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Re: [GZG] What are the pitfalls of standardised forces?

From: Adrian1 <al.ll@t...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 15:08:32 +0100
Subject: Re: [GZG] What are the pitfalls of standardised forces?

Robert Mayberry wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 12, 2008 at 5:14 PM, Adrian1 <> wrote:
>> The original reason for choosing wheeled CFE was because that was the
>> tech option.  It should theoretically be possible to repair and
resupply the
>> equipment using local resources - SLAMs are low tech dumb fire
weapons that
>> could be supplied locally too.  Like most theories though, fact just
>> fit.
> That depends on where you are. As John points out, CFE and HMT both
> use hydrocarbons that require some significant infrastructure to
> support (though fusion is another story-- depending on your setting it
> might be ideal, as in my setting, or tricky to maintain and
> expensive). On earth you're always just a few thousand miles from the
> oil wells and refineries. On a newly colonized world, there won't be
> oil deposits even if you had the resources to drill and refine. You'd
> need some kind of chemical refinery and power source (probably
> nuclear, possibly solar, wind or biological).

Striclty speaking, the rules state that fuel isn't only oil but also 
alcohol and synthetic.	I don't know what the minimum requirements are 
for a multi-fuel engine which is what I'm assuming a CFE is.
> Keep in mind that many technologies actually REDUCE cost rather than
> increasing value. Integrated SCM systems, for example, let you do lean
> production (with all its financial advantages) and can be a component
> of a quality improvement regime, but they also just plain save you
> money. For a concrete example, consider that in a modern setting the
> lowest-tech option for transportation is animal riding. We don't use
> it because we have a ton of money to spend on technology, but
> cash-strapped militia-quality forces also don't use them because in
> our (modern) setting it's simply pricier than using a pickup truck.
>> I was hoping for a modular design where if say a turret was damaged,
>> could just take an undamaged turret from a identical vehicle that had
>> suffered different damage.  This wouldn't have any effect in a
battle, jus
>> the campaign.  If you had forty identical damaged vehicles, you could
>> the working modules and make a few working vehicles quickly instead
>> trying to repair each one seperately.
> For an example of this, consider the Stryker
> ( It's an example of a US
> modular design, though I'd love to hear John's experience with it in
> actual combat. Mostly an APC, but with anti-vehicle, and various
> support/utility versions. In a business setting, modularity is used to
> cut costs through economies of scale while offering more customized
> products for differentiated needs.
I like this vehicle.  I could easily see a GEV version been rather 

> Also, with modern CAD/CAE, you can have two seemingly-dissimilar
> vehicles which share a surprising number of parts. For example, the
> heavy variant of a vehicle (in a setting where cheap fusion generators
> are available) might sport two light engines instead of a new,
> separate design. Minor components like screws and bolts, wiring and
> even software, can be aggressively standardized.
> Something else to consider: when you're controlling costs, ask
> yourself if this is a high-volume or low-volume product. If it's
> high-volume, like a military vehicle design, then you'll want to trade
> higher fixed costs for lower variable costs. Then remember your total
> cost of ownership (TCO). That includes things like maintenance, spare
> parts, fuel, etc, but also things like risk and cost of capital. A big
> expensive generic design wastes capital.
> In most settings, populations in off-world colonies will be very low,
> and life support costs for transportation will be very high. Except
> for wars in undeveloped areas on Earth, expect your most valuable,
> expensive commodity to be your trained soldiers. You'll want to gear
> them out so that you'll need fewer of them to do a job, and you'll
> want to protect them so that you won't have to deal with the high
> costs and long lead times of replacing them.
> For an expeditionary force, cut off by design from its logistics tail,
> you should treat maintenance-reducing and resource-efficient designs
> as a performance factor, not just a cost factor. That includes
> survivability.
That was why I'm looking at standardisation.  The less variation, the 
more compatibility.

>> Yes there are three.
>> First is that I reckon good campaign construction and supply rules
>> make variety a real pain to deal with.  To make this have an effect,
>> items built are tracked through the supply lines and can be lost to
>> action.   So it's not impossible for a force to be in urgent need on
>> for desert warfare but end up with boats.  I know this sounds (and
>> complicated but I always preferred the campaign to the battles
> If you're aiming for good campaign rules, you're not alone. However,
> my preference is to center the game issues around the role of the
> player. In a DS game, we don't worry about whether Private Funk is a
> good shot or not, or whether senior command gave you a rational
> objective, or whether the logistics department gave you enough fuel,
> except in a very general way. In general, the game assumes that each
> side is approximately the same in (in)competence so that the key
> difference is the commander (that is, you).

> There are a ton of ways a supply chain can go wrong. Mis-routed gear
> is obviously one, though computerized supply chain management makes
> that less frequent. On the other hand, forecasting is a pain in the
> ass, and computers haven't helped much in highly volatile markets. Are
> you familiar with the "whiplash effect"? It's easy to create shortages
> and unwanted surpluses even in a near-future setting, not to mention
> the fact that people with guns are shooting at your supply chain. FTL
> and space travel in the Tuffleyverse gives you very long resupply lead
> times, which is perfect for an evil game master who wants to create
> havock for his players. It also complicates resupply because
> communication only goes as fast as the fastest available message
> courier. A convoy that heads for Epsilon Eridani doesn't know if the
> fleet/army it's resupplying will even be there when it arrives.
> Factory ships with flex-manufacture capabilities might be required,
> and of course those would be prime targets for the enemy.
> You can even resupply locally, by confiscating from local civilians.
> This is great from a mechanics perspective because there's a clear
> trade-off between keeping popular support and having enough fuel/spare
> parts to fight, if you want a political dimension.
> Or try looting from your enemy. In a mercenary setting both sides may
> be using the same commercial, off-the-shelf military equipment.
> Manufacturers might sell to mercenary companies and small nations by
> touting their interoperable, standards-compliant designs.
> Anyway, there's a world of fun in logistics without having to resort
> to crippling your force with artificial constraints.
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