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So what's wrong with TOAW from a CM'ers standpoint?


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Originally posted by PFMM:

Ralph Trickey,

The terms are defined in the post.

As to your second post I've never owned TOAW III, have not refered to it ever, and till now known what it was. I would advise you to ask people who own and use it for comments.

That would explain why I couldn't find the terms with Google.

My apologies then, given the title of the thread, I assumed that you were referring to TOAW in your post. The problem with asking the TOAW community is that they see only the minor changes and tweaks that TOAW can use within the confines of the system, and not the bigger questions.

Ralph

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JasonC,

Thanks for the detailed response. I'll have to reread it when I am not having a sleepless night. Some of it made sense to me, and some of it went over my heard. As I said, unlike most of you folks I only started wargaming in 2001 with just a very small set of PC games. From 1992 to 2001, it was almost exclusively flight sims. So, my background is quite limited.

On the other hand, I tend to regard these products as games and ultimately whether I am having fun is my most important criteria. Although I do like games that strive to accurately model real world systems, primarily because if it is well done then I believe the end result should be more logical, less likely to contain loopholes and exploits, provide a better intellectual exercise, and deliver a superior educational vehicle.

I do find that people are constantly screaming for realism, but few will chose dry realism over fun and good game play. I think when designing a historic game, it is more important to convey the spirit of the major concepts than to strive for total accuracy in all things modeled.

Well, it's been interesting. Thanks.

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Originally posted by PFMM:

If one has to tweak the fatigue rate to a little quicker than in reality, or increase the supply consumption compared to what it was in order to reproduce some other historical outcome I'd say your design is wrong.

Fair enough.

But then since games are simulations and not real life, just how many electrons are "reality" for fatigue rates? How many artificual-and-abstract-supply-points are a days ammunition expenditure for a Soviet Rifle division?

All games abstract these things, and more, into numerical terms that computers can understand.

Unless you're going to do the research to generate perfect mechanics you are stuck with abstraction.

And there is no such thing as "reality" with an abstraction except in relation to the final result - if you have to alter the abstraction to get the final result is what you would expect from "reality" then you have not cheated - you have improved the simulation over what it would be otherwise.

I think Jason might have said some stuff too but babelfish doesn't translate it.

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I'm not talking about producing simulation and neither is JasonC. What we are both saying in our own ways is that the model should be as close to reality as posible while the game design is as interesting as possible.

As to taste, perspective, whatever determining our choices, I agree completely. I find Combat Mission's order system tedious but its' view of the battlefield and attention to detail is unrivalled. Contrary to JasonC I think realtime is the way formard and think Highway to the Reich is the paradigm. Most of the designs JasonC describes for board games I think will not work on the computer as computer games and I've yet to be convinced otherwise.

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Originally posted by PFMM:

[QB] I am fine with people having their own tastes and preferences, and they can play what they like without any fear of criticism from me.

My point is that in my profession to rig a series of procedures to produce an expected result is unethical.

But "history" is not an exact science. History is "a game just played once", as someone once put. We all know, for example, the historical result of "Barbarossa", but we will never know how the end result "actually was against the par": were the Germans exceptionally unlucky, and so stopping at the very gates of Moscow could have happened "one Barbarossa in ten"? Some could feel so. Others could feel that the Russians were the unlucky ones, and that the "real par" would have been a deadlock at Smolensk - and so on.

Not many people do realize that sometimes historical events happen in a wild way due to imponderable, contingent factors not different from rolling "3" on 3 six-sided dies on a single, important launch. If you are portraying such a case, then agonizing over "the historical result" would actually be agonizing over "something outsided the expected historical result". Of course others could disagree. So, like an historian, a scenario designer with the right instruments will be able to make his call - I only expect from him some rationale behind his decisions.

This usually becomes less true at a more tactical level, where there are, for example, enough reports of PzKw IVs vs. T-34s to have some more statistical detailed data to start with. But, for that, you need real, concrete data anyway: so, scenarios like WWIII in the '80s are not usually supported by a vast experience in real confrontations - and open to many calls. This is what makes the debates about "doctrine" so fun in some forums (this is also why a wargame published in the '30s showing the aircraft carrier as the "Queen of the Sea" would have been derided) smile.gif

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Originally posted by Reckall:

Not many people do realize that sometimes historical events happen in a wild way due to imponderable, contingent factors not different from rolling "3" on 3 six-sided dies on a single, important launch. If you are portraying such a case, then agonizing over "the historical result" would actually be agonizing over "something outsided the expected historical result".

It is certainly true that the historical outcome is not necessarily the top of the bell curve.

But leaving aside the degree of probability of the historical outcome (part of the game designer's job is to assign some kind of implicit probability to what actually occured), what exasperates me to no end are supposedly historical games where the historical outcome is impossible rather than merely unlikely.

If a model is incapable of reproducing the historical outcome there is something fundamentally wrong with it, no matter how much of a fluke that outcome really was.

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Mainly because you do not have a bell curve from a sample of 1!! smile.gif

PFMM's ideas are deeply flawed from his "real world" experience IMO.

Aparently his job requires accurate predictions of unknown future events, and in that context tweaking the mechanism to give "desired results" is indeed a bad thing - see Millenium Challenge 2002

However the simulatoins we buy are not in thissituatoin.

They are seeking to provide an accurate-ish "copy" of something where the result is already known.

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PFMM - if Highway were the way forward, grogs would be beating down the door to play it and others just like it. They aren't, it is a flop as a game, in terms of traction, fanbase, etc. The reason is simple - it is a gimick that adds practically nothing to strategy interest. You do not have to like this for it to be true.

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There is no denying that sales of RDOA/HTTR/COTA have not been stellar. It is a niche (war games) in a niche (hardcore) in a niche (no turns/hex/order delays/AI chain of command). Yet, it does have a following.

I will say that there a distinction that can be made between realism and entertainment. The AA engine does deliver on realistically modeling the challenges of command. The artificially artifacts which result from turns and hexes are eliminated while control through the use of the chain of command and order delays well simulates the challenges of time, communication, and coordination that actually manifest themselves in all human endeavors; not just battlefields.

However, just because the AA engine is highly realistic doesn't necessarily make it fun. Fun is very much a subjective quality. I cannot say the AA engine must be fun. No, fun is whatever one enjoys when they play a game. However, realistic modeling is a much less subjective matter. However, my opinion on the subject is meaningless, since I neither have military service or am a scholar. On the other hand, we do have team members who have served and others who work/consult at the Army General Staff College. They are familiar with some system currently in use by the name of Janus. I have it from those who are qualified to make the assesment that the AA engine well captures the real flavor and issues of command.

Fun ... that's up to you. Realism ... sorry, but I will ultimately have to defer to those who have served, studied military operations, consult to the military, and/or familiar with current military training aids.

Please forgive me if I said I would not debate, but the AA engine is not a cartoon produced by programmers. It was created by folks with who have the prerequisite qualifications and have solicited technical guidance of others who have also have the right punches on their tickets.

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Myself I am a software developer. I have always found the discussion of systems design, games, and real world modeling via software a fascinating topic. I enjoy such discussions, but have no interest having one of these Internet flame wars.

JasonC, I may dissaggree with you, but I continue to hold you in the highest regard for all that I have learned over the years and how that has helped me get more out of CM. Thanks.

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JasonC,

You make a number of good points. I have to disagree with just one - a real time engine for operational battles can work. I have played turn based strategy games for years but have found the RDOA/HTTR/COTA game engine to be incredibly good at mid-range operational level play (1-10 day battles). It is pausable when needed and also incorporates a tremendous amount of features that increase the complexity of the game. A well thought out delayed orders component, a supply system with incredible detail and significant impacts if ignored, impacts of fatigue that realistically impact the game flow, and a fog of war that must be mastered to interpret enemy intentions. Although I am not a fan of this game against the AI, I believe it is unmatched in head to head play. The engine has come a long way from the RDOA days to the COTA release and I believe the Bulge release will be the best in the series. It is well worth your trying it out given your background and experience. The one downside is the size of the customer base and ability to find good online players. Turn based players do sometimes find it hard to adjust to the flow of this game but I find it the most enjoyable gaming I have done in my 35 years of playing.

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JasonC,

Strong views on what makes a good operation wargame. I don't know you but from what I have read here I'd say you are a long time wargamer with a lot of experience in board wargames. Being one myself and a board and computer wargame designer I'd say that earns you some respect.

You strike me as someone who demands absolute control over all facets of a game - ie you want that god like control over all your units at all time - the type of control most board wargames give you. And they give you this because there are few practical means of doing anything other than this. Good board wargame designs are fun to play, they endeavour to make you, the player, focus on strategy and they provided hours and hours of entertainment value. I know I enjoy them too.

If this is what you hanker for in an operational wargame, then your comments are fine. I'm certainly not going to argue against a subjective preference.

However, what you fail to acknowledge is that others may have an equally subjective preference to gain something quite different from an operational wargame - ie that they would prefer to gain a realistic appreciation of what it is like to be a real life ( RL ) commander, making realistic decisions with limited data and limited influence and in a battle which continuously unfolds and against an opponent who is not not going to say "over to you, your turn".

For if that is what you want then you want high fidelity modelling of time and space, you want limited intel, a hierarchical command structure, orders delay, realistic task and planning doctrine. A traditional turn based wargame ( with a long time interval ( ie greater than a few minutes ) is not going to cut it. It's no accident that simulations used by the military professionals for operational warfare are real time engines.

I note you tried our original demo for RDOA and that you wern't impressed. Feedback we got from the demo survey indicated that a lot of people shared your views about the the perception that they were not in control and were just watching a movie play out. That same survey also showed that almost no-one read and played through the tutorial that was provided. So it was no small wonder that they didn't "get it".

For traditional turn based wargamers, our system requires a paradigm shift. You have to view things differently, not as some omnipotent god-like controller hovering over the battlefield, but rather as the operational commander operating with limited intelligence and influence.

What's more, while it does allow you to control and issue orders to every unit, this is not the best way to get the most out of the game. You need to trust the AI to manage your subordinates. You issue them orders and the AI will do a reasonable job - not always a perfect one but then neither to do real life subordinates.

That's not to say you then abandon all responsibility, sit back and watch. For this is not how a good real life commander does his job. No you must monitor progress and be prepared to intervene at the right moment if required. Knowing, anticipating when that moment is, is a key aspect of operational command. In real life the military refer to these as "triggers". A good commander anticipates these when he does his plan - eg, if the enemy attack my vulnerable right flank at X then I need to commit my reserve at Y. Then he monitors developments, continuously assessing if the condition has been met and if so issues the orders to the reserve.

The fact that many wargamers failed to appreciate this with the demo was one of the reasons why we did not put another demo when we released HTTR and COTA. Our view was that unless we can make the user aware of this different approach then it's really counterproductive. So we have relied on the slow but steady stream of users finally taking the plunge and buying our games and then posting on our forum that its a truly great wargame experience and they wish they had tried it sooner. Here's the latest from yesterday: noobie post

We continuously get requests for a demo. We have released a 5 Minute Guide - a movie with a voice over showing how the game is played - from the COTA website. That has helped many make their decision to buy COTA, but there are many others I suspect want to actually get their hands on the controls to see how it plays.

We have been debating whether the time is right now to release a new demo, based on COTA that would include the tutorials and manuals. Those in favour say that yes the wargame community has matured and are willing to invest a little time to actually read and play the tutorials, that they realise that our system is not some "designer's fettish" but needs a paradigm shift to appreciate it. Have we as a community matured to that point? Are we open enough to see things from another perspective?

[ March 17, 2007, 04:28 PM: Message edited by: Arjuna ]

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markshot - I'm fully qualified on each of your criteria, and I still say it is an MIT engineering project and not a well designed strategy game. It is somebody's movie of what they think a bit of the war might be like. There is more intelligent game design in Puerto Rico, and more intellectual interest in a single game turn of Barbarossa to Berlin or A Victory Lost.

The error, once again, is attempting to substitute any quantity of programming, artwork, or engineering for the missing element that actually makes or breaks strategy game - game design. Attempting to dispense with it emphatically does not work, and every company that tries it will find itself with yet another bomb.

Don't ask for opinions if you are not prepared to receive them.

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It is somebody's movie of what they think a bit of the war might be like.
Woah Jason! You made me spill my drink over the

keyboard with that absurd statement. All that after playing an 8 year old demo?

The ironic thing is that when somebody elsewhere would say that in HttR and COTA you are just watching as an spectator I would quote the following post of yours sometime in 2003.

JasonC , 2003 at one of Battlefront.com’s Combat Mission forums.

Real tactical combat is excruciating, not fun. Nothing works. Everything is friction. Nobody can coordinate the simplest things with each other with any reliability. Half the men engaged haven't the slightest idea what is happening, and many of them have no effect on the outcome other than as victims.

When a low level tactical commander manages to get enough information to form even a tolerably accurate mental representation of what is happening, he rarely has any ability to modify it. Most of his attempted interventions will simply fail. He won't be heard, the man who receives the order will be injured before he can carry it out or pass it on, will make his own mistake, will ignore it as based on innaccurate information, etc.

Of the few that do have an effect, half of them will have unintended effects, good or bad, that had nothing to do with his original idea. Most of them will change the behavior of only a tiny number of units. When widespread effects are actually achieved, they will make no tactical sense for half of the units affected.

This does not go on for 20 minutes. It goes on for hours at a stretch. Giant units frequently remain practically motionless for days due to little more than indescribable confusion. The level of contact the men will actually put up with against one another is nowhere near as high as depicted in CM.

Losses CM players would consider trivial in a single QB often led to abandonment of positions by entire divisions - under orders, not against them. Ammo expenditure was far less rapid than CM depicts, but occurred on a far vaster scale to achieve significant effects.

Above all, the range of variance of combat effects was vastly wider and less certain than the fairly dependable outcomes seen in CM. Riflemen who shot 70% hits on rifle ranges would excel if they hit 0.5% of the time in combat, and the average losses inflicted per bullet fired was 100 times lower again. That is, the likely (expected, not just randomly "rolled") effect of pulling a trigger varied over something like 4-6 orders of magnitude from one occasion to the next.

Everything took longer, was much more confused, much more random, and was much less controlled. Combat is a train wreck during an earthquake at a riot. Not chess.

I understand your preference over games where you are more in control. To each is own. But as for your conclusions about the AA games: you gotta be kidding.

Julio

Disclosure: I beta test for Panther Games and I moderate, research and write for the so-called "Panther War College". All comments above written are my personal opinion as a wargame/military history and theory enthusiast.

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I feel that we may be muddying the waters a little too much for the purposes of this discussion, and will point out that the veracity of any simulation is meaningless unless it is turned into a game.

Furthermore, we want this resulting game to be as various as possible with as wide an audience as possible, to give us as wide a range and as many people to play against.

Yes, each to his own, but it's no fun playing with yourself.

If you examine the boardgamming market it is just these designs that have enabled it to surpass it's mythical glory days (1970-1980s).

Which is why I think Combat Mission, TOAW III (I read up on it), Civilisation, Dominion, et al., are successfull. They combine reasonable levels of PERCIEVED simulation with an easy to learn and mostly enjoyable game.

However, as Pascal pointed out, man cannot stay in his room and remain forever happy. We can do better and that is what this discussion is about.

Reckall and Phillipe, bare in mind that once the historical outcome is placed in amongst all the other outcomes it is just as unlikely as all the other outcomes. Games that force historical outcomes upset me no end.

Stalin's Organist, no, wrong again but keep trying.

markshot, leaving simualtion to the self proclaimed experts without judgement is a fools' paradise.

JasonC, I don't think it is a gimmick. It presents choices in a continuum not as discrete opportunities. That's not trivial. Oh, and gaming budget is both money and time. I have plenty of allowed gaming time, but need to buy the game and my two allowed purchases for this half of the year have been used.

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Originally posted by Sixxkiller:

Isnt it hard to create a historical game if the result isnt already known Mike?

Impossible I would have thought, in some sense at least, and I'm not sure what you are questioning.

However consider a common Combat Mission "quick battle" - is it a "historical game", even though the battle itself was never fought?

I think it is - this particular action is fantasy, but it exists in a time frame for which we do have knowledge of outcomes, and of hte rules that apply. Hence we can apply those rules (however imperfectly) to a fantasy situation and call it a historical simulation...of what might have been.

Or are you saying that sometimes random luck can attain the desired efeect of realism?
Again I'm not sure what you are asking.

Luck is required in gaming, IMO, because we do not have sufficient computational power to factor in every element that mgiht have affected an outcome - whether Private Jones had a headache that morning, or a mis-fire in an artillery round - we bundle all these un-computables into a "dice roll".

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Originally posted by JasonC:

I find nothing even remotely sensible about TOAW. I have found it largely unplayable and quite unrealistic.

it’s a subjective opinion, others find quite a lot…

Originally posted by JasonC:

They seem to have had the brainstorm that they would count all the beans behind the scenes to "relieve" the player of any concern with the actual determining factors in combat power, then expect it to be "accurate" because beans are counted minutely. It isn't, it is hopelessly broken and the incentives it sets up frankly silly.

again, a subjective opinion taken out of nowhere…

Originally posted by JasonC:

Attacks are best conducted as mega overstack affairs at about 10 to 1 odds. No, the concentration penalties do not remotely forbid this.

au contraire, mon general, it’s the worst way, what you wrote is what beginners always think is the right way to play this game, that’s why they always lose, that’s why it’s obvious you haven’t played this game thoroughly…

Originally posted by JasonC:

Supply is so uncontrollable, the only way to actually manage it is to deploy some units so far from the action they won't have occasion to draw it.

(sadly) true, and hopefully to be improved in the future patches

Originally posted by JasonC:

Artillery supply in particular is frankly unbelievable. Air winds up getting used in the first few attacks per turn, then air units have reduced supply state etc.

no, it isn’t, it works all right, but you have to know how to play this game, it’s a bit like riding a bike – if you can’t do it, you will fall off, but does that mean bikes are badly designed…?

Originally posted by JasonC:

None of the combined arms relationships of the real weapons are seriously present. Instead, units are bags of diversified combat power, supply and quality dependent to be sure, but not equipment dependent in any serious way.

a subjective opinion again, I could say they are present, but the final outcome obviously depends on the way a scenario has been designed – there are worse ones and better ones…

Originally posted by JasonC:

The much older V4Victory series was better in every way.

again, a subjective opinion, personally, I don’t find them better…

Originally posted by JasonC:

It also had a few drawbacks in supply depiction, but nothing compared to TOAW, and subject to realistic forms of player control. A few house rules were all it really needed (e.g. not to allow wholesale reassignment of artillery to some HQs then starved of supply, allowing too many combat units to be oversupplied. Also attacks below a threshold forbidden to avoid gaming the fatigue system).

it’s nice other games have drawbacks too smile.gif

Originally posted by JasonC:

If the operating thesis is that logistic thruput is the real generator of combat power, you can't abstract it and take it entirely out of players' hands and expect a livable game to result. A strategy game has to leave the major determining levers in players' hands.

agreed, and hopefully to be patched (see above)

Originally posted by JasonC:

The contact-withdrawal behaviors are also silly, far too draconian and "tar baby" esque. A Victory Lost gets the right effect much more cleanly by simply having a 2 MP movement penalty for leaving *or entering* a ZOC (and makes them cumulative).

no, they are not, again, your opinion is subjective

Originally posted by JasonC:

The user interface is so painful that playing a game is a chore, not fun. And that is nothing compared to designing a scenario - much worse.

no, it isn’t, it’s good fun, again, you voice a subjective opinion, the user interface is quite functional apart from the map, which I agree could be better designed, there are plans to improve it though…

Originally posted by JasonC:

There is a decided tendency to giantism. When you have abstract units as bags of subelements, what sense does it make to allowed huge stacks of the things, and then attack from every adjacent hex? A cleaner design would have units at most one a hex in typical situations, and better still leave "luft" between them.

no, there isn’t such a tendency, there are lots of different scenarios, some huge, some medium, some small, army-level, corps-level, division-level, regimental, battalion, even companies, also, as already stated above, sadly you have absolutely no idea how to prepare and conduct attacks in TOAW, and how they work…

Originally posted by JasonC:

Tiller's campaigns on the other hand have the grand tactical giantism problem - they seem to think a game is more interesting and grognardesque if there are 1500 counters per giant scrolling off the screen map. This simply makes them one unplayable and two unrealistic in the coordination the player has over that giant command span.

again, a subjective opinion, for me a game is more interesting if there are lots of counters on the board, and for many other people who like me love and play huge games too, simply because you don’t like (or can’t handle) huge games, doesn’t mean they are badly designed and make no sense…

Originally posted by JasonC:

There are vastly better designs in modern board wargames, and even better ones in many much older board wargames. Instead of learning the art of game design from advances made in past games, what TOAW has done is thrown all of that away to lean on the bean counting of the computer, and then done that badly.

perhaps there are, and there were, but the question is what it means for a (computer) wargame to be better, I bet opinions are likely to be divided here, surely you don’t want to suggest that your ideas concerning a good wargame are the ten commandments of wargaming… my personal opinion is that TOAW’s (as you put it) ‘bean counting’ works quite well…

i think, you have voiced too many subjective opinions in your post for it to be the grounds for decision whether or not to buy TOAW

as for my opinion, I suggest getting TOAW, if you like operational-scale wargames

it’s flexible enough with a huge number of various scenarios, and it is constantly improved, it’s bound to give you hours of fun

hps panzer campaigns are a good choice too

for me, they’re both a lot better than SSG’games

i also suggest you put more ‘I think’, ‘it seems’, and ‘in my opinion’ in your future posts…

cheers

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Originally posted by JasonC:

PFMM - if Highway were the way forward, grogs would be beating down the door to play it and others just like it. They aren't, it is a flop as a game, in terms of traction, fanbase, etc. The reason is simple - it is a gimick that adds practically nothing to strategy interest. You do not have to like this for it to be true.

It is not 'true', it is complete nonsense. Only an opinion, of course, but at least one from someone who has actually played HttR and CotA.

Both of those games are a mix of 'wargame' in the traditional sense and simulation of war from the perspective of the commander. They do that in a way that the games you obviously prefer are incapable of ever doing except in the most abstract sense. They do it in a fashion that some people prefer both for pure entertainment purposes and because of the degree of simulation of war produced. If 'grogs' wish to remain rooted in the turn based paper/counter past that's their choice and their loss. I can only urge them to try one of the games (the newer, CotA, is the more refined of the two), play it long enough to understand what it is trying to do and make their own minds up. And also remind them that once upon a time it took a leap of faith for them to try Combat Mission as well.

But at the operational scale, possession of initiative is a military reality, and not an abstraction imposed by a game system.

So you should have one player moving at a time, turn based.

Nope, not below a certain scale. I'll get back to that. Possession of the initiative is indeed a military reality, but one that is reflected in CotA just as much as in any turn based system. Real life has no turns even at the operational scale, and in that sense command continuous/real-time (NOT "real time strategy" in the sense that term is generally understood) is superior. It is "one player moving at a time, turn based" that is the abstraction. A necessary one of course, in some cases, but it is a necessarily flawed and restricted model of the real-thing, not a simulation of it.

A vital proviso here is one of scale. One of the reasons that HttR and CotA 'work' is that the scenarios within them are barely 'operational' in scale. They are far closer to the 'tactical' borderline than the 'strategic' one, and that is necessary for the system to work. It would not work to use the same system at much larger scale hence HttR, for example, provides the gamer with Market Garden scenarios, not the whole campaign as the TOAW, HPS or Matrix's 'Battlefront' operational level games do. The engine is not suited for that and has no pretentions otherwise

Your whole criticism, based presumably on your experiential ignorance of the games concerned, is a strawman. Nobody has even attempted to do what you describe as "pointless", perhaps because above a certain scale that is precisely what it would be. But the games you criticize on the basis of zero experience are not above that scale. Like Pat Proctor's games at a more tactical scale they work, and work well, for anyone open minded enough to try them.

[ March 18, 2007, 06:04 AM: Message edited by: Hertston ]

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m5000 - worthy of a college sophmore bull session. Amateur philosophy hour - subjective refers to one half of all experiences in an idealist philosophy. It does not mean "wrong". There is a subjective side of the sum of 2 and 2 being 4, and an objective side of the novel Alice in Wonderland. Obviously everything anyone ever says is their opinion or their lips (or in this case, fingers) would not be moving.

And I have played TOAW, and I can conduct attacks just fine in TOAW, and I win in TOAW, and I can and do do so by simply running the enemy out of units by killing a few each time I have the ball with sufficiently massive local odds, and no this is not the worst way, no it doesn't get everybody surrounded or run them all out of supply etc. Of course there are minor preliminaries and limits yada yada, doesn't change the fact. Fist is a far too strong local optimum.

Since we have now degenerated to salesmen showing up peddling spin, this thread is dead as a doornail. It started with honest attempts to improve operational games on computers, and it has degenerated into paid hacks proclaiming that All Is Well. Which will leave the grogs of the world on VASSAL, for operational games.

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Originally posted by JasonC:

m5000 - worthy of a college sophmore bull session. Amateur philosophy hour - subjective refers to one half of all experiences in an idealist philosophy. It does not mean "wrong". There is a subjective side of the sum of 2 and 2 being 4, and an objective side of the novel Alice in Wonderland. Obviously everything anyone ever says is their opinion or their lips (or in this case, fingers) would not be moving.

And I have played TOAW, and I can conduct attacks just fine in TOAW, and I win in TOAW, and I can and do do so by simply running the enemy out of units by killing a few each time I have the ball with sufficiently massive local odds, and no this is not the worst way, no it doesn't get everybody surrounded or run them all out of supply etc. Of course there are minor preliminaries and limits yada yada, doesn't change the fact. Fist is a far too strong local optimum.

Since we have now degenerated to salesmen showing up peddling spin, this thread is dead as a doornail. It started with honest attempts to improve operational games on computers, and it has degenerated into paid hacks proclaiming that All Is Well. Which will leave the grogs of the world on VASSAL, for operational games.

sorry mate, but threads like this usually degenerate if people who take part and criticise don't know what they're talking about... so next time do some research, play a little and gain some experience...

simply because you use a huge number of academic words in your posts and sprinkle it all with philosophical jargon doesn't mean that you will convince people that white is black...

cheers

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simply because you use a huge number of academic words in your posts and sprinkle it all with philosophical jargon doesn't mean that you will convince people that white is black...
Well said ... also, one of the things I like about Panther Games is their willingness to come on line and talk with those that buy (or are considering buying) their games. A shame their passion for the game and it's design is called spin by someone unable to have a reasonable discussion of anything other than their view of the world.
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Originally posted by yakstock:

Well said ... also, one of the things I like about Panther Games is their willingness to come on line and talk with those that buy (or are considering buying) their games. A shame their passion for the game and it's design is called spin by someone unable to have a reasonable discussion of anything other than their view of the world.

BTW, any discussion re: TOAW as a "game" is founded on a wrong assumption. TOAW is a tool to design games, as MS Word is a tool to write documents. Only once you have the the end product (the unique, completed scenario) you can start reasoning on the quality of that specific simulation.

Games like Steel Panthers or CM allow you to design scenarios of varied nature, but the core rules do not change very much. TOAW, instead, is designed so to program your own rules. This is why one statement made earlier:

"Game design is a process in which an intelligent person with a clear thesis about the key aspects of some strategy game subject, models those key aspects, and puts control over them in the hands of the players. Leaving the outcome to their respective wits and getting his own tush off their table - but having selected the key variables and parameterized their control."

...Actually applies well to TOAW's scenarios. You do your research, design the scenario in a way that it reflects your opinion on key variables, inform the players about them (usually in the accompaning doc - some are dozens of pages long) and then leave the outcome to their wits.

Let's make an example of a scenario portraying the encirclement at Stalingrad. You do your research and you discover that basic attrition level for the tropps in the kessel is too low - even after factoring in the scarce supplies. Why? Because, you read, of the of the unusual impact that diseases had on the troops in this specific occourrence. So you put an higher attrition coefficent for the Germans in the scenario and warn the player about it:

Rule 12. The German troops will suffer 20% more attrition than usual, thus simulating the increased losses due to diseases.

The player will then tailor in his strategy that the surrounded troops' strenght is declining faster than in other scenarios, and so time will run out earlier for them.

And so on. Some scenarios at divisional-corps levels have overstack penalities after TWO counters are stacked, not ten. It is the most basic error that a TOAW newbie can fall for: "the scenarios do seem varied, but the core rules are the same!" No. Fact is: each scenario is almost like an unique boxed wargame - whose inner workings and rationales must be understood before planning even the first step of your strategy. This is what makes TOAW so replayable, longeve and fascinating after all these years.

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