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AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

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AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  MJ1 on Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:18 pm

So here we have a brief AAR of the game and some nice images of the map used...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/16572454@N06/sets/72157614910336757/show/

Experimenting with using Power point and saving the output as Jpegs.

Seems to work OK. You need to maximize the image for the list of forces and even then not too clear but you can just about make out the brigades involved...

MJ

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:11 pm

Looks like a good game, Mark. Wish I could have been there.

Powerpoint makes it all look very professional, but as you say the clarity could be a bit better. Do you think that will come with practice, or is it a limitation of Powerpoint?

What an excellent map.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  MJ1 on Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:19 pm

Just me trying to fit the forces into one page and I guess I could mod it to put forces used on their own page....

I presume you are talking about the list of forces not being too clear?

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:19 am

Mainly that yes. I did think the other text could have been a bit crisper. I was nevertheless able to read it ok.

Where did those maps come from?

Martin

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  MJ1 on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:12 pm

I need to post a link to maps.

Library of Congress I have been reading (last year) up on the campaign and knew Hotchkiss was part of the campaign so did a search for his maps.

The 1 Mile Sq's are a good send and allow you to estimate march speed very quickly...

Funny I bet he never thought we would still be talking about him now....

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:34 pm

Well good on him. Did he map other areas of Virginia, or just the Valley?

Martin

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  MJ1 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:28 am

He mapped loads of places...

When I get home tonight I will post a link...

I don't think all the maps have the 1 mile grid...

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  hammurabi70 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:12 pm

MJ1 wrote:He mapped loads of places...

When I get home tonight I will post a link...

I don't think all the maps have the 1 mile grid...

That would be great. bounce
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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  MJ1 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:04 pm

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/maps/hotchkiss/index.html

You will need MrSid to read maps which is a bit of software...

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/help/download_sid.html

This is the map I have used...

http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3882s.cwh00089

Ohh and you might need an ERViewer as well..

http://www.erdas.com/Products/ERDASProductInformation/tabid/84/currentid/2585/default.aspx

Allows you to view very large maps easily...

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  henridecat on Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:00 pm

You can convert these jp2 files to jpg and thence convert to an A4 paged pdf file as follows:

1) Download the map in jpg200 format from link on the above page
2) Download an install irfan viewer ( http://www.irfanview.com/)
3) Download and install irfan viewer plug ins (also http://www.irfanview.com/)
4) Open the downloaded jp2 file in irfan viewer.
5) Save it using Save As... in gif or jpg format.
7) Download & install pdf creator http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/
6) Download & install poster printery, http://www.cadkas.de/eposter!.EXE
8] Open gif/jpg in poster printery, and print it out in A4 sheets using pdf creator as your printer.
9) Open pdf & print pages on a normal printer.
10) Stick pages together. A voila.

Best way to find out how it works is to try it!
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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  nichtstadt on Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:19 pm

As others have said, the map display is very good. I have just read 'A blow to the kidneys' on the website. Again useful maps, briefings and reports from the commanders. I found it interesting to read Martin's thoughts as he receives his reports and correctly takes the view that their accuracy is to be doubted and the enemies intentions are difficult to divine. Part of the problem is that facing any gamer - what are the 'rules'? By 1864 a commander would have a much clearer idea of the 'rules' than he would have had in 1861. Perhaps this could be reflected in the umpire reports in terms of the accuracy of the information. For example a veteran cavalry unit might be graded A whilst a newspaper reporter might be graded E. The commander could be told by the umpire how his reports would be graded.

Andy (Nichtstadt)
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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  MJ1 on Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:40 pm

nichtstadt wrote:Part of the problem is that facing any gamer - what are the 'rules'? By 1864 a commander would have a much clearer idea of the 'rules' than he would have had in 1861. Perhaps this could be reflected in the umpire reports in terms of the accuracy of the information. For example a veteran cavalry unit might be graded A whilst a newspaper reporter might be graded E. The commander could be told by the umpire how his reports would be graded.

Andy (Nichtstadt)

Perhaps it is late but I am trying to get my head around what is being said here?

Could you explain a bit further as I think I am missing the point?

Are you saying that when giving some information to a player you would tell the player the grade of the information?

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:16 pm

That was how I took what Andy was saying.

I think it's a good idea, provided it's not set in stone, and the player is not given the grading scheme in detail.

So for an 1864 ACW game you could tell the player that patrol reports from veteran units are more likely to be reliable than those from less experienced ones. And that reports from civilians are likely to be less accurate still. Back in 1861, your typical unit may not be much, if any, more accurate than civilians of course.

All that said, even a veteran unit may get things wrong on occasion, for all sorts of reasons. One quick method that Richard Madder & I have used is to roll a dice to see how accurate the report is:

1 Gross underestimate
2 Underestimate
3 Broadly accurate
4 ditto
5 Overestimate
6 Gross overestimate

If the reporting unit keeps the enemy in sight, you can move the die roll towards the median by 1 the next time it reports. So the quality of reporting will probably improve over time.

You could also vary the table depending on the source of the report. Assuming it's not an email game, it needs to be quick though, or you'll slow the game down.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  nichtstadt on Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:58 am

Martin wrote:That was how I took what Andy was saying.

I think it's a good idea, provided it's not set in stone, and the player is not given the grading scheme in detail.

So for an 1864 ACW game you could tell the player that patrol reports from veteran units are more likely to be reliable than those from less experienced ones. And that reports from civilians are likely to be less accurate still. Back in 1861, your typical unit may not be much, if any, more accurate than civilians of course.

All that said, even a veteran unit may get things wrong on occasion, for all sorts of reasons. One quick method that Richard Madder & I have used is to roll a dice to see how accurate the report is:

1 Gross underestimate
2 Underestimate
3 Broadly accurate
4 ditto
5 Overestimate
6 Gross overestimate

If the reporting unit keeps the enemy in sight, you can move the die roll towards the median by 1 the next time it reports. So the quality of reporting will probably improve over time.

You could also vary the table depending on the source of the report. Assuming it's not an email game, it needs to be quick though, or you'll slow the game down.

Martin

From Nichtstadt:
Firstly a procedural thing: In order to send this should I have clicked on the reply button (as I have done) or the Post Reply button - and what is the difference? Thanks

I would take Martin's comments a little further in that whilst I would perhaps adjust his dice scoring regime to be able offer a better level of consistency and accuracy from a skilled spy or cavalry unit I really meant that the longer a commander has been working with his units then the better able he is to assess the quality of the information. So whilst the umpire would not say 'You have received a Grade A report from Agent Witherspoon at Tunstall's Landing' he might say - 'Your longstanding agent at Tunstall's landing has reported that two Confederate brigades marched through yesterday. He distinctly saw Generals James and Martin. Grainger's 2nd Va Cavalry has since confirmed marching columns that seem to bear out the presence of a formation of this size. We (ie as your staff) have had good reports from Witherspoon in the past.' On the other hand an inexperienced staff or army might say 'Col Martin's cavalry have entered the town of Hempstead. Interviews with the inhabitants reveal that the Confederates left here in panic yesterday and f you follow them up you will destroy them utterly. But frankly, General, Col Martin's cavalry were only raised two months ago and we really don't know how accurate this is likely to be.'
This may all sound rather complicated but it is really just an attempt to reflect that information gathering is a very variable science and is one of the areas that give veteran commanders a real edge - which might otherwise be difficult to reflect with the 21st century accountants or teachers who are playing them.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:09 am

Not sure about the buttons myself. Maybe the 'post' button includes the previous email in the body of your post? I'm using the 'post reply' on this, so we'll see.

Your approach on intel sounds good. Flavour and useful context.

Having the excellent Colonel Grainger corroborate the experienced agent Witherspoon increases the reliability of the intelligence significantly. Though I would still roll a dice to see exactly how accurate & complete the result is. It may be broadly correct, but missing some key details for example.

Working intelligence into games in a sophisticated way is a particular interest of mine. You've touched on one of the issues that arises re approach. Do we provide the players with the raw intelligence, or do we give them the sifted and nuanced result?

In the example given, you could provide 2 separate reports from Grainger & Witherspoon, among the others they receive, and let them work out that one seems to corrobarate the other, or you can give the players the composite view from their staff.

I think you can make a case for either approach on historical grounds, depending on period. But there is also the question of what makes for a better game........

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  nichtstadt on Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:50 pm

Well, I've pressed Post Reply which means you have to copy and paste the subject in the message template but does not include your text - in effect twice.

The question as to how you present information to a player - whether intelligence or anything else - depends,in my view, entirely on who the player is representing. If he is on his own then the information should be a synthesis presented by his staff whereas if you had separate players for the staff officers then, in the case of intelligence, you provide them with raw data.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:21 pm

The technical ways of this forum are sometimes a bit peculiar, aren't they. I'm starting to get the hang of it, but still find some things a bit counter-intuitive.

Re intel, I see your rationale Andy, and cannot fault it historically. I think I would be less rigid in my interpretation though in 2 cases:

1) Where a player is on his own in the game, but in an force where there is no trained staff. Say as commander of an 1861 ACW volunteer force, where I might give the raw intel to simulate the lack of staff capability to interpret & synthesise.

2) As a game device to keep players fully occupied. My feeling is that in a k/spiel we do not represent many of the tasks which fill a commander's day. Some of these are matters of routine, and many involve discussion with subordinates. From my own experience in business, much of this is necessary (though not all), but in any event it's very time-consuming, and difficult to avoid.

In a typical k/spiel a player is on his own, and without players representing staff, regimental and battalion commanders, to constantly refer to him for authority to do this or that, clarification of his intentions, moral support etc etc. It seems to me that giving him the raw intel to piece together may quite neatly fill that gap. Of course it does then mean he is operating at more that one level of seniority. But I am prepared to live with that abstraction, if it means that time does not weigh heavily on him, which I always feel is the greatest sin.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  nichtstadt on Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:02 pm

Well, I can't fault your reasoning there, Martin. The other reason that you might want to give a player raw intelligence is that if there are not 'staff players' to collate it then umpires have to do it and you may be short of them!

As ever it comes down to a question of game design. To go back to the beginning, however, I think that it is worth thinking about how to reflect different levels of skill in staffs and other services. We are used to doing so for the combat ability or morale of the troops they command but is just as important to do so for staff, logistics, recce and so on.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:18 pm

"Well, I can't fault your reasoning there, Martin. The other reason that you might want to give a player raw intelligence is that if there are not 'staff players' to collate it then umpires have to do it and you may be short of them!"

Very true Wink

"As ever it comes down to a question of game design. To go back to the beginning, however, I think that it is worth thinking about how to reflect different levels of skill in staffs and other services. We are used to doing so for the combat ability or morale of the troops they command but is just as important to do so for staff, logistics, recce and so on."

Good point. If circumstances warrant, you could give one side the raw data and the other the staff view for instance.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  MuseOfLife on Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:24 am

henridecat wrote:You can convert these jp2 files to jpg and thence convert to an A4 paged pdf file as follows:

7) Download & install pdf creator

A lot of pdf creators do not support 64-bit OS. Today I have discovered new PDF Creator. It works ok on my 64-bit XP.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Ike on Wed May 05, 2010 6:31 pm

Absolutely wonderful AAR! The contents were utterly fascinating and encourage me more than ever to continue with my K-S endeavors!! The presentation itself was highly professional and easily understood. It may be an artifact of age and poor vision, but the order of battle page was difficult to make out. The balance - maps, progress reports, commander/staff actions and thinking, were both readable and highly entertaining!

On the question of grading intelligence reports, giving the human player the raw intel take is a good idea, even if there are more than one player per side. I've played in campaign games using various computer game programs and "map movement, miniature battles" campaigns and one common factor is that the sides will (ought?) to organize themselves into both command and staff functions. That is, "Bob, you will command 1st Division while Ted and Herb will be your Brigade O/C's; John will take 2nd Division with George and Fred as Brigadiers; Arthur, you've got the Cavalry Division with Ralph and George-2 as your Brigadiers. Alfred, you're Corps Commander." Then, tell Alfred privately that he needs to organize a staff of at least a G-2 (intel) and G-4 (logistics) for the campaign, as maintaining supply flow will be critical and the intel will be presented in the form of raw field reports from subordinates' units, spies and other sources. Then, use an average die for reliability with 2 = highly accurate, 3 = high, 4 = low, 5 = utterly wrong. If you'd like another roll after the 3 or 4 results: 3 = 10% off, 4 = 20% off, 5 = 50% off; after a "5", either some completely fictitious report or make up a chart with various likely fictions already prepared and roll against the chart.

In my solo, non-K-S campaigns, I use the personalization rules following the examples of Henry Hyde and Tony Bath, and give my field officers numerical values for various traits and abilities and use those numbers to determine how reliable their intel is, whether they implement their orders promptly, how and if they respond to field situations which are quite different from the initial briefing and orders, and similar situations. In solo campaigns and battles, of course one must use such expedients, but I have found them to be quite useful in taking control of the battle and/or campaign out of my hands and giving it a life of its own. An adaptation of something of this sort might help with qualifying intel and other staff work - e.g., how long does it take General Santa Ana's staff to organize a movement from San Antonio de Bexar toward the Trinity River, in pursuit of General Sam Houston's retreating Texican forces? I suspect that I shall continue to use such reaction charts/tables in my solo K-S.
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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Wed May 05, 2010 7:15 pm

Some excellent ideas there Ike. Running a game for several players over a few hours limits the amount of this sort of stuff you can include, because the umpires normally have their hands full keeping the game moving. Although I think we should do more than we currently do on this sort of thing.

Have you thought about running an email k/spiel? If you went for say 2 turns per week, or whatever, you would have more time to work through all this stuff and do it justice.

Regards

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Ike on Wed May 05, 2010 9:24 pm

I have given some thought to a multi-player K-S, via emails or a forum, and limiting the turns is a straight-foward way to reduce referee burn-out and stress, as well as giving time to introduce various complexities; logistics comes to mind. Right now, however, the goal is to become proficient with the K-S rules themselves both as a referee and a player. Once comfortable with K-S, considering various ways to use it as the tactical rules set in a larger campaign context - easiest of course is just a lot of K-S scaled maps as with the Metz maps - and I'll be doing a fair amount of solo-gaming to reach that point. Once there, I can begin to work out details and see what rules etc would usefully transfer from solo to multi gaming. There's the possibility of using Cyberboard, or Skype in conjunction with some other online "whiteboard" program, there are a couple of FRPG programs out there which might be useful ... forums, emails, oh! my! Laughing But I must walk before I can run.


Last edited by Ike on Wed May 05, 2010 9:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : omission of key phrases)
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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Martin on Thu May 06, 2010 3:29 pm

Best of luck whichever way you go.

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Re: AAR - ACW Valley Campaign Held 21st Feb 2009 UK - Woodford

Post  Ike on Thu May 06, 2010 5:42 pm

Thank you, sir, and I'll try to post here from time to time with AAR's and "lessons-learned" and perhaps a link to a photo or two.
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