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Porting boardgames to the pc - an analysis

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Anonymous
March 4, 2005 6:24:15 AM

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

Hi,

In the light of recent posts about the age old question of boardgames
getting ported to the pc - and more specific on why it doesn't or won't
work, I was wondering what parameters decide if a boardgame can be
ported more or less successfully to the pc. Successfully as in
percentage of approximation to the original and in market acceptance
terms.

In order to determine these parameters we might have a look first at
what differentiates pc games from their paper counterparts. And more
precisely from the board designs we call "classic"

Well - for starters - there's Bob, your trusted Real Life (tm)
opponent. He'll be replaced by an AI who in general plays a bit like
Bob after a 2 six-packs so no real difference here.

Fog of War : every pc wargame has it, but it's pretty rare in a classic
boardgame. But gamers have come to expect it on their pc, so a
boardgame with some form of fow is more likely to get ported
successfully.

Map with hexagonal or area grid to regulate movement : really the best
solution for a boardgame but a computer doesn't mind a finer resolution
where it is game-relevant to have a finer grain. Like in tactical level
games. So a tactical level (hex) boardgame that gets ported straight to
the pc will feel a bit out-of-date, but for a strategic level game the
hexes don't matter that much as you'll have some form of area movement
on the pc on this level anyway. Think about it : Hearts of Iron 2 could
be a port of a boardgame, Combat Mission is really a port of a
miniatures game. What about the middle ground : the operational level.
Well, here we see successfull pc wargame designs either with (Battles
in Normandy) or without hexes (Highway to the Reich). Battles in
Normandy could have been a boardgame port so I think we're ok on this
level too. To summarize : a boardgame on the operational or strategic
level is more likely to get ported successfully than one on the
tactical level.

Rules implementation : for a boardgame this is simple : it's the
players themselves who take care of this , but for a pc-game every
"rule" must be programmed into the system. There are a zillion ifs and
buts here but generally speaking boardgames which have a relatively
simple ruleset with few exceptions and high internal consistency are
more likely to get ported successfully as it will both be easier and
cheaper to do so.

Replayability : PC wargamers are spoiled : they don't want a wargame
where they can replay Waterloo, they want their wargame to contain
scenario's for every battle of Nappie. Oh, sure boardgames do and did
contain various scenarios but not on the level that pc-gamers have come
to expect. So for a boardgame to get ported successfully it must
provide for wildly different tactical/strategic possibilities and
possible outcomes.

Ok - that sums up the differences - but there are other factors
involved too :

Franchise availability : you're only going to be able to port a
boardgame for which the licencing rights are available . Forget about
AH titles as you need deep pockets (like Paradox) to get the likes of
The Russian Campaign and such. For some other boardgames it's even more
complicated as sometimes the copyright owner has vanished completely.
Some years ago I tried to track down the copyright holder of 3W's Holy
Roman Empire - an exercise in futility if there ever was one.

Selling potential : Well, let's not kid ourselves : about the only
"name" that really has some selling potential outside the grognard
world is "Squad Leader" - and that one's taken. So if you're going to
port a boardgame it really doesn't matter if it's an obscure underdog.
Or does it ? Well, as your target audience is going to be grognards it
might help if it's a game they have at least heard about.

So to summarize : you need a boardgame on the strategic or operational
level, that has some form of fow, has an easy ruleset, has tons of
tactical/strategic possibilities and for which the copyrights are
available and with a name that rings a bell with grognards.

Easy huh ?

Now the fun part : match existing boardgames to these requirements to
determine if they would make a good port.

Ok, I'll provide 2 examples :

SPI's Panzergruppe Guderian : operational level game that's perfectly
balanced with lot's of tactical options, which pioneered "limited
intelligence", has an easy ruleset and owned by Decision Games (not
sure about this part) who have expressed their willingness to venture
into the pc wargaming.

Columbia's blockgames : Rommel in the Dessert looks a good candate here
- excellent fow - easy ruleset - opportunity to release additional
pc-games from the series ...

Gentlemen, your ideas/comments on this highly appreciated

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 4, 2005 9:39:00 AM

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

Giftzwerg wrote:
> After no small reflection on the topic, over the years, I'm starting
to
> come to the conclusion that porting boardgames is the *wrong* way to
> approach game design. I realize that this might conflict with
previous
> positions I've taken, but I was stupid then, and am enlightened now.

Well, the universe seems to balance out these things :)  After years of
being on the "porting is a bad idea" side I'm now starting to see the
merit of porting an existing design to the pc. The merit being that you
start off with a wargame that works. When designing a pc wargame you
have the double whammy of having to write a program *and* designing a
wargame. These are 2 very distinct and very different jobs. and it's an
amazing coincidence to find someone who is actually good at both.

So if we could somehow determine which ports would work (as I tried in
the post that started the thread) the task for Joe Lonesome Developer
becomes less daunting.

On top of that : some of the top current pc wargame designs *could*
have been ports of boardgames. A boardgame like Battles in Normandy
could have been made and the current pc version being a port. WitP
could have been a monster boardgame on the Pacific war turned computer
game.
Some games have even come full circle Civilisation started out as a
boardgame, turned computer game and is now ported back to a boardgame,
so all in all it's not unfeasable that a good boardgame port could be
made. A game that would be successfull on the pc too.

> So we sorta come full circle.

Yeah, we both, but in opposite directions :) 

> I think I've even been heard to say, "Yes, Mr. Zabalaoui, I
> want to measure LOS with a friggin' string."

And I keep telling you to use a rubber band :) 

> Now, here's what I want vis-a-vis SQUAD LEADER:
>
> (1) PCT.
>
> (2) Accurate and dynamic orders-delay and FOW.
>
> (3) Pixel-positioned map.
>
> (4) A *brilliant* TacAI.
>
> (5) A competent StratAI to play against when "Bob" isn't about.
>
> (6) Decent graphics. I don't care if it's 3D or 2D.
>
> (7) Network/internet play.
>
> (8) Wide scope and DYO/editor.

So basically you want HTTR on the squad level :) 

Seriously : this has been suggested before and Arjuna has given it some
thought. The engine is pretty flexible, but to go down to squad scale
would require some additional work on the AI side of things - so it's
an idea that's been kept on the rearmost backburner.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 4, 2005 10:07:54 AM

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

Giftzwerg wrote:
> If I were wielding the whip that drives the Panther-folks, I think
I'd
> crack it in the direction of more HTTR titles before I'd opt for
going
> to a whole other scale.

One coming up *real soon* :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Related resources
Anonymous
March 4, 2005 12:03:31 PM

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

In article <1109935455.633083.167010@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> So to summarize : you need a boardgame on the strategic or operational
> level, that has some form of fow, has an easy ruleset, has tons of
> tactical/strategic possibilities and for which the copyrights are
> available and with a name that rings a bell with grognards.
>
> Easy huh ?
>
> Now the fun part : match existing boardgames to these requirements to
> determine if they would make a good port.
>
> Ok, I'll provide 2 examples :
>
> SPI's Panzergruppe Guderian : operational level game that's perfectly
> balanced with lot's of tactical options, which pioneered "limited
> intelligence", has an easy ruleset and owned by Decision Games (not
> sure about this part) who have expressed their willingness to venture
> into the pc wargaming.
>
> Columbia's blockgames : Rommel in the Dessert looks a good candate here
> - excellent fow - easy ruleset - opportunity to release additional
> pc-games from the series ...
>
> Gentlemen, your ideas/comments on this highly appreciated

After no small reflection on the topic, over the years, I'm starting to
come to the conclusion that porting boardgames is the *wrong* way to
approach game design. I realize that this might conflict with previous
positions I've taken, but I was stupid then, and am enlightened now.

I'll go one step farther; not only is porting a specific boardgame the
wrong approach, but designing PC games *as though they were boardgames*
is the wrong approach. Computer game designers should chuck the hexes
and other trappings of the boardgame genre and start fresh in every
case.

Or, to put it another way, the only time a designer should design a PC
game as though it were a boardgame is to satisfy the demands of an
installed fanbase of a particular boardgame *for* a direct port.

So we sorta come full circle.

Look, my favorite boardgame of all time is SQUAD LEADER. For twenty
years, I've been pining away for a straightforward port of the paper
game; just give me an AI I can play against, but keep everything else
the same. I think I've even been heard to say, "Yes, Mr. Zabalaoui, I
want to measure LOS with a friggin' string."

But, as they say, how you gonna keep me down on the farm after I've seen
Paree? I've seen COMBAT MISSION. I've seen TACOPS. I've seen HIGHWAY
TO THE REICH. And it's slowly but surely dawned on me that if I got my
precious port of ASL, I would hate it. I would grimly click my way
through all those boardgameish phases and hate every dialog box.

In 1987, I would have *loved* a straight port of ASL. In 1995, STEEL
PANTHERS wiped away all that boardgamesque stuff and did the squad-turn-
based thing right for the PC. In 1998, COMBAT MISSION showed us the
next big thing. In 2003, HTTR demonstrated how good the COMBAT MISSION
model would be if the TacAI worked right (albeit at a different scale
entirely...).

Now, here's what I want vis-a-vis SQUAD LEADER:

(1) PCT.

(2) Accurate and dynamic orders-delay and FOW.

(3) Pixel-positioned map.

(4) A *brilliant* TacAI.

(5) A competent StratAI to play against when "Bob" isn't about.

(6) Decent graphics. I don't care if it's 3D or 2D.

(7) Network/internet play.

(8) Wide scope and DYO/editor.



--
Giftzwerg
***
"Little more than three years after US forces, backed by their faithful
British allies, set foot in Afghanistan, the entire historical dynamic
of this blighted region has already shifted.

Ignoring, fortunately, the assault from clever world opinion on
America=3Fs motives, its credibility and its ambitions, the Bush
Administration set out not only to eliminate immediate threats
but also to remake the Middle East."
- Gerard Baker
Anonymous
March 4, 2005 12:56:17 PM

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

In article <1109947140.111853.30700@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > Now, here's what I want vis-a-vis SQUAD LEADER:
> >
> > (1) PCT.
> >
> > (2) Accurate and dynamic orders-delay and FOW.
> >
> > (3) Pixel-positioned map.
> >
> > (4) A *brilliant* TacAI.
> >
> > (5) A competent StratAI to play against when "Bob" isn't about.
> >
> > (6) Decent graphics. I don't care if it's 3D or 2D.
> >
> > (7) Network/internet play.
> >
> > (8) Wide scope and DYO/editor.
>
> So basically you want HTTR on the squad level :) 

I think the AI would have to be even better than that of HTTR, given the
finer "grain" of a squad-level game and the more obvious (to humans)
nature of small-scale decisionmaking, but ... yeah.

> Seriously : this has been suggested before and Arjuna has given it some
> thought. The engine is pretty flexible, but to go down to squad scale
> would require some additional work on the AI side of things - so it's
> an idea that's been kept on the rearmost backburner.

If I were wielding the whip that drives the Panther-folks, I think I'd
crack it in the direction of more HTTR titles before I'd opt for going
to a whole other scale.

But the "getseverythingrightness" of HTTR would be a welcome addition to
just about any level of game.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Little more than three years after US forces, backed by their faithful
British allies, set foot in Afghanistan, the entire historical dynamic
of this blighted region has already shifted.

Ignoring, fortunately, the assault from clever world opinion on
America=3Fs motives, its credibility and its ambitions, the Bush
Administration set out not only to eliminate immediate threats
but also to remake the Middle East."
- Gerard Baker
Anonymous
March 4, 2005 1:21:47 PM

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

In article <1109948874.401621.51560@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > If I were wielding the whip that drives the Panther-folks, I think
> I'd
> > crack it in the direction of more HTTR titles before I'd opt for
> going
> > to a whole other scale.
>
> One coming up *real soon* :) 

I've got my $50 right here. Been burning a hole in my pocket since
about 15 minutes after I installed the last game.


--
Giftzwerg
***
"Little more than three years after US forces, backed by their faithful
British allies, set foot in Afghanistan, the entire historical dynamic
of this blighted region has already shifted.

Ignoring, fortunately, the assault from clever world opinion on
America=3Fs motives, its credibility and its ambitions, the Bush
Administration set out not only to eliminate immediate threats
but also to remake the Middle East."
- Gerard Baker
Anonymous
March 4, 2005 5:54:44 PM

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

> So if we could somehow determine which ports would work (as I tried in
> the post that started the thread) the task for Joe Lonesome Developer
> becomes less daunting.

> Greetz,
>
> Eddy Sterckx

I think the only way it can work is not to have a straight port. There
has to be some realization that it will be a computer game. Look at 3r
for an example of a total lack of realization. I'm not saying something
totally different that only has the name in common. Computer games are
different than board though.

Epi

How can a man who used to dress in next-to-nothing,
and show off his body, then turn around and
call others girlie-men. Strange.
Anonymous
March 4, 2005 5:54:45 PM

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

In article <MPG.1c924073eb349d949896c5@news.east.earthlink.net>,
epicat1212@hotmail.com says...
>
> > So if we could somehow determine which ports would work (as I tried in
> > the post that started the thread) the task for Joe Lonesome Developer
> > becomes less daunting.

> I think the only way it can work is not to have a straight port. There
> has to be some realization that it will be a computer game. Look at 3r
> for an example of a total lack of realization. I'm not saying something
> totally different that only has the name in common. Computer games are
> different than board though.

Be careful, though. Change the boardgame design in any meaningful way
(perhaps even in a meaningless way...) and you run the risk of pleasing
*no one*. The die-hard fans of the original boardgame will say, "It
just ain't <title here>!!!!" And noobs to the game will simultaneously
say, "It's too clunky and boardgamish!!!"

In one sense, if you're going to change it "just a little," you might
just as well Change It A Lot / Do It Right.


--
Giftzwerg
***
"Little more than three years after US forces, backed by their faithful
British allies, set foot in Afghanistan, the entire historical dynamic
of this blighted region has already shifted.

Ignoring, fortunately, the assault from clever world opinion on
America=3Fs motives, its credibility and its ambitions, the Bush
Administration set out not only to eliminate immediate threats
but also to remake the Middle East."
- Gerard Baker
Anonymous
March 4, 2005 6:43:32 PM

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

> Franchise availability : you're only going to be able to port a
> boardgame for which the licencing rights are available . Forget about
> AH titles as you need deep pockets (like Paradox) to get the likes of
> The Russian Campaign and such. For some other boardgames it's even more
> complicated as sometimes the copyright owner has vanished completely.
> Some years ago I tried to track down the copyright holder of 3W's Holy
> Roman Empire - an exercise in futility if there ever was one.

If I got the urge to port a board wargame I would forget the oldies and look
for one released in the last two or three years. That ought to simplify
establishing who holds the copyright or trademark.

Best regards, Major H.
tacops@mac.com
http://www.battlefront.com/
Anonymous
March 7, 2005 2:59:46 AM

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

Gregor Whiley wrote:
> Don't get fooled by the hexes (or the dice). Battles in Normandy, as
> designed, could not be done as a boardgame.

Ok - let's get this out of the way straight away : the statement above
is 100% correct.

Time and space were too short to put in all the nuances in the original
post, all the small and big differences that lift BiN above the level
of a straight boardgame port. That indeed make it impossible for BiN to
be a 100% faithfully recreated boardgame.

But it's not unrealistic to imagine a boardgame on which BiN could have
been based. MP's for hexes entered and hexsides crossed, supply zones,
multiple CRT's, odds calculation with column shifts, basic FOW - I've
seen all of this before in boardgames. And the Combat Advisor would
have been seen as a nice bonus of the port of the boardgame to the pc.

Maybe you can look at it from this pov : would it be unconceivable for
BiN to get ported to a boardgame ? - I think not.

[note to myself : porting pc games to the board - sounds like a nice
topic to bore some more people in here]

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 7, 2005 3:34:11 AM

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

Don't get fooled by the hexes (or the dice). Battles in Normandy, as
designed, could not be done as a boardgame. The movement and
supply/refit rules are too complex to realistically done by gamers
(unless you really like the idea of averaging the MP costs every two
hexes and then applying penalties for moving every unit every turn).

The fog of war can't be done by humans. The Combat Advisor is likewise
impractical. Combat itself is doable but very slow, and printing all
those CRTs would take a lot of space!

Hexes make a lot of things easy for both humans and computers (they
really help the AI) so we're not inclined to chuck them out.Yes, they
make the game look more like a boardgame (and that may be a bad thing
for sales), but the resemblance is mostly superficial. The same
applies to the combat dice. Our dice routines can roll up random
numbers is any range we desire, but humans understand six sided dice
and it's some much easier to display the potential outsomes of a
combat when the number is small that I can see us ditching the dice
either.

We could design a Battles in Normandy boardgame, but it would be a
very different beast to the computer game, related in name only.

Gregor
Gregor Whiley
Vice President, Strategic Studies Group
http://www.ssg.com.au
Anonymous
March 7, 2005 10:18:38 AM

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

In article <1110182386.192964.11350@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > Don't get fooled by the hexes (or the dice). Battles in Normandy, as
> > designed, could not be done as a boardgame.
>
> Ok - let's get this out of the way straight away : the statement above
> is 100% correct.
>
> Time and space were too short to put in all the nuances in the original
> post, all the small and big differences that lift BiN above the level
> of a straight boardgame port. That indeed make it impossible for BiN to
> be a 100% faithfully recreated boardgame.
>
> But it's not unrealistic to imagine a boardgame on which BiN could have
> been based. MP's for hexes entered and hexsides crossed, supply zones,
> multiple CRT's, odds calculation with column shifts, basic FOW - I've
> seen all of this before in boardgames. And the Combat Advisor would
> have been seen as a nice bonus of the port of the boardgame to the pc.
>
> Maybe you can look at it from this pov : would it be unconceivable for
> BiN to get ported to a boardgame ? - I think not.

The other counterpoint to Mr. Whiley's argument would be that - aside
from FOW issues - it's unclear exactly what essential benefits, in a
purely practical sense, the gamer derives from stuff like too-complex-
for-human-calculations supply rules and averaging movements and a
sliding schema of CRTs. Seems to me that a boardgame would simply throw
this out as impractical to implement without a computer, to very little
loss in pure gaming terms.

It's like Microsoft Word; it does roughly 11 zillion things my
typewriter can't do - 10.999999 zillion of which I don't care about.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Little more than three years after US forces, backed by their faithful
British allies, set foot in Afghanistan, the entire historical dynamic
of this blighted region has already shifted.

Ignoring, fortunately, the assault from clever world opinion on
America=3Fs motives, its credibility and its ambitions, the Bush
Administration set out not only to eliminate immediate threats
but also to remake the Middle East."
- Gerard Baker
Anonymous
March 7, 2005 11:18:12 AM

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

On Fri, 4 Mar 2005 09:03:31 -0500, Giftzwerg
<giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:

>After no small reflection on the topic, over the years, I'm starting to
>come to the conclusion that porting boardgames is the *wrong* way to
>approach game design. I realize that this might conflict with previous
>positions I've taken, but I was stupid then, and am enlightened now.
>
>I'll go one step farther; not only is porting a specific boardgame the
>wrong approach, but designing PC games *as though they were boardgames*
>is the wrong approach. Computer game designers should chuck the hexes
>and other trappings of the boardgame genre and start fresh in every
>case.

There are two major advantages I see from doing a port instead of
designing a new game.

First, you tend to have a ruleset that's already been well tested and
balanced before the (programming) project even starts. Odds are good
that you'll end up with a more balanced game than if you'd put off
doing your playtesting until you had a beta version.

Second, the rules and strategies also tend to well known for a
boardgame so the potential is there to design a better AI because you
know what you're programming for when you're just starting out. ...
and yes, I realize that there are plenty of shitty AIs out there for
ported games.

The best ports I can think of are old Avalon Hill games, mainly
strategy instead of wargames though. Games like 1830, Advanced
Civilizaion and Kingmaker. Relatively smooth and balanced gameplay
along with decent AIs.

Rgds, Frank
Anonymous
March 7, 2005 10:27:40 PM

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

Yeah..I'd would mind a couple of ports. Direct and New.
Take a game like TRC. Good port. Or design a new on but simple enough
stategy becomes the main focus as opposed to counter pushing. There was a
nice game on the Russian Front in some magazine that was great. Can't
remember the game or magazine. Not SSI or SST. It used mech corps and big
armies (which moved slow). It used replacement escapes from surrounded
units. Pretty good for a board game.

The thing with boardgames is the rules are a pain in the ass to learn and of
course the table room.
The computer is perfect for rules and odds calculations yet we don't get
those games. 3R PBEM is good,despite a few bugs, but is really a lengthy
game taking 6 mos to play for most.

Other than that every game out has pretty much been boring. No real emphasis
on strategy. Of course most operational games like TOW ,which is not a bad
game, comes down to battalion bookeeping. It's just the nature of
operational games. Yet tactical games, and of course strategic games, lend
themselves more to strategy. That's why I think the original squad leader
would be a hit.

But if you're going to design a game for mostly PBEM...the turns should be
long enough so your not emailing 10 turns a night...(turns that take 5 min)
yet fast enough you're not doing a turn every two weeks. I'd say a turn that
takes you 20-40 min is perfect..plus maybe another 20 min or so on any
mental planning:) 

But with the masses and AI...the design hits on that first with the PBEM
taking a back seat..more of a "well let's add it in while we're at it".

I mean playing SC by PBEM is a bit silly. Of course there is realtime
internet play but as we get older I think we want to do our turns at our
leisure.
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 1:48:06 AM

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

Gregor Whiley wrote:
> For instance, in Battles in Italy,
> we have now made the tactical
> factors that get CRT shifts in combat vary by country.
....
> and, while not impossible, a burden that you probably
> wouldn't place on the players in a boardgame.

Eh, don't want to rain on your parade here, but it's a feature I've
encountered several times in boardgames. Usually called "divisional
integrity rules" or such with special provisions for Axis minors. In
ACW games it's usually reserved for special regiments/brigades like the
Stonewall brigade or the Lousisiana Tigers. And it isn't hard to
implement in a boardgame - neither is different CRT's per attacker
type.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a nice addition and certainly counters
some gamey tactics but as an example of where BiN differs from a
boardgame it's simply not that convincing.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 8:33:10 AM

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

On Mon, 7 Mar 2005 07:18:38 -0500, Giftzwerg
<giftzwerg999@hotmail.com> wrote:


>
>The other counterpoint to Mr. Whiley's argument would be that - aside
>from FOW issues - it's unclear exactly what essential benefits, in a
>purely practical sense, the gamer derives from stuff like too-complex-
>for-human-calculations supply rules and averaging movements and a
>sliding schema of CRTs. Seems to me that a boardgame would simply throw
>this out as impractical to implement without a computer, to very little
>loss in pure gaming terms.
>
>It's like Microsoft Word; it does roughly 11 zillion things my
>typewriter can't do - 10.999999 zillion of which I don't care about.
>
>--
>Giftzwerg


For any one feature, Giftzwerg's comment is certainly true. We could
simplify the movement rules, or the supply rules or the combat rules
without greatly affecting the game. However, if we make them all,
simultaneously, computable by humans, then I think we do lose
something from the richness, flexibility and intangible atmosphere
from the game.

For instance, in Battles in Italy, we have now made the tactical
factors that get CRT shifts in combat vary by country. This means that
if you attack an allied unit with only Italian units, you still won't
get a huge tactical advantage, even if attacking from multiple
gexsides. However, if you get a German unit involved in the battle,
then the German tactical factors apply, and now the Allied unit might
be in trouble.

The presumption is that the Germans will organise all the
artillery/support/logistical factors (which are just as important as
the raw combat factors) so much better than the Italians. This new
design factor prevents gamey tactics with Italian units performing
feats that they just weren't capable of on the battlefield.

So, while we didn't really need to do this, it does contribute to the
'feel' of the game, and it's the sort of thing that's easy on the
computer and, while not impossible, a burden that you probably
wouldn't place on the players in a boardgame.

Gregor
Gregor Whiley
Vice President, Strategic Studies Group
http://www.ssg.com.au
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 2:09:32 PM

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

HR wrote:
> "Eddy Sterckx" <eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns9613B6F68292Beddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.45...
> > 3W's Sturm nach Osten ?
>
> Hehe I should have known you would know this. Good shot since I
didn't give
> much of clue:) 

Lucky guess - It's on my shortlist of games that should be ported to
the pc :) 

> While we started to play it we never got around to learning the rules
but it
> had some interesting chrome in it.

Not only that, it really did an excellent job at recreating the
historical Barbarossa campaign - it got "the flow" correct, not many
strategic east front games have managed that. TRC sure didn't. And it
had the most beautiful map I've ever seen - a pity it had map-errata
which stands out like a sore thumb.

> > Check out World at War - strategic, lots of options.

> And you don't think I'm wating with baited breath:)  I do hope its
got that
> competitve strategic play like 3R..not that I expect all that much
from the
> AI but at least with a human opponent.

You'll have plenty of opponents ready to kick your lower backside :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 4:55:08 PM

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

eddysterckx@hotmail.com wrote:

[snip]

> Fog of War : every pc wargame has it, but it's pretty rare in a
classic
> boardgame. But gamers have come to expect it on their pc, so a
> boardgame with some form of fow is more likely to get ported
> successfully.

The newer (actually, some of them aren't so new) blockgames do a pretty
good job of conveying FoW, IMO. YMMV.

> Replayability : PC wargamers are spoiled : they don't want a wargame
> where they can replay Waterloo, they want their wargame to contain
> scenario's for every battle of Nappie. Oh, sure boardgames do and did
> contain various scenarios but not on the level that pc-gamers have
come
> to expect. So for a boardgame to get ported successfully it must
> provide for wildly different tactical/strategic possibilities and
> possible outcomes.

This, IMO, largely depends on the game. I think there's plenty of
wargames (of the "board" variety) that feature strong replayability --
even if it's the same "scenario" over and over. Obviously this isn't
always the case. In general though, I agree: PC games, relatively
speaking, can offer more in the way of replayability.

-V
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 5:57:35 PM

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

Gregor Whiley wrote:

> I'm not claiming uniqueness. We put Unknown Units in as a game option
> because we liked how it worked in Panzergruppe Guderian, though I
> don't know if the idea originated with that great boardgame.

It did AFAIK - it was at least marketed/reviewed as a "new advancement
in fow" :) 

> Anyway, I'm not sure what the original point was any more,

Who cares anyway :) 

> but its
> been an interesting discussion.

It sure was

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 8:05:32 PM

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

"HR" <HR@horizon.net> wrote in news:0smdnbkZ0rD2bLHfRVn-rw@comcast.com:

> There
> was a nice game on the Russian Front in some magazine that was great.
> Can't remember the game or magazine. Not SSI or SST. It used mech
> corps and big armies (which moved slow). It used replacement escapes
> from surrounded units. Pretty good for a board game.

3W's Sturm nach Osten ?

> The thing with boardgames is the rules are a pain in the ass to learn
> and of course the table room.
> The computer is perfect for rules and odds calculations yet we don't
> get those games. 3R PBEM is good,despite a few bugs, but is really a
> lengthy game taking 6 mos to play for most.

Check out World at War - strategic, lots of options.

> I mean playing SC by PBEM is a bit silly. Of course there is realtime
> internet play but as we get older I think we want to do our turns at
> our leisure.

LOL - I seem to be playing *faster* than I used to because I'm always
running out of time to play :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 8, 2005 8:05:33 PM

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

"Eddy Sterckx" <eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xns9613B6F68292Beddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.45...
> 3W's Sturm nach Osten ?

Hehe I should have known you would know this. Good shot since I didn't give
much of clue:) 
While we started to play it we never got around to learning the rules but it
had some interesting chrome in it.
Did you get a chance to play it? This is the kind of game I'd like to see
on a computer.

>
> Check out World at War - strategic, lots of options.


And you don't think I'm wating with baited breath:)  I do hope its got that
competitve strategic play like 3R..not that I expect all that much from the
AI but at least with a human opponent.
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 12:37:44 AM

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

<eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1110308972.677550.174390@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> Not only that, it really did an excellent job at recreating the
> historical Barbarossa campaign - it got "the flow" correct, not many
> strategic east front games have managed that. TRC sure didn't. And it
> had the most beautiful map I've ever seen - a pity it had map-errata
> which stands out like a sore thumb.
>

Ah yes I forgot. The map was beautiful. I liked the concept of the 9-2
armies but Panzer corps could break off and race ahead. But those armies had
quite a whallop if you could ever move them up fast enough:)  I particularly
liked the fact encirlced units could get their cadre out at different levels
depending on how bad the encirclement.

huh..get my backside kicked? oh. that's right..I won't be able to force the
double move....or god forbid retake Paris with an exploited breakthru;)
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 1:20:55 AM

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

On 7 Mar 2005 22:48:06 -0800, "eddysterckx@hotmail.com"
<eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote:


>
>Eh, don't want to rain on your parade here, but it's a feature I've
>encountered several times in boardgames. Usually called "divisional
>integrity rules" or such with special provisions for Axis minors. In
>ACW games it's usually reserved for special regiments/brigades like the
>Stonewall brigade or the Lousisiana Tigers. And it isn't hard to
>implement in a boardgame - neither is different CRT's per attacker
>type.
>
>Don't get me wrong, I think it's a nice addition and certainly counters
>some gamey tactics but as an example of where BiN differs from a
>boardgame it's simply not that convincing.
>
>Greetz,
>
>Eddy Sterckx
>

I'm not claiming uniqueness. We put Unknown Units in as a game option
because we liked how it worked in Panzergruppe Guderian, though I
don't know if the idea originated with that great boardgame. There are
many ideas that could be implemented in both computer and boardgames,
and on an individual basis, often are. However, in designing a
boardgame, you have to have regard to the computational abilities of
the players, and can't include large numbers of computationaly complex
features without overloading the player. This is usually not a
consideration in a computer wargame, the CPU is happy to do all the
maths that we ask it to.

That being said, there are limitations that are peculiar to the
computer format. Screen real estate, especially on the map screen is
very limited. Users rightly dislike being forced away from the
situation to look up vital info on other screens, whereas in a
boardgame its much less bother to print another chart or table. As
I've mentioned before, having an AI is also a source of some
limitations, because there's no point in adding game features that the
AI can't use in a useful fashion.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the original point was any more, but its
been an interesting discussion.


Gregor Whiley
Vice President, Strategic Studies Group
http://www.ssg.com.au
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 2:50:06 AM

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

HR wrote:
> huh..get my backside kicked? oh. that's right..I won't be able to
force the
> double move....or god forbid retake Paris with an exploited
breakthru;)

Not if I can help it :)  - and no Casablanca hex either :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 9, 2005 11:02:53 PM

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

"eddysterckx@hotmail.com" <eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:1109935455.633083.167010@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

> SPI's Panzergruppe Guderian : operational level game that's
> perfectly balanced with lot's of tactical options, which pioneered
> "limited intelligence", has an easy ruleset and owned by Decision
> Games (not sure about this part) who have expressed their
> willingness to venture into the pc wargaming.

Actually, the game was released most recently by Avalon Hill which is
now owned by Hasbro. Expect your pieces to have cutsey animations to
entice the Axis and Allies crowd.

> Gentlemen, your ideas/comments on this highly appreciated

Currently, a large amount of boardgames have been ported to
Cyberboard, which is a PBEM utility. It allows players to play
without the components, but not without the rules. Another utility
is Vassal which favours online server-based solo to multiplayer
games.

http://cyberboard.brainiac.com/

http://www.vassalengine.org/

The point is that if we the players want to play board wargames, it
is up to us the players to see to it that the games are as we want
them to be. I would not buy Panzergruppe Guderian from Hasbro. I
would not want to play a game that requires intelligence with an AI
that was created by a corporate entity for the purpose of making
money. I can guarantee that it will not rake in enough to warrant a
second game. The only one that was ever any good, and I don't mean
great, was Avalon Hill's Flight Commander 2 and that was because it
was conceived as a computer "board" game from the beginning. One
point that worked against sales was that it was not a simulation.

Their other later attempts (1830, Kingmaker, Civilization, History of
the World) were all failures, even though they included a PBEM
feature, inasmuch as they were desperately bug-ridden and never
produced the revenue necessary to save Avalon Hill.

You can fix a bug in a board game with a house rule and continue
playing. You can't fix a bug in a computerized version of a board
game and you have to wait until the company sees it is in its
economic interest to produce a patch.

To summarize in two words: bad idea.

--

[...] remember when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down 'ere on Earth!

Monty Python's Universe Song
Anonymous
March 10, 2005 2:09:57 PM

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

"Gregor Whiley" <gwhileyXSPAM@ssg.com.au> wrote in message
news:422e2296.1306625@news-server.nsw.bigpond.net.au...
[snip]
> Anyway, I'm not sure what the original point was any more, but its
> been an interesting discussion.

A classic end to a classic discussion. If only they all ended this way, well
done gentlemen. :-)
Regards, Mike Kreuzer
!