14 November 2012

GameTalk - "Alternate COAs"

How much latitude should you grant players to step outside the bounds of history when playing an historical battle?  Should you allow Napoleon to change his organization at Waterloo?  Should you allow the Germans to defend Normandy more vigorously, or retreat from Stalingrad?  Should you allow Lee to avoid Gettysburg altogether?

At what point are you beyond the "history" of an historical game?

By: Brant

1 comment:

Brian said...

Again, as always, It Depends.

A lot of the "history" of an historical game is built right into its very structure, Or Not; that is one of the crucial decisions a designer has to make. There are examples of extremely historical tightly scripted games, and quite ahistorical, loosey-goosey ones.

Some people would argue that you leave the history of a game behind the moment one of your units strays from the path it moved along in the real battle - that is, pretty much right after the start of the first turn. You want something that faithful, read a book; you can at least be assured that the book will end the same way, every time.

Wargames are all about exploring alternate COAs, that's why they were invented in the first place - by military men, not mutant trainspotters in need of a different diversion (pace Charles Roberts!).