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


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I think I understand what Jason meant by "game play was and is poor".

I tried out the Red Devils Over Arnhem demo after reading this thread. I actually was very enthusiastic...I am looking to find a new computer wargame I can sink my teeth into and was hoping this would lead the way to HTTR or COTA. I read the PDF file that came with the demo carefully and played both demo scenarios.

It probably was very valid as a simulator, but I just didn't see the fun in it. It plays as though the game is on rails. I just never felt that my decisions had all that much to do with the outcome and didn't feel terribly involved.

I actually even have the exact same comment about CMBB which I also tried playing again recently after a few years away. The TAC AI constantly changing my firing instructions a few seconds after hitting GO did not do wonders to pull me in to the environment. I again felt like an accessory to a game that played as if it was on rails.

The only wargame I'm very satisfied with lately is ASL and I'm just dying to find something as satisfactory that isn't as cumbersome (and at places, as silly)...and I'm coming up short. But at least there if I tell my HMG to fire at a broken squad 40 meters away, he will do exactly that instead of targetting something 200 meters away instead. I live and die by my own decisions and that does wonders for immersion.

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Peterk -

Understand your concerns. Admittedly games like HTTR or COTA / Take Command take some getting used to. There is an element of distance in the process/decision making cycle as you are not moving every single counter involved in the assault. To me that is refreshing...by my nature I don't like to micromanage things ala Paradox's latest incarnation of Hearts of Iron, etc.

I own and play both CMBB and HTTR/COTA. As I indicated earlier, I believe CMBB is an evolutionary half-step before HTTR/COTA. That being said, it still is an improvement, IMO, over the hex/counter/turn games. However saying that "game play was and is poor" is quite different than what you were saying that you didn't enjoy it. I would strongly urge you try out HTTR...the RDOA demo isn't the refined system you see now with HTTR and COTA.

In final analysis, all this really does become moot if you don't have fun with what you play. When I see COTA/HTTR as exciting, innovative and refreshing, another will see it as just another detached RTS clickfest. My hope is that others will take the plunge away from the old stand-by and try something new...I think they may be suprised by the results if they give it a fair shot.

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Try Company Commander, the new card driven squad leader derivative from GMT. All the fun of ASL without the overdone and useless chrome getting in the way, with the added varied control of card driven strategy.

Willard is still clueless. He does not know anything about the tradition he is dismissing, so that is to be expected. He thinks an SPI quad game circa 1975 is still the state of the art. Actually, he has no idea there is an art.

Why do I say the game play is poor? Because I play them and it is. Too simple for him to understand, I suppose. I again require him to spend two successive evenings playing first a modern German game - I suggest Puerto Rico - and then a modern CDG (I suggest Paths of Glory, but any of Napoleonic Wars, Barbarossa to Berlin, or Company Commander will do).

He sees that there is no rule complexity in Go and that the rules are entirely known, but does not see their depth of play or where it comes from. (Nothing to do with immersion "tech", notice).

At every stage of the game, there must be a finite, spanable, but fairly large set of operationally distinct choices available to each player. With no single optimum clear. The choices must matter, critically - no "lost in averages" or "barely nudged" from sim'ed or predicted outcome. There can, on many occasions, be nearly forced moves, but strung between nodes of the decision tree that branch widely.

The total combinatorial possibility space must be astronomical, and not just through inclusion of meaningless distinctions or nearly equivalent moves or choices (you can move right here, or right there, but either way about the same thing will happen - doesn't count). It must be calcuable enough ahead of time for clear consequences to follow from every choice, with clear relations to outcomes or obviously important intermediate goals.

The command difficulty must arise not from inability to predict the consequences of one's actions (let alone from their simply not having much or any effect), but from inability to predict those of the opponent beforehand, combined with a total possibility space too large to be exhaustively analyzed. His choices take you down branches you may have scouted somewhat, assessed as promising or dangerous, but can rarely have fully fathomed beforehand.

Combat Mission has this. Squad Leader has this in smaller scenarios, when the chrome doesn't get in the way too much. All the modern CDGs have this. Puerto Rico has this. Chess has this. Go has this. It is the essential component that puts the "strategy" in strategy game. It is what makes them intellectual interesting, exciting and fun, rather than excruciating exercises in reliving the frustration and misery of combat, etc.

I've got a great idea for a perfect Willard style game. It is WW I and a first person shooter. You are an infantryman and you get to go over the top into machinegun and artillery fire. On a good day you may make it to a muddy shellhole half way to the enemy wire alive, still without seeing an enemy. Special disorientation effects will be included, preventing any meaningful player control. The computer can inject painful poisons into the player's arm whenever he takes fire. Nothing you do will ever matter, and the designer's script shall roll before you as a randomly selected hollywood movie. It'll be great!

The game designer is not competing against Diablo nor against Avalon's Hill's Stalingrad. He is competing against every other game designer who ever lived, including the nameless medieval ones who polished chess to its present state, etc. Not in programming and not in salesmanship or spin, but in, wait for it, here it comes, is it a punchline? - game... design...

In board wargames, not it is not remotely a fixed system that hasn't changed in 30 years. It is very much alive and more design innovation is occuring in it, still, than in computer strategy games. (Shooters RPGs flight sims etc are entirely different). Since he apparently does not know any of them, I will mention some of the innovators.

Terrible Swift Sword. This isn't AHs Gettysburg. (It also created the entire battleground series 25 years ahead of time).

Squad Leader. (It created Combat Mission and most others in the space. They also owe much to Tobruk for armor combat).

Wooden Ships & Iron Men. Dauntless et al air games. Sniper. The original We go systems.

Napoleon At Bay. The first, cleanest and best leader initiative system. Realistic logistical limits and attrition, very simply.

Battle for Stalingrad (John Hill). The original variable initiative system, attritionist combat, designed assymmetry, etc.

NATO from Victory Games. Attack supply by HQ, the source of the V4V supply management system.

Vietnam from Victory Games. Political tracks (actually present earlier in Battlefleet Mars), overall attrition limits, reactive moves, pursuit based combat resolution.

A Victory Lost. Variable initiative by HQs, "stripped" design.

Paths of Glory. Card driven strategy perfected, area movement.

Napoleonic Wars. CDG gone true multiplayer, "stripped" mechanics.

Etc.

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But good "game play" is by definition describing something that is enjoyable. It would be silly for me to describe something as having good game play and then saying that I found it boring. They're one and the same or at least very close, no.

While I was researching the HttR game, I found a nice discussion where someone was describing a difficult battle where he had trouble taking a bridge objective. AFter several attempts at planning things himself and failing, he finally just tried clicking on the battalion command and setting the bridge as an objective and sat back to watch what the computer would do. He won the game with the computer co-oridnating the attack.

Good simulation value - probably. Good AI - almost definitely. Good gameplay? Not really, clicking once, and winning the scenario is not terribly satisfying. Why bother?

I don't think the detailed tactical level is the proper one for games such as CMBB either. If I have the option to give detailed tactical orders (shoot at unit X) to a unit in CMBB I really do want them followed even if they are stupid. Otherwise we don't have a game where I matter very much.

I mentionned ASL in my last message and also that I was looking for something similar on the computer. It's interesting, but a fellow has developped an almost perfectly faithful version of ASL for PC. Rolls the dice, doesn't let you break the rules, uses the same maps. Problem is...it's boring as hell. I found that if I was not keenly aware of what was going on, If I did not know where good and bad fortune was coming into play, the situation did not draw me in in the slightest. It's based on a game that I play and love. Good gameplay? Not at all....horrible.

[ April 03, 2007, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: Peterk ]

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You raise interesting points, but I don't agree smile.gif

Originally posted by Willard:

Some random musings on various battle engines:

IMO, the AA (airborne assault) engine and MMG's Take Command are the way of the future.

Not for people like me who think that PBEM is great, and that even if you think that the gameplay in the "fluid" (let me name AA and friends "fluid"), it is questionable whether that makes good for the better opponent in PBEM.

Games such as Combat Mission series are really just a turn based/hex/counter game in 3D...with the added improvement of simultaneous WEGO turn resolution that isn't really possible in table top games.

They also add a lot of math that is argualy useful, such as very detailed armor penetration.

The detailed armor penetration models in CM add substantial richness to CM gameplay. All arguing about wrong armor/penetration values and stupid TacAI, it does, and a lot.

If I had to go out on a limb and commit wargaming heresy, I would bet that this is because the great majority purchasers of the CC and SMG phenomona WEREN'T your traditional hex/counter/turn wargamer. Those games appealed to Joe Q. Public and as much as the traditional wargamers lament the apparant demise of their chosen hobby every year, deep down inside the last thing they want to see is the common man encroach upon the boundaries of their sacred "elitist" hobby.

Why???

The answer is really simple. IMO, for years the hardcore wargamer had a simple advantage over his many opponents in that they "knew" the odds or all the quirks of the hex/counter/turn games. This knowledge of statistics, arcane rules, etc were the difference between the great wargamer and your journeyman wargamer.

I think what you fundamentally overlook here is that both traditional games and "fluid" games like AA are statistic driven, as is real world tactics.

The knowledge of the exact probabilities is not always useful.

If you have an even moderate randomness factor involved, then it doesn't matter whether you understand your base probabilities precisely or whether you estimate them and are wrong by 10%. It doesn't matter enough for the outcome of the battle. The brainpower is better spent elsewhere.

Now, that doesn't mean that all traitional games have the right balance between probabilities and randomness.

In particular I feel TOAW has not enough randomness (the outcome follows probabilities too often, in particular for the huge-stack attacks), and CM is far too random from it's stupid giving of orders to units that were not ordered by the player.

But this doesn't make "fluid" games like AA fundamentally better.

That is why AA or TC is superior to hex/counter/turn. Making decisions when you have hours to review each and every variation and permutation of counters is fine and dandy. With enough time, 1 out of a 1000 chimps will type out Dicken's "Great Expectations" also. But put a time limit on that decision making process...where decisions are made with imperfect information...and you get quite a different result. I kind have the view that hex/counter/turn games are something were everything goes clockwork like the German train and mobilization schedule in WWI. There are really no suprises and everything is mechanical. Of course the reality is quite different - as the saying goes, no plan survives first enemy contact. Unfortunately hex/counter/turn can't recreate that most important aspect of warfare, which is why AA or TC are IMO the gold standard in wargaming today.

I think what you really want is a limit on how much time both players agree on spending thinking and optimizing moves.

In CM in particular people do a lot of microoptimizations to plot movement paths to the mm to control cover, and that costs a lot of time, and if you don't enjoy it, it is better that both players agree on a limit.

What you want is reduce the value of time spent in microoptimizations and increase the value of higher level decisions, but you don't want it by convention, you want the game to hide all detail that is useful for the microoptimizer.

I don't think that works. I am sure I could microoptimize the hell out of AA.

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The main argument, while acceptable to me, hinges on the basis of board game design. And while the elements of innovation are similar they are not the same. To translate Go(and indeed any of the boardgames listed) to computer literally is to rob it of much of their enjoyment, as it reduces the player part to routinely pressing buttons and waiting for his opponent to do likewise. Boardgames are designed to be played face to face over a table top, that is their nature, a computer game is not.

I think the role of the computer as a rules lawyer is overstated and it's ability to involve the players is under emphasised. I feel that most of the success of contemporary board game design is limiting down time (ie people sitting around just watching) and increasing player involvement.

to me,computer games do this when they introduce some form of tension in the game play. Combat Mission does this by giving both players the same movie with each player aware he is not seeing what the other player is seeing and maybe also what he is seeing. The object of the game play is then to manipulate that movie to his benifit and his opponents detriment. How well is he doing this? Well he never really knows, but experience and ability count. However the turn nature means that the player must again become a routine button presser and the tesion is lost.

By introducing a real time continuum the button pressing no longer becomes routine. It is only required when needed and the buttons required depend on what is to be done. Furthermore the player is once again manipulating the movie. It is his decisions and ability that determine what is shown and when.

Finally, I think people who critique real time games such Highway to the Reich as number puzzles should go online (with the demo even) against a human opponent. There it becomes more like Go (which I also play). You are constantly trying to minimize your signature while leading your opponent into a trap. When and how you involve yourself is as critical as what you do.

And if you look at the most successfull computer games (in terms of audience share)reagrdless of genre, they are almost all real time.

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i really wanted to like Airborne Assault, but somehow i find it a real pain to play. i like the command system, continuous time, non-hex etc, but somehow it's just very dull. perhaps the combat system is a bit too vague, or sumfink. somehow i get the feeling that there isn't enough (at all?) tactics in the game. you just reposition the blobs and watch the dance of death. perhaps i just get too bored to give it a proper try.

[ April 04, 2007, 08:18 AM: Message edited by: undead reindeer cavalry ]

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PFMM - the sign of a successful strategy game design is longevity and fan following, not "market share", and certainly not market share as an entire genre. Eye candy can get you a popcorn game, but not one that any intelligent group of people will want to play repeatedly. Shooters and RPGs will always have the largest market share, but maybe 3 or 4 franchises in those spaces hold anyone longer than about month. You will simply never reach strategy gamers that way - they are the longest attention span segment of the mostly short attention span gamer culture.

And of course, you should think about the medium and not simply copy existing board games - although truth be told most successful strategy games did so or do so, some to an extreme degree (battleground and campaign series are examples). What you need to do is --- wait for it --- there it is again --- actual game design.

Game design is not a noun, it is a verb, active mood, game as a mere adverb. Design it. Don't expect the computer to do it for you, don't expect engineering to do it for you (through "realistic modeling"), don't expect the art department to do it for you, don't program it (until *after* you have designed it, I mean).

Design it. Select the subject, decide what the key levers of control shall be with a full understanding, beforehand, of how and why they are both the key aspects of the military match up being depicted, and will be interesting, rich, playable and fun, controls in the player's hands. Then chart out how the possibility space will expand, what the range of choices will be that players actually face, how single optima will be avoided and variety preserved, how the players will spend their time, how they will understand the immediate consequences of their choices, how they will look ahead, etc.

All before making a single decision as to game mechanics or method. Choose the mechanics and method to accomplish the game goals, not the other way around. Do not let the nature of the choices to be made depend on how the simulation tends to run in practice. Do not expect the players to learn how to predict consequences by "getting the hang of it", trial and error. Do not let it come as a surprise to you which emergent features of the program wind up dominating, or which player approaches tend to work best.

All of that is monte carlo game design - throw a bunch of bytes at the wall and hope something sticks. It leads to huge investments in highly engineered systems that suck. If the basic ideas are lousy, the implementation will not save them. If they are great, any merely solid, professional implementation of them will rock.

It is beyond ridiculous to preach to gamers that they ought to love game X or method Y. A great game design does not leave choice in the matter, or even taste - it grabs the player's interest, gives him immediate and intelligible things to try, but practically bottomless possible strategies and therefore replay potential.

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...the sign of a successful strategy game design is longevity and fan following, not "market share", and certainly not market share as an entire genre.
Well Jason by your definition Panther Games does have a successful strategy game design!

Longevity

COTA is the third Airborne Assault game in the series and I believe a fourth AA engine game is due out next year.

Fan Following

While it appears to me that Airborne Assault does NOT have a huge fan base, the games have sold well enough for Panther Games to justify making more of the same.

Now having said this, I too feel the "fun factor" is missing from COTA. Assuming there is a problem with the way AA games have been designed, I am not sure there is a reasonable way to fix the "fun factor" problem.

How do you increase the fan base and in the process sales for AA games? I have no clue.

I don't believe an Airborne Assault game will ever sell in huge numbers all by itself. I am not convinced a campaign system would be worth the effort and trying the route of working in tandem with another game engine, like Combat Mission Campaigns is trying to do doesn't seem feasible. While I personally think it would be cool to play a $75 Airborne Assault based game that allows you to drop down to Theater of War type of battles, it just ain't going to happen.

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Well, I actually did research, design and program a computer game back in the late eighties (18th & 19th century naval warfare), which was a failure mainly do to my game design, it was as boring as hell even to me.

If I had the chance again the pivotal issues I would resolve first would be an interesting and relevent scale, minimum routine and maximum interaction. Further, I would engineer as much visual content as possible, as that is what the punters come for, they stay for the game.

And if you examine any strategy genre the games that have longetivity, a sizeable population playing them and actual gaming address most of my above catagories. What is more, most of them are real time. Even the next iteration of Combat Mission is realtime, and the makers of it have stated again and again that we-go was a compromise they could do without.

To my mind, the only difference between a real time Combat Mission and Highway to the Reich is the scale and the visuals. If one was able to meld the two I'm sure you would be bankrupt, but you'd have a winner.

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Even the next iteration of Combat Mission is realtime, and the makers of it have stated again and again that we-go was a compromise they could do without.
Hi PFMM,

While what you wrote might be true, I think the we-go system suited the Combat Mission game engine just fine.

From a revenue point-of-view the problem for Battlefront with Combat Mission has always been "scope of effort". When you cover an entire front with your game there isn't much you can do to make more money from your efforts except to tack on additional features and hope people will pony up the cash for those features.

From a revenue/growth perspective Battlefront had no choice but to change direction. With the direction Battlefront is going I guess realtime makes the most sense.

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If you need to predict which kind of game design is fun and which isn't:

"Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals" by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman

The MIT Press (October 1, 2003)

Amazon

0262240459.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

And no, I don't have a chance to do it even with reading books. But it might help some other folks.

ETA: here's another one:

Amazon

[ April 06, 2007, 08:18 AM: Message edited by: Redwolf ]

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This may well be gilding the lily but a few last thoughts from me.

I think one of the apsects that this discussion was attempting to highlight is the contrast between the game and the system.

The system is merely that, a series of codified inputs followed by a series of codified outputs. Wether it provides entertainment or not is very much in the eye of the beholder, as the choices of the players have little to do with any entertainment provided, or much of anything for that matter. I can see why criticism of The Art of War III and The Highway to the Reich comes from the angle it does, as they are predominentley systems and any sort of inputs provide much the same ouputs, decisions often have little to do with anything and tend to be mandated by the constraints of the system.

The game on the other hand emphasise a player's choices within the context of a sytem and highlights the result. Wether the choice and result was either good, bad or mundane entertainment is produced and thought are provoked. Furthermore the choices a player will make are at the least interesting and very much dependent on the situation he has put himself in.

If one examines the state of the art of gaming, developers are still very much producing systems and hoping that the punters will see them as games. The art of the game has a long way to go.

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Originally posted by PFMM:

If one examines the state of the art of gaming, developers are still very much producing systems and hoping that the punters will see them as games. The art of the game has a long way to go.

There's an interesting article in the latest ACM communications about game design and immersion.
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  • 4 weeks later...
Originally posted by Willard:

For what it is worth...

http://www.wargamer.com/articles/readerschoice_awards_2006/

*Of course I it won't be difficult to guess who will say that the above is worth nothing.

What I find interesting is how much followship COTA can assemble, given that it is a wargame in an entirely obscure theater.

Over at gamesquad a similar poll (wargames only, unlike on the "wargamer" smile.gif ) had the two real-time, auto-formation games on top, too - COTA and AATF.

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Originally posted by Redwolf:

What I find interesting is how much followship COTA can assemble, given that it is a wargame in an entirely obscure theater.

Redwolf, 'we' are wondering the same thing. I think the fans of the Airborne Assault series are tooting the horns the loudest because we really think we have found the next generation of wargaming, and we want (nay, implore) the rest of the wargaming community to give it a try.

Being a long time hex gamer, I started out as just a guy looking for a good game on Market Garden before going on a tour of the Netherlands a few years back. Although wary of the RTS stigma, 'Highway to the Reich' seemed like the best thing out there on the subject, so I bought it.

Now, I doubt I'll gaver go back to IGOUGO hex based games and to boot, I've managed to worm my way to head up the Data Design team for the development of the next release in the series covering the Ardennes Offensive (now in beta testing.) If you're a fan of the Bulge, I ask that you head over to the Matrix Games public forums and take a look at the 'Battles from the Bulge' screenshots and AAR's that are showing up. I guarantee you have never experienced the Bulge (or Crete, Greece, Holland) like this before.

Just a note, I'm not an employee of Panther Games, nor do I forsee any financial gain whatsoever from my efforts. Just like developing CM scenarios for HSG a few years back, it's simply a labor of Love.

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I'm siding with simovitch on this issue. I do think that COTA points the way of the future. Pausable real-time is the way to go. And I really don't see it as an RTS any more than ATF/BCT is. Both operate essentially the same way as far as time is concerned.

I do think that COTA/RDOA could benefit from having more granular control in spots. It's the lack of control that makes it so fascinating for me. It puts the player in a certain "position" on the battlefield. Much like CM does, you can't control every aspect of your units, and fortunately for both have in my opinion the two best AI's out there to simulate your subordinate's actions.

I'll fade out and post again in a year or two ;-D

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Well, I like IGOYOUGO least, but I have to say that I prefer WEGO over pauseable real time.

What I want is competitive play in tournaments (or ladders), and for adults with jobs and all that stuff PBEM is the way to go.

I also have the feeling that AA is a very intuition driven game. In any game, it is better to learn it so well that you don't make much use of higher brain functions once the game is underway. However, AA is clearly more so. What I am afraid is the time required to learn it well enough, only then to maybe run out of community or new games.

Now, since CM:SF goes both pauseable real time and WEGO, including PBEM, I wonder whether that would be possible for AA. The lack of waypoints and artillery planning gets in the way, but that doesn't seem to be unfixable.

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Well, admittedly, there aren't many user developed scenarios for the series. On the other hand, I have been a beta tester since 2001 and I have yet to personally play and exhaust all the possibilities in the included set of scenarios.

One of the main differences between replayability between AA and CM is CM's vast respository of scenarios (I have something like a collection of 4,000). Each scenario is a brand new problem. With AA, the set of maps is smaller than the set of scenarios. After a while, you do get familiar with the maps. This can be either positive or negative. Positive if you just want to dive in and play; negative if you would like to study a new terrain situation and find new opportunities.

For those with ground combat concepts, the series is fairly approachable. You can be playing pretty quickly without having to master the full depth of the game. In fact, despite the many rich orders available, 80% of the game can be played by just using ATTACK and DEFEND. It is much more important to have a good plan for your battle than a lot of finess with the complete set of orders and parameters.

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Yeah, markshot, that's the other one. Exploration not of tactics - of situations.

Most people here know that the CMx1 series turned sour on me because of the aggressive tendency to deploy underdeveloped mechanisms and not fix them. Every time that there is some reaction needed for realism (such as what does units do under fire, the command delay, vehicle turn and bog rates etc.), BFC deployed some half-baken mechanism that is IMHO worse than doing nothing, or deploying a simplified mechanism (example: just cancel user orders on too much pressure instead of ordering unrealistic new orders).

Since then I am looking for a new game to dig into, with TacOps

filling the void for a long time and TOAW hovering all along but never

making a "breakthrough" (TOAW was in fact my very first wargame).

AA is a prime wargame that does what it does great.

But there are fundamental things that AA doesn't do:

</font>

  • As mentioned in my last post, I need/want PBEM (I would be curious whether AA has any competitive play like a ladder going on, BTW).</font>
  • One other great thing about CM was/is that a bazillion of scenarios is available, and many designers have multiple scenarios. That is important because you have to be able to "trust" your scenario and a known-good developer provides trust without going to the attick to dig out some obscure book that happens to mention that fight.</font>
  • CM isn't all of WW2 in one game, but each game has about 1/3rd of WW2's major tank-involving ground combat modeled, together covering about 80%.</font>

CM also assembled a large community because there were many things to do:
</font>
  • "Graphical" people could just watch the show and/or provide mods.</font>
  • Kids with the attention span of a caffeinated gnat could do TCP with 1 minute order phase, and many of them could be convinced to do PBEM later after they got hooked and wanted to beat the "big guns".</font>
  • Daddy brings his kids to bed, ignores his wife, and does his PBEM moves.</font>

That brings in a critical mass of players that is very useful for all aspects of gaming.

For those interested, I also have a thread about community issues and modding here on gamesqaud (that's modern for WFHQ):

http://www.gamesquad.com/forums/programming/66847-hackable-wargame-making-money-off-engine.html

%%

AA misses most of this. Most of what I write above isn't actually concerned with what is happening on the battlefield. There is no question that AA does gameplay very well. But it only attracts one kind of community, and it doesn't allow you to explore situations. Competitive play is hapered by lack of PBEM and (since only one kind of community is attracked) by lack of players. At least from what I can see.

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Jason,

I fully understand what your statement means, but I just do not agree.

In my case, I played the game, RDOA, heavily for 3-9 months and lost quite consistently (yes, even after being invited to beta test). Of course, I had only just got the hang of CM and hadn't a clue about larger scale ground combat (former flight simmer). So, I can say without a doubt that poor ill conceived plans result in defeat in most scenarios. Well conceived plans that exploit terrain features, timing, strength of various weapons systems, differential LOS, and day/night visibility, ... are much more likely to produce victories. Having authored two gaming guides for the series, I am satisfied that there is a causal relationship between strategy and outcome.

Immersion is a very subjective aspect of gaming as is enjoyment. One can well argue about modeling results of tactical engagements or if the results of operational engagements reflect likely realistic or historic outcomes. But debating immersion and enjoyment is a waste of time. I accept that you do not find the series or immersive and find nothing to enjoy in it ... I wouldn't even consider disputing your position.

PS: However, I do hope you don't feel the need to be insulting or degrade me for liking the game or disagreeing with you. As far as I can tell, I accorded you as much respect in this thread as I can. As I have stated previously, I've learned much from you and CM was so much more enjoyable for me due to what you taught me. Thanks.

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Except it is not my statement. I am quoting Peterk.

Not subjective, not one man's opinion, not gust-non-dis. Never even mentioned "immersion" either - the issue is clear intelligible choices with clear intelligible effects to create a real move and counter strategy tree.

No, some decisions having better outcomes than others does not remotely suffice for that. The game should not turn on how deeply zen the players grock the statistical midpoints of a modeler's nightmare. It should clearly reflect their choices and they should know exactly why it turned out the way it did. And the answer can't be something buried in the game engine they discovered from the outcome - it has to be "I tried X but you found a great counter with Y, and that wrecked my plan".

Notice, they are not talking to the game designer or an engineer, but each other. The outcome has to turn in foreseeable ways on the mutual choices of the commanders.

Otherwise, you might as well play craps.

Simulation is not strategy.

Immersion is not game play.

A programming preference or way to handle time is not game design.

The game in question simply is not designed at all, and it shows.

But don't argue with me about it. Tell Peterk he is wrong and should have beaten his head against that unpromising stone wall for nine months.

But first, follow the darn directions, and spend one evening playing Puerto Rico and another playing a modern GMT card driven game (like Paths of Glory or Napoleonic Wars). Because otherwise, you haven't the slightest idea what tradition is smoking you like a cheap cigar.

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