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DerKommissar

Concept: Forum Operational Campaign

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By talking about platform, although you decided for Pz Corps already:

Have a look at board games, but played with their Vassal Computer game Module for the operational layer. That should open interesting options for your project.

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Voted for CM:A.....Still a great title and the most evenly balanced of the modern(ish) warfare titles IMHO.  B)

I'd be willing to help out with this project if I can, in the past I considered offering to umpire a multi-player game using CM:SF, but the difficulties of administering it, plus a few issues with the CM:SF engine dissuaded me.  :unsure:

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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5 hours ago, StieliAlpha said:

By talking about platform, although you decided for Pz Corps already:

Have a look at board games, but played with their Vassal Computer game Module for the operational layer. That should open interesting options for your project.

By platform, in that regard, I mean means of communication between players, generals and GM. So where TO&Es will be stored, where orders will be declared and updates posted.

Roll20 does all these things, it's a pen&paper RPG simulator. But you do need to register for an account and take a few moments to learn the interface. Which if people already have accounts and are fairly familiar with the interface, that's good. If people don't want extra hassle, that's also understandable.

I just checked out Vassal, yeah -- roll20 is pretty much that except browser based. A good free option. I'm curious how it handles rule checking?

Google Docs is another platform we could use, easy to make interactive sheets, post rules and campaign updates.

I am currently entertaining a narrative-based system like the 'Matrix' one suggested, with Roll20. Players being able to improvise and write up non-standard solutions. Limited mostly by the RL capabilities of the systems, and GM's discretion. So players will end up caring more about their units rather than rules. So for example, an artillery system will only be able to provide fire within its real range (Roll20 has a convenient ruler for that).

4 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Voted for CM:A.....Still a great title and the most evenly balanced of the modern(ish) warfare titles IMHO.  B)

I'd be willing to help out with this project if I can, in the past I considered offering to umpire a multi-player game using CM:SF, but the difficulties of administering it, plus a few issues with the CM:SF engine dissuaded me.  :unsure:

Yeaaah, I figured somebody voted for CM:A -- never figured it would tie CM:BN. I love it too. I like the idea of an army dedicated to mobile offensive warfare in Europe against a peer thrust into central asia to fight an asymmetric insurgency.

I really appreciate the offer of help. I would like someone to play the role of OPFOR general -- commanding all OPFOR units on the operational level.

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Why not have two (or more) teams of players rather than an umpired OpFor, in CM:A for instance you could have one player for the Soviets, another for DRA, a third for Tribals and a fourth for the Mujahideen.  Give each player a set of broad interests & objectives (some conflicts of interest amongst allies and mutual interests amongst enemies can really spice things up) a copy of the master map and a timescale to work in.

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7 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

By platform, in that regard, I mean means of communication between players, generals and GM. So where TO&Es will be stored, where orders will be declared and updates posted.

Roll20 does all these things, it's a pen&paper RPG simulator. But you do need to register for an account and take a few moments to learn the interface. Which if people already have accounts and are fairly familiar with the interface, that's good. If people don't want extra hassle, that's also understandable.

I just checked out Vassal, yeah -- roll20 is pretty much that except browser based. A good free option. I'm curious how it handles rule checking?

Google Docs is another platform we could use, easy to make interactive sheets, post rules and campaign updates.

I am currently entertaining a narrative-based system like the 'Matrix' one suggested, with Roll20. Players being able to improvise and write up non-standard solutions. Limited mostly by the RL capabilities of the systems, and GM's discretion. So players will end up caring more about their units rather than rules. So for example, an artillery system will only be able to provide fire within its real range (Roll20 has a convenient ruler for that).

Sounds like a good fit.  VASSAL is really designed as a virtual tabletop - no rules checking AFAIK.

Colour me interested as well.

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2 hours ago, HerrTom said:

Sounds like a good fit.  VASSAL is really designed as a virtual tabletop - no rules checking AFAIK.

Colour me interested as well.

Yes, Vassal does no rule checking, but it copies the board games hardware. As I understand, you can choose the board game that suits you and than design your own scenarios. Of course, in the limits of the original “hardware” and rules. E,g., when your base game has no provisions for Air Force, you can’t design the Air Force into your Vassal module.

Another thing to be considered: Normally, game rules are designed to cover specific situation or aspect (or carry the designers view of the world). When you try to use them for something completely different, they probably won’t work.

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I am actually converging on a draft of the rules, following the Engle Matrix structure. CM:A, CM:BN & CM:RT are all tied -- surprisingly enough. I expect BN to prevail as the most popular title, but I love all those theatres. Curiously enough, CM:FI is the only one with 0 votes.

21 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Why not have two (or more) teams of players rather than an umpired OpFor, in CM:A for instance you could have one player for the Soviets, another for DRA, a third for Tribals and a fourth for the Mujahideen.  Give each player a set of broad interests & objectives (some conflicts of interest amongst allies and mutual interests amongst enemies can really spice things up) a copy of the master map and a timescale to work in.

I intend for this to be a coop campaign. One side is players and the other is GM/AI (or an OPFOR general). I understand plenty of folks do not like QB AI. Players wishing to fight human opponents will be able to request such and anyone wishing to indulge them will be able to step in.

Players will be able to choose their faction, as long as its not absurd. Going with the narrative focus of this campaign, each player character will have an appropriate rank to their command. As such, senior officers will be responsible for organizing their subordinates into a coherent battle-plan -- antics will ensue. Expect Paths-of-Glory-style court martials (xD).

14 hours ago, HerrTom said:

Sounds like a good fit.  VASSAL is really designed as a virtual tabletop - no rules checking AFAIK.

Colour me interested as well.

Thank you for your interest.

12 hours ago, StieliAlpha said:

Yes, Vassal does no rule checking, but it copies the board games hardware. As I understand, you can choose the board game that suits you and than design your own scenarios. Of course, in the limits of the original “hardware” and rules. E,g., when your base game has no provisions for Air Force, you can’t design the Air Force into your Vassal module.

Another thing to be considered: Normally, game rules are designed to cover specific situation or aspect (or carry the designers view of the world). When you try to use them for something completely different, they probably won’t work.

I do want to model all the supports that we have in-game, so CAS is a must. I am leaning towards Roll20, just because I am more experienced with it. All the info on the Roll20 will be shared on the forums. The more I read about the Engle Matrix system, the more I think it is suitable for a narrative like this. My current ponderings are on random elements in Engle Matrix systems, how much RNG do I want in my campaign?

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On 11/14/2018 at 11:32 AM, domfluff said:

There are a ton of ways to do this. One option would be to GM this as an Engle Matrix game, with the GM creating battles to suit the situation (you could use existing maps, so this creation process doesn't need to be that long. You'd want to standardise on a points system for the battles, but that's fairly straightforward to do.)

Briefly. Matrix games are gm-run things, where each turn the players submit Arguments, and reasons why these will succeed. 

This is a quick example of a matrix-only game, but you can see how it can be used to generate meaningful battles:
https://balagan.info/missing-general-an-engle-matrix-game-battle-report


A practical (small) CM example off the top of my head:

Situation, turn 3 (this is mostly narrative fluff, but since that's what Matrix games are all about, that's important).
German player lost the previous battle and needs to regroup and re-arm. Their AT ammunition is getting significantly low, and their supply lines are in jeopardy. The town of Fullofpixeltruppen is on a key supply route. There is a simple sketch map of the surrounding area that both players have access to, and both players will have clearly defined campaign goals, that aren't important for this example. Both players will have a TO&E at the start, which is not tracked explicitly, but in terms of vague percentage losses, or removed entirely.
 

(US player)
Change to matrix:I send 2nd platoon to conduct a probing attack at night into the village of Fullofpixeltruppen
Specific benefit desired: We will learn of the enemy strengths and weaknesses, and take out key assets (AT guns) in preparation for the main assault.
Support from matrix: 2nd platoon is well-rested. The enemy are fleeing in disarray following the last battle. The initiative is ours.

(German player)
Change to matrix: My focus will be to get the supplies through safely. I'll bring up 2nd company to halt the retreat in a safe position and send out a force to take hill 217 with artillery.
Specific benefit desired: My forces can resupply, and set up artillery fire and TRPs onto key terrain over the surrounding area - the village, the river crossing and the crest of hill 312.
Support from matrix: My artillery is untouched, my men are well trained and the supplies are in really fast trucks.

(submitted in secret)

The GM takes these arguments and considers them. It's important that the arguments should not be mutually exclusive. The US player has no forces on hill 217, and hasn't mentioned it, so it's reasonable to rule that this move from the Germans will succeed. The rest of the German argument is pretty weak, and more or less reads as "I stop running away when I can".

Since the US player is not explicitly pursuing the Germans, it's reasonable to suggest that the fleeing forces will drip out, but won't take much of a part in this battle. This means that the generated scenario here will be:

Probing attack. Night mission, weather will be randomised with a die roll, but weighted towards being fine.

US forces:

- Rifle platoon, with priority of fires from the company mortars (no other action is happening here, and they're available)

German forces:

- Stragglers and malcontents, not quite a platoon in size.
- AT Gun platoon
- Artillery with a TRP

All German forces will be low on ammunition and motivation. German infantry stragglers will also have some percentage losses.


The mission objectives will be Spot and Destroy objectives for the US, centred around the AT guns. There will also be some points for killing Germans. Priority are the guns and minimising losses.
German victory will be for destroying US forces, and occupying the town.

Assuming standardising to 1000 points, then something like:

German:
Destroy (all) 800
Occupy 200

US 
Spot (AT Guns) 200
Destroy (AT Guns)  400
Destroy (Remaining Germans) 400


In practice, the GM would choose a sensible looking map, and set up the objectives and choose units to match the above. Stick them in the setup zones, which will be determined by the map - in this case, the German setup zones will be a lot more restrictive.

GM then sends the scenario file and briefings to each party. It's probably useful if both players share their PBEM password with the GM, and all three players share a dropbox folder, so that everything is GM-accessible if needs be (but particularly the outcome).

***

What's worth defining before you start though is:

What are you trying to achieve?

Campaigns have multiple purposes - they can provide context for battles, produce a narrative, they can force you to make longer term decisions about preserving forces, etc.

Campaigns can be fully fledged wargames all by themselves, but they can also be pre-set tree campaigns, or fluffy narrative campaigns just as easily. What I really like about the Matrix game concept is that it's a powerful tool for applying some structure to an otherwise arbitrary narrative.

 

What an ingenious system. How come you never mentioned this over at FGM?

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I'm pretty certain I've chatted about Matrix games before, is something I'm quite fond of.

Mind you, I usually get shouted down when chatting about game design on forums, so it's possible it gets lost in the chaff.

 

 

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I think the minimum size unit unit for a campaign would be battalion because anything less takes you to the tactical level imo. with battalions a gm has more realistic and less arbitrary recources to hand to a player for quick battle. maybe a company of dudes and battalion assests depending on the type of battle duke it out against similar forces. or one side gets regiment assets against a dug in platoon for a pitched battle. maybe even some dice rolling for parameters etc. sounds like fun to me if any method or scale works out with some fog of war and a goo umpire.

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It's ALIVE!!!

I've shelved this concept, for now. I've been running an Edge of the Empire campaign, and I like to focus on GMing one thing at a time. This being said, I do play an RNG Quick Battle from time to time. A desire for operational context is still there, and I was thinking of experimenting on a smaller, personal, scale. Just player vs environment, for now. I've also done an AAR for the excellent Kampgruppe Peiper campaign. That format could work with an umpire, instead of a scripted campaign.

Around battalion level is where CM shines, so I agree. The idea was to let players mix & match companies like cards in a hand, allowing for combined arms shenanigans.

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Dropping a link to a AAR and some explanation to how we fused CM and John Tillers PzC. There where lots of variants used by different umpires and players, and can be found with a quick search. I really enjoyed it :)

 

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Really cool! I've also been following that Shock Force 2/Command combo-game. I've given the whole concept some thought, and now have some sort of battle plan for my campaign. Simplicity and narrative being the focus, Engle Matrix is the prime inspiration -- but, also, Blackjack!

Just like in Blackjack, the players will be playing against the House (Umpire in Engle Matrix). Players will have a pool of chips, Core Points. This caps how many points can be spent in the Quick Battle editor to buy forces. Core Points are, also, bet (spent) on the player's proposed changes to the Matrix. Unlike Blackjack, the amount of Core Points bet will determine the chance of attaining desired results from the Matrix, as well as the magnitude of the pay-out. It will be the House's (Umpire's) task to set the total difficulty roll for each check, based on the narrative.

Example:

Quote

(German player, 3000 CP)
Change to matrix: My focus will be to get the supplies through safely. I'll bring up 2nd company to halt the retreat in a safe position and send out a force to take hill 217 with artillery.
Specific benefit desired: My forces can resupply (Gain 200 Core Points), and set up artillery fire (Gain off-map 120mm mortars in next QB) and TRPs (Gain 3 TRPs in next QB) onto key terrain over the surrounding area - the village, the river crossing and the crest of hill 312.
Support from matrix: My artillery is untouched (100 CP), my men are well trained (50 CP) and the supplies are in really fast trucks (200 CP)

(House/Umpire)

Resupply Difficulty: 50 (must score above 50 to succeed)

Roll 1-200  (200 CP invested) : 95

Result: The German Player is resupplied by brand new Opels, gaining 200 CP, and an additional 45CP from good driving conditions.

Artillery Set up Difficulty: 100

Roll 1-100 (100 CP invested) : 6

Result: An american counter-battery has zeroed in, and has put the 120mm mortars out of action for 5 days.

TRP Recon Difficulty: 150

Roll 1-50 (50 CP invested): 50

Result: The well trained observers sneak behind enemy lines, and bug out before a sentry detects them. The German Player gains 1 TRP for next QB.

The German player spent 350 CP, gained 245 CP and a TRP for this battle. They can now only spend a maximum of 2905 points in QB, but can add a free TRP. If Hill 217 is occupied by the US player, their changes will also be reflected, in the QB. Otherwise, the battle will be fought against that area's forces (QB can be fought against AI or a human volunteer). The result of the QB will be posted on the forum. The difference in victory points of the two sides, at the end of QB, will be added to the Player(s)'s CP pool.

The end goal of this system is to allow the narrative to play with QB settings. So, the map-type will be dependent on location, weather and mud on the current forecast, and the type of engagement based on player's actions. A gutsy effort to survey the terrain, may result in a Map Preview for the Player. While, a blown bridge, may result in an Infantry only composition. Size of the map, and battle, will be up to the player. A 5000 CP army may need a Large or Huge map/army to use, while a 1000 CP army would get annihilated by an RNG Huge army.

The map will keep track of the location of player's units, areas historically occupied by divisions, as well as the ever-changing front line. Teamwork will be key, as players can share CP, and temporary supports, with their comrades. Each turn will start with a briefing for that day, and then players will be able to purpose their plans. The House will change the turn, every real-life week.

I already have a Normandy map almost finished. I am thinking starting CP will be 3000. Keep in mind, that landing on the beaches of Normandy or dropping from the sky will be a Matrix check.

Edited by DerKommissar

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