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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 8/31/2016 3:55:29 PM   
TheGrayMouser

 

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"Since the main goal for a wargame should be the most realistic representation of a conflict, how should we tackle the most controversial ones? Is the “100% military focus” option the only one available? Or can other ways be attempted? Is there a perfect compromise?

Share your thoughts here! "

Hmm, the premise of what the main goal of a wargame itself is pretty darn controvertial...

Most injection of morality into wargames I know of is pretty simple and based on a pure cause effect/action reaction basis.
example : nuclear weapons used gives you a great advantage tactically but you lose VP's, or whatever or in a game w diplomacy your "prestige" goes down.
(I beleive the current campign series games has civilian units that get in the way and if they are killed by friendly fire take away VP's from the player)

no real morale choice there for a player, you simply analyse the pros and cons. It not like yu can simulate having your children grow up in a world of nuclear winter becuse of your decisions as El Supremo Commander. :)

You could have exteme penalties I suppose that could "enforce" morality

Imagine if you were playing a random campaign in say, Steel panthers and after the ist or second battle the game suddenly ends as you have been declared a war criminal because you indicrimitally bombarded a few city hexes outide of any FO obervations!

My gut tells me there a lot more room to explore morality in more sandbox/fantasy/open ended wargames.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 8/31/2016 5:37:44 PM   
KurtC


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quote:

ORIGINAL: hellfish6


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jagdtiger14

The future of war gaming is VR. Imagine DC Barbarossa in virtual reality where you are standing on the battlefield, interacting with generals to common soldiers, visiting the Wolf's Lair, Churchill, Stalin, etc... You are actually in the game participating. Stalin might purge you, a commissar might have you shot, you might pick up a rifle, map, pee in the woods, fly a plane, what ever. I'm not talking just first person shooter here (I hate those games)...but first person strategist, diplomat, tactician, wide open for what ever. Interacting with the personalities and possibilities.

Pay close attention to what is happening in the world of VR and its development.


That won't happen for twenty years at the earliest. Of note, people also said VR would be that great twenty years ago.


Remember the movie Disclosure? It used VR and wow, that seemed pretty slick. We're just now getting VR headsets. So, I agree with you.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 8/31/2016 10:29:17 PM   
Shark7


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Hmm, I think there might be a benefit from making different modes into the standard wargame format we have now.

While having a fully accurate, simluation of the actual event is a must. However, there also should be a mode that puts the player in the place of the forces political leadership.

I'll take WWII sims for an example: Let the player sit in the seat of Churchill or Roosevelt (for example). Have the ability to adapt to the changing situation in the game. If the USN (in game) badly loses the Battle of Midway, then obviously, ship production needs are going to change. In most games, this is locked in, you can't change it. The player should be able to cancel other projects and be able to order new carriers (that are not historical) in this mode.

Players should be able to form up new infantry units, or change the focus of their research. The political part may be allowing the player to initiate a draft program, or increase the funding for it, so that you can recruit more troops more quickly if possible...with the trade off of giving up something else in return.

So basically, there needs to be a game mode that has some kind of 'budget' to allow the player to tweak things non-historically, but that requires careful thought and balancing to prevent abuse of the system.

Give the players a choice, the 'Historic' game mode that focuses solely on doing the best you can with what was historically available and the 'fantasy' mode that allows players to change as much as they like, within the limits of a budget system.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/1/2016 12:44:55 AM   
kevinkins


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To Zap's point.

Least we forget: Apple vs war games and gamers

http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/26/technology/apple-puts-some-civil-war-games-back/



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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/1/2016 4:02:13 AM   
Agathosdaimon


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Vic

For example:

Making a decision on German ww2 train allocation for death camps would be extremely distasteful.
But making a decision on Roman cargoships allocation for importing slaves for arena fights would not rub me the same way.

Best wishes,
Vic

not only distasteful but also usually the decisions in a wargame are such because there are pros and cons on either side to weigh up, and i cannot see how any kind of 'pro' could even be imagined for genocide, even less so for having any kind of benefit towards winning a campaign.

There could though perhaps be some element to factor in regarding the war crimes on the eastern front against civilians - ie, that as it continues it only serves to disintegrate the moral integrity and morale of your army and further enflame partisans and give the red army more determination to fight back ?

this perhaps may not be something which you the general are making personal decisions over directly, but is a factor that you may need to figure out how to stop? I am not though expert on the eastern front and dont know how widespread atrocities were and if it was done by more than just the SS units, but given that there are games where you can direct the SS units also maybe there is some other kind of frightful horror that comes with them - ie they are elite units but you also cannot control them entirely regarding their treatment of civilians where they go and what later problems this may cause?

the horrors of war are not always acts and events that the general/operational level commander or whoever will be making conscious decisions to do or not do - rather they can come about because at some point before hand a normalisation of specific attitudes has occurred - ie a decade or so of fascist propaganda beforehand that treated jews and other non germans as being inferior and even like animals rather than humans.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/1/2016 5:19:34 AM   
Symple

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Daniele

This is a first (and experimental) post to see if we can spark some positive discussion about topics related to wargames and to help us better understand your views and opinions about stuff we care about. So here you go.

Most of the time, wargames depict conflicts with surgical precision and analytical rigor. Nevertheless, they tend to focus only on the military (or close related) aspects. That’s pretty self-evident, of course, as wargames are about war, after all. But we shall not forget the all conflicts are not a mere confrontation of brute force. Also, the more a conflict is controversial, the more it is difficult to show it exclusively from the military perspective.

Where are the ethics, the politics, the personal relationships, the diplomatic struggles? Do we play war because of the strategic and tactical implications only and can we avoid any form of partisanship when a conflict is touching us closer? How do we look at the Vietnam war, for instance? And the Arab-Israeli conflicts?

Since the main goal for a wargame should be the most realistic representation of a conflict, how should we tackle the most controversial ones? Is the “100% military focus” option the only one available? Or can other ways be attempted? Is there a perfect compromise?

Share your thoughts here!


Interesting thread. I play wargames because they offer the maximum challenge in gaming. Often it ties into my interest in the history of warfare. This is separate from the social, ethical political, personal aspects. While it is a worthwhile project to look at the issues outside the technical aspects of a representation of a prior conflict, this is not an issue of interest to me.
I like to use the well designed wargames to explore alternative history and actual history. Wargames are about understanding the military history. Social history needs its own platform.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/1/2016 1:58:55 PM   
GeneralJ0k3r

 

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I think this is something that is lacking from the genre. I am sure, most of you already know it, but there was a great game made recently, called "This War of Mine", which depicts a conflict in the Balkans with the obvious parallels. You play as a "manager" of a band of survivors and have to make decisions which have a deeply moral and ethical dimension. Do you kill the old couple to get food for your group? Do you leave them and have someone die? Unfortunately, I can't post links, but I'm sure the search engine of your choice will find it for you easy enough ;)

Depending on the type of war game, a layer depicting civilian aspects of war would be a great addition. Do you ration food in a city in order to supply your next attack? Do you requisition all medical supplies in the country for the army? This would add to complexity and verisimilitude, while at the same time bringing in a new dimension, both in terms of decision making, as well as an ethical dimension.

As to how this could be implemented in detail, I do not know. Not a game designer. But I would certainly welcome a shift towards a more holistic, if you want, depiction of war in war games.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/1/2016 2:12:47 PM   
dr.hal


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I agree, this is certainly an interesting thread! When I first read the intro post, I thought political considerations are a strategic level game play area, while the accurate military reconstruction dives into the tactical, where the political has little place. However then I thought about the book I'm currently reading: "Act of War" about the USS Pueblo and its capture. Here, if one wants to see how politics enters the tactical, is a great example of how political thinking impacts a very tactical situation. So I really put "paid" to my own initial thoughts. In many war-games the political considerations are merely an input into the background of the game play, such as "country X has declared war" much like in "Silent Hunter 3", but I think there could be so much more if the designers were really seriously interested in incorporating a political element. It certainly would be a more dynamic game if that came about.

However, this thread has also touched upon the moral aspect of any game, such as playing the German side in a game where your efforts are in "support" of Hitler and his policies (in the abstract for sure) and at times I have a problem with that. A more relevant example to this forum is the support of Japan, and thus its policies in such places as China and other parts of its "Empire" (Korean comfort women comes to mind). If those aspects of reality were incorporated into a game, I would be hard pressed to play that side, as I could not support that political dimension!

One final point if I may, many years ago when I was in Scotland, I had the game "Victory in the Pacific" which is the board-game forerunner of this great game. I had (still have) a very good friend who happened to be Japanese and I thought wouldn't it be great if he played the Japanese side and I played the Allied side. Well I tried to introduce him to the game and he certainly found it interesting and complex, BUT refused to play the game. He said "this makes the sacrifice of so many people into a game and dishonors them" thus he would not consider playing it. It is a prospective that I had never considered, as I always thought that game (and any war game) gave me a better insight into the sacrifice those individuals, who fought in the actual period, faced. To this day I still am not sure if there is a clear answer to either point, is wargaming dishonoring the dead or an attempt to understand their deaths?

< Message edited by dr.hal -- 9/1/2016 3:15:16 PM >


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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/1/2016 2:42:50 PM   
Agathosdaimon


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a game that comes to mind in all this and one that i havent played is the Hearts of Iron series. I understand it is a game of detailed grand strategy and you can play as japan or germany -do any of their atrocities or even just the holocaust come up? does this dimension just not exist in it ?

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/1/2016 6:32:47 PM   
Marvin88


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We can't forget Clausewitz' aphorism; "War is the continuation of politics by other means." The term "politics" here is the will of a nation/state.

Any game that can embrace the above is not only true to human nature, but can stand against the tide of political correctness we see today. Often, when playing a war game, I find myself stopping and realizing what the simple clicks or finger pushes (yes, board games) really represent. Much sacrifice has occurred for various political aims, some righteous, some no so righteous.

But it would be a mistake to forget this sacrifice, nor the events that triggered the response of war. To remember and use Santayana's belief that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it as a philosophy during game production are doing a service to mankind.

< Message edited by Kreole -- 9/1/2016 6:53:03 PM >


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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/1/2016 8:28:08 PM   
Viktor_Kormel_slith


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This is a post that I have written about this topic in MWIF forum. I think wil be valid for other games. I like strategic games but I miss many importan historical aspects of the conflicts: political, economical and cultural. If you work in these things for future games I will support you.

"Anyway, sometimes I reflect on MWIF and by one side, I think it´s a great WIF computer version but by other side, I think it won´t be more interesting have done a new game based in the WIF mechanics but improving some things that the boardgame can´t manage. For example, manpower based in the control of cities o even hexes; a simple but flexible research system, undetermined force pools (freedom to built what you want), a political in flames integrated in the game, naval repair and construction in specif ports, some kind of morale rules, hideen task naval forces, roads and rails constructions...a lot of possibilities. Yes I know it would be a new game but I think it would be a wonderful game... "


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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 7:49:07 AM   
Simulacra53

 

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War is brutal.

Most wargames focus on the battlefield, logistics and economics.
That's convenient.

Once you go deeper you allow the less convenient side of war to creep into you gameplay - your entertainment.
The RAF bombing campaign against Germany was as much aimed against the moral of the German people as it was aimed against the economy.
So do we want to play a game where the aim is to cause as much civilian casualties as possible?

Again 1948 can be played as a wargames nice and clean between Israeli and Arab troops, but if you a layer deeper it is about ethnic cleansing of villages and cities - Plan Dalet in practice. So do you want to a clean hero or a dirty villain?

We leave out the nasty bits because it is convenient and much nicer in a game when we want to be a hero.

Once you start adding these layers politics etc come into play, that's why I personally dislike those RT scenarios that Slitherine is offering - my political / world views come into play and I stop seeing these as games, but as opinion. Like the Brexit scenario...

I mean will Command LIVE feature a campaign against Gaza city?

Asymmetrical combat as entertainment, not for me.

< Message edited by Simulacra53 -- 9/2/2016 7:58:38 AM >

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 9:23:07 AM   
Simulacra53

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Vic

Hi all,

Interesting responses.

As for my two cents. I think the ideal level of ethics in a wargame depends on the player. Some like it, some dont. Its like how tactical do you want your game to be? how detailed? how many counters? ... how ethical?

Where to strike the balance if you want the majority of players to enjoy depends on lots of things. Clever writing helps. In DC:B we added a variant flag so you could turn off the most sensitive stuff.

In the end the most important thing is distance from the subject in time and space.

For example:

Making a decision on German ww2 train allocation for death camps would be extremely distasteful.
But making a decision on Roman cargoships allocation for importing slaves for arena fights would not rub me the same way.

Best wishes,
Vic


Hi Vic,

You hit the mail on the head.
You give a perfect example of a realistic choice for a ww2 strategic choice, transport Jews or use the trains for logistics support. The choice may have direct impact on the battlefield - a legitimate choice for strategy.

Go for cities and civilians, or industry, or logistics and interdiction and battlefield support. What if.

Do you take POWs, or not. If you do, how much food do you give them, will you treat them well or use them as slave labor.
Pretty close to the choices we get in some games, but controversial to many.

I think there is a place for this type of choice, but you will get Flak as a developer, period.


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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 11:52:26 AM   
PresbyterJohn

 

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Some thoughts:-

Scope and scale defines the game. What is the problem to be solved? Are you playing the warrior, the battlefield commander, the national leader etc.If the purpose is a historical study then maximum realism and detail is desired. Chess is the single most popular abstract wargame of all time. Advanced Squad Leader and Star Fleet Battles are some of the most detailed wargames of all time. Everything else is in between.

In a head to head game do two people (friends) really want to delve into the underlying questions of why one is playing the leader of the Sioux nation or the Taliban in Afghanistan in a war? These real social histories are not nice, and don't mix well with beer and chips. Better to stick to fake German accents as you roll the dice, yelling for a critical hit.

In staff college war gaming is not an RPG, it is pure problem solving. But that doesn't mean you can't have a game with a national scale covering diplomatic issues. War is terrible on all levels, but who wants to feel miserable on their day off while spending a few hours with a mate.

Unless you are making a solo game that really wants to push some morality/personal responsibility (Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager is cool) buttons then stick to the staff college style.


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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 12:12:25 PM   
Marvin88


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When it comes to war game production, I say nuke the whales... lest we forget the horrible visage war brings to the face of humanity.


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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 12:42:09 PM   
aaatoysandmore

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mussey

Strategy and Tactics (S&T) published a semimonthly subscription to a wide ranging series of war games. Matrix could barrow from that. Not only the game topics but also a subscription based platform where we would be introduced to variety of topics on a regular basis. Maybe $100 a year for one game quarterly? Or something similar.


This ^ I've always been very interested in this on the digital side of things since I used to subscribe to S&T myself.

They don't have to be grand games for $25 bucks but at least different and different eras of wars from way back to the future like S&T did.

I always looked forward to the reading material as well as the gamette.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 1:58:55 PM   
Agathosdaimon


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Prester John

Some thoughts:-

Scope and scale defines the game. What is the problem to be solved? Are you playing the warrior, the battlefield commander, the national leader etc.If the purpose is a historical study then maximum realism and detail is desired. Chess is the single most popular abstract wargame of all time. Advanced Squad Leader and Star Fleet Battles are some of the most detailed wargames of all time. Everything else is in between.

In a head to head game do two people (friends) really want to delve into the underlying questions of why one is playing the leader of the Sioux nation or the Taliban in Afghanistan in a war? These real social histories are not nice, and don't mix well with beer and chips. Better to stick to fake German accents as you roll the dice, yelling for a critical hit.

In staff college war gaming is not an RPG, it is pure problem solving. But that doesn't mean you can't have a game with a national scale covering diplomatic issues. War is terrible on all levels, but who wants to feel miserable on their day off while spending a few hours with a mate.

Unless you are making a solo game that really wants to push some morality/personal responsibility (Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager is cool) buttons then stick to the staff college style.




the staff college problem solving would though also be such at times too where the solution would need to be found that does not wantonly go into war crime territory would it not, and i would expect these to have no easy answers otherwise they wouldnt be problems

i agree with simulacra, you can go deeper into the politics and involve assymetrical combat but it stops being a "wargame", i mean you can certainly do this, and games like a previous post mentioned - This War of Mine, do this and i think they can even be educational and stimulating to important discussions on moral and ethical issues. I am sure this could even be done for something like the My Lai Massacre, but as a wargame it doesnt work, because a wargame like any game only has value in so far that it has any kind of rules. Sure one can make a game that lets the player kill civilians and even make that the goal of the game, but that is moving very far away from wargame territory and into either something for sociopaths by sociopaths, or into the kind of comedic realm like Saints Row, Postal or even GTA games


In all this it may be a question of what the ends are that the game sets, which is something i would love to hear from a Kantian perspective

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 3:00:42 PM   
Zap


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And yet other more beloved games have depicted this in a general way for a long time. Civilization Series, is basically, building a society by sending out your group to annihilate the neighboring village of innocent people.

Think about the 4x sci-fi where you conquer a universe and in the process you destroy a whole planet. Billions of creatures.

Being fantasy (far from a real situation) makes those games less distasteful but in some ways imitate history.

I agree with those who feel the decisions of real life political choices closer to today really would bring home the moral and ethical depravity of some policies that would be very distasteful.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 7:56:08 PM   
mtl404


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This is a fascinating thread and I'm not sure I can really add to the excellent arguments here.

DC: Barbarossa was my first advanced-level Matrix game and I chose it largely because of the political machinations impacting upon tactical decisions. Even before playing, and moreso since, I began imagining alternative scenarios where you could play as mid-level political / military figures and must influence and adapt to the various personalities in the governmental or military machine. This could be reproduced across time periods (I can imagine working especially in Roman and Cold War eras) and wouldn't necessitate a period of conflict to make it interesting.

I can picture the dialogue-tree mechanics of the adventure game genre merged with late-game city-builders infrastructure-tinkering working to create a new type of strategy game, with civil unrest and rioting being risked with heavy taxation to fund war efforts or increasing police control and imposing curfews to try to suppress political rivalry. For all I know this sort of thing does exist in games like Democracy 3, or the Tropico series, I've not played them. Perhaps I should...

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 10:01:06 PM   
PipFromSlitherine

 

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I think the personal element of what people might or might not find uncomfortable with regard to moral decisions is part of the reason many games avoid them. They can be done with both tact and skill (see: DC:B) but it is still a risk, both design- and reception-wise. Frankly I feel bad being told to kill yellows in WoW .

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 10:37:23 PM   
MrsWargamer

 

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In my time playing war games I have only encountered a few that seriously achieved that one aspect of war gaming that makes the game truly entertaining.

Not always knowing how things would go turn to turn.

Up Front rewarded a good sense of poker philosophy.... knowing when to hold them or discard them. If a game much like Up Front were made into a computer war game I think it would be pretty fun. Oh and yeah, I know, you would not be able to clone it. So don't. Make it a new game, just retain the concept.

Victory the Blocks of War. Great as a board game, likely great as a computer adaption.

Why no one has taken either design and run with it escapes me.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/2/2016 11:18:09 PM   
DeriKuk


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I am not politically correct. I'll not slink away from a topic because it is unpleasant and ugly. The more we lift and overturn rocks, the more we will shine a light on things.

But there we have a position: The LIGHT. We all should approach these topics with a true MORAL COMPASS that amounts to a whole lot more than virtue signalling and preaching. The morality of a topic is not frozen in time. Events of many years ago are suddenly judged with a sensibility of the present day . . . by the lesser minds who lack the ability of abandoning their current views while transporting themselves back into history. What was acceptable - even good - back then cannot be separated from the historical actors; so judging them in the court of the present day is quite useless . . . unless it is your intent to punish living people for the sins of dead people through the time machine of collective guilt. (This is a way that living psychopaths get Gutmenschen to support them.)

That said, this is still a commercial enterprise; so a publisher has to take into account the simple-minded morality of those still under the spell of Johann Gottlieb Fichte's "education" legacy. Taking swastikas out of games - even off the planes of the Finnish Air Force - is not going to change the past, but it may affect your sales in politically correct modern Germany.

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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/3/2016 4:43:14 AM   
Agathosdaimon


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i think yes education is am important part and no wargame wanting to be historical should ever alter anything, unless it has some other particular reason for doing so that is intrinsic to the game - ie alternate history etc. This being said, a game i played recently was Valkyria Chronicles which is part story part turn based tactical game and it was set in a mythical version of Europe with a larger nation headed by its emperor pursuing some aryan style myth while also rounding up the 'Darcsen' population who are clearly are supposed to be Jews and this game I thought is actually pretty good story wise and with its intercharacter relations - people you select for your squad all have pros and cons and some of their cons may be anti-darcsen. In all though the story has your team overcoming their intolerances and working together. - This is an interestng example of a strategy game that is not historical but takes historical themes and makes for a game that is educational on many levels. That can be another way to approach sensitve subjects - this use of what i think may be analogy is a powerful human quality i think. I like Game of Thrones similarly for the breadth of philosophies on rights and ethics and power that have been taken from history and also are relevant today.



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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/3/2016 5:59:38 AM   
Simulacra53

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: hjalmar99
was acceptable - even good - back then cannot be separated from the historical actors; so judging them in the court of the present day is quite useless . . . unless it is your intent to punish living people for the sins of dead people through the time machine of collective guilt. (This is a way that living psychopaths get Gutmenschen to support them.)


That's an easy escape clause that cannot always be morally accepted, especially not if the events occured in relativly modern times and are still directly affecting the living today.

Hence my 1948 Plan Dalet example.
Every wargame dealing with that subject shows military counters nothing more nothing less.

Luckily we have a personal choice: I simply choose not to play any 1948/1967/... Israeli scenario in any wargame, period.

EDIT: does not mean that I want to force my world and gaming views on others nor want to stop them enjoying such a scenario,

< Message edited by Simulacra53 -- 9/3/2016 8:56:26 AM >

(in reply to DeriKuk)
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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/3/2016 6:04:45 AM   
Simulacra53

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap

And yet other more beloved games have depicted this in a general way for a long time. Civilization Series, is basically, building a society by sending out your group to annihilate the neighboring village of innocent people.

Think about the 4x sci-fi where you conquer a universe and in the process you destroy a whole planet. Billions of creatures.

Being fantasy (far from a real situation) makes those games less distasteful but in some ways imitate history.

I agree with those who feel the decisions of real life political choices closer to today really would bring home the moral and ethical depravity of some policies that would be very distasteful.


True, most of the RTS oriented empire building games are brutally honest - you annihilate the enemy.
In something like Cossacks Conquest of the Americas the battlefield would be littered with dead bodies, warriors and workers alike.

< Message edited by Simulacra53 -- 9/3/2016 6:06:25 AM >

(in reply to Zap)
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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/4/2016 12:25:38 AM   
Rosseau

 

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Paradox has been doing this fairly well for a long time. EUIV, for example, seems a great success. But for me personally, it has too many distractions. March of the Eagles, much more of a wargame, but also less popular.

(in reply to Simulacra53)
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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/4/2016 5:09:17 AM   
Agathosdaimon


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Simulacra53

quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap

And yet other more beloved games have depicted this in a general way for a long time. Civilization Series, is basically, building a society by sending out your group to annihilate the neighboring village of innocent people.

Think about the 4x sci-fi where you conquer a universe and in the process you destroy a whole planet. Billions of creatures.

Being fantasy (far from a real situation) makes those games less distasteful but in some ways imitate history.

I agree with those who feel the decisions of real life political choices closer to today really would bring home the moral and ethical depravity of some policies that would be very distasteful.


True, most of the RTS oriented empire building games are brutally honest - you annihilate the enemy.
In something like Cossacks Conquest of the Americas the battlefield would be littered with dead bodies, warriors and workers alike.



that brings up a really good point, - that rts games have long been designed where it is to the players benefit to kill the civilians who are collecting resources and no one really has any problem with this.

This being said, if one were to present something like cossacks to a non gamer and show them how to win where okay now you need to go and kill those peasants and their homes, the non-gamer may be aghast at this

I know when Quadriga came out a while back i was playing it and showed it to my wife and she was a little horrified by the brutality of it especially to the horses. And though it was no really big thing, it did make me realise that the themes and actions of games that i am used to may be unpleasant for others who dont play any such games.

(in reply to Simulacra53)
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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/4/2016 8:15:18 AM   
Simulacra53

 

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You know people tend to make a big thing out of everything, especially if the media jumps on top.

Most of it is nonsense or hypocrisy.

We don't like young people to play violent or sexual games, yet we send them to war and have a huge legal sex industry.

Moving counter A against counter B in a game is a million times better than having division A fight division B in a real war.

I support developers who try to go further and include moral choices that influence strategy and or tactics.

Not taking prisoners frees up resources and hardens (some of the) the men, but it may also sow dissent, lose support for the war effort at home (depending on political system) and last but not least trigger a counter response with the enemy - fight to the death and taking no prisoners either etc

War is brutal, but there is always choice, from high command to the frontline dugout.

WW2 Germany without Endlosung as an option - why not?
It was not the casus belli, certainly not in 1939 (just as you would play a Seelowe scenario).

There should be no sacred subjects - we are not talking about a sim city concentration camp, where the player does the logistics and the score is measured in slave labor production or deaths.

Otoh, putting scientist in gulags to give them an extra incentive might be a valid choice for a game featuring the SU under Stalin. For that matter so does purging the officer corps, or in the case of occupied Poland purging the capture officer corps - less chance of dissent from the occupied territory.

What would be the effect on the Japanese war effort if they don't use pows as slave labor?

(Just for some balance lets not forget the internment camps in the west.)

Modern wars have been terribly asymmetric, but given some thought you could even create an iraqi insurgency strategy game.
It would be very different, more about morals and morale than one on one combat. Hearts and minds, but also fear and control.

But would it be fun?

Otoh, is strategy / wargaming about having fun?

(in reply to Agathosdaimon)
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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/5/2016 9:30:37 PM   
Extraneous

 

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quote:

Most of the time, war games depict conflicts with surgical precision and analytical rigor. Nevertheless, they tend to focus only on the military (or close related) aspects. That’s pretty self-evident, of course, as war games are about war, after all. But we shall not forget that all conflicts are not a mere confrontation of brute force. Also, the more a conflict is controversial, the more it is difficult to show it exclusively from the military perspective.

Where are the ethics, the politics, the personal relationships, the diplomatic struggles? Do we play war because of the strategic and tactical implications only and can we avoid any form of partisanship when a conflict is touching us closer? How do we look at the Vietnam war, for instance? And the Arab-Israeli conflicts?

Since the main goal for a war game should be the most realistic representation of a conflict, how should we tackle the most controversial ones? Is the “100% military focus” option the only one available? Or can other ways be attempted? Is there a perfect compromise?



As hjalmar99 has stated there are basically 3 levels of war games:
(1) Tactical (small unit actions (less than a division involved))
(2) Operational (entire battles (armies or corps level))
(3) Strategic (theater or theaters are involved)

Vietnam was tactical (Civil wars usually are until the guerilla forces field an army).

The Arab-Israeli wars were operational in size.

Of the three only "Strategic" games would involve politics, personalities (I don't see how personal relationships are relevant), and diplomacy.



Is this what you mean by "Ethics" of War (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ~ War)?

Just Cause: the war is an attempt to avert the right kind of injury.
Legitimate Authority: the war is fought by an entity that has the authority to fight such wars.
Right Intention: that entity intends to achieve the just cause, rather than using it as an excuse to achieve some wrongful end.
Reasonable Prospects of Success: the war is sufficiently likely to achieve its aims.
Proportionality: the morally weighted goods achieved by the war outweigh the morally weighted bads that it will cause.
Last Resort (Necessity): there is no other less harmful way to achieve the just cause.

Typically the jus in bello list comprises:

Discrimination: belligerents must always distinguish between military objectives and civilians, and intentionally attack only military objectives.
Proportionality: foreseen but unintended harms must be proportionate to the military advantage achieved.
Necessity: the least harmful means feasible must be used.

_____________________________

University of Science Music and Culture (USMC) class of 71 and 72 ~ Extraneous (AKA Mziln)

(in reply to Zap)
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RE: Attention Wargamers! This post is for you! - 9/8/2016 1:55:48 PM   
Daniele

 

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Beside adding the Ethics per se, I think it could be interesting for the discussion to consider also the political restrictions due to the increased role of the media in modern conflicts. Although if this applies mostly to governments and nations where - with several degrees - the media are taken in consideration, I believe there is room for future wargames to introduce this mechanic.

Information control, internal ed external propaganda, negotiation with local authorities in war zones, the necessity to limit the so-called "collateral damages", those are all elements that - even if not strivtly military - they are contributing to shape a new model of warfare.

My thoughts ;-)

< Message edited by Daniele -- 9/8/2016 1:56:57 PM >

(in reply to Extraneous)
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