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"Wargames Rules Little Changed Since the 1960s?" Topic


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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian28 Mar 2012 11:18 a.m. PST

Writing in Slingshot magazine, editor Richard Taylor writes about what is holding back progress in game design:

To my mind, the problem lies perhaps with the way that the toy soldiers themselves have tied wargaming into a paradigm little changed since the 60s, which emphasizes micro-management and deterministic, geometrical manouevre, along with excessive stress on armour and weapon systems, at the expense of command and control, command decisions, and human factors.

Do you agree that the wargaming paradigm is little changed from the 1960s?

Sundance28 Mar 2012 11:28 a.m. PST

No.

rvandusen28 Mar 2012 11:29 a.m. PST

Maybe the author is only talking about ancients rules, but for the entire hobby I have seen dynamic change in wargames rules, but maybe I'm mental.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2012 11:46 a.m. PST

I think his argument holds water if you were comparing rules from the 60s to the late 80s where most rules were chart intensive and focused on micro-managing the entire battlefield. However, in recent years games like Sharp Practice, IABSM, Flames of War, Fire & Fury, abstract most of the "rivet counter" aspect of older rules as the emphasis is currently on speed of play.

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2012 12:00 p.m. PST

Rules have changed significantly. I remember the 1960's era rules where players played every role from general to corporal. We have gotten far away from that.

So, no, I don't agree with Taylor's assertion.

Joe Legan28 Mar 2012 12:16 p.m. PST

No
Compare anything from then to either end of the spectrum (FOW or IABSM) and their is a world of difference for WW II.
Agree with aegiscg47

Joe

Sparker28 Mar 2012 12:20 p.m. PST

No I dont agree either. Take Rick Priestly for example. With his rules 'philospohy', expressed in Warmaster Ancients, then Black Powder and Hail Caesar, he represents a real watershed in rules design.

For one thing the focus is on command and control, with the little blighters biting back if you get it wrong. But most significantly, his rules allow the gamer to adjust the qualitative strength of the protagonanists, as well as the quantitive strengths, so that you can have real David v Goliath match ups small but fast moving armies with a real chance against larger but less mobile or less well led opponents.

All this is a clean break from 'line 'em up and charge' old school rules, in my experience…

14Bore28 Mar 2012 12:21 p.m. PST

60's no, 80's yes (From a Empire III player)

Toy Soldier Green28 Mar 2012 12:30 p.m. PST

Nope.

Personal logo Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Mar 2012 12:51 p.m. PST

LOL – You see what you want to see. There's been great changes from a variety of rules writers.

Ambush Alley Games28 Mar 2012 12:58 p.m. PST

Not just no, but heck no. In fact, a lot of us get criticized for not emphasizing characteristics common to 60s style games.

Shawn.

Spreewaldgurken28 Mar 2012 1:10 p.m. PST

I think it's time for Mr. Taylor to publish his own game.

Whenever I read somebody talking about "holding back progress" in wargaming, etc, etc, I know that I'm reading somebody who has never actually had to put his own money on the line to produce a game.

Yesthatphil28 Mar 2012 1:39 p.m. PST

He is, of course, thinking primarily of ancients, and of historically prototyped battle games. And he wasn't addressing TMP – it is the editor who has offered up a specific comment for your entertainment.

And although I don't entirely agree with RT's comment, I think it does have a resonnance in the context of the audience to whom it was originally addressed (for whom geometrically precise games like DBMM, FoG etc. would be standard fare).

In truth, of course, it ignores many of the games published by the Society itself, as well games by members of the Society's Committee such as e.g. Phil Sabin and Rick Priestley.

But such is the way with humble editors … grin

vtsaogames28 Mar 2012 2:35 p.m. PST

No. While there are games that hark back to the 60's, there are also many changes, games that are based on human factors and friction, at the expense of rivet-counting.

DBA would have been unthinkable in the 60's.

nsolomon9928 Mar 2012 2:42 p.m. PST

No. The author needs to get out more, buy and read a few modern sets of rules. Things are hugely changed even over the last 10 years.

Dynaman878928 Mar 2012 3:11 p.m. PST

totally disagree. Many rules emphasize Command Control over hard factors these days.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2012 3:54 p.m. PST

Yes and it is why I still prefer the rules of the 80's.

Some other name28 Mar 2012 4:30 p.m. PST

While they have definitely changed since the 60's the issue I see is that most games designs, with a few notable exceptions, rely on mechanisms for movement, combat resolution, morale and command which have been introduced before. There are very few game designers who are truly innovative.

Spreewaldgurken28 Mar 2012 4:31 p.m. PST

"Goodness, no one is allowed to make comments about wargaming rules unless they've published?"

People are allowed to say anything they want.

And people are allowed to observe when somebody is saying something that reveals a lack of experience in the subject upon which he is pontificating.

I do recognize that it was Bill, not Taylor, who used the word "progress." (Although Taylor seems to think that he has identified "the problem.") That aside, however, I've always wondered why some people are so worried about "progress" in a hobby for leisure and fun? It's not like we're trying to perfect jet engines or solar cells.

Progress in wargaming for most people is: finding a fun game that allows them to spend three or four pleasant hours with their friends, displaying their figures and terrain, and offering just enough mental challenge to be compatible with beer.

Tarty2Ts28 Mar 2012 6:18 p.m. PST


That aside, however, I've always wondered why some people are so worried about "progress" in a hobby for leisure and fun? It's not like we're trying to perfect jet engines or solar cells.

Progress in wargaming for most people is: finding a fun game that allows them to spend three or four pleasant hours with their friends, displaying their figures and terrain, and offering just enough mental challenge to be compatible with beer.


Well said.
And exactly the reason why I like the rules so much more these days, their also more……dare I say it?……….historical…..while still being playable.

Khusrau28 Mar 2012 7:02 p.m. PST

And although I don't entirely agree with RT's comment, I think it does have a resonnance in the context of the audience to whom it was originally addressed (for whom geometrically precise games like DBMM, FoG etc. would be standard fare).

Except that even these rules (or at least one of them) provides for such mechanisms as command friction, differing troop qualities, the use of stratagems, varying personal qualities of the general, multiple moves to allow for action to move at different speeds across the table, and accommodate such things as pre game manouevre to affect the terrain and deployment choices.

Go back and read some seminal 60's rules and see how many of these are accommodated. The game has come a long way.

Thylacine DF28 Mar 2012 7:31 p.m. PST

G'Day

No, not really, for a lot of the reasons already given.

But perhaps it might be that the statement has more weight when applied to the rules produced by large successful gaming company like GW, where the rules are nothing more than part of a marketing strategy to buy the latest miniatures.

After if it isn't broke, why risk fiddling by innovating?

Cheers

Derek

Ironwolf28 Mar 2012 10:20 p.m. PST

If he means we're still rolling dice or drawing cards to randomize the events then I guess I agree with him.

But short of that when I started miniature gaming in the 80's every game was trying to simulate real life. The rules micromanaged just about everything.

Now games are not so much micromanaging and are quicker to play and complete a fun game.

Gennorm28 Mar 2012 10:41 p.m. PST

The problem often lies with players wanting to cover everything. I've seen discussions on ancinets rules where players want to refight major battles of the Roman Republic but then discuss how to represent the tactics of maniples. There's often an inability to step up to the right level.

advocate29 Mar 2012 1:51 a.m. PST

No, for all the reasons above.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the quote is here:

the problem lies perhaps with the way that the toy soldiers themselves have tied wargaming into a paradigm

I'd agree that if you are trying to do any kind of a wargame simulation then yes, figures can get in the way (difficult to get any kind of 'empty battlefield' for modern games, for example, or to account for a limited command perspective) but for me that restriction is a given the larger part of my interest in wargames is indeed to have figures on the table.

Martin Rapier29 Mar 2012 2:02 a.m. PST

I understand the points made by the OP in the context of the Ancients gaming he is talking about and would tend to agree. The only caveat is that it mainly applies to the types of games the majority of people are playing, there are plenty of innovative designs (including the esteemed Dr Sabins 'Lost Battles') but these are hardly mainstream sets.

The nearest thing to IABSM for Ancients is 'Command and Colours Ancients':)

6sided29 Mar 2012 2:27 a.m. PST

I strongly disagree. Compare Hail Caesar to wading through WRG6th. Consider CWC to wading through Challenger. Consider the elgance and simplicity of Shako and Black Powder for getting things moving at the club.

Ancients became a mess because of the competition obsession and having to write like a lawyer and limit the scope of the rules to a two hour slugfest.

It is about playing games with toy soldiers, always has been. Do people bleat about the limitations of chess? No. So enjoying your games.

Jaz
6sided.net – Start Blogging In Minutes!

Yesthatphil29 Mar 2012 2:40 a.m. PST

Go back and read some seminal 60's rules and see how many of these are accommodated. The game has come a long way.

Thanks for the advice … actually I started this year's BattleDay project with Tony Bath's original Society rules (as published in a mangled form in Featherstone's War Games), so need no pointers to what 1960s games were like.

The resonnance is obviously his point about 'micro-management and deterministic, geometrical manouevre, along with excessive stress on armour and weapon systems, at the expense of command and control, command decisions, and human factors'. If people see no resonnance there with a system like DBMM or FoG, that is probably justification in itself for RT bringing the point up.

But has there been _no progress? Of course not.

Wartopia29 Mar 2012 3:05 a.m. PST

Looks like Slingshot needs some new writers. These people make no sense.

Martin Rapier29 Mar 2012 3:13 a.m. PST

As with the SOTCW Journal and WD Nugget, Slingshot publishes the articles people submit, so feel free to write away….

plus, what Phil just said.

(Phil Dutre)29 Mar 2012 3:56 a.m. PST

It's all relative. Some will consider using a D10 instead of a D6 a 'radical new design', while others say wargaming hasn't changed since von Reissewitz since it's still about shuffling troops around.

But, in some way, current day rulesets still have very much the same DNA as those of the 60s, and very few of the basic assumptions really have been questioned. There are a couple of groups that like to do experimental stuff, but the majority of *published* rulesets offer realtivey few innovative ideas.

A few examples to illustrate what basic concepts have been around since the 60s. Granted, the implementation has changed somewhat, but the core ideas haven't.

* Most rulesets still adher to the movement/combat/morale sequence. There have been experiments using a unified mechanics to blend these phases, but most current rules use mechanisms that go back to the 60s.
* Most rulesets still make a distinction between firing and melee (either as a phase in the game, or by using different combat mechanisms) but it is not really necessary to do so. This is inherited from the 60s, from the notion that combat was resolved between individual soldiers. There's no reason to have it this way when making a game at higher levels.
* One side is controlled by a player, vs another army controlled by an other player. Army control is the core assumption. But why not put players in control of the battle rather than an individual army? Again, current setup is deeply rooted in wargame design and has never been fully questioned since the 60s

There are gaming groups that are experimenting with these basic assumptions. The result are radical new games not something that is only different by implementing a list with less die roll modifiers. Some of these have been published in magazines (e.g. matrix games).
It is ok to say that these new type of games will never be very popular. Fair enough. But the mainstream miniature wargaming mechanisms and rules are still very much recognizable by wargamers that were active during the 60s. Any Warhammer variant certainly is.

OTOH, there have been radical new evolutions in wargaming, but these have branched off from miniature wargaming: roleplaying is a very succesful spinn-off; computer games are obviously another.

Lots of the experimental work in games design is happening in the boardgame scene right now. Miniature wargaming is very conservative in that regard.

MajorB29 Mar 2012 4:37 a.m. PST

A few examples to illustrate what basic concepts have been around since the 60s. Granted, the implementation has changed somewhat, but the core ideas haven't.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Having said that though:

"Most rulesets still make a distinction between firing and melee (either as a phase in the game, or by using different combat mechanisms) "

I know of several games, usually set at army level where artillery fire is resolved seprately, but all other combat is treated as a single mechanism.

"One side is controlled by a player, vs another army controlled by an other player."

Again, I've played several games where all the players are on the same side.

OSchmidt29 Mar 2012 6:54 a.m. PST

Richard Taylor's conclusion is right but the points he musters to prove it are wrong.

He says "To my mind, the problem lies perhaps with the way that the toy soldiers themselves have tied wargaming into a paradigm little changed since the 60s, which emphasizes micro-management and deterministic, geometrical manouevre, along with excessive stress on armour and weapon systems, at the expense of command and control, command decisions, and human factors."

Wargaming has little changed from the 1960's IF,, note IF! you look at the form and style of gaming as portrayed in Featherstone, Grant, Moreschauser, and others of that period. Armies lined up, chess-like on each side of the board, assumptions that that edge of the table top is the end of the world, and an expectation of a clash in the center etc., indeed the very idea of the game that is – in the expectations of what will happen (we will move, chess like from our edge, have a free-for all in the center, and then argue about the result) have remained the same.

But-- the fact that the paradign of the game has remained unchanged is not necessarily a bad thing. Attempts to change this basic paradigm have usually not ended well and have proven often quite unsatisfactory. For example, one attempt which forced the player to view the table top from soldier-eye-high by putting a cover over the board, or elevating the table to 5'5" high etc. Other examples such as having the two sides in different rooms where they were given messages of what was happening on the putative field likewise remove the tactile and ocular enjoyment of the toy soldiers and terrain, which -is after all- what we are here for.

When he says "[that paradigm] which emphasizes micro-management and deterministic, geometrical manouevre, along with excessive stress on armour and weapon systems, at the expense of command and control, command decisions, and human factors." He is not entirely correct. There was little of that in the 1960's games by Featherstone Moreschauser, Grant etc., but it became a clearly predominant and baleful factor later under the influnce of WRG and the other albphabet soup rules which sought realism and detail absorption as a means of providing realism. One can also of course get into enormous debates as to what exactly "command and control" is, and how it plays out in real life, and how it is to be represented and modeled in the game, along with what are "human factors" but the mere creation of rules to "model these things" (without in fact establishing what they are or if they CAN be modeled) is certainly a feature of the rules Taylor is talking about.

In any case his conclusions do not flow from his contentions. But in any event, it really is irrelevant. It is a game and therefore it is as pointless to speak about these things as referencing a paradigmatic epitome as is "Chutes and Ladders."

Once again, if you look at pictures of games in Featherstone, Moreschauser, Grant, Young, or any of the books current in the 1960's and 70's and compare them to games of today, they will be more or less indistinguishable as to form and consistancy. Oh to be sure the clothes the participants wear will show the lapse of time, and some figures are recognizeable as being of clearly more modern manufacturer, but the essential state remains the same. Much the same with the rules. They may be more or less complicated and embrace different things, but they are neither presented in a new or different form or embrace anything that is "innovative" or different, except in degree from those of the 1960's

Yet-- do they have to?

freewargamesrules29 Mar 2012 7:04 a.m. PST

I agree that on the whole wargames rules have not changed much over the years, its just a different wau of skinning a cat.

For me the most radical departure from "traditional" design was crossfire. Unlimited bound moves, and initiative stayed with one side until the other side wrestled it from you. But it did not spur other writers to follow suit.

Most of what people consider to be major changes aren't : change of dice type; less modifiers; rolling for orders instead of writing them; game decks to randomise activation. But

I have to agree with Phil that the radical experimentation is now happening in boardgames. I have seen a couple of minority rulesets that have tried to take this further such as tactical assault but will they ever become mainsteam?

Who asked this joker29 Mar 2012 8:53 a.m. PST

A lot of games are rehashing and remixing old ideas. Most of the basic stuff has already been dealt with.

Sparker above mentions Rick Priestly has a watershed of ideas in his latest games. Well, not really. I won't take anything away from Rick but his genius is in assembling already used parts in a meaningful way to make a fun game. The random command system is not different from one used by the Don in a set of simple Pike and Shot rules from the late 70s. The Don can't take credit and admits in his Pike and Shot book that he pinched it from an SPI game. Charles Wessencraft is probably one of the earliest adopters of random command effects. The hits and break tests are variations on a roster system. There is even hit numbers and saving throws hearkening back to some of the earliest wargames.

Game designs are generally more fiddly these days with "compelling game mechanics" and "realistic command mechanisms" and other such catch phrases. Ultimately it is all about statistics. You don't need fiddly game mechanics. You only need to know the percent chance to accomplish the task. We add the extra die rolls because they are "fun". Sometimes these new game mechanics are fun. Other times it feels like we are rolling dice simply to roll dice.

HornetsNestMinis29 Mar 2012 11:14 a.m. PST

I think Carnage and glory is the only truly innovative game system I have played. No charts, you can track or pre-set fatigue, play large or small games, create custom historically accurate OOB. The list goes on.

Everything else may have some new ideas, but its still charts and dice. Which I still like to play but they seem to all have the DNA of 60's games.

Sparker29 Mar 2012 6:03 p.m. PST

Sparker above mentions Rick Priestly has a watershed of ideas in his latest games. Well, not really. I won't take anything away from Rick but his genius is in assembling already used parts in a meaningful way to make a fun game.

'Standing on the shoulders of giants'?

I don't think anyone, least of all Rick, is claiming that he came down from a mountain with inscribed tablets of stone that were once tabula rasa…and I dont propose to write a paper unravelling the origins and development of the various threads and components of his system…

But anyone who has come to these rules with an open mind, and who approaches a wargame to actually recreate an engagementloosely based on history rather than as the centrepiece of a social gathering, will instinctively know what I mean by a watershed in game play…

(Phil Dutre)30 Mar 2012 1:40 a.m. PST

But anyone who has come to these rules with an open mind, and who approaches a wargame to actually recreate an engagementloosely based on history rather than as the centrepiece of a social gathering, will instinctively know what I mean by a watershed in game play…

I like playing BP too, but the 'novelty' value of BP is not so much in the gaming engine, but lies in the tone of the book and the light-hearted, gentlemen-like attitude put forward in the style, presentation, and explanation of what wargaming is about. As such, it resonates with a practice that was already existent in many groups that didn't adhere to the standard army-list/point-system/line-em-up-and-fight gospel.

As a gaming engine, BP is not very novel, and actually is not very well designed either. (E.g. artillery shooting leads to modifiers on 3 different die rolls: #dice, to-hit and save. That is just one example of the not-so-smooth-design).
What BP does very well however is make a good combination of light-weight rules and present them in an attractive package. Mind you, I have enormous respect for the contributions Rick P. has made to wargaming. But BP cannot be accused of being a radical new design and full of new design ideas ;-) But it is full of good ideas on how to approach wargaming. That's also why I like the BP approach very much.

As for novel gaming mechanics, consider the following:
* movement & initiative system of Crossfire an undervalued design in my opinion.
* storytelling mechanisms found in roleplaying games why not use the same ideas for miniature wargaming? (my group has experimented with these article in magazine forthcoming)
* place morale of units at the centre of your gaming engine and unit behaviour (morale can be argued to be the most important factor in combat effectiveness), not as an afterthought as many rules do now.
* …

When people talk about 60s games, in my view the discussion should not be about the specifics of combat resolution. That's just a glorified randomizer anyway. But what I consider the DNA of a 60s game is the following:

* players are in control of an army of units and fight each other;
* IGO UGO (possibly with randomized unit activation)
* movement / fire / melee / morale resolution
* multiple stats for each characteristic per unit, different mechanisms for resolving actions.

Any of these can be challenged and have bene in other game formats. Just some examples:
* roleplaying games have made great progress in unifying task resolution (look at the evolution rpgs have made since the mid-seventies)
* instead of putting players in charge of units, let players play with the commanders, with units being side-effects of the commander's actions (subtle change, but which can drastically change player perspective and games design). Many modern boardgames focus on resource management. Design a wargame such that resource management (time, distance, decisions) of the CinC is the focal point of decisions.
* Instead of playing a game of army vs army, have a game in which the battle itself is the 'playing piece' to be controlled. Again, inspiration can be found in some role-playing games. See also matrix-games (not new, but the ideas have never really been fully developed imo).
* …

I agree that some of these deviate too far from current practices, and may perhaps not recognizable as 'miniature wargaming', but that's exactly what experimental design should be about.

(Phil Dutre)30 Mar 2012 1:47 a.m. PST

"One side is controlled by a player, vs another army controlled by an other player."

Again, I've played several games where all the players are on the same side.

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about players controlling aspects of the battle, rather than parts of an army. Victory as a player is not dependent on what army wins the battle, but in what direction the battle evolves.

MajorB30 Mar 2012 2:47 a.m. PST

I'm talking about players controlling aspects of the battle, rather than parts of an army.

What sort of aspects of the battle do you mean?

arthur181531 Mar 2012 4:05 a.m. PST

Phil Dutre,
That sounds a very interesting concept, about which – like Margard – I would like to know more.

But, I suspect a game in which a player cannot identify with one particular army, or part thereof, and gain personal satisfaction from defeating his opponent, as one does in chess, may not prove particularly popular…

The continued popularity of the 'traditional', open, two-player toy soldier game, despite its widely recognised problems as a method of simulating historical battles, surely derives – the aesthetic appeal of the miniature troops aside – from humanity's desire to socialise with like-minded individuals, whilst at the same time engaging in a friendly, harmless (no lives or money lost), competitive game wherein one can display some personal skill. Much the same motivation that inspires chess, card and Monopoly &c. players, but with the additional factor of a common interest in whatever period of military history (or fantasy literature). In that respect, many of today's wargames are, indeed, little changed from those of the 1960's. But not all rules then exhibited the characteristics criticised in the OP!

As has been said already, 'If it ain't broke…'

Which is not to say that there is not much to be gained from experimenting with alternative game structures &c., either simply to develop other entertaining games, or to improve historical simulation.

(Phil Dutre)03 Apr 2012 6:50 a.m. PST

@Margard @arthur1815

We have experimented with a gaming setup in which each player was an 'ADC' to each CinC (for both sides). Each player had objectives such as 'try to execute left-wing attack', 'try to advance cautiously', etc… for various levels of commaand.

The idea was that as an ADC, you had to influence both CinCs to implement your ideas. All players could give orders in turn, for any side. So one turn, you could order a unit on side A, the other turn, a unit for side B. At the end of the game, each player checked how many of the objectives were fulfilled.

It was a total different experience, and depending on the scenario and objectives, the focus was much more on the developing story of the battle rather than winning the battle.

I'm writing up ana rticle about it for one of the wargaming glossies, so stay tuned.

Elenderil03 Apr 2012 8:29 a.m. PST

I define wargaming very broadly, that is to say not just tabletop fights using figures( looks nervously over shoulder for rampaging hoarde of TMPers bearing pitchforks and flaming torches!). As others have said there are lots of innovative concepts to be found outside of tabletop gaming, indeed some useful concepts can be found outside of wargaming altogether.

I started gaming in the late 1960's and I still recognise what I do as being derived from the rules of that time. Even more than that I recognise the way people deploy their model soldiers as being very 1960's. Just consider how many AAR we read where the table is a long rectangle with two sides deployed along the two long edges in long lines. Yet in reality how many battles really follow that model. We ignore the pre battle manouvering for position, our tables often give "protected flanks" that in reality were not there.

This is in part a result of the rules focusing on combat mechanisms and letting other aspects of the battle be afterthoughts. That and of course our wanting to get the largest number of our toys into action that we can.

Yet their are distinct changes in the way rules are written and some different focuses (Focii?)the question is, I think, are we just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic? Should we be looking at other areas of conflict gaming. Or should we be widening the scope of what we cover?

Personally I like the eye candy of a nice table with well presented miniatures. However, I would also like to see rules that force us to consider pre battle manouver on a larger table or a map. I want wide open flanks that force me to worry about not just how I should deploy, but where and how I protect my flanks. In part i have solved these issues by using smaller scale figures (6mm or 2mm)on the same table I used to use for 25mm games. The battle may only be fought on the middle third or even quarter of the table but the rest of it is still there to be manouvered over. The battle might occur on the left of the table or on the right but the players have to decide how to get their forces to that point and how to delpoy before the other player engages them. I like games that force me to consider what happens next so that I have to take a decision about how long to fight for and how many casualties I can accept. In short i want to step outside of "normal" wargame rules and to have to consider the issues I would cover in a campaign setting, but I don't always want to have fight a campaign.

This is were concepts from other areas of wargaming come in. Map based games often cover these issues very well as they abstract combat to great degree leaving space in the rules for all of the other stuff. One of the best game mechanisms I have ever seen as well as one of the most enjoyable playing experiences was in a 1970's SPI game "Battle for Germany" set in the last few months of the war. It could be played by 2, 3 or 4 players representing the Western Allies, Soviets and German forces on the Eastern and Western fronts. The innovation was that in the two player game it wasn't Allies v Nazis. The Western Allies also controlled the Germans on the Eastern front and the Soviets controlled the Germans on the Western front. The objective was to be first to berlin. Both players fought a defensive and an offensive war at the same time. although only a change in how the sides were set up it gave a very different feel to the game. We need more concepts like this in game design. In fact I rather think I have convinced myself that it is the game rather than the rules we use that need some innovation. Maybe we shouldn't worry about the rules so much as how we use them?

RTJEBADIA03 Apr 2012 4:54 p.m. PST

Elenderil, much as I love a nice skirmish game in tight quarters, I'm also interested in expanding the prebettle maneuvering and making artillery and similar support more tangible.

The result is that I've played some games of chain Reaction with a larger map (at least a few miles to a side) and a regular 15mm map that only gets filled out with terrain and miniatures when opposing troops ge within 200 meters.

Still a skirmish game (a few platoons to a side) but a lot of room for maneuvering, long sight lines, and even firefights at long (500 meters or more for snipers and vehicle weapons) range that enhance the close quarters combats.

MajorB04 Apr 2012 2:51 a.m. PST

a gaming setup in which each player was an 'ADC' to each CinC (for both sides).

An interesting idea.

Each player had objectives such as 'try to execute left-wing attack', 'try to advance cautiously', etc… for various levels of command.

Er, now hang on. Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but I think an ADC had no executive control over any forces. So how could he acheve such objectives?

The idea was that as an ADC, you had to influence both CinCs to implement your ideas.

The idea that a lowly ADC could somehow influence the plans of a CinC seems somewhat fanciful. And how could an ADC influence the CinC on the opposing side?

All players could give orders in turn, for any side. So one turn, you could order a unit on side A, the other turn, a unit for side B. At the end of the game, each player checked how many of the objectives were fulfilled.

So if the players can order units on both sides they are not really playing the role of an ADC at all. In fact they are not role playing any character on the battlefield.

MajorB04 Apr 2012 2:53 a.m. PST

On further reflection, I have seen a game where the players do not command armies. It is known by the rather unbecoming title of "Muggergame":

"A game where the overall result is decided over a number of intermediate steps, by the consensus of those playing, based on historical precedent and reasoned judgement. Usually takes the form of a Tabletop Game, but without any "rules". An excellent research tool for finding out why things happen, as opposed to merely finding out what happened.
Works best when considering elements outside the details of combat resolution. The disadvantage in recreational (as opposed to educational) Muggergames about battles is that the participants are little more than spectators on the battle unfolding, as there is deliberately no competitive element."
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