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"The Value of Playing "What-Ifs"" Topic

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Tango0103 Mar 2024 4:29 p.m. PST

"I don't usually do "what-ifs". By that I mean, my staple fare is straight recreations of historical battles, in which forces have to start deployed broadly where they did historically and both sides are trying to achieve the objectives they were aiming for historically. The purpose of these (apart from providing a few hours' entertainment, obviously) is to let players explore various plans as different possible routes to victory – cracking tactical puzzles, if you like…"




Full Battle at Bloody Big BATTLES Blog



Perris070703 Mar 2024 7:21 p.m. PST

Many, if not most, of my battles are "what if" battles.

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2024 12:58 a.m. PST

@Perris0707: want to tell us about some of your favourites?

BillyNM04 Mar 2024 5:16 a.m. PST

Surely if the players are free to try different plans / tactics in a historical refight then it is a 'what if'?

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2024 5:48 a.m. PST

"Surely if the players are free to try different plans / tactics in a historical refight then it is a 'what if'?"

As discussed in the blog post, there are degrees of 'what if'.

Decebalus04 Mar 2024 6:55 a.m. PST

Thanks for the nice battle report and your thoughts about what-ifs. I am not sure, if tournament style games are really what-if games, bacause they dont have any scenario. Even in games like Flames of War, where you can dice for a scenario, these are generic and have no setting in an even imagined world. The "Counter-Attack"-scenario is the same, playing it with germans against british, or (unhistorivally) with british against americans.

A "real" what-if scanrio IMO is different, because it takes the historical world and twists it. That Austria would have joined the war of 1870 is possible. So a battle with french and austrian troops against german troops in south germany is a possible what-if scenario.

Dave Crowell04 Mar 2024 10:07 a.m. PST

I have never enjoyed the standard meeting engagement, line the armies up, slam them together, and roll dice to see what happens style of game. I know there were plenty of historical battles in this format but I don't find it interesting.

I prefer actions with decided objectives beyond "drive the enemy from the board." Plenty of historical battles like this, large and small.

I enjoy what if scenarios. Both those that start at deployment on the table top, what if the reserves arrived early, what if the artillery had been on the left instead of the right, etc. and also those involving a bit of pre-battle map campaigning. What if Charles Edward Stewart had pressed his advance into England, how might the Napoleonic Hundred Days have played out differently if the armies had made different moves resulting in different battles?

One can take what if's too far and into the realm of pure fantasy. What if Shaka had attacked Napoleon's France? At this point the models on the table don't matter. It could as well be orcs and elves.

0ldYeller04 Mar 2024 11:11 a.m. PST

I love "What – ifs". Probably because I am old and have played all the real scenarios LOL. What if the US invaded Western Canada in the 1870s-1880s. What if the UK, France and/or Prussia or Russia intervened in the US Civil War. What if France intervened in the War of 1812. What if Germany invaded the UK in the 1890s-1900s. What if Germany intervened in the 1st and/or 2nd Boer War. And of course – the big "What-if" – WW3 1970s-1980s. Lots of historically plausible "what-ifs". But, I agree matching forces from completely different eras does not appeal to me.

Tango0104 Mar 2024 3:47 p.m. PST


My historic and annual game is a what if… love it…


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