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Would you actually buy it though - 10/18/2002 9:32:58 PM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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Would you purchase a game if it was just a computerised sans AI exact reproduction of an already existing board game?

The reason I ask.... is because the common comment seems to state, computer games are better because at least I can find an opponent.

This is all well and good, but if I am a good example, most experiences with computer games, have had little to do with playing them against other persons through online links ups of any sort.

I have the game Advanced Third Reich.
To be honest, if you told me you were about to release the computer version of it, one that was an EXACT copy of the board game, no alterations whatsoever, and promised the AI was top of the line, I would settle for laughing at you as if you had said something patently stupid.

If you had said you were releasing the same said game, zero effort wasted on AI because there was none. If you told me you had spent all the development effort on producing a state of the art online link up program that ensure goof proof cheat proof fast resolution of turns. I would start looking for junk I suddenly no longer required that I could sell for fast cash to buy your product.

Advanced Third Reich is the pinnacle of it genre. Programers are quite frankly wasting their time pretending to tell me they can do the same thing on the first try.
It took A3R more than a decade to become the pinnacle of its class.
Take Strategic Command from Battlefront as a great example. A great game, a nice price, well supported by fans and company alike. But it is just and I do mean just, barely able to get close to what Third Reich was on it's first edition (flaws and all).
I for one do not expect to see SC version 5 on sale now in 10 years time.
Software sales and tech are not that kind. In 10 years time no one will even remember the name Strategic Command. But they will remember what Advanced Third Reich is.

And A3R will still have the same trouble it has now I suppose. It will be a board game looking for an audience.

I would love to play Fire in the East, can't, the game map is 6' x 8' and I have no where to put it.
I would love to play The Longest Day, can't, the game is a 5.5' x 5.5' map, no where to put it routinely.
I would like to play several games that are more or less already perfectly well thought out designs, but I basically need an opponent.

Programers listen up, we don't need any new games, we need you to let us play what we have got now.
You don't need to yet again re invent the wheel. Besides, the market is the same size it was in the past. You won't be getting rich off us any time soon constantly re inventing the wheel.

Steel Panthers to me, is essentially Advanced Squad Leader. The only reason I play Steel Panthers, is because essentially, in my mind, I am actually really just playing ASL on my computer.
Combat Leader will only interest me for one reason, the software will be more or less up to date where my OS is concerned.
I won't be buying it because the graphics are prettier, or the sounds more cool. It won't sell me on internal technical details, frankly I don't tend to ponder the numbers on my ASL counters much either.
I am assuming the game designers can read text books and have used decent references to arrive at whether such and such tank was depicted credibly.
The only thing that will make me NOT play Combat Leader, is if the game is less fun than just getting out my ASL game components.

As it currently stands, I have seen the demo for computer World in Flames. As we speak, I have no intention of playing it. I would rather find a way to use the board game, its still easier.

So the question is not whether you think computer games are better (I could care less to hear opinions ad nauseum on that matter).

I am only interested in knowing, would you joe gamer, pay a typical software price, to play what you might already have sitting on a shelf.
If it was a categorical copy of the game on the shelf. True to the game on the shelf, and only sold as a human to human only concept. By that I mean, completely and totally, with no effort or time wasted on the assumption, that suddenly computers were capable of actually thinking like us (and they can't).

I want to play what I already have. I don't need tomorrows game, I want to play the games I already like.

I am not in love with graphics. The only reason I have Combat Mission on the computer at all, is I have the demo software available as a file exchange.
It's not better than ASL simply because it is NOT ASL and I want ASL.
If I want to play at that level of detail, I will resort to table top miniatures wargaming in 1/35th scale with my Tamiya tank models (they look even more cool than the images on the screen).

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- 10/18/2002 10:13:26 PM   
Jim1954

 

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Les, the only way I ever found to get around the problem of not enough table space was to buy unmounted maps, little 1/2 " magnetic strips with adhesive on 1 side and a hunk of metal large enough to accomodate the aforementioned map and light enough not to pull the wall down I mounted it on. I had Anzio and Russian Campaign done and it was the only way I found to keep the wife happy and the animals off of it. First time I did it, i didn't pay attention to the strips closely enough and made the magnetic axis reversed so the counters sort of repeled each other when I tried to stack them. About 3 high was as much as I could go. My next attempt was better with the polarity problem. Finding unmounted maps for games no longer in production is a problem, but it sure was nice to stand beside those maps and issue commands to the troops. Felt like I was on CNN. lol:D

Those were the days.

(in reply to Les_the_Sarge_9_1)
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- 10/18/2002 10:37:20 PM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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I can go ya one further as I have a copy of Longest Day done just like that heheh

God I am soooo glad I am not the only frickin idiot that has done that sort of thing heheh.

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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Post #: 3
- 10/18/2002 10:45:45 PM   
Jim1954

 

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I think it makes great wallpaper. I almost bought TLD when it came out but had better things( I thought) to do with the $65.00 it was going for at the time. What do you think of the game?

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- 10/18/2002 11:19:18 PM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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Aside from

It's AAAAAWEsome

No I don't think much of it heheh:)

Actually it is about the best wargame I have ever purchased (heck even including ASL).

The game has a magnitude of detail that is mind boggling.

It can play out several key battles of the campaign ie Cobra, the Falaise encirclement, The German attack into Mortain as well as the beach assault.

I went the effort though to painstakingly research out where what unit was, at day's end and in what basic game mechanics shape.
This is because the game takes hours to set up, and for what, a few bad dice rolls and "gee sorry guess I threw you into the sea eh".
To much like work to game out what we all know happened. Actually my only complaint with the game is the simulation of the beach assault in fact.

In the real invasion things were planned and then went askew as they always do with invasions from the sea. But the game takes what really happened, not what might have happened, and then has you roll the dice yet again as if the odds had to be determined twice.

Better to just take some good Kentucky windage, a lot of maps and unit reports, and say "ok that unit got pummeled, so it is a cadre force size at days end. This unit met token resistance, so it can move to the best of it's abilities.

Of course after day one the gloves are off and do you worst, German forces.

I would have to say though, for sheer detail, simplicity of actual game design (it is a surprisingly easy game to learn) and scope of action, The Longest Day is a unique experience. I have never encountered a game that can match it.

It is peerless.

And the fact it is a mounted game, with several map panels, a crafty wargamer can move it around if it must be done.

In an era of computer games, The Longest Day is still worth every penny, and can easily provide a better game than a lot of computer designs.

For those contemplating a purchase, I give it a 100% rating, one of the safest purchases you will ever make.

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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- 10/18/2002 11:28:10 PM   
Jim1954

 

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Although I rarely have enough time to set up and play a board game anymore, I still regard myself as a collector and pick up the odd thing when I can. Still trying to complete ASL, I will someday. Have you ever played the solitare ASL module? It reminds me very much of the original SP Long campaign where you start out with about a reinforced infantry company. If you don't have that module, I would recommend that you get it. For an AI whose brains are dice, it's not that bad.

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- 10/18/2002 11:34:53 PM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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I have the SASL module as well.

Actually with the exception of the last most module put out by MMP (I will hang my head in shame for not having it heheh), I have everything that has ever been put into print for ASL (including the not so awesome stuff, even if in .pdf data format only).

The pride of my collection of course being a set of the ASL Annuals heheh. Cost me a fortune, but quite a treasure eh.

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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- 10/18/2002 11:44:36 PM   
Jim1954

 

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Especially if you have the 1st one and hardest to find.

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- 10/19/2002 12:27:04 AM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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Of course not to take away from the original source providers, not like it is much of a replacement though.

But because you can no longer get them, and something is often better than nothing at all, I can say I have scanned .pdf copies of my Annuals (not aaaaawesome scans but I did get quite fussy when I did them).

I can make em available to any of our diehard ASLers.

The only thing being I am unable to spring for the cost of the cd and the mail expense.

Any interested persons that can arrange for a direct data transfer though, can always go that route.

Some of the Annuals articles are quite awesome. A definite must have for the most part (in some capacity).

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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Post #: 9
- 10/19/2002 12:34:34 AM   
Jim1954

 

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I just may take you up on that offer in the near future.

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- 10/19/2002 12:49:03 AM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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For those out there curious, I get plenty bored some days in the winter hehe, and I scan stuff sometimes just to spend the time heheh.

I have like I think 4 cds crammed with everything scanable for ASL.
I have also scanned just about every wargame manual I own.

For those that have always wanted to see the guts of a wargame, but missed the chance to buy it during the days when it was marketed, let me know.

Hmmm you would be surprised how many wargames I have scanned.

Lousy route though to getting a copy.

For those that want the actual game, nothing beats buying copies that can be found online if you know where to look:)

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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Post #: 11
- 10/19/2002 12:56:31 AM   
Jim1954

 

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Having never wintered in Canada, only here in Texas where 2" of snow will shut the state down for a while, I guess you guys do have to find some indoor activities for a couple of months straight, right?:)

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Post #: 12
Then how come.. - 10/19/2002 4:39:18 AM   
sprior


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If you have such long, cold dark winters there aren't lots more baby canadians running around...

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Post #: 13
- 10/19/2002 5:18:10 AM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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Well in my case it is a selective process eh, but I do get in a lot of practice heheh.

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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Post #: 14
- 10/19/2002 9:11:37 AM   
Fred98


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Les,

I am glad you brought up A3R.

I too am a fan of 3R. I played the 4th version rules, table top H2H and we loved it.

When A3R arrived, I chose not to buy it, only because I knew I would never find an opponent. Then its companion game arrived – Rising Sun. Wow! Now I can play a global version of 3R.

I took my $200 to the store to buy both games – and baulked. Again, I knew I would never have an opponent. And at that time I already had Avalon Hill’s World at War and was enjoying playing it on the PC.

A PC version of 3R was due out and yes I bought that! Whoo!

My view is that the AI is very good except: it does not watch the BRP level so a human player can arrange to have 2 turns in a row – thereby defeating the AI.

If A3R arrived for computer, with no AI, I would be happy to play you H2H. But playing against myself I find boring as usually I can second guess myself J

As for Strategic Command, the graphics are so horrible and the reviews are not encouraging, so no, I will not bother. The graphics of the original 3R board and counters are better than Strategic Command.

Joe Gamer

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- 10/19/2002 9:32:29 AM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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Hmmm a negative on SC eh.
I have been following the Strategic Command forum over at Battlefront. To be sure they are in love with the game.

But it doesn't take much intellect to realise that when you strip away all the gushing, they all seem to want it to be a great deal more than it is.

Although I can't say I hated the graphics, and the interface was actually what I liked the most.

I found the inability to stack AAAANYTHING though a bit of a shock on the ole grognard senses.
I can see maybe a single ground unit. But the inability to locate an air asset or a naval asset in a hex just due to the presence of a ground asset was I think very peculiar at best.
I would have to say it is a concession to the game's software, and saying it is modelling anything, is just hiding from admitting it.

I can recall for instance when they made the Italian expansion for the Up Front game (the one that employs cards and is a spin off of Squad Leader).
It was stated right in the designers notes, they allowed the Italian squad to break the one only, machine gun per group rule simply because, otherwise the Italian squad sucked from a playability point of view (apologies to the Italian crowd, but that is actually the reason given in the game notes eh).

Some times game design elements are entirely arbitrary.

I of course like the mere 25 dollar price tag of Strategic Command.
It looks like a nice game. For all it is trying to be.

I for one think Axis and Allies on the computer, has dibs on possessing the worst AI for wargaming ever made. But the software is great if you consider you can play in online against 4 others, and turn it into one of the better online wargames out there.

Some times all that separates a lousy game from a great one, is minor details.

I think SC will likely only be fun if played against a person.
I doubt I would seriously eeeever play it against the AI. It might be no better than mega Axis and Allies though. Although to look at the posts, they are sure fired up for dumping a lot of technical details onto a SC2 (assuming the designer even wishes to make it happen).

I don't think the 25 bucks would be poorly spent. But I think a person would be advised to expect to play it against another person, or expect to be disapointed.

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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Post #: 16
- 10/19/2002 11:50:09 AM   
Brigz


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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Les the Sarge 9-1
[B]
But it doesn't take much intellect to realise that when you strip away all the gushing, they all seem to want it to be a great deal more than it is.


I found the inability to stack AAAANYTHING though a bit of a shock on the ole grognard senses.
I can see maybe a single ground unit. But the inability to locate an air asset or a naval asset in a hex just due to the presence of a ground asset was I think very peculiar at best.
I would have to say it is a concession to the game's software, and saying it is modelling anything, is just hiding from admitting it.
[/B][/QUOTE]

Sheesh! Glad I read this, Les. Strategic Command was next on my list of games to buy. If you can't stack any units, not even air units, then that is a sign to me that this is not the game I want to buy. It is probably a fun game and even a good game, but with that type of restrictive game structure it couldn't possibly meet my criteria for an "historical" wargame. Kind of like Panzer General. A very fun game, but not an historical simulation. I thought Strategic Command was going to be more like Third Reich. I'm not in the market for a fun game, I'm in the market for a good strategic simulation the likes of Third Reich. Glad I didn't send in my hard earned cash for this. Guess I'd better start downloading demos before I buy.

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- 10/20/2002 8:37:28 AM   
Fred98


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Les,

You stated that you would like a PC version to have absolutely no changes. But there could be some changes.

The ability to save an incomplete game

The ability to have a favourite set up and save that set up

If you attempt to make an illegal move, the computer will stop you. This to me is the critical point. It means the rule book can be reduced from 36 pages to about 10 pages.

More flexibility. For example, in the rules to 3R (4th edition) page 36, paragraph 55, is the sequence of play. I'll direct you to step 8. Combat Phase.

Playing the board game, we found that during the Combat Phase, we would play that phase first on the East Front, then the West front then the Med front.

And then go to step 9. Unit Construction.

But step 8 has 24 sub steps. And the computer version forces you to play each sub step in sequence right across the map. Which means we cannot work on one front at a time. This is particularly annoying with breakthrough and exploitation.

I found this extremly cumbersom. It is the one thing that stops me continuing to play the PC version. And without the time and without an opponent I refuse to play the board version.

Therefore a PC version of A3R cannot be exactly like the board game.


STACKING

And to a different subject. I have always hated stacking counters. It means that I cannot see the counters underneath. The PC version did not make it any easier.

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Post #: 18
- 10/20/2002 9:31:24 AM   
Les_the_Sarge_9_1

 

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Being able to save multiple games has nothing to do with the game being "different". I could play more than one game at once if I had more than one copy (it would make me wierd of course).

Being able to have a favourite set up, hmmm I have rarely played the game where I could assume that the last game was going to be valid the next time actually.
Some things remain consistent due to limited scope of variable (ie I set up Poland the same way, because the choices are just that limited), but generally the game has to be set up fresh each time in my experience.

Rigid assumptions just make an opponent easier to defeat (if I "know" what you are going to do, I will sit in wait for it and have you for dinner).

Having the game designed to disallow non possible moves would of course be handy. It would make lazy players, but then hmmm I can live with that stigma heheh (although my mastery of wargames is as a result of playing board games where mastery of the games core design was the only way to play it successfully).
The power of the computer is after all what I want to harness though. I don't want the computer to play me, but I do want it to umpire the rules.

I will concede that your preference in the combat sequence might be preferable. But the manual needs to be true to the actual rules at some point. Open the gate to one personal preference, and you open up a possble can of worms.
I have never really enjoyed playing a game that needs/uses "house rules".

Stacking, hmmm, well I know that looking at counters, indeed being able to stand up and lean over a map is just not going to be possible on my 17 inch monitor. I have never enjoyed the "limited view" of a computer monitor.
Then again, I have never had an easy time finding a table to cope with my favourite wargames either.
If it's scroll and playable, or look at it in a glance assuming I will be looking at it at all, I guess I have to accept the scroll and at least be able to play it conveniently in the first place.

Making the game functional on the computer though is a matter of graphical interface, and the headache of the programer.
If they can make all the dumb arcady games, they can damnwell make me a stupid interface to view a stupid low tech map with lousy low tech counter images too.

Like as with a lightbulb being turned on, I am realising I will probably be buying Aide de Camp software and checking out Warplanner software shortly.
I am thinking I will possibly be taking a pass on Strategic Command really because I really don't need the game.

If I want a low tech low accuracy fun first WW2 Grand Strategy wargame, odds are I will just play Axis and Allies Iron Blitz. I can always go hunt down online players for it too.

I might also be quite out of luck too. It might be that there is just not enough of my sort of fan out there. Because a game designer is just not going to get bent out of shape economically for a product that will just not sell enough to be worth it.

Under those conditions, I will just have to continue to play A3R the way I did the very first time. On a table, against a person, in real time, the hard way.
Not ideal, but it sure worked when the game was being sold.

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I LIKE that my life bothers them,
Why should I be the only one bothered by it eh.

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Post #: 19
Regarding an AI opponent - 10/20/2002 9:40:11 AM   
KG Erwin


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I talked about massive games & such, BUT what I missed was an opponent, especially after my high school days when my former boardgame opponents went our separate ways. After the advent of computer wargames in the 1980s, I bought a C64 and some of the first-generation games. In certain games, such as Microprose's Vietnam Conflict, I thought the programmed AI was , in certain scenarios, very adequate. I thought the same for Red Storm Rising, a dated but very playable sub sim. Now, let's fast forward to 1997 and John Tiller's Battleground Series. In this game, using the scenario editor that John later developed, you can get a feel of how AI scripts are written, and you can write your own. The biggest breakthrough, IMO, came with Ensemble's Age of Empire RTS series. In this, actual AI scripts were made public, so players could get inside and modify computer opponents' behaviors. I disagree with Les in all this, since my idea of an ultimate computer wargame is fighting against a computer opponent--after all, these games we play are nothing more than simulations of combat. The actual training sims used by the US military, while they DO involve some human input for the opposing side during initial setup, are primarily human commander vs computer commander battles. You'll never get a consensus on this, and rightfully so. It's the same logic as playing a game of chess against another human or a machine. The arguments pro or con for AI development in wargames has been argued before, BUT, I'd personally like to see more research in this area. Eventually we'll see heuristic AIs that "learn from you r tactics & strategies & either develop counters or use your own battlefield techniques against you.

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