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On using dice with a military audience

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  • grahamlongleybrown@btinternet.com
    This is a cross-post from my own Blog that I hope will mildly amuse the recreational and professsional wargamers among you as well as any analyst-types.
    Message 1 of 28 , Oct 12, 2012
      This is a cross-post from my own Blog that I hope will mildly amuse the recreational and professsional wargamers among you as well as any analyst-types.
      ___________________________________________________________________________________________

      You would be excused for thinking that producing a large rubber die from your pocket to illustrate a point to senior military personnel carries a high risk of failing the 'military credibility' test. You might be right! However, I have recently found such a move, when well-explained, to be most effective and well-received.

      I recently gave an 'Introduction to Operational Analysis' presentation to the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College's Advanced Command and Staff Course students and Directing Staff. At one point I left the security of the lectern, walked to front centre stage and, laying my professional credibility on the line, produced a large rubber 6-sided die and told a story.

      Some years ago I had been a Course of Action (COA) Wargaming Subject Matter Expert floorwalker at a corps level CPX. HQ 1 (UK) Div was a player HQ and were conducting a COA Wargame. The success of the plan being wargamed was predicated on breaking through an enemy blocking position, and the HQ staff had applied sufficient combat power so that the supporting operational analyst assured them that the force equivalency ratio was 3:1 in their favour. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and assumed the attack would, when the time came, succeed. We all 'know' that a 3:1 ratio ensures a brief fight then home for tea and medals. Or does it...?

      I asked the analyst what 3:1 actually meant. He told me that it gave an approximately 70% chance of success, based on historical analysis of planned attacks versus a hasty defence. I translated 'approximately 70%' to 66% for obvious reasons explained below.

      At this point (and knowing him quite well) I approached the General Officer Commanding (GOC). Armed with the analyst's figures I gave the GOC the self same large rubber die and asked him if he would be happy rolling it in front of his peers and commanders when his plan was executed. If he rolled 1-4 his plan worked, but a 5-6 meant his plan failed; the enemy would remain firm and the entire corps plan stall. With almost no hesitation he called his COS and the plan was revised; more combat power was applied to increase the chances of success.

      So what? The point of the story was to illustrate:

      •    Holding the die represents the owner of a plan holding the risk.
      •    Considering rolling the die in front of peers and superiors makes the point that you only get one shot, and you will be judged on it.
      •    This also emphasises the fact that the plan will be executed; it is not just a planning activity.
      •    Understanding the numbers is what OA brings to the party.


      I then roll the die, having reminded the audience that a 5 or 6 equals failure. Inevitably all eyes follow it... at which point I shout at them not to look at the die! To do so is to search fruitlessly for a predicted outcome, which we all know cannot be delivered.

      Having lambasted the audience for following the tumbling die I tell them that the mental image I want them to take away is of themselves holding the die in front of their peers, ready to roll. Understanding the numbers (the OA), would they be comfortable, as the risk-holder, to roll the die when it comes time to execute their plan?

      Indeed they shouldn't roll the die, just picture themselves holding it; it represents the risk they are taking, and OA allows them to better understanding the numbers therein. Because, of course, OA can only support decision making and assist military judgement; it should not pretend to be predictive.

      That was 2 weeks ago...and I haven't yet been invited back. Even if I'm not, it appeals to the recreational wargamer in me to think that I might be the only person to have ever rolled a large rubber die across the Staff College main lecture theatre!

      Graham LB
    • pagsab
      Sorry not to have posted for so long, due to overseas trips and a very busy start of term. Graham s point about dice and military credibility is enormously
      Message 2 of 28 , Oct 21, 2012
        Sorry not to have posted for so long, due to overseas trips and a very busy start of term.

        Graham's point about dice and military credibility is enormously important. I just had to give my first explanation of wargame design principles to my new MA conflict simulation students at King's College, and I used very much the same justification for die rolling, namely that if study of a range of similar real attacks shows a certain distribution of outcomes, then assigning each outcome to a matching range of die rolls is a simple and quick way of simulating that overall pattern within an individual simulated attack. The only real alternative would be to delve into the details of all those superficially similar real attacks, to find out exactly what differences produced the variation in outcomes, and then to incorporate those factors directly in the simulation. This would obviously create unmanageable levels of complexity if carried beyond a certain point, which is why I think that randomisation does have to play some irreducible part in practical wargame modelling.

        Graham's point about the result of the individual roll being immaterial compared to the fact of risk and uncertainty is also very well taken. Of course, in actual wargames, this individual attack will only be one of many, and so it is necessary to roll and apply the die result in order to progress within the game. What the die rolling shows is that, if there is indeed a single crucial attack on which everything else depends, then leaving the result to 'chance' may be unacceptable, and one must apply overwhelming force to try to ensure that the whole plan does not go off the rails. My Hell's Gate sim provides a nice example. As I discuss on pp.184-5 and 193-7 of the book, Konev's breakthrough at Kapitanovka really needs to leave nothing to chance if the Germans are not to escape encirclement altogether, while Vatutin's attacks on the other flank can afford to pursue multiple lower odds attacks which will eventually succeed somewhere sooner or later. It is such distinctions between 'serial' and 'parallel' attacks which wargames are very well able to elucidate.

        Die rolling will remain an extremely sensitive and vulnerable aspect with all sceptical audiences, for all the reasons which I discuss in the book, but if we can win the argument on this most difficult of ground by addressing issues like those which Graham and I have just raised, we are a long way towards achieving greater credibility for wargames as a whole.

        Phil


        --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, "grahamlongleybrown@..." <grahamlongleybrown@...> wrote:
        >
        > This is a cross-post from my own Blog that I hope will mildly amuse the
        > recreational and professsional wargamers among you as well as any
        > analyst-types.
        > ________________________________________________________________________\
        > ___________________
        >
        > You would be excused for thinking that producing a large rubber die from
        > your pocket to illustrate a point to senior military personnel carries a
        > high risk of failing the 'military credibility' test. You might be
        > right! However, I have recently found such a move, when well-explained,
        > to be most effective and well-received.
        >
        > I recently gave an 'Introduction to Operational Analysis' presentation
        > to the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College's Advanced Command
        > and Staff Course students and Directing Staff. At one point I left the
        > security of the lectern, walked to front centre stage and, laying my
        > professional credibility on the line, produced a large rubber 6-sided
        > die and told a story.
        >
        > Some years ago I had been a Course of Action (COA) Wargaming Subject
        > Matter Expert floorwalker at a corps level CPX. HQ 1 (UK) Div was a
        > player HQ and were conducting a COA Wargame. The success of the plan
        > being wargamed was predicated on breaking through an enemy blocking
        > position, and the HQ staff had applied sufficient combat power so that
        > the supporting operational analyst assured them that the force
        > equivalency ratio was 3:1 in their favour. Everyone breathed a sigh of
        > relief and assumed the attack would, when the time came, succeed. We all
        > 'know' that a 3:1 ratio ensures a brief fight then home for tea and
        > medals. Or does it...?
        >
        > I asked the analyst what 3:1 actually meant. He told me that it gave an
        > approximately 70% chance of success, based on historical analysis of
        > planned attacks versus a hasty defence. I translated 'approximately 70%'
        > to 66% for obvious reasons explained below.
        >
        > At this point (and knowing him quite well) I approached the General
        > Officer Commanding (GOC). Armed with the analyst's figures I gave the
        > GOC the self same large rubber die and asked him if he would be happy
        > rolling it in front of his peers and commanders when his plan was
        > executed. If he rolled 1-4 his plan worked, but a 5-6 meant his plan
        > failed; the enemy would remain firm and the entire corps plan stall.
        > With almost no hesitation he called his COS and the plan was revised;
        > more combat power was applied to increase the chances of success.
        >
        > So what? The point of the story was to illustrate:
        >
        > • Holding the die represents the owner of a plan holding the
        > risk.
        > • Considering rolling the die in front of peers and superiors
        > makes the point that you only get one shot, and you will be judged on
        > it.
        > • This also emphasises the fact that the plan will be executed;
        > it is not just a planning activity.
        > • Understanding the numbers is what OA brings to the party.
        >
        > I then roll the die, having reminded the audience that a 5 or 6 equals
        > failure. Inevitably all eyes follow it... at which point I shout at them
        > not to look at the die! To do so is to search fruitlessly for a
        > predicted outcome, which we all know cannot be delivered.
        >
        > Having lambasted the audience for following the tumbling die I tell them
        > that the mental image I want them to take away is of themselves holding
        > the die in front of their peers, ready to roll. Understanding the
        > numbers (the OA), would they be comfortable, as the risk-holder, to roll
        > the die when it comes time to execute their plan?
        >
        > Indeed they shouldn't roll the die, just picture themselves holding it;
        > it represents the risk they are taking, and OA allows them to better
        > understanding the numbers therein. Because, of course, OA can only
        > support decision making and assist military judgement; it should not
        > pretend to be predictive.
        >
        > That was 2 weeks ago...and I haven't yet been invited back. Even if I'm
        > not, it appeals to the recreational wargamer in me to think that I might
        > be the only person to have ever rolled a large rubber die across the
        > Staff College main lecture theatre!
        >
        > Graham LB
        >
      • Tracy Johnson
        There was in the 1970 s the humorous essay about the wargame called IT which had a counter for every human being in WWII and played on a huge map in some
        Message 3 of 28 , Oct 21, 2012
          There was in the 1970's the humorous essay about the wargame called "IT"
          which had a counter for every human being in WWII and played on a huge
          map in some auditorium. There where hypothetical raised walkways so the
          players could reach the pieces. After 5 years the the game had only
          progressed so far... I think it was a month or a week.

          It has been 40 years, I wonder how far the game would have theoretically
          progressed?

          I also forget which magazine was it. It had to have been "The General",
          "Strategy & Tactics", or "Moves".

          On 10/21/2012 07:56 AM, pagsab wrote:
          > The only real alternative would be to delve into the details of all those superficially similar real attacks, to find out exactly what differences produced the variation in outcomes, and then to incorporate those factors directly in the simulation. This would obviously create unmanageable levels of complexity if carried beyond a certain point, which is why I think that randomisation does have to play some irreducible part in practical wargame modelling.
          >
          >
          > Phil
          >


          --
          Tracy Johnson
          Old fashioned text games hosted below:
          http://empire.openmpe.com/empire/
          BT







          NNNN
        • David
          It was a column in The General by Alan Moon.
          Message 4 of 28 , Oct 22, 2012
            It was a column in The General by Alan Moon.

            --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, Tracy Johnson <tmjva@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > There was in the 1970's the humorous essay about the wargame called "IT"
            > which had a counter for every human being in WWII and played on a huge
            > map in some auditorium. There where hypothetical raised walkways so the
            > players could reach the pieces. After 5 years the the game had only
            > progressed so far... I think it was a month or a week.
            >
            > It has been 40 years, I wonder how far the game would have theoretically
            > progressed?
            >
            > I also forget which magazine was it. It had to have been "The General",
            > "Strategy & Tactics", or "Moves".
            >
            > On 10/21/2012 07:56 AM, pagsab wrote:
            > > The only real alternative would be to delve into the details of all those superficially similar real attacks, to find out exactly what differences produced the variation in outcomes, and then to incorporate those factors directly in the simulation. This would obviously create unmanageable levels of complexity if carried beyond a certain point, which is why I think that randomisation does have to play some irreducible part in practical wargame modelling.
            > >
            > >
            > > Phil
            > >
            >
            >
            > --
            > Tracy Johnson
            > Old fashioned text games hosted below:
            > http://empire.openmpe.com/empire/
            > BT
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > NNNN
            >
          • David
            I m with Sun Tsu on this - don t besiege walled cities. If die rolling is insufficiently professional or serious for a professional or serious audience, then
            Message 5 of 28 , Oct 22, 2012
              I'm with Sun Tsu on this - don't besiege walled cities. If die rolling is insufficiently professional or serious for a professional or serious audience, then replace it with something else.

              If randomisation is the stumbling block, then for instance, replace it with the opinion of a subject matter expert whose expertise it just so happens is given substance by a knowledge of the real distribution of outcomes.

              If it is die rolling which sticks in the craw, with its connotations of snakes and ladders, then randomise in some other way.

              Selling is hard enough; changing the customers' mind in the sales process is exponentially so. There's a reason you never hear the term "visionary salesman."


              --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, "pagsab" <philip.sabin@...> wrote:
              >
              > Sorry not to have posted for so long, due to overseas trips and a very busy start of term.
              >
              > Graham's point about dice and military credibility is enormously important. I just had to give my first explanation of wargame design principles to my new MA conflict simulation students at King's College, and I used very much the same justification for die rolling, namely that if study of a range of similar real attacks shows a certain distribution of outcomes, then assigning each outcome to a matching range of die rolls is a simple and quick way of simulating that overall pattern within an individual simulated attack. The only real alternative would be to delve into the details of all those superficially similar real attacks, to find out exactly what differences produced the variation in outcomes, and then to incorporate those factors directly in the simulation. This would obviously create unmanageable levels of complexity if carried beyond a certain point, which is why I think that randomisation does have to play some irreducible part in practical wargame modelling.
              >
              > Graham's point about the result of the individual roll being immaterial compared to the fact of risk and uncertainty is also very well taken. Of course, in actual wargames, this individual attack will only be one of many, and so it is necessary to roll and apply the die result in order to progress within the game. What the die rolling shows is that, if there is indeed a single crucial attack on which everything else depends, then leaving the result to 'chance' may be unacceptable, and one must apply overwhelming force to try to ensure that the whole plan does not go off the rails. My Hell's Gate sim provides a nice example. As I discuss on pp.184-5 and 193-7 of the book, Konev's breakthrough at Kapitanovka really needs to leave nothing to chance if the Germans are not to escape encirclement altogether, while Vatutin's attacks on the other flank can afford to pursue multiple lower odds attacks which will eventually succeed somewhere sooner or later. It is such distinctions between 'serial' and 'parallel' attacks which wargames are very well able to elucidate.
              >
              > Die rolling will remain an extremely sensitive and vulnerable aspect with all sceptical audiences, for all the reasons which I discuss in the book, but if we can win the argument on this most difficult of ground by addressing issues like those which Graham and I have just raised, we are a long way towards achieving greater credibility for wargames as a whole.
              >
              > Phil
              >
              >
              > --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, "grahamlongleybrown@" <grahamlongleybrown@> wrote:
              > >
              > > This is a cross-post from my own Blog that I hope will mildly amuse the
              > > recreational and professsional wargamers among you as well as any
              > > analyst-types.
              > > ________________________________________________________________________\
              > > ___________________
              > >
              > > You would be excused for thinking that producing a large rubber die from
              > > your pocket to illustrate a point to senior military personnel carries a
              > > high risk of failing the 'military credibility' test. You might be
              > > right! However, I have recently found such a move, when well-explained,
              > > to be most effective and well-received.
              > >
              > > I recently gave an 'Introduction to Operational Analysis' presentation
              > > to the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College's Advanced Command
              > > and Staff Course students and Directing Staff. At one point I left the
              > > security of the lectern, walked to front centre stage and, laying my
              > > professional credibility on the line, produced a large rubber 6-sided
              > > die and told a story.
              > >
              > > Some years ago I had been a Course of Action (COA) Wargaming Subject
              > > Matter Expert floorwalker at a corps level CPX. HQ 1 (UK) Div was a
              > > player HQ and were conducting a COA Wargame. The success of the plan
              > > being wargamed was predicated on breaking through an enemy blocking
              > > position, and the HQ staff had applied sufficient combat power so that
              > > the supporting operational analyst assured them that the force
              > > equivalency ratio was 3:1 in their favour. Everyone breathed a sigh of
              > > relief and assumed the attack would, when the time came, succeed. We all
              > > 'know' that a 3:1 ratio ensures a brief fight then home for tea and
              > > medals. Or does it...?
              > >
              > > I asked the analyst what 3:1 actually meant. He told me that it gave an
              > > approximately 70% chance of success, based on historical analysis of
              > > planned attacks versus a hasty defence. I translated 'approximately 70%'
              > > to 66% for obvious reasons explained below.
              > >
              > > At this point (and knowing him quite well) I approached the General
              > > Officer Commanding (GOC). Armed with the analyst's figures I gave the
              > > GOC the self same large rubber die and asked him if he would be happy
              > > rolling it in front of his peers and commanders when his plan was
              > > executed. If he rolled 1-4 his plan worked, but a 5-6 meant his plan
              > > failed; the enemy would remain firm and the entire corps plan stall.
              > > With almost no hesitation he called his COS and the plan was revised;
              > > more combat power was applied to increase the chances of success.
              > >
              > > So what? The point of the story was to illustrate:
              > >
              > > • Holding the die represents the owner of a plan holding the
              > > risk.
              > > • Considering rolling the die in front of peers and superiors
              > > makes the point that you only get one shot, and you will be judged on
              > > it.
              > > • This also emphasises the fact that the plan will be executed;
              > > it is not just a planning activity.
              > > • Understanding the numbers is what OA brings to the party.
              > >
              > > I then roll the die, having reminded the audience that a 5 or 6 equals
              > > failure. Inevitably all eyes follow it... at which point I shout at them
              > > not to look at the die! To do so is to search fruitlessly for a
              > > predicted outcome, which we all know cannot be delivered.
              > >
              > > Having lambasted the audience for following the tumbling die I tell them
              > > that the mental image I want them to take away is of themselves holding
              > > the die in front of their peers, ready to roll. Understanding the
              > > numbers (the OA), would they be comfortable, as the risk-holder, to roll
              > > the die when it comes time to execute their plan?
              > >
              > > Indeed they shouldn't roll the die, just picture themselves holding it;
              > > it represents the risk they are taking, and OA allows them to better
              > > understanding the numbers therein. Because, of course, OA can only
              > > support decision making and assist military judgement; it should not
              > > pretend to be predictive.
              > >
              > > That was 2 weeks ago...and I haven't yet been invited back. Even if I'm
              > > not, it appeals to the recreational wargamer in me to think that I might
              > > be the only person to have ever rolled a large rubber die across the
              > > Staff College main lecture theatre!
              > >
              > > Graham LB
              > >
              >
            • Brooks Rowlett
              For example: When I participated in the Global War Game at the Naval War College in the 1980s, we visited the game operations floor and discussed a particular
              Message 6 of 28 , Oct 22, 2012
                For example:

                When I participated in the Global War Game at the Naval War College in
                the 1980s, we visited the game operations floor and discussed a
                particular engagement. The umpire controlling this operation stated
                that he had a random number table - i.e. a sequence of generated
                random numbers such as used by mathematicians for statistical modeling
                - and at each resolution he read the current table entry, then crossed
                it off; and the value of that random number compared to the rule
                system probability of outcome determined the engagement result. (The
                particular engagement was a very encounter so only required a yes/no
                result. For example if the probability was 35% then with a 3 digit
                random table from with values ranging uniformly from 1 to 1000 (really
                it would be three digits with 000,001....999 but if you hit 000 that
                is considered 1000) and your next random number in the table is 350 or
                less, the even occurs.'

                Brooks Rowlett

                On Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 6:17 AM, David <david.r.hughes@...> wrote:
                > I'm with Sun Tsu on this - don't besiege walled cities. If die rolling is insufficiently professional or serious for a professional or serious audience, then replace it with something else.
                >
                > If randomisation is the stumbling block, then for instance, replace it with the opinion of a subject matter expert whose expertise it just so happens is given substance by a knowledge of the real distribution of outcomes.
                >
                > If it is die rolling which sticks in the craw, with its connotations of snakes and ladders, then randomise in some other way.
              • Tracy Johnson
                Reminds me of the Play by Mail system promoted by Avalon Hill. It was something about picking a series of stocks to be published on a certain date, therefore
                Message 7 of 28 , Oct 22, 2012
                  Reminds me of the Play by Mail system promoted by Avalon Hill. It was
                  something about picking a series of stocks to be published on a certain
                  date, therefore both Players would buy the Wall Street Journal on said
                  date. The last digit for a certain stock was the 10-sided die roll. (I
                  think.)

                  On 10/22/2012 09:19 AM, Brooks Rowlett wrote:
                  > For example:
                  >
                  > When I participated in the Global War Game at the Naval War College in
                  > the 1980s, we visited the game operations floor and discussed a
                  > particular engagement. The umpire controlling this operation stated
                  > that he had a random number table - i.e. a sequence of generated
                  > random numbers such as used by mathematicians for statistical modeling
                  > - and at each resolution he read the current table entry, then crossed
                  > it off; and the value of that random number compared to the rule
                  > system probability of outcome determined the engagement result. (The
                  > particular engagement was a very encounter so only required a yes/no
                  > result. For example if the probability was 35% then with a 3 digit
                  > random table from with values ranging uniformly from 1 to 1000 (really
                  > it would be three digits with 000,001....999 but if you hit 000 that
                  > is considered 1000) and your next random number in the table is 350 or
                  > less, the even occurs.'
                  >
                  > Brooks Rowlett
                  >
                  > On Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 6:17 AM, David <david.r.hughes@...> wrote:
                  >> I'm with Sun Tsu on this - don't besiege walled cities. If die rolling is insufficiently professional or serious for a professional or serious audience, then replace it with something else.
                  >>
                  >> If randomisation is the stumbling block, then for instance, replace it with the opinion of a subject matter expert whose expertise it just so happens is given substance by a knowledge of the real distribution of outcomes.
                  >>
                  >> If it is die rolling which sticks in the craw, with its connotations of snakes and ladders, then randomise in some other way.
                  >


                  --
                  Tracy Johnson
                  Old fashioned text games hosted below:
                  http://empire.openmpe.com/empire/
                  BT







                  NNNN
                • Tracy Johnson
                  Ah thanks. Perhaps I ll find an extant issue someday. ... -- Tracy Johnson Old fashioned text games hosted below: http://empire.openmpe.com/empire/ BT NNNN
                  Message 8 of 28 , Oct 22, 2012
                    Ah thanks. Perhaps I'll find an extant issue someday.

                    On 10/22/2012 05:48 AM, David wrote:
                    > It was a column in The General by Alan Moon.
                    >
                    > --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, Tracy Johnson <tmjva@...> wrote:
                    >>
                    >> There was in the 1970's the humorous essay about the wargame called "IT"
                    >> which had a counter for every human being in WWII and played on a huge
                    >> map in some auditorium. There where hypothetical raised walkways so the
                    >> players could reach the pieces. After 5 years the the game had only
                    >> progressed so far... I think it was a month or a week.
                    >>
                    >> It has been 40 years, I wonder how far the game would have theoretically
                    >> progressed?
                    >>
                    >> I also forget which magazine was it. It had to have been "The General",
                    >> "Strategy & Tactics", or "Moves".
                    >>
                    >> On 10/21/2012 07:56 AM, pagsab wrote:
                    >>> The only real alternative would be to delve into the details of all those superficially similar real attacks, to find out exactly what differences produced the variation in outcomes, and then to incorporate those factors directly in the simulation. This would obviously create unmanageable levels of complexity if carried beyond a certain point, which is why I think that randomisation does have to play some irreducible part in practical wargame modelling.
                    >>>
                    >>>
                    >>> Phil
                    >>>

                    --
                    Tracy Johnson
                    Old fashioned text games hosted below:
                    http://empire.openmpe.com/empire/
                    BT







                    NNNN
                  • mage@macconnect.com
                    ... Actually you could use the stock reports in any newspaper. You d clip it with the date attached & sent it along with your next move. Tells you how old I
                    Message 9 of 28 , Oct 22, 2012
                      On Oct 22, 2012, at 5:50 PM, Tracy Johnson wrote:

                      Reminds me of the Play by Mail system promoted by Avalon Hill.  It was 
                      something about picking a series of stocks to be published on a certain 
                      date, therefore both Players would buy the Wall Street Journal on said 
                      date.  The last digit for a certain stock was the 10-sided die roll.  (I 
                      think.)

                      Actually you could use the stock reports in any newspaper. You'd clip it with the date attached & sent it along with your next move. Tells you how old I am. :-)
                    • Brooks Rowlett
                      In the old days, random number tables and random number generators on computers or calculators were not readily available.
                      Message 10 of 28 , Oct 23, 2012
                        In the old days, random number tables and random number generators on computers or calculators were not readily available.


                        Using stock closing price digits was reliable because neither player could manipulate the data (at least, not without spending money) and the information was freely available to both players.

                        Brooks Rowlett
                      • Alan Paull
                        One way of doing this is the approach from Seastrike, which uses a card deck with various odds for different weapon systems (torpedoes, guns, missiles, even
                        Message 11 of 28 , Oct 30, 2012

                          One way of doing this is the approach from Seastrike, which uses a card deck with various odds for different weapon systems (torpedoes, guns, missiles, even the odds of aircraft crashes on take-off).

                           

                          Alan

                           

                          From: simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com [mailto:simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David
                          Sent: 22 October 2012 11:17
                          To: simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [simulatingwar] Re: On using dice with a military audience

                           

                           

                          I'm with Sun Tsu on this - don't besiege walled cities. If die rolling is insufficiently professional or serious for a professional or serious audience, then replace it with something else.

                          If randomisation is the stumbling block, then for instance, replace it with the opinion of a subject matter expert whose expertise it just so happens is given substance by a knowledge of the real distribution of outcomes.

                          If it is die rolling which sticks in the craw, with its connotations of snakes and ladders, then randomise in some other way.

                          Selling is hard enough; changing the customers' mind in the sales process is exponentially so. There's a reason you never hear the term "visionary salesman."

                          --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, "pagsab" <philip.sabin@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Sorry not to have posted for so long, due to overseas trips and a very busy start of term.
                          >
                          > Graham's point about dice and military credibility is enormously important. I just had to give my first explanation of wargame design principles to my new MA conflict simulation students at King's College, and I used very much the same justification for die rolling, namely that if study of a range of similar real attacks shows a certain distribution of outcomes, then assigning each outcome to a matching range of die rolls is a simple and quick way of simulating that overall pattern within an individual simulated attack. The only real alternative would be to delve into the details of all those superficially similar real attacks, to find out exactly what differences produced the variation in outcomes, and then to incorporate those factors directly in the simulation. This would obviously create unmanageable levels of complexity if carried beyond a certain point, which is why I think that randomisation does have to play some irreducible part in practical wargame modelling.
                          >
                          > Graham's point about the result of the individual roll being immaterial compared to the fact of risk and uncertainty is also very well taken. Of course, in actual wargames, this individual attack will only be one of many, and so it is necessary to roll and apply the die result in order to progress within the game. What the die rolling shows is that, if there is indeed a single crucial attack on which everything else depends, then leaving the result to 'chance' may be unacceptable, and one must apply overwhelming force to try to ensure that the whole plan does not go off the rails. My Hell's Gate sim provides a nice example. As I discuss on pp.184-5 and 193-7 of the book, Konev's breakthrough at Kapitanovka really needs to leave nothing to chance if the Germans are not to escape encirclement altogether, while Vatutin's attacks on the other flank can afford to pursue multiple lower odds attacks which will eventually succeed somewhere sooner or later. It is such distinctions between 'serial' and 'parallel' attacks which wargames are very well able to elucidate.
                          >
                          > Die rolling will remain an extremely sensitive and vulnerable aspect with all sceptical audiences, for all the reasons which I discuss in the book, but if we can win the argument on this most difficult of ground by addressing issues like those which Graham and I have just raised, we are a long way towards achieving greater credibility for wargames as a whole.
                          >
                          > Phil
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, "grahamlongleybrown@" <grahamlongleybrown@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > This is a cross-post from my own Blog that I hope will mildly amuse the
                          > > recreational and professsional wargamers among you as well as any
                          > > analyst-types.
                          > > __________________________________________________________\
                          > > ___________________
                          > >
                          > > You would be excused for thinking that producing a large rubber die from
                          > > your pocket to illustrate a point to senior military personnel carries a
                          > > high risk of failing the 'military credibility' test. You might be
                          > > right! However, I have recently found such a move, when well-explained,
                          > > to be most effective and well-received.
                          > >
                          > > I recently gave an 'Introduction to Operational Analysis' presentation
                          > > to the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College's Advanced Command
                          > > and Staff Course students and Directing Staff. At one point I left the
                          > > security of the lectern, walked to front centre stage and, laying my
                          > > professional credibility on the line, produced a large rubber 6-sided
                          > > die and told a story.
                          > >
                          > > Some years ago I had been a Course of Action (COA) Wargaming Subject
                          > > Matter Expert floorwalker at a corps level CPX. HQ 1 (UK) Div was a
                          > > player HQ and were conducting a COA Wargame. The success of the plan
                          > > being wargamed was predicated on breaking through an enemy blocking
                          > > position, and the HQ staff had applied sufficient combat power so that
                          > > the supporting operational analyst assured them that the force
                          > > equivalency ratio was 3:1 in their favour. Everyone breathed a sigh of
                          > > relief and assumed the attack would, when the time came, succeed. We all
                          > > 'know' that a 3:1 ratio ensures a brief fight then home for tea and
                          > > medals. Or does it...?
                          > >
                          > > I asked the analyst what 3:1 actually meant. He told me that it gave an
                          > > approximately 70% chance of success, based on historical analysis of
                          > > planned attacks versus a hasty defence. I translated 'approximately 70%'
                          > > to 66% for obvious reasons explained below.
                          > >
                          > > At this point (and knowing him quite well) I approached the General
                          > > Officer Commanding (GOC). Armed with the analyst's figures I gave the
                          > > GOC the self same large rubber die and asked him if he would be happy
                          > > rolling it in front of his peers and commanders when his plan was
                          > > executed. If he rolled 1-4 his plan worked, but a 5-6 meant his plan
                          > > failed; the enemy would remain firm and the entire corps plan stall.
                          > > With almost no hesitation he called his COS and the plan was revised;
                          > > more combat power was applied to increase the chances of success.
                          > >
                          > > So what? The point of the story was to illustrate:
                          > >
                          > > • Holding the die represents the owner of a plan holding the
                          > > risk.
                          > > • Considering rolling the die in front of peers and superiors
                          > > makes the point that you only get one shot, and you will be judged on
                          > > it.
                          > > • This also emphasises the fact that the plan will be executed;
                          > > it is not just a planning activity.
                          > > • Understanding the numbers is what OA brings to the party.
                          > >
                          > > I then roll the die, having reminded the audience that a 5 or 6 equals
                          > > failure. Inevitably all eyes follow it... at which point I shout at them
                          > > not to look at the die! To do so is to search fruitlessly for a
                          > > predicted outcome, which we all know cannot be delivered.
                          > >
                          > > Having lambasted the audience for following the tumbling die I tell them
                          > > that the mental image I want them to take away is of themselves holding
                          > > the die in front of their peers, ready to roll. Understanding the
                          > > numbers (the OA), would they be comfortable, as the risk-holder, to roll
                          > > the die when it comes time to execute their plan?
                          > >
                          > > Indeed they shouldn't roll the die, just picture themselves holding it;
                          > > it represents the risk they are taking, and OA allows them to better
                          > > understanding the numbers therein. Because, of course, OA can only
                          > > support decision making and assist military judgement; it should not
                          > > pretend to be predictive.
                          > >
                          > > That was 2 weeks ago...and I haven't yet been invited back. Even if I'm
                          > > not, it appeals to the recreational wargamer in me to think that I might
                          > > be the only person to have ever rolled a large rubber die across the
                          > > Staff College main lecture theatre!
                          > >
                          > > Graham LB
                          > >
                          >

                        • peterpperla3
                          Seasstrike, eh? We have been using a similar approach (that is, using a card deck as the randomizer in specific ways) in some work we have been doing. Combat
                          Message 12 of 28 , Oct 30, 2012
                            Seasstrike, eh? We have been using a similar approach (that is, using a card deck as the randomizer in specific ways) in some work we have been doing. Combat Commander dies some interesting things with that idea as well, with it's combination of dice rolls and other mechanisms. What else is out there with innovative ideas, especially ones worth stealing? :-)

                            Take care

                            Peter

                            --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, Alan Paull <alan@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > One way of doing this is the approach from Seastrike, which uses a card deck with various odds for different weapon systems (torpedoes, guns, missiles, even the odds of aircraft crashes on take-off).
                            >
                            > Alan
                            >
                          • Tracy Johnson
                            I played another Naval game set in the 1880s. But has more to do with human factors. Such as: In a rush of Nationalistic fervor, the Captain steers the ship
                            Message 13 of 28 , Oct 30, 2012
                              I played another Naval game set in the 1880s. But has more to do with
                              human factors. Such as:

                              "In a rush of Nationalistic fervor, the Captain steers the ship headlong
                              towards the enemy for 2 Turns."

                              "The first mate gets drunk and the crew has to pull him from dancing on
                              the number 2 turret, current plotted ship maneuver delayed one Turn."

                              "The corrupt contractor at the last port of call diluted the gunpowder
                              at full price, gunnery is only at half range."

                              On 10/30/2012 04:43 PM, peterpperla3 wrote:
                              > Seasstrike, eh? We have been using a similar approach (that is, using a card deck as the randomizer in specific ways) in some work we have been doing. Combat Commander dies some interesting things with that idea as well, with it's combination of dice rolls and other mechanisms. What else is out there with innovative ideas, especially ones worth stealing? :-)
                              >
                              > Take care
                              >
                              > Peter
                              >
                              > --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, Alan Paull <alan@...> wrote:
                              >> One way of doing this is the approach from Seastrike, which uses a card deck with various odds for different weapon systems (torpedoes, guns, missiles, even the odds of aircraft crashes on take-off).
                              >>
                              >> Alan
                              >>


                              --
                              Tracy Johnson
                              Old fashioned text games hosted below:
                              http://empire.openmpe.com/empire/
                              BT







                              NNNN
                            • John
                              A few random ideas on alternatives to dice: One alternative to dice was a paper pre-generated random number table, typically one page of 100 random numbers,
                              Message 14 of 28 , Nov 2 3:50 AM
                                A few random ideas on alternatives to dice:

                                One alternative to dice was a paper pre-generated random number table, typically one page of 100 random numbers, which were generated to ensure the random numbers were normally distributed i.e. the 100 numbers would include every number 1-100. This was argued it reduced the randomness of the new technology of percentage dice, where a run of luck could produce a deviation from the 'norm' of randomness. The umpire selected the start point using a pencil stabbed at the sheet and subsequent numbers were used in sequence.

                                The first use of cards for random number was General Horrocks Corps Commander GB during WWII and his boardgame Combat. Players turned over the next card and it said either hit or miss. I counted the cards and found that 50% were hits and 50% were miss... However, cards do produce a feeling of credibility and they conceal the combat odds from the inexperienced player.

                                Another option is to use the opposing players to generate the random outcome. e.g. the combat table is a matrix where each player chooses a strategy and the outcome is compared the two. e.g. left flank attacks succeeds if defender has chosen to focus their defence on the centre or the right flank.

                                Using a computer to generate the randomness adds credibility. Enter a few factors, press enter and the outcome comes up on the screen.

                                Perhaps just explain what a deterministic model is and use that (dispensing with random numbers entirely).

                                Hope that helps.
                              • tmjva@verizon.net
                                Using the Players reminded me of Warpwar. Not only did the Players pick their secret methods of combat or retreat, they also allocated secret values as well,
                                Message 15 of 28 , Nov 2 6:26 AM
                                  Using the Players reminded me of Warpwar. Not only did the Players pick their secret methods of combat or retreat, they also allocated secret values as well, to be revealed at the same time.

                                  --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, "John" <john.curry@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > A few random ideas on alternatives to dice:
                                  >
                                  > One alternative to dice was a paper pre-generated random number table, typically one page of 100 random numbers, which were generated to ensure the random numbers were normally distributed i.e. the 100 numbers would include every number 1-100. This was argued it reduced the randomness of the new technology of percentage dice, where a run of luck could produce a deviation from the 'norm' of randomness. The umpire selected the start point using a pencil stabbed at the sheet and subsequent numbers were used in sequence.
                                  >
                                  > The first use of cards for random number was General Horrocks Corps Commander GB during WWII and his boardgame Combat. Players turned over the next card and it said either hit or miss. I counted the cards and found that 50% were hits and 50% were miss... However, cards do produce a feeling of credibility and they conceal the combat odds from the inexperienced player.
                                  >
                                  > Another option is to use the opposing players to generate the random outcome. e.g. the combat table is a matrix where each player chooses a strategy and the outcome is compared the two. e.g. left flank attacks succeeds if defender has chosen to focus their defence on the centre or the right flank.
                                  >
                                  > Using a computer to generate the randomness adds credibility. Enter a few factors, press enter and the outcome comes up on the screen.
                                  >
                                  > Perhaps just explain what a deterministic model is and use that (dispensing with random numbers entirely).
                                  >
                                  > Hope that helps.
                                  >
                                • Alan Paull
                                  In my prototype Carrier Strike! I use a single card for each of the two opponents in an air combat. They secretly orient the card to one of the four sides,
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Nov 2 7:03 AM

                                    In my prototype "Carrier Strike!" I use a single card for each of the two opponents in an air combat. They secretly orient the card to one of the four sides, representing a particular stance (for example 'cautious' or 'fanatic'). Cross-referencing the stances on a table printed on the cards reveals losses dependent on whether the force is the attacker or defender. This procedure allows each player to make an assessment of risk to own forces versus damage inflicted on the enemy. It's not random, but the combination gives a range of (from a design perspective) reasonable results. The design of the table can be tweaked readily for play test purposes.

                                    The process gives the player a perception of control, while the particular combination can yield a range of results. It also permits a player to take a high risk, high reward strategy or a low risk, low reward strategy.

                                    Alan

                                     

                                    From: simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com [mailto:simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of tmjva@...
                                    Sent: 02 November 2012 13:26
                                    To: simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: [simulatingwar] Re: On using dice with a military audience

                                     

                                     

                                    Using the Players reminded me of Warpwar. Not only did the Players pick their secret methods of combat or retreat, they also allocated secret values as well, to be revealed at the same time.

                                    --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, "John" <john.curry@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > A few random ideas on alternatives to dice:
                                    >
                                    > One alternative to dice was a paper pre-generated random number table, typically one page of 100 random numbers, which were generated to ensure the random numbers were normally distributed i.e. the 100 numbers would include every number 1-100. This was argued it reduced the randomness of the new technology of percentage dice, where a run of luck could produce a deviation from the 'norm' of randomness. The umpire selected the start point using a pencil stabbed at the sheet and subsequent numbers were used in sequence.
                                    >
                                    > The first use of cards for random number was General Horrocks Corps Commander GB during WWII and his boardgame Combat. Players turned over the next card and it said either hit or miss. I counted the cards and found that 50% were hits and 50% were miss... However, cards do produce a feeling of credibility and they conceal the combat odds from the inexperienced player.
                                    >
                                    > Another option is to use the opposing players to generate the random outcome. e.g. the combat table is a matrix where each player chooses a strategy and the outcome is compared the two. e.g. left flank attacks succeeds if defender has chosen to focus their defence on the centre or the right flank.
                                    >
                                    > Using a computer to generate the randomness adds credibility. Enter a few factors, press enter and the outcome comes up on the screen.
                                    >
                                    > Perhaps just explain what a deterministic model is and use that (dispensing with random numbers entirely).
                                    >
                                    > Hope that helps.
                                    >

                                  • Brooks Rowlett
                                    ... This would be a uniform distribution, not a normal distribution. If you plotted the frequency of the numbers they would make a straight line. A normal
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Nov 2 8:20 AM
                                      On Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 6:50 AM, John <john.curry@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > A few random ideas on alternatives to dice:
                                      >
                                      > One alternative to dice was a paper pre-generated random number table, typically one page of 100 random numbers, which were generated to ensure the random numbers were normally distributed i.e. the 100 numbers would include every number 1-100.

                                      This would be a uniform distribution, not a normal distribution. If
                                      you plotted the frequency of the numbers they would make a straight
                                      line.
                                      A normal distribution as a peak at the midpoint and trails off at either end.

                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_normal_table

                                      Brooks Rowlett
                                    • mage@macconnect.com
                                      ... A very nice system, where you re having to second guess your opponent. :-)
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Nov 2 9:21 AM
                                        On Nov 2, 2012, at 8:26 AM, tmjva@... wrote:

                                        Using the Players reminded me of Warpwar.  Not only did the Players pick their secret methods of combat or retreat, they also allocated secret values as well, to be revealed at the same time.

                                        A very nice system, where you're having to second guess your opponent. :-)
                                      • tmjva@verizon.net
                                        Used to play it on duty on an old green screen console some time in a room with no windows in 1978. The ancient system only gave us one line at a time to send
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Nov 2 9:57 AM
                                          Used to play it on duty on an old green screen console some time in a room with no windows in 1978. The ancient system only gave us one line at a time to send 80 characters to any other person in the room. We'd both calculate our attacks and give the thumbs up and hit the "send" button at the same time.

                                          Until we got caught of course. The E-7 in charge told us to stop that.

                                          --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, mage@... wrote:
                                          >
                                          > On Nov 2, 2012, at 8:26 AM, tmjva@... wrote:
                                          >
                                          > > Using the Players reminded me of Warpwar. Not only did the Players pick their secret methods of combat or retreat, they also allocated secret values as well, to be revealed at the same time.
                                          >
                                          > A very nice system, where you're having to second guess your opponent. :-)
                                          >


                                          Tracy Johnson
                                          #1570
                                          BT







                                          NNNN
                                        • Andrew
                                          I m new to the group, recently got the book but not yet the t-shirt J The discussions on using dice and levels of rivets reminded me of reactions to some
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Nov 2 10:26 AM
                                            I'm new to the group, recently got the book but not yet the t-shirt J
                                             
                                            The discussions on  using dice and levels of rivets reminded me of reactions to some Napoleonic rule sets we have tried at our club.
                                             
                                            The combat resolution of both use 2 X D6. However, one set has the attacker roll them both, the other has an opposed die roll. Some players did not like the opposed die roll at all. Mainly this seemed to be because they disliked the extreme result of the attacker rolling 1 and defender rolling a 6.
                                             
                                            I analysed the results tables, and sowed that they were essentially identical in their mechanics. For an equal attacker-defender situation there was the same chance of the attacker winning. The difference was where these results appeared in the tables. The above result (heavy defeat for the attacker) was identical to the other rules when the attacker rolls two 1s, i.e. one chance in 36.
                                             
                                            Even with this, some players still could not accept the similarity. I'm not sure if there is an innate dislike of opposed die rolls, or something else.
                                             
                                            So the presentational aspect of rules does seem to be important,as previously alluded to.
                                             
                                            Thanks
                                            Andrew
                                          • Jacob Peck
                                            I m currently toying around with the system from P. K. D-Day (Victory Point Games). Close combat has both a defender and attacker roll, but they re not
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Nov 2 10:49 AM
                                              I'm currently toying around with the system from P. K. D-Day (Victory Point Games).  Close combat has both a defender and attacker roll, but they're not opposed.  Instead, there is a certain amount of support that can be added to either side.  The net difference of support (usually in favor of the allies) is added to that side's die roll.  Defender does an unopposed defensive roll first, if it hits, combat's over.  If it doesn't, the attacker makes an attack roll, same deal.  If neither hit, combat can optionally continue for another round, or can end at either player's discretion.

                                              I bring this up to highlight a third possiblity as far as RNGs in games go.  We have the usual unopposed roll, the opposed roll, and what I'm calling the exchange roll (two unopposed rolls in succession).  It works rather well in the PKDD system.

                                              Just my $0.02

                                              -->Jake

                                              On 11/2/2012 1:26 PM, Andrew wrote:
                                               

                                              I'm new to the group, recently got the book but not yet the t-shirt J
                                               
                                              The discussions on  using dice and levels of rivets reminded me of reactions to some Napoleonic rule sets we have tried at our club.
                                               
                                              The combat resolution of both use 2 X D6. However, one set has the attacker roll them both, the other has an opposed die roll. Some players did not like the opposed die roll at all. Mainly this seemed to be because they disliked the extreme result of the attacker rolling 1 and defender rolling a 6.
                                               
                                              I analysed the results tables, and sowed that they were essentially identical in their mechanics. For an equal attacker-defender situation there was the same chance of the attacker winning. The difference was where these results appeared in the tables. The above result (heavy defeat for the attacker) was identical to the other rules when the attacker rolls two 1s, i.e. one chance in 36.
                                               
                                              Even with this, some players still could not accept the similarity. I'm not sure if there is an innate dislike of opposed die rolls, or something else.
                                               
                                              So the presentational aspect of rules does seem to be important,as previously alluded to.
                                               
                                              Thanks
                                              Andrew

                                            • Brooks Rowlett
                                              I have experimented with a system where I was resolving individual air to air dogfight combats in a large scale action (naval scenario). I did comparative die
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Nov 2 12:19 PM
                                                I have experimented with a system where I was resolving individual air to air dogfight combats in a large scale action (naval scenario). I did comparative die rolls but the existence of the various multi-sided dice allowed me to give different platforms/training levels different dice - e.g. a Forger vs a Tomcat - the Tomcat has a 12 sided die and the Forger a 4-sided die. The platform that rolls higher wins; a tie is mutual destruction. (Obviously such dogfights would be resolved after intercept merge after long range missile exchanges are resolved.)

                                                It might be reasonable to use a similar method for evaluating success of the manned platform's final evasive maneuver vs the unmanned missile's maneuver as well, after evaluating the success or failure of break-lock efforts.

                                                Brooks Rowlett
                                              • billh512002
                                                Graham: The key is your comment: However, I have recently found such a move, when well-explained, to be most effective and well-received. ... Bill
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Nov 10 1:19 PM
                                                  Graham:
                                                  The key is your comment: "However, I have recently found such a move, when well-explained, to be most effective and well-received."

                                                  Because they saw themselves in a real situation in relation to your demonstration... i.e. simulation compared to reality:

                                                  >Indeed they shouldn't roll the die, just picture themselves holding >it; it *represents* the risk they are taking, and OA allows them to >better understanding the numbers therein. Because, of course, OA can >only support decision making and assist military judgement; it should >not pretend to be predictive.

                                                  Bill
                                                • Nick Hawkins
                                                  Sorry to resuscitate an older thread. I used this approach, both with my own rules and commercial sets such as Piquet and Stargrunt. The problem is that it
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Nov 26 9:23 AM
                                                    Sorry to resuscitate an older thread.

                                                    I used this approach, both with my own rules and commercial sets such as Piquet and Stargrunt.
                                                    The problem is that it makes the better troops less predictable than the lower quality ones.

                                                    The technique I am using in my current project (a pre-jet aerial game) reverses the approach. When rolling for the effects of critical hits lower numbers result in more drastic damage so light weapons roll a d12 whilst heavier weapons roll progressively smaller dice down to a d6. This means that rifle caliber machine guns can get the 'boom' result but cannon are much more likely to do so.

                                                    Nick H.


                                                    On 2 Nov 2012, at 19:19, Brooks Rowlett wrote:

                                                     

                                                    I have experimented with a system where I was resolving individual air to air dogfight combats in a large scale action (naval scenario). I did comparative die rolls but the existence of the various multi-sided dice allowed me to give different platforms/training levels different dice - e.g. a Forger vs a Tomcat - the Tomcat has a 12 sided die and the Forger a 4-sided die. The platform that rolls higher wins; a tie is mutual destruction. (Obviously such dogfights would be resolved after intercept merge after long range missile exchanges are resolved.)

                                                    It might be reasonable to use a similar method for evaluating success of the manned platform's final evasive maneuver vs the unmanned missile's maneuver as well, after evaluating the success or failure of break-lock efforts.

                                                    Brooks Rowlett


                                                  • Pelle Nilsson
                                                    Speaking of dice, I just finished skimming through the British Army Desert War Game: MOD Wargaming Rules (1978) recently reprinted by John Curry s History of
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Nov 26 1:54 PM
                                                      Speaking of dice, I just finished skimming through the "British Army
                                                      Desert War Game: MOD Wargaming Rules (1978)" recently reprinted by John
                                                      Curry's History of Wargaming Project (but I bought the cheaper ebook
                                                      version). All randomisers in the rules are in the 00-99 range, but I
                                                      didn't see an explicit mention of dice, only "random number". The book
                                                      introduction, as well as the description on the publisher home page,
                                                      says that the rules are from 1968 (but simulating combat in the
                                                      mid-70's). Is it likely that they rolled 1d100 (two d10) or was it more
                                                      likely a deck of cards or an electronic device? Or do they simply say
                                                      "random number" because it sounds less gamey than "die roll"? (There is
                                                      one die roll mentioned in the example game at the beginning of the book,
                                                      but I think Mr Curry wrote that, it was not taken from the original
                                                      rulebook?)

                                                      --
                                                      /Pelle
                                                    • mage@macconnect.com
                                                      ... Probably they used a random number table. They were readily available in many science & engineering reference books of the time period.
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Nov 26 2:24 PM
                                                        On Nov 26, 2012, at 3:54 PM, Pelle Nilsson wrote:

                                                        The book
                                                        introduction, as well as the description on the publisher home page,
                                                        says that the rules are from 1968 (but simulating combat in the
                                                        mid-70's). Is it likely that they rolled 1d100 (two d10) or was it more
                                                        likely a deck of cards or an electronic device? Or do they simply say
                                                        "random number" because it sounds less gamey than "die roll"?

                                                        Probably they used a random number table. They were readily available in many science & engineering reference books of the time period.
                                                      • peterpperla3
                                                        Brooks, Good insight on the variability issue. It does seem to cut against the grain for most grognards that rolling low is beter than rolling high. I do like
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Nov 28 6:27 AM
                                                          Brooks,

                                                          Good insight on the variability issue. It does seem to cut against the grain for most grognards that rolling low is beter than rolling high. I do like this idea and I hope to find a good way to apply it myself. Thanks

                                                          Take care

                                                          Peter

                                                          --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, Nick Hawkins <n.j.hawkins@...> wrote:
                                                          >
                                                          > Sorry to resuscitate an older thread.
                                                          >
                                                          > I used this approach, both with my own rules and commercial sets such as Piquet and Stargrunt.
                                                          > The problem is that it makes the better troops less predictable than the lower quality ones.
                                                          >
                                                          > The technique I am using in my current project (a pre-jet aerial game) reverses the approach. When rolling for the effects of critical hits lower numbers result in more drastic damage so light weapons roll a d12 whilst heavier weapons roll progressively smaller dice down to a d6. This means that rifle caliber machine guns can get the 'boom' result but cannon are much more likely to do so.
                                                          >
                                                          > Nick H.
                                                          >
                                                          >
                                                          > On 2 Nov 2012, at 19:19, Brooks Rowlett wrote:
                                                          >
                                                          > > I have experimented with a system where I was resolving individual air to air dogfight combats in a large scale action (naval scenario). I did comparative die rolls but the existence of the various multi-sided dice allowed me to give different platforms/training levels different dice - e.g. a Forger vs a Tomcat - the Tomcat has a 12 sided die and the Forger a 4-sided die. The platform that rolls higher wins; a tie is mutual destruction. (Obviously such dogfights would be resolved after intercept merge after long range missile exchanges are resolved.)
                                                          > >
                                                          > > It might be reasonable to use a similar method for evaluating success of the manned platform's final evasive maneuver vs the unmanned missile's maneuver as well, after evaluating the success or failure of break-lock efforts.
                                                          > >
                                                          > > Brooks Rowlett
                                                          > >
                                                          >
                                                        • Nick Hawkins
                                                          I ve now run 3 play tests using the mechanism of small dice for big guns when assessing the results of critical hits on aircraft. Low numbers are bad (EG
                                                          Message 28 of 28 , Dec 19, 2012
                                                            I've now run 3 play tests using the mechanism of small dice for big guns when assessing the results of critical hits on aircraft. Low numbers are 'bad' (EG target destroyed), high numbers are 'good' (minor damage). 
                                                            Several of the (hobby) players found this counter-intuitive at first but were happy with it (and the results it gave) after a little experience. (I will admit that I made things slightly harder for myself by including a minus one modifier if the target aircraft was on fire).

                                                            Given that the typical hobby gamer may be more familiar with polyhedral dice probabilities than the typical participant in a professional simulation it might help to describe this mechanism as a 'saving throw' (or suitable term) and have it made by the other side. In my case once the players were happy with the mechanism they wanted to roll the dice for the damage they had inflicted.

                                                            Regards,
                                                            Nick H.

                                                            (Here's a link to the most recent game if case you are interested: http://fenedgewargaming.co.uk/wp/?p=998 ) 

                                                            On 28 Nov 2012, at 14:27, peterpperla3 wrote:

                                                             

                                                            Brooks,

                                                            Good insight on the variability issue. It does seem to cut against the grain for most grognards that rolling low is beter than rolling high. I do like this idea and I hope to find a good way to apply it myself. Thanks

                                                            Take care

                                                            Peter

                                                            --- In simulatingwar@yahoogroups.com, Nick Hawkins <n.j.hawkins@...> wrote:
                                                            >
                                                            > Sorry to resuscitate an older thread.
                                                            >
                                                            > I used this approach, both with my own rules and commercial sets such as Piquet and Stargrunt.
                                                            > The problem is that it makes the better troops less predictable than the lower quality ones.
                                                            >
                                                            > The technique I am using in my current project (a pre-jet aerial game) reverses the approach. When rolling for the effects of critical hits lower numbers result in more drastic damage so light weapons roll a d12 whilst heavier weapons roll progressively smaller dice down to a d6. This means that rifle caliber machine guns can get the 'boom' result but cannon are much more likely to do so.
                                                            >
                                                            > Nick H.


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