Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
« January 2008 »
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Churchill Design
Design Diary
Empire of the Sun
For The People Material
Wargame Design Musings
Wargaming For Leaders
Washington's War
CIO Insight Reference Links
Must-read Books
Leadership Blog
Buy/Order Wargaming for Leaders
Barnes & Noble
Wargaming for Leaders
Book Site
Mark Herman's Wargaming Blog
Sunday, 27 January 2008
Wargame Order of Battle
Topic: Wargame Design Musings
Wargame Design Musings

 I have been considering starting a blog. There are a couple of reasons, but the most compelling is it can be a place to collect my thoughts around game design in one place as opposed to distributing them across several message boards. Another strong reason is it is another thing that I haven't yet done, so it is another of life's little experiments. I will start with a post I recently made on CSW. I will spend some time collecting up from CSW some of my more important posts so they can reside in one location. More to follow as the mood hits me. 

Some thoughts on OOB...

Consider this a random set of designer thoughts. I have seen a number of posts on numerous CSW and BGG posts concerning players perceptions of what an accurate game OB is or is not. My conclusion is that the common view is an historical detailed OB for a Pacific Wargame, although this thought process seems to cut across subject considerations, contains a minimum of a division OB, some special units, and all of the Capital ships. Based on this critieria EoTS is considered to have an ok historical OB, but lacks detail.

I would like to challenge this view. I would also state that an OB should be appropriate to how the units were used and the scale of the wargame. So, here is how I see it (it goes without saying that I have a parochial view on this, but who doesn't). Every ground formation at the Corps or Army level is included and carries the correct historical designation. All divisions that fought in the conflict are included within this structure that I feel is appropriate for a strategic game. I chose to show individual Marine units at the division level for the US and lower level for the Japanese as they were used in this manner. Plus, one of my design preferences is to show some of my favorite elite units (e.g., Chindits, Flying Tigers) as it adds to my view of the fun factor.

Every naval unit, including every DD, CL etc., is accounted for within the Naval TF groupings that I organized the naval forces around. I chose to show a couple of special naval units, such as the Tokyo Express surface unit (APD) and such as they operated independently for a significant portion of the war.

From my reading and analysis the Pacific war was dominated by land based airpower, so it is curious that this area of OB is usually not discussed. The one area that EoTS has chosen to include in the design with the same level of detail as the land and naval components is the air OB. EoTS does not use air SPs, but has each and every air formation included in the game at the Air Force, Air Flotilla, Air Division, level of detail. Where these air formations (not SPs) were located were a major strategic consideration during the war. I guess this is not an important component of an accurate Pacific War OB as I am not aware of too many other Pacific wargames that include this level of detail. To take a shot at myself, my Pacific War game suffers from the same issue, something I learned from and corrected in EoTS and will rectify in a future reprint of PacWar. I find it interesting that leaving this element out of a wargame's OB still allows the design to claim it has a more historical OB than another design. What I am not saying is that EoTS has the most complete anything, to include OB, but when others post their views and leave out the air element, I just find the logic curious...

I just wanted to get my view of what an historical OB should contain from my perspective.


Posted by markherman at 7:30 PM EST
Share This Post Share This Post
Post Comment | Permalink
For The People Material
Topic: For The People Material

 This topic is a collection of some pretty deep analyses that I wrote for the CSW FTP topic. I wanted to collect some of the longer pieces in this location, so I can reference them when I need them.




I wanted to give some perspective on the FTP naval game. First off the tactics.

There are two situations ungarrisoned and garrisoned coastal forts. In the ungarrisoned fort case if the Union amphibious modifiers are 0 or +1 then 1 sp always loses due to 7.33A and 2 sp always wins due to 6.81. In this situation 3 sp is overkill. This was the basic historical model that I used. I could have made it possible for a more varied set of results, but there was no historical model to draw other results from. CSA coastal forts never held out very long unless they were backed by strong infantry forces. The two key historical models were the many small coastal actions, Ft Pulaski, and Ft Sumter (Charleston). If you throw more Union modifiers into the mix you can have a 16% chance of winning with 1 sp (because you cancel the benefit of the fort, so the South can roll a one and get a zero result).

The basic idea behind the CSA amphibious modifiers is that they reduce the Union chances of getting an "*" result in garrisoned fort situations.

If the fort is garrisoned, and the Union amphibious modifier is 0 or +1 then Union attacks with 1 or 2 sp always lose and the only probability is whether the CSA sp is elminated also. If the fort is garrisoned versus 3 sp, then the probability is 33% chance for success (force ratio modifiers are after amphibious, so they cannot be canceled - this is the Ft Pulaski model - a short siege).

If you increase the Union amphibious modifiers to 2 then you cancel the fort which brings in the 16% chance of a CSA dr of 1 in the 1 or 2 sp case. The 3 sp case gives the Union a 42% chance (doing this in my head, but its something like that).

If you increase the Union amphibious modifier to greater than 2 then a 2sp attack has a chance of victory, and a 3 sp attack becomes a very viable assault.

That is the tactical situation. The key to the naval game is understanding the tactical cases coupled with the Anaconda part of the game. Their are 12 blockade runner ports, but effectively there are 10 since Pensacola begins closed (I made it a marker for a future optional set up) and Ft Monroe starts Union controlled (and historically remained that way - although it can be recaptured by the CSA). The Union should try to close around one blockade runner port per turn to ensure shutting down the Southern blockade runner sps by the end of the game.

The South has three basic options for defending its coastline. The first option is to basically ignore it and use all of the sps it saves for other purposes. This puts the onus of exploiting the situation on the North. If the North doesn't do anything about it, the South comes out ahead.

The second option is to quickly garrison all ungarrisoned forts on gt 2 with a cordon defense. The only downside here is the South early in the game has alot fewer sps on their border which if the Union is aggressive can cause some significant early game problems. The South can also do this more gradually, but this leaves more coastline undefended longer.

The third option is the selected defense in depth. In this option, the South forgoes the cordon defense since it is equally weak everywhere and garrisons a key blockade runner port in each section. I usually favor Wilmington, Charleston, Columbus GA, and New Orleans. On gt 2 the CSA usually gets 13 sps which leaves me with 4 sp for coastal defense, since I can only rail 7 with two already up front in TN and VA. The basic idea is to get each of these locations with a garrisoned fort and an sp in its associated port.

If the Union attacks and captures the fort, the defended port prevents the Union from sending an easy follow up attack to get troops ashore deep in the South. If the Union attack fails, but kills the sp, then I use a 1 OC to move the port sp into the coastal fort to reestablish the defense. If the Union gets ashore at one of the ungarrisoned fort points, I will need to get a general with some sps to fix those situations. The goal is to keep one port per zone open so the only way to lose sps is through unsuccessful blockade drs which vary from turn to turn and game to game. If the Union doesn't aggressively pursue the naval option due to inclination or cards, I will gradually garrison all of my coastal forts.

Regardless of which plan you choose the Union will expend on average around 2 cards per coastal space to totally shut down all Southern blockade runner ports. This equates to around 20 cards (all 3 OC, Campaign activations, or Naval event cards). This number assumes that ungarrisoned forts take one card, ports with out coastal forts take 2 (one recapture each), and defense in depth spaces take 3. Obviously results will vary a bit here.

The Union will get 85 cards over the course of the game, so to accomplish shutting down the Southern blockade runner ports (when you include Blockade cards) equates to around 25% of the Union war effort. Of course the Union can use less cards than this to get good results from his naval campaign, such as relying on blockade runner cards alone, but that option varies in effectiveness from game to game (due to cards), so you can't count on it.

I hope this overly long note helps players to understand the historical model I applied to the game.

Good luck to everyone in the tourney,


Posted by markherman at 7:27 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008 10:50 PM EST
Share This Post Share This Post
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older