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Don Maddox on "Should Players be Limited to Historical Tac..

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Anonymous
February 10, 2005 2:24:13 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Hi,

WarfareHQ's Don Maddox wrote an interesting starting point for a
discussion in the following article :

http://www.warfarehq.com/page_left_column.php?content=a...

.... but he didn't stop there - he asked (and got) the opinion of a
veritable who's who of current wargaming.

Contributions from : David Heath, Tim Brooks, Major H., John Tiller,
Don Greenwood, Charlie Kibler, Eric Weider, Richard Berg, Ron Dockal,
Scott Hamilton, Pat Proctor and Jim Werbaneth (sure hope I didn't miss
anyone here with my copy&paste)

Great reading material.

And as usual, I've got an opinion too :) 

I'm not sure I agree with his 2 extremes of gamer-types. On one hand
the gamer who places the emphasis on playability and doesn't mind
a-historical stuff on the other hand the minutiae player who likes his
wargames super-detailed and historically accurate.

Maybe I'm asking too much, but I want great, simple playability in
combination with historical accuracy. I don't want to be burdened with
micro-management, I want the computer to take care of that while
maintaining historical correctness but not rigidity. Historically
possible What-if's are an integral part of the gaming experience as
there's no point in gaming a battle and only wanting it to unfold as it
did IRL - I'd rather read a battle account then.

Oh, and I want trucks placed in the path of Pzkw's IV getting vaporized
instantly - the game should take care of that.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 11:26:38 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg wrote:
> And in that small, one-hex detour, we find our old pal, The Gamey
> Tactic.

Just hours after having started the thread - and taking the moral high
ground by claiming to eschew gamey tactics - I posted about a gamey
tactic I just discovered in the COTA engine ... seems like my predator
subconscious is more likely to go for the "do whatever it takes to win
route" - in the age old battle beteen brain and gut, gut often wins :) 

> My take on this, though, is that it's the responsibility of the game
> designer to preclude this sort of thing with any of a half-dozen
simple
> expedients.

Problem is - as with most programs or designs in general - users will
find ever more devious ways to circumvent your design intentions. John
Tiller formulated it beautifully as "design the perfect pencil, and the
user will stick it up his nose and declare it an imperfect design as it
will allow him to kill himself" - or words to that effect.

> What really amazes me is how many game designers let
> players get away with this bullshit.

Sometimes you have to weigh the design issue : the positive addition
for all gamers if a certain feature is included vs. the possible gamey
usuage by some. It's a question that is not limited to games. It's the
same tightrope Microsoft has to walk : Design a secure system, but make
it accessible - design a complicated system, but make it simple to use.
<sigh> it's the same issue we face here at work too ... and it ain't
easy and as always : hindsight is perfect, but at the moment something
was decided it usually isn't so clear-cut

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 1:11:45 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Although an old topic, it's one that I don't think will ever lie down.

I usually consider myself well and truly on the "realism/no gamey tactics"
side of the fence but I can remember one particularly tight Steel Panthers
game where things weren't so clear cut.

I had to know if a particular enemy tank had "used up" all its op fire so I
bought up an truck-towed anti-tank gun (that I was planning to move anyway)
and deployed it out of line-of-sight of the enemy tank in question. Then,
instead of leaving the towing vehicle in the drop-off hex (where it was
safe), or moving it to the rear by the shortest route (which was also safe),
I made a small, one-hex detour into the line-of-sight of the enemy tank to
see if any op-fire occured.

I remember justifying it to myself at the time by something like "Well, the
driver could have misjudged the safe route back" or "Moving onto the road
meant he could get back quicker so maybe the driver decided to risk it".
Strictly speaking, the situation was not "unrealistic" in that it recreated
something that could reasonably have happened on any battlefield. I _was_
using the truck in its historical role, not as some sort of suicidal decoy.
Still, I think most will agree that I violated the spirit, if not the
letter, of the "no using trucks as recce or to draw op-fire" agreement I had
with my opponent.

But, in this particular case, I suspect I'd do it again if I had to.

Cheers,

Andy
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 1:11:46 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <cugill$vcr$1@lust.ihug.co.nz>, andybrown@somewhere.in.nz
says...

> Although an old topic, it's one that I don't think will ever lie down.
>
> I usually consider myself well and truly on the "realism/no gamey tactics"
> side of the fence but I can remember one particularly tight Steel Panthers
> game where things weren't so clear cut.
>
> I had to know if a particular enemy tank had "used up" all its op fire so I
> bought up an truck-towed anti-tank gun (that I was planning to move anyway)
> and deployed it out of line-of-sight of the enemy tank in question. Then,
> instead of leaving the towing vehicle in the drop-off hex (where it was
> safe), or moving it to the rear by the shortest route (which was also safe),
> I made a small, one-hex detour into the line-of-sight of the enemy tank to
> see if any op-fire occured.

And in that small, one-hex detour, we find our old pal, The Gamey
Tactic.

My take on this, though, is that it's the responsibility of the game
designer to preclude this sort of thing with any of a half-dozen simple
expedients.

In my experience 90% of the Gamey Tactics out there involve a fairly
obvious problem; putting hordes of dispensable "cannon-fodder" vehicles
at the disposal of the player, to be used as impromptu recon elements,
or to soak up enemy shells, or to serve as a handy chair to be twitched
behind a retreating player to momentarily vex his pursuers. What really
amazes me is how many game designers let players get away with this
bullshit.

What should have happened to Mr. Brown's truck in the above scenario?

If I were designing a game, I would implement a rule that any unarmed /
unloaded carrier vehicle that came within the LOS (or X distance) of an
enemy unit would immediately explode, *without* revealing the presence
of any enemy units and *without* causing any enemy unit to expend
ammunition or time. Coupled with the fact that I would set quite high
VP values for trucks (they are important assets, and the Colonel is
going to bust you down to PFC if you *use his precious trucks as target
drones*...), the practice of moving these behind-the-lines vehicles up
into combat would cease immediately. So in Mr. Brown's case, his truck
would have mysteriously gone up in flames, without benefiting him in any
way, and he would have new respect for the idea that such assets need to
be carefully protected, not sent off into the front lines.



--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 5:25:31 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <1108139198.903180.242320@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > My take on this, though, is that it's the responsibility of the game
> > designer to preclude this sort of thing with any of a half-dozen
> simple
> > expedients.
>
> Problem is - as with most programs or designs in general - users will
> find ever more devious ways to circumvent your design intentions. John
> Tiller formulated it beautifully as "design the perfect pencil, and the
> user will stick it up his nose and declare it an imperfect design as it
> will allow him to kill himself" - or words to that effect.

I dunno. How many designers even *try*? My experience has been that
for every designer who makes an attempt to recognize the fact that
transport can't be used as recon, or mobile roadblocks, or handy shot-
sinks, there are ten designers who just shovel the trucks out there as
if trucks are exactly like scout cars or infantry or tanks - able to
spot, proper targets for the enemy, costing time and ammunition to shoot
at - except that they're plentiful and disposable!

> > What really amazes me is how many game designers let
> > players get away with this bullshit.
>
> Sometimes you have to weigh the design issue : the positive addition
> for all gamers if a certain feature is included vs. the possible gamey
> usuage by some.

The trouble is that we can all - off the top of our heads - think up a
dozen strategies to deal with something like the "trucks" issue, none of
which would affect the *proper* use of transport vehicles at all, and
most of which would preclude their use as BIC Disposable Scout Cars:

(1) Have the trucks "disappear" once they unload, a la the boardgame
PANZER COMMANDER.

(2) Have the trucks "disappear" if they come within range of an enemy
unit - without costing "shots" or revealing the enemy.

(3) Remove the ability of trucks to spot completely.

(4) Just ignore trucks except when they're transporting passengers.

(5) Abstract the trucks entirely, and don't represent them as separate
units.

(6) Make trucks properly expensive from a VP perspective, so losing
them means losing the scenario (entirely accurate, since it's the
Colonel who "owns" these trucks who's going to pass out the VPs in the
real world anyhow).

(7) <your ideas here>

(8) All / some of the above.



--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 9:20:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> Maybe I'm asking too much, but I want great, simple playability in
> combination with historical accuracy. I don't want to be burdened with
> micro-management, I want the computer to take care of that while
> maintaining historical correctness but not rigidity. Historically
> possible What-if's are an integral part of the gaming experience as
> there's no point in gaming a battle and only wanting it to unfold as it
> did IRL - I'd rather read a battle account then.
>
> Oh, and I want trucks placed in the path of Pzkw's IV getting vaporized
> instantly - the game should take care of that.
>
> Greetz,
>
> Eddy Sterckx
>

That's me, yes SIR ! :)  I like freedom in movement and strategy...I don't like to follow
someone else screw ups ...it's been done already.

Peter
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 11:48:21 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:MPG.1c76d0b3b7d38e7f98a18b@news-east.giganews.com:

> In article <1108139198.903180.242320@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
> eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...
>
>> > My take on this, though, is that it's the responsibility of the
game
>> > designer to preclude this sort of thing with any of a half-dozen
>> simple
>> > expedients.
>>
>> Problem is - as with most programs or designs in general - users will
>> find ever more devious ways to circumvent your design intentions.
John
>> Tiller formulated it beautifully as "design the perfect pencil, and
the
>> user will stick it up his nose and declare it an imperfect design as
it
>> will allow him to kill himself" - or words to that effect.
>
> I dunno. How many designers even *try*?

As wargame design is mostly a labour of love - I'd guess most of them.
I'm not saying they're all entirely successfull :) 

I'm talking computer wargames here - the boardgame world did suffer from
cookie cutter designs made by "teams" with little passion for it - but
apart from the Battleground engine I'm not seeing that in the current pc
wargame world. If a patch is released usually over half the items on the
"fixed" list are game-feature enhancements. Communication technology has
enabled game designers to be in closer proximity to their customers
allowing them to fix things. Compare this to reader-feedback cards we
had with the boardgames in the seventies.

>> > What really amazes me is how many game designers let
>> > players get away with this bullshit.
>>
>> Sometimes you have to weigh the design issue : the positive addition
>> for all gamers if a certain feature is included vs. the possible
gamey
>> usuage by some.
>
> The trouble is that we can all - off the top of our heads - think up a
> dozen strategies to deal with something like the "trucks" issue

Correct, but I was talking about designs in general - and computer
designs in particular - and if a "truck" issue crops up in a computer
game these days you're very likely to get a patch to fix it. I know what
you're going to say : that such trivial issues should have been correct
on release 1.0 and from a customer pov you're right - I expect that too
- that's why the developers who get this right can expect my support
(and my money too). My point was that good design intention sometimes
have dire consequences that weren't or couldn't have been thought of at
the time.

To continue the "truck" example : it might have been the intention to
punish the loss of trucks by deducting mucho VP's - only to find out in
testing that the enemy player would only target trucks with arty and air
as they were easier targets cost/benefit wise then Pzkw's - so to
enhance realism the VP's for trucks destroyed were lessened resulting in
.... you get the point. Snowballing side-effects - happens all the time,
been there, done that :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 11:48:22 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Xns95FADC9B9CEB2eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.42>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> To continue the "truck" example : it might have been the intention to
> punish the loss of trucks by deducting mucho VP's - only to find out in
> testing that the enemy player would only target trucks with arty and air
> as they were easier targets cost/benefit wise then Pzkw's

But ... this is exactly what's wanted! An enemy - if given the
opportunity - *should* target trucks with arty and air, precisely
because they *are* easier and better targets than tanks. That's my
point, exactly; assigning trucks a realistic VP allowance (coupled with
making them appropriately shitty spotters and cannon fodder) means that
the player is realistically channeled into effective, real-world tactics
.... like making sure that the enemy doesn't ever get an opportunity to
target his unprotected and essential trucks.

And the magic of computer games allows us to undertake more complex VP
calculations. For example, perhaps we set rules which, in effect, say
that a truck killed while in enemy LOS/LOF (IE, which was
inappropriately sent in harm's way) is worth 100 VP, but a truck killed
out of enemy LOS/LOF is worth only 20 VP.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 2:08:40 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> (2) Have the trucks "disappear" if they come within range of an enemy
> unit - without costing "shots" or revealing the enemy.

I like this one: it solves the "recon truck" problem, but at the same time
allows to the player to know that a certain area is "dangerous", since you
sent vehicles there and they disappeared. Nature and strenght of the menace
remain still unknown. And, if you send around trucks alone, sometimes they
could disappear anyway, simulating mechanical breackdown, desertion, attacks
by civilians or other unknows.
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 5:51:59 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

On Fri, 11 Feb 2005 10:01:14 -0500, Giftzwerg
<giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

>If I were designing a game, I would implement a rule that any unarmed /
>unloaded carrier vehicle that came within the LOS (or X distance) of an
>enemy unit would immediately explode, *without* revealing the presence
>of any enemy units and *without* causing any enemy unit to expend
>ammunition or time. Coupled with the fact that I would set quite high
>VP values for trucks (they are important assets, and the Colonel is
>going to bust you down to PFC if you *use his precious trucks as target
>drones*...), the practice of moving these behind-the-lines vehicles up
>into combat would cease immediately. So in Mr. Brown's case, his truck
>would have mysteriously gone up in flames, without benefiting him in any
>way, and he would have new respect for the idea that such assets need to
>be carefully protected, not sent off into the front lines.

Rude but effective. But then you'd have players complaining "why
my trucks went up in flames for no reason?" all over Usenet and your
support boards.

What I'd do:

- Give fairly high VP value to trucks
- Put empty truck recon ability to practically zero (making them
effectively blind) (which is realistic after all)
- Make Opportunity fire for defender selectable: OpFire vs Hard
targets (tanks) yes/no; OpFire vs Soft targets (infantry) yes/no;
OpFire vs. empty transports (trucks) yes/no. With selectable range at
which OpFire should be opened for any target type.
- How would defender AI "know" if the observed transport is
empty or full of infantry? Well, I'd make game cheat on this, so that
defending AI always "knows" if the truck is full or not.

Truck full => legit soft target => open fire => kill truck and
transporting infantry and score VPs for both
Truck empty => lame attempt at being gamey => trucks recon is
zero => hold fire; unless defending player chose setting that enables
opening fire on empty trucks; in that case => open fire => kill trucks
=> give VPs to defending player

This would eliminate described gamey tactics once for all.

O.
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 5:52:00 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <oonq01568g316a35d1dgfnj4n0cj3e52hg@4ax.com>, oleg@bug.hr
says...

> >If I were designing a game, I would implement a rule that any unarmed /
> >unloaded carrier vehicle that came within the LOS (or X distance) of an
> >enemy unit would immediately explode, *without* revealing the presence
> >of any enemy units and *without* causing any enemy unit to expend
> >ammunition or time. Coupled with the fact that I would set quite high
> >VP values for trucks (they are important assets, and the Colonel is
> >going to bust you down to PFC if you *use his precious trucks as target
> >drones*...), the practice of moving these behind-the-lines vehicles up
> >into combat would cease immediately. So in Mr. Brown's case, his truck
> >would have mysteriously gone up in flames, without benefiting him in any
> >way, and he would have new respect for the idea that such assets need to
> >be carefully protected, not sent off into the front lines.
>
> Rude but effective. But then you'd have players complaining "why
> my trucks went up in flames for no reason?" all over Usenet and your
> support boards.

To these folks, I would cheerfully respond, "No reason? What an
appallingly stupid remark. Your trucks were destroyed for the most
flagrantly obvious reason imaginable; you ignorantly sent them into a
combat zone. Stop doing this incredibly idiotic thing, and they'll stop
exploding. Moron. See pages 232-254 in your manual. If you can read,
that is."

> What I'd do:
>
> - Give fairly high VP value to trucks
> - Put empty truck recon ability to practically zero (making them
> effectively blind) (which is realistic after all)

Yup. These two ideas practically eliminate the impetus to engage in a
little "truck recon.'

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 11:19:01 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <gvjPd.41608$2h5.24592@tornado.fastwebnet.it>,
reckall@hotmail.com says...

> > (2) Have the trucks "disappear" if they come within range of an enemy
> > unit - without costing "shots" or revealing the enemy.
>
> I like this one: it solves the "recon truck" problem, but at the same time
> allows to the player to know that a certain area is "dangerous", since you
> sent vehicles there and they disappeared. Nature and strenght of the menace
> remain still unknown. And, if you send around trucks alone, sometimes they
> could disappear anyway, simulating mechanical breackdown, desertion, attacks
> by civilians or other unknows.

Including an issue that games almost never address; the fact that there
would be a great many soldiers - of both sides - wandering about some of
these battlefields, unattached to the formations carrying out the
operations the scenario depicts. Security, police, traffic control,
service troops, supply parties, ration parties ...

Games tend to assume that the battlefield is empty, except for the units
participating in the battle being modeled, so it's always safe to send
unescorted trucks rambling throughout the AO so long as they don't cross
into the area (almost always clearly known...) where the enemy is
deployed. In real life, force protection and security is a major
concern - and not just in areas like Iraq where no "conventional" enemy
formations are found.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 12:30:51 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <gvjPd.41608$2h5.24592@tornado.fastwebnet.it>,
"Vincenzo Beretta" <reckall@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > (2) Have the trucks "disappear" if they come within range of an enemy
> > unit - without costing "shots" or revealing the enemy.
>
> I like this one: it solves the "recon truck" problem, but at the same time
> allows to the player to know that a certain area is "dangerous", since you
> sent vehicles there and they disappeared. Nature and strenght of the menace
> remain still unknown. And, if you send around trucks alone, sometimes they
> could disappear anyway, simulating mechanical breackdown, desertion, attacks
> by civilians or other unknows.

I fall on the "what seems to be the problem?!" side of this fence.

The concept of "solving the recon truck problem" just doesn't make sense
to me -- what problem?! If I'm a ranking officer and I want to tell
someone "private, take this truck and go scout XYZ location and report
back", and he manages to do so without getting killed, that's good use
of forces/tactics, right?

A game-play problem might be the abstraction that a truck can "report
back" without having to return alive, but that's just "...and report by
radio everything you see."

People don't like to think about it, but sometimes a soldier's orders
are "go into this situation and die, so that the rest of us can live and
we can win the war." In a war game, as in war, the object is to win --
if you occasionally have to sacrifice units in order to win, so be it.

Nobody balks at me sending 10 infantry against your 8 infantry, even
though I have a pretty good idea that a few of my infantry are going to
die. Why do they balk at my sending a guy in a truck to recon?

When I was young, playing with plastic soldiers ("green men"), I "loaded
up a troop truck" with "cases of explosives". As it turned out, I was
at the top of a small rise, so my truck didn't even need a driver -- we
just rolled it down the hill into the enemy units, who opened fire and
blasted the bejebeeze out of said truck. My opponent (ok, "playmate" :) 
was very upset, but I STILL think it was a brilliant strategy, as I was
behind, before this move.

Misc "Ok, you guys' job is to storm this beach and die taking out as
many guys as possible so that the people behind you can get to those
pillboxes and take those out."

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 5:28:22 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Perhaps the truck drivers should refuse to go, which is what would
happen if you ordered them to drive into the open to draw fire.

Dav Vandenbroucke
davanden at cox dot net
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 5:44:33 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Misc-4A9260.09305112022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
shoes*PlayNaked.com says...

> > > (2) Have the trucks "disappear" if they come within range of an enemy
> > > unit - without costing "shots" or revealing the enemy.
> >
> > I like this one: it solves the "recon truck" problem, but at the same time
> > allows to the player to know that a certain area is "dangerous", since you
> > sent vehicles there and they disappeared. Nature and strenght of the menace
> > remain still unknown. And, if you send around trucks alone, sometimes they
> > could disappear anyway, simulating mechanical breackdown, desertion, attacks
> > by civilians or other unknows.
>
> I fall on the "what seems to be the problem?!" side of this fence.
>
> The concept of "solving the recon truck problem" just doesn't make sense
> to me -- what problem?! If I'm a ranking officer and I want to tell
> someone "private, take this truck and go scout XYZ location and report
> back", and he manages to do so without getting killed, that's good use
> of forces/tactics, right?

I agree; a player should be able to explore this tactic, but it should
work *realistically*. Which is to say, not at all.

First off, the truck probably isn't under your command in the first
place; it's an attached transport unit that belongs to a higher command.
So the truck drivers are going to tell you, "Sorry, sir, I'm under
orders from battalion, and The Old Man will have my ass if I don't haul
it back to the rear." So the truck never goes off on your spotting
mission.

Next, the truck driver knows precisely nothing about reconnaissance
work, hasn't got a radio, hasn't got a map, hasn't got <insert any of a
hundred other bits of skill and equipment that would make him even
marginally useful>. So even if he does go out, he finds nothing and has
no way to report his ignorance.

Finally, the least minion of the enemy kills your truck with the least
pugnacious weapon in his arsenal, so you never even find out what
happened to it.

> People don't like to think about it, but sometimes a soldier's orders
> are "go into this situation and die, so that the rest of us can live and
> we can win the war." In a war game, as in war, the object is to win --
> if you occasionally have to sacrifice units in order to win, so be it.

That's fine, but you're talking about a proper reconnaissance unit, not
a truck and driver.

I mean, come now; why would any army expend no small amount of effort
and treasure building and training specialized reconnaissance units if
they could just send out a deuce-and-a-half with a driver?

> Nobody balks at me sending 10 infantry against your 8 infantry, even
> though I have a pretty good idea that a few of my infantry are going to
> die. Why do they balk at my sending a guy in a truck to recon?

Because it won't work, and you'll get busted down to private if you try
it.

But the game should allow you to try it, it should just (a) not work,
and (b) take you a long way towards losing the scenario.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 6:28:31 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> The trouble is that we can all - off the top of our heads - think up a
> dozen strategies to deal with something like the "trucks" issue, none of
> which would affect the *proper* use of transport vehicles at all, and
> most of which would preclude their use as BIC Disposable Scout Cars:

Each of your solutions would work fine for some types of
scenarios/situations but not for others. Since most email to a developer is
a problem report, the "others" is what we seem to hear about the most. :) 

Best regards, Major H.
tacops@mac.com
http://www.battlefront.com/
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 6:28:32 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <BE337CDA.7D1EB%tacops@mac.com>, tacops@mac.com says...

> > The trouble is that we can all - off the top of our heads - think up a
> > dozen strategies to deal with something like the "trucks" issue, none of
> > which would affect the *proper* use of transport vehicles at all, and
> > most of which would preclude their use as BIC Disposable Scout Cars:
>
> Each of your solutions would work fine for some types of
> scenarios/situations but not for others.

I'm sure that's true, but when the alternative is players collecting and
dispatching Truck Recon Companies (or similar nonsense...), the cost of
doing nothing becomes prohibitive. And there's no particular reason
that a designer needs to limit himself to one or two of the possible
solutions; the best approach would probably be a blending of (a)
ensuring that trucks aren't "disposable" in a VP sense, (b) recognizing
that trucks are almost worthless spotters, and (c) representing trucks
appearing in a forward area as trivially destroyed at no cost to the
enemy.

The effect should be that the player is under the same constraints as
the real-world commander; his superiors will cashier him if he misuses
and loses their precious transport, the trucks are useless in any role
except hauling stuff, and the enemy will expend no significant resources
wiping them out anytime they have the opportunity.

If the designer does his job well, a player who uses Truck Recon
Companies will find himself with no useful information, a pile of dead
trucks, and his performance in action harshly criticized - precisely
like a real-world commander who tried the same thing.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 8:04:03 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg wrote:

> In the context of gamey tactics, the only aspect of HTTR that
admitted
> to exploit by the player was the abstraction of supply. But even
there,
> I'm not sure it was possible to systematically take advantage of that
in
> any meaningful way. It was just an unrealistic fudge that cut both
> ways.

Well, it probably takes a *really* twisted brain to come up with a
"gamey" tactic in COTA - so I guess it's no coincidence I came up with
one :) 
I'm not going public with it, but I will award the title of "Battle
Bastard" to the first one to mention it here or on the COTA forum when
the game ships.

> HTTR was about the least gamey design I've seen so far. I'm
expecting
> COTA to be even better.

It is - a lot of effort is going into enhancing the engine both in
making it more realistic and in making it easier to manage. And the
scenario's are top - varied and beautifully designed - and devious :-).


> [And the list of scenarios posted a while back has me positively
> drooling; not only is my favorite wargame getting a new treatment,
but
> it's taking us to (arguably) the least-overdone theater of the war.]

My only worry here is - will Joe Wargamer follow - or does he *really*
only want yet another Normandy, Market/Garden or Bulge game.

I hope the change of scenery will attract those who want something new,
and the new engine as a whole will attract the old faithfull and get
some new recruits as well.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
February 12, 2005 10:58:37 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In message <Misc-4A9260.09305112022005@individual.net>, Miss Elaine Eos
<Misc@*your-shoes*PlayNaked.com> writes
>In article <gvjPd.41608$2h5.24592@tornado.fastwebnet.it>,
> "Vincenzo Beretta" <reckall@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> > (2) Have the trucks "disappear" if they come within range of an enemy
>> > unit - without costing "shots" or revealing the enemy.
>>
>> I like this one: it solves the "recon truck" problem, but at the same time
>> allows to the player to know that a certain area is "dangerous", since you
>> sent vehicles there and they disappeared. Nature and strenght of the menace
>> remain still unknown. And, if you send around trucks alone, sometimes they
>> could disappear anyway, simulating mechanical breackdown, desertion, attacks
>> by civilians or other unknows.
>
>I fall on the "what seems to be the problem?!" side of this fence.
>
>The concept of "solving the recon truck problem" just doesn't make sense
>to me -- what problem?! If I'm a ranking officer and I want to tell
>someone "private, take this truck and go scout XYZ location and report
>back", and he manages to do so without getting killed, that's good use
>of forces/tactics, right?
>
>A game-play problem might be the abstraction that a truck can "report
>back" without having to return alive, but that's just "...and report by
>radio everything you see."
>
>People don't like to think about it, but sometimes a soldier's orders
>are "go into this situation and die, so that the rest of us can live and
>we can win the war." In a war game, as in war, the object is to win --
>if you occasionally have to sacrifice units in order to win, so be it.
>
But that is not what this debate is about. For a start, truck drivers
were not generally trained to the degree required to face almost certain
death, and certainly not to make accurate observations under fire. Of
course there will be occasions where you have to order troops into
highly dangerous situations, and conceivably this might even apply to a
truck driver ("Listen, we've got to get this A/T gun into position to
cover the road, just drive like hell and pray, son").
But the situation we have been discussing is sacrificing a no-longer
useful unit for a very minor advantage. In real life nobody says "OK,
son, we won't need to move that A/T gun again in this battle, so we
don't need you any more. Why don't you go and drive across that open
field and when you get blown up we might spot one of the German tanks".
I have to say I don't like the idea of the "disappearing truck" solution
- the big problem is that this still allows you to learn useful
information, the fact that this area is under enemy fire, at little
cost.
We need to ask what it is in real life that prevents this sort of thing
happening. Well, for a start, in real life the trucks WILL be needed
again, and in fact without them the unit will be seriously reduced in
effectiveness. And any officer who casually sacrificed a driver for some
trivial benefit would be regarded poorly both by his superiors and by
his subordinates. You can imagine in a campaign that you could reflect
these effects - if you lose your trucks then the A/T unit is unavailable
in the next battle, and useless sacrifice reduces your chances of
promotion and the morale of your troops. But in a single battle I would
say that all these effects are exactly the sort of things that VPs are
meant to reflect. They are an abstraction of how "well" you have done,
and a result which means your unit is unavailable, your men hate you and
your commander regards you with disdain s a poor result. So it seems to
me that the VP route is the one to use, though I don't deny Eddy's point
that we need to watch out for unintended consequences.
--
John Secker
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 12:53:32 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <algwmiJt$lDCFwaR@secker.demon.co.uk>,
John Secker <john@secker.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> >People don't like to think about it, but sometimes a soldier's orders
> >are "go into this situation and die, so that the rest of us can live and
> >we can win the war." In a war game, as in war, the object is to win --
> >if you occasionally have to sacrifice units in order to win, so be it.

> But that is not what this debate is about. For a start, truck drivers
> were not generally trained to the degree required to face almost certain
> death, and certainly not to make accurate observations under fire. Of

Kind of. In a war game where it is game-mechanically possible to do
this, then the designers have decided that truck-drivers have that
ability. You can cry "oversight!", but I think that it's not such
advanced game design that, if the designers wanted different units to
have different recon abilities, they could have specified that -- it
seems an intentional thing on their part.

I'm also struck by the fact that BOTH TEAMS have the ability to do this
-- it's not like it's an unfair advantage to one or the other. *PLUS*,
it's just plain Bad Strategic Planning(tm) on the part of the tank-group
commander to not take into account the fact that his group may be
blockaded by a single token. As an abstraction, an RL-general who
failed to take into account such simple defenses *SHOULD* lose the war!

> But the situation we have been discussing is sacrificing a no-longer
> useful unit for a very minor advantage.

I read the discussion to be "...to such a major advantage that it turns
the tide of the war/game" -- and that's exactly what I'm talking about.

> In real life nobody says "OK,
> son, we won't need to move that A/T gun again in this battle, so we
> don't need you any more. Why don't you go and drive across that open
> field and when you get blown up we might spot one of the German tanks".

No, they'd say "Soldier, get this tank to the other end of that field,
park it and get your ass back here pronto! MOVE IT, SOLDIER!" <G> A
kind & caring officer might add "...and don't get yourself killed --
that's an order! -- unless you want to be facing a court martial!" ;) 
The military is not your typical office job, and War Is Not Pretty(tm).

> I have to say I don't like the idea of the "disappearing truck" solution
> - the big problem is that this still allows you to learn useful
> information, the fact that this area is under enemy fire, at little
> cost.

And yet, in a western, you'd think it clever if one guy put his hat on a
stick and waved it around the corner to see if anyone shot at it --
especially if it saved his life.

....Except, in a war-game, we're constantly hearing cries from the other
team "hey, I took great pains to hide in a good spot so I could shoot
that guy when he came around the corner, it's not fair that he gets to
find me out for the cost of a $4 Stetson..."

Remember that I started this with: I recognize that others feel
differently, but I fall on the "what's the big deal" side of this fence.
I'm not saying you and yours are wrong -- just that I don't like the
play that way. Maybe it's because I'm a sneaky & creative bastard at
hard, so I LIKE to use strategies that cost me little and get me an
advantage. <shrug> In fact, I like it so much, I like when my opponent
does a particularly clever play against me that is "sneaky and
underhanded" -- it's *WAR*, after all!

(For completeness: I don't like it that much when my opponent knows the
rules better than I do, and takes advantage of a loophole about which I
didn't know -- but if it's a clear case of "damn, I wish *I* would've
thought of that!" or "nicely played, I should've seen that coming", I
like it :) 

> We need to ask what it is in real life that prevents this sort of thing
> happening. Well, for a start, in real life the trucks WILL be needed
> again, and in fact without them the unit will be seriously reduced in
> effectiveness.

If, in the game, the "cost is small", then the cost is small, and that's
that. If the designers wanted to make "...but you have to finish with X
unit-points, or you lose", they would've added that to the victory
conditions. Again, this isn't such a complicated concept that it's just
overlooked by the typical game-designers.

What *WOULD* be kind of fun is to play your typical war-game as a
"campaign". Say you build your starting units with 450 points, then
fight a battle. Next time you & that guy play, you start with your
ending units, plus 50 build-points. This is a house-rule, of course,
but sounds like it might push things in the direction you are getting at.

> And any officer who casually sacrificed a driver for some
> trivial benefit would be regarded poorly both by his superiors and by
> his subordinates.

Agreed. I thought the gripe was when it wins the war, or turns the tide
of the war/game. If the benefit is small, then who cares if the other
player wants to throw away units?!

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 1:01:07 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <MPG.1c7826ad475d176998a191@news-east.giganews.com>,
Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > Nobody balks at me sending 10 infantry against your 8 infantry, even
> > though I have a pretty good idea that a few of my infantry are going to
> > die. Why do they balk at my sending a guy in a truck to recon?

> Because it won't work, and you'll get busted down to private if you try
> it.
>
> But the game should allow you to try it, it should just (a) not work,
> and (b) take you a long way towards losing the scenario.

Interestingly enough, not very many games are designed this way. I'm
going to go out on a limb and guess that the reason is that the
designers, after an awful lot of careful thought, decided that it
wouldn't be as much fun for enough people, and the company would lose
money.

My experience is that the people griping about such tactics are
typically the ones who lose to them. In fact, I can't recall ever
hearing [of] anyone say "you know, I really shouldn't be able to use
this strategy, but it's war, and you've got me over a barrel, and I want
to win, and this will do it for me, so..."

Meaning no offense, from this experience, I gather that the main
objectors to these kinds of strategies are those who would make poor
generals -- those who feel restricted by the "printed rules" and "inside
the box thinking", and who are unable to devise or foresee such
strategies and work them into their plans.

If your objection is "it's unrealistic" -- ok, I can go with that. So
you're playing an unrealistic game with weird abstractions. But that's
the game's fault, not that of your opponent who is creatively (and
sometimes brilliantly) playing within the rules. But then you have to
make the same objection about space-war games, too -- right? I mean,
traveling at warp speed to get to your opponent to then fire your photon
torpedos... give me a BREAK! Talk about "unrealistic"... ;) 

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 4:09:02 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Misc-F5798D.09532913022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
shoes*PlayNaked.com says...

> > But that is not what this debate is about. For a start, truck drivers
> > were not generally trained to the degree required to face almost certain
> > death, and certainly not to make accurate observations under fire. Of
>
> Kind of. In a war game where it is game-mechanically possible to do
> this, then the designers have decided that truck-drivers have that
> ability. You can cry "oversight!", but I think that it's not such
> advanced game design that, if the designers wanted different units to
> have different recon abilities, they could have specified that -- it
> seems an intentional thing on their part.

Right. They decided to punt. But that doesn't mean that punting was
the right thing to do.

> I'm also struck by the fact that BOTH TEAMS have the ability to do this
> -- it's not like it's an unfair advantage to one or the other. *PLUS*,
> it's just plain Bad Strategic Planning(tm) on the part of the tank-group
> commander to not take into account the fact that his group may be
> blockaded by a single token.

Ah. So it's the player's fault if the game represents reality as a
single truck-counter holding up a Panzer Battalion for a whole turn -
instead of just being destroyed *en passant*?

> As an abstraction, an RL-general who
> failed to take into account such simple defenses *SHOULD* lose the war!

Real-life general don't have to take such "defenses" into account,
because they're not "defenses" at all - except in poorly-designed
wargames where you can do gamey things.

> > In real life nobody says "OK,
> > son, we won't need to move that A/T gun again in this battle, so we
> > don't need you any more. Why don't you go and drive across that open
> > field and when you get blown up we might spot one of the German tanks".
>
> No, they'd say "Soldier, get this tank to the other end of that field,
> park it and get your ass back here pronto! MOVE IT, SOLDIER!" <G> A
> kind & caring officer might add "...and don't get yourself killed --
> that's an order! -- unless you want to be facing a court martial!" ;) 
> The military is not your typical office job, and War Is Not Pretty(tm).

What are you babbling about here?

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 4:37:55 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Misc-3A5F3D.10010713022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
shoes*PlayNaked.com says...

> > > Nobody balks at me sending 10 infantry against your 8 infantry, even
> > > though I have a pretty good idea that a few of my infantry are going to
> > > die. Why do they balk at my sending a guy in a truck to recon?
>
> > Because it won't work, and you'll get busted down to private if you try
> > it.
> >
> > But the game should allow you to try it, it should just (a) not work,
> > and (b) take you a long way towards losing the scenario.
>
> Interestingly enough, not very many games are designed this way. I'm
> going to go out on a limb and guess that the reason is that the
> designers, after an awful lot of careful thought, decided that it
> wouldn't be as much fun for enough people, and the company would lose
> money.

My suspicion is that it's simple laziness; paying attention to these
issues means additional complexities and trouble for the programmer, and
they prefer to just ignore the whole issue.

> My experience is that the people griping about such tactics are
> typically the ones who lose to them.

<laughter>

Brilliant observation; the Click & Twitch Tank Rush Crowd *likes* gamey
bullshit.

> Meaning no offense, from this experience, I gather that the main
> objectors to these kinds of strategies are those who would make poor
> generals -- those who feel restricted by the "printed rules" and "inside
> the box thinking", and who are unable to devise or foresee such
> strategies and work them into their plans.

Nonsense. Wargames are supposed to model *reality* as it pertains to
combat operations. If wargames reward with victory fools who use
strategies and tactics that would swiftly result in defeat in the real
world, then they're not modeling reality, they're modeling bullshit.

I think your point here is that players who exploit badly-constructed
loopholes in games to wring a little unfair advantage are to be lauded
for their ignorance of appropriate tactics. In truth, while they might
wrest some minor, transitory advantage in badly-constructed simulations,
they're training themselves in all the wrong tactics, and they'll get
their heads handed to them again and again and again against players who
know what they're doing, in games that don't allow them their measure of
nonsense.


> If your objection is "it's unrealistic" -- ok, I can go with that.

Of course this is our objection; gamey tactics are *always* unrealistic.

> So
> you're playing an unrealistic game with weird abstractions. But that's
> the game's fault,

Exactly.

> not that of your opponent who is creatively (and
> sometimes brilliantly) playing within the rules.

If your only concern is a juvenile desire to "win," then by all means;
consider these gamey exploits "brilliant." But if you're interested in
wargaming as a tool for exploring history, strategy, and tactics, then
it's better to put such things in their proper perspective.

In other words, calling out "B-13" and having your enemy lament, "You
sunk my battleship!" might be personally and emotionally satisfying, but
it doesn't mean you're Raizo Tanaka.

> But then you have to
> make the same objection about space-war games, too -- right? I mean,
> traveling at warp speed to get to your opponent to then fire your photon
> torpedos... give me a BREAK! Talk about "unrealistic"... ;) 

See: Kaufman Retrograde, Abolition Of In Tournament Play, STAR FLEET
BATTLES.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 5:38:49 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <MPG.1c7968924484b5df98a194@news-east.giganews.com>,
Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > not that of your opponent who is creatively (and
> > sometimes brilliantly) playing within the rules.

> If your only concern is a juvenile desire to "win," then by all means;
> consider these gamey exploits "brilliant." But if you're interested in
> wargaming as a tool for exploring history, strategy, and tactics, then
> it's better to put such things in their proper perspective.

In a war game, the measure of how well one has explored strategy and
tactics (I'll concede history :)  is whether or not one wins.

Every game has some flaw. The brilliant tactician/strategist is aware
of both the rules and the flaws/loopholes, and how they might be used by
the enemy, and factors that into his plan. The less-brilliant
tactician/strategist resorts to ad hom attacks ("juvenile desire to
'win'"?! ROFL!) when he is shown up by his superiors.

When playing a *GAME*, to use *GAMEY* tactics just makes sense (when
appropriate -- I mean, sometimes, they're useless.) Games come with set
of rules: you can do X, Y and Z, at cost N, M, and P and you can't A, B
or C. That's your universe. If you and your opponent want to agree
"let's also add these other restrictions", that's fine -- it's your game
and you should play how you find it fun -- but it strikes me as silly to
gripe that another "commander" (in the game), playing by the same rules
you played by, out-thought you by pulling "some cheap gamey trick."
That's just sour grapes and poor sportsmanship!

Is it "gamey tactics" to play loud rock & roll music outside your
intended captive's home until he caves in? I mean, that strategy would
never work on an army of American 20 yr olds -- it's really just taking
advantage of "a loophole in the system."

I call that "brilliant tactics."

You guys can be as purist as you want -- only making moves that were
actually made by some actual commander in some actual battle in history
-- that's cool by me. But I think it's ridiculous to suggest that
that's the only fun way to design a game. History is interesting, but
it's not *THAT* interesting, as to preclude other, more creatively
challenging, war-game types.

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 6:55:00 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> (b) recognizing
> that trucks are almost worthless spotters, and (c) representing trucks
> appearing in a forward area as trivially destroyed at no cost to the
> enemy.

OK for WWII. Not Ok for contemporary - i.e. Iraq today.

Best regards, Major H.
tacops@mac.com
http://www.battlefront.com/
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 6:55:01 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <BE34D48D.7D210%tacops@mac.com>, tacops@mac.com says...

> > (b) recognizing
> > that trucks are almost worthless spotters, and (c) representing trucks
> > appearing in a forward area as trivially destroyed at no cost to the
> > enemy.
>
> OK for WWII. Not Ok for contemporary - i.e. Iraq today.

The US Military uses unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks as
disposable recon units in Iraq today?

I mean that semi-seriously; while I'm sure there are modern US army
trucks and truckers who would be marginally useful as a spotter, and
have more of the requisite skills and equipment, even in a contemporary
game it would be absolutely wrong to represent trucks as having the same
abilities to conduct recon missions as a dedicated recon unit - and
absolutely wrong to model reality as serving up no penalties whatsoever
to a player who uses trucks in this fashion.

And ... come now. Force protection and convoy security has been an
ongoing nightmare in Iraq - even *without* the insane idea of sending
unarmed, unprotected trucks out to draw enemy fire.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 6:55:02 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <MPG.1c795f5cf04f82b398a192@news-east.giganews.com>,
Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

> In article <BE34D48D.7D210%tacops@mac.com>, tacops@mac.com says...
> > > (b) recognizing
> > > that trucks are almost worthless spotters, and (c) representing trucks
> > > appearing in a forward area as trivially destroyed at no cost to the
> > > enemy.

> > OK for WWII. Not Ok for contemporary - i.e. Iraq today.

> The US Military uses unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks as
> disposable recon units in Iraq today?

> I mean that semi-seriously;

Food for thought:

<http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/&gt;

Unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks for supply, recon, and a host of
other uses.

"Disposable" is a risk/reward calculation. Can you destroy a single
$50,000 truck in order to save 100s of millions $ in future costs?
Probably. Should you just set fire to trucks because it's fun to watch
them burn? Probably not. Would you destroy 3 such trucks to "win WW2"
when, if you don't, you'll likely lose? Hell yeah!

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 9:26:50 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Misc-64DB3E.14384913022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
shoes*PlayNaked.com says...

> > > not that of your opponent who is creatively (and
> > > sometimes brilliantly) playing within the rules.
>
> > If your only concern is a juvenile desire to "win," then by all means;
> > consider these gamey exploits "brilliant." But if you're interested in
> > wargaming as a tool for exploring history, strategy, and tactics, then
> > it's better to put such things in their proper perspective.
>
> In a war game, the measure of how well one has explored strategy and
> tactics (I'll concede history :)  is whether or not one wins.

Given a game *that represents reality with acceptable accuracy*, this is
entirely correct. Unfortunately - for your argument - we're discussing
games that have enormous, gaping loopholes in their reality-simulation
matrices, and the ability of players to exploit these mistaken versions
of reality in order to "win."

Turning the argument around, we can rephrase your statement as, "In a
badly-designed wargame, the measure of how well one has explored invalid
strategy and ridiculous tactics is whether or not one wins."

Yes. I'll agree with that.

> Every game has some flaw. The brilliant tactician/strategist is aware
> of both the rules and the flaws/loopholes, and how they might be used by
> the enemy, and factors that into his plan.

The true wargamer, on the other hand, understands that there are no
"flaws" or "loopholes" in reality, and designs his plans around what
works in the real world, not whatever comedy manages to slip through a
bad design process.


--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 9:33:03 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Misc-F45FDD.15001413022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
shoes*PlayNaked.com says...

> > The US Military uses unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks as
> > disposable recon units in Iraq today?
>
> > I mean that semi-seriously;
>
> Food for thought:
>
> <http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/&gt;
>
> Unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks for supply, recon, and a host of
> other uses.

<laughter>

OK, show me a game that models a *robot* truck, and I'll allow you to
use it as cannon-fodder.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 11:19:40 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In message <Misc-F5798D.09532913022005@individual.net>, Miss Elaine Eos
<Misc@*your-shoes*PlayNaked.com> writes
>In article <algwmiJt$lDCFwaR@secker.demon.co.uk>,
> John Secker <john@secker.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> But the situation we have been discussing is sacrificing a no-longer
>> useful unit for a very minor advantage.
>
>I read the discussion to be "...to such a major advantage that it turns
>the tide of the war/game" -- and that's exactly what I'm talking about.
>
>> In real life nobody says "OK,
>> son, we won't need to move that A/T gun again in this battle, so we
>> don't need you any more. Why don't you go and drive across that open
>> field and when you get blown up we might spot one of the German tanks".
>
>No, they'd say "Soldier, get this tank to the other end of that field,
>park it and get your ass back here pronto! MOVE IT, SOLDIER!" <G> A
>kind & caring officer might add "...and don't get yourself killed --
>that's an order! -- unless you want to be facing a court martial!" ;) 
>The military is not your typical office job, and War Is Not Pretty(tm).
>
What are you babbling about? We are talking about a very specific
situation - whether a real commander would send a truck, which is
temporarily not in use, out into the open to get destroyed in order to
check on an enemy's location. What has that got to do with ordering
someone to park a tank at the other end of the field?
>> I have to say I don't like the idea of the "disappearing truck" solution
>> - the big problem is that this still allows you to learn useful
>> information, the fact that this area is under enemy fire, at little
>> cost.
>
>And yet, in a western, you'd think it clever if one guy put his hat on a
>stick and waved it around the corner to see if anyone shot at it --
>especially if it saved his life.
>
Do you really see no difference between getting a bullet hole in your
hat, and getting a truck destroyed and its driver killed? Just to make
it clear, in real life people did stick their hat on a pole, but they
did not deliberately get their trucks blown up. And a good games
designer should try to understand the difference and ensure that the
system does not reward behaviour that in real warfare would produce bad
results.
>...Except, in a war-game, we're constantly hearing cries from the other
>team "hey, I took great pains to hide in a good spot so I could shoot
>that guy when he came around the corner, it's not fair that he gets to
>find me out for the cost of a $4 Stetson..."
>
>Remember that I started this with: I recognize that others feel
>differently, but I fall on the "what's the big deal" side of this fence.
>I'm not saying you and yours are wrong -- just that I don't like the
>play that way. Maybe it's because I'm a sneaky & creative bastard at
>hard, so I LIKE to use strategies that cost me little and get me an
>advantage. <shrug> In fact, I like it so much, I like when my opponent
>does a particularly clever play against me that is "sneaky and
>underhanded" -- it's *WAR*, after all!
>
No, it's a game. In war, people don't behave like that. Not because they
didn't think of it (after all, the original poster actually used this
tactic - he just felt that it was wrong) and not because of any sense of
"honour", but because it's a bad tactic. So the game should not reward
it.
>(For completeness: I don't like it that much when my opponent knows the
>rules better than I do, and takes advantage of a loophole about which I
>didn't know -- but if it's a clear case of "damn, I wish *I* would've
>thought of that!" or "nicely played, I should've seen that coming", I
>like it :) 
>
What opponent? The context here was a player against the computer. And
he DID think of it, and it succeeded, but he still thought that it was
wrong. It clearly stuck in his throat that he was able to gain an
advantage by doing something which would have got him demoted or worse
in real life. You seem to have got it into your head that he was
objecting to someone using sneaky tactics - quite the opposite, he was
objecting to being allowed to use unrealistic tactics himself.
>> We need to ask what it is in real life that prevents this sort of thing
>> happening. Well, for a start, in real life the trucks WILL be needed
>> again, and in fact without them the unit will be seriously reduced in
>> effectiveness.
>
>If, in the game, the "cost is small", then the cost is small, and that's
>that. If the designers wanted to make "...but you have to finish with X
>unit-points, or you lose", they would've added that to the victory
>conditions. Again, this isn't such a complicated concept that it's just
>overlooked by the typical game-designers.
>
That's the whole point of this thread. It IS overlooked by game
designers, it leads to situations which do not model what happens in
real life, and that's what we don't like. If you prefer to play games
against live opponents in which you take advantage of every loophole in
the rules to gain an advantage, then that's your privilege. There are
plenty like you on the miniature wargames tournament circuit, which is
one reason I have stopped competing in such events. I want to play a
game which reflects as far as possible what actually happens in real
life, which rewards good tactics and penalises poor ones
--
John Secker
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 11:19:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Zpcwl1DcZ7DCFw7k@secker.demon.co.uk>,
John Secker <john@secker.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> What are you babbling about? We are talking about a very specific
> situation

This is, like, the 3rd time you've said something like this.

John -- what are *YOU* babbling about?! This is the usenet. Threads
drift. But I'm not even really drifting -- I'm talking about the
interesting ideas raised by the article cited IN THE ORIGINAL POST.

Is the only "tactic" you know to berate those who disagree with you,
attempting by repeated-assertion to demonstrate their "wrongness" by
claiming that they're babbling?! Get a grip! And if my incessant
babbling bothers you that much, learn to use filters and quit replying
to me.

Sheesh!

> Do you really see no difference between getting a bullet hole in your
> hat, and getting a truck destroyed and its driver killed? Just to make
> it clear, in real life people did stick their hat on a pole, but they
> did not deliberately get their trucks blown up.

You are mistaken.

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 11:26:12 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In message <Misc-3A5F3D.10010713022005@individual.net>, Miss Elaine Eos
<Misc@*your-shoes*PlayNaked.com> writes
>In article <MPG.1c7826ad475d176998a191@news-east.giganews.com>,
> Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:
>My experience is that the people griping about such tactics are
>typically the ones who lose to them. In fact, I can't recall ever
>hearing [of] anyone say "you know, I really shouldn't be able to use
>this strategy, but it's war, and you've got me over a barrel, and I want
>to win, and this will do it for me, so..."
>
>Meaning no offense, from this experience, I gather that the main
>objectors to these kinds of strategies are those who would make poor
>generals -- those who feel restricted by the "printed rules" and "inside
>the box thinking", and who are unable to devise or foresee such
>strategies and work them into their plans.
>
Garbage. The person who raised this point did in fact think of this
tactic, and used it and was successful - but he doesn't think he should
have been allowed to, because in real life it would have produced a
negative outcome. Just because "winning" is the only thing which matters
to you, do not judge others by your own meagre measure.
>If your objection is "it's unrealistic" -- ok, I can go with that. So
>you're playing an unrealistic game with weird abstractions. But that's
>the game's fault,
Of course it is. That's the whole point of this thread, discussing
whether games should be designed to eliminate any benefit from
unrealistic tactics.
--
John Secker
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 11:40:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <MPG.1c79adb8e8245e4e98a197@news-east.giganews.com>,
Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

> In article <Misc-F45FDD.15001413022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
> shoes*PlayNaked.com says...
> > > The US Military uses unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks as
> > > disposable recon units in Iraq today?
> >
> > > I mean that semi-seriously;

> > Food for thought:
> >
> > <http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/&gt;
> >
> > Unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks for supply, recon, and a host of
> > other uses.

> <laughter>
>
> OK, show me a game that models a *robot* truck, and I'll allow you to
> use it as cannon-fodder.

<G> Oh, so your objection is merely to the fact that I (as general)
gave my men the right cool-aid to convince them to strap dynamite to
their chests?!?! ;) 

I didn't mean this so much as support for any arguments -- I just
thought that, if any here weren't aware of the project, they might find
it interesting.

Still, you bring up an interesting point: the idea of the US doing such
things isn't so far-fetched...

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 13, 2005 11:48:19 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <MPG.1c79ac412b79db9798a196@news-east.giganews.com>,
Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > > If your only concern is a juvenile desire to "win," then by all means;
> > > consider these gamey exploits "brilliant." But if you're interested in
> > > wargaming as a tool for exploring history, strategy, and tactics, then
> > > it's better to put such things in their proper perspective.

> > In a war game, the measure of how well one has explored strategy and
> > tactics (I'll concede history :)  is whether or not one wins.

> Given a game *that represents reality with acceptable accuracy*, this is
> entirely correct. Unfortunately - for your argument - we're discussing
> games that have enormous, gaping loopholes in their reality-simulation
> matrices, and the ability of players to exploit these mistaken versions
> of reality in order to "win."
>
> Turning the argument around, we can rephrase your statement as, "In a
> badly-designed wargame, the measure of how well one has explored invalid
> strategy and ridiculous tactics is whether or not one wins."
>
> Yes. I'll agree with that.

Except that (a) it's not analogous, (b) it doesn't follow, logically and
(c) it's silly. Other than that, we're in perfect agreement, here ;) 

> > Every game has some flaw. The brilliant tactician/strategist is aware
> > of both the rules and the flaws/loopholes, and how they might be used by
> > the enemy, and factors that into his plan.

> The true wargamer, on the other hand, understands that there are no
> "flaws" or "loopholes" in reality, and designs his plans around what
> works in the real world, not whatever comedy manages to slip through a
> bad design process.

Look, no offense, but you're boring to argue with, what with your "I'm a
true war gamer and your a comedian" bullshit. However, you've got me
genuinely curious (others, please let me know if I'm just falling for a
known group troll... <sigh>) -- do you really believe that some game
exists (or is even possible?!) that has full realism in its mechanic in
every regard?!

For that matter... do you honestly believe that "reality has no
loopholes"? In the context of war-games, everything that the other
commander didn't think of (you know, like sending an empty transport
truck with rope around the steering wheel and a back-end full of
explosives) is a loophole! The whole POINT of RL war tactics is to
guess which important-and-valuable things the other guy decided to
discount because he only has so many resources and so many hours in a
day, and to exploit them. Cripes, that's the VERY DEFINITION of a
top-notch commander!

....That this is possible with a different set of loopholes wherein you
use cardboard squares or screen-pixels to abstract the concept of money,
men or tanks... that doesn't change the idea of full analysis of the
situation and good use of tactics "within the actual confines available,
without being thwarted by non-existent confines"... Heck, if you're a
war-history buff, you *MUST* understand that American Revolution was
won, basically, because we took advantage of "gamey tactics" against the
Brits, who insisted on fighting "war by the printed rules-set"...

How much more realistic do you *NEED*?!?!

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 1:05:13 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

you have no appreciation of history, your comment on the amer rev
glaringly shows that.
guys like gifty, major h, old salt ,eddie str and myaelf all have a
love of history, we know the difference between a chasseur and a
hussar. a marder built on a mkII chassis and one on a 38t chasis. we
want games that reflect their abilities and correct usage, i wish to
fight a simulation of real history with units and rules to achieve
that. finding some odd thing in the program that might win "the game"
but at the cost of simulating the battle has no interest. i want a game
that allows me to use the units as they were used and not used as if
17th dragoons were 20th century panzer grenadiers.

i would suggest you stick with games like warcraft and starcraft, they
are all about gamey tactics and winning over all.
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 1:07:28 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Miss Elaine Eos wrote:
> >
> Unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks for supply, recon, and a host
of
> other uses.
>


the unarmored vehicles they are using for recon are the humvees. they
used jeeps for recon too in ww2. they are equiped with the radios to do
recon a deuce and a half doesn't have the radio for it.
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 12:33:01 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> > As an abstraction, an RL-general who
> > failed to take into account such simple defenses *SHOULD* lose the war!
>
> Real-life general don't have to take such "defenses" into account,
> because they're not "defenses" at all - except in poorly-designed
> wargames where you can do gamey things.

Hypothetical French Army field problem, 1938. Lt de Garlic fails for
suggesting the Germans might move through the Ardennes in significant force,
something that in the opinions of his superiors is "unrealistic".

The previous poster is right in that commanders should train to react to
events as they are, not as commanders would wish or preconceive them to be.
But wargamers who value historical accuracy have to draw a line somewhere.

"Trucks as recce/decoys" permits a range of options that are not valid in
the "real world" wargamers are interested in simulating.. I could play such
a game, but as it is clearly outside my field of interest, there is little
point. There are plenty of abstract games, where matters of "realism" are
not relevant, that I can use to improve my mental dexterity.

Andy
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 12:33:02 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <cuodh8$36c$1@lust.ihug.co.nz>,
"Andy Brown" <andybrown@somewhere.in.nz> wrote:

> > > As an abstraction, an RL-general who
> > > failed to take into account such simple defenses *SHOULD* lose the war!

> > Real-life general don't have to take such "defenses" into account,
> > because they're not "defenses" at all - except in poorly-designed
> > wargames where you can do gamey things.

> Hypothetical French Army field problem, 1938. Lt de Garlic fails for
> suggesting the Germans might move through the Ardennes in significant force,
> something that in the opinions of his superiors is "unrealistic".
>
> The previous poster is right in that commanders should train to react to
> events as they are, not as commanders would wish or preconceive them to be.
> But wargamers who value historical accuracy have to draw a line somewhere.
>
> "Trucks as recce/decoys" permits a range of options that are not valid in
> the "real world" wargamers are interested in simulating.. I could play such
> a game, but as it is clearly outside my field of interest, there is little
> point. There are plenty of abstract games, where matters of "realism" are
> not relevant, that I can use to improve my mental dexterity.

Thanks, Andy -- my apologies if I missed the part where the only valid
response was to agree that all war games everywhere must be 100%
realistic in every detail. It looked to me as if the original poster
had cited an article that pointed out that there are several
considerations in this issue and thought the discussion would be
interesting. I guess different folks find interest in different
things...

Out of curiosity, how do you reconcile playing "historically accurate"
war games with "exploring variant strategies/tactics". I mean, your
last paragraph seems pretty "strict play"/purist but, to play, for
example, a WW2 war game with any outcome other than the one that
happened seems... "unrealistic." I mean, France *DIDN'T* do <whatever
different thing you want to play> or the US *DIDN'T* enter 6 months
later, and the Germans *DID* cream Poland. I don't get the kind of
thinking that says it's ok to wonder "what if Warsaw had held Germany at
bay for 3 additional weeks?" but not "what if the French had sent a
single guy with a walkie talkie in a truck to see what was going on, and
he somehow managed to survive?"

Again, I recognize that different people enjoy different things... I
guess I don't get how the one can be "valid" with the other is not.

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 1:57:08 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <MPG.1c7a608ae45708698a198@news-east.giganews.com>,
Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Better yet, we could ask the obvious question; how far are you willing
> to go in exploiting design flaws in your Win At All Costs ideology?
>
> For instance, if the game designer builds a WEGO system, and installs
> poor (or nonexistent) security features for hot-seat or PBEM play, do
> you have a quick little peek at your opponent's turn before you plot
> your own movement and fires? Do you perhaps consider this just another
> "brilliant" exploit that "winners" take advantage of? Just a little
> extra intelligence that the game designer hasn't stopped you from
> enjoying?
>
> How about a designer leaving the unit database open? Fire up a text
> editor and harden the armor a tad on your too-vulnerable Shermans?
> Install a quick mod so that Cromwell has the gun it *really* needs?
>
> Both of these tactics - which I would call "cheating" - really differ
> only in extent from exploiting other badly-designed aspects of the
> simulation in order to wring an unfair advantage from something that one
> could not do in real life.

I would agree in calling those "cheating", unless it was agreed
beforehand that these were "part of the game" (and they're not part of a
game I would enjoy, mostly because they rely on skills I don't have.)

But, as you say: "wtf are you babbling about?" ;)  If the game designers
present that their game is open to hacking, and that's part of the game
-- then that strikes me as a perfectly valid game (even if enjoyable
only by a different group of people.) If, on the other hand, the
designers just overlooked these things, we agree that this is poor
implementation/design.

The game-design choice "every unit is equally good at blocking the
movement of every other unit, and acts equally well as recon in terms of
spotting other units" is not made by accident -- it is a design choice,
and a valid and fun one. The ridiculous thing that continues throughout
this thread is your insistence that this is bad game design.

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 6:05:00 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Misc-E7874D.10570814022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
shoes*PlayNaked.com says...

> The game-design choice "every unit is equally good at blocking the
> movement of every other unit, and acts equally well as recon in terms of
> spotting other units" is not made by accident -- it is a design choice,
> and a valid and fun one. The ridiculous thing that continues throughout
> this thread is your insistence that this is bad game design.

Hmmm. So representing an unarmed, radioless, mapless, single-driver
truck as precisely equal in every meaningful reconnaissance capacity to
a dedicated, veteran reconnaissance team in an M-20 Scout Car is a
"valid" and "fun" decision?

Fun for whom? The rest of the twelve-year-olds giggling over their
Tesla Coils?

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 7:53:37 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Miss Elaine Eos <Misc@*your-shoes*PlayNaked.com> wrote in
news:Misc-4A5029.20481913022005@individual.net:

> In article <MPG.1c79ac412b79db9798a196@news-east.giganews.com>,
> Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> > > If your only concern is a juvenile desire to "win," then by all
>> > > means; consider these gamey exploits "brilliant." But if you're
>> > > interested in wargaming as a tool for exploring history,
>> > > strategy, and tactics, then it's better to put such things in
>> > > their proper perspective.
>
>> > In a war game, the measure of how well one has explored strategy
>> > and tactics (I'll concede history :)  is whether or not one wins.
>
>> Given a game *that represents reality with acceptable accuracy*, this
>> is entirely correct. Unfortunately - for your argument - we're
>> discussing games that have enormous, gaping loopholes in their
>> reality-simulation matrices, and the ability of players to exploit
>> these mistaken versions of reality in order to "win."
>>
>> Turning the argument around, we can rephrase your statement as, "In a
>> badly-designed wargame, the measure of how well one has explored
>> invalid strategy and ridiculous tactics is whether or not one wins."
>>
>> Yes. I'll agree with that.
>
> Except that (a) it's not analogous, (b) it doesn't follow, logically
> and (c) it's silly. Other than that, we're in perfect agreement, here
> ;) 
>
>> > Every game has some flaw. The brilliant tactician/strategist is
>> > aware of both the rules and the flaws/loopholes, and how they might
>> > be used by the enemy, and factors that into his plan.
>
>> The true wargamer, on the other hand, understands that there are no
>> "flaws" or "loopholes" in reality, and designs his plans around what
>> works in the real world, not whatever comedy manages to slip through
>> a bad design process.
>
> Look, no offense, but you're boring to argue with, what with your "I'm
> a true war gamer and your a comedian" bullshit. However, you've got
> me genuinely curious (others, please let me know if I'm just falling
> for a known group troll... <sigh>)

No, Mr. Giftzwerg is for real - some people here have a problem with his
writing style, but practically all agree that he has this cunning
ability to put his finger on the real issues in a discussion. If you
want someone to really poke holes in a non-rock-solid theory he's your
guy. I don't mind if he does it with my silly ideas. He's sort of the
acid test of ideas - survive him and you might have a good one :) 

> -- do you really believe that some
> game exists (or is even possible?!) that has full realism in its
> mechanic in every regard?!

He's not claiming that ... you're pov's are actually not that far apart
: the validity of allowing commanders to not follow the book vs.
historical and physical reality check of used tactics by commanders.

Semantics really if you say that tactics that *could* have worked should
be allowed. Like the French grouping their armour in a division instead
of parcelling them out among the infantry.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 7:53:38 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Xns95FDB4E9FCF67eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.11>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > -- do you really believe that some
> > game exists (or is even possible?!) that has full realism in its
> > mechanic in every regard?!
>
> He's not claiming that ... you're pov's are actually not that far apart
> : the validity of allowing commanders to not follow the book vs.
> historical and physical reality check of used tactics by commanders.
>
> Semantics really if you say that tactics that *could* have worked should
> be allowed. Like the French grouping their armour in a division instead
> of parcelling them out among the infantry.

Tactics centered around unconventional - but *accurate* - use of
equipment or units should be allowed. Tactics centered around
unconventional - but *ridiculous* - use of equipment or units should be
avoided.

Consider another example. Suppose a player, in a vehicle/squad tactical
game, wanted to try using his M109 SP howitzers as tanks. What should
happen? I mean, the thing *looks* like a tank![1]

The M109 should work *very* poorly as a tank. It's armor is aluminum
and rather thin, it doesn't have the tactical communications setup that
a tank does, it's not made to utilize direct fire as a primary weapon,
it doesn't have the sights a tank does, and it doesn't carry anything
like a proper loadout of antitank ordnance. So a player who uses these
tanklike vehicles as tanks should do no damage with them and lose the
whole lot the moment proper enemy tanks appear. In fact, these SPA
units, grinding blindly about, will be destroyed by the first antitank
weapon (or simple infantry assault) that they come in range of.

But a game should let you *try* this; there's no better way to figure
out that the M109 isn't a tank than to try to use it as a tank.

Now consider a further hypothetical; a *badly designed* game. Suppose
our game designer in this case never anticipated that a player would try
to use M109s as tanks, and somehow abstracted their capabilities such
that a player who uses them in a direct-fire role finds that they're
virtually impregnable to enemy direct fire, and lose no effectiveness
when they themselves are firing. Thus a player who does something
stupid - putting M109s up against enemy T-72s - is *rewarded* by finding
that they work ridiculously well.

The distinction is obvious; in a well-designed game, the player is
punished for doing something stupid like sending SPA guns out to play
tank. In a bad design, he might conclude that the finest tank in the
world is an M109.

Would a player who discovered that M109s worked - in this badly-designed
game - as "supertanks" be undertaking a "brilliant" tactic if he started
buying big piles of M109s with his scenario selection points? Or would
he be just another gamey exploiter of a designer's mistake?

I'll opt for the latter.

The point is that if the designer does his job adequately (not
*perfectly*...) well, then players can do whatever they like and be
assured of accurate results. But if a designer has left obvious and
exploitable loopholes in the design, then it's up to the players to
close them off until the designer can patch his work.

[1] IMO, the most formidable *looking* "tank" in the world is that
massive Italian "Palmaria" turretted 155mm gun; it looks like a
supersized Tiger II on steroids.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 7:53:39 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Misc-99ECBF.10494614022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
shoes*PlayNaked.com says...

> > Tactics centered around unconventional - but *accurate* - use of
> > equipment or units should be allowed. Tactics centered around
> > unconventional - but *ridiculous* - use of equipment or units should be
> > avoided.
>
> Imagine this situation: our empire goes to quash a colonial uprising
> wherein they're trying to secede, something we can't allow.
>
> Do we recognize as "valid" the tactic of not wearing bright red
> uniforms, marching in strict formation and firing only on command of a
> man who might, by that point, be dead? Or do we consider it ridiculous
> use of equipment and units to let a bunch of hayseed farmers hide behind
> rocks & trees, wearing jeans & dirt-colored shirts, and shooting all
> wily-nily?

Of course an irregular unit in the real-world could appear in mufti
successfully - but trucks in the real world can't be sent on suicide
spotter missions successfully. Thus it would be valid to model the
former, and invalid to model the latter.

Ergo, your analogy is entirely invalid. Try again.

> It has been suggested that the discussion is supposed to be about
> whether or not it's Bad Game Design to have such loopholes. I think
> that they typically add an element of surprize that improves the game.

It would also be rather "surprising" to have the Wizard of Oz appear and
wipe out the 4th Panzer Army by throwing Magic Beans at it ... but I
hardly think this is the sort of "surprise" real wargamers are going to
appreciate.


--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 7:54:19 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> The US Military uses unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks as
> disposable recon units in Iraq today?

Of course not but they do run truck convoys daily through Indian country as
well as patrols everywhere, often in relatively soft vehicles. You gents
can focus on a particular detail that is unrealistic for one game situation
but a developer has to consider how a "fix" for one situation will effect
all possible game situations. If the fix creates other or bigger problems
then it goes back into the "think about it" pile while easier to solve
things get worked on. :) 

Best regards, Major H.
tacops@mac.com
http://www.battlefront.com/
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 7:54:20 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <BE3633F5.7D23B%tacops@mac.com>, tacops@mac.com says...

> > The US Military uses unarmed, no-passenger transport trucks as
> > disposable recon units in Iraq today?
>
> Of course not but they do run truck convoys daily through Indian country as
> well as patrols everywhere, often in relatively soft vehicles. You gents
> can focus on a particular detail that is unrealistic for one game situation
> but a developer has to consider how a "fix" for one situation will effect
> all possible game situations. If the fix creates other or bigger problems
> then it goes back into the "think about it" pile while easier to solve
> things get worked on. :) 

But what, exactly, about the "truck problem" and the solutions proposed
are invalidated by recent experience in Iraq? I mean, what we're saying
is that too many games let a player use trucks - once they've unloaded
their passenger unit - as disposable recon units, or handy mobile
roadblocks, or <other gamey thing here>.

I would think that, if anything, recent experience in Iraq demonstrates
the tremendous tactical problem commanders in the field have with
*protecting* their trucks and soft vehicles. Far from being able to
cheerfully abuse them as disposable <whatever>, a half-dozen trucks
getting blown up (something that a STEEL PANTHERS player wouldn't even
*notice*...) not only loses their commander the "scenario" he's
"playing," but probably gets his name on the CBS Evening News.

[And "Mentioned In Despatches" isn't the Good Thing it was back in
Churchill's day.]

I understand what you're saying, and I'm not suggesting that a single
rigid solution be embraced, just that the STEEL PANTHERS model of
transport-as-handy-suicide-<thing> is just plain wrongheaded.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 14, 2005 8:01:59 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> OK, show me a game that models a *robot* truck, and I'll allow you to
> use it as cannon-fodder.

Well ... TacOps4 has UAVs and imaginative players could agree that a
particular small infantry marker or small vehicle represented a robotic
unit. :) 

Best regards, Major H.
tacops@mac.com
http://www.battlefront.com/
Anonymous
February 15, 2005 1:08:47 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In message <MPG.1c7a619f57c24c4098a199@news-east.giganews.com>,
Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> writes
>In article <cuq0sh$c56$1@lust.ihug.co.nz>, andybrown@somewhere.in.nz
>says...
>> >I don't get the kind of
>> > thinking that says it's ok to wonder "what if Warsaw had held Germany at
>> > bay for 3 additional weeks?" but not "what if the French had sent a
>> > single guy with a walkie talkie in a truck to see what was going on, and
>> > he somehow managed to survive?"
>>
>> The first is an alternate outcome possible using the physical laws of our
>> universe. The second is probably not.
>>
>> Oh, sure. It is possible to physically put a guy in a truck and have him
>> drive into the Ardennes looking for Germans. In "real life", however, this
>> would be very unlikely.
>>
>> As Giftzwerg has tried to explain, trucks play a role wargames. Usually,
>> however, the role they play in any given wargame is only a small part of the
>> useful things that trucks do in war. Tactical wargames tend to represent
>> trucks as cheap pieces of equipment useful for transporting more effective
>> (and hence, in game terms more expensive) troops and systems. Once battle
>> is joined and those expensive systems are doing their tactical thing, trucks
>> tend to become superfluous. In real life, at this point they would probably
>> drive off the battlefield to do something else. Because this is usually not
>> simulated in wargames, the player finds himself with a number of expendable
>> units of limited tactical value. Gamey players of poorly designed wargames
>> will use such trucks to gain unrealistic advantage by drawing enemy fire
>> away from fighting units and revealing hidden enemy locations by offering
>> themselves as targets. This is historically inaccurate for a number of
>> reasons.
>>
>> Although the tactical worth of a truck is small compared to that of an
>> infantry squad or AFV, it still represents a significant investment of
>> resources. Trucks are not expendable, neither are their crews. Donald
>> Rumsfeld would not be spending so much treasure armouring them if they were.
>>
>> The other roles performed by a truck in war, but outside the scope of a
>> tactical wargame, are equally if not more important. Squandering trucks on
>> short term tactical tasks for frontline troops is simply not cost effective.
>> A truck's logistic functions are too mundane to feature in a game played for
>> entertainment but, in the long run, they are usually more important to the
>> war effort. Consequently, any commander inspired enough to use trucks as
>> decoy targets will very quickly find himself a commander no more.
>>
>> Tactically, a truck is a terrible unit. It's easily seen and hit. If
>> unarmoured, a hit by almost anything will damage or kill it. It's only
>> armament is usually the personal weapon of the driver and (perhaps) the
>> co-driver. These individuals can hear nothing over the sound of the engine
>> and, because driving requires undivided attention, their ability to identify
>> enemy activity from a moving cab is poor. A truck is just about the most
>> inefficient method of locating the enemy that a commander could choose.
>>
>> In most wargames, the player "sees" immediately what ANY of his units see
>> and knows immediately when any of his units encounters the enemy. This
>> makes the information available to the player "unrealistic" enough as it is
>> without trucks adding additional "unreality" through "recon by death"...
>>
>> ...because that is what usually happens. For all the reasons I've mentioned
>> above, a truck engaged by just about anything will be killed. The crew will
>> die. On a battlefield, that truck has simply disappeared, never to be seen
>> again. In most wargames, the death of the truck immediately informs the
>> player that the enemy is present.
>>
>> Most soldiers ordered to drive around in a truck until they die are probably
>> going to question such an order. If questioning orders is
>> out-of-the-question, say because they're members of a Soviet penal battalion
>> and they'll get shot anyway (in which case why is the commissar letting them
>> drive off with a truck?), it seems reasonable nevertheless that such a
>> mission is not going to be carried out to the best of the soldiers'
>> abilities. Sounds to me like a bloody good time to hide for a couple of
>> hours and make up some highly creative patrol report when they return.
>>
>> The bottom line is that no one routinely uses trucks as targets to draw
>> enemy fire or to scout for the enemy. For the sort of reasons outlined
>> above and others like them, such behaviour cannot be justified by historical
>> precedent. Sure, history does abound with all sorts of examples of trucks
>> escaping ambushes, trucks running gauntlets of enemy fire, trucks departing
>> on missions only to return hours or minutes later to inform their commander
>> that "the road is closed by the enemy". In all these cases, however, you
>> will find that the trucks were doing something that, on a battlefield,
>> trucks might reasonably be expected to do. They were not deliberately
>> ordered by their commander to commit suicide in order to take advantage of a
>> poorly written bit of computer code.
>
>I generally don't respond to posts just to say, "I agree," but this is
>such a comprehensive and well-reasoned post that it kinda makes further
>elaboration of "our" side of the argument entirely superfluous.
>
>Well done.
>
I agree
--
John Secker
Anonymous
February 15, 2005 3:08:13 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

>I don't get the kind of
> thinking that says it's ok to wonder "what if Warsaw had held Germany at
> bay for 3 additional weeks?" but not "what if the French had sent a
> single guy with a walkie talkie in a truck to see what was going on, and
> he somehow managed to survive?"

The first is an alternate outcome possible using the physical laws of our
universe. The second is probably not.

Oh, sure. It is possible to physically put a guy in a truck and have him
drive into the Ardennes looking for Germans. In "real life", however, this
would be very unlikely.

As Giftzwerg has tried to explain, trucks play a role wargames. Usually,
however, the role they play in any given wargame is only a small part of the
useful things that trucks do in war. Tactical wargames tend to represent
trucks as cheap pieces of equipment useful for transporting more effective
(and hence, in game terms more expensive) troops and systems. Once battle
is joined and those expensive systems are doing their tactical thing, trucks
tend to become superfluous. In real life, at this point they would probably
drive off the battlefield to do something else. Because this is usually not
simulated in wargames, the player finds himself with a number of expendable
units of limited tactical value. Gamey players of poorly designed wargames
will use such trucks to gain unrealistic advantage by drawing enemy fire
away from fighting units and revealing hidden enemy locations by offering
themselves as targets. This is historically inaccurate for a number of
reasons.

Although the tactical worth of a truck is small compared to that of an
infantry squad or AFV, it still represents a significant investment of
resources. Trucks are not expendable, neither are their crews. Donald
Rumsfeld would not be spending so much treasure armouring them if they were.

The other roles performed by a truck in war, but outside the scope of a
tactical wargame, are equally if not more important. Squandering trucks on
short term tactical tasks for frontline troops is simply not cost effective.
A truck's logistic functions are too mundane to feature in a game played for
entertainment but, in the long run, they are usually more important to the
war effort. Consequently, any commander inspired enough to use trucks as
decoy targets will very quickly find himself a commander no more.

Tactically, a truck is a terrible unit. It's easily seen and hit. If
unarmoured, a hit by almost anything will damage or kill it. It's only
armament is usually the personal weapon of the driver and (perhaps) the
co-driver. These individuals can hear nothing over the sound of the engine
and, because driving requires undivided attention, their ability to identify
enemy activity from a moving cab is poor. A truck is just about the most
inefficient method of locating the enemy that a commander could choose.

In most wargames, the player "sees" immediately what ANY of his units see
and knows immediately when any of his units encounters the enemy. This
makes the information available to the player "unrealistic" enough as it is
without trucks adding additional "unreality" through "recon by death"...

....because that is what usually happens. For all the reasons I've mentioned
above, a truck engaged by just about anything will be killed. The crew will
die. On a battlefield, that truck has simply disappeared, never to be seen
again. In most wargames, the death of the truck immediately informs the
player that the enemy is present.

Most soldiers ordered to drive around in a truck until they die are probably
going to question such an order. If questioning orders is
out-of-the-question, say because they're members of a Soviet penal battalion
and they'll get shot anyway (in which case why is the commissar letting them
drive off with a truck?), it seems reasonable nevertheless that such a
mission is not going to be carried out to the best of the soldiers'
abilities. Sounds to me like a bloody good time to hide for a couple of
hours and make up some highly creative patrol report when they return.

The bottom line is that no one routinely uses trucks as targets to draw
enemy fire or to scout for the enemy. For the sort of reasons outlined
above and others like them, such behaviour cannot be justified by historical
precedent. Sure, history does abound with all sorts of examples of trucks
escaping ambushes, trucks running gauntlets of enemy fire, trucks departing
on missions only to return hours or minutes later to inform their commander
that "the road is closed by the enemy". In all these cases, however, you
will find that the trucks were doing something that, on a battlefield,
trucks might reasonably be expected to do. They were not deliberately
ordered by their commander to commit suicide in order to take advantage of a
poorly written bit of computer code.

Cheers,

Andy
Anonymous
February 15, 2005 3:08:14 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <cuq0sh$c56$1@lust.ihug.co.nz>, andybrown@somewhere.in.nz
says...
> >I don't get the kind of
> > thinking that says it's ok to wonder "what if Warsaw had held Germany at
> > bay for 3 additional weeks?" but not "what if the French had sent a
> > single guy with a walkie talkie in a truck to see what was going on, and
> > he somehow managed to survive?"
>
> The first is an alternate outcome possible using the physical laws of our
> universe. The second is probably not.
>
> Oh, sure. It is possible to physically put a guy in a truck and have him
> drive into the Ardennes looking for Germans. In "real life", however, this
> would be very unlikely.
>
> As Giftzwerg has tried to explain, trucks play a role wargames. Usually,
> however, the role they play in any given wargame is only a small part of the
> useful things that trucks do in war. Tactical wargames tend to represent
> trucks as cheap pieces of equipment useful for transporting more effective
> (and hence, in game terms more expensive) troops and systems. Once battle
> is joined and those expensive systems are doing their tactical thing, trucks
> tend to become superfluous. In real life, at this point they would probably
> drive off the battlefield to do something else. Because this is usually not
> simulated in wargames, the player finds himself with a number of expendable
> units of limited tactical value. Gamey players of poorly designed wargames
> will use such trucks to gain unrealistic advantage by drawing enemy fire
> away from fighting units and revealing hidden enemy locations by offering
> themselves as targets. This is historically inaccurate for a number of
> reasons.
>
> Although the tactical worth of a truck is small compared to that of an
> infantry squad or AFV, it still represents a significant investment of
> resources. Trucks are not expendable, neither are their crews. Donald
> Rumsfeld would not be spending so much treasure armouring them if they were.
>
> The other roles performed by a truck in war, but outside the scope of a
> tactical wargame, are equally if not more important. Squandering trucks on
> short term tactical tasks for frontline troops is simply not cost effective.
> A truck's logistic functions are too mundane to feature in a game played for
> entertainment but, in the long run, they are usually more important to the
> war effort. Consequently, any commander inspired enough to use trucks as
> decoy targets will very quickly find himself a commander no more.
>
> Tactically, a truck is a terrible unit. It's easily seen and hit. If
> unarmoured, a hit by almost anything will damage or kill it. It's only
> armament is usually the personal weapon of the driver and (perhaps) the
> co-driver. These individuals can hear nothing over the sound of the engine
> and, because driving requires undivided attention, their ability to identify
> enemy activity from a moving cab is poor. A truck is just about the most
> inefficient method of locating the enemy that a commander could choose.
>
> In most wargames, the player "sees" immediately what ANY of his units see
> and knows immediately when any of his units encounters the enemy. This
> makes the information available to the player "unrealistic" enough as it is
> without trucks adding additional "unreality" through "recon by death"...
>
> ...because that is what usually happens. For all the reasons I've mentioned
> above, a truck engaged by just about anything will be killed. The crew will
> die. On a battlefield, that truck has simply disappeared, never to be seen
> again. In most wargames, the death of the truck immediately informs the
> player that the enemy is present.
>
> Most soldiers ordered to drive around in a truck until they die are probably
> going to question such an order. If questioning orders is
> out-of-the-question, say because they're members of a Soviet penal battalion
> and they'll get shot anyway (in which case why is the commissar letting them
> drive off with a truck?), it seems reasonable nevertheless that such a
> mission is not going to be carried out to the best of the soldiers'
> abilities. Sounds to me like a bloody good time to hide for a couple of
> hours and make up some highly creative patrol report when they return.
>
> The bottom line is that no one routinely uses trucks as targets to draw
> enemy fire or to scout for the enemy. For the sort of reasons outlined
> above and others like them, such behaviour cannot be justified by historical
> precedent. Sure, history does abound with all sorts of examples of trucks
> escaping ambushes, trucks running gauntlets of enemy fire, trucks departing
> on missions only to return hours or minutes later to inform their commander
> that "the road is closed by the enemy". In all these cases, however, you
> will find that the trucks were doing something that, on a battlefield,
> trucks might reasonably be expected to do. They were not deliberately
> ordered by their commander to commit suicide in order to take advantage of a
> poorly written bit of computer code.

I generally don't respond to posts just to say, "I agree," but this is
such a comprehensive and well-reasoned post that it kinda makes further
elaboration of "our" side of the argument entirely superfluous.

Well done.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it
can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have
occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto.
Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably
should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at
the height of the pilgrim season."
- Wretchard, The Belmont Club
Anonymous
February 15, 2005 3:29:03 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <MPG.1c7ace733e19098198a19d@news-east.giganews.com>,
Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

> In article <Misc-E7874D.10570814022005@individual.net>, Misc@*your-
> shoes*PlayNaked.com says...
>
> > The game-design choice "every unit is equally good at blocking the
> > movement of every other unit, and acts equally well as recon in terms of
> > spotting other units" is not made by accident -- it is a design choice,
> > and a valid and fun one. The ridiculous thing that continues throughout
> > this thread is your insistence that this is bad game design.
>
> Hmmm. So representing an unarmed, radioless, mapless, single-driver
> truck as precisely equal in every meaningful reconnaissance capacity to
> a dedicated, veteran reconnaissance team in an M-20 Scout Car is a
> "valid" and "fun" decision?
>
> Fun for whom? The rest of the twelve-year-olds giggling over their
> Tesla Coils?

You're boring, Giftzwerg. Give a jingle when you have a second thought.

<plonk>

--
Please take off your shoes before arriving at my in-box.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
!