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#1 Richard Burnett

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:56 PM

My dear Mr Gill:I appreciate that you have taken interest in naval aviation for GQ3 as the game reagards WW2 and later.I have had to make do with ad hocs to GQ 2 to add that vital element of WW2 naval operations.However, there still seems to be a dysjunct. For the next Strategicon, the site has noted that the demonstration game of GQ3 will be a surface action, while the same site notes that your seminar will be on interwar naval developmenats, meaning, of course, naval aviation or aviation in general and its effects upon naval thinking. Why not have a demonstration game of the new feature in GQ3 of the aerial game? The semina'rs topics would seem to point to such a type of demonstration game, and yet you want to have the same old surface action game we can get with GQ2There are some answers that I can think up to answer why this disjunct between the seminar and the game. You want to give the best face on the game, and by sticking to the known audinece's penchant for surface actions, despite the obvious presence of air power, and perhaps because of some problems with the air rules, and because of some new surface combat rules, and perhaps also because of the complexities of the air-surface interchange, in addition to the fact that this is a demo game at a convention, you would want to have the relatively simple surface action on display. There's also the aesthetics. In any air-surface battle, only one navy's miniatures would be on display, as the other would be far off table, and the action would be between realatively motionless ships and very fast moving air minatures. This kind of aesthetic is probably quite new and probably unsettling to those who have or may come over from other sets of rules that make surface actions the only thing possible. In a word, there'd be little of the interaction between ships that most gamers are used to seeing.But this is a problem that you have already have had to face in this forum--the fact that most of the important WW2 naval actions involved airpower, and in most of these, the ships that suffered under air attack were sunk or damaged, with little to show against the aerial attackers--the last voyage of the Yamato is a case in point. Indeed, the real Jutland's of WW2 were air-surface actions--Midway, Leyte, Phillippine Sea, And there's also this, which you will probably address in the seminars: There was no longer any battleship battleine. Fleet deployments addressed air power, the BBs and Cas supporting the carriers, with the expected encounters between the main fleet to be air-surface. The depolyment of ships in Ww1's Jutland, compared to the deployment of say, the American or Japanese fleets at the Phillippine Sea were of two entirely different types--the first ready for a surface excahnge, the second to repel air attacks. BUt a fully deployed WW2 3rd Fleet in 1944 or 1945, would take up far more table space--indeed, who is going to have that 1,500 ships at Okinawa to replay the kamikaze attacks? In this regard, the fleets had gotten to big for minature's rules, even using 1:6000 scale minatures.

#2 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 03:27 PM

My 2; WW 2 air actions most generally have a sticker and a stickee; No one enjoys playing the stickee much. IJN forces relied on spread out formations squirming wildly to avoid hits. Lots of space and again, not lots of fun to play a carrier chosen as stickee.So the 1942 naval battles around Guadalcanal are pretty much the only ones game-able, and mostly only the US side is reasonably game-able without being really lopsided and un-fun Because IJN doctrine tried to hide carriers, not protect them). The Hellcat and Radar made Air attacks less enticing in 1943, and the VT fuse finished the problem ... so you can play late war Kamikazes vs the USN ...another exciting game if you don't mind crashing and dying to win.The USN did defend in formations that helped protect the important ships in the formation. As time went on, they also developed better ways of vectoring the CAP, so by 1944, we have the Marianas Turkey Shoot. Again not fun.The truth is that Naval Air Combat went down hill quickly as a competitive game and by 1943 was becoming a very deadly path for the IJN, which is why Kamikaze became necessary. So you are stuck playing 1942 scenarios where the allies are at a disadvantage all the time.In Europe, the RN didn't have much naval air, and it's opponents had none.

#3 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 03:33 PM

Dear RBurnett,Thanks for your comments. The answer is really quite simple. Private groups are the folks running the demonstration games. It will be my pleasure to join them just to lend support. Many of these will be in 1:700 which should be quite a feast for the eye. I would suppose that they chose surface engagements as that's more visual for a convention venue and usually of more interest to most gamers. So, we can look forward to having a bit of fun.My seminar will naturally discuss naval aviation as one of the key trends leading up to WWII. I have always had a good deal of interest in naval aviation and spent quite a bit of time evolving updated tactical rules for those who want to simulate air actions in GQ III. While that's not everyone's cup of tea - as was evident in play testing, those who share my interest in naval aviation are using them for some very interesting simulations. Carrier actions tend to be especially fast moving and challenging for both sides. We've added more aircraft Formation Cards and individual Carrier Logs to assist play in our recent downloads. They are attractive and simplify record keeping. Further, several of the projects we're currently working on will feature additional aviation aspects. While naval aviation gamers seem to be a minority, it is my intent to provide more in this area. And, to evolve the air rules with those who share this interest.LL GILL

#4 Richard Burnett

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 03:35 PM

Mr GillThanks for the reply.Bravo6 and you made some good points, and yet, there's another side to this. I'll deal only with a part of these other things, starting from ylour opening paragraph.Yes, the 1/700 scale ships and the surfacve action are, so to speak, eye candy. And the 1/700 scale is quite traditional--while 1/2400 is used, it is not as engaging to the eye. But there's another aesthetic, that of the actual appearnce of the ships at sea at range--indeed, even the 1/6000 scale cannot do justice to this. The 1/700 scale scenarios or engagements look and feel as if the ships were only a few thousand yards off, unlike the more normal ranges of several times that. The 1/700 scale ships are much too large--they are five or more times as long and as wide--and indeed, the opposing captains would only really see small specks at the horizon in a daylight engagement, not the very close looking and feeling 1/700 scale. So, GQ has that artificial break or gap in the table top, a no ship's area, where no destroyers or anything eese go, so that the two batrtlelines may fight it out at what is long range--but doesn't look like it.And that's the rub--it doesn't look right from the perspective of an actual fleet action at range. There's also this: In many an action, the ships moved great distances, comparing the table top to the actual area covered by the historical participants, well beyond the size of the table top for the 1/700 miniatures, indeed, even for 1/6000 miniatures. The seemingly chaotic activity of the flotillas on either side, of the coming near and departure of ships, of the sailing back and forth of these ships over many miles, these running battles, cannot be done with the fine looking 1/700 ships--indeed, the whole shoot out is quite static. There are other issues that are vexing to the GQ surface gamer. I suspect, such as where are the friendly fire, the unintentional collisions, the mixed up signals that the gamer reads about but cannot do or have done in GQ? Now I raise this because of the usual amusement that I get at any miniatures game, and I have seen this kind of amusing dialogue or thinking since I helped Ned Zuparko develop his Napoleonic miniatures game ViveL'Emperuer some thirty years ago. It is, to use the analogy of the Napoleonic miniature gamer, the historical detail of the individual figure, the exact proportions of the battalions and thier organization against the fact, as Bravo6 points out, that they cannot play anything bigger than Tassafronga or Savo or Empress Augusta Bay.In Napoleonic terms, that would mean Maida or perahps Montmirail. The crticism of one's painted figures or battalion was the highest issue--the fact that no massed cavalry or artillery or infantry as of Eylau or Waterloo ever appeared in the game, to include no pursuits by the winner after the loser and the rear guard actions made me question the focus on the small stuff--the battalion colors and the individual figures as aginst what the usual historian or military writer, even of the time, such as Jomini or Clausewitz, found important.This same aesthetic is here in GQ--the usual debate over how many guns and of what calibre were on any mark of Japanese destroyers or the arguing over the paint job that any mark of American cruiser at such a year might have--with the larger issues of navies, as again Bravo6 points to, ignored. Indeed, 30 Knot Burke's dictum on destroyer operations has to do with beating the enemy and making sure that one communicates with one's higher ups. It mattered little to him that he had a certain class of DD under him with a certain paint job or that such and such a DD class could do the extra knot. What mattered to him was the human element, not to mention the size of the forces and the organizational structure of the flotilla or task group.But as the air game is not really the cup of tea for most WW2 gamers, in your expereince, and also mine, not to mention the larger surface actions that are also outside of GQ's ability, one has to wonder why any air rules were added, if these rules will be rarely used or ar not, so to speak, any fun.But this leads to the issue of the miniatures as a useful tool to replicate naval actions and the use of say, a board game that will resolve the strategic issues that perhaps a surface action gamable may come from.Again, it amuses me to no end the discussions on this site about the minor detail with the larger isssues left off because, well, the game simply cannot do anything about them. The world wonders.

#5 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 04:37 PM

Well Good grief, lad... you are almost as old a me ! ;-)I have Empire 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5...and I can field some of the French Guard (and enough French and Allies to justify their being there).Bill Gray of Napoleonic Fire & Fury is an old friend (from Lt Bil Gray times).I played GQ 1 & 2 way back then, as they were the best system for tactical reality ... and GQ 3 has done a good job of advancing that level of play. None of us can MAKE a gamer learn the history and background ... many don't want to know the reality of the times. Do not blame that on the game system, but pin it on the players. I have been helping with future projects, and the level of study, justification and reality is very high. You can play this system at the level you mention ... not sure how many players you'd get, but the system will oblige you.. I will say that Lonnie, Coastal and Myself would probably play if you can get us all together. Blue Leader might very well join in too. We are all students of the period and we are all still learning every day. We strive to allow the reality, but not force it on unwilling players... ultimately, this is still a hobby or game for fun, not a simulation required by some higher authority. If you want to play BISMARCK against YAMATO ... go for it. If you prefer to play the DDs and CLs protecting the merchants trying to get to Murmansk against a few DDs Subs , land based air and a Pocket battleship in the Arctic in 1942 ... we are with you.If you want to do Carrier battles ... be patient, your game may be coming about Historicon, if we are lucky.Old Jim

#6 Richard Burnett

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 07:19 PM

I, too, played Empire as well as GQ2. I have the same complaint about GQ that we al had with Empire--it's the scale and the miniatures.Paddy Griffith once posed the question of "hats", of levels of command and control. If you want to avoid complexities and problems, limit yourself to one "hat", one command level and abstract all of the rest. I added that there's an appropriate level for each action or period or era or however you want to define history or such. Why did Ned change from the usual and traditional tactical scale of battalions (20-1,33-1) to a grand tactical scale (100-1)? We found that we were corps commanders and battalion commanders at the same time, making any campaign game of corps, where the players can and do mass those corps at the right place, the table-top game with those battalions and companies, a nightmare. Even with enough human players to man all of the divisional commands, there were still too many pieces, too much detail to be worked out for any kind of play. In a word, we thought that turns that represented say, fifteen minutes of historical time, should not require ninety minutes of real play time to complete. This was the tradition--game masters or umpires had to begin the game well into the middle part of the action in order to even have a chance at concluding the game, to reach the decision point--the fate of many Empire games was that this decision point of who won or lost was not reached.The other problem of too many pieces is the usual chaos of the battlefiled, which makes the play all the more difficult as with Empire and other games (such as Command Decision) the interaction of so many pieces is a thing not thought through by the designer or developer. Jack Radey once told me of a game where he eliminated a German force by his massed Soviet artillery--this possible for two reasons, at least, that the German player had no notion of the effectiveness of such a massed battery, and that neither did Radey or Chadwick. I myself spoiled such a pl;aytest hosted by Jack and Frank some ten years ago by lining up my German armor on a ridge and swatting down the advancing Soviets, to include a long spot and artillery barrage that caught the Soviet command vehicle--things like this were not supposed to happen according to Jack. But the culprit was not me, nor Jack or Frank, but the trafition of the miniatures, that these figures, even unspotted, were on the table top and you knew where the reserves and the attack points would be by their placement. And you knew friend from foe all of the time. As in ground combat, so in naval combat--as you cannot use Empire to do say, Waterloo or Borodinao(I saw Charley Tarbox and Scotty try this at a Pacificon in 1973, using a split up battlefield on three seperate tables, doing a crazed version of Borodino) or Command Decision to do say, Sedan 1940, or Operatrion Mars or the Falaise Gap(there are too many battalions and the battle is spread out over too much area) nor Barker's set of Ancient rules (which he admits, reluctantly, that are only good for those crazy tournaments) you cannot do Midway or Leyte or the Philippine sea with GQ--there are too many ships to fool with. As you must micromanage your ships and planes in Harpoon, you must also with GQ--perhaps not to the same extent as Harpoon(the air game is one of individual planes), but you have a "ship" game embedded in GQ to go alongside the "flotilla: game. The more time you must spend on tracking individual torpedo tracks, the fewer ships or planes you may be able to manage in the game--And the core of our complaint about traditional Napoleonis was that for all of the supposed realism or playability of the smaller actions doable with Empire(Scotty went further down the garden path with his Chef de Battalion, which I saw demonstrated and destroyed at a Vicicon in 1996, The system was a scale of 5 to 1, of companies of many figures, with artillery and cavlary "off board", and a rules system that simply collapsed--again, too many levels being represented) the real actions that Napoleon was at were not of batalions but of corps. So we went to the grand tactical scale, abstracted all of the petit tacts, and were able to have massed batteries and cavalry and do campaigns that represented corps and armies--appropriate to the several campaigns of Napoleon. If we want to do the campaigns of say, Nimitz or Spruance, then GQ isn't it, for the same reasons--the "ship' game of critical hits, the turn radius , and individual ship bearings done on an ungridded table top would have to go--and a replacement might be along the lines of Wooden Ships or one of Dunnigan's designs by which ships are moved through the hex grid and abstracted into single counters with a few attrributes, say a defense, attack and move factors. Otherwise GQ is fit only for Tassafronga or Savo Island and not much more. It most certainly is not good enough for any campaign, unless that campaign uses some boasrd game set, such as say USN or Tokyo Express. Indeed, in any campaign or game like say that represents Java Sea, where the ABDA flotilla fought many a running battle and attempted to evade Japanese air power, GQ is inadequate. My complaint with Chadwick and even Zuparko was that there was not enough "friction"--you knew too much about the other side, there wasn't enough terrain or other such(gamers doing Barker's Ancients, using the system of choosing terrain, would invariably choose the flatest and most open spaces by mustual consent, laughable when one notes the many ancient battles that had more than one tree as terrain) I'll lleave you with this last note from Spector's At War at Sea--before Tsushima, the Tsar's fleet in Vladivostock was commanded by a compenent admiral, and he sotied with that fleet, only to be blown up by one of his own mines. The second admiral, not as competent but still better than the third sent from St Petersburg, engaged with Togo in a skirmish and his flagship took a stray 12 inch shot that finished him off--so much for luck. The fleet game I am proposing would not reach that far down, perhaps, but the larger actions would be doable--you could have that Jutland of a dozen BBs and two dozen CAs and three dozen DDS per side and still be able to get to bed before 6 AM two days later. It's just a matter of choosing the correct scale or level--mind you, a grand tactical scale for say, the battles on Iwo, would be inappropriate as there was no collision of masses of planes or tanks or cavalry, just the individual fights of compnaies or platoons or squads.

#7 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:01 AM

Well do I remember the many hats, as you describe it. I played Napoleonics with Tony Figlia and Capt Bill Gray in Europe. I suspect you have heard of Napoleonic Fire & Fury, which was Bill's effort to fix some of that. I had a little input, but that was far and away Bills effort. I think it resolves a lot of what you speak of, although no system is perfect.As for GQ 3, you are both correct and, perhaps mistaken. I would NEVER consider playing JUTLAND with GQ, although others have. The game is a tactical one, where a player should have a division of ships. It is easy to let the scenarios grow, as we all know, and seldom does it make it better. But GQ is exactly designed to play Savo, Tassafaronga, Balikpapan and numerous other small to moderate sized battles. The are campaign systems which function as scenario or battle generators (The Solomons Campaign) ... not as a game of Senior Admirals. GQ should have one to four players per side and plays best with a referee to allow hidden movement to deprive each side of the all knowing aspect. Even radar should only provides a blip, not a miniature. By doing this, it provides a fun and reasonably accurate recreation of naval warfare under steam. It is not a great simulation, as we game for fun, not for exact historical accuracy. Even the Naval War College has trouble with exact simulation, and they have a larger budget than most gamers.There probably is some room for a game of admirals, moving divisions and squadrons around, perhaps you should do something about that. I personally like the small tactical battles, and miss the small unit actions (say Brigade level) that Empire sometimes allowed.Jim

#8 Dave Franklin

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 05:17 AM

Bravo6, I agree with you 100% about the size battle GQ3 is best for. I can't speak for FAI as I don't do WWI.I was having a similar discussion with a buddy of mine about age of sail games. We typically only get 3-4 people showing up for one of our games lately, and one problem about AoS (historically speaking): there are lots of 1 vs. 1 battles - usually frigates, and there are lots of fleet battles with a dozen or more SOLs on a side, but not much in between. We currently play Mark Campbell's Close Action. Very detailed, and running anything more than 2 ships can get you seriously task saturated (I did have the opportunity to play in one of Mark's mega-games at an Historicon a few years ago. I think it was Minorca, with each person running 1 ship. Mark has to run it pretty autocratically to keep it moving, but it was fun!). So we are kind of on the lookout for a set of AoS rules that allows a player to run a squadron of ships, yet still has enough detail to not lose the flavor of the period (we've looked at FASB, but don't like the octagons; I'm looking at adapting GMTs Flying Colors now...).

#9 gregoryk

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:40 AM

co_dyver, that is sort of the Holy Grail of Age of Sail wargamers. We want our details, but we want lots of ships, too. The same as those who want detail in their 20th century rules, but also want to fight Jutland. Something has to give. There are some good rules out there, including FASB, but I can understand the octagons being a turnoff. Let us know how your adaptation of GMT's game turns out.Cheers,Gregory

#10 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 09:58 AM

Dear RBurnett,Looks like this discussion is steering off in other interesting directions. As it does, I'd like to clear up some apparent confusion in the earlier posts. The crew running the 1:700 games uses a much larger scale, requiring a wide space facility such as that found at a convention, to provide for sufficient range and maneuver. If you are at the convention, drop by. The scale used in a simulation is largely a matter of personal choice provided it maintains a consistent relationship between range and distance moved and room to maneuver DDs. etc. between opposing forces. Some like the convenience of smaller scales, while others, like you, would prefer the visual sense of very long distance.Second, GQ III does deal with "friendly fire" (Section 1.12.7) and collisions (Section 1.3.1).Finally, the aerial rules were included in GQ III for those who are interested in simulating this key aspect of WW II naval combat. Although they are the minority, many do game aircraft and carrier scenarios and find them quite enjoyable. Far from "being beyond GQ's ability," the aerial operations rules are an integral part of the GQ system for both tactical scenarios and campaigns. Several levels of detail are included so that the gamer can choose the level that best matches his level of interest.LONNIE

#11 Richard Burnett

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:48 PM

Mr Gill:Yes, as usual, the discussion has strayed off into other things.But that's normal as I found out at the CD3 website or Hasenauer's sites on his games.And while it is true that GQ3 does have something on friendly fire and does have air ops in the rules, I think that it's still a long way off from what it could be. No, I am not advocating that, well, the gamer playing Adm Kurita in a replay of San Bernadiono Strait be thrown into the ocean, deprived of sleep for three days and such so as to repilicate that part of the historical scenario-or, indeed, anything like that. But the confusion present at that battle, not to mention Adm Scott's constant orders to cease fire at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, or the strange ships in harbor message at Savo or the chaos at Empress Augusta Bay are simply not in GQ--but should be and can be,To repeat, it's the tradition of the miniatures. I've seen this in many forms, land and sea games. There's the artificial edge of the table, edge of the world problem, the first alst and only battle issue(battles where there's no strategic framework, where the Imperial guard is launched like the Panzer corps, or the Yamato leads, with the DDs trailing) and the usual see it or not sighting rules, not to mention the stop and start movement rules and the issue orders with instant receipt and obedience. There's much more. One interesting thing is the lack of morale rules--the theses of Spector in his At War at Sea is that the human element is more important than the gunnery factors, the thickness of armor or the specifics of the planes and ships. In land games we have elite troops down to militia. In land games, bad troops have the habit of running or stopping--while these morale rules in most land games are afterthoughts and against the interests of gamers who think about plate armor, it's is still better than nothing. But land games as well as naval games are poor on at least two areas besides morale and training levels--communications and intellligence. There are no greyed out miniatures, that is, miniatures on the table that indicate that something is there, There are only the fully painted figures--or nothing at all. Sometimes blank counters are used, but the traditional miniaturist gamer doesn't like this. It's all about the fact that he ahs invested a lot of time and money in those figures and would not want a game where he can only show them off at either the painting contest or for a couple of turns. There's also the element of player suspicion about hidden units and any umpire--I used to run a skirmish WW2 game at about the scale of Mein Panzer, however, as I setup the scenario and had all of the figures, I was able to have a double blind system. There would be a common table with the terrain and such--one side (say Blue) would be brought in, given its mission and figures and such, then they would tell me what they wanted done, then they'd leave and I would take up their figures and such, and send in the Red side for similar treatment and then after they had left correlate the moves and orders--but I would havce a witness to validate what I did so that the player who thought he was cheated had no recourse to excuse his stupidity or bad luck. Some player liked this--it was a change from the usual see alll and know too much of wargames. Others hated it because it broke those traditions of see all and know too much. But I had inserted unceertainty into the game--players in this game would shoot farm animals, civilians and their own without knowing what they were doing. But I have observed that the games we play are primarily games--not historical simulations--even for all of the pretentions about historical researches into uniforms or ships colors. Why? because we get enough of real uncertainity in our daily lives and this is a place to be free of it for a few hours--so all figures are to be seen and no ambushes allowed. Those who do make issues about the firepower of a Joseph Stain tank or a Mogami class crusier are blowing off steam. sometimes they do make a point about rules written by functional illiterates or written by those who need a set of classes in critical thinking and logic. This 1/700 demo is, at long range, reminicent of a convention game at a HMGS Pacific Southwest some years ago. The GM was doing Richard Hasenauers WW 2 platoon/company game. Rich had warned, decreed, in his rules that there was a size limit to his game--the GM at this con violated that, wanting to show off his 1500 minuatures. It had nothing to do with histroy, it was about the miniatures. The GM didn't care about Hasenauers caution about the game limits or anything else. The game was about the Normandy parachute drops, with the usual result, as all figures were on the table, of instant intel by all sides about all units, friend or foe. And because they had doen the usual wargamer thing of gigantism, the game collapsed of its own weight. The scale was inappropraite--but the gamer couldn't have cared less. And even the most expereinced of game designers will show just where they are not--the case in point for me was Chadwick;s demo of his then new CD3 at Celebrate History some years ago, a con run, sort of, by Dana Lombardy. The miniatures traditions were in full force. The German got away with a whole lot of things that Chadwick and Jack Radey had not thought of, not to mention the confusion between Jack and Frank over the charts. What was to have been a Soviet walk in the park became a rules disaster and a drawn game.So, in a wrod, it is not that gamers should be forced to read history and be experts before they play or not(I will not tell you of George Jeffrey's Code napoleon and his experiment in that area of education), it is all about their education thay have from the games themselves, from their initiation into the traditions of miniatures (a friend of mine from years ago told me of how he was booted out of a Napoleonics club because he hadn't painted the bases, the stands, his figures were mounted upon--he had done this to show that these figures were his, thieves being in wargaming as well as everywhere else) which include the martinet like stuff about the worship of the Osprey painting guides and the orders of battle, which no appeal to say, Elting's Swords around a Throne or Ellis' Brute Force or his The Sharp End could dissuade. The case of the submarine game produced years ago by SSI, a computer gane, which first edition was produced with the assistance of historians such as Blair and many sub skippers, was rejected by gamers who thought that the John Wayne movie was more to their liking, indeed, fact. So the second edition was Operation Pacific in style. Again, romance, no uncertainty, those miniatures and the ability to vent one's ignorance on issues military.I should note here that I know what the real experts think of thse games--I had the opportunity to present to a professor one of Joe Miranda's games, this one on Central America, the conflicts there during the Reagan administration. This prof knew Ortega and many more in that region and was an acknowledged expert--and laughed Miranda's game to scorn--but then Jow flits from issue to issue, from region to region and from military service to the next. Bowden and Tarbox produced a history of the 1809 campaign, which Rottenberg drew on--but only on the raw data that Scotty and Charley had gotten from the archives in Vienna and not on the ramblings and opinions that they passed off as history.And despite whatever Tom Clancey may think of his ghost writer's game Harpoon, you'll not find too many line officers giving much credence to what passes for realism or accuracy in that game.But, on alternating days, the gamers and some designers will claim that their game is authenctic historical and like that--until one has say, a Peter Paret or John Elting come walking in the door--and then they all start running for the door, as their bluf has been called.GQ is a game. And it violates one of the first rules that Aristotle presented, which is to understand things as they are before trying to understand them differently or better(if that is possible) All discussion of the waht ifs, of the ships colors and the rest is not relevant in the main to the study of what really ahppened at say, Midway, until one has mastered the things that did happen.So, I accept GQ as a game--nothing more or less. As a simulation, it can be improved if those traditions are pushed aside some. And as one of my waggish friends put it, GQ is perhaps the best naval simulation of WW2 around, but that's not saying much.

#12 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 08:59 AM

Exactly! It is a game first ... because gamers do this for fun and it costs them money. They will not buy a detailed simulation, even if we had sufficient information to make such (and I do not think we do have that ... much of what people think they know is suspect, as always). Even first hand accounts are often wrong because of time passed since it happened, the beliefs of the person relating what happened or the narrowness of their observation. We can never know the real "truth", only a pale reflection of it at best, and using that we are condemned to never have it quite right. Each reviewer sees it through his beliefs (we both are included here) and if those don't match what we think is truth, we want to call the author wrong. In fact, he is likely as correct as we are, in many cases. Having seen first hand what effort goes into a GQ product, You can differ with how the author dealt with it, but you cannot call him wrong.I have seen simulations that would boggle your mind (the government can afford to do these), and they are both not fun, and convey bad information since we can still try to "game" the simulation. None of these resulted in believable outcomes.The best simulations I have seen are those unencumbered with detail, which try to present you with a situation much like the original combatants faced and a few key bits to manipulate ... a difficult thing to bring off. GQ does pretty darn well ... if you think you can do better, consider yourself challenged to do so! We'd all willingly learn from your success.Jim

#13 Richard Burnett

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 02:01 PM

My dear Bravo6:Try telling this, that as James Madison points out in the Tenth Federalist, that humans have faulty reasoning and that these perceptions of what we call reality become those factions that are against the private right and the public good. These know it all gamers who declare they have the truth are the customers who Old Dominion has to bow to. I have seen this before with Command Decision where the attempts to undercut the propaganda about the ten foot tall German is met with a fierce resistance that is seen in real life in politics, the academia and the office.In a word, a groundbreaking game such as Vive L'Emperuer(Ned Zuparko's game) had printed only 2000 copies and sold over the last thirty years perhaps 700--the traditionalist resistance to new ideas, to indeed even the basics of combat as can be simulated by any game, even at the most simple or basic of levels, is resisted. The gamers do not want the uncertainty of real naval, air or land combat at all--they get enough of this in their own lives--and once they have married themselves to some so-called facts or traditions, such as the worship of the miniature, they will not get a divorce, even if the new so-called facts are more valid than thiers.But there are even more telling problems with amateur wargaming, problems that even the professionals do. I have yet to see anyone in the amateur field takeing notes during playtesting--even the simplest of notes to write down the dice throw numbers. Shubik and Brewer's 1980 Thw War Game noted that professionals will play test a game once or twice, and then if the results or the numbers seem off, instead of playing the game more times to fluch out the random element, they will instead rewrite the algorithm, the game charts and so forth. Indeed, in any playtest where some thorny problem of the stand facings, the turn sequence or whatewver was encountered, no notes were ever taken about the possible solutions, indeed, only the general writeup, which was really all about how the supposed playteser won the game or how he lost, with no details on how the game actually played.Yes, I am asking for something more than you will likely get.And I am also quite concious that this is a game--but you won't get that from the gamers or the partisans of the game. Note the reviews. Now it is understood that, as with reviews of restaurants, that a bad review can terminate a game's sales, and no company wants that, so they used to have those house organs such as Avalon Hill's The General. And the company will quickly bow to the current customer opinion--as in where's my super Panzer division, or my super Imperial Guard and the rest of it.The military services suffer under a similar thing, the most famous case in the 20th century being the Japanese wargaming of the Midway operation.There's also the fact that naval games, as I indicated before, have the bad habit of downplaying the human side--the land games at least have the simplistic morale checks and such.In a word, because we are dealing with minatures, things that cannot actually see or hear or are alive in any way, we are forced to be Fletcher launching the strike at the Japanese carriers and also Waldron flying his planes, instead of being either Fletcher(who would be by the radio listening to the pilot's observations) or Waldron(not doing anything except attacking the enemy ships) GQ has us doing both, which is too much. Indeed, that Strategicon dem will< i am certain, result in overly long turns, partly on account of the usual convention stuff (green players, confusion, noise, etc) and because of the usual gigantism that afflicts gamers)too many ships for the system to handle) If GQ is really only about say, Empress Augusta Bay or even the battle between the Bismark and the Hood, then that should be so stated in the rules by the designer to check the gigantism--But this is a game where the gamer's notions, desires and appetities are in command and the advice or command of the designer will fall on deaf ears.Now in multiplayer games, some of this is resolved, but this requires a sophisticated and dedicated group, usually found outside of the usual HMGS hall, with the result that unless more advertising is done for GQ, it will have its 2000-4000 copies, sell half of them and fade away.Whatever became of those others such as Seekreig?

#14 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 02:57 PM

Yup, I have seen all that; as an ex-tanker, most armor games aren't even close to reality ... but tell them measuring armor in millimeters is like measuring football plays in angstroms and they get all argumentative based on what they have no real knowledge of. GQ Does have a morale rule .... a bit simplistic, but it is there, and there are some other rules that also attempt to steer the gamer away from win at all costs battles. I am sure it doesn't make a lot of gamers play realistically ... and as you point out, if we did they'd play some other game.Seekrieg is alive and well ... www.seekrieg.com. Richard Sartore is a nice guy and would be delighted to discuss naval games with you too. His approach is different, reflecting what he thinks is important, I don't happen to see it that way, but he and I have shared some port and discussed naval matters. He and Jack Joyner are very knowledgeable of naval history and gaming too.As for playing Waldron and Flethcher... I'll have to take your word for it ... I have never done that! Playing Midway with GQ is like playing Borodino with EMPIRE II. I might take one air strike out of the battle and play that out... but I would never attempt tore do the battle with tactical rules.If you do buy a set of GQ, look at the NETHERLANDS Campaign or the Solomons Campaign ... both generate naval battles, but neither attempts to represent the strategic decisions that caused the battles. These are assumed to be those mae historically. If you want to mess with those, it could be interesting, and GQ will do the battles ... but it will not do the strategic campaign.Jim

#15 Richard Burnett

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 04:47 PM

I used to be more tolerant of rules priblems, the gamer's love of miniatures and such. I used to listen to the excuses about the teething problems with rules of all kinds. That is until I found, as an example, that Jim Dunnigan used to pump out a so-called authentic historical wargame a week at SPI, in addition ot his books that contain not one footnote nor any bibliography, making at least one professional reviewer comment on where Jim's what ifs begin and the so-called facts stopped.However, like say, Socrates questioning the Athenian citizens about what they did, I got nasty comments and no help from those who either played or designed these games whenever I pointed out the huge gaffes in either logic, language, playability or common sense, not to mention history and the rest. Ah, yes, the good old school of upside down Byzantine math, where the charts duplicate effects or ignore other effects, where the basics of probability are lacking. In disagreement with Mr Gill, it isn't that gamers do not read history as susch--nor that they cannot learn from it--it requires that their primary source of information, the game, present the history as faithfully as possible. But this presents some methodological problems. There are at least two schools of thought about Midwaqy. That the event was predestined to its outcome, shades of John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion and his argument that we are all predestined absolutely and we have no free will. Or that the Japanese were in a box that they couldn't get out of, as noted in an article in Naval History Review some years ago about that even if the cruiser Tone had launched its scout plane on time it would still not have reported back the location of the US carriers as the area they were in at the time was under an overcast of clouds. In a word, Nagumo had all the free will that he could have mustered, but because of circumstances, no decision that he may have made would have made any difference--The worst methodological problem is that the more one studies the leaders, the organization, tactics and so forth, the more one finds that the amount of alternatives that the historical actors could have had is extremely limited. It could be called the environemental factors, such as those at say, the battle off Samar. Kurita was so cursed by his environment and by circumstances--he had his flaghship torpedoed out from under him, fatigued by a dunk in the Pacific, then terrorized by American air attacks, and then confronts a set of U S ships that he knows not what they are as he has no aerial recon, was not told by Ozawa that the decoy had drawn Halsey away, that those ships were not the fleet carriers, and so forth. Indeed, the in the clear messages he intercepted of Sprague's for support, instead of making him more comfortable about the situation, made him fearful of imminent US naval arrival. The gamer playing the Japanese side in this engagement is not so afflicted and as he knows the historical scenario--as most game masters will announce proudly that they are doing a replay of the historical event, naming it--and will then attack and destroy the U S carriers and the amphibs(if he is allowed to move off the table to get at them, the usual edge of the world nonsense) with impunity knowing that the U S air is ineffective because they have no anti-ship capability and so forth. This is a methodological problem that has cursed all wargames, in addition to the other problems. If I were to have a game of GQ, it would include those greyed out ships to confuse the gamers, the stripping off of all names, to even include the players own identities so that they cannot have the knowledge of the ships, planes or situation. Here's a shortcut method--make up a scenario, hand out the ship data cards, without the names of the ships on the cards or the names of the planes, alter the data slightly to throw off the game lawyer or the gamer who memorizes the data cards, and then throw in some stuff about that your side lacks ships or resources and the point values would indicate that the loss of any ship would be a disaster(a sort of simulation of one of the Japanese problems), and to deny to the gamers any intel about the other sides situation about damage to its ships, except in the most obvious of circumstances. But this would violate the tradtions of miniatures and would give the know itr all miniature gamer fits about the so-called true data of the ships and why he didn't know what side he was really on. And it would need an umpire, of course, to make sure that the gamers cannot get too much info--I have done such games, a replay of Waterloo where the so-called French were Russians and the so-called British were Austrians and the so-called Prussians were British. Same type of terain, with a chateau and the rest--and we discovered a huge problem with the rules regarding artillery.Regarding those naval scenarios of the ABDA flotilla in 1941-42, well, the Java Sea battle was important for the misappreciation that many ships and commanders had of the situation, of Doorman's several contrary signals, of the mistaken idea that the dropping out of formation of a certain light cruiser meant a new change, of Tanaka's confusion about which way Doorman was moving, and of the importance of the Japanese spotter palnes and their destroyer smokescreen. In effect, for the Allied player, the Japanese ships should all be greyed out as they lacked arial scouts, and when that smokescreen goes up, that those greyed out mininatures should be removed from the table to indicate that the Allies do not know where the Japanese ships are--to be contrasted with the better intel for the Japanese.The game would require a lot of room as this battle was a running battle that lasted many hours, with intermittent contacts up until the end, so some of the action would be on a map or other device, like some hex gridded board game map. And as this is a what if replay, we would have to be prepared for night actions, a totla breaking off of the action because the several flotillas went the wrong way, an action against the tansports, the intervention of Japanes and Allied air power, and so forth. In my Ww2 land skirmish game, I have seen alll of these things, where the players move away from each other by accident, that the game is over because of a few critical hits, that the historical winner becomes the loser because he lost contact and the supply column he was supposed to protect was attacked and so forth--Now this all would be most interesting of a game except for one single fact that I have tripped over all too many times--the gamers who have learned warfare from the usual chess like traditional games (with all of the strategic or grand tactical problems of say, logistics and concentration solved beforehand) will invariably show up at the critical battle a day late and a dollar short--as in they will be scatterd, while the other guy, a little less scattered, show sup with a force twice his size, and the campaign and the game collapses with the walk over by the one side over the other.It is not only that gamers do not learn the history as it was before doing thier what ifs, it is also that, well, none of them have any notion of what it is to run a ship's division, much less to interpret the chaos of intel that the usual admiral or commodore is assaulted with and the art and science of sorting it all out to get to the right place at the right time.

#16 Dave Franklin

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 05:01 AM

Mr Burnett, be sure to let us know when your perfect rules are published.Based on the length of your posts, you certainly seem to have the time to devote to them...




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