Help support TMP

"Replaying scenarios: pros and cons?" Topic

17 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

Back to the 19th Century Battle Reports Message Board

Back to the Historical Wargaming in General Message Board

Back to the 19th Century Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

19th Century

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Workbench Article

1:600 Scale Masts from Bay Area Yards

Hate having to scratchbuild your own masts? Not any more...

Featured Profile Article

Mini Wooden Palettes

Building blocks?

Featured Book Review

882 hits since 27 Jun 2022
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2022 4:48 a.m. PST

If you do historical refights, do you like to fight same battle more than once, perhaps multiple times? Why / why not?

I do. The latest in my series of "Reflections on Wargaming" discusses the pros and cons here:

I'd be very interested to know others' views on this too.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2022 5:34 a.m. PST

Well, my first thought on the first battle was "it's not really a refight when you redefine the key terrain."

But in principle, yes. We habitually right all battles twice these days by rotating the table. Sometimes by then we're convinced it tilts too far one way or another for a good game. Sometimes we can still see unexplored options. But if you don't run it at least twice, you may be missing something obvious.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2022 5:35 a.m. PST

Generally not. There is so much to draw from that it is not really necessary unless you feel like it. If you were to do it, I think any players who played on Side A should switch to Side B. It has probably been 10-15 years since I set up Antietam and Brandywine so, with that much time passed, it would be fun to do them again.

doc mcb28 Jun 2022 5:46 a.m. PST

We do refights often. But of course a historical scenario isn't really historical, since the players have immensely more information than the actual commanders had.

Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2022 6:21 a.m. PST

When I was running games at Cons I would run the same battle several times over such as Antietam, Murfreesboro and Shiloh.

Smaller battles sometimes became a one off, particularly if it didn't seem to go to well with the players.

Did Chancellorsville only once and the Confederates won just as they did historically and that was enough for me, especially since Robert E. Lee was killed early in the battle!


Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2022 4:17 p.m. PST

I have re-run every big historical refight game I've ever built, both at home and at conventions, though I suppose compared to a lot of fellow wargamers I don't build that many games. But if it's worth me investing the time & effort required to design the scenario, build bespoke terrain, build any particular units required -- the last 2 of which also require some $$ -- and conduct play-tests, it should be worth replaying, at least from time to time!

As 79thPA says, we often switch sides when refighting the same scenario over again. Or sometimes a player/commander wants the chance to try something different, or even try the same thing again in the belief they "missed it by that much" AKA: victory was snatched from their hands and replaced by defeat by the narrowest of margins, which they're convinced won't happen again.

When I built terrain and armies for a refight of the 1880 Battle of Maiwand on its 130th anniversary on July 27th, 2010, the badly outnumbered British lost to the Afghans and then they lost again a couple of weeks later, just as they had in history… but then the 3rd time was the charm at a convention I'd never attended before outside San Francisco (I live 350+ miles South in Los Angeles) where a player I'd never met commanded the Anglo-Indian cavalry and went ultra-aggressive from the first turn onwards, which was the exact opposite of what the Anglo-Indian cavalry had done at the real battle and at the first two refights. He had good luck with the dice, his opponents had the opposite, and although by the end of the game his command was virtually wiped out, his play was a major contributor to a surprise British victory.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2022 6:32 p.m. PST

I love the idea: you get to use the table setup, and the figures, twice. You also get to see the situation from both sides, assuming you switch sides the second time around!

I've had plenty of players whine and complain that scenarios are lopsided, and they have zero chance of winning -- typically, both sides say this, at the same time, on the same scenario…

If you play the scenario over again, from the opposite side, you will see things from both sides, learning from your mistakes -- maybe.

I would love to replay most scenarios, switching sides. Most of my fellow gamers, on the other hand, are not the least bit interested… Cheers!

Martin Rapier28 Jun 2022 10:59 p.m. PST

Sometimes, but not that often and when we do, usually using different rules. I've lost count of how many times I've done Waterloo and Cannae though, and Nachod and Bussaco are my standard nineteenth century and Napoleonic rule test scenarios.

pfmodel29 Jun 2022 12:17 a.m. PST

Historical scenarios are very interesting to someone who is interest in history, however very few sets of rules allow you to refight a historical battle in a meaningful manner. BBB, Age of Eagles and figure game conversions of board games give you the scale to refight historical battles in a useful way. Monster games using other smaller scale rules are also viable, as longa s you have the room and time to play to the end.

After experiencing enormous difficult in creating ad-hoc scenario I went right into the historical refights zone, ranging from Ancients, Musket and Pike, WW2 and hypothetical cold war scenarios. Each offers a lot of interest but after a while I realised historical scenarios have a limited re-playability. I generally find 4-6 games is about the point when I have worked out the optimal game play and the games become boring.

I have moved back to ad-hoc scenarios, using a card based system, which seems to be giving me good ad-hoc scenarios which are balanced. But I still dabble in historical re-fights; I have just created a large playing area covering Leipzig, which is one historical battle which has a lot of re-playability potential.

I have created a lot of videos on scenario generation and battles, but this one on ad-hoc scenario generation may outline the main advantages and disadvantages of historical scenarios.

cavcrazy29 Jun 2022 5:57 a.m. PST

I like using the terrain from one battle, and then use troops from another battle list or era. Try playing Waterloo with the troops from Gettysburg!

pfmodel29 Jun 2022 12:58 p.m. PST

I like using the terrain from one battle, and then use troops from another battle list or era.

That is a good idea. I often use a historical battlefield for an ad-hoc game. That way i don't need to worry about complex terrain placement rules.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP29 Jun 2022 2:43 p.m. PST

Doing the same scenario does save some preparation effort.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP30 Jun 2022 7:40 a.m. PST

I usually end up running the same scenario multiple times with different audiences (e.g. two cons and a club meeting). There are usually adjustments to something after the first play-through to fix issues or introduce more historical detail.

- Ix

pfmodel30 Jun 2022 3:25 p.m. PST

Assuming the players remain the same and no play testing has occurred, my scenario play process goes like this. 1st game results in disaster because we have not read the scenario rules correctly, this can even go to a 2nd game before we understand the scenario fully. The 2nd or 3rd game is a proper game with one side wiping out the other. The following few games is all about finding the correct strategy for each side until both players have master their strategy and the game becomes repetitive. You can often get another game by swapping sides, but this rarely results in more than two more games. The result is a scenario is good for 6 to 8 games, after which you need new opponents.
If you are creating your own scenario then the number of games will increase as you find tune your scenario, however most games will not complete in this case.

Bill N30 Jun 2022 5:35 p.m. PST

You play a scenario. You think you have a sound plan. Instead you get your hat handed to you. Don't you want to try it again to see if the plan wasn't that good after all, or whether you were just unlucky with your rolls of the dice?

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2022 7:41 p.m. PST

Yes we re-play past scenarios. One time we did Bennington two weekends in a row, just because we were not using a rule correctly the first time.

I do scenarios form the past because I know more and can improve the scenario. I am talking a year or two later. The Bennington game was the exception. I plan to replay most if not all past scenarios because I can improve upon them with experience.

Some scenarios are problematic because they have hidden units or some other surprise element that makes it difficult to replicate. But with a year or two in between the players forget and we have added new players since then.

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2022 12:44 a.m. PST

Thanks very much for all your thoughtful replies. This post got about 100 comments in various forums so I've updated it with a summary of these for those who are interested:

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.