What are the best means to balance a scenario?

Actionjick

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Yeah, I must admit I try to stick to the historical objective of the battle as much as possible
say the Brits wanted to push the Germans out of a particular town then that would be the objective

(as much as possible anyhow :))
One of the many beauties of ASL, there's more than seven, is that it is enjoyable on so many different levels. These days I just pontificate and still enjoy the hell out if it.

Has anyone seen The Seven Beauties? It's an Italian flick that's sort of a war movie. We watched it once back in '77 and I still remember it.
 

Alan Hume

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One of the many beauties of ASL, there's more than seven, is that it is enjoyable on so many different levels. These days I just pontificate and still enjoy the hell out if it.

Has anyone seen The Seven Beauties? It's an Italian flick that's sort of a war movie. We watched it once back in '77 and I still remember it.
I figure that people can get whatever they like out of the hobby and it's all good, different strokes for different folks and all that
Those days I do find that I am enjoying trying (emphasis on trying) to design scenarios more than actually playing (although I do enjoy playing, don't get me wrong)

I've never seen The Seven Beauties though, not even heard of it (but then, I'm not particularly up on Italian cinema :) )
 

Actionjick

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I figure that people can get whatever they like out of the hobby and it's all good, different strokes for different folks and all that
Those days I do find that I am enjoying trying (emphasis on trying) to design scenarios more than actually playing (although I do enjoy playing, don't get me wrong)

I've never seen The Seven Beauties though, not even heard of it (but then, I'm not particularly up on Italian cinema :) )
Quite an interesting film and one of the few " foreign " movies that I have seen.
 

Robin Reeve

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Yeah, I must admit I try to stick to the historical objective of the battle as much as possible
say the Brits wanted to push the Germans out of a particular town then that would be the objective

(as much as possible anyhow :))
You can fully take account of the historic situation, but design game victory conditions which offer a balanced challenge to both opponents.
Did the British push the Germans out of town, or was their objective impossible to reach - perhaps because the British commanders were idiots or didn't take the situation properly into account - cf. the Arnhem situation ?
Better see what actually happened and adapt VC, so that the British and German players do better than their historical counterpart.
Most players don't think ASL is a simulation of reality, but that it is first a game, with an impressionist rendering of a historical situation.
So designing a scenario that offers good chances of winning to both sides is an important objective to aim.
I personally don't get a lot of fun if I only stand 10-20% chances of winning - or if I am sure of winning at 80-90%.
 

Actionjick

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You can fully take account of the historic situation, but design game victory conditions which offer a balanced challenge to both opponents.
Did the British push the Germans out of town, or was their objective impossible to reach - perhaps because the British commanders were idiots or didn't take the situation properly into account - cf. the Arnhem situation ?
Better see what actually happened and adapt VC, so that the British and German players do better than their historical counterpart.
Most players don't think ASL is a simulation of reality, but that it is first a game, with an impressionist rendering of a historical situation.
So designing a scenario that offers good chances of winning to both sides is an important objective to aim.
I personally don't get a lot of fun if I only stand 10-20% chances of winning - or if I am sure of winning at 80-90%.
Very nicely put.
 

Alan Hume

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Quite an interesting film and one of the few " foreign " movies that I have seen.
cool, I must admit I haven't seen a great deal of foreign films, I only tend to watch mainstream movies I guess
Perhaps I need to expand my horizons somewhat?
 

Alan Hume

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You can fully take account of the historic situation, but design game victory conditions which offer a balanced challenge to both opponents.
Did the British push the Germans out of town, or was their objective impossible to reach - perhaps because the British commanders were idiots or didn't take the situation properly into account - cf. the Arnhem situation ?
Better see what actually happened and adapt VC, so that the British and German players do better than their historical counterpart.
Most players don't think ASL is a simulation of reality, but that it is first a game, with an impressionist rendering of a historical situation.
So designing a scenario that offers good chances of winning to both sides is an important objective to aim.
I personally don't get a lot of fun if I only stand 10-20% chances of winning - or if I am sure of winning at 80-90%.
That's very good advice, thanks,
yep, you do indeed want to give both players a chance of winning as much as possible
and I guess if that means tweaking the victory conditions or finding achievable aims for both parties then so be it
 

Kijug

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You can fully take account of the historic situation, but design game victory conditions which offer a balanced challenge to both opponents.
Did the British push the Germans out of town, or was their objective impossible to reach - perhaps because the British commanders were idiots or didn't take the situation properly into account - cf. the Arnhem situation ?
Better see what actually happened and adapt VC, so that the British and German players do better than their historical counterpart.
Most players don't think ASL is a simulation of reality, but that it is first a game, with an impressionist rendering of a historical situation.
So designing a scenario that offers good chances of winning to both sides is an important objective to aim.
I personally don't get a lot of fun if I only stand 10-20% chances of winning - or if I am sure of winning at 80-90%.
Heh, when I come back home from a FtF play, the first thing my wife asks, “Did you change history?” Being a game first, both sides need a chance at winning, with historical flavor second. YMMV
 

Actionjick

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Heh, when I come back home from a FtF play, the first thing my wife asks, “Did you change history?” Being a game first, both sides need a chance at winning, with historical flavor second. YMMV
Lol your wife is a very astute person.
 

Sparafucil3

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WRT historical accuracy: I doubt anyone would want to play a "historically" accurate scenario. Rarely did one side ever attack with a 50:50 chance to "win". They attacked with overwhelming forces and a 30 - 60 minute barrage. -- jim
 

Robin Reeve

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WRT historical accuracy: I doubt anyone would want to play a "historically" accurate scenario. Rarely did one side ever attack with a 50:50 chance to "win". They attacked with overwhelming forces and a 30 - 60 minute barrage. -- jim
The designer can set VC in manner to make each side challenging.
E.g. a side that was wiped out may win a scenario if they hold on longer than historically.
But of course, some historical situations could, if followed scrupulously, simply be boring to play, even with "fair" VC.
I would venture that some published scenarios are boring - bug hunting, when on the "bugs" side, for an example...
 

Actionjick

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WRT historical accuracy: I doubt anyone would want to play a "historically" accurate scenario. Rarely did one side ever attack with a 50:50 chance to "win". They attacked with overwhelming forces and a 30 - 60 minute barrage. -- jim
And the choir says Amen!
 

Sparafucil3

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The designer can set VC in manner to make each side challenging.
E.g. a side that was wiped out may win a scenario if they hold on longer than historically.
But of course, some historical situations could, if followed scrupulously, simply be boring to play, even with "fair" VC.
I would venture that some published scenarios are boring - bug hunting, when on the "bugs" side, for an example...
Ever play Tarawa? I haven't. I have no desire to sit and get kicked in the dick for all those turns. Sure, the beach landings are fun. And sure, you "won" because you managed to hold out for 10 minutes longer than the actual forces did in real life. Bully for you. I doubt it would be much fun for the non masochists among us. JMO. YMMV. -- jim
 

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WRT historical accuracy: I doubt anyone would want to play a "historically" accurate scenario. Rarely did one side ever attack with a 50:50 chance to "win". They attacked with overwhelming forces and a 30 - 60 minute barrage. -- jim
True, I always try to avoid the barrages (just starting out the scenario just after the barrage has hit that kind of thing)
 

Sparafucil3

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True, I always try to avoid the barrages (just starting out the scenario just after the barrage has hit that kind of thing)
Most start well after the barrage. If it was immediately after, units should be broken, pinned, and maybe should have some other mechanism to reflect how discombobulated they were. Imagine being on a no move counter and all fire halved as area fire to reflect the disorganization of the units. All the wire cut to the forward OPs. No communication with Company and Battalion HQ. The lack of coordination in your efforts. How do you reflect the shell shock of the survivors? -- jim
 

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Most start well after the barrage. If it was immediately after, units should be broken, pinned, and maybe should have some other mechanism to reflect how discombobulated they were. Imagine being on a no move counter and all fire halved as area fire to reflect the disorganization of the units. All the wire cut to the forward OPs. No communication with Company and Battalion HQ. The lack of coordination in your efforts. How do you reflect the shell shock of the survivors? -- jim
yep, that's kind of what I meant to say :) I wasn't very clear there right enough
 
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Fort

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Over the years I have interacted with almost every scenario designer/developer in the business. I like to think that even my thick skull has absorbed a bit of wisdom from those fellas...both do's and do not's. I don't think I have the words to put down on paper the things I have learned or had to unlearn. I'll list a few of the things that pop into my head as I type here.

1. Enjoy what you're doing. I learned over many years that I simply do not enjoy campaign games as they are currently framed. It's not that I'm right and you're wrong, it's just I prefer Coke over Pepsi.

2. Make the scenarios ones that you, the designer, will want to play more than once and as both sides. I am aware of the 'modern ASL' crowd's penchant for 'one and done' disposable scenarios. I am ok with that, but that's not for me. I tend to enjoy exploring the intricacies each scenario offers. Some truly are better with age and experience and when I find one of those gems it is a gezelligheid moment for me. I want to recreate that feeling I had when I first saw the Series Replay of 'Guard's Counterattack' in the General, or when I cracked open that first Squad Leader box and eagerly read every word on each scenario card. I remember what it was like to play one side of a scenario, flip the board around and play again as the other side. Then, that evening laying on my bed with the board on the floor below me and pouring over the scenario and moving pieces around until way to late for a school night.

3. Trust your judgement, but be willing to really listen to others you trust as well. I am sure it is no news to those of you have known me for a while now. But, in my early years I had a bit of an arrogant persona. I am not sure what awakened me to how I was perceived by others, but it was likely a friend of mine from Texas who travelled to ASLOK with me one year. He said that he was ignored by many of the people around me and me myself when I was in the mix...there was a clique and he felt left out. I hadn't seen it myself, so I started looking around afterwards and tried to include those who might be feeling left out when I did notice. I try to do that much more often now, but I tend to have a solitary personality it is sometimes perceived as standoffish...it's a family thing, nothing personal towards anyone.

4. Try for a historical 'feel'. That's about all you can do with ASL. It's a game, not a simulation. But, man oh man, what a game it is.

5. Strive to balance a scenario to the best of your skill level. This I have always done. I love everyman ASLers, they are the bulk of the hobby. I tend to root for them and hope that they get better at playing the game as they gain experience and will be able to benefit from the scenarios offering a more challenging situation. Designing scenarios that are balanced for all is nearly impossible. Designing a scenario that will challenge folks of exceptional skill with the system is rewarding and, I believe, will retain the attention of those not quite there but who are interested in progressing.

6. Find a trusted, knowledgeable someone(s) who can be your tether to reality. ASL or not, I have tended to trust very few folks over the years. In those years I have encountered quite a few that have influenced my gaming (and personal) life in subtle and not so subtle ways. I very much appreciate their friendship and advice.

7. Play other games, it will help level your perspective. I have quite a few things I could add to this list, but I am running out of time to get ready for my D&D game with my dear friend Linda and her family...so, cya at Winter Offensive. ;)
 

Alan Hume

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Over the years I have interacted with almost every scenario designer/developer in the business. I like to think that even my thick skull has absorbed a bit of wisdom from those fellas...both do's and do not's. I don't think I have the words to put down on paper the things I have learned or had to unlearn. I'll list a few of the things that pop into my head as I type here.

1. Enjoy what you're doing. I learned over many years that I simply do not enjoy campaign games as they are currently framed. It's not that I'm right and you're wrong, it's just I prefer Coke over Pepsi.

2. Make the scenarios ones that you, the designer, will want to play more than once and as both sides. I am aware of the 'modern ASL' crowd's penchant for 'one and done' disposable scenarios. I am ok with that, but that's not for me. I tend to enjoy exploring the intricacies each scenario offers. Some truly are better with age and experience and when I find one of those gems it is a gezelligheid moment for me. I want to recreate that feeling I had when I first saw the Series Replay of 'Guard's Counterattack' in the General, or when I cracked open that first Squad Leader box and eagerly read every word on each scenario card. I remember what it was like to play one side of a scenario, flip the board around and play again as the other side. Then, that evening laying on my bed with the board on the floor below me and pouring over the scenario and moving pieces around until way to late for a school night.

3. Trust your judgement, but be willing to really listen to others you trust as well. I am sure it is no news to those of you have known me for a while now. But, in my early years I had a bit of an arrogant persona. I am not sure what awakened me to how I was perceived by others, but it was likely a friend of mine from Texas who travelled to ASLOK with me one year. He said that he was ignored by many of the people around me and me myself when I was in the mix...there was a clique and he felt left out. I hadn't seen it myself, so I started looking around afterwards and tried to include those who might be feeling left out when I did notice. I try to do that much more often now, but I tend to have a solitary personality it is sometimes perceived as standoffish...it's a family thing, nothing personal towards anyone.

4. Try for a historical 'feel'. That's about all you can do with ASL. It's a game, not a simulation. But, man oh man, what a game it is.

5. Strive to balance a scenario to the best of your skill level. This I have always done. I love everyman ASLers, they are the bulk of the hobby. I tend to root for them and hope that they get better at playing the game as they gain experience and will be able to benefit from the scenarios offering a more challenging situation. Designing scenarios that are balanced for all is nearly impossible. Designing a scenario that will challenge folks of exceptional skill with the system is rewarding and, I believe, will retain the attention of those not quite there but who are interested in progressing.

6. Find a trusted, knowledgeable someone(s) who can be your tether to reality. ASL or not, I have tended to trust very few folks over the years. In those years I have encountered quite a few that have influenced my gaming (and personal) life in subtle and not so subtle ways. I very much appreciate their friendship and advice.

7. Play other games, it will help level your perspective. I have quite a few things I could add to this list, but I am running out of time to get ready for my D&D game with my dear friend Linda and her family...so, cya at Winter Offensive. ;)
Thanks for the good advice, much appreciated

Yeah, I think I do tend to try and make things a little bit too historical much of the time (down to the exact number of tanks in a scenario etc. etc.) maybe I need to step back and try to think more about making a game of things as opposed to a 'historical re-enactment.

Yep, I trust my friends and they help me out a lot (I mean a LOT) with my scenario designs (heck Pete Phillips has even published some in his excellent zine - View From The Trenches)

I don't play many other games at the moment but I grew up a gamer and have played a ton of other games in the past
(D&D, excepting family games with my folks was my first real introduction to gaming)
 

wrongway149

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Over the years I have interacted with almost every scenario designer/developer in the business. I like to think that even my thick skull has absorbed a bit of wisdom from those fellas...both do's and do not's. I don't think I have the words to put down on paper the things I have learned or had to unlearn. I'll list a few of the things that pop into my head as I type here.

1. Enjoy what you're doing. I learned over many years that I simply do not enjoy campaign games as they are currently framed. It's not that I'm right and you're wrong, it's just I prefer Coke over Pepsi.

2. Make the scenarios ones that you, the designer, will want to play more than once and as both sides. I am aware of the 'modern ASL' crowd's penchant for 'one and done' disposable scenarios. I am ok with that, but that's not for me. I tend to enjoy exploring the intricacies each scenario offers. Some truly are better with age and experience and when I find one of those gems it is a gezelligheid moment for me. I want to recreate that feeling I had when I first saw the Series Replay of 'Guard's Counterattack' in the General, or when I cracked open that first Squad Leader box and eagerly read every word on each scenario card. I remember what it was like to play one side of a scenario, flip the board around and play again as the other side. Then, that evening laying on my bed with the board on the floor below me and pouring over the scenario and moving pieces around until way to late for a school night.

3. Trust your judgement, but be willing to really listen to others you trust as well. I am sure it is no news to those of you have known me for a while now. But, in my early years I had a bit of an arrogant persona. I am not sure what awakened me to how I was perceived by others, but it was likely a friend of mine from Texas who travelled to ASLOK with me one year. He said that he was ignored by many of the people around me and me myself when I was in the mix...there was a clique and he felt left out. I hadn't seen it myself, so I started looking around afterwards and tried to include those who might be feeling left out when I did notice. I try to do that much more often now, but I tend to have a solitary personality it is sometimes perceived as standoffish...it's a family thing, nothing personal towards anyone.

4. Try for a historical 'feel'. That's about all you can do with ASL. It's a game, not a simulation. But, man oh man, what a game it is.

5. Strive to balance a scenario to the best of your skill level. This I have always done. I love everyman ASLers, they are the bulk of the hobby. I tend to root for them and hope that they get better at playing the game as they gain experience and will be able to benefit from the scenarios offering a more challenging situation. Designing scenarios that are balanced for all is nearly impossible. Designing a scenario that will challenge folks of exceptional skill with the system is rewarding and, I believe, will retain the attention of those not quite there but who are interested in progressing.

6. Find a trusted, knowledgeable someone(s) who can be your tether to reality. ASL or not, I have tended to trust very few folks over the years. In those years I have encountered quite a few that have influenced my gaming (and personal) life in subtle and not so subtle ways. I very much appreciate their friendship and advice.

7. Play other games, it will help level your perspective. I have quite a few things I could add to this list, but I am running out of time to get ready for my D&D game with my dear friend Linda and her family...so, cya at Winter Offensive. ;)
Agree with pretty much all of these principles. Except maybe #5 -- I let better players than myself do the final balancing. MY job as designer is to give them enough options to work with that won't ruin the feel or unique flavor of the scenario.

And I prefer Pepsi

See ya next week!
 

wrongway149

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Agree with pretty much all of these principles. Except maybe #5 -- I let better players than myself do the final balancing. MY job as designer is to give them enough options to work with that won't ruin the feel or unique flavor of the scenario.

And I prefer Pepsi,

See ya next week!
 
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