Sunday, 22 September 2013

Woods and Trees

Some Germans...

I have been lurking around the TMP website and was very interested in this discussion.

It got me thinking about how wargaming conventions created by rules, over time, take on the status of biblical writ.

It is not uncommon to come across the criticism of a rule set that 'it doesn't capture the feel' of a period. By which I assume the critic is referring to it not reflecting the experience of gaming that period they have gained through other/preferred rule sets.

An issue highlighted by the thread is that of cover.

The convention is that cover is gradated from none to hard, and that the definition is fixed. And from a gaming point of view, when these definitions are not being fudged for one reason or another, the types of terrain to which these apply is also pretty much fixed - fields no cover, woods light cover, walls hard cover, etc. Yet if one goes for a walk (in the real world) these classifications quickly loose all meaning. Grass is not a constant, regulation length; tall grass is as obscuring as a copse, and that is before you get into the issue of different types of woodland and trees.

But, wargames rules have used these definitions since time immemorial so it would be a brave rules writer who ditched these conventions, in order to create a dynamic environment.

This last notion is perhaps a little startling to some, as I suspect to many the highly painted (or not) metal and plastic minatures are as fixed to their position on the table as their pose. No matter that they are representative of a living breathing individual, who is mobile.

True line of sight rules perhaps work against this notion, and perhaps lead to the convention - and perhaps rightly so given it's opposite convention, "you can't see me." However what both of these positions ignore is that firing is as constant as movement, and the firing does not start when the movement stops.


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