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Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

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Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Martin on Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:10 pm

Have started this thread, in response to the various comments and questions from The Father General, Digby, Cleburne, Blaugrana and others on kriegsspiel, and how that might affect the way we play the Gettysburg PC game. This post is mainly directed at those who have played Gettysburg and not kriegsspiel, and I thought it might help if I first say a few words on the original Prussian game and the larger kriegsspiel group.

Kriegsspiel is a map game played between teams, which was used by the Prussian army from the 1820s as a means of training young officers in the command of regiments, brigades, divisions and corps. A senior officer would create a scenario prior to each game, and brief each team individually of the forces available to them, their own objectives, and what they did or didn't know about the enemy. A team of experienced officers acted as umpires, and handled such issues as combat resolution, fog-of-war and communication by couriers.

Prussian victories later encouraged the spread of the game to other armies, and it also came to be played by civilians for a while in the later 19th C for its entertainment value.

Our kriegsspiel group started in the mid 1980s, and we originally just played the vanilla Prussian game, although our scenarios could be set in the Napoleonic period, or later in the ACW or Franco-Prussian War. There was no reason why the approach should be limited to horse & musket warfare of course, and as time went on we experimented with games in different periods, from the English Civil War to WW2 (yes and now Zombies!).

The group consists of over 200 people, not all of whom are registered on the forum......for reasons I have never been able to establish Very Happy Many of these folks are in the UK but perhaps half are in Continental Europe, the USA and elsewhere. Even of those in the UK, only a minority ever make it to our face-to-face games because they live too far away. Kriegsspiels are also occasionally run in Italy and the States.

One of the Gettysburg players is now a valued regular attendee for our face-to-face UK kriegsspiels. Several of the kriegsspielers have experimented with Gettysburg, and about half a dozen have tried it MP in small games with me. They have all been positive about the game. So far though, only a couple have played in our larger MP games, and that only infrequently. This lack of overlap is a disappointment to me and something I would like to see change.

That said, I have never heard any of the kriegsspielers express anything but positive views on Gettysburg, and the arrival of those who play it on our forum. They are very similar as a group to our Gettysburg players - friendly and welcoming. As with our online games, the face-to-face kriegsspiels are played in an excellent spirit and with a fair degree of humour.

That's long enough for a first post (and I now need a another cup of tea). I'll post further shortly, and will try and pick-up on some of the specific issues raised in the recent exchange of posts.

Martin

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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Martin on Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:52 pm

What follows is a personal view. I cannot claim to represent the wider kriegsspiel group, which at the moment has no formal structure at all. Crazy shambolic dudes, the lot of 'em Shocked

Scripting

I think you need some element of scripting when designing a scenario, or the strengths, positions, objectives etc of the forces will exist in a vacuum, which will not be satisfying for the players. Neal mentioned the possibility that one side may occasionally be required to put in an attack, or act on the defensive. That does not seem unreasonable to me, as real life commanders did sometimes receive this type of mission. Our face-to-face kriegsspiels sometimes mandate this too, if the military situation requires it.

It's really a case of how prescriptive you are. The risk is that the scripting is so heavy-handed that it leaves the players no real scope to develop their own plans. An objective with only one solution would be an example. So would a prescribed method of attack.

As far as Neal's suggested scripted campaign goes, it's not something that we've done before in the kriegsspiel group. I could understand if some didn't want to go that route as, presumably, further battles in the campaign would derive solely from the FG's fertile imagination rather than any player input. Perhaps it's a case of advertise it and see what sort of take-up there is? For myself, I would be happy to sign-up.

Fictional generals & big personalities

I don't think fictional generals are a problem per se. In our traditional kriegsspiels we normally fight fictional battles, set in fictional wars, featuring fictional generals.............as the old 19th C military training games did also.

The Father General is something else, of course. But I actually rather enjoyed playing him, and was happy to develop a plan in accordance with his notoriously quirky military approach. It certainly represents a constraint on one's freedom of action however, so I can again appreciate that others will feel differently. It's clearly not a good idea for anyone who feels this way to be allocated the FG's role. Is the solution for all such to join the Union side, where they can hopefully chortle at his antics and profit from his nutty behaviour?

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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Cleburne on Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:59 pm

Thanks Martin
That tells the story and points us in the right direction for most of the topic.
Thank you for explaining the framework of the main group.
I must still ask though , regarding the influx of new members to the forums and the teamspeak server,is there some sort of protocol that is in place regarding what times they may come or not?
Some of the current member group express a desire to make sure new members are patched and modded etc before joining any "scenario" or "campaign" battles.
I agree with this idea too,it makes sense of course, but i think we need to be clearer on it or risk losing some of the potential members in the broken communications that often follow without a template in place.
For example at GCM new players are always welcome at any time and someone will step aside to help them to get patched,modded,anything else that's required before they are entered into a battle with the main group.Sometimes this isn't fool proof and people's time does get wasted.This is just an unfortunate side effect of bringing in the new folks.
At the HITS teamspeak server there is often nobody present for hours and even days at a time.In this instance how would new members know where to meet a member other than posting and arranging here on this forum.
Maybe a clearer detailed induction thread might be the way to look.

What do you suggest is a guideline to follow?
Should players just show at the teamspeak?Contact someone here at the forum?
Email support? Laughing
I think it is a point that needs to be cleared up somewhat.
I don't want to encourage any one else to show up that might get a feeling they are unwelcome.


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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Uncle Billy on Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:02 pm

Is the solution for all such to join the Union side, where they can hopefully chortle at his antics and profit from his nutty behaviour?
Of course it is. Plenty of silverware and young lovelies to go around. Very Happy
Gen. M.T. Georgia

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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Martin on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:39 pm

Cleburne wrote:................In this instance how would new members know where to meet a member other than posting and arranging here on this forum.
Maybe a clearer detailed induction thread might be the way to look.

What do you suggest is a guideline to follow?
Should players just show at the teamspeak?Contact someone here at the forum?
Email support? Laughing
I think it is a point that needs to be cleared up somewhat.
I don't want to encourage any one else to show up that might get a feeling they are unwelcome.
Yes, you raise some good questions. And I think you're right that we do need to do more to encourage new players to join us. The last thing we want is to appear unfriendly and stand-offish.

The original idea was to give new players experience in sandbox games, so that any technical issues would be ironed-out before trying to play a scenario. But that only works if there are reasonably frequent sandbox games.

Here's one thought. Summer with its distractions is now over, and we do have more players in the group.............half a dozen have joined since May. So it should be possible to restart regular games during the week. I could commit to most Thursday evenings (UK time) for example, and perhaps others could do Fridays. Some of our American members can make 'evening' games, and some of those might still be on-hand as those in the midwest and California get home from work, so the session as a whole might last several hours, with folks putting in what time they can. Perhaps we should aim for shorter games too, so if anyone comes into the forum mid-game, we can ask them to check back in 20 or 30 minutes.

I don't think we actually need large games for this purpose, just 2-4 vs the AI would be fine for ironing-out any gremlins. Newcomers might even prefer a small game initially and feel less pressured to perform?

Hopefully others will contribute to this discussion now you've set the ball rolling. Once a plan (not necessarily this one) is agreed, then we can go all-out to publicise it on the NSD and Matrix forums.

Martin

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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Martin on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:41 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:
Is the solution for all such to join the Union side, where they can hopefully chortle at his antics and profit from his nutty behaviour?
Of course it is. Plenty of silverware and young lovelies to go around. Very Happy
Gen. M.T. Georgia
Of course they might have similar objections to Gen Georgia and his antics. No. Perish the thought........

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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Blaugrana on Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:26 pm

Martin wrote: The original idea was to give new players experience in sandbox games, so that any technical issues would be ironed-out before trying to play a scenario. But that only works if there are reasonably frequent sandbox games.

Here's one thought. Summer with its distractions is now over, and we do have more players in the group.............half a dozen have joined since May. So it should be possible to restart regular games during the week. I could commit to most Thursday evenings (UK time) for example, and perhaps others could do Fridays. Some of our American members can make 'evening' games, and some of those might still be on-hand as those in the midwest and California get home from work, so the session as a whole might last several hours, with folks putting in what time they can. Perhaps we should aim for shorter games too, so if anyone comes into the forum mid-game, we can ask them to check back in 20 or 30 minutes.
Martin
I agree, Martin, that we should aim for more regular sandbox games and I will try to attend. I am currently adjusting to my son's start at secondary school and the resulting changes in the weekly timetable. I think Wednesday evenings are looking good for me, plus some Sundays.

I agree some shorter, smaller games would be good. The natural tendency to 'wait until everyone is here' can lead to lots of waiting around but not doing so can appear curmudgeonly. Not sure how we can square that circle...

Regards,

Jeff
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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Father General on Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:16 pm

Martin, thank you for your post. The background and perspective is enlightening.

I do know that FG is rather over the top--but really, that's the point. It is all in good fun, of course, and I do take everything on here and in the games rather seriously, despite the fact I have a bit too much fun at times.

I adore the model you have described and I greatly enjoy the manner of gameplay we have at present. I agree with all your views on how a campaign should be scripted -- not too lose, nor too tightly.

I'd like to be part of something larger than occasional games and sporadic scenarios. I have always enjoyed campaigns/careers throughout all my gaming past. It didn't matter if I was shooting down Nazis in my Hurricane, or smashing entrenched Germans on the fields of France, I have always enjoyed games where there are consequences, rewards, and carryovers, all in the context of something larger than myself. I enjoy the time before a battle, after reading a summary of conditions and objectives and working out in my mind just how I will do the greatest harm to the enemy or the least damage to myself. I like to pour over maps and ponder.

The only way I get all this is with a campaign, ergo my advocacy.

But while I want a campaign, I do not want to water-down realism. I like characters, but I agree, characters can be a limiting factor in more extreme cases (like the FG). I suppose my answer to that is everyone can be their own character. If they wish to script a personality and be bound to it, that's fine, and if not, then that's fine too.

I like this group and would enjoy working with everyone here on something that fits my ambition. But I don't feel like I need to be in charge, nor do I need to make all the decisions.

I think we agree on virtually every point. So I suppose the next step is to arrange implementation with willing individuals. Should I do that on here, or take the discussion to NSD?

-Neal
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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Blaugrana on Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:30 pm

Father General wrote:So I suppose the next step is to arrange implementation with willing individuals. Should I do that on here, or take the discussion to NSD?

-Neal
And, when appropriate, on the Matrix forum?

There's an 'Opponents Wanted' sub-forum:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=1125

Jeff
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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Martin on Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:05 pm

You're welcome Neal.

I don't see why you shouldn't lead on it. It's your idea after all, and you are most likely to drive it through. No doubt others will chip-in with suggestions & advice. The issue you raise on whether to allow players to choose to develop their own character is one on which there might be a range of views. You could also have a halfway house to allow players to opt for either Union or Confederate. It's difficult to see poor ole Uncle Billy being forced to play a d*mned reb for example. You could perhaps doodle to get an idea of numbers and what options folks would like re this issue?

Why not have the discussion here, and then advertise on NSD (and yes, Matrix too Jeff), when you've firmed things up and have a complete story to pitch?

This could be a good way for us to gain more recruits. As we've seen, the HITS & Couriers enthusiasts eventually end-up with us anyway, but there may well be others who are more attracted by the campaign aspect. We can hopefully suck these poor saps in to our style of game without them realising!

Martin

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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Uncle Billy on Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:11 pm

It's difficult to see poor ole Uncle Billy being forced to play a d*mned reb for example.
As a freebooter, I don't let ideology get in the way of good table service. Smile

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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

Post  Martin on Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:28 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:
It's difficult to see poor ole Uncle Billy being forced to play a d*mned reb for example.
As a freebooter, I don't let ideology get in the way of good table service. Smile
That does you great credit. Can I have my spoons back now?

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Re: Gettysburg meets Kriegsspiel

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