It is useful to understand some of the parameters, algorithms, assumptions, and approaches in wargame design. Occasionally game designers will share these, most often they don't. So called "Design For Effect" school designers are perhaps the most reticent in this regard. But it would be worthwhile to compare and contrast approaches to various kinds of issues that budding military historians, game designers, and more than a few of us curious players are interested in.

COMBAT ADJUDICATION, WEAPON POTENTIALS, AND TERRAIN EFFECTS: The granddaddy of OA application. Nearly everyone has to come up with an OA model for this function. And we're all interested in how this was done and what calculations/assumptions/validations went into it.

TERRAIN, WEATHER, MOVEMENT, AND UNIT AGILITY: Not often considered but often just as important is how movement is thought of and how well units can change direction. There have been a few attempts at modeling this to various levels of fidelity--traffic jam rules in Bulge games are one example, but some may remember units taking up various "road space" in SPI's hoary old LOST BATTLES and Jack Radey's KORSUN POCKET, which complicating things. In HIGHWAY TO THE REICH, you had to watch out in what order you moved units as stacking limits applied during the ENTIRE move--overstack even temporarily (commonly moving a piece over a stack during movement that created an overstack...albeit temporarily...as you piece intended to move on...) and everybody got disrupted (shades of Patton directing traffic). Impacts of terrain are also not a "given" and we've seen games take a number of approaches to it.

STACKING. This rates its own discussion. How much physical space does a unit take up before clogging itself (and others)? How do you determine this?

ZONES OF CONTROL USAGE. Some games have tried to address this (ZOC "links" in CAMPAIGN FOR STALINGRAD, among others). What leads designers to pick "locking" versus "fluid" ZOCs, and why have ZOCs at all?

COMMAND AND CONTROL. We began to see games treat this a little more seriously in the 1980s--what are the analyses that leads to the various systems we now see proliferating in games?

LEADERSHIP AND MORALE. What leads to comparative "ratings" and assessments between cardboard warrior leaders? Between units?

SUPPLY AND LOGISTICS. Where this is covered in some detail, what are the calculations that led to rules to govern unit/capability sustainability? What could be simplified? What couldn't be? We all know how detailed CAMPAIGN FOR NORTH AFRICA was, but in KORSUN POCKET you had to watch your artillery ammo...in OCS games supply is critical and explicitly managed, even if abstracted. You have to create dumps and forecast consumption well ahead of time when contemplating operations....

Don't know how many game designers/developers will frequent this group discussion, but I'd hope a few. In the meantime, when group members flip through designers notes in games (old and new) that seem to provide insight into these subjects, it would be worthwhile to post them here to "prime the pump" as it were. And if you have game designer/developer/playtester friends who are into this, please send them here....

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I certainly hope we are being represented, even if not formally.

I had planned to go, but alas, other work requirements have me at home. Fortunately a number of my co-workers will be attending.

Too bad about me tho. I'd hoped to finally get a view/tour of the Coast Guard Academy!

I gather that you'll be attending, Jon?
Yes, just the Thursday early session though, as I have to catch a ferry to Long Island at 5. Hoping to evangelize the professional society newsletter.

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