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"Mr Thompkins in Wonderland- exaggeration of parameters" Topic

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652 hits since 16 Oct 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

UshCha17 Oct 2017 2:51 a.m. PST

For those not aware of the seminal work.

PDF link

Basically to make things more approachable in science he exaggerated certain aspects of physics.

Now I will start with my definition of fun in a wargame. What make war gaming exciting and interesting is in understanding, AT A VERY BASIC. Level the strategies and tactics of how armies fight at the tactical level, in particular with respect to combined arms in the period principally from about the start of WW2. To meet that I needed a set of rules that came somewhere in the range of plausible to assess tactics and, albeit perhaps more predictably than in some battles actually achieved. In recent offline chats with Wolfhag it did make me thing about the need to exaggerate to certain extent some key features (like in Mr Thompkins) to aid in the learning process.

In my case the abilities and problems are a bit exaggerated in some cases, as time in a wargame is precious, too many finicky rules helps in some ways but is outweighed by the time penalty. If a game lasts only 6 bounds for example the ability to model the ebb and flow of a battle is curtailed in my opinion excessively, leading to poor simulation.

As an example the observation from tanks is a bit simplified the extent of their Situational Awareness (SA) is binary within defined limits. This is crude but is forces the player to adopt real formations based on a crude model of the real requirements. This was a key driver in my own rules. However it does drives home the lesson that formations need to be adopted based on the Commanders evaluation of his Situational Awareness. Like Mr Thompkins the exaggeration is very useful if not correct. However in a simulation it is to me getting the key issues to be revealed.

What is your take on this approach?

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2017 8:56 a.m. PST


Your posts make my head hurt…keep it up!!

Jozis Tin Man17 Oct 2017 9:00 a.m. PST

Have you read Simulating War by Phil Sabin? If I am understanding you correctly, then he has a similar approach. Identify the most important points or key decisions that you are trying to simulate and emphasize them.

He has several practical examples in how a book that he uses in undergraduate and graduate history classes.

In your example, pushing models on a table is vastly different from bouncing along cross country in a vehicle trying to control a platoon on the move. But even though the simulation is an abstract simplification of reality, you want to emphasize situational awareness and how use of historical formations enhance that. Am I reading you correctly? To accomplish that you exaggerate some aspects of the simulation to focus it.

UshCha17 Oct 2017 10:37 p.m. PST

Jazis Tin Man, you have it in one. One of the exagerations I had not thought about too much is the suspension being less than perfetc ;-). Actually not quite true, at the fastest speed off road nobody is seeing very much.

Not read the book but its going on the christmas list. Thanks

Jozis Tin Man18 Oct 2017 9:16 a.m. PST

Just so happens I was reading through FM's on Stryker Rifle Company formations with the various pros and cons to each. Usually revolving around how easy the formation is to control, visibility, security, and how much firepower you can bring to bear on each direction

How are you modeling this? Have any sample rules or rule snippets you can share?

UshCha18 Oct 2017 9:38 a.m. PST

Jaszis Tin Man
The rules are Maneouvre Group on wArgames vault. Somewhat crudely :-

Buttoned up vehicles only see a limited arc based on the centerline of the gun. The Maneouver Group rules do not have an Overwatch rule. However it's nearest equivalent will only allow return fire immediately in or out of it "go" each bound. While in its 'go' it can traverse it's fire arc, it will not automaticaly spot a target in cover if it has not been seen firing at it or units of its own platoon has not seen it firing. Perhaps a bit harsh
UK the player does have 360 degree awareness so he needs to weigh up the risks.

Unbuttoned the arc is 180 on the gun but even then you need to have someone watching the rear arc.

Maneouver Group is such that you can move considerable distances in a game so enemy being you is quite possible.

As a designer you will understand that there are a lot of system interactions so this is the best I can do looking a one aspect. Much of the system is bases round command and control which favours logical commands.

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