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Re: [DS2] Points - crew cost

From: Mikko Kurki-Suonio <maxxon@s...>
Date: Wed, 3 May 2000 10:56:01 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: Re: [DS2] Points - crew cost

Örjan is certainly on the right track there. The crew is a very
component, often almost totally ignored or abstracted in game systems.
This can easily lead to "horde" tactics that would be insane or
to pull off in real life.

The more high tech your equipment is, generally the more invested
expense the crew represents. And it is not just money -- it's a lot of 
time! Sure you can roll out a new B-24 every 50 minutes, but it takes a
lot longer to roll out a qualified crew to fly it.

Before anyone pipes in, yeah, scifi hypno-training, vat-grown combat
clones or fully AI automated systems could change this -- but it would
naive to assume that widespread cheap availability of such would not
otherwise fundamentally change the face of warfare.

Also, one should not forget soft factors. The world changes and people
change with it. It used to be okay for young men to die in droves on
foreign soil for one of the divine ruler's petty squabbles -- heck,
warfare was semi-knowingly used as a population growth control tool.
Casualties still are no-issue to some extent in some cultures, but the
more "civilized" a society we're talking about, the more political cost
attached to a used body bag.

These two factors combined have resulted in some going to almost
ridiculous lengths to avoid taking any casualties at all (*. 

Logistics is another mind-boggler, espcially in interstellar cultures.
cost of transporting 50 tons of crap is pretty much the same as the cost
of transporting 50 tons of ultra-advanced combat gear. The cost of
transportation can be *the* deciding factor -- you only got so much
space, and just flying out there costs many times more than anything you
could reasonably fit in the hold.

Thus, the stereotypical scenario would have an invader highly trained
few in numbers, using the best equipment money can buy but averse to
taking casualties, against a larger but less well-trained defender using
more or less outmoded (but locally maintainable) equipment but very
much better motivated (dying on West Bumfuck and dying to protect your
loved ones have distinctly different rings to them).

The exact balance of these factors determines the exact severity of the

Be careful with the balance though -- get it wrong and your entire
setting might turn laughable. E.g. BattleTech (back when...) -- Mech's
supposed to be king of battlefield, but they're so laughably few that
reasonably populated planet could swamp every invading mech in thousands
of quite effective rifle troops and SRM-jeeps...

What does all this boil down to? Well, even though I strongly agree that
game points should balance on the game table, tying the result to a
specific background framework introduces elements not visible on the
gaming table. What is balanced in a one-off may not be balanced in a
campaign. You must either have a separate point system for campaigns, or
simply accept that the environment may force you to make suboptimal

*) I certainly don't advocate anyone taking a bullet to save a few bucks
(or for nearly any reason at all), but the current fad of "zero-risk"
warfare makes for a horribly boring game...

-- (Mikko Kurki-Suonio) 	  | A pig who doesn't
GSM +358 50 5596411 Tel +358 9 809268		  | is just an ordinary
Länsimetsä 3B1 02300 ESPOO FINLAND   Hate me? Try |	      - Porco
Rosso      hateme.html  |

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