Joel Billings/Erik Rutins Flash of Steel (Podcast) and Dev Chat Transcript

Gary Grigsby’s War in the East: The German-Soviet War 1941-1945 is a turn-based World War II strategy game stretching across the entire Eastern Front. Gamers can engage in an epic campaign, including division-sized battles with realistic and historical terrain, weather, orders of battle, logistics and combat results.

The critically and fan-acclaimed Eastern Front mega-game Gary Grigsby’s War in the East just got bigger and better with Gary Grigsby’s War in the East: Don to the Danube! This expansion to the award-winning War in the East comes with a wide array of later war scenarios ranging from short but intense 6 turn bouts like the Battle for Kharkov (1942) to immense 37-turn engagements taking place across multiple nations like Drama on the Danube (Summer 1944 – Spring 1945).

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Joel Billings/Erik Rutins Flash of Steel (Podcast) and Dev Chat Transcript

Post by SeanD »

Check out Joel and Erik chatting about War in the East with the guys from the Flash of Steel podcast and get some history and insights into the long running development of this monster wargame!

http://flashofsteel.com/index.php/2011/01/13/three-moves-ahead-episode-99-war-in-the-east/




Also Developer Chat Transcript ---

Read the transcript here:

http://www.matrixgames.com/files/WITEchat-Edited.htm

Thank you to the developers for coming and all fans in attendance!

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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Krupinski »

"War in Europe".... OMG!!!

[&o][&o][&o][&o][&o][&o]
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by EisenHammer »

OMG... I thought it was Clash of Steel 2 [;)]
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by ComradeP »

I still don't entirely understand how some people can have so much difficulty with the basics. If you've played wargames for 30 years like the guy in the podcast, what's so difficult about understanding movement points, a clearly detailed movement point table and a general indication of attack strength on a counter? Yes, the advances features are difficult to master, but I'm puzzled as to how the basics can be so troublesome to some.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Zovs »

Yeah, other then Joel and Erik that was really the worst pod cast I have ever listened to. Both those fellows running the pod cast were terrible interviewers and Bruce was very rude and biased towards the details and price of WitE which seemed to slant his viewpoints to be very negative and argumentative. Bruce does not seem like a really true historical war gamer to me.

I have been playing board war games since 1976, but I must admit most are very detailed games such as the 1st edition of SPI's War in the East, War in Europe, The Next War and GDW's DNO/UNT which turned into Fire in the East/Scorched Earth and I have been an active Advanced Squad Leader player (face to face still) since 1987.

Just from listening to their pod cast I would surmised they can't stand ASL nor other complex games. Just my biased opinion.

Even thought I have been playing WitE since Nov. 2009 I still love this game and it has so much to offer.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by spelk »

I don't think they were trying to trash the game as such, the show is very much about debating around the subject of the game, so often questions are posed to explore the subject in a broader context.

Bruce has quite a distinctive style in his questioning, and it can come across as quite hostile, but he's really only exploring the bigger picture - usually. In fact I remember him saying he didn't want to sound negative towards the game, he likes it, but in the context of a bigger debate, certain issues were raised that might have seemed negative.

Troy is an excellent host, and will allow his guests to roam freely where it takes them.

I've been listening to the show for a long time now, and it really is about the only podcast on strategy gaming that asks all the bigger questions and gets quite distinct personalities in to give their viewpoints. I always come away from their podcasts with further questions I want to pose.

I only wish Tom Chick was still with the show on a regular basis, I always valued his opinion and unique slant on the strategy gaming scene.

I think Mark Walker had a bit of a rough ride on the show dedicated to his Lock n Load preview, mainly down to the "bigger picture" / storied element arguments of Bruce and Julian Murdoch. But I honestly thought War in the East had a good airing on the show, and Joel certainly gave out a lot of good information about the game, and Erik was there to keep things stable and focussed on the positives.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Zovs »

Okay fair enough, my first listen to these fellows, and like you said it does or did come off pretty negative to me. But I also have my own bias since I have been testing and playing this game for so long...lol
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Smirfy »

Well worth the listen, the interviewer(s) made some interesting points and the developers and publisher handled them well. Nice to hear battlefield academy get a mention for an example of user friendlyness. All in all I thought the Devs got their design philosopy accross pretty well especially on explaining why the player should not be assured of replicating results like the board games
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by parusski »

I think Erik and Joel were great.

dlazov66 I felt the same about Bruce. But spelk turned me around. After listening a second time I found the podcast quite entertaining. The debate was a healthy one, even if I did not always like the "direction" in which it spiraled.

Smirfy I also loved that the point about board game replication. That was explained perfectly and authoritatively. That is an aspect I had not thought much about before hearing the podcast. But I know there is no replicating of any board game results in GG WitE.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by citizenchip »

I have to jump in to defend Troy, Bruce, and guest host Scott. Three Moves Ahead is, in my opinion, the best strategy games podcast out there. I admit that Bruce's style takes a little getting used to, but I think his ultimate philosophy (that podcasts are boring when you just talk about things everyone agrees on) makes for better podcasts overall. Troy is great with is guests, and lets them go off where they want. I thought War in the East came off rather well in the show, especially given that the show is not necessarily targeted at a grognard audience (although they are a component of the audience).

Of course, Joel and Erik did a great job talking up the game. I thought they did a good job addressing Bruce's arguments about the value of realism as well. If people are interested in strategy games more generally, Three Moves Ahead is definitely worth listening to every week.

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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Muzrub »

WOW- in the interview they mentioned the Russian campaign- loved that game!

BTW- I think the dudes conducting interview are losing their way in terms of the scope of the game, especialy concerning 2 player and the time involved (who would want a game to last so long? And with who could you play a game with that lasts so damn long?). Since the games release I've heard from two mates from the WIR days (when it first kicked off on matrix, around 2001), who wish to start playing again- with this new, larger (and different) version.
Of course once I'm more familiar with the game I'll hop on into a 2 player game.

Also with the mention of a checkerboard defence, I think interms of AI strategy its optimal to its design, but for the average 2 player I doubt the checkboard defence, in such depth with individual units will happen.


Any interesting interveiw.

(edit) The issue with the formulas used for combat resolution which seemed to be a whipping boy for the interviewers is a bit confusing for me.
dont think the average player is all that concerned with the 'maths' involved, especially with such a detailed combat system (squads, leaders, supply etc etc). The odd random outcome from any battle that almost eludes the maths is probably equal to odd random act bravery that saves the day on a real battlefield.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Avenger »

Funny thing to me was that they were confused by the game. These are by their own admission 30 year war gaming geeks and they found the game complicated and confusing. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest that their obtuse comments were a vehicle to start conversation about the complexity of the combat system. I myself find the combat easy to understand -- a month into the game. I think they do understand it as well.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by ComradeP »

I thought the interviewers themselves were a bit immature, they were constantly interrupting/talking when someone else was talking. There was a huge difference between the quiet, slow-but-clear way Joel and Erik talked to the up and down jumping style of the interviewers.

That made it less pleasant to listen to, not to mention that there were sound issues, which augmented the problem of the interviewers interrupting eachother as it became impossible to follow what they were saying. Their other podcasts might be good, but the quality of this one was somewhat lacking.

They should take the time to let the people they interview say what they want to within the confines of the questions they're being asked. It should be about the people they interview, not about themselves. Now they were more like TV talkshow hosts who use the people they interview as a sort of scenery whilst they just say what they want to.

It would've been nice if they would actually explained why they had a problem with some parts of the game they had issues with, instead of just yelling (which they did from time to time) they had issues with something. That doesn't make it clear to the audience how legitimate their complaints or praise are.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by samspackman »

Jesus Christ. The only 'immature' people are the ones in this thread making snide remarks about the hosts, merely because they tried to have a critical discussion about the game. If you don't agree with Bruce on his comments about detail not equating to realism, make an argument for it. Don't just make a condescending remark that they are 'confused' or that Bruce is not a 'true' historical wargamer. (This by the way is one of the most nonsensical statements I have ever read. What the hell is a 'true' historical wargamer? Does this mean Bruce is just a 'fake' historical wargamer and only pretends to play wargames so he can brag about it? Give me a break). The fact that Troy can get 5 people together over skype and still have an intelligible discussion about a complicated topic is a great achievement.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by cookie monster »

I enjoyed the pod cast. It was well worth a listen.

The hosts raised some valid points.

I would recommend it.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Vyshka »

I don't think the game was confusing to them, well except maybe one of them (Scott? whomever had spent hours on something and was stilled confused with it), but they were more trying to present the argument given by http://tleaves.com/2010/12/31/a-battle- ... attrition/ . I agree with the poster above that it would have been nice to have Tom Chick in on this episode.

I don't agree with Bruce about needing to know the underlying formulas. I think it is much better that they don't let you know them. You already enough information on which to base your decisions. It is more realistic the way it is than it would be if you knew the exact number of strength points you need to get the exact result you want. I think Bruce making that argument proves he is someone who is/was big into tabletop wargames.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Rosseau »

Isn't Bruce the guy who always raved about how great Dominions 3 was? I have the game, and honestly, you gotta wonder...

But yes, the show is very good, but I'd love to have the old Computer Gaming World magazine back. I remember one year that thing was a thick as a phone book.

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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Vyshka »

Bruce wrote the manual for Dominions 3. The game has quite a strong following on some other forums, and seems really detailed. I haven't had a chance to really dive into it yet.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Moltke71 »

Troy and Bruce are fellow crypto-journalists like me. Given their simplistic approach to the game, I wonder if they weren't setting up strawmen to create a discussion. They invalidated the argument for boardgames when they admitted nobody completed an old "monster" game when a game like WitE is easily completed.

The hosts came off strident while Joel and Erik were the epitomes of calm reason, cooly answering every thrust.
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RE: Joel Billings and Erik Rutins on Flash of Steel (Podcast)

Post by Joel Billings »

I for one enjoyed the discussion, and thought the interviewers raised good/fair issues. Several of the issues/questions have come up in various posts here in the forum. It was great to have an opportunity to talk with some knowledgeable gamers that have both a wargame background and a connection to the more mass market computer games market. Erik and I enjoyed it enough that we're still having an ongoing email discussion with the interviewers on some of the points of discussion. I was very happy to have the opportunity to be on the podcast. It was a great way to spend an hour.
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