Camps

Anything else related to the TRIUMPH! rules
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Bill Hupp
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Camps

Postby Bill Hupp » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:26 pm

Teaching and playing Triumph! with experienced gamers new to the 'ancients' world has raised a number of questions I have not been able to answer completely. As an example, I have been asked why camps are important, what they represent, and isn't 50% of the victory conditions (more than that if it is guarded with a stand) a but much considering the point of fighting the battle/game?

I explained that camps in ancient and medieval times could be important to morale and that they abstractly represent supply lines and lines of retreat. One of my regular opponents, who I regularly terrorize and beat by taking his camp, seems a bit put off by the camps being worth so much. I've even thought of making it a variable point amount to make it more of a gamble to spend your command points on vs. being fixed.

What else would you say the camps represents? Does anyone else think the points for it might be a bit high? Should it be for example only 4 points, the same as the most costly element? or 6, 1.5x?

Bill
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Re: Camps

Postby David Kuijt » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:44 am

Bill Hupp wrote:Teaching and playing Triumph! with experienced gamers new to the 'ancients' world has raised a number of questions I have not been able to answer completely. As an example, I have been asked why camps are important, what they represent, and isn't 50% of the victory conditions (more than that if it is guarded with a stand) a but much considering the point of fighting the battle/game?

I explained that camps in ancient and medieval times could be important to morale and that they abstractly represent supply lines and lines of retreat. One of my regular opponents, who I regularly terrorize and beat by taking his camp, seems a bit put off by the camps being worth so much. I've even thought of making it a variable point amount to make it more of a gamble to spend your command points on vs. being fixed.

What else would you say the camps represents? Does anyone else think the points for it might be a bit high? Should it be for example only 4 points, the same as the most costly element? or 6, 1.5x?


This is another case where "experienced gamers new to ancients" might be generalizing based upon Civil War, RevWar Nappies, or some other thing. In other words, where a bit of reading historical accounts of ancients battles would stand them in good stead.

Camps are very important in a large number of historical accounts of battles. Alexander the Great nearly lost Gaugamela because he lost his camp when his left flank failed. Zillions of other examples exist.

The camp represents the camp. If your other-periods players don't understand why that is important, that's a good occasion to encourage them to read historical accounts of battles. They don't represent lines of supply and retreat -- most Medieval and Ancient generals supplied their army by looting, not with any sort of supply train.

For rank and file soldiers, everything they own is either on their body or in the camp. For example, the following is from Wikipedia on Eumenes, one of Alexander the Great's generals. He won two close battles in a row, but lost his camp, and his enemy Antigonos Monopthalmos got his best soldiers to turn him over in exchange for returning their camp loot.
According to Plutarch and Diodorus, Eumenes had won the battle but lost control of his army's baggage camp thanks to his ally Peucestas' duplicity or incompetence. This baggage also included all the loot of the most decorated Macedonian veterans (called the Argyraspides, or Silver Shields)—treasure accumulated over 30 years of successful warfare. It contained not only gold and gems but the soldiers' women and children. Antigonus responded to a request for the return of the baggage train sent by Teutamus, one of their commanders, by demanding they give him Eumenes. The Silver Shields did just that.


Hope this clarifies some things for you!
DK

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Re: Camps

Postby Bill Hupp » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:59 pm

DK,

Right, I did explain it to them as noted and they get it, it's really important. I was looking more for clariication of the game decision about points towards victory. Their question was more about victory conditions and proportion to victory.

So how important? Carry over from legacy systems or with the garrison it makes sense for it to be +50% of victory?

Bill
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Re: Camps

Postby David Kuijt » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:21 am

Bill Hupp wrote:Right, I did explain it to them as noted and they get it, it's really important. I was looking more for clariication of the game decision about points towards victory. Their question was more about victory conditions and proportion to victory.

So how important? Carry over from legacy systems or with the garrison it makes sense for it to be +50% of victory?


How could it be less? There are some battles where the battle description seems to indicate that a camp should be worth 100% of victory. Of course, there are others where a lost camp does not lose the battle at that instant, so 100% is too much.

I repeat, if they are asking about proportion to victory and victory conditions, and they think that camps are too valuable, then I don't think they understand how valuable camps were in the eras before gunpowder and large state-built armies with supply trains. I wasn't saying that they should understand how valuable camps are in the game, I'm saying they should read more to understand how valuable camps were in history.
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Re: Camps

Postby Bill Hupp » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:20 am

DK,

Thanks for quantifying. 50% plus is your assessment. That is not inconsistent with supply lines at all I would think.

We are starting to play Grand Triumph! on a regular basis. A camp taken would thus be 50% of total victory points needed, so 25% of the 144 points or 36 points. Would it have any impact on demoralizing any commands?

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Re: Camps

Postby David Kuijt » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:14 pm

Bill Hupp wrote:Thanks for quantifying. 50% plus is your assessment. That is not inconsistent with supply lines at all I would think.


Where does this supply lines thing come from?

Most biblical, ancient, and medieval armies did not have a line of supply. That concept doesn't really exist before the 16th century. See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_logistics

Supply lines assumes a flow of food and military equipment from a safe region to the active army. That didn't happen. Hannibal spent 10 years with an army in the field, winning all his battles, with no supply lines.

You are welcome to tell your players anything you like, of course, but using a modern term that describes a modern concept that misrepresents how strategic armies interacted in the Ancient and Medieval period is certain to cause confusion.
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Re: Camps

Postby Bill Hupp » Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:33 pm

DK,

You misunderstand my friend. Questions are just questions.

I am spreading the goodness of ancient and medieval gaming, with Thistle & Rose figures hopefully, and Triumph!, to people who have foolishly played other periods in their often 30 year plus gaming careers. A number of these people are former military officers, some with bronze stars who have commanded thousands of men, taught at the War College and who likely have a greater command of military history and actual military operations than we may ever have.

I agree camps are a unique aspect of ancient and medieval histroy and gaming. Camps seem a natural part of the discussion of learning the game, particularly when they are part of the tactics to win the game.

I have no problem with the analogies particularly when the question is really the relative importance of supply. My main period of interest is the Civil War and it doesn't take much reading to understand the importance of supply in the battles and campaigns of that war. (I won't sully this forum with any examples.) 50% makes perfect sense as a general rule for supply across the historical landscape.

Grand Triumph! camps?

Bill
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Re: Camps

Postby El' Jocko » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:15 pm

Hi Bill -

Sorry for this long winded response. But I hope you'll indulge me as I pontificate on game design. ;)


In addition to the historical aspects, I wanted to go into the game play aspects of the camp rules. This is something we should probably post someplace, since it's really a design note kind of thing.

One of the important dynamics that we wanted to create was a real tension between the fight in the center and the fight on the flanks. We feel that this is an important aspect of historical battles and also one that makes the game more interesting. There are a number of rules that contribute to this, working in an interlocking way.

The first part is the shape and size of the board. Now I can't claim that a rectangular board is a new innovation in wargaming, but the proportions of the game board are very intentional. The intent is that the board is shallow enough to make a push through the center possible--so the player must keep their center strong enough to resist a push. And the board is wide enough to make flanking attacks possible--so the player must protect their flanks, either with troops or with terrain features or some combination.

The setup rules factor into this as well. Players must place their camp and at least half their troops in the center third (half as measured by troop cost). This centers the battle in the middle of the board and largely removes the side edge of the board as a factor.

Finally, the cost of losing the camp plays into this. The camp is intentionally a very expensive thing to lose. The goal was to ensure that players worked hard to keep it from falling into enemy hands. Not just because of the historical impact of losing their camp, but because it contributes to this dynamic tension between the center and flanks. If a player over commits to the center, that may make his or her flanks vulnerable--allowing the enemy to sweep in and take the camp. Conversely, if a player weakens the center in order to attack one or both flanks, that makes his or her center vulnerable--allowing the enemy to push through and take the camp.

- Jack

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Re: Camps

Postby Bill Hupp » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:54 pm

Jack,

That is very helpful. it would be good to have this someplace. I always love a long game designers note on the rules themselves.

I love the behaiorial explanation. I do think that this is more or a game design question than a historical one (i.e. measuring relative value and incentives.)

There is no doubt in my mind that one of Triumph!'s strengths is on the flanks. The bigger board, the -1 for flank attacks, the increase in light troop types. I really like all of those features.

And I definitely try to figure out how to take the camp, be it around the flanks or through a seam in the line, depending on my army and the terrain. (This reminds me a think of scoring a goal in soccer, hockey, etc.)

Did you ever play test the point total to see if behaviors changed? This is a distinct feature of the game and compared to other game designs the impact seems greater (I won't list the other game systems, but Lost Battles gives you 5 VP's. It is hard to calibrate what that means between games too - its not a straight numerical comparison.)

There are good reasons to like it at the +50% level including that it helps get to a win/lose conclusion in the time frame of the game.

Bill
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Re: Camps

Postby Bill Hupp » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:56 pm

Any draft rules for camp VPs and impact for Grand Triumph!?

Bill
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