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Personal logo toofatlardies Sponsoring Member of TMP19 May 2017 1:34 p.m. PST

Evening all. Just to let you know that we now have all eight videos in the General d'Armee series on YouTube. These run through the whole play sequence before culminating with a half hour play through of a game.

You can find the videos here: YouTube link

Follow the links for the rest.

We will be at Partizan on Sunday with Dave demonstrating the rules so please join us if you can to watch or take part if you fancy having a go with the rules under the master's tutelage.

nsolomon9919 May 2017 9:09 p.m. PST

Excellent! Watched the first 5 videos last week and now the last 3 to complete the training course. Must say I'm impressed by how cleanly these rules work. Simple mechanisms are always a good thing and in Video 8, the turn play-through the battle developed as you'd expect.

Great way to launch a new set of rules, well done Dave Brown and Reisswitz Press.

Now champing at the bit to have my copy wend its way down to Australia.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 9:18 p.m. PST

Videos are very informative but I have some questions.

1. Can inches be used for 15mm or 18mm instead of centimeters?

2. How do skirmishers work?

a. How does a battalion actually generate the skirmishers?

b. Are the skirmisher figures taken from the light companies or are they separate bases and they are just picked out from off the table and placed in front? I assume light infantry can be used as skirmishers by just going into skirmish.

c. How are skirmisher casualties dealt with? Do they cause casualties to the parent battalion?

3. What are the recommended base sizes and number of figures on each base? Please don't tell me it is whatever I want. I want to know what works best. I would be basing for this set of rules only. What were the base sizes used in the scenario? The same as GdB 15mm basing?

4. Are national characteristics taken into account? Like British line vs. French Column. Some countries have better command, shoot better others move faster.

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 10:35 p.m. PST

The following is my review of what I noticed in the beautifully done videos. I give an A+ for the videos, but I must say I was not finding anything new. What follows is not offered in offense, but rather, why I did not like what was presented in this new rules set. I start with item 4 from Rallynow's series of questions, above.

4. I noticed that in every instance, the British were superior in all examples. In fact , if they rolled very badly, the unit was reduced to the best French! Also, the skirmishers did not seem to be effective even when hit and in all cases of firing, casualties reduced effectiveness.

No explanation as to any relationship to unit effectiveness. I reckon it assumes "why there are less guns firing."? (like most rules, numbers is everything but no new concepts on the human aspects (ie. Some volleys might miss yet still present a challenge to unit leadership in keeping the unit effective. Since no two men are identical,units are made up of men, why are units always rated the same? OOps, that just would not work in a set based upon pure numbers as the regulating value set.Units of the same type will always start with the same potential- never any better -usually worse.

Command radius? "Sorry Colonel, if we move another CM we will be out of command radius and we'll have problems moving next turn…" Gamey…very gamey and not rooted in any sort of historical record I can find. Perhaps the authors can produce their research for continuing to use this concept? (Historical record- not sales or "that's the way we've always done it"kind of research)

Seems nothing really new here, to me at least. Just another set restating the same things since the 60's in rules. Perhaps only better written for understanding?

A+ for effort, F- for new innovative ideas. Opinion is based upon the nicely done videos. Appreciate the chance to see it in examples. I will have to pass on this one.

Good luck, though. A massive effort is clearly seen into these rules' presentation. There is still a market for more of the same.

v/r
Tom

Personal logo toofatlardies Sponsoring Member of TMP19 May 2017 11:35 p.m. PST

Dye4minis

Well, as publisher I can only give a limited response, but what I will say is that the video of the game was a simple snapshot showing something set in the late Peninsular War. As such the British on display were rated as Peninsular Veterans, this was mentioned in the video. Clearly what we did not do was to give endless different stats for endless different troop types, but used one specific example. We could have used other examples where the British troops on display were less resilient and the French were better quality. Please don't assume that Dave has used a "one size fits all" profile for each nationality, the rules are far more nuanced than that.

Command radius. Well, you clearly don't like the mechanism, but the fact remains that if Brigade A leaves Battalion X to defend a town and then continues on with its march, at some point the distances involved will mean that Battalion X is no longer under the effective command of the Brigade. I see nothing wrong with reflecting that on the tabletop and, something you would not have seen from the video as it is impossible to do anything other than present the briefest over-view, how units react when out of command will differ. Again, this is not black and white.

As to there being nothing new in these rules, I can only suggest that you are very wrong there. I design rules for a living and when I saw the command and control mechanism in play I kicked myself for not having designed it myself. It's a fantastic system which runs throughout the game play and really puts the emphasis on the player attempting to control the battle as best he can. A totally immersive experience that really puts the player in command in a way that I haven't seen before for large battle games.

I think it is very harsh to suggest F- for innovative ideas when all you have done is watch a few videos which, but their very nature are limited in what they can cover.

As to suggesting that this is a rehash of a 196os set of rules, or that all units are precisely the same, that is simple and utter nonsense which, frankly, seems to reflect the fact that you have already made up your mind about a set of rules that you haven't yet seen. Maybe buy the rules and then pass judgement on them when you're in possession of the facts?

However, thanks very much for your wishes of good luck. Publishing a set of rules is usually fraught with risk, but with a respected author like Dave Brown at the helm we can be confident that the rules will produce a great game and be very popular.

All the best.

Richard

David Brown20 May 2017 4:34 a.m. PST

Rallynow:

See the links below to answer most of your questions.

TMP link

link

link

Dye4minis: re: I reckon it assumes "why there are less guns firing."? (like most rules, numbers is everything but no new concepts on the human aspects.

Well, as you would probably expect your assumption is incorrect, this is also covered in the link, should you care to take a look. And if command radius is not to your liking then feel free to use the regulating battalion alternative rule instead.

Hope that helps.

DB

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2017 5:07 a.m. PST

I have to agree with Mr. TFL, the command and control mechanisms are brilliant and so simple it beggars the imagination why no one had thought of a similar system before. Well, I know why I didn't but that's another story. Yes they are similar to a command pip, etc. but it was just downright fun how it plays out.

We tried an experimental game last week whereby we used GdA's (actually Pickett's Charge) C&C tacked onto Neil Thomas' Napoleonic rules and it worked great. A few die rolls, allocation of limited resources and away you go, or not. We agreed that it was one of the best Napoleonic games we have ever played.

Durban Gamer20 May 2017 5:53 a.m. PST

Yes the videos are well worth watching – give a much better insight than one usually gets with new rules!

War Panda20 May 2017 8:52 a.m. PST

For anyone who doesn't play this period a warning: these videos are bloody terrifying.

They will inevitably draw the poor unsuspecting viewer into purchasing and painting dozens and dozens of minis and possibly spending hours actually enjoying a wargame.

Quite honestly this was the last thing I expected to see on TMP…Where's the shouting and the never ending name calling and vast columns of red deleted posts….

But seriously the actual number of minis on view makes the idea of entering into the period as something achievable; you guys are seriously tempting me to finally take the plunge.

Best of luck with this David and Richard; looks great!

vlad4820 May 2017 9:13 a.m. PST

Goodness, it was interesting to read through this hard-fought debate on the merits of the rules before they are even published.
I'm with Richard that the ADC system for enhancing activations and actions is an intriguing mechanic that seems worth trying. That being said, I'll be curious to run a few games to see how well they work at reflecting the differences in command capability of different armies (say an 1807 French force compared to an 1810 Spanish). The videos show a potential ADC die for each brigade but no bonus or modifier for army type.
Overall, these rules and many others being published these days are quite different than the old school stuff largely in their command and control friction, as Rich himself pointed out in his column in WSS magazine Issue 60.

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

When I said nothing new since the 60's, here is what I mean:

Mechanics depicting command and control expressed in terms of a radius. In real life, command and control is a process. Units continue to do as ordered until either they accomplish their assigned task, are prevented from accomplishing due to enemy activity or the unit(s) receive new orders. To penalize a unit for being outside of "Command Radius" flies in the face of reality.

Command and Control Process consists of 5 segments: Commanding Element, Commanded Element, Downward flow of communication, Upward flow of communication and Friction at all levels. Time and distance plays a considerable part in the process and can work for you (if you successfully plan ahead) or against you (which is the usual norm). Like in your example, you leave a unit behind to hod a town while the rest of the Army moves on, the distance and time it takes to formulate and communicate new orders must come into play.

What I saw in the demo is the dropping of ADCs at the beginning of the turn. Where is the time and distance relationships? How did the commnding general even know what was needed at that location? How long did it take him and his staff to transfer his desires into "orders"? How did the ADC know where to find the subordinate commander to relay the "help" to? How long did it take for this whole process to start over again to formulate and disseminate the execution of the Commanding general's orders of the subordinates units? I suggest much longer than the dropping of an ADC as depicted in the video 8.

Again, the use of command radius has been around for a long time. Not a new concept. By ;limiting how far you can drop the ADC is supposed to be new and innovative, I must cry "Foul". By all means, I do not speak for anyone but myself, but I feel my review is just as valid as anyone else based upon what was presented.

As for the numbers game: anyone who has done research into the Napoleonic periods would have come across the vast amount of munitions expended verses the casualties produced. A quick study would bring one to conclude that the men of the time were lousy shots! Yet, battles were won and lost seeing some units running with little or no casualties while others fighting nearly to the last man. Clearly, using numbers is easy to design a game with but does not reflect the historical record. Rating units into groups and capabilities by using numbers again is nothing new.

What are units made of? Men. No two are ever exactly alike. Therefore, no two units can be exactly alike. There are far too many variables to ALWAYS say that veteran line is rated baseline "X". Of course, fine if your intent is only to push lead figures around, but don't claim the rules to be historical beyond the use of what figures one should use.

I apologize if this comes across as being rather terse, I do not intend it to be anything more than telling the emperor he has new clothes…well, you know that story. The value sets used are the same. Most of the mechanics seem to be the same. One does not have to be a full time rules designer or well known personality in the hobby to have an opinion or even a new idea to share. You will have great success since your company is well known, the author is well known so therefore sales will be made solely based upon the fan base you folks have worked hard to establish. But please, do try to keep the mechanics within the realm of history for historical games by using real factors of that real systems are composed of. Time and distance needs to remain in sync or else it's just another "roll a 6 and he's dead, Jim" kind of game.

Nothing wrong with those types of games, but then many of us also have moved on from them in search of more results oriented gaming. While I commend the challenge presented with your ADC concept to the Commanding General, where are the dozens of other and even more important decisions his real life counterpart was making at the same time?

Far too much I have brought up here and it is not meant to rain on your well deserved parade. As I said before, I wish you all luck in this financial venture.

v/r
Tom

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

BTW, Thanks for the replies from the author and publisher. Much appreciated to see this discussed without the anticipated drama.

v/r
Tom

Personal logo toofatlardies Sponsoring Member of TMP20 May 2017 12:21 p.m. PST

Tom

I'm going to answer this with my game designer hat on, so none of these comments will be specifically linked to General d'Armee but they will all probably apply. Can I also say that when you talk about wargames rules and the Emperor's New Clothes, I fully understand what you mean. Most new rule sets are presented with a fanfare focussing on originality, playability, historical accuracy and whatever other claims are hit upon. Twelve months on and most of those new rule sets are no longer being played. However, this does not make me despair as I know that there are some gems still to be had among the fools gold.

Okay, to your specific points:

Command Radius. Are we penalising the unit out of range of the commander, or are we restricting the commander in what he can do if he detaches a unit from his command to do a specific task? That unit, separate and now divided from the main force by distance must surely become harder for the commander to influence?

Like most things in game design, the mechanism of a Command Radius is an abstraction of reality used in order to reflect the fact that a leader with a unit has more immediate and more certain influence over that unit than another unit which he is not with. There is much less risk of his orders being misunderstood as he is delivering them (and over-seeing them) personally. If we then compare that with two other units, one nearby and one much further away, it seems sensible to accept that his ability to influence it is potentially less than the unit he is physically with, and the one which is much further away will present even greater issues. A command radius is an imperfect representation of this, but that does not mean that when used in tandem with other mechanisms it cannot be valid and effective. I would be interested to know what alternative you'd suggest?

ADCs. These are again an abstraction and do not represent an ADC actually riding off to take a message to a Brigade. What the mechanism is seeking to represent is the varying and limited amount of influence a commander in chief can have over his force at any moment in time. On first examination it can resemble the old PIP system such as that in DBA. However, in reality it is very different. Under the old PIP system one, PIP would activate one unit. Not all of your units would activate in a turn, but the ones that were key would always get the PIPs and, as a consequence, there was still lots of certainty in command.

What ADCs do is they represent a physical manifestation of the commander's attempts to influence the battle. If he wants to be sure that a Brigade will keep pushing on and no be hesitant, then he can use one or more ADC to try to influence that. He also has lots of other "orders" he can issue which might influence the fight, for example he could attempt to rally a faltering Brigade, or order a reinforcement of the skirmish line, or try to get fresh ammunition through to a Brigade where the artillery fire is faltering due to shortages, or call forth a Brigade from the reserve (or lots of others).

What I feel is absolutely key here is that the ADC system allows a commander to attempt to exert his influence, but it never guarantees success it merely makes it more likely. This is a superb representation of the issues of command at high level in the Napoleonic period and does, as you say, keep the mechanics (sic) within the realms of history. You have numerous commands that you can issue to try to shape the battle according to your will, but your C3 is imperfect so you operate with the tacit understanding that what you want to happen may not actually occur. This is a very effective model of Clausewitz, with certainty of results removed but likelihood enhanced if the commander channels his energies and influence in that area.

This does seem to tick the boxes with regards your desire for a representation of important "real life" decisions. My background is full on military kriegsspiels and my bible for game development is Vom Krieg. The challenge for the game designer (seems to me) to be to encapsulate all of the very important issues of command, control and communication but to do so in a way which provides an enjoyable game which can be equally appreciated by the devoted military historian – which is where I would put myself on the spectrum of lunacy which is wargaming – and the gamer who is playing purely for fun. I honestly think Dave has produced one of the finest game mechanisms that I have yet seen to achieve this.

I hope this does answer some of your points.

Richard

vlad4820 May 2017 12:31 p.m. PST

"Command and Control Process consists of 5 segments: Commanding Element, Commanded Element, Downward flow of communication, Upward flow of communication and Friction at all levels. Time and distance plays a considerable part in the process and can work for you (if you successfully plan ahead) or against you (which is the usual norm). Like in your example, you leave a unit behind to hod a town while the rest of the Army moves on, the distance and time it takes to formulate and communicate new orders must come into play.

"What I saw in the demo is the dropping of ADCs at the beginning of the turn. Where is the time and distance relationships? How did the commnding general even know what was needed at that location? How long did it take him and his staff to transfer his desires into "orders"? How did the ADC know where to find the subordinate commander to relay the "help" to? How long did it take for this whole process to start over again to formulate and disseminate the execution of the Commanding general's orders of the subordinates units? I suggest much longer than the dropping of an ADC as depicted in the video 8."

quick reply: Most of us are looking for games that convey the "feel" of a period but that allow a game to be played in an evening – and without the "headache effect" of a lot of steps and detail. I don't see how you could deal with all the issues raised in your last paragraph and create an elegant rule system that could be easily playable at the multi-brigade level.

In some older rules (both Nappy and other periods) you would have "roll to spot", "roll to see what happens to ADC", "roll how far he goes", etc. At first this was seen as flavorful and realistic – but lead to micro-level events that bogged games down. In the newer generation of rules, such as GdA you still get the uncertainty of fog of war and command and control, but in a concise encapsulation that keeps things moving.

Teppsta20 May 2017 5:10 p.m. PST

Tom – if you ever play a game of GdA PLEASE come back here and post you thoughts.

Khusrau20 May 2017 5:19 p.m. PST

Dye4minis – 'terse' Hilarious.

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2017 6:06 p.m. PST

I think robust debate about rules is a good thing. From time to time complete rubbish makes it into print these days and half-baked efforts deserved to be called out.

I suspect that as a small and friendly bunch we are too polite.

Having said that, understand these comments are in the abstract and not a comment on the GDA rules which I have not read and indeed sound interesting – albeit I'll let the dust settle before I contemplate buying a copy.

Regards

David F Brown
(no relation to the other one)

Marc the plastics fan Inactive Member21 May 2017 1:30 a.m. PST

Yes, a great discussion. May have been better after Tom had actually had an opportunity to play a game, but good to see thought being applied on both sides.

But I like what I have seen so far.

MichaelCollinsHimself21 May 2017 3:36 a.m. PST

Welcome to the rather select club of rules with regulating battalions David!

As for innovations and new ideas in gaming, it seems that "new ideas" like this tend to take a long time to catch on.
As a "new" thing, regulating battalions were first suggested by George Jeffrey in 1982 and put into some form of practice in 1990 by Mat DeLaMater in his "Legacy of Glory" rules.
Background to all that may have been the EEL publication a wonderfully non-glitzy publication with really great reader participation (nostalgia!).

I`ve had regulating battalions and directing units in my own rules since 2004, but could only make them available and incorporated into my own rules in 2010 when Mike Stockin first sold them on his website. But things go slowly. Now though, as standard and because the Roman legions and auxiliaries were regulated, drilled infantry, they form a part of my new ancients rules too Bella Contra Barbaros!
Some others have used them in the meantime I think (like Serrez les rangs!), but they haven`t enjoyed great widespread popularity.
Sadly, there it is though.
Anyhow, I`d be interested to learn more about your optional rule David I did a quick skim through the links on the blog but couldn`t find an example of them.
Would it be giving away too much if you could post them here?
Or perhaps mail me at: contact@grandmanoeuvre.co.uk ?

Mike.

Perhaps people should be fair to Tom, in that one now looks at promotional videos to see how a rule set works and whether you like them or not.

Marc the plastics fan Inactive Member21 May 2017 5:52 a.m. PST

I haven't seen anyone not being fair to Tom

MichaelCollinsHimself21 May 2017 6:22 a.m. PST

Re. fairness:

"Tom if you ever play a game of GdA PLEASE come back here and post you thoughts."

Is it not enough, just to have seen the videos?

"May have been better after Tom had actually had an opportunity to play a game"

No, I don`t think so.

Tom has watched the promotional videos and given us his views on them – he is entitled to voice an opinon.
You don`t agree with him, but he does not have to go away and play them just so that he can change his general views on gaming.
Unless of course, you think that the videos aren`t a good enough demonstration of how the rules work and why?

Ravenfeeder21 May 2017 8:25 a.m. PST

I've been interested in these rules, have watched the videos and ordered a copy. I do think Dave Brown has missed a trick here though. The use of ADC's for bonus actions is great. Players should always be give bonuses rather than penalised with negatives. But here's where I think it could be better. I don't think you need command rolls, that can be failed, at all. Just make the bonuses that apply from ADC application to be interesting, useful and add friction by having them of variable reliability. This way players can be happy with 'good' rolls, not have to suffer with 'bad' ones and still have plenty of friction in the command system.

For example: In 1809 the Austrians were generally poor at moving up quickly or reacting quickly to French actions. If moving/reacting quickly is a result of ADC availability then that matches reality better than games where poor command results in stop/start movement. Players will feel happy when they get 'bonus' actions, rather than annoyed when they fail to move at all.

Personal logo toofatlardies Sponsoring Member of TMP21 May 2017 11:46 a.m. PST

Surely a system which never limits beyond the normal, but only adds bonuses to allow for over-achievement does not have any friction at all?

For example, the 1809 Austrians who you say were poor to move or react quickly would be neither of those things.

It is, of course a matter of preference for gamers to choose whether they like games which have friction as a limiting factor. However, what is very clear is that in real life friction was there and was there in spades.

I don't think Dave has missed a trick at all, and having seen the launch game at Partizan today packed with gamers I can certainly say none of them seemed to think he had either.

Ravenfeeder21 May 2017 12:18 p.m. PST

Ah. I explained myself poorly as usual. Getting these thoughts from my head to the written word has a friction all of its own. My thought would be that everyone would move/react slowly, but that the French in this scenario would have many more chances to move that up a notch through superior command. The friction would be that the Austrians could be luckier and the French unluckier, or vice versa.

What I haven't like in previous rules, that looks to have a version here, is a start/stop assault where brigades get to just before thee final culmination and just dally around taking effective artillery fire because of a bad die roll. Seems neither historic or fun.

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2017 12:41 p.m. PST

Please allow me to clarify my point of view. I am not trashing these rules as I have only followed the demo videos. I do not doubt that there is a lot more involved than what was being shown. What I did see did not seem to reflect that units remained rated the same in the same class, at least to start with. When hearing about the command radius, (something that still has not been linked to the real process, only explained as an very abstracted game mechanic) I just shook my head. But the dropping of ADCs is similar to what I have done in "Cohesion: It's the name of the game" rules I have been working on for over 15 years now, but I use pips. The pips account for the efforts of the Commander and his staff in being able to influence things within the time represented in the game turn. Also, in my game, we account for the efforts of the unit's leadership for what they might (or might not have) accomplished within their game turn. This can result in a regaining of a significant and measurable amount of control back over the men (and consequently a regaining of unit capabilities).In my case, the definition of "significant and measurable" is 25% chunks. Of course, this works because I have changed value sets away from casualties.

Combat results, fatigue, movement and combat capability is all related to the current Cohesion Value of the unit in question. Combat results are expressed in terms of cohesion loss, pushed back and a combo of both. In game play with folks having just one game under their belt, have been able to conclude a Napoleonic Division sized game in a little over an hour. (Recently, we tried a muti-national participation game on-line using a Division of Union and Confederates as an experiment in teaching the game to truly non-experienced players. While it went well, it was appearant that the key to success was in the designer's notes which explains what you are doing when you do it.

As you might have guessed, I am no longer a fan of numbers (body counts- figure ratios, etc) since there is actually NOTHING linear about unit performances based solely upon casualties. (Referencing battle reports in many if not all periods of history.) Leadership control over the men is the main reason for unit effectiveness. The length and depth of training and experience of the men, training and experience of the leaders and how long have these men been led by these leaders is what is more akin to what happens in real life.

I hope this puts my seemingly disparaging comments more in line as to what I did not like just from viewing the videos. (Which were a great attempt to hook the potential gamer on a one-to-one discussion.

While I am currently involved in preparations for my daughter's wedding, then off to pack up to move from Germany back to the USA, I doubt I will have time till the dust settles after the move. But I will attempt to give them a go when I can. Perhaps with some new gaming friends who might know the rules by then?

Thanks, Mike, for chiming in. Perhaps it may be productive if we opened a forum where people interested in discussing game design can gather and exchange ideas?

Best to All,
Tom

tommyb2985 Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2017 4:24 p.m. PST

Aren't the rules supposed to be released today?
The site stills shows advanced orders only.
I'd like to purchase only the PDF version.

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2017 9:52 p.m. PST

IIRC, they were at a show today in the UK. Someone had posted that they would start sending out the PDF versions sometime on Monday. Hope that helps…..

v/r
Tom

tommyb2985 Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2017 7:14 a.m. PST

Yes, thank you Tom.
I broke down and purchased the hard copy yesterday and when I awoke this morning the free PDF version was in my mail box.
All is well.
Rules look fantastic.

MichaelCollinsHimself22 May 2017 8:23 a.m. PST

No worries Tom!

Shall we try the game design board perhaps?

TMP link

Mike.

Dano de Mano Inactive Member22 May 2017 9:08 a.m. PST

Is anyone else still waiting for the PDF?

Marc at work22 May 2017 10:06 a.m. PST

Nope – I got my pdf

MC himself – yes, the game design board will be an interesting place for the discussion of these sort of concepts

Lancer58 Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 2:56 p.m. PST

Only just spotted these, so immediately ordered PDF and hard copy, look great, needed new ruleset to get me motivated and dust down my 10mm forces, will use 15mm movement, think it works better.

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