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Re: [GZG] ground combat campaigns

From: Richard Bell <rlbell.nsuid@g...>
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 2009 13:43:03 -0700
Subject: Re: [GZG] ground combat campaigns

On Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 12:43 PM, Robert Mayberry
<> wrote:
> That's why I decided to abandon "clock time" in favor of "strategic
> Most of your decisions are being made automatically; either by your
> subordinates, or your advisors (with a rubber stamp) or by heuristics
> you use privately. We want to minimize those in a campaign system, and
> focus on the few decisions which really matter.
> In that context the economic, political, organizational, technological
> and logistical factors are still important, but they shape the nature
> of the decisions you are presented with, rather than creating a
> deterministic link from situation to outcome. I don't like games which
> are decided in drydock when you design your ships; I like games where
> your ability as a gamer during the game itself decides the outcome.
> To me, the fruitful question is: "What decisions will a
> general/admiral make in a future war?" I'm thinking that computers are
> already to some extent automating supply (logistics) chains. What
> WOULDN'T be automated? I'll have to leaf through Sun Tzu again. :)
 The interesting problem with automating strategic decision making is
best exemplified by WWI's tyranny of the train schedules (Germany only
mobilising against Russia, not against Russia and France
simultaneously, being outside strategic planning 'forced' the
preemptive attack on France).  Decisions have to be made with
incomplete information and while automated decision making can make
for fast responses, it is apalling bad at making appropriate
responses.  The local commander makes an aweful lot of decisions, as
he cannot wait for orders from outside the system.  Feints and
counterfeints, while never knowing if the deceptions are working in
real time, will feature big in a Full Thrust campaign.

I suspect that the most realistic FT campaign would have a space
master who knows everything, all of the time, two strategic commanders
that make decisions based on what information gets forwarded to them,
and a pool of players that make the local decisions write the reports
that get sent up the decision chain.  It is possible for strategic
commanders to also take part in tactical combat, if the time and place
of the battle can be concealed from them.  Adding to the uncertainty
of the strategic commanders is the delay in an order's arrival.  If
things are really chaotic, units intended to act on an order may not
be capable of completing the order when it arrives, or even still

Those of us on the list with active FT players local to us should
volunteer to be local commanders and resolve combat.  Those of us
without local opponents, but with time on hour hands should volunteer
to be space master, strategic commanders, or commanders not at the
sharp end figuring out what orers to cut for local reserves based on
standing orders from above and the paltry information coming in battle

I am not sure that the result would be fun, but the complete after
action report, including a comparison of what was true when a decision
was made versus what was known when a decision was made would be
informative and possibly good for a laugh.

A more limited undertaking (but much more work for the space master to
set up) would be a negotiated cease-fire to happen after both sides
can be sure that every unit will know about it, and commanders at the
sharp end trying to improve things as best they can, by the time they
must stop fighting, with units they can request within the deadline.
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