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The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak

 
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The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/2/2013 8:42:00 PM   
Missouri_Rebel


Posts: 2598
Joined: 6/19/2006
From: Southern Missouri
Status: offline
My fear is that along with everything else it seems that wargames will become increasingly more simple and lack depth.

Publishers and game makers don't seem to be making the 'epic' wargames of yesteryear with a few exceptions. And of those that are released it appears that they fail in terms of wide appeal for a few reasons.

1) They require so much effort to make and every layer just adds to the time which diminishes the returns. i.e. WiF


2) They are too complex for this instant gratification society. It takes time to grasp these systems and I'm afraid most are just not willing to commit the time, even self avowed 'wargamers'. I can't tell you how many times I have read on various 'deep' game forums where the person relayed a frustration that it just isn't worth it and gives up. I have been guilty of that too with WitP AE, although my lack of understanding of the PTO was the biggest reason. Take World War One Gold for example. It is, in it's current state, an incredible wargame, both in it's depth and challenge. Yet, it is very complex and unfortunately counter intuitive and takes a long time to grasp. The tutorials didn't help it either and sadly were never redone to address important changes.

It was a port from a boadgame. The programmer said he will never make another computer game again after that one even though he still pathces WW1 Gold, a real credit to his character. It just got another patch a month ago.


3) They try to do so much that they fail at doing it right. I'd put Pride of Nations in this group, only from what I have read. Empire in Arms falls into this category also.


4) Those larger games were a thing of the past. Current trends dictate base games with limited DLC's at best. While this may be the best hope for added complexity, most addons are of the additional scenario type and benefits to the actual system are negligible. They may add a couple of improvements, but are mainly constrained by the engine of limited ability.


5) The people that used to open those huge boardgames with thousands of pieces and a tome of a rulebook written in legalese aren't getting any younger. This goes back to the instant gratification and sadly possibly a dumbing down of society.


6) The number of smaller games being released competing for limited disposable income and play time. I have several of these games that never got any play or very limited time simply because a new shiny toy came out. I often go back and refire them up and. on several occasions, was pleasantly surprised by the new old game. Achtung Panzer and Distant Worlds as my examples.


7) Wargames are too often stuck in the past as far as graphics and UI are concerned. Unity of Command has a great UI, but I would definitely not consider that game deep by any stretch of the imagination even if it is a good lil game. We need some life breathed into the genre here. AGEOD has great maps, but I find the interface lacking a bit and the battle resolutions too hands off. HPS might have deep systems, but their graphics leave a lot to be desired.

I can only think of 2 games of large depth that still has a good following. Hearts of Iron and War in the Pacific, with the former probably having a wider appeal and much larger group of players. And even though Steel Panthers was not a complex game, and one I never played I might add, it was grand in its size. I'm afraid that is why it won't be remade soon. If it is, it will be of the DLC stripe I would imagine.

Any thoughts or counter positions?


mo reb

_____________________________

**Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul
**A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have-Gerald Ford
Post #: 1
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/2/2013 9:02:24 PM   
junk2drive


Posts: 12901
Joined: 6/27/2002
From: Arizona West Coast
Status: offline
Posted at wargamer discussions by me

RE: consoles
My forecast is that app games will outpace PC and console games. Smartphones and tablets will have docks that attach to a TV screen or PC screen (or those 2 will become the same thing) for those wanting a larger view. Casual gamers will play browser games on google devices like the Chromebook.



PCs and consoles will become nostalgia items.

RE:war games
29Dec
Computer war gaming is dead. I surf several websites and have for over 10 years. This time of year used to be the height of forum posting and discussion. Stuck inside for winter and off of work or school for the holidays. All I see now is the same handful of people talking about the same old games and the new handful of people talking about games that are not traditional war games.



It costs too much to pay a programmer, artist and content providers for games that only sell a few copies. Ad to that the bargain bin pricing mentallity that kills the hope of recovering the costs.



Desktops are losing favor. Phones, pads and tablets will require simple, low requirement games. Consoles don't look so good either.



As I have said for a while now, the future will be hobbist making open source freeware games.
----
15Jan
Holidays are over. War game forums are still dead. Same handful of people posting. CES is over. Tablets were all the rage. We shall see.
----

Meanwhile I think those of us from before video games have seen it all and there is nothing new under the sun. Those younger than us do not get taught history and have no interest in our kind of games.

(in reply to Missouri_Rebel)
Post #: 2
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/2/2013 9:02:25 PM   
wodin


Posts: 8018
Joined: 4/20/2003
From: England
Status: online
With the recent Sim HQ article where Slitherine mention they don't need to make lite versions of the IPad games makes me think why isn't the power of the PC being used so they would have to make lite versions. Also they say they are selling 5-1 against the PC for the same games. That also is a worry.

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(in reply to Missouri_Rebel)
Post #: 3
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/2/2013 9:11:12 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 19517
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

My fear is that along with everything else it seems that wargames will become increasingly more simple and lack depth.

Publishers and game makers don't seem to be making the 'epic' wargames of yesteryear with a few exceptions. And of those that are released it appears that they fail in terms of wide appeal for a few reasons.

1) They require so much effort to make and every layer just adds to the time which diminishes the returns. i.e. WiF


2) They are too complex for this instant gratification society. It takes time to grasp these systems and I'm afraid most are just not willing to commit the time, even self avowed 'wargamers'. I can't tell you how many times I have read on various 'deep' game forums where the person relayed a frustration that it just isn't worth it and gives up. I have been guilty of that too with WitP AE, although my lack of understanding of the PTO was the biggest reason. Take World War One Gold for example. It is, in it's current state, an incredible wargame, both in it's depth and challenge. Yet, it is very complex and unfortunately counter intuitive and takes a long time to grasp. The tutorials didn't help it either and sadly were never redone to address important changes.

It was a port from a boadgame. The programmer said he will never make another computer game again after that one even though he still pathces WW1 Gold, a real credit to his character. It just got another patch a month ago.


3) They try to do so much that they fail at doing it right. I'd put Pride of Nations in this group, only from what I have read. Empire in Arms falls into this category also.


4) Those larger games were a thing of the past. Current trends dictate base games with limited DLC's at best. While this may be the best hope for added complexity, most addons are of the additional scenario type and benefits to the actual system are negligible. They may add a couple of improvements, but are mainly constrained by the engine of limited ability.


5) The people that used to open those huge boardgames with thousands of pieces and a tome of a rulebook written in legalese aren't getting any younger. This goes back to the instant gratification and sadly possibly a dumbing down of society.


6) The number of smaller games being released competing for limited disposable income and play time. I have several of these games that never got any play or very limited time simply because a new shiny toy came out. I often go back and refire them up and. on several occasions, was pleasantly surprised by the new old game. Achtung Panzer and Distant Worlds as my examples.


7) Wargames are too often stuck in the past as far as graphics and UI are concerned. Unity of Command has a great UI, but I would definitely not consider that game deep by any stretch of the imagination even if it is a good lil game. We need some life breathed into the genre here. AGEOD has great maps, but I find the interface lacking a bit and the battle resolutions too hands off. HPS might have deep systems, but their graphics leave a lot to be desired.

I can only think of 2 games of large depth that still has a good following. Hearts of Iron and War in the Pacific, with the former probably having a wider appeal and much larger group of players. And even though Steel Panthers was not a complex game, and one I never played I might add, it was grand in its size. I'm afraid that is why it won't be remade soon. If it is, it will be of the DLC stripe I would imagine.

Any thoughts or counter positions?


mo reb
warspite1

I guess part of the problem is that not only is the wargaming community relatively small - but amongst that small community we have a number of different likes/dislikes - which of course further dilutes the market for an individual game.

One person's idea of a complex, fun game is another's micro-managing nightmare. I consider myself (rightly or wrongly) as preferring "complex" i.e. historically realistic games - but I have singularly failed to get into WITPAE or WITE, both of which expensively gather dust on my shelf.

What does the future hold - and what do we want it to hold? I don't know. Personally so long as MWIF comes out and is supported and developed - unlike that other waste of money, Empire In Arms - my guess is I do not really mind that much as I will not be playing much else in the years to come.



_____________________________

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(in reply to Missouri_Rebel)
Post #: 4
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/2/2013 10:06:03 PM   
rogo727


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From: Iowa
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For me I used to time to dive into deep rich detailed games.... But not anymore. I am happy with games like panzer corps and commander the Great War. Easy to learn /hard to master on harder levels. I will take that over harder to learn/harder to master anytime. War in the east for example takes forever to play... I have read the rules several times now and there are aspects that still confuse me. I like my iPad but will admit there are few true wargames on it. That is starting to change however. I have not bought any PC west dcls because I know they will come out on my iPad. Slitherine to me is starting to roll the ball on tablet games (an English based company). While matrix just sits on the issue (American based company). What gives??.

_____________________________

"I thank God that I was warring on the gridirons of the midwest and not the battlefields of Europe"
Nile Kinnick 1918-1943

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Post #: 5
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/2/2013 10:12:26 PM   
rogo727


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From: Iowa
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A "lite" version is a free to download to your tablet/iPad . A try it before you buy type deal. I think BA just came out with a lite version. Slitherine are teaming up with haunted cow and now I see they bought the rights to two THQs property's... Please god let it be something starwars!
quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

With the recent Sim HQ article where Slitherine mention they don't need to make lite versions of the IPad games makes me think why isn't the power of the PC being used so they would have to make lite versions. Also they say they are selling 5-1 against the PC for the same games. That also is a worry.



_____________________________

"I thank God that I was warring on the gridirons of the midwest and not the battlefields of Europe"
Nile Kinnick 1918-1943

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 6
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 12:55:34 AM   
demjansk

 

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I tried the achtung panzer star demo and it was confusing as heck

(in reply to rogo727)
Post #: 7
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 2:04:05 AM   
wodin


Posts: 8018
Joined: 4/20/2003
From: England
Status: online
http://simhq.com/_mobile/mobile_007a.html

Sim HQ article.

_____________________________

My Tactical wargame facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Tacticalwargame


(in reply to demjansk)
Post #: 8
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 2:15:36 AM   
dougo33


Posts: 60
Joined: 11/23/2011
From: Eugene, Oregon
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: junk2drive


Meanwhile I think those of us from before video games have seen it all and there is nothing new under the sun. Those younger than us do not get taught history and have no interest in our kind of games.


I think this is a very valid point. We do not teach history in the schools to our children, thus they do not develop a desire to learn more. When I originally got it into wargaming in the '70's it was because I wanted to learn more and see if I could change an outcome of a battle/war.

I also beleive another problem which plays a part in this is society's inability to focus on ahything longer than a few minutes. Everyone wants the next newest, shiny thing to run to.

(in reply to junk2drive)
Post #: 9
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 2:26:57 AM   
SLAAKMAN


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Joined: 7/24/2002
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quote:

I think this is a very valid point. We do not teach history in the schools to our children, thus they do not develop a desire to learn more. When I originally got it into wargaming in the '70's it was because I wanted to learn more and see if I could change an outcome of a battle/war.

I also beleive another problem which plays a part in this is society's inability to focus on ahything longer than a few minutes. Everyone wants the next newest, shiny thing to run to.

Hmmmm that is a very disturbing trend indeed. I got into WWII games when I was a kid partially because I had family who fought in the war on both sides & for them the war & its consequences were still vividly in their memories and daily lives. Most people I meet under 30 barely remember the Cold War and WWII is something their grandparents only mention in passing. As Merlin stated, "It is the doom of men that they forget".





Attachment (1)

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Germany's unforgivable crime before the Second World War was her attempt to extricate her economy from the world's trading system and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny world finance its opportunity to profit.
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Post #: 10
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 2:51:22 AM   
Missouri_Rebel


Posts: 2598
Joined: 6/19/2006
From: Southern Missouri
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quote:

ORIGINAL: demjansk

I tried the achtung panzer star demo and it was confusing as heck



While that is true it is well worth the effort. It's actually much easier than it first appears though. The patching process ain't much easier, until you get used to it.

I was hoping someone would come on here and prove me wrong about the trend.

_____________________________

**Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul
**A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have-Gerald Ford

(in reply to demjansk)
Post #: 11
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 2:58:28 AM   
SLAAKMAN


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Joined: 7/24/2002
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quote:


I was hoping someone would come on here and prove me wrong about the trend.

(Perhaps my Dixie cousin has misunderstood. We WiF'ers are diehard WWII fanatics who will be playing all versions of WiF for eons to come in Valhalla after Christ returns. No shortage of complex wargaming here.)



_____________________________

Germany's unforgivable crime before the Second World War was her attempt to extricate her economy from the world's trading system and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny world finance its opportunity to profit.
— Winston Churchill

(in reply to Missouri_Rebel)
Post #: 12
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 3:20:42 AM   
rogo727


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Yes in just two short more years we will have a game to end all wargames. I used the force to see the future....WIF will be annoced in 2015 as a new release but at the very last moment Matrix games will annoce a slight setback that will run into the year 2018....followed by an announcement that do to the economy the year 2020 will be a more realistic target date....then in 2020 Erik retires and a new CEO announces that WIF while still on track is being put behind some other games that are the future of war gaming . Jump to 2023... Slitherine buys back its company and moves forward . In 2025 matrix annoces that WIF is near ready... It is hailed as the last true wargame of its kind. Now the year is 2027 beta testing is still going on...it is reported only two beta testers are involved and in their early 70's.. Now the year is 2029 and now matrix annocies due to staff reductions ( the CEO is now the CFO also) WIF will be released in 2030. Matrix proudly posts that it has entered the Guinness book of records as the longest game in development . In 2031 the eight wonder of the world is released. I am 60 years old but this is what I've been waiting for. See mighty Mo it will will never die there is always something just right around the corner.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel


quote:

ORIGINAL: demjansk

I tried the achtung panzer star demo and it was confusing as heck



While that is true it is well worth the effort. It's actually much easier than it first appears though. The patching process ain't much easier, until you get used to it.

I was hoping someone would come on here and prove me wrong about the trend.



< Message edited by rogo727 -- 3/3/2013 3:32:32 AM >


_____________________________

"I thank God that I was warring on the gridirons of the midwest and not the battlefields of Europe"
Nile Kinnick 1918-1943

(in reply to Missouri_Rebel)
Post #: 13
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 3:21:28 AM   
Missouri_Rebel


Posts: 2598
Joined: 6/19/2006
From: Southern Missouri
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: SLAAKMAN

quote:


I was hoping someone would come on here and prove me wrong about the trend.

(Perhaps my Dixie cousin has misunderstood. We WiF'ers are diehard WWII fanatics who will be playing all versions of WiF for eons to come in Valhalla after Christ returns. No shortage of complex wargaming here.)





Now after looking into MWiF I got to wondering how it might stack up to other games. As far as complexity and areas covered it would appear that Hearts of Iron does these things and more albeit in another fashion. I just have a hard time balancing that one.

Plus, I need an automated system to do the bookkeeping and one that enforces the rules. Kind of hard to learn if anything goes.

Maybe we'll see MWiF some day.

_____________________________

**Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul
**A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have-Gerald Ford

(in reply to SLAAKMAN)
Post #: 14
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 3:26:43 AM   
rogo727


Posts: 1417
Joined: 7/12/2011
From: Iowa
Status: offline
This is why I wish I could buy stock in slitherine....
quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

http://simhq.com/_mobile/mobile_007a.html

Sim HQ article.



_____________________________

"I thank God that I was warring on the gridirons of the midwest and not the battlefields of Europe"
Nile Kinnick 1918-1943

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 15
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 3:46:15 AM   
SLAAKMAN


Posts: 2808
Joined: 7/24/2002
Status: offline
quote:

Now after looking into MWiF I got to wondering how it might stack up to other games. As far as complexity and areas covered it would appear that Hearts of Iron does these things and more albeit in another fashion. I just have a hard time balancing that one.

Plus, I need an automated system to do the bookkeeping and one that enforces the rules. Kind of hard to learn if anything goes.

Maybe we'll see MWiF some day.

HOI?! lol. HOI had some interesting historical features about the generals & such but theres no comparison to WiF. We already have WiF on Vassal & it runs superbly so I urge you to drop everything & go fullbore into WiF on Vassal. Here is a cute little bonus incentive:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7-8yQD-uJ0

_____________________________

Germany's unforgivable crime before the Second World War was her attempt to extricate her economy from the world's trading system and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny world finance its opportunity to profit.
— Winston Churchill

(in reply to rogo727)
Post #: 16
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 4:45:17 AM   
Missouri_Rebel


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From: Southern Missouri
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HoI 3 has much more than just generals. More of a tactical nature it seems and maybe too much micromanagement, but there is a lot of depth to the game. The scale is both smaller and larger at the same time than WiF. I have to admit that while I own HoI3 and its DLC's, I haven't actually played it that often.

But back to your VASSAL point. I think you may be correct. It might be the only hope for uber complexity as many old games have been made available through VASSAL.

An unnamed member contacted me by PM to discuss WiF. This person is an avid gamer and one very familiar with WiF. He stated that it might not be as good as many think it is. When I asked why, his response was this: (I hope he doesn't mind and of course he will stay anonymous)

My gripes with it are at both high and low levels. I'll start high and work down. Also, bear in mind that the last version I played was 5th Edition, and it's been in the last millenium. I'm sure they have improved a few things.

1. Physical Size of Game: It's too big to play unless you have a very large playing area. The main ET and PT maps are each 44 x 34 inches. Supplements add even more real estate.

2. Unnecessary Complexity: It seems to me as if the designers set about making their game as big as they could, and then designed the combat systems. Each type of combat (land, air, naval, sub, anti-sub, anti-air, etc.) requires a different resolution mechanic. IMO, the designers could have developed more realistic and smoother rules. Had they done so, it would be more playable.

3. It's a monster game. Takes forever to play. The expansions (ships in flames, planes in flames, jeeps in flames, etc.) only make it that much more complex and unwieldy. Now, if you can set up 2 or 3 44 x 34 inch maps for a year while you play one turn a night once a week (avg. wargame group), and you like monster games, it's probably okay.

4. For all of its complexity, it's not particularly realistic.

5. For at least five editions, the rules were just plain broken at several levels (can't remember details, only remember the frustrations of contradictory rules and in some cases, missing rules). I presume that the Internet has allowed them to address this problem to an extent.

Moving to a more tactical level:

1. Ground combat is very odd for the scale. They have an impulse system that governs all their game impulses, but it makes the entire game very unstable. If a particular turn goes long, one side can use it to trounce the other.

2. I intensely dislike the naval system. The game encourages players to just move their massive fleets out of port and park them in a blockade of enemy ports in perpetuity. This never happened, and is extremely unrealistic. (Gets back to my point about how complicated it is vs. how realistic it is.)

3. Many of the rules are out of proportion to the level of simulation. The result is something that calls to mind the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Summary of WiF Peeves:

A. More complicated than it needs to be owning to lazy system and unit design that never evolved through several editions.

B. In most practical gaming situations, it's unplayable because of its physical size.

C. It takes way too long to play it (especially since the usual Axis tactic is that if they don't win by the end of 1942, they give up and want to reset and play again, having just taken 2-3 months of game nights to get to that point—probably happens in other games as well, but it plagues this one as the Axis, if their wheels come off, cannot sustain a prolonged war of attrition because of the impulse system, which makes it impossible for the Axis to replace their losses to the level needed to compete in a long game).

For the record, when I complain about the complexity, I'm also an ASL player, so I'm not just whining—it's way more complicated than it needs to be to simulate what they're trying to simulate.

The root of the problems with the mechanics, I think, is the same as for Third Reich: Their 1st edition had a beer-and-pretzel countermix and mechanical system wrapped with a set of complicated rules the creates unrealistic situations because its the only way they could make the game work. Instead of slapping more and more expansions onto it while increasing the counter density and rules bloat, I think they would have been better served to review their individual subsystems and polish them.


Your response?

_____________________________

**Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul
**A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have-Gerald Ford

(in reply to SLAAKMAN)
Post #: 17
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 6:08:05 AM   
SLAAKMAN


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quote:

My gripes with it are at both high and low levels. I'll start high and work down. Also, bear in mind that the last version I played was 5th Edition, and it's been in the last millenium. I'm sure they have improved a few things.

Before you go on I will stop you right there for the moment. 5th ed & the updates over the past 10+ years transmuted the entire mechanics & complexity profoundly. Before I got into WiF Final Edition with most of the mods back in '05 I was content with the dozen+ wargames Id been doing for several decades. After WiFFE with these astounding additions youll never experience WWII the same way again. It actually changes your consciousness. Ill address the rest of your response later since its late & I have to crash.

LV 223, Vickers Cabin
End Transmission.


_____________________________

Germany's unforgivable crime before the Second World War was her attempt to extricate her economy from the world's trading system and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny world finance its opportunity to profit.
— Winston Churchill

(in reply to Missouri_Rebel)
Post #: 18
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 8:34:40 AM   
warspite1


Posts: 19517
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: online
In response to the guy who PM'd Mo Reb

quote:

He stated that it might not be as good as many think it is.


Well that is his opinion - if people think it’s good then to them it’s good

As far as his comments about the game are concerned I will caveat the following by saying I have not played the Final Edition rules - but played 5th Edition with all the add-ons that were available in 1996 - i.e. Ships In Flames, Planes In Flames, Asia and Africa in Flames and Mech In Flames. So I played the same version as the guy who PM'd Mo Reb.

quote:

1. Physical Size of Game: It's too big to play unless you have a very large playing area. The main ET and PT maps are each 44 x 34 inches. Supplements add even more real estate.


There is no denying this is a huge game, and the size is one of the reasons I had to stop playing the game – a new family meant there was no longer the room available. This is not peculiar to WIF of course. It’s a monster game just like the Europa series, AH’s Longest Day etc (iirc). This is the reason I have been desperate for MWIF – because I cannot see a situation where I will be able to play the board game version anymore.

quote:

2. Unnecessary Complexity: It seems to me as if the designers set about making their game as big as they could, and then designed the combat systems. Each type of combat (land, air, naval, sub, anti-sub, anti-air, etc.) requires a different resolution mechanic. IMO, the designers could have developed more realistic and smoother rules. Had they done so, it would be more playable.


This probably comes back to my point in post no.4 about different people having different levels of comfort / patience with different levels of complexity. However, to my mind the accusation of unnecessary complexity is NOT something that can be thrown at WIF. For such a large game, its playability was one of its biggest plusses.

quote:

3. It's a monster game. Takes forever to play. The expansions (ships in flames, planes in flames, jeeps in flames, etc.) only make it that much more complex and unwieldy. Now, if you can set up 2 or 3 44 x 34 inch maps for a year while you play one turn a night once a week (avg. wargame group), and you like monster games, it's probably okay.


Yep, it can take a long time – and this point is allied to the size of the game. But the time to play is in proportion to its size and what it is trying to achieve.

quote:

4. For all of its complexity, it's not particularly realistic.


This point of course is not peculiar to WIF. Look at the WITPAE, WITE, CTGW forums in fact just about every game!! There will always be people who gripe at what can/can’t be done compared to what really happened. WIF is a strategic level game that has just a few set rules that provide the game with its historical WWII framework e.g. Germany invades Poland, France and the Commonwealth invade Germany etc etc. It gives each player the feel for the country(ies) he/she plays and the problems they faced during WWII – the Commonwealth with its large, over-worked navy, a reasonable sized, modern air force and a small army that must not be frittered away. Thereafter, and subject to a few more hard and fast do’s and don’ts, each player can explore a variety of strategies. Is it realistic that Sweden is invaded in WWII? No – it didn’t happen. Can it happen in WIF? Yes.

quote:

5. For at least five editions, the rules were just plain broken at several levels (can't remember details, only remember the frustrations of contradictory rules and in some cases, missing rules). I presume that the Internet has allowed them to address this problem to an extent.


Name me a complex war game - board or computer – that hasn’t come with a string of patches / errata sheets. I was lucky enough to play WIF for over 2 years solidly. Were there house rules employed? Yes. Did we play some rules different to other groups? Yes. But let me make clear. THE GAME WAS NOT BROKEN.

quote:

Moving to a more tactical level:

1. Ground combat is very odd for the scale. They have an impulse system that governs all their game impulses, but it makes the entire game very unstable. If a particular turn goes long, one side can use it to trounce the other.


The impulse system is one of THE brilliant features of the game. You can never be certain exactly how long a turn will last. Will you get another go? This makes for tense and exciting play. As the Commonwealth player you need to protect your convoys, but when do you commit ships to that job? There is always something needs doing and you cannot do everything, every turn because of limitations imposed by the game. The statement re one side trouncing another because a turn goes on to long is not something I understand in terms of games I’ve played. Turn length on its own means little – there is changeable weather and there is dice luck to add to that mix for example.

quote:

2. I intensely dislike the naval system. The game encourages players to just move their massive fleets out of port and park them in a blockade of enemy ports in perpetuity. This never happened, and is extremely unrealistic. (Gets back to my point about how complicated it is vs. how realistic it is.)


I think the treatment of the naval game was inspired. Again, what is being described is so bland a comment that it is almost meaningless. Who parks their fleets? Where (which sea zone)? Who was being blockaded in his games? What about air power? Which sea box a fleet is able to “park” in? Search mechanics, surprise mechanics? Sorry but I do not recognise that comment at all.

quote:

3. Many of the rules are out of proportion to the level of simulation. The result is something that calls to mind the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.


IF you say so, I am afraid I have no idea what that is. Is it possible to know which rules in order to comment further?

quote:

Summary of WiF Peeves:

A. More complicated than it needs to be owing to lazy system and unit design that never evolved through several editions.


I disagree. I think the game design is superb.

quote:

B. In most practical gaming situations, it's unplayable because of its physical size.


The size of the game is a problem.

quote:

C. It takes way too long to play it (especially since the usual Axis tactic is that if they don't win by the end of 1942, they give up and want to reset and play again, having just taken 2-3 months of game nights to get to that point—probably happens in other games as well, but it plagues this one as the Axis, if their wheels come off, cannot sustain a prolonged war of attrition because of the impulse system, which makes it impossible for the Axis to replace their losses to the level needed to compete in a long game).


Two things:
a) The comment above is soooooo frustrating. This person complains that the game is unrealistic. And yet: he also complains that the Axis needs to win early because they cannot sustain a prolonged war of attrition. So which part of that statement is unrealistic when you look at WWII!!!!!!!!
b) BTW: I played many games, and the length varied considerably

quote:

For the record, when I complain about the complexity, I'm also an ASL player, so I'm not just whining—it's way more complicated than it needs to be to simulate what they're trying to simulate.


I think that is easy to say – when you are trying to get a game based on the whole of WWII – not just Europe, not just the Pacific – and all the problems with scale, size of forces etc, what ADG achieved is a masterpiece.

quote:

The root of the problems with the mechanics, I think, is the same as for Third Reich: Their 1st edition had a beer-and-pretzel countermix and mechanical system wrapped with a set of complicated rules the creates unrealistic situations because its the only way they could make the game work. Instead of slapping more and more expansions onto it while increasing the counter density and rules bloat, I think they would have been better served to review their individual subsystems and polish them.


One favour. Please do not EVER try and compare Third Reich with WIF, its just ridiculous. Third Reich was smaller than WIF (although was Europe only) but it was both dull and tedious imo in equal measure. A better comparison was SPI's ETO and PTO - but these were not in the same class as WIF and used a different scale for land forces on the two maps (which was annoying).

My peeves about WIF:

- The Final Edition maps are just horrendous – thank goodness MWIF has put that right!
- The army counters could do with more realism (although given counter limitations of a board game, there is probably not much more that could be done).

Things I love about WIF:

- The game has the right WWII feel.
- The game is FUN.
- Every game is different, there is no such thing as a 100% guaranteed strategy. The fact that you cannot guarantee what counters you will receive, the initial placement of those counters is up to the player – not fixed, variable turn length, variable weather and good old fashioned dice, all add to the uncertainty.
- It looks (NEW maps apart) gorgeous. Not important to some, but to me aesthetics are key. The counters are colourful – NATO symbols for the land units, colour silhouettes for the ships and aircraft.
- Every warship (plus what ifs) from CL upwards has an individual counter. Every aircraft (plus what ifs) are represented.
- Plenty of optional rules to suit peoples tastes.


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 3/3/2013 8:42:39 AM >


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Post #: 19
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 8:48:08 AM   
Missouri_Rebel


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What a great reply warspite. I am actually more excited about its release than any game I can remember for a long time. I was going to reply to SLAAK saying that it must be doing something right just by the sheer size of the players.

VASSAL is not suited for me for the reasons stated above. Even though WiF won't have an AI, at least it will force a newb like me to stay within the rules.

I thought about seeking beta-testing from this last call for volunteers, but after looking at the signup thread it is clear that there are other way more qualified.

Thanks again for putting much of that to rest. I think I would have to agree with you on many of your points. I'm looking for a colossal game that will fill the Grand Strat void that I have been feeling for far too long.

mo reb

p.s. MWiF is the one highlight in our world as far as deep wargames in production. I can think of no others. Hence this thread.

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Post #: 20
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 8:57:10 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

What a great reply warspite. I am actually more excited about its release than any game I can remember for a long time. I was going to reply to SLAAK saying that it must be doing something right just by the sheer size of the players.
VASSAL is not suited for me for the reasons stated above. Even though WiF won't have an AI, at least it will force a newb like me to stay within the rules.

I thought about seeking beta-testing from this last call for volunteers, but after looking at the signup thread it is clear that there are other way more qualified.

Thanks again for putting much of that to rest. I think I would have to agree with you on many of your points. I'm looking for a colossal game that will fill the Grand Strat void that I have been feeling for far too long.

mo reb

p.s. MWiF is the one highlight in our world as far as deep wargames in production. I can think of no others. Hence this thread.
warspite1

Mo Reb there was no need to be personal. Okay so I've put on a few pounds since my youth but there's no need to draw it to peoples attention

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Post #: 21
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 1:06:58 PM   
wosung

 

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I'd imagine, that the strict phases for everything in MWIF will be a serious problem for non-WIFers or non-boardgamers. Those phases make sense for a boardgame to keep the monster playable. But for a computer game it may be counter-intuitive. This is a problem of faithfully porting a game system to another medium.

Regards

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Post #: 22
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 3:33:52 PM   
pzgndr

 

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And really, why must everything be so much more complex just because it can, theoritically speaking? I don't want Grigsby's WITE; I want Avalon Hill's Russian Campaign with a decent challenging computer opponent. Afrika Korps, War and Peace, Kingmaker, etc. Those would be nice.

Methinks a disconnect is that there are two groups of folks. Those who want the additional complexity that computer programming offers, so you can track individual tanks and rounds and fuel expenditure even for a global or theater level monster game. And those who simply want the convenience of a computer version of classic boardgames with their abstract units, that we can fire up on demand and have good game. Complexity wins, sort of. Simplicity takes a back seat. Oh well.

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Post #: 23
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 3:44:11 PM   
wosung

 

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The question is, is complexity about pushing around *more* counters around over *more* hexes?
Is it about complex formulas under the hood?

I'd be happy if the Grigsby team would have modernized WIR & Pacific war into a same scaled global war game with a new UI instead of monsterize them.

Best regards

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Post #: 24
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 3:56:56 PM   
Orm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

I thought about seeking beta-testing from this last call for volunteers, but after looking at the signup thread it is clear that there are other way more qualified.


I think you should apply if that is the main reason for you not to apply.

Your lack of experience with WIF is not considered a drawback since the testing team needs testers that are new to WIF as well as they need grognards. I even suspect that players with no or limited experience are needed more. The main consideration should be if you can find enough time for this project.

I am sure you would make a nice addition to the beta testing team.

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Post #: 25
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 4:45:11 PM   
Perturabo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

They are too complex for this instant gratification

Isn't the main problem with these games that they dump tasks that would be done by tens or hundreds of people on a single person? It doesn't have much to do with wanting instant gratification.

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Post #: 26
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 5:49:08 PM   
wodin


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I think different scales require different levels of abstraction. Tactical requires the least and Grand Strategy can get away with the most.

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Post #: 27
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 6:26:31 PM   
Matti Kuokkanen

 

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It has been declared computer gaming is dying.
It has been declared wargaming is dying.
It has been declared BattleTech wargame is already dead.

I don't believe ANY of it! Nor do I believe in need to reinvent Steel Panthers

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Post #: 28
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 6:36:01 PM   
PEWPEW

 

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I think a big problem is that not enough people who may enjoy these titles get the chance to see them and play them. I'd take a look at how Paradox Interactive maintains a growing niche community. They have more comprehensive demos out and they have their games on Steam and Gamersgate, maybe GOG aswell. People see these games and get excited at the amount of detail and depth then either buy them or do a little research and poke around the forums a bit. Another thing is the pricing of older titles. There is such a miniscule chance for someone to pick up a older game on an impluse. During the steam winter and summer sales, it's very easy to snatch a copy of one of Paradox's grand strategy games for the sake of satisfying one's curiosity. I'm not saying that Matrix games should become Paradox interactive. I'd like Matrix to take a look at the ways Paradox Interactive keeps it's player counts up.

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Post #: 29
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/3/2013 6:38:49 PM   
DigIn

 

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I'm with you pzgndr. I really don't have TIME to play all the greats I played in the 60's-90's. I looked at the PC Afrika Korps but haven't finished the main campaign yet. Sometimes lots of units just isn't the answer. I'm pretty sure this is why the squad level stuff is getting so popular and has so many games out at that scale. An operational game with 100+ divisions on each side with 32 actions per turn per unit is NOT what I really want.

My favorite current "wargame" (not actually even close) is Settlers of Catan with all it's expansions on my PC. Turn based in case of a phone call, few units per turn (too few but hey), and unlimited strategies. It has that...if I win I'm smart and good. If I lose it was the dice appeal. LOL


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