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 Post subject: Question on loses
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:00 pm 
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Be honest

Which is <u><i><b>more</b></i></u> responsible (pick one) for high game loses??

A) The game engine

B) Human armchair general disregard (since we don't have to write letters home to the fallen brave)

Lt. Col. Richard Walker
I Corps
Army of the Mississippi
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
"Defenders of Tennessee"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:03 pm 
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I'll start [:p]

B

Why you ask?

On any single shot, the game allows "mostly" realistic loses. Having ssaid that, I believe it's the complete disregard for the lives of our computer men that results in the staggering loses. Mind you, the engine can always use a good tweak, but I still pick "B"

Lt. Col. Richard Walker
I Corps
Army of the Mississippi
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
"Defenders of Tennessee"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:28 pm 
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I would also pick B, if my officers had used my outfit in nam the way we use these troops, there would have been some "fraggin". That would be an intersting option to add to our games, if a general abused his troops and ordered too many silly melees or or other foolish attack, his troops would turn and shoot him.

MG D. Groce
AoP
V Corps
2nd Division
"Into the breach"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:36 pm 
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I would say both B and C (with C being my gross incompetence)

Lt.General Dale Lastowicka
XIX Corps, AOS

Games:
Battleground: Gettysburg, Shiloh, Antietam, Bull Run, Chickamauga
HPS(prefer PHASED PLAY ):Corinth, Ozark, Franklin, Peninsula, Vicksburg, Atlanta,Chickamauga


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:25 pm 
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"A" somewhat . . .

"B" a heck of a lot.

Ask yourself: at what fatigue level do you pull a unit out of the firing line? ----or do you at all?

Sincerely,
Lt Gen Dwight McBride
V Corps/AOP/USA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:13 pm 
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Hi, Rich,

Honestly, between the two, I think it is the game engine, but it is more complex than that. Here are my considerations.

A. Stacking-Historically, the area represented by a hex would contain fewer troops, because only about 350 in a two-rank line could fire. In the game, 1000 can fire. Regulation spacing between guns was 14 yds. Given 2 yd/gun width, that would allow about eight guns to fire from a hex instead of twenty.

B Communications-In the game, we react immediately to anything that happens on the field. Historically, time was consumed composing and sending messages. Many times these messages were misunderstood or irrelevant when they arrived. Take Chickamauga for example. The Confederate attack on the second day was hours late because Polk misunderstood Bragg. Later, Rosecrans, reacting to an erroneous report of a gap in the line, gave orders that created a real gap, just at the wrong time. These communication problems cannot be duplicated in the game because we see all and know all.

C Intelligence-We usually have a good idea of what is in front of us with historical hindsight and instant observation. If a unit on a hill on the right flank sees an enemy unit hidden in ambush on the left flank, the commander of the endangered unit knows about it immediately. Little chance for a repeat of Iverson's blunder at Gettysburg.

D Game mechanics-IGO-UGO- A unit must undergo four rounds of fire, two offensive and two defensive, if it marches within range of the enemy. Historically, the situation was more dynamic; a unit in a bad situation could react quickly to avoid casualties. They didn't have to wait for the enemy's offensive fire to rout, nor did they have to wait through the enemy's player turn to withdraw. I will say that after years of studying the Civil War, I think a lot of men melted away during the course of the firefight only to turn up after the battle. These were not counted as casualties. If you look at Gettysburg, a lot of the Union units that were reduced to squads during the battle regained considerable strength after stragglers returned. This is not reflected in the game.

A lot of this is unavoidable. A game that accurately replicated Civil War dynamics probably wouldn't be much fun. But I think that if the engine were modified to more closely reflect historical limitations, you wouldn't have such high casualties. In the games I play, my opponents aren't usually as reckless with the lives of their men as some Civil War commanders were. I have never tried to duplicate Pickett's Charge in a Gettysburg game, or attacked multiple times at the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh, any more than an opponent has dashed his troops against Jackson's men in the railroad cut at 2nd Manassas. We maneuver more because we have the luxury of knowing our plans will be implemented perfectly.

MG Mike Mihalik
1/III/AoMiss/CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:34 pm 
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Location: United Kingdom - Exeter
I would say B


I have never tried to duplicate Pickett's Charge in a Gettysburg game, or attacked multiple times at the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh, any more than an opponent has dashed his troops against Jackson's men in the railroad cut at 2nd Manassas. Mike Hihalik


I tried a Pickett style charge at Gettyburg recently in a HPS battle with Hard ZOC on the 3rd day. I don't recomend it...

Brig. General P. Kenney
3rd Division
Cavalry Corps
Army of the Mississippi, CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 5:24 am 
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I vote B the players, not so much their disregard for the casualties as the immediate intelligence and the complete control of every unit.

I have played a couple games using house rules that limit the players control and these have resulted in casualty rates more in line with what historically occured due to the fact that there are periods of intense fighting and lulls in the action.

Gen. Ken Miller
1/2/VI
AoS
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:38 am 
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It's A.

Saying its the player, B, is like saying both sides shouldn't use the Queen in chess because women didn't fight in the Middle Ages which is the bases for the game.

The Game Engine should give the player reasons to not kill men in wholesale lots. The current system of fatigue and casualties gives the player very little reason to limit his movements and attacks unless he just likes losing games.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1/1/III AoM (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:42 am 
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I agree with Kennon. You can't blame people for fighting hard to try to win or to avoid defeat. *Ideally* the game needs to limit what you can do and force you into historical behaviour and practice. Otherwise realism can only be achieved by house rules (like embedded melee and no combat in march column formation, etc.).

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[url="http://homepage.ntlworld.com/a.r.barlow/acwgc/acwgc_personal_record.htm"]General Antony Barlow[/url]
[url="http://homepage.ntlworld.com/a.r.barlow/acwgc/western_theater.htm"]Commander, Western Theater, Union Army[/url]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:08 am 
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B is the reason I think. The old Horse and Musket games ended when total casualties reached a certain percentage of the total forces. Our games go on way past the point where one army or the other would disengage.

Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn
I/I/VI/AoS
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"Forward Bucktails"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:30 pm 
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I think that it is more principally due to "B". As many have already stated, the mechanics of the basic game engine for any single battle to conserve manpower and limit losses do not provide strong enough incentive. This is somewhat tempered in a campaign game, where the preservation of effective manpower is a consideration.

But if the complaint is the ahistorical number of combat losses, and we recognize the characteristic forcefulness of human armchair play, then perhaps the game engine should be changed to reduce them!


Maj. Gen. Jos. C. Meyer
Second Division, 14th Corps,
Army of the Cumberland


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:53 am 
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I think it has to be 'B'. Kennon has a point about the game engines limitations but the game mechanics are only exploited/abused/controlled by a human players input.

I think this is 'proved' by the advent of the campaign game system. Player behaviour in a campaign is much altered by the risk and effect of cumulative losses isn't it?...but the game still uses almost entirely the same mechanics as a single scenario does.

I've been pushed and pushed in single scenarios by Reb opponents who are like rabid dogs! [:0][:p] They fear no amount of casualties because they know they can still achieve what they need to win the game.
In contrast, when playing a campaign battle the behaviour of those same aggressive style commanders is checked by the need to consider future action.

I wonder if the 'gamers' who win single scenarios through their wildly costly attacking style 'enjoy' the victory as much as the 'realist' who achieves it through...more considered efforts? (chooses words carefully!) [B)]

There are 5 or 6 different playing styles really, I wonder how they compare and fare against each other generally? [?]

Colonel Jim Wilkes.
2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, XX Corps.
AoC. U.S.A.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:27 am 
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B definitely. For example, how many players mentally calculate how long, in game turns, new commands...changes in plans, would take to get to the units in question?

Do most players on turn three after seeing that the corps on thier extreme left, maybe a mile away, or more needs to stop advancing, face to their left and redeploy to meet an unexpected attack to the army's left flank, take a few minutes and determine that it won't be until turn 9 or 10 that any of the involved units can actually start reacting to the new orders due to the 'primative' communication systems of the era? I think not, not even me. [:D] My left flank units immediately, on turn three, start adapting their behavior to the new plan (which may not be a good thing. hehehe... i.e. they start following a bad plan giving up on a good one.)

So player behavior leads to unhistorical casualties, and results.

That said, game engines can be built to 'assist', 'guide', 'funnel', or 'shepard' players into thinking and playing in a more historically acceptable way.

A study I would like to see the results of would be take 1,000 avid wargamers, and compare if they are more frugal with thier electronic/plastic/metal/cardboard soldiers, than they are with thier checkers.

I think we would find that those same 1,000 people consciously play checkers trying to lose as few pieces as possible, while trying to win, so to keep as many options open on ways to win, while in wargames thier mindset changes to "who cares about losses as long as I win in the world's grandest to-the-death charge ever scene."

MajGen Al 'Ambushed' Amos

The Union Forever! Huzzah!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:31 am 
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In my opinion this subject always leads back to the effectiveness of units after sustained combat. There was a lot of discussions some time ago about "Brigade Effectiveness" like there was with the board games "Terrible Swift Sword" and "Gleam of Bayonets" and I think something along those lines would greatly lower casualties. With that feature all the units of a brigade would lose effectiveness in the form of fire modifiers and melee restrictions as well as a required withdraw once a specific number of casulaties was passed. Tony Best and I played a BGG game using a form of this feature. In that game once the average fatigue of all the units of a brigade reached 7 those units could no longer conduct offensive action until the average fatigue reached either 4 or 5 (I can't remember exactly) Although we never finished the game it did seem to work pretty well in causing me (the Rebs) to try and conserve and minimize my fatigue. I found that I was more prone to spending more time setting up and organizing my attacks so that I could hit Tony with maximum force as opposed to the whittling away of units as they reach the front.

Along this line I think that units with high (red)fatigue should be hindered from any offensive action as expressed in earlier posts. Units on the defensive could still stand in the line but worn out attackers would not be able to advance. I think the way to do this with regards to the earlier "what is to the front or to the rear" question would be to make the penalty for offensive fire combat higher and make it so they cannot melee. Simply put make it so there is just no point in moving them forward. Obviously this will not keep every player from sending them forward but I think that most of us would begin to try and conserve fatigue.

Lt General Jon Thayer
III Corps
Army of Northern Virginia

jonathanthayer@bellsouth.net


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