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"On the virtues of IGO-UGO" Topic


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Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2020 7:55 a.m. PST

UshCha wrote at the end of the first page what he saw as the realism in his wargame:

Our focus is primarily on approximating the very basic behaviours of Tanks, not even to the extent Of Wolfhags system of detail, but on a wider scope of time that allows interaction with troops who behave on an altogether longer timescales.

Out movement system is very approximate, but really only aims very crudely to model the variations of speed possible by some vehicles. However even our attemps are far superior (in my opinion) to the attemps of other systems I have seen save perhaps Wolfhags.

Interestingly our command and control is very crude, primarily, its there to mimic very losely the command of units and groups of units. The uncertainty of command is as much based on my experience of briefing of folk during my exclusively non miliatry career and the need to eliminate "excessive simultinatity" easisest to decribe as excessive synchronisation of flanking partys arriveing in a world without maps or time pieces.

The aim of the system was to have a crude system that at least demonstrated approximately the benerfits of various formations, something lacking (in my opimion in most other systems).

Thus (I hope) demonstrating what is and is not realism provided by the design.

What UshCha has done is tell the reader what he sees at the realism in his wargame.

1. In that explanation, he hasn't linked those game qualities to the history that leads him to say his game system produces the benefits of various tactical formations 'approximately' or that his wargame models "very losely the command of units and groups of units."

2. In telling us this, he hasn't demonstrated anything. Playing the game doesn't demonstrate how those identified game qualities are present UNLESS the player recognizes the specific links to the history it is modeling 'crudely' or 'approximately.' If in ignorance, the player will see himself playing a game and imagine all sorts of things which might or might not match anything the designer had attempted to 'demonstrate' with his game.

I haven't be talking what the player likes, or what the player believes is the best wargame or 'realism' or how much research a designer does.

I have been talking about what wargame designers have to do to create a functioning simulation for players--whether they like the product or not. That Porsche sports car has to do certain things to be a functioning automobile, whether any customer ever likes the brand or not.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2020 8:38 a.m. PST

McLaddie,

A. 10 experienced tank commanders agree that THIS game system represents their experience in X, Y and Z.
B. The system has been tested against X number of WWII tank battles and can relicate them without any rule changes.
C. 30 Players have been surveyed before and after playing and have demonstrated that they do begin to think like a tank commander based on WWII narratives and experienced tanker feedback.

That's all well and fine. However, my background is sales and marketing and for war games, I think it's the sizzle and not the steak that is going to sell. Consider two of the biggest sellers: BA and FoW. When someone goes into a store and picks up one of their rule books what do you think is going to happen? About 30% of the book is eye candy which has NOTHING to do with the rules. There is almost nothing that reflects historic authenticity regarding the rules. FoW has some interesting Special Rules and the visual OOB's that do create some realism visually without having to read the rules. I think they buy the book with the idea of recreating the visuals in the book, that will give them the feeling of reality.

The rules are a framework for creating visuals. I think that's more or less true for most players. Personally, I'm agnostic when it comes to board games or miniatures. Are on-line tank video games popular because they are authenticated and tested by real tanks crews and the ultimate in realism? No! They are popular because they are fun, time competitive, somewhat historical (at least the eye candy) and easy to play.

I'll kind of go out on a limb here. When someone is playing a historical war game any "realism" is an illusion created in the mind of the player. This is mainly from the miniatures and terrain, the scale, detail and quality, the perceived action being created by the rules (stuff moving and getting blown up) and to a lesser extent the players decisions and actions. The rules mostly parse the action allowing the player to actively participate at certain times and he is inactive and a spectator through most of the game. The player may be new to the historical time period of the game and have a minimum of historical knowledge of the battle. Can they still enjoy the game? Of course, but why?

The way I see it the rules really create a framework for the action to be parsed (IGUG, activations, etc) allowing the player to actively participate (shoot or move) when the conditions or rules allow him. They do not go very far in creating the illusion of reality if they are using abstractions. The rules tell him when it is his turn, when to move and when to roll the dice. That's not realistic. He is issuing an order, rolling dice and seeing results. How and when the player performs an action is mostly out of his control.

A spectator can experience the same illusion of reality without even playing. Personally, I think the player's decisions and actions should be what is painting the illusion of reality because the game is a first-person experience and the more his decisions and actions influence the outcome the more it will feel real to him. This can be done with IGYG rules best if the time frame of the turns allows the right type of interaction between players and uses a minimum of abstracted rules.

So if a new player has never played the game and has a minimum of historical knowledge what impact is the game going to have and what will be his experience? He can't critique the rules or comment on the game's historical accuracy either. It's going to boil down to what he felt and if his expectations were meant. That's why feelings are important. That's mostly going to be visuals just like a spectator on a hill watching a real battle unfold and the impact he personally had on the game. The more decision points and tactics the player can engage in will give him the "feeling" that he has had a greater impact.

That's why I feel the rules are only part of creating the illusion of reality. I've seen it countless times when spectacular terrain and miniatures generate a very enjoyable experience with rules that could be used from any period of time substituting bows and arrows for muskets and chariots for tanks.

The biggest reason miniatures players do not play board games is because the visual stimulation from a cardboard counter and 2D map does not generate any brain endorphins because it lacks the visual stimulation needed to get the juices flowing. This is why I feel that easy to play rules with excellent figures and terrain is good enough experience and creates a satisfying illusion for most people. At that level, it does not matter if it is a simulation or a game.

At conventions, people line up to play at the biggest table with the best miniatures and terrain most without even considering what the rules are going to be. The illusion of reality is being created before they play the game or even know what rules are going to be used! Yes, I know some of us are exceptions.

So I have to ask the question: If a basic set of rules creates a satisfying experience and more detailed rules will take longer and be less playable, especially for new players, then what value do they have to add to the experience? It appears many players feel no value at all.

So I also have to ask: Would a more detailed but easier to play set of rules that enabled the players to have a greater historical influence and have him participate more and spectate less add or subtract from the overall experience?

Just one more comment about feelings: I've heard a number of examples of current combat deployed military and special ops guys playing a basic IGYG or dice game and come away feeling it was satisfying because they "felt" it created a good enough illusion of reality for them. Now, what do you think would happen if I invalidated their feelings by explaining the game they just played has no historic authenticity whatsoever or you from your high perch in your academic ivory tower started to lecture them what war games should simulate because you did educational simulations? I'll tell you what would happen – we'd both have our hands and feet zip-tied and thrown upside down into a garbage can – if we were lucky.

I even learned in marriage counseling that you cannot invalidate someone's feelings or ignore them. When someone plays a game and said it has the right "feel" unless you are a high-level empath you can't really relate to what they feel.

Again, you missed the point. The only reasonable 'expectation' a player/consumer can have of a wargame/simulation is what 'realism' built into the system in the first place. Unfortunately, in our hobby, there is no possibility of such reasonable expectation, so they go by likes and feelings, often misjudging completely what they've gotten in the way of 'realism.'

That's right but it's still their feeling and their experience which may not have been the case with the educational simulations you developed. Any "realism" is an illusion.

As a game designer, I've tried to structure my rules to guide the player to the right conclusion to create the right illusion of reality by involving him more in a head-to-head "time competitive" game environment. It's more like a video game and less like a regular turn-based game. He issues real orders, makes real decisions and uses real tactics. If a new player reads over and understands the FM 17-12 Tank Gunnery manual he'll be up to speed to play the game. Everything he does in the game will be traced back to that or another manual. Hopefully, that generates the right "feeling" that translates to some level of historical realism. That's my goal anyhow.

Example: A player is in a shootout with another tank and they both fired almost simultaneously and missed their first shot. Their gun charts show a 90% chance of the next shot hitting with an almost 100% chance of a penetration. The player knows his opponent has about the same rate of fire and he'll normally reload, aim and fire again in 8 seconds with a 90% chance to hit, 7 seconds with a 80% chance and 6 seconds with a 70% chance to hit. His opponent is going through the Orient and Decide part of his loop thinking the same thing – how do I get through my loop to Act first and hit? Shooting first is great – but not if you miss. If the player decides to shoot in 7 seconds and his opponent in 8 seconds he'll win if he hits but most likely lose if he misses. You can simulate the same thing with random activations but the player is not involved in the loop playing in a "time competitive" head-to-head environment. In this example it is "real" for the player if he won or lost because he was involved in a head-to-head competition.

True, so let's stop worrying about that. It's a given. It isn't what I am talking about. I'm talking about what it takes to make a simulation work.

In a war games it's how you appeal to the senses of the players. Humans have five basic senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. The rules build a framework around those senses to immerse the player into the environment for the simulation to work. You stimulate the senses with the rules to create the illusion of reality so the players think they are experiencing it.

Ideally, the player is experiencing what the goal of the designer stated. In the end, the experience can be different for each and every player and you can't really invalidate what a player felt. If you think he came away feeling something other than what the designer desired then the rules may need tweaking or the game did not fit the player's expectations. For some people, it will work and some it won't. It may achieve the designer's goals but the player may not be excited. There is only so much you can do.

My opinion is that if you want the simulation to work and have the players come away with a valid feeling of an illusion of reality work on the figures, terrain and any other eye candy. I tried out some VR goggles and the visuals of flying around made me nauseous and I almost fell over. That's how powerful the visuals can be. Augmented Reality phone apps are one area I'll be implementing to increase the visual reality and act as a play aid.

The "Virtual Movement" rules do simulate the action unfolding like a movie or video game but it takes some effort for the players to visualize it. The customized data cards will create a visual effect of the weapons platform characteristics.

When you run a game with all units on the clock it runs more like a video game and less like a turn-based game. That will give a better feeling of reality than traditional turn-based rules. It makes the game "time competitive" with all players attempting to get inside their opponent's loop to execute their order first using real historical tactics to gain a timing advantage (it's not about die roll modifiers).

If you want to increase the illusion of reality in your rules try using fewer artificial and abstracted rules that do not exist on the battlefield.

Wolfhag

Blutarski18 Mar 2020 11:41 a.m. PST

McLaddie,
Perhaps you will be willing to share your solution to the challenge you have posed. How exactly does the author of a simulation satisfactorily convey/prove/demonstrate to the gaming public that his set of rules is "realistic"?

Please be specific. I want to be sure there are no lingering loose ends over which one might trip.

B

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2020 12:38 p.m. PST

That's all well and fine. However, my background is sales and marketing and for war games, I think it's the sizzle and not the steak that is going to sell. Consider two of the biggest sellers: BA and FoW. When someone goes into a store and picks up one of their rule books what do you think is going to happen? About 30% of the book is eye candy which has NOTHING to do with the rules.

Wolfhag:

Then concern yourself with the sizzle and forget simulating and demonstrating the same.

You have the Bolt Action and FOW because no one knows what is being represented other than some gross comparisons [it's a Sherman tank and it ain't as strong as a Tiger, what realism!] I love the designers of BA confessing that they "don't know much about WWII."

You have those games because they are great entry games and because no one is offering an alternative and hasn't for decades now.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2020 1:38 p.m. PST

McLaddie,
Perhaps you will be willing to share your solution to the challenge you have posed. How exactly does the author of a simulation satisfactorily convey/prove/demonstrate to the gaming public that his set of rules is "realistic"?

B:

I appreciate the question. I gave some specifics to Wolfhag. But here are more along the same lines. Information that gamers will want and designers need. All simulations have processes which mirror the real, but also a great deal of superstructure holding those processes together than have little or no relationship to that realism. Players need to know which is which. You know, software, curcuits and dice, CRTs, stuff like that.

I'm designing a Napoleonic set of rules. One thing I want players to learn through the game is to think like corps and division commanders of the era. Do they? Can I establish that objectively? Ya gotta test it to know for certain, to *demonstrate* it.

1. I have my sources such as Marmont, Ney, Bardin and any number of battlefield accounts. I have accepted what those sources say about 'thinking like a Corps/Division commander." Some of the factors is maneuvering like one.

So, after gamers have played my rules a three times. I then give them a series of questions [say 25]--here are some examples:

1. Leith's division advances in two brigades in line formation at Salamanca within cannon range [1,000 yards] of the enemy and comes to a village across its path. What method does Leith use to get past the village--it is the same method Wofford Uses to get his brigade past a Confederate gun line across his path on the 2nd Day of Gettysburg:

A. change into columns
B. Change direction of the division to go around the village.
C. Break the division in half, both halves moving around the village.
D. A combination of ___and ___

2. Another question based on several accounts in Miaberidze's Russian Eyewitness Accounts of the Campaign of 1807 and His book Borodino

When a brigade comes to a forest in line formation, how does it traverse the area to reorganize in line again outside the woods:

A. Forming columns
B. Entering in line
C. Entering as a skirmish line
D. A possible combination of ___ & ___

3. What is the accepted role of the Corps commander with regard to his artillery for any army--again based on Ayde, Kutaisonv,Bardin, Ney and Marmont as well as Vernor:

A. To place the guns and pick enemy targets
B. To establish lanes/areas of fire
C. To establish the battlefield missions of all artillery
D. To commit any artillery reserves
E. A combination of ___ and ___

Now, if a acceptable majority of players answer those questions correctly [I'd have 25], then I can say the game is teaching players to think like corps commanders.

It's not complicated. It doesn't have to be overwhelmingly involved. The designer is determining whether his design works for the players in an objective manner.

IN the end, I have available:

1.All the references I used for my template. NOT a selected reading list or all the books read--I mean used as the model for the design.

2. One example of each aspect of 'realism' in the rules.
Frank Chadwick did this in his ancients rule [never published] Leading each section of the rules was a quote showing what the section was designed to illustrate. If the designer can't do this, then what is he simulating? Where did he get his ideas?

There could well be books that disagree with the sources the designer used… Fine, all the designer has to do is identify which he used as his template, not debate every other viewpoint.

3. The evidence of testing the system to see that it actually does what it is supposed to visa vie history such as my example for Wolfhag.

Simulation designers generally employ at least four distinct types of tests, my series of questions above being one of them, to confidently establish that the wargame does work as a simulation of X, does what the designer wanted it to do.

This does several things:
1. It holds the designer accountable for any claims made about the content of the product--does it work?

2. It provides the historical/reality content used as a template for all to see--if interested. It is a major part of what many historical gamers are buying: The history and simulation experience. It is the ingredient list on the candy bar.

3. It is specific in what gamers can expect in the way of 'realism' and historical fact.

4. That information in #2 & #3 is necessary if the player is going to experience the wargame as a simulation.

I can give [and would give] pages from accounts for all history mentioned, but it isn't a doctoral thesis and would take up less space far more effectively than many 'Designer's Notes' seen in wargames today.

Most designers do smatterings of those four points maybe, sometimes, most as assides and never all three points, let alone methodically: Target, methods for hitting the target, and is it a bullseye--i.e. accurate.

Would that sell more games? Who knows at this point, but that isn't the reason. The point of all this is to 1. provide the customer with the information they need to determine what the game contains as well as permitting the game to actually function as a simulation rather than a gamer's rorschach test of their historical imagination.

Simulations, to work as simulations have to contain particular parts, just like an automobile does. No wheels, it doesn't work regardless of whether folks like it or not.

I will point out that I am not saying anything new or specific to any type of simulation, though participatory simulations have wider audience requirements than a research simulation with a dozen users, but the basics remain. I am not saying anything that can't be found elsewhere. In fact, what I am talking about is standard practices two decades ago.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2020 11:34 a.m. PST

McLaddie,
Regarding your post to Blutarski:
I don't have players take a formalized survey but I think it's excellent. I do a short debrief and ask them what they liked, didn't like and if they learned anything. I generally spend more time discussing what they had the hardest time with regarding gameplay and mechanics. Some players catch on to the OODA Loop concept faster than others. It appears that in their mind the game is more complicated than it actually is, at least that's what they've told me.

Players need to use their real-time and distance estimation skills but the movement markers do give the true rate of speed for them to determine. Planning in advance seems to be their biggest challenge. Overall, they like the overall interaction of the second-to-second gameplay and that you are not waiting on other players to move/shoot/order like most other games.

Response:

Then concern yourself with the sizzle and forget simulating and demonstrating the same.

It's a balance, you know that. I have the steak (the best and most tender cuts) but I can't get people interested unless they hear the sizzle first. Did your educational simulations have any sizzle or eye candy?

I have developed some fairly complex formulas that determine the timing variables depending on the different aspects of the weapons platform. The gunnery formula I use (actually modified someone else's) takes into account most of the Error Budget factors that affect accuracy. I present them in a compiled and somewhat simplified way to make the game quicker to play. One D20 die roll with 0-6 modifiers, normally 1-2. I could present it in a way that lets the player compute 7-10 different ballistic factors multiplying and dividing them. He'd get a very in-depth understanding of what is behind the rules that give a result of the Mean Point of Impact in 0.1-meter increments. But doing that in the game is ridiculous!

We will have discussion forums on our website that will discuss different historical factors in the game at any level of detail that players wish and I hope to get some industry experts to contribute. Remember, you hear the sizzle before you taste the steak. My restaurant offers both. Right now we are negotiating with a leading graphics designer in the wargaming community to do our box cover. The sizzle needs to be on the outside to get them to open the box and taste the steak or click on a link.

You have the Bolt Action and FOW because no one knows what is being represented other than some gross comparisons [it's a Sherman tank and it ain't as strong as a Tiger, what realism!] I love the designers of BA confessing that they "don't know much about WWII."

You are quite correct. But the fact that a Tiger is stronger than a Sherman may be the level of reality they are at – you can't fault them for that. When I played Panzer Blitz when I was 16 I thought it was the best game ever, I've moved on since then. So it goes back to why are people playing these popular games if it based on a D6 fantasy game? It must be the sizzle and they think the balogna they are tasting is a prime steak but they have never really tasted steak yet.

Tractics, Advanced Tobruk, Phoeniz Command and Panzer War and a few others are excellent games/simulations with genuine historical authenticity (call it realism if you like) that are not very popular. Why? Mostly a very good cut of steak and hardly any sizzle (graphics, eye candy, play aids, etc). The other variable is some people prefer chicken to steak and some are vegans. Your menu cannot please everyone.

Now let's examine GMT's Panzer and MBT boardgames which are very popular for 1:1 tank games. Why? Are board gamers looking for less sizzle and more steak than mini players? From my experience in both areas, I'd say yes. Mini players put their time and effort into developing the visuals. Board gamers put their time and effort into digesting 90+ pages of rules and will perform a lot of recordkeeping in a game because for them that is the sizzle. However, they do like some visual sizzle with nicely done maps and counters.

People play games for different reasons. BA and FoW marketing people know why and have developed products targeted at these people. Hopefully, it will generate more of an appreciation of the historical aspects and the players will move on to something we feel is better but there is nothing that says they need to.

You have those games because they are great entry games and because no one is offering an alternative and hasn't for decades now.

I do plan on releasing an entry-level free version of a "time competitive" OODA Loop game that even a 9-year-old can play using a single D6 and two pages of rules.

Thanks for your feedback, your contributions are always stimulating and it's helped me in determining how to represent my game.

Wolfhag

UshCha20 Mar 2020 12:08 p.m. PST

Mc Laddie, I appolgise I assumed you had more knowledge than you clearly have. Real vehicle formations are aimed at a compromise between observation and arc of fire. These are laid out in the appropriate US and other countries training manuals. The game is designed to make these formations work as the most effective (normally) game solution by modelling the basic physical limitations of tanks in the real world. Now not all aspects are covered. It is clear in some cases the tanks keep the turrets moving in a small arc when buttoned up to improve the overall viewing arc. This is approximated by a wider than actual stationary view from the turret. This was confirmed with a chat to a tank commander.

To be honest writing the equivalent for other aspects would lead to a text far bigger than the rules themselves. This seems overley complex and would not have a wide enough readership to justify the immense amount of time.

Perhaps I should have presented a diatribe as to why we have chosen a linear ground scale and linear weapon rangers; on the basis of achieving the correct entity density over the whole of the weapon range.

I used CFD code to analyses fluid flows. However I will confess my understanding of the intricacies of the solver solutions was hazy to be polite. However when run against certain limited test cases the code proved accurate and hence was accepted as useful.

Similarly the our rules were run against test cases (i.e. the manuals) and the results prove acceptable.

There is a practical limit to what level of detail a designer wants to make accessible.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2020 12:25 p.m. PST

I don't have players take a formalized survey but I think it's excellent. I do a short debrief and ask them what they liked, didn't like and if they learned anything. I generally spend more time discussing what they had the hardest time with regarding gameplay and mechanics. Some players catch on to the OODA Loop concept faster than others. It appears that in their mind the game is more complicated than it actually is, at least that's what they've told me.

Wolfhag:
You are asking questions about reactions to game play and likes/dislikes. That is all fine and good, but has nothing to do with determining whether you wargame works as a simulation.

Doing questionaires are only one way of testing, demonstrating that the simulation does what it was designed to do--that it is actually *guided* pretending rather than just game play and pretending any old thing.

That is the difference.

You are quite correct. But the fact that a Tiger is stronger than a Sherman may be the level of reality they are at – you can't fault them for that.

I'm not faulting them…but technically simulation-wise, it doesn't mean much for the player at all other than one factor compared to another. It's like saying the Germans are better than the French. Is that 2 factors to 1 or 5 to 4? How, why?

Again, what does it really represent? What does the player 'think' they are doing and for what reasons?

Tractics, Advanced Tobruk, Phoeniz Command and Panzer War and a few others are excellent games/simulations with genuine historical authenticity (call it realism if you like) that are not very popular.

And you know they are excellent simulations how? What makes you believe they provide "genuine historical authenticity." Based on what comparison? Do you know what the designers wanted to simulate? Do you know how well they succeeded compared to what history?

People play games for different reasons. BA and FoW marketing people know why and have developed products targeted at these people. Hopefully, it will generate more of an appreciation of the historical aspects and the players will move on to something we feel is better but there is nothing that says they need to.

True, but so what? that people play games for different reasons isn't the issue here: how to create a demonstratable, functioning simulation is.

Whether gamers will enjoy a well-designed simulation game is another questioin entirely.

A wargame, if it is actually a valid representation of history/combat in some way, is a game AND a simulaiton.
That requires twice the design thinking and twice the effort. Game designers are generally unwilling to put in that kind of effort, let alone learning involved, though many claim years of research/playtesting and historical authenticity.

The question about the virtues of IGO/UGO was easily dealt with as to game play, mostly the ease of play, opposing player inaction and its benefits in multi-player games.

The issue quickly developed into one of 'what does it represent?' That is a simulation question.

Now, if you want to talk about what wargamers want to play and why, we can do that, but that isn't what I have been talking about.

Wolfhag, you've gone 2/3rd of the way to creating a demonstratable simulation, why not finish it?

Blutarski21 Mar 2020 10:13 a.m. PST

Just thinking about this thread, which has spawned some prodigiously lengthy exchanges …..

Why should we rely upon the opinions/responses of miscellaneous gamers to appraise the realism/authenticity/accuracy/verisimilitude quotient of any set of wargame rules? What qualifications do they, as a group, possess to pass such judgments?

> Not one in ten gamers has ever even sat down to craft a set of wargame rules, simulation or otherwise.

> Relatively few gamers study any period in great depth and only a fraction of them are likely to have deeply studied any specific period.

> The great majority of gamers care primarily whether the rules deliver an enjoyable experience; delivery of a simulation experience is generally relatively low on their priority list.


B

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2020 12:07 p.m. PST

Why should we rely upon the opinions/responses of miscellaneous gamers to appraise the realism/authenticity/accuracy/verisimilitude quotient of any set of wargame rules? What qualifications do they, as a group, possess to pass such judgments?

Well, yeah, but more importantly, what do they know of the designer's judgements, sources and what HE decided to use to create 'realism.' Generally, zero.

They might be 'qualified' to make such judgements with enough information. Judging the realism of most wargarmes, past and present is a guessing game. It's like trying to judge whether a painting is a 'realistic' portrait of General Baird without ever seeing or having any access to period paintings or drawing of the man. Such a person isn't qualified to make a judgement.

a person can guess, offer opinions on painting techniques and style, whether they like the painting or not, but without a reference to compare the painting to, NO ONE would be qualified.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2020 12:44 p.m. PST

First I'll address the last post. As stated, very few people are qualified to judge a game based on its historical accuracy and realism. All they can do is relate to how they "feel" and whether it was a playable and enjoyable experience. You cannot ignore or invalidate persons feeling about something or an experience they had and there is only so much a game can do.

McLaddie,
I think there may be a disconnection is that you are from academia whose goal is to educate. It comes across in the discussion of your Napolean Era rules and stress simulations. I have a different approach. My opinion is that if a game is to be a success it must visually pleasing, fun and easy to play. If it creates a greater illusion of reality than other games and players learn some valid historical lessons, tactics and technical aspects of the units that's great. They don't need to learn anything to have a good time. My goal is entertainment, in academia it is to educate. If a player learns something while entertaining himself or it sparks his interest to delve more deeply into the History than that's great. If the game is not enjoyable he probably will lose interest.

You are asking questions about reactions to game play and likes/dislikes. That is all fine and good, but has nothing to do with determining whether you wargame works as a simulation.

That's right, when people play a game they either like it or not. They don't care if it is a simulation or not. Play it, like it and play again. If not ignore it. Besides, you are no more qualified to prove my game is a simulation than I am to prove a Napoleonics game is a simulation of not. Have you read any of the technical references I posted? Real tank crewman and commanders like it and it works for them. Who am I to disagree?

True, but so what? that people play games for different reasons isn't the issue here: how to create a demonstratable, functioning simulation is.

I REPEAT AGAIN – I DO NOT CARE IF IT PEOPLE THINK IT FUNCTIONS AS A SIMULATION OR NOT!!!!
If someone plays a game for the first time in a period he is completely unfamiliar with he is not qualified to give an objective professional opinion if it works as a simulation or not. All he can do is describe how it made him feel and that's exactly what he'll tell his friends. A new player would not know a simulation if he saw one. I'm sure you'll find some way to disagree.

This was basically the method to my madness: I did the research to get the data for the timing of actions and how to enable the player to use tactics to gain a speed or accuracy advantage. I used real documents and talked to military and museum experts, tank crewman including a trip to Bovington. The timing aspect and OODA Loop fit the crew actions and eliminate all of the abstractions making the game more playable with more action and fewer discussions about rules. That pretty much delivers the demonstrations and validates the system but probably not to your level, sorry.

The playtesting was to get the right balance for new players. The first attempts failed miserably. Why? Because a new gamer cannot immediately play a game using real terminology, nomenclature and tactics he's not familiar with and never heard of. Players don't want to be educated, they want to play the game. Tankers took in immediately, no problem. The game needed to be intuitive and easy to play – it wasn't. I needed to take a different approach to get the right outcome for new players and they would guide me. The new approach worked as a 14-year-old with a slight learning disability played 8 tanks at a time "playing the loop" for each one after about 30 minutes. He understood the basic tactic of less time equals more speed and more time equals more accuracy. It was his first war game. Could the 14-year-old give a valid opinion of the simulation or the level of reality? Of course not! He had a great time and learned something, that's all that matters. Did he understand the rule book? Probably not as there was not one to read.

Now if you think it's a good simulation, great. If not I DON'T CARE AND NEITHER DO THE PLAYERS.

I'm not faulting them…but technically simulation-wise, it doesn't mean much for the player at all other than one factor compared to another. It's like saying the Germans are better than the French. Is that 2 factors to 1 or 5 to 4? How, why?

Why ask me, I don't care. Ask Priestly and that Italian guy, they don't care "simulation-wise" either. BA and FoW prove you don't need to know anything to have a good time and be entertained by illusions of reality, just like watching a CGI movie. Not a simulation? Evidently most people don't care, I don't.

I've eliminated almost all of the abstracted rules traditional games use and replaced it with a natural game sequence (OODA Loop), and force the players to make the same decisions and use the same tactics as their WWII counterparts. Playing the game is learning, they experience it without a lecture. They learn from their mistakes and what does work, just like any other real endeavor. After the game I can refer them to the manuals I've used so they can read the source material and come to their own conclusion. You trained teachers.

I entertain people to hopefully stimulate them to take a personal journey of seeking out knowledge and coming to their own conclusions. I don't preach or lecture, I leave that to the academics. The discussion forums will be the place for players to get more historical information and get their questions answered by me and any others that want to contribute. I'm not the know it all – even if I have been accused of it.

And you know they are excellent simulations how? What makes you believe they provide "genuine historical authenticity." Based on what comparison? Do you know what the designers wanted to simulate? Do you know how well they succeeded compared to what history?

It's based on the simple fact that that is the general opinion of people in the gaming community because the game data and mechanics have created a high enough illusion of reality to get them to think it's realistic. I know that's never going to be good enough for you but eventually, you'll need to accept it. Now if you could come up with some type of grading system to reflect the level of reality a game achieves that would be great. Otherwise there is no quantifiable way to measure it so it comes down to feeling and opinions. If you keep saying it shouldn't you are the one being unrealistic. You can't use logic to overcome people's feelings. I've been trying it with my wife for three decades, it does not work.

Reality is what is created in peoples minds with or without all of the data needed to make the right determination – not what you or I say it is and you can shout it from the rooftop that they are wrong and you are right but it won't do any good so save yourself the trouble. Mass media, propaganda and advertising paint a picture of reality that people will accept to a greater or lesser degree to get them to "feel" a certain experience or an illusion of reality is real. All humans fall for it, including wargamers. If it didn't work the advertising industry would be out of business as would BA and FoW. Again, I know you'll disagree but there is no point in further discussion, I'm not going to try to change peoples behavior or how and why they think and feel.

Wolfhag, you've gone 2/3rd of the way to creating a demonstratable simulation, why not finish it?

Thank you but it's not a simulation and I have nothing left to prove other than that people play it, like the experience, makes them feel like they've recreated a tank-tank battle, buy it and tell their friends. With the data and formulas I have I could create a very good simulation putting the player through thousands of nuances of the human and mechanical factors – boring. If it's not a playable and enjoyable game then it's just a waste of time.

This weekend I'm meeting with my son who has been with me since the beginning to finalize the components, rule books, charts, play aids, data cards, counter sheets, etc and package them in a box. Next week I meet with Blue Panther games to go over the components and finalize the design, get his recommendations and costs. I'll be putting a free PDF print and play version online for board and mini gamers to try out, submit copies to video bloggers, reviewers, game clubs, Marine and Army armor unit commanders for a review and to try out. We're shooting for a game with the same publication value as GMT Panzer and MBT but we'll have to wait and see what develops. In my promotional material I am not claiming a specific level of realism nor am I going to even mention the word "simulation". I'll leave it up to the players.

Blue Panther games is a small print-on-demand locally owned company with state of the art publishing equipment: link

Blue Panther goes to most of the popular game conventions around the US as a vendor so he's basically my distributor too. With POD I have minimal investment up front and don't have to worry about stocking inventory, shipping, credit card processing, etc. However, sales are direct and not available at retail outlets. At this point, I'm just trying not to lose any money.

At ConSim World in June we'll have a large game set up and Blue Panther will have copies of the game to sell.
expo.consimworld.com

The initial release will be NWE post-D-Day. It will include data cards for the most commonly used tanks, vehicles, and guns for the period. It will include hand-held infantry anti-tank and assault weapons but limited infantry versus infantry rules. It will include the use of light and heavy mortars, smoke and WP. Artillery and air support will be released later. If it goes well we'll release data cards for other theaters and maybe eventually post WWII, man-to-man, Spec Ops, WWI & WWII naval, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. They'll all be using the same OODA Loop and Action Timing concept. Games at Platoon unit and above and ACW are possible too.

McLaddie, the version you played that had the target image booklets that allowed players to aim like a gunner will be ready sometime next year. The current version uses traditional hit location, armor and damage rules.

Thanks again.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2020 5:16 p.m. PST

I think there may be a disconnection is that you are from academia whose goal is to educate.

Wolfhag:

No, I am saying that players who are ignorant of what realism they are expected to experience, which the wargame is DESIGNED to provide, aren't experiencing a simulation of anything--just a game. That requires information, particular information, not an education.

It is about how participatory simulations work, in fact all simulations. Not any more academic than a car mechanic getting a car to work.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2020 7:06 p.m. PST

Wolfhag:

1.You decided to create a wargame where players 'think like tankers.' You must have had a pretty good idea what that means in specific behaviors…based on a great deal of research… the military's and yours.

2. You created a game system you thought would allow. and reward, players for 'thinking like a tanker.'

3. So, now you have to test it to determine whether it does that or not. Not a few comments or player antecdotes, not whether they like the game or not, but some objective tests to establish that you have succeeded.

There is nothing 'academic' about that process.

There is nothing academic to say that for players to experience, to appreciate what they are being asked to do, to make the connections you believe are there between the system and WWII tank combat,

The players have to know specifically what those connections are, history to system, history to game decision-making. Otherwise, it's just a game for them, regardless of what you know.

That isn't academic, that how simulations work--for the players.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2020 1:18 p.m. PST

I REPEAT AGAIN – I DO NOT CARE IF IT PEOPLE THINK IT FUNCTIONS AS A SIMULATION OR NOT!!!!

Wolfhag:
I should have responded to this. There is no rule that says you should care. I am not asking you to care. I was talking about how to make a simulation work as a simulation for the players… not make them or you care. It was only about how to objectively establish that connection between WWII tank warfare and your wargame.

Okay, you don't care what players think. I must admit, I was fooled by all the comments and efforts you expended to prove it was realistic, based on reality. At least it read that way to me.

I do have to ask, what are you attempting to achieve by repeatedly providing the historical sources and explanations about tank warfare?

Again, this isn't about what player believe or care about anymore than it is in getting a car to run…it either works or it doesn't regardless.

I know I keep repeating that, but I am not sure that message has been received.

If you don't care, don't waste time on it.

Blutarski22 Mar 2020 3:51 p.m. PST

McLaddie
Messages, I think, are getting garbled in transmission.

Speaking solely for myself (although I suspect Wolfhag probably harbors similar sentiments), my decision to write "Steer to Glory" from a simulation point of view was a personal one, founded upon a real interest in the history of the period. I'm happy that the end product game seems to appeal to gamers, but that is not why I embarked upon the project. If someone questions me about an aspect of the rules, I am always willing and happy to take up several hours of his afternoon explaining every ridiculous detail and why I crafted the related rules the way I did. I have enjoyed plenty of such conversations and made some new friends in the process.

To paraphrase Wolfhag – It is not that important to me that people understand that the rules function as a simulation.

My desire is that people enjoy playing the game and find it intellectually challenging. My payback comes when someone knowledgeable about the period compliments me on some aspect of rules … or when someone, perhaps less knowledgeable, shares a tactical "epiphany" moment he experienced in playing the game.

FWIW.

This discussion has been both intensely interesting and frustrating; we all could probably have done a better job expressing ourselves.

B

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2020 8:21 p.m. PST

Speaking solely for myself (although I suspect Wolfhag probably harbors similar sentiments), my decision to write "Steer to Glory" from a simulation point of view was a personal one, founded upon a real interest in the history of the period. I'm happy that the end product game seems to appeal to gamers, but that is not why I embarked upon the project. If someone questions me about an aspect of the rules, I am always willing and happy to take up several hours of his afternoon explaining every ridiculous detail and why I crafted the related rules the way I did. I have enjoyed plenty of such conversations and made some new friends in the process.

To paraphrase Wolfhag – It is not that important to me that people understand that the rules function as a simulation.

Blutarski:

That is fine, you have your goals for the game and what results you are happy with. If it isn't important to you, that is fine too.

I was only responding to the bolded part. The only person that the rules can function for, as a simulation, is you, regardless of what you explain to interested folks afterwards.

I was trying to point out 1. how and why simulations work, which in a participatory simulation includes what the players know while 'simulating.' 2. the design methods required to establish that the simulation does indeed work. It is another way of saying that you establish objectively that any and all players are experiencing what you want them to in the way of history and age-of-sail tactics--when they are playing it.

And yes, I am sure I confused things at times. I created simulations for educators and business, for training and learning--as well as how to create simulations. To me, it is obvious.

I didn't have the luxury of simply having folks 'enjoy' the experience [though that was necessary]. It had to simulate, it had to relate to reality and history beyond any doubt for both the participants and my client, the skills practiced in the simulation had to directly related to the real world and history or I didn't get paid.

I found that simulations didn't work for the participants if certain elements aren't present. I also found that was true for any simulation designer that I ever met or whose books I read.

That is all I have been attempting to explain.

My desire is that people enjoy playing the game and find it intellectually challenging.

Terrific, but that isn't the same as experiencing a simulation that is enjoyable and challenging. Again, that doesn't have to be important to you or Wolfhag. I am not asking you to care if you don't. I only spent time at this because I assumed a simulation was something you wanted to create. Obviously, I was deaf to you and Wolfhag's objectives.

However, if you are saying you have created a simulation, I am saying not yet you havent', pointing out why and where parts have been left unfinished for a functioning simulation.

I do care. Simulation is a technical term with specific meanings, whether a computer program or tabletop game.

I have always loved seeing that light go one when a participant makes that connection between what they are doing with an abstract game system and the history or reality it was designed to represent. I have also gotten a lot of gratification from seeing those 'ah-has' taken back to reality or history and the players continue to make connections.

That doesn't happen by accident nor is it enough to just have them play a game, regardless of how enjoyable it is.

Blutarski23 Mar 2020 5:14 p.m. PST

Blutarski:
That is fine, you have your goals for the game and what results you are happy with. If it isn't important to you, that is fine too.

>>>>> Agreed.

I was only responding to the bolded part.

>>>>> Was unaware

The only person that the rules can function for, as a simulation, is you, regardless of what you explain to interested folks afterwards.

>>>>> Disagree. The rules will function as a simulation whether the players know it or not. The smart ones will see it; most of the others either won't care or will remain unaware.

I was trying to point out 1. how and why simulations work, which in a participatory simulation includes what the players know while 'simulating.' 2. the design methods required to establish that the simulation does indeed work. It is another way of saying that you establish objectively that any and all players are experiencing what you want them to in the way of history and age-of-sail tactics--when they are playing it.
And yes, I am sure I confused things at times. I created simulations for educators and business, for training and learning--as well as how to create simulations. To me, it is obvious.
I didn't have the luxury of simply having folks 'enjoy' the experience [though that was necessary]. It had to simulate, it had to relate to reality and history beyond any doubt for both the participants and my client, the skills practiced in the simulation had to directly related to the real world and history or I didn't get paid.

>>>>> I'm confident in saying that everyone involved in this lengthy discussion can stand up and take a bow for confusing and misunderstanding things. Don't try to hog all the credit for that [lame humor alert]. Beyond that, it is evident that you have had a higher bar to meet. From what I gather, much of your work in sim design has been at a corporate/academic level. That environment has certain professional obligations and expectations that do not generally exist for hobbyists – customer expectations, contractual commitments, business reputation, etc.

I found that simulations didn't work for the participants if certain elements aren't present. I also found that was true for any simulation designer that I ever met or whose books I read.

>>>>> I myself have not encountered such issues at the hobbyist level.

Blutarski wrote – "That is all I have been attempting to explain. My desire is that people enjoy playing the game and find it intellectually challenging."

Terrific, but that isn't the same as experiencing a simulation that is enjoyable and challenging. Again, that doesn't have to be important to you or Wolfhag. I am not asking you to care if you don't. I only spent time at this because I assumed a simulation was something you wanted to create. Obviously, I was deaf to you and Wolfhag's objectives. However, if you are saying you have created a simulation, I am saying not yet you haven't, pointing out why and where parts have been left unfinished for a functioning simulation.

>>>>> Once again, we will have to agree to disagree. A simulation is still a simulation IMO whether the player or participant realizes or not. It is a sad fact IMO that 10-20pct of players will see it for what it truly is, while the other 80-90pct cannot tell the difference.

I do care. Simulation is a technical term with specific meanings, whether a computer program or tabletop game.

>>>>> True. And I absolutely concede that there are surely higher expectations at the corporate/professional level. Why am I willing to say that? Because I spent about fifteen years of my business career writing and negotiating RFQs and commercial contracts, drafting and negotiating letters of credit and managing international logistical projects. It is hard work always fraught with exacting client expectations. I don't want such issues impinging upon my lazy enjoyment of a hobby in retirement. If that level of involvement appeals to you, I will never criticize your choice to pursue it; just understand that not everyone is driven to that degree.

I have always loved seeing that light go one when a participant makes that connection between what they are doing with an abstract game system and the history or reality it was designed to represent. I have also gotten a lot of gratification from seeing those 'ah-has' taken back to reality or history and the players continue to make connections.

>>>>> True words.

That doesn't happen by accident nor is it enough to just have them play a game, regardless of how enjoyable it is.

>>>>> No, it doesn't happen by accident. As for perceived sufficiency or insufficiency of differing approaches to presentation of sim designs, I suggest that we shall have to agree to disagree.


B

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2020 1:21 p.m. PST

Once again, we will have to agree to disagree. A simulation is still a simulation IMO whether the player or participant realizes or not. It is a sad fact IMO that 10-20pct of players will see it for what it truly is, while the other 80-90pct cannot tell the difference.

This is exactly why I don't want to go out on a limb claiming a specific level of realism or the game being a simulation. Hardly anyone will be qualified to objectively judge (except maybe McLaddie who did simulations for a living) but free to give their opinion or "feeling" which they have every right to. However, I don't want to waste my time rebutting people's feelings or attempt to change their opinion. If someone thinks or feels a level of realism or it is a simulation – good for them.

Wolfhag:
I should have responded to this. There is no rule that says you should care. I am not asking you to care. I was talking about how to make a simulation work as a simulation for the players… not make them or you care. It was only about how to objectively establish that connection between WWII tank warfare and your wargame.

Okay, you don't care what players think. I must admit, I was fooled by all the comments and efforts you expended to prove it was realistic, based on reality. At least it read that way to me.

I do have to ask, what are you attempting to achieve by repeatedly providing the historical sources and explanations about tank warfare?

Again, this isn't about what player believe or care about anymore than it is in getting a car to run…it either works or it doesn't regardless.

I know I keep repeating that, but I am not sure that the message has been received.

If you don't care, don't waste time on it.

My messaging was not prove a level of realism or simulation, it was simply to show the sources I used to determine the timing of events as justification for the design. Then you started asking me for "proof" which I guess I kind of fell into the trap which I think now we can it is a lose-lose situation for me. Maybe someday someone with some authority can come up with a "reality rating" so we can define these types of issues.

If from your professional viewpoint you think it is to a certain level a simulation, I'll take that as a compliment. If you want to delve deeper into it read the references and see how close the game follows them. I'd be interested in any suggestions as I value your opinion.

A designer can't control the experiences people are going to have with the game other than to make it as playable as they can balancing the game mechanics. Another reason I want to keep away from the use of "simulation" is that it mostly comes with a connotation of being complicated.

Again, my goal is to have a fun, playable and entertaining game. Hopefully, they get enjoyment out of it and a better idea of what issues tank crews (and eventually infantry squad/section leaders) were confronted with and decisions they had to make.

I can claim so far that I have proved it is a fun, playable and entertaining game for new first time players aged 18-75. I think it's just a clever and easier way to parse an IGYG game.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2020 5:34 p.m. PST

Hello, Blutarski & Wolfhag:

It seems having to 'stay at home', the old stand-by of "I really don't have the time right now" to honey-dos just doesn't work…

I gave "my professional viewpoint" only to explain how I learned what makes a paticipatory simulation--any simulation work or fail to work. Just as a game designed by a professional or hobbiest works to doesn't work regardless of who created it.

Games are games because they have particular parts. For instance, all games have player goals and expected/dictated behaviors for the players, whether tic-tac-toe, chutes and ladders, chess or a professionally made computer game or either of your games. Fail to have those parts and the games simply don't work as games.

What I have been trying to explain is that without the requist parts in place, the simulations don't work, regardless of how well the design works as a fun game.

Disagree. The rules will function as a simulation whether the players know it or not. The smart ones will see it; most of the others either won't care or will remain unaware.

For who? just because the players are carrying out the game mechanics, doesn't mean a simulation is taking place. They can and probably are making decisions--playing the game--for reasons wholly unrelated to the history supposedly provided in the game.

And only the 'smart ones' will see it?

1. The ones who 'don't care' may have given up long ago trying to figure out what history is actually being portrayed.

2. There will be any number of 'smart ones' who have read the same histories who won't make the connections in a abstract game. For instance, won't know the 'casualty rates' you have researched and see something else entirely based on their 'smarts'.

3. Which means they will be making decsions about your games without really knowing what history went into the game…

4. What exactly does it take to 'think like you' to see what was intended?

All of those things will happen and keep your game from being a simulation in practice regardless of whether you care or see the simulation operating the way you designed it. The wargame was, after all, created to be played by others than yourself.

I myself have not encountered such issues at the hobbyist level.

That's because gamers don't know what to expect from a functioning simulation--what they can and can't do as a system, have expectations that designers raise without substance, and thus find, once that is realized that they don't look for substance, and rely wholly on 'I feel.'
In other words, gamer expectations are low, uninformed and generally disappointed on a number of levels--to the point that the issues we are discussing are simply ignored. It's about the fun, even when there is no history to be related other than one's imagination.

And that has been the situation in the hobby for decades as simulation designers in all field have developed proven methods to ensure the simulation works as a simulation.

rue. And I absolutely concede that there are surely higher expectations at the corporate/professional level.

What I have been say is that this isn't about 'higher expectations' because it is a corporate/professional levels.

A simulation is a specific system that does the same thing whether you design it or the Rand Corporation. You may ask the system to do different or more things in simulating, but the basics to make them work are exactly the same. Just like a game, whether pick-up-sticks or Call to Duty, does very specific things to be a game. Fail to do them, and they aren't a game.

You are creating both a game and a simulation… double the requirement, the parts.

There are many, many ways to present the information, incorporate historical representation in the system, and support the players so they too are simulating when they play, but there always has to be those parts for it to function as a simulation.

This isn't my opinion and I am not trying to insist you work at some 'professional level.' I am attempting to explain how and why a participatory simulation game does or doesn't work.

It has nothing to do with size or complexity. Phil Sabin created a twenty counter game "BlockBuster" played on a board 9" X 9" with three pages of rules. It is as 'accurate' and fully a simulation as the the most complex Darpa effort. It simply isn't simulating as much, but still tested and proven as a simulation, one 'proof' similar to Wolfhags with experienced tankers.

I do understand if we end up agreeing to disagree.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2020 6:49 p.m. PST

My messaging was not prove a level of realism or simulation, it was simply to show the sources I used to determine the timing of events as justification for the design.

Wolfhag:
I understand that. My question is exactly what are you 'justifying' if not the connections between the real and your game mechanics??? The answer is either something or nothing. If nothing, then why are you doing it? If it is 'something', then what exactly? What's the player payoff?

Then you started asking me for "proof" which I guess I kind of fell into the trap which I think now we can it is a lose-lose situation for me. Maybe someday someone with some authority can come up with a "reality rating" so we can define these types of issues.

Sorry. Something got lost in translation. I was trying to be encouraging. I later said, "you've gone 2/3rd of the way to creating a demonstratable simulation, why not finish it?

If your game is worth the effort to 'justify' the game mechanics, then is it worth it to prove that it does indeed capture the sources, the history?

A designer can't control the experiences people are going to have with the game other than to make it as playable as they can balancing the game mechanics.

Any number of hobby wargame designers say this, so you aren't alone. Even so, this statement really frustrates me:

1. What do you think you are doing designing a game, writing rules to create a 'fun' game?? You are attempting to provide a very specific experience for the players. That's what game and participatory simulation designers do: Control the player experience!

If you can control the play experience 'making it playable', making it fun, making it 'balances', you ARE controling their experience.

Game and simulation design is 'guided pretending'. Game designers are 'experience engineers.' So are simulation designers.

No one is talking about controlling ALL the player experience, only those aspects the wargame is designed to provide. There is a great deal the player will add to the experience… you want them to experience specific aspects of history and NOT experience things that will 'pop' them out of the experience, or be counter to your purposes.

I have just spent a lot of time trying to show how a designer approaches that effort to guide the player experience, and THEN how they can establish that they ARE doing just that with the finished product.

Another reason I want to keep away from the use of "simulation" is that it mostly comes with a connotation of being complicated.

Understandable. You are fighting several decades of bad simulation design and wonky game concepts. That's because most gamers have never been given another definition/example from past or current designers. [Note my comment above about Phil's "BlockBuster" game as a 'uncomplicated', very simple simulation.]

I can claim so far that I have proved it is a fun, playable and entertaining game for new first time players aged 18-75. I think it's just a clever and easier way to parse an IGYG game.

And I say, terrific. A wonderful goal, one that I think you have achieved by playing it. Job done, right?

So, what does that have to do with "showing the sources I used to determine the timing of events as justification for the design"?

If it has nothing to do with the fun, then there is no need to justify anything else.

If it does, meaning it can't be as fun if they don't know that? That sounds too much like what I have been saying.

I simply have been saying, if you are going to so much trouble to 'justify' your rules, feeling that is part of the enjoyment of playing them, then finish the job and reap the real payoffs from all that effort.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2020 10:06 a.m. PST

McLaddie,

I understand that. My question is exactly what are you 'justifying' if not the connections between the real and your game mechanics??? The answer is either something or nothing. If nothing, then why are you doing it? If it is 'something', then what exactly? What's the player payoff?

Justifying? Nothing. I just showed my references which is what people would expect so they can see how and why I designed the game.

Am I controlling their experience? I guess so, maybe. Isn't any game controlling the player's actions? However, I can't implant ideas in their head and I can force them to experience something.

I simply have been saying, if you are going to so much trouble to 'justify' your rules, feeling that is part of the enjoyment of playing them, then finish the job and reap the real payoffs from all that effort.

I don't know what payoffs you are thinking about. I doubt if I win an Emmy. The payoff is we (my team) put together a good quality product people can enjoy and that I don't lose a lot of money while doing it.

I'm not sure there is much else I can answer to any more questions.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2020 12:14 p.m. PST

Wolfhag:

I appreciate your responses and sticking with this. If I am pressing different points, such as 'justification', it was only because that is the word you used or what I feel is important to you and how simulation methodologies would help. Your wargame is great and enjoyable. That isn't the debate here and I certainly might be wrong in my assumptions.

I don't know what payoffs you are thinking about. I doubt if I win an Emmy. The payoff is we (my team) put together a good quality product people can enjoy and that I don't lose a lot of money while doing it.

I realize that you don't know about those 'payoffs.' I've been trying to articulate them. It isn't a matter of 'winning' some award. It relates to what a 'good quality product' entails for you and what you say your product offers the player.

If the bottom line is simply a fun game. No problem and end of the discussion. IF part of that quality includes 'players thinking like a tanker' and the system accurately modeling all the military studies you included in your research, then that content and experience is promising something that goes beyond simply a 'fun game.'

Those qualities certainly can add to the fun, but I am talking about the difference between hoping and opinion to knowing and objectively providing those qualities, whether that is important to lots of players or not.

The benefits to testing/validating your wargame as a simulation include, but not limited to knowing by objectively establishing that:

1. All players will have similar experiences involved in 'thinking like a tanker' regardless of their likes or dislikes, knowledge, or success playing the game. It is what you are saying your game provides. Are you successful as an 'experience engineer' beyond providing a 'fun' experience?

2. Reveal and establish how your system provides that in process.

3. Establish exactly what aspects of all the possible factors in 'thinking like a tanker' your game successfully addresses, and does not address.

4. Establish objectively that your simulation succeeds in delivering what it was designed to provide. Not opinion or whether folks 'like' it or not.

5. Questions of the realism and historical accuracy would be answered with objective, factual information about your game, rather than vague maybes or simply denials or vague responses concerning your game's 'realism' or historical accuracy.

As a designer, I would think those would be important to know, depending on what you had as goals for your wargame.

No one wins an award for simply designing a playable game and no one wins an award for simply creating a functioning simulation. Wargame designers put a lot of effort into play-testing their games.

I am suggesting applying the same effort and similar rigor in play-testing the simulation. That requires different methods and produces different answers about the success and quality of the wargame, as a simulation.

As you have done a great deal towards achieving those benefits, I was simply suggesting going the rest of the way.

USAFpilot29 Mar 2020 10:25 a.m. PST

Would you rather play a game or a simulation?

As a former Air Force pilot, jumping into the flight simulator could be a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work and could be tedious at times. Going home and playing Star Wars x-wing fighter on my computer, which was completely unrealistic game but also a ton of fun.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2020 11:50 a.m. PST

Would you rather play a game or a simulation?

As a former Air Force pilot, jumping into the flight simulator could be a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work and could be tedious at times. Going home and playing Star Wars x-wing fighter on my computer, which was completely unrealistic game but also a ton of fun.

If we all in the hobby had a better sense of what simulations are and can do in a game format, as I pointed out with the very simple simulation "Block Buster" and other examples in other threads, that either/or question, so prevalent would be a non-starter. That lack of recognition is at the heart of so much of the dead-end discussions of 'realism', historical accuracy etc. etc. etc. etc.

Keep in mind that USAF simulators have been co-opted for entertainment as well as for the Army and Navy AND commercial simulation games for entertainment being co-opted for military training. Not only computer games but board games. If miniatures haven't seen the same cross-over, it is because of the three media, computers, board games and miniatures, the latter requires more equipment, space and set-up time. It has nothing to do with the medium's simulation possibilities.

From the very start, entertainment and military training has had a 'fun' cross-over. Von Riesswitz states in his published Kriegsspiel that he was surprised the officers found the training exercise "entertaining." It still is today.

That doesn't keep X-wing Fighter from being fun and I am sure that an AF flight simulator meant to train such a technical set of skills would be 1. a lot of work, and 2. tedious--as well as fun. Having played X-wing Fighter, it is fun, but it can be tedious too.

Fun in the form of wargames is not a single-note experience, but involves a wide range of entertaining aspects. This is true of all hobbies. RC radio controled models come with off-the-shelf flyers up to True Scale planes where every rivet is in place. Both appear to be part of the 'fun.'

Simulations are not required to be detailed, a lot of work or tedious, nor is it an inherent trait of simulations in general, let alone those in game format.

It all depends. A simulation system is a tool, and depending on it's purposes, training, education or entertainment, designed to meet a range of requirements that don't include work and tedious activities. And 'fun' seems to follow them for someone regardless.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 5:18 p.m. PST

McLaddie,
I didn't forget about you, I just got busy working on the final game components for the printer (Blue Panther Games). It's a new experience for me.
Some of your questions:
The benefits of testing/validating your wargame as a simulation include, but not limited to knowing by objectively establishing that:

1. All players will have similar experiences involved in 'thinking like a tanker' regardless of their likes or dislikes, knowledge, or success playing the game. It is what you are saying your game provides. Are you successful as an 'experience engineer' beyond providing a 'fun' experience?

I'm not exactly sure how to answer that but I'll give it a try. The OODA Loop process forces the player to take the same steps as a tank commander/crew would. There is no getting around it. In the "Orient" step the data card (customized for the particular vehicle model) there are laid out the different shoot/move options and historical Risk-Reward Tactics tactics they can use. He can't really do it any differently. This puts new players more on par with experienced players. It also allows their real historical and technical knowledge come into play.
When the clock comes to your Action Turn to shoot (Act in the loop) you can choose to hold fire and track the target. This will allow you to shoot in any future turn with no additional delay. This allows you to engage a target at long range while concealed and wait until he comes into the "Kill Zone" before opening fire in a coordinated ambush. This is great for Pak Fronts. It's player decisions and skill, not the dice that matter. However, it's no fun for the player on the receiving end.

2. Reveal and establish how your system provides that in process.

In designing the game I'm using timing values to measure performance and not die roll modifiers or activation rules. It's a very different approach but it works a lot better than using traditional special rules and exceptions that in my opinion is what starts complicating games. In dealing with dozens of vehicle types and models that had different performance parameters, advantages and disadvantages, I had to come up with a method or formula to portray those differences. The British derived a formula that determines the outcome of firing at a moving target based on the speed, angle and range (based on muzzle velocity). I'm using a version of that in a simplified manner so players do not have to go though a three step computation process. Rates of fire are based on the documented reload and aim times. Good crews are a little quicker, poor crews and two man turrets are a little slower. Anti-tank guns with a suppressed crew take twice as long as unsuppressed. Wounded crew members take longer to perform their duties. The follow up aim/adjustment time with a "Risk-Reward Decision" (Rapid Fire) by the player to shoot a few seconds sooner but with an accuracy penalty. It's been checked against post-WWII the US and Britain did with a variety of tanks. Moving fire times and accuracy depended on the suspension type, speed and terrain. Again compared to manuals and experiments and sometimes actual WWII video footage. Most of the values have a fixed timing value but a few of them are variable with a D6 die roll. Some are variable based on the player Risk-Reward Decision to trade increased speed for decreased accuracy. There are enough unknown timing variables your opponent can't reliably predict how long an action will take and help creates a natural Fog of War.

3. Establish exactly what aspects of all the possible factors in 'thinking like a tanker' your game successfully addresses, and does not address.

I think the most important decision for a commander and crew in combat were to decide to shoot or move. If you are not shooting you should be moving. If you are not moving you should be shooting. This is the most important advice I give to players. On a real battlefield, crews will observe the enemy actions in real-time to determine their intentions based on their current actions and a guess at what they'll be doing in the next minute or so. Since the OODA Loop is all about timing and the movement markers give spatial awareness of time and distance of movement, the player is using the same judgment factors to determine enemy actions and intentions in a somewhat real-time environment as the clock ticks off the seconds. Rates of fire and movement are synchronized on a second-to-second basis as the clock advances turn-to-turn. That means with players knowing their guns rate of fire (maybe every 8-10 seconds) and observing the enemy rate of movement (28kph = about 8m/second) can determine how successful opportunity fire will be without any artificial or abstracted rules or exceptions most games are forced to use. If you are too slow the target disappears before you can shoot or an enemy unit takes you out before you shoot. Since all unit Action Turns (when they Act to shoot) are kept secret a natural Fog of War is created as you are never sure exactly who will fire as the clock ticks off the next second.

4. Establish objectively that your simulation succeeds in delivering what it was designed to provide. Not opinion or whether folks 'like' it or not.

Probably the best way is to play a small scale historical scenario that is well documented where speed and seconds will determine success or failure. One that comes to mind is the Pershing-Panther shootout in cologne by the cathedral. I'm familiar with it as I was there last year and walked the street taking pictures from different angles.

5.Questions of the realism and historical accuracy would be answered with objective, factual information about your game, rather than vague maybes or simply denials or vague responses concerning your game's 'realism' or historical accuracy.

I think the only way to do that would be to point to the research used to determine the values and timing of the weapons platform. Also accuracy under combat conditions. I think that's as factual and objective as you are going to get.

6. As a designer, I would think those would be important to know, depending on what you had as goals for your wargame.

I agree with you there. The next round of playtesting will be under controlled conditions. The playtesters will play out the same scenario testing specific aspects of the game multiple times rather than just playing a normal game. Their job is to "break" the rules by attempting to do something not historical and to use their imagination and initiative to identify something new. That means specific actions like moving fire, reverse slope defense, concealed ambushes, responding to surprise, etc. We'll also be testing scenarios where one side has a technical disadvantage and crew advantage against a technically superior weapon but a poor crew.

Historically, the Germans claimed early in the war if a Panzer III was able to flank and surprise a buttoned-up T-34/76 within 500m it should get off 2-3 shots before the Russian could shoot once. This is one of the benchmarks I've been working on without tweaking the historical timing factors to get the desired result. Right now we see that against a buttoned-up, surprised T-34/76 with a poor crew an unbuttoned Panzer III with an Ace crew can normally get off three shots before the T-34 can shoot. A Veteran crew two shots and a Poor crew one shot. The poor situational awareness of the buttoned-up T-34 and the slow crew response of a poor crew in a two-man turret puts it at a severe disadvantage to react and shoot first. It has nothing to do with the player "activating" it.

Another area we're testing is the Sherman 75 against Panthers and Tigers. The Sherman had a number of engagement advantages that most game rules do not reflect, especially for getting off the first shot or follow up shots after being ambushed. Sherman's had an advantage in wooded areas because their short gun did not get blocked by trees. Its turret traverse speed was almost twice as fast as the Panther allowing in some cases to get off two shots before the Panther could fire once. If the first AP round did not penetrate a quick follow up WP round would screen the Sherman allowing him to disengage and maneuver for another advantage. Sometimes the WP would start engine fires or cause new crews would bailout. This tactic alone gives the Sherman a huge advantage but the player needs some real skill to pull it off. He can't rely on a die roll or some activation rule. However, an enemy tank or gun waiting in a concealed ambush position is almost always going to have a first shot advantage and it is very little you can do about it except for good recon, a lot of recon by fire and smoke screens.

The Sherman has a commander override to control the turret traverse and a vane sight on the turret that would allow the commander to traverse, aim and fire without the gunner. Having the elevation set for a battle sight range of 500m allowed a good chance of a hit out to 600m. After the first shot, the gunner has the target acquired and can control follow up shots. This makes the Sherman the "Quick Draw of the West". No other WWII tank had the commander override for the turret. Just having a tactical position advantage will force the Panther to withdraw.

The Panther and Tiger had a variable traverse speed turret with the speed based on the engine RPM so the engine needed to be running. To get maximum traverse speed the tank needed to be static and red line the RPM's with a chance of blowing the engine (that's reflected in the game as a player Risk-Reward Decision). The Sherman had a two-speed electrical turret traverse (better control) that was battery powered so could engage with its engine off. The amount of time for the gunner to acquire the target and aim after traverse was another factor in getting off the first shot. The Sherman had an advantage over the Panther and Tiger because the Sherman gunner had a panoramic periscope sight and the Germans did not. Seconds count and at almost every step of a first shot engagement (Situational Awareness, turret traverse, gunner acquisition, range estimation, and rate of fire) the Sherman comes out on top. So far playtesting is showing that if you use Sherman historical tactics that were successful in WWII you have a high degree of success too. But again, it comes down to the player's skill of maneuver and using these strengths against the German weaknesses. He can't rely on an activation or IGYG sequence, random events, or die rolls. There is very little left to chance and a SNAFU that screws up the best plans at the worst time.

Regarding realism. I was giving it some thought as to how we could interject player physical reactions or bio-metrics into the game. I was discussing some of these ideas with Dana Lombardy yesterday. If a player is getting too nervous we can implement modifiers to increase his situational awareness timing (Engagement Delay) and an accuracy penalty to reflect the crew panicking. Losing a tank should come with a penalty too. I showed him how it could be a somewhat painful and shocking experience to lose a tank in a game. However, he said it might be too real as it could actually kill the player (no guns or weapons involved and no Russian Roulette). Maybe I'll find some brave souls to participate.

I don't know if I've answered your questions fully or just rambled on again.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 8:07 p.m. PST

Oh, I wasn't worried about it. Other things have been taking front stage…

Cdr Luppo13 May 2020 4:55 a.m. PST

Good Day Bill,

For an operational Napoleonic game, what do you think is the most appropriate kind a turn sequence ? YgoUgo ? Simultaneous ? Semi Simultaneous ? other ?

we are talking of a game system like N at Bay with, as you know, a fixed hex scale of 3,2 km ..

in the confinement context, i have been toying with a semi simultaneous turn idea for some days .. might be problematic to synchronise with eventual battles and the associated combat OODA loop vs operational movements OODA loop ..

curious to have your opinion on that question ..

Cheers, Eric

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2020 8:55 p.m. PST

Hi Wolfhag:

Yes, you answered my questions, save one. What you have written is a decent Designer's Notes. I know
1. What history/combat dynamics you targeted.

2. What rules were meant to mimic what history/combat with some examples.

3. The question you didn't answer is how you know that players are 'thinking like tankers.' You have been clear on what choices you are giving players, the question is how successful have you been in getting players to think in that very specific manner, 'like a tanker.'

Thank you for your explanations. Again, it isn't complicated in theory:
1. You indicate what history/combat is YOUR target,
2. You describe what game dynamics and mechanics are meant to mimic your target[s].
3. How have you tested your finished system to know that it has been successful, it has hit the targets YOU chose.

Players need to know that to experience the game play as a simulation, that is with knowledge of how their player decisions do and do not sync with the history YOU chose.

Bill

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2020 9:16 p.m. PST

For an operational Napoleonic game, what do you think is the most appropriate kind a turn sequence ? YgoUgo ? Simultaneous ? Semi Simultaneous ? other ?

Hi Eric:
I can't answer that general question about what is 'most appropriate' turn sequence for several reasons:

1. I don't know what parts of Operational warfare have YOU targeted. No game can do it all, so what have you chosen to simulate?

we are talking of a game system like N at Bay with, as you know, a fixed hex scale of 3,2 km ..

in the confinement context, i have been toying with a semi simultaneous turn idea for some days .. might be problematic to synchronise with eventual battles and the associated combat OODA loop vs operational movements OODA loop …

2. Depending on your choices AND the particular game systems you have created all of those options *might* work better than others.

3. It is also what you want the players to experience, to focus on. When you ask what do you think is the most appropriate kind a turn sequence ? YgoUgo ? Simultaneous ? Semi Simultaneous ? other ? the assumption is that one general approach will work 'better' than the rest regardless of the actual details of the system or the designer goals. In reality, each of those types of turn sequences have appeared in a wide set of variations.

Depending on the designer choices of what to create and how, any of those general turn sequence options could work. No such universal 'appropriateness' exists or can exist. It all depends on how the game is designed to achieve what goals.

Depending on your take of the modern OODA loop applied to armies two hundred years earlier, any of those turn sequences could work as far as I am concerned. YgoUgo? Simultaneous? Semi Simultaneous? other?

For instance, in my efforts to design a Napoleonic grand tactical game [Corps size] I have focused on time and distance relationships that actual commanders would experience. That means a number of issues are basically ignored [such as ammo depletion or detailed staff actions] to focus representing those relationships and resultant decision choices. That basic decision eliminates some turn sequence types because they don't fit my focus, don't work to produce what I want to create. That is not because the other general types of turn sequences are generally inappropriate for grand tactical Napoleonic games, but that I believe they can't produce the experiences I want the players to have.

And of course, it could be that I am just not creative enough to see how other turn sequences could work to achieve my goals.

Best Regards, Bill

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2020 6:28 p.m. PST

McLaddie,
Yes, I do have extensive designer notes on different aspects of the game. Soon they'll be ready for downloading.

3. The question you didn't answer is how you know that players are 'thinking like tankers.' You have been clear on what choices you are giving players, the question is how successful have you been in getting players to think in that very specific manner, 'like a tanker.'

I Googled "think like a tank commander" and the only hit I got was me discussing it on TMP so I guess I'll get to define what they have in common. In the game and real-life the commander's responsibility is to position themselves to react quickly to enemy threats and cover expected routes they will travel. This is because if they are out of position they'll be surprised and take additional time to respond allowing the enemy to seize the initiative by getting inside his loop. In a Time Competitive environment, which the game and real combat are, timing through your OODA Loop to Act determines initiative, success, or failure.

Most games use some type of IGYG or unit activations. Activations can be random or by the player's choice. In many games, the player must wait for his "turn" to do something. Real crews don't wait and neither do players in the game. Those games play somewhat more like a chess game with alternate pieces moving/activating. Players are thinking and reacting like chess players, not tank commanders. In chess, there is no timing regarding synchronizing movement, simultaneous movement, and rates of fire for opportunity fire, better crews being quicker, or historical Risk-Reward Tactical Decisions for the player to balance speed and accuracy depending on the situation. In chess, Units do not behave according to their historical weapons platform performance (rates of speed, rate of fire, turning, traverse speed, etc). Most games use some type of die roll modifier to determine the chances of something happening. Without a timing value assigned to actions, you cannot implement OODA Loop timing in the game.

In the game "Thinking like a tank commander" is considering the timing factors of his tactical positioning, weapons platform performance and crew performance to determine if it is best to issue an order to shoot or move. He's not concerned with the sequence he'll activate his units. Wrong orders or underestimating the enemy's speed or intentions can be catastrophic, just as it is in real combat. The game does not give the player any other options than a real crew would have. It's a completely different approach than most games and it forces the player to approach the game and think differently. Chess is IGYG and not a Time Competitive environment between each chess piece.

Example: In most games when a player wants his tank to engage a new target he "activates" it and then it can normally immediately shoot no matter what it's tactical positioning or overwatch was. The player does not have to consider the same tactical situation and order timing real crews needed to. In real combat, and in the game, when a player reacts to a threat he may be able to go into action right away or have an Engagement Delay because of poor positioning or crew. A real crew, and the player in the game, then consider how long it will take to shoot because orders are not magically executed the moment they're issued. So a real crew, and the player in the game, consider his timing by how long to pivot (optional), traverse the turret (unless Bore Sighted), have the gunner acquire the target, aim/range estimation (better crews are quicker) and shoot. He can also trade decreased accuracy for increased speed (Snap Shot/Battle Sight). If he has a rangefinder he can use that to increase accuracy but it will increase the time to shoot. Determining timing typically involves one D6 die roll and normally two modifiers but on occasion up to five modifiers. The mechanics are the same as adding a few die roll modifiers. If the game clock shows 2:24 and it takes 15 seconds he shoots (Act) when the game clock gets 2:39. Then while at 2:39 he then loops back to Observe to do it all over again. Like you said, it's not that complicated.

Summary: So the short answer is they don't have any other choice but to think like a tank commander. IT'S THE ONLY WAY HE CAN PLAY THE GAME! Why? Because the game is structured that way and guided by the OODA Loop timing for each unit. There are no traditional rules like unit activations, initiative determination, special over watch and opportunity fire rules, orders phase, separate move/shoot segments, etc. The only "choice" they have is to follow their natural way to address, analyze, and solve a problem – the OODA Loop. A "Time Competitive" game uses timing, not die roll modifiers or a chance of an action or activity to occur. All of the actions a player can perform and tactics used come from manuals and tactics. All of the considerations he makes are based on observing the enemy actions, movement, and intentions, just as real crews did. There are no IGYG or activations so the game plays completely different.

The customized data cards help guide the player through each of the four parts of the loop. The choices and options are color-coded for each of the four steps. Think of it as a menu choice or flow chart. Any special weapon characteristics are portrayed as a tactic or as a timing modifier for an action. This helps get new players up to speed because there are fewer rules and exceptions to remember or forget.

Any logical choice a player would make is laid out for them and translated from the manual and tactics that integrate their timing into the loop. After a player understands his OODA Loop and the historical choices and tactics for moving and shooting the game mechanics become second nature and flows naturally turn-to-turn and second-to-second. This has been proven time and again with players as young as 14 with no wargaming experience picking up the basics in 30-40 minutes without reading the rules. If you understand this you don't need to read any further but I can add more details or examples if you like. As you said, it's not complicated.

Wolfhag

Cdr Luppo24 May 2020 1:56 a.m. PST

Good Day Bill,

Thank you for the reply, this led me to think about it a bit differently.

- the first part i looked at are army marches and the way they were executed. (i used Escale, Lewal, Bardin, etc.) and the continuum between those marches and the battles. With Lewal' books, you have 650 pages + devoted to army-operational marches.

- rate of march
- road column organisation ( avant postes, avant garde, main body, arriθre garde etc)
- planification of marches duration, length, etc)
- total marching time : head movement – tail movement to the destination
- eventual fatigue of the troops – units (operational tempo)
- Bivacs – campements – "positions" etc

- then you have the continuum between marches and the battles or combat. transition between movement and combat, between road order and combat order.

---

Many games from the 70s & 80s are relying heavily on numerical values management on the players part.
turn after turn, it's a series of optimized min-max calculations on those various game values. Then you have the "optimized" movement of side A units versus side B static units. even if there is a reaction movement phase.

i'm trying to see if a semi simultaneous sequence of play could bring a different "play experience". What you eventually called "scenic route" in another thread.
something more oriented on Generalship, operations planification, sequential-coordinated, a definite course of action in which
the C-in-C place his units and sub commanders. so less oriented towards the usual min-max optimization of numerical values
and their incentives.

movement is "planned" on : march – extended march – forced march, using chits that encapsulate both the "intent"
and the "march attrition profile" like in nab 2nd edition. march will generate 1 fatigue point, extended march 2, etc.
you resolve attrition at the end of a "sequence" of one week or just before a battle.
in theory, the mathematical "prism" should be replaced by a "maneuver prism"

---

the second aspect is the continuum between marches and battles, the switch between road order and combat order, the transition between movement and combat. depending on what is "planned" at the operations level, you could have a Lannes trying to "hold out" all the morning, before N arrives latter in the day on the battlefield with reinforcements !
very different than a IGO-UGO sequence where the defender will, almost, always choose pursuit battle.
a sub aspect here is the eventual use of grand maneuver (grand tactics) elements in order to define the combat power of the units, as opposed to just defining them as X amounts of 1000s soldiers. a look at both the organic parts of corps-divisions and LINES of Battle in order to model the combat power of the units.

---

a striking point is that i' m in line with what Wholhag talked about synch. movement actions between opposing units and what you talked about commanders "profile" in another thread for your own design.

may be i'm off with those elements, but i have been thinking about a "command clock" device for operational orders -and their eventual persistance – / operational movements and also about a different approach to command and commanders similar to your 4 points about sub commanders (your corps level design).

after much online research, the only relevant study i have found is the one from mc cann and Pigeau about the C.A.R model, but it's a 20th century study. (compentency – Authority and Responsability).

i have also donne a lot of work, in march and April, on Bardin's 1800's definitions for a large amount of notions, ideas and definitions for everything related to operations and grand tactics for the period .. using the term of OODA loop was almost a big mistake, prompted surely by others messages, here, from our friend Wolfhag and his own design (hi Steve ! ; ) )

---
Best regards, Eric


---

Cdr Luppo24 May 2020 5:32 a.m. PST

samples for articles on command and the CAR model, the problem is to find a similar study specific to the 1800s period ..

PDF link


PDF link

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2020 8:05 a.m. PST

It's memorial day. For all you service members and veterans, thank you for your service.

picture

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2020 8:22 a.m. PST

As a serviceman I'd like to thank all of the taxpayers for paying for my ammo and grenades and that all-expense-paid Meditteranean cruise (complete with a personal trainer) that I had aboard the USS Guam.

Thank you.

Semper Fi,
Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2020 8:24 a.m. PST

Cdr Luppo:

I think the OODA for the Napoleonic Wars shows in highlighted fashion the wide gulf between today's military operations and those of that period.

The ability of officers to make tactical decisions, to even use an OODA loop was restricted, more so as you go down to the lower levels to the battalion. Operations were more like marching band performances: Once the practiced routine began, each member was responsible for keeping in step, not making decisions about how the formation could respond. What is the OODA of a parade-ground performance… and who had the ability to exercise it?

For instance, "Tactics" in Nicholson's The British Encyclopedia S-Z (1809)

Hence the able tactician always arranges his force in such a manner, as to allow each to perform its duty without interfering with the evolutions of any other class; and in, what is called, manoeuvring his army, never fails to estimate the distances, and the time in which each may execute the assigned duty; so that the whole may coincide with one great intention, and insure success by the accurate execution of its respective functions: were it to be otherwise, the whole must be subject to disorder; one failure often leading to the most serious consequence; the same as is caused by the want of a cog, or tooth, of any wheel in a piece of machinery.

The reason the 'pace' held such an important place in training and movement was that need for estimating time and distance, the marching-band percision necessary in moving thousands of men before the invention of the radio.

Cdr Luppo13 Jun 2020 5:22 a.m. PST

Good day Bill,

I do agree with the "pace" idea, i have also make the calculations for 90-100 paces per minute and the end result with a 20mn Game Turn. there is a reason to march at such a pace, because the artillery can keep up with infantry, and because a sub element facing an obstacle can accelerate at 120 paces / mn in order to get back into formation after negotiating the said "obstacle". but those elements are about tactical and grand tactical (grand manoeuvres).

what i tried to talk about is the sequence of play and players input towards that S.o.P.

at the level of operations, is it about army A maneuvering against a "living" army B ? or is it about about army A maneuvering a (temporary) "frozen" army B and vice versa ?

IGO-UGO SoP implies a frozen army B, with optimized movements from army A. and vice versa. i asked about that point in order to see what alternate solution can be eventually implemented to provide a different approach in the way the game is played. so the reference to some kind of semi simultaneous SoP.

Games like NaB are systems from the 70s-80s, with a heavy reliance on numerical values, and the optimization of those values by the players. also the optimization of the events sequence in relation with the YGO-UGO SoP, somewhat disconnected form plausible maneuvers, and strongly linked to how things are working in the context of the system SoP, not how things were done in real situations.

a fellow gamer has provided some insight last week at csw on the NaB system, in order to "play well", if you follow those advices, it's all about to have a Leipzig situation for each battle, to make two pitched battle (major combat), fight twice in the time frame of a game turn (48H) in oder to apply a counter punch to the opposing army.
some sort of level 3 player versus level 0 or level 1 player (using system tricks)
it's not about a better or clever operational plan, a more clever set of maneuvers, it's about manipulating the SoP to one side advantage.

---

so what i talked about is a semi simultaneous SoP and the fact that you are maneuvering against a "living" opponent, not a frozen one because of the sequence of play.

best regards,
Eric

Ps : i added an elemnt about "colonne par regimenr" from Von Decker as a validation of Bardin's indication !
: )

grahambeyrout13 Jun 2020 7:50 a.m. PST

Can I thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. I do not think I have read a thread as long or as detailed or indeed as learned as this that has remained so civilised and tolerant of contrary ideas. It has been a pleasure to follow

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2020 2:39 p.m. PST

IGO-UGO SoP implies a frozen army B, with optimized movements from army A. and vice versa. i asked about that point in order to see what alternate solution can be eventually implemented to provide a different approach in the way the game is played. so the reference to some kind of semi simultaneous SoP.

Cdr Luppo:

I appreciate your points and the NaB example. My response is 'true, but it depends.'

My assumptions are 1. This is pre-radio warfare 2. opposing armies would not always be able to move at the same time with all of their opposing forces, and 3. that the command system would not allow 'quick' action-reaction responses.

In pre-radio warfare, When a commander sees the enemy moving, his ability to respond, get orders out and move my troops in response, particularly at the division/corps level, is not immediate. In fact, the ability to estimate time-distance relationships is critical. It becomes more like a fencing match… while both contestants can move at the same time, what you see is a poste-reposte action sequence most of the time. These are 'living' opponets. Battlefield AARs almost always follow this sam action-reaction narrative. This is true for boxing, dogfights etc.

So, in some respects, depending on how the game is designed, a IGO/UGO system can be just as reasonable as any semi-simultaneous or simultaneous system.

grahambeyrout: I'm glad. It can be done! wink

UshCha15 Jun 2020 1:04 a.m. PST

I have read this thread with interest as it is at attempting to grapple with some of the issues that are not obvious in other threads. However there may be another strand to this discussion which I postulate on my own understanding of simulation both engineering and wargameing.

It is a thread through engineering that one way to solve a problem is to generate a simulation using assumptions about both what mechanisms operate, which can be ignored as not useful in the simulation, then run the simulation with those assumptions. The result is then compared to a gross real world, results and an assessment of the results assumed over a number of instances. From those results the assumptions are modified for the current mechanisms and new mechanisms introduced if it becomes apparent the simulation is failing to reach and adequate representation.
In the end you get a simulation that broadly reflects the gross results and this can then be used as a prediction tool for other similar problems. Now it has to be accepted that depending on the quality of the initial system to accurately get the balance correct it may not predict well outside its database. This tendency can be minimised but not eliminated by sticking as close to physics as currently understood of the problem so that the assumptions can be rated to so, when "correcting" the simulation where it does not reflect well the gross result which mechanisms are most likely to be the ones responsible can be adjusted.

So our own rules were designed to do just this. We made assumptions, ran the model against test results and saw where the model clearly could not models, what we wanted and rebuilt the model until over a large range of test cases it gave acceptable results. Now as in engineering, on these complex models there is always a chance that in extrapolation outside the model may be incorrect and need more testing and adjustment. This is a valid form of modelling. It just seems that this thread has come to an end where, as in many engineering situations, the underlying mechanisms are insufficiently understood to be predicted with any reasonable accuracy and hence there is a need for adjustment that may not be intrinsically intuitive. Now whether you call this rational assessment "feel" or perhaps "engineering judgement" or in fact both perhaps is moot. Again the accuracy of any battle model in detail is in many cases within the eye of the teller and the listener, even with gross results one needs to be careful. A museum model of waterloo was done at the last point the protagonists claim they knew they had it chronologically correct. After that it becomes a work of assumptions by the/simulator as not all the data was available to the protagonists in a coherent manner. That means any simulation can only be achieved by making rational assumptions.

In our own case the model (wargame) was designed for us. We publish it because we feel as a game it has merit as it gives a good representation of the parameters we wanted to concentrate on. These may even not be areas where others are interested.

Designing the game for sales was not a key driver except to make sure the rules were clear and concise.


It's interesting perhaps to note the "static simulation" is in effect a gross result. If the model does then not cover other simulations without "tweaking" it indicates some mechanisms are either not correctly modelled or mechanisms are missing that are significant to one or other of the situations.

Please note this is not meant to be contentious or detract from the excellent details analysis where it is possible. The better the movement rates are determined the more any errors in the assumptions can be targeted at more probable candidates and hence the overall robustness of the model is improved.

Cdr Luppo20 Jun 2020 3:53 a.m. PST

Good Day Bill,

Perhaps a better way to define the idea is to use the notions of "Continuity" & "Synchronization", for an eventual final result like "synchronized continuity".
a bit different from semi-simultaneous, as the goal is not to have the opposing units moving at the same time, but to have a coherent scheme during the turn for (potential) opposed movements from each side. what i called maneuvering against a living opponent.

You can still have the Action vs Reaction cycle as you described, as the players inputs are based on orders and some kind of operational posture, defining what are the CinC intent on each side for the various sub units.

the idea is really not about to have "opposing armies (…) able to move at the same time" every turn. There is forcely a side assuming the burden of attack and the initiative, while the opposing side is assuming a more defensive position.

in relation with sequence of play, movement of an army corps imply to be be eventually in a weak state during movement, ie not really ready for combat. in the context of IGO-YGO you do not have "problem" because the enemy is frozen.

your army corps is likely to occupy a 15-25 km length along the road net. so in term of movement planning, the Corps commander should decide the kind of formation for the day's march accroding to the mission and the *intel* about immediate enemy units : more or less condensed, depending on the proximity with those enemy units (like noted in Lewal & Escalle), a bit like the difference between simple march vs War March.

in ygo ygo those aspects are absents because you move against a frozen opponent, even if he has a reaction phase (termed forced march). the continuity element is not there.

a more condensed road march formation imply more fatigue and more attrition, but has the advantage of a quicker switch to battle order, while a less condensed road march formation implies less fatigue and less attrition, and need more time to adopt a battle order.

I'm toying with that idea of "continuity" as opposed to the fractioned scheme of Igo-Ygo, but it is surely a very elusive concept ! and i have no illusion that point.

that said, when you start to focus on the *movement* element in the game system, with a 360° approach, there is much more to that element than just movement points ..
as an example you can suffer from march attrition, but the concept of fatigue is totally absent. also the way retreat / pursuit is managed l-can lead to some abnormal or gamey situations.

simple march / war march
regular etape of 22 km per day or
extended etape of 35-40 km per day
… or a forced march !
juts achange of "military position" as per Bardin
road order formation (more condensed – less condensed)
rate of march > 3,5km/H or 4Km/H

i suspect Those elements need to be plannified for the upcomming day and not improvised during the march after midday .. in accordance with CinC intent and orders. except when you "bump" on an unexpected ennemy unit of similar size.

that said, it could be interesting to use that idea of "continuity" in the context of an Igo-Ygo sequence of play.


Best Regards, Eric

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2020 8:16 p.m. PST

We made assumptions, ran the model against test results and saw where the model clearly could not models, what we wanted and rebuilt the model until over a large range of test cases it gave acceptable results.

Hi UshCha:

Sorry, I was finishing doing the galleys on my novel and didn't see this until now.

I think yours is a good description of any game or simulation design process. The system has to be tested to see if it 1. does what it was designed to do, and 2. mimics the real-life processes it was designed to simulate.

Now as in engineering, on these complex models there is always a chance that in extrapolation outside the model may be incorrect and need more testing and adjustment. This is a valid form of modelling.

sure it is.

It just seems that this thread has come to an end where, as in many engineering situations, the underlying mechanisms are insufficiently understood to be predicted with any reasonable accuracy and hence there is a need for adjustment that may not be intrinsically intuitive.

I think the thread could actually go further, much further. 1. why are they 'insufficiently understood'? Is that a lack of time, lack of trying or a lack of available information?

The first two are a problem outside of design and testing. The latter is a common problem for simulation designers and there are many ways around that.

Now whether you call this rational assessment "feel" or perhaps "engineering judgement" or in fact both perhaps is moot. Again the accuracy of any battle model in detail is in many cases within the eye of the teller and the listener, even with gross results one needs to be careful.

I don't agree. Accuracy is something that is established at the outset of a design. You obviously had the criteria for accuracy or you wouldn't have seen the need for "where the model clearly could not model what we wanted and rebuilt the model until over a large range of test cases".

You can't do that without a strong sense of 'accuracy', i.e. the target performance goals set for your design effort. That you created the criteria doesn't change the fact that isn't a matter of 'feel' but testing against a set of criteria. You don't 'feel' the system is accurate. It either does what you want tested against some criteria or you "rebuild the model."

A museum model of waterloo was done at the last point the protagonists claim they knew they had it chronologically correct.

No, at the last poiint the model designers read about the protonists claiming they knew. Different criteria.

After that it becomes a work of assumptions by the/simulator as not all the data was available to the protagonists in a coherent manner. That means any simulation can only be achieved by making rational assumptions.

I disagree. A simulation is made by 1. establishing workable questions that need and can be answered, and 2. finding information that can be represented and tested. While rationale assumptions are involved in establishing a place to start, they are only a starting place, neither what is finally tested or simulated. Otherwise, why test at all. Just go with whatever assumptions you like.

For instance, I can't find out any real information that relates actual causalties to unit behavior other in very gross and widely varying responses. Some units stay with horrendous casualties and some run with very few or none--the very few times casualties are reliably known from a paricular engagement.

The approach requires looking at the problem of combat results differently, with different questions. Say Unit behavior in reponse to enemy behavior. Action in--unknown causes and effects--response out. It is looking at large numbers of actions and doing statistical analysis of action/behavioral relationships. In other words, when the information can't answer the questions to get to X, you ask different questions to get to the same X. Done all the time and lots of methods for doing so.

You can build a system around assumptions, but if it is meant to model actual events/reality, then the system still has to do the job around the target criteria originally set up--it has to test accurately. Otherwise, the assumptions don't work and you start over because you "saw where the model clearly could not models, what we wanted and rebuilt the model until over a large range of test cases…"

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2020 8:44 p.m. PST

Hi Eric:

Okay. I am still operating from a 18th-19th Century perspective, so that colors my responses.

There is forcely a side assuming the burden of attack and the initiative, while the opposing side is assuming a more defensive position.<

in relation with sequence of play, movement of an army corps imply to be be eventually in a weak state during movement, ie not really ready for combat. in the context of IGO-YGO you do not have "problem" because the enemy is frozen.

your army corps is likely to occupy a 15-25 km length along the road net. so in term of movement planning, the Corps commander should decide the kind of formation for the day's march accroding to the mission and the *intel* about immediate enemy units : more or less condensed, depending on the proximity with those enemy units (like noted in Lewal & Escalle), a bit like the difference between simple march vs War March.

Well, first, how often did a marching column run into and suffer from an unknown opposing force unless it was an ambush? So, we aren't talking about a common experience.

Second, a march column almost always had formed in an order anticipating deploying. The Classic example is Packenham's march column at Salamanca. It was already formed in preparation for an attack to the left. So, when ordered to attack, Packenham simply marched the column down in from of the French and made a left face and was ready to attack.

Now, if he had formed up differently, it would have taken far longer to deploy. Armies were wound up with orders and released based on what they *thought* would be the battle circumstances. They formed and moved accordingly until circumstances changed.

Rough terrain, getting lost, fatigue all could hamper carrying out orders and commanders might not follow them rigorously for some reason, but IGO/UGO systems certianly can portray those conditions. They don't fail to portray all this by their very nature, but rather by a failure in design.

I am not clear on your game system concept of "continuity" as opposed to simulataneous or IGO/UGO systems. It does make me think of VLB and similar systems like Peter Dennis's 5mm rules or Grand Piquet's horizon movement. I don't think that is what you are talking about.

Best Regards, Bill

UshCha22 Jun 2020 5:45 a.m. PST

One of the issues we addressed in designing our game was to at least get it vaguely to reproduce the anecdotal/technical manual type behavior. Though vaguely seems a strange word many war games fail even that test.
Now at this point I am only going to look at movement. In any model taking a single viewpoint and ignoring other aspects helps to make one part more simple to understand but be definition makes other sections less comprehensible and hence a true analysis need other viewpoints but I think a single viewpoint is sufficient for this discussion at this time.
The key issues is to get a system that reflects the responces of the real world. If possible reflecting all the physics but at least as much is practical in a very simplified model.
We in modeling movement found there were 3 key aspects not well modeled in previous systems:-
1) The variation is speed of AFV's from say 5mph Max about 7.5 mph (based on max lead of a LAW 72, in combat to some at least 20mph in road movement, sometimes even over good going.
2) Failure of reserves to ever be useful in a wargame despite them working often in the real world.
3) The ability of the typical previous models to never allow the attacker to gain the upper hand as the defender can always counter the attacker, this may be partly attribytable to the other 2 and to command and control (the single view point issue).
We spent a considerable time considering these issues and came up with a number of key parameters that we considered were key drivers that were not well modeled.
Item 1 was to some extent self-evident, part of this was poor definition of the rules. DBM played by senarios hinted that the problem was solveable but the rules mechanisms used by DBM would not translate directly for our period but did indicate it was a factor that could be compensated for.
Item 2 indicated that was probably linked to Item 3 and to some extent Item 2. That lead us to look harder at the issue. Certainly in our period one of the issues was the failure of many rules to depict terrain in an adequate manner certainly for WW2 and probably much earlier. In reality by the time of the enclosures and widespread drainage travel across even small extents off road becomes difficult, there are many more fields, watercourses hedges and ditches than most terrain generated by classic games. Even a relatively easy to cross ditch requires even a Tracked AFV to cross it at close to 90 degrees. This means the vehicle will very regularly need to slow down turn, cross the obstacle, re orientate and accelerate to the next impediment. Given that too many tracked vehicles cannot cross even minor obstacles, on US manual notes 10 vehicles and the water dumped on exit without improvement renders the section impassable. Even horse drawn vehicle can have this issue over an unimproved river crossing.
Now a road will not have as many issues so road deployment of reserves positioned on a road can more relatively fast to a new destination. Forces that have to re-deploy to the road and then do a road move and re-deploy cannot do so as fast. This would be equally true if the reserves were placed ina position where they can respond fast. Again this is not a complete solution but hints at how and what needs to be modeled.
Item one now needs to be looked at in the light of the above. One issue became obvious that high speed movement needed to reflect the disadvantages of moving at high spoeed as well as the advantages, often again not well done. It I find is regrettable that few "claissic" wargames designers appear to live in the real world, given the bizarre responces of there models. We defined key issues related to road/high speed movement based on our experience as drivers and passengers and rudimentary knowledge of AFV's. This lead to some interesting issues we considered were key to effecting at least an improved response. These were:-
1) If you are driving down a road at 20 to 30mph you cannot turn into a 90 degree T junction at will, you need to be slowing down and speeding up beforehand. In many cases with an AFV the gun needs to be pointing out of the way when you turn the corner, either forward or backwards.
2) Pre planning is required so that the diver can slow down appropriately and accelerate optimally. However as the driver is working optimally for that route, changing your mind at the last second is likely to have dire consequences.
3) The ability of the vehicle to maintain situational awareness at 20 mph is much impaired. Even in a car with a great view its impossible to do much looking at othet than the direction and issues with the road. In an AFV the commander is doing much of this work as well as navigating as the drivers view is poor. Even the crew with head out have a problem as the amount of scenery passing is so huge as to be well beyond the ability of the crew to survey in any serious detail.
Now as a start these are items that need to be considered in any mechanism. Does it really matter if its IGO UGO or some other system? I would suggest it is not an issue whichever mechanism is used. The key is that the identified mechanisms are reflected by the system chosen. The key is that if the underlying parameters are achieved then the result can be held as a good approximation. Again detailed knowledge is useful, but much can be done with much less detailed information available.
These parameters already contribute to the Command/control time lag without even beginning to look at that aspect of the system, the set a minimum lag time that the command and control function cannot override. Also the sheer length of a march column be it infantry or AFV's is far larger than most rules reflect and again is an issue that further imposes lags not well modeled in many games.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2020 2:01 p.m. PST

UshCha brings up some good points. Movement can be tactical (deployed to meet the enemy)or strategic (column movement).

There is a lot more involved than moving units onto a road at max speed:

link

Taking into account C&C, upper-level permissions to use the road, coordinate with other units/intersections, security, route recon, etc there can be quite a time lag. You are going to want 50m-100m spacing between vehicles on a road march but with the game scale and vehicle size having models asshole to belly button would be realistic.

Road marches were normally at 12kph-20kph depending on conditions and a 5-10 minute stop every hour for maintenance checks. This can really affect bringing up reserves. You are not going to move a company of tanks 40kph in one hour even if they can move that fast.

Abram's road march to Bastagone gives some good details and examples.

Wolfhag

UshCha22 Jun 2020 2:22 p.m. PST

Wolfhag it depends on ground scale. Even ignoring the size of the vehicle my 1/144 vehicles would be some 100mm center to center so about half a tank length appart (rear of one to Bow of another, without any "correction for scale". In WW2 the Germans reckoned on 10 vehicles per mile to minimize air attack that's 160m apart that is significant even at 1mm=1m.

In reality the same is going to apply to cross country movement, 5 to 10mph at peak but so much slowing down to maneouver through even small obstacles means it will be a lot less.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2020 12:39 p.m. PST

Yes, the issues of march vs deployed movement are fairly minor on most game tables because of the scale.

A 9 foot table at 60 yards to the inch is 3.7 miles across and even at 6 feet is only 2.5 miles deep. Maybe route march onto the table, but even that will put you within a mile of the enemy.

Even at 100 yards per inch, the 9 X 6 table is 6 x 4 miles. Once you get larger scales, which you do see in 20th Century era rules, then march vs deployed become more of an issue.

UshCha25 Jun 2020 11:53 p.m. PST

Mc Laddies it may be the date of your battles, in the 20th Centuary in many places deployeing feom at least attacj coloumns need s to be out of sight but not too far away. the terrain as noted means long distance deployement would become chaotic and so slow it would give the enemy too long to get ready.

As I understand it it was beginning to get like that in the UK around the Napolionic period, there were very few places you could deploy line troops due to the close nature of the terrain.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2020 7:44 p.m. PST

Mc Laddies it may be the date of your battles.


UshCha: Well, yeah… I noted that.

"Once you get larger scales, which you do see in 20th Century era rules, then march vs deployed become more of an issue."

Scale is what it's about. Playinng CoC has no road marches to worry about, nor games like Sword and the Flame or Sharp Practice.

UshCha29 Jun 2020 1:11 a.m. PST

I suspect on my analysis there is no pure single mechanism that fulfills the needs of a simulation. Our own system is an IGO UGO system as a base, working on individual elements, (vehice or fireteam) but has superimposed subroutines for action, reaction cycles within this overall system. In addition in some specific cases simple group actions are possible, again catering for the need to reflect reality as far as is possible in a very simplified model.

Now as has been said before the audiance is key. There are no appologies that our own rules are designed for those interested in the history and tactics of the time. This means that time needs to be spent to learn the novel parts of the system which are key parameters some of which will be unfamiliar to Featherstone clone players. This makes the game in its full implementation unsuitable for the occational gamer, however that was never a design goal.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP30 Jun 2020 4:21 p.m. PST

I suspect on my analysis there is no pure single mechanism that fulfills the needs of a simulation.

UshCha:
I would think that would depend on 1. what is being simulated, and 2. how much.

Our own system is an IGO UGO system as a base, working on individual elements, (vehice or fireteam) but has superimposed subroutines for action, reaction cycles within this overall system. In addition in some specific cases simple group actions are possible, again catering for the need to reflect reality as far as is possible in a very simplified model.

Okay, so you have set the parameters of the simulation: "The need to reflect reality as far as possible in a very simplified model.

That is basically what ALL simulation designers do, the 'far as possible' being what the simulation is supposed to model to achieve the results desired.

All simulations are simplified. You're engineer. You know how physicists and engineers simplify calculations to find the needed answers, answers which are very workable in reality-- like making the earth a mathematical point to determine gravity or as I've said, spherical chickens.

Point being, either the simulation does what you want it to, or it doesn't, and simplification is just one of the things done on the way to that goal, jettisoning all the reality that isn't needed to model the desired reality.

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