High Hopes for the WEGO System

Combined Arms: World War II is a turn-based battalion level simultaneous execution operational level game in development by Ludovic Coval and Erik Rutins.
It includes a complete scenario editor and is set at a 1km per hex / 8 hours per turn scale.
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Owen
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High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by Owen »

I've been away from computer wargames for the last couple of years. Partly this is because I grew disillusioned with the gamey and unrealistic way combat is approached in most all IGO-UGO games. Lately I've been tempted by Battles in Italy but I know I'll be disappointed.

BII, like all of SSG's products is surely a polished and beautifully designed game and I'm happy to see it bring pleasure to so many wargamers. But I personally go nuts at the idea of bouncing units up and down the front line trying to achieve maximum odds against static defenders. In order to win the game you have to fight your battles in a manner that bears no relation whatsoever to actual combat operations.

That's why I'm so looking forward to the Combined Arms WEGO system. I've been very pleased with the WEGO combat in tactical level games like Combat Mission and the old HPS games like TotP and PitS. You can order your tanks to attack the village but when they get there the defenders may be gone or may be reinforced. This feels SO much better than just getting your odds against a locked down defender and then rolling for the results.

I'm happiest when playing at the operational level rather than down at the squad level. So I'm excited at the prospect of Combined Arms. Best of luck to you all in the final stages of developement. The screenshots look amazing.
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sol_invictus
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by sol_invictus »

I completely agree, IGO-UGO is not very appropriate for anything at a scale lower than Grand Strategy. I played Korsun Pocket and while a very good IGO-UGO system, it is still IGO-UGO. I passed on Normandy and swore I wouldn't buy BiI; but I finally grabbed BiI while waiting for Crown of Glory, Guns of August, and Combined Arms. Like I expected, BiI is a really nice IGO-UGO system, but I just don't get the feel for the chaos and uncertainty of operational battle. The V4V and W@W series was great in this regard and that is why I am so excited that Combined Arms is taking the WEGO approach. I just hope the AI can handle it.
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JSS
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by JSS »

ORIGINAL: Owen

I've been away from computer wargames for the last couple of years. Partly this is because I grew disillusioned with the gamey and unrealistic way combat is approached in most all IGO-UGO games. Lately I've been tempted by Battles in Italy but I know I'll be disappointed. ...

Owen,

As a big fan of the old W@W and Combat Mission I really like WEGO best for the reasons you mentioned... I'm also really looking forward to Combined Arms' release; think this will be awesome!

For IGO-UGO BII is really good; I think you might like BII a lot if you gave it a try. There are six full battles available now (the 3 SSG Italy battles, a Kalach bridge battle, a Pacific Island invasion, and a Europe 45 battle).

The last three I designed specifically to prevent the bouncing up & down the line by punishing that strategy (very difficult to bounce out of the frontline... then you're exposed to counterattack or fundamentally missing movement needed to reach other key objectives). Additionally these three battles are designed so that there is not a perfect opening move that must take place... multiple options exist to victory on both sides[:D]
ORIGINAL: Arinvald

...Like I expected, BiI is a really nice IGO-UGO system, but I just don't get the feel for the chaos and uncertainty of operational battle. The V4V and W@W series was great in this regard...

Arinvald,

Have you downloaded any of the Master of Battle scenarios? If you'd like to try a game of them PBEM I'd be glad to show you some of the same chaos and uncertainty that W@W had

JSS
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sol_invictus
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by sol_invictus »

JSS, no I haven't, and I am sure you would introduce me to all the chaos I could handle.[:)] Like I said, I just like WEGO better, though SSG definately has the best IGO-UGO system around. I look forward to fighting some battles in the sunny climes of the Pacific. Actually, the fact that these game generate some nice mods is the reason I finally purchased BiI. Now if SSG or a modder would make some Napoleonic or Wars of German Unification scenarios, I would be extremely happy.
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Arckon
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by Arckon »

I am a huge fan of SSG Decisive Battles Series but at the same time have been singing the praises of the potential this one has for a long time on varying forums.

Will still be buying new releases of SSG's DB Series though. [:)]
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geozero
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by geozero »

This is by far the most challenging game system to play, because both opponents (or in the case of mulitple PBEM players, several opponents) have to send orders. You may order an attack, only to see that the enemy had ordered a retreat or moved somewhere else. Friction rules apply similar to ZOC but not as rigid. It is still possible to "run into" an ambush or "meeting engagement".

No longer are you simply "reacting" to the opponent move, but rather must think of the entire battle as one cohesive system, interlocked by the various units. Will you send reinforcements to a sector, or maintain a mobile force a few clicks from the frontline? There are many decisions which you can make that will make the battles play differently every time.
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hank
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by hank »

I, like JSS am an avid Decisive Battles player. I haven't upgraded to BII yet and I'm not sure yet whether I will or not. I've been playing Flashpoint Germany wihich is another Matrix WEGO game set during cold war/modern times. If you know anything of the FG wego system, they've had some stumbling blocks after its initial release, mostly concerning the AI. But, the developer, Mr. Crandall is an excellent game designer and has been working like crazy to make improvements. My hats off to him. He is one of the nicest, most patient programmers I've heard of.

I am very very interested in getting CA when it is ready. But I can wait until the AI and the interface have been tested relentlessly. I get the impression, the AI for a WEGO system is very difficult; moreso than an IGO-UGO system. (but what do I know... I may be wrong ... the only scenario design AI I've done was Steelbeasts).

I really look forward to this game; mostly to play pbem. WEGO PBEM play is perfect for a busy family person. Its the best of both worlds; IGO_UGO and continuous action like HttR. I can make my moves when I can get to them and email it to my opponent. I don't have to set aside hours to play through a battle against another person.

just my $0.02.

anxiously awaiting

Hank
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geozero
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by geozero »

All AI is incredibly difficult to program. How can you program every possible move and counter move? You can't. This is not chess where there is a finite number of pieces and squares.

With a program where you can design almost any WW2 era battle, the AI will be a challenge for sure. The best AI is a true human opponent. That's why PBEM will be such a valued feature. Humans make mistakes, and unpredicatable moves. Sometimes when playing PBEM I make no moves. Kinda freaks out the opponent. He's wondering why did I not move. Maybe I'm resting my troops or getting strength up. Maybe I just sent the turn cause I hit the send button by accident... whatever.

The point is that human players are way more fun to play with, whether you win or lose, you'll have a lot more fun. [:D]
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cabron66
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by cabron66 »

And if you can't find anyone to play with, you just play yourself. Sometimes you can be a very useful opponent to yourself if you want to make sure both sides play a more or less historical strategy.

The only problem I see with WEGO is the insistence on "turns". Commanders do not have to wait to give orders. If the situation demands it, they act accordingly. WEGO is a step in the right direction, but the perfect system would allow the player to intervene, for better or for worse, at any time.

That's where games like Decisive Battles suffer badly. You have day long turns to manipulate your forces, or watch the other guy do his thing. Imagine that. It doesn't actually stand up to any kind of reason. You have 24 hours of movement (night never taken into account) and battle followed by your enemy moving and fighting for 24 hours. Math is not my major, but isn't that 48 hours? The IGO/UGO system, by its very nature cannot ever arrive at realism.

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Paul
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geozero
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by geozero »

That depends on the "level" of the command in the game. In a squad level, the squad or even platoon commanders must be able to give orders and be felxible. But lets consider CA for a moment.

In CA we are recreating battles where You as player take the role of a General, with several regiments or even divisions to command. Given the level of communications in WW2, a General's order might take several "hours" to trickle down to the indiviual companies or battalions. Since CA turns are in 8-hour segments, this is a pretty good representation of command orders and execution IMO. [EDITED; I would have preffered 4 hour turns].

Granted, I agree that there must be a better system out there, but at least WEGO does not have the old feel of playing chess, constantly reacting to another's move. With the WEGO system we at least have a way to "see" the battle unfold.

I don't think that this would work as well in a smaller command level game (such as platoon or squad level) or even in modern warfare, given the higher degree of communications, etc. But at least in WW2, 8-hour "turns" seem to me to work well under the game's level and overall scope.

The only alternative to WEGO is the old chess style movement or (worse) to have constant moving (i.e., a click fest command and conquer style of play). Or as you suggested to be able to "stop" the turn to intervene. But that would not work under PBEM since either side would have to be able to stop and intervene, and could result in constant,stopping of turns. Though playing online instead of PBEM would be cool, with each side having so many "points" that could be used to change orders, slow the clock or even stop time. Hmmmm.... I'm digressing a bit. Must put the beer down now.[:D]
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Jagger2002
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by Jagger2002 »

Can replays be halted...can they be replayed from different locations, etc? I assume they can be but I just want to be sure.
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geozero
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by geozero »

Not sure I understand your question.

When playing PBEM let's say you move, send your turn to opponent, your opponent moves, then "watches" the turn replayed. Opponent then moves for turn 2, sends you the turn, and then you watch turn 1, then you make moves for your turn 2, and watch turn 2, then you send the turn, etc.

This way the players alternate watching the prior turn, etc.

Hope that answers your question...[:)]

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hank
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by hank »

Continuous action is of course the most realistic. But for playing purposes, I think WEGO is the best solution for a busy person who can't just sit down for hours while a battle is going on. I enjoy playing Flashpoint Germany, another WEGO game because I can watch the turn resolutions and make my moves when I can get to it.

I'm not sure how you do AI in Decisive Battles or CA, or any of these new war games. To me, an AI is a set of programming languages that functions by set parameters and is able to make rudimentary decisions based on algorithms AND can learn from its past games.

I do know in SteelBeasts the scenario editor had many conditional statements you would use. (if this, then that) ... and it was quite an extensive list to choose from. But even with that system, "A Battle" was only good to play once or twice for it to be realistic because once you play it, the unexpected things go out the window (you know what happens). The only things we could do as we built our SB scenario's was to put enough variability in those conditions so if a person played the same game again but did something different, the "AI" (if you want to call it that) would direct the computer controlled units to do something different.

A lot of words that don't say much except, a good AI is a hard job. I would just as soon play PBEM. For me that's what CA will be used for at my house. PBEM has the added benefit of fellowship between military historian types ... like me.

hank
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geozero
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by geozero »

I think the AI is more then IF/THEN statement decisions. When you take into consideration all the many units types (infantry, armor, air and naval assets, supply, artillery, etc.) and the many types of terrain (roads, hills, wooded areas, towns and cities, etc) it would be a real challenge to program an AI that would know which course of movement and combat to take (would the AI choose to use a road or go sneaking through a hill/wooded area to flank you?)...

That's why a real opponent is the only way to really play these games for maximum fun.

Also, real time would not work. These battles lasted days and weeks. I can barely sit at a game for 2-3 hours at a time. Imagine playing the ENTIRE battle of Stalingrad in real time... you would need months to play, never mind sleeping, bathing or eating... this is war soldier!

[:D]
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hank
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by hank »

A question:

Is CA's turn resolution similar to the way Flashpoint Germany (another WEGO system) does its turn resolution?

If not, are there similarities? and what are the differences?

Does it move through all the moves made by each player in a pseudo chronological order?

Since I've never seen the game run, I would like some direction on what the resolution phase looks like.

As I mentioned before (which I was told is not in the works); the resolution phase is where I turn on the silhouettes of the vehicles. FG also has a lot of information you can get while resolution is going on.

hank
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geozero
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RE: High Hopes for the WEGO System

Post by geozero »

It's a bit different.

I'll see if I can post a short movie.
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