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"New MultiPlayer Campaign System in final phases" Topic


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Action Log

12 Feb 2015 5:13 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Wargaming in General board
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2,333 hits since 11 Feb 2015
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Steve64 Inactive Member11 Feb 2015 10:19 p.m. PST

Been a bit busy lately. Its good to be back, posting something though.


…. of possible interest to Napoleonic gamers, and anyone interested in multi player tabletop campaigns:

picture


In a nutshell, what I have been concentrating on is finishing off my vision of a Napoleonic era Tabletop Miniature Wargaming concept for the 21st century.

The original concept involved a computer moderated system of that uses familiar web technology to deliver a fast moving, multi-user system for tabletop battles. The 'rule mechanics' being based 99% on the Empire rules.


After almost 6 months of near continuous playtesting .. that vision has morphed somewhat, with a view to providing something with a broader appeal to all wargamers in general.


This includes :

- A comprehensive multi player campaign system, where players manage their strategic operations using the online system, with the usual benefits of hidden movement, time delays, logistics, etc.

- An intuitive campaign editor, so players can very easily design their own large scale campaigns, and invite their friends to play online.

- Keep the campaign system general enough to be used for a broad range of periods.

- Platform independent. Runs the same on Windows, Mac, Linux. All you need is a browser and an internet connection.

- Native Android app, available from the GooglePlay store. Native iOS app, available from the AppleStore.

- De-couple the tabletop system from any specific ruleset. Tabletop engagements can use the built-in computer moderated approach if players want …. or they can fight out the battle using their existing favorite rules (GdB, BlackPowder, C&GII, DBN, GrandManoevre …. etc). There are way too many to choose from ! Fight your battle, your way, and then enter the results into the campaign system.

- Provide a built-in ComputerModerated rules for tabletop games, tightly coupled to the campaign system. This is sort of like C&G-lite, but completely multi-user.

- Publish the internal ComputerModerated rules as a standalone dice based ruleset for offline play. Complete Ruleset is 28 pages, plus 4 pages of QRS in very large and readable type. (1 QRS for each of : Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Command&Control) If the system is fun to use and gives believable results …. then people may also want to play "Just get the troops on the table and go for it" types of games, without all the tedious setup.

link

Looking for feedback, comments, encouragement, criticism, etc.

Follow Link for more info :
link

Black Hat Miniatures12 Feb 2015 2:37 a.m. PST

It looks really interesting. The ability to use tablets, etc is good.

I would definitely be interested in trying it out – it could solve a lot of the problems of trying to coordinate a campaign

Mike

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP12 Feb 2015 5:30 a.m. PST

Very interesting – would most certainly be interested

marshalGreg12 Feb 2015 5:41 a.m. PST

Stevo
You do know C&GII has been play testing a campaign add-on which debut soon. It will be interesting to see the similarities and what will be different(along with the strength and weaknesses).
It looks like your map system will diffidently be a strength and a leg-up on most, if not all current systems that are computer supported campaign play. How much will this be and will it be a yearly subscription type cost structure?
Looks promising!
Sweet!
MG

Gustav12 Feb 2015 5:55 a.m. PST

Well Steve – I remember you discussing this as a possibility a while ago, you have been busy. This is awesome – looks amazing in concept.

Looking forward to seeing it in action.

Mick the Metalsmith12 Feb 2015 7:29 a.m. PST

Would be interested in the campaign side only, to generate table top battles using completely decoupled rules other than to handle pursuit. IE can we get told what forces are available, in terms of size and cohesion and then input results of our tabletop fights back in for the continuance of the campaign?

Except maybe for handling seiges and quick resolution of rear guard actions or minor combats, I would not really want to get into using another game system. I have my ideas about history and subjective preferences in play and want to be able to fiddle with the rules to match them.

Will the campaign tool handle things like determining attrition from march? how incremental is the strength measured?

Samurai Elb12 Feb 2015 8:07 a.m. PST

This can be a solution for a American Revolution Campaign I plan if Ill ever paint enough figures.

Steve, can a campaign be created in a mode that the Gamemaster (creator of the specific campaign) might be a player too with the same limited sight and knowledge of the enemy as all other players. ?

Each corps in your system can be a group of smaller units for example bataillons when used on the tabletop?

May those units change between the corps during the campaign?

Is there a notification of the casualities of the different units?

Please execuse any errors English is not my own language


Werner

Steve64 Inactive Member13 Feb 2015 4:45 a.m. PST

Thanks for the feedback. Having limited time to answer quickly, so please bear with me on this :)

I will reply to these 1 at a time ….

Steve64 Inactive Member13 Feb 2015 4:47 a.m. PST

@BlackHat

Thanks Mike. I have a pile of your excellent 15mm Prussians in the lead pile … figures you cant easily get anywhere else, so will be thrilled to return the favour.

I am also thinking hard about ways to add things to the product that could be of benefit to figure manufacturers, and the retail channel as well.

Will talk to you offline about this as things develop.

Cheers

Steve64 Inactive Member13 Feb 2015 5:04 a.m. PST

@marshalGreg

Thanks for the heads up. I was aware that Nigel had something planned, but Ive really been out of the loop on that for a while, so haven't seen what he has been working on in the campaign space.

Should be good though – Nigel is very focused on quality and loves the attention to detail that he can cram in to a program.

I think (the 2 systems) are quite different in execution though, and suit different styles of game management. C&G is very much a single threaded app that centres around having a dedicated umpire. I suspect this will carry through to the campaign system ?? Don't know.

In my interpretation of a campaign system, its multi user, and based on online access to the automated umpire. Players interact with their units similar to how you interact with units in a real time strategy game on the computer. (There are too many examples to name)

End result is a different style of gaming.

I was always really keen to use proper online maps (instead of a board game approach with hexes), as this allows for much much easier creation of realistic campaign maps. I want to make it easy for people to create scenarios, so this is a great bonus.

Should be fun comparing all the options that make it to market this year. As gamers, we should be spoiled for quality choices :)

Steve64 Inactive Member13 Feb 2015 5:37 a.m. PST

@Mick the Metalsmith


Would be interested in the campaign side only, to generate table top battles using completely decoupled rules other than to handle pursuit. IE can we get told what forces are available, in terms of size and cohesion and then input results of our tabletop fights back in for the continuance of the campaign?

Excellent. Thats exactly what I am doing at the moment.

Each Division or independent Brigade unit shown in the GrandTactical level, is further broken down into a large number of battalions / squadrons / batteries. These units each have a range of stats, and they carry damage and resupply over from one battle and one campaign turn to the next.

On contact, the computer dishes out a small amount of attrition to the advanced guard units that contact each other.

Players decide whether to give battle. If a battle is given, then the system can generate an OOB with full stats for each player.

After the battle (only if fought manually), players must manually upload the casualties on a per unit level.

The campaign system can do the rest of the per-unit bookkeeping for supply, fatigue, replacements, etc.

Its a balancing act keeping the stats and operation general enough so that it may be useful to a wider range of players.



Except maybe for handling seiges and quick resolution of rear guard actions or minor combats, I would not really want to get into using another game system. I have my ideas about history and subjective preferences in play and want to be able to fiddle with the rules to match them.

Minor combats, ambushes, skirmishes, pursuits … the system assumes minor clashes only and attributes minor attrition to forces involved. Contact / scouting results are presented, and the players decide whether or not to give battle.



Will the campaign tool handle things like determining attrition from march? how incremental is the strength measured?

I am using a simple model for the above :

- Unit strength is measured in actual men
- Fatigue levels are Fresh/Fit/Tired/Exhausted/Broken
- Forced marches, battles, enemy contact, etc … incurs fatigue hit

If the unit is in supply :
- Rest restores fatigue
- Resting a fresh unit recovers losses through replacements.
- Rate of recovery of losses from reserves is a function of the Admin&Logistics attribute of the parent Corps.


I am open to having different models to choose from for the above details on a per-campaign basis. In future versions I can add more complex models perhaps.

Steve64 Inactive Member13 Feb 2015 6:09 a.m. PST

@marshalGreg

Excellent question :


How much will this be and will it be a yearly subscription type cost structure?

Commercial model is free access with some limitations, a premium subscription product, and several pay as you go products.


Summary:

Free access = enough to have a play with small scenarios for as long as you like, no time limit. More than enough to work out whether it fits your gaming style / internet connection / available equipment.

Premium access = various options to design and run larger and more serious campaigns, with prices to match.

as a guide -

$10 USD a year would cover a very casual player.

$25 USD would cover a year of intense gaming for a small group.

$50 USD a year would cover a larger group with lots of intense gaming.

Large Scenarios available for around $5 USD each
PDF downloads (of dice based rules) available for under $10 USD

Custom developments available on a POA basis.

Payments via paypal.

I will not be offering for sale any purchases that give the buyer some in-game advantage (which is really common in online gaming commercial models). That just ruins a good game !!

I will do the right thing by TMP here (since this is all getting a bit commercial), and get a supporting membership + advertising account too.

Hope that answers the question.

Steve64 Inactive Member13 Feb 2015 6:57 a.m. PST

@Samurai Elb

Should work great for an AWI campaign. Best way I can show that is to provide a small AWI example campaign for use in the free account.


Steve, can a campaign be created in a mode that the Gamemaster (creator of the specific campaign) might be a player too with the same limited sight and knowledge of the enemy as all other players. ?

Yes, that is how it works.

The GameMaster creates a scenario, and sets up each force in some starting location on the map.

A new game is created from the scenario, and players are assigned to each command.

The person who originally created the scenario can then take command of a force in the new game. From that point on, they have all the same limitations as other players.


Each corps in your system can be a group of smaller units for example bataillons when used on the tabletop?

I am using the term 'Corps' in an abstract sense only, as this is the sensible equivalent for a typical Napoleonic campaign.

The main point is that each player controls a force which is a heirachy of units, which is strictly 3 layers deep.

Your 3-Layer heirachy for a AWI game could be :

Player (General) -> Commands several Brigades
Each Brigade -> has a number of Battalions
Each Battalion -> has a number of companies


Another example, say for a WW2 skirmish level campaign
Player (Captain / Company Commander) -> Has several platoons
Platoon -> has several sections
Section -> has several men / tanks / guns


May those units change between the corps during the campaign?

Yes you can, but the original hierarchy defined by the campaign must be maintained.

This part is slightly complicated, so bear with me :

1) Temporary Assignment of Individual Units

At the moment, the system allows you to re-assign any unit to any other command on a temporary basis for the duration of a battle / task.

Whenever an engagement occurs, and the players choose to give battle, the player can then make any temporary assignments before the fight as part of their deployment.

At the end of the battle, the unit goes back to it's original place in the order of battle.


2) Corps Level Assets

Each Corps has a number of main line units (Divisions), and a number of Corps assets (such as small Cav Groups, extra Batteries, or Elite Brigades of shock troops).

These Corps assets are normally held in reserve.

These Corps assets can be added to a Division during an engagement the strengthen it for a particular task.

When not engaged, the player can swap Corps assets between Corps.

For a larger campaign, you may want to add a 'Reserve Corps' under the player's control, to act as a storage space for Corps assets held as a strategic reserve.


There are extra rules and actions regarding detachments and garrisons as well … but that is a little outside the scope of your question.



Is there a notification of the causalities of the different units?

Not sure that applies in this case, as the major actions are fought as a tabletop battle with miniatures.

Did I read the question right ??


Please execuse any errors English is not my own language

.. No need for that, your English is far better than my command of any other language :)

Malefric Inactive Member14 Feb 2015 6:02 p.m. PST

I am very excited to see this idea come to fruition. The online/multiple access I think is very much the way to go if possible. I am envisioning the ongoing campaign movement getting played out in the weeks before each monthly get together online.

Below is some feedback/questions:

1) How do orders work and what is your unit of time per move?
For example the Empire Campaign System I believe had 4 hour movement phases. Orders issued at the beginning of each four hour phase were carried out unless fatigue/enemy contact prevented them being completed.

2) Is movement a function of road distance or is it per node?
For example, the "Murat" campaign maps/system are envisioned to be played with every march taking the same amount of time (barring I believe a few mountain passes). murat.ca/maps.htm

Since your program is trying to harness the capability of computer gaming, I am hoping that movement is a function of distance, terrain, and road quality, rather than abstracted to 1 node = 1 march…

just my .02 cents.

3) How are you dealing with road capacity/logistic capacity?
The ECS had rules that made it so a giant stack of units could not all use the same road at the same time. It also had different classifications of roads. Similarly it discouraged large concentrations of troops in a small area.

4) What is the lowest unit an "HQ" and issued movement orders to? Related would be how are you dealing with screens/cavalry patrols/detachments?
Is the HQ commander only issuing orders to the Corps or can he issue orders down to the division level?

5) Can you add the option to turn off the ability to see other units in your nation?
Anything outside of 10-20 miles, a commander probably does not have updated knowledge of the location, even if they are allied/same nation. He would know the last reported location, and the expected direction of march only. A compromise might be an option to display the HQ location only of other commanders or even better the HQ location of other commanders on a 24-48+ hour (game)time delay.

6)I cant tell if your units numbers are hard limited to 3-4 per commander or commanders per nation. I hope that there is significantly flexibility in this, and perhaps an overall unit limit that must be respected. Having each player command a corps with one player also a CnC I think would produce some fun games.

KaiLarson Inactive Member14 Feb 2015 8:57 p.m. PST

This looks very cool. Can't wait until it's available.

forwardmarchstudios14 Feb 2015 9:41 p.m. PST

Very nice screen shot, I must say. I'm sure you could get some ACW interest in that too. I'll check it out when you're done!

Steve64 Inactive Member15 Feb 2015 5:26 p.m. PST

@Malefric

Thanks for the interest, and detailed questions. You have added some good new ideas there too !.


1) How do orders work and what is your unit of time per move?
For example the Empire Campaign System I believe had 4 hour movement phases. Orders issued at the beginning of each four hour phase were carried out unless fatigue/enemy contact prevented them being completed.

Similar time scale (its actually based on an old SSI model known as run-5). The day is divided into 5 active periods – (Dawn, Morning, Noon, Afternoon, Evening) + 1 Night period.

So its very similar to ECS in that move granularity is around 4 hours.

Orders are not as rigid as ECS though.

Each Corps level unit under the control of the player has an objective to reach, and a series of waypoints to get there. This info provides the mission for the Corps, which it will act on until it either receives new orders, or runs into the enemy.

You dont need to enter new orders for each turn.

Steve64 Inactive Member15 Feb 2015 5:31 p.m. PST

… @Malefric cont.



2) Is movement a function of road distance or is it per node?

Movement is a function of :
- Actual distance
- Mode of travel (via road network, or cross country)
- +/- Speed rating of the Corps as a whole

The Road Movement speed is a constant, and applies when Corps are travelling between marked waypoints on the map.

When using Road Movement speed, sub-units of the Corps are (automatically) spread out in column of march behind the lead unit.

When a Corps reaches its objective, the sub-units of the Corps (automatically) deploy back into their specified positions relative to the Corps HQ. Doing so may take some time, depending on how large and spread out the whole Corps is.

eg. – In the 1806 campaign, the French have an advantage over the Prussians in reacting to contact, as there are a number of more nimble French Corps vs a rather large and cumbersome Prussian column of Divisions.

Cross country speed is random, but always less than road speed.

Each Corps has a set of commander ratings that affect logistics, reaction/initiative and march speed. This is defined at the scenario level, and may be degraded throughout the campaign due to fatigue and supply issues.


I am not currently modelling :
- Road quality
- Bridges and defiles
- Weather effects for roads turning to mud, etc

Steve64 Inactive Member15 Feb 2015 5:37 p.m. PST

… @Malefric, cont.


3) How are you dealing with road capacity/logistic capacity?
The ECS had rules that made it so a giant stack of units could not all use the same road at the same time.

It also had different classifications of roads. Similarly it discouraged large concentrations of troops in a small area.

Keeping it simple for now.

Corps that are moving on roads have the sub-units (automatically) strung out in column of march behind the lead element.

The length of the column is a function of the size all the sub-units.

Any other Corps following along the same route must then tack itself on the end of the column, etc.

Once units arrive at a destination, and deploy into their defined formation, there is no effective stacking limit at that point.

There are obvious advantages to having concentrated forces at the point of battle.

However, there are also big disadvantages to not having enough coverage of units across the map … as the enemy could then slip past your flanks, and cut off your concentrated forces to form a 'cauldron'.

At the moment, all roads are considered equal. Its either a march-able road for the duration of the campaign, or its not.

I could entertain the idea of having different grades of roads, and even allowing roads to be degraded or sabotaged throughout the campaign ! Its easy enough to model, however the hard part is additional changes needed to the campaign editor to allow this. It makes the map editor quite a bit more complicated.

Something for later on perhaps ?

Steve64 Inactive Member15 Feb 2015 6:04 p.m. PST

… @Malefric, cont


4) What is the lowest unit an "HQ" and issued movement orders to? Related would be how are you dealing with screens/cavalry patrols/detachments?
Is the HQ commander only issuing orders to the Corps or can he issue orders down to the division level?

Keeping in mind that the terms 'Corps' in this context is completely arbitrary ….

Movement:

The player (represented by a HQ on the strat map), moves Corps sized units around by issuing orders in the form of objectives and waypoints to those Corps under their direct command. This is designed so that it can be done quickly and easily using just a touchscreen.

All sub-units of the Corps are then under computer control as far as movement goes.


Deployment and Corps sub-unit layout :

The player can use the map to zoom in on any Corps, to setup the layout of the Divisions and Brigades of that Corps.

This is done by dragging the sub-units around on the map to define their preferred positions relative to the Corps HQ.

Making changes to this layout is considered as a 'deployment order', and takes simulation time to deliver and implement at the Corps level.

Getting this deployment of sub-units right for each Corps can be an interesting exersize for the player. Its up to the player to balance their up-front firepower with flank security, reserve depth, etc.

Screens :

The system assumes that units below Corps level manage their own screening and security issues as per regulations.

The system uses a simple calculation to give each force a 'recon value', and this is used when troops bump into each other.

On contact, each unit suffers minor attrition, and the winner of the recon skirmish gets more accurate information on the enemy.

Again, keeping it simple as possible, with room for refinement when needed.

I want to keep the campaign player focused on thinking in terms their Corps, keeping their strategic flanks secure, and avoiding getting strategically bottled up by encirclement.

That is a cop-out way of saying that I have done the bare minimum in modelling the 'petite-guerre' in terms of fighting a campaign :)

Detachments :

Detachments are an important part of the campaign. This system enforces a series of permanently detached piquets spread across the map, which are deducted from the players units.

Bit hard to explain in plain text, but here is a quick run down on how this works :

You can have unlimited detachments placed as piquets on the map, by permanently detaching company sized units from your forces.

These piquets act as early warning radars for spotting enemy movements. You can drop these anywhere on the map.

There are 3 classes of objective locations on the campaign map :

1) Navigation waypoints. These require a company of troops to hold.

2) Important Objectives (small towns). These require a battalion of troops to hold.

3) Critical Objectives (major towns / cities). These require a Brigade to hold.

When the player takes an objective .. be that a town, or just a waypoint along a major road …. then units of the minimum size must be detached to hold that objective.

There are simple procedures and rules that apply in terms of defending these rear area objective points when contacted by sub-units of enemy Corps.

In all cases, the presence of the enemy at that location will be reported to the owning player. It is assumed that at least 1 defender manages to escape on horseback to bring the bad news to player HQ.

Objectives marked as important or critical (battalion or more of defenders in hard cover), will be treated as a tabletop battle.

Smaller objectives with company sized piquets are considered lost for the rest of the campaign.

KaiLarson Inactive Member15 Feb 2015 6:21 p.m. PST

This looks great.

I will be first in line when it finally goes on sale.

Steve64 Inactive Member15 Feb 2015 6:23 p.m. PST

… @Malefric, cont.


5) Can you add the option to turn off the ability to see other units in your nation?
Anything outside of 10-20 miles, a commander probably does not have updated knowledge of the location, even if they are allied/same nation. He would know the last reported location, and the expected direction of march only. A compromise might be an option to display the HQ location only of other commanders or even better the HQ location of other commanders on a 24-48+ hour (game)time delay.

hehe … thats realistically nasty :) I like it.

I remember an incident a few years back, where we were running a computerised TEWT with army reserve officers on a weekend.

With 2 teams, each player was isolated with their battalion HQ, a computer screen and a (real life) radio operator. They were supposed to use the radio operator to coordinate actions and movements between their battalions.

Half of them ended up taking screenshot photos of their actual positions from the computer screen on their mobiles … and texting each other updates on what was happening.

The DS let it go, because it was commendably in the spirit of 'adapt, improvise & overcome', but still !

Same same with online gaming …. players tend to find all sorts of inventive ways to bypass game imposed restrictions.

I like that idea though, and will put it on the TODO list of enhancements, for sure.

Another realistic option would be for each player to be able to see the start location of friendly HQ's, and the details of all friendly initial objectives and routes.

From a historical perspective, you absolutely need some way of not knowing if and when your friend Bernadotte is going to make an appearance in the battle or not !

Steve64 Inactive Member15 Feb 2015 6:52 p.m. PST

… @Malefric, cont.


6)I cant tell if your units numbers are hard limited to 3-4 per commander or commanders per nation. I hope that there is significantly flexibility in this, and perhaps an overall unit limit that must be respected. Having each player command a corps with one player also a CnC I think would produce some fun games.

Hard limit of 8 Nations.

Hard limit of 4 players per Nation.

Collections of Nations can of course be allied.

eg:
Blue (French) + Purple (Polish) + LtBlue (Bavarian)
vs
White (Austrian) + Green (Russian) + Black (Prussian)


----------

Unlimited Corps per player.

Unlimited sub-units per Corps.

Unlimited = no hard imposed limit, but if taken overboard by a scenario designer, will be no fun for anyone to play. Too many units, and it may become a tedious exersize in micromanagement for the player.

It is then up to the scenario designer to interpret the campaign OOB into something fun and playable for each player role, in order to capture the feel of the campaign.

The combination of 'Nations' and 'Players' provides some of the framework to achieve this.

Looking at 1806 again as a good example, I have been using something like this layout to capture the mood of the campaign :

Prussians :
3 players of different colours (Brunswick, Hohenlohe, Ruchel), each with a single Corps command containing a cumbersomely large number of Divisions.


French:
3 Blue players (Napoleon, Davout, Bernadotte), each with 1 or more manageable Corps. Napoleon's command contains 4 infantry Corps and Murat's Cav

The Prussians are stronger on paper, and will probably roll the French if they can manage to coordinate a solid line of battle between them.

The French command structure and inter-player comms allows them to run rings around the Prussians strategically, and exploit any breakthrough to take out Berlin with little fuss … but only if they play it with speed and great skill.

Thats an example anyway. I am yet to get in a full set of turns with the 1806 campaign yet, but Im hoping that it does the job.

oldnorthstate16 Feb 2015 8:05 p.m. PST

Well, we'll just have to wait and see how this system compares to the Carnage and Glory system. I understand the interest in having a campaign system that can work with any available rules system, but given the lack of complexity of the standard non computer moderated rules how would the campaign transfer simple things like fatigue and attrition onto the miniatures game? More importantly, since most standard rules don't deal with battlefield fatigue and don't distinguish between killed, wounded, temporarily missing or prisoners are part of the game structure, how would you account for these factors are part of the tabletop battle and transfer them into the campaign system?

If you want to see how the CG system works I am running a mini campaign using the latest Beta version at Cold Wars. It will be a Trenton AWI campaign, starting with the American's crossing the Delaware and attacking the British/Hessian garrisons in New Jersey. While the order of battle is generally consistent with the historical forces available the initial deployment may vary. The campaign players are now engaged in issuing their initial orders and I'll be running the first several turns to generate the first of three table top battles which we will play out at the convention. Games two and three will depend on the results of game one and the strategic moves made by both sides.

Malefric Inactive Member16 Feb 2015 8:32 p.m. PST

I am a big fan of Nigel's (C&GII) but a ongoing scaling issue with the system at the tactical level (and possibly at the campaign level--I'm on the wrong coast for all these demos) is the single point of data entry.

A system that allows multiple players and remote access is certainly a welcome addition. Campaigns to generate the table top battle can be played remotely in the weeks before the game.

There also seems like there the two systems will involve different levels of detail. C&GII i am sure will be incredibly detailed. Hopefully's Steve's system will also have a decent level of detail and customization for the subscription services.

Malefric Inactive Member16 Feb 2015 10:17 p.m. PST

(above post deleted, because its attributed to my acct and I didn't post it and it didnt seem to be from this thread… something bugged in the forums).

Hello Steve,

Thank you for the responses.

Steve,

I remember your original concept post as a tablet based system. I think you're going to run up against the limits of the tablet interface and often be faced with issues of even basic complexity vs simplicity needed for a touch interface. Its why windows 8 was a complete failure. This does however comes from the jaded view of a 20 year computer gamer.

Re No2:

I am not currently modelling :
- Road quality
- Bridges and defiles
- Weather effects for roads turning to mud, etc

Strongly suggest you add these, especially bridges and defiles as they provided significant strategic value in many campaigns. Perhaps to aide in your monetization system, the above 3 features can be subscription?

Re #3: It sounds like your movement system is doing the equivalent. The corps are marching in "serial" not "parallel" along the roads so its same result.

Re #4-5: detachments sound fine, but I suggest this be a toggleable option in campaign customization. The ability to leave detachments should always be available, but not every location is important based on the current situation (which cannot always be accounted for by a GM in making the campaign map).

Something to consider is the ability to send out cavalry/cossack patrols to secure or investigate flanks.

Lack of information/imperfect information is the heart of the campaign. Delays in information, from scouts, detachments to Corps HQ and from Corps HQ to other HQs create the unpredictable.

When I played in the a "Murat" system campaign, I was not thrilled with the node to node movement, but the courier/messenger system was great. Notes between corps commanders (players) traveled to destination you set (last known or expected) and then chased after the HQ, adding further delay and increasing importance of clear communications and lines of advance. Automatic scouting reports could be similarly delayed, but as generally most of your units were within a days ride by courier it arrived immediately.

I wouldn't worry about cheating. Its out of character with the community, and if that is an issue there is always an opportunity for it. Regardless of system. Create a good ingame courier system and everyone will use that.

---------
#7 your logistics/supply system. From your write-up on the blog, the supply system is an in-supply/out-supply modifier to the attrition system.

Is there any method for modelling poor supplies or exhausting local supplies? For example April-May 1813, there essentially were very little/no supplies to be had for the French. Similarly a large static army, even when located directly on its line of supply/communications, can eat itself out of supplies and local forage, unless located close to a magazine.

oldnorthstate17 Feb 2015 7:12 a.m. PST

Malefric,

I think the potential benefits of multiple points of data entry is overblown in both the tabletop and campaign environment. We've already shown through numerous games that the single point of data entry for the tactical games does not slow down the game compared to a traditional dice game. With experienced players it is possible to play in real time, assuming the game is not huge.

With regard to the campaign system, again, given the ability to communicate directly and seamlessly with email there is no real disadvantage to directing all orders through a GM. In both systems the ability to maintain an acceptable pace of operations will be determined by the commitment each player will have to responding in a timely manner.

As you suggest there will be some who are willing to trade off realism (detail) for simplicity and this might be the best option for them.

Steve64 Inactive Member17 Feb 2015 7:05 p.m. PST

@Malefric


I think you're going to run up against the limits of the tablet interface and often be faced with issues of even basic complexity vs simplicity needed for a touch interface.

I (was) probably the world's greatest skeptic when it comes to touchscreens.

Editing campaign maps on the iPad …. is simply a joy to use. Its a lot of fun, and amazingly responsive. Im cured of my iPad-o-phobia for now.

My extremely cheap, slow and very small 7" Android tablet though … its OK for playing the game, but a pain to edit campaigns on.

But you are right, there are some things that are best done using a good keyboard. Editing OOBs and player briefings are just some examples.

For tabletop gameplay though, an unobtrusive touchscreen interface that you can hold in 1 hand, and click on objectives from a map has advantages over a laptop. Nothing wrong with using either … I am just not limiting the player to either.


Strongly suggest you add these, especially bridges and defiles as they provided significant strategic value in many campaigns.

Point taken. Ideally I would like to have a full model of different rivers, coastlines and grades of terrain for the entire map from day 1.

This is one of those seemingly simple things thats actually quite hard to pull off, and adds a lot of work to be completed for the scenario designer.

With what I have already, I can squeeze in bridges and defiles for the first release. I think its worth the extra effort to get it right, as it can add a lot of character to some campaigns. In particular Rivers and Bridges feature prominently in many famous campaigns.



Something to consider is the ability to send out cavalry/cossack patrols to secure or investigate flanks.

I think I can this cover with with a small addition or 2, and include it from day 1.

The 'Corps' has its usual array of Divisions, and also a number of Corps assets, which may include independent brigades of either Cav or Inf.

If I allow the player to be able to send out Corps assets on a patrol or screening mission, then that should be good enough for the initial release ?

Limiting it to denoted Corps assets should prevent players being able to act ahistorically. (Thinking here of early armies that had good cav assets, but had them tied up in very old school command structures)

Would that work for you ?


Lack of information/imperfect information is the heart of the campaign. Delays in information, from scouts, detachments to Corps HQ and from Corps HQ to other HQs create the unpredictable.

Yes, I agree with that.

The delayed info concept is a very good one, but I am going to have to keep it on the backburner for a while longer.

The reason is simply one of QA and testing, and will take more than a few weeks to implement. It is a simple thing to code, but a horror to test properly.

If you consider that for each Player … the system needs to keep track of the 'known' position of every other unit, as of 24 hours ago. This set of 'known' positions is different for each player. The permutations quickly add up in this case :)

Because of the nature of that imperfect information presented to the player …. if the computer stuffs up and gets it wrong, it wont be clear that it is even wrong or right.

Implementing this one properly will require full coverage and edge case testing …. which costs time. Something for laters I reckon, because its such a cool idea.

Easier stop gap solution that I can implement from day 1 is to just say hey, you can only see friendly forces that are within a few hours by horse of your HQ.


#7 your logistics/supply system. From your write-up on the blog, the supply system is an in-supply/out-supply modifier to the attrition system.

Is there any method for modelling poor supplies or exhausting local supplies? For example April-May 1813, there essentially were very little/no supplies to be had for the French.

A bit more detail on that then :

The mesh network of objective points and routes on the map provides an elegant way of working out whether any force is in-supply, or is cutoff.

Each Corps level force has a set of rated attributes as defined by the scenario designer, including :

- Logistics Rating
- Initiative Rating (affects scouting, ambushing, and reaction times to contact)
- 'Vigor' or 'Dash' (a general term encompassing how determined / aggressive / overconfident that force is. Its an intangible value that is different to morale or experience or fatigue. Yet to settle on the name though)

Any of these ratings can be degraded due to battle, and recovered during rest periods.

Anyway, the Logistics Rating (on a scale of 1-100) is used to calculate how well that force can make use of current supply resources.

This allows the scenario designer to model situations like you mention. You could give French line units a pretty lowly logistics rating, reserve a higher logistics rating for the Guard, and give the Prussians a higher rating for fighting on their own land. Something like that.

In summary, the total calculation for resupply is a function of :

- Tracing a clear route back to a friendly occupied objective.
- The type of objective currently held. (waypoint/village/city)
- The logistics rating for that unit, as defined by the scenario.


Great ideas Malefric, really appreciate your input :)

Steve64 Inactive Member17 Feb 2015 8:41 p.m. PST

@oldnorthstate


… but given the lack of complexity of the standard non computer moderated rules how would the campaign transfer simple things like fatigue and attrition onto the miniatures game?

More importantly, since most standard rules don't deal with battlefield fatigue and don't distinguish between killed, wounded, temporarily missing or prisoners are part of the game structure, how would you account for these factors are part of the tabletop battle and transfer them into the campaign system?

Good points all round, I will try to answer that as best as I can.

The campaign system keeps tabs on a number of attributes and stats for each unit under the player's command (down to Battalion/Squadron/Battery level)

On an engagement, the system provides detailed OOBs to the players, if they choose to fight using 'ruleset XYZ", then they have to apply their own experience and common sense to translate that OOB into the appropriate stats for the ruleset of their choice.

The best way for the system to accommodate that is to provide enough detail per unit, so that the players need only translate a subset of those details to the tabletop. I will layout all the attributes below.

Likewise on the flow of information back into the campaign system, the players need to apply experience and common sense in translating the results of their tabletop battle back into the campaign stats.

There are several dice based rules that do track details such as battlefield fatigue (eg. Empire and related rulesets), but like you say, there are many that dont.

Entirely depends on the group … a consensus agreement between the players might work for some (one would hope), or leave it to a GM to make a judgement call if needed.


Handling of casualties

For breaking down casualties into KIA / WIA / MIA … the campaign system just takes in a total number of battlefield casualties per unit, and calculates that breakdown internally.

So if translating from another tabletop battle to the campaign, just enter the number of tabletop casualties for each side, translated into actual men.

As long as both sides use the same formula, all is well.

If using the built in tabletop front end, then of course this done for you at the end of the battle.

All 'hors de combat' are then removed from the strength of the unit, and are considered to be held at Corps level HQ in hospital billets until they either die or recover.

Casualties held at Corps HQ are tracked by gross type in total :
- Line infantry
- Guard
- Cavalry
- Artillery
- Commanders


Handling of replacements for casualties

MIA casualties are recovered each day.
WIA casualties are recovered each week
(10% die, 30% return to ranks, 60% remain as WIA for the next week)
KIA casualties are recovered each month
(% determined by Corps logistics rating)

When casualties are recovered, the campaign system assigns replacements to sub-units based the relative logistics rating of each sub-unit. The higher the rating, the higher the preference.

Note that recovered replacements are only sent to units of the same type (so guard units require guard replacements, cavalry require cav replacements, etc)


Tracking of commanders and their health

For each Commander in the entire OOB, their health is tracked on an individual basis. If struck down in battle, the system assigns a random injury to their person, and then tracks the state of that injury day by day until they either die of complications … or recover from their wounds.

There is enough scope in the above model to add in dedicated medical units, disease, and all that fun stuff later on.


Details stored on each unit


For each unit, there are 2 sets of attributes being stored and tracked:

- Static attributes that are fixed for the duration of the game.
- Dynamic attributes that change from one day to the next.

The Static attributes include :
- Nationality
- Unit type (4 types of inf, 8 types of cav, 4 types or art)
- Unit rating (11 ratings as per Empire)
- Drill book (tactical options and formations)
- Skirmisher doctrine (Light inf, Elite coys, 3rd rank, etc)
- Bayonet doctrine (adjustments to close with the bayonet)
- Musketry doctrine (adjustment to fire factor due to equipment, training, etc)

For ease of data entry when creating a scenario – once you have selected the Nationality, Unit Type, and Unit Rating, the other fields are derived. (and can be further edited)

The Dynamic attributes include :
- Number of enlisted men on active duty
- Status of unit Cadre (% of capable Officers, NCOs)
- Ammo status
- Physical Fatigue status
- Equipment Fatigue status
- Morale status
- Unit Colours (intact / lost)
- Glory & Battle Honours (engagements / victories)



If you want to see how the CG system works I am running a mini campaign using the latest Beta version at Cold Wars. It will be a Trenton AWI campaign, starting with the American's crossing the Delaware and attacking the British/Hessian garrisons in New Jersey. While the order of battle is generally consistent with the historical forces available the initial deployment may vary. The campaign players are now engaged in issuing their initial orders and I'll be running the first several turns to generate the first of three table top battles which we will play out at the convention. Games two and three will depend on the results of game one and the strategic moves made by both sides.

Thanks for the invite – that would be awesome.

Wrong continent for me at the moment :(, but I do hope to travel in the future, would be cool to catch up :)

Many thanks for your input and questions .. helps a lot in knowing how much and what sort of documentation I need to write.

Malefric Inactive Member18 Feb 2015 2:10 a.m. PST

@Oldnorthstate

TMP link

I am proponent of C&GII, but disagree with the blanket assertion that C&G's single entry point has been "proven" to "not slow down the game". If anything, I doubt even Nigel would agree given his stated suggestions on "bathtubbing" larger combats.

In either case, I see no reason why a multi-threaded/ multiple data entry system proof of concept would not enrich the community and options. Nigel & C&G is clearly the pioneer and now were seeing the potential of further innovation by others.

I hope that eventually we can have the detailed simulation of Nigel's C&GII that can scale to multi-corps battles ala Empire V when played "in the Grand Manner".

Malefric Inactive Member18 Feb 2015 2:46 a.m. PST

If I allow the player to be able to send out Corps assets on a patrol or screening mission, then that should be good enough for the initial release ?

I'm not fully clear on the terminology of the orders in your system. If you can order a cavalry corps level asset to go sit in a village 10 miles over until recalled or otherwised ordered and report any enemy contact and retreat in the face of enemy contact, I think you got what is needed.

Justin Penwith18 Feb 2015 3:25 p.m. PST

Hello, I have commented on your blog about this nifty system and I am very excited to get a look at it. In fact, if you need another playtester (one willing to subscribe now), let me know as I am your man.

In my campaign, I am tracking all units by army rosters, with unit strengths in figures. I'd like to see a unit strength toggle between men/figures if possible.

Are casualties and recovery hard coded or can we modify the individual category percentages?

I want to model attrition based on in-supply and out of supply, with a die roll and percentages. Is this possible?

I also vote for road quality/condition. This is really a must have, imo.

Is weather modeled? I had considered checking the daily weather report for the lowlands, to see what weather conditions would be like in a table top game. If you can track weather at all, this saves time and trouble.

My campaign allows for area control to switch based on treaty negotiations. Does the map system that you have support this?

Do you have a grid (square and hex) overlay that can be toggled for the maps? If so, can the umpire or scenario designer designate the size of the squares or hexes?

For example, I want to be able to overlay a grid, with the squares of appoximately 1 mile to a side. I would then use this to help determine the terrain in the subsequent tabletop battle.

My commanders and sub-commanders are rated for six characteristics each, on a 1-10 scale. I then have age and economic background listed also, plus any lingering effects from aging. Is such supported and can I then modify any of these once the campaign starts?

Is it possible to add unit abilities to the unit attributes? For example, I have about 20 different unit abilities, which have a tabletop application. I would like to be able to add or subtract these from individual battalions/squadrons as needed.

Can I give Corps/independent brigades SOP orders? For example, I have a cavalry brigade as scouts, but I want them to avoid battle. Can I toggle this option so they do not become bogged in a battle that is not supposed to occur or do I have to "fight" the battle out and put in 0 casualty results for both sides?

oldnorthstate18 Feb 2015 6:08 p.m. PST

"I am proponent of C&GII, but disagree with the blanket assertion that C&G's single entry point has been "proven" to "not slow down the game".

Well, depends on the definition of "slow down"…my comparison is with a traditional tabletop game using dice…I have played in many large, multi division games using CG and other systems. As long as the CG GM keeps things moving the process of resolving combat, both fire and melee will always be quicker in CG than systems where the players and/or the GM have to compute the odds, add the modifiers, roll the dice, figure out the results and implement the negatives. You also have rules where units that have taken casualties must also take a morale check after the end of all combat, further delaying the process. With CG those end of turn morale checks are much quicker and more seamless.

Now where the comparison between CG and traditional systems is not that different is the movement phase. Players are players and they all bring to the table their own odd inclinations to delay, not pay attention, overthink every facet of a move, etc. Since in most cases the CG GM nor the computer is not involved in those actions, other than to allow changes of formation, no amount of touchpads in players hands will speed up the process.

Steve64 Inactive Member18 Feb 2015 7:49 p.m. PST

@Justin

woah ! some crazy good ideas in that lot.


I'd like to see a unit strength toggle between men/figures if possible.

I can add that function, at the time of engagement, for running games in alternate rulesets.

If you just basically select a figure scale, it can translate manpower to figures. Some battles you want to run at different scales depending on time, space, and figure availability ?

The built in rules use a slightly different concept, and is element based. Units break down into elements that match the tactical doctrine of the unit. Number of men per element is then variable to a small degree, and tracked by the computer.


Are casualties and recovery hard coded or can we modify the individual category percentages?

Hard coded. Can easily allow the scenario designer to set this table on a per scenario basis.

This includes any random factor applied to the percentages. If I just open the whole thing up and make it configurable, that should solve a lot of similar questions I think ?

Added that one to the TODO list.


I want to model attrition based on in-supply and out of supply, with a die roll and percentages. Is this possible?

I need to think about that one. Its easily possible, but I will talk to you later about the practicalities of doing that. Maybe the previous point re hard coded attrition and recovery tables might fix that for you ?



I also vote for road quality/condition. This is really a must have, imo.

Is on the TODO list, cant promise if I can get it in on day 1 though.


Is weather modeled? I had considered checking the daily weather report for the lowlands, to see what weather conditions would be like in a table top game. If you can track weather at all, this saves time and trouble.

Weather each campaign is set in a particular season. Daily variations in weather (and the effects on movement, visibility and combat) is taken from Rev & Empire.

But given that its all online, I could add something to grab the current real life weather from the real life location ? Would that work for you ?


My campaign allows for area control to switch based on treaty negotiations. Does the map system that you have support this?

Not at present. I am keeping the current development to be strictly military based, and deliberately avoiding adding a layer for political and economic simulation.

I am however itching to have a crack at those layers … but it has to be later on for now. Need to make sure that the military sim is rock solid before adding more complexity.


Do you have a grid (square and hex) overlay that can be toggled for the maps? If so, can the umpire or scenario designer designate the size of the squares or hexes?

For example, I want to be able to overlay a grid, with the squares of appoximately 1 mile to a side. I would then use this to help determine the terrain in the subsequent tabletop battle.

Absolutely, and its all very flexible. Since Im using real topographical maps, you can zoom right in, with grids that are 100m across, and see every little pathway, shrubbery, and shed if need be.

So depending on how big the action is for any engagement, you can use the grid overlay to get the scale right for the tabletop.

Maps include detailed contour lines as well.


My commanders and sub-commanders are rated for six characteristics each, on a 1-10 scale. I then have age and economic background listed also, plus any lingering effects from aging. Is such supported and can I then modify any of these once the campaign starts?


Is it possible to add unit abilities to the unit attributes? For example, I have about 20 different unit abilities, which have a tabletop application. I would like to be able to add or subtract these from individual battalions/squadrons as needed.

Quick answer to that :

- I need to add a feature that allows the scenario designer to add extra attributes to the units, over and above the ones listed.

- I have already done some prelim work on this, and it does have a few issues I need to keep on top of. Easiest solution is to allow the scenario designer to add extra attributes from a predefined list (rather than completely open ended). Means that we need to come up with a big list of extra attributes people may want.

- Any of these extras can be modified during a game.

- Some attributes may have formulas pre defined for them, which describes how those attributes are gained/lost/recovered.

Its a relatively complex addition … its on the TODO list, but it needs some more design thought before diving in.

It will be a brilliant thing to add though, good ideas !


Can I give Corps/independent brigades SOP orders? For example, I have a cavalry brigade as scouts, but I want them to avoid battle. Can I toggle this option so they do not become bogged in a battle that is not supposed to occur or do I have to "fight" the battle out and put in 0 casualty results for both sides?

Quick answer to that one :

- Units have objectives (locations), which they move towards until something else happens.

- If they run into the enemy en route, they stop the march, and begin to deploy.

- Unit commanders have personalities, that may affect how aggressively they react to enemy contacts, whether they probe forward, take a defensive stand, or whether they try to slip away.

- Contacts only escalate to Battles, if the players choose to give battle.

So your cav scouts wont accidentally get stuck in a battle as you mention.

As commander personalities differ, its more a question of choosing the right man for the job, rather than giving SOPs.

Hope that makes sense.

PS: Great Questions !!!

Justin Penwith19 Feb 2015 7:48 a.m. PST

A very quick response from me as I am less than five minutes from my first class of students.

Thank you for answering my questions. I do have many more, but those were my hot-button issues.

My campaign is set to cover a number of game years, with 12-20 (depending on weather) turns followed by a "winter phase" each "year."

Tapping into real world weather would be just fine. Nearly perfect, in fact.

I have developed most of the economic model that I will be using for the campaign, along with a political model (and there are interactions between the two). If I could plug these into to a system, I'd be ecstatic.

More later, though. The first bell is about to ring.

Justin Penwith19 Feb 2015 10:52 a.m. PST

Okay, now that I am on a break.

1) Figures vs # of men per unit.

The rules I use do not have a strict man:figure ratio. I happen to like this and want to keep it for my campaign. This allows all recruitment, combat, and recovery to be recorded as numbers of figures, without having to do any extra calculations pre or post tabletop battles.

This also allows for easy attrition rules. In my campaign, if a nations force is in its own territory or if in supply in friendly territory, then no attrition rolls are made. If out of supply in friendly territory or if in enemy territory, then one attrition roll is made per battalion/squadron. If out of supply in enemy territory, then two attrition rolls are made per unit. An attrition roll can result in 0, 1, or 2 figure losses.

I do not need to make any conversion calculations from men to figures and back to men, it is just in figures.

Yes, just make the whole table configurable and you'll end up pleasing more people than not, I think.

I would be happy to help, at the design level (because I am no coder) with the economic/political layers. It should be straightforward enough to create a basic system that scenario designers can tailor to their needs.

The grid overlay will be very useful, as will be the contour lines.

I can send you my list of unit attributes, to help seed the overall list. Some I modified from Black Powder, for use with the rules I am using, and others I created on my own.

Another thing.

My campaign is set during the Wars of the Spanish Succession. Thus, sieges will be a big aspect of my campaign, but I do not want to have to set up tabletop games for each siege.

As a result, I created a system, using d6s and player choices, to resolve sieges. Would you allow me to send you these rules for possible inclusion as a simple siege resolution feature? Umpires could decide to use them or not, but what I have written up works with the tabletop rules we are using (Beneath the Lily Banners 2nd ed.) and it allows sieges to be resolved within a reasonable time in campaign weeks.

Lastly, for now,

Does the unit information allow for players to upload unit flags and uniform colors? My campaign is an imagi-nations one and each player not only designs his own national flag, but also the coloring of all uniforms. Being able to upload these would be a terrific way to keep the "feel" of running one's own country.

Steve64 Inactive Member23 Feb 2015 4:35 p.m. PST

@Justin

Back from a longer break (my weekends here are 100% work at the moment).

Lots of excellent detail in that reply, I can see what you are trying to achieve with this, and it looks good.

Can accommodate all of the above, although this will be more as a separate product line, aimed specifically at 18thC imagi-nations campaigns. Can do.

We will have to talk a lot more as this, which is maybe best done offline from TMP.

Chuck me an email to steveoc64@gmail.com, and we can get down into the nuts and bolts of how you want the economc / political model to work.

Cheers

Steve64 Inactive Member23 Feb 2015 10:50 p.m. PST

Update :

Posted an AAR from a tabletop battle based on the above map.

Demonstrates how the computer map movement translates onto a tabletop battle, and how the results of the tabletop battle reflect back onto the computer campaign map.

link

Hopefully it makes for some entertaining reading, and gives a feel for how the tabletop rules flow. (Variable Length Bound, event based, simultaneous moves, Kriegspiel mechanics)

Have fun reading …

Justin Penwith23 Feb 2015 11:57 p.m. PST

As it is going to be server maintenance time, soon, I will have to reply in the morning.

I will certainly be emailing you directly as well.

Justin

xccamx Inactive Member24 Apr 2015 5:38 p.m. PST

"I will get this out there as soon as I can … I am expecting to go live by Anzac Day 2015 (25 April 2015 – 100th Anniversary) "

Any news? This looks really cool.

Last Hussar02 May 2015 5:37 a.m. PST

Can you sync different platforms – so you can see on a tablet what's happened on a PC

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 7:15 a.m. PST

Since he says it is browser based, it should be able to.

Personal logo Ironwolf Supporting Member of TMP04 May 2015 2:31 a.m. PST

I read in the comments section of his blog that in April he was getting ready to beta test it. But so far nothing else or how to volunteer to be a beta tester. really looking forward to this.

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