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03 Dec 2020 1:28 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "What do card driven games offer over conventional games" to "What do card-driven games offer over conventional games?"

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UshCha21 Nov 2020 3:29 a.m. PST

We seem to be hung up on the "game" bit. You are forever quating such things at "A Theory of Fun for Game Design" etc, my reference to Simulation mauals is equivalent to your refering to some literature as the be all ane end all of simulation advice. Clearly it is not, the very exsistance of our game proves it. To be frank the words to me are rather like the gentlemen who makes money on a book that says that wargames must have infantry moving 6" and cavalry 12". It rather, to me, arrogantly implies he knows what a game is and that he has the only plausible definition, which of course he does not.

Again we seem at odds. Our simulation, to get the best of it need the players to learn outside the game. It would seem that your much quoted sources seen to imply that is not an expectation of a game that you need to learn outside it. This to me is patentely "author speak" and is by no means the case. It may be the case for a very narrowly defined form of ENTERTAINMENT but by definition it is not neccessarily valid in a simulation used as ENTERTAINMENT.

I have to confess this thread is illuminating in defining what a wargame is to diffrent folk.

BobGrognard21 Nov 2020 12:00 p.m. PST

Sounds like it's about as illuminating as nearly every other similar discussion over the past numerous years which do seem to suggest that some people think that others are having the wrong sort of fun.

Basha Felika21 Nov 2020 12:09 p.m. PST

+1 BobGrognard

Seems that one of them is playing with toy soldiers all wrong.

UshCha21 Nov 2020 1:13 p.m. PST

Nope, just playing different ;-). Seems to me somebody is getting desperate for entertainment, reading threads that are of no interest to them. Mind you Covid-19 can do that to folk. ;-).

Wolfhag21 Nov 2020 11:10 p.m. PST

At the risk of complicating the situation even more consider the terminology the military uses:

Field Training Exercise
War Game
Simulation Game
Tactical Decision Game
Simulation
Training Simulator
Strategi Simulation
Tactical Simulation

From what I can gather, the objective of these events for the military is not so much to determine a winner but to put the participants through their paces in observing, evaluating and acting or issuing orders. Since they are in the real work the participants are actually in a realistic Time Competitive environment with a minimum of subjective and artificial rules. A delay in the commander's decision making process because of poor or wrong recon/intel, command indecision or lack of knowledge or experience it gives his opponent a real world advantage that is hard to design into a miniature or board game.

The more experience commanders have in these exercises the better he can improve and eliminate past mistakes. So it's not so much about winning as it is learning.

Wolfhag

UshCha22 Nov 2020 1:00 a.m. PST

Wolfhag I second that. Its interesting about time competative games. Your system aims just at that in the range of seconds. Some games use written orders so that immediate responce is not possible. Our own system was inspired by DBM or at least our version of it. Its massive differential between marching and combat movement means that a unit deployed for combat cannot react swiftly to a unit in march. Hence if a unit marches off the enemy if not in march formation in the right place cannot react to follow at the same pace, it helps to have reserves waiting ready to move off quickly. Hence the enemy is inside the decision loop. This is not unreasonable as forming up, be it tanks or infantry takes time, Mostly vehicles in Europe to march more than a few hundred yards need to be on a road because of substantual field boundaries. This is absent in more traditional games with minimal difference in movement speeds and restrictions on such moving units.

Now your list also is interesting. One of the things my co-author states about our rules over others is it does not tell folk how to play. He always considered most games helped players, i.e a Training Simulator, vs a Simulator. Our own game had that desighn intent. "Give a man enough rope and he will hand himself", to use a simulator you need to know much more bout what you want and how to do it. That is the essential element of the fun; having to read up and learn by your mistakes.

McLaddie got that bit absolutely right Learning is the fun part.

Wolfhag22 Nov 2020 9:29 a.m. PST

UshCha,
At the 1:1 level, it is time competitive with each individual or unit's OODA Loop determining how the action unfolds and initiative is determined. At higher levels, it's more about command & control.

So if you wanted to simulate commanding a regiment you'd be at an HQ or TOC and not be able to see the tactical situation. It would be very abstracted at the tactical level. You'd get intel reports and updates. It would be a highly abstracted game and the "training" would be how the regimental commander coordinated his assets and responds to unexpected events the referee throws at him. He gets used to going through actions and issuing orders and shortening his command OODA Loop to do it. Using cards may be the best way to play the game.

What I participated in at HQ USMC is more of what I'd call a logistical coordination exercise and not really a war game. I forgot exactly what they called it. I do recall carrying a message about PT-76's crossing a river.

One event they didn't plan for was being locked out of the C&C center. One day just after lunch I took a message to them and saw a few dozen majors and above standing by the entrance with a Sgt looking at the door lock. Someone had locked them out and they could not find the key. I asked the Sgt to let me have a shot at it and I whipped out my old student ID and had the door open in about 15 seconds. A Colonel standing next to me said, "They didn't teach you that at boot camp did they". I replied, "No sir, that's individual initiative".

I think what happens with me and many others as you play games you end up increasing your knowledge and start to see how the games you are playing are not living up to the technical knowledge and reality you have and that will vary quite a bit from player to player. So we start tweaking someone else's rules to make them conform to our new reality of what the game can portray or "simulate" and what you feel is not as important and want to leave out or abstract. I don't think we are looking at it being a game, simulation, exercise, or whatever. I didn't.

There are various tools, aids, and ways to accomplish our goal to satisfy what we are looking to portray or simulate in the game. Cards can play an important role especially if the deck is modified to portray historical aspects or actions in the scenario or replace dice. Combat Patrol uses cards almost exclusively. Tank Duel uses them in an abstracted way to portray terrain and allow the player to customize multiple moves through or around terrain, flank opponents, and shoot. I playtested it when it was under development and while not a fan of cards the designer did a great job. Fireball Forward uses them to parse the action and activations.

In a time competitive 1:1 game, players can make historic Risk-Reward Tactical Decisions as a way to take a risk to gain a timing or accuracy advantage. Just like any risk, it can backfire on you. Since you are unaware of decisions and risks your opponent is taking it puts pressure on players to take more risks than they normally take. That allows me to portray or simulate the differences and nuances of technical features of weapons in a more historic way.

For example, when a Sherman and Panther engage in a meeting engagement (not an ambush) the Sherman will most likely get the shot off because he's quicker. Why? Because of the commander turret override, 25 degrees per second turret traverse and gunner periscopic sight. The Panther traverse was 6-15 degrees per second, with no turret override and no gunner periscope. It's going to take a lot longer to line up the shot to shoot. If the Sherman had a WP round loaded there is a good chance he could "neutralize" the Panther putting it on the defensive and reducing its Situational Awareness to almost zero and a small chance to start a fire. This allows the Sherman to maneuver for a better shot and identifies the threat to other units.

Before I took the time competitive approach I tried using various activation and reaction rules in 5-10 second turns but I could not get the action to portray the manuals in a way I wanted to "simulate" the action.

I designed the game so that players don't need to have a high level of historical knowledge or tactics. I try to show them the advantages and weaknesses their units have and the best way to use your strength and advantage against their opponent's weaknesses. The results are very evident and observable with little left to randomness.

If you can achieve a tactical position advantage you don't need to take risks. However, if the enemy flanks or surprises you then you will, and if your risks backfire the situation deteriorates very rapidly. A bold and unexpected decision can throw off your opponent's timing and force him to cancel orders and issue a new one, that takes time and that time can help get you out of a bad situation. That's how I like to see the action unfold.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2020 2:11 p.m. PST

We seem to be hung up on the "game" bit. You are forever quating such things at "A Theory of Fun for Game Design" etc, my reference to Simulation mauals is equivalent to your refering to some literature as the be all ane end all of simulation advice.

UshCha:
I am quoting a number of simulation and game designers from many different venues simply to demonstrate that definitions of games and simulations by experienced designers is uniform and complementary. None of them have been user manuals or CDF codes. There has been no effort to establish some 'be all and end all to simulation design.'

Clearly it is not, the very exsistance of our game proves it.

Proves what? That what I wasn't saying isn't true?

To be frank the words to me are rather like the gentlemen who makes money on a book that says that wargames must have infantry moving 6" and cavalry 12". It rather, to me, arrogantly implies he knows what a game is and that he has the only plausible definition, which of course he does not.

Well, words are all we have to work with here and I never made a claim that I know the only plausible definition. I was trying to point out that most all game designers and simulation designers have come up with very similar 'working' definitions.

Again we seem at odds. Our simulation, to get the best of it need the players to learn outside the game.

Never doubted that was your point… or whether that is true or not. I was saying it is a requirement you have placed on your simulation, not some requirement or inherent quality of all simulation games. I simply pointed out that to experience it as a simulation, players need certain information about what is being represented, all players, regardless of experience with the history or tactics. How deeply they experience it or whether the designer has requirements for outside education, doesn't change that.

It would seem that your much quoted sources seen to imply that is not an expectation of a game that you need to learn outside it.

No where do they imply that. I was saying that the 'need' to learn outside of the game to learn the history and tactics is a requirement you have placed on your design, not some required aspect of simulation games to work, for players to experience the represented historic reality. The simulation game is a closed system so there is just a limited amount of representation going on. Where and how are the questions players need answered to experience the game as a simulation…regardless of their outside knowledge.

This to me is patentely "author speak" and is by no means the case. It may be the case for a very narrowly defined form of ENTERTAINMENT but by definition it is not neccessarily valid in a simulation used as ENTERTAINMENT.

? I have no idea what you are referring to here. I certainly haven't defined entertainment. That is different things to different people. I have mentioned what designers have created the simulation game for, which is how they use simulations, the tool, go achieve their goals.

I have to confess this thread is illuminating in defining what a wargame is to diffrent folk.

What you mean is: What different folks use wargames for and expect from them. Defining what a technical creation like a game or simulation based on what they are to different folks is like defining all autos as pickups because that is what they are to that particular person.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2020 2:32 p.m. PST

At the risk of complicating the situation even more consider the terminology the military uses:

Field Training Exercise
War Game
Simulation Game
Tactical Decision Game
Simulation
Training Simulator
Strategi Simulation
Tactical Simulation

From what I can gather, the objective of these events for the military is not so much to determine a winner but to put the participants through their paces in observing, evaluating and acting or issuing orders.

Wolfhag:
I am unsure how all those uses of simulation systems complicates our understanding of what a simulation is and can do. It seems that there is this continuing belief that different uses of a simulation somehow changes their very structure, its purpose as a system. It doesn't at all.

Since they are in the real work the participants are actually in a realistic Time Competitive environment with a minimum of subjective and artificial rules. …So it's not so much about winning as it is learning.

First, if it is in a competitive environment, winning certainly is a core issue. And if learning is the higher priority, that doesn't change what the simulation does, only what the participants are using it for. Hobby wargamers often play this way, competition being of secondary importance. They aren't playing a different set of rules because of it.

Second, all simulations are artificial, if they weren't, they'd be the real thing. So, minimal artificial rules means what in this context?

The more experience commanders have in these exercises the better he can improve and eliminate past mistakes.

Obviously, that depends on the quality of the exercise. It also depends on whether the commanders recognize the similarities between the simulation abstractions and the real world. If they don't, they won't learn a darn thing, or worse, the wrong lessons. A point I have been repeating constantly. So, the quality, 1:1 relationships has to be there, AND the participants have to be able to recognize those specific connections in play between reality and the artificial simulation.

Technically, regardless of any particular mechanisms or systems, approaches or uses, all simulations are created around the same basic principles, purposes and outcomes: Mimic some portion of reality, past, present or future. That is a technical fact, not some opinion. That is why all the different simulation designers, creating for different reasons with different mediums all have very similar definitions.

UshCha24 Nov 2020 12:23 a.m. PST

Mc Laddie

I have to agree with Wolfhag, there are variations in systems between a Training Simulation and a basic simulation. One will have some guidance built in and may even be simplified to reduce the thought overhead, not even the rules overhead. With a "Training" simulation for deyed in the wool gamers we actualy increased rules. Our system at it's best allows some form of unlimited movement at the cost of some pre,planning (minimal overhead) and loss of situational awareness. We had to limit that movement entirely arbitarily for them as it reduces the complexity of the decision making, less options to consider but more rules. They found that far easier to play. Ego there are diffrences.

So we are agreed that we put diffrent requirements on our players. That is a fact of life not good or bad. Our players can have a reading list of manuals, that giees them an idea how to play and a reference to judge us by. We effectively are giving then the resource to judge quatitatively. If they are already well versed in the period and the tactics they may not need that. Now players have to make their judgement based on quatatative reference material if they choose too. What players choose to do is their own affair, they play or not play our game.

It is a simulation and you can run a simulation with the wrong imputs and it will still process them but the answeres may be sub optimum. You can play just by reading the rules but I would suggest such folk stick to more "traditional" games not so demanding of planning.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2020 5:30 p.m. PST

I have to agree with Wolfhag, there are variations in systems between a Training Simulation and a basic simulation. One will have some guidance built in and may even be simplified to reduce the thought overhead, not even the rules overhead. With a "Training" simulation for dyed in the wool gamers we actually increased rules.

Wolfhag and UshCha:

I agree. There are variations. Simulations can vary widely. I have had role playing simulations that were nothing but scenarios acted out from cards to board games and computer training. The medium used didn't change their purpose: To simulate something of reality. The variations between lots of rules and few, training or entertainment, doesn't change the system's purpose, and because of that, there are common principles, components and goals when creating the procedural system.

*All simulations are designed to mimic something else.

*All simulations are closed, procedural systems, just as games are closed procedural systems.

*All simulations can only mimic limited amounts of reality. Considering the size and complexity of reality, they will always encompass a very small part.

*A simulation game is simply a competitive simulation, with specific ways to win.

*Wargames are competitive simulations to some extent, mimicking the ultimate competition: war.

Have I written anything above that isn't factually true?

It is a simulation and you can run a simulation with the wrong imputs and it will still process them but the answeres may be sub optimum. You can play just by reading the rules but I would suggest such folk stick to more "traditional" games not so demanding of planning.

That's true about about the wrong 'imputs', however as the players are the ones making the decisions [the imputs] in a wargame/simulation, regardless of the players' experience, there will be 'wrong' imputs. Your suggestion that players who don't want to play such demanding games is fine…players make those decisions all the time. If by imputs you mean the history/information used as the template for the simulation, then yes, a design can simulate the wrong information. One more reason to know what information is being used in creating the wargame.

However, reading the rules and playing the game is not the same as experiencing play as a simulation. That requires, as I have said repeatedly, that the players know exactly where play mimics specific history, whether a little or a lot. This isn't my opinion. It is an established fact, proven over and over again for many decades. Hobby designers who claim to be representing, recreating, simulating history and combat have handled this issue in a number of ways: [I will refrain from naming examples of designers and their games who follow these various approaches to the issue unless you are interested:

1. It's all subjective: The designer says it's his opinion and now the game is the players' They can say what it does and it is just as valid as his views… basically abdicating any claim to have created something that mimics specific history.

2. Guess: A derivative of the first approach. The designer says there is a 1:1 relationship between history and play, 'it's historically accurate' but never says what history is portrayed, how or how accuracy is established. Players can guess and rationalize the history in anyway they want.

3. Lots of Information:, just not the information needed to experience play as a simulation. Most Game Designer Notes do this. Often with 'Suggested Reading', not of which lets the player know why infantry fire is a 6 or how one type of generic artillery 'accurately' portrays the power of all guns 'generally.'

4. Some Pertinent Information: The designer supplies some of the specific relationships between history and game play, but not all… often offered in drabs after the game is published in answering questions about particular relationships.

5. Require the Players to know the specific information: This is your approach, UshCha. I don't know if the educated player can recognize the relationships to specifics without your guidance or whether it is obvious, every designed, abstract relationship completely recognizable with the first play.

6. Have Play/Reality Obvious…or the Designer Available: Wolfhag, from your choices of scale and play presentation, players have a greater knowledge of 'what reality is being presented' than most wargames. Not all though, and I heard questions regarding those missing pieces of information come up during the games I played. [I had one or two that you answered]. Luckily, you were there to fill in the gaps. That was my experience.

7. The Typical Approach: of most all designers of participatory simulations [including any users of simulation programs] make sure the players know the exact mechanics and play of the simulation which portray the real world, and which don't. Any military simulation design team does this if the players are to develop knowledge and/or skills. Wolfhag, you have been involved in such exercises. It doesn't mean they start with any skills, only that they will experience/recognize the relationships as they play.

What has been found is, the above approach is the most effective in insuring that players experience the abstract system's activities as a simulation.

Because of the approaches of #1-4, wargame players spend a lot of hobby time:

1. Discussing the possible relationships/illustrations in playing the games… with no final answers to the play of a specifically designed, closed system: a simulation game.

2. Criticizing games that aren't 'realistic' most often when they don't know what the identified game mechanics are supposed to represent in the first place. I would say that easily 80% of game criticisms involve what a wargame does or does not represent well with out any possible resolution.

3. Rationalizing what play results 'mean' historically, again in an attempt to fill the information void.

UshCha26 Nov 2020 3:07 a.m. PST

Mc Laddie,
Again Fundamentally there are clearly diffrent truths. As an engineer I ran lots of simulations on Computers regading areodynamic systems and Thetmodynamic systems. Certainly I was armed with the basic of physice but barely any comprehension of the mecahnics of thre simulation. Regrettabley the mathermatics were well beyond my abilitys. However on a number of occations it was clearly possible to see that the results did not accord to my engineering judgement. In doing so we tracked down that for our particular system there were parameters that need to be set that were not. so we got a better representation without a cmprehensive understanding of the system you feel is so important.

This by definition proves you need some knowledge to run a simulation but that knowledge can be vauge, but by studying the results compared to your experience it is possible to understand the model and its current limitations.

As to the latter list:-

1) We do spend much time doing thuis, that is part of the fun.
2) To be honest to me its very obvius when a system has failed. designers are not that hot on simulation, many errors can be detected with again minimal knowledge. If Artillery have a range of only 4 rifle ranges its time to dump the stsrem without playing. If the Hind gunships are flying over the Russian tanks for a couple of bounds, time to dump. Ergo your experience is wholey as ods with mine.

3) ??????*! don't understand, if it gits wrong, I do not see how thinking logicaly that is possible. What tortured logic would you use to cover non euclidian space for example?

UshCha26 Nov 2020 12:18 p.m. PST

An interesting situation which in some ways agrees with McLaddie has arisen. We are using Lock down to get our Engineering Guide published. However re-starting after a long break (last worked on 2013) we have learnt far more and understand more, particularly from the very labored efforts to design counter mobility plans that work in a couple of our cmapaigns.

The simplifications necessary to make a workable solution are in some cases not as intuitive as we would like. In addition with engineering at this level there may not be the same baseline knowledge of thew subject as there is for general combat.

Because of this we have come to the conclusion at least in sections we need to describe, even if in limited detail the real world situation and how that maps to the simulation approach we have used.
In this specific case I agree with McLaddie that the simulation needs to describe the techniques and limitations of the simulation, as otherwise some folks may struggle to assess what is a plausible simulation to there satisfaction

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2020 9:21 a.m. PST

Again Fundamentally there are clearly diffrent truths. As an engineer I ran lots of simulations on Computers regading areodynamic systems and Thetmodynamic systems. Certainly I was armed with the basic of physice but barely any comprehension of the mecahnics of thre simulation. Regrettabley the mathermatics were well beyond my abilitys. However on a number of occations it was clearly possible to see that the results did not accord to my engineering judgement. In doing so we tracked down that for our particular system there were parameters that need to be set that were not. so we got a better representation without a cmprehensive understanding of the system you feel is so important.

UshCha:
While missing my point to some extent, you've illustrated it very well.

You didn't need to know how the software worked. What you needed to know for the simulation to function as a useful tool, and obviously what you knew was:

What the simulation was supposed to do, where it was supposed to simulate, and obviously where it wasn't. Just as obvious, your knowledge of how the system was supposed to simulate was so specific, you could identify 'accurately' where it wasn't working.

That is the knowledge anyone using--or playing--a simulation needs to know for the simulation to function properly.

That is not information wargame designers provide their customers much at all. So they don't know enough to use/understand/play the game as a simulation, let alone where it is an accurate or inaccurate representation.

This procduces the F&F "Command Radius" rule syndrome among other things. Players don't know what the rule was supposed to represent, assume incorrectly, deamed it 'unrealistic' [i.e. a failed simulation mechanic] and changed it for the wrong reasons. Obviously, the players never experience the game as designed.

In this specific case I agree with McLaddie that the simulation needs to describe the techniques and limitations of the simulation, as otherwise some folks may struggle to assess what is a plausible simulation to there satisfaction.

Yes, that is my point, but it is a general requirement for any simulation to function for the user/player, not limited to a few cases.

UshCha27 Nov 2020 2:40 p.m. PST

I suspect we are assuming different player baselines. My expectation is that the player has at least read some amount of history and at least individual descriptions of combat. If they have not then to me a war game is a none starter. Now there may be folk who are more interested in painting and little else, I have met the odd one. For them I suspect a standard "gamey" game is fine and so its not an issue to me or them. The gulf between us is insurmountable, it would be like me trying to be interested in football.

Regarding your command radius example, I have some comprehension of command and control and agree that a command radius is an artifice but without having a detailed understanding of the period, it is clear that some restriction of command and communication is required.

Again its subject to logical analysis at some level. I don't need telling why something like it has to exist.
Cannot I say if a particular radius is valid, not without a detailed study of the period. But that may be more work than I would want to undertake.

I could debate whether such an option was the best simplification possible and that may require a discussion as long or longer than this thread.

In the allusion to my agreement with your principals we were in complex discussions (admittedly coming under the fun heading) for some 5 1/2 hrs addressing just a few sections of our upcoming Guide/rules for engineering. Not everybody wants to spend that sort of time understanding/writing their own rules.

If folk have such long and involved questions I am happy to discuss but alas I have never had such discussions except with our group. Even then there is some Grudging approval that some of the approximations are just that, but to improve would require an increase in complexity that reduces overall fidelity. Given a timescale for a bound, being able only to model 2 hrs of a battle that would run for 4 hrs is a lost cause.

Again we seem not to have even the same target audience, but that shows life has a lot of variety.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2020 3:21 p.m. PST

I suspect we are assuming different player baselines. My expectation is that the player has at least read some amount of history and at least individual descriptions of combat. If they have not then to me a war game is a none starter.

UshCha: I'm not assuming a player baseline. That's the point. To assume one, regardless of knowledge, doesn't insure the player will experience the wargame as a simulation and not just a game.

egarding your command radius example, I have some comprehension of command and control and agree that a command radius is an artifice but without having a detailed understanding of the period, it is clear that some restriction of command and communication is required.

I totally agree that most 'Command Radius' rules are all wrong for what they proport to portray, until you get down to small scale skirmish games, but that is not why I mentioned it.

I know a great deal about the Civil War combat operations. I played the original Fire & Fury quite a bit. The Command Radius rule had brigades receiving a +1 modifier in rolling on the Maneuver table for movement. However, there was no penalty for being out of command. I certainly thought the rule was bogus and a poor representation of ACW command dynamics. Other players did to, and changed the rule so it was a -1 to be out of command.

I only learned later that the rule was meant to portray the aid commanders can provide outside of the regular command structure. That help that comes from being above the fighting visually [LOS] and physically on higher ground.

Now, I could have had three Doctorates in ACW history and participated as a reinactor and NEVER would have considered the designed purpose of that rule, let alone thought to have asked about the purpose of what appeared to be very obvious.

In other words, 'logical analysis' would not have gotten me to the designed purpose of the mechanic, let alone the history it was supposed to mimic, regardless of my baseline.

So, with that one rule, because the designer felt no need to identify what was being 'simulated' accurately,

1. The purpose of the rule was negated and any research and design effort there was wasted.

2. The players did not experience that rule as intended, so the simulation failed at that point.

3. The lack of understanding led players to do what players often do with published rules: they changed them for the wrong reasons, inserting a mechanic that the rules hadn't been designed to address that way.

4. There was no way players could 'guess' what history was being used as a template for that rule.

5. One of the causes for this 'Command Radius' misinterpretation was BECAUSE of the players' baseline regarding ACW history and experience playing wargames.

That is just one simple rule in a rule book full of such abstract mechanics designed to represent *something.* For example, in F&F, artillery is represented as just one generic kind of artillery. Design-wise, certainly an option. I have no idea what history was generalized to create the power, range and such, which the designer claims is 'historically accurate.' Of course, wargamers messed with that rule.

When you go through the F&F rules, there are so many of these 'what does this represent?' questions, there is no way that F&F can function as an 'accurate' simulation for the players. It didn't for me and I can point with any certainty among many of the rules whether they are accurate or not, even with my background 'baseline.'

From my experience, I am pretty certain that kind of experience, to a greater or lesser degree, is true for players of your wargame, regardless of their baseline. From the sounds of it, you have a fairly long-lived group of players for your wargame, so there would have been time to 'fill in the gaps.'

To assume a 'baseline' that will not only perfectly aligne with the designer.'s, but will automatically allow the player to recognize the history/reality behind each and every game mechanic and system is what I question. From my experience, that is assuming too much at the risk of players not experiencing play as designed, as a simulation, or ending up experiencing the wrong 'reality' without knowing it.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2020 3:23 p.m. PST

UshCha:

In the allusion to my agreement with your principals we were in complex discussions (admittedly coming under the fun heading) for some 5 1/2 hrs addressing just a few sections of our upcoming Guide/rules for engineering. Not everybody wants to spend that sort of time understanding/writing their own rules.

That is quite true and no reason that they should, nor is there any reason you shouldn't spend the time. That's not the point. When you have designed that section on engineering, outside those who were involved in the discussion, everyone one will need to know
1. What the engineering secion was designed to simulate--obviously not everything.
2. How it is simulated by the mechanics.

This doesn't ask for a college course in combat engineering. It is simply a need for identification of what is portrayed and how. If the players want to take a course, they are free to. If you don't want to identify such things, requiring players to have already taken the course, that is your Prerogative.

From my professional experience in participation simulations, and from what other simulation designers have said and written, that doesn't not insure the players have the experience playing the way you worked to provide it. Depending on the players' "basiline" might work, it might not, it might work in some places and not in others. There is little way of telling without a lot of designer/player experience with each other--and more to recify the holes in experienced simulation.

That is the technical nature of any participatory simulation, based on a lot of experience, regardless of the target audience.

If folk have such long and involved questions I am happy to discuss but alas I have never had such discussions except with our group. Even then there is some Grudging approval that some of the approximations are just that, but to improve would require an increase in complexity that reduces overall fidelity.
Italics mine… Part of the results of a lack of clear explanations of what the simulation is supposed to do.

This isn't about improving 'approximations.' That is ALL any simulation is, an approximation. As an engineer, you know you do that all the time… as long as the approximation works, providing the outcome you need. Same with simulations.

If the simulation is designed to do X, with chosen approximations. It either succeeds or it doesn't…that is all it can be asked to do with validity, all it can be judged on.

If someone wants more 'detail with X and less approximation', then they are asking the simulation to do something it wasn't designed to do. They can design their own.

Obviously, with a different target audience.

Wolfhag30 Nov 2020 11:11 a.m. PST

UshCha and McLaddie: So how do you explain what you are designing to a potential player and what would you describe and market it as? Why should he play it?

Wolfhag

Wolfhag30 Nov 2020 11:17 a.m. PST

All the discussion is well and fine but you also mentioned the "target audience". If you are writing a hard-core simulation for a specific industry application it has a good chance of being successful if the target audience is professionals in that industry. If someone outside that profession is interested he'll have to do a lot of reading up to understand what he'll be doing and why.

I think the majority target audience of games we play are people that want to have an enjoyable game, be entertained, showcase their miniatures and terrain without a lot of pain. Whether it is a game or simulation I'm not sure they'll care but "simulation" normally means in the minds of potential players more detail and complexity. How it appeals to people's expectations will vary.

Most war games fail from the start as a simulation of combat or something the player can learn if they are using balanced scenarios and the opponents can see all the units and their status. Real units are not activated as they are under some type of standing order or mission they will attempt to accomplish and along the way they may need to react to enemy actions attempting to stop them. Initiative is seized by the side that is quicker and uses better tactics to throw their opponent off balance. Unexpected events will impact one side or the other attempting to seize the initiative and very little is random.

Also, the playing surface is generally too small to have real maneuvering and the models are out of scale giving the wrong visual representation of the battle. This is not an ideal "learning environment" or laboratory to simulate real combat with the goal of getting the player to learn something and he may learn the wrong lesson. Because of these restrictions that I have no control over I'm not going to make any claims about players learning something, experiencing realism, or a simulation of real combat. If you feel you can design a realistic simulation that people can learn a real lesson by playing then you are a better designer than I am and I'd be interested in seeing it.

Another restriction I ran into was if you are attempting to simulate some part of combat or tactics at a certain point you need to use the real terminology and nomenclature. Now rather than learning by playing the player will need to take a mini-course to know what he is going to do before he can attempt to play the game and hope to get something out of it.

Humans look for instant gratification when they can. Therefore video games are easy to get started playing and it is mostly "point and shoot" and along the way, players can gain some good historical information and tactics. This is why games designed to be played around rolling one of more D6's are so popular, easy entry for new players. Players determine if it is going to be worth the effort to invest time into learning a game. I own more games that I have not played than I have played. It was not worth the time to read and understand what the designer wanted to portray or simulate for me anyhow.

My solution was to in effect combine learning and playing. Each rule has a short historical narrative and description. Then it describes how it is used in the game, some examples, how to use the tactics in the game, limitations, and exceptions. I'll eventually be using an augmented reality cell phone app to stream a short video explanation and example for the key rules and sequence of play.

I think that ideally the gameplay and results should be "intuitively obvious" to the players with a minimum of explanation needed. By using timing through each unit's OODA Loop players can see and understand the results with a minimum of rules and explanations. He lost a shootout because he was one or more seconds slower. The reasons could be he was flanked/surprised, suppressed, has a poor crew, a SNAFU occurred, or his risk-taking decision backfired on him. All those factors will affect the timing so each one is quantified without needing an explanation.

I've played other games where the designer has any number of plausible explanations why a unit did not activate or lose initiative that can explain what happened and in the players, minds justify the outcome but the abstractions don't really quantify it to the player. I don't try to go into minute detail on all activities so I too have some explanations on some aspects I did not feel it was worthwhile detailing or simulating and I'll explain that upfront.

What I wanted to portray in detail was synchronizing movement rate and the gun's rate of fire to deliver split second results. Doing that solved a lot of problems and eliminated the need for other rules. I wanted to allow the players to make decisions that influence the timing. I think it is "intuitively obvious" to a player that if he decides to shoot two seconds sooner but with an accuracy penalty he has a better chance to shoot first and a greater chance to miss. Many games use die roll modifiers that are "intuitively obvious" to the player and need little explanation too. Some are not so obvious.

Engineers and simulation designers can pour over the details of how and what a simulation is and what it delivers. However, for me, ideally, I want the player to come to his own conclusion about the game being realistic or a simulation and whether he learns something or not. My goal is to create an immersive, entertaining, and playable game environment where the action and decisions are "intuitively obvious" to the players. What the players will learn is the different historical nuances of weapons platform and gun performance and the limitations they'll have on using various tactics.

They'll be able to compare the historical performance parameters between vehicles with a minimum of abstraction for most of them that will enable them to use their strength against their opponent's weakness and formulate their own strategies and tactics with the help of graphic examples and videos. He may still learn the right lesson for the wrong reasons using my system. I can't guarantee what happens. But again, it is overall a poor simulation of combat because of the physical (game components, hidden movement/deployment, etc.) and time restrictions (real combat is played in real-time, mine is stop-action) and the game will have.

By using the historic performance values for vehicles and guns I don't need to make any claims about the level of simulation or realism as I've compared it to historical outcomes. People may disagree with the research data I used but that's another issue. If people want to use the word simulation for it, fine by me.

I think the outcome of playing any game is going to be subjective for each player based on their own knowledge, experience, and expectations. Having the designer set the expectations will greatly enhance the end result especially for a simulation directed at professionals. That's why I include a short historical narrative for each rule along with how and when to use it in the game.

Some players don't like the basic OODA Loop game design and prefer the traditional IGYG, activation, and initiative rules because for them it works better. So be it. There isn't much I can do about that. I'm not going to knock myself out attempting to convince people it's realistic, a simulation, or whatever. It comes down to whether they liked it and were entertained enough to play it again and recommend it to their friends. That's my goal. How and why you play a game is up to you, not me. I tell people to play what they like for whatever reason they desire.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2020 12:11 p.m. PST

I think the majority target audience of games we play are people that want to have an enjoyable game, be entertained, showcase their miniatures and terrain without a lot of pain. Whether it is a game or simulation I'm not sure they'll care but "simulation" normally means in the minds of potential players more detail and complexity. How it appeals to people's expectations will vary.

Wolfhag:
On one level I am sure you are right. However, I don't agree entirely. Consider the following:

1.The majority of hobby wargame designers claim their design simulates. Most use those words, like the designers of Black Powder, LaSalle or Johnny Reb, but some just claim the products of simulating: Recreating, representing and modeling history and providing the same command challenges of real combat such as the designers of Flames of War and F&F .

2. Why would they do that if wargamers weren't interested, or at least the designers felt it important enough to claim?

3. Most wargames are failed simulations, so most wargamers have had no real experience of functional simulations. Designers have been no help. Wargamers can't want what they have never experienced.

4. Having only experienced failed simulations, it is little wonder that wargamers would want to aviod them, or not particularly care if a wargame simulates…

5. As you say, wargamers want different things from games, and find entertainment in a wide variety of experiences. Wargamers like what they like and designers certainly want to design to particular likes, particular audiences.

Even so, the issue is that most wargamers today, in discussions, purchases and complaints, seem to value and want their wargames to simulate in one way or another.

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

However, that isn't what I've been writing about. I am talking about what players need to experience the wargame as a simulation. What elements a wargame HAS to have, to function as a simulation for the players.

That is a technical requirement of functionality, not some designer or audience preference or my opinion on what a good wargame 'should' be.

Either the wargame functions as a simulation or it doesn't, regardless of whether the wargamers like playing it or not.

A designer certainly is free to create wargames that don't simulate. There is no requirement to do that and I am sure that any number of wargamers are content with that.

However, IF the design isn't a simulation, purposely or as failed design, but the designer still claims their wargame "recreates," "represents," "is accurate history," "provides real command decisions etc. etc.," when only a functioning simulation system can do those things, they are at best deceiving the customer, and at worst damaging the hobby.

Both those things continue in the hobby and it is one reason why many wargamers don't see [or are able to articulate] any difference between historical wargaming and fantasy, let along recognize what a participatory simulation is and does.

McLaddie

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2020 12:21 p.m. PST

Engineers and simulation designers can pour over the details of how and what a simulation is and what it delivers. However, for me, ideally, I want the player to come to his own conclusion about the game being realistic or a simulation and whether he learns something or not.

Wolfhag:
Fine. And those players' conclusions are based on what? And do they consistently have any relation to the realism designed into the game…because that is all there is to see.

Players always come to their own conclusions… but IF and only IF the design works as a simulation will players come to conclusions that have any relationship to the reality present in the game. If the players come to conclusions about what is real playing the game that have little or no relationship to what the designer presented… that is a failed simulation technically and experientially for the player. They haven't experienced what the designer meant them to experience when designing the wargame.

My goal is to create an immersive, entertaining, and playable game environment where the action and decisions are "intuitively obvious" to the players.

Fine. They are intuitively obvious because? And how do you know you are successful in that design goal?

What the players will learn is the different historical nuances of weapons platform and gun performance and the limitations they'll have on using various tactics.

Only if they are coming to conclusions very close to the conclusions you were simulating…

Wolfhag30 Nov 2020 3:18 p.m. PST

What the players will learn is the different historical nuances of weapons platform and gun performance and the limitations they'll have on using various tactics.

Only if they are coming to conclusions very close to the conclusions you were simulating…

Of course. So if a Sherman tank has a historical turret traverse speed of 25 degrees per second and a Panther D has 6 degrees per second what conclusion will a player come to on who may be able to shoot first? If a gun has a rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute (every 10 seconds) and another gun has a rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute (about every 7.5 seconds) what conclusion is the player going to come to as to which gun shoots the fastest? If a player can't catch on to that I can't help them.

If you want to call it a simulation I guess you could, fine by me. The important factor is that it delivers an intuitive time competitive game environment where seconds count and the player's correct use of decisions, tactics, and maneuver will generate a timing advantage. His data card for the gun and vehicle will have what I have determined are the timing factors based on my historic sources and references.

The player observes the situation, evaluates his options and tactics based on past training and experience (Orient in the loop), Decides on an action and issues and order that will execute a certain amount of time determined by a single D6 die roll adding/subtracting 1-3 other variables in the future (Act) as no order can be realistically be executed immediately. That's the OODA Decision Loop and I can't make it any simpler or intuitive that. Every player will know intuitively how to do that although many are not aware of it.

Fine. They are intuitively obvious because? And how do you know you are successful in that design goal?

Well, because it is obvious them and me too. So if I'm going to shoot when the game clock "ticks" to 5:05 and my opponent shoots at me when the game clock is at 5:03 and he flames me. Well, since I know how to tell time and I can subtract 5-3=2 I know that I was 2 seconds too slow. How much more intuitive can you get!

Now I could be kicking myself because when I decided to shoot when the game clock showed 4:56 I could have taken 6,7 or 8 seconds with an accuracy penalty but decided to take 9 seconds with no accuracy penalty. If I had decided to take 6 seconds to shoot (Snap Shot) I would have shot at 5:02 just 1 second before my opponent and might still be alive, if I had hit him and not had a SNAFU of course. I can't blame the dice or rules, just my own decision. My opponent outplayed me. Again, I think that's pretty damn obvious to almost anyone.

That's the kind of experience I designed the game for. Now if someone can't tell time on a clock or add and subtract two single-digit numbers it may not be "intuitively obvious" to him. I can't help that person. I can't help a person that argues with me I'm wrong either.

I have had a number of older and experienced gamers have a hard time grasping the intuitive use of a clock for the timing of actions in the game. Yes, really. They've told me the game looked so detailed it must be difficult to play but they eventually catch on because it is so "intuitively obvious" how a clock works and how to add two numbers together but some people insist on overanalyzing it.

It is also "intuitively obvious" to 12-year-olds that never played a war game before. They can tell time and add/subtract two 1 or 2 digit numbers and understand the risk-reward concept of trading decreased accuracy for increased speed. When they see the result of a shootout it's obvious how their decision played a big factor in the outcome. The OODA Timing Loop is ingrained in all of us whether we know it or not. I make use of it, most other game systems interrupt it.

Players always come to their own conclusions… but IF and only IF the design works as a simulation will players come to conclusions that have any relationship to the reality present in the game. If the players come to conclusions about what is real playing the game that have little or no relationship to what the designer presented… that is a failed simulation technically and experientially for the player. They haven't experienced what the designer meant them to experience when designing the wargame.

You are not listening, simulation is secondary. What I feel needs to work is a playable way to challenge the players, entertain them, meet their expectations, and let their decisions decide their fate. I originally designed a very data-intensive "simulation" that went into a lot of detail translated directly from the manuals using real formulas, terminology, and nomenclature the military uses that game bombed for the normal player and was painful to play. I had to take a different approach.

I've been wrong about other things too and I found out if you watched the players closely and observed what they are doing and how they are doing it they'll show you the easiest way to design the game and the best mechanics and play aids to create. What each player was attempting to use was his natural OODA Decision Loop because that's how we all approach a problem or plan to take an action whether we are aware of it or not. So I designed the mechanics and play aids in a way in a way to intuitively allow them to go through their loop to make a decision. It does not get any more intuitive than the OODA Decision Loop and I don't have to teach it.

What I want the players to experience is a time competitive competition where seconds count and their decisions will mostly determine the outcome. It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to play the game without experiencing that unless you just sit there and do nothing. Now if you consider it a good simulation I'll take that as a compliment.

If someone thinks it's a failed simulation, so be it. If someone did not enjoy the game so be it. For them, I failed. If they have some constructive criticism I'll listen. If they tell me I should use rules from some other game I'll politely bow out of the conversation.

Whether people think it is realistic or a good simulation I don't care! Why? Because I can't control how they process information, experience an event, have pre-disposed biases or prejudices. I can't control the level of knowledge (correct or incorrect) they bring to the game to determine that either. Some people absolutely insist that a unit MUST be activated to do something. Fine, play a game that has unit activations and be happy. He was not my target audience so if the thinks the game/simulation fails to meet his expectations it was designed to so it is a success. If someone went to the movies expecting to see a musical and they paid to see "Friday the 13th" horror movie I'm sure they comment it was a terrible musical.

I've spent hours at conventions watching people play mine and many other different types of board and miniatures games. I observed and noted what entertained the players, challenged them, and was a fun experience for all meaning mainly the game met or exceeded their expectations. I designed my game mechanics to bring out that experience, not to write a simulation. If people have an entertaining time, the game met or exceeded their expectations and they felt they had a good idea of what it's like to experience a tank-tank engagement so much the better.

Wolfhag

UshCha02 Dec 2020 1:05 a.m. PST

Also, the playing surface is generally too small to have real maneuvering and the models are out of scale giving the wrong visual representation of the battle.

I have to dissagree with this starement. If I look at many games there are massive problems with the terrain representation.

However the other key issue is terrain density. There is an inevitable discrepancy in most games between ground and Figure scale of the region in my games of 5 to 1. However if I look at mant games the terrain density even at a basic level has a far higher disparity than that. I have done not inconsiderable work on mapping in Northern Europe and it is very cleat there is far more terrain of a significant nature in an area represented by a tabletop than is represented on a tabletop. This means the mawouvre that was possible in the real world that could allow maneouvre are not present. Simply abstracting the terertain, there are some dreadfull exanples,does not work the stuctuire of a defence is defined to some extent buy the very complexity of the real world.

So a tabletop simulation can allow manoeuver but again attention must be given to what can usefully be appoximated. The main problem for many wargamers is the low to minimal base from which they started. Many times I have had to walk a player to look out the window, to remaind him of the real world.

Wolfhag02 Dec 2020 2:01 p.m. PST

UshCha,
It's an opinion based on my experience. You don't have to agree or disagree with it.

I agree about the terrain density and realism. However, if people are playing a game for social interaction and entertainment realism can take a back seat. It's a game, not a simulation they need to learn something from. Not everyone plays war games for the same reason.

In designing a game I consider myself in the entertainment market to develop something people will experience and enjoy. If they learn something, great.

Now I am also developing what I'd call a "simulation" for the Marine LT's going through the Basic School in Quantico to learn how to be an infantry Platoon Leader. I'm familiar with what and how they use tactics as I was stationed there as a member of the "Aggressor" unit that played tactical war games against them in the woods of Virginia almost every day in 1973.

Back then they had "VC Vill" which was a mockup of a VN village complete with a water well that had a tunnel. Today they have a mockup of a mid-east village. I'm working with a retired Marine LtCol who was an infantry platoon and company commander that trained leaders and SpecOps to develop what I'd call a training or Tactical Decision Making simulation.

The "simulation" is designed to use the tactics as translated from the manuals and training materials with a minimum of abstraction and use real nomenclature and terminology. This will work because the "players" will already be trained and know how to play. I've taken a satellite image of the town and had it printed on a nice game mat and we'll be using 3D printed buildings just as they are represented at the training location. We'll use the real TO&E they use and have bad guys that use the tactics the Marines can expect. That includes civilians, VBIED's, snipers, drones, etc.

Ideally, this will give the LT's going through the Basic School a chance to familiarize themselves with the layout and try different planning and squad tactics in preparation for the exercise. Their opponent, GM, or referee can throw different situations and problems at the Marine players to test their understanding and use of tactics and Immediate Action Drills that they are likely to run into in combat, establish a Causality Collection Point, communications, patrolling, or performing civic action duties. I think the Marines like to call something like this a "Tactical Decision Game". It is not who wins or loses but putting the participants through a process that allows them to evaluate a situation and implement a solution or response using their training.

We are going to put miniature BlueTooth speakers inside certain buildings that the umpire can use his cell phone to play pre-recorded small arms fire from specific weapons to familiarize the LT's with the enemy weapons firing signatures and as a way to generate Immediate Action Drills when they come under fire. We've tested it out and it's actually pretty cool. So if the Marines suppress the building occupants the gunfire slackens or stops. Of course, we'll add some other realism like shouts of "Allah Ak-Bar" along with this shooting and RPG sounds too.

I'm moving from CA to TN in April so I'll be closer and can come on base to help them get started. We are using the same OODA Decision Loop concept as in Treadheads to generate a "time competitive" environment and Situational Awareness which is what the Marines feel is most important in wargaming and simulation. There are no artificial traditional game rules like activations, IGYG shoot/move or initiative determination. This allows an accurate portrayal of squad tactics and room clearing. My son is a Marine combat vet that is moving to VA that has done everything the LT's will be training on and he'll be my "consultant" who can relate better to young LT's rather than an old fart like me with experience from the last millennium. He can also help them duplicate the SigInt environment and what to expect from real-time intel as the battle develops as that was his job in the Marines.

For me, that's the difference between a game and a simulation. If your opinion differs, that's OK.

Wolfhag

Blutarski02 Dec 2020 5:51 p.m. PST

Just a couple of thoughts off the top of my head …..

Could not agree more re the tendency of wargames to be played upon terrain-free tabletops that resemble a shopping mall parking lot. Attacker/defender scenarios require that the defenders have access to terrain that is actually defensible; for example, it is hard to demonstrate the virtues of a reverse slope defense without a reverse slope. We could go on about weather and day/night options as well.

- -

On the perhaps never to be exhausted subject of "what constitutes a simulation?", I would suspect that the most perfect historical simulation ever conceived would still receive criticism due simply to the fact that the level of historical knowledge (and misinformation) will vary so widely among the gamer community.

That having been said, I think Wolfhag is spot on in his assessment that job number one for any ambitious simulation is to establish an entertaining/intriguing framework to attract players. From that starting point, a good simulation can hide a lot of solid historical data and process within the game mechanics. The trick IMO is to focus on the important aspects of simulation necessary to "get the point across" and avoid piling on a mountain of arguably qualified but ultimately unnecessary "chrome".

Whew.

B

UshCha03 Dec 2020 3:46 a.m. PST

Wolfhag, we can dissagree without coming to blows. A different opinion is good. We have spent some 100 posts clarifying what our differences are and that itself has been interesting.

Now I am giving up the general discussion on what a simulation is and I am now gong to concentrate on the practicalities of representation IN THE SPECIFIC which is far more important to me.

Interesting I consider all our games are all "Tactical Decision Games", who cares who wins if its interesting.

Blutarski, In some extents I agree with you. Its my game to my requirements and I hope it helps folk play games that are closer to reality if they want that. If they don't then that is not a big deal.

Wolfhag03 Dec 2020 10:17 a.m. PST

Of course, all tactical games involve decisions.

Here is a TDG definition the Army uses:
Tactical Decision Games (TDGs) also called Tactical Decision Exercises (TDEs) are, simply, situational narratives of a tactical scenario that provide leaders the opportunity to develop a plan based on abbreviated information and in a time-constrained environment. They are tactical/situational puzzles. They require little in resources and provide huge returns for decision-making and critical-thinking.

They can also be short 3-5 minute paper and pencil exercises for rapid-decision making. The Situation Awareness Calibration method and the Commander's Intent
Exercise are variants of Decision Skills Training that are designed to improve team decision-making and to improve communication skills. The trainer can set an artificial time limit for the decision to be made putting additional pressure on the participants.

A TDG is a situational exercise, driven by a narrative, that provides basic mission, intent, and resources available. It allows leaders to work through their decision-making processes (TLPs, MDMP, etc.) and develop a plan.

It appears the way the military uses it is as a planning and reaction tool for junior officers. It appears to be heavy on the "exercise" part and light on the traditional "game" part. As a game designer, you could use this approach in scenario development by having the planning done and give the player a few tactical options to use.

The TDG approach I'm taking is that after the initial "exercise" in planning by the participant/student the "game" part can proceed with the trainer confronting the student with realistic situations he could expect to encounter based on intel and the scenario. The trainer observes how the student/students react using their tactics and training. The participants are being tested as opposed to a traditional competitive game and the trainer has a lot of latitudes and can concentrate on weaknesses he perceives in the participants. This could be used to prepare them for a real field training exercise.

The trainer could also put time constraints on decisions and observe the leaders as they are going through each step in their OODA Loop and critique each step individually based on where the student is having a delay, not observing, or being indecisive. It is more of a test rather than a competition. It's somewhat of an open system that can be customized by the trainer. I'll also offer a way for players to compete as in a regular game too which would be for entertainment and training.

Here is an Army example: link

Here are some good examples that can easily be translated into a game:
link

One of the issues I continually run into is players who have no idea of real tactics and maneuvers. When people don't know what to do they normally freeze and are afraid to make bold moves or take risks. You end up with head-to-head attrition battles which can be great fun too. However, attempting to portray real tactics may be over the head of many players. A pre-scenario "tactical briefing" could be of value. There have been times I've given advice to players on the right thing to do and they go off on their own and do something really stupid. I guess you could consider that a level of "realism".

I think that if you design a scenario that has a few options a player can select as a strategy it would help the player in planning and playing the game and maybe he'll learn something even if that is not the goal.

UshCha:

Now I am giving up the general discussion on what a simulation is and I am now gong to concentrate on the practicalities of representation IN THE SPECIFIC which is far more important to me.

You started the discussion so you can take it in any direction you like. However, you may want to start a new one based on the above statement. It started about using cards and the discussion got me to change my mind about using them so I have gotten something out of it. Thank you.

Wolfhag

UshCha03 Dec 2020 12:23 p.m. PST

Wolfhag I agree, not going to shift topics on this thread.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2020 9:03 p.m. PST

Hi Wolfhag:

I've been sidetracked by family matters, but I have read your last missive over several times. I appreciate the explanations. I can see by your "If you want to call it a simulation I guess you could, fine by me" that I still haven't been clear.

I haven't been questioning what you have designed, why or suggesting you have need to do anything. Your comment does provide another opportunity to get at what I am saying.

To use an analogy: A designer creates a supercharged V-8 engine for his VW bug. I come up and tell him he's designed a great internal combustion engine. His response is, If you want to call that, fine by me."

Now, he may be saying that because he wants to avoid his or others' negative views about 'internal combustion engines', or he maybe he doesn't know what an 'internal combustion engine' is. It may even be that he is unconsciously talented, creating but doesn't know what it is or why it works.

However, regardless of my opinion, desires or the designer's--technically, the V-8 he designed is undeniably an internal combustion engine. There is no good or bad to a technical designation. It is an objective, working description of a particular system and how it functions.

Now, talking with this designer about the 'how tos' of designing the engine is going to be very limited. Exploring why the entire system works or doesn't work, will be narrow, just specific parts that he and I can discuss without reference to the entire system. [He'll talk about carburetors with me because both of us agree on that technical term, the system and how the carburetor works mixing fuel. What I won't be able to talk to him about in any depth will be how it fits into the entire V-8 system, or the overall concepts that apply to the carburetor. Those descriptions would devolve into opinions over 'what constitutes an internal combustion engine.'

Which brings me to UshCha's comment:

"Now I am giving up the general discussion on what a simulation is and I am now gong to concentrate on the practicalities of representation IN THE SPECIFIC which is far more important to me."

That is all he and I can talk about--specific mechanics, specific history, not how they all fit into achieving overall simulation goals for the entire system. Knowing what a simulation is and how it works is dramatically practical. If it wasn't, I wouldn't bring it up and no one would bother defining it. The lack of technical understanding is why it is sooo difficult to have a dialogue about wargame design, simulations and the history/reality they incorporate.

Simulation is a technical term for a particular system designed to do particular things that only it can do. Anyone who attempts to design a game with the goal of representing some portion of reality invariably, unavoidably, technically:

1. Attempts to achieve what only a simulation can do

2. Struggle with the same concepts, dynamics and 'how tos' that apply to only simulations.

3. Have the same kind of success indicators for the design found in creating any simulation.

This is true, regardless of what the designer believes or doesn't believe, cares or doesn't care about simulations.

That is how technical concepts, methods and terms work because the community of designers realized this and gave it a technical description…easing of design methodology.

Any effort to produce what only a simulation can produce and you end up dealing with the very same issues regardless of opinions, knowledge or beliefs.

Knowing about simulations as a technical system allows a designer to 1. identify goals that the system can achieve, 2. how the system can work to achieve the goals and 3. How to establish that the simulation works as designed in an objective manner.

Wolfhag: I'll go back over what you wrote about your wargame design to show you what I mean…and no, you don't have to do anything different with your design. However, with an understanding of what a simulation is, there may be far simpler ways to see and do things at this point. [A primary reason for this effort.]

Wolfhag05 Dec 2020 10:43 a.m. PST

McLaddie,
I appreciate the feedback. However, it appears we are both on different tracks to maybe accomplish the same thing.

To use an analogy: A designer creates a supercharged V-8 engine for his VW bug. I come up and tell him he's designed a great internal combustion engine. His response is, If you want to call that, fine by me."

That's right, you can. The English language is rife with misidentification of terminology and nomenclature. That's what marketing is. The key thing is that the car fulfills its purpose. If you want to go fast, get the V8. If speed isn't important, go with the 4 cylinders. No matter what it is called it is transportation.

Yes, I really don't care what you call my game just as long as it is easy to play, mostly intuitive (the OODA Loop), fun, and gives the player the "feeling" that it is portraying what he expected. But I am not using simulation.

The expectation is the important part. It appears you are expecting a "simulation", that's the world you come from and ideally, I agree with you. I wanted the game to resemble the real thing as much as possible too.

However, as UshCha stated, a faithful technical simulation will be a steep learning curve for most players, and their first encounter will not be enjoyable. For them, the game will be too complicated and unplayable even if it is a faithful simulation. That's why my first introduction was a failure, too heavy on the simulation nomenclature. I wanted new people to play because we were putting on games at conventions. I actually picked up some of the best features of the game from new players that had suggestions I didn't observe.

My approach changed from a hardcore simulation to developing a system that the players naturally embraced and met their expectations. Most of the "hardcore" simulation stayed but was transparent to the players but the overall approach was different.

I would say that implementing the OODA Decision Loop into the game is a faithful simulation of how humans handle a situation. All multi-million dollar simulators are basically time competitive OODA Loop exercises with the goal to decrease the student's time through his loop making him more effective than his opponent. That's exactly what Boyd wanted.

Even above the platoon level speed is important and is the reason the military uses repetitive training. The more you need to think (Decide in the loop) the slower you are going to be and you'll give your opponent an initiative advantage. I "simulate" that by forcing poor crews to take longer to perform an action or react to enemy threats. Suppression and poor SA has the same effect on all crew types. So poor crews that are able to suppress better opponents can gain parity or even an initiative advantage. There is not much random about it. I think that's a better "simulation" of initiative than current systems.

I guess you could call it a simulation of putting the player in the role of a tank commander and making historical decisions as the real crews did. However, it fails as a battle simulation because it does not present the unknowns that real crews were faced with. I've walked point many times, I know what it's like.

These unknowns play a large part in the overall decision-making process in the real world and are difficult to portray in a 2+ player game. It is easier in a solitaire game. It would be like making a teaching simulation but not having a classroom full of students doing what students do or like making an RC plane simulation in a 2D environment.

I do use a lot of hidden set-up and hidden movement in an attempt to "simulate" those unknowns. Unfortunately, this is the opposite effect many miniatures players desire as they like to get all of their toys on the table at once. Any resemblance to a real battle simulation fails before you even roll the dice.

After I move to TN I plan on putting together a head-to-head game to take the simulation to the next level. When you lose a unit your opponent will get to zap you in the shoulder with a cattle prod type device. I'll have the players wear a biometric device to measure their heartbeat and display it on a laptop so we can see their reactions. Of course, I'll be the umpire and not a player.

So I could have a case for calling it a simulation but I'm not going to. Why? Because like all games it fails as a battlefield simulation and the term scares away people. People are going to call me on that and I don't want to have the discussion as it's a lose-lose. I like, "It's a game that simulates X, Y, and Z." just like any other game.

I'm not a historian, author, or opinion leader and not qualified to tell people what is "real" or not and not all sources can agree on many aspects that I'm using. I can claim it's a game, easy to understand the basic concepts, playable, interactive, and to a fairly high degree enjoyable. If others call it a simulation, fine, I'm not going to argue the point as it's mostly subjective.

Knowing about simulations as a technical system allows a designer to 1. identify goals that the system can achieve, 2. how the system can work to achieve the goals, and 3. How to establish that the simulation works as designed in an objective manner.

Yes, I agree and I'm pretty sure I covered all of that in detail and playtesting. The vast majority of players are not going to care. It's a game, not a technical system like a nuclear reactor simulator. You are in the simulation business, I'm in the entertainment business. You want to train professionals. I want to use special effects and rules to entertain and fool dilettantes and professionals into thinking they are observing a real battle and have an enjoyable time.

The term simulation in a war game also carries the connotation of military training of which the game in its present form is not. My game will not prepare them to go into battle. It will impart some historical knowledge and portray to a degree how different tactics will work. After playing the game I think they'll have a better historical understanding of what occurs but that's the best any game designer can hope for.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2020 11:09 a.m. PST

Wolfhag:

Happy Saturday. I think there are a couple of things that stand out in your explanations that I want to address: you saying that your interest in simulation is secondary and the rules are intuitive.

The issue of simulating is folded into everything you say you've done: Whether you see it as primary or secondary, it is woven into every aspect of your design.

If you want to call it a simulation I guess you could, fine by me. The important factor is that it delivers an intuitive time competitive game environment where seconds count and the player's correct use of decisions, tactics, and maneuver will generate a timing advantage. His data card for the gun and vehicle will have what I have determined are the timing factors based on my historic sources and references.

That doesn't make a good or bad simulation… [italizied] that is just stating what simulations do: Model some portion of reality… in this particular case the timing factors based on your historic sources and references. It doesn't sound secondary…it sounds like part and parcel of all that you've done.

I have said that simulation games don't work as simulation experiences for players unless they 1. Know what parts of the game are models of reality and 2. where the information came from. In both games I played, you stated both upfront for the players. You stated that the time was in seconds and that the data cards showed how many seconds each tank took to carry out various actions. You included naming some of the references you used.

Because you did those two things, being very specific, players could easily associate what the game was doing visa vie reality, down to counting seconds. As you say:

It is also "intuitively obvious" to 12-year-olds that never played a war game before. They can tell time and add/subtract two 1 or 2 digit numbers and understand the risk-reward concept of trading decreased accuracy for increased speed. When they see the result of a shootout it's obvious how their decision played a big factor in the outcome. The OODA Timing Loop is ingrained in all of us whether we know it or not. I make use of it, most other game systems interrupt it.

I think you are calling this ease of association between player knowledge and the game as intuition. Because I know what the players have been told previously, it is the ease of association between what the players know--telling time, counting and making decisions based on time. You have already given them the game associations to reality, which is why it is easy for them to understand and utilize.

Great uses of design AND covering the two things players HAVE TO know to experience you flipping numbered cards with seconds on the battlefield. That isn't intuition.

Intuitive means having the ability to understand or know something without any direct evidence or instruction.

I designed a learning preference survey called the Kaleidoscope Profile. It had a folder with four questions and sticker sheets with the answers and the score sheet all color-coded. Very different from anything seen before in the way of surveys. I could hand the survey components to a 3rd grader and they would do the survey and score it correctly without ANY instruction. That is an intuitive operation.

IF you could hand the components of your wargame to players without explanation or reference to specific reality models, and they could play it the way you designed it, then your wargame would be 'intuitive.' At the moment that is what a lot of wargame designers do, hand them the components and expect them to intuit the simulation associations, or expect them to come to the table with the appropriate level of knowledge to associate accurately.

Whether people think it is realistic or a good simulation I don't care! Why? Because I can't control how they process information, experience an event, have pre-disposed biases or prejudices.

I am trying to point out, I don't care either. However, you have done just that…controlled how they processed the game information, the experience of playing. That is all you have been talking about with 12 years olds 'getting it." A game IS an engineered player experience. You have done a lot to control how they process the experience… that is what you have been happy with…players processing the information the way you designed it. Right?

I can't control the level of knowledge (correct or incorrect) they bring to the game to determine that either.

But you HAVE used the player's level of knowledge of time, counting and other previous knowledge to make your wargame reality easier to assimilate. What you call intuitive.

As you say, whether a wargamer plays well, using the time relationships in play is not your problem.

Whether folks think your wargame is a good or bad simulation is not the issue here.

You aren't required to give the players a course in WWII tank tactics. You simply have to provide the sources you used as a template for your model of WWII tank combat. If the players want to see whether your wargame does a 'good' job of that, they are free to investigate the very same data you used.

If they feel that was the wrong date or some other aspect is 'more important', they are free to design their own game… you don't have to do a thing. Regardless of what you do, someone will be unhappy. So it goes. I wouldn't lose sleep over it if you have all the simulation T's crossed, which you do, apparently without really realizing it, not giving it the significance it deserves.

I am talking about the methods and concepts that work to make a functioning participatory simulation for the players. You provided what the players needed to know to play… and you are ascribing the easy of understanding this provides as intuition.

I have been pointing out that it is simply the result of creating a functional simulation game for the players.

Caring about what a simulation is and how it works allows one to recognize what players need for ease of understanding, 2. how to provide players what they need to have the game operate as a simulation, and 3. how to improve components and information for simplicity in:

1. Meeting design challenges clearly and far more easily.

2. Providing players with specifics, not an education in history with a mountain of paperwork.

3. Design discussions about what works as opposed to folks throwing around their likes and dislikes regarding a 'good' game and a 'good' simulation.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2020 5:44 p.m. PST

Wolfhag:

I wanted to answer your second to last post before addressing your last one.

Yes, I really don't care what you call my game just as long as it is easy to play, mostly intuitive (the OODA Loop), fun, and gives the player the "feeling" that it is portraying what he expected. But I am not using simulation.

I don't care what you call it either. However, you sure as !@#! are using simulation purposes, methodology* and expectations in what your design is portraying.

Call a V-8 engine whatever you want, but in designing one you will face all the challenges and need to use all the methodologies designing one to be successful. Being aware of them can only make the effort more effective, efficient and overt.

The expectation is the important part. It appears you are expecting a "simulation", that's the world you come from and ideally, I agree with you. I wanted the game to resemble the real thing as much as possible too.

I have read what you wrote about designing the wargame and have played it. I wasn't 'expecting' anything. I recognized that:

1.Your goals were those of a simulation… what ONLY a simulation could achieved.

2.Your effort to provide players with specific experiences of tank warfare is what simulations are used for, because no other system can.

3. The problems and solutions you came up with were fairly basic elements found in the process of designing any simulation.

4. You provided the players with the specific information they needed to experience play as having some direct connection to reality… you called it intuition. It was simply giving the right information while relying on a level of previous knowledge that most 10 year olds possess. Brilliant, but basic simulation design regardless of whether you were aware of it or not.

However, as UshCha stated, a faithful technical simulation will be a steep learning curve for most players, and their first encounter will not be enjoyable. For them, the game will be too complicated and unplayable even if it is a faithful simulation.

Sorry, that 'technically' is absolutely wrong. In a past TMP post, I gave UshCha an example of a 10 minute simulation that I designed for high school students which were none of those things, but technically provided the players with exactly the same elements you did for the play to be 'intuitive' in your vernacular. I didn't hear UschCha disagreeing that it was a simulation. My short simulation [with 5 minutes of instruction] was, technically, a simulation because all the elements I mentioned above were present including using players' current 'level' of knowledge to make the simulation work.

I have been trying to point out how your design technically matches all elements of a functional simulation--one reason why it works so well. And because of that, all the research, working concepts and methodologies created in the past 50+ years is useful. It can be utilized to create, improve, simplify [that's right], clarify, and innovate coherently rather than current hit and miss designs, maybe sort of simulations, 'they're too complicated' to be fun and "that's not my opinion" design discussions.

Call your design whatever you want. I simply wanted to point out the advantages of that technology--and how your design regardless of what you do or don't want to call it, incorporates all the basics of a participatory simulation, seemingly unaware that you had done that…but that you did is hardly surprising when you were designing a wargame with goals that only a participatory simulation could achieve.

You've thought I simply wanted to slap a label on your design. I am talking about the KNOWN elements and methodology of effective wargame design, not forcing you to play name that game.

Wolfhag10 Dec 2020 2:33 p.m. PST

McLaddie,

Call a V-8 engine whatever you want, but in designing one you will face all the challenges and need to use all the methodologies designing one to be successful. Being aware of them can only make the effort more effective, efficient and overt.

Yes, as a designer you would. As the driver of a car, many people wouldn't know what engine it has but they can still drive it efficiently. Part of my goal was to have players duplication real action without really know it but recognizing it on their own as they played.

1.Your goals were those of a simulation… what ONLY a simulation could achieved.

Originally, I didn't set out to design a game. I found this neat gunfire formula that I wanted to use in another game using the fire control techniques from a tank manual. In order to duplicate the use of techniques like Burst on Target, Battlesight, Rapid Fire, and Rangefinders I needed some type of timing mechanism as different versions of the traditional initiative, IGYG and activation did not work. So according to your definition, I designed a tank gunfire simulation.

2.Your effort to provide players with specific experiences of tank warfare is what simulations are used for, because no other system can.

I'll have to agree with you again but it was not my original intention. I stumbled on the Action Timing and OODA Loop concept that makes the game time competitive. I guess most simulations are time competitive to one degree or another.

3. The problems and solutions you came up with were fairly basic elements found in the process of designing any simulation.

I'll agree because there is almost nothing I borrowed from other games. Rather than die roll modifiers to detail the action I use timing modifiers allowing you to be quicker or longer through your Loop.

4. You provided the players with the specific information they needed to experience play as having some direct connection to reality… you called it intuition. It was simply giving the right information while relying on a level of previous knowledge that most 10 year olds possess. Brilliant, but basic simulation design regardless of whether you were aware of it or not.

There is nothing really new that I came across. I just translated the manuals so that the actions and tactics were time competitive as in real combat. Dana Lombardy pointed out to me how it was really the OODA Loop I was simulating. After much trial and error and playtesting everything started falling into place.

However, as UshCha stated, a faithful technical simulation will be a steep learning curve for most players, and their first encounter will not be enjoyable. For them, the game will be too complicated and unplayable even if it is a faithful simulation. Sorry, that 'technically' is absolutely wrong. In a past TMP post, I gave UshCha an example of a 10 minute simulation that I designed for high school students which were none of those things, but technically provided the players with exactly the same elements you did for the play to be 'intuitive' in your vernacular. I didn't hear UschCha disagreeing that it was a simulation. My short simulation [with 5 minutes of instruction] was, technically, a simulation because all the elements I mentioned above were present including using players' current 'level' of knowledge to make the simulation work.

Maybe you succeeded but my first attempts that were a direct translation from the manuals using the correct terminology and nomenclature failed for me. It also failed when I attempted to get first-time players to play Canvas Falcons based on JD Webster's "Fighting Wings" system.

What has worked is explaining the game to people that it is very much like a stop-action video game. The game clock "stops" to perform an action planned a number of seconds previously. In a video game, when you aim your gun an aiming circle over the target gets smaller and smaller the longer you hold it without shooting. When it stops you have the best chance to hit. You can shoot sooner but will not be as accurate. I call that a "Risk-Reward Decision". It works the same way in the game. So first time players will increase or decrease the amount of time to perform an action (execute an order) because that's pretty intuitive and duplicate the real tank gunfire control tactics without really knowing what they are. So I guess it would rank high on the "simulation scale".

Now, I give a quick overall explanation and a few moving and shooting samples. Players are normally reluctant to do something so I try to impress on them to think and react like a tank commander (units are always active to react) and forget it is a game. If you are not moving you should be shooting. If you are not shooting you should be moving. That simplifies it.

I have been trying to point out how your design technically matches all elements of a functional simulation--one reason why it works so well. And because of that, all the research, working concepts and methodologies created in the past 50+ years is useful. It can be utilized to create, improve, simplify [that's right], clarify, and innovate coherently rather than current hit and miss designs, maybe sort of simulations, 'they're too complicated' to be fun and "that's not my opinion" design discussions.

I guess I'd have to agree because the design methodology was not starting out using abstraction and artificial rules or designing the game around the dice. By eliminating many of the abstractions of previous games it really simplified the game as players focus on the action, reacting, issuing orders, and doing it again (OODA Loop).

Call your design whatever you want. I simply wanted to point out the advantages of that technology--and how your design regardless of what you do or don't want to call it, incorporates all the basics of a participatory simulation, seemingly unaware that you had done that…but that you did is hardly surprising when you were designing a wargame with goals that only a participatory simulation could achieve.

Ok, ok, looking at it from that viewpoint I'd have to agree. My intention was not to design a learning simulation but to have a playable game that encompasses the gunnery rules I wanted. As we played the game more we saw how the Action Timing of events and weapons platforms did give the split-second combat results and had the added benefit of creating a natural Fog of War (no initiative rules needed).

The real "time competitive" part of the game is the players competing head-to-head using realistic tactics (not just die roll modifiers) to balance speed and accuracy in a way their WWII counterparts did. The "Playing the Loop" concept keeps players involved at all times and not waiting for the next phase or their turn. When a new player suggested a simultaneous movement system we were then able to synchronize movement rate and rate of fire in a playable way.

You've thought I simply wanted to slap a label on your design. I am talking about the KNOWN elements and methodology of effective wargame design, not forcing you to play name that game.

Ok, I understand. I'm still trying to find the best way to communicate the idea of what the game is. One way to look at it is as a time competitive IGYG game where I go before you go because I'm faster. You go after me if you are still alive. If we are both at the same speed we go at the same time.

A stop-action video game is a way that has worked at conventions. While players will naturally use their OODA Loop in a game as soon as you point it out and explain it they get confused. To come to think of it, a game where players are realistically using their personal OODA Loop without it being interrupted by artificial abstractions and rules is a real human factors simulation of any action.

Thanks,
Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2020 3:01 p.m. PST

Wolfhag:
I have in the past and continue to appreciate your clear picture of what your wargame does and how it is achieved.

My intention was not to design a learning simulation but to have a playable game that encompasses the gunnery rules I wanted. As we played the game more we saw how the Action Timing of events and weapons platforms did give the split-second combat results and had the added benefit of creating a natural Fog of War (no initiative rules needed).

I understand that and you have created what you describe. It works well. It is still a 'learning' simulation because ALL games and simulation games are learning activities.

When players stop having the opportunity of learning something new, they stop playing. Your design could be used as a learning tool, or a history or tactics teaching tool besides a fun wargame. The same system [tool], regardless of the purposes it is used for.

As I've said before, von Riesswitz comments in his Kriegspiel wargame description two centuries ago, that he was surprised that officers found his training exercise entertaining…and folks still do. You designed your wargame to be entertaining… it still might be seen to offer benefits for other uses. Simulations AND games are tools, systems used for particular purposes. Whether a design is created for entertainment, teaching or training doesn't dictate whether it couldn't be used for the other two uses. That is why flying simulations created for training purposes have made so much money as entertainment.

To come to think of it, a game where players are realistically using their personal OODA Loop without it being interrupted by artificial abstractions and rules is a real human factors simulation of any action.

It does that so well because of what players know about the relationships between the game mechanics and the real world… You take time to describe that for players.

However, your time system is just as artificial as any other wargame.

For instance, I may have turns representing a half hour and make sure that it only takes a half hour to play a turn. Still artificial. Dividing up time into 30 minute increments is no more artificial than dividing them up into second intervals. You have players writing down how long different operations take, then count off seconds where players may not do anything, then at second #5 everything stops for a lot of seconds while players shoot, or move tanks or turrets etc. Then they write down the next actions durations. Easy to understand and relate to the real world, but in game function, it is just as artificial as any simulation or game. Players could still play the game if they didn't know what the time increments were or why tanks behaved the way they did, however it would be far harder to understand and play because the abstractions have been GIVEN no relationship to reality. It certainly would not be a simulation--for the players.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2020 3:26 p.m. PST

Wolfhag:
I also want to say that my 10 minute simulation game still needed playtesting, just not as much because I made sure all the necessary parts were in place first and of course, because it was far simpler than your design.

Every simulation--and game--has the same parts, which is why I think it is often overlooked.

UshCha mentioned working with an engineering simulation:

As an engineer I ran lots of simulations on Computers regading areodynamic systems and Thetmodynamic systems. Certainly I was armed with the basic of physice but barely any comprehension of the mecahnics of thre simulation. Regrettabley the mathermatics were well beyond my abilitys. However on a number of occations it was clearly possible to see that the results did not accord to my engineering judgement. In doing so we tracked down that for our particular system there were parameters that need to be set that were not. so we got a better representation without a cmprehensive understanding of the system you feel is so important.

Like any simulation there has to be a user [or player], in this case UschCha. He needed two things to use the simulation effectively: What the simulation was designed to do SPECIFICALLY and a way to input data [or make game decisions] into the system. He, like any wargame player doesn't need to know how the system works together to achieve the realism, just what that realism is he needs to 'look for'. Because UschCha knew this, he could tell that the results weren't 'realistic'. He changed the inputs and the simulation did the very same job, only now the results were meaningful.

Players are always trying to do what UschCha did when they talk about 'plausible' or 'realistic' or 'reasonable' results. Their main problem is that they never have the same specific information UschCha or the players of your wargame did. They never know what specifically the wargame is DESIGNED to simulate, recreate etc. etc. They have no way of knowing how to relate reality to game play. So they fake it, and after decades, have become very good at making it up--rationalizing what is 'reasonable'… but still can't tell you how historical wargames are different from fantasy games.

They have a +1 for combined arms combat, but what that means is a complete mystery--particularly when they see the same combined arms modifier for Napoleonic and WWII games, so they rationalize the outcome as 'plausible' or 'reasonable'. Compared to what is anyone's guess…literally. For instance, I never worried about a command structure for all the tanks in playing your game…that wasn't part of the design. I played it to experience what it was designed to provide.

Gamers talk about using wargames to 'see what might happen if', assuming the wargame is a simulation without ever having the necessary information to experience the wargame as a simulation.

UshCha13 Dec 2020 2:50 a.m. PST

McLacddie, While not really now part of this thread I cannot allow you to spout rubbish and is quite unexpected.

Then they write down the next actions durations. Easy to understand and relate to the real world, but in game function, it is just as artificial as any simulation or game. Players could still play the game if they didn't know what the time increments were or why tanks behaved the way they did, however it would be far harder to understand and play because the abstractions have been GIVEN no relationship to reality. It certainly would not be a simulation--for the players.
tags

Breaking analysis and interjecting in a time sequence that is sufficently small as to be reasonable is typical of many "proper simulations used to keep us alive". That these steps can take longer to anlyses and output is considered reasonsble and in no way artifical. Clarly your "knowledge" is not all encomassing". Wolfhads model is very close in some ways to a computor programe of the like of CFD where thre time steps is set correctly. variations of less than one second cand be genuinely accepted as reasonable as there will always be some random veriation is timescale. If you believe the players is so unable to comprehend such a simple analysis then your experoience and min are sufficently diffrent that I was correct to leave the thread.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2020 12:31 p.m. PST

Breaking analysis and interjecting in a time sequence that is sufficently small as to be reasonable is typical of many "proper simulations used to keep us alive". That these steps can take longer to anlyses and output is considered reasonsble and in no way artifical.

UshCha:

If I read this right, you feel I am saying that Wolfhag's system's use of time sequences of seconds is 'unreasonable' when I point out that it is artificial.

There is nothing 'unreasonable' about his choices, nor are they in computer programs.

Wolfhag's model is very close in some ways to a computor programe of the like of CFD where thre time steps is set correctly. variations of less than one second cand be genuinely accepted as reasonable as there will always be some random veriation is timescale.

A computer program 'set' with the correct time steps is artificial. The computer is counting time for a computer program in an effort to simulate some real time-related processes.

That is certainly reasonable and can effectively simulate reality. It is still an artificial process. Simulations are artificial, unreal models of *something real.* That includes the passage of time in the simulation.

That's just a technical fact, not some statement that it is 'unreasonable' in simulating reality.

If you believe the players is so unable to comprehend such a simple analysis then your experoience and min are sufficently diffrent that I was correct to leave the thread.

I am not clear on what you are saying here. I have played games were cards are flipped to allow the game to progress. Are you saying that I should figure out that the card flipping represents X time through 'simple analysis?'
Why require players to do 'simple analysis' when you can just tell them that the cards represent seconds? It has nothing to do with players' ability to comprehend or analyze, but rather what you want them to spend time on comprehending and analyzing in playing the wargame.

Why ask the players to spend time on that effort…assuming that 'simple analysis' would get them to the right conclusions? " One of the powers of Wolfhag's wargame is that he didn't have players waste time with that. He told them what the wargame was designed to represent. He also 'assumed' very little about the players' level of knowledge' coming to the table… just grade school math. That's it.

He didn't leave the players to 'assume' or 'analyze' what the associations between reality and the wargame actually were. He didn't require them to be know WWII tank tactics before playing. Wolfhag spelled out them specifically so that players associated easily, correctly and all together, leaving them free to experience the simulation: which were the associations DESIGNED into the system between the artificial game environment and the real world.

This left wargamers free to spend their time analyzing effective play, relating it to the real world, not 'analyzing what parts of reality the game was 'supposed to represent.'

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