Forum Replies Created
A couple things of note I did leave out of my post above:
• We also maintain a Yahoo Group for rules specific discussion. I am personally not a big fan of Yahoo Groups, however, they are again a space where customers are and therefore, a place we should be. There is also a benefit to an e-mail discussion group over a forum: that there is e-mail traffic when there is e-mail traffic, it naturally ebbs and flows but periods of less activity do not turn off participation. With a dedicated forum, if there is not traffic, potential participants may assume there is no one visiting the forum and will not bother to post. This is very unfortunate as a forum is often more accessible to new users.
• We also maintain a mass mailing list where we send out announcements about products, sales, website updates, etc…
• Putting Facebook in context: One of the primary reasons we share via groups in Facebook is expressly because of the points that Mike made: 1) Paid advertising may hit the demographic but that doesn’t get specific enough to vet interests. 2) Facebook’s algorithms don’t hide content posted on one’s official page, but it does de-prioritize it below things that have been viewed more times, liked, commented on, etc… and from the standpoint of the person trying to get their message out, this is effectively the same as hiding. 3) We simply accept that posting to many groups could come across poorly to some who are members of multiple groups, but this is the cost of trying to get the message out, one can only use the tools they have unfortunately, by posting to several groups and causing thousands to see our posts, we increase the likelihood of reaching the customer who wants to hear from us. We also limit how often we post to such groups and make a very conscious choice to vary between content that relates to our products but is not explicitly an advertisement (i.e. AARs and game photos) and explicit advertisements (i.e. did you buy our awesome new product yet????).
• Conversion rates: i.e. “I saw your advertisement and then I visited your website/joined your mailing list/bought something”.
Conversion rates ‘per capita’ if you will, are highest (in our experience) from: 1) Our mass mailing list, 2) TWW, 3) Other forums, 4) Facebook – in that order. We can’t track conversion rates from the Yahoo Group, so I can not comment where that falls amongst the other four. Conversions are important to consider because they can be achieved different ways. Via Facebook, the way one gets conversions is to get the largest pool of people to see something. Via TWW, the content matters most (in our experience), while far few people see our post on TWW vs Facebook, the number of purchases that originate on TWW is higher. Same with our mailing list and other forums (as noted above).
In the end, as Ochoin correctly concludes, businesses must go where customers are and benefit from using a wide variety of channels.
Conversely, some channels necessarily must be ignored because their return is too low and the resources (time) they require is too great. There are many, many wargaming related forums. Some are *very* low traffic. When we post an advertisement or AAR online, between forums, mailing lists, our website, and Facebook, one can assume it takes 1+ hours in most cases. Maintaining accounts on several more forums and then posting on those as well increases that time. Thus, if a forum has had six posts in 2017, we are not likely to post there ourselves based on the cost/benefit analysis. While people may incorrectly perceive this about TWW, there is quite a bit of traffic here frankly, and other similar forums are objectively on the decline.
The only website we pay for advertising is TWW – that probably speaks for itself. We participate in basically any forum where we see customers or potential customers participating – a business has to go where the customers are – where we see an intersection with our product, but the only forum we participate on in general is TWW. That’s entirely because of the atmosphere here – it is good.
Facebook is a big elephant. We don’t pay to advertise on Facebook currently, but we do post announcements to a wide variety of groups there.
Game companies have a big problem in reaching potential customers. On the usual suspects a news posting might get around 200-300 views. On Facebook it might get 3000-5000 views. While views are not website hits, and website hits are not sales, it is like hockey: there is a relationship between higher views and higher sales.
Estimating ranges when the figures/terrain presented do not match introduces yet another variable in player ability that may or may not be desired.
Yes, that is one of the factors I meant to implicate when making reference playing the rules or players knowing the rules.
Oh PS – Bandit – Players, no matter how new to the game should be advised of the game range of their weaponry – if they choose to deploy at 48″ range when effective range is 24″, then they should be advised of their error the first time, allowed to correct this, and thereafter any mistakes are up to them.
Sure, but consider that ranges vary so much that effective range might be 9″, and they might deploy at 11-12″.That’s a, 25-30% difference which sounds big, but it is also only 3″ out of 9-12″ which is small.
A new player is keeping track of a lot. Without being allowed to check the range, how do I know if it is even material to remind them as to the ranges? I’ll observe those conversations sometimes in a local group. “You know that can’t fire more than 10 inches. Yeah. I don’t think you’re at 10 inches.” And then you have people trying to help the new player by everyone debating how far they think the distance is…
This can obviously be resolved a couple of ways. You can prohibit table talk – but that has some downsides. Or someone can simply measure the distance to determine the question. Obviously these are not the only two options for resolving it, but I mean such as an illustration.
Something I often hear said by gaming groups is: “We encourage players to converse about their intentions so there is no debate later”. This is not a bad disposition, especially in a friendly game. Its intent is to prevent a player from doing something counter to their intention and attempts to head off the question of “are we just inside 4″ or just outside 4″, I can’t quite tell? Well, I intended to be just outside 4″. Oh, OK sure.” Pre-measurement is a bit in the spirit of that.
In the end, it should all be whatever works best for the given group of gamers.
So why the dislike? Not offended – interested.
Part of the reason that I dislike it is the scope of game I generally play. If I were to play a very low level game, I would not object to it. However, the scope of games I generally play involve a lot of “you hired people for that” – as in the officer running the battery of artillery is at least one if not multiple levels of command below the player. Thus, there is an “apparatus” of knowledge surrounding the player.
The other, more general reason, is that; as someone else pointed out; the overwhelming majority of command officers have *some* level of training. The direct analogy to the wargamer is how familiar the player is with the rules. As a community we commonly talk about how we “want to play the history/period/whatever, not the rules” and to my mind one of the ways to help that desire come to execution is to assume the player has a base of command knowledge “built-in” that prevents him or her from making ridiculous mistakes. An easy example is: the player chooses to deploy artillery *way* out of range of the enemy because they don’t realize the effective scale range of the artillery. That doesn’t get to the question of should players be required to correctly judge/guess if something is at 3″ vs 4″ but it is addressed by the same general rules design.
The broad facet of the question is what all the actual actors had available to them for addressing such practical concerns, and is the player provided with those same ones? For artillery, one example of that is that guns generally would fire for range before firing for effect. While some (few) game systems provide that as an overt mechanic, many either effectively include it by allowing pre-measuring, or do not include it by denying pre-measurement and not providing a different mechanic.
Et sans résultat! (ESR) allows pre-measuring. When running games at conventions we get asked about it from time-to-time. My answer is typically that I’m a fairly young guy with quite good eyesight, and it seems poor that someone else would be penalized in game play because they were older and their vision wasn’t as good.
ESR also uses largely familiar measurements that people can guesstimate fairly well. Depending on the ground scale you play at, most people can visualize 6 inches, a foot, two feet, roughly correctly. 3 3/4″ is not a measurement anyone can be expected to correctly guess by looking.
Another factor of this debate that is often ignored, is that natural rulers exist. We commonly play on tables we know the length and width of, we often know the approximate footprint of buildings we’ve set on the tabletop, the frontage of units is almost universally known, for those who play with roads and rivers that are set on top of the tabletop in strips, those lengths are commonly knowable. Which is to say, there are already rulers present and allowed in all games simply by default.
To allow or disallow pre-measurement is obviously the discretion of the game designer, game host, and group of players playing. To my mind, it simply seems impractical to disallow it.
It’s hard to think why you would want the men under fire part of a different organization.
Rationally true, though it was, in the scheme of things, an oddly new idea for the train troops (of any variation, including those running limbers and such) to even be part of the military. Which… yeah boggles my mind.
FYI, http://zaotlichiye.net63.net/allfacings.html works happy as ever (and has the last several days) via Safari v.11.x on macOS.
Not in a practical place to provide useful citation, but I can’t recall any reference to indicate they were not part of the train and in fact, I swear I remember multiple references claiming they were in fact part of the train.
In my collections of plates (~4500 maybe, not exclusively French obviously), there are lots of depictions of “artillerie du train” and they are all in a pale or grayish-blue or “steal blue”. Facings vary within train troops with “artillerie” having a designated facing of dark blue pretty consistently. Engineers and others having each black and brown (can’t recall off the top of my head which for which).
Sorry I can’t be more specific at this time.
Our second ESR Napoleonics game of Fall-In 2017 featured drastically more aggressive action by the French and they were rewarded for it.
All brand new players in this introductory game, and we apologize for the several additional people who were hoping to get into an open slot and contented themselves to observe the game.
We were also delighted by the surprise of receiving the game award for our time slot on Saturday! A marshal’s baton in the satchel of every game master indeed!
You can see how the rest of the action went in our Gallery, please check it out!
To my mind, most of the time, declaring a victor in a battle is a matter of propaganda. Sure, the French win Austerlitz, Jena, Friedland, Wagram… but the Russians claim Golymin as a victory, as do the French, the Russians claim Pułtusk as a victory. Napoleon, and the Russians, both claim Eylau as a victory. The list goes on and on. Most battles are indecisive, no one gets most of what they are seeking to accomplish.
Who wants what at the Berezina?
• Napoleon wants to extricate the French Army, as much of it as possible, really all of it.
• Alexander wants to destroy the French Army, as much of it as possible, really all of it.
• The French marshals, who are a mixed lot, mostly just want to get out of Russia.
• The Russian generals, who are a mixed lot, mostly just want the French to leave.
• The French army, exhausted, mostly just wants to get out of Russia.
• The Russian army, nearly as exhausted as the French, want the French out of Russia.
Who gets what they want?
• Not Napoleon.
• Not Alexander.
The French Army leaves, a lot of it gets out. So who feels they got what they wanted?
• French survivors, but I doubt they feel good about it.
• Russian rank & file, they probably feel relieved.
• French marshals, but they were not united in their happiness…
• Russian generals, well some, others were really hoping to do more damage…
Who claims to have gotten what they wanted?
Did anyone win or lose the Berezina?
I’d say Alexander lost as he got the least of what he wanted. But significant parts of the Russian Army would feel they accomplished what they wanted, separate from Alexander.
Everyone else got some of what they wanted, but it wasn’t much of a victory for anyone.
Did Napoleon get much of what he wanted? Hard to say, most of what he said after the Berezina regarding it can be considered propaganda, if not in its intent, certainly in its practicality.
Per John Gill:
1st Regiment: Nassau (2nd Nassau)
2nd Regiment: Nassau (1st Nassau)
3rd Regiment: Wurzburg
4th Regiment: Saxon Duchies
5th Regiment: Anhalt and Lippe
6th Regiment: Reuss, Waldeck, and Schwarzburg
7th Regiment: Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Some of their uniforms are covered in John Elting’s Napoleonic Uniforms v.III (pretty hit or miss). We also include plates for them in our Campaign Guides where they fought. Our 1813-1 Campaign Guide: We shall meet in Vienna, 1813 in Germany, includes plates for the 4th Rhinebund Infantry. As we hit campaigns where the others were involved, we plan to include them as well.
Thanks, I’d understood Azov to be from the Brest Inspection – thus, straw facings just as you have made sense – but with red as the regimental color for shoulder straps. Jonathan Gingerich notes that on his site translating Viskovatov. This does contradict Xenophon Group International who also cites Viskovatov, as well as Osprey.
Very nice job. The figures look terrific. Third battalion of the regiment based on their pompons? Very cool. Terrific use of technique to show artificial shadows. Even the basing – with the standard bearers staggered between the ranks as was customary. One facing color question (not meant as a criticism): source for the shoulder strap color?
If the players had fun, that is the main thing – well done.
Also, I missed saying in my last post – excellent map you linked to. We haven’t taken on doing a French Revolutionary Wars module for ESR yet, but resources like that are what we’ll be looking to use. Thank you.
Er, yeah … because an entire range of hills seems to be missing … ?
I believe the gentlemen who ran the game used this map to guide their layout:
As to the accuracy of that map, or any modifications the game hosts made in order to put on the game, I can’t say, I know the players had a lot of fun.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by Bandit.
I’m onboard with the general thinking at that under-scaling buildings for tactical and grand tactical games is a good idea. Building footprints become out-of-wack very fast, and under-scaling helps mitigate this some.
I’ve even gone a step further in the scale mixup. In scenarios that feature both cities, suburbs, and rural areas, I scale my urban city centers larger, and the suburbs and rural areas smaller. This provides a natural visual effect of the city rising above its suburbs.
You can see the impact of this in these two games:
Ha. You sell clothing merchandise!
We sell t-shirts with our name and logo, darn right 😉
I’m going to say ‘Yes’, because it’s not an instinctive calculation, and a game that says “Bring a protractor” isn’t calling my name.
Most of us can work out a 45% arc by eye. If you say, “Take it from the centre of the firing unit” you are probably getting the same general result.
Another vote of agreement here.
With that said, frankly I think the easiest answer to systems that want to use arcs other than 45º, 90º, 180º, or 360º is to stipulate bases that indicate the desired arc. Harder from a marketing/adoption standpoint but easier from a game play standpoint.
I’m under the impression the Württemberger’s carried one flag per battalion in 1812+ (exempting the lights and jägers who did not carry banners). The flags did vary some from the first to second battalion in at least some cases because of date of issue.
WarFlag has examples in their Napoleonic section. I have not verified these against other sources.
We’ve now posted the game photos from all of our ESR Napoleonic games as well!
Also, some rules make it difficult for themselves. E.g. they insist troops are oriented properly, but when receiving a charge, you can turn to the enemy anyway. Or you can start movement in any direction you want. Then what’s the purpose of having exact orientations to start with … ?
Which is actually just an internal inconsistency in the design philosophy of that rule system right?
With ESR, we were very focused on trying to provide internal consistency. One can never be sure if they missed a step, but we tried very hard at it and continue to look for errors in that regard. I think part of what helps is looking at the system holistically any time you engage with any problem.
It is very common for me to speak with another designer – or a player who dabbles in design – who says, “You can just fix XYZ by adding a modifier [or special case rule].” My concern about that type of solution is that it naturally leads to creating a patchwork of specific cases rather than creating a general case to cover the overwhelming majority of eventualities.
For instance, in our topic here of precise placement, I have seen rule systems that indicate “when in disorder only the stands that make contact fight mêlée”. Seems straight forward enough. However, “disorder” is elsewhere defined as a “general clump or mob of stands”. Well, a clump or mob is not a defined shape, thus, depending on how they are arranged at contact, you will get more or less stands allowed to fight in the mêlée. I have also seen this same issued addressed more holistically in other systems: “In mêlée a disordered unit may only fight with 1/4 of its stands”. This latter rule means that exact placement of the stands is immaterial. Thus, the player can’t “do it wrong” by placing their stands in an inexact manner.
- This reply was modified 4 years ago by Bandit. Reason: Clarified connection between general statement and practical example
We play some skirmish games (The Sword & the Flame), some really tactical games (Guns of Liberty), and some grand tactical games (Et sans résultat!).
In TSTF it is a bit of a problem because the arc is like 30º or something that no one seems to be easily able to estimate and aiming is per figure, and supposed to be along the point of their weapon – not their base – and because the collection we play with is based on round bases, doesn’t help either.
In GoL for the most part it isn’t too much of a problem. The bases are square, the arcs – even if not easier measurements – are easier to measure off square bases. We get the same problem there though.
With ESR we have very little, if ever, any trouble. But, the system doesn’t really penalize or incentivize exactness. The arcs are 45º, the bases are square, and movement rates are fast.
What I’m trying to illustrate is that it seems that the more precise players need to be in their game play, the more this stuff becomes a problem in my experience.
The Bandit20/05/2017 at 16:09 in reply to: Question for Historians and Game Designers: Effectiveness at Different Levels #62341
My general disposition is that different sized bodies of troops fight and respond differently to pressure.
As an example:
A division that covers perhaps a half mile or mile of frontage does not respond to being outflanked in the same as as a battalion that might control 150-180 yards of frontage. While there are several potential opportunities for a division to repel a flank attack by refusing elements to confront it, a battalion has far less time or resources to confront such a problem. Similarly, the methods for putting pressure forward against the enemy vary as the resources do, so a division fights differently than a battalion does.
To pickup on McLaddie’s point about cavalry, while it was not called ‘doctrine’ at the time, there are definitely elements of what we consider doctrine in terms of how different armies formed, organized, and trained. There is a bit of a joke that while the quality of the Allied cavalry was generally better than the French, the French method was that if the enemy attacked with a squadron, you replied with a regiment, if the enemy attacked with a regiment, you replied with a brigade. Meanwhile, the French had trained to perform mass cavalry actions with upwards of a corps, while the Allies rarely did such, creating an artificial ceiling on how high one side could commonly raise the bet.
As a gamer…As a designer…
And I’d agree with all of what Robey said.
Timeliness of response to inquiry seems so amiss in many cases, we try to reply within a couple hours, I’ll tell people who stop by our vendor booth at conventions that if you e-mail us and haven’t heard back the following morning, we must not have received it. Normally we try to have an answer out immediately upon receiving the inquiry.
People are asking you about your business and your product, it seems just horrible to make them wait any longer than necessary.
Speaking from the other side of the counter, we were uncertain what gamers expected when it came to support, some join mailing lists, some seek out dedicated forums, some expect little at all, etc…
So we try to make ourselves as available as possible.
To-date we receive and answer questions via the following channels:
• phone – not common, but it does happen
• direct e-mail – fairly common
• Yahoo! Groups mailing list – seems to go in bursts
• various online forums – none dedicated
• via Facebook – rare but it happens that we receive a question there
We also try to provide a lot of supporting material on our website that players might care about, from stuff aimed more at pre-sales questions like 3rd-party reviews, samples of the rules, etc… to stuff you’ll need when playing, like the Quick Reference Guides in various scales and the Second Edition Errata.