Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Maths And Gaming

I have a friend called Clive. Like me, he is a gamer but I hate playing games with him. He is not a sore loser nor difficult to play with, he just takes a long time. This is because he works out the numbers. Years ago we were in a PBM game about American Football. Although I did quite well in it, Clive won the competition. How you may ask? He used a spreadsheet. We played a number of games that allowed the players to keep their money hidden. You knew how much people were being handed out but the actual total was allowed to be a secret. Clive put a stop to this and for good reason. If you wanted to keep track of the numbers all you had to do was write it down. This would take time so why waste the effort and just keep the money public.

Sat in the car today I was re-reading about the Sigmoid Curve by the guy who runs Two Fat Lardies. His gripe (and I understand it having tried to play A World Aflame) is that game designers like weapons to be used so the models should be on the board (especially if you make the models too). I don't remember the specifics for A World Aflame but safe to say that a pistol had about an eights of the range of a sniper rifle. The big beast that is Flames Of War has on table artillery that seem to have a problem hitting the other side of the board. I think I have talked in the past about playing the Conspiracy X RPG with a sniper sat at one end of a ten foot table who would have not only been able to hit a target at the other end of the table but stood a good chance of being able to hit targets across the car park, the large A road, both pavements and on the far side of the living room wall of the house opposite.

At the beginning, I mentioned maths I believe. Scale is an odd thing when it comes to gaming and miniatures. It's fine for model kits. If you want to have the pretty 28mm figures then you have to accept that some things just are not going to work. People are fixed into the ideas of ranges and worse still range bands. Further away is obviously harder to hit? Try using a sniper rifle in hand to hand combat and then see if you wouldn't prefer a shotgun, SMG or pistol.

Pistols are given to officers because the are expected to command the men not shoot their weapons. The only time they should be thinking about shooting is when the opposition is in bayonet range. Keeping with the scale of 28mm, you are going to have a hard time hitting something more than 2"-3" away (assuming that 30mm is the typical height of a 28mm miniature, 60mm is 12" in the real world and hitting a moving target who is doing their best to put you off is a bit of an ask with a semi-automatic pistol). 15mm ranges are better illustrated with the rifle. Depending on the rifle and the man shooting it, effective fire is around the 3'-4' foot range and good or lucky shot might double that on a day with a slow moving target with little or no wind. Two miles plus is an ask for a sniper but modern rifles in the right conditions have managed that.

If you have a rifle and you can see a target on tabletop you stand a good chance of being able to hit it. SMGs in a line of sight (assuming that the battle is not in the desert should be able to  hit what they can see) and in the modern world would be better off with a rifle. Pistols have a place in close quarter combat but are pretty much irrelevant as a weapon in a wargame.

I was going to say something about dice now as well but it is getting late so I will leave it to another day.

No comments:

Post a Comment