look.

    IABSM3
    I have no experience with this at all but I do think quite well of TFLs so it might be good to check into it.

    Fireball Forward
    Never heard of this one, I’ll see if I can find some info on it.

    Operation Overlord
    I figure that all figures are just markers so no matter what someone designs a game with (plastic for instance), it doesn’t cause me to run away. Cards for WW2… not sure if that fits my feeling about the period or not. We play Muskets & Tomahawks for FIW pretty commonly and I like that well enough, we’ve also played a lot of TSATF which I am less nuts about the card mechanics in so I guess I should say my feelings about cards vary and I wouldn’t rule a game out for that. Lastly, I’ve played some Memoir ’44 which is not really a miniatures game but does use cards. It is a good game but not really what I’m searching for.

    Battlegroup
    What is Battlegroup like, what is it trying to accomplish and how? I’m unfamiliar with it.

    mjc – same question for you about your project, can you tell me more about your aim and how your mechanics support it?

    Thanks for the answers so far guys.

    in reply to: Miniature Very Big Battles #2982
    Bandit
    Participant

    Tempest,

    There is a game called Orders to Eagles that I’ve played at Little Wars outside Chicago, IL, USA which is similar to the scale you’re speaking of playing. O2E is *very* simplistic in many regards, battalions are 1″ square bases and have three statuses: good order, disorder, destroyed [removed]. It is an initiative based IGOUGO system which is also not my thing but it is a decently functional game.

    To answer your main question about ground scale and how it looks, that depends a bit on the presentation and on your perspective. Once you get up to 1″ = 150 yards or greater most people seem to tend towards a simplistic presentation where only major terrain features are shown and they are done so using very distinct physical elements. This can influence your perspective of game play at this scale a lot. The real question for the player at this scale is if they are comfortable looking at the tabletop as a map rather than focusing on sticking their head down close to peer into the units and see the drama of individual actions. That is also perhaps the biggest difference between 15mm to 28mm players vs say 6mm to 10mm players. If you can accept the perspective that you are essentially playing on a live map then you can embrace the role of corps or army commander rather than getting hung up in small scale tactical decisions.

    The Napoleonic project I am developing can be played at any ground scale above 1″ = 75 yards and some of my external play testers plan to run games at ground scales of 1″ = 100 yards, 1″ = 150 yards, etc… with 6mm or 10mm figures. It is notably more detailed than O2E but not heavy like one might think of say Empire. This project focuses primarily on command & control with very little tactical nuance.

    One downside of many rules when playing as you describe is measuring weapon ranges – when musket range becomes a portion of an inch or several millimeters it becomes difficult and impractical to measure on the tabletop. Thus, I would tell you the most successful at these large ground scales conflate all non-ranged-artillery combat together and resolve it at contact. This allows radically increased ground scale without a lot of disputable and fiddly measuring. It is also consistent with the necessary abstraction brought by this scale of game.

    That help any?

    in reply to: It lives! #2852
    Bandit
    Participant

    All works quite happy and fine on Safari v.7.0.2 under Mac OS X v.10.9.2.

    FYI:

    Navigating the site on small-screen iOS devices (iPhone & iPod touch vs iPad) is not too wonderful, impossible to reach the right side of the page. Kinda behaves like it knows you’re on a mobile device so it provides the content at a fixed size (i.e. can’t be zoomed or panned across) but the size provided is too large for phone screens.

    in reply to: Welcome to the General Forum #2851
    Bandit
    Participant

    Hello,

    Good to see many familiar account names. My primary focuses are historical: Napoleonics, ACW, WW2. Eventually those will include SYW & Ancients. All in 15/18mm. I also play some BattleTech so on *rare* occasion you may see me post on the BattleTech forums (same name) or here in the Sci-Fi section.

    Full disclosure: I started looking for a new forum home last week while watching TMP fall apart / implode. The implosion appeared to then change into a sort of purge and as I viewed that as a loss for all involved I was very excited to hear that Mike was trying to create a new home for the online wargaming community that was perhaps a bit less… divisive.

    I hope to contribute things to TWW that people find useful and am excited to see what others contribute as well.

    in reply to: G'Day! #2850
    Bandit
    Participant

    Sparker,

    Good to see a familiar face. Gotta say it was pretty funny (odd funny) that your from TMP (and note) found myself, TW and Jurgen all saying, “Yeah, Sparker is probably right…” Funny how things work out.

    Glad to see you here!

    in reply to: Balloons Across the Nile #2846
    Bandit
    Participant

    Hey Sparker – Nice to see a familiar face, maybe meeting at a new place (here) can be a new start for you and I as well :-p

     

    The game looks nice, doesn’t look like your regular venue either. I’ve never played Napoleon at War, are the units considered regiments / battalions / ??? Are these rules you’re familiar with or first time using?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Bandit.
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