Card-Driven Mechanics to the emerging new layers of ASL????

witchbottles

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In many wargames, card-driven randomness is used to (in earlier versions) to replace the random chance of dice rolling. In later iterations, it enhances some of that randomness, as the dice rolls remain, along with their modifiers, but a narrative of sorts can emerge as the card-driven component both randomizes what cards are dealt and/or drawn and/or discarded, but also allows a control level to emerge in the player with another component, this time the probabilities within the card deck, to consider, along with d6 probabilities.

Given the in work ASL based ideas such as ASLItalia's "Operation Brevity" HASL. Has anyone ever considered the option of inserting a card-driven mechanic into the operational (ie above the ASL level) portion of such a system? The operational level is one that excels when one considers VASSAL and VASL's capability of "linking" formations in the ASL gaming and map portions, while also is one that requires a more distant overall battlefield portion/view and game play as entire units are maneuvered into possible ASL battle areas on a much larger scale.

Most importantly, there still exists some voiced interest (not nearly a majority, but it is there), in devising a method to incorporate "Command and Control" into ASL gaming. This is often expressed by those of us who typically enjoy the SASL system and recognize that C&C level adds entirely new dimensions to the ASL game.

Breaking it down- "Command & Control" mechanics really are another layer of incorporating what ASL projects well as a game, the "chaos theory". We can order that squad to move that bazooka over there and watch for the enemy halftracks, but whether or not he gets there (failed MC from a DFF shot), whether or not those halftracks manage to so completely occupy that squad they can't watch for any other approaching enemy (VBM Freeze), whether or not they can hold that position long enough to screen the units from those halftracks (failed MC/TCs from IFT shots after they have moved to that flank position), is a matter of random chance. Command & Control adds another layer to that.

I have seen quite a few ideas to adding C&C into the ASL meta- but one I have NOT seen is the typical way that chaos theory gaming is added into a wargame. That is via card-driven mechanics. a deck of cards to randomize what the players should not have ultimate complete control over, (ie, will that squad leader get lost on the way? Will they decide upon arrival that that foxhole looks like better cover than the high grass for their lookout position and drift off course a bit? etc.)

Those cards are in many wargames, dealt in an initial hand to the players, and can be drawn from an un-dealt draw pile to replace the cards when used.

Where does that fit into the ASL game? For my admittedly narrow viewpoint, perhaps it may fit best in the operational-level portion of the products under development out there similar to "Operation Brevity". Certainly, an entire battalion or gun battery on the move has far more capacity to drift off course or off-mission than a 8-10 man squad.

JMHO, YMMV of course, but it is an interesting thought to explore.

Opinions?
 

jrv

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JR
 

von Marwitz

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I have thought of George Tournemiere's cards as well when I first read this thread.

But his are "tactical" in nature, i.e. designed to work in the context of a scenario. The witchbottles is more concerned with the operational level or "above" the tactical context of a scenario if I understand correctly.

There have been attempts in this direction. The late Christian Koppmeyer's "Kampfgruppe Commander" come to mind, in which parts of the OoB are retained (or lost) in the context of a campaign. The elements of one's OoB were card-driven. I don't think, tough, that it had a C&C level or something like supply system.

von Marwitz
 

Sully

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I am developing a set of C2 rules for use with VASL games and CG. Because the use of VASL is assumed, the rules also include what I call "double-blind lite" that vastly enhances fog-of-war.

The rules are by no means "done" but they are mature enough for play testing. If anyone is interested, even to the point of provide feedback on the approach, I'm looking to get others involved.

-Sully

Most importantly, there still exists some voiced interest (not nearly a majority, but it is there), in devising a method to incorporate "Command and Control" into ASL gaming. This is often expressed by those of us who typically enjoy the SASL system and recognize that C&C level adds entirely new dimensions to the ASL game.

Breaking it down- "Command & Control" mechanics really are another layer of incorporating what ASL projects well as a game, the "chaos theory". We can order that squad to move that bazooka over there and watch for the enemy halftracks, but whether or not he gets there (failed MC from a DFF shot), whether or not those halftracks manage to so completely occupy that squad they can't watch for any other approaching enemy (VBM Freeze), whether or not they can hold that position long enough to screen the units from those halftracks (failed MC/TCs from IFT shots after they have moved to that flank position), is a matter of random chance. Command & Control adds another layer to that.
 

witchbottles

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I have thought of George Tournemiere's cards as well when I first read this thread.

But his are "tactical" in nature, i.e. designed to work in the context of a scenario. The witchbottles is more concerned with the operational level or "above" the tactical context of a scenario if I understand correctly.

There have been attempts in this direction. The late Christian Koppmeyer's "Kampfgruppe Commander" come to mind, in which parts of the OoB are retained (or lost) in the context of a campaign. The elements of one's OoB were card-driven. I don't think, tough, that it had a C&C level or something like supply system.

von Marwitz
KG Commander likewise came to mind when I began examining this a bit more in depth. Pair it along with a few in work items I have proofread recently, and with ASLItalia's efforts well publicized here on GS about Operation Brevity Project, I thought more about the operational level (or perhaps maybe a "grand-tactical level) use.

Consider for a moment from a design for effect standpoint:

situation, a squad of men is ordered by their platoon commander to take that bazooka, head west about 200 meters and establish a flank guard post to prevent enemy armored car patrols from flanking the Platoon's defensive position.

The squad leader, well, he was not the brightest light bulb at Land Navigation Class during basic training, so to speak. He gets screwed up and somehow ends up moving off some 240 meters or so at a heading of 290 degrees rather than due west at 270 degrees. He then sets his squad with their bazooka up along a stone wall where they can see down a road, thinking all the while he's done what the Lt. ordered him to do.

how far off the mark is that squad from where the Lt. thinks they are?

the 1 - in 60 rule applies to projections of slope... so the squad is actually about some 40 meters +/- from where the Lt. ordered them to go and assumes they are.

now convert that back to ASL map terms. the squad is basically one more hex in direction 5 than the Lt assumes they are from his position some 7 hexes away, as he assumes they are only 6 hexes away along that alternate hex grain.

Now the flank security squad is:

A. out of normal range for the 6-6-6s of the rest of the platoon.
B. out of position and possibly exposed to enemy LOS and fire that the platoon and the Lt cannot see.
C. unable to cover the entire area the Lt desired to cover with the squad's IFP and 4 hex range of its bazooka. It can only cover a portion, approximately 83.5% of the area the Lt assumes they are covering, more or less.

All in all not a hugely disparaging concern that would normally cost the platoon its ability to defend the line and thereby, lose the scenario. The Captain (the player), as Company commander, can simply order the Lt to shift another squad 40 more meters to the west to tie in the errant squad with the line again.

But then chaos theory comes immediately to mind, and therefore C&C issues at the above board level.

Why would the Captain at company HQ or the Lt out on the line with the platoon be concerned? They both assume the errant squad is where it was ordered and where it is identified as being on the unit maps at both locations. Sure, we as players can see the squad drifted out a bit, but why do we get the benefit of the "God's Eye" view of the situation? An astute Lt in charge of that platoon may check in with the errant squad and realize it drifted out of position and adjust accordingly before the enemy hits the line, a less astute Lt would never think to.

Why do we as players get to choose how efficient our 7-0 out there on the line really is?

Now let's telescope out a bit and upscale the situation:

That company was ordered by the Battalion 9--2 Lt Col to move out towards Trigh Capuzzo on a heading of 090 and take up a strong hedgehog line at the exit of the canyons coming out from Halfaya Pass,about 3 kilometers in front of the battalion HQ, to stop Rommel's probes from getting past the Battalion and into the supply line trails running from Bn HQ back to Bardia.

The company commander 8-1 Captain, being a 90 day wonder, must have had the same instructors at Land Navigation as the buck sergeant in the example above. He moves out after a quick look at his compass at a heading of 096 degrees and after traveling 6 kilometers, stops near an intersection of small canyons, (since he's never seen Halfaya Pass yet, he knows not the landmarks he is looking for), all coming down off a small set of ridgelike escarpment. He assumes he's navigated well and the company is in the right place, so he sets up a defensive line.

2 days later, after zero contact with the enemy, zero contact with the Bn HQ on the radio, and water running low for the company, he orders everyone to pack up and move out. About an hour later, they drive over a hillock and right into a laager for the 15th Pz Reg't, to be promptly taken prisoner as they are thirsty and exhausted, without ever firing a shot.

the poor company was a bit more lost than our errant 6-6-6 above.

again the 1 in 60 rule applies here

1 degree shift = 1 km over 60 km of travel, or 1/6 km over 6 km of travel. since he was 6 degrees off on bearing, the company was actually some 166.67 meters x 6 degrees off on the bearing of travel. or in total- a full kilometer away from Bn HQ. That kilometer opening in the lines gave Rommel's spearheads a place to penetrate and surround and force the rapid retreat of the Battalion, who was forced to leave the errant company to its own devices.

in ASL map scale terms, that company was some 25 hexes away from where the 9-2 and the rest of the battalion assumed they were. They had no idea a hole the size of almost the full length of an ASL map lay in their flank protective defenses. And all because of an errant company commander in the new to the DTO battalion that just arrived at Alexandria some 5 days before.

Now as the 10-2 Regimental Brigadier we are as players, we can see the hole and of course, move the recon company and its fast Carrier platoon over to cover that hole. but why would we? We assumed the Lt Col ordered the company to do this, and we assume that since reports showed they departed and should be there, that there is no hole. Again - chaos theory - we as players get the benefit of the god's eye view of the battlefield, but why?

We get to choose the efficiency (or lack thereof) of a lowly 8-1?

Or maybe........

We have a deck of say 32 cards. each player gets dealt 4 before the game commences. there are 2 of each card. The cards each state:

2 x "Remove 1/8th of the total counters visible in the opponents on-board setup, (FRU). There is no right of inspection to those counters until Game End.
2 x "Each of your units, after setup is over for both sides, may, but is not required to, adjust its setup location to one ADJACENT location of your choosing, before play commences. Any SW/Gun possessed by that unit is retained during the adjustment of location.
2 x "Your opponent's lowest quality SMC begins the scenario wounded. If there are two or more SMCs in the enemy OoB, Random Selection applies. Play after the opponent setup is completed, only."



and so on and so forth.

8 pairs benefit you ( ie good astute men under your command). 8 pairs are a detriment (ie our above seen 90- day blunder wonders at work on the battlefields of ASL).

since you have 4 of the 32 cards at random, and may choose to play only 1 of them in the course of the scenario, and the opponent has the same and the same choice, there are still 24 un-dealt cards, and a huge level of chaos randomization has been added to the game meta.

This is as George showed - possible at the tactical level as I mentioned at first - but it is ALSO quite possible if the card deck has cards that say add a RG, or offer a beneficial DRM to the Battle Hardening Table in the RePh, or perhaps, remove 1/4 of the awarded CPPs before they are used in the next RePh (FRU), or cause all your MGs to roll 1 die, on an Original "^", the MG begins the next scenario malfunctioned, and so on and so forth - at the higher operational level of ASL, say in a HASL CG.

now there is still the same, an astute subordinate got his company up to the line quickly, so you can add another Rifle RG to your allowed per scenario total. Or the supply train never made it , that 90-day blunder wonder in charge got lost - so you lose some CPPs. and so on and so forth.

The idea offers quite a bit of flavor, and certainly plays into the "command and control" concept.

JMHO.
 

Justiciar

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Or maybe........

We have a deck of say 32 cards. each player gets dealt 4 before the game commences. there are 2 of each card. The cards each state:

2 x "Remove 1/8th of the total counters visible in the opponents on-board setup, (FRU). There is no right of inspection to those counters until Game End.
2 x "Each of your units, after setup is over for both sides, may, but is not required to, adjust its setup location to one ADJACENT location of your choosing, before play commences. Any SW/Gun possessed by that unit is retained during the adjustment of location.
2 x "Your opponent's lowest quality SMC begins the scenario wounded. If there are two or more SMCs in the enemy OoB, Random Selection applies. Play after the opponent setup is completed, only."
Not to rain on your parade...but what you just did here is ruin hours of PT effort and care and thought put in by various folk on the scenario to get it balanced, which seems to be one of the pillars of what makes for a good scenario.

So I would completely pass on this idea. Others may have a different view of course.
 

witchbottles

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Not to rain on your parade...but what you just did here is ruin hours of PT effort and care and thought put in by various folk on the scenario to get it balanced, which seems to be one of the pillars of what makes for a good scenario.

So I would completely pass on this idea. Others may have a different view of course.
true, but then again, warfare rarely offers such clear-cut information to small unit commanders as our intrepid players get fro ma good scenario design :)

also, I think it overall to be of little effect in a HASL CG setting on balance, as each day, each side gets the option for one advantage to themselves or a disadvantage to the other side. I really see no difference overall to the CG balance for almost any HASL CG design I have ever played. The effect is no different overall at a scenario level than using ABS on balance. At the HASL CG level, the effect is no different on balance than having an "advantage" chit, which would allow a "mulligan" on a DR. Both of those have been successfully adopted in ASL already, as have tactical advantage cards from George T since 2017 ASLOK.

think of it at the CG level as "operational advantage".

:)
 

Justiciar

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true, but then again, warfare rarely offers such clear-cut information to small unit commanders as our intrepid players get fro ma good scenario design :)

also, I think it overall to be of little effect in a HASL CG setting on balance, as each day, each side gets the option for one advantage to themselves or a disadvantage to the other side. I really see no difference overall to the CG balance for almost any HASL CG design I have ever played. The effect is no different overall at a scenario level than using ABS on balance. At the HASL CG level, the effect is no different on balance than having an "advantage" chit, which would allow a "mulligan" on a DR. Both of those have been successfully adopted in ASL already, as have tactical advantage cards from George T since 2017 ASLOK.

think of it at the CG level as "operational advantage".

:)
I agree warfare rarely offers clear cut info...but there are better ways to model that...such as purchase menus, HIP, extra ?.
As for adding friction the C2 of SASL ported over to ASL would be better IMHO.
Your current idea might work for CGs.
 

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Witchbottles, interesting you've brought this up. About a year ago I was contemplating getting the Crete module by HoB. I found that there was no true CG in it - given the scale of incompetence by local commanders at Maleme I can understand why. There was no real use of the reserves (ie RG groups) situated close behind the front lines and those that were called upon were shifted far too late and were hampered by a lack of communication and coordination.

This got me thinking about using a random system (could be an event chart triggered by DR or cards), simulating the level above ASL. One where, in the case above, the defenders would have more options or the chance of more options (i.e the command group would be a little less clueless). This would allow RG group reinforcement albeit randomised to still reflect command difficulties but would allow for a true CG game.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth.
 

Tater

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Not to rain on your parade...but what you just did here is ruin hours of PT effort and care and thought put in by various folk on the scenario to get it balanced, which seems to be one of the pillars of what makes for a good scenario.

So I would completely pass on this idea. Others may have a different view of course.
I agree...to me this is encompassed by relative player ability/experience. Some are better than others...
 

olli

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Witchbottles, interesting you've brought this up. About a year ago I was contemplating getting the Crete module by HoB. I found that there was no true CG in it - given the scale of incompetence by local commanders at Maleme I can understand why. There was no real use of the reserves (ie RG groups) situated close behind the front lines and those that were called upon were shifted far too late and were hampered by a lack of communication and coordination.

This got me thinking about using a random system (could be an event chart triggered by DR or cards), simulating the level above ASL. One where, in the case above, the defenders would have more options or the chance of more options (i.e the command group would be a little less clueless). This would allow RG group reinforcement albeit randomised to still reflect command difficulties but would allow for a true CG game.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth.
Speak to the Italian group they are in development of a two layer system already and years ago HoB was playtesting a similar system but fell by the wayside
 

g_young

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Speak to the Italian group they are in development of a two layer system already and years ago HoB was playtesting a similar system but fell by the wayside
Okay, I may do that, thanks.

Was the HoB system Kampfgruppe Commander? Does the development by the Italian group resemble this? I was involved for a very brief time with the former before real life caught up with me.
 

von Marwitz

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Okay, I may do that, thanks.

Was the HoB system Kampfgruppe Commander? Does the development by the Italian group resemble this? I was involved for a very brief time with the former before real life caught up with me.
Kampfgruppe Commander was a project of the late Christian Koppmeyer (founder of the German ASL-tournament Grenadier). I think that HoB was not involved in this but I am not sure.

It could be (again not sure) that M.Koch in this forum (current TD of Grenadier) might have the material right now. If so, he is not planning to work on the project to my knowledge.

von Marwitz
 

olli

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I may be getting the source material from another German Player , I have it digitally somewhere tho!
 

Justiciar

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Kampfgruppe Commander was a project of the late Christian Koppmeyer (founder of the German ASL-tournament Grenadier). I think that HoB was not involved in this but I am not sure.

....

von Marwitz
I saw it many* years ago when it was within HoB. Klas Fischer did the art for the cards as I best recall.
 

g_young

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I saw it many* years ago when it was within HoB. Klas Fischer did the art for the cards as I best recall.
Hmm, from what I remember I saw the early version(s) concepts as well as a late, chopped down one. It was more or less a scenario generator using geo boards that changed out for any number of CG scenarios as time progressed. It would have been excellent for campaigns which were not static.

My recent thoughts though are more of inserting a mechanism into the "mainstream" CG rules which would (specifically) allow me to "CG" Crete. Something simple....
 

ZenRiver

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The Days of Valour modules I created would have introduced card mechanics, but no one wanted it. Ironic to see it is now being considered.

My own game system that I adapted to work with ASL used a card system for twenty years to great effect. Everything from simulating better Fog of War to Command-Control and Real world leaders personality traits. It certainly opens up new ways in which to introduce other layers of "uncertain realism" into a game.
 
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