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"Making an OODA Loop Time Competitive IGYG game" Topic

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Wolfhag12 Mar 2020 10:08 a.m. PST

What makes the OODA Decision Loop and "time competitiveness" a better portrayal of the action in 1:1 combat?
Because it allows players to compete head-to-head in a simultaneous game time environment with more reliance on their decisions and less on the dice and abstracted rules. The OODA Loop is natural and replaces traditional game rules which speed up the game and makes it easier to play.

In a time competitive game, I GO before YOU GO because I'm faster. You don't need any other rules.

"Whoever can make and implement his decisions consistently faster gains a tremendous, often decisive advantage. Decision-making thus becomes a time competitive process and timeliness of decisions (OODA Loop) becomes essential to generating tempo."
Tactical Decision Making, Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1, Warfighting

Why would you want to use this to replace other game systems?
A time competitive game creates more of a real-time head-to-head game environment with less left to chance and more to the unit crew type and player decisions. Weapons platforms perform using their real rates of speed, rates of fire, reload times and turret traverse speeds with a minimum of abstractions. With all units being on the clock the timing of actions is portrayed in a smoother manner without needing initiative, unit activations, movement points, or opportunity fire rules

If you want a better understanding of "Playing the Loop" read this 3-page detailed explanation:

Timing and the clock: You can't really simulate timing through the loop unless you are using a clock to measure the seconds and minutes. The game uses one second turns to measure how long an order will take to execute and what time in the future it will occur (Act in the loop). As the clock ticks second to second (not in real human time, a player moves the second hand for each turn) all units that are scheduled to shoot at that time do so and loop back to Observe and decide on their next action and how long it will take to execute. If there are no actions for the current turn the clock ticks to the next second.

Example: If a player decides to shoot at 1:03 and it will take 12 seconds he shoots when the clock reaches 1:15. Of course, during those 12 seconds, anything can happen, including him being knocked out before he shoots. All units are "on the clock" acting within their own OODA Loop.

Timing and Initiative: Using the second-to-second timing of all of the unit decision loops on the playing surface, the initiative is now determined by who gets through their loop first, not by an arbitrary or a random rule. All loops and actions are synchronized on a turn-to-turn and second-to-second basis. Your (the player) actions and decisions "seize" the initiative from the enemy by staying on the offensive by being inside his loop using your timing strengths against his weaknesses.

There are many historic variables in a tank-tank engagement. The simplest form would be like this to create your own game environment.

You "create" your vehicle/tank based on historic values like speed/pivot rate, turret traverse, and rate of fire.

Engaging a new target:
When reacting to engage a new target with a first shot roll a D6 + a modifier based on the tank's historic turret traverse rate. Maybe +3 for 30 degrees per second, +4 for 20 degrees, +7 for 10 degrees or for assault guns pivoting. Maybe +2 for poor crews and a -2 for good crews, no change for average crews. Being buttoned-up would be +4 turns. Use whatever values you feel are realistic and will work.

Player Risk-Reward Decision: You could shoot one turn sooner with one negative hit modifier or two turns sooner with two negative modifiers. This would deliver a somewhat historic first shot engagement time of 5-15 seconds and with it being somewhat variable it creates some suspense and Fog of War as your opponent is never sure when you'll get through your loop to shoot.

Use whatever gunnery rules you want. When a unit Acts/shoots will depend more on the crew type and the player's decision to trade decreased accuracy for increased speed than a random die roll or luck.

The OODA Loop: Immediately after performing an action the player is back to Observe. Immediately after shooting he can place a movement marker to move (Shoot & Scoot), engage the same target with a follow-up shot (see below) or a new target like above. There is no activation, initiative, opportunity fire rules or an order phase.

The follow-up shots would depend on the guns historic rate of fire and reload time. At 6 rounds per minute that's every 10 seconds/turns. Good crews would use 8 seconds and poor crews 12 seconds. You could shoot one turn sooner with one negative hit modifier or two turns sooner with two negative modifiers using whatever gunnery rules you like. That's between 6 and 12 seconds.

Game Flow: All units are active and can react on any turn to shoot or move. The use of simultaneous "Virtual Movement" allows a game to "stream" and the action to unfold on a second-to-second basis better than structured IGUG or unit activation rules can. It synchronizes movement rates with rates of fire eliminating the need for special opportunity fire and initiative rules. It allows players to be put in the same critical situations as their real-life counterparts, making the same "speed vs accuracy" decisions using the real-life tactics to seize the initiative by breaking their opponent's OODA Decision Loop. Players are "Playing the Loop" for each or their units rather than playing artificial and abstracted rules.

Where's the fun? I've played this version with kids aged 10-18 that never played a war game before. I spent 10 minutes explaining the concepts and a few sample moves, there were no rules to read. A customized data card was used for each vehicle and gun type that the players referred to during the game for shooting and moving and timing variables.

All they had to do was select their target, roll a D6 adding one or two numbers, record the time they'll shoot on a 3x5 index card and pay attention to the game. They were running 6-8 tanks "playing the loop" for each one.

Seconds count just as in real 1:1 combat. The clock is always ticking to the next turn of action without the need for traditional game rules to determine action sequences. There was suspense as the clock ticked to the next second because no one knew who would shoot next.

Using action timing in seconds has the advantage of delivering historic split-second combat results with no additional rules. After 20 minutes they were on their own and I was a spectator.

I'll introduce a more detailed version in a video in a few days.


Big Red Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2020 10:24 a.m. PST

This sounds a lot like variable length bound. An interesting concept but it was difficult to implement on the table top.

A video would be helpful.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2020 12:05 p.m. PST

It isn't like VLB in that there is no 'change of situation' or complicated 'syncing up' of commands because of multiple CoSs. A video would help, but it isn't difficult to implement… of course Wolfhag has always been moderating, so that helped, but it certainly isn't the same process as VLB,

Wolfhag12 Mar 2020 1:16 p.m. PST

Thanks McLaddie.

I hope this helps:

At 2:38 a real Panzer III tank crew would have the option to halt and reverse out of the LOS, turn into the T-34 and shoot, accelerate to get out of the LOS, shoot on the move or try to maneuver for a close-range flank shot.

The T-34/76 has a two-man turret and is buttoned up. That should cause an Engagement Delay meaning the crew will not go into action before the Panzer III giving the German crew precious seconds to gain a maneuver advantage or shoot first and maybe even get off two shots before the T-34/76, especially if the Panzer III has a better crew and the player trades decreased accuracy for increased speed simulating a Snap Shot or Battlesight aiming.

If you think about it, the German player has all of the same options and tactics available that a real crew would if he just "thinks like a tank commander" and does not worry about the rules. He just goes through his loop, considers his options, decides on an order, and determines how long it will take to Act on it.

This action is not isolated from the rest of the game. Remember, all units on the table that are moving are performing the same way creating new LOS and shooting taking place at various times depending on their loop. The players are making the same decisions and carrying out the same actions as their WWII coounterparts did.

Models are almost always out of scale in the game. With the vehicle icons drawn to scale on the movement markers, you get a better overall sense of scale and obtain better LOS and it also helps with high explosive templates too.

This concept has been playtested for 5 years, mostly with new players. It was suggested by a non-player spectator at a convention.

Hopefully videos on Monday.


nickinsomerset12 Mar 2020 1:57 p.m. PST

Sounds like Crossfire, great fun, but need a good umpire.

Tally Ho!

Wolfhag12 Mar 2020 4:31 p.m. PST

Sounds like Crossfire, great fun, but need a good umpire.

Nope. I have Crossfire, nothing like it at all.

Next guess?


Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2020 5:33 p.m. PST

It's the problem with anything relatively new--everyone sees it through game mechanics they already know comparing it to what they do understand first.

A normal process. wink

emckinney12 Mar 2020 7:24 p.m. PST

It's basically a first-person shooter that works shockingly well.

Wolfhag12 Mar 2020 8:42 p.m. PST

Do you mean like a tank video game that uses one second turns like a video game uses frames per second/frame rate?


pfmodel12 Mar 2020 11:03 p.m. PST

Very early rules, 1970's, used a very ad-hoc sequence of play which mimics the concept of a sequence of play which is divided into a number of mini-phases, with start and end determined by opposing elements seeing, firing or moving too close to each other. You can see something like this in the very old WRG Ancients rules. The issue is the free flow sequence of play makes it hard to regulate movement on a playing area. Regulation based on time limits, which would require a chess clock, would work, but would begin to resemble a game of quick-play chess. You get good, short and intense games, but afterwards you need several aspirins and a lie down.
Thus the issue is how do you regulate movement and combat within a game-turn without requiring large supplies of aspirin. SPI tried a friction point system where combat and movement was merged, which works very well and can easily be implemented in a set of rules. Giving each side a number of actions, or friction points, which can be allocated doing whatever you wish, does work and has been implemented in some rules. However this does not achieve the objective of merging opposing players "activities", only the different activities of one player.
A system where a player conducts movement and combat, until an activity which causes an enemy response stops it. The game turn then flips to the enemy, who conducts its ad-hoc activity, before allowing the phasing player to continue, is a solution. Many rules simulate this with opportunity fire, or overwatch, or a non-phasing activity which is triggered by enemy movement or fire combat. I used this type of sequence of play when I attempted to completed Gene McCoy's old wargamers Digest WW2 rules and it works very well. (Kriegsspiel-Zusammenfassung). But it takes players some time to get use to the idea that there is no rest time when the opponents turn is occurring and can be exhausting.
Specifically on the time aspect, competitive play using a chess clock is a good idea. It forces players to conduct their movement and fire combat quickly, however this is better suited to a simple I go you Go sequence of play. You could use time clocks using the system described above and I have done so with boardgames in a competition environment, but there is a lot of frenzied clock punching occurring when this occurs. I suspect using a chess clock is better for competitions games rather than friendly games, but I admit it does change the flavour of a game.

advocate13 Mar 2020 1:49 a.m. PST

I played the Colonial Skirmish rules back in the seventies. Each phase was a second, actions and reactions took a given amount of time. We got to know the rules well enough to group phases together.
Sounds like that in a different context.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2020 11:56 a.m. PST

I have a colleague who created a Napoleonic game that moved from second to second. The idea isn't new and there are a miriad of ways to create mechanics around the idea.

Wolfhag13 Mar 2020 12:37 p.m. PST

I know that Phoenix Command used two-second turns and an eight-second mega-turn. Using timing you can get a better portrayal of how lower-level tactics work other than assigning an arbitrary die roll modifier.

I guess a question would be is a game easier to play if you didn't need unit activations, determining initiative, used separate move/shoot segments, didn't need an orders phase, and didn't need special opportunity fire rules and exceptions? I think it is but there are quite a few players that like the rules I just mentioned.


Blutarski13 Mar 2020 2:17 p.m. PST

Ahhh – "Colonial Skirmish". A wonderful set of skirmish rules that accommodate conversion to any number of other periods. We used it for WW2 skirmish gaming with good success.

IIRC, the official pronouncement regarding length of turn was – "a very short period of time". I recall that one game turn was required to unsnap the flap on a pistol holster, another to draw the weapon, etc.


Blutarski13 Mar 2020 2:24 p.m. PST

On the subject of the relationship between turn and length of time represented, Phil Barker stated that one turn in his Armor & Infantry Rule 1925-1950 represented about 30 seconds of actual firing time but about 5 minutes in overall clock time to allow for the typical command/control/communication/confusion components of the battlefield.

I think much depends upon where the game designer chooses to place his stake on the representational game-play spectrum.

Wolfhag, would it be unfair to describe your rules as a "tank skirmish game"?


Wolfhag13 Mar 2020 5:33 p.m. PST

Sometimes it's hard to pin down definitions. Right now I'm working to finish the tank, anti-tank gun, hand-held infantry anti-tank weapons rules. Next is infantry and artillery that we have outlined so it will be combined arms.

In the book "Attrition", chapter "Hierarchy of Combat", DePuy describes an "Action" as a single combat encounter between two forces, neither larger than a battalion or smaller than a squad, in which each side has a tactical objective, which begins when the attacker initiates action against the defender. An action lasts for a few minutes or a few hours but never more than a day. It is normally part of an engagement or battle lasting that last 1+ days.

That fits the game best.

The dictionary defines a skirmish as a fight between small groups of soldiers, especially one that happens away from the main part of a battle. Personally I'd define recon units as skirmishers like in ancient battles as they don't normally take part in the main action. Since the scale is vehicles/guns 1:1 and infantry squad/team I guess it could fit the skirmisher definition but I don't know if a battalion-size battle could be considered a skirmish.

We play larger reinforced company or battalion size battles fought on a 6x12 foot table with 1" = 25m for a size 1800m x 3600m. I've found micro to 15mm works best. We have played 28mm tank and infantry with a 6x12 foot table representing 250m x 500m. That would qualify as a skirmish.

represented about 30 seconds of actual firing time but about 5 minutes in overall clock time to allow for the typical command/control/communication/confusion components of the battlefield.

I can't really argue with that. Most of our games are over in 3-5 minutes of game time (not real-time of course). However, when a LOS no longer exists between opponents we go into what I call "Time Compression". Player's plot their movement and then we do movement in 5-15 second increments until a mutual LOS exists and we go back to the 1-second timing.

Player's can have a recon unit spot an enemy location, pull back out of LOS and then call in and wait for artillery to come in up to a few minutes of game time later but taking no more than a couple of minutes real time. The same goes for pulling back and waiting for reinforcements to arrive.


Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2020 10:09 p.m. PST

30 seconds of actual firing time but about 5 minutes in overall clock time to allow for the typical command/control/communication/confusion components of the battlefield.

Do you know where Baker got that 'typical CCC component of 5 minutes? Or is that just a WAG?

Wolfhag, would it be unfair to describe your rules as a "tank skirmish game"?

Without answering for Wolfie, the last game I played with Wolfhag involved several dozen individual tanks, but based on the scale of most game systems labeled 'skirmish' with figures equaling 1 man, I'd say yes.

Simo Hayha16 Mar 2020 11:28 p.m. PST

Your game is so detailed that I believe you should just play a video game. (recommend hell let loose). While there are players that could play a game like this many would be too slow and bog down the game. I'm aiming for 2 minute turn segments in my game.

Also battleground WWII has very short game turns. Their card activation works okay.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2020 8:01 a.m. PST

Your game is so detailed that I believe you should just play a video game.

As someone who has played it, don't confuse the information that went into the game and is incorporated in play with how easily it plays or how quickly.

Wolfhag19 Mar 2020 8:16 a.m. PST

Thanks McLaddie.

While there are players that could play a game like this many would be too slow and bog down the game.

This is a very typical reaction when one second turns is mentioned. I think we are all conditioned to think that more detail means more of a pain in the butt to play. I used to think the same thing.

Ask yourself: Can a game play more quickly with more action when you don't need unit activations, initiative determination, separate move/shoot sequences, orders phase, turn interrupts, opportunity fire rules, overwatch restrictions, command points and a host of other abstractions that attempt to parse the action in a believable manner?

Using the OODA Decision Loop eliminates all of those rules because the action between all units is based on how quickly a crew can execute an order with better crews normally being quicker. All units are executing the actions based on their timing through their loop with no additional game rules. It actually plays quicker because it only takes the player 5-10 seconds to determine what future time he'll execute his next action and does not hold up other players. It's also an excellent way to play a game solitaire.

Here is an explanation of the OODA Loop used in the game:

So rather than the game bogging down with a number of rules determining the sequence of how and when units are going to move and shoot, the clock is ticking (manually advanced second-to-second by a player or GM) until the next unit has an action to execute. It keeps "ticking" and does not stop until it gets to a time for another unit to execute its order. You'd think the game would bog down but there is actually more shooting and moving action that keeps players in action more than being a spectator while you wait for your turn to move/shoot all of your units or activate individual ones.

In the game, immediately after shooting before the game ticks to the next second, the player observes the new situation, evaluates the threats, his options and tactics, decides on an action and determines how long (seconds) it will take and waits for the clock to tick to that future time. He executes the action (Act in the loop) and then does it over again. That's what we call "Playing the Loop". It's not a rule, it's exactly the sequence a player is going through in his mind to make a decision. You don't need to teach it.

The game is a variation of IGYG but I go before you go for a variety of reasons (better crews, a faster rate of fire, surprise, tactical advantage, better tactics, etc) that make me quicker than you. You don't need to use seconds but I think it works best to portray 1:1 actions. Five or ten-second time increments could work but then you'll need some rules to determine the sequence of the shooting if multiple units are shooting within that time. I've found in the 1:1 games one-second timing works best without needing additional rules. Larger platoon and company-sized units would use larger units of time (maybe 30-90 seconds) and different tactical factors would come into play.


Simo Hayha19 Mar 2020 5:16 p.m. PST

I find some players take a long time making decisions and more decisions equals more time. I will try and think of some way of using it in longer turns – getting more troops on table.

Uparmored18 Jul 2020 4:53 a.m. PST

I'm intrigued by the loop. Thanks for posting Wolfhag

Wolfhag18 Jul 2020 12:31 p.m. PST

Yes, I think we'll always have that problem of players taking too long. Sometimes it is because they are not sure of what to do or how to do it. Even if you have a high level of historical knowledge of the time period and tactics the artificial game mechanics may not enable the player to respond in a historical manner that he would desire.

In our game, after each enemy action, there is a Mutual LOS reaction that can enable an enemy to react and engage or change his order to move or shoot if he has good Situational Awareness and a crew that can act quickly enough. Beware of Blind Spots.

In any situation, it comes down to shooting or moving. If you are not moving you should be shooting. If you are not shooting you should be moving. There are a few variations to each one based on historical actions and tactics. As the player, you are choosing the same options real crews did in WWII. Better crews and weapons platforms will be quicker and more efficient. Poor crews and weapons platforms will be slower and less efficient. That's what makes the game "Time Competitive" just like a real battlefield is.

A large variable in performance is the player himself. If he is not paying attention as the actions unfold he will be at a disadvantage by giving his opponent a timing advantage and lose any initiative. Maneuvering is important as an attack on the flanks decreases your opponent's Situational Awareness giving you a timing advantage and the initiative. If you were supposed to shoot at 5:17 and it is now 5:22 you hesitated for 5 game seconds. At 5:22 you can shoot if you are still alive. So there is real skill involved and not just knowledge of the rules.

There are a few decision points for the player to trade decreased accuracy for increased speed just as real crews did in order to gain a timing advantage (seize the initiative).

In the Decision part of the loop here are the main factors for the player to consider and how to carry it out and there is a flow chart on the QRC to help out:

Decide (Flow Chart):
Move/Shoot & Scoot: Place move marker showing speed and direction of movement (Mutual LOS reaction).

Shoot: Turn/pivot to face the target and put gun on target (Mutual LOS reaction). Determine Fire Control Action Timing & record your future Action Turn.

Halt/Fire: Determine Decel Time and Action Turn to Halt. Then determine Action Turn to shoot.

Moving Fire: Determine Action Turn to shoot with a penalty if moving > 15kph.

Hold Fire & Track Target: Place Order Marker in Tracking box, no Delay to shoot later as long as the target is in your LOS and FOF. This is typically used to trigger an ambush or allow the enemy to get to a range marker or known range location, present a flank shot.

Boresight/Overwatch: Aim at a spot (not target) like an intersection, road, known range marker in front 15. Place Order Marker in Tracking box, no Delay to shoot later once the enmy is in sight.

Reverse Slope: Move from Turret Down to Hull Down (5 seconds, Mutual LOS reaction), determine Action Turn to shoot. Then reverse to Turret Down while reloading. Repeat or relocate.

These are pretty much what a real tank crew would be considering and performed the same way.

By the end of the month, I'll have the Reaction and Situational Awareness rules finished with a video. I'll be doing some interactive Zoom or Teams presentations after that. I'm hoping for more playtesters.

I'm going to have a free download PDF of the "Living Rules" and an intro version of the game. Each vehicle will be rated for their Situational Awareness (crew type, periscope, blind arcs, optics, cupola, two or three-man turret, buttoned-up or unbuttoned). Action Timing to shoot (reload speed, rate of fire, turret traverse speed, fire control type, range finder, crew type, rapid-fire, moving fire).

The gunnery rules will be pretty traditional using 1D20 and a hit # range. Penalities and bonus will increase or decrease the range (no die roll modifiers). Roll for hit location and ricochet with a hit location modifier if close enough and shooter and target are static. There is a 5% chance of a SNAFU when firing (misfire, jam, malfunction, etc). No action is guaranteed.

Armor/Penetration includes various armor types and ricochets based on rounded or highly angles surfaces and variable armor penetration. Some vehicles will have a Shot Trap.

Damage is determined based on the weight and type of the round (AP, APBC, APHE, APCR, HEAT). Heavier rounds have a greater chance of fire and brew up.

The air-ground rules are coming along. We've been playing Sturmovik vs Wirblewind scenarios. It has made for some interesting "shoot outs". In the game, the Sturmovik is truly a flying tank. In a 5-second movement segment, it moves about 150m (6" in 1"=25m) and players can use their historic "Circle of Death" and "S-Attack" tactics with cannons, rockets, and anti-tank bomblets. Their armor and hit locations are modeled too. Stuka's do their dive-bombing and 37mm cannon attacks on the top armor. FW-190's will be able to skip bomb 250kg bombs into the side of a T-34 too. I think Rudel would be proud.

The free downloads will be on Wargame Vault and our website.

That's all for now.


Mark 120 Jul 2020 1:01 p.m. PST

Not as a criticism of Wolfie's rules (which I find fascinating both in concept and implementation), but I think there are other ways to put OODA into gaming too.

Remember that OODA is not necessarily about time per se. It is about the availability of information (the first O), at the right level (the second O), and the translation of that into a course of action (the D) that can then be carried out (the A).

Even using a traditional turn sequence, you can inject OODA loop phenomena by fracturing or compartmentalizing the information available to the player, who is the one to Orient (the second O) and Determine (the D), and by fracturing or compartmentalizing the game table units that must eventually take the Actions (the A).

Hidden units are an injection of the first O. Vague information, such as "you see a tank (but with no information on what kind of tank)" or "this unit is taking fire (but with no information on which direction or observation of who or what is shooting)" inject challenges to the player to Orient (the second O). Breaking the turn into bounds, or requiring some form of variable unit activations, inject a delay before units can Act (the A) in game turns even if there is not concept of a fixed game-time.

I've seen various parts of this addressed by many rulesets in a variety of interesting ways.

(aka: Mk 1)

Wolfhag20 Jul 2020 5:45 p.m. PST

Thanks Mark.

There are a variety of flavors of the OODA Loop that are tailored for different command levels. You can search for them here:

I've found attempting to model different levels of intel at the lower tactical level (What is it? Type of tank?, Friend or Foe, etc) is difficult but I'm open to ideas.

My solution was that since Observation is a concurrent action with the other aspects of the loop a unit should be able to react to an enemy threat the second he notices it, just like they would on a real battlefield. Poor Situational Awareness means a delay to notice the threat and get your crew into action and poor crews take longer with better crews being quicker.

In the game, the player can react to enemy activity with a Situational Awareness Check but may have an Engagement Delay because of poor SA means the crew will actually take action a number of seconds into the future. Delays give the initiative to the enemy. This method can allow a unit to be hit and destroyed before he actually "notices" the threat which I think is pretty cool. This is all somewhat of an abstraction and an estimation and is variable with a die roll. Since the result is secret a Fog of War is created as your opponent does not know when you'll Act.

Here is a version of Situational Awareness I'm testing now:

Oops, the "D20 modifier" at the top left should be D6.

Locate the vehicle type, roll 1-3 D6's, and move across the row to add or subtract modifiers as needed. A result of <= 0 means there is no delay in moving to Orient in the loop during the same turn.

The Panzer III is an example of a turreted tank with three crew and a cupola. The Panzer II, Puma, and Panzer 38 is an example of a two-man turret without a cupola. They must be buttoned up when engaging because the commander is either the gunner or loader. The Nashorn is open top so has no blind spot and can react more quickly. Ace crews normally have a 6-second advantage over poor crews. The threat direction shows it takes longer to notice enemy units flanking you. Targets that fired or moved are easier to notice right away. Targets at longer ranges take longer to detect but the Nashorn has scissors binoculars that give them a long-range advantage.

Example: At a game time of 3:47 a moving and unbuttoned Panzer III at 25kph with an Ace crew is reacting to a static threat at 800m on his right 90-degree flank. He would roll 2D6 (unbuttoned) with a -2 seconds for an Ace crew, +3 seconds for moving > 15kph, +2 seconds for being flanked. He would have an Engagement Delay of 5-15 seconds depending on the 2D6 die roll (game time of 3:52 to 4:02) before he could take action. There is a chance that when his delay is over the target is no longer in his LOS because he was moving. That may or may not be to his advantage.

These events occur or are triggered without the need for special rules, activations, or die rolls and every other unit in the game is synchronized to the same game time performing their actions. This eliminates the need for initiative rules.

Here is what I think could work for an ACW era game at the command level. An HQ receives reports that increase the level of intel. Good commanders can execute an action or issue an order at a lower level of intel than a poor/inexperienced commander. An indecisive or poor commander would need more levels of intel before he could act. Now you can model commander abilities and indecisiveness by compartmentalizing a turn. You could also have a chance of a commander taking action depending on the level of intel to make it a little more random. If he is leading from the front he'll most likely act more quickly but be isolated from other units.


Legion 421 Jul 2020 9:09 a.m. PST

thumbs up

UshCha22 Jul 2020 1:15 a.m. PST

First let me say I think the system Wolfhag has is unique and very accurate for the timescales and it uses.
However with Mark 1, I agree that at some level, higher than Wolfhags there are alternatives.

Regarding our games.

Observation. We rule that the defender marks almost all pieces as dummies (real or actual)as a minimum for the less able or who have a pet hate of "asprin". This is great for the defender. We do allow in general that the Attacker is placed on board, but reserves are allowed to be off board and the defender may not remain hidden, if he moves or fires, this mens its not as helpfull as it seems.

Orient – in some secenarios we may allow the defender to re-orient hidden IF alternate positions are available. Again not perfect but a compromis to keep th INTERLECTUAL work load down, no changes to the rules.

Determine This is up to the player, when he decides to actaully do someting based as almost always on limited data. Did the defender fire from X as it was the best shot or was it a decoy? This is where the Difficulty of our game cuts in, not from the complexity of the rules but the need to have a plan and in the light of the limited data available. This is made much harder due to the Action Phase this does for begginers offten result in analysis paralasis, on of the true effects of having an OODA loop.

Action In our rules there is a much wider range of speeds. but the higher speeds come at a price.

A reserve parked in the right place with a known route and safe passage to a Forming up point (note no rules for forming up points. its just the point you want to deploy to your Combat formation as the player desires). On the other hand, pulling a unit out of its combat deployement takes longer so the "tradition" wargames is not an immediate and simple counter to the enemy's move. Both players need to have a plan in some cases several bounds ahead.

In effect we have achived OODA a diffrent way. However the cost in thought is high, as it has to be with a credible OODA system. The ability to take data, possibly incomplete, possibley deliberately deceptive later than you would like, plan and execute that plan is demanding even if nothing need to be written down. Your FDF's for MMG's need to be pre-position. Artillery is only immediately available for FDF's so like the real thing planning is required even for simple rules.

As our rules are longer timescales we do have a short time sub routine that goes some way to portraying the brevity of the flurry's of combat.

So my take is that many rules do not want OODA, not that they could not achieve it because:-

-Less figures on the board- this may not be acceptable to folk who really only use a game for the display of figures.

-Though the rules may be no more complex, the decision making process much more relects the complexities of the real world, to many gamers difficult problems rather than being an interesting challenge are considered as unacceptable and contray to drinking, eating, chatting and die rolling. In our games there is little time on either side for such niceties. No doffrent to a game of Tennis but not some wargamers idea of the perfect game.

Wolfhag22 Jul 2020 12:06 p.m. PST

I'm in agreement here with you and Mark 1.

What I wanted was to portray the nuances of tank and infantry engagements and what factors determine the effectiveness of units (seizing the initiative to Act first) in an engagement that historically lasted only less than an hour. At the lowest tactical level, a system that is Time Competitive with split-second combat results works fine but does not translate as well as you go up in unit scale above the platoon level. Things like turret traverse speed, aim time, and reload time are not important at higher levels. Now command decisions at the Company level and above become more important.

At these higher levels, things like small unit initiative, command control, communications, and limited intel are important aspects. Lower level units should have pre-defined "immediate action drills" to perform to react without the need for being activated or given a command from a higher echelon. My opinion is that once a company, platoon or squad sized unit is given a mission task it should not need to be "activated" to accomplish it. This is where units are given Frag Orders or the German Auftragstaktik come into play. I think that needing to activate a unit for it to do something is too much micromanagement.

The variables and command and control breakdown can come into play when a higher command needs to call back a sub-unit or change it's order/mission and cannot get in communication with it. The same goes for a sub-unit on a mission that runs into a problem and cannot get in communication with their higher level command. SNAFU's like this can make things interesting but are outside of an engagement that takes only less than an hour like my games.

Ushcha's game seems to take a lot of that into consideration.


UshCha22 Jul 2020 12:26 p.m. PST

In our own games the issue of what level the player needs to command at is an interesting issue and relivant to any discussion on OODA.

While the "traditional wargames" view is that the player needs only to cover perhaps 3 levels down is often spouted as a mantra, such that no player input is needed below this level.
Personally this approach does not stand reasonable logical scrutiny.

The oft pronounced statement is that for instance, if a company is the limit, that the platoons are in the optimum configuration. In the real world that may be the case. But there is a massive difference between 1 up two back or 2 up 1 Back. Similarly deployments echelon left, echelon Right or line have massively different firepower situations.

Now the "tradition" is that the "Company" is automatically in the right configuration. This leads to equal Firepower in all directions type of approach, which of course is incorrect. The real commander in the real situation will base his formation on the best available information, but of course it could be wrong. We don't have the luxury of a subordinate to decide that and get it right (or wrong), so the player at this lower level will have to play the role of his subordinate. This is all part of the OODA. If he gets it wrong he will pay the price of addition losses and or delay again critical in modelling an OODA loop. This to me is a major flaw in many "Big Battle simulations".

Big battle games objective are too dissimilar to my own to form a basis for any discussion.

In addition with regard to OODA loop one of the key issues is to allow Analysis paralasis to exist by making sure that there is never a One size fits all rule, so that for instance FDF's don't magically appear in the perfect place regardless of the original players intent.

Board design can assist in creating OODA problems. Take the rough board below where a typical 6ft by 4 ft board has been divided to effectively create a "U" shaped boadr with several possible choke points, but only one will be occupied.

* *
* *
* *
* *
******************************* *
* *
* *
* *
* *

The attacking player has a much more complex task if he is to traverse the board in a credible timescale. Reconnaissance may help, a friend grandad said the the armored car units he was task was to drive through a village with 3 outcomes.

1 They were shot at, and hence the village was occupied.
2 Not shot at so it was unoccupied
3 Was occupied by good troops who chose not to shoot.

This now inputs into the "D" bit of the OODA how much data do you need before you commit the deployment of the troops. Committing large numbers of troops into combat formation results in such slow progress as to be a loss simply by giving the enemy too much reaction time.

To me the OODA loop needs the whole simulation system to be integrated to achieve the required outcome.

Lee49427 Jul 2020 7:29 p.m. PST

Here's what I'm trying to grasp with 1 second turns. I think I saw 5 minutes Real Time mentioned as the length of a 1 second game time turn (with ANY system I've played turns usually take much longer than 5 minutes!) So let's say you want to recreate a 5 minute firefight, then 5 x 60 you have 300 Game Turns each taking 5 minutes Real Time for a whopping 25 hours of gaming to fight a five minute battle. What am I missing? Thanks

Wolfhag27 Jul 2020 9:35 p.m. PST

To me the OODA loop needs the whole simulation system to be integrated to achieve the required outcome.

Yes, it does. I found the reason is that you need a way for each unit to operate within its own OODA Loop "bubble" you might call it, and a way to synchronize all of the units "bubbles" on a second-to-second basis. For that, you need a timing mechanism (I use seconds) and a way to track the progress of each unit through its loop, I use a manually advanced second-by-second game clock (not a real-time clock).

The "analysis paralysis" is modeled by poor crews taking longer to get through their loop and having worse Situational Awareness. I model the poor SA by having what I call an Engagement Delay. When a threat enters their LOS an experienced crew may notice it and go into action to shoot/move with 0-3 seconds of delay (all units are always active and observing, just like on a real battlefield, hence no activation rules). A poorly trained crew may take 5-10 seconds in the same situation. This gives the good crew a timing advantage to Act before the poor crew. Those seconds of advantage translate into the initiative.

However, unbeknownst to the experienced crew, a different enemy vehicle with a poorly trained crew has them flanked. Having poor SA to your flanks could generate an Engagement Delay that would give that flanking poor crew a timing advantage (initiative) over the good crew to shoot first. They all interact with each other and are on the same game clock.

Regarding the 5 minute turn, Blutarski mentioned it as part of another rule system it's all his fault! (smile)

"turn" and "second" can be used interchangeably. A 5-minute firefight would involve 300 seconds or turns but remember, these are not traditional game turns. Just like real combat or a tank video game, there is not going to be shooting each and every second. We don't say how long a game is going to last like a traditional game or scenario. It takes as long as it takes.

Hopefully, this will clarify. Game time is the second-to-second timing in the game using a clock that a player or GM advances second-to-second and announces the current game time. Real-time is the space-time continuum that us humans are stuck in that we cannot control. As the game time ticks off the seconds, each one is announced to the players. We can pause the "game clock" whenever a unit has an Action Turn to perform (shooting). If there are no actions to perform the game clock immediately "ticks" to the next one-second turn, etc. The game clock is always moving to the next action a unit has. That means the game moves swiftly from action to action but at first glance, it seems otherwise.

I met Nick Moran (the Chieftain) and briefly explained the second-to-second gameplay and his face went into contortions.

With 20-40 vehicles per side starting at close range in an intensive fight the game might be over in 90-120 game seconds/turns (90 to 120 seconds on the game clock). A smaller game with more maneuvering might take 3-5 minutes of game clock time (not real human time). However, it might take two hours of real human time to play either game. It depends on the player's actions and tactics. Playing with more players can actually speed up the pace of play.

My post on March 20 shows how movement is performed on a second-to-second basis and the models advanced every 5 seconds of game time (not real human time).

Sometimes for some experienced players I tell them to forget everything about games they've played in the past and just approach this like a stop-action video game.

Do what a real crew does in combat and forget about game rules: Survey the battlefield, identify threats, consider your options, decide on an action, and determine how long it will take to execute the action like shooting.

If the current game time is 8:21 and it will take you 12 seconds/turns to fire you will shoot when the game clock advances to 8:33 and is announced. The clock stops for you and anyone else to shoot. Then go back to Survey the battlefield, etc. That's why I call it "Playing the Loop". The game clock then continues to "tick" again. It's all about timing, not game rules.

All players do that for each unit they have during the entire game. Forget about IGYG turns, unit activations, initiative, opportunity fire, turn interrupts, movement points, command dice, and almost every other artificial game rule you won't find in a military tactic, training, or weapons manual.

I hope that helps. It will once I get the videos done.


Wolfhag16 Oct 2020 10:56 a.m. PST

I am finally getting around to finishing the rules and play aids and will be making videos. However, here is a video on the OODA Loop and tank warfare that gives a good higher level explanation.

YouTube link


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