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aesopo

Rebirth of SC

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I find SC2, a huge improvement over SC while it still remains easy to learn to play. Which I find is the biggest thing about this type of game if you wish to attract new players.

My biggest gripe is like many of us that lack of a possible battle of the Atlantic, it simply is too small. So far even the mods I have played have had this issue.

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Les, please don't call " No unit stacking" a "major let down", because it isn't.

Stacking is boardgame, not computer game.

There are much more inteligent solutions at hand (just like Sea Monkey already mentioned). Stacking in a computer game is irritating, at best.

At least if you take it literaly 1 on 1 from the board games. I played computer games with stacking features, and they all sucked, because they used stacking just the way board games do. And then it is always hard to see how many uniits with how much strength are there and can go how far if at all, because you can't grab all units and check them just the way you would do it in a board game.

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I have never seen the use to have stacking in game. Seems like a Axis and Alliese board game thingy to me and even there I found it pretty nuts at time when you had a stack of 20+ units but then again they used large areas instead of tiles or hexes.

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"Stacking is boardgame, not computer game."

I assume there was a point to that remark.

My response can only be The Operational Art of War has stacking and is a computer game. The entire HPS catalogue seems to possess stacking and are computer games (that's like dozens of titles from Nappy to Civil War to WW2 and Modern era). SSG titles use stacking, there's several computer games too. Russo German War and Anglo German War uses stacking and are computer games.

Several old classics used stacking, and were computer wargames. Such as Tanks Construction Set 2

Games such as Steel Panthers admittedly uses icons that are not counters, but the programming was able to deal with merged units in a single location.

And those games all had counters with a good deal more counter data than a typical grand strategy title. A3R allowed two ground units, a 3rd for a rare para unit and limited amounts for air units and naval units required a port to be present.

So that basically ruins the notion stacking is just a board gaming thing.

It's plenty big to computer wargaming when the designer wants it to be.

The nice thing about stacking in a computer game, is I don't need tweezers to examine them. They don't have burrs on the corners from the counter sheet. And prolonged durations of inactivity between playings doesn't involve dust build up on the board.

The secret to stacking in a computer game, is just making good use of the interface.

I admit, not all game designs feel like making the effort to make good use of the interface.

The trouble is, most games spend all their energies on gimmicks and no effort on substance.

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When every hex represents about 50 miles x 50 miles it's absurd to say stacking isn't relevant.

One of the basic principles of war, from Napoleon on, has been to concentrate force against the enemy's weak point and break it.

The principle of Blitzkrieg was to do the same, create a gap, and pour moble units through it, having them fan out in the enemy rear areas. How do you do that with a single piece in the line and the pieces behind it unable to move through the created gap? The only way, in SC1, was to clobber the hex with air attacks till the defender was destroyed in that way and then force your way through. To which, we all complained (and I still do) that air power alone shouldn't be able to destroy a large ground unit like a corps or an army.

-- So, the only way to force the gap and then exploit it is either through stacking along the front line, or with phases, as in Clash of Steel. But lacking either of those elements SC1 often turned into the WWI style deadlock that we all agreed was wrong for a WWII wargame.

Also, the only way to simulate the US Navy and Japanese carrier groups, as were used in the Pacific War, would have to be through stacking.

And by stacking I doubt Les is talking about 20 to a tile/hex. Also, it doesn't have to be that all the stacked units can either attack or defend; I'd go for a three stack limit in an SC1 type game, with 2 max for attack and 1 for defense. And that would also take new rules for combined attack with advance and retreat after victory. But I guess I'm getting to board game here, better to leave it bored than board.

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I still don't like stacking, or at least, the stacking approach most computer game designer have had choosen.

Building task forces, a new unit type, acting as a container for several units, that would be ok / fine to me as an approach (One click on the container unit opening up a pop up window at the top of the screen, showing all units withing the container).

Or let land hexes be the container. One click on the hex and you see all units which are currently standing there, But not "stacked" one over the other, but in a popup window which FIRST doesn't block your view on the actual map and SECOND put the units side by side, so that you can see off them at the very same time.

In board game terms the classic "Europe Aflame" from TSR had similar solution which worked very fine.

But for heavens sake, don't ask for this this "ridiculous clicking ten times at a single hex just to see which units are stacked there together".

Usually it ends like this: when you just clicked the seventh time you have already forgotten how many move points the first unit had etc. etc. , not to forget that with stacking it is always very hard to keep the overview, often you "lose" some of you units because you forgot where they were stacked etc. etc.

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A container idea is fine, I don't see much difference between that and stacking. It had a board game equivalent in the early 70s, SPI's Le Grande Armee, where the smaller a unit the faster it moved. But if it stopped with at least one movement point left it could join other units in a hex. The larger combined units were slower, but progressively more powerful than the sum of their parts.

-- I don't recall the values, but it went something like

4 x 1-1-4 divisions = 1 x 5-5-3 corps;

2 x 5-5-3 corps = 1 x 12-12-2 army.

The only stacking was done with commander units, each of which had several values (att - def - morale - supply I believe) and the owning player chose which of those on the stack served as it's commander.

The system was interesting but cumbersom on a board. I think it would be perfect with a computer, incorporating things like fog of war, that couldn't be handled over the board.

I'm sure there are many great systems that can be employed using a computer. As I said, the concept of combining units into larger units is fine, goes way back, and works well.

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I see "container" and it seems like we are both referring to "interface".

And in the end, it ends up with multiple units in a single hex.

Which is what I want. You'd be mistaken if you thought I thought having to click numerous times to cycle through the stack was more desirable than employing an interface that displayed whatever was present in an interface option that showed the entire hex's contents in a single click.

I've always been of the opinion not one wargame had an AI worth caring about.

I've always been of the opinion great games have great interfaces, and lousy games had lousy interfaces.

The level of accuracy won't save a game that's simply no fun to play.

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Perhaps another approach to the stacking problem could be as follows:

Make the map substantially larger, let's say ten times as many hexes, but keep the number of units the same.

Let every unit have an area of influence, e.g. the surrounding six hexes, or even the next bigger circle.

Combat would take place, as soon as the areas of opposing units overlap.

Concentration of your own forces would be realized by overlapping of their areas (better combat values).

Because the map would be sparsely populated, there should be more room for maneuvering.

Does anybody know if such a game already exists?

Would it work?

Would the players like such a system?

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Otto,

An excellent concept. I've seen it done once, as is so often in the case during the early 70s, through Simulation Publications (SPI). :)

It was an American Civil War game, one of the ones they sent with their magazine. Counters were just strength numbers. The smaller the strength in a hex the less effective its zone of control. While garrisons might have a value of 1, armies might be (as I recall) something like 50 or more. I think the value coincided with the approximate manpower in thousands of units during that war:

~ 1-3 = brigade

~ 4-6 = division

~ 7-15 = corps

~16 --> unlimited = army

But my memory of this one is pretty fuzzy. It also incorporated a naval war system, rivers, and rail lines. Vicksburg was a railhead connecting the Confederacy east and west across the Mississippi; there was a movement penalty in crossing it.

Very large armies radiated out an enormous distance and smaller ones less so incrementally.

There was a system for supplies and things like damaged rail lines.

I don't recall how naval and riverine units were handled, nor what, if any, distinction was made between cavalry and infantry. I think all callibre of artillery was considered part of the army units, in abstract terms the largest armies would have also had siege guns.

Abstract was the main word here. Large armies were very powerful near their radiating hex, but if fighting a distant smaller army nearer its own radiating hex things would move toward equalizing.

-- It would be interesting to see how air power and specialized mobile units would be treated in this sort of system.

I'd love to see Hubert make this idea SC-3 !!! :)

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The problem with the idea otto is the further you expand the map, the further you get from the whole concept of strategic.

Eventually you get to a point where one man is standing on piece of ground and of course two people can't occupy the same location.

An army can occupy a city, clearly a naval force isn't actually IN the city, but they ARE in the port. And why can't an airforce unit not occupy an airport in the same city?

I have much more trouble with the above than being denied the ability to deploy 2 ground units in the same location.

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It wouldn't be necessary to expand the map.

What it would come down to is the more overall strength a side has in an area the more force it would exert over a farther number of hexes.

I don't remember much about American Civil War 1861 - 1865, and I checked the net, there's almost nothing out there on the game. But it would seem to me that if the concept is being used now, and in a modern context with air units, all of the radiating hex concentrations attacking a target hex would be factored together vs all the enemy radiating concentrations defending that hex.

The outcome should involve casualties and displacement of defending units; in other words those concentrations that lost in defense would be forced to move a step farther away from the center of action. If this is impossible, or if the defender chooses a fight to the death option the defending losses would be increased but the defeated units would remain in place.

Opposite to a stand and die defense would be an all out attack which might force displacement, but would involve higher losses.

Attacker and Defender should choose which concentrations to use in specific attacks and defenses. In that way many battles could be fought per front, creating an old fashioned soak off effect by the attacker, accepting losses in one attack in order to divert the defender and, possibly force a greater victory in another attack being launched that turn.

Air units could be placed seperately from ground units and would have their own radiating system; affected by radar etc --

in fact, all systems should be affected by technology advances such as increased mobility, infitration tactics, mobile defense, etc & etc.

-- and then there also be espionage, spy and counter spy tech, etc. ...

All of this would be a calculating nightmare for over the board players, but I think computers should be able to handle this sort of thing pretty easily.

-- That's true, Hubert, isn't it? And not much to program, correct? ;) -- Okay, I'm running, don't throw it! :)

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JerseyJohn,

Thank you for the interesting information about the American Civil War game.

As an afterthought I have to add that such a game would need the possibility to zoom in/out to keep an overview.

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Hello!..."JerseyJohn!",...What 'Terribly-Interesting-Concept's' that you bring out here!. I personally think that they have 'Great-Promise'!...[Navar Haer Dat Before!].

Anyway!,...i take a peek from time to time to see what 'Witches-Brew' is stewing away in the pot!.

Do keep it up!,...i may be forced to "Comment" again!.

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Never did hear that one before! :D

Greetings Brother Retributar, Appreciated.

The last thing I expected was for so many terrific things to come up involving the original SC game; proves how good it still is.

Hopefully you'll feel that need very soon and will add more of your own always welcome views. :)

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Too many ppl with too many ideas. SC-1 was great because of simplicity & playability. Bells & Whistles are overrated.

SC1 was simple and elegant. Easy to learn.

SC2 WAW I like, still why do I not play it anymore? The AI is simply not a challenge. I love to play against humans.

Things I still hate :

- Squares not hexes (I still think this has been the biggest mistake)

- The SC2 game starts to slowly..... its like building up for 6- hours against a human opponent to go to a final huge battle in Rusia. Usally against a good axis player premature action is punished quite hard. SC2 somehow feels like to work hours to get a return of a nail bitting battle in Rusia.

-The battles is Rusia are fun but SC1 had much more interessting action before ...Sealion yes or no (In SC2 its a NO ...) : + battle fo France..(SC2 battle of France is only the weather important) afterwards trying to slow down the cookie cutter...SC1 is simply more fun before Barbarossa starts. Its usally a run against the clock for the axis

Last but not least I miss the possibility to find opponets easier. Take for example a free game called wesnoth (fantasy hex strategy) . It has multiplayer lobby..you go there..you find opponets ...you can watch games in progress and discuss them...You can save replays etc. its perfect to kill 2-3 hours . In SC2 you need 2 sessions 2-3hours to get to the really interessting part. Then one huge mistake (premature offensive or a blunder from the other side and its over)

SC2 is a really good game reaging strategy and 2nd world war. IMHO it moved one tiny step to far away from beer and bretzel and is to restrictive regarding unusal strategies... "invasion of US, Invasion of England etc... "

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Look you guys, I remember, seems maybe some of you need reminding about the shortcomings of SC1.

What's this crap about Fall Gelb, it was never a contest, just like SC2, its a matter of when. Remember the bias towards the Axis, that's why the bidding came in. JJ reminded us of the uber AFs, the stagnant WW1 lines.

Must I go on about the building of Axis momentum and experience that eventually becomes unstoppable, remember RB/arby's post, I do, I got it.

SC2 is an improvement and yes, I'll agree it is a more involved game than SC1 was and yes the beauty of SC1 was its ability to be rapid contest to completion.

Remember SC1 AI left much to be desired, SC2 is better, WaW more progress, and PDE, the best AI so far....so I'm led to believe.

I'm sorry, I'm not buying into this nostalgia of SC1 being better, it wasn't, pure and simple, but yes I'll agree there were some good things about it and there is no problem with recapturing those shining features.

But so far it just seems the most glaring complaint is Tiles, its trivial, no meat, no substance, nothing in comparison to the array of great features SC2 has graced us with.

I challenge you guys, because SC2 has the editor to make a simplified scenario, find a custom campaign you all like and put some time in testing and playing. Help the developer to refine it, give it something other than lip service and watch it develop, the potential is there, much greater than SC1 ever thought about having.

How many of you have played Bill's ATR edition against the AI? I know, you can't get past the tiles...right! Just have to shake my head.:confused:

I was here, don't tell me differently, I remember the many posts to improve SC1 and I'll judge that we've seen a lot of them come to pass. Sounds like some of you have this constapation due to tile blockage. Realize that and explore the dynamics of SC2, know SC2 is a product of your and mine wishes, perhaps we are at fault for not adequately communicating that to Hubert.

No one here can say that Hubert is not receptive...so maybe we'd better choose our suggestions carefully, be concise, be detailed and above all know that whatever is decided will not please everyone, but arrive at a consensus, each of us having to make compromises.

That is how progress is made. And if not, well...SC1 is still available, you can still play it, it's still what many of you want rather than tiles, you are free to choose.

I choose we make a new thread in which all those that wish to participate in helping SC3 come to fruition, arrive at a consensus of the features, and has the posted conclusion. First entry can be the byproduct of this one..."Stacking".

Lot's of ideas here, are there others? I challenge you...all of you...arrive at a consensus, accept something that we all can play with.

We have a foundation...first feature accepted by all is.......Hexes! Right?:)

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SeaMonkey,

I agree completely with what you're saying.

After thinking about it I realized that what those of us making these suggestions are really talking about isn't SC-3, it's the full realization of the basic SC1 game.

So, I put down what I felt were the most adaptable ideas for Hubert to consider and see a two in one package:

SC (basic) with SC+

SC+ seeks to correct the old gridlock, locked up amphibious attacks and other problems that haunted the original SC, without changing the basic concept. The map remains the same, and the pieces remain the same.

-- I'm very interested in reading your thoughts in that thread.

I think this would satisfy everyone, leaving the way clear for Hubert to continue working along the SC-2 lines and, if he chooses to, at some future date, there would be the two hex SC games.

** To be honest, I don't expect Hubert to use the idea, though I honestly believe the two games would make a great package. I wrote that post and started that thread mainly for the sake of finalizing my own thoughts on this subject, and give others a chance to do the same. :)

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So Sombra, define fun. Historically the French didn't have a chance, although no one presumed that at the time. So if you wish to make it "fun" then I presume the French will have a chance to delay to the point of stagnation for the western front which deviates from history.

Can we all accept such a possibility of historical deviation to this degree?

Further, that means an early, potentially game ending defeat for someone, most probably the Axis, is that acceptable?

Are you saying that the window of unknown opportunity(gametime), where either side still has a chance to pull off a victory without realizing that they are in a futile situation should be greater? That's going to be tough once you've played the scenario a few times.

I can think of some diplomatic maneuvers that may continue the conflict, but again, will SC players accept the historical deviation?

I need more details? Anyone else?

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