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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2004 2:58 pm 
Gentlemen,

What say you to the criticism that MDF with the phases in big games is too time consuming & complex, in a word grognardian, to be practical. Just wondering as a newcomer.

Lt. Dale Henken
2/1/XVI/AoT-USA


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2005 6:09 am 
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Location: USA
It seems that we are once again involved in that old "chicken and egg" discussion. The issue of play-ability vs. historically accurate simualtions. This time the discussion centers on the HPS system. For those of you who are new, believe me this has been discussed many many times with the BG system as well.

As always, I think you cannot have both goals perfectly accomplished in a computer game (at least not yet, for the many reasons sites.
I think to use expressions like "fatally flawed" are not fair. I think HPS needs some tweaking but it is not fatally flawed. What was a Civil War battle really like? For that matter what has any battle ever been like prior to say the first Gulf War? To most of the particpants you knew nothing about anything other than what was right in front of you. Commanders had little or no information about the exact postions of their own (much less the enemies) troops. How many charges into the face of dugin troops with prepared artillery postions ever worked? Did cavaly scout in 400 or 500 man formations? Ok you get the picture. Unless you want be in a closet with your computer off and have someone hand you notes every now and then with information about the battle, or join the military (or a paint ball club)you are not going to experience anything approaching historically accurate and real warfare simualtion results. I served in the military for 16 years and know something about this. A game will never fully simulate war historically (all wars are unique and unpredictable). There is nothing fun about a real war in any manner.

These are games. Nothing more and nothing less. The purpose of a game is to have fun. Read the rules and understand them. Read and write about the tactics of playing the games as well as those used in real warfare and enjoy it if they should happen to match. If they don't just recognize that it does not match in that case and thank the guys who designed the games for trying their best to give us all an enjoyable game (and gaming experience).

For my two cents worth I could live happily with some adjustments to HPS. I can also live without them.

1. Ability to break down Cavalry into small units for scouting. In some scenarios there are already plenty of them.

2. Artillery always fires when meleed with devasting effectivness at 1 or 2 hex ranges. I agree, make the batteries larger for movement purposes (not necessarily combat purposes). I disagree with the statement that batteries almost always fought together in the Civil War.

3. I still think the weak zoc rules are not enough, a unit should not be eliminated if it can only move forward towards the enemy. The men will go that way if there is nothing in front of them.

I think the main thing to understand is that there is a real gap between war gaming and warfighting. We cannot very accuratley simulate the latter and have fun. Be thankful it is so.[8]



Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn
VIth Corp/AoS
"Where We Lead the Army Follows"


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2005 1:46 pm 
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These are "GAMES". If you don't like them, don't play them. It is a simple as that.

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<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
LtGen, CO XXIII Corps, AoO
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President, Colonial Campaigns Club
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2005 6:30 pm 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by XLegion</i>
<br />Ernie: Of course they're games and I love playing them.

But that doesn't mean I can't wish for improvement. Look at my last statement. I still think the John Tiller designed computer games are the best on the market. They are the best simulations of their kind that have ever been produced, and probably will remain so for quite some time.

There must be something about the systems I like as I have purchased every single Civil War title from Talonsoft, two from HPS Civil War plus "1776" "1812" and "Frecnh and Indian War"
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Exactly. Requests for improvements, whether implemented or not are excellent.

And that is one(not the only thing)thing that puts Tiller/HPS heads above the rest. They DO listen.

<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
LtGen, CO XXIII Corps, AoO
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President, Colonial Campaigns Club
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:06 am 
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Posts: 873
Location: Somewhere between D.C. and the battlefield
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Dale H</i>
What say you to the criticism that MDF with the phases in big games is too time consuming & complex, in a word grognardian, to be practical. Just wondering as a newcomer.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

I am not quite sure I understand that comment. You move, fire, melee all the same, whether you play in phases or not. Only the order of events can be different.

One thing I *do* miss in the HPS games is the possibility of speeding up the AI defensive fire phase. In my very large Norris-Frost GB game on the BG engine, that phase takes about 10 seconds to do (who is interested in the details anyway?). In an equally large HPS game, I can go and make coffee and even then the defensive fire phase isn't over when I return. Or is there a hot key in the HPS games as well?

Gen. Walter, USA
AoS / War College


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:00 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by XLegion</i>
<br /> . . .I can't but help notice that the same game engine is used for four different historical periods.

<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Sir XLegion (name & rank?):

These are not the exact same engine, although I agree they are very similar. But shouldn't they be? They all represent the "Age of Rifle and Musket". The scale of the Early American War series is smaller, since there were far fewer participants in any given battle. (Most EAW 'battles' would barely be counted as 'skirmishes' in the Civil War.) Other than that, however, the use of infantry equipped with musket, along with fast-moving cavalry and longer ranged artillery, lays the basic groundwork for all battles of this era. Tactics were quite different prior to the widespread use of gunpowder. Once guns were integrated into the military, the basic tactics (and thus the game engine to represent them) weren't changed until air forces and electronic communication were introduced.

As to the main topic, I again would encourage everyone to take advantage of the upcoming multi-player game Ken Miller is working on. As a participant, you are assigned a single officer. You don't know the actual identities of other players on either side, and can only communicate with them through Ken. You send orders, messages, and reports to him, addressed to specific officers and/or units. He serves as the game referee, delivering messages (when the couriers aren't lost or captured!) then moving the units according to all orders received. This eliminates the 'gamey' techniques used by many (myself included [:0]!).

Finally, has anyone ever used the 'Command Control' option? My son tried it once, at Shiloh as the Rebs, because he didn't like micro-managing all the units. I have never ventured into that realm (I never respected the A/I enough when I played AGAINST it to allow it to manage MY troops for me [:D]!), but I wonder if that wouldn't serve the same purpose as a game referee (that is, removing the temptation to engage in non-historical tactics). For that matter, though, I don't even know if the HPS games have a Command/Control option.


Your humble servant,
LGen 'Dee Dubya' Mallory

David W. Mallory
ACW - Lieutenant General, First ('Grey Line') Corps, AotM
CCC - Corporal, Georgia Volunteers, Southern Regional Deaprtment, Colonial American Army


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:33 pm 
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Overall I think the HPS system closed more loopholes than it openned compared to the BG system. The hard zones and fatigue levels created far worse exploitations than anything in the HPS system (as long as you ignore the Turn based option).

I usually find having all options on produces a relatively balances system. The few exploits can usually be avoided once you are familiar with the system. There are always going to be such problems as long as the "game" divides land up into hexes and "units" only have two formations.

It took me a number of games with the system before I got a feel for the changes. Now I have a hard time going back to the Battleground games with their simplistic handling of casualties, fatigue, stacking, zones, etc.

Col. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1st Div, I Corps, AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 3:30 pm 
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If they could just fix the defensive fire to make it actually effective then I think the HPS games would be great. Nothing frustrates me more then seeing a couple of Reb regiments march up in the LOS of 4 of my regiments without being fired upon, fire collectively at one of my regiments causing 25 or thirty casualties and one of my regiments firing back causing 3. I shout Hallalujeh if a second fires!

General Mark Nelms
Union Chief of the Army


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:28 am 
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But it's easy to fix in the HPS games, just turn on both Manual Defense Fire and Auto Defense Fire options and it goes away[^] and the game plays exactly like BG games[:)]. For that matter if you don't use Soft Zone option the HPS game is for all practical purposes exactly like the Battleground system. Just forget they ever introduced the "Opportunity Fire" option, after all its only an optional rule[:D], and maybe in ten years or so they will fix it so it works[xx(].

Col. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1st Div, I Corps, AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 2:38 am 
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Location: Somewhere between D.C. and the battlefield
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by KWhitehead</i>
<br />But it's easy to fix in the HPS games, just turn on both Manual Defense Fire and Auto Defense Fire options and it goes away[^] and the game plays exactly like BG games[:)]. For that matter if you don't use Soft Zone option the HPS game is for all practical purposes exactly like the Battleground system. Just forget they ever introduced the "Opportunity Fire" option, after all its only an optional rule[:D], and maybe in ten years or so they will fix it so it works[xx(].
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Indeed--and you still get the exciting campaign format and the wonderful large maps--my reasons to play HPS. [^]

Gen. Walter, USA
AoS / War College


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