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Kriegspiel, objectives, scenarios and SoW

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Kriegspiel, objectives, scenarios and SoW

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:56 pm

Ike wrote:One of the frustrating aspects of SOW, for those of us who have not played enough to be entirely familiar with the terrain and likely location of the opposing forces and objectives, is trying to determine what our mission is, where the objective might be located and where the blazes we are on the map. While locating one's position via comparison of the visible terrain features vis a vis the map is entirely practical in real life, I have had quite a bit of difficulty in doing the same in SOW. No criticism intended, but it's very hard to do, at least in the allowed time before the AI or one's more experienced opponents begin to manuever.

For that reason, unless we have a battle arising in such a way that the objective(s) can be clearly stated in the pre-game briefing, e.g., "Escort the supply convoy from (some specific location which is also where your forces appear at game start) along the Emmittsburg Pike to the south map edge", then we ought to retain the objective icons.

It may be possible to make a mod which has a sufficiently descriptive briefing to allow the icons to be removed or which has enough time either before the game is started for the battle or immediately after start to enable the players to locate themselves and their objectives .. in fact, I'm certain it can be done, using the "Officers' Call" rooms on the TS server for each side to have a short briefing period prior to the battle.
Ike, please forgive me for quoting you and bringing your quoted post to a new thread as we were going off-topic in the HITS Game Improvements thread.

Baylor and I were discussing exactly this the other night. Using the accepted Kreigspiel format, each team should be given a few minutes of time, after the game has loaded but before anyone sends a courier or moves any troops, to review their forces, the ground (aka map), possible enemy forces (and their possible locations), and any objectives. A scenario could be written in advance by the host with a couple of basic tactical objectives put in place (not silver badges floating in the sky), or they could be very quickly decided upon from the map by the host and given to both teams in a TS written note (note: the host cannot therefore be the commander of either side).

The game clock would be running but we could stipulate that troops may only be set in motion after 5 or 10 minutes while the objectives and orders group meets.

The OC would in fact issue his initial orders during this briefing as he would in a normal Kriegspiel so the forces could set off smartly after 5 minutes with the first couriers being either corrections of direction if things were misunderstood or contact reports.

For those of you who have the Antietam add-on the part of the east side of the map that covers Antietam Creek has a very nice depiction of Burnsides Bridge. Now in SoW there is no uncrossable terrain so every mountain is climbable and every river fordable (albeit slowly) by all units but there is no reason we cannot create scenarios which state that a river is uncrossable except at bridges or recognized fords. An assault across an otherwise unfordable Antietam Creek by a much stronger force vs a smaller but prepared defence would make an excellent scenario.
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Re: Kriegspiel, objectives, scenarios and SoW

Post  Ike on Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:03 pm

No problem. I agree with your post and think that once I can mod with reliability and understand what's in the scenario files it will be possible to make up some one-off battles which are just what you're talking about there. With pre-battle preparation, we can have a map, OOB's for each side and a briefing sheet for each side - one side doesn't get the other's OOB and briefing, but after a few go-rounds, I think that tactical secrecy is lost in that regard. Then, prior to starting the battle, we can sit in the TS server in one of the planning/briefing rooms and do exactly what you prescribe and have the five to ten minute time limit easily enforced, etc, without any discomfort caused by a scenario in which the sides start too close together to have five minutes. Smile

If not exactly that then something which does the same job as what you've set out. We can do that and I'll be working on the modding for it. Antietam maps are likely to be needed by "HITS and couriers" players for the reasons you've set out. In addition, there is some fine terrain that I hear isn't often used in the scenarios that derive from that addition. More later, sir.
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Re: Kriegspiel, objectives, scenarios and SoW

Post  Martin on Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:18 pm

Excellent points from both of you.

As you guys know, we used the 5-minute rule in last nights game and that seemed fine. Once we get into a groove with user mods and pre-briefings, we can probably avoid that if the briefings go out well before the game and the teams have been previously agreed. They can then discuss plans by email before the game if they wish.

To extend Ik'e point about knowing where you are on the map etc, I think we will find a similar issue when we step up to corps level games - which I am keen to do. In sandbox, the game deploys all elements of a division in the same place. Now some divisions can be quite large, so it is not always clear, even to the commander, where all the brigades & batteries are, but the 5 minutes discussion seemed to sort that, at least for us Billy Yanks.

For corps & army level sandbox games though, the divisions of a corps can be distributed quite widely accross the map. In some cases even a few miles apart, so a 5-minute chat is even more important. Of course a user scenario will eliminate the entire problem, unless the designer wishes it to be a problem of course. We have sometimes run k/spiel scenarios where one side has widely separated forces, initially out of contact - eg a 'converging columns' type scenario.

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Re: Kriegspiel, objectives, scenarios and SoW

Post  Ike on Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:14 pm

And, in modded scenarios, we can include in the briefing 'papers' information about where the various columns are arriving from, in the general sense. Just as in the real life Gettysburg battle, the Confederate forces were converging on Gettysburg to rejoin the separated corps and the Federal forces were doing the same; the Army CO's and the various Corps CO's didn't know precisely where their scattered units were at any given moment, but knew in general where they had been and what route they were taking to arrive in the vicinity of Gettysburg. Similar information can be provided in modded scenarios.

This is not to say that all corps- and army-level user scenarios ought to feature widely scattered forces, just that it will be possible and some information will be available to the players so that they have some notion of where to look for their other corps or divisions. Once in a while, perhaps a 'Stuart takes a walk-about' scenario might have a corps out of touch to the extent that army and other corps CO's won't have that information and will have to await the arrival of the prodigal. Wink
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