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653 hits since 16 Sep 2022
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Comments or corrections?

Mr Elmo16 Sep 2022 3:57 a.m. PST

Elmo is fumbling around designing a war game. The game needs an activation mechanism with possible failure. Any dice rolling mechanism would work as long as the probability was correct.

It could be dice with blank sides
Or strangely numbered like 1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3 etc
Or what I call the GW leadership test: 2D6 bell curve: you need an 8 or less, etc

At some point, a recognized mechanic like LD test is desirable in learning a game at the risk of not having an "innovative mechanic"

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 8:50 a.m. PST

I'm sorry? Do you need us to do or say something?

If there was a question in there, I recommend your mechanism make use of dice already in common use. When I read "in order to play this game, first you have to build or buy special dice which have no other use" I seldom read further.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 10:03 a.m. PST

I agree you need to tell us more. What's the rationale for failure and how does it fit within the turn sequence?

When I read "in order to play this game, first you have to build or buy special dice which have no other use" I seldom read further.

That's a shame. link With QILS, you might spend upwards of a minute coloring dice pips to never look anything up on a combat table, but instead get billions of possible combat interaction spaces.

(Admittedly, it doesn't put the dice in the "no other use" category, so ,,,)

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 10:03 a.m. PST

I agree you need to tell us more. What's the rationale for failure and how does it fit within the turn sequence?

When I read "in order to play this game, first you have to build or buy special dice which have no other use" I seldom read further.

That's a shame. link With QILS, you might spend upwards of a minute coloring dice pips to never look anything up on a combat table, but instead get billions of possible combat interaction spaces.

(Admittedly, it doesn't put the dice in the "no other use" category, so ,,,)

Grelber16 Sep 2022 10:34 a.m. PST

Afraid I'm with Robert here: I don't understand the question. Tell us a little more about what you are looking for.

In the past couple days, I've read a several accounts of games here on TMP where the gamer consistently failed his activation roll. No matter how much historical justification you can offer, at the end of the game the guy who failed all, or almost all, of his activations is going to go home unhappy. Some way to increase their odds of activation would be nice, so they don't spend the entire game doing nothing except making failed activation rolls.

Aside from that, simple is good. Even if you provide a downloadable sticker set for the blank dice, I don't want to cut out and apply stickers to every side of twenty D20s.

Grelber

Bill Rosser Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 12:11 p.m. PST

Use percentage dice, readily available and can be as specific as you require.

Mr Elmo16 Sep 2022 12:36 p.m. PST

Tell us a little more about what you are looking for.

Consider a GW leadership test where 7 is average and getting a 7 or less is 58%. We also have 8,9,10 at 72, 83 and 92%

I could also use a d10 with 6,7,8,9 or less. We are a few percent off but not by much. The paradigm is when you recognize the mechanic as a LD test, you know those rules and no reason to learn them.

Activation can get Streaky so some mitigation is being considered.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 1:16 p.m. PST

Avoiding streaks and having some type of continuous logic is the anthesis of random die rolls, which are memoryless.

Dagwood16 Sep 2022 1:27 p.m. PST

I think you need two things to start with, a base probability of passing the test, and the effect of modifiers. Once you have both of those things you can choose a mechanism that fits, whether one dice, two die, more, different numbers of sides, percentage die, or differently numbered die. Without a clear idea of the two basics, you can't do anything except use trial and error, i.e., try something and see.
Given that a lot of people have been looking for a long time, the prospect of a truly inovative mechanic is remote.

Zephyr116 Sep 2022 2:41 p.m. PST

It could be dice with blank sides
Or strangely numbered like 1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3 etc
Or what I call the GW leadership test: 2D6 bell curve: you need an 8 or less, etc

Let me simplify it for you.
Roll 2D6
Activate on an EVEN result
Do not activate on an ODD result
2 4 6 8 10 12 = 55%
3 5 7 9 11 = 45%

If you want to get fancy, you could also assign allowable actions to the number rolled.
Up to you… ;-)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 2:49 p.m. PST

I can't be reading this correctly, Mr. Elmo. It reads to me as though you already have a working mechanism, but want something different for the joy of having something the players will have to learn, instead of something they're familiar with.

I've written rules for a number of reasons, but "in order to put the players to unnecessary work learning them" never made the list.

arthur181516 Sep 2022 2:51 p.m. PST

IMHO, the first thing to do is decide, and be clear about, what 'activation' represents in your rules. I'll confine my examples to the horse and musket era, with which I'm familiar.

'Activation' could represent the chance of a unit receiving new orders that the commander has drafted, which depends upon the time represented by a turn, whether he has an ADC or messenger available to deliver the order, and the time taken/chance of failure to deliver that order.

Or, it could represent the willingness of the recipient to execute the order, and the time taken to communicate it to his subordinates/the troops.

Or, it could represent the ability/willingness of the troops to attempt to obey the order, affected by their level of training/discipline, their previous experiences in the battle and level of fatigue/nervous exhaustion.

Or, it could even be a combination of all of the above, which determine whether the commander sees the unit(s) start to move in accordance with his orders or not. But he will have no way of knowing whether failure to move means the message was not delivered because the ADC was killed en route by a random shot, because the unit commander did not understand or refused to obey the order, or because the troops would not move. He may discover the reason later.

Not sure how one can realistically quantify all these factors…

IMHO, once a unit has received orders and its commander decides to obey them and the troops are willing to execute them, that unit should NOT need further 'activation' to continue to attempt to execute the orders in subsequent turns.

It may be that the tactical situation changes/prevents the unit completing its orders, or the troops' morale fails and they stop following orders, but halt or even start to fall back. When the unit stops following its orders, the commander should see or be informed of this and it is then up to him to decide what to do about it. If he decides to send the unit another order, that will then be subject to 'activation'.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 3:36 p.m. PST

Roll 2D6
Activate on an EVEN result
Do not activate on an ODD result
2 4 6 8 10 12 = 55%
3 5 7 9 11 = 45%
link

Odds of Even 18/36 = 50%
Odds of Odd 18/36 = 50%

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 6:14 p.m. PST

In the past couple days, I've read a several accounts of games here on TMP where the gamer consistently failed his activation roll. No matter how much historical justification you can offer, at the end of the game the guy who failed all, or almost all, of his activations is going to go home unhappy. Some way to increase their odds of activation would be nice, so they don't spend the entire game doing nothing except making failed activation rolls.
This point has bothered me for many years. Randomly occurring "do nothing" results essentially remove the player from the decision cycle and make for a frustrating game. I consider this poor wargame design. Leaving the player out of the decision cycle might be an acceptable way to run a simulation, but not a wargame that is a contest between human players. Yet I continue to see new, clean-sheet designs that incorporate this kind of result.

I've come to think that the baseline of unit activity allowed in the event of activation failure should just be normalized higher, such that a unit/command can always do something, but just gets to do more if the activation roll is high enough. This approach would encourage a decision tree that takes slow or plodding (i.e. "un-bonused") moves into account. It might still be acceptable to have some units/commands that really can unpredictably fail to a standstill, but this should never be more than a minority of units.

The only game design approach I know of to do this sort of thing is the pip-dicing mechanic, a la DBx – a roll of 1 is pretty hard to work with, but it's not zero, and it's also unlikely to happen on more than 1/6th of your turns (barring pip dicing modifiers). Obviously dicing for "command points" isn't the only way to accomplish this; there's no reason the design philosophy couldn't be applied to individual unit activations, or activations by command using card play, or any number of other ways.

- Ix

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 6:41 p.m. PST

In some of my rules, I make the presumption that the switch of a "turn" between sides represents the shift of initiative – that the side which had been reactive is now proactive. So the question is how much can your side accomplish before initiative switches back? Therefore the first activation is automatic by definition (since that's how come you know the initiative has changed hands). Then roll to see if your "turn" continues. If so, activate another unit and roll again, and so on until you fail. Players are thus guaranteed to be able to do _something_ in their turn, but they are also highly incentivized to do their priority moves right away because there's no telling how long their "turn" will last before failing a post-activation roll and handing initiative back to their opponents.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 7:04 p.m. PST

Oh, Grelber, Yellow--what more could you possibly want for a day's wargaming than to drive for two hours, fail two activation die rolls and roll low on a single combat die, pack up the troops, then turn around and drive home? Yes, I've done it--more than once, playing a well-known commercial rules set. And yes, I eventually dropped out of the group which thought this was a good use of a game day.

That said, while I'm deeply suspicious of activation rolls, they're not an inherently bad idea. As noted, the DBX system is workable. So's the Mersey one, where you're dicing by unit, not by army, and the turns move right along. As I recall, OTR uses a card draw activation system, so you'll get your turn--possibly not when you most wanted it, but c'est la guerre. If memory serves, the Lardies do something similar. I'd say the critical points are
1. Card draws usually determine sequence rather than paralyzing one side. Systems where the better-trained, faster units have more cards are not unknown.
2. Rolls should not freeze entire armies, and
3. Rolls work a lot better with many quick turns than they do with few long ones.

Martin Rapier16 Sep 2022 11:12 p.m. PST

Why not just copy the activation mechanism from Fire and Fury? It works fine and makes sense as it integrates morale and unit integrity into the roll.

Gauntlet17 Sep 2022 8:51 a.m. PST

You shouldn't have to activate a unit to do something that it did on its last turn. If a unit has marching orders it should be able to keep marching until something happens to them.

A unit that has targets of opportunity should always be able to fire unless they are being suppressed, etc.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Sep 2022 12:47 p.m. PST

until something happens to them.

And this gets back to my question about the question. What things are we trying to represent in failure to activate?

- Did our C2 system go out and we had to take a knee for a minnit?
- OMG! The Brigadier's horse hit a gopher hole!
- "Uhmmm … go back and ask him what he means 'Charge through the valley and secure the enemy cannon.'".
- Hang on … the field rations are … ohnohonohono … uhm .. hang on …

Then it leads to what does the rest of the turn look like?

In some systems, rolling and additional activation die and adding the result to the current role could cost action points, reducing the capabilities during that turn. You can work the math so there is a minimum guaranteed number of points remaining for a minimum number of action points. You can even add bonuses ("permanent" or situational) to modify.

Units activate on a cumulative four or better. Units can pay an action point to add another die roll. Units start with five action points, but can lose them in certain unfavorable battle conditions. Each unit commander gets one activation reroll per game. As a counter to robert piepenbrink's comment above, maybe it's okay to have 1/216 odds of no activation at all if that unit has been beaten down to that point already in combat (and so on…).

This creates a nice set of different levels of degraded capability without a lot of fuss. But it doesn't work if you don't have action points. Should I post another 11 systems that may or may not be relevant to the OP or can we discuss what is trying to be represented and what the rest of the game it needs to fit with is?

Blutarski17 Sep 2022 1:06 p.m. PST

From a set of ACW rules I wrote a number of years ago, FWIW -


COMMAND AND CONTROL

Issuance of orders
Orders are represented by different chits. Chits are placed as desired face down next to any brigade command stand not attached to a sub-unit at the beginning of the turn. When all chits have been committed to the tabletop, players dice separately to activate each one. This is done by throwing 1D10 for each chit against the initiative value of the command figure of the selected formation.

Orders
A brigade will only act in accordance with orders which have been issued to it by its division commander. The possible orders and their definitions are as follows.

March
The brigade will move in route march column toward a designated place.

Advance
The brigade, or some part of it, will move in battle formation toward a designated locality, but will not attempt to charge into contact with the enemy. This order may be used to probe or scout an area

Attack
The brigade will move in battle formation at the standard march rate of its slowest advancing sub-unit toward a designated enemy or locality and will attempt to occupy the locality or charge and close with the enemy and drive him away.

Defend
The brigade will position itself in battle formation to defend a particular locality. It must remain within one movement distance of the locality it has been ordered to defend.

Fall Back
The brigade will withdraw at half movement rate with its front facing the enemy.

Support
A brigade in support may remain stationary and engage by fire any enemy within one movement distance of, or firing upon those friends it has been ordered to support. Supports may advance in company with those friends they have been ordered to support, in which case they must remain within one movement distance and advance in the same direction. A support may be used to reinforce the assault on the objective, or may be deployed to defend a threatened flank of its friend, or may attack an enemy seeking to close with the unit it is supporting; it may not make any independent attacks on a different objective or axis.

Reserve
A brigade in reserve will remain stationary in a position out of range and/or out of sight of any enemy. It may be in any desired tactical formation and be facing in any direction.

Any brigade or sub-unit thereof charged by the enemy will automatically revert to Defend orders. Mounted cavalry may opt to counter-charge.

Units of the same brigade are always assumed to be in support of one another so long as they are within the command radius of the brigade commander.

Initiative Value of Commanders
There are four levels of initiative, reflecting the differing abilities of officers to manage their staffs and commands.

Initiative Level Chit Activation

Elite 2 or better on a D10
Veteran 3 "
Line 4 "
Militia 5 "

Results of the Activation Test
If the activation dice throw =/> chit activation number, it is flipped face-up and immediately becomes effective for all sub-units of the brigade within the command radius of their mounted brigade commander. Any previous order chit is removed.

If the activation dice throw is < chit activation number, the chit remains face down and must be tested for activation on each succeeding turn until it has been activated or withdrawn by the player. During the time a chit remains inactive, the brigade will continue to obey its previous order.

Command Radius
Command influence extends to any visible sub-unit within a 10 inch radius of the mounted command stand of its formation.

Over-riding Existing Orders
A player may override any existing order immediately by moving his personality figure adjacent to the mounted command stand of a subordinate brigade commander.

A player may take personal control of a regiment, squadron, or artillery battery and employ in any manner he sees fit by attaching himself to that unit.

A player exercising either of these options may not issue orders or receive messages in that turn of play.

B

Mr Elmo17 Sep 2022 3:32 p.m. PST

There were plenty of ideas here and I'm going to try something to offset first activation failures.

Units will auto succeed on their first activation BUT reduction in fatigue will no longer be an automatic inter turn activity.

So, you could take your auto activation to reduce fatigue OR auto activate to fight in some way (thereby getting more fatigue) until the unit is so exhausted any auto activation fighting is ineffective.

Now THAT is an "innovative mechanic"!

Wolfhag24 Sep 2022 10:41 a.m. PST

arthur1815,
'Activation' could represent the chance of a unit receiving new orders that the commander has drafted, which depends upon the time represented by a turn, whether he has an ADC or messenger available to deliver the order, and the time taken/chance of failure to deliver that order.

In the past couple days, I've read a several accounts of games here on TMP where the gamer consistently failed his activation roll. No matter how much historical justification you can offer, at the end of the game the guy who failed all, or almost all, of his activations is going to go home unhappy. Some way to increase their odds of activation would be nice, so they don't spend the entire game doing nothing except making failed activation rolls.

I think this is where the disconnect comes in. You are attempting to determine the "chance" of something happening within a certain period of "time". It's like comparing apples to vegetables, they are completely different.

It can especially skew a game if a player fails his activation and an enemy unit can move into his LOS and right up to his flank and shoot with the defender being helpless.

The more time in a turn the more it can get skewed. So if you are in an intensive target rich firefight with one minute turns and a unit fails to "activate" in three turns it is essentially out of the game for no real reason unless the game system explains it. This can also happen in IGYG and games with a specific number of actions.

Depending on the scale, unit activations can work pretty well if you use a smaller unit of time that allows units a realistic chance to react and not sit idle for an unrealistic amount of turns.

The way I see it combat is a "time competitive environment" and a unit can "attempt" to issue or carry out an order and execute it IF they have enough "time". Factors like suppression, communications, weapons platform performance, and crew expertise will vary the amount of time. An enemy unit that is quicker can seize the initiative to execute first.

Wolfhag

UshCha25 Sep 2022 12:18 p.m. PST

To some extent I agree with Wolfhag, Games that shut down play unrealistically, and I am aware of not a few, have no interest with me.

However to some extent it's not so much time competitive as planning competitive. Units forming up in a specific place and time, for instance a reserve being deployed for action, will get to an allotted place far faster than a unit that has to form up move and then deploy. Many 6" 12" games fail dismally at this. The first game that began to get this better was DBM. many current "Commercially Successful" fail at this, but to be fair its not a design demand from many players.

Activation sequence on it's own does not solve many issues completely and depends on period. IGOYUGO at element level has merit, but we use that with more command superimposed on that to get what we consider an optimum.

Personally our system has minimal random and its works for us as its a sequence (essentially) you can't "win" everywhere. Random activation you could get into the realms of an uninteresting game if one side gets all the luck. Like the Horrendous "tea Break card" personally the worlds worst activation rule ever, except some folk think its great, no pleasing everybody.

Probably best to work out what you want to model before setting the rules.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2022 5:08 p.m. PST

Activation' could represent the chance of a unit receiving new orders that the commander has drafted, which depends upon the time represented by a turn, whether he has an ADC or messenger available to deliver the order, and the time taken/chance of failure to deliver that order.

To some extent I agree with Wolfhag, Games that shut downplay unrealistically, and I am aware of not a few, have no interest with me.

Okay, while we can all agree that units on the battlefield don't always do what commanders want them to do, I am not clear on what scale [Yes, that would make a difference] or specific period Mr. Elmo is considering, but he has gotten a lot of ideas for mechanics.

However, what is 'realistic' randomness? That is, what are the real-world rates at which units fail to act OR act inappropriately, let alone what armies do organizationally/doctrinally to mitigate such events. Think of the current war in Ukraine and the differences in "activation" between the Ukrainian and Russian forces and what each army does to attempt to mitigate such lacks.

If a player's command completely fails to move, that isn't fun, but is that 'realistic'? Is it improbable? Depending on the army, is it a 50-50 chance? Etc, Etc. Etc.

I don't see folks asking what I would think would be a foundational question if one wants an activation mechanism to represent something 'realistic.'

I would think the basic question would be:

"At the desired scale, army and period, what were the historical rates [i.e. probability] of 'inaction' or its equivalent?"

I am sure the U.S. Army or others have attempted to answer that question over the last century.

Wolfhag27 Sep 2022 9:44 a.m. PST

UsCha,
However to some extent it's not so much time competitive as planning competitive

Yes, and planning takes time. Good staff and actionable intel and recon help a commander make a decision quickly. If a commander is blind and does not know what's going on he may go to the front and check it out for himself, this takes additional time or waits for reports to come in taking more time before he makes a decision. Without knowing what to do most people will hesitate and wait.

Sub-units changing formations, marching, and deploying would take additional time, especially if they were out of place to begin with or under enemy fire or on poor terrain.

The approach I would take is that the player/commander can do almost anything that's historical. However, there must be a reason for a new order or changing orders, and sub-units should be under some type of standing order and/or immediate action to take when making contact. They normally don't sit around waiting to be told what to do.

When behind friendly lines and not under enemy fire or observation units should be able to do almost anything they want to. An order to march from point A to point B behind friendly lines should not require activation or an order every turn.

One way to reflect the Fog of War at an HQ behind the lines would be to implement a rule that delivers varying levels of information to the HQ based on intel, messengers, etc. The amount of information can vary depending on weather, terrain, sub-unit commanders, distance to the front, etc.

One important factor in command is committing the reserves. Let's say a good commander might need an information level of "5" to have a good enough picture to commit the reserves and a poor command and staff would hesitate until they got to a level of "8". Information levels could fluctuate turn-to-turn too. If the commander rides to the front and sees the situation or has his HQ on a hill with a direct LOS he can commit his reserves more quickly.

Wolfhag

Wolfhag27 Sep 2022 10:01 a.m. PST

However, what is 'realistic' randomness?

I think you'd take a base value for performance and then use historical data to somewhat randomize it on a Bell Curve.

Let's use a tank or gun firing as an example. Experience shows that a trained crew can reload in an average of 8 seconds. You could say there is a 60% chance of 8 seconds, 20% chance for 7 seconds, and 20% chance for 9 seconds. A very experienced crew is -2 seconds to the result and +2 seconds for a poor crew. If it was an anti-tank gun under fire you might double the result because of suppression.

You could use the same concept for units changing from one formation to another, rates of fire, etc.

Wolfhag

Wolfhag27 Sep 2022 11:15 a.m. PST

McLaddie,
Think of the current war in Ukraine and the differences in "activation" between the Ukrainian and Russian forces and what each army does to attempt to mitigate such lacks.

Ukraine is going to turn out to be a completely different war than people expected. I doubt if the current collection of war game rules will be able to reflect it.

I've been in touch with a multi-national group of Westerners that have been in the Kharkiv area since June. "Technically" they are under the command of the 3rd Legion and also work with the Kraken Brigade but they operate pretty independently and can turn down missions that the Ukrainians ask them to perform. They also have the independence to conduct their own recon and hit & run raids as they desire. Just don't expect the Ukies to help or come to their aid.

There is almost no command and control as using a radio will get you killed and communication/telephone lines get destroyed from daily bombardments that can last 4+ hours at a time. Any radio transmission will bring a Russian barrage down on you in 3-4 minutes. That includes drone operators. Normally it's a 120mm mortar barrage from a team that has been emplaced for months and has the area sighted in. They'll most likely bracket you on the first barrage. There appears to be a fair amount of shell duds and partial detonations.

There is a medium wooded area of "No Man's Land" that is from 1-3 kilometers that they patrol and set up ambushes without a radio on an almost daily basis. Sometimes they can be tracked by their observer on top of a building but normally there is no situation report until they return. They cannot call for air or artillery support, QRF, or causality extraction as they are on their own and on foot.

The Western units operate totally on individual team initiative. Everyone is a combat vet and when the shooting starts they don't need to be told what to do. New and inexperienced units will hesitate/freeze and generally wait to be told what to do. That's how the Russians generally react. Many times they'll just run away. Ukie units are slow to assault.

Their units are always "active" and observing and ready to react to enemy contact. Spotting the enemy first gives you the initiative, there is very little left to chance. The Russians are very lax on security, listening posts, and patrolling. The Western units have the best equipment money can buy using their own money.

Most of the Ukrainian troops are not well versed in patrolling and offensive tactics (fire & maneuver, ambushes, etc). They are not really good at security either and they normally take some local Ukies on patrol to train them. However, they are very good at hunkering down in a building and returning fire.

At the Ukie higher level of command, no one seems to trust each other in the chain of command, and the Ukie command does not trust the Western units either. The Western units are basically light infantry, no armored vehicles or artillery. Just small arms and anti-tank rockets which seem to be in good supply and a few civilian vehicles. It takes a lot of convincing to get the Ukie artillery and armor assets to help out. Mainly because every time they engage or fire the Russians pound them.

One of the reasons the lines were static for so long is that the Ukie command cannot agree what to do and are afraid of losing the scant resources they have. They also did not have a good idea of Russian strengths and actionable intel.

According to my sources, the recent breakout in the Kharkiv area was because the Western units had identified the Russian troop and defense locations in their AO and verified they were lightly defended. They spearheaded the attack at 4am taking the initial Russian trench lines from behind and allowing the Ukie mech units to exploit and raise hell in the rear area over running their artillery and supply depots and pursuing the Russians attempting to get away.

Their SigInt guys also spotted a Russian ammo depot that was blown up. Here is the view from their OP:

Recently one of the former US SigInt Marines bought some electronics off the civilian market and built a jammer against the Russian artillery radio frequencies. They attacked a Russian position and the prep artillery cut the field phone lines and the jammer, which lasted only 5 minutes because of a limited power supply but it was enough to take the Russian position without any causalities and negate their artillery.

My opinion is that existing traditional rules will have a hard time accurately portraying the Ukraine conflict. It's nothing like a "Cold War gone Hot" as many people expected. It's going to be mostly small unit initiative.

Also, I've been told the level of incompetency, miscommunication, lies, corruption, special interests, and stupidity is off the chart for the Ukies and Russians. The Ukies were going to attack a village with 100+ men. Only 20 showed up and they went ahead with the attack and got slaughtered. Western units can turn down missions like that as can individuals. They sign an agreement to work under Ukie command, get paid $1,000 USD US a month, and can leave anytime they want.

Wolfhag

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Sep 2022 1:21 p.m. PST

My opinion is that existing traditional rules will have a hard time accurately portraying the Ukraine conflict. It's nothing like a "Cold War gone Hot" as many people expected. It's going to be mostly small unit initiative.

So, Old West rules with better weapons and trucks instead of horses? I run a campaign of the interesting battles (not the ones lopsided one way or the other) of Little Crow's War. What you describe sound very familiar. I'm in the process of writing the scenarios up…

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2022 2:43 p.m. PST

Hi Wolfhag, how are things now that you've moved east?:

I enjoyed your assessment of the Ukraine military. While existing traditional notions of wargame 'activation' won't help illustrate what is going on in Ukraine [if such mechanics ever described anything meaningful], I was simply pointing out that the two very different methods for communicating and operating between the two armies, thus very different processes, problems and results, where a bell curve wouldn't necessarily capture the spread of possible results.

The Russian Army is a very top-down organization compared to the Ukrainians, for a variety of reasons, tactical, social and organizational, which you have pointed out with the Ukrainians. The Russian soldiers are allowed far less 'initiative' compared to the Ukrainians at the lower levels, other than freedom to raid grocery stores and terrorize Ukrainians.

Wolfhag28 Sep 2022 8:26 a.m. PST

McLaddie,
I'm loving Tennesse but I have not found a group to game with yet. I'm mostly doing chores and working on my game. I have a 400 sq foot finished basement with a full kitchen for gaming and full bath and a pool outside. We're starting a youth Rugby league which I'll be coaching again.

The Ukraine assessment is not mine. It's from front-line guys that are in the action every day. I think info from Westerners is more accurate as they are on the ground and info is not politicized. Bars in the big cities where Western fighters frequent is where they'll exchange information.

My opinion of the Russian initiative is poor because they are not motivated and their morale is low, many are not getting paid, no leadership, no supplies, death from above at any second, minimal medical care, etc. Why should they take the initiative to fight the enemy?

Another reason for lack of initiative is that as soon as either side consolidates a large number of mech units to attack you are detected and bombarded. The best Ukraine EW assets are in the large cities tracking Putin operatives and not in the front where they can be destroyed. Unless the Russians can be jammed drone operators are going to be limited to 3-4 minutes of operating time and only about 2k range for the drones before they are bombarded. That makes it hard to carry out an offensive.

I think Ukraine's social structure and C&C are set up along Russian line. It appears that many of the army commanders are appointed by Zelenski. Their corruption index is as high as Russia. As the money gets passed down the chain each level keeps some for itself.

Regarding terrorizing civilians. Zelenski told all civilians to stand up to the invasion so they are now basically the militia. When Russian troops come into a town and they see civilians pointing their cell phones at them they are aware their position is probably being reported to the Ukraine military. Civilians have attacked and killed Russian troops and vehicles. There appear to be a number of Mi Lai's and mass graves. That's sad but inevitable.

There was an excellent high-level presentation on the Ukraine situation at ConSim World. Send me your email and I'll send you the link.

Wolfhag

Wolfhag29 Sep 2022 5:03 a.m. PST

etotheipi,
From what I can gather almost any small unit game with individual initiative would work. From the way it has been described to me and in videos I've watched it reminds me of patrols into No Man's Land and Belleau Wood in WWI. Small units, no radio communications, light to heavy woods and trench warfare.

It could also be like the US in VN operating from a Fire Base and conducting small unit patrols and sweeps in their AO but without radios and minimal air support. The Russians are constantly shelling Ukraine strongholds just as Fire Bases in VN were under almost daily bombardment.

Your QLIS, Nuts! and other systems that allow low level reactions and model Situational Awareness should work.

Wolfhag

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP29 Sep 2022 11:37 a.m. PST

Wolfhag"

Yes, I realize it wasn't your information, but you were the one providing it, so I appreciate it.

While there are social and behavioral similarities between the Ukrainian and Russian soldiers in combat situations, there are important differences between the Ukrainian and Russian operations, even in the beginning of the war. Then the Russian 'initiative' and morale was as high as it could be, their demonstrated ability to move and fight, supply and direct operations weren't good.

While the Russians had trained to fight a very different kind of war against NATO. The Ukrainians on the other hand, had trained [with Western help] for several years after 2014 to specifically fight a Russian invasion.

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