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"Using Flow Charts for QRS Sheets" Topic


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greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Oct 2019 11:38 a.m. PST

Using Flow Charts for QRS Sheets

Wondering if anybody has experimented with using flow charts as game aides?

I had a good friend over to play a game I am working on. He enjoyed the game but commented that he had a hard trouble with the QRS I had made up. So I got to thinking how could I make it more user friendly.

here is the link to the blog post on my web site.

Thank you and I look forward to chatting.

Chris

link

BillyNM13 Oct 2019 12:07 p.m. PST

I'm not sure it adds anything over the traditional game sequence on most QRS and takes up a lot of space.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Oct 2019 12:36 p.m. PST

Very confusing.

Make a QRS/Roster combo. Don't obsess with getting it down to one page. Take a look at this for contrast:

PDF link

FlyXwire13 Oct 2019 1:12 p.m. PST

Tried it once for a naval game and got seasick.

Shardik13 Oct 2019 1:22 p.m. PST

I suspect that if you need a flow chart, the rules are too complex, for me at least. I used to play Warfare in the Age of Reason, a good set for it's day. But I could never "get" how to do the charge/countercharge sequence. From memory, someone did a flow chart for it, and it was huge.

Teppsta Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2019 2:08 p.m. PST

Sorry I don't find that helpful. It looks and feels complex.

I have tried to find ways to update / improve the QRS concept myself.

Here is my effort :

https://loughtonstrikeforce.co.uk/gda

Written to run on a mobile as most people will always have that with them

Oberlindes Sol LIC13 Oct 2019 2:12 p.m. PST

There are probably situations where it's very useful. Any turn sequence can be converted to, and may possibly have started as, a flow chart.

khanscom13 Oct 2019 4:29 p.m. PST

I have used a flow chart for determining landing outcomes in our "Crimson Skies" games-- I doubt that it would be useful for any other games that I frequently play.

Stryderg13 Oct 2019 5:30 p.m. PST

I like flow charts, but I've used them since my college days, so I'm very familiar with how they work. Most people don't use them at all, so there's some trepidation just due to lack of familiarity.

Some thoughts after looking yours over:
You start by going left to right (blue icons), but then shift to vertical. Be consistent. I would suggest that the major flow should be vertical with off-shoots to the right as needed.

You used double-headed arrows in some locations, but there's no indication of what that means. I would suggest that lines should only flow one direction.

Look at the Rally Phase, there are 2 exits, but no indication which exit I should use. The path should be more obvious.

With my suggestions, it's going to spread out a bit, maybe 2-3 pages instead of one. But once you get that down, you may be able to reformat it back onto 1-2 pages.

See here for a short mock up: link

thehawk13 Oct 2019 6:01 p.m. PST

GK4, gaining more knowledge about diagramming techniques would be useful. The catch is this can be difficult as I don't know of any single source on the topic.

There are many other diagram types that are more useful. Flowcharts tend not to be used in systems design/documentation any more.

One alternative is flowchart-like but runs sideways. An example is shown below using confition tests but he boxes could processes. Advantages are that the branches don't join unlike the flowchart and the diagram can be scanned very quickly. A lot less messy and easy to change.

link

What I would try is to write the phases down the left edge of a sheet of paper, drawing horizontal lines separating the phases. Then in each phase draw a diagram like the one above.

A problem with flowcharts is that everything is presented at the same level which makes it harder to understand. Diagrams should visualize the structure of the game in an easy to understand way. The objective of the diagram is to visualize the knowledge required, not to provide a step-by-step process flow.

Also flowcharts should be process and condition only. They don't include data except as an object name. The description of the object e.g. a table is presented elsewhere.

If a process is linear don't use a flowchart. Flowcharts are more about assessing conditions and showing the possible resulting branches.

But no-one uses them any more.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2019 6:30 p.m. PST

I've seen some do it, and do find them useful.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2019 9:05 p.m. PST

I am just now trying to make a flow chart for Test of Honor shooting. It is the steps that are confusing so I thought the flow diagram would be helpful. But time consuming

Personal logo The Nigerian Lead Minister Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2019 9:33 p.m. PST

I can't follow flow charts at all, keep it to bullet points and text.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Oct 2019 12:57 a.m. PST

Flow charts are very useful in taking players through the processes of a turn so that parts don't get forgotten, missed or done out of sequence. That is what flow charts are designed for and they do it well.

Compared to a 'standard' QRS they are not the best way of including other types of info. that you need; tables of shooting adds, weapon ranges and effects, morale charts etc. Adding those at appropriate points alongside the flow chart can work well but it takes some effort to get the layout right. Some rules include too much info. of this sort to be compatible with a flow chart.

The problem is not that flow charts are difficult to use but good, clear ones are not easy to design and many wargamers simply can't be bothered to learn how they work.

To explain a flow of events with conditions changing the flow a flow chart is perfect; text (even with bullet points) is mostly not up to doing that well and wargame rule authors do not always have the skill to do it without ambiguity.

Fitzovich14 Oct 2019 1:54 a.m. PST

A good QRS in my opinion should be one of two things . Either small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or poster size on a wall that can easily be read from the game table. I don't think a flow chart helps, but if it might, then more power to ya.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Oct 2019 3:38 a.m. PST

Flow charts are a great way to show this type of information, however, most people aren't familiar with them (they've seen them in school a couple times during a subject they didn't like in the first place), thus it is more difficult for the players.

I spent a little over two years providing (a little of 100, mostly different players) both a flowchart and bulleted text on a reference sheet. So few people used the flowchart side that I stopped printing it.

I do agree that yours could be restructured for efficiency a bit. Find a course on process flow modeling or BPMN. You also might check out the Edward Tufte books on visualization of information. link

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Oct 2019 8:00 a.m. PST

Stryderg

Your example and comments are a great help.

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Oct 2019 8:03 a.m. PST

I thought I would break up my answers. My flow chart was of course sub amateur. I conceived of the idea and then watch 3 videos on YouTube and armed with all that knowledge off I went.

Thank you to all that made constructive comments on my chart and on the subject as a whole.

I hope we can keep this going.

I will say one thing on the positive side. As I am trying to keep the QRS on a single double side piece of paper it is forcing me to rethink the rules.

Chris aka GK4

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2019 10:01 a.m. PST

Can someone direct me to an good flow charting site on line? Thanks

Stryderg14 Oct 2019 2:17 p.m. PST

draw.io is pretty easy to use and free.
Create a new drawing and pick a template. There are around 10 for different styles of flow charts.

I've not used this one, but the link is to a quick and dirty tutorial for gliffy:
link

Wolfhag14 Oct 2019 6:50 p.m. PST

This is what I'm using for 1:1 vehicle combat:

It shows all of the options available to the player when reacting to a threat and how to perform the action. It also and goes through the gunnery details which are different from most games and mostly taken from tank gunnery manuals.

Wolfhag

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2019 4:49 a.m. PST

Stryberg

Great links TY

Wolfhag

I like the cut of your jib matey. Nice work, bears thinking about too.

GK4

Wolfhag15 Oct 2019 10:06 a.m. PST

‌Thanks, it's still a work in progress. Below is an update with a better explanation and color-coded for better visual reference.

I think I mentioned earlier that the game uses the amount of time to perform an action and not unit activations or IGYG shoot/move routines like most games. Each unit is acting within its own OODA Decision Loop. Units are always active to react but suppression, poor Situational Awareness and poor crews will force them to take longer to act allowing their opponent to seize the initiative to act/shoot first. Since movement and shooting rate is synchronized to the same one-second game turn there is no need for additional opportunity fire rules.

Wolfhag

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2019 3:48 p.m. PST

Only flow chart I remember in miniature gaming was Empire for skirmish combat. The result was always French Legere win.

evilgong15 Oct 2019 9:33 p.m. PST

Probably OK for pre-game set-up and perhaps turn sequence, but if you need theme for commonly-used mechanisms you might need to think about changing these.

Walking Sailor16 Oct 2019 5:44 p.m. PST

I did it once. "Face of Battle" link After determining if a hit, then where, then/if surface/automatic damage, then/if penetration, then "number of hits" (they meant fragments), then they followed each hit (they meant fragment) as it made it's merry way through the target. More cases than could be remembered and it would take too long to reread that section of the rules each time it might happen.

If it can't be done from memory, then you need some kind of help.

Stryderg's first post is correct in straightening out your chart. Then it seems to me that each of your horizontals are more like decision trees as per thehawk's immediately following post.

Top Down Basic Programing (I had to sit and remember those words), write the turn sequence, one phase every five lines, then go back and fill in each phase.

Extra Crispy's QRC follows the logical progression of the turn sequence while incorporating all necessary cases. And when in doubt those circled numbers are the page references.

Thomas Thomas17 Oct 2019 1:31 p.m. PST

If you need a flowchart to work out a basic procedure – the procedure is much too complex. The main use for a flowchart is to highlight need to redesign system.

TomT

Wolfhag17 Oct 2019 4:35 p.m. PST

The main use for a flowchart is to highlight need to redesign system.

Someone seriously needs to redesign ASL.

I think flow charts are a good way to visualize the IF-THEN-ELSE situations, options, and choices that occur when any action is being performed.

My gunnery flow chart is taken from the M-60 tank manual descriptions and reflects the options and choices a crew has when balancing speed versus accuracy. Some games use a +/- die roll modifier, I took a different approach. I allow the player to make the decisions and attempt to simulate the real tactics in more detail. That's for my edification. If others like it that's fine, if not that's OK too.

Just like anything else, flow charts can be overdone and can hide poor design as Thomas said.

Wolfhag

UshCha18 Oct 2019 12:26 a.m. PST

One key issue is flow charts are not a replacement for words. Every box (almost) will need a precise definition of what the box does. Without it confusion reigns. We have one supplied by a customer and we did include it with his permission. But to be honest it was not that simple and we use the text as that does not need the flow chart but the tesxt is required for the flow chart. It would to us, have been better/simpler if it had used sub routines. However, not everybody is that familiar with programming so it then may not be that helpful. But again you text to be precise. Simple titles can be interpreted in diffrent in many ways from what the author intended.

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Oct 2019 2:46 a.m. PST

Simplicity seems to be very important and choice of text. I hope to get a draft up soon. TY all.

UshCha20 Oct 2019 1:22 a.m. PST

I stand corrected. We do use a simple flow chart! Trouble is nobody EVER looks at it, as it becomes intuative very quickly, but we do have one for vehicle movement for new starters and yes everything and mostare defined elsewhere as well

I forgot about it but working on Issue 2 I realised it was there. That is the ideal for rules you should not have to worry about them, but just think about what, where and when.

Wolfhag20 Oct 2019 4:21 a.m. PST

Ushcha,
We had the same experience with flow charts. They are mainly just to show the visual relationship to grasp the rule concept. Once you get the concept you don't need to refer to it.

Wolfhag

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