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Thread: Game design abstractions

  1. #1
    Abecedarian Mage
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    Game design abstractions

    I see so many guys get quite in a snit over some things and I often wonder if they are really just asking for more than what is really needed.

    Are you actually asking for something, and then regretting getting what you asked for?

    I have seen a lot of VERY good games, and they were good because they were easy to play. But often easy to play requires a strong adherence to KISS which seems to be considered the enemy to look at some posts around the internet. You guys have for instance that term which I think you truly believe is accurate. Dumbed down. It's such an idiotic notion, that something uncomplicated must be for stupid people.

    But sometimes detail is merely pointless and worthless sophistication, which according to the dictionary, and not as popular usage would have it, means it is full of clutter that really doesn't serve well enough the goal of making a fun game.

    Remember, it's a game, and you can't seriously really actually recreate war. War is ugly and it is stupid choices that in time just don't fit into wargames decades later. Sometimes you need abstractions to make it possible to recreate the feel, but not get caught up in the details.

    Take for instance Hitler's attack in 41 into Russia, the often simulated, and often chosen target of so many wargames.
    You can simulate the attack, and you can fret over the hard ware, but in the end, it was Germany attacking Russia, and it was Hitler and his Nazis who thought the Russians sucked as opponents. But how do you simulate racism in a wargame? Because a lot of the decisions in that war were dominated not by military precision, but by human weaknesses of character. Hitler's generals were skilled, but Hitler sure wasn't worth much once he wasn't in a stadium ranting.

    Up Front is a good example of using abstractions to make a game work. The US gets plenty of cards, but is not as flexible as the Germans who get fewer cards but better options. The Russians don't get many cards, but they can sure ditch a bad hand fast. And I thought it was funny reading that the Italians could put two machine guns in a squad where everyone else couldn't because otherwise playing the Italians sucked. That was just a concession to just make them at least playable.
    So many wargames though insist on rigid precision, and in the process, they end up being sterile and dull and not really all that thrilling to play.

    I've looked at some games, and wondered, how do they actually get anyone to call this fun?

    Sorry that will need to do for now, I need to cook dinner.
    Please don't go on about how cool it is I like wargames. It gets old.
    Some of my comments are just me parroting his bitching.

  2. #2
    HauRuck
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    I had thought it ridiculous that you could pick individual pilots and match them to a plane in Matrix's War in the Pacific. At that grand scale really? Not to say I don't like the game but if we are going to get to that level and say it makes a difference then I think we should also track what they had for breakfast and when they last got laid. I mean why dumb things down with just a few simple stats per pilot? Lets manage menus and stock of potato pealers while we are at it...

  3. #3
    Mage’s Assistant
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    Joan, u have a way of stating EXACTLY how I feel. I love WitE. But I stay away from the WitE thread, except for entertainment purposes. It is great fun to read posts such as "this game does not accurately represent the war because I can't choose when to change treads on the Panzer IVF2."

  4. #4
    Mage’s Assistant
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    Quote Originally Posted by HauRuck View Post
    I had thought it ridiculous that you could pick individual pilots and match them to a plane in Matrix's War in the Pacific. At that grand scale really? Not to say I don't like the game but if we are going to get to that level and say it makes a difference then I think we should also track what they had for breakfast and when they last got laid. I mean why dumb things down with just a few simple stats per pilot? Lets manage menus and stock of potato pealers while we are at it...
    Come on, who does not want to manage thousands of pilots with their planes. Or thousands of ships? Or...oh wait, you and me.

  5. #5
    Neophyte Sorcerer
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    Not sure what I love most about WITE, the game itself or the endless fun to be had from the WITE thread,if all the posts are to be believed this is the only game in history to be totally biased towards both sides at the same time.

  6. #6
    Abecedarian Mage
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    I have seen WitP and WitE (yes the idiot bought both, not sure he's played them). I looked at both long enough to realize, yes very detailed, very precise. Not entirely sure about the fascination though. Ever done counted cross stitch before? Here's how I see those two games. It's a counted cross stitch 50 feet on a side. Oh boy I just can't wait to start it

    Sure there is some 'detail' lost in Panzer Corps, but I think the game is much more fun all the same. There are a few idiosyncracies in Panzer Corps that likely would be better gone, but there are gaffes and glitches in any game to some extent. People want staggering levels of accuracy in a game, but remember it is a game, not real war. No death, no destruction, non of the smell and misery, no notices your husband is never coming home or your son won't be out living you. So sometimes, the guys nitpicking over miniscule details just seems to be pointless rivet counting. It doesn't make a game more real to have more detail, it merely has more detail. And maybe less fun.
    Please don't go on about how cool it is I like wargames. It gets old.
    Some of my comments are just me parroting his bitching.

  7. #7
    Neophyte Sorcerer
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    Whats counted cross stitch?

  8. #8
    Abecedarian Mage
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kemmo View Post
    Whats counted cross stitch?
    Hahahahaha ok that was good. It's a craft dear, something like needlepoint. It involves a picture and a grid and you basically apply stitches to specific patterns to achieve your image.

    It's sort of like moving 10 thousand counters on the opening move of Barbarossa.
    Please don't go on about how cool it is I like wargames. It gets old.
    Some of my comments are just me parroting his bitching.

  9. #9
    Neophyte Sorcerer
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    I see Joan, no wonder I can't find it in the WitE scenario list.

  10. #10
    Mage’s Assistant
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    I can't imagine playing a turn-based game with more than 20 units.
    "And as the light embraces the wanderer,
    as knees bend as thought is obliterated,
    with the very moment that resistance has ceased,
    now, I am become death, the enemy of man."

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