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Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

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Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

Post  hammurabi70 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:08 pm

Some years ago Martin flagged a new development: the games of Simmons Games.

At that time he was producing a game on Marengo.
http://www.simmonsgames.com/products/Marengo/index.html

Since then he has also done Austerlitz.
http://www.simmonsgames.com/products/Austerlitz/index.html

Now he is doing Gettysburg.
http://www.simmonsgames.com/products/Gettysburg/index.html

So can anyone comment on how well it does for Kriegsspiel?
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Re: Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

Post  MJ1 on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:36 pm

Thanks for posting the links. I had not heard or seen these and they look good. I will explore the idea of buying one to play with....

And report back if I do obtain one...

Cheers


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Re: Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

Post  Martin on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:55 pm

I haven't played any in the series, but my understanding is that they play much like a traditional board wargame. There are some inovative features in terms of the map layout & combat, but you get to see what's there, unlike in a k/spiel game. The wooden blocks do allow for some fog-of-war.

Nothing to stop us using one of them as a base for an umpired game though.

I am told they have sold well, so perhaps someone out there will have played one, and can give a more informed view.

Martin


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Re: Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

Post  James Sterrett on Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:59 pm

Martin wrote:I am told they have sold well, so perhaps someone out there will have played one, and can give a more informed view.

I own and have played Marengo. The mechanics are very different from a typical wargame (and from Kriegsspiel, though there is some fog of war in not knowing enemy strength and having some dummy units to conceal complete knowledge of positions); the system works well to both create some brain-breaking dilemmas and to create a focus on maneuvering the enemy out of positions instead of bulling straight through.

I'm not sure it would convert into a Kriegsspiel well, though.

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Re: Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

Post  Martin on Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:27 pm

Thanks James. Can you explain why do don't think we could easily kriegsspiel with it?

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Re: Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

Post  James Sterrett on Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:28 am

Martin wrote:Thanks James. Can you explain why do don't think we could easily kriegsspiel with it?

Yes: the echelon of decision is the same as the echelon of interaction, and the game rewards extreme precision in play.

Your line: "Huh?" .. and thump me with a stick. Smile

Longer explanation:

Terminology first, then the separation thing, then precision:

Terms:

In an exercise, the echelon of decision is the echelon at which you want the players/students making decisions. You are the detachment commander, corps commander, etc.

The echelon of interaction is the echelon at which decisions get entered into the simulation engine -- what the the individual units that have to be controlled?

Separation:

Kriegsspiel works best when these are at least one level different, and ideally two. The players command at division, the umpires translate these into brigade plans which they execute by moving the battalion icons. The umpires take the brigade situations and report back to the player who makes new assessments and decisions, and so on.

(We use these terms and concept a lot at work to explain why an simulation for a given exercise does or doesn't need extra manpower to keep things running. If the echelon of decision matches the echelon of interaction, then the students can put their plan directly into the sim and there's no extra operators necessary....)

Precision:

Kriegsspiel functions in part through having imprecise control of a player's forces. Simmons' games present a situation in which extreme precision -- exactly this unit moves right here, then that oner moves there, then a third just so -- is needed in order to function effectively.


Keep in mind that I'm not knocking either one. I love Kriegsspiel and I think Simmons' core design is excellent. But I don't think they would mix.

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Re: Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

Post  Martin on Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:46 am

Ah I see. Many thanks for such a comprehensive (& precise) answer. Smile

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Re: Simmons: Marengo, Austerlitz, Gettysburg

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