Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: What makes a good solo wargame?

Expand Messages
  • John Rothley
    ... Patrick, I whole heartedly agree with your opinion. To me during solo games I do more mental visualization and what if scenario s than actual playing.
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 1, 2006
      --- In SoloWarGame@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick Carroll"
      <patrick55carroll@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > The whole joy of playing a wargame is immersion--imaginative and
      > intellectual immersion. The game has to be convincingly realistic,
      > and it has to give the player something to think about.
      >
      > --Patrick
      >

      Patrick,
      I whole heartedly agree with your opinion. To me during solo games I
      do more mental visualization and what if scenario's than actual
      playing. This is one reason I have half the basement storage room
      dedicated to a wargaming board and terrain storage. I usually don't
      finish my solo games in a timely manner. So I might end up playing a
      solo game over 2 or 3 weekends nights.

      A good AI system for the programmed enemy is important. I have a
      very basic homegrown set of what if's that I use. It truly gives the
      enemy an unknown response. It works ok. Sometimes the dice dictate
      one reaction I assume the probability of an enemy commander actually
      doing this would be zero. That's when I find myself becoming bogged
      down by tactics, my mental visualization takes over and I start to
      lose the interest...
      John
    • thedrake70458
      ... Patrick, What issue was that in? Would like to read it if I can find it. I have an article coming out in this month s issue of LW on solitaire play of
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 1, 2006
        > I wrote an article on this for The Lone Warrior some years ago<

        Patrick,
        What issue was that in? Would like to read it if I can find it.
        I have an article coming out in this month's issue of LW on
        solitaire play of cloaked ships in Full Thrust (spaceship combat
        minis game.)

        I agree with most of what you said;however I am not averse to
        setting up large games that I can leave setup for later,and do not
        mind moving lots of units on the board/table.Having grown up playing
        wargames solo this has never been an issue with me.

        What I have found is a definite lack of solo AI systems for the
        types of tactical wargames I prefer (company/battlegroup
        level);since I play Advanced Squad Leader,the solitaire module has
        been an awesome addition to both ASL and I have used that as a model
        for other types of games at that scale (for example,the Random
        Events Table I made for my solo Dirtside 2 games is modelled after
        the ones in Solo ASL.)One drawback to it is I found the AI can order
        the Enemy to perform some strange actions,but that can be justified
        as the Enemy operating under "fog-of-war" as well.Have played Solo
        ASL using just the generation tables without the AI and that works
        ok too but then it reverts back to original concept of playing both
        sides to best of my ability.
        http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/7587

        One other attempt at this scale was a scenario pack for Yaquinto
        games "Panzer/Armor/88" series but not to the detail of Solo
        ASL,plus the scenarios felt rather "vanilla" in flavor.Still a good
        source of inspiration though.

        I have tried a couple of THW products and have found them to be good
        in the aspect of removing total player control from me,but they are
        geared for skirmish-level gaming.The same goes for the Ambush!
        series of games:great AI but also skirmish scale.

        One "pseudo-AI" can be found in Charles Grant's book of programmed
        wargame scenarios.It will control the Enemy force generation and
        general objective/victory conditions but not how each unit
        behaves;that is left to the solo player to decide.

        One solo AI whcih I found for use in naval gaming is here:
        http://www.aandagames.co.uk/IF_Red_River_Blues_Rules.pdf

        Anyone wishing to detail what kind of solo AI they have come up with
        please post them here,perhaps someone can use that idea as a model
        for their AI in their solo gaming.

        Thanks,
        Mark
      • David & Robin
        While I agree with Patrick on the joy of immersion I differ on how that goal is to be achieved. I suppose I could describe myself as a cinematic wargamer. I
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 1, 2006
          While I agree with Patrick on the joy of immersion I differ on how that goal
          is to be achieved. I suppose I could describe myself as a cinematic
          wargamer. I want a good story first and foremost. The classic tournament
          scenario of a set piece battle between two armies that has no back-story to
          it is the antithesis of what I find to be a satisfying game. I want there
          to be a story and a setting to the battle, even if it is made up for a
          one-off game. Why are the armies fighting here now? Is it crucial that the
          chariotry survives to fight another day or can they be freely sacrificed?
          Are Union reinforcements to the blockade going to be steaming over the
          horizon at any moment so the blockade runner must make an escape
          immediately? Knowing this gives my games a better sense of purpose.



          I personally find overly complex and detailed rules an impediment to my
          immersion. I do not want to be constantly checking factors and modifiers. I
          want things settled with one or two quick dice rolls. Rolling a handful of
          dice at once is preferable to rolling one several times in succession.



          For me switching sides is not a problem, I am interested in the overall
          story, not the detail of each action and decision.



          When playing multiplayer games I find that extra detail can become much more
          enjoyable. In a multiplayer game I prefer a more involved player turn with
          more decisions to be made and more things to do.



          For me the chief thing a good set of solitaire rules has to do is tell a
          good story.



          Cheers,



          --dave



          _____



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Patrick Carroll
          ... I don t remember. It s been too long (probably some ten or twelve years). I ve long since let my subscription lapse, and I don t know where my old issues
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 1, 2006
            --- In SoloWarGame@yahoogroups.com, "thedrake70458"
            <thedrake70458@...> wrote:
            >
            > > I wrote an article on this for The Lone Warrior some years ago<
            >
            > Patrick,
            > What issue was that in? Would like to read it if I can find it.

            I don't remember. It's been too long (probably some ten or twelve
            years). I've long since let my subscription lapse, and I don't know
            where my old issues are, if I kept them.


            > I agree with most of what you said;however I am not averse to
            > setting up large games that I can leave setup for later,and do not
            > mind moving lots of units on the board/table.Having grown up
            playing
            > wargames solo this has never been an issue with me.

            I used to do that with big board wargames. But by the late 1980s I
            got sick of it for some reason, and I haven't been able to do it
            since. I don't know why. Shouldn't be any different than a model
            railroader leaving his layout up so he can run it when he wants to.
            But somehow, when I start a game I want to finish it in one sitting.


            > What I have found is a definite lack of solo AI systems for the
            > types of tactical wargames I prefer (company/battlegroup
            > level);since I play Advanced Squad Leader,the solitaire module has
            > been an awesome addition to both ASL and I have used that as a
            model
            > for other types of games at that scale (for example,the Random
            > Events Table I made for my solo Dirtside 2 games is modelled after
            > the ones in Solo ASL.)One drawback to it is I found the AI can
            order
            > the Enemy to perform some strange actions,but that can be
            justified
            > as the Enemy operating under "fog-of-war" as well.Have played Solo
            > ASL using just the generation tables without the AI and that works
            > ok too but then it reverts back to original concept of playing
            both
            > sides to best of my ability.

            ASL was my game up until about 1994 or so. Then one day I looked at
            it, shook my head, and said, "Enough!" I was sick of having to
            relearn all the rules after being away from the game for a few
            months, and of having to look up rules every other turn. Even
            though the rules were nicely organized in the ASL manual, there were
            still way too many of 'em. And the worst of it was: even with all
            those rules, the game still lacked realism because there were no
            command-control rules! No real-life commander could possibly
            micromanage half-squads and individuals to the extent the ASL player
            can and does.

            When I later heard about Solitaire ASL, I *almost* wished I hadn't
            given up on the game. But it's probably good that I did.


            > I have tried a couple of THW products and have found them to be
            good
            > in the aspect of removing total player control from me,but they
            are
            > geared for skirmish-level gaming.The same goes for the Ambush!
            > series of games:great AI but also skirmish scale.

            Yeah. I played Ambush once upon a time. Liked it, but didn't care
            too much for the "paragraph" system, where you have to flip through
            the book to find out what's happening. Too much story getting in
            the way of the game action. If I wanted an RPG, I'd play one.

            I haven't decided yet whether I like the skirmish scale. It has its
            pluses and minuses.

            --Patrick
          • Patrick Carroll
            ... that goal ... cinematic ... tournament ... story to ... want there ... for a ... that the ... sacrificed? ... the ... purpose. That s fascinating to me.
            Message 5 of 16 , Apr 1, 2006
              --- In SoloWarGame@yahoogroups.com, "David & Robin" <gpfarm@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > While I agree with Patrick on the joy of immersion I differ on how
              that goal
              > is to be achieved. I suppose I could describe myself as a
              cinematic
              > wargamer. I want a good story first and foremost. The classic
              tournament
              > scenario of a set piece battle between two armies that has no back-
              story to
              > it is the antithesis of what I find to be a satisfying game. I
              want there
              > to be a story and a setting to the battle, even if it is made up
              for a
              > one-off game. Why are the armies fighting here now? Is it crucial
              that the
              > chariotry survives to fight another day or can they be freely
              sacrificed?
              > Are Union reinforcements to the blockade going to be steaming over
              the
              > horizon at any moment so the blockade runner must make an escape
              > immediately? Knowing this gives my games a better sense of
              purpose.

              That's fascinating to me. It definitely goes against my grain, but
              it's cool to see that there can be such different approaches to solo
              gaming.

              I've never been into RPGs (they came along after I was well into
              wargaming). But the few times I've sampled an RPG, I found the
              story line very annoying. It made me feel I was caught up in the
              middle of some chain of events that would proceed with or without me.

              When I started out in wargaming (in 1968), all wargames were
              chesslike, in the sense that players hovered over the board and
              could see everything and had full control over their own game
              pieces. That's what I got used to, and maybe that's why it still
              seems normal to me.

              Over the years, designers tried to do two things to wargames: (1)
              hide information, and (2) limit a player's control. Supposedly
              these things would better simulate a battlefield commander's
              perspective on warfare.

              I didn't mind command-control rules. They made things more
              realistic and added a welcome chance element. I've never been much
              of a chess player anyway; backgammon is more my game. So, the extra
              dice rolls and control limitations were OK with me.

              However, I never liked fog-of-war (hidden information) rules. I can
              understand why they exist and how it might make a game more
              realistic, but I can't get over wanting to see everything and know
              what all is going on. I don't like seeing a battle through a
              limited, vision-slit perspective; I want a bird's-eye view.

              Besides command-control and fog-of-war, something else came along in
              the mid-1970s: a story line. It first happened with RPGs, and for
              a long time it was limited to RPGs. Wargamers and RPGers were in
              opposite camps; not many people played both. The closest a wargame
              came to having a story line was the so-called "campaign game." A
              series of tactical battles could be linked together into the story
              of a whole campaign.

              By the time home computers came along, the "campaign game" was well
              established. Thus, the game Panzer General, for example, was
              basically a campaign game (though a player could also fight
              individual scenarios). The better you did in one scenario, the
              better positioned you were in the next.

              Though I've played a few campaign games in my time, for the most
              part I find them long and aggravating. It takes a lot of time to
              play a whole string of scenarios. And it sucks when you get halfway
              through the campaign and suddenly realize you lost too many units
              and won't be able to get much further. Then you have to go back to
              square one and try the whole long campaign again.

              I like having some kind of *setting* for the game I'm playing--an
              introductory paragraph that tells me what year it is and describes
              the situation. But when the scenario in front of me is finished, I
              want to be done. I don't want to turn the page and find that
              there's more and more and more and I may never be finished. I still
              like the old chesslike satisfaction of winning or losing and being
              finished once and for all (until I feel like playing again).


              > I personally find overly complex and detailed rules an impediment
              to my
              > immersion. I do not want to be constantly checking factors and
              modifiers. I
              > want things settled with one or two quick dice rolls. Rolling a
              handful of
              > dice at once is preferable to rolling one several times in
              succession.

              That's fascinating too. I think I can understand it, but it's hard
              for me to relate to it.

              I've heard lots of wargamers complain about "gamey" rules--which
              seems to mean anything that takes a player's mind off the
              imaginative side of things and forces him to pay attention to how
              the game works.

              But to me, a wargame *is* a game--and I like that about it. I like
              games like backgammon too. And when I'm playing *any* kind of game,
              I definitely want to know how the game works--what all the rules
              are, what charts are used, and so forth. That's one reason I tend
              to be dissatisfied with computer games: too much of the game system
              is hidden behind the interface. I want to get my hands on every
              aspect of the game--the combat factors, movement charts, and
              everything.

              If I just wanted to "play army," I'd close my eyes and daydream, or
              maybe push toy tanks around in the sandbox. If I just wanted a
              cinematic glimpse of warfare, I'd watch a movie or read a book.
              When I play a wargame, I want more than just those things; I want it
              to be a challenging and interesting *game*--in the same way as chess
              and backgammon are challenging and interesting games. To enjoy that
              aspect of the game, it's necessary to wrap my mind around how the
              game works.

              So, the game system is at least as important to me as the cinematic
              effects that the game produces. I want to be involved with the
              causes as well as the effects. If I manage to sink an enemy ship,
              it's not enough to know I hit the ship and sunk it; I want to know
              *how* I hit it, and where, and what kind of damage was done, and how
              many times I missed before I finally hit, and what chance the enemy
              ship had of evading my shot. Details like those are what captivate
              me and make the game interesting.

              If it were a competitive game against another player, I might be
              happy if it all went quicker. Then my aim would just be winning.
              But when I play solo, I want the game to grab my mind in as many was
              as possible.


              > For me switching sides is not a problem, I am interested in the
              overall
              > story, not the detail of each action and decision.

              What a different viewpoint!


              > When playing multiplayer games I find that extra detail can become
              much more
              > enjoyable. In a multiplayer game I prefer a more involved player
              turn with
              > more decisions to be made and more things to do.

              That also baffles me. One of the *worst* things about multiplayer
              games is sitting around waiting for all the other players to take
              their turns. The more detail there is in such games, the longer
              other players are going to take.

              So, I'd go just the opposite way: the more players there are, the
              *less* detailed the rules ought to be--just to keep the game moving.


              > For me the chief thing a good set of solitaire rules has to do is
              tell a
              > good story.

              Thanks for sharing that. It gives me a whole 'nuther point of view
              to consider.

              Me, I tend to play games in order to get *away* from stories. I
              find stories in books and movies; but what disappoints me about
              those media is that the story always goes along in a set line, and
              all I can do is follow it through to the end. In a game, I'm free
              of any story line and able to make whatever moves I choose.

              One of the great psychological joys of game playing to me is
              perceiving the game in front of me as a whole world in and of
              itself, unconnected to anything else. That makes it a great form of
              escape or diversion.

              --Patrick
            • David & Robin
              Excellent response Patrick. It s always nice to get a chance to see how the other half lives. I came into wargames through RPGs, so that have coloured my
              Message 6 of 16 , Apr 1, 2006
                Excellent response Patrick. It's always nice to get a chance to see how the
                other half lives. I came into wargames through RPGs, so that have coloured
                my approach more than I realize.



                Cheers,



                --dave



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Chuck Parrott
                Have any of you checked Combat Commander out, one of the newer GMT games? It s passed the P500 mark and is in final production now.
                Message 7 of 16 , Apr 3, 2006
                  Have any of you checked Combat Commander out, one of the newer GMT games?
                  It's passed the P500 mark and is in final production now.

                  http://www.gmtgames.com/combatcomm/main.html

                  Solitaire game of running an infantry company. There is a copy of the near
                  final rule book there as well so you can get an idea of how things will flow
                  in this game. Looks like there may be a lot of solitaire gaming goodness in
                  this one.

                  Chuck
                • Chuck Parrott
                  Scratch that last link, I had the wrong game. It s this one called Fields of Fire: http://www.gmtgames.com/fof/main.html And hasn t reached the 500 pre order
                  Message 8 of 16 , Apr 3, 2006
                    Scratch that last link, I had the wrong game. It's this one called Fields of
                    Fire:

                    http://www.gmtgames.com/fof/main.html

                    And hasn't reached the 500 pre order mark as of yet.

                    Chuck
                  • Patrick Carroll
                    ... the near ... will flow ... goodness in ... There may be. . . . But that reminds me of something I didn t mention in my post about what makes a good solo
                    Message 9 of 16 , Apr 3, 2006
                      --- In SoloWarGame@yahoogroups.com, "Chuck Parrott"
                      <chuckparrott@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Solitaire game of running an infantry company. There is a copy of
                      the near
                      > final rule book there as well so you can get an idea of how things
                      will flow
                      > in this game. Looks like there may be a lot of solitaire gaming
                      goodness in
                      > this one.

                      There may be. . . . But that reminds me of something I didn't
                      mention in my post about what makes a good solo wargame.

                      I've played a number of wargames *designed* for solitaire (e.g.,
                      Ambush, Mosby's Raiders, B-17)--but I've never yet found one that
                      measures up to just playing both sides of a good two-player wargame.

                      It's weird, I know, but it's true. Even though almost all my
                      wargaming is solo, I've never liked games *designed* for solitaire
                      play.

                      For one thing, it's a little awkward going through the game mechanics
                      that run the "automated opponent." I end up feeling like the game is
                      playing me--forcing me to jump through some hoops to get to the next
                      turn.

                      But the worst thing is, I know I'll never be able to play the game
                      against anyone else. When I play a two-player game solo, in the back
                      of my mind I'm always thinking, "If I get the hang of this game and
                      continue to like it, I may go looking for an opponent one of these
                      days." In a sense, I always feel I'm just "playtesting" a game when
                      I play solo--and a "real" game will be the one I someday play against
                      another person. When that's not an option, and I know I'll *only* be
                      able to play the game solitaire, somehow it's never as satisfying.

                      I suppose another psychological factor is: I'm really pretty
                      noncompetitive. I like being able to control both sides, which is
                      sort of like choreographing a battle ("Suppose these guys do this,
                      and then those guys pop up over there, and then this
                      happens. . . ."). As the dice come into play, things happen that I'm
                      not able to foresee, and that's when the ongoing choreography gets
                      interesting. But competition--even against an "AI"--tends to spoil
                      some of the joy of choreographing; when I'm competing, I'm more
                      intent on destroying the enemy than enjoying the show.

                      Just some thoughts I've had.

                      --Patrick
                    • Chuck Parrott
                      Patrick, I used to play a lot of wargames solitaire for just the same reasons you ve outlined. I spent many hours setting up and then playing out turns and
                      Message 10 of 16 , Apr 3, 2006
                        Patrick,

                        I used to play a lot of wargames solitaire for just the same reasons you've
                        outlined. I spent many hours setting up and then playing out turns and
                        trying out different strategies for when I played face to face. I wanted to
                        find that 'killer opening move' or experiment with optimizing the deployment
                        of my forces. I've also found most solitaire only games lacking a feel of
                        playing a wargame against an opponent rather than just playing against a
                        system. Probably the best I've found for playing solitaire was RAF. Yes you
                        play against a system, but it still feels like a game where you could
                        imagine that a live human was on the other side directing the battle.

                        It's funny, but your other posts also pretty much describes my gaming
                        mentality nowadays. I fell in love with computer war games back in the 80's
                        and 90's but find my interest in them now very lacking because so much of
                        what's going on is hidden from the player. I've found real time games to be
                        more enjoyable on a computer, the ones with obvious mechanics and score x
                        hits then something dies style. I enjoy wargames and board games in
                        paper/cardboard/miniature form because I can look a chart or table and
                        figure out the factors that make this work and that not work. I like the
                        tactile feel of rolling dice and pushing cardboard or miniatures around the
                        table. I've also found as I've gotten older that I don't have the patience
                        for longer, drawn out games. If it's not over in 2 hours or at least keeping
                        players actively involved all the time for longer games I quickly get bored
                        and am ready to move on to something else. Adult ADD I guess.

                        Chuck
                      • John Rothley
                        ... I absolutely love Ambush. I have 5 of the modules. I wish the makers would have expanded it to the Horse and Musket era. I don t mind flipping through
                        Message 11 of 16 , Apr 3, 2006
                          --- In SoloWarGame@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick Carroll"
                          <patrick55carroll@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > Yeah. I played Ambush once upon a time. Liked it, but didn't care
                          > too much for the "paragraph" system, where you have to flip through
                          > the book to find out what's happening. Too much story getting in
                          > the way of the game action. If I wanted an RPG, I'd play one.
                          > --Patrick
                          >

                          I absolutely love Ambush. I have 5 of the modules. I wish the makers
                          would have expanded it to the Horse and Musket era. I don't mind
                          flipping through the book. When I play a board game I don't mind the
                          rulesbook and the continual referencing of the 'book'. But when I play
                          a miniatures war game I want almost instant action with no looking up
                          rules details.
                          John
                        • thomdus@aol.com
                          Hi Guys, I ve not been able to check my emails for a few days now and I ve just read the article about what makes a good solo game. I was wondering does anyone
                          Message 12 of 16 , Apr 4, 2006
                            Hi Guys,
                            I've not been able to check my emails for a few days now and I've just read the article about what makes a good solo game.
                            I was wondering does anyone have any ideas for playing Crossfire solo as Preston (Uk) has 0 thats right 0 people who will playing anything but GW rules (sigh)

                            Tom D

                            p.s. I played the boardgame FRAG solo recently good fun very random but good fun :-)
                          • thedrake70458
                            Tom, Take a look at this link: http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/nikolas.lloyd/wargames/crossfire/cfsolo.html Hope this helps. MD ... solo as Preston (Uk) has 0 thats
                            Message 13 of 16 , Apr 4, 2006
                              Tom,

                              Take a look at this link:
                              http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/nikolas.lloyd/wargames/crossfire/cfsolo.html

                              Hope this helps.

                              MD

                              > I was wondering does anyone have any ideas for playing Crossfire
                              solo as Preston (Uk) has 0 thats right 0 people who will playing
                              anything but GW rules (sigh)
                              >
                              > Tom D
                            • Andy Cowell
                              ... Well, it sounds like there s at least one. ;-) Good luck, Tom!
                              Message 14 of 16 , Apr 6, 2006
                                In message <5391E315.11BC6B12.001864F4@...>, thomdus@... writes:
                                >
                                > ...as Preston (Uk) has 0 thats right 0 people who will playing
                                > anything but GW rules (sigh)

                                Well, it sounds like there's at least one. ;-) Good luck, Tom!
                              • thomdus@aol.com
                                ...as Preston (Uk) has 0 thats right 0 people who will playing anything but GW rules (sigh) Well, it sounds like there s at least one. ;-)  Good luck, Tom!
                                Message 15 of 16 , Apr 7, 2006
                                  ...as Preston (Uk) has 0 thats right 0 people who will playing
                                  anything but GW rules (sigh)

                                  Well, it sounds like there's at least one. ;-)  Good luck, Tom!

                                  This is true Andy but the voices in my head dont always make good compatition... They cheat some times you see, I say HEY Wait should he be dead, no no they reply you didnt roll that 2 roll this dice instead.....

                                  Ah well back to the battle field (my floor)

                                  Tom D
                                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.