Game vs Simulation

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

Hi,

While browsing the Paper Wars cd (a compendium of boardgame reviews)
there's one thing that triggered my attention : the amount of
boardgames that are either totally or partially card-based. Now,
there's a good reason for this : boardgames are primarily designed for
FTF play and with the limited FOW inherent in most boardgames these
cards become the prime suspense factor. And the prime surprise/luck
factor. This makes for great entertainment between opposing players as
even the totally unskilled player can win dramatically just by being a
lucky bastard. These are the games that get remembered and retold.
That's entertainment. That's what I call a game.

PC wargames otoh are almost devoid of "luck" - I'm not talking about
the operational surprise of a Panzer battalion appearing early in your
flank here, or the 20% chance that a certain event might trigger if
such and such condition are met. No, I'm talking about things you can't
guard against, the cold shower surprises. PC wargames are more evenly
balanced, even so that the unskilled player gets clobbered heavily
every time. PC wargames have predictable outcomes, they are not games,
they are simulations.

I've been thinking about why pc wargame developers haven't developed a
kind of card-drawing mechanism in their games in order to emulate the
success of card-driven boardgames.

Maybe it's because pc wargamers don't like luck playing such an
important part - if the AI would pull such a stunt the boards would be
overflowing with "the AI is cheating" messages, if it happens in an
online game they would feel cheated out of a deserved victory.

Maybe it's because you don't mind losing against a buddy across the
table who had more luck than he'd ever deserve than against some dumb
AI or a faceless opponent on the 'net.

Maybe it's because AI's can't cope with such swings of fortune - or
can't develop a strategy of holding on to a certain card in the hope
you'll draw it's companion in the next turn for a double whammy.

Maybe it's a combination of things, but sometimes I wish my pc wargames
were a little bit more entertainment and a bit less simulation.

All ideas on this and/or totally unrelated subjects - as always -
appreciated

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
22 answers Last reply
More about game simulation
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    I don't think I agree with your statement "PC wargames are more evenly
    balanced, even so that the unskilled player gets clobbered heavily
    every time. PC wargames have predictable outcomes, they are not games,
    they are simulations. "

    By this logic, Go and Chess are simulations and not games, because I
    consistently get clobbered by more skilled players.
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Hey Eddy,

    Just for you I'm going to write a new function in COTA to be called the
    SterckxSurpriseDraw() that will randomly create surprise events in the
    game. We'll have natural disasters like earthquakes, the arrival of the
    odd Panzer Army in your rear echelon and the piece de resistrance will
    be the death of the leader occassioned by a short high voltage electric
    discharge through the mouse. When the latter event occurs people will
    say "well I was just about to win when I got sterckxed". This of course
    will be a user option for all except yourself mate. ;))
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    jari k schreef:

    > For example in HOI2 style of game you might get lucky and your
    > technology advances very fast, but because things are happening under
    > the hood it is like flow that varies in speed ..no sudden "*bwham*
    > muhahahaa! I got these cards! I can conquer the world!" feeling but more
    > slow happy feeling when things seem to go quite ok.

    Yup, you've put your finger on it - the sudden surge of happiness when
    you draw the right card or despair when your opponent plays the double
    whammy is something that is lacking in pc wargames.

    > and importantly also there would be
    > this instant feedback that you were lucky right now.

    Important point indeed : the game needs to communicate this well.

    Greetz,

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

    fizzy schreef:
    > I don't think I agree with your statement "PC wargames are more evenly
    > balanced, even so that the unskilled player gets clobbered heavily
    > every time. PC wargames have predictable outcomes, they are not games,
    > they are simulations. "
    >
    > By this logic, Go and Chess are simulations and not games, because I
    > consistently get clobbered by more skilled players.

    eh, my point exactly - there are no surprises in chess, no fow, no
    "place an extra queen piece anywhere on the board" card you can draw.
    Chess is a simulation.

    Greetz,

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

    Eddy, you need to play some more head to head games.
  6. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Arjuna schreef:
    > Eddy, you need to play some more head to head games.

    <innocently>
    This suggestions wouldn't have anything to do with your request of a
    focus on COTA network testing, would it ? :)
    </innocently>

    Well, last night I had an "Oops, didn't see that one coming" moment in
    COTA but only so because I was so much focused on the fighting around
    the lunatic asylum on Malta I didn't notice an AI counterattack on my
    right flank until it was too late to send reserves over there.

    The irony is that it happened a couple of hours after my "complaint"
    that wargames can't surprise me anymore :)

    Greetz,

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

    Eddy,

    >I was so much focused on the fighting around
    the lunatic asylum on Malta

    You mean Eddy's Hollow don't you? ;)
  8. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Arjuna schreef:
    > Eddy,
    >
    > >I was so much focused on the fighting around
    > the lunatic asylum on Malta
    >
    > You mean Eddy's Hollow don't you? ;)

    Ah, you already fixed that bug :)

    some inside information here : I was testing a Malta scenario when I
    saw the lunatic asylum on the map - which IRL really was there - so I
    immediatly did a screen capture and reported it as a bug saying it
    should be "Panther Games HQ". Arjuna was more inclined to call it
    "Eddy's Hollow" and I agreed on the condition that it was made a
    victory location.

    Before someone thinks that this kind of bs is causing the game to be
    delayed : this sort of post is not indicative of the threads in the
    beta-forum where some deadly serious debates are held on the realism
    and/or advisability of some features. Most of which goes way over my
    head which doesn't stop me from cheerfully participating anyway. A bit
    like in here reallly.

    Greetz,

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

    Interesting discussion on the random effect. I just bought and started
    playing Memoir '44, the WWII succesor to Battle Cry by designer Richard
    Borg.
    Action on the mapboard is card driven by either action cards (giving
    you movement options on certain parts of the map) or tactical cards
    (giving you certain options like air attack, close assault or off map
    bombardment).
    You draw cards blind from the stack, so there's the luck factor, but
    you can choose which card in your hand you want to play.
    This gives tactical surprises and randomnes in the game.

    Perhaps operational cards could be added in a later version (or as
    house rules) with say:
    * fuel dumps blown: no armoured units can move the rest of the game;
    * higher HQ bombed: no movement orders may be issued in your next turn;
    * extra airdrop available with reinforcements.

    Such randomnes could be programmed in with PC games too. Although you
    should put them at 1% chance of happening (or so), they could add spice
    to a wargame.
    Maybe not in a historical scenario, but certainly in a "what if"
    scenario.

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

    I agree that it would be nice. In computer games, except Risk that is
    based on board game, I have only seen random effect in roll of dice when
    calculating battle results. And perhaps some random elements that say it
    is raining on that day and your planes can't fly or tanks get stuck in
    mud. Random but something happening under the hood.

    What I believe you want, and I also would like when think of it, is
    random element that you can control and partly plan on. What I have seen
    (and remember) in computer games is using your card analogy close to
    that in beginning of your turn you would turn a card from deck and it
    might contain something. But more interesting (board/card) games have it
    so that there might be this one card you turn right away but then you
    also collect these random elements and can do some planning using them.

    For example in HOI2 style of game you might get lucky and your
    technology advances very fast, but because things are happening under
    the hood it is like flow that varies in speed ..no sudden "*bwham*
    muhahahaa! I got these cards! I can conquer the world!" feeling but more
    slow happy feeling when things seem to go quite ok.

    For some type of games it would be great to have such random element you
    could at least partially control, and importantly also there would be
    this instant feedback that you were lucky right now.

    --
    jari k

    remove unnecessary parts of address to make it work
  11. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    "Chess is a simulation.

    Greetz,


    Eddy Sterckx"

    I hate to get in a pissing war over semantics, but chess is a game, and
    has been considered a game for about 1500 years by millions of people,
    regardless of your attempt to recategorize it as a "simulation" based
    on an arbitrary definition.

    Think of if however you want to -- there are no thought police around
    -- but that doesn't change history or the dictionary.
  12. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    I still fail to see what chess, a highly idealized and abstract game,
    simulates. It bears almost no resemblance to anything real or
    historical. I would submit that any historical wargame, even one with
    a lot of randomness, would mostly likely be a better simulation.
  13. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    "fizzy" <ewoh27@aol.com> wrote in news:1120839036.037135.230740
    @g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:


    > I hate to get in a pissing war over semantics, but chess is a game,
    and
    > has been considered a game for about 1500 years by millions of people,
    > regardless of your attempt to recategorize it as a "simulation" based
    > on an arbitrary definition.

    Of course it's an arbitrary definition - I made it up myself :) -
    simulations are games too - maybe I should have called them "games where
    luck plays a major part" vs. "realistic games that involve some random
    events but are for the most part skill oriented"

    Greetz,

    Eddy Sterckx



    --
    "Ceterum censeo Belgicam delendam."
    (Cato, 'Pro Gerolphe')
  14. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    On 2005-07-08, eddysterckx@hotmail.com <eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote:

    > Yup, you've put your finger on it - the sudden surge of happiness when
    > you draw the right card or despair when your opponent plays the double
    > whammy is something that is lacking in pc wargames.

    Thank goodness...

    Cards to me are inappropriate in most strategic and tactical games,
    especially wargames.

    Most of the time I find their being played a jarring event that keeps
    the game from being immersive.

    Random events are fine only if they actually relate to what is
    happening. Most card based games do nothing to ensure that the events
    have anything to do with what is going on in the game.

    Having said that, for some games it is OK, because they are much more
    casual. I still like playing Risk and other games that use cards, but
    they are generally games that take a much more higher level view than
    what I usually play.


    --
    shannon "AT" widomaker.com -- ["Star Wars Moral Number 17: Teddy bears are
    dangerous in herds."]
  15. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    While taking a short break from the daily grind of enslavement and
    world domination, eddysterckx@hotmail.com mentioned

    >jari k schreef:
    >
    >> For example in HOI2 style of game you might get lucky and your
    >> technology advances very fast, but because things are happening under
    >> the hood it is like flow that varies in speed ..no sudden "*bwham*
    >> muhahahaa! I got these cards! I can conquer the world!" feeling but more
    >> slow happy feeling when things seem to go quite ok.
    >
    >Yup, you've put your finger on it - the sudden surge of happiness when
    >you draw the right card or despair when your opponent plays the double
    >whammy is something that is lacking in pc wargames.
    >
    >> and importantly also there would be
    >> this instant feedback that you were lucky right now.
    >
    >Important point indeed : the game needs to communicate this well.
    >
    >Greetz,
    >
    >Eddy Sterckx


    I'm surprised that nobody's yet mentioned the card game "Ambush"
    (based on Squad Leader, not ASL) or its offshoot "Computer Ambush"
    which I believe was around for the Apple ][ and C64. Never tried the
    computer version myself, but there were plenty of tac surprises in the
    card version though.
    ..
    ..
    "When in danger or in doubt,
    Run in circles, scream and shout"
    ..
    It's not just a management tool,
    It's a philosophy for living!!
    ..
  16. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    In article <Xns968DBBCE46AE1eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.44>,
    eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...
    > > I hate to get in a pissing war over semantics, but chess is a game,
    > and
    > > has been considered a game for about 1500 years by millions of people,
    > > regardless of your attempt to recategorize it as a "simulation" based
    > > on an arbitrary definition.
    >
    > Of course it's an arbitrary definition - I made it up myself :) -
    > simulations are games too - maybe I should have called them "games where
    > luck plays a major part" vs. "realistic games that involve some random
    > events but are for the most part skill oriented"

    I gotta say, I'm still unclear on the definitions, here.

    Here in the USA, in most states there's a legal distinction between
    "games of chance" and "games of skill," which is why (where I live...)
    you can wager legally on the golf course, but not at the poker table.
    But the line gets a bit fuzzy in places. For instance, bridge is
    considered a game of skill, but blackjack is a game of chance;
    somewhere, someone has made the arbitrary differentiation.

    I would define a "simulation" as a game where the player is presented
    with an artificial version of a real-world activity, but one that's set
    up to mimic *physically* that activity. FALCON 4.0 and FLIGHT COMMANDER
    2 both let a player game out air combat and maneuver their jets, but
    only FALCON is a simulator, since it doesn't abstract (unnecessarily)
    the physical activity necessary to operate a jet. In a *perfect*
    simulator, the player would be unable to tell if he *was* in a
    simulator.

    --
    Giftzwerg
    ***
    "It's hard not to be moved by the sight of Londoners calmly going about
    their business as usual in the face of terrorism. But, if the governing
    class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip but a
    death wish."
    - Mark Steyn
  17. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    "Miowarra Tomokatu (aka Tomo)" <not@thistime.net> wrote in message
    news:afvuc1hsuhbctseoivosn05vp4bhivf9fe@4ax.com...
    > While taking a short break from the daily grind of enslavement and
    > world domination, eddysterckx@hotmail.com mentioned
    >
    >>jari k schreef:
    >>
    >>> For example in HOI2 style of game you might get lucky and your
    >>> technology advances very fast, but because things are happening under
    >>> the hood it is like flow that varies in speed ..no sudden "*bwham*
    >>> muhahahaa! I got these cards! I can conquer the world!" feeling but more
    >>> slow happy feeling when things seem to go quite ok.
    >>
    >>Yup, you've put your finger on it - the sudden surge of happiness when
    >>you draw the right card or despair when your opponent plays the double
    >>whammy is something that is lacking in pc wargames.
    >>
    >>> and importantly also there would be
    >>> this instant feedback that you were lucky right now.
    >>
    >>Important point indeed : the game needs to communicate this well.
    >>
    >>Greetz,
    >>
    >>Eddy Sterckx
    >
    >
    > I'm surprised that nobody's yet mentioned the card game "Ambush"
    > (based on Squad Leader, not ASL) or its offshoot "Computer Ambush"
    > which I believe was around for the Apple ][ and C64. Never tried the
    > computer version myself, but there were plenty of tac surprises in the
    > card version though.
    > .
    > .
    > "When in danger or in doubt,
    > Run in circles, scream and shout"
    > .
    > It's not just a management tool,
    > It's a philosophy for living!!
    > .

    Miowarra, do you mean Up Front? I don't remember a card game called Ambush.
    I do remember the solitaire wargame, Ambush, played ona paper map and with a
    paragraph events booklet.

    I also remember the Apple II game - wasn't it advertised as 'the $2,000
    wargame'? I lusted after that at the time but, for a poor student, it was
    out of the question.
  18. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    In article <daok43$f4d$1@nwrdmz01.dmz.ncs.ea.ibs-infra.bt.com>,
    thedevilsadvocaat@hotmail.com says...

    > Miowarra, do you mean Up Front? I don't remember a card game called Ambush.
    > I do remember the solitaire wargame, Ambush, played ona paper map and with a
    > paragraph events booklet.

    This is AMBUSH:

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/73408

    This is UP FRONT:

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/69913

    While I never liked card-based games, I though AMBUSH was pretty cool.


    --
    Giftzwerg
    ***
    "It's hard not to be moved by the sight of Londoners calmly going about
    their business as usual in the face of terrorism. But, if the governing
    class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip but a
    death wish."
    - Mark Steyn
  19. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    "Giftzwerg" <giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:MPG.1d39ab563368bb1c98a441@news-central.giganews.com...
    > In article <daok43$f4d$1@nwrdmz01.dmz.ncs.ea.ibs-infra.bt.com>,
    > thedevilsadvocaat@hotmail.com says...
    >
    >> Miowarra, do you mean Up Front? I don't remember a card game called
    >> Ambush.
    >> I do remember the solitaire wargame, Ambush, played ona paper map and
    >> with a
    >> paragraph events booklet.
    >
    > This is AMBUSH:
    >
    > http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/73408
    >
    > This is UP FRONT:
    >
    > http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/69913
    >
    > While I never liked card-based games, I though AMBUSH was pretty cool.
    >
    >
    > --
    > Giftzwerg
    > ***
    > "It's hard not to be moved by the sight of Londoners calmly going about
    > their business as usual in the face of terrorism. But, if the governing
    > class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip but a
    > death wish."
    > - Mark Steyn

    Nice to see that senile dementia's not crept in yet.
  20. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    While taking a short break from the daily grind of enslavement and
    world domination, Mike mentioned

    >"Miowarra Tomokatu (aka Tomo)" <not@thistime.net> wrote in message
    >news:afvuc1hsuhbctseoivosn05vp4bhivf9fe@4ax.com...
    >> While taking a short break from the daily grind of enslavement and
    >> world domination, eddysterckx@hotmail.com mentioned
    >>
    >>>jari k schreef:
    >>>
    >>>> For example in HOI2 style of game you might get lucky and your
    >>>> technology advances very fast, but because things are happening under
    >>>> the hood it is like flow that varies in speed ..no sudden "*bwham*
    >>>> muhahahaa! I got these cards! I can conquer the world!" feeling but more
    >>>> slow happy feeling when things seem to go quite ok.
    >>>
    >>>Yup, you've put your finger on it - the sudden surge of happiness when
    >>>you draw the right card or despair when your opponent plays the double
    >>>whammy is something that is lacking in pc wargames.
    >>>
    >>>> and importantly also there would be
    >>>> this instant feedback that you were lucky right now.
    >>>
    >>>Important point indeed : the game needs to communicate this well.
    >>>
    >>>Greetz,
    >>>
    >>>Eddy Sterckx
    >>
    >>
    >> I'm surprised that nobody's yet mentioned the card game "Ambush"
    >> (based on Squad Leader, not ASL) or its offshoot "Computer Ambush"
    >> which I believe was around for the Apple ][ and C64. Never tried the
    >> computer version myself, but there were plenty of tac surprises in the
    >> card version though.
    >> .
    >> .
    >> "When in danger or in doubt,
    >> Run in circles, scream and shout"
    >> .
    >> It's not just a management tool,
    >> It's a philosophy for living!!
    >> .
    >
    >Miowarra, do you mean Up Front? I don't remember a card game called Ambush.

    Damn, you're RIGHT! (again!!) I looked for the issue in which it was
    reviewed, but couldn't find it and had to take a guess at the name. Up
    Front it was.

    >I do remember the solitaire wargame, Ambush, played ona paper map and with a
    >paragraph events booklet.
    >
    >I also remember the Apple II game - wasn't it advertised as 'the $2,000
    >wargame'? I lusted after that at the time but, for a poor student, it was
    >out of the question.
    >
    >

    ..
    ..
    "When in danger or in doubt,
    Run in circles, scream and shout"
    ..
    It's not just a management tool,
    It's a philosophy for living!!
    ..
  21. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    Personally I cant thin of anything more irritating then a card game. This is
    all about personal preferences right? The idea of a trump card that negates
    a game worth of strategy is an appalling idea in my opinion. I guess in
    these terms simulations are what I prefer. I never found any of them
    predictable at all. Simplistic games like Axis and Allies were predictable.
    But a good game that involved strategy and tactics was always something new.
    Always something that some player tried that last did not. IN PC wargaming a
    bit different with computer AI's always being predictable no matter what
    claims by designers that the AI is intuitive and revolutionary. But a good
    miniatures game was always fresh and enjoyable. The cards spoil the how
    thing for me. Random elements were always factored into the wargames I
    played. I remember some moderated games that a judge would do things to make
    it more random. He was a trainer in the Military. This background led him to
    pulling some things that I quite enjoyed. Like in one game a guy did some
    really silly tactical road travel in open terrain driving right passed a
    frontline repair post that was very poorly placed. So the judge decided to
    show him what a huge mistake he was making by adding a few unexpected enemy
    tactical aircraft to the game. The commanders mistake was presented to him
    in cold hard terms when his column of vehicles and repair depot was lit up
    like the 4th of July by two Mig 23's passing by. In that context it made
    much sense and everybody had no qualms about the attack other then to kick
    themselves for there mistake. But if some opponent just drew a card out of
    his hand to play "Airstrike" it would seem quite random and unfair.
  22. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

    fizzy schreef:
    > I still fail to see what chess, a highly idealized and abstract game,
    > simulates. It bears almost no resemblance to anything real or
    > historical.

    Well, (typing from memory here) I've once read an article on chess and
    what it was supposed to represent as a battlefield abstraction and what
    each piece was supposed to represent.

    Basically it was ancient phalanx warfare, with the king piece
    representing "the king" - pretty powerless piece, but lose it and
    you've lost the battle.

    I tried to locate the article again and found this informative piece at
    http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/BriefHistory.shtml

    "Many speculate that Chess did not begin as a game but rather as a
    military tool; a method for plotting battles or determining strategy.
    Only later did it assume the mantel of a game, certainly there's some
    substance to this argument. Ancient armies chose to fight in open
    plains whenever possible as the size of the armies proved unwieldy and
    were extremely hampered by rough terrain. The flat board represents the
    battlefield with the alternating colors (a later addition) reflecting
    the limitations of movement. The units have changed through the years
    though; they were originally all military units with the queen
    alternating between a weak and a strong piece. The difficulty in
    communication is simulated by the one move/piece per turn restriction.
    Development of ancient battles was slow as transportation and
    coordination was more luck than skill. Infantry (pawns) advanced very
    slowly but could envelope an enemy (en passant). Elephants (rooks) were
    fast and powerful and so on. A strong case can be made for Chess being
    the first historical simulation; the first wargame."

    Greetz,

    Eddy Sterckx
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