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The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames

 
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The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/10/2012 9:46:31 PM   
Mike Peck

 

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http://kotaku.com/5895917/the-immense-pleasure-of-huge-war-games
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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/10/2012 9:57:48 PM   
Gräfin Zeppelin


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A surprisingly good article.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/10/2012 10:07:01 PM   
MartinB

 

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Thank you Michael for sharing. It is oh so true, I have had almost no idea about the pacific war in general and I learned immensely from WiTP and all the helpfull and interesting books that came with the hobby, together with the incredible knowledge that the people on this forum are always willing to share. For me, the game opened a whole new world of interest, questions, answers, fun, micromanagers delight.
Cheers,
Martin

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/10/2012 10:29:45 PM   
Blacksheep

 

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Thanks Michael. Enjoyed the article. I used it in part as an explanation to my better half of why I am spending my retirement playing WITP!!!

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/10/2012 10:30:12 PM   
Commander Stormwolf

 

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hopefully matrix will recognized for their epic titles,
if WITP becomes a 10 million unit seller.. WITP 2 would be pretty awesome


*real-time 24 hour pacific war campaign .. *250xA6M2, 162xB5N2 approaching TF.. time to target 15 minutes.. tick tock. .tick tock.. * now you know what it's like to be yamamoto

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/10/2012 10:58:59 PM   
Empire101


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Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed the article!!

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 2:06:02 AM   
Hanzberger


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Kool, Thanks for the post.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 11:55:34 AM   
mikkey


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Enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing Mike.

< Message edited by mikkey -- 4/11/2012 12:03:39 PM >


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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 12:42:02 PM   
ny59giants


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Even in my younger days, I always liked the larger board games. I did have both "War in Europe" and "War in the Pacific" by SPI.

I was not happy with the historical battles that came with Talonsoft's "West Front" and "East Front." I used the editor to make mega-battles.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 1:13:56 PM   
Empire101


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ny59giants

Even in my younger days, I always liked the larger board games. I did have both "War in Europe" and "War in the Pacific" by SPI.



Was'nt lucky enough to play SPI's War in the Pacific, but I loved War in Europe!! Ahh, the halcyon days of my youth......


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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 3:05:22 PM   
crsutton


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I have been gaming for 40 years, and had bought a number of monster board games. However, in the end the time and space constraints just made them un-playable. The computer revolution has changed that. A game such as AE would have just been impossible to play on cardboard. I have said this before, 25 years ago I dreamed of a game like AE but I never thought it would have been possible. The computer does most of the mundane tasks, a lot of the thinking, picks up the pieces and puts them away for me after each session and my cat has yet to find a suitible spot to sleep on my flat screen monitor...I am in heaven and can't possibly imagine what we will be able to do in ten years.

Not a computer guy, but it have a deep appreciation for Gary Grigsy and all of the other fine minds that have worked on this game.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 4:50:57 PM   
Nikademus


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good article. However based on my experiences with WitP and later AE as a tester slash developer.....i'm hoping future wargames will take a step back from the urge to represent every gritty details down to the nth degree. Like the article pointed out......a Supreme Commander didn't have to fill in as a Junior officer in charge of logistics much less fill in for an Albert Speer type and manage an entire war economy. The mega-wargame can be fun, but i think most will agree that it is also virtually impossible to finish, esp if playing by PBEM.

I think the Grigsby type detail level in regards the combat resolution can be preserved without having to go further. I feel this more strongly than ever after playing around with the new War in the East. I actually find myself prefering Grigsby's earlier work on the subject.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 4:54:25 PM   
Terminus


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Ditto. It's getting very, very close to the point where the monster games are unplayable due to detail.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 4:54:57 PM   
Terminus


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Others, of course, will never be released for the same reason (MWiF).

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 5:38:26 PM   
Empire101


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Terminus

Others, of course, will never be released for the same reason (MWiF).


That is depressing. I played WiF for years and loved it, but time, space and girlfriends stopped me playing eventually.

I was really looking forward to MWiF being released.....


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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 5:46:53 PM   
Terminus


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Note: that was not an official statement, just a deduction based on available data.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 6:35:49 PM   
sandman455


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ny59giants

Even in my younger days, I always liked the larger board games. I did have both "War in Europe" and "War in the Pacific" by SPI.



My first wargame purchase was "War in the Pacific" by SPI. Up till then my parents usually paid for the Avalon Hills stuff for B-days and Xmas. They just refused to fork over $50+ on a game. I saved up and bought it my Jr year in high school. I would later buy "War in Europe" and that game was played fanatically during my summers in college. A very fun and well thought out game. WitP was just a little too unplayable but I certainly spent much time trying.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 7:38:07 PM   
gradenko_2000

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nikademus
good article. However based on my experiences with WitP and later AE as a tester slash developer.....i'm hoping future wargames will take a step back from the urge to represent every gritty details down to the nth degree. Like the article pointed out......a Supreme Commander didn't have to fill in as a Junior officer in charge of logistics much less fill in for an Albert Speer type and manage an entire war economy. The mega-wargame can be fun, but i think most will agree that it is also virtually impossible to finish, esp if playing by PBEM.

I think the Grigsby type detail level in regards the combat resolution can be preserved without having to go further. I feel this more strongly than ever after playing around with the new War in the East. I actually find myself prefering Grigsby's earlier work on the subject.

I would agree with this. I would daresay that wargame developers need to step back from the need to max out the growing power of the CPU and instead just use the computer as a rules-lawyer and an AI provider.

There are literally dozens of games out there that would probably sell like (relative) hotcakes even if they were to continue to use CRTs, so long as you can provide a single-player experience and a good user-interface. Something like a computer translation of Battle For Moscow (and its Leningrad/Smolensk derivatives) would probably sell briskly as a 5-10 dollar title on Steam.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 9:31:22 PM   
Empire101


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Terminus

Note: that was not an official statement, just a deduction based on available data.


I've got the horrible feeling that your deduction may be correct.


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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 9:57:34 PM   
Tachyon68

 

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As an old school grognard, from the Panzer Blitz, and Squad Leader days...I just discovered Matrix games and could not resist picking up War in the East, and War in the Pacific. Takes me back to the halycon days when I had the time and space to play GRD's Fire in the East/Scorched Earth/Urals, and briefly the Victory Games version of WitP.

But man...the learning curve is steep on both those games for my aged brain.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 10:28:44 PM   
mdiehl

 

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There's some very good intermediate-scale ftf boardgames on the subject, Tachyon. U might check out Decision Games' Axis Empires: Dai Senso for a good grand strategic PTO game that does not bog down with minutiae. DG are the ones who bought out most of SPI's strategy games and republished some, including WitP (revised reprint).

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 10:29:32 PM   
Empire101


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Welcome aboard....( blows bosun whistle )

Prepare to have no social life

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 10:36:10 PM   
Nikademus


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If he can get past turn one......there's a chance for a social life.....a small one.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 10:48:35 PM   
JWE

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Empire101
quote:

ORIGINAL: Terminus
Note: that was not an official statement, just a deduction based on available data.

I've got the horrible feeling that your deduction may be correct.

That might be true, but there’s still some interesting possibilities that the monster games offer, outside the conventional. Granted that GC style play very often devolves, due to the inherent flexibilities built into these games, leading to endless variations on the first year, but not a lot beyond that.

However, the monster games, like WiTP-AE, have a wealth of internal (coding) and external (editor) possibilities that obtain in the mid and late war periods. Little of this is noticed because of the tendency to build, flex, and kill during the first campaign year. Many AARs die a natural death in 1943, just when things could get interesting. So, although set up that way, maybe GCs aren’t the touchstone.

To really utilize the power and flexibility of the engine and the database of these monsters, it might make more sense to think of them as tools and build smaller, more specific, scenarios or Fleet problems, that span the time frame of the game engine. Most of my current involvement with this title is in writing, umpiring and playing small op-problem scenarios using the editor/engine smorgasbord. This kind of play is taking off with many groups in the US and Internationally. Would really like to see some small scenario AARs. They are short, playable, and a serious learning experience, both with the game and with an opponent. And if people play them, more will be done.

Matrix people understood this: never talked to the Slitherine people, don’t know as I would want to. But some of the gaming development community has had an opportunity to chat with some of the professional/grognard users, and gets it.

We will just have to wait and see. But I am somewhat hopeful.


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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 10:56:48 PM   
crsutton


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Terminus

Ditto. It's getting very, very close to the point where the monster games are unplayable due to detail.



Agreed, I have not even looked at WITE simply due to time restraints and have not bought a lot of other games due to my addiction to UV/WITP/AE for the past ten years. So,in a way perhaps it would be healthier for me and the developers if they were selling more less complicated games. It certainly would be better for me from a social standpoint.

However, I have picked my poison and it is AE. and I can play one turn a night of a monster game reasonably in an hour or two (less if I had any organizational skills). Without the computer, this would never have been possible. There have always been monster games. And, I have been a sucker and bought most of them over the years. This is the first that I have ever considered even remotely playable.

But, I should add that I am just as happy playing a few rounds of cribbage with my wife ...

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 11:02:46 PM   
Sardaukar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JWE


quote:

ORIGINAL: Empire101
quote:

ORIGINAL: Terminus
Note: that was not an official statement, just a deduction based on available data.

I've got the horrible feeling that your deduction may be correct.

That might be true, but there’s still some interesting possibilities that the monster games offer, outside the conventional. Granted that GC style play very often devolves, due to the inherent flexibilities built into these games, leading to endless variations on the first year, but not a lot beyond that.

However, the monster games, like WiTP-AE, have a wealth of internal (coding) and external (editor) possibilities that obtain in the mid and late war periods. Little of this is noticed because of the tendency to build, flex, and kill during the first campaign year. Many AARs die a natural death in 1943, just when things could get interesting. So, although set up that way, maybe GCs aren’t the touchstone.

To really utilize the power and flexibility of the engine and the database of these monsters, it might make more sense to think of them as tools and build smaller, more specific, scenarios or Fleet problems, that span the time frame of the game engine. Most of my current involvement with this title is in writing, umpiring and playing small op-problem scenarios using the editor/engine smorgasbord. This kind of play is taking off with many groups in the US and Internationally. Would really like to see some small scenario AARs. They are short, playable, and a serious learning experience, both with the game and with an opponent. And if people play them, more will be done.

Matrix people understood this: never talked to the Slitherine people, don’t know as I would want to. But some of the gaming development community has had an opportunity to chat with some of the professional/grognard users, and gets it.

We will just have to wait and see. But I am somewhat hopeful.



And..to Termie Doom & Gloom, Light (tm) shines on DaBigBabes.


< Message edited by Sardaukar -- 4/11/2012 11:03:58 PM >


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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/11/2012 11:24:53 PM   
JWE

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sardaukar
And..to Termie Doom & Gloom, Light (tm) shines on DaBigBabes.

Now you gone and done it Sardaukar, you put your (Light (tm)) pud on the chopping block, there, big fellow. Accordingly, we will be using your enthusiasm to help us with this and that. Hope your PM inbox has some bandwidth left?

If thou art righteous and the challenge comes to thee, what shall thee say? You are a righteous dude Sardakuar, we would be pleased to have you.

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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/12/2012 12:31:09 AM   
Bullwinkle58


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nikademus

good article. However based on my experiences with WitP and later AE as a tester slash developer.....i'm hoping future wargames will take a step back from the urge to represent every gritty details down to the nth degree. Like the article pointed out......a Supreme Commander didn't have to fill in as a Junior officer in charge of logistics much less fill in for an Albert Speer type and manage an entire war economy. The mega-wargame can be fun, but i think most will agree that it is also virtually impossible to finish, esp if playing by PBEM.

I think the Grigsby type detail level in regards the combat resolution can be preserved without having to go further. I feel this more strongly than ever after playing around with the new War in the East. I actually find myself prefering Grigsby's earlier work on the subject.



I feel as if I wasted a good bit of money on WitE. Not that it isn't what they said it is, but I thought I could look past that what it is to enjoy the theater and learn. I found that the game was essentially "cold" even relative to AE--no animations, the counters don't feel like real men (even the ship icons in AE have more personality), and the massive amounts of data are laid out in the most mind-numbingly boring spreadsheet formats that playing even a few turns feels like a job. The tremendous map and level of historical detail in the OOB is lost in GG's standard morass of an interface and data representaiton. Where one picture would do he uses 1000 numbers.

I think it would be possible, with a lot of money and programing talent, to take the best of the Grigsby Form and bring it into this decade. I sometimes lurk in the Usenet wargames newsgroup, and the regulars there hate mega-games with a passion due not to scope so much as workload. Too many games move it up a level or two by abstracting events into higher-level algorithms. A battle is decided on a diceroll as it were. GG's method has always been bottom-up, accreting results from small unit or single unit rolls and player inputs. The problem with his method is not the architecture--bottom-up is the way to go for grogs--but with the interface, data presentation, and tool set given the player to manage it all. AE is wonderful, but it's an electro-mechanical device in a digital world. I can almost hear servos whining in there during the night phase resolution.

So much of the game control depends on the player remembering to do a task, or doing a task over, and over, and over in a way a simple template could relieve. How many times must I set up an atoll invasion Bombardment TF? I could do it once, save it as a three-letter-definition template, and call it when I need one. The code could round up ships for that TF from player-defined bases or ranges or HQs, and auto-send them to the forming base, just as a staff would do. I could put in escort constraints for that marshalling process once, and tell the code to only bother me if the constraints can't be met with local assets. Similarly, pilot training set-up is a human-driven iteration now. If the game could be programed to let me set universal training parameters by plane type, geopgraphy, skill level, etc.--once--I could then let it crank away until it auto-harvested pilots into the pool. Imagine setting up pilot training with drag&drop mechanics, dumping training formations into a folder and giving the total folder instructions--once. With a one-time programming investment the game could save literally thousands of man-years of clicking across the installed base. And if the system let the true grog go in and tweak the individual units as now, removing them from the cranking from that point forward, everyone could be happy.

If modern interface concepts were designed in from Day One, combined with the powerful OOB databases AE has left as a legacy, I believe the game could still be as detailed under the hood as now, but much easier to wrangle. Much easier to spend more time thinking about strategy and less on mundane manual tasks PCs were built to do fast and error-free. If data presentation were really thought through by using colors, icons, shading, routing lines, roll-overs, right-click menus, and sorts going both horizontally and vertically through presented data I think most of the tedium of the PBEM game could be relieved, and more games would, unlike now, go the distance.

In short, I don't think the game size is the issue so much as control systems. A PC with a quad core and 8 gigs of RAM isn't even breathing hard running AE. The hardware will never be the constraint ever again. Time to play is the constraint, and future mega-games have to think about player workload and data presentation first, not at the end of the design process. I'm not sure GG can change that much at this point in his career, but younger designers could take his core ethos of detail and bottom-uip results and blend it with modern understanding of how software works with users.

The first design group/publisher combo to do that will make a pantload of money.

< Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 4/12/2012 12:38:26 AM >


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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/12/2012 12:41:05 AM   
Commander Stormwolf

 

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WITP: AE is pretty awesome.. period

some of the mainstream strategy games could learn from megagames too

if Rome Total War was a mega-game, with *actual* numbers of troops on the battlefield
and the production system were even half as good as AE, it would be pretty awesome

- right now the whole Total War series is completely wrong, and seems like a cheap arcade game

basically need the scope, size, and detail of mega-games with the interface and graphics of mainstream strategy

http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=141110

check out my aar




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Commander Stormwolf -- 4/12/2012 12:45:04 AM >


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RE: The Immense Pleasure of Huge Wargames - 4/12/2012 12:45:42 AM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bullwinkle58

... A PC with a quad core and 8 gigs of RAM isn't even breathing hard running AE. The hardware will never be the constraint ever again...


Hardware does remain a constraint in the background. Agreed, a modern computer easily copes with GG monster games. Even a 2 year old computer should cope. Unfortunately, it is such a niche market that developers believe they can't afford to alienate any potential customer. Therefore they attempt to cater for prehistoric computers still in use.

Alfred

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