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"Where's the Wargaming Rules Innovation?" Topic

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12 Apr 2019 5:49 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Wheres the Wargaming Rules Innovation?" to "Where's the Wargaming Rules Innovation?"Removed from Modern Discussion (1946 to 2008) boardRemoved from English Civil War boardRemoved from Ancients Discussion boardRemoved from 19th Century Discussion boardRemoved from 18th Century Discussion boardRemoved from ACW Discussion boardRemoved from 20mm WWII boardRemoved from Napoleonic Discussion boardCrossposted to Historical Wargaming in General board

12 Apr 2019 5:49 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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MiniPigs12 Apr 2019 11:04 a.m. PST

What's state of the art? Where are the revolutionary breakthroughs surrounding the handling of time, space and matter?

Are there any paradigm shifts for wargaming rules whether it's Horse and Musket, WW2 Armor, Ancients, Naval, Medieval Skirmish?

Now I'm not talking about the latest glossy seduction which just boils down to the same old movement/fire/morale systems attended by +1 for this -2 for that; I'm talking about real, fresh new ideas to make wargaming more fun and yet provide enough intellectual stimulation for both tactics and camaraderie.

What are the leading rules sets that offer these dimensions and what are the features they bring to the table…literally?

arthur181512 Apr 2019 1:42 p.m. PST

I saw a 'real, fresh new idea' for determining initiative just tonight, on the 54mm or Fight! blog entry for 11th April:

"The Older Player asks the Younger Player to spell a word (in our case from this week's spelling list for school)

If the Younger Player spells the word correctly, they may take an action. If the word is one which has caused the Younger Player difficulty previously, an extra action may be awarded as judged fair by the Older Player.

If the Younger Player misspells the word, the Older Player may take an action.

After the action has been resolved, play continues with the Older Player asking the Younger Player to spell another word. The same word may be reused as many times as desired (or necessary if you're preparing for a spelling test)."

This was devised by the blogger's son – a seven year old!
Seems to meet your criteria of fun and intellectual stimulation?

Perhaps the tendency of many rules to conform to 'the same old movement/fire/morale systems' is that such systems have worked satisfactorily for years, are tried and tested, and players are content with them?

MiniPigs12 Apr 2019 2:21 p.m. PST

That's interesting. There well may be rules out there that are innovative, well written, easy on the brain and loads of fun that I dont know about.

I dont know a hundreth of the rules that exist for wargaming. I dont know that we need better rules but innovation continues to take place in many fields that we dont necessarily have an absence of adequate proucts. And yet, absent strong necessity, the desire to continue to refine, simplify and experiment with new systems and techniques must still surely be with this hobby?

If it isnt then it isnt. If it is, then I would love to hear about examples.

TacticalPainter0112 Apr 2019 4:29 p.m. PST

The patrol phase and use of jump off pints to deploy units onto the table in Chain of Command (WWII platoon skirmish rules from Too Fat Lardies). This brings an elegant system for representing the empty battlefield that requires no record keeping. Players begin play with a general idea of where the enemy might be. While keeping rules mechanics to a minimum it simulates fog of war that is historically plausible yet easy to game. A departure from traditional ‘enter from the table edge' or ‘setup at start' mechanics.

Nine pound round12 Apr 2019 5:40 p.m. PST

I am waiting for someone to figure out how to use the phone for a lot of the traditional "enter the chart data, apply the modifiers, and throw the dice" situations. A lot of flow-chart dynamics could be handled by a good cell phone app that allowed you to step your way through and generate results, without the need for chart-reading and rules consultation.

Wolfhag12 Apr 2019 7:08 p.m. PST

I've been working on miniatures and board WWII Combined Arms arms game with a scale of 1:1 vehicle and heavy weapons with infantry squads/sections/teams.

I gave a short presentation and had demos set up at ConSim World in Phoenix last year and will be there this year. I did have a number of players, designers, and developers that said they were impressed (or maybe they didn't want to hurt my feelings) and wanted to see future releases. There was a major game publishing company that looked at the game to get an idea of development for production. However, I don't make any claims to the level of realism and revolutionary breakthroughs but it is a different approach and in many ways easier to play. Playability is more important than anything else and I've used historical values when possible with a minimum of abstraction and artificial rules.

The game scale can be 1" = 2m to 50m and played with any model scale. All game distances are measured in meters, not inches. What is different from traditional games (call it revolutionary or not) is that the entire turn is structured differently than most games with fewer rule mechanics and exceptions. New players can easily control 4-6 vehicles/squads. Experienced players 10+.

Where are the revolutionary breakthroughs surrounding the handling of time, space and matter?

This is a big difference: I use Action Timing, Virtual Movement and the one-second game turns for the timing to replace traditional initiative, IGYG, random/card unit activation, opportunity fire, overwatch, movement, reaction, and target engagement rules. Each one-second turn is used for the timing of actions and is in not used the same way a traditional game turn is used.

Action Timing: The game recreates the synchronized second-to-second timing of actions, movement, and firing between all units on the playing surface without the need for traditional activation or initiative rules. That alone takes a lot of rules burden off the player. The timing to perform an action like shooting compares favorably to historical outcomes and is dependent on the weapons platform performance, crew training, tactical advantages/positioning and player Risk-Reward decisions, not special rules and die roll modifiers. The Action Timing allows any real combat tactics to be executed just as it was in WWII (Halt Fire, Rapid Fire, Battlesight, Reverse Slope Defense, Shoot & Scoot, etc) and is playable without special rules and abstracted die roll modifiers. It's about timing.

Players use their units individual initiative to issue an order and determine the Action Timing for the future Action Turn when the order will execute (most games execute their action on the same turn they activate). This is the main player task in the game and his customized unit data card has all of the info, options, and decisions he can make. Using one second turns as timing allows the game to deliver historic split second results and synchronize game play without initiative rules, separate orders phase, die rolls or activations.

Action Turn: That's the turn when an order from a previous turn is executed. So if a unit reacts to a threat on turn #35 and wants to shoot with an Action Timing of 12 turns/seconds, his Action Turn to shoot is turning #47. On turn #47 he shoots – if he's still alive. During those 12 turns it's assumed his crew is performing their duties to get the shot off and there is nothing else to do until your Action Turn # is announced. It's not an RPG but could be.

Virtual Movement: Movement is performed very differently than other games and is a playable way to perform simultaneous movement. There are no movement points and no IGYG movement segment when one side moves and the other side observes. All moving units have a movement marker showing the speed, distance (faster units have a longer marker) and the direction they will move in a 5 turn movement segment. The markers have 5 equal segments showing the distance they'll move each turn/second and is proportion to all other movement. It's called "Virtual Movement" because as each game turn is called out the unit is assumed to have "virtually" moved to the next segment on the movement marker without the player needing to physically move it (that's not playable). That's playable to keep movement and firing Action Turns on the same turn and creates a dynamic visual on the playing surface. Every 5th turn all moving units are moved to the end of the marker and a new direction shown for the next 5 turns. To stop remove the marker. This is NOT impulse movement.

Game Turn Sequence: As each one-second game turn is announced the following actions are performed in sequence but are considered to be simultaneous: 1- Virtual Movement/Reaction, 2- Artillery/Mortar impacts/Reaction, 3- Direct Fire/Reaction. Each 10th turn handles small arms fire, bailouts, communications, progressive damage, SNAFU Recovery, etc in a more abstracted manner. If no actions are scheduled for a turn the next turn is immediately announced. The game is always moving to the next Action Turn or movement segment. Any number of units can fire in a turn, two can fire simultaneously at each other or no firing at all for multiple turns, it's all about timing and not random.

Reaction: All units are always assumed to be "activated" and can react to any enemy action in their LOS on the turn it occurs just like their real WWII counterparts. This includes canceling a current order and issue a new one if a new more dangerous threat appears. Reaction means on the same turn, decide to shoot or move, there is no orders phase. To move place a movement marker showing speed, direction and distance moving. To shoot determine your Action Timing (amount of time to perform the action) to shoot and the Action Turn (future turn the order will execute). Current turn + Action Timing = Action Turn

Bottom Line: The end result is a game that intuitively "flows" from second-to-second / turn-to-turn and action to action without artificial game mechanics for activations, opportunity fire, initiative, and individual move/fire segments. Die roll modifiers are mostly eliminated. The game uses timing modifiers that increase or decrease an orders Action Timing. All of the data and modifiers are on a customized data card for each vehicle model. This speeds up the game and makes it easier on the players.

It's about superior crew performance, historical weapons platform performance, timing and player decisions, not die roll modifiers and special rules.

Since the game uses real military terminology and nomenclature it is easily recognizable to former tank crewman and infantry leaders. However, new and experienced players may need to brush up on real-life tank-tank and infantry combat operations and tactics manuals.

Three game versions: Free Beer & Pretzels (intro for Action Timing and Virtual Movement concepts, no data cards), Basic (customized data cards, more Action Timing detail and weapons), Advanced (more detailed data card, more detailed fire control/aim time/engagement, timing breakdowns for engagement delays, turret traverse and more optional Risk-Reward aim times). The free Treadheads "Beer & Pretzel" two-page rules with designer notes is now available. PM me for a pdf copy. I've playtested it with 10-12 year old kids at a convention so I'm sure you can handle it.

More info on Pinterest: link


Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Apr 2019 7:55 p.m. PST

There are horse-and-musket systems that are moving away from the "same old movement/fire/morale systems" to perspective based command and control systems, using frontage-based units rather than figure ratios, cohesive formations founded on behavioral models instead of individual units, and initiative that is a combat result rather than a random die roll. Two examples that come immediately to mind are Et Sans Resultat:

and my own Napoleonic Command:

ced110612 Apr 2019 7:57 p.m. PST

Not wargaming, but Gloomhaven, a dungeoncrawl boardgame, finally disposes of the dice for cards. Yet, like RPGs and wargames, you have access to all your abilities because you start with your entire set of cards in your hand, rather than draw cards from a deck. Eurogames have done this for a long time, but it's pretty rare to see card-based combat in a popular dungeoncrawler or combat-oriented boardgame.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Apr 2019 5:22 a.m. PST

QILS is substantially different from other wargame systems in a couple ways.

It codes unit stats on the dice. It doesn't use specialty dice … you colour the pips of regular d6. This requires a small amount of work outside the game. A small amount; taking a Sharpie to the pips of a die is less than a minute of work. This allows the game to play in a extremely flexible and complex, non-linear response space. You can simply implement combat effects that would take double handfuls of dice and multiple tables otherwise. Speaking of which, by offloading the work to outside the game, there are no combat charts or tables.

The other major difference is the system itself is lean – a couple of pages. It does this by offloading many of the considerations that are highly situational to scenarios rather than being in the core rules. One example is there is no master "terrain set" for the rules. There is a system for applying a few simple terrain effects, but no list for "grass, dirt, mud, shallow water" or "open, rough, light cover" terrain in the rules. If you have four types of terrain in a specific scenario, the scenario tells you what they are. You don't need to memorize and remember or look stats up on table. State a couple things for the game; forget them after. If next week this grass needs to slow troops. use the same grass, and identify the effect before the game.

As mentioned above, the challenge with presenting it is that because it is different from other wargames, it doesn't look like what people are familiar with in other wargames. So when you see la Batalla de Ciudad de Puebla the players have ten dice amoung them, but there are fifty unique sets of combat interchanges going on. Just not fifty charts.

UshCha13 Apr 2019 8:08 a.m. PST

Not sure what revolutionary really means. For good or ill our own game Maneouvre Group does have some differences from mainstream.

1) It probably has the easiest dead ground model that I am aware of. I would consider it revolutionary, but may not be for folk who are not interested in that. Again the presence of dead ground makes decisions more complex though more credible.

2) Our play sequence is wildly different to most other games, which gets rid of a lot of rules. Again revolutionary only IF you don't think dice/cards is a better simpler solution to life the universe and everything.

3) Our movement system is unlike any other Again its revolutionary IF you want that. However there are gamer's who hate it, its not restricting, so the number of key decisions go up as the options are massively increased as are the potential risks. This requires more though, many gamers who operate on the more social side don't want to have to think hard. You can't play chess and chat. Should wargames be suitable for chat or a serious game, answering that definitively would instigate a revolution (or a revolt).

Dice/card issue to me is not a revolution in simulation, it may help in very simple games but to me its just another way of presenting data, not a revolutionary way of dealing with time and space. Some for good reasons may not agree with me as they have different objections and design goals.

So one mans revolution may be a damp squib to another.

The for example the movement of terrain from the core to the scenario. This may be OK if there are only one or two terrain types. Our current game (well ongoing games) have at least 10 different terrain types). It would be hell if each week we changed the definition of the terrain types for similar looking terrain pieces (" now is that hedge passable this week, it was last week." ), Definatley NOT a revolution for me but perhaps for others it is.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2019 9:49 a.m. PST

Well, first off, there has been a lot of innovation, but in small bits. More like evolution that revolution. Some things have been mentioned. A lot of innovation gets lost because it is only part of more conventional rules.

Second, I hate reading rules to first play a new game. Tedious technical instruction. Because of that, I hesitate to learn another set of rules. Conventions are great for the opportunity to try out new rules without having to learn them yourself, let alone buy them. I think that is one reason rules remain cheap compared to say board games or playing golf.

But there is this too:

Raph Koster points out in A Theory of Fun that players are, at their core, lazy. They tend to seek games similar to those that they're already good at, so they are not learning something that is new, which reduces the amount of learning-pleasure they can receive. They tend to look for loopholes, exploits, and cheats, which likewise circumvent the pleasurable learning process. [playing the game, not reading the rules…] Players make the game less fun--but the do it anyway.

In fairness, game designers do this too. We probably do this even moreso than most players, since we are so experienced at finding patterns in games and we see the forms so quickly. This leads to a lot of derivative work.

Ian Schreiber, Game Design Concepts: An Experiment in Game Design and Teaching, Level 8, 2009

So, there are a number of pressures, or perhaps just entropy is a hindrance to innovation.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Apr 2019 11:26 a.m. PST

It would be hell if each week we changed the definition of the terrain types for similar looking terrain pieces

There's no requirement to change out every terrain effect from scenario to scenario. The flexibility allows you to stat out terrain the way that makes sense for the game instead of looking through lists to find the closest fit to what you want.

As far as remembering, it s no different than knowing that this piece of terrain was "sedge" last week, but it's "rushes" this week.

If you can only handle one or two types of terrain, then you couldn't have ten, anyway.

Zephyr113 Apr 2019 2:49 p.m. PST

"players are, at their core, lazy."

As a game designer, so am I. wink That's one reason I got rid of most weapon stats (I got tired of having to memorize x number of them.) Simplification while retaining playability is more 'evolution' than 'revolution'… ;-)

Wolfhag13 Apr 2019 3:10 p.m. PST

So how to address players not liking reading the rules:
Have a game sequence that is intuitive and not artificial. Game sequences that have artificial rules that do not exist in training and tactics manuals are not normally intuitive and natural but they can still be playable and fun.

Players can naturally understand timing, how it relates to time & distance and how long an action will take to perform. The movement markers in my game give a dynamic view of the action to the players of vehicles movement in proportion to other vehicles and how far they'll move in 5-15+ turns/seconds. This presents a true picture of the action and allows players to realistically estimate the situation in the near future and plan ahead accordingly.

Planning involves evaluating the current situation and issuing an order that when executed in the near future will solve the problem. When planning, there are a variety of tactics and decisions (from the manuals) to trade accuracy for speed but you still must work within the constraints of your weapons platform and crew. The player is not depending on a die roll with modifiers or the flip of a card.

Games using IGYG turn sequences and random/phased activations do not generally involve the player planning ahead. I think some games do accomplish this in a somewhat abstracted/playable way but not in a way that can present split second results that a player can estimate, at least none that I know of.

Timing allows better representation of vehicles and guns strengths and weaknesses without resorting to die roll modifiers. Timing allows players to make a Risk-Reward Decision (a real tactic, not a die roll modifier) to beat their opponent to the first shot, it's the player's decision, not a lucky die roll or modifier – to a great degree you have a hand in your own fate and can't blame it entirely on a bad die roll. However, just like in real life, what at first appears to be a good decision can turn out to be a disaster a few seconds later.

"Oops, maybe I should not have done that".

I've been playing the game at conventions for almost 5 years and never let players read the rules. I give a 5-7 minute intro on the concepts and some sample moves. After about 45 minutes they can be playing on their own. That was the goal of the game. With the two page "Beer & Pretzels" rules I think I've accomplished it.

The good players are the ones that can think ahead, estimate time & distance and use their strengths against their opponent's weakness. The poor players are the ones that have spatial problems but do not recognize it until it's too late. They can't blame it on poor die rolls or not "activating".

Videos are the best way for people to learn but pretty much impossible to make use in the middle of a game – until now. I use customized data cards and have programmed different areas on the card like a QRC that your camera can recognize. In the middle of a game, you can point your camera at a section of the card and using an augmented reality app stream a short video explanation and sample to your phone. Here is an old one somewhat out of focus but you should get the idea. I'll update it when I finalize the data card designs.
YouTube link


Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2019 8:03 p.m. PST

So how to address players not liking reading the rules:
Have a game sequence that is intuitive and not artificial. Game sequences that have artificial rules that do not exist in training and tactics manuals are not normally intuitive and natural but they can still be playable and fun.


Yeah, to some extent. I have never met anyone who just loved reading wargame rules, even rules collectors like myself.

In the end, your rules, no matter how intuitive, still need to be written down. How that is done is basically a technical 'how to' manual. You can't avoid it. And yes, having intuitive rules, intuitive rules writing etc. do go a long way to making wargame rules palatable and easy to digest.

Andy ONeill14 Apr 2019 7:23 a.m. PST

Do rules have to be written?

Could one describe the game in videos?
You'd need cards / board / QR sheets for a game of any substance.
Some of the older club rules are QR sheets and word of mouth.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2019 8:28 a.m. PST

I suppose so, but then you basically have live people as the communicators, taking the place of written rules. Players still need to reference the rules at times, so it can be less than 'user friendly' to 'look up a rule' on a video. Having it on a ipad or such, even a phone is great, but still either written or video.

QR sheets are great, but if they were all that was needed [sans 'word of mouth'], that's all you'd see. Then rules would be really cheap. And, at their best, QRs are still written down and have to be clear, 'intuitive', etc.

In the end, a game is a set of instructions on a set of processes and behaviors/decisions, always in some sequence. That has to be clearly communicated if players are going to follow them.

Wolfhag14 Apr 2019 8:43 p.m. PST

I put on a game at a convention using the simplest timing rules. The scenario was a Russian tank and infantry attack on a German town with German tanks coming to the rescue. Each of the first time 12 players had 4 tanks or 2 infantry squads or 2 tanks and an infantry squad. Models were 1/72 scale on a 16-foot table.

Here is how I worked out the Rate of Fire timing:
Anti-Guns fired every 5 turns
German tanks fired every 7 turns
Russian tanks fired every 9 turns
When engaging a new target the German players added a D6 die roll to their timing for the first shot, the Russian a D10. This reflected better German crews and fighting unbuttoned and acquiring a new target. It also made the shooting order unpredictable even if you knew the rate of fire.

This timing method eliminated the need for initiative determination and IGYG turn sequence. It also gave historic split second results that traditional games cannot duplicate.

When two infantry squads fired at each other they were locked in a firefight. Every 10th turn we determined causalities by adding together firepower with a D100 die roll on a modified binomial table to determine causalities. Tank machine guns fired every 10th turn too. This moved quickly.

Vehicle movement markers took care of measuring movement distance which was 4-6 inches every 10 turns. The players had to move in the direction of the marker only but could change direction every 10th turn. That gave a good interaction with rates of fire without needing special opportunity fire rules. This portrayed simultaneous movement and with all 12 players moving their models every 10th turn it really sped up the game too.

The players noted their turn of firing on an index card. Immediately after firing they noted their next turn to fire.

We used a 1D6 for shooting. Moving targets could evade the shot by rolling a 1-2. We used six hit locations rolling a D6 to see where it hit on an index card. There were some entries that were a potential ricochet on a 1-2. Letting the defender roll to evade or ricochet was a real crowd pleaser.

After about 20 minutes all I did was call out the turn numbers and try to make sure no one was cheating or making a mistake and answer any questions. It was a fun game with lots of interaction and lots of action. About an hour into the game I implemented a "Risk-Reward" decision where the player could fire 1 or 2 turns sooner with 1 or 2 negative die roll modifiers. That made the game a little more interesting and unpredictable.

There is not much to write down. If you could count to 10 and roll a D6 you were good to go.


UshCha15 Apr 2019 2:16 a.m. PST

Bit late due to TMP being down for maintainave when I had time.

Not sure that I understand the Theory of Fun. If you are a keen Golfer you will spend a large part of your hobby life playing and practiceing. To me wargames is also a demanding and rewarding pastime. Certainly it would not come under a game for the interlectually laszy.

As a simulator designer I am most certainly not a lazy designer. However as all good students of Computational Fluid Dynamics knows the speed of the algorithms is key. If your computations are slow the ability to achieve a workable solution in the available time reduces. Wargames are just the same, the play needs to be as fast as it is possible while achiveing a creible result. Very little ebb end flow of a battle can be captured in 4 to 6 moves. More is available in 10 and even more in 20 moves. Our multi evening games run to hundreds and there the flow is amasing.

If you have lazy players who don't study or take the game seriously, they never make good opponets, fine for the odd social game but like lazy sportman they will never will achive anything and proably never get much out of their hobby.

Good desigh with as an intuative player game interface as possible is not lazyness it is good design and costs a lot of effort to achieve but it does reward well.

The aversion to rules seems very odd to me. I create in CADDS as a hobby for DIY, Slot Cars, Military Models, scenary. It would be loudicrous to expect to do any of this without a comprehensive set of "Rules"/instructions. Why then would it even seem plausible or sensible to consider playing a game without reading and understanding the rules?

The concentration on convention games is one that has no mirror certainly in the UK. We have competition games for which unsupprisingly, reading the rules and understanding them is derigour and VERY short show games that have minimal correlation to real wargames competition or otherwise.

MiniPigs15 Apr 2019 8:03 a.m. PST

I think the issue may not be laziness in reading the rules but he fact there are so many second rate, mundane and generally poorly written rules out there that by the time you run to a set and read them, then play them to understand what you're doing, you've invested a lot of time for no result.

I believe what the concept of rules reading aversion encapsulates the idea that a gamer wants one standard rules set that gives some period flavor, some quasi-realistic results, some random excitement and an ability to let their own cleverness shine through. In short they're looking for a standard set of rules.

Now a standard is difficult because some gamers want to compete, some want mathematical efficiency and others want different miniatures scales and battle sizes. For example, I like smallish battles and the occasional skirmish while I realize others want to recreate Borodino every night.

Some gamers want to only replay historical battles, while I enjoy randomly generated or counterfactual scenarios. And, sometimes gamers just cannot understand each other; after all the more literal minded you are, the less you can understand why someone wants a randomly generated scenario in the US Civil War, when there are literally hundreds of battles to refight.

And they have a point. However, the point becomes smaller when you enter a period where there aren't enough battles to refight, say Renaissance English in Ireland. We know they fought a lot of battles but they aren't exactly as well documented as ACW battles and therefore even the most hard-bitten wargamer may accept a "make believe" battle set up as long as the terrain is "Irish" and the scenario is plausible, such as a Fenian ambush of witless English soldiery.

I remember one WRG gamer who used to cut unit bases out of cardboard and play the game out to see how different armies behaved. Now for him, that was the challenge, for me it was tiring beyond comprehension.

As a solo gamer that has to do all the work, I want ease of play and events that take the game out of my controlling grasp. In short, Like in the film "Gladiator", I want to be entertained. Really no point in setting up a game on my own and it all going to plan, in that case, I might as well push the soldiers around on the floor and make machine-gun sounds.

I realize other gamers want to be Napoleon, or Pyrrhus or The Old Dessauer and imagine they are THERE, and that's fine. However, I think the rules shouldn't cater to the personality of a particular gamer mindset but rather be a well thought out kit that can be used by either player with the same enjoyment.
That's why it's important for rules to have a good structure, display some period flavor and be dynamic. They should also be simple. Language exists to communicate and the Greek aim was to load as much universally understood meaning into as few words as possible.

Now, I bought those AWI British Grenadier Rules because everyone pounded the table about them but I haven't been able to read through them yet. It doesn't help that there exist not a few typos and the rules on unit disruption, though important to the game, are seemingly not listed in one place. I don't need that in my life. And, people will find that far from demonstrating being intelligent by hammering through dense and poorly written rules to understand them, the brighter the mind, the more it desires elegance and simplicity.

I also bought these "Guns of Liberty" rules that many were also pounding the table over and, though somewhat easy to read, possessed the same old "Kick, kick, step, step" that, frankly, rules have used for forever and they could be used for any horse and musket period.

To clarify, there is a belief that smart people can interpret dense or confusing matter but I say it's the opposite, only a fool would put himself through that. When a lawyer writes for a judge, if he is smart, he makes the document as light and as easy to read as possible; knowing that judges are often overworked and are also concentrating on a dozen different matters at the same time. Thus, if you want the judge to smile on your point of view, keep it simple and clear.

I think another analogy that some on here bristle at is that if you have a mentally taxing day job, generally you want simplicity at play; while if you have an unchallenging workaday, gaming may be your chance to prove you're a history expert or a Napoleon III.

Now, none of this would be so terribly important except that we have to pay for the rules. And yes, there are arguments that what's worthwhile should cost money and, additionally, why should the author this and why should the gamer that, but frankly there is a plethora of lousy rules out there.

And I suspect that is the case because no one has come up with paradigm shifts for wargaming and every gaming group who comes up with "unit in woods +2" and "unit with enemy to the rear -3" thinks they've invented the latest-and-greatest.

But in every area of life, there are people with a vision that can keep the integrity of what we value and still come up with a simpler more fun manner to do it in. If it exists, point it out. if it doesn't, don't worry too much about it but get back to the drawing board!

Maybe gamers as a whole should throw the need up to the world to solve? You know, on one of those global problem solving sites/boards where maybe someone in Congo may come up with a brilliant set of rules none of us have ever considered. They do it for physics problems and business solutions. Maybe if we collectively offered a reward we could get the rules we'd enjoy, rather than the ones we think are new and different but all descend from the same approach and viewpoint?


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Apr 2019 8:14 a.m. PST

The aversion to rules seems very odd to me.

That's because players don't want to play the rules. They want to play the game.

You often use the term "unnecessary evil", well, that's what wargame rules are. They are the necessary part to create the knowable and unknowable states of a battlefield, encapsulate orders, and execute the interactions amoung battlefield entities.

"Lazy" or "uninterested" are deceptive oversimplifications (for the most part). If you go to a convention, attend a club meeting, or host at your home, you have already demonstrated interest and invested effort (as well as money) in the endeavour.

This just comes back to preferences and what people are interested in. The "lazy" people are interested in warfare, the battles, the history, combat dynamics, strategy, tactics, how strategy and tactics interact, what will the unknown hold, PMESII, morale, objectives, secret objectives, risk, creative decision making, the ability to cognitively assess a complex situation, mental models and projecting the future, and thousands of other things.

What they may not be interested in are the differences between Landsknecht morale implementation for "Hoarse and Mollusk" or "Liberte, Fraternitie, et Petits Fours!".

This is extremely close to the way real world commanders think and feel. While many commanders have real world experience built in the details of warfare, those details have changed by the time they have command and are really not that important. An infantry commander relies on the cognitive understanding of pressing a maneuver under fire built from habits of mind gained in squad or platoon level activity, but not so much on which guy has the WP round and which one has the frag grenade.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2019 2:50 p.m. PST

Not sure that I understand the Theory of Fun. If you are a keen Golfer you will spend a large part of your hobby life playing and practicing. To me wargames is also a demanding and rewarding pastime. Certainly it would not come under a game for the intellectually lazy.


That is not what Koster meant. I agree with your assessment of wargaming as a demanding and rewarding pastime. So, if you have a choice when you have a day free to play, do you play something you know or sit down and spend extra time digesting a set of new rules and any adjustments you might have to make to your current armies and bases? Gamers do both, but one choice takes considerably more time and effort than the other.

As etotheipi notes: That's because players don't want to play the rules. They want to play the game.

The commitment and effort is even more necessary to master a game as you rightly say is part of gaming. So, does a golfer spend the afternoon playing a game he has spent time mastering or go learn handball? Obviously, a person can and will do either. Inertia and energy conservation says, he will invest in something he already has invested time and effort to master. Koster has labeled this 'lazy', which yes, is misleading. It certainly didn't mean uninterested or uncommitted.

Granted you convention wargame rules were easy and intuitive, but remember YOU are there telling them how it works and clarifying when needed. If you aren't there and they want to learn your wargame?

RudyNelson15 Apr 2019 3:46 p.m. PST

One view is the old it has all been done before.
Rules used bucket of dice back in the 1970s and opposed dice in a view sets including mine in the 1970s and 1980s.
The matrix combat system gained a strong position in the late 1970s then migrated to a matrix with attrition for both sides which had already been used in a few board games.
Then bucket of dice became in vogue again.

A lot depends on what the designer wants to represent such as anything from a historical simulation with commander decisions being the only variance to a fast playing game with limited historical factors.

Andy ONeill16 Apr 2019 5:04 a.m. PST

All my games are social.
I used to play "serious" tournaments in my youth.
Eventually realised they weren't any fun.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2019 1:52 p.m. PST

There is another issue with innovation that really applies to miniature wargame rules--and wargame designers:

Game Designer Ian Schreiber again:

The most fun games are designed in a player-centric manner, concentrating first on providing a quality experience. You can tell a game where the designer made a game that they wanted to play, because it sold a total of five copies to the designer, the designer's close friends, and the desiner's mom. You can also tell a game where the designer started with content rather than gameplay; these are the games that have deep, involving stories and incredible layers of content, but no one sees them because the gameplay is boring and people stop playing after five minutes. What would your class be like if you started your lesson plans by thinking of the student experience, rather than designing a class that you find interesting [your students might not share your research interests], or designing a class based around content [which is probably not engaging until you bring it to life.

Ian may have over simplified some, but I think it is for clarity-sake. Obviously, our hobby has folks that have all sorts of interests that can coincide with yours as a designer. It is just being aware of how that interest in manifest among them. As a new teacher many centuries ago, I wanted to teach history. I didn't really become good at my craft until I understood that I was teaching students.

Another problem is that many game designers are just wargamers putting together their idea of a 'good game' without reference to the larger community of gamers, that and they have no real grounding in either game design or simulation design. Some just get lucky, some never sell anything and some go on to learn 'how to do it' consistently. Few actually approach it as a business or more than a one-off effort.

The third is play-testing. Usually rules get 'tested' two places, with the designer's gaming buddies and at conventions, both of which have some real downsides to effective game testing.

With those issues, I think it is easy to predict that the hobby could have an abundance of rules sets with nothing really going for them as games, let along 'innovations.'

And that doesn't even begin to address marketing….

Wolfhag16 Apr 2019 3:05 p.m. PST

Yes, I'm there as the GM so I do eventually need to write some rules. At first, I had my own ideas of how the game should be – I think I was a minority of one. Fortunately, I had not spent a lot of time and no investment other than time. However, despite my overall failure, I did gain valuable insight by observing players and I noticed some natural tendencies they had.

Now my main goal was to develop a game that was intuitive by using the natural way that people observe activity and approaches they take to use strategy and tactics to solve problems. If I could develop a game that leveraged what people already knew and naturally used it would make it easier to develop and play the game around that, fewer rules should translate into better playability. I needed to concentrate on natural tendencies and concepts and not burden them with a bunch of rules I thought were cool.

As the player/testers played the game their natural tendencies and ways they attempt to play the game would guide me in developing the game and the rules/concepts used. Their job was to show me how they wanted to approach and play the game without detailed knowledge of the rules (that artificially constrains players), not for me to burden them with a set of rules they had to learn.

I saw this as boiling down to two concepts all players possessed: Their natural OODA Decision Loop and Timing (estimating how long actions take and what can be done to shorten or lengthen the action). I think this undercuts how players approach games using strategy and tactics. That's my observation anyhow. You are the expert (not snarky, McLaddie made a living writing training simulations) so feel free to guide me in the right direction.

My playtesting involved using players as guinea pigs in my experiment by telling them the minimum amount of instruction to play the game and then watch how they try to play, questions they have and observe their difficulties. If I saw a player having a difficult time or a confused look on his face I'd intervene. I still wanted them to succeed and have fun, not torture them. If they continued having a hard with a rule or concept I'd scrap or change it. A lesson or explanation for one handled it for everyone.

My pre-game instruction was more about the game concepts revolving around the OODA Decision Loop and Action Timing and not traditional rules instruction and introducing new concepts. Player decisions came down to moving or shooting and how to do it.

When I saw a player having a hard time or looking confused, rather than reading the rules to him I'd ask:

"What do you want to do?"

He'd normally say, "I want to shoot (or move)."

Then I'd ask, "How can you do that and how long will it take?" all of the data he needs is on his vehicle data card. Now, rather than the player being constrained by a binary reaction die roll (failed to activate) or IGYG sequence (Is it my turn yet?) that limits what he can do at this point, the player is going to go through his natural OODA Decision Loop without being told.

He'll "Observe" the playing surface (immediate threats and LOS), then "Orient/Evaluate" his situation (considering tactical advantages, disadvantages, threats, support, cover, etc), "Decide" on an action (move/evade, shoot, communicate, track) and any Risk-Reward Tactical Decisions (trading accuracy for speed), and then "Act" by determining the Action Timing of his decision and the future Action Turn it will execute (orders do not execute on the same turn issued). The player is using his natural OODA Loop in a similar way a real combat crew would but can spend more than one second, unlike his WWII counterpart.

The game's play aids and data cards were difficult to development (no experience on my part) because I had to introduce concepts from manuals and TraDocs most players were not familiar with. I mostly solved the issue by approaching these tactics on their timing aspects and their impact on shooting or moving rather than a new rule. I called these "Risk-Reward Tactical Decisions". This put the players in the real WWII crews situation by choosing tactics and making decisions to balance the timing of speed and accuracy depending on the situation and any tactical advantage/disadvantage.

Example: When shooting, some Risk-Reward Decisions for a player could spend 1-2 turns aiming to simulate a Snap Shot, 3-5 turns to simulate Battle Sight or the maximum of 7 turns for Precision Aiming for maximum accuracy. Decreasing the number of turns aiming decreases accuracy (risk of missing) but increases speed (reward to shoot first). Now the player is using the same tactics from the manual without having to read the manual or even know what they are. The player makes a natural timing decision considering the risks with a minimum of rules overhead and limitations. It's about decisions, not die rolls (SNAFU's can impact action at the worst time).

Example: An enemy tank is moving at high speed towards a copse of trees. Based on the movement arrow length that shows his speed, he'll disappear out of LOS in about 15 turns (3x the movement marker length allowing players to realistically estimate speed on the battlefield). Looking at his vehicle data card, the shooting player has a trained crew that will take 7 turns of aim time for maximum accuracy. He knows he can get off two well-aimed shots or three shots of 5 aim turns each with a Risk-Reward accuracy penalty. If he had an Ace crew he would need only 5 turns for maximum accuracy so could get off three well-aimed shots which is a big advantage. That's one way crew differences are portrayed. Better crews act quicker and more efficiently getting inside their opponents Decision Loop forcing them to respond to your actions. That's initiative without the need for rules or a die roll.

By having the players concentrate on Action Timing and use of their natural OODA Loop they do not need to rely on traditional game rules like opportunity fire, overwatch, initiative, activations, IGYG limitations, etc so I don't need to write rules for them which makes it easier for both of us.

When running into a situation not covered, players can agree on the timing to perform an action (historical examples) and the reward/penalty it may have. You don't need special rules or die roll modifiers that can adversely impact existing rules.

My experiment was to see how well the players did use the games basic concepts combined with their own natural tendencies and play aids to help me develop rules that would aid them, not artificial rules that may impact their natural tendencies and limit their creativity.

Now that I have the data cards, images and icons finished, I can program the augmented reality cell phone app that will stream short videos of a "virtual me" giving an explanation and example. Ideally, the game will no longer require my physical presence but I'm open to helping out if live streaming over Periscope.


Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2019 1:44 a.m. PST

When I saw a player having a hard time or looking confused, rather than reading the rules to him I'd ask:

"What do you want to do?"

He'd normally say, "I want to shoot (or move)."

Then I'd ask, "How can you do that and how long will it take?" all of the data he needs is on his vehicle data card. Now, rather than the player being constrained by a binary reaction die roll (failed to activate) or IGYG sequence (Is it my turn yet?) that limits what he can do at this point, the player is going to go through his natural OODA Decision Loop without being told.

You might have an approach to the organization of the written rules developing here.

Even so, there is more to written rules than what you describe. For instance, in playing with your rules, with you there, I know that I had some problems understanding and/or remembering how the fire tables worked in resolving fire. Just some things to think about.

Wolfhag18 Apr 2019 4:26 p.m. PST

What I've been discussing is basically the "Quick Start" rules to learn the basic game concepts (Action Timing and Virtual Movement) that are different from other games.

I started playtesting the most detailed gunnery version of the game which is what you played. That takes the base accuracy which is the dispersion/MPI measured in meters and randomizes it. If the result is <= to the target size the round hit. The basic version uses a D20 roll within a certain range to hit like most other games. It's easier to consolidate a detailed game than to add on to a basic game.

I am working on rules write up for the basic game that will center around the use of the customized data cards.


UshCha19 Apr 2019 10:51 a.m. PST

Start on another track what would be an actual specific innovation, not just another blind wish for the perfetc rules which would not be perfect to all anyway?

Our own rules have a simple dead ground system which is simple and easy to understand but is by no means perfect. A better definition, more realistic and as easy to understand and implement would be a true innovation.

Yet another set of weapon factor tables would absolutely NOT be an innovation that is not where I see problems with simulation.

Wolfhag23 Apr 2019 6:47 a.m. PST

Start on another track what would be an actual specific innovation, not just another blind wish for the perfect rules which would not be perfect to all anyway?

Nothing is going to be perfect for everyone. But why not have a blind wish for perfection? Isn't that what we are all striving for? Isn't that worth discussing?

innovation (ˌɪnəˈveɪʃən)
1. something newly introduced, such as a new method or device
2. the act of innovating

Whether you "think" the hobby needs the innovation or not does change the definition.

etotheipi QILS use of dice is different and could be called innovative as is the use of NFC's (Near Field Communication). Imagine if there was a way to embed one of these chips into a miniatures figure to keep track of what it is doing and have it communicate with other chips on the table. Maybe even have a timer in the chip that turns on a small LED on the figure. You could do that with 28mm figures.

Buckets of dice, opposed die rolls, matrix combat would be different and innovative too as would the command dice in Bolt Action.

Any use of Augmented or Virtual Reality would be innovative because almost no one is using that technology and would impact "time & space". If someone came up with a new method of movement or "Yet another set of weapon factor tables" that is new would also fit the definition of innovative even if someone "thinks" that's not what the hobby needs or something that most people don't like. You don't have to like something for it to be new or innovative.

There are a lot of gunnery freaks out there (like me) that like some type of system based on a real formula (not arbitrarily a D6 or D12) and determine hit locations and weak spot based on the real vehicle. We don't care if other people don't like it.

noun or adjective
complete change in a system, or bringing or causing great change

Something that changed the sequence of actions in a game would be innovative. The use of unit activations was revolutionary because that changed the standard IGYG system. Out of that came a variety of innovative ways to use dice and cards as a way to randomize how and when units are activated.

The definitions do not say it has to be "realistic" to be innovative or revolutionary. For example, in real life units are not "activated" by their commanders. They are issued an order and carry it out to the best of their ability (training and experience) and use their initiative/leadership to figure out problems and enemy action encountered along the way.

A playable way to use simultaneous movement may be revolutionary or it could be an innovative way to use a current movement method.

Where are the revolutionary breakthroughs surrounding the handling of time, space and matter?

My opinion regarding the "time and space" aspect would be something that could simulate a video game (heresy right). Why? Because that gives a better interaction between units and a better portrayal of opportunity fire by the synchronizing rate of movement with the rate of fire with a minimum of abstractions and game rules.

It would be revolutionary if it completely changed how games use initiative, activations, movement, and sequence of actions. However, even if there were such a system and it was playable and more realistic than current methods many people would still prefer their more abstracted current system of activations and game sequence. That's just the way it is, you can't please everyone and I doubt if any game designer is going to say another game is better than his.


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Apr 2019 8:44 a.m. PST

NFC's (Near Field Communication). Imagine if there was a way to embed one of these chips into a miniatures figure to keep track of what it is doing and have it communicate with other chips on the table.

There's a good discussion of that here:

TMP link

I would probably do that with dumb rfid in the minis and a central controller rather than agent to agent. But that's not your point.

I'm not sure that changing the artifacts is necessarily an innovation in the rules. Now, of course, an innovation in artifcats could lead to an innovation in rules.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP23 Apr 2019 1:54 p.m. PST

What is sort of sad is the question of what constitutes an innovation requires that one know the history of wargame design and what kinds of games went before.

I know of at least three popular wargame designers who don't know the last thirty years of wargame/miniature design well enough to make cogent statements of what is possible, hasn't been done before etc.

For instance, one well-known game designer posted on TMP that all miniature wargames require combat charts and dice. Yet, there have been several miniature and board wargames that didn't have either, such as the once popular Complete Brigadier or the Simmons games.

I think etotheipi's point about rules innovations vs artifacts/playing pieces innovations is pertinent. The thread question was asking about rules.

UshCha23 Apr 2019 11:46 p.m. PST

Interesting that nobody but me has indicated where a there are existing actual problems, where inovation is required. Something faster and better than die for the random element would be better, the obsession with D6 seems just weierd to me. However its not a area I see as being in the critical range for needing inovation.

A better way to do hidden movement would be great that was fast effective and minimal effort. However thjat may be straying into artifacts. However is that just a playing aid.

One thing I have been toying with is a 3D printed Min-radius gauge that is Flexible (sort of limited multip point hinge ruller) to 3D print that would allow easy measurement and limit radius. However not sure between amicable players this is neccessary but it could help begginers. Games with inexperienced short term players are outside my remit as a wargames designer so its never gone far.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2019 6:48 a.m. PST

A better way to do hidden movement would be great that was fast effective and minimal effort. However thjat may be straying into artifacts.

That's probably one of the places where different artifacts could enable rules innovation. A computer aided hidden movement could not only overcome clumsiness in current implementations but also enable different modalities of play.

F'r'ex, if I deployed snipers by clicking on a map and inputting a (game) time to arrive, it would be very much more like the way snipers are actually deployed. The computer could apply complex variables that randomize (from the commander's view) exactly when and where they arrive. It would also be simple to DR an intermediate position for an interruption in the operation. That would be the map artifact enabling different rules and user interface in the game.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2019 7:49 p.m. PST

UshCha: Well, the question was a positive one, "where is the Innovation" instead of "Where is it needed."

etotheipi: It would be great to have computer moderated hidden movement. I think the big obstacle to using a computer program for the table top is the plotting location on a table that will have different terrain every time.

Wolfhag24 Apr 2019 8:07 p.m. PST

This is one way I've used hidden locations and movement.


The markers represent the offset location (distance and direction) for where the real unit is actually located. There can be one or the more false markers that do not designate any unit. Players can move a marker that actually designates a unit that is static, just designate the new distance and direction from the marker's location to where the unit actually is. You could have the actual location of the unit exactly where the marker is too. It gives the players a number of ways to fool and bluff their opponents. A marker could remain static but the hidden unit can actually move, just give it a new location compared to its marker.

When a unit moves out of the LOS you can use the marker to track the location of the unit.

I've used abstracted pre-game recon rules that would limit the number of false markers and the maximum distance a unit can be from a marker (short 100m, medium 250m, long 500m). The markers do designate potential locations, the opponent needs to locate it. Now recon units can play a real role.


Aotrs Commander24 Apr 2019 10:36 p.m. PST

Mc Laddie while you are correct the aim was not entirely offf topic, I am not sure thre is actauly a universal usefull definition of innovation. This was an attempt to dig technically deeper into what range of topics would class as innovation.

For instance while we there is some measure of agreement on hidden units, nobody had commented on the dead ground section of the post which to me is vital in any simulation.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2019 6:21 a.m. PST

Aotros C:

I wasn't suggesting that UshCha was off topic. I was saying that it isn't surprising that no one referenced the absence of innovation in particular areas when that wasn't the question.

nobody had commented on the dead ground section of the post which to me is vital in any simulation.

By 'dead ground' I am assuming you are talking about where innovation hasn't happened?

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Apr 2019 1:44 p.m. PST

I think the big obstacle to using a computer program for the table top is the plotting location on a table that will have different terrain every time.

It depends … mostly on the granularity of the terrain. With modern devices, it would be pretty easy to take a picture of the board once assembled and trace out the different terrain areas with your finger. After that, entering the terrain stats (into a template for your rules uploaded earlier) provides finishes it off.

So, level of effort/complexity is a function of the number and shapes of terrain areas on the board. From most games I have seen, this would only be a problem in an urban environment with lots of buildings … something like that, however, could easily be aided with a recognition algorithm.

Basically, you really can't blame a complex situation for requiring more work.

Of course, it is also pretty easy to offload this work to before the scenario or before actually building the terrain. If you built a mock up early or … are working from a drawing, you could use that to load the terrain into the app.

Granularity would also have a functional component. For example, if units were moving slowly through a swampy area with lots of terrain bits, it might be fine to circle the whole area and apply an average movement penalty.

I think the biggest issue would be synchronizing with other units on the board. For example if a non-stealth force crossed the hidden unit's path, you would assume that they would either (1) risk detection or (2) move slower. So you need to integrate other units' movements while the game is going on. And you kind of lose stealth if you alert someone to make a decision about slowing or risking detection.

Of course, you can handle those things multiple ways. But the coordination of turn by turn info on other forces ends up being a tough issue.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2019 4:12 p.m. PST

I think the biggest issue would be synchronizing with other units on the board.

Yes, and determining which are hidden and which are not, revealing units when 'found'. This would involve LOS as well as proximity, so scale would also be involved.

I imagine that the tabletop with terrain could be 'programmed' into the hidden movement program. Still, lots of variables in plotting direction and speed for both sides, hidden and revealed.

MiniPigs20 Jun 2019 6:28 a.m. PST

It could be that there are too many engineer/technician mindsets out there designing wargames rules with a "But I'm not wrong" approach to designing realistic simulations which always makes them cumbersome and tiring.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2019 8:18 a.m. PST

It could be that there are too many engineer/technician mindsets out there designing wargames rules with a "But I'm not wrong" approach to designing realistic simulations which always makes them cumbersome and tiring.

I don't know what a 'but I'm not wrong' approach is, but considering how little wargame designers seem to know about designing functioning simulation games, it is not surprising that they are end up cumbersome and tiring.

UshCha20 Jun 2019 9:05 a.m. PST

To be honest the confusion often used by big commecial writers to excuse a "game" as a simulation. This inhibits true inovation in simulation. Somtimes I see massive tracts of rules that are completely out of whack with the reality of how a weapon works. "But its always been done that way is an oft herd cry". However it remains, as perhaps most folk don't want inovation they just want change of rules. I drive an 8 year old car, it works, its economic and no real reason to change. Folk change cars just for some gratification I have no comprehension of. It seems to me commecial rules hang onto that same "fad", to be fair it makes more money than a sensible step to make a lasting set of rules that will satify the market once and for all. That is a self terminating buissness case.

So is inovation an anti-buissness case of rules to end all rules or to make rules that sell but also feed the fad for more rules. If you own 150 sets of rules does that mean you have faild to find a decent set and stick with it or is it just a fad. 150 sets is a better buisness case than 1 decent set.

So a commecially viable set and an inovative set may be a commecial mutually exclusive issue. Is this thread about commecially sucessful inovation or real steps forward the serious player to get a faster and more credible set of rules. Certainly such a set to me, will not be a "throw a few die and chat" and most certainly not be a convention game with minimal time, no understanding of the period/tactics by many players and no time to gain such an understanding, it would be unsutable but to expoect it to be so would be wholey unrealistic.

Its taken us 10 years to even begin to understand the basic drivers laid out in mitary manuals as they don't provide the link from the manual to the real world and the why's and wherfores. We have stuck with the rules and they have shown us time and time again use real world tactics and you get better results. If there was a better set we would get it but commecial games are often aimed at the modller that wants a disparate array of models on a table who's ground scale and behavious make it wildly implausible. Is such a game if its popular an inovation? To me its a massive step backward.

So it needs a very clear definition of what constitues an inovation.

MiniPigs20 Jun 2019 9:36 a.m. PST

"But I'm Not Wrong" is when fanatics, especially self righteous ones, justify turning everyone off and ruining everything in pursuit of some imagined perfect state of affairs.

Like when your rules say you have to spend five turns reloading your musket because it's real life timing.

And UshCha, no one is demanding innovation for innovations sake but we are looking for rules that make a better game. One that makes you want to break out the terrain and the figures and get involved because it's engrossing and fun. I know that's not a universal but that's why I am excepting the technical mind because it believes it can solve every problem with math/mechanics and I both believe that is BS and that all the mechanical rules that can be devised, HAVE been devised.

And you cant ask me what constitutes an innovation because that exact question is what prevents it from taking place. I think you all need to stop arguing and start coming up with innovations. But I dont want to argue about innovation or what-is-innovation? If you got it, flaunt it, you dont got it, move on.

Now, I was looking for a simple, solo campaign system for Napoleonic wargaming. I see this gets raves link

In a field like boardgaming with a million lousy game systems in the "same-old, same-old" category, someone seems to have been able to come up with something fun and innovative.

UshCha20 Jun 2019 2:42 p.m. PST

MiniPigs you can't flaunt what you can't agree on. Is it inovation on getting punter to spend more money on "new" games that move nothing forward, from the guy making money from it matbe, but I would not call it inovation. Politemness prevents me calling what I think it is.

MiniPigs20 Jun 2019 5:14 p.m. PST

Those commercial slights of hand you cite might also be true.
I am sure people buy rules just because they're new. They sometimes seem to be marketed by some of the larger publishing houses and miniatures companies.

I see people also pound the table for rules that are old just because they're old and too tired or resistant to change to try something new.

I am hoping for a paradigm shift in wargaming and not the same, tired idea repackaged. I also dont like the clerical approach which loves charts or record keeping or minutae.

UshCha21 Jun 2019 4:39 a.m. PST

Minipigs all things in moderation. No record keeing will make some periods so unrealistic its not worth playing. One hit battleships would be pointless, some account must be made. Too many records does slow a game down but some may be vital. Innovation comes at a high cost to some folk and may seem redicculous to others. We play 1 to 1 tanks. Our "inovation" was to return to like we were kids and turn the tank turrests (just like the real thing). This was described as too complex!! Despite getting rid of inumerable rules, beter reflecting the advantages and limitations of armoiured vehicle. Quite an achievement for so simple an e inovation. One mans inovation is another mans step backwards, this reflection of reality was way too complex for some.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2019 1:42 p.m. PST

But I'm Not Wrong" is when fanatics, especially self righteous ones, justify turning everyone off and ruining everything in pursuit of some imagined perfect state of affairs.

Like when your rules say you have to spend five turns reloading your musket because it's real life timing.

oyi. That's bad game design to be sure, but it's also wonky[and unnecessary] mechanics for a simulation design unless the whole point of the simulation is to model loading guns… but that can't be a game. Unfortunately, you do see that kind of thing among wargamers/designers.

It is still both bad simulation and bad game design.

UshCha22 Jun 2019 1:31 a.m. PST

It is to be fare what a designer wants in his game. The very fact there are lots of games means we all have different tastes. One mans uneccessary detail is another mans meat. If you don't like it don't play it but leave the man alone if he and his mates are happy with it.
I hate Rapid fire and won't play it. The guys that do like it won't play maneouvre Group.
The games are poles appart with compeltely diffrent takes on what is important to the overall experience. Neither is "wrong" just the designers have widely diffreing views on what a game should be.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2019 8:35 a.m. PST


Yes, to each his own and there are a lot of different takes on what is important or in this case what designers want to illustrate and how. Nothing wrong with that…

That being said, there is still bad--as in non-functional, don't model anything--simulations and bad--as in poorly designed, less than entertaining mechanics--games.

There is a difference between a design that fails to do what it was designed to do and the designer's freedom to determine what he wants to design.

For simulation games, they must succeed in doing certain things to be successful/functional simulation games--at all, regardless of personal tastes. It is a technical issue. Hence the terms 'simulation' and 'game.'

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