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Re: Pre-measuring things

From: Mikko Kurki-Suonio <maxxon@s...>
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 13:40:39 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: Re: Pre-measuring things

>Not that this is directed at anyone in particular, but have you noticed
>that the people who are the most against pre-measurement often happen
>to be the same ones who have no problems eyeballing distances?  To a
>new wargamer the feeling is not only are they at a tactical
>but they are also at a severe "calibrated eyeball" disadvantage also.

Frankly, no. Just last Friday I lost the game because I couldn't eyeball
the length of the gaming table. And it's my own bloody table to boot!
had it for 15 years! And I couldn't remember how long it was. Because I
don't like to base my tactics on gamesmanship like that. 

I also happen to play with a professional carpenter, and he's very much
pro-pre-measure (and likes to win).

What I did notice, once, was when we were using a BattleMaster map as
background in a pinch. I didn't pay any attention to the hexes printed
it, because I was mentally adjusted to playing a miniatures game. 

However, all the PRO-pre-measurement guys were mentally counting the
for a rather good approximation of distances... I lost.

I can even take off my glasses if it makes someone feel more secure.

Hey, let's take this one step further: Would it be entirely unreasonable
to assume that FT warships carry battlecomputers that can calculate the
possible locations of enemy ships for a few turns in advance?

Would you like me to do it in a game?

I can.

It would even be trivial for me write a computer program for it and
a laptop to the game.

But I *choose* not to. I wouldn't even "gaze into the crystal ball" in a
PBeM game, should I actually play one.

For me, the visual spectacle and simple seat'o'pants playing, a
relaxed game are the thing. I don't particularly care for winning or
losing, as long as the game is interesting.

However, I'm not naive enough to assume this is the case for everyone
involved (i.e. I don't believe in enforcing honor. Honor is
self-imposed, rules and laws are enforced). Since it's my table, my
rulebooks and my minis, I get to decide minor details.

Quite simply I've found that banning pre-measurement makes the game flow
faster. It forces the "gamesmen" to commit to moves instead of wasting
everyone's limited free time by measuring every possible variation,
contemplating and procrastinating 'till no end.

For tournaments, cutthroat win-at-any-cost environments, I'd actually
recommend time limits instead. "No pre-measure" is too easy to cheat
against -- the old checkered shirt trick for instance.

As for realism, well, just knowing the distance doesn't cut the mustard
real life. 

E.g. assault rifles have effective range of 300 yards. Hands up, who'd
stand 301 yards away and let me shoot at him? One might be ballsy enough
to stand 400 yards away, but that's already a clearly visible difference
-- not the hair's breadth pre-measuring and rigid rules would allow.

E.g. I might know that the forward bunker is exactly 48 yards from my
starting position and 53 from the opposing team's -- but I don't know
sure I'll be there first, even on a level Sup'Air field much less in the
woods. Even with the rather unrealistic referee-given start signal.

You *could* give exact measurements of static distances and then add
random variations to all dynamic or "action" distances (movement, weapon
ranges etc.), but IMHO not knowing the exact measure in the first place
a good enough approximation of the truth.

-- (Mikko Kurki-Suonio) 	  | A pig who doesn't
GSM +358 50 5596411 Tel +358 9 8092681		  | is just an ordinary
Länsimetsä 3B1 02300 ESPOO FINLAND   Hate me? Try |	      - Porco
Rosso      hateme.html  |

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