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Pyros Wargaming Design - 11/18/2004 9:40:40 PM   
PYROS

 

Posts: 15
Joined: 6/16/2004
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PART ONE: The general idea of Pyros Wargame Design. PROLOGUE


My view goes to REALITY (not towards millitary organization but towards combat activities).

Every Wargamer is a WANNABE General and the ideal conditions for him would be if he could decide the future of his troops, the path of his career and the course of the war.

The basic missing element among the strategy games is the incapability to effectively achieve a connection of real random events into a dynamic CAPMAIGN.

More or less the battles are based on balance and this is not a real parameter.

The JUDGMENT of a commander should be the focus of a wargame.

Where, when, why and how should be the call of the commander.

In a game there should also be the most crucial element of a military career… the authority of a commander, the INFLUENCE towards the HQ. This is the balance/struggle between the HQ orders/decisions versus the influence/decisions of a commander. One of the most important aspect of the game should be the influence points (IFP) of the commander…there will be many ways to earn influence points and many ways to invest/lose influence points.

Can he persuade that there is an alternative to the HQ decisions? (Cost of IFP)

When the HQ wants to detach units from his command can his influence stop this action? (Cost of IFP)

Can he request additional reinforcements/supplies or even prototypes for his task group? (Cost of IFP)


But before I start to describe the elements of the design I wish to present a small case study of just one aspect of the game in order to help you understand the tactical depth.


CASE STUDY of the ENCIRCLEMENT TACTIC/MANOEUVER

In a battle engine similar with SPWAW or CL the player prior the start of the battle (setup phase) will have the option to make some adjustments and follow several tactics/manoeuvers.

One of these maneuvers will be the encirclement manoeuver.

The encirclement manoeuver will be the option of the player/commander to detach some units of his core army and issue to them the order to encircle the enemy army and try to appear from the side or the rear (after the battle has started from side or rear reinforcement entry hexes).

But there are a lot of conditions to take into consideration for executing successfully such an action… Lets start from the beginning…

Our player/commander after earning a promotion (for example, from Second Lieutenant his is promoted to First Lieutenant) returns to the Base HQ and passes from a grade military school for a period of 6 months. Attending this class he learns new abilities, tactics and war doctrines. One of these is the encirclement manoeuver. When he will return back to his army group he will teach his subordinates lieutenants/squad leaders (during non-combat period, between battles) the theory he learned and they (squad leaders) will do the same (their efficiency to pass the knowledge depends on abilities as teaching, intelligence etc…) to their squad members (soldiers). But that is just the theory and this is useless without practicing…

So, the first time a squad will be assigned to make a encirclement manoeuver it will have a hard time to make it accurate and fast (meaning that the squad will enter the battlefield in the side instead of the rear and with a big delay of turns…

But as the squad becomes experienced on this particular manoeuver (by practicing it in battles) the more effective will become when applying it (the gap between theory and practice will close). So an elite unit (with experience in the ability to make encirclement manoeuvers) will enter the battlefield from the rear of the enemy army just few turns after the battle has started… But let me give you more tactical depth on this!!! If, when and where a unit will enter the battlefield while making an encirclement manoeuver will also be determined from factors as the type of the squad (leg or mechanized), the enemy density of patrols, luck, minefields, entry area of hostile reinforcements and much more!!! And all this was just to show you some options for an aspect of the game concerning the use of just one manoeuver.


KEY WORDS

Officer’s career (OC): You (the player) are a military officer that will follow a career during the WW2.
Influence points (IFP): Find ways to earn prestige among your superiors and influence their every decision in order to decide your own future (also the future of your army group).
Tactical combat engine (TCE): Similar with SPWAW or CL with 2-3 significant evolutions
BASIC combat unit (BCU): The SOLDIER, a human with mental and physical abilities, combat specializations and ability to gain experience and learning new war doctrines.
Standard combat unit (SCU): The SQUAD, a military formation consisting of SOLDIERS and commanded by an officer/squad leader. The overall statistics of a squad depends on the sum of the individual’s abilities. A squad could signify an infantry squad, a gun crew, a vehicle crew etc…
Standard combat formation (SCF): This is the army group of which the PLAYER (OC) will be responsible.
Dynamic CAMPAIGN: Several types of battles, the FIXED major battles, the FIXED secondary battles and the RANDOM minor battles.
LOGISTIC maintenance: Fuel and ammo should be taken care in order to effectively fight the battles.
STRATEGIC map: View your progress on the strategic map during a dynamic campaign. Follow orders or take initiative at your own risk (disobedience).
Abilities: This will be the result of the academic learning of a theoretical knowledge base in conjunction with the combat experience/practice (you may theoretically learn how to use a Bazooka, but you will have to use it in real combat conditions in order to become an expert).


Basics considering the commanding officer/Player

The commanding officer/Player is not a Super Human nor his abilities can transform at once a task group into a killing machine. Whenever the commanding officer/Player makes an action or takes a decision there will a time interval and experience/influence effort in order to achieve any result.

A. His pro-duty career in terms of available time units to spent on:

Military schools: This could be the part of a game where the player could get basic training (attributes) that will influence the rest of his career; it is something like an RPG element but represents knowledge.
Special schools: These are schools that will give special attributes (Bonuses) to the player.
Alternative activities: This is tricky… it can mean that the player works his path to the political party (increases the influence towards HQ). A lot of activities can contribute to attributes of the player…alpinism (mountain combat), hunting (ambush and forest combat), robbery (espionage, close combat and street fighting) etc…

B. His actual career and the course of his actions:

Extra military schools: For advancing grades and acquiring new combat specializations (each promotion would give him the possibility/obligation to follow an officer’s grading school in which he may gain/enhance extra abilities). Of course during the time of the school his task force will be under different leadership (one of his lieutenants or a different leader) and this could have consequences in the performance of the army (although the player will still be in charge of his army as the replacing commanding officer).
FIELD experience: By accumulating field experience he may gain extra abilities (by using several STRATEGEMAS during a battle he may enhance his abilities).
Level of command: In the course of the war there will be a progressive alteration in the level of his command, his promotions/delegations and the raise/loss of his status (influence) will be affected by his performance, random events and his decisions. If he is a capable commander he may have the choice to be assigned into a different army group (for example, an elite formation etc.)
AIDE DE CAMP: The ability to seek a further political career (influence points). He may choose to leave the frontlines and build his career as AIDE DE CAMP at the HQ earning this way a status among the war cabinet and accumulating influence for the later period of the war (of course his field experience will be inadequate and he will suffer great penalties when fighting a real battle).
Teaching war doctrines: The commanding officer/Player will be responsible to teach his knowledge to his lieutenants/squad leaders. After that, each lieutenant’s duty will be to teach the acquired knowledge to his squad members. Teaching war doctrines will play a basic part in the war (these activities will take part during non-combat time intervals).
Non-combat responsibilities: He will be responsible for the management of his troops and his resources (works with influence, requisition, detachments, acquisitions, training, upgrades, replacements, supply level, upgrade priority etc…)
Direct command: During a battle the commanding officer/Player may command directly a squad, increasing this way the performance and abilities of this squad.


CORE of the leader’s army: BASIC combat unit (BCU), Standard combat unit (SCU) and Standard combat formation (SCF)

The Player’s army group (SCF) will consist of a predetermined mix of types of squads/units (SCU) according to the type of Group (SCF). For example a mechanized infantry could consist of these squads/units (SCU): 1 HQ, 2 recon AC, 1 Lt Tank, 1 SP-AA, 6 INF squads, 6 APC, 1 SP-AT, 1 SP-artillery, 1 Logistic. The army’s squads/units (SCU) may be upgraded sooner or later, with average/good/prototypes equipment (leader’s influence).

Again the leader may use his influence to attach an additional formation to his core (for example, a tank brigade) or prevent the detachment of his own core units (influence to HQ). During the course of a game, a detachment order could occur 3-4 times for the player’s core units and this would result in the detachment of these units for a specific period of time (ex. 6 months), the player won’t have these units for 6 months (these units will still gain minimum experience).


Standard combat unit (SCU): SQUAD/TANK CREW/GUN CREW

A squad consists of soldiers (BCU). Some will have special abilities (MG, BAZOOKA, MORTAR, FLAMER etc) but every one of them will have general attributes (intelligence, courage, discipline, endurance etc) and general combat abilities (aiming, cover, stealth etc)

This mean that every soldier (BCU) will have a specialization and his experience will advance towards this field (ex. a gunner, a driver, a loader, a commander of an armored unit will contribute their abilities to the overall performance of the unit (SCU); this way you may mix your crews in order to produce elite crews but there will be a temporary penalty in the team spirit factor.

A special ability for the commander would be to request (by using/spending his influence) for a special replacement (for example, an elite gunner).

The attributes and abilities will play part in the roll/saves during combat. For example the sum of the cover ability of each soldier (multiplied with other factors as ground cover…etc) divided by the number of soldiers will give a variable that will be use in the algorithm for the TO HIT % probability. If the algorithm scores a hit then the probability that will determine which squad member will take the hit will be derived from a 0-100 proportional number (I won’t get in complex algorithms at this stage).

The experience of every soldier will increase during battles and by training.

Responsible for the training are the squad leaders and/or the Commander itself.

Depending the abilities of the squad leader (for example, teaching) the squad will gradually learn new abilities and/or improve/enhance existing ones.

There will be a gap between the theoretical knowledge and the practice of it and this will gradually rise as the squad members use the different doctrines.


The campaign’s mechanism and the replay-ability of the campaigns:

(I will make only a brief but understanding report on the campaign’s mechanism)

Judging from the SPWAW random campaign there are a lot of things to be done in order to improve it.


First of all, there is the idea of a mix of several random battles inside a fixed-dynamic course of events.

The battles would be categorized as major predetermined (following multiple paths) battles with several fixed and random minor battles.


The FIXED major battles would be historical (correct timeline) battles with predetermined fix objectives. The result of these events could change more or less the course of the war.


The FIXED secondary battles would be smaller missions (predetermined fixed objectives) that will result in small (important) rewards as capturing resources (enemy ammo, fuel, equipment, officers, intelligence), rescuing friendly units, making heroic deeds as covering the retreat of an army by delaying a larger hostile army, etc…)

The RANDOM minor battles will be connected with general activities as supply routes, air interdictions to unit transferring, enemy counter-attacks to the unit’s temporary base of operations, random events, reckon missions, partisan’s ambushes while moving to destination etc.

FIXED MAJOR BATTLES (FMB):
In a FMB the map will be custom, the objectives will be fixed, the deployment hexes fixed and the forces compositions either fixed or dynamically balanced.

A fixed force would be the ability to the player to choose a predetermined number of points from his core force.

A dynamically balanced force composition would be to give to the AI the addition of points as reinforcement in order to achieve the desired equilibrium of the battle.

In a FMB the important element would be the Critical Length of Turns (CLT).

The idea of CLT is a factor that makes the game more realistic, and (after the expiration of CLT) this factor would give to the defender certain advantages as additional reinforcement and/or off board artillery support and/or air support.

Also there is the possibility that in each battle the AI gets additional reserve points to be used in order to counter any unbalanced force composition by the player (the game will count the forces of the player as a ratio of INFANTRY-TANK-ARTILLERY-AT and may deploy additional units to apply effective counter-tactics)

In order to enhance replay-ability the game mechanism could accept several fix positions for deployment of specific type units and then randomly deploy units of this type…For example, in a defensive parameter there are 30 available positions marked as AT hexes and the AI randomly chooses 20 of them in order to position 20 random AT platforms (although the total AT platform’s cost should be fixed)

FIXED SECONDARY BATTLES (FSB):
In a FSB the map will be custom, the objectives will be fixed, the deployment hexes fixed and the forces compositions either fixed or dynamically balanced.

A fixed force would be the ability to the player to choose a predetermined number of points from his core force.

A dynamically balanced force composition would be to give to the AI the addition of points as reinforcement in order to achieve the desired equilibrium of the battle.

The difference between a FIXED SECONDARY BATTLES (FSB) and a FIXED MAJOR BATTLES (FMB) will be that the FSB will not have effect in the course of the war, they will be easier, they wont have necessarily CLT time allowance and they will give the opportunity to the player to experiment the capabilities and potentials of his army group and his various tactics. Furthermore these battles will provide the opportunity for some historical small engagements as for example the abduction of Mussolini or the assassination of Rommel. The FSB could reward the player with great influence rewards as well as with others unexpected rewards.

RANDOM MINOR BATTLES (RMB):This would be the backbone of a campaign game. The game AI would create/generate random encounters as road ground & air interdictions, patrol’s skirmishes, partisan’s attacks, small pocket resistance battles, evacuations, ambushes, base of operation guerilla’s assault, random meeting engagements, Bunker’s assault, operation of destruction of hostile military and civilian installations (factory etc), mission of liberation of POWs and much more. In these random missions the balance of forces will be unpredictable and the judgment of the player/commander as well as the correct tactics will make the difference between an easy victory and or the surrendering/capture (POW) or even an annihilation of the commanders army group.

Options:
Before the start of an actual tactical battle the commander would have the option to choose his tactics and additional tactical elements:

· He may assign/detach scout/recon duty to a squad in order to find out the location, time and composition of the enemy’s reinforcement. This detached friendly recon squad will re-enter the battle with a delay of minus 4 turns of the enemy reinforcement estimated arrival (the recon info/intelligence will depend on the experience/equipment level of the recon squad).

· He may assign/detach scout/recon duty to a squad in order to find out the composition of the hostile forces (the recon info/intelligence will depend on the experience/equipment level of the recon squad). The player’s army group will enter the battlefield with a minus 2 CLT time as penalty (the enemy reinforcement will arrive 2 turns faster).

· If the weather is clear and the commander/player fears the presence of hostile air support he may call the HQ (spend influence points) for fighter/CAP assistance.

· If the commander/player thinks that his forces are greatly outnumbered he may request (spend influence points) air close-ground support or Off-map heavy artillery

· He may detach several squads in order to perform an encirclement manoeuver and launch a surprise flank attack on the enemy’s side or rear units. The detached units will enter the game from predetermined entry hexes with a delay, depending on their type/quality/experience (for example, a motorcycle squad will arrive faster than a heavy weapons infantry squad).

· Many others OPTIONS


These are just few of the tactical elements that I wish to include in a wargame design.

There are also two other parts (part 2&3), one of which is describing more tactical elements, and the other describes a method for making more commercial the game (give motives to people/gamers in order to register),


I am looking forward for your comments.


Best regards,

Pyros
Post #: 1
RE: Pyros Wargaming Design - 11/18/2004 9:49:16 PM   
wodin


Posts: 10755
Joined: 4/20/2003
From: England
Status: offline
Sounds superb. Hope you can pull it off.

(in reply to PYROS)
Post #: 2
RE: Pyros Wargaming Design - 11/19/2004 3:10:22 AM   
Veldor


Posts: 1531
Joined: 12/29/2002
From: King's Landing
Status: offline
Exactly what are you proposing? A game that you are working on? Or just an idea for a game that you have?

That's a lot to read above. A lot of good ideas. But of varying practicality depending on other unmentioned aspects of the game's design.

Some of those ideas are in some ways incorporated in Combat Leader and others for instance, many of the soldier's attributes & skill ratings you mentioned and other related concepts are part of one of the games I am working on. But my game isn't played at the same scale as SPWAW or even Combat Leader. Representing individual soldiers in any way in a game at that scale is mostly needless micro-management.

I mean shouldn't a game like UV/WITP take into account what the troops were fed that day? Good meal/bad meal? How bout the Captain's letter from his girlfriend back home dumping him? Shouldn't that play a part as it would have in real life? Not suggesting you are getting carried away but the point is ABSTRACTION exists in ANY game. A game by its very nature is an ABSTRACTION of reality and/or history. Best to accept that.

To what degree is more a matter of taste and personal value. Some would rather have the greater depth, micro-management, and strict historical accuracy while sacrificing playability and any semblence of a "fun-factor". From what I've read you certainly seem to prefer the former and that is fine but then you are instantly talking about a game that fits only into a sub-group of an already limited group of people and also takes far more development time given all the added detail (So two negatives).

Of course that hasn't stopped Matrix from making titles like that.

But I'd ask again what is the goal of the obvious large amount of time and thought spent in putting this together? Do you plan to make this game yourself? Are you looking for someone to make it for you? Or are you just looking to help mold titles under development more in that direction? etc.

_____________________________


(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 3
RE: Pyros Wargaming Design - 11/19/2004 3:23:52 AM   
Fred98


Posts: 4426
Joined: 1/5/2001
From: Wollondilly, Sydney
Status: offline
I didn't need to read the wole book. But I can summarise it;

A fictional battle in a historic setting with the historic weapons and situations. My favourite kind of wargame.

_____________________________


(in reply to Veldor)
Post #: 4
RE: Pyros Wargaming Design - 11/23/2004 6:27:38 PM   
PYROS

 

Posts: 15
Joined: 6/16/2004
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Veldor

Exactly what are you proposing? A game that you are working on? Or just an idea for a game that you have?

No comments.


quote:

That's a lot to read above. A lot of good ideas. But of varying practicality depending on other unmentioned aspects of the game's design.

This is a teaser (in a concealed form) from a bigger manual containing algorithms, mathematic models, logical paths, tables and schemes.


quote:

Some of those ideas are in some ways incorporated in Combat Leader and others for instance, many of the soldier's attributes & skill ratings you mentioned and other related concepts are part of one of the games I am working on.

Combat Leader will be an excellent game because Paul Vebber is one of the best game designers and the whole CL team is doing a methodical work, but my work has made some evolutions in several fields.
I could give you an example concerning an important aspect of the game, the Command and Control feature.
I left the basic idea of C&C and my gameplay is based on two more complicated mathematic models.
What I did, was to add more variables in the analysis, in order to construct these mathematic models. Afterwards I tried to experiment with extremities and limitations during the synthesis and finally I achieved to create an innovative C&C model, for being more exact 2 C&C models in order to bypass several unreal conditions.


quote:

But I'd ask again what is the goal of the obvious large amount of time and thought spent in putting this together? Do you plan to make this game yourself? Are you looking for someone to make it for you? Or are you just looking to help mold titles under development more in that direction? etc.

No comments


Pyros

(in reply to Veldor)
Post #: 5
RE: Pyros Wargaming Design - 11/23/2004 9:14:01 PM   
Veldor


Posts: 1531
Joined: 12/29/2002
From: King's Landing
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: PYROS
No comments.

quote:

ORIGINAL: PYROS
This is a teaser (in a concealed form) from a bigger manual containing algorithms, mathematic models, logical paths, tables and schemes.


I hope your not writing a book on Wargaming Design. Cuz the only thing I could think of that might sell worse than a wargame is a book on designing them.

But seriously its hard I would think for anyone to reply to such a lengthy post as this without at least a point of reference for what the intent on posting it was. I've seen your post elsewhere with similiar lack of response/interest.

The internet is funny that way. You could be a 14yr. old crack-head or Gary Grigsby in disguise. Or somewhere in between.

Well whatever it is your doing your obviously putting a lot of time and effort into it. And generally speaking that can only be a good thing.

So good luck with your secret and covert efforts, whatever they may be!

_____________________________


(in reply to PYROS)
Post #: 6
RE: Pyros Wargaming Design - 11/23/2004 11:07:48 PM   
PYROS

 

Posts: 15
Joined: 6/16/2004
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Veldor

I hope your not writing a book on Wargaming Design. Cuz the only thing I could think of that might sell worse than a wargame is a book on designing them.

No, I am not writting a book, nor I wish to sell anything.


quote:

The internet is funny that way. You could be a 14yr. old crack-head or Gary Grigsby in disguise. Or somewhere in between.

Yes, I agree with you...
I could be anyone, even YOU.
So ignore me and keep in mind whatever may interest you from the above ideas.


quote:

Well whatever it is your doing your obviously putting a lot of time and effort into it. And generally speaking that can only be a good thing.

So good luck with your secret and covert efforts, whatever they may be!

Thank you,
I also wish you good luck with your interesting projects.

Pyros

(in reply to Veldor)
Post #: 7
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