Admit it, this is really what you want from this particular group. Give me "the formula" that will allow me to stomp on my opponent in the next game! We all have that hankering. The question is whether we'll share our "secrets" on this score. Certainly there have been some very good (albeit few) articles on this topic. Perhaps best known are the Bob Medrow analyses published in the pages of The Avalon Hill GENERAL many years ago on various outcome probabilities in ADVANCED SQUAD LEADER. Indeed, most OA-inspired articles appear to attempt to "crack" the combat adjudication system so you can optimize your attacks/defensive fire allocations. But there is so much more, given the richness of games available today. A few ideas where we could use some OA application:

MOST CRYING NEED--SOLITAIRE GAMES: Running a submarine campaign in Compass Games's SILENT WAR. Wow. You can't win this solitaire game without running the numbers to optimize patrol patterns/frequencies/distances/effects. There are number of games like that which would benefit from OA applications to help players win them (or at least not lose so badly to the AI).

SEARCH PATTERNS IN NAVAL GAMES. Ever since Avalon Hill's MIDWAY, we've been wrestling with this one. How does one come up with "the optimal" search strategy? Even if you aren't using airplanes, what are the best ways to run a picket or sweep in varying visibility/weather conditions?

MISSION PACKAGE CONFIGURATIONS AND TECHNIQUE VERSUS AIR DEFENSE THREATS. If you are playing with ALL the rules in either THE BURNING BLUE or DOWNTOWN (both by GMT games), you know what I mean. What's the best shorthand way to analyze potentially productive ways to employ your force package to bomb England or Vietnam?

"SMART" AIRCRAFT DATA CARDS. Right now, most ADCs in FIGHTING WINGS and AIRPOWER games don't highlight the advantages/disadvantages vis-a-vis other aircraft. You have to be a VERY experienced player to dope this out. The Avalon Hill version of AIR FORCE/DAUNTLESS color coded their cards which helped you focus on where superiority/inferiority existed, but it still took a lot of thinking through to figure out what tactics to employ versus particular plane type/model series in various mission profiles.

LOGISTICS MODEL ANALYSIS. If you are an OCS player, you are probably cheering this on from the stands. We don't have any CAMPAIGN FOR NORTH AFRICA players, do we? How much force, going how far, needing to maintain how much capability for how long is going to need how much supply dumped where with this kind of replenishment rate? On the flip side, what can I do to suboptimize my opponents' logistical network throughput? Plenty of OA applications abound, here.

COMMAND AND CONTROL. I pretty much did PERT chart and Critical Path analysis in running Soviet MRR offensive operations in the ASSAULT series--one had to in order to maximize the scarce amount of command points the Soviets had...and those were spent almost exlusively in ensuring battalion mortars were where you wanted them to support the maneuver. Didn't want to have to spend command points to react to Western Allied moves that threatened Russian fire support. There are some games out there that could use a little OA to help player decisionmaking in C2 matters--The Gamers/MMP's TCS, NBS and CWBS games that emphasize command, OSG's Napoleonic campaigning systems, etc. Chit pull command activation systems are perhaps a little less daunting with some study.

C'mon...tell us about your little mathematical analysis that works for you....

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Great call to action, Eric!

Come on, guys! Let's hear what you've got.

Eric, can you still find that MRR PERT analysis? That'd be an interesting start.
I should ask Jeff Tibbetts of Pacific Rim for it. I sent it in as an article a long time ago for their house magazine. They ended up doing an issue on ASSAULT, but my article wasn't among them. I had a copy, but have since lost it. Maybe Tibbetts still has it and can return it. I'll give it a shot.
I'm a number-lover and cruncher by "nature"... jumped with joy when reading your list of interests !!
What I did and am proud of:
- Force valuations: for WAR AT SEA and VICTORY IN THE PACIFIC, I established Lanchester-like ship and air unit scores - clearly better than the established "Fuzzy Wuzzy" scores.
- Predicting probabilities/tracking with actual outcome/luck-whining: for TIGERS IN THE MIST. I think it's now the 7th revision of my Spreadsheet (used in >20 games) that takes into account multi-unit Overkill too, so effectiveness is S-shaped.
The fun thing is such algorithms get so 'natural' results that after a bit of 'training the mind' aided by them, they get really unnecessary ;-)
Well, as innumerate as I am, I have to keep things simple. Years ago, when I played ASL, I would do COA analysis by running solo games wherein every roll was understood to be a seven. It was a fast way for developing fire and maneuver solutions. I doubt that the above really counts as operational analysis...


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