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Post  Nomadicus Tue Jun 21, 2022 2:41 am

I've lurked on this forum here and there, but I've been heavily involved with the IKS on Discord for the last 14 months. I have no expertise on subject matter, little knowledge of Napoleonic warfare but am well-read on American Civil War which has been a passion of mine for decades. What I have been, however, is heavily involved in the creation of our digital assets that we use in Tabletop Simulator. In fact, I've created the bulk of it all actually haha. I particularly enjoy designing pieces and doing map alterations. For example, last year we played Grand Gettysburg live via TTS (I understand a number of the members here participated). I am the guy who created the 3D map as well as painting in all the color for it. I also designed and created every game piece.

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Since then I created a set of generic "universal" kriegsspiel pieces for use in TTS that aren't meant to represent any particular nation but can be used in whatever combination the users choose. So it has the usual array of rainbow colors, red, blue, green, orange, etc. The major innovation I used was learning enough about TTS scripting so users could add names to the pieces as well as track data on the back if it was desired to keep track of ammo, manpower, morale as well as buttons to change the graphics of the pieces to represent various formations like Marching Column, Square, Assault Column, and Battle Line.

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Now I've been working with Marshall Neal to re-design the pieces yet again to be printed as physical game pieces. As a 1cm piece can convey far less information than a piece designed for a computer game, I took the general concept of the Universal Pieces and simplified them for ease of identification when printed really small.

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Anyway, that's me and that's what I do. My real name is Damon Mosier and I live in Los Angeles, CA.

Nomadicus

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Post  Martin Tue Jun 21, 2022 10:46 pm

Hi Damon

Thanks very much for posting.  You've done some great work on both maps and counters, and I'm sure the IKS game experience is much better because of it.  Some very attractive artwork there.

Can I ask how the TTS counters are used in online games please?  The symbology representing losses, morale hits etc is obviously very helpful for the umpire team.  Do the players see the same counters, or are theirs missing those informational symbols.

The reason I ask is that, when we run face-to-face games, we are quite strict on fog-of-war. So we limit the information given to players on the condition of not only enemy units in their LOS, but also for friendly units.  Also, such information as we provide is qualitative, rather than quantitative.  So if units have just been in combat, it will take some time before players receive any detailed information.  As time goes on, and the units' officers get a handle on things, and report back up the chain-of-command, more information becomes available to the players eg on how heavy losses have been, how much longer it will take to reorganise this battalion/brigade before it is ready to attack again etc.

Our reason for doing so is because - although the umpires need that detail - that type of specific quantitative information was not available to the generals of the day. In the heat of battle, they had to operate by 'feel' rather than numerical ratings etc.  In our games, players therefore see the plain unit counters with no markings.

Martin J

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Post  Nomadicus Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:23 pm

Ah yes, thanks for asking! The information is for umpires only actually. The way I set it up, to adjust any info on the piece you have to flip it over and then you can access the data. For example, this is what the player sees:

Been with IKS/SoCal group online since last year but only just registered here... Screen_Shot_2022-01-18_at_12.45.50_AM

But when the umpire flips the piece over this is what they see:

Been with IKS/SoCal group online since last year but only just registered here... Screen_Shot_2022-01-18_at_1.16.15_AM

That way the umpire can track whatever data they wish, then they flip it over before they take a screenshot so none of that is visible to the player. I do also have it set up when the umpire reduces the infantry manpower counter it shrinks the piece in the same way a 5/6 or 2/3 exchange piece would be smaller. So the only "data" the player would notice is the loss of steps due to casualties. It was my desire to limit the amount of tokens needed as much as possible. If you recall from Grand Gettysburg, both the initial experience level as well as current level of disruption is visible to everyone and that didn't sit right with me.

Now with these pieces the umpire can track those in secret if they desire. (For artillery, instead of morale I track Solid Shot Ammo, Cannister Ammo, and Manpower/Gun Sections.) Of course, some umpires still use whatever tokens they wish to put on the board since various umpires in IKS like to run with their own rulesets and my job was just to make the tools and let them use them however they see fit.

I also tried to design it so any umpire could tweak the script if they were so inclined if they wished to use the counters to track other data instead. It is also possible to turn off/on the display of these counters on the front of the piece in the same way the name does. By default I have them all turned off but the code is in there if for some reason an umpire wanted any of that visible. (For example, let's say you don't want to track morale for whatever reason. You could use the number as a unit designation instead and display that counter on the front of the piece).

Two other tweaks I made for the fun of it, since it is Tabletop Simulator, is that I coded it so that if the umpire clicks on the actual ammo count the piece will spawn a gunsmoke token and reduce the ammo count by 1. Additionally, if you click on the manpower counter it will spawn a skirmisher token, named after the parent piece.


Last edited by Nomadicus on Wed Jun 29, 2022 7:06 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post  Martin Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:11 am

Excellent stuff, Damon

I agree with all you say.  TTS is an great tool, and you clearly know how to get the best out of it.

Our games at Little Gaddesden are similar to Grand Gettysburg, but also different in some ways.  We still occasionally play a Reisswitz-type game, with individual battalions/squadrons, but most of our games now are set at a level above the tactical.  That's partly due to our preference, and partly because our face-to-face games are much smaller than yours in terms of player numbers.  Normally no more than a dozen, of whom 50% will be umpires.  

For an ACW army-size battle, most players will be corps commanders, and their focus will be on divisions (and sometimes dropping down to brigades).  We would aim to get through a day's battle in about 5 hours - ie moving at up to twice the speed of historical time.  That's why we streamline a lot of stuff, and have such a high ratio of umpires.

We also play strategic level games, where players are army commanders (or even heads of state), and military units are corps.  Lots of politics and other chicanery involved there.

The beauty of TTS - and your good work - is that it's equally applicable to our style of game.  I can see us using your stuff for games in the future, and it's most generous of you and the estimable IKS to make it freely available.

Many thanks again for posting.  And please do post again  Wink

Martin J

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Post  Nomadicus Thu Jun 23, 2022 9:38 am

Yes, please do! If you do end up using them I would welcome any feedback. I’ve also tweaked the scripts for personal requests for people’s own needs so I’m willing to do that as well.

I’m actually very interested in the operational/strategic rules you all have come up with. I know several people in IKS who are attempting to do the same, but either have not arrived at a playable state or still lack the experience of actual playtests to refine what they have.

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Post  Martin Thu Jun 23, 2022 2:04 pm

No problem, Damon.  Perhaps we could have a video chat sometime to chat about how we approach larger-scale games.  

In general, we design them from the ground up, depending on the historical situation.  Because we flit from period to period, many of our games are experimental, and (frankly) some games don't work as well as others.  So not all of it gets formally written-up.  

That said I can certainly share some stuff with you.  I'm thinking particularly of one of our last pre-covid games.  A large-scale hypothetical Napoleonic game in Germany in 1810.  It worked well, and we have a follow-up ready for when we next get together face-to-face.  PM me with your email, and I'll send you some material.

Martin J

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Post  Nomadicus Wed Jun 29, 2022 7:00 am

haha I would like that. I can't yet send you a pm as I haven't posted enough in the forums yet either Very Happy but perhaps if you sent me one I could respond?

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Post  Martin Wed Jun 29, 2022 9:19 am

Good idea. Let's try it. Have just sent you PM.

m

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Post  Nomadicus Sat Jul 02, 2022 12:17 am

Inbox doesn't seem to work either. I need to make 5 more posts before I unlock the PMs haha

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Post  Nomadicus Sat Jul 02, 2022 12:22 am

If you'll forgive the indulgence, I'll try and find five other posts to comment on to get over the line

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Post  Martin Sat Jul 02, 2022 10:16 pm

Righto Damon.

We'll get there in the end.

m

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