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The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

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The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:11 pm

Players new to HITS MEETS GCM should carefully read a recent game briefing in-full http://forum.kriegsspiel.org.uk/t596-rebels-revenge-hits-meets-gcm-game-4

”The American Gibraltar:” HITS/GCM Game 5
Game Day & Time: Saturday, January 26; 20:00 GMT
Sign-Up: http://doodle.com/2bq3q7rcv2vmat8w
Location: GCM TeamSpeak site (HITS sub-channel) see http://www.sowmp.com/gcm/home/teamspeak

Resources:
-GCM Website: http://www.sowmp.com/gcm
-More on Kriegspiel HITS: http://forum.kriegsspiel.org.uk/f32-scourge-of-war
-More on HITS play in SoW: http://www.norbsoftdev.net/forum/hits-headquarters-in-the-saddle
-GCM TeamSpeak Channel (GCM Site): http://www.sowmp.com/gcm/home/teamspeak
-Blaugrana’s Tips on Setting Up TeamSpeak Whisper Channels: http://forum.kriegsspiel.org.uk/t270-teamspeak-whisper-keys
-More on sending couriers: See page 62 of the SoW Game Manual
-Marching Thru Georgia’s “Just Couriers” mod download (an enhanced set of written orders for courier delivery): https://www.dropbox.com/s/lhsoim0115jk89q/JustCouriers.zip
-More on the 1862 campaign to control the Cumberland Gap “The American Gibraltar” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Cumberland_Gap_(June_1862)
-Listen to 2nd South Carolina String Band sing “Cumberland Gap”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgntNdjwzUE

Overview
It is June 1862. In recent months the Confederacy took advantage of Union confusion in the ranks and wrested control of the all-important Cumberland Gap from a strong Federal force. Despite the decisive Confederate victory, President Lincoln still hopes to inspire a popular uprising against the rebels in eastern Tennessee. He has once again directed general-in-chief Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck to recover the Gap. Now “Old Brains” has again assembled federal arms to drive on, and secure, “The American Gibraltar” at all costs.

In the HITS/GCM game series the goal is to simulate the challenges of Civil War division command (or brigade command) by combining traditional HITS play with additional restrictions on when players may “take control” of (i.e., TC) their brigades and regiments (see “Restrictions on TC’ing brigades and regiments” below).

What’s new in the Game?
*Most game rules will be the same as the last few games. Follow this link for full details http://forum.kriegsspiel.org.uk/t596-rebels-revenge-hits-meets-gcm-game-4
*Important: Now players may request to bring artillery-only or infantry-only commands!
http://forum.kriegsspiel.org.uk/t612-new-in-hits-gcm-5-artillery-only-and-infantry-only-commands
Don't forget to revisit Doodle to indicate your preferences!

Important Reminders
*All players should run the GCM launcher the day of the game

*Regular HITS Players must be sure that the mods below are disabled before the game begins:
-CouriersAndMaps1-5
-SmallCouriersAndMaps

*Players may use most other mods and are encouraged to activate
-GCM Toolbar (or other favorite enhanced toolbar. Only 1 toolbar should be activated)
-Marching-Thru-Georgia’s “Just Couriers” mod for enhanced written courier order capabilities (see link under Resources above)

*Players adjust their individual settings for GCM Random to levels that are not greater than 4,000 men and 6 guns

*To encourage those new to the HITS experience and accommodate any who wish to play only a brigade, players are asked to express command preferences in advance at http://doodle.com/2bq3q7rcv2vmat8w

*Restrictions on TC’ing brigades and regiments:
The HITS/GCM games impose limitations on players’ ability to take control (TC) their units that differs from standard HITS and GCM play
a) Players may give the full-range of written courier, command map, point & click, and button-rock commands to brigades, through AI-controlled brigade leaders, at any time. It is then up to computer-controlled subordinates to carry out those orders. Courier(s) will deliver all player-orders issued by any method;
b) Civil War division and corps commanders did occasionally step in to personally direct individual brigades and regiments. In this game, players may take direct control of (i.e., “TC”) no more than one infantry brigade (through its leader) or regiment at a time. Before TC’ing a brigade or regiment, a player must 1) be within 50 yards of the new unit to be TC’d and 2) make sure all other brigades and regiments in his division have been returned to computer control. A unit that is TC’d may receive orders by any method. Players must return control of a TC’d brigade or regiment to the computer when he moves more than 50 yards away or before taking control of another unit. In other words, to take personal, direct control of a brigade or regiment, a player must be there, and remain close by. Players may never, for instance, have both a brigade commander and an individual regiment TC’d at the same time;
c) The only way a player may give direct orders to an individual regiment is when it has been TC’d using “b” above. Players may never send orders to a computer-controlled regiment (These must come through a regiment’s brigade commander);
d) Batteries, individual guns, objective holders and supply wagons may be freely TC’d and moved by any method at any time;
e) Players at brigade-command level are subject to the same TC’ing limitations as divisions i.e., a brigade commander may only have a single regiment TC’d at a time and must be, and remain, within 50 yards of the controlled regiment.

The renewed struggle for the Cumberland Gap is on! Enjoy the Game!


Last edited by WJPalmer on Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:45 pm

It's been suggested that a later start time be considered. Would those who've already signed up on Doodle mind revisiting to register whether GMT 21:00 and/or 22:00 would work for you?
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:47 pm

Alas, I will be in the Caribbean and unable to participate. Sad

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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:20 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:Alas, I will be in the Caribbean and unable to participate. Sad

Slacker tongue
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  kg_sspoom on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:04 pm

I wont know till later in the week if I can play due to work. If Im off I will play.
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  mitra on Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:05 pm

21:00 is still good for me considering the game will last two hours; 22:00 is becoming a little too late, my mind start to go out of service (more than usual). I don't know if Suchet can at the 21:00, I think he has a regata the morning after, I must ask him

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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  FlashmanKBE on Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:20 pm

Ron, I have a rules question for HG.

If I have TC'd a Brigade (I am near its commander), and I want to give a "fallback" order to one of the regiments within that brigade, is it ok to:
1) Send this message to the AI-controlled Rgt if it is far away, because I have the brigade TC'd?
2) Instruct the AI-controlled Rgt which I am very close to, because I have the brigade TC'd?

It's just that rule c) seems to indicate that I can't give a direct order to a Rgt unless I've TC'd it (the Rgt):

c) The only way a player may give direct orders to an individual regiment is when it has been TC’d using “b” above. Players may never send orders to a computer-controlled regiment (These must come through a regiment’s brigade commander);

To me that seems overly-complex: Does the "fallback" command count as a direct order? I can understand disallowing (1) above, but surely (2) is reasonable?

By my reading of the rules as they are, if I'm standing with a brigade commander whom I've TC'd, and I want to pull one of his regiments back, I have to:

1) UN-TC the Brigade commander.
2) Ride over to the Regiment.
3) TC the regiment.
4) Issue the fallback command.

That seems way ott. If I have the Brigade cdr TC'd, I want to be able to canter over any of his regiments, and give them any damn order I want, no?

Is rules c) supposed to be:

"The only way a player may give direct orders to an individual regiment is when its Brigade has been TC’d using “b” above, and you are within 50 yards of the regiment. Players may never send orders to a regiment whose Brigade is computer-controlled (these must come through a regiment’s brigade commander)"

?

Sorry for my late arrival to division commander rules, but I need to be clear on these for next time I need to step into Division commander's shoes.

Cheers,

Ollie
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  kg_sspoom on Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:50 am

My personal taste would be that only 1 unit (besides artillery) could be TCed, but any unit within 50 yds of the division commander could be given a regular order.
Hits is pretty tough as it is, that would make it a bit easier on the newer players or the more experienced player who has a large amount of troops. Just my .02$
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  kg little mac on Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:48 am

kg_sspoom wrote: My personal taste would be that only 1 unit (besides artillery) could be TCed, but any unit within 50 yds of the division commander could be given a regular order.
Hits is pretty tough as it is, that would make it a bit easier on the newer players or the more experienced player who has a large amount of troops. Just my .02$

There it is.

As well, if a brigade is in a defensive position, I think it should be okay to tc the brigade commander. A couple of games ago, Sharpe had his division set up in woods on a hill: his brigade commander moved into the open to face an attack.

Last game I rode around tc'ing a regiment and giving it an order, untc'ing it and moving on to the next regiment closest to me. Rinse and repeat. The tc'ing before giving a direct order bit needs to go.
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:28 am

The two basic precepts of HITS/GCM are, as I see it, to 1) recreate the role of a CW division commander with all his capabilities and limitations, including chain-of-command restrictions and 2) to make the rules as simple and intuitive as possible so that more players may be attracted to play. We must be sure, therefore, that any adjustments made are easily understood by the newest newbie, with a minimum of special rules, exceptions and sub-clauses.

To that end, something like this might work:

Allow players to issue orders by any method to any of their regiments or brigade leaders within 50 yards, TC'd or un-TC'd. However, as soon as a player moves >50 yards away, control must be returned to the AI

I think this paraphrases Ollie's and Steve's points, keeps the rules easy (maybe even easier) to understand, and still retains the fundamentals of division command.

A feature that distinguishes GCM/HITS format from either GCM or traditional HITS, and one I want to keep, is the intentional reliance on AI brigade and regimental commanders to carry out most player orders. While this reduces a player's direct control and probably makes this the most difficult format of all for new and experienced players alike, I'm not interested so much in finding ways to make it easier to play as keeping the rules sensible and unconfusing. IMO we accommodate new players adequately by limiting them to a single brigade. I also plan to cap the commands of experienced players somewhere in the 2 brigade/3600 infantry range, with guns removed to pool divisions.

As well, if a brigade is in a defensive position, I think it should be okay to tc the brigade commander. A couple of games ago, Sharpe had his division set up in woods on a hill: his brigade commander moved into the open to face an attack

I might be wrong, but behavior like this can often be controlled through a stance order. Do you know if he had been given orders to "hold" or "hold to the last" vs. maybe an "attack" or "probe" order? In any event, unless it's absolutely a huge problem, I'd like to avoid both the dilution of the AI's role and definitional complexity this would surely cause (e.g., how can players who can't agree on and follow a "200 yard rule" be expected to concur on the meaning of "defensive position"). Besides, anyone nuts enough to have Gen. Sickles as a brigade commander deserves what he gets. Wink
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  FlashmanKBE on Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:47 am

Ok, good, I pretty much agree with all of this Ron, and completely agree with Spoom and Soldier.

The only contentious issue then is the point Soldier raises:

As well, if a brigade is in a defensive position, I think it should be okay to tc the brigade commander. A couple of games ago, Sharpe had his division set up in woods on a hill: his brigade commander moved into the open to face an attack

I have to say I completely agree with this. As an excellent example of this, try Tutorial 4 (or is it 5?) in the game. It's the division-level tutorial - but play it from the saddle using HG rules. It is bloody hard for starters - but that's ok, that's fun. However, even if you set up all 4 of your brigades along the fences and issue "defend" orders, or "Hold to the last" (it makes little difference), and let the AI take control, then you'll find he abandons the "defend" plan, and goes on the offensive every time. He'll move forward of the fences, and before you know it, you've had it. I've replayed this tutorial so many times, I don't think I ever won (from the saddle with HG rules), but the only thing that gets your brigade commanders to do what you want, is if you leave 'em TC'd once they're in position. Then, if they do manage to repulse the enemy, they won't automatically go on a suicide counter-attack either.

I'm thinking that you should be free to TC any unit, and un-TC any unit, and be able to do this for as many units as you want, but you're only able to TC and un-TC while you're right next to them.

Of course the risks in making this decision are still great, because if you abandon a brigade (or rgt) for too long while it's TC'd, you may come back to find it destroyed by encirclement or something. It would have been the equivalent of "fix bayonets, men, and do not move from this point unless I personally instruct you to do so." So I wouldn't say that TC'ing, on its own, gives the player any massive advantage, but it does seem to be the only way to instruct a brigade commander:

"I want you to hold your position here, at all costs, do you understand?"
"Yes, sir, got that. We'll stay here, until we see the enemy approaching, and then we'll attack."
"No, no no, just stay here, and don't move."
"Oh yes, we won't move - unless we see the enemy."
"Even if you see the enemy, I want you to stand here!"
"Oh... right. Really?"
"Yes, really. Just stay here, and don't move. Shoot the enemy if you can, but don't move. Ever."
"Right."
"Got it?"
"Yes"
"Good."
"Ummmmm....."
"Yes?"
"If... if, what about if...."
"Look, just stay here, and don't bloody move!"
"Right."
<start to ride off>
"Where are you going?"
"We're coming with you sir!"
"NO!"... etc.
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  Grog on Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:13 pm

I like this idea Flash and nicely put.

I would support this ruling. Sounds like common sense to me.

Mike
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:29 pm

On the question of keeping units "in a defensive position" TC'd, I still have to disagree. In my experience, you'll likely find very quickly that players soon rationalize virtually every position to be "defensive" and we might as well toss away all restrictions on TC'ing. The concept of allowing AI subordinates to fight the battle is abandoned.

But in real life commanders had no choice but to rely on subordinates and these frequently did things that came to be regretted. Since all players have to deal with it, everyone will be annoyed at some point, but the playing field remains level. I'd like to avoid what is the natural tendency to take direct personal control of all aspects of the battle beyond what would have been possible for a commander on the spot.

Smaller commands also make this sort of issue less acute. If a brigade or regiment is moving to a bad spot, it should be easier for a player to move over and make a correction. A player who moves far away from his units is asking for trouble, as he would in real life.
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  FlashmanKBE on Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:15 pm

WJPalmer wrote:Smaller commands also make this sort of issue less acute. If a brigade or regiment is moving to a bad spot, it should be easier for a player to move over and make a correction. A player who moves far away from his units is asking for trouble, as he would in real life.

Hmm, yes, I think I agree with you here. I think the key is smaller divisions. I played a single player 2-brigade division command game last night, and found I could easily manage one brigade while the other went off and "did its thing". I can then set up the brigade I have under my wing to a new position (perhaps defensive, perhaps resting, for e.g.). By the time I've done all that, I can un-TC them, and they behave very well. Then I ride over to the other brigade, and pull them out of whatever trouble they're in. I think I reasoned that I could happily manage 3 brigades this way, but more would get ugly. The key is in having a system, and I think I worked one out.

It does work with 2 or 3 brigades, but I think more than 3 brigades and yes, it becomes rather a handful. I think it will be fun to see if some people can manage a bigger division better than others too!

I'm glad we've had the discussions. We've made progress on the matter of direct orders to nearby regiments. And after discussing leaving brigades TC'd "while I'm away", I think you're right Ron, this could easily get over-used, and kill a lot of the fun and excitement.
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:27 pm

FlashmanKBE wrote:It does work with 2 or 3 brigades, but I think more than 3 brigades and yes, it becomes rather a handful. I think it will be fun to see if some people can manage a bigger division better than others too!
Commanding 2 brigades in a HITS environment is about the limit of my own comfort zone, especially when both are engaged. Last game I had 4 and Mark ended up with even more than that -- an open & shut case of player-abuse. Laughing Fortunately (for us) he handled it like a pro and was able to make the final push for that second objective.

I'm thinking the only time divisions should be any larger is when we know that a new player will be given one of the division brigades -- a great environment in which a new guy can learn under the watchful eye of an experienced player.


Last edited by WJPalmer on Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  Martin on Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:35 pm

WJPalmer wrote:But in real life commanders had no choice but to rely on subordinates and these frequently did things that came to be regretted. Since all players have to deal with it, everyone will be annoyed at some point, but the playing field remains level. I'd like to avoid what is the natural tendency to take direct personal control of all aspects of the battle beyond what would have been possible for a commander on the spot.
I think you put that very well Ron.

I quite understand the other point of view, and do sometimes feel frustrated when subordinates don't act as ordered. That goes for human ones too! But that was what often happened historically. From a game-standpoint, I actually think that occasional command SNAFUs make for more interesting battles.

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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:30 pm

I suspect the next level in the HITS/GCM games will be reached as players begin to take more notice of the personal attributes of their brigade commanders at game launch. The SoW manual spends quite a bit of space on this topic, openly advising, for instance:

The less experienced a commander, the less likely your orders are to be performed by the units under his command. If possible, Take Charge of a commander with low experience...—you will have to micro-manage his operations, but your close oversight will minimize errors on his front.

The "Style" attribute seems to play directly on the situation discussed above where AI regiments insist on moving off their nice, fat walls. No doubt this happens more with the "Audacious", "Bold" and "Daring"-types. Players will want to know who the audacious brigade commanders are before the shooting starts and keep an eye on them. Conversely, the "frozen" and "cautious" leaders will do well holding the walls, but will be difficult to prod to the attack unless the player/leader is on-hand to direct the action. This must have been the profile of Hay's brigade commander who refused to move in HG4!

This may seem a lot to ask of players in our games, but if we keep unit sizes down, it becomes more manageable and the better players will quickly learn to use this knowledge to advantage.


Last edited by WJPalmer on Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:19 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : attributes of regimental leaders are not made available to players in game)
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  FlashmanKBE on Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:32 pm

All good stuff.

Just a thought, if commander attributes are going to play such an important role - isn't there going to be a side imbalance - i.e. are the Southern brigade commanders going to be generally more daring that the Northern ones? Or is this all randomised by the GCM creation too? I guess it is.
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:53 am

There would likely be imbalances if we used the historical OOB's. But the guys we use are randomly generated, and, like the guns, standardized across both sides.
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  FlashmanKBE on Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:21 am

WJPalmer wrote:There would likely be imbalances if we used the historical OOB's. But the guys we use are randomly generated, and, like the guns, standardized across both sides.

Ok, great - one more thing, is it possible to find out the "Style" of a brigade commander during the game? If so, where is it (am I being blind?) Or are players taking their GCM divisions, and then I know where the style attribute is shown (but I thought we weren't taking our normal GCM divisions?).

The more I think about it, the more I think you're completely right about having to deal with awkward brigade (and division!) commanders, as this is completely realistic. The more I think back to my knowledge of the CW, the more I realise that it was usually these guys that shaped events so distinctively, and made the "interesting bits". We should applause these Sickles and Heths for the characters they really are! The mention of Sickles particularly highlights apparently insane insubordination, but he could obviously justify his actions to himself.

And these are the things that make HG so awesome! Keep up the good work!
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:46 pm

FlashmanKBE wrote:Ok, great - one more thing, is it possible to find out the "Style" of a brigade commander during the game? If so, where is it (am I being blind?) Or are players taking their GCM divisions, and then I know where the style attribute is shown (but I thought we weren't taking our normal GCM divisions?).

Complete attribute information including "style" is available for all first-level division subordinates (i.e., brigade and battery leaders) when the OOB button is clicked in game (top-right button in the center section of the button rock). The data is laid out in the "attributes" line just above the center area of the screen for any leader selected from the list.


Last edited by WJPalmer on Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : regiments have skill ratings but regimental commanders don't really exist in SoW)
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:53 pm

BTW, I'll be out of town this weekend (Feb 2) and unavailable for HG. But that's no reason not to play one, if someone else wants to set it up!
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  FlashmanKBE on Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:11 pm

If the division commander quickly identifies his brigade commander styles, and gets a sort of "summary" in his head about the style of his division, it would be very useful to the Corps/Army commander to know which divisions might be better in offence/defence. I expect on average a division would be quite mixed, but you will also get purely offensive and purely defensive divisions I expect, too. Of course, it would be very useful for the division leaders to understand their own brigade commanders too, as you point out!

I'll also be out this weekend too, so no play for me either.
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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  Muleskinner on Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:47 pm

Before anyone starts off on a wild goose chase, I'd like to point out that the game itself does not have regimental commanders. That is something that the GCM keeps track of completely independent of the game. Basically how it works is each regiment is assigned a commander within the GCM database, and their stats can provide bonuses and/or penalties to his regiments abilities. These bonuses/penalties are applied to each regiment when the generator creates the OOB for each battle. Also, when the number of casualties in battle dictate that a brigade commander is killed or wounded, the highest ranking regimental commander steps up to take his place. Only then is he known to exist in SOW's point of view.

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Re: The American Gibraltar: HITS/GCM Game 5 Scheduled

Post  WJPalmer on Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:08 pm

I didn't realize that. Guess those wild geese are safe for another day...

In game terms, I assume this means that all regiments in a brigade perform according to the "style" of their brigade C.O. -- which would simplify things from a player's point of view.

Thanks, Robinson!
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