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Thread: Shogun TW over Board War Games

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    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    I thought I would take this opportunity, with the flanking thread going strong, to expand on one of the points that forumers are touching on.

    I kept reading about "moving up to just out of archer range" and other such stuff. I wondered, "What's archer range?" There's no grid on the map; how do I know when to stop?"

    The flanking thread is debating the boundaries of a "flank." Is it at 90 degrees from the face? 120 degrees?

    And, how many cups of sake does it take to impair the accuracy of a Samurai Archer?

    The beauty of this game is that these boundaries are no clearer to us than to a general in a real situation.

    My friend annoyed me when I played against him in hex board wargames. He annoyed me because he was super-methodical. He counted out all of the hexes. He could calculate where any unit would be many moves ahead. He won the game before we started because I am a seat-of-the-pants player (play by intuition). My units would come one hex short of reaching one of his flanks at a critical moment. I am not blaming him for being so methodical; I was annoyed because I am not as good as he at that kind of logic. Hex board games reward that style of thought.

    I think that level of calculation of details with hex games is unrealistic, especially in medieval warfare. It involves decisions based on a kind of mathematical accuracy that doesn't apply to real life situations.

    So, until we find out that Sekigahara had a hex grid system painted on the ground, and the taisho could walk around the field counting how far each unit could move in three turns, and could determine the attack factor of a very tired cavalry unit charging downhill, I will enjoy the added realism that computerized wargames, and Shogun: TW in particular, provide.

    So, don't worry about the exact numbers of the game. Learn to command by intuition, as the real generals did. We only need to be concerned with the numbers if something seems wrong and needs to be changed to better reflect real situations or provide better game balance.

    Hey, I think this is my first Sword Dojo thread! Can I be a "Samurai Hero" yet?

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    hmmmmm... no, you can't... but it's a nice post indeed...



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    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    I'm as every bit methodical as a turn-based hex gamer, but I appreciate great graphics (and screams of the dying!) just as much as the next guy....
    Just to be crass, I'd rather be under the command of a "thinker" than issued orders by a "seat of the pants" kind of commandant.

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    Senior Member Senior Member The Scourge's Avatar
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    Tachikaze.
    You are my kind of player.
    Thats the same reason i don't really contribute much to the kind of threads that go on about things like hit points v armour and all that kind of stuff.
    Its great for the members who are into all that.(Which seems to be most of you ) And I agree that you've got to have a little bit of know how.I just can't be bothered with all the tiny details.
    Mind you ,that could be why im getting my arse kicked ,so much on line these days.
    That's it.

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    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    solypsist, The kind of thinking I'm referring to is that which uses information not available to a general in such detail in a real situation. The precision of hex grids, units with their strengths and speeds printed on their counters, etc. leads to a game of mathematics.

    While this is a good exercise in competitive logical thinking, it doesn't reproduce real-life battlefield decisions very well.

    By "seat-of-the-pants", I see generalship as the ability to feel the balance of forces. To use right-brained spatial faculties to weigh the areas of strength and weakness on the field. There is still tactical thought, but it is based on less-concrete information.

    Take archery. You could fix your bow in a permanent mounting, use a device that pulls the string back with a precise tension, re-adjust the mounting and tension based on calculated wind and gradient factors and hit the target every time.

    But in a real life situation, an archer feels the correct pull, aims the bow using only the tip of the arrow and tactile memory as a guide, and hits the target using a kind of intuitive sense.

    I think this principle applies to real battle and realtime computer wargaming. The general doesn't know the exact slope angles, wind speeds, strength factors, distances, morale levels, attack angles, etc. So, compared to a board game, the general must feel the influence of these factors based more on intuitive knowledge, much like the archer.

    The Scourge, I think I would be a better player if I could think both ways. Perhaps I'm not disciplined or patient enough for mathematical calculation. So, I write threads like this. I admire my wargaming friend and his ilk. But they are annoying to play in a board game.


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    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    you must really hate chess, then.....


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    Senior Member Senior Member The Black Ship's Avatar
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    The hex games are more strategy than tactical, just the opposite from Shogun IMO. With the hex games you often have to decide "do I use a turn to enhance this unit, or use the turn for maneuver". He who best deploys wins.
    Shogun is different, he who coordinates the best match-ups, and then exploits the opening wins.
    All we are saying....is give peas a chance - Jolly Green Giant

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    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    Actually, I don't hate chess or hex wargames, but I am controlled by a very calculating opponent. As a game gets more complex, I do better, because the number of factors that determine outcome makes calculating increasingly difficult.

    Another advantage to the "intuitive" approach to gaming is that it seems to apply more universally than the intricate calculations. Against one of my "calculating" opponents, I usually adapted more quickly to new games that we bought. Later, once he figured out the system of play, he often matched or beat me.

    But the calculating seems to break the game down to just numbers, and you realize, especially in wargames, that it's just a bunch of strength and movement factors. It takes some of the fun out of it for me. It's not hoplites with apis, crested helm, and pike vs Immortals with wicker shield, Median headgear, and spear, it's strength 9-6-4, speed 3 vs strength 5-3-2, speed 4. It depersonalizes the game.

    When we play Shogun, I feel we have to use similar thought processes to the real generals, which includes some calculation, but depends a great deal on perception, prediction, psychology, and "instinctual" knowledge.


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    Senior Member Senior Member ShaiHulud's Avatar
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    OK, maybe I'm slow, but I didn't realize, until reading a post somewhere, that there is a pause button! Imo if you want a taste of realism, play without it. The most interesting ever was defending in a thick fog
    when I could see but half of my line. Cavalry
    dashing around my flank, unseen, made for a memorable battle!
    No amount of number-crunching can prepare such excitement in a boardgame.

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    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    ShaiHulud

    I agree.

    Nice quote, by the way.

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    Senior Member Senior Member ShaiHulud's Avatar
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    Oh, pshaw. Not a quote..just thought I'd try my hand at Haiku...

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    I haven't played any "board war games", but I sure used to love pen and paper roll playing games set in Acient Japan. Stuff like Bushido, and GURPS Japan I mean.

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    I have Bushido somewhere. I didn't know anyone else had even heard of it. I wanted to get GURPS Japan, but I guess I was too late; I think it's been out of print for a while.


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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    The first edition went out of print in 1988, but you can still get the second edition here. I'd really recommend it + I seem to recall that I had much more fun playing this than ever could have had with a computer game. For those of you who don't know what this is GURPS stands for Generic Universal Roll Playing Syetem, and it is a real gas!

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    karoshi Senior Member solypsist's Avatar
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    lol

    someone just passed the geek test....

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    Senior Member Senior Member Kurando's Avatar
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    You best mind your P's and Q's soly; I left the last guy who talked to me like that swinging from a tree in Calgary! And now, (as that character says on the Simpsons): "I must hasten back to my comic book shop where I can dispatch the insults rather that absorb them..."

    Modern civilization is a vast conspiracy against silence

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    Senior Member Senior Member ShaiHulud's Avatar
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    Now, Tell me you played Tactics II and show me I'm not the only old guy here...LoL

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    O stranger, Go tell the Spartans that we lie here, obedient to their will.....

  18. #18
    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    Thanks, Kurando. I checked for GURPS Japan a local game shop that specializes in wargames and role-playing, but they didn't have one. Maybe I'll order it online.

    I read the blurb on the website you linked to. The "Detailed background information" covers the Warring States and Late Tokugawa Eras. I hope the game covers at least back to the 700s. I want to be able to play the Gempei War era.

    I have GURPS books for China, the Old West, Arabian Nights, Aztecs, Imperial Rome, and Cliffhangers. In addition to Japan, I'm looking for Ancient Greece.

    I haven't even played half of them. I buy them to read as much as play.


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  19. #19
    Naughty Little Hippy Senior Member Tachikaze's Avatar
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    *poof* *poof* Wow, this thread is dusty.

    A few weeks ago, I received GURPS Japan by mail. I had ordered it on the Steve Jackson website. Thanks for the referral, Kurando.

    I've read the book cover-to-cover, and it had a lot of interesting stuff. I was disappointed, though, that it covered only Sengoku Jidai and the late Tokugawa periods. It seems that they assume Westerners won't be interested unless it includes contact with them. Or perhaps it's because the major samurai films take place in those two eras.

    GURPS China covered the entire range of Chinese history from pre-Imperial to the 29th Century. I had hoped Japan had as wide a range.

    The reason is that the Nara and Heian Periods were very colorful and the backdrop for many of the classical legends and stories of Japan. Tales from that time are more likely to mix in the supernatural and magic. It was a time of heros, like Benkei and Minamoto Yoshitsune, who fought famous duels.

    I'm not heavily into the magical aspect of role-playing games, but the atmosphere of legendary times adds to the escapism. I like to think of the art of the time, which always depicts oceans as stormy, samurai in exaggerated poses (not unlike manga today), and fierce, horny demons laughing.

    Warfare was colorful, too, with a greater emphasis on personal combat, archery (what hero worthy to be the subject of great art didn't have 20 arrows stuck in his armor?), and none of them stinkin' ashigaru mucking up the aristocratic fun.

    It would be great reproducing classical heros who cut incoming arrows with their naginata or took on oni one-on-one. Wow, I wore out my O and N keys with that sentence.

    It isn't much of a stretch for the players to apply the game to that time. But I'm surprised they didn't include it.

    Otherwise, the game is good. I can see elements of the game Bushido in it (especially when it comes to the jitsu). I appreciate that the authors debunk myths and inaccurate Western images, like ninjas wearing all-black.


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  20. #20
    Insomniac and tired of it Senior Member Slyspy's Avatar
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    Quite right about hex based board games. Good for strategy but poor for tactical games (Mechwarrior anyone?). For enjoyable, less predictable games you need table top games (you know, the ones with tape measures rather than the dubious hex system). In my opinion a decent set of tabletop wargaming rules will provide far more variety from game to game than STW can. However, they take much longer to play, take longer to learn and lack the special effects that give STW its character. Besides which its hard to play a tabletop game against someone on the other side of the Atlantic!

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    "Put 'em in blue coats, put 'em in red coats, the bastards will run all the same!"

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  21. #21
    Provost Senior Member Nelson's Avatar
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    I still enjoy good traditional SOCIAL boardgames complete with several friends, food and beer. I do miniatures too. PC gaming is an addition to my hobby; it can't replace it. All three have merits and drawbacks.

    The PC brought at least 4 great things to wargamers:
    1) much better solitare play (with decent AI of course),
    2) good rules enforcement (which reduces errors and debates, not cheating. Wargamers as a rule never cheat but we do screw up all the time!),
    3) fog of war that works,
    4) and last but not least, real time action that simulates tactical timing like no turn based system ever could. WOOHOO!

    Play by email might belong too. OK, 5 great things.

    Everything said about boardgame players being methodical is often true. The games reward patient planning and this fact results in the search for the perfect move. There is another side to this lust for precision though. For a lot of gamers, the simulation is paramount so observing the rules becomes a passion. Break the rules and you break the game. After that you have nothing left to win or lose. Tachikaze, your friend wanted to beat you I'm sure, but I'll bet he also didn't want to accidently cheat you by making any mistakes.

    Everyone in this thread has made good points.

    Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like bananas.

  22. #22

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    Having played chess for many years, I too enjoy the relief that Shogun provides from the precise calculation required by many games. The battles in Shogun are really a simulation, and not a rules based game. Each swing of the blade or ranged attack has a probability of success, and this is spread out over many individual men. Just as in real life, the final result is the summation of many individual random events that are biased in some way. Knowing what constitutes an advantage is critical to success, but the precise degree of the advantage isn't. Even a small advantage will win most of the time.

    Well, it's not quite that easy.

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