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"Better General?" Topic

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756 hits since 19 Apr 2017
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sillypoint19 Apr 2017 5:23 p.m. PST

In a game, is a better General the luckiest one? Is there skill involved? Is it experience with the rules and the troops in that set of rules? Is it the better rules lawyer- the one that realises, part way through the game, that you don't test for certain troops routing?

vtsaogames19 Apr 2017 5:51 p.m. PST

All/none of the above.

saltflats192919 Apr 2017 6:22 p.m. PST

The better dice roller usually wins.

Personal logo Scott MacPhee Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2017 6:42 p.m. PST

I have found that most experienced gamers have a battle plan that is pretty good. Of course, as von Moltke said, no plan survives first contact with the enemy.

Bad dice and opposing plans can wreak havoc on both sides. What separates the good from the great tabletop general is how he reacts to the ebb and flow of the battle. Can he find the decisive point and deliver a crushing blow there? Can he wear his opponent just enough for a charge to work? Can he husband his reserves and commit them at just the right moment? The best rules sets reward those kinds of skill.

smolders19 Apr 2017 7:10 p.m. PST

"I know he's a good general, but is he lucky?" -Napoleon I

Rich Bliss19 Apr 2017 9:00 p.m. PST

Depends on the rules to a large extent, as well.

sillypoint19 Apr 2017 10:18 p.m. PST

Scomac/Bliss, I agree.
There are games I don't really worry about the results as the rules do not allow me to input much in my turn, and the role of the dice often make a monkey of my decisions.
There are other games where I can carve up my opposition, based on opportunities they provide for me, as well as my knowledge of the rules and troops.

(Phil Dutre) Inactive Member19 Apr 2017 11:55 p.m. PST

Since there is such a wide variety in rules and possibl wargaming scenarios, it is meaningless to answer unless you ask the question for a specific ruleset and some additional constraints (setup, scenario-objectives, …).

If you compare wargamig rules to other modern board games, wargaming rules have not that much depth to allow the player control over the rules engine and to allow for optimizations in order to win. Sure, many wargaming rulesets are complicated to execute. But that doesn;t make them "deep" games.

That's why the purpose of wargaming is/should not be in winning as such, but rather about experiencing the battle and the visual spectacle of the game.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 1:25 a.m. PST

My opinion is that it is 80% the rules. Rules that require a battle plan and reduce the number of silly reveals and lucky cards will allow a player with a good plan to win more often. At the other end of the scale there are rules where a special card(unit can move two or three times whilst those around stand still) or dodgy rule (that end of the unit is not quite in the wood,so i can strike the unit as a unit in the open at that point). the problem with this is players with good tactical judgement will win most games through their skill. This is a "turn off" for those players who just want to get the models out and blow things up. So a balance is needed. Difficult. Luck matters more when there are fewer moving parts (say 4 units) and less when there are more moving parts (say 20 units). Just thoughts

Don't forget that the better commanders did have a plan that worked, they did not just turn up and see how things went.

(Phil Dutre) Inactive Member20 Apr 2017 2:29 a.m. PST

Don't forget that the better commanders did have a plan that worked, they did not just turn up and see how things went.

Sure, but how much of this plan-making has an equivalent to what we do on the wargaming table?

On a large strategic scale, plan making has a strong political component and large time frames.
On a small tactical scale, plan-making is very heavily influenced by tactical doctrine and training.

Is putting a platoon in the woods instead of in the open part of the plan? Or is that just common sense?

And how far in advance do you need to plan something like Barbarossa or Overlord? And once it's planned, does it run on its own?

I am not saying playing a wargame does not require a "plan". But it's also not as if you're constantly being outsmarted by the other player, or that a cunning plan is suddenly revealed, or that you have zillions of options available. In many scenarios, the "plan" is rather straightforward, plain in view for both to see. The dice do the rest.

That does not mean you do not make a lot of micro-decisions during the game (move or shoot? charge or wait for another turn?). But these are more local optimization in terms of the rules rather than a military plan for executing the mission.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 4:10 a.m. PST

Speaking purely about a tabletop general, I'd say the two biggest factors are:

*Sticking to a plan.

*Understanding probabilities.

Personal logo Fergal Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 4:56 a.m. PST

Over time trends emerge. If you fight one battle and win by a landslide, you will never know.

For tabletop generals, if you play your regular opponent every week (it doesn't matter if it's the same game or not) trends will emerge. If you win 60% of the time, it would seem that the law of averages will even out the luck and you'll know who wins more often.

Real generals have too worry about people's lives etc…so it's much harder to say there.

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 5:25 a.m. PST

"fortune favors the prepared" is a famous quote on the subject.

Personal logo herkybird Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 2:33 p.m. PST

A good tabletop general is generally lucky, and manages not to make as many mistakes as his opponent!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP20 Apr 2017 3:01 p.m. PST

My experience is that lucky tabletop generals have read the rules, read the scenario with special attention to the victory conditions, thought about the whole thing, and are engaged in a course of action which will cause them to win if the enemy doesn't stop them. Lucky generals are not so common as you might suppose.

Sadly, historical generals are often given outdated copies of the rules--bad fire effects tables and the omission of certain enemy troop types and weapons are common--and early drafts of the scenario, with inaccurate orders of battle and erroneous descriptions of terrain effects. And sometimes the victory conditions are decided after the battle. This proves once again that warfare should be conducted only on tabletops.

Great War Ace Inactive Member23 Apr 2017 1:00 p.m. PST

There is the phenomenon of the "lucky" and the "unlucky" dice roller. As far as I can tell, each club has some of both. Even the "unlucky" roller has his lucky moments, and visa versa. But the trend that establishes the notoriety remains in place. The longer you play together the more entrenched the rep becomes.

I am unsure how much personal expectation plays into this; but suspect that people's dice rolls go more, rather than less, according to expectation. Now we are getting into the metaphysical.

Generalship goes by the wayside when you are an unlucky dice roller. And crappy "generalship" is rewarded with success when you can't lose…………

Henry Martini23 Apr 2017 5:22 p.m. PST

Let's get metaphysical, metaphysical…

UshCha24 Apr 2017 3:16 a.m. PST

Good generals make there own luck.

e only play games where the effects of proability are minimised. Generaly we win or lose based on our planss and to visullise where are the optimum positions (inc game theory). If its too obvious it may not be a good idea, somtimes). Also the ability to adapt to circumstances, no plan survives first cointact. Without a plan you don't survive fist contact.

Weasel has it to some extent Stick to the plan. Played an ex serviceman. He had a plan. Luck went against him for a time but he stuck to the plan (which was sound), luck evened up and he won. Definitely genralship should win. If it does not play LUDO instead its cheaper.

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