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Re: [GZG] Orders Writing and Thresholds, and Game Plans....

From: "Michael Brown" <mwsaber6@m...>
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 09:08:20 -0700
Subject: Re: [GZG] Orders Writing and Thresholds, and Game Plans....

"You cheated!  You had a PLAN!"

Oft said by my opponents

Michael Brown

From: "Tom B" <>
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 12:19 AM
To: <>
Subject: [GZG] Orders Writing and Thresholds, and Game Plans....

> Doug,
> Can you explain your colour coded dice idea? The 'six year old'
> explanation please. Sounds intriguing, but my brain is running an old
> 80186 and ain't keeping up with the new fangled ideas....
> On Orders Writing:
> One thing that lengthens a game is managing squadrons once parts of
> your squadron take damage... some of your ships will be manouvering at
> full potential, others will be limping along, not able to match
> thrusts or turns.
> In the games we play, template weapons are visual eyeball, quick
> laydown weapons. Coordinating them with fighters usually means piling
> up the fighters somewhere about 10" out so they can do a secondary
> move into contact. None of this seems to take that long, but we don't
> allow a lot of screwing about.
> Part of it is some people cannot eyeball distance. I find that a skill
> you develop by practice. Other than ocular issues, you should be able
> to develop it. I can usually come within 20% on a range or radius
> estimate by eyeball. Some people I know can do 6", 9" or 1' very
> accurately by eye or by quick finger lay. Good enough for government
> work, if you take my drift.
> Part of the delay is some people honestly don't play that often
> (sometimes once a year) and they tend to be less decisive as a result
> of unfamiliarity and trepidation. That's just the reality of
> tournaments. And my observation is it isn't 1 in 8 people at the
> table, but 3-4 in 8.
> Damond: The 'Morale Penalty' I was talking about was sarcasm from Jim,
> Tom and JP. That's worse than having your ship drift for a round. Of
> course, I kind of like 'striking the colours' for ships although we
> rarely do this. If you made this easier if the Captain was 'asleep at
> the wheel', that would encourage people to be tuned in. The drift is
> an easy answer though.
> In SG games, I try to push people along. If a player has an option to
> activate and dithers, someone else gets the nod. I like to have a
> leader who can at least point to a player and say 'activate a unit
> now'. Of course, having a side make a battle plan and try to stick to
> it means people usually know what they should be doing. Without a
> plan, there is usually much more dithering. Stuart Murray was good to
> have in games because he does form a plan and then tries to see the
> plan through, as team leader or player (or as a GM he encourages this
> for players).
> This seems appropriate to me and works in most sorts of games (if they
> aren't too unpredictable, like things with Sheep, Cthulhu,
> Nyarlathotep, MIB, Zombie Pirates, or anything in the B5 universe that
> Aaron runs where counterthink is the order of the day!). The real
> military takes an intel assessment, forms a battle plan, forms some
> 'actions on' (contingencies) and 'fall back points' and so on, as well
> as having a chain of command and delegates. Then they try to make the
> plan manifest. Yes, they sometimes have to modify on the fly, but in
> the form of FRAGOs (Fragmentary Orders) that act as limited modifiers
> to the OPORD (Operations Order) for the mission.
> If you spend 10-15 minutes at the beginning of a scenario lining up a
> battle plan and delineating areas of responsibility ("Damond, your
> squads move up the left flank, draw fire, and try to push through into
> the woods to draw the enemies response forces. Steve, your guys in the
> center advance to contact then dig in and put heavy fire onto forces
> moving on Damond - concentrate on breaking individual squads. Stuart -
> your forces are mobile reserve, either to move to assist Damond if his
> push meets weak resistance or to counter enemy movements as directed
> by Platoon Commander"). With something like this, you've got a basic
> battle plan. You can look at what you could do if you were the enemy
> (assuming you know likely enemy forces and objectives) and how you
> would fight their side of the battle and anticipate their actions,
> allowing for them in your plan. You can put in contingencies ("If
> Damond hits stiff resistance, Stuart moves in support. If Damond is
> driven back, Stuart forms a second line contingous with Steve and digs
> in, giving Damond a fall back point.").
> Once you've sketched out the basic detail of a plan, people should be
> focused on doing their part with the tools they have.
> Without a plan, you have troops being under-utilized, under-supported,
> treading on each others toes and fire lanes, and just generally
> performing less than optimally. And players, without a plan, will take
> forever often times to decide on what to do, because nobody else looks
> like they know what they are doing.
> For those who may recall the first Traveller scenario where the Mercs
> had trouble with the TFL and their Sword Worlds advisors, this was
> because the Mercs had a vague plan, but it didn't emphasize going
> after their principal target - the Sword World advisors and TFL
> leaders. They bogged down fighting militia and bar locals and the
> enemy leadership got away after getting all local assets in
> butt-kicking mode.
> In the follow on where the where Imperial Mercs had to hold the
> Starport, Stuart and I assessed our objective and forces and realized
> that fast, offensive deployment would constrain defender movement and
> let us break through. It too was rather unpleasant for the Mercs. We
> had good assets for the task, but the Mercs defended rather passively
> and were probably expecting a creeping, probing phase to let them
> leverage tech advantages. Stuart and I denied them this 'slow cooker'
> start and just went hammer and tongs from the jump off.
> You can lose a game do to not knowing things you needed to know when
> you made your plan, because the fates went against you in a few key
> assaults (usually dice!), or because you had a good plan and the enemy
> had a better one. But if you dont have a plan, you're not only more
> likely to get your butt handed to you, but you'll take forever to
> boot.
> Make the plan, fight the plan. And try not to roll the dice on the
> floor, spill tea on the grassmats, etc.
> Tom B
> -- 
> "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy
> from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a
> precedent that will reach to himself." -- Thomas Paine
> "When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of
> liberty quits the horizon." -- Thomas Paine
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