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I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 4:17:38 PM   
henri51


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I have the game and I like to read AARS, but as far as I can tell, all of the AARs here are much too detailed. I would like to see reports like those that would be given to a commander, not how many planes were seen approaching, how the weather was, how one plane's bomb missed, etc. I would like a report that says for example, "140 enemy planes attacked, and 30 of or planes were on CAP nd 20 of them were lost or damaged and only 10 enemy planes were stopped. The enemy sank two of our battleships and seriously damaged one cruiser".

I just hate those pasted AARs that force me to read page after page of detailed description of no interest except to those who love micromanagement. I am sure if Nimitz ever got a report THAT detailed, some staff officers would get an earful about how to be accurate but concise, and how to distinguish important information from useless details.

So are there any interesting AARs here of the kind I am looking for? Or will I have to write one myself?

Henri
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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 4:26:56 PM   
Smeulders

 

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I'm not quite sure how much detail is too much for you, but take a look at the AARs from Canoerebel, Cuttlefish, Q-Ball, Speedy, etc (the ones I named are usually very good AARs, but there are many more, my own included). All of these use very few pasted combat reports. 

< Message edited by Smeulders -- 6/21/2010 4:27:42 PM >

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 4:29:48 PM   
LoBaron


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Sorry henri51, but I don´t know what exactly your problem is. There is a broad spectrum of AARs in this forum, each individually
shaped by his creator.
All are great, all are a LOT of work, and every single of them contains so many lessons that are interesting and important,
whether its a detailed CRep or the outlining of a strategy, whether its thoughts about the economic model or the description of
the adventures of a single ship.

That said there are enough that cover the war from a more strategic viewpoint, if you don´t find them I wonder how many you have actually read.

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 6:02:56 PM   
crsutton


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They are all good and I do appreciate the ones that go deep into a game. The best are by those who spend some time explaining what they are doing and responding to questions and post a lot of graphics. I don't really need to see too many detailed combat reports. But am not complaining. I really use them to better my own play so detail is not a bad thing.



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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 6:31:08 PM   
Henri

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron

Sorry henri51, but I don´t know what exactly your problem is. There is a broad spectrum of AARs in this forum, each individually shaped by his creator.
...


I actually spend more time reading AARs than I spend playing the games.I will take a look at those recommended by Smeulders (thx for the suggestions).

People are free to write what they want, but the ones that I am interested in are ones that emphasize the big picture and that minimize useless information. For example, instead of a ten-page report pasted from the game, a sitrep would say:" The Japanese attacks down the Malayan Peninsula continued with heavy casualties of around 5000 on both sides, but the British units retreated 50 Km. At this rate, they will have retreated all the way to Singapore in two weeks. In the meantime, the situation in China remained stationary, whereas British units made slow progress in Burma. A sea battle developed in the Gulf of Thailand between a Japanese task force consisting of 2 BBs, 4 cruisers and 12 destroyers and a US task force consisting of 1BB, 6 cruisers, 8 destroyers; the Japanese lost 1 BB and 4 destroyers and the US lost 4 cruisers and 3 destroyers. One Japanese BB and 2 cruisers were damaged and 2 US cruisers and 3 US destroyers were damaged."

I fail to see what interest there is (except for the player himself of course) in knowing how many shots from each cruiser and destroyer missed, although I understand that there are some who are interested in such details.I also understand that it is a lot easier to paste a computer report than to extract the essential information from it.

Anyone can stretch a 10-page report into 100 pages, but to do the opposite without losing essential information is the mark of a good writer. Advice on how to write a good CV is to have a one-page summary on the top page; if a person's whole life can be summarized on one page, it should be possible for a battle.

This is not a criticism of those writing AARs, and should be taken as an observation.But if I had my way, there would be no pasted reports from the game (except pictures) in AARs. My viewpoint is probably influenced by my profession as a professor: I once refused to review a Masters thesis that was 1000 pages long on the basis that either the thesis was too good for a Masters thesis or else it contained more useless information than was acceptable.

Henri

EDIT: INdeed Smeulders, I found a good AAR by Cuttlefish. Here is a typical page of his AAR:

Malaya: the Imperial Guard Division, moving by rail, passed through Bangkok this turn and is heading down the Malay Peninsula. I could get used to this moving by rail stuff.

Philippines: my fighter sweep was a smashing success this time, downing 16 American fighters against no losses. American planes (SOC-1 Seagulls!) raided the Japanese landings at Vigan and scored a bomb hit on an xAK. Japanese forces also landed at Aparri. Both places will fall next turn. Follow-on units are en route to both locations.

Pacific: Tarawa was captured. I have the jitters about a visit from a U.S. carrier or two here so I cancelled the unloading of supplies there and at Makin and ordered the task forces to pull back to the west.

Submarine warfare: I-155 continued its reign of terror, putting 11 shells into xAKL Shinai (princep01’s comment about overusing torpedoes being germane here, I think). I-162 struck near Pontiniak, hitting AVP Poolster with one torpedo (out of a spread of 4). And the Allied sub force struck for the first time, with KXIV torpedoing and sinking xAKL Anbo Maru off Miri. There were various ASW/sub skirmishes in the Luzon Strait but not much damage done on either side.

Hunting refugees: Kates from Ryujo sank four xAKLs in the Celebes Sea and Nells sank xAK Haraldsvang in the South China Sea. Most of Q-Ball’s ships fleeing the Philippines seem to be heading due east. If they get out of range of the Formosa-based Betties and Nells they might be able to lead me quite a merry chase; there aren’t any real Japanese air assets in the Central Pacific right now except for Kwajalein. I’m diverting some small surface forces into their anticipated path to try and intercept. CVL Zuiho was en route to Babelthingy and is almost right in the refugee’s path; I am going to halt it there and see what happens.

Concerning Nates: usually one of the first things I used to do when starting a game in WitP was to switch the factories producing Nates to something more useful. But in AE I’m wavering. Nates are kinda useful now and it will be a while before I can upgrade those units. I’m thinking of keeping them in production for a month or so. Any opinions about that?


Now tht is what I call an AAR!

< Message edited by Henri -- 6/21/2010 6:44:13 PM >

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 6:53:09 PM   
LoBaron


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I agree with you that AARs containing whole theatre combat reports are more difficult to read.
It just depends what you can take out of them though. As it is, AARs that are using many combat reports do really help to
interprete your own.
Basically you can see it as a kind of training, much VERY useful information is located there and this is exactly what you need on your own games.

Smeulders list is a good one, I could add a couple more to the list, for example Aztez´war against erstad. Its already over and does not seem to get updated anymore, still a great
read with lots of interaciton between Aztez and the community. Also it was one if the first really long AE AARs.

AARs often have a double purpose. Writing one helps to keep track of ones own moves and can lead to many new ideas on every level of the game. So its not only a good read, but helps the
author to play better.
The problem of doing an AAR that is reduced to the logistic/strategic can also be that it would have much less content. Strategic decisions and overall planning are only a part of the
game. From a players point of view the most important, but in terms of game progress tactical situations are the day to day business, I think this is the reason why the planning of
operations and the logistics behind them are further apart than discussions or reports on a tactical or at least a more confined scale.

What is useful information is often hard to grab for the writer. There can be much useful information hidden in some small, seemingly irrelevant detail. The example you are giving is something that
could require hindsight on a scale that is easy on a historical perspective, but not while you in the midst of battles and try to sort things out there.

What comes close to your taste could also be Nemo´s AAR. He has a deep understanding of strategic situations, their implications and how to get most out of them and combines this
with the detailed knowledge on device and tactical level. Great place to learn something about psychological warfare also.

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 7:25:47 PM   
Henri

 

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Thx Lobaron. I agree that good writing is hard to do, and there IS a bit of arbitrariness in deciding what is superfluous and what is not.

I think that printouts of computer reports were more useful in the early days of the game so that new players and those without the game could get a clear idea of how the game played out. And I also agree that an occasional detailed description of a critical battle can be useful and fun to read, just as in a novel and movie where it can help in the immersion.

For the defense of those writing the AARs that I find too detailed, I have to say that i have the greatest admiration to anyone who can actually go through a whole game of WITP-AE without succombing as I do after a couple of moves to a severe case of brainlock...

Henri

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 7:39:41 PM   
Thayne

 

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I regret that I must respectfully turn down your request to write an AAR in the manner you prescribed.

However, this is not because I find that method of writing to be "wrong". It simply does not capture the part of the game that I am interested in.

As I play through a turn, I tend to think in terms of what those events would look like from the soldier who was an eye-witness to those events. When I read about World War II, I do not tend to read tall lists of battle reports. I tend to prefer to read the stories of people who were there.

So that is what I write. It is a perspective that gives the game more realism - one that reminds me that there is more at stake then organizing a group of electrons on a computer in order to generate the electronic depiction of a "win" screen.

If you were to create such an AAR, I would read it.

(That is, I wrote if your AAR was from the Allied perspective. I ignore Japanese-side AARs because I want to remain ignorant of what Japanese capabilities.)

I would probably find it useful.

It's not my style of writing. However, I am not one to assert that others must do things the way I like. The world has more than enough room in it for multiple styles.

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 7:44:47 PM   
Nemo121


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Henri et al,
I think the main problem is that what you (Henri, Henri51 ) are looking for is simply not the type of AAR most people write.

If you look at the time committment an AAR requires they can only really be written if they are in a style etc the author enjoys. As such they must fit the author's wishes. Most of the AARs written on this forum are written to fulfill the author's desire to have people share their game, form a sense of community etc. Some others are written for narcissistic reasons ( a minority but still worthy of mention ) while others are written to fulfill a given, usually literary objective - e.g. Hibiki AARs. Also the VAST majority of AARs focus on the tactical level to the exclusion of almost all else. Even when these AARs claim to deal with strategic issues this claim is rarely borne out byt the actual content of the AAR. Basically though an AAR requires so much time that you can only write one if you are passionate about the style of writing.... that means you have to write it in a way which pleases you and really precludes changing that style to something less pleasing.

Very few of the AARs are actually written with a view to stimulating interesting discussion or looking at the strategic situation or with a view to helping new players or those who wish to improve... With that said given the high calibre of people on this forum ( relative to other internet forums - I'm sure we have more graduate and post-graduate qualifications per capita than any other gaming forum out there .... one can, of course, argue whether or not qualifications are a suitable proxy for calibre and they aren't but let's not get too tangential at this stage ) I think the calibre of those AARs which do deal with the strategic level is quite high.


Personally I have 3 posters and 1 AAR which I hold up as exemplars of useful thought and discussion:
1. AAR - Aussies vs Amis... You have to look for the gems through the joshing about cavalry officers vs those who have brains etc ;-) but their results speak for themselves.

2. Poster - Grollub. Smart, smart guy. Clear, logical assessments. No running away with emotionality in his assessments. A professional ( in every sense of the word ) and someone I'd really, really enjoy pitting myself against some day.
3. Poster - Alfred. Doesn't post much. A bit of a man of mystery but his assessments are spot-on. If he says something in an AAR you ignore it at your peril. I read his contributions to AARs, see who ignores him and just wait for their miscalculation to come and bite them. Sees things deeply, unemotionally and capable of playing the long game, subjugating the operational and tactical to the strategic.
4. Poster - herwin. His AARs may be to your liking but more important is his unwillingness to engage in fanboyism in discussions about the games. He uses facts to form his positions and, as such, those positions need to be considered.

Grollub doesn't post to serious strategic discussion threads too much ( some but not nearly as much as I'd like ), herwin's focus is less on strategic discussions than on game design, modelling of reality etc ( but within that sphere one should listen to what he says ) and Alfred is happy to chat if you create a thread which interests him. All too often though I see his advice ignored or argued down on spurious grounds, which is a pity as it prevents a reality interesting discussion forming.

That's my take anyways, for what it is worth.

< Message edited by Nemo121 -- 6/21/2010 7:49:48 PM >


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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 8:21:54 PM   
Ketza


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I typically look for AARs that have a lot of "teeth" centered around the authors words concerning whats going on supplemented by screeshots and combat reports snippets of important goings on.

AARs that are mostly cut and paste of the combat report are a turn off although I will admit sometimes the combat reports are fun to read over. What you need in my opinion is a balanced approach between combat information and the authors words and birds eye view of events. That is my aim in my own AARs. 

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 8:25:13 PM   
Cap Mandrake


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<Looks around furtively to see if there are any obvious candidates for NPD>

He did say "others" so there must be more than one....I wonder...no wait..it can't be me because if it were, and he were right then I would regard his opinion with derision and I wouldn't be looking around furtively. Whew!


It does depend what the reader wants to get out of the AAR. If one merely wants an instruction manual to improve one's performance then details about amphibious TF composition and similar details are important. If one wants to learn what broad strategic options might be practicable, then a fast moving startegic level AAR is right.


I think the most fun for me is a fast moving game with both players doing contemporaneous AAR's. It is fun to see the spring coiling for an opeartion and then watch the response or counterattack of the opponent.


I have to believe most players are interested in the tactical battles of major surface combatants and carrier exchanges.

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/21/2010 8:57:37 PM   
Nemo121


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Nah, not you Cap. Your AAR is very amusing. Twisted and amusing

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/22/2010 12:12:54 AM   
CarnageINC


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Not one to push my own, but if you like watered down AAR's check mine out, it quality comes and goes with my mood and what going on in the game 

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/22/2010 3:27:00 AM   
henri51


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Yes indeed Carnage, this is exactly what I am looking for. I particularly liked your half-page report of the Pearl Harbor attack - nice touch compared to a ten-page bomb-by-bomb printout!

I also like your planning maps. Your forward defense line is pretty close to the historical one, except for the extension to the New Caledonia area, which has the advantage of denying the Noumea jumping off base to the US, but which exposes your flank to Australia. It also cuts the line of supplies from the US to Australia, which IRL the Japanese did not make any major effort to cut. I would guess that keeping this line of supply open would be a major Allied objective unless they go for the risky strategy of going directly for the Philippines, so I would expect a lot of fighting in that New Caledonia area if you try to maintain it.

I have not read the AAR any further yet, but I am looking forward to finding out how that worked out.

Henri

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/22/2010 5:43:51 AM   
John 3rd


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My .02:

I think AARs are labors of love for the Players doing them. In many cases they consume nearly as much time as the game itself. As said above, each truly reflects upon the writer's interests, style, and purpose. Also agree with the above thoughts that the best AARs are the ones where BOTH players are keeping up their respective AAR for people to read. Makes for some interesting insight when one player is writing about their respective situation, planning, hopes, and fears and then you flip to the other AAR and find out what is currently on the mind of the former person's opponent.

Truly didn't appreciate this until Canoerebel and I finished our long AAR in WitP. Took me a while to read all of Dan's work but found all sorts of irony laced through the two AARs! It was a blast to read and really provided insight to comments made by people who were reading both at once.

My personal view is that the endless combat reports drives me to drink so I love to do lots of Screenshots, chat about planning, strategy, issues/questions seeking input, and share comments about the Japanese side of the game. To me it is all about learning more about the game and what others might do in a given situation. As an educator it is important for me to use the AAR as a learning device for myself and others.

While some people on the Forum can be overly aggressive in expressing their thoughts/opinions, it is rarely personal and one has to account for their way of seeing things.

Find AARs you like and ENJOY!


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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/22/2010 6:02:29 AM   
JeffroK


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I second Heri51's comments, and John IIIrd post.

There are many great AAR's out there, but there are also a lot of "Cut & Paste" combat reports.

While there is always a place for the "decisive" combat report, pasting the whole days reports is a put off.

I find the few AAR I regularly read are informative, entertaining and full of the players strategies amd tactics.

In fact, the only one I'm regularly reading is Dan v Miller in "Shattered Vows", soon to hit the big screen!!

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/23/2010 9:28:16 PM   
wpurdom

 

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I second Nemo121's comments as to where to find what you're looking for if you're looking for AAR's with strategic analysis along with the style you seem to seek. He is also being uncharacteristically modest in failing to include his own - he usually summarizes, only cuts and pastes to illustrate a point and has lots of excellent, opionated analysis.
On the other hand, if you're looking for more of a story, you could look at Cuttlefish or (humorous satire) sprior and Cap Mandrake.

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/23/2010 9:34:22 PM   
cantona2


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You can  also get your fingers going and write one of your own to suit your own needs and tastes!

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RE: I love AARs but... - 6/23/2010 11:10:51 PM   
henri51


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wpurdom

I second Nemo121's comments as to where to find what you're looking for if you're looking for AAR's with strategic analysis along with the style you seem to seek. He is also being uncharacteristically modest in failing to include his own - he usually summarizes, only cuts and pastes to illustrate a point and has lots of excellent, opionated analysis.
On the other hand, if you're looking for more of a story, you could look at Cuttlefish or (humorous satire) sprior and Cap Mandrake.



Yes I agree that some of the people making suggestions (including Nemo) have been modest in not pointing out their own.And thanks to everyone who has made these suggestions. I have read a few of them and they are indeed very good. I guess what I am looking for is a good story...

As for writing my own, well that has to wait since after a year I have never been able to get through more than 2 or 3 moves before I have to stop from a severe case of brainlock... In addition to the micromoanagement, I guess the problem for me is managing a half-dozen fronts at the same time.

I am sure there must be many people on this forum who could have managed WW2 much better than those actually running it. And thank God that the Japanese didn't have this game to help planning the war.

Henri

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