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Dining Room Battles04 Dec 2020 9:29 a.m. PST


Seeing this meme reminded me that years ago in another century when I was a young senior captain, I traveled to a convention in Pennsylvania sponsored by HMGS East. One of the participation games was the Battle of Agincourt and it looked beautiful. The game was subtitled: Was the long bow that good? So I approached the game master with two friends to play on the side of the French . . . The ensuing conversation was hilarious.


dapeters04 Dec 2020 9:48 a.m. PST

In one of those same conventions I was in a game where it became oblivious that we could simple win the game by rushing towards the objective, instead of engaging in melees. Three hours into the game the GM who was busy talking to other folks realizes this and becomes angry that our side is not doing the historic thing. He physically moves our units so that they will indeed be in melees and there causing our side to loose.

Bede1900204 Dec 2020 9:57 a.m. PST

Because they're just little pewter/plastic men.

Korvessa Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2020 10:01 a.m. PST

They came on in the same old way and we defeated them in the same old way."
-Field Marshall Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, 1815 …

David O Brien04 Dec 2020 10:15 a.m. PST

I don't mind fighting games like that but there has to be an option that if the attackers achieve a set objective then they can at least claim a draw.
Having fought Pickett's charge a couple of times we set an objective that if a percentage of Confederates reached the wall they would achieve a draw and very tense games they ended up being.

Ran The Cid04 Dec 2020 10:49 a.m. PST

Lost Battles has a great mechanic of adding goals which match the historical outcome. SO, if you want the French to charge the Longbows, put a big fat VP bonus behind the English. The player is not forced to follow history, but if they want the incentive, they will need to find a way.

Works for Hastings too. Why in the world would the Saxons leave their hill/shield wall, unless you give the player a reason to do so.

55th Division04 Dec 2020 3:56 p.m. PST

Nope sorry its the what "IF" Part of wargaming I like. I am currently working on a scenario for the Somme where I want to fight several games introducing different tactics into the Mix. My belief is that no matter what tactics are used, the British are going to lose 90%+ times. its the Assaulting into the German trenches that is the problem

Tactics I want to try include what happens if the British got the 150 tanks they had on order in time for the battle

what happens if all Divisions used the rolling barrage to cover the assault

what happens if the the British are able to fire without pre-registration as happened later in the war

what happens if they use all three of these tactics at the same time

what happens if the Battle is fought in September as originally planned allowing the British to better train their force

what happens if the French dont get dragged into Verdun and still take part in the battle as was originally planned

then i would like to hand control over to some current day Officers to plan it using more current tactics but still using the equipment as available at the time as well as the political pressures the British were under

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2020 8:02 p.m. PST

Works for Hastings too. Why in the world would the Saxons leave their hill/shield wall, unless you give the player a reason to do so.

Well, technically that was probably the result of an "overconfidence" failure by the immediate group of warriors than anything the commander actually wantedó in game terms, a failed morale check, causing a body of men to think they had victory in their grasp when they did not. I see it as a roll of the dice thing, where you have to be conscious of the factors that might affect the forces you have.
On the other hand, there is also a possibility that the English were trying to outflank the Normans and failed. If so, it could have been a winning ploy, had it succeeded. So I think Hasting remains a winnable game for both sides, with a potential victory move indeed being an English move from the hill. But that has to be allowed, not forced.

TSD10105 Dec 2020 5:30 a.m. PST

He physically moves our units so that they will indeed be in melees and there causing our side to loose.

I'd walk out on a GM that did this and make note of their name in the program to never play in one of their games again. That is egregious behavior.

Korvessa Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2020 9:56 p.m. PST

Serious de ja vu episode here.
Have you told this story before?

I feel like I read it in a gaming book or magazine before…

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Dec 2020 4:16 a.m. PST

if the French dont get dragged into Verdun

If I remember the Somme correctly, the French DID take part – if only with a fraction of their planned forces, and used the tactics learned at Verdun. They were far more successfull then the British as regards to losses for gains, so you could add a point of "the British using French tactics".

von Schwartz06 Dec 2020 3:52 p.m. PST

The only question I have is WHY did you still want to participate if the GM was so intransigent? And why didn't you pull a fast one and change tactics at the last minute?

I don't mind playing historical games as long as the players are allowed some latitude regarding tactics. I mean you can't have Greeks using Roman tactics and so forth.

gregmita2 Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2020 3:02 p.m. PST

One of the points of wargaming is to explore historically accurate alternative choices. Forcing players to stick to a script seems to miss the point. From a more practical point of view, it also makes convention demo games boring and is less likely to attract new players.
Can you imagine doing the battle of Patay the same way, not allowing the English to prepare? That would demonstrate the superiority of the knight over the longbow…

von Schwartz07 Dec 2020 3:33 p.m. PST

Exactly, what's the point in gaming it when you can simply read everything about it in detail, with illustrations? The fun comes when you're playing Napoleon and making changes to his battle plan for Waterloo to see if they would've altered the outcome.

AICUSV09 Dec 2020 11:59 p.m. PST

I will from time to time put on a game that I call 100% historical. But these are generally done to evaluate rules. If the player follow the historical script and the rules work, the out come should be close to the actual battle. Other than that I like to play where there is a chance to win (maybe not the battle but the game).

wballard11 Dec 2020 2:46 p.m. PST

Once upon a time, 1976-77, I worked in the US Army's 3rd Corps Battle Simulation Center (before they got a budget and computers). Most of our activity involved simulations of US Armored or Mech Inf platoons in a defense/ delay mission with an approximate 4800 meter front with expected contact by a Warsaw Pact Armored or Mech Inf Battalion.

At that time the US tank platoon was 5 tanks engaging 30+ tanks plus supports. The terrain was sculpted Ft Hood at 1inch = 50 meters. We used the US Army Dunn-Kempf rules, derived from WRG Armor and Infantry 1925-1950 rules.

I bring this up as I and the other opposing force operators had to use unclassified formation, movement, engagement and indirect-fire norms for the Warsaw Pact. In other words, any where from three to five time a week we fought the same battle the same old way.

An 8 hour session would allow enough turns to simulate 10 to 15 minutes of combat based on the assumed time scale for the movement and fire rates.

A "good day" from the OPFOR side was if we actually had the opportunity to make more than 2 direct fire attacks. Not kills, not hits, just the opportunity to roll dice for a possible hit.

Of course the purpose was to demonstrate what a movement to contact might look like from the defenders view with the "combat" portion more to keep soldiers interested.

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