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"Slowing Down the Game (2)" Topic


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727 hits since 4 Feb 2022
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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2022 4:59 p.m. PST

And the second way to slow down the game--something wrong with the scenario. My personal favorite is (1) a trickle of reinforcements--especially to both sides--followed by (2) movement-impeding terrain, and (3) long approach approach marches without decision points. There are other ways to construct a BAD scenario, but those three make a SLOW one.

What have I missed?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2022 5:09 p.m. PST

Concealed units with lots of dummy counters – makes one think before one advances

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2022 7:59 p.m. PST

Have one side that has to attack and take an objective. Then giving the defenders the exactly amount of troops and all the defensive positions making it impossible for the attackers to win.

Stryderg04 Feb 2022 9:10 p.m. PST

Having too many modifiers for movement or combat. Leads some folks to consider ALL of the possibilities before deciding on a course of action.

Lucius05 Feb 2022 4:41 a.m. PST

The thing that has ruined more than one of my games?

Putting too many troops on the table. My desire for the great spectacle makes games slow to a crawl. I paint more than I play, and I like seeing my work displayed.

But the old rule of 8-10 maneuver units per side in a 2 person game, or 2-3 maneuver units per person in a multi-player game is ignored at your peril.

wargamingUSA05 Feb 2022 7:32 a.m. PST

1. Too many troops and pieces of equipment.
2. Too many troops and pieces of equipment for the rules being used.
3. "Balanced" scenarios where neither side has enough combat power (relative to the opposing side) to reasonably achieve its objective(s).
4. Charts and tables that are overly complex-detailed and are poorly laid-out on the QRS.
5. Long approaches that have no game-related purpose and allow for no meaningful action.

To some extent I have to disagree with those who noted "hidden" or "dummy" markers and elements. If the scenario is based on, or emphasizes, recon as part of the action, then that "slowness" is essential to a good game. I think the same can be said for difficult or channeling terrain.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2022 7:42 a.m. PST

Lots of special case rules that require looking up ‘just to make sure' you are doing it right.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2022 8:28 a.m. PST

Agree that hidden or dummy units can be useful – but not too many of them!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2022 9:39 a.m. PST

Thank you all--though I'd make some of this "bad" rather than "slow." A game you can't finish in the allotted time is slow. A game only one side can win is bad.

Thinking of a dead wargaming friend who was notorious for setting turn limits so short the attacker could not possibly win. In one game, I remember pointing out to him that if my opponent simply went away, I could not march in column to my objective in time to win. (He was a good friend and a great wargamer--just not a good scenario designer.) But the game moved right along: the rules were simple and clear, there was sufficient contact area and no one had more troops than they could handle. It was really a very nice game if you were OK knowing from set-on that you were going to lose.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Feb 2022 1:53 p.m. PST

Some things I've seen that can be either slow OR bad:

Random troop entry. A unit enters in the enemy rear, game over on turn 3. Yuck. Many units enter at the same spot leading to a log jam so players have to go one at a time rather than move at the same time. Factions entering 6 turns from the action.

Command and control/activation rules where the default is the unit sits still. Get some cold dice and both sides end up twiddling their thumbs.

smithsco05 Feb 2022 2:05 p.m. PST

On the terrain front, a slow, boring game can come about if one side is on the defensive with cover for any era or battle with lots of ranged weapons. Movement cover to cover bogs the whole game down. If you don't do that you get slaughtered. Played with a guy who loves these scenarios but oddly he only picked battles where he was the defender.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP05 Feb 2022 3:20 p.m. PST

True, smithsco. Three solutions:
1) On the day of battle, dice for who gets each side.
2) Play each game twice, flipping sides OR
3) Never, ever, give the defender in cover enough troops for an adequate defense. Wargaming is about making decisions: when the defender doesn't have enough troops, he gets to make plenty of decisions--some of them real nail-biters.

No one should get to pick the battle and the side. It's like letting a kid slice up the cake and pick his slice first.

UshCha06 Feb 2022 3:07 a.m. PST

robert piepenbrink

And the second way to slow down the game--something wrong with the scenario. My personal favorite is (1) a trickle of reinforcements--especially to both sides--followed by (2) movement-impeding terrain, and (3) long approach approach marches without decision points. There are other ways to construct a BAD scenario, but those three make a SLOW one.

What have I missed?

To me pretty much everything especially the first 3.

If your game can't handle reinforcements it proably can't handel reservers, now that is a disaster of a game!

Any decent general will wants stuff in movement impeding terrai. so you want the defence to fight in daft open terrain!! Certainly again a disaster game for me, zero credibility.

At higer level games the approach march and where it goes is critical. Games need to have decent approach march moves, disasters like Featerstone and its clones were a failure then and remnain so, there are great examples nowedays about what can be done quickly and simnply.

smithsco

Nope that just a bad scenario, If he has lots of defence then the attacker needs appropriate force multipliers like artillery. If you are talking equial points value then there is no hope for a decent game. Phil Barkers sorted that out decadades ago.

robert piepenbrink

I will agree about selecting scenarios that generate interest.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2022 6:51 a.m. PST

UshCha, you need to read the entire sentence--as in "long approach marches **without decision points**."

When time and space are limited, you might give the attacker the option of approaching from one or more of several points, but the march itself is off-table. If there is only one approach route, it is most certainly off-table. They teach script writers to enter each scene at the last possible moment. You start a wargame at the point at which the sides interact.

Reinforcements are not reserves, which can certainly be "handeled." They're frequently realistic enough, but I'll pass on refighting the Western Front, c. 1916.

As for movement impeding terrain, warfare did not begin in 1915, and there is moderation in all things. Two examples: years ago I was involved in an unfortunate Napoleonics game--more or less a corps to a side, but the battlefield chopped up into battalion-size fields by Normandy-style hedgerows. Setting aside the lack of realism of a major Napoleonic battle set in such a place, there was no hope of bringing the game to a conclusion in one day, which was what we had: too many turns were consumed in blowing holes in hedges. A week or two back, I fought McDowell, from the ACW--extremely rugged terrain, and movement over most of the board reduced to about half speed. Realistic enough, but the additional turns needed to reach the objective made it the longest game in a year. Looking back, I should have noted and discarded the battle as unsuitable for the available time.

Not all real war situations make for good wargames, and fewer still make for good quick games. Slow isn't necessarily bad, but it is still slow.

UshCha06 Feb 2022 8:51 a.m. PST

robert piepenbrink
As usual we don't agree ;-). The approach march or where to make it is a key decision, it might even change if the first elements don't find what they anticipate or have been out thought (Ive suffered all of those at one time or another). They are what makes a game interesting. If you can without a single shot being fired it would indicate an awesome bit of generalship, or utter incompetence on the other side. The former is fun the latter a total failure to set up a game to the necessary standard.

Convention games certainly in the UK are not run for quality games. Most participants know too little of the history, tactics or the rules to make other than a fairly mindless social game. OK once in a while like a McDonalds but not what you want most of the time.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2022 1:15 p.m. PST

Us disagree, UshCha? How is such a thing possible?

But I think we differ on this less in practice than we do rhetorically. I doubt you'd be much happier with the kind of games I'm thinking of--only one path, and five turns of marching before the armies interact. I fully agree that multiple approach routes or entry points can add a lot to some games, but when time (or space) constraints are serious, I think the focus should be on entry points rather than on table routes. In gaming the '45, for instance, you don't have to have ten turns of night moves, but can just have a possibility of the Jacobite army turning up perpendicular to the Hanoverian deployment.

As for convention games, I've seen good and bad. But I agree it's not wise to expect the players to be deeply familiar with the rules. Simpler sets are always better when not playing with your regular group.

advocate06 Feb 2022 2:48 p.m. PST

Re the '45 example: I'd only say that I'd like some kind of decision made by each player that results in the perpendicular deployment, rather than a die roll. For example each player might have a set of three options, each with a known cost (dragoons used to patrol aren't available at the battle, for example). Various combinations of Jacobite and Government choices will affect the final deployment.

Wolfhag08 Feb 2022 2:35 p.m. PST

Convention games certainly in the UK are not run for quality games. Most participants know too little of the history, tactics or the rules to make other than a fairly mindless social game. OK once in a while like a McDonalds but not what you want most of the time.

Absolutely, and in the US too. Unless you are part of an existing group meeting at a convention it's generally all about the eye candy, visual experience and trying something new. When you put on a game you want it to be entertaining as people are paying money here.

So we try to structure the scenario so everyone can have a good time and enjoy a playable game that fools their mind enough to make them feel it was "realistic".

One way to slow down a game for a player is to have him randomly bring on his reserves. A friend played a card activated game that the tun "magically" ended if a specific card was drawn. Since his team mates were engaged he was the last one to be activated but for the first 90 minutes of the game he could just sit there. I once played a multi-player dice activated game at a convention and it 20-45 I had to wait for my turn. These are generally the GM's fault, not so much the game system.

Wolfhag.

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