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Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 2:19:49 PM   
BeirutDude


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Iím going to throw out A hypothesis that I have been thinking about for the past couple of weeks. That is is there a dichotomy of games where they are either too simplistic or way too complicated. And that we are moving to an area where boardgames went where intermediate level games were lost.

So the first part of my premise too complicated. I recently got into Command and frankly I almost have to dedicate all of my time to the game to figuring out the interface and all of the different aspects associated with it. I recently downloaded the upgrade to War in the East and when I pulled it up just try to play it for a little bit I realized I had forgotten simple things like the artillery rules let alone the Logistics and gave up! So I got the hard copy of war in the west manual and that is essentially a college textbook on Logistics. So of the Myriad of games that I have on my computer right now Iím just dedicating all of my time to command but Iím so hopelessly behind most of the other people on the board I donít think I will ever catch up in the learning curve. Now the thing about this is why should I spend money on other games when Iíve got this one game I can spend a year trying to learn to nuances of and never understand and even if I do then I could just move onto War in the East/West and get my Masters in Logistics.

Then the other side of the coin I have panzer general on my computer and itís just too simplistic I just canít get into that game. I downloaded the demo of order of battle and to me itís just another version of panzer general. I mean beer and pretzels is fun but you really donít get the wealth of a simulation out of it.

Iím hoping TAOW IV will be that Intermediate complexity game that doesnít bog you down in details but isnít simplistic either (BTW I was a scenario designer for earlier versions of the game) but again not sure about shelling out the money for another computer icon.

So my question is are current trends bad for the computer war game game industry? Shrapnel and JTS havenít come out with anything recently and it seems to be bogging down like board wargames had in the 90s. Can designers make it in this environment? Canít the A/I. Better handle Logistics. Which, BTW is why I never bought the new version of WitP As I really donít want to take on the training of an entire carrier wing while managing the entire war in the Pacific.

So Iím really hoping to start a thoughtful discussion here not a letís slam The poster bash session but in any case, ďyou may fire when ready, Gridley!Ē

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 2:40:54 PM   
Lobster


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Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? Yes. Some are too far one way and some are too far the other way.

One of the things I like about TOAW is the controls that allow you to make the game as difficult or as easy as you like. You can include some of the new rules for supplies, bridges, where the front line is visible. C&C, turn order, flanking, supply effect, disengagement, FOW, mud and snow, air assistant and other things. You can have very complex combat results reports or none at all. You can make it as easy or complex as you like.

< Message edited by Lobster -- 11/9/2017 2:41:22 PM >


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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 2:50:04 PM   
JReb


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I think that more simulation = more complicated game. Just the nature of the beast.

Its really up to the individual preference as to what they prefer and also what appeals to customers. The irony is that Matrix has sold a ton of WitP games (complicated) and also a large number of Panzer Corps copies too (simple). Two widely different games regards to complexity but both big sellers.

Without sales data it is hard to analyze the 'cost to make' vs. 'total profit' aspect regarding simple and complex games and determine if any are hurting the industry.

For me personally, I would like to see new designers / programmers and fresh ideas / approaches. That is whats missing in the wargame industry today.



< Message edited by JReb -- 11/9/2017 2:51:14 PM >


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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 3:44:27 PM   
RodyMetal


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I prefer WITE approach, it has complex guts but play simple, if you have basic knowledge of wargaming and military operation of ww2, you can jump easily without getting hassled with interface learning or mechanism understanding, I can add Command Ops 2 also.
My second preference is abstracted game that made from top to bottom design approach, such as Strategic Command 3, simple yet you have realistic result, FOG2 also come to mind.
For me good design is not about how much you control, but what you suppose control and what you are playing as, if you are general you should not micro logistics or air warfare much, but you should have an option to influence it, deep simulation playing in the background of those aspects is appreciated but it shouldn't break the overall game or became a tool of gamey way to win.
HOI 3 is bad example of how things are complex, too much micro, too much time to spend to learn interface and the result of strategic enjoyment are not rewarding much.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 3:51:30 PM   
MrsWargamer


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Depends. Battle Academy, it is basically Chess.

Ah dang, you just took out my queen!

For those that think Battle Academy is simple, "oh really, what is your win-loss record?"

I like Gary's big immense War in the East/West product, and yeah, I printed out the manual in nice colour. But it is sure a mouthful.

I want something like AHs The Longest Day. Big board, 10k counters, and brain-dead simple rules design. It's not about mastering the design, it's just about shoving around 1000 counters or so every turn.

I recall board games went to computer aided creations, and poof, they seemed to over extend themselves.
I've yet to find much in the way of board games able to equal the simplicity of Bliztkrieg or Panzer Leader or the FIRST box of Squad Leader.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 4:04:18 PM   
larrybush


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrsWargamer

Depends. Battle Academy, it is basically Chess.

Ah dang, you just took out my queen!

For those that think Battle Academy is simple, "oh really, what is your win-loss record?"

I like Gary's big immense War in the East/West product, and yeah, I printed out the manual in nice colour. But it is sure a mouthful.

I want something like AHs The Longest Day. Big board, 10k counters, and brain-dead simple rules design. It's not about mastering the design, it's just about shoving around 1000 counters or so every turn.

I recall board games went to computer aided creations, and poof, they seemed to over extend themselves.
I've yet to find much in the way of board games able to equal the simplicity of Bliztkrieg or Panzer Leader or the FIRST box of Squad Leader.


Totally agree on Longest Day, as a game gets into the realm of a monster game a simple playable style wins my vote. But why Longest Day stands out, because it simulated the campaign in Normandy very very well.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 4:09:03 PM   
operating


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Personally, I consider myself a intermediate game player, although I feel as though I could handle the more complex games as mentioned, however am not keen to all the logistics to complete a turn. My greatest concern with complex games as a player is forgetting some minutia (especially in MP) that could throw the whole game off, I guess some would say that is what gaming is all about, make mistakes you lose, or in SP could mean going back to a save to play the turn over correctly. The same can happen in intermediate, although it is less involved and less likely of a minutia mistake. There's nothing like hitting an end of turn button only to realize in a micro-second that you missed something of importance. As far as beer and pretzels go, I do not mind those games either, providing it's a good game and enjoyable, to each their own. Certainly in SP a good AI makes the game, it does not have to be perfect all it has to be is good, the price of the game could be a good indicator (work to product), plus unbiased game reviews. SCWWII seems to be what I have a flavor for, although I have not bought the game yet, but what impresses me the most: Is the devs who care about their product, Fury is a good example of that..

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 4:21:25 PM   
BeirutDude


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Great discussion!

One point I don't think we can accept sales to acceptance. I own all of of the Panzer Corps series, why they were on sale and I bought them at like 40 or 50% off and i MIGHT play them one day (never do).

Seems like WitE/W do have some simplified logistics, but I feel the need to designate things for my spearheads and then it gets complicated beyond belief. When I'm deciding if the Panzer Lehr gets 25 tons of Fuel and Gross Deutchland gets 24 tons, I'm thinking that is just too far in the weeds. Now I'm sure there are a lot of people who enjoy that level, but I don't know. That is where I liked the Tiller PzC and Modern Campaigns.



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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 4:38:13 PM   
RodyMetal


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrsWargamer

Depends. Battle Academy, it is basically Chess.

Ah dang, you just took out my queen!

For those that think Battle Academy is simple, "oh really, what is your win-loss record?"

I like Gary's big immense War in the East/West product, and yeah, I printed out the manual in nice colour. But it is sure a mouthful.

I want something like AHs The Longest Day. Big board, 10k counters, and brain-dead simple rules design. It's not about mastering the design, it's just about shoving around 1000 counters or so every turn.

I recall board games went to computer aided creations, and poof, they seemed to over extend themselves.
I've yet to find much in the way of board games able to equal the simplicity of Bliztkrieg or Panzer Leader or the FIRST box of Squad Leader.


Mrs. Wargamer, you always mentions BA, and because of you I start to play it again and got hooked, it is my favorite WW2 tactical game now, I stopped playing Combat Mission and Graviteam games, really the desing is simple but yet is very rewarding once you win a scenario it gives satisfaction that no other tactical game gives, I dont know what is the secret behind it.


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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 5:57:22 PM   
MrsWargamer


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Yep. it seems like grogs are allergic to simple and elegant some days. BA Battle Academy, it doesn't take all afternoon to play a turn. Its possible to go online and play out a whole game in a sitting. And never once is your victory going to be just a walk in the park.

I don't know that it has a lack of gamey, but then, I don't think I have ever played a war game that is missing 'gamey'. I've even beaten excellent Chess players simply by making random idiotic moves in a game all so the poor bugger over thinks what I'm doing. Nope, I was just moving pieces illogically. And then suddenly I make a real move and oops sorry about that.

Some days calling a game 'beer and pretzels' is really just a pointless slur. It's like calling a game 'milkshake and cookies' (I like milkshakes and cookies). You do realize, you can drink beer and eat pretzels while playing either ASL or War in the East right?

There's a word in the English language most use incorrectly. Sophisticated. The actual meaning of sophisticated is closer to 'pointless excess'. And perhaps that is the best way to describe some of our war games out there that we worship so as NOT being beer and pretzels (even though you can enjoy beer and pretzels and play that game).

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 6:11:41 PM   
rico21

 

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Great Mrs Wargamer, very SOPHISTICATED...

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 6:26:18 PM   
Kuokkanen

 

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Of the recent games, Sengoku Jidai seems to strike good balance between simple game play and crunchy details. Game pieces under player's control are of battalion size, and movement & combat is as stupid easy as in Battle Academy. BUT while in Battle Academy all infantry pieces are exactly 5 men (without casualties) strong, in Sengoku Jidai is great deal of variety from about 100 to over 600. In addition of man strength and unit type (and weapons), units also have following variables: quality (skill/experience), armour, general & his capabilities, and unit cohesion/morale. I may forget something here.

Some other excellent intermediary tactical scale games are games of the Steel Panthers series. SPWAW Enhanced is modded version of the basic game in one handy install package and it is being improved. Other Steel Panthers games to look up for are WinSPWW2 and WinSPMBT, which still get official updates. And all 3 games are available for free!


quote:

ORIGINAL: BeirutDude

One point I don't think we can accept sales to acceptance. I own all of of the Panzer Corps series, why they were on sale and I bought them at like 40 or 50% off and i MIGHT play them one day (never do).

Wait wait wait WHAT! You complain about over simplicity of Panzer General and you went and bought Panzer Corps!? Didn't you know Panzer Corps is accurate remake of Panzer General? What did you expect to get?


quote:

ORIGINAL: RodyMetal

Mrs. Wargamer, you always mentions BA, and because of you I start to play it again and got hooked, it is my favorite WW2 tactical game now, I stopped playing Combat Mission and Graviteam games, really the desing is simple but yet is very rewarding once you win a scenario it gives satisfaction that no other tactical game gives, I dont know what is the secret behind it.

You should also try SPWAW or WinSPWW2.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 6:54:11 PM   
rico21

 

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I take this thread to greet the elders of Lebanon in general and the drakkar in particular. A wargame on the period would be welcome.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 7:24:30 PM   
Mobeer


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it feel likes games are being pushed towards the extremes:
- gamers who like lots of detail don't complain when that detail gets out of hand or serves no real purpose, because they like lots of detail
- gamers who like simplicity don't complain when features are cut out

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 10:30:26 PM   
MrsWargamer


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Quote Matti "You should also try SPWAW or WinSPWW2"

Actually, I've been with Steel Panthers since it was created, been with Matrix Games since 2000 and have been playing the SP Camo versions for almost as long. My favourite is SP3 Brigade Combat. Always thought it felt like Panzer Leader.

I worked on Steel Panthers Screaming Eagles.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 11:17:53 PM   
pzgndr

 

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I recall fondly my days playing AH boardgames like Afrika Korps, The Russian Campaign, and others. Over and over. To completion, to the bitter end where one side won and the other lost.

The rules were not too complex, the CRTs were not too complicated - it was basic and (most importantly) playable. It would be great to have some of those classics remade as computer wargames with basic features and challenging AI. But we keep seeing new games with much more complexity and more bells & whistles, along with bugs and AI problems.

Keep It Simple, Stupid. KISS. Maybe someday somebody will screw up and make one of these games, and it will be great!

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/9/2017 11:30:02 PM   
Yogi the Great


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+1 for faithful computer reproductions of the Avalon Hill Board Games.

I think too that too many people today are more impressed by graphic quality, sound effects, pretty maps, bells, whistles etc. that they forget the most important thing is the quality of the game itself and how well it plays.

Nothing wrong with a complicated game for some if it is a good game. There is also nothing wrong with a simple game if it is a good game. There was no way to send constant patches and upgrades for those old board games. If it wasn't good out of the box it was no good. Rushing a game out with all those bugs we are use to would be a disaster.


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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 1:18:55 AM   
Moltke71


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It's not a question of games but a question of gamers and the market place. Some like complex games and others like simple beer-and pretzel games and some like both. Publishers must look at developers' concepts and decide the audience for the game and hope one niche or the other is large enough for decent sales. I believe that any middle point wouldn't attract enough buyers for a sustainable amount of time after the first blush of a middle of the road game.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 2:30:21 AM   
Rosseau

 

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Might make a good story in The Wargamer, with some credit to the OP. I would argue that FoG2 is middle of the road and seems a pretty big hit. The upcoming Desert War game might be middle difficulty, too.

At least some monster games like WitE can be played by the average buyer, but not well of course. Empire at Arms is the one game that comes to mind that I would consider "unplayable" without experience. But that's more due to its ancient UI than its complexity.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 3:29:54 AM   
operating


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From what I recall about AH board games, which made them simpler than today's pc games was there was no economic and political issues for the most part, the games were dedicated to strategic and tactical situations on the same map. I sold all my AH games to someone who was pleased as hell to get them, now I wished I kept them just to add depth to this conversation today. Another thing about AH games was there was no computations concerning a nation's treasury ie... card OOBs were used for reinforcements, no purchasing of units, no upkeep costs. Gee, wouldn't that make pc game development a lot easier and less costly?? Of course it could be an add-on feature to an updated game, but not essential... Research time for game development would be nil for the game is already in existence, just give it an interface...!!! Copy rules and update to pc in print or PDF, a no brainer...

One problem: Copyrights

Hmmm! Don't copyrights last 50 years then it's open season...

< Message edited by operating -- 11/10/2017 3:54:31 AM >

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 8:44:24 AM   
MrsWargamer


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Here's a thought. If we had embraced the casual disdain for anything 'beer and pretzels" then, like we do today, 'then' would likely have never happened, and there likely would be no 'today' in wargaming.

I say, just STFU with disdain for the concept of 'beer and pretzels'. Stop even using the expression. It makes you look stupid. The phrase means nothing, to begin with. So what you can't imagine drinking beer and eating pretzels with your bloated overly complicated needlessly detailed monstrosity of a design.

Beer and pretzels is not an intelligent term. It's not a useful descriptive. Every time I see the term in a review of a wargame, I tend to doubt the value of the review as a whole. It diminishes the merits of the opinion.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 10:25:19 AM   
Greybriar


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Please calm down. There's no need to get all out of sorts.

It was a beer and pretzels game that many feel saved the wargaming genre. The name of that game was Panzer General. To me, when someone refers to a game as being a beer and pretzels game it just means the game is a casual one that can be played without spending too much time in the planning and execution phases. I don't feel the term is detrimental at all.

As for the topic of this thread, I do feel that many games these days are too complicated. I feel that the Civilization series is; I like Civilization VI much less than I did the previous Civilization games. If I want complexity in games, I will choose a Gary Grigsby title, for example.

But I prefer beer and pretzel games. I don't have to spend weeks or months playing a single game to its end. I just want to have fun now and not have to work hard to enjoy it. I didn't use to be that way, but I've gotten older and I don't have as much time left as I did 30 years ago.

To each his / her own. If you like complicated games, go enjoy them with my blessing. If you want simpler games, go for it. We each have our own personal perspectives. Life is too short to waste. Enjoy it while you can.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 10:32:10 AM   
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Gaming, computer and board have never been in better shape now and for the future!

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 12:37:57 PM   
operating


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrsWargamer

Here's a thought. If we had embraced the casual disdain for anything 'beer and pretzels" then, like we do today, 'then' would likely have never happened, and there likely would be no 'today' in wargaming.

I say, just STFU with disdain for the concept of 'beer and pretzels'. Stop even using the expression. It makes you look stupid. The phrase means nothing, to begin with. So what you can't imagine drinking beer and eating pretzels with your bloated overly complicated needlessly detailed monstrosity of a design.

Beer and pretzels is not an intelligent term. It's not a useful descriptive. Every time I see the term in a review of a wargame, I tend to doubt the value of the review as a whole. It diminishes the merits of the opinion.

Ditto

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 1:12:23 PM   
rico21

 

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This war is not about beer and pretzels. Bob Lee Marley.
I don't like pretzels.
I prefer a champagne and "petits fours" game!

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 1:33:57 PM   
ezzler

 

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One of the things I don't like about Order of battle, is how long each scenario takes to play. These are LONG games for what is a pretty simple game.
Can be two hours or more in before realising all the choices made at the beginning were wrong and having to start over.

These days its the interface for me.
I no longer tolerate aegod style, decades old UI. And micro text.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 2:47:20 PM   
sIg3b


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrsWargamer

Quote Matti "You should also try SPWAW or WinSPWW2"

Actually, I've been with Steel Panthers since it was created, been with Matrix Games since 2000 and have been playing the SP Camo versions for almost as long. My favourite is SP3 Brigade Combat. Always thought it felt like Panzer Leader.



Yes, SP3 is nearly great, except for 2-3 things:

1) Tanks canīt be damaged or immobilized, itīs either kill or no scratch.
2) AI is excessively stupid. My favourite is tanks are always closing in, even if they have range advantage and should by all means stay at a distance.
3) AI buys are always the same for a given random battle; no variance.

< Message edited by Tesuji -- 11/10/2017 2:48:55 PM >

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 2:56:13 PM   
Moltke71


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Other than profanity and obscenity, we can use any term we want.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 4:22:35 PM   
RodyMetal


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ezz

One of the things I don't like about Order of battle, is how long each scenario takes to play. These are LONG games for what is a pretty simple game.
Can be two hours or more in before realising all the choices made at the beginning were wrong and having to start over.




That is my problem with many games also, it doesn't matter if it simple or complex, but sometimes there are so many units to move in one turn, that became really boring to move those units one by one and it takes a lot of time, scenario design is improtant to me in wargame, also it is reason why I dont play much players scenarios/ mods, they tend to create interesting topics but swarm it with hundred of units, FOG2 and P&S as an example.

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RE: Are the games becoming too complicated/Simple? - 11/10/2017 5:49:12 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BeirutDude

Iím going to throw out A hypothesis that I have been thinking about for the past couple of weeks. That is is there a dichotomy of games where they are either too simplistic or way too complicated. And that we are moving to an area where boardgames went where intermediate level games were lost.

So the first part of my premise too complicated. I recently got into Command and frankly I almost have to dedicate all of my time to the game to figuring out the interface and all of the different aspects associated with it. I recently downloaded the upgrade to War in the East and when I pulled it up just try to play it for a little bit I realized I had forgotten simple things like the artillery rules let alone the Logistics and gave up! So I got the hard copy of war in the west manual and that is essentially a college textbook on Logistics. So of the Myriad of games that I have on my computer right now Iím just dedicating all of my time to command but Iím so hopelessly behind most of the other people on the board I donít think I will ever catch up in the learning curve. Now the thing about this is why should I spend money on other games when Iíve got this one game I can spend a year trying to learn to nuances of and never understand and even if I do then I could just move onto War in the East/West and get my Masters in Logistics.

Then the other side of the coin I have panzer general on my computer and itís just too simplistic I just canít get into that game. I downloaded the demo of order of battle and to me itís just another version of panzer general. I mean beer and pretzels is fun but you really donít get the wealth of a simulation out of it.

Iím hoping TAOW IV will be that Intermediate complexity game that doesnít bog you down in details but isnít simplistic either (BTW I was a scenario designer for earlier versions of the game) but again not sure about shelling out the money for another computer icon.

So my question is are current trends bad for the computer war game game industry? Shrapnel and JTS havenít come out with anything recently and it seems to be bogging down like board wargames had in the 90s. Can designers make it in this environment? Canít the A/I. Better handle Logistics. Which, BTW is why I never bought the new version of WitP As I really donít want to take on the training of an entire carrier wing while managing the entire war in the Pacific.

So Iím really hoping to start a thoughtful discussion here not a letís slam The poster bash session but in any case, ďyou may fire when ready, Gridley!Ē
warspite1

I am not sure I follow this on the basis that I don't really understand how a game, and whether too complicated or too easy - or indeed intermediate, is measured. For example, are games too complicated? Well Gary Grigsby games are complicated and I have not found one I can get into. Matrix World in Flames is complicated, but it is the best, most enjoyable game I've ever played. So are games becoming too complicated? well based on that small sample, yes and no.

I don't tend to play beer and pretzels games - or at least if I do then its board games round the table at Christmas with the little warspites. But I can't remember playing a beer and pretzels war game. That assumes I understand correctly what is classed as beer and pretzels as opposed to intermediate or even complicated. For example which category do the following fit into:

Decisive Campaigns? Wars of Napoleon? Commander The Great War? Civilisation IV? Field of Glory II? Rome Total War? Strategic Command?

So if none of the above are considered beer and pretzels then I haven't played one I don't think.

How do people measure complexity? Is it measured by game/turn length, no. of units, rule book size? what is the 'general rule'?



< Message edited by warspite1 -- 11/10/2017 6:32:02 PM >


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