Playing Historicals with points.

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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby Lonnie » 02 Apr 2014, 18:02

Well you have to understand that Bolt Action is brought to you by former GW team members. This isn't a dig at them, I worked with those guys for years but it does tend to bleed over from one rules system to the next. Just come out and establish at the beginning of the game that medics are medics and not heavy weapons gunners no matter how desperate the need and get your opponent to agree anything else is silly.
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby Mac » 02 Apr 2014, 19:22

House rules :D Different subject!
No, I hear you Lonnie, we are in agreement
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby mrinku » 02 Apr 2014, 21:36

The Geneva convention doesn't actually prohibit them from fighting, but apart from self defense to protect themselves or their patients, they lose their non-combatant status if they do and are subject to treatment as any other soldier. No doubt there are some actual examples of it happening from WW2. But that's not the point - under normal circumstances medics will neither fight or be targetted and that should probably be noted.

Haven't read 'em for a while, but I do remember that the Bolt Action rules do discuss the use of a bit of common sense, which is always a requirement for miniatures gaming. Situations ALWAYS come up that the rules don't or can't address.

The main BA rules (or for that matter, Flames of War) don't pretend to be an authoritative compendium of WW2. Even the army books just give you frameworks based on broad campaigns and expect players to have some idea about what they're fielding.

To be honest, you'll also need some give and take to play games against other players who may not have built their army to be JUST right to face your own historically. Afrikakorps vs 8th Army in 1941 was a very different lineup to 1942, just to give an example.
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby Mac » 03 Apr 2014, 06:00

And thus we have social contact! Talking about the game and how we see it played.
My club is not, a bunch of stuffy old farts that demand absolute historical lists backed up by several heavy tomes of power and knowledge. (If I came across that way, sorry. :oops: ).
We have been known to actually laugh at the gaming table, even if we roll so horribly bad normal people, (normal in the non- geeky gaming people way), would sob uncontrollably.
We also have been known to play quick pick up games and use GW fantasy scenery. We use silly plastic animals to stand in for WWI aircraft when we play our annual April 1st Wings of Glory tournament.
But, for the most part, we are history buffs, many of us still have direct family ties to WWII (parents), and want to re-enact, on the game board, history. (Keeping in mind it is not real and it is a game)
Do we get it 100% right, 100% of the time? Nope. But does a history book get it right 100% of the time either?
I am sure there are instances of medics taking up arms, just as there are instances of them being targeted. . .by both sides.
One of our club members is working on a Russian late 44-45 Army, they have the House Rule; Destroy the enemy. No one is safe, man, woman, child, medic. . .animal. Based on history.
We game, we have no illusion what we do is earth shattering, but it is based on as close to history as we can get without the use of points.
We are doing the 95th US Infantry Division versus the 416th Infantrie Division. (Called the Whipped Cream division by the Germans, for the amount of old men in it with ulcers.) for Operation Madison, November 1944. The 416th is hopelessly out numbered. But they are dug in and have the benefit of a very short supply line, while the US has a very long and sparse supply line that, historically, was not fully replenished in the October lull in fighting while the 416th was.
(Of course Hitler had pulled some units back to Germany for resupply for the Ardennes campaign due to start in December)
The Germans were relying on the old dictum of a need of 3-1 superiority to beat dug in troops, thus, the 416th has to hold, while the US must break through.
(Historically every two platoons of a German company was equipped with Sturmgewehr 43 assault rifles and crates of Panzerfausts. While US heavy weapons were woefully short of ammunition. And. . .it was the wettest November on record. The US had to employ a "one tank front" and the thin tracked Sherman had a difficult time in the mud.)
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby Togodumnus » 03 Apr 2014, 15:05

It sounds to me like your complaint really isn't actually with point systems, but instead with a lack of historically-accurate restrictions in historical games.

It also sounds to me like you and your club already play the game exactly the way you would like to, largely without house rules and within the framework of the existing rules. At that point, how important is it to you, really, to have that approach codified in the rules? Often times I find that historical rule sets allow for greater flexibility than was historically accurate mostly so that players can, if they want to, play casual or pick-up games without the fuss of dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's, making sure that each aspect of their's and their opponent's list is a) accurate, and b) would have faced one another. Or to play out "what if?" scenarios, which is obviously one interesting aspect of historical wargaming, too. If we're only interested in what happened, and not replaying it with the possibility of different outcomes, then we may as well watch a movie or read a book instead of playing a game.

If the game is to be playable in a tournament setting, one has to imagine that you will end up with some odd, and historically inaccurate, match-ups, too. The tournament scene isn't for everyone, but when game designers are creating a set of rules it's one thing to keep in mind.

Regarding some of your earlier points, particularly about asymmetric forces, a lot of that comes down to broader-scale strategy and troop placements, and to me the fun of a game like that is only partly playing it out on the battlefield, but also in large part the maneuvering and such that gets you to that battle. It's something that works well within the context of a campaign, but isn't usually very interesting for one-off games (unless recreating a specific battle, but then I would build my lists based on the historical information available).
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby Mac » 03 Apr 2014, 17:53

It wasn't meant as a complaint, it was an opinion. If you wish to play the battle of Cowpens with SAGA figures I have no complaints what so ever. My observation was to some this would be a historical game.
It was also a point that by list building to a set of rules that may have been written with history in mind, i.e. medics acting only as medics, but not actually put into "the rules", you have taken a historical game and made it a game using historical figures, ala the Cowpens as above.
I understand the reasoning behind points, I just disagree with it, especially when lists are built for a historical game that has no basis on history.
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby Lonnie » 03 Apr 2014, 19:25

So, you're cool with non-historical games using points? What about historical periods, WWII, or Viking era combat for example, that don't provide you with any scenarios but are just there so people can push plastic/metal/resin and throw handfuls of dice and have fun with your friends?

Years ago GW tried to have strictly scenario based games; no points but the forces for both sides were set, not unlike, say, fighting the battle of Pelilu with the actual representations of the troops available. The forces were mismatched in most battles and there were set victory conditions so that the smaller force had a chance to win based on completing the objective(s). It failed miserably.
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby Togodumnus » 03 Apr 2014, 21:17

Sorry, "complaint" was too strong of a word. But it sounds to me as if it's less a matter of points, and more of list-building? If that's the case, what acceptable alternative is there other than only playing scenarios with pre-determined forces?

While that may appeal to some, it's awfully rigid. I don't find that many, if any, historical wargamers are of the "win at all costs" variety, and list-building abuse is just a non-issue, in my experience. What it does allow for, though, is some flexibility in how or what I play, so that the game doesn't get too stale.

I don't know anyone that would call "The Battle of Cowpens, as fought by Vikings" a historical game, assuming you meant the actual, 1781 battle in South Carolina. If you meant a similar scenario, but situated in Dark Ages Scandinavia, involving period-appropriate belligerents, then sure, I'd call that historical. Speculative, maybe, or historical fiction, but historical nonetheless.
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby mrinku » 03 Apr 2014, 21:37

There is one category of successful GW games where points were secondary to scenarios, which are the warband skirmish ones like Necromunda and Mordheim. After the initial even playing field of budget to purchase, your force will vary by luck and management, though the value of it is still tracked and used in handicapping (primarily in rewards obtained). Still some use of points, but the scenario was always more important than exact team makeup or value.

And while these aren't historical games, the concept can be applied to historical settings. I could see the Mordheim rules being adapted to 30 Years War or Hundred Years War mercenary companies, for example. Or Necromunda in East LA or Rwanda. With a little bit of work, you could do opposing recce patrols in WW2 North Africa, or Warlord era China. This is sort of being done with the Osprey skirmish wargames, though most of them have fantastic elements (Ronin is historical, though).
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Re: Playing Historicals with points.

Postby Sbloom » 03 Apr 2014, 22:21

Just got the Ronin rules - think they're fantastic, and whilst using points it's not too overbearing. The skirmish scale makes it easier to 'ignore' complete historical accuracy and imagine what you're playing is a bit more Hollywood.
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