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"Rules moving away from combat and special rules to..." Topic


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Action Log

18 Dec 2012 7:31 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Wargaming in General board
  • Crossposted to Game Design board

943 hits since 18 Dec 2012
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

BrotherSevej Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2012 7:26 p.m. PST

…command & control and campaign?

I sense an interesting trend in the more mainstream rules. In the past rules were about "special rules", multitude of figure stats and equipments. In the end, what matters in the past is combat mechanics.

Then command & control systems seem to be more emphasized. Also, campaign system that's actually playable by most people (low bookeeping).

I'm not saying that older games do not have command & control or campaign systems, but I just feel lately more emphasize is put on these matters.

Is it just me?

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Dec 2012 8:16 p.m. PST

I think you are right.

It's a good way to get at another component of combat, and the uncertainty it brings can make a game more solitaire friendly.

raylev3 Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2012 8:27 p.m. PST

I do believe you're correct, that there's more emphasis on command and control…an attempt to make you as the player make the same decisions as that commander. (I kinda' like this.)

However, if there's a move in that direction it's because the buyers/players want that as a factor. It's probable that players interests and desires change over time and, in time, we could see a move back to the "old" way of doing it as the market demands.

Mr Pumblechook18 Dec 2012 9:30 p.m. PST

I guess people have realised that you can do the 'tech' side to death and a lot of that detail is unnecessary and bogs you down, and that the real difficulty is simulating the human factors of war, at least at a tactical level.

We shouldn't have absolute control of all the little figures, we shouldn't have that 'gods eye view' we get and it's very rare that in reality they'd fight to the last man.

Three things I look for: Comand and control, morale and Fog of War.

Also, a campaign system makes you take a lot closer look at your losses (the phrase Pyrric victory becomes a whole lot more relevant) and lets you generate a 'storytelling' aspect to it.

Personal logo Meiczyslaw Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2012 10:33 p.m. PST

I don't think it's a change in popularity, as these sorts of games and systems have been around a long time. I'd be more inclined to believe that your tastes have changed, and you're more aware of the other side of things.

BrotherSevej Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2012 11:24 p.m. PST

Hmm I don't think it's my taste because I don't have "taste". I play anything.

I was introduced to Infinity way back then, but really like Battlelore back then when I bought it in… 2008? At that moment I was away from tabletop miniatures game due to the comparative effort, time commitment and fund required.

Meanwhile I was also introduced to hex & counters wargames (that has chit pull, similar to Bolt Action activation system) and card driven wargames. The card driven wargames are especially interesting, and it's not limited to Memoir '44 and its ilks. The more wargamey card driven wargames allow cards to be used for multiple purposes: to recruit army, to move, and to activate specific thematic events suitable to the game's period.

Around the midst of this year I'm back on following the development of tabletop wargames, and lo! I see games with relatively simple combat mechanic, with more emphasize on morale, reaction, command & control and campaign.

I fully realize that these have been around for a long time ago (some of the hex & counter wargames I was introduced into was pretty ancient), but it seems that they feel more pronounced now, especially with the newest two (Bolt Action and Dux Britanniarum).

I also took a look on the two system with reaction systems THW Chain Reaction and Force on Force. People are not confused with the combat mechanic, no. They're usually befuddled by the reaction system. Now Infinity, while can be complex on resolving the ARO when some advanced skills are pitched in, still have a lot of "cool toys".

And the game that pulled me back to miniature wargames, Hordes of the Things, is a game with the most elegant command & control system that I've ever encountered.

But may be you're right. Introduction to boardgame wargames make me realize these things more.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 3:32 a.m. PST

I think it depends how far back you go, HoTT (and it parent DBA) have been around since the late 90s, but games like Squad Leader, Up Front and Firepower were pretty ground breaking in the 1970s.

The first decent command oriented miniatures game I was aware of was the original Command Decision back in the 1980s (and its vaguely related WW3 tactical boardgame equivalent 'Assault').

Personal logo Meiczyslaw Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 7:51 a.m. PST

You found me out, Martin. I played all of those games when they were new.

Supposedly, Squad Leader was adapted from a minis ruleset that the designers were playing.

idontbelieveit19 Dec 2012 10:17 a.m. PST

"I guess people have realised that you can do the 'tech' side to death and a lot of that detail is unnecessary and bogs you down, and that the real difficulty is simulating the human factors of war, at least at a tactical level.

We shouldn't have absolute control of all the little figures, we shouldn't have that 'gods eye view' we get and it's very rare that in reality they'd fight to the last man.

Three things I look for: Comand and control, morale and Fog of War."

Totally agree. And all three of these are pretty hard to do believably.

McLaddie19 Dec 2012 11:05 a.m. PST

We shouldn't have absolute control of all the little figures, we shouldn't have that 'gods eye view' we get and it's very rare that in reality they'd fight to the last man.

Three things I look for: Command and control, morale and Fog of War."

Totally agree. And all three of these are pretty hard to do believably.

Yeah, that's mostly because no one knows or/and can agree on what a 'believable' representation consists of.
No one has really done the kind of research that would be needed to answer those questions. For instances, we all agree that players have too much control, but how do we know that? How often do 'uncontrollable events' occur? What kinds? Where?

As it is, we read some accounts and make up rules. "Believable" is what we remember reading last.

The Centurian Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 4:36 p.m. PST

Its also depends on the type of game. I find ground based games to be more 'advanced' in rule mechanics than for example, naval games (which don't seem to have progressed much beyond a function of gun type, armor, range, and environmental effects). Applying more command control and campaign considerations into naval combat in an easy to use manner is long overdue, IMHO.

Steve

Mr Pumblechook19 Dec 2012 10:05 p.m. PST

A possible litmus test: Do the rules reward real-world tactics and those who 'play the game' and punish real-world mistakes and those who 'play the rules'.

For what it's worth, the latest Too Fat Lardies rules sets (IABSM, Quadrent 13 etc) do seem to handle the human factors (command/control and morale) and fog of war better than most (not that I've played many other systems for a while)

Phil Dutre20 Dec 2012 12:44 a.m. PST

C&C have always been a part of wargames aimed at the "more serious wargamer". The original kriegsspiel had command and control written all over it, due to its multiplayer setup and the use of an umpire.

As for it becoming more mainstream now, that might well be, although I don't see Warhammer moving in that direction anytime soon.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2012 7:49 a.m. PST

"I played all of those games when they were new."

Well, didn't we all:)

They are all still in my attic.

I played Tobruk before SL came out.

Interesting that both Panzerblitz and WRG 1925-50 both appeared around the the same time with a shoot-then move sequence which actually models twentieth century warfare very well (as it automatically gives the defender an advantage without a lot of mucking around with opp fire). Didn't seem to really catch on as a common mechanism, although SL incorporated it as 'prep fire'.

Personal logo Meiczyslaw Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2012 10:57 a.m. PST

They are all still in my attic.

My wife actually plays Squad Leader. I win. wink

(In a somewhat related event, I have three copies.)

I played Tobruk before SL came out.

My best friend from those days found a copy after we started in on Squad Leader. Kind of a clunky game because of all the rivet-counting, but not bad for what it was.

Interesting that both Panzerblitz …

MMP is doing a new series of Panzer Blitz games, in case you care.

… with a shoot-then move sequence …

Changing the order of phases does a lot to change the nature of games, and there are certainly elegant answers out there. My example for good turn order is Napoleon's Battles, which gave primacy to the defense.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2012 2:51 a.m. PST

"Kind of a clunky game because of all the rivet-counting, but not bad for what it was."

Yes, 'clunky' is a kind way of putting it. It worked well for smaller actions though. I ended up using the counters and board to play WRG 1925-50 on…..

Personal logo Tango 2 3 Ditto Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2012 10:23 p.m. PST

BrotherSevej, I don't know about "recently". I noticed a pull away from ground up detail oriented design in the 90s and it has continued since then.
--
Tim

John Thomas8 Supporting Member of TMP25 Dec 2012 4:23 p.m. PST

Its also depends on the type of game. I find ground based games to be more 'advanced' in rule mechanics than for example, naval games (which don't seem to have progressed much beyond a function of gun type, armor, range, and environmental effects). Applying more command control and campaign considerations into naval combat in an easy to use manner is long overdue, IMHO.

Steve

For Napoleonic naval warfare, Kiss Me Hardy is the ticket here.

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