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Author Topic: Wargaming as a Hobby  (Read 4562 times)
Mad Russian
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« on: 10 February 2009, 15:48:50 »
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When I was younger I stumbled across wargames in a monthly sales flier from the Squadron Shop. A company that sold and still does sell military models.

I bought my first wargames in 70-71. I bought Afrika Korps, Stalingrad and PanzerBlitz. If I remember correctly they were on sale...... Brede lach

How did  you first learn about wargames?

Good Hunting.

MR
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bongotastic
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« Reply #1 on: 10 February 2009, 16:03:09 »
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Army mens of course! The Green vs the Tan. Tried real hard to come up with rules, but failed.

I got in real wargames with Third Reich and World in flames. Aaaah. Memory lane. The computer gaming with Harpoon, Steel Panther, Fleet commander.

Finally, I got into Decisive Action, TacOps and ATF.

Now, I prefer the open-ended scenario such as MBXs and other games like that.
« Last Edit: 10 February 2009, 19:32:35 by bongotastic » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: 11 February 2009, 00:06:00 »
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I also bought my first commercial wargames in the early 70's (Luftwaffe-Panzer Blitz). However, my personal link to wargames goes back to my childhood. I had designed my first wargame in 1961-62 (dont remember exactly when anymore), it was an ACW game that was inspired by the 100th Anniversary of the ACW. It consisted of little more than a hand drawn cardboard map, across which one maneuvered hand drawn flags (Union & Confederate) attached to straight pins (to stick in the cardboard). Combat was resolved by a simple die roll. Some years later, I designed a WW2 air combat game. Using an old sheet Mom let me have, I drew a rectangular grid on it and then using my Uncle's copy of 'History of the Airplane" I traced the various aircraft playing pieces (grid was scaled to fit the aircraft pieces). Needless to say, I had become more sophisticated in my design skills and incorporated many abstract concepts such as altitude, fuel usage and spotting. Turns out I had scooped Milton Bradley, when my Mom saw the commercial wargames (MB's WW1 fighter game and their ACW game, I have forgotten  their names), she wished she hadnt thought of my hobby so negatively.
Nowadays, my wife discreetly chuckles at the sight of grown men playing wargames (I also play historical miniatures). Lucky her I say, it keeps me off the street and out of bars & trouble.

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Mad Russian
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« Reply #3 on: 11 February 2009, 02:08:16 »
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Wargames is a definitely a more acceptable hobby to wives than blondes.  Safer for those of us that are married too..unless of course your wife happens to be blonde like mine!! Knipoog

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MR
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bongotastic
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« Reply #4 on: 11 February 2009, 03:00:45 »
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My wife is the sister of one of my wargaming buddy. Needless to say, I've yet to take abuse from her because of wargaming.  Brede lach
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« Reply #5 on: 11 February 2009, 03:58:42 »
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Waaaay back when, I used to collect the 1/87th scale ROCO plastic tanks and Airfix soldiers, as they scaled with my HO train set.  That Burlington train engine was involved in some major WWII battles.  I tried my hand with those small tanks in battles across the rug in the recreation room, string for LOS, a table of penetration values to determine if my Tiger blew up that Sherman (well, it always did, heh heh) way over by the sofa, and puffs of cotton for tanks that brewed up.

Then I discovered my friend's brother had Stalingrad.  I was hooked.  All things Avalon Hill opened up for me.  I was amazed.  I could now actually play the engagements that I'd been reading about for so many years.  Still, it was mainly strategic.  I grabbed up Guadalcanal (my younger brother had to play the Japanese, and use hidden movement -man that really confused him), Jutland, U-Boat, and practically lived those games.  Still, it wasn't what I was looking for, but there was no going back.  I was in for the ride though.  This was one great hobby.

Then the tactical stuff was discovered.  Panzerblitz and Panzerleader were the only way.  You were getting down into the trenches....almost....but the history books were coming alive, and there were individual scenarios to cover the action in those amazing history books.  However, I still was looking for more specifics.

When Squad Leader appeared, I knew that was finally it.   Grijns  A squad of men and an individual squad leader, along with individual tanks and crews that could bail out was my calling.  Advanced Squad Leader just made it more amazing.  I was now crawling through the rubble of Stalingrad with an 8-1 Feldwebel leading three 4-6-7 squads dragging MG34s, being fired upon by Soviet snipers.  Those dice were rolling fast and heavy. 

Yeah, those were the days.  Then this newfangled computer thingie came along, and with it computer war games.  It would be very difficult to go back to the cardboard counters now, with games like CMBB and CMAK.  The 3D immersion amazes me every time I zoom in behind a Mark IV slowly advancing into harms way over a hilltop, or run across a street, side by side, with a squad of GI's, just waiting for a MG42 to open up. 

These milestones have come together to visually project the battles and actions that I had read - and still read - in those amazing history books.  What a great hobby.  And yes, this hobby does keep you out of the bars and out of trouble.  My wife grudgingly agrees, everytime I "badly need" another book by Paul Carell or Doug Nash!

                               Heinrich505
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« Reply #6 on: 12 February 2009, 21:24:16 »
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-snip-
How did  you first learn about wargames?
-snip-


Playing chess.

Actually, I find that all people that started playing chess when they were young (I was 4) are later the people that get intrigued with other wargames (this is not saying there are not others, just stating from my experience for this selected group). My best opponents come from chess playing originally but - like myself - find it more interesting to amplify their view.

My recommendation: Teach chess to your children, even if they forget it later, the brain will be primed to think strategically/tactically *AND* know the difference.

Rattler
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« Reply #7 on: 12 February 2009, 21:37:07 »
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-snip-
Now, I prefer the open-ended scenario such as MBXs and other games like that.


Same here:

It is like working up the chain:

Level 1: Wargaming as battle, modeling combat between two opponents, it is "me" vs. *you*...

Level 2: Understanding to exploit the systems weaknesses for winning (not saying cheating! BIG difference!), just seeing the margins that are possible

Level 3: Wargaming as sport, i.e. ladders, succumbing to certain measurement methods, competition as in any other sport

Level 4: Science: Analytical approach to wargaming, what-if? scenariois, more collaboration with opponent than fighting, typical for this stage is replaying various scnearios with INTEL

Level 5: Art; Two opponents creating a piece of art through a wargame system by applying "graceful" plans and strats/tacs

Level 6: Team game (CPX) using the gaming system; through various stages from newby to commander learning to form a team effort, fairly independent from the gaming system, focus is on communication in wargaming

Level 7: Abstract Team Game (MBX) not using the gaming system as player (game plays as "movie" in your head, verbal input/output)

Level 8: Inventing wargames on the CPX/MBX level, umpiring

Level 9: Huh? Teaching/Training others?

Level 10: Huh?

I found that once you have reached a certain one of those levels it is hard to go back, the fun is in the level you play at and the other levels get less interesting...

Rattler
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« Reply #8 on: 13 February 2009, 00:27:34 »
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I'd add umpiring a MBX where Rattler is a player as a kind or wargaming in its own Knipoog

I've got so many ideas for MBXs here is a short list:

1) Venezuela vs Royal Marines in Dutch Guyana (circa 2005), I've got this MBX almost ready to go.
2) I'd like to do a 'Damn the torpedoes' east front WWII scenario at the Div or Rgt level, maybe feeding into CM/TacOps CPXs.
3) I'd like to try a 2nd Punic War Scenario sometime (Hannibal vs Rome vs Northern Celts vs italian states).
4) A 14th century Italian Campaign, John Hawkwood-style (Florence vs Milan vs Pisa vs Papal states vs White company)
« Last Edit: 13 February 2009, 00:34:34 by bongotastic » Logged

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Mad Russian
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« Reply #9 on: 13 February 2009, 05:02:16 »
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Before the two of you go off and form a mutual admiration society you might enlighten the rest of us as to what an CPX or MBX even is.

I have no idea what you are talking about. Which game system does it encompass, is it PBEM, TCP, etc....

Good Hunting.

MR
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bongotastic
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« Reply #10 on: 13 February 2009, 06:11:11 »
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In General, the rules and mechanics of a MBX game are hidden to the players.

First, each players gets a command and a briefing. The umpire sends reports and receive orders from the players. With the orders, the umpire resolve the situation and write new reports. You go back and forth until the scenario runs out. The Fog-of-war applies both to friend and foes. Since the players can come up with any solution, running and playing a game is a lot of fun and usually involve out-of-the-box thinking. The Prussian staff called this type of wargame Kriegsspiel ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kriegsspiel_(wargame) ). My signature has a link to the MBX that I run, although 95% of the stuff is in private areas until the game is over. One-way observers or two-way observers are welcome to be added to the mailing lists.

CPX is the term used with the TacOps folks for a network game. Many TacOps network games involve a bit of planning, sometime with a recon phase before hand. The last one was a WWII soviet winter offensive scenario. I was the unlucky soviet CO... good thing the Germans blew my tank before the commissars got to the front...

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Mad Russian
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« Reply #11 on: 13 February 2009, 06:42:28 »
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So then an MBX is an umpired game between 2 players and a CPX is an umpired game between 2 teams of players?

Used for TacOps?

I thought TacOps was only for modern combat. How did you use it in an WWII setting?

Good Hunting.

MR
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« Reply #12 on: 13 February 2009, 06:56:50 »
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I too started with Chess.  I've always liked all types of games.  My first wargame was Tactics II from Avalon Hill.  I had most of their board games.  I still have all the ones I bought.
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Mad Russian
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« Reply #13 on: 13 February 2009, 07:20:59 »
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I too started with Chess.  I've always liked all types of games.  My first wargame was Tactics II from Avalon Hill.  I had most of their board games.  I still have all the ones I bought.


I still have more than 300 wargames in the garage. A good many of those are magazine games but still, I have them.

I've been far more selective with computer games. They cost more and are usually more time consuming. But I have more opponents so I'm good.

I rarely catch them on sale for under $5 like I used to do the boardgames. And the boardgames aren't reliant on the current OS for me to even open them and look at them like computer games are.

Good Hunting.

MR
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« Reply #14 on: 13 February 2009, 08:52:17 »
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Before the two of you go off and form a mutual admiration society you might enlighten the rest of us as to what an CPX or MBX even is.

I have no idea what you are talking about. Which game system does it encompass, is it PBEM, TCP, etc....


So then an MBX is an umpired game between 2 players and a CPX is an umpired game between 2 teams of players?
-snip-


Not necessarily, both are team efforts in theory (but, the team could be consisitng of one player only)

CPX = Comman Post Exercise

in the military used to train staffs (on whatever level) w/o actually having to get the vehicles/troops out. The lower units are handled (abstractly) by umpires.

In TacOps a CPX (since version 4) is played connected, i.e. each player (who as group form a force color) has his own TacOps running on his machine in a kind of terminal function, the machines are updated from and display the central (umpires) machine settings. Only the umpire machine actually resolves combat.

A TacOps CPX usually lasts 6hrs+, traditionally they are played on Saturdays when most people have time, usually two weeks of team planning go into the preparation after umpire handed out the orders to the teams.

A good CPX AfterActionReport that should shade more light you can find here: http://www.warandtactics.com/smf/index.php?topic=591.msg1462#msg1462

------------

MBX = Mail based Command Post Exercise

The difference to the CPX is that the players do not use a computer to play, they receive orders/sitreps etc in wrining and react to them by themselves issuing orders/reps in writing.

Only the umpire resolves combat, using whatever means he sees fit (could be TacOps, Harpoon or even card board settings).

A MBX can last for years (Rikkis Global Thunder took 4 years to complete http://www.tacopshq.com/MBX/Globalthunder/index.html)

Used for TacOps?
-snip-


As stated above, could be any wargame.

I thought TacOps was only for modern combat. How did you use it in an WWII setting?


TacOps has a basic set of WWII units in the database, mostly generic. The Major added those some years ago to satisfy the part of the players community that was more focused on WWII.

I have taken part in a WWII CPX, interesting experience when you come back from modern combat with its long range fights.

Rattler
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« Reply #15 on: 13 February 2009, 13:08:26 »
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I'd add umpiring a MBX where Rattler is a player as a kind or wargaming in its own Knipoog


Probably meant to read "...is a kind of wargamining in its own...", my answer assuming so:

I realized, and: Sorry!

But, I think we have an issue of an ex mil and a non mil player/umpire setup, and also Rikki really spoiled me with his form of running both the Malaysian as well as the Global Thunder MBX...

As at those times I was still working as a photojournalist I had hours and hours of not doing anything except traveling, plenty of time to plan my next move for the MBX. As he related the sitreps and data in novel form, this made it very easy for me to capture and "save" the last state of the MBX in complex mil and beaurocratical relationships in a mental movie, which then in turn allowed me to evaluate the "script" etc. into the future... just by "changing chip" and going back, playing it out mentally.

It is a way to relieve the memory of effort, you just go back to the "picture/movie", and you can go on, no matter what time had elapsed, alll the associatively stored data, conversations, decisions, etc. come back.

For me a MBX involves a lot of role playing (as a Rgt commander - like in the SadrCity one - what would you do in RL if you were there? This is where I take it from, put yourself in the shoes, and that is what makes the fun for me). If you look closely that is what provoked me to the way I ordered stuff on the web site (I *love* the blog system you introduced, I think - and will say so in the AAR - this lifts abstract wargaming to a new level), all associatively: Structure, tags, categories.

I understand that might be difficult to handle for an umpire sometimes, too strictly mil thinking umpires might easily get annoyed, too strictly mil thinking players as well; it is a give and take situation to balance to keep it fun...

This said, I am very much looking forward to your umpire AAR, as I imagine Bernie has a very different take on things...  Knipoog

Rattler
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« Reply #16 on: 13 February 2009, 18:33:13 »
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Ah, the global thunder times Knipoog
I was the Israeli president that first stage , I had green light from the US president player to attack at will everything I wanted.
The current president there probably envies me Smiley
Rattler and I also spend hours  playing Tacops, discussing things when I was at his house on the island.
Great time!


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