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Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Martin on Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:18 pm

Hi Ike

Yes I've got your email and responded. Thanks.

In other news, our pool of potential players is up to 18, but we have not been as successful in getting games played. I have tentative on-line games agreed with 3 first-time multiplayers in the next week or so, so hopefully we will pick-up speed soon on that front.

I've also made contact with a member of the Norbsoft team who seems particularly interested in further developing Gettysburg:SOW along k/spiel lines. He is encouraging me to post any ideas for improvements in that regard on the Norbsoft forum. Here are a couple that occurred to me, and I would welcome any comments on these, plus other suggestions from anyone else....

1. At the moment players have access to a mini-map of the battlefield, which shows whether any of the objectives are possessed by either side. In reality you would only have known if the enemy held somewhere if someone rode over and saw them. I'm suggesting that this information is removed from the map at 'Historical' difficulty.

2. Players currently have a constant read-out of friendly & opposing casualties. Again in actual battles casualty information would have needed to come up the chain of command from brigadiers, even if they had it. In the absence of computers, and in the heat of battle this was just not possible in 1863. Here the suggestion is to eliminate any casualty information for say division commander & above at 'Historical' difficulty. Nothing to stop senior officers riding over to a brigade commander and checking his OOB of course, but you're not going to be able to do that consistently for every brigade in a corps or army. Indeed I may be being too generous, and perhaps casualties should only be available at regiment level?

Thoughts anyone, before I go back to him?

Martin

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Ike on Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:05 pm

I agree with your first with one qualification: we add a brigade or two - depending upon the size of the battle - to each side's OOB to give us the some ability to scout out the enemy's positions. Note that the size of this cavalry attachment ought to be small enough to avoid flooding the battlefield with scouts thereby defeating the purpose of this first amendment.

I agree with your second, with one qualification: the player - regardless of his level of command - ought to know or have some idea however dim as to the extent of casualties in his subordinate units ... well, at second thought, perhaps not. The "... riding over to a brigade commander and checking his OOB .." seems to deal with that. Occasionally, I forget that Gettysburg's attraction is the 'fog of war' which includes information on one's own troops. So, unqualified agreement with your second.

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Martin on Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:26 pm

Ike wrote:I agree with your first with one qualification: we add a brigade or two - depending upon the size of the battle - to each side's OOB to give us the some ability to scout out the enemy's positions. Note that the size of this cavalry attachment ought to be small enough to avoid flooding the battlefield with scouts thereby defeating the purpose of this first amendment.

Good point Ike. I've been playing around with OOBs for a few weeks and often do do this. I've found you need to treat the detachment as a brigade (or above) in the OOB, as regimental commanders do not send messages. Of course you can call him anything you like. In one divisional OOB I added a spy company of just 30 men which appears in the game as commanded by a captain, although in the OOB he is a brigadier (all OOBs are on spreadsheets btw).

That said, the lack of scouting is less of a problem in MP, even with the small 2 & 3 player games which are all we've played so far. Having more than one pair of human eyes makes a big difference.

Ike wrote:I agree with your second, with one qualification: the player - regardless of his level of command - ought to know or have some idea however dim as to the extent of casualties in his subordinate units ... well, at second thought, perhaps not. The "... riding over to a brigade commander and checking his OOB .." seems to deal with that. Occasionally, I forget that Gettysburg's attraction is the 'fog of war' which includes information on one's own troops. So, unqualified agreement with your second.

Yes, the CinC can do the riding around thing, but my guess is that he would have no time for anything else if he aimed for completeness. When we get to larger games with, say, human corps commander, 2 divisional commanders, and some human brigadiers, I think we will see a partial flow of info up the chain of command, and it won't all come at the same time. The big man will no doubt do some riding around, but will also be dependent on his divisional commanders giving him information. And of course they won't be able to spend all their own time collecting it for him. Even if their human brigadiers report regularly, they will have to ride to their pc-ones and collect in themselves, or make a guess from what they can see from some way away. So overall, a bit of a messy process, which I think is what it was.

Martin

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Ike on Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:10 pm

I agree with your assessment of how things will work when we have Corps-level MP games with nearly a full roster of generals. Especially if we have TS channels set up whereby players have to stay in the channel for their division and one must send a courier to provide info to the Corps, unless of course one's avatar general is near - how far, by the way? - the Corps commander.

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  CoB4thTEXAS on Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:37 pm

I also agree with the 2000 yard sight distance. Most of the time, unless your on a high hill, you generally can not see that far.

It is true that the fact that you get way to much info from clicking on the enemy flag, if I sight the IX corps I will do one thing, if I sight the 1st Corps I would do something else. It would be nice if you got something like “U.S.A. Regiment”or “C.S.A. Regiment” when you click on distance flags, depending on what color out-fit your wearing of course.

I'm sure Binoculars would extend line of sight a lot farther.

As far as casualties goes, this could be fixed by tool bar mod, with-out the need of patch or the like,
but there a limit of one (1) mod running in MP games at the moment, so will have to pick and chose, one mod or the other.

In earlier post about use of roads, roads should be used simply for the no fatigue bonus, but a unit moving across country pays plenty in time lost, ½ to ¾ of a mile a unit will lose half its fatigue points at the double-time, depending on number of fences and creeks to cross.


The use or non-use of objectives on the map are not that big of deal to me, and agree that they should not turn any color when occupied by one side or the other. That said the timing should be longer than 45 minutes for a unit to secure the objective.

I would ask one question now, what rifle range would everyone like to use?

*S*

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Ike on Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:11 am

Well, since one of the defining military metrics of the ACW is that the infantry rifles outranged most cannister/grape, how about just a bit longer than cannister range ... what would that be, about 220 yards? Whatever exact distance that would be, that's what my choice for rifle range would be. Also helps keep the cavalry at a respectful distance. Smile

Also, using the in-game Binoculars for too long takes you away from your command and its immediate problems and opportunities, just as it does in real time, so I don't think 'Binocular' use will be much of a problem in terms of players knowing too much about enemy dispositions.

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Tim Carne on Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:02 pm

Just a thought about roads. Units on roads have a long column length (see the Baring translation of KS for some examples).

The way I understand it a corps would be on the march and then have to assemble into something more suitable for imminent combat. Once assembled it is more sensible to use field columns to move into combat areas. This is more manageable for the general than a long snakeing road column.

For some miniatures I have 4 states, road, assembly, column of manoeuvre and deployed. Assembly is good for packing the corp into a small space before decisions are taken for deployment. Reserves are also held in assembly state (close columns with little or no intervals between regiments).

The decision to leave road mode (or to enter it again) is potential a key generalship skill (as well as many others).


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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Tim Carne on Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:06 pm

Another one. My main interest is Napoleonics and I am aware of a level of reliance on visual and audio information for the commander to judge the progress of the battle. Napoleon is quoted as following the progress of Davout at Wagram by noting the change in position of the smoke.

The sound of the guns is also another consideration. Can the commander become aware of the arrival of a flanking corp by sounds in the distance.

Where I am going with this is that reports and orders have their place but there is more besides.

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Martin on Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:44 pm

Tim Carne wrote:Another one. My main interest is Napoleonics and I am aware of a level of reliance on visual and audio information for the commander to judge the progress of the battle. Napoleon is quoted as following the progress of Davout at Wagram by noting the change in position of the smoke.

The sound of the guns is also another consideration. Can the commander become aware of the arrival of a flanking corp by sounds in the distance.

Where I am going with this is that reports and orders have their place but there is more besides.

Excellent points Tim. I think the game reflects some of this, but not all.

There is definitely smoke on the battlefield, but I haven't really noticed whether you can use it from a distance to make deductions. I'll been on the look-out now.

You can certainly hear cannon fire from quite a long way away. Indeed this is often the first indication you get that action has started somewhere. I don't sense that you can make a judgement of distance & direction of fire however (at least I seem unable to), and that is something that Napoleon et al could sometimes do, depending on wind direction etc.

You do hear the approach of marching troops, sometimes before you see them, depending on LOS.

What you don't see is dust clouds, which could sometimes be seen from further away than the troops, again dependent on weather conditions. Supposedly, on a good day, skilled observers could even distinguish between infantry dust & cavalry dust.

Happy to put something forward, but it would need to be fairly specific I think.

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  DavidC on Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:51 pm

Ike wrote:Well, since one of the defining military metrics of the ACW is that the infantry rifles outranged most cannister/grape, how about just a bit longer than cannister range ... what would that be, about 220 yards? Whatever exact distance that would be, that's what my choice for rifle range would be. Also helps keep the cavalry at a respectful distance. Smile

Ike,

Max Canister range was nearer 350 - 400 yards. The essential difference was that in the Napoleonic period not even rifles were good enough to take on gunners at that range, let alone the muskets the majority were armed with. Whereas in ACW skirmishers could be 100 - 150 yards further out than that and still win a prize!

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Ike on Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:59 pm

David C: Yes, I recognize that the real world ranges were different. I was referring to - without saying so, of course Embarassed - ranges in the game. Apologies for not being clearer on that. The ranges in the game for the various weapons are not the same numbers as their real-life prototypes, you see.

Martin (et al): Part of the difficulty in seeing dust and determining direction for cannon fire in SOW is that your location is sitting on your horse. If you are on a significant rise of ground - relatively higher than the immediately surrounding terrain that is - you can see some dust and I have been able to distinguish the apparent direction of the sound of cannon or musketry on occasion. I'm using headphones and a they have a stereo capability or at least something of that; for instance, in Red Orchestra, I can tell from footsteps whether my enemy is approaching from my right or from my left. I suspect that a similar thing is occuring in SOW. That said, one needs to be a bit higher in order to do that, because if one's surrounding terrain is higher, then the sound is scattered by that higher terrain - or something like that, eh? - and that makes direction-finding by sound quite difficult. (Not game mechanics, that observation, but from my military service. Wink )

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  DavidC on Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:26 pm

Ike wrote:David C: Yes, I recognize that the real world ranges were different. I was referring to - without saying so, of course Embarassed - ranges in the game. Apologies for not being clearer on that. The ranges in the game for the various weapons are not the same numbers as their real-life prototypes, you see.

Martin (et al): Part of the difficulty in seeing dust and determining direction for cannon fire in SOW is that your location is sitting on your horse. If you are on a significant rise of ground - relatively higher than the immediately surrounding terrain that is - you can see some dust and I have been able to distinguish the apparent direction of the sound of cannon or musketry on occasion. I'm using headphones and a they have a stereo capability or at least something of that; for instance, in Red Orchestra, I can tell from footsteps whether my enemy is approaching from my right or from my left. I suspect that a similar thing is occuring in SOW. That said, one needs to be a bit higher in order to do that, because if one's surrounding terrain is higher, then the sound is scattered by that higher terrain - or something like that, eh? - and that makes direction-finding by sound quite difficult. (Not game mechanics, that observation, but from my military service. Wink )

Ike,

No problem, apologies for being a 'button counter'! Smile

Regarding sound. Most important thing is to have it turned on! Switched off my speakers by accident yesterday and nearly got captured wandering into a fire fight I hadn't seen!


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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Ike on Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:44 pm

David C: Yes, I have the same problem with my ears ... have an allergy to mountain cedar and in the winter here in Texas, it's something fierce and my ears plug up a bit. Unfortunately, there's no 'on-off' switch for that, though. Laughing No apology necessary, sir!

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Martin on Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:36 pm

Ike wrote:I agree with your assessment of how things will work when we have Corps-level MP games with nearly a full roster of generals. Especially if we have TS channels set up whereby players have to stay in the channel for their division and one must send a courier to provide info to the Corps, unless of course one's avatar general is near - how far, by the way? - the Corps commander.

The method we've been using in our small trial games is that you have to ride right up to the other general to chat directly, Ike. In general, when in doubt, our guiding principles are what happened historically (or what do we think happened) and what would we do in real life. Difficult enough to shout a conversation from several yards away, but in battle with cannon-fire etc it would often be impossible.

It occasionally presents a problem when you ride towards a colleague, but he doesn't see you and gallops off in another direction. Still, that's life I guess Very Happy

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Re: Finally a kriegsspiel on the PC? Gettysburg: Scourge of War review

Post  Martin on Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:54 pm

CoB4thTEXAS wrote: As far as casualties goes, this could be fixed by tool bar mod, with-out the need of patch or the like, but there a limit of one (1) mod running in MP games at the moment, so will have to pick and chose, one mod or the other.

What a good idea! Also I didn't realise about the mod limit in MP, so thanks for that, CoB4TEXAS. My initial feeling re mods was that we should try and avoid them for the MP games, as agreeing mods and ensuring all players had them downloaded & enabled was another technical hurdle. But maybe I'm being too cautious?

CoB4thTEXAS wrote: In earlier post about use of roads, roads should be used simply for the no fatigue bonus, but a unit moving across country pays plenty in time lost, ½ to ¾ of a mile a unit will lose half its fatigue points at the double-time, depending on number of fences and creeks to cross.

Ah I begin to see the light. I ran some tests a few months ago on the Alpine map and found there was little difference in speed between road & cross-country over a 5-6 mile march. Your reference to fences may be the key point, as there are none of either on the Alpine map, and plenty of wide open spaces. I can imagine you're quite right re the Gettysburg maps, which are stuffed full of fences & walls.

CoB4thTEXAS wrote: The use or non-use of objectives on the map are not that big of deal to me, and agree that they should not turn any color when occupied by one side or the other. That said the timing should be longer than 45 minutes for a unit to secure the objective.

Agreed re 45 minutes. What we will normally be aiming to do is use one of the larger maps, to allow space & time for manoeuvre, rather than getting straight into action. I had envisaged a minimum game length of 2 hours for such a game, and we may sometimes need 3 or 4. But all that would depend on what players are happy with. In our trial game on Thursday, we played a small sandbox game for about 90 minutes, with just 10 or 15 minutes manoeuvring, and it was still great fun.

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