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Desert War: Tactical or Operational?

 
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Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/22/2018 4:52:05 AM   
bcgames


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Here in the crossfire hurricane, I'm hearing a desire for smaller (tactical) scenarios and no operational scenarios. If this is true than the scale is wrong in Desert War. If the game is tactical (division level and below), then smaller maps and mission types are the thing:

Maybe a "Squad Leader"/"Panzerblitz" approach is the way to proceed--small balanced scenarios that capture the "ambiance" of an operational-level game--but aren't really operational level scenarios at all. IOW, there aren't any big pincer movements in the game--there are only mission types, mission objectives, and mission forces to give variation to the scenarios (i.e. "Historical Sandbox"):

Mission Types:

1. Meeting Engagement. Two equal-sized moving forces run into each.
2. Hasty Attack vs Hasty Defense.
3. Deliberate Attack vs Deliberate Defense.
4. Hasty Attack vs Delay.
5. Hasty Attack vs Withdrawal.
6. Attack/Defend from multiple directions (can apply to 1 thru 5 above)

Mission Objectives:

1. Capture/Hold the Bridge
2. Capture/Hold the Town
3. Capture/Hold the Ridge
4. Destroy/Preserve the Force

Mission Forces:

1. Armor vs Armor
2. Armor vs Mech/Motorized
3. Armor vs Infantry
4. Mech/Motorized vs Infantry
5. Cavalry vs Infantry
6. Infantry vs Infantry

Scenario Sizes: Map Scale: 1 mile per hex
Small: Division size or below; map size ~ 10 x 10 hexes
Medium: Maximum of two divisions per side ~ 20 x 20 hexes
Large: Maximum of one corps per side ~ 30 x 30 hexes

Scenario Length: ~9 to 21 turns (3 to 5 days max)

What say you?

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/22/2018 5:29:37 AM   
countrboy

 

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I would personally prefer a more operational slant, but with a look at what can be done to make that manageable (nothing below regiment size or whatever might be an option). Just my 2c.

(in reply to bcgames)
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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/22/2018 7:28:58 AM   
Rasputitsa


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For me it is not so much the size of the scenarios, big sweeping operational battles, or smaller tactical engagements, it's the unit count.

Trying to weave and anticipate the moves of too many units under WEGO becomes difficult.

The other Matrix WEGO titles deal with this by having control over all units, but low unit count, 'Piercing Fortress Europa', or transmitting orders through HQ units, with the AI moving subordinate units, according to some basic movement and battle stance orders, which is how 'Campaigns on the Danube', handles more units.

I don't suggest creating clones of other games,' Desert War' has its own place, but this shows how WEGO can work in different ways.

I have found WEGO providing by far the best games, but the balance of control inputs, over unit count, is critical, as in real life don't overload the commander.


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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/22/2018 11:00:32 AM   
kipanderson

 

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BC, hi,

Overall, yes.

My favourite operational scale is the lower end. The classic SPI scale of ancient times. Or the classic, WWII western definition of operations as “having the right battalion, in the right place, at the right time.”

1 mile/1500m to a hex.
Battalions are main manoeuvre units. With some companies even maybe exceptional platoon if needed. Say for a recon unit.

In wargames you play several roles, three or four levels of commanders. But the primary one being the divisional commander. i.e. the guy with the final word on where and when a battalion should be somewhere and what it should do. Should he choose to interfere. What I am not keen on is frontline units shooting at each other in operational games. Artillery yes, if barrage mission to give an example. But not infantry and armoured units. You order them to attack, hold whatever and wait for the results to come in but don’t do the actual firing.

BTW. If you took say the Supercharge type scenario but same number of units spread over larger area as in Eastern Front I think people would find managing them far easier.

“Scenario Sizes: Map Scale: 1 mile per hex
Small: Division size or below; map size ~ 10 x 10 hexes
Medium: Maximum of two divisions per side ~ 20 x 20 hexes
Large: Maximum of one corps per side ~ 30 x 30 hexes
Scenario Length: ~9 to 21 turns (3 to 5 days max)”

Yes.. But do include one big picture, entire map scenario. People would feel cheated if not there even if only to cut and build their own scenarios from.
Looking forward to lots more,
All the best,
Kip.


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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/22/2018 12:27:50 PM   
76mm


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In my view, any game with a hex scale of one mile is operational by definition--the size of the scenarios does not determine whether a game is tactical or operational. Maybe it is kind of simplistic, but for me a "tactical" game has ranged fire, operational games do not (other than for artillery)...

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/22/2018 2:42:17 PM   
Toby42


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Stay "Operational"!

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/22/2018 9:30:03 PM   
Kolbex

 

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Rasputitsa expounded my view exactly, right down to the example game I would have used.

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/23/2018 10:04:20 PM   
Okayrun3254

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Toby42

Stay "Operational"!


I agree, stay Operational. The game has a mix a battalion, company and even platoon level units, and it is well thought out. Some people don't like the bigger, higher counter density scenarios, but some people do like them. I think the solution, IMHO, is to keep the game system as operational, but include more smaller scenarios for people who don't like the high counter density.

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/24/2018 12:32:16 AM   
Toby42


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Okayrun3254


quote:

ORIGINAL: Toby42

Stay "Operational"!


I agree, stay Operational. The game has a mix a battalion, company and even platoon level units, and it is well thought out. Some people don't like the bigger, higher counter density scenarios, but some people do like them. I think the solution, IMHO, is to keep the game system as operational, but include more smaller scenarios for people who don't like the high counter density.


I agree!

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Tony

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 5/24/2018 11:32:08 PM   
Deathtreader


Posts: 1001
Joined: 4/22/2003
From: Vancouver, Canada.
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Toby42


quote:

ORIGINAL: Okayrun3254


quote:

ORIGINAL: Toby42

Stay "Operational"!


I agree, stay Operational. The game has a mix a battalion, company and even platoon level units, and it is well thought out. Some people don't like the bigger, higher counter density scenarios, but some people do like them. I think the solution, IMHO, is to keep the game system as operational, but include more smaller scenarios for people who don't like the high counter density.


I agree!



I agree as well.

Rob.


_____________________________

So we're at war with the Russkies eh?? I suppose we really ought to invade or something. (Lonnnng pause while studying the map)
Hmmmm... big place ain't it??
- Sir Harry Flashman (1854)

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/8/2018 2:07:27 PM   
James Taylor

 

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On the operational size preference what I'd really like to see is a way to change your force composition during the scenario.

That means adding or detaching units to a single unit counter that changes characteristics as the composition changes.

In this manner the units on the battlefield are customized constantly to the changing conditions just like IRL and the map stays tidy.

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SeaMonkey

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/14/2018 6:40:48 AM   
bcgames


Posts: 2013
Joined: 6/2/2010
From: The Last Book Read
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: bcgames

Here in the crossfire hurricane, I'm hearing a desire for smaller (tactical) scenarios and no operational scenarios. If this is true than the scale is wrong in Desert War. If the game is tactical (division level and below), then smaller maps and mission types are the thing:

Maybe a "Squad Leader"/"Panzerblitz" approach is the way to proceed--small balanced scenarios that capture the "ambiance" of an operational-level game--but aren't really operational level scenarios at all. IOW, there aren't any big pincer movements in the game--there are only mission types, mission objectives, and mission forces to give variation to the scenarios (i.e. "Historical Sandbox"):

Mission Types:

1. Meeting Engagement. Two equal-sized moving forces run into each.
2. Hasty Attack vs Hasty Defense.
3. Deliberate Attack vs Deliberate Defense.
4. Hasty Attack vs Delay.
5. Hasty Attack vs Withdrawal.
6. Attack/Defend from multiple directions (can apply to 1 thru 5 above)

Mission Objectives:

1. Capture/Hold the Bridge
2. Capture/Hold the Town
3. Capture/Hold the Ridge
4. Destroy/Preserve the Force

Mission Forces:

1. Armor vs Armor
2. Armor vs Mech/Motorized
3. Armor vs Infantry
4. Mech/Motorized vs Infantry
5. Cavalry vs Infantry
6. Infantry vs Infantry

Scenario Sizes: Map Scale: 1 mile per hex
Small: Division size or below; map size ~ 10 x 10 hexes
Medium: Maximum of two divisions per side ~ 20 x 20 hexes
Large: Maximum of one corps per side ~ 30 x 30 hexes

Scenario Length: ~9 to 21 turns (3 to 5 days max)

What say you?

In the responses above, I now see there is a difference in how the Tactical level is defined in the wargame world and the real (military) world. What I have defined above represents the former real-world military version of the Tactical level (Blitzkrieg/Air-Land Battle)--that once extended from the squad level all the way to corps-levels. The mission types listed above represent this definition of the tactical level.

An Operational-level game must represent the results of a combination of a series of achieved tactical objectives. A strategic objective (policy) is attained through the successful accomplishment of one or more Operational-level campaigns.

This item now clarified to my understanding as the producer of scenarios, what would you like to see next? Tactical or Operational level scenarios. Desert War centered on the operational level--Rats vs Rams excepted (a tactical-level scenario).

What say you? Convince your peers.



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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/14/2018 8:35:48 AM   
kipanderson

 

Posts: 392
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From: U.K.
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Bcgames, hi,

Trying to help by directly answering your specific question. The next release I would like to see. Any of list below. All equally fun.

Setting.
Eastern Front winter. Any of, Kharkov Feb’43. Korsun Pocket Feb’44. Soviet drive on Königsberg Autumn ’44.
Yom Kippur War ’73, either front.

Scale.
Units.
Manoeuvre units are mainly battalions. Some companies maybe, exceptionally the odd specialised platoon.
Map.
1500m per hex if WWII. 2000m per hex if Yom Kippur.

Scenarios.
Needs to include a big map, all encompassing scenario covering entire campaign. People would feel cheated without that even if rarely played.
A few medium scenarios. Say two or three divisions against two or three divisions.
As many small scenarios as possible. Say one to two divisions against a somewhat smaller, maybe more depleted force.
Aim of scenarios to take certain terrain, say towns, river crossings by a certain date with points for achieving reasonable casualty ratio.

Editor.
Useable editor is a must.

General comment.
Believe Desert War engine is the new, much needed classic, operational engine for all settings. Personally not keen on operational units firing at each other with the exception of artillery.
From 76mm.
“In my view, any game with a hex scale of one mile is operational by definition--the size of the scenarios does not determine whether a game is tactical or operational. Maybe it is kind of simplistic, but for me a "tactical" game has ranged fire, operational games do not (other than for artillery)...”
Agreed.

Hugely looking forward to next release.
All the best,
Kip.
PS. Bcgames, hi, quick add on. Battle for Ukraine! That would cover post Kursk August ’43 to April ’44. Huge range of fascinating, operational settings for larger and smaller. Even some “tiny” scenarios.





< Message edited by kipanderson -- 6/14/2018 10:23:20 AM >

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/14/2018 3:00:20 PM   
RayWolfe

 

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From: Kent in the UK
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Just bought the game. It's the perfect size.
There are very few operational size games out there and many tactical.
This one follows a fine tradition of army/corps games where I can be General Wolfe rather than Corporal Wolfe which, those who remember me, is my rightful position but I have asperations.

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/15/2018 4:23:46 AM   
Rosseau

 

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We also have an in-depth game editor here. Not that I have spent the time to master it. Kind of waiting until things settle a bit. But it would be great if we could attract some creative and technical talent to fulfill some of this stuff using the existing scenarios and the editor. So far, not one custom scenario. Yes, I know it's work and the game is new. So not too concerned.

Think Combat Mission BN for example - 500+ user scenarios and still growing (slightly)

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/20/2018 5:50:03 AM   
bcgames


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From: The Last Book Read
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quote:

ORIGINAL: kipanderson

Scale.
Units.
Maneuver units are mainly battalions. Some companies maybe, exceptionally the odd specialized platoon.
Map.
1500m per hex if WWII...

Scenarios.
Needs to include a big map, all encompassing scenario covering entire campaign. People would feel cheated without that even if rarely played.
A few medium scenarios. Say two or three divisions against two or three divisions.
As many small scenarios as possible. Say one to two divisions against a somewhat smaller, maybe more depleted force.
Aim of scenarios to take certain terrain, say towns, river crossings by a certain date with points for achieving reasonable casualty ratio.

Requirements as stated are sound and sound good. Battalion-level at/about 1-mile per hex for corps-level and below seems to have the most appeal to the audience of this game engine. An "all-encompassing scenario covering the entire campaign" however is not in the cards at battalion level/current time scale per turn; this is antithetical to the idea of a corps-level or below set of scenarios. A set of connected scenarios to give the feel of a campaign game is not out of the question (see previous works on Take Command: Second Manassas).


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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/20/2018 12:49:14 PM   
wodin


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Love tactical, love to see this engine do tactical, Dessert War isn't tactical possibly Grand Tactical but I say operational.

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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/22/2018 3:20:22 AM   
bcgames


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For the purposes of this discussion, I offer these definitions to my approach to scenario design.

tactical level of warfare — The level of warfare at which battles and engagements are planned and executed to achieve military objectives assigned to tactical units or task forces.

operational level of warfare — The level of warfare at which campaigns and major operations are planned, conducted, and sustained to achieve strategic objectives within theaters or other operational areas.

strategic level of warfare — The level of warfare at which a nation, often as a member of a group of nations, determines national or multinational (alliance or coalition) strategic security objectives and guidance, then develops and uses national resources to achieve those objectives.

In the context of large-scale combat, a campaign is a series of related major operations aimed at achieving strategic and operational objectives within a given time and space. A major operation is a series of tactical actions, such as battles, engagements, and strikes, and is the primary building block of a campaign.

If you are interested, all of these definitions come from Joint Publication 3-0 (Joint Operations): http://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/jp3_0_20170117.pdf

Given these definitions, Desert War 1940-42 contains both tactical and operational level scenarios. At the tactical level we have these battles and engagements:

2nd Battle of Bardia (Tutorial)
Into The Blue: Battle of Sidi Barrani
Battle of Beda Fomm
Battle of Sollum
The Rats vs The Ram (better categorized as an engagement)
Alam Halfa

At the Operational Level we have these operations:

Operazione E
Enter Rommel
Operation Crusader (Sidi Rezegh)
El Alamein

The in-betweens (an operation broken down into three battles):

The three Gazala scenarios

Though there are nice improvements coming, the DW engine will not depart dramatically from its current state with the next release. So...from the feedback on Desert War as it currently exists, I infer that players prefer scenarios that cover short battles and engagements; not large operations.

Do I have that wrong?



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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/22/2018 12:14:21 PM   
wodin


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I just would say Desert War is a tactical scale wargame. Tactical to me is upto coy level max really platoon and below. Maybe I'd say grand tactical just but not tactical.

You don't use small unit tactics in game as the hex size is to big for starters. Highest really tactical for me would be 250m. Really though anything between man vs man to 100m hex size.

< Message edited by wodin -- 6/22/2018 12:16:00 PM >


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RE: Desert War: Tactical or Operational? - 6/23/2018 9:51:37 PM   
Deathtreader


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bcgames


Though there are nice improvements coming, the DW engine will not depart dramatically from its current state with the next release. So...from the feedback on Desert War as it currently exists, I infer that players prefer scenarios that cover short battles and engagements; not large operations.

Do I have that wrong?




Speaking only for myself I would say Yes you have it right. Also please find a way to reduce the monster stacks!



Thanks!

Rob.

_____________________________

So we're at war with the Russkies eh?? I suppose we really ought to invade or something. (Lonnnng pause while studying the map)
Hmmmm... big place ain't it??
- Sir Harry Flashman (1854)

(in reply to bcgames)
Post #: 20
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