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Facing the unknown

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Calandale
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« on: July 24, 2014, 11:26:25 pm »

So, I'm having this issue with Amateurs to Arms, but realize that it actually
crops up a LOT for me in CDGs and other games which drastically limit actions
(including VG's pulsed classics like Civil War, Vietnam, Korea). I have no clue
what I should be doing!

If I'm really familiar with a conflict (ACW helped here), I can pretty much try
and match history, but in most cases, I'm not sure enough of what the historical
actions were (or that they're wise). It's a very troubling position to be in.

Most traditional designs, I can just 'fake it' by putting together what looks
like a good line - kinda grasping the core mechanisms without really needing
to understand the strategy at first. It will emerge. But, with these newer
designs, I feel very much lost for the first few turns.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 11:28:10 pm by Calandale » Report Spam   Logged

usrlocal
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 11:35:00 pm »

Have you played MMW? Many of the strategic priorities are the same. Lake control is super important. Not only does it bring in VPs later, but it gives a crucial combat modifier to the controller. I've had some games in which many, many ops points were burned in a shipbuilding arms race.

Also, Fr. Mackinac is very important. The American side should prioritize controlling it as early as possible since that will put a big crimp in the Brit's plans due to lack of Indian support.

The Americans need to build up their regulars in the early game while the British need to carefully distribute the ones they have since they can't build them as easily as the Americans. Once Nappy is defeated the story will be different.

Don't neglect the use of your 'irregular' forces (rangers, voyageurs) since control of wilderness locations can add up to big VPs in the end. Some games will end up focussing more on these 'brush wars', especially if the civilized tribes start rising up in the South.
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2014, 11:36:20 pm »

A2A is very open-ended, almost sandbox-y. None of the games I played resembled each other in terms of outcomes, yet all 'felt' historically appropriate.
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Calandale
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 11:55:25 pm »

Have you played MMW? Many of the strategic priorities are the same. Lake control is super important. Not only does it bring in VPs later, but it gives a crucial combat modifier to the controller. I've had some games in which many, many ops points were burned in a shipbuilding arms race.

Yes. It gave me little trouble, because the travel options and supply lines were so clear.


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A2A is very open-ended, almost sandbox-y. None of the games I played resembled each other in terms of outcomes, yet all 'felt' historically appropriate.

Yeah. I had the same kind of blundering feeling with 30YW and UKC.
It may well be a sign that I'll like this one a lot.
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 07:15:44 am »

I had the same issue with Wilderness War. The game mechanics were easy enough to pick up, but since I don't know a lot about the topic historically, I had no idea what to do. I built a lot of forts and shit, and moved around some, but just felt lost the whole time. I don't like that feeling.

In general I'm not as big of a history buff as a lot of other wargamers. My interest in history comes from the games I play, not the other way around. A lot of times when I'm going to play a game based on a situation that I know little about (which is a lot of them) I'll go check out what happened historically on Wikipedia, just so I have some idea as to what the hell I'm supposed to be doing, which works pretty well for hex & counter type games, but not so well for a lot of CDGs or more strategic type games.
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2014, 08:30:27 am »

The interesting aspect of that lost feeling is just how much AP it can generate.

The best cure .... just play a card and do something. A wise wargamer told me that once. Chances are it will not be the best move, but it will be a learning one.

I have not noticed the problem vis-a-vis CDGs vs h&c though. At least not in myself.

And I dislike not knowing about the historical situation in the game I am playing. Makes it less interesting to me. Such knowledge helps the narrative, which I yearn for.
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2014, 08:46:54 am »

I have not noticed the problem vis-a-vis CDGs vs h&c though. At least not in myself.

Thinking about this a bit, it may have more to do with the topics that the CDGs that I've played have covered, rather than the mechanism itself.  Napoleonic Wars, Winter War, Washington's War, Hannibal, and Labyrinth are all games I have trouble with, and are really the only CDGs that I've spent much time with. Get them all set up and have no idea what to do. I think these games are more strategic in level as opposed to most of my hex & counter gaming which is operational or grand-tactical. That's probably more of a factor than anything else.
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2014, 10:19:13 am »

That's a good point. The mechanism may be a spurious correlation? Subject is the key? Or main issue anyway.

Another factor may be solo play. I come from a long, long background in solo play. For many years it was the only method by which I played. Then I came across a local wargame club. And discovered VASSAL. Well...  One thing that I noticed with my play when I started playing more FtF games is that I would sit and ponder more than my opponent(s). Now, in large part that was due to the "facing the unknown" factor, but I was applying my solo methods to solving it.

In other words, when playing solo you have nothing but time. So pondering a move can take hours, days, weeks even. Not such a good thing when playing FtF. LOL! I learned to spend less time pondering and more time doing. At least FtF. So I would still come up with an initial plan, but not worry about implementing it to maximum effect.

Still, I often ponder my brains out in a PBEM session ...

I suppose what I am getting at here is that I employ two different methodologies when tackling the "unknown" factor. Depending on whether the session is solo/PBEM or FtF.

As an aside .... I suppose CDGs and other hidden info mechanisms would add to the issue.
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2014, 10:46:52 am »

In other words, when playing solo you have nothing but time. So pondering a move can take hours, days, weeks even.

One of the aspects that I really love about solo gaming. My games are set up in a fairly high traffic area in my house, so just walking by I'll stop and look over situations and start to think about what I want to do next. Of course this is of little help in the types of games we're discussing here, as no matter how long I look at them, or think about tgem, I'm still fairly lost.

There have been several games that I've set up for solo play that have sat on the table for a week or so only to be torn down with very little play actually happening. I just sit and look at the damned thing and don't know what to do. I'll make an initial move or two, reset everything, repeat the process, but just never get comfortable with what I'm trying to do. I suppose I could just play it through and see what happens but there are always other games calling for attention.

Sometimes once I've played the game against an opponent things will work themselves out, but a few of the games listed above still caused me issues even after playing. I was once playing Mr. Clifton in a game of Labyrinth and part way through the game we stopped and he asked, "Why aren't you trying to stop me?" Well, one, I didn't know what he was doing in the first place, and two, even if I did I'm not sure I would've known how to stop whatever the hell it was. That game just makes no sense to me at all, I'm at a total loss on how to even approach playing the thing.
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Calandale
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2014, 10:50:06 am »

That's a good point. The mechanism may be a spurious correlation? Subject is the key? Or main issue anyway.

Not for me. The big strategic choices aren't the problem here. It's what step I need to take NOW.

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One thing that I noticed with my play when I started playing more FtF games is that I would sit and ponder more than my opponent(s). Now, in large part that was due to the "facing the unknown" factor, but I was applying my solo methods to solving it.

Yeah - but, I think a lot longer opposed. 'Course, I step away from the game more solo - so,
my mind may be making those decisions more quickly without me being aware.
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2014, 11:03:22 am »

This is a big reason why I think detailed historical notes are important. Not every wargamer is a super-historian or has time to read a book on the subject before playing.

A detailed (which doesn't necessarily mean lengthy) historical notes section helps the player understand the situation at hand.
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Calandale
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2014, 11:05:35 am »



A detailed (which doesn't necessarily mean lengthy) historical notes section helps the player understand the situation at hand.

AND the designer's take on the situation. That latter part is important, even if you find other bare history elsewhere.
I very much like the designer's view of what the salient features were.
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2014, 11:18:12 am »



A detailed (which doesn't necessarily mean lengthy) historical notes section helps the player understand the situation at hand.

AND the designer's take on the situation. That latter part is important, even if you find other bare history elsewhere.
I very much like the designer's view of what the salient features were.

Yes. And throw in a couple historical military maps for good measure.  Smiley
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Calandale
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2014, 05:10:17 am »

new thread: http://thegamebox.gamesontables.com/index.php?topic=23.0
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