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California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

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California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Father General on Mon May 11, 2015 5:52 am

In two week's time, I am hosting a KS event in Los Angeles. The game will not be a standard KS game, but rather an operational-level, 1 day battle set in the American Civil War.

Since this is an operational affair, I imagine I will need to write my own ruleset and tables for pretty much everything. While I feel I have enough grasp to do this, I am wondering if it might be wiser to ask the community for any rulesets that are already written; no need to reinvent the wheel.

That as well as any advice you may have will be appreciated.

I cheaply printed a copy of my map just for test purposes. I tested out the scenario on my KS table and I found that it should have some interesting twists, although the entire game will be up to the moves of the players. I'm printing the game maps next week.

(Ron, I found the game map you sent me and will be using your enhanced version, thank you very much!)

Fire away!
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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Father General on Mon May 11, 2015 6:00 am

Some images from my playtest. I am certain the actual game will turn out nothing like the visions in my head, just like my SOW MP games!





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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon May 11, 2015 9:39 am

Wow, what an amazing map!

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Martin on Wed May 13, 2015 9:29 am

Neal

I'm emailing you a couple of charts we used for last Autumn's 1864 Wilderness Battle KS. Hope they help.

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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Father General on Thu May 14, 2015 6:07 am

Here are some pictures of the map. I have printed all three maps and all that's left is to write the rules and the scenario.

Enjoy the pics.





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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Father General on Thu May 14, 2015 6:27 am

California Kriegsspiel Rules.

Here's what I have so far... Please feel free to add anything you feel would be helpful!

1. Etiquette - All players are required to commit to play for the duration of the game. Specifically, this means you MAY NOT catch any waves until your orders are in to the umpire. As you return for your update and prepare to issue new orders, it is important you avoid getting sand on the map.

2. Communication - Players who are not in proximity with one another on the map may not communicate verbally and only by courier (written message). This includes all messages about your latest fad diet, workout routine and acting gig.

3. Supply - Because the scenario only covers one day of time, sufficient supply is automatically assumed to be allocated to your units. All rations can be assumed to be 100% organic, non GMO, and free-range. However, a special requisition will have to be submitted before the start of the game for gluten-free rations. These will be tracked separately and are in limited supply.

4. Rivers and waterways - Due to state water restrictions, units are only allowed to take water on authorized days. Those troops with odd home addresses may have water odd numbered days and even addresses on even numbered days. Remember, no water may be used on Mondays. Please recycle.

5. Breaks - A break will be allowed in the middle of the day to get lunch. Anyone who goes to that place by the Santa Monica Pier is required to bring the umpire a California Lettuce wrap. Extra salsa on the side, please.

6. Unit Designations - Units will be designated by their area codes. For example, the 559 and the 661 will fight for the North and the 805 and 310 for the South. Just like in real life!

7. Scoring considerations - Players are not permitted to interfere with my mojo, to jack my style, or to be dissin'. A 25 point penalty will be imposed for each occurrence.
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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu May 14, 2015 8:36 am

They look even more amazing close up. Scanning those in digitally would make great maps for a play by e-mail campaign as well.

*has a weird idea for a fictional ACW campaign where the Brits and French send over an army to fight alongside the CSA using Pom's Crimea sprites. thinks such an idea might appeal to the GCM crowd as well as here*

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Father General on Fri May 15, 2015 5:35 am

Here is the actual write-up I have for the game. Let me know if you have any wisdom to share!

California Kriegsspiel Society

Game Rules



Please read the following rules so you will know how to properly play Kriegsspiel and know what to expect as your game unfolds.



First, a Brief History (or you may skip to the rules themselves if time is limited.)



I.



Kriegsspiel means "war game" in German. It was developed as a tool for training officers in the Prussian Army in 1812. The game underwent many refinements over the next several decades and eventually became a staple training tool for the Prussian Army and the later German Army. Today, modern, more-advanced versions of the game are played by armies all around the world to prepare their officers for the eventuality of combat.



Kriegsspiel itself, in its basic form, is played with three identical maps, two opposing officers or teams of officers, and an umpire. Each team has an objective and limited information about their enemy. Only the units that are visible to a player are placed on the map. Units that would be out of sight or communication are removed from the map to preserve fog of war, a major element in the game. Only the umpire has the full picture at all times as both armies and their units are always kept up-to-date on his map.



Players do not touch the pieces themselves and can only move them by submitting orders to their units through the umpire. The umpire reads and interprets the orders as a subordinate officer might do and reacts in accord with this understanding. Since orders must travel by courier to units that are far from the commander, there is a natural delay in implementation.



When an event, such as combat occurs, the umpire resolves the combat using a die or dice and tables which simulates the effects of combat, but provides a small random element. Terrain and other features are usually taken into account on the tables.



Results are applied and tracked by the umpire and reported to the players.



Play continues until one side achieves their goal, one player retreats or quits, or time for the scenario has elapsed.



The umpire then provides a full, final report, announcing the outcome, casualty figures and such. Players are usually allowed to look at the maps. When used for training, a discussion or study will usually follow.



Many modern wargames borrow heavily from Kriegsspiel, even if their authors do not recognize the pedigree of their rulesets. You may begin to discern some of classic lineage as you play.















This Scenario



II.



Today's scenario is a "free" variant of Kriegsspiel in which the rules, gameplay and other elements that commonly bogged down the original game, (it was often disliked by Prussian officers for this reason--the turns took too long!) are streamlined and abstracted to preserve the fun and realism, while reducing much of the original minutiae. The scenario is also an "operational-level" scenario whereas the original version of the game dealt only with the tactical-level skirmishes.



Despite the streamlining, many of the most critical and key aspects of the original are intact. Any Prussian Army officer from the 19th century would instantly recognize the game you are about to play and could probably take command without missing a beat.



Today's Rules



III.



The rules for today's game are as follows. Please adhere to them at all times during gameplay.



The umpire is the final word on all matters. Players may not dispute the umpire's decisions for any reason, either real or perceived. Note that the umpire has access to the "full picture" whereas you only see the limited information that is presented to you. The information you are given may be inaccurate (and often will be).



Be prepared for frustration. One of the things Kriegsspiel is designed to test is your mettle under fire, or in this case, how you will perform in a dangerous situation. Players often assume they are outnumbered, that they have been unfairly disadvantaged, that the outcomes are universally negative, and they have little chance of success. This is more a product of the fog of war than it is a measure of reality. It is common for umpires to deal with such cries from both tables simultaneously. Kriegsspiel games are not always fair or balanced. What is being tested is your ability to make do with what you have been given and your ability to maximize your odds of success through good, stoic leadership, shrewd maneuvering, scouting, and developing a sixth-sense of discernment about your enemy. Anyone who can play Kriegsspiel well can possibly lead an army too. Note that success is not the only indicator of your acumen. Sometimes you will be handed a no-win scenario and how well you lose is the measure of your ability!



Players are not permitted to touch the pieces, unless specifically directed to do so by the umpire. Kriegsspiel pieces are custom-made and are very expensive. They are also very small. Their position on the map, or their place in a bag or cup or wherever they are being held is important for many different reasons. Players in traditional Kriegsspiel are also forbidden to touch the pieces as a standard part of the rules.



Communication is to take place in written format and is to be channeled through the umpire. Players may not speak to one another unless given explicit permission from the umpire to talk. They may especially not talk about the game itself. Players on the same team may not strategize, theorize or assist one another in any way. Commonly, players who are in proximity to one another on the map may speak freely. All other players may only communicate by written messages submitted to the umpire. The umpire will deliver the message after an appropriate delay to represent the time it takes for a courier to deliver the message. This is a critical rule in all Kriegsspiel games. For this game, friendly talk about other subjects is encouraged, but at no time may players discuss the battle before them unless given permission by the umpire. If you have any questions about when you may speak freely, ask the umpire. Other players may even be asked to step away for a brief moment so as not to overhear your discussion.



Orders are to be brief, simple and to the point. You will notice that the pieces have unique colors and markings, including numbers. Refer to units by their number. List the unit, what you want it to do and when you want it done on a piece of paper. If a time is not specified for an order to take effect, it will be implemented immediately upon receipt (if practicable). Fold your paper and place it in a designated spot for the umpire to pick up. Always write the time of the order on the outside of the paper.



Micromanagement is absolutely not allowed. As this is an operational-level Kriegsspiel, you will only direct the general course and maneuvers of the units. This will occupy your attention more than you think! The umpire will interpret your orders and will carry them out with what they discern is your intent. When units make contact with the enemy, they will react logically, in accord with the situation. You will not have much control over many of these maneuvers. Units will sometimes attack or withdraw based on how their individual captains would assess the situation. As a commander, you will have to abide by their decisions, even if you think they are poor. In reality a general who took personal command of his subordinate units might himself face court martial, or at least the anger of his undermined subordinate. A commander will be represented on the game board, but he may not take any action that would place him into unnecessary danger. --In other words, you may move freely about the map, but within some reason.



Players may not view the umpire's map or that of the opposing team for obvious reasons. After the game has ended, players will be invited to debrief one another if they so choose.



This game could take a fair portion of the day, or it could end quickly. The former is the most distinct possibility. How fast the game plays depends on how quickly and clearly the players prepare their orders and the ability of the umpire to process events. A tremendous amount of work and preparation has gone into this game. Please commit to playing it until completion. Warn the umpire in advance if you need to depart by a particular time. People with too little time to invest may be politely asked to refrain from play or to accept a small, subordinate command.



The game will not stop for you, for any reason, not even a good reason. The game will run as close to real-time as possible. Periods where nothing happens will be accelerated until something changes. Players will have limited time to prepare their orders. Minimize your questions to the umpire. A two-question maximum rule will be enforced for both sides. The commander in chief of each side alone will be permitted to ask the questions. The questions should pertain to the game itself. It is okay to ask questions about the rules or about what a commander sees or knows, or his staff may know. However, since time is limited, time allotted for questions must be kept to a minimum.



And that's it! Give general orders, sit back, and watch your decisions unfold before your eyes! Good luck and have a great time.
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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Father General on Mon May 18, 2015 4:57 pm

Bump.

Any thoughts, gentlemen? The last minute is at hand!

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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  King_Rufus on Wed May 20, 2015 9:34 am

I like the idea of a two question limit, this will certainly help keep the game moving, which should always be the umpire's main concern.

Not sure players should have any knowledge of the 'rules', however (if there are any). In my view, KS is a role playing game rather than a wargame. Game mechanics are not something a played character would know about in real life, indeed they would not exist. Too much knowledge of the background mechanics can therefore detract from that immersion in the player's role, which to me is the most enjoyable thing about KS.

Hope it goes well!
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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Martin on Sat May 23, 2015 8:49 pm

One belated comment.  You mention the game running in real time.  in our experience that is too slow, particularly if there is an approach and manoeuvre phase. Players can find time weighs heavily for the part of the game.

We aim to move the game significantly faster than real time.  This is done by a mixture of:

* slick umpiring, keeping player briefings short and to the point

* avoiding getting drawn into conversations with individual players, some of whom can be very needy  I love you

* if players are not quite ready to give new orders, or their orders seem very complex, asking them to write them down for collection *next time* you visit them

* speeding-up the game clock if nothing much is happening.  So if you are generally moving forward in increments of say 20 minutes, you might instead move forward 40 minutes or even an hour.  This can be very helpful in keeping the game moving, but it's best to warn the players beforehand if you intend to use it

Hope that helps & good luck!!

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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Father General on Sat May 23, 2015 9:08 pm

Thank you, Martin.

I do intend to accelerate time. My previous experiences have been very slow.. However, to complete the scenario, I'll have to advance the clock faster than real time.

If the scenario is passable or better, I'd like to share it with you gentlemen and see what happens if you run it as a face-to-face game. If you're interested.
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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

Post  Martin on Sat May 23, 2015 9:18 pm

Definitely. We have a full schedule for autumn, but we could run it in spring next year.

Have a great game.

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Re: California Kriegsspiel -- Ruleset and Advice?

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