From: Edmonton, Canada
Hi guys. Haven't been here in a while.
A couple thoughts I'd like to share.
In my experience with game design, many issues boil down to one thing: Historical Accuracy vs. Game Balance.
Through I-can't-tell-you-how-many play tests, it becomes very apparent that in many instances historical accuracy has to be sacrificed or the game simply won't work. It's always walking a tightrope - you try to fudge reality as little as possible to give you what you need to keep the game design itself functional. (And then adding another paragraph to the designers notes to try and explain yourself). The problem is that the more detailed and complex the game itself, the more departures from reality you are opening yourself to. It's like parallel universes; each time you take a left, you create a new universe where things are now different. And the more flexibility the players have, the more of these potentials a designer has to deal with. It sounds very simple, but if you've ever had to tackle a pretty big game, the task is much more difficult that it seems, and can be incredibly daunting (if not impossible).
That being said, when I see odd things (like mega-panzers, USA fleets at entry that have two dozen CVs, etc), I shake my head a bit, and keep on going. IMO, I'd much rather take a bit of the historical accuracy with a grain of salt (and hope for patch tweaks), than play one of those locked-in games where you really have no strategic options whatsoever, and simply go from this battle to this like a good little Kraut.
In a game that features production, if the Germans can 'depart from the script' to any appreciable degree, well then my brothers, things are going to get weird. :)
Second point - I'd like to share how we overcame the Seelowe difficulties that I see being replicated here. Our philosophy was that we were going to bend reality and make Seelowe possible. Not likely, but under the right circumstances, do-able. The issue became that if the Germans even managed to get ashore (very difficult in the game I was working on), then the UK has had it. They simply did not have the production or units available to do anything but roll over after a brief skirmish. You can't just go and give them a ton of PPs to spend turn after turn - what's the rationale, where did they pull that out from?
Home guard? Sure, but very ineffective, and limited numbers available. The Germans will overcome them quite quickly, and then you are in the same boat. That's a band-aid that only buys you a turn or three.
We found (with that particular game design), that we had to increase the US entry variable. If the Axis land any units on the UK, it started the snowball effect that would (eventually) see the Americans enter WWII. This was also easier to rationalize in the designer notes. With England herself no longer able to resist the Nazis, it was apparent to all that soon there would be no one left to fight the Axis. Even the most anti-war citizen would agree that something more had to be done... With great reluctance, the US started the first plodding steps that would see them join in. Emergency convoys with supplies and materiel. Long term Lend Lease increases approved, and a pre-war industrial increase to supply it. More aggressive escorting of convoys, and a 'guarantee' of specified sea lanes to the UK. (Provoke an incident, increasing war entry more quickly, etc). We even had a version of the UK Home Guard. By the time the US enters, the first series of hastily formed and trained units were green as hell, understrength, and ready to be sent over to the UK as a stop-gap before any 'real' units could be equipped, trained and transported.
It bought us the time we needed, the PPs and the units. A very close thing, but gave us enough to let the Allies fight back. That might (or might not) be an answer here. I hope it is, but my point is more about the way of examining the issue, and coming up with a solution that does its best to pay homage to Historical Accuracy AND Game Balance.
Good to be back!
< Message edited by Mantis -- 2/8/2012 4:17:09 AM >