Wargamer Home - Forum Home
Welcome Guest, please Login or Register!
If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register or login before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Topic: The Secret to Operational Wargaming?

    Page 1 of 2 : Ť

All Forums : [GAMES] : Computer Gaming > The Secret to Operational Wargaming?
25 NOV 2010 at 7:15am

spelk

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1701
Joined: 19 FEB 2009
Location: UK

Status : Offline
I'm in a bit of a funk at the moment, because I have many wargames installed, but when I come to play them, I usually get past the tutorial to familiarise myself with the mechanics, and struggle to make any headway with the actual process of playing operational wargames. So, I'm opening up my inadequacies to you lot, and hoping that someone can come up with the secret to operational wargaming! I seem to be someone who always has trouble seeing the big picture and fighting on so many fronts. Lets take Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris as an example. I was sucked in to Advanced Tactics: World War II and its quirky interface, but only for one or two very small scenarios, where I felt it manageable. DCTBfWtP is a refinement on AT:WW2, one that looks and feels like a much more polished game. However, the play options are quite limited for me, because you play large front scenarios all coupled together into a campaign and the number of troops and fronts are almost too overwhelming.  I now realise my purchase of War in the Pacific was a mistake
. Now I really want to be able to play the DCTBfWtP game through, understand its key concepts and flex my strategic muscles. But I find my focus is always too small, I'm befuddled by all the details, I can't seem to grasp the bigger picture, when I get down to the individual chit level and end up playing tiny chunks of the battle a bit like a game of Risk. I can't generalise or abstract the unit composition, because there aren't chits with just tanks, or chits with just infantry, there are mixed units, of various strengths and various numbers. How do you assimilate all this information and play out the individual moves with any overarching strategy? Please someone unlock this mental block of mine! A game like Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge I can handle. I see the general objective, I see I can send an order to a command HQ and the subordinate units will follow through, I don't have to worry about them. But with a chit shuffler like DCTBfWtP I have to make every move and attack, I have to also try an apply a broad stroke strategy, and I'm finding that incredibly difficult. I think its a similar reason as to why I have trouble with Grand Strategy games also. The scope seems too big, too overwhelming, with no tangible abstraction to hold onto like a crutch. I'd be grateful if the wargamers here could explain why I'm having such a rough time with playing these sort of operational games, its like I have a blind spot that I can't reveal, because I can't get a hold on how to grasp the operational concepts. If anyone can shed any light on this for me, I'd be much appreciative.


Profile Search


25 NOV 2010 at 7:28am

toonces

Commander
Commander



Posts : 2322
Joined: 21 MAR 2006

Status : Offline
At the risk of oversimplifying things a bit, my initial recommendation might be to try reading a good book on the campaign you are gaming.           For example, when I first got into WiTP, I was completely overwhelmed.  However, after I read Costello's "Pacific War", I had a much greater appreciation of why things happened like they did, where my strategic and operational choices were most important, etc.            Why was Port Moresby worth fighting over?  What was the significance of Guadalcanal?  Why did we go through the Philippines?           After reading the book (and then many others), the game reinforces, teaches, and entertains.            In fact, in general, if you're serious about wargaming (IMO), you really can't read too much.            Sort of a simple answer, but I think the more you read about the craft, the better you get at it.

"I am always fondling my nut sack, just to be safe. " - bboyer66

 

"It's like Mount and Blade got together with Total War and had a game baby."  - Bison36 on Real Warfare Northern Crusades

 

The Old Guard


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 7:28am

Rayfer

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1875
Joined: 19 FEB 2006
Location: US, Michigan

Status : Offline
Spelk.....great post, thanks for taking the time to detail your issues.  I share them as well, you could just as well have been writing about me.   I await replies from those who have mastered this type of game. 

Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 7:48am

panzerseast

Centurion
Centurion



Posts : 405
Joined: 25 SEP 2008

Status : Offline
I know where you are coming from.  When starting these style games it can quickly become  daunting and eventually cause you to lose interest or become unsure and leave the game.  I have found that if I push through and chalk several up as learning games I have enjoyed them in the long run.      To me you develop a strategy over time, never from the beginning (for me).  I've always been a great starter, however later on the same thing happens to me, however now I push through no matter how many mistakes I make and I try really to just have fun with it.  The more I put too much time into thinking every thing that could play out, the less time I have fun.   I also try to limit my time in that area and when my time is up I make the moves (some 3 min or maybe 5 etc...), it keeps me moving forward and the game going.  So I focus on pushing forward no matter what, limiting my time spent on strategy, and not worrying about the outcome but focusing on just having fun and learning from it for the next time if I really like what I am playing.  That has always helped me get through games and over time become pretty good at some as I learned going through them.  Hope maybe some of that dribble helped ;- )  Oh yea, if I start it, I finish it.  I am bad about starting and restarting over and over.... I never would finish anything so I stick with it to the end.... no restarting to after I lose or win... fight to the death really! PE

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." BR   |  Website: LinesofCommand


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 8:17am

ActionJack

Colonel
Colonel



Posts : 7920
Joined: 19 SEP 2005

Status : Offline
Play more chess to open your mind to concepts beyond the tactical.

"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."  Frederic Bastiat 1801-1850

 

The Old Guard


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 8:17am

Epee1

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1218
Joined: 31 MAY 2005

Status : Offline
+1 Rayfer

Combat Command The Forgotten Gamers


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 8:26am

jjdenver

Centurion
Centurion



Posts : 268
Joined: 22 FEB 2008

Status : Offline
I'm sure you'll get a lot of replies w/ various advice on this one. I have a few recommendations. Point 1 - be assured and confident that no one immediately grasps everything, you're going to make some mistakes, and you don't have to completely understand everything you will do and that is going now. You can muddle a little - everyone does sometimes and it's a way to learn. Point 2 - you need to plan from the top down. What I mean is look at the whole map but don't look at individual units. Instead look at big formations. For example if you are playing the invasion of Poland scenario - look at where your army groups are, and where your armies are. Don't worry about exactly what units are in your armies are. If you have them designated as mobile (tank-heavy) armies or infantry armies that's even better, but if not no big deal. Now that you see in your head when looking at the map where your army groups and armies are - figure out what your objectives are and how each army/army-group will achieve the objective - including approach routes. If you're not too boggled by achieving this big picture view you can go down another level to corps and have a look at where those are on the map and how they will help the army achieve its objectives - for example if an army has 2 infantry and 1 tank corp - maybe the infantry corps should frontally assault toward a city objective while the tank corp attempts a river crossing on the flank and an enveloping move behind the city. If you can't get to this level yet it's ok. Point 3 - Now that you have thought top down and big picture you can try to use your strategic assets - air/rail to either pulverize some enemy units or move your reserves around. You can also do this after point 4. So once you think top down use your high level assets without worrying about too many details of how actual units will take advantage of your bombing or railing. Again - you can delay this until last if you like and move to Point 4 instead. Point 4 - Now that you have big picture down you can begin to actually move pieces and play. You approach this in a completely different way than you did your thinking in Point 2. You can think about moving pieces bottom up- the opposite of top down in point 3. What I mean is don't worry about how every unit is going to move. Just think about point 2, then pick a corp and start to move its pieces one at a time without worrying about other corps, armies, or other parts of the map. Play bottom up - be in the moment for just a division or just a corp when moving - what exactly is that corp or division trying to do "right now". i.e. take a town, clear a forest road, refit and rest, cross a river, etc. Just do that and don't worry about any other pieces until the moves for that division or corp are finished. Now go to the next corp. So in summary - don't fret about not "getting it all" in your head at once, Think top down before you start moving pieces - very high level plan, then finally play bottom up - clear your head of other distractions and just move one division or corp at a time achieving its own very limited short term objective then moving to the next. Hope it helps - operational games are a ton of fun. Cheers

Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 8:30am

١rgrÝmr

Centurion
Centurion



Posts : 321
Joined: 9 JAN 2009

Status : Offline
Spelk, I think you have identified the problem yourself.          
But I find my focus is always too small, I'm befuddled by all the details, I can't seem to grasp the bigger picture, when I get down to the individual chit level and end up playing tiny chunks of the battle a bit like a game of Risk. I can't generalise or abstract the unit composition, because there aren't chits with just tanks, or chits with just infantry, there are mixed units, of various strengths and various numbers.
          The best way I have found to think strategically is to identify what objectives are needed to win the war.            Then identify what offensives are needed to achive those objectives.           Then identify what assets are needed, units, to carry out those offensives.           And once you have done that you can scale up your thinking from the tactical to the operational and strategic since you then see the units as assets, and not men and material anymore.           EDIT: Looks like JJDenver beat me to the punch, I just said it in simpler terms! [
]                       Cheers, Thor
Sic vis pacem, para bellum If you want peace, prepare for war Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas

Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 8:52am

critter

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1170
Joined: 7 APR 2004
Location: US

Status : Offline
[sm=goodpost.gif]            +1 jjdenver. Great points.           Knowing what your objectives are (and in historical games) taking them with the forces allotted is the key to almost all op games.     I play exactly like jj describes. What is Army A supposed to accomplish? What are A's forces? Then I move each unit in that Army to acheive them.     Then I move to Army B ect.     It's very helpful to know the history. Ie.. Use my airforce to attack units or bomb his airfields?     Then put yourself into each commanders position. Achieve your objectives...

 You know what's sad?  My first thought was, "Gah!  She overcooked the bacon!" - Martok


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 9:20am

oldpop2000

Centurion
Centurion



Posts : 22
Joined: 30 MAY 2006

Status : Online
My first post in a very long time.         Interesting question and one I am certain many of us have had, but don't want to admit. Operational warfare is daunting. Each game is going to be somewhat different. Theoretically, you could start the process of understanding by studying Clausewitz, Jomini but you might fall asleep. However, there are some good books by Bevin Alexander, Richard Overy, Martin Van Cleveld along with Liddell Hart and J.F.C. Fuller. The latter wrote a three volume set titled "Military History of the Western World" and I've had that in my library since the late 1960's. Don't get discouraged, keeping learning and playing. Remember that the path taken to victory in history is not the only path available and not the only one that would lead to victory. Counterfactual thought problems are based on this idea. The suggestion to read about the actual campaigns is a good one, but attempt to get both sides, focus on objectives, and remember: Surprise, speed and concentration.         Good luck, my friend. And good hunting.

Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 9:27am

Keunert

Commander
Commander



Posts : 2372
Joined: 22 MAR 2006

Status : Offline
back when i was gaming a lot of TOAW and later while fighting Harley Rider in Advanced Tactics i used a sketchbook to make sketches of my overall plans. draw a simple map and draw the goals of the different corps. this was really helping a lot. if i don't do this i often skip the operational thinking and go straight into the tactical stuff. this makes you go for all opportunities instead of keeping with the overall strategy. in decisive battles warsaw to paris, i lost several times the polish campaign as the german player because i was too tempted to make more and bigger pockets instead of pushing really hard to warsaw.

I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect. Oscar Wilde

 

The Old Guard


Profile Search


25 NOV 2010 at 9:29am

Philippe

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1096
Joined: 14 DEC 2008

Status : Offline
Originally Posted By spelk
        I'm in a bit of a funk at the moment, because I have many wargames installed, but when I come to play them, I usually get past the tutorial to familiarise myself with the mechanics, and struggle to make any headway with the actual process of playing operational wargames.         So, I'm opening up my inadequacies to you lot, and hoping that someone can come up with the secret to operational wargaming!         I seem to be someone who always has trouble seeing the big picture and fighting on so many fronts.         Lets take Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris as an example. I was sucked in to Advanced Tactics: World War II and its quirky interface, but only for one or two very small scenarios, where I felt it manageable. DCTBfWtP is a refinement on AT:WW2, one that looks and feels like a much more polished game. However, the play options are quite limited for me, because you play large front scenarios all coupled together into a campaign and the number of troops and fronts are almost too overwhelming.  I now realise my purchase of War in the Pacific was a mistake
.         Now I really want to be able to play the DCTBfWtP game through, understand its key concepts and flex my strategic muscles. But I find my focus is always too small, I'm befuddled by all the details, I can't seem to grasp the bigger picture, when I get down to the individual chit level and end up playing tiny chunks of the battle a bit like a game of Risk. I can't generalise or abstract the unit composition, because there aren't chits with just tanks, or chits with just infantry, there are mixed units, of various strengths and various numbers. How do you assimilate all this information and play out the individual moves with any overarching strategy?         Please someone unlock this mental block of mine!         A game like Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge I can handle. I see the general objective, I see I can send an order to a command HQ and the subordinate units will follow through, I don't have to worry about them. But with a chit shuffler like DCTBfWtP I have to make every move and attack, I have to also try an apply a broad stroke strategy, and I'm finding that incredibly difficult. I think its a similar reason as to why I have trouble with Grand Strategy games also. The scope seems too big, too overwhelming, with no tangible abstraction to hold onto like a crutch.         I'd be grateful if the wargamers here could explain why I'm having such a rough time with playing these sort of operational games, its like I have a blind spot that I can't reveal, because I can't get a hold on how to grasp the operational concepts.         If anyone can shed any light on this for me, I'd be much appreciative.    
    I've never played the games you've mentioned so I  can only guess as to what's causing the problem you're describing (and to be honest, I'm still not exactly sure what it is).           There are probably a couple of different issues occuring simultaneously here, and unsnarling them will take a bit of work.   But I'll take a wild stab at your problem, and even if my suggestions are wrong-headed, thinking about them might suggest a better solution.           Are you perhaps trying to play scenarios that are way too large before you've fully understood the system that the game uses?  If you still don't know exactly how everything works in relation to everything else, trying to play a large scenario is a recipe for information overload and confusion.  What will happen is that your brain will try to take in too many half-digested and not properly integrated little bits of information, and you'll be left with a confusing and frustrating muddle.  You can only store so much unrelated information in the front of your memory at once, and if you try to go over whatever your personal limit is you'll be left with a bit of a jumble.             J. M. Barrie touched on this when he describes a mother sorting through a child's thoughts like socks in a drawer (the opening chapter of Peter Pan makes unnerving reading for modern adults),  and Arthur Conan Doyle used to make Sherlock Holmes give lectures on not-overcrowding the immediate memory which were essentially paeans to the importance of learning to focus.  The Greeks and Romans understood the process very well because their information retrieval systems were so scanty that they were forced to depend heavily on memorization -- Quintillian especially recorded a lot of the tricks for leveraging up a limited immediate memory, and in the late 16th-early 17th century these techniques were the only area in which the Chinese government admitted that they were decidedly inferior to the West (it's debatable whether they were more advanced than the West in that many other areas, but they were certainly correct in wanting to acquire the famous memory palace of Matteo Ricci).  Nowadays we've mastered the art of leaving ourselves hopelessly distracted, and make ourselves feel better by blaming our lack of focus on attention deficit disorder.  Concentrating becomes a lot easier when you shut off the loud music and leave your Blackberry in a drawer.           I have two suggestions, which you've probably tried.  The first is to concentrate on mastering the techniques involved in playing small scenarios before you risk befuddling yourself on the larger ones.  More is not always better.  If the game you want to play doesn't have enough small scenarios built into it, try playing with small chunks of a larger one and focus on learning how to overcome specific problems (in a more tactical game you'd be worrying about things like 'how do I clear a path through that minefield and get my tanks past that anti-tank ditch').  When you're sure you're good and comfortable with how everything works, step back from the game you want to play and think about it for a minute -- every military problem, strategic, tactical, or operational -- can usually be reduced to handful of issues, and each of these issues usually has other sets of issues branching out from it.  The key is to have that zen moment when you look at a map with a couple of hundred pieces on it and ask yourself what it is you're trying to do.  If you can boil it down to one or maybe two short answers (e.g. smash his left flank), you can then build a little conceptual tree in your mind of what you'll need to do to.  Always focus, severly limit the number of your answers, and don't try to do too much.  Remember the German military maxim that a hand achieves more when its fingers are balled up in a fist than when they're spread out.  Simpler is stronger.            I used to play a lot of board wargames, and I still own a frightening number of them, most of them with the counters still unpunched.  For a long time I always dutifully bought the monster games, which were beautiful to look at but absolutely never got played.    And that's why I won't shell out a lot of money to buy WitPAE -- I know I'll never play it.  And when you're dealing with a computer wargame you can't use the excuse that you're afraid your cat will eat the pieces if you try to set it up.           It's ok not to like big games.            You're not a bad person if you only like tiny ones.           It probably just means you're normal.           Now that we've gotten that out of the way,  if Decisive Campaigns doesn't have enough small scenarios to get you into it 
I find that surprising, but don't own the game), try the HPS Total War in Europe games, which are on pretty much the same scale.  First Blitzkrieg covers Poland, Norway, France, England,  but War on the Southern Front has a lot of scenarios in the desert, and that means very few units.  The graphics in Decisive Campaigns are probably a lot more fun to look at,  but there a couple of mods of the TWIE series now, so those games are no longer irredeemably ugly (you can get mine by visiting the HPS Operational Games page at Task Force Echo Four).  And I'd be curious to hear your description of trying to play them compared to Decisive Campaigns, because though I've got way too much on my plate right now, I may break down at some point and give Decisive Campaigns a try.           (Warning: the user's manual for the TWIE series almost certainly wasn't written by a liberal arts major, so it will take a bit of patience to learn the rules).

  

Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

 

 


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 9:56am

Dale H

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1254
Joined: 25 AUG 2004
Location: US, Oregon

Status : Offline
Great advice so far. I am not one who should be giving advice but here goes:           In playing Decisive Campaigns I spent a lot of time on the little Netherlands scenario until I felt a little bit comfortable with the game engine. It did not play like I thought it would. I had to overcome my preconceptions about how it should be played in order to become successful.           Point 1) They are games & not simulations. There are rules which govern behavior in the game & in order to win you must play by the rules. Do not let any idea you have about how a campaign actually happened get in your way.           After I felt a little bit comfortable about the Netherlands I went on to the Polish campaign. It really did help to know about the historical German operational plan, the giant double envelopment with two sets of pincers, one west & the other east.           Point 2) Learn as much about how the actual campaigns played out in history.           (Caveat: see Point 1) above.)           "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?           Point 3) Practice, practice, practice."           Set your ego aside & play as much as you can. Let the AI have its way with you. You are not stupid just unfamiliar with the game engine. The AI knows the game engine cold & will usually clean my clock when I am learning. I will never tell anyone how many times it took me to win the Netherlands scenario. Once I did I went, "aha, now I understand." It took an obscene number of attempts for me to win. My thinking I had done enough reading to make me an expert in blitzkrieg was getting in the way. Truth is I did not know, in game terms, how to conduct operations.           Point 4) Don't listen to anybody or compare yourself to anybody.           Reading posts on threads relating to games there is always someone who posts they won the first time out & they are going on to bigger & better things. Ignore them. They may not be lying but then again...           Point 5) Play PBEM.           You learn so much more by playing a human opponent. You have to have a strong ego but it is really the way to learn. If your ego is fragile only play another newcomer to the game engine.           Point 6) Have fun.           If the game doesn't really make you have a whole lot of fun then chuck it & go on. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.           Hope this helps!

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana

I'd rather be right than be president. Henry Clay


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 11:44am

phredd1

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1085
Joined: 10 SEP 2006

Status : Offline
Wow, I was just cruising on by and this thread caught my eye. Thanks to all of you posting answers, you have given me many new methods to try. Great reading for the approaching release of WitE!!

One mistake, and you're sliding down the razor blade of defeat, and a dull, rusted, and poisoned blade at that.


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 1:45pm

Republic

Centurion
Centurion



Posts : 285
Joined: 20 MAY 2010

Status : Offline
Same here, really good points in this thread.  I have the same problems when playing War in the Pacific (classic)

Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 4:08pm

lealoc

Centurion
Centurion



Posts : 188
Joined: 9 FEB 2008
Location: 0

Status : Offline
What an awesome thread! Spelk, you have explained my own shortcomings to a tee I have been looking at screenshots from WitE and the game description, drooling over the details - as I have for so many games of similar scope over the years.  Not to mention the hundreds of pounds I have spent on games like this that I have never played beyond the tutorials. I can appreciate the beauty of something so complex and am green with envy of those of you capable of actually playing and enjoying. If only I was able to decipher them enough to learn without being overwhelmed...

Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 5:02pm

vonkohlmann

Centurion
Centurion



Posts : 206
Joined: 27 MAY 2005

Status : Online
The things that help me in these games are:          1) Limiting my objectives to 1 or 2 main points of attack, otherwise my efforts are too spread out. This allows me to better learn the mechanics with units with which I am familar.         2) Look at things from a smaller perspective. That is, if this were a tactical scenario, what would be my objectives be and how would I achieve them?Sometimes looking at it more simply makes things more clear. Then I expand my outlook to encompass larger, long term resources and strategies.         3) Have the AI play itself, if possible. A good AI will reveal some of the underlying mechanics and also tested strategies that could work. Also, again where possible, I have the AI take over as much of the functions as I want, allowing me to delve into those responsibilities when I feel ready.         4) Play a smaller nation/side first, one that's out of harms way for a while at least. This allows me to explore all the mechanics with limited resources, manpower, and units.

Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 5:49pm

Wodin

Commander
Commander



Posts : 2325
Joined: 18 JAN 2006
Location: UK, Liverpool

Status : Offline
I can't handle strategic games...operational is OK and tactical is perfect for me....the only large scale game I really enjoyed was WW1 gold....I also like the look of War in the East......but give me squad\platoons\companies and even battalions I I know where I am...

Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 5:57pm

jomni

Commander
Commander



Posts : 2481
Joined: 24 APR 2007
Location: SG

Status : Offline
Lots of good advice here.     My advice is: "Just play and have fun! Don't overanalyze."     Happy gaming.

The Old Guard  The Wargamers Tournament: Phase One Combatant Medal


Profile Search
25 NOV 2010 at 11:32pm

Nefaro

Colonel
Colonel



Posts : 4843
Joined: 6 OCT 2003

Status : Offline
In such large scenarios, I utilize the mini-map (or a pop-up jump map) that shows dots for your unit locations.  First I'll make sure I check my objectives and decide on what I want to go for.  In many scenarios you will not be able (or need) to take all objectives as they give leeway in letting you decide the exact combination to get your point score for a win.  So decide on the victory locations you want to win. From there it's a simple matter of getting a full map view of the situation.  Use the mini-map, or a larger jump map if the game has it, to get an overall picture of where your units are and where the enemy's are.  Take note of where the victory locations are that you need on it and terrain obstacles in the way of your forces.  Use those three factors in determining a route to your objectives:  Your units, the route, the objectives.  Regularly refer back to the mini/jump map for keeping that grand strategy updated.  Then it's only a matter of zooming back in and doing the dirty work up close while keeping to the advance routes you had set for yourself as best you can.  It's really just turning the game into a two layered one yourself.   Think of it as playing two different command echelons so you're giving yourself general attack orders. That's the basics and can readily get you a win.  You can further complicate it all you want but I find that simple plans are easiest to adjust once the fighting starts in earnest.

__________________________

Are you brave enough for 640kb?

 

The Old Guard


Profile Search
26 NOV 2010 at 3:25am

spelk

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1701
Joined: 19 FEB 2009
Location: UK

Status : Offline
Some excellent considerations posted, thank you all so much for helping me crystalise a methodology to attack Operational Wargaming. I'll certainly bear in mind all suggestions as I tackle DCTBfWtP, and hopefully I'll start to formulate a working procedure to begin playing some of the other games I have on my hard drive, but I only stare longingly at.. The top down assessment and goal assignments leading to the bottom up situational play on a unit by unit basis sounds like "the secret" to this thing. I'd have never come at it from that angle, I think my gaze was always firmly fixed at the lower level of overhwelming detail. I think a number of the suggestions made seem to cover wargaming in general, and provide a sound basis for tackling such games in the future, as is having a familiarity with the subject matter and history you're playing through. I hope this thread has helped some of the other folks in a similar situation as I, and if I can, I will report back on my games to see how applying this secret has affected my play. Thanks folks.


Profile Search


26 NOV 2010 at 3:46am

ComradeP

Colonel
Colonel



Posts : 6889
Joined: 1 JUL 2006
Location: NL

Status : Offline
I usually play the defensive side in a scenario, where the main challenge can be to force yourself to roll with the blows, instead of acting like you are the attacker. As Dale H mentioned, protection yourself against what you think you know is also important. You can't play a wargame "by the book" in the sense that if you play a scenario featuring Fall Gelb, you'll conquer the Low Countries and a part of France exactly like the Germans did. Another thing to remember is that all of your opponents in PBEM are different people, and even the same opponent can play in a completely different way than when you previously faced him. The main trick that helps me keep a campaign organized is developing a "feeling" for where my infantry-type units are and what they're doing but to remember exactly where my mobile units are and what they are doing, as they are essential for both offensive and defense. The infantry will eventually win the war for you, but the mobile units allow them to do so. Having a general idea of where the infantry is and what it's doing is often enough to achieve what you need to achieve. I like to micromanage everything in many games, but when you're playing the Soviets and you have hundreds of divisions to manage, the time it would take to micromanage everything constantly stands in little relation to what you would gain by doing so. For a SSG game, I usually memorize the map and where the units are, there are usually at most about 400 units, often less, so that makes it possible to memorize what most of them are doing, not by unit name but by area. When defending, I usually don't make a plan for the first few turns. First, I want to see what the enemy forces can achieve in a number of turns and how good my opponent's strategy is. As the attacker, I don't make a long term plan until after the often obvious opening moves, as I can not judge the state of enemy defences and capabilities on turn 1, but I have a good idea around turn 4 or so after the enemy has sustained some losses and will be developing fall back positions. It's still essential to never be trapped in a plan. A plan is a plan just like a victory hex might just be a victory hex, which might not necessarily be something you need to hold/capture. You need to be able to drop both the plan and your defensive position if the situation requires it. Losing units just because you want to stick with the plan is extremely frustrating.

Profile Search
26 NOV 2010 at 8:28am

MengJiao

Centurion
Centurion



Posts : 536
Joined: 2 AUG 2010

Status : Offline
Originally Posted By spelk
    The top down assessment and goal assignments leading to the bottom up situational play on a unit by unit basis sounds like "the secret" to this thing. I'd have never come at it from that angle, I think my gaze was always firmly fixed at the lower level of overhwelming detail.    
          I think part of the problem in mastering operational games is that they often simulate reality in different ways at     different levels.  So for example, in WitPAE, you see every plane on every air search mission, but weather is simulated regionally and you see every float plane in a task force and every pilot, but you can't do much about getting your airmen trained (a big problem for the Japs), or controlling ship production.  So these are Operational games, but with confusing layers of grand strategy and local tactics somewhat arbitrarily stuck on.  Which is fine.  For me that kind of extreme variability in all things is what makes the games fun.  Also I don't mind losing if it is in an interesting way and as a rule I can defeat or at least get a stalemate against unimaginative opponents.  In fact I think I've spent more time losing than winning in operational games so complete mastery eludes me.           And detail is fine too.  I generally focus on formations that are doing something interesting and I generally try to kill what I sense that the enemy is focused on.  Probably both are often mistakes, but you have to have some focus in these things and you invariably neglect something you should not neglect, at least if you are me and your aim is amusement.           Right now I'm happily amused by Revolution Under Seige (RUS) which is a grand operational (or strategic) game where a hand-full of armored cars at the right time and place can make a huge difference.  So I do enjoy and focus on detail for its own sake, for good or ill.  Anway, RUS has a really good overview map function so maybe that will help me keep some of my attention on the big picture.    
This war is about Slavery -- Spartacus

Profile Search
26 NOV 2010 at 9:00am

tgb123

Commander
Commander



Posts : 1474
Joined: 13 NOV 2009

Status : Offline
I've had the same problem, particularly with the AGE engine.  I just re-purchased AACW to see if I can find the love everyone else has, and it's getting a little better, but I still spend a lot of time staring at the screen wondering what to do.

Profile Search
26 NOV 2010 at 9:30am

stophro

Commander
Commander



Posts : 2172
Joined: 3 MAY 2007

Status : Offline
I've played countless hours of Hearts Of Iron II and some of the things that help me are things that have already been suggested.         1) Start as a small out of the way country.  It helps give you a feel of the map, the research, production, diplomacy etc.  And you will be able to keep your goals small.  I have played as all of the Balkan nations at one time or another and my goals are usually to take over neighbors and stay off Germany or the Soviets radar.         2)  Don't let history be a straitjacket.  One of the most fun aspects of wargaming is to put your own spin on what is being gamed.  In HOI, I will play France and try to hold the Germans off.  I fail, but I try different tactics each time.  And that's one of the cool things about simulations, you can try out a different approach every time you play.         3)  When planning out your attack, take in to account what your objectives are and that should decide all of the means of getting there.  Build an appropriate force to take the objective and then put it into practice.  You won't always win, but by trying, you'll know what works and what doesn't.         4)  Especially with a large amount of units, there is some specialization.  Learn what the strenths and weaknesses are of each type.  Mountaineer units are less than infantry on the open plains, but in the mountains, they are equal or even better.          5)  My biggest problem (still) is air and naval wars.  I understand the principles behind air war, but naval escapes me completely.  So if you are going to play a country with air and/or naval forces, try to have an idea of what you want to do with them.  Do you want to control the skies?  Build fighters in abundance.  Do you want to project your force over vast stretches of water?  Build a surface fleet.         6)  And as you have seen by the replies to your original post, there are others out there willing to help.  I know the most helpful tool for me was a site on Wikipedia devoted to HOI2.  I have to imagine that is you go to the games website, there are players who have posted walkthroughs and helpful hints and strategies.  Even if you cannot execute them immediately, they can give you a push in the right direction for your own game. 

 

 

 


Profile Search
All Forums : [GAMES] : Computer Gaming > The Secret to Operational Wargaming?

    Page 1 of 2 : Ť

Jump to:
0 Members Subscribed To This Topic