Grognard Wargamer Thread!


#3344

Gettysburg: The Tide Turns:

Um, it feels like I’m just moving chits around. And it feels like a lot of animation busyness each turn. Not really grabbing me. I wouldn’t have purchased this if I hadn’t kickstarted it on Shenandoah’s reputation. Oh well, no big deal.

At least it never crashed in the first 11 turns.


#3345

Since this is the grognard thread I thought I would post a link to this here. Last video of the four-part series.


#3346

Brother Against Brother is on sale at Matrix until the 23rd. Half off so it’s $24.99.


#3347

Pasting a link would’ve killed ya? ;)

http://www.matrixgames.com/products/505/details/Brother.Against.Brother

Looks neat!


#3348

A true Grognard has the Matrix site bookmarked! :)


#3349

Yes, because a true Grognard is all about extra, unnecessary clicks and outdated interfaces. ;)


#3350

But isn’t that true?


#3351

Hahahahahahahahaha


#3352

How many rivets are there in that link?


#3353

Oh, dude, you have no idea…

http://www.matrixgames.com/products/697/details/Warhammer.40,000.Sanctus.Reach.-.Legacy.of.the.Weirdboy


#3354

Here’s a You Tube video by James Allen:


#3355

Yes, that’s very true, but you’re still missing the point I think. A player may completely ignore this detail and still be good at the game. What does it matter to you if the detail is there when it’s largely irrelevant to know about, but it greatly satisfies those gamers who thrive on, as Brooski says, the “verisimilitude” of the available data. Someone on a general’s staff kept track of numbers of things, so why is it so silly to you that a gamer gets a lot more immersed when he can find that data too? There are basic “combat numbers” that summarize the numbers of things that a more casual player can rely on, and you really don’t need to know the combat calculations insofar as after a while you develop a feel for what you can expect with units in a certain state of readiness and size. Isn’t that how it is “in real life” warfare?

It’s really quite a remarkable product once you gain your legs on the basic components of the game model.


#3356

Yeah, I hear you, but here’s where I’m coming from. First, I’m not talking about numbers or data per se. It’s all in how it’s used, and what data it is. I love a bunch of data, but it’s all too easy to substitute quantity of numbers for actual systems design. Command Ops does a good job of having lots of numbers but also a sophisticated game system, where the player can pick and choose how much they get into. Pretty much every game by Koger or Grigsby, IMO, is the opposite–data overload to hide the fact that the essential game systems are weak or underdeveloped, at best.

I feel that a simulation that is built on this sort of framework, where you focus on quantifying the value of individual weapons and where the specific quanta of data the player works with is some form of “X thousand rifles, X dozen tanks of Y model,” is fundamentally a bad simulation. It might make a good game-like interactive product (and I sometimes do like to revel in the rivets), it can’t be good simulation or really a good “game,” because that sort of modeling I feel is essentially wrong-headed and inevitably will return ahistorical, unrealistic, and generally bizarre results in the long run.

In other words, sure, you can ignore it if you want, but it’s not about ignoring it because it isn’t my preferred way of playing. It’s about my strong belief that the basic design philosophy is flawed. It’s not that data isn’t immersive, it’s that all too often designers use masses of data to hide the flaws in the game. And adding more data, without the systems that actually use that data, and in such a way that the player can do something with that information that has a reasonable cause/effect relationship, to me is not fun.


#3357

Well that’s a little different from what I felt you were saying above. And I, personally, cannot rebut what you’re saying here because I’m not totally certain myself what goes into Grigsby’s War in the East combat resolution (nor do I know that much about the Command Ops combat model for that matter). Grigsby’s model seems to be different from Koger’s TOAW scheme – which I acknowledge was a little bizarre to me – but that could be illusory to me too. How familiar are you with Grigsby’s WitE combat model? And what, specifically, does the Command Ops system do differently? Certainly some equipment matters, like Pzkw Vs vs Pzkw IIIs, while some really does not, like jeeps (Koger). What I’m saying I guess is that quantifying some equipment is likely a good thing. Battle reports from WWII always talked about the number of tanks available for operations. That actually seems like a key stat for armored divisions.


#3358

Absolutely! My overall point–and this is just my personal POV, not any attempt to “lay down the lay” or anything like that!–is that if you have data in the game, it needs to fall into two very clear categories. One is stuff that you actually can use, to make decisions with, because it actually figures into the game model in an intelligent way. The other is stuff that’s fluff, or chrome, that is interesting but not really part of the system as it were.

All too often games have a ton of data that simply does not matter for one reason or another. And, to me, just because you add up the number of jeeps in a division and that gives you .001% of its combat value does not mean the number of jeeps is useful or meaningful. It’s chrome, but it’s masquerading as useful information. Grigsby to me is a less egregious offender by far than Koger, but IMO the use of so many data points to define a formation leads to none of them being terribly important in and of themselves.

A game, to my mind, should sort of distill the essence of decision making down to stuff that is engaging and matters. Command Ops lets you dig into the numbers of guns and stuff but you make your decisions based mostly on the overall level of morale, supply, and cohesion a formation has, as well as its ability to perform in specific combat roles (anti-tank, holding ground, etc.); the data supports your decision making but you are not guided to obsess about minutia (there are other issues I have with the game system in general, but it is a very good example IMO of a distillation of essentials that is still quite meaty and complex). Most other game systems that deluge the player with numbers don’t differentiate very well between useful and not so useful data, often I feel because under the hood there isn’t that much there. This is impressionistic, however, and not a result of a scientific survey of game mechanics, by any means.

So, yeah, I love to see that a tank battalion has PzKw IVs and not PzKw Vs, as it does as you note make a difference (though often for a lot of reasons beyond just a raw attack or defense value). I don’t really care though whether they are PzKw Ausf. G or Ausf. H, because at this level it is hardly critical.I don’t mind knowing that, but if the game presents that as “oh, the battalion now has a rating of 112 instead of 110,” that implies that you should be managing those numbers carefully, and to me that misses the point entirely, and is also sort of misleading in terms of simulation fidelity. And number of operational tanks available is absolutely important–but it’s important in relationship to the formation’s overall efficiency. German Panzer divisions often, in the mid to late part of the war, had compositions that were far less robust than their TO&E called for, yet still managed to be effective combat units. In this case, the number of tanks has to be placed into the context of how you are evaluating combat power. The cheap way to do it is to simply make German tanks worth a ton of points, but then that overstates the combat power of a full-strength unit by a huge amount, and it places the simulation focus, and the player’s focus, on a chimera. The real secret to a German maneuver unit’s success isn’t the number of tanks it has so much as a host of soft factors, depending on the time of the war, like leadership, experience, doctrine, force balance, etc. That’s why they could still field effective formations even when decimated by losses. A purely numerical, count the tubes approach can’t model this very well.


#3359

I’ll chime in since I was an alpha and beta tester for GG’s WitE. The combat system has a large amount of detail built into it. This is my best, but admittedly vague and certainly incomplete, recollection of how it works:

Battle calculations start at long range, 20,000+ yards with any weapons that can reach that far firing first. The range gets decremented as the battle progresses with shorter range weapons engaging as appropriate. This can go all the way down to spitting distance with multiple rounds of combat. Longer range weapons could fire more than once and they probably have limits on how many times they can fire. Some weapons have a minimum range, rockets I think, so they might only fire once. There are lots of modifiers to all this for hasty attacks, attacks on forts, morale, ROF, probably leadership, etc. No doubt I’m leaving out a lot of detail here that I just don’t remember. All this complexity is one reason that every weapon system in the game has so much data on it as well.

Of course almost all this happens under the hood so you could argue that much of it could have just been abstracted. All I can say is that, from my experience in WitE and other titles, Gary does not design his games that way.


#3360

What you describe here about Command Ops seems fairly equivalent to my impression of what Grigsby does: He provides the numbers of guns and men “but you make your decisions based mostly on the overall level of morale, supply, and cohesion a formation has, as well as its ability to perform in specific combat roles”. That’s why I asked about your familiarity with WitE. There, supply (huge) and morale play a very large role in a unit’s overall combat ability, and numbers of gadgets aren’t the be all - end all. And the player can merely focus on the homogenized attack factors and supply and morale (attack factors are affected by these) and type of attack and terrain. Hardly a count-the-widgets to-determine-effectiveness model. But that’s my impression after playing both WitE and WitW. Prior to actually playing the games my impression was akin to yours. I was surprised how accurately the whole combat picture played out. I’d be careful of reading reviews by similarly skeptical gamers and taking it as gospel. I did that and when I saw for myself I found them to be mostly wrong in their assessments. The scope is the big deal at the scale, but there’s no better simulation of the individual campaigns of AGN, AGS and AGC out there. I’ve never even tried the whole war, or even the whole Barbarossa. You don’t need to unless you absolutely feel compelled to.


#3361

Thanks for the refresher there Ironsight. I recall reading that somewhere now. Seemed like a “reasonable” combat method to me. No room really for jeeps to factor into combat it would seem lol.


#3362

I bought WITE when it came out. Even have the manual (the original version, never got the expansions) printed out and bound. In color, no less! But the damn thing was overwhelming. These days I just can’t engage with that much stuff I don’t think.

You’re probably right that Grigsby has evolved a lot. My familiarity is more with his earlier stuff from way back.


#3363

And most of it was useless. I did the exact same thing. Printed it and bound it. And then when I was doing my game diary, I found out that any time I looked something up, the answer left me more confused than I had been because nothing was spelled out.