Taillebois
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Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:15 pm

Birth of America had lots of short scenarios. ECW has three medium/long ones,

Historical wargaming is a pretty niche market but I feel Ageod restricts the appeal of its games by making them too long, difficult and complicated for casual players. Not everybody is a genius with hours days or weeks to spend perfecting strategies on a handful of scenarios.

Perhaps there could be a series of player made puzzles - say ten turn scenarios take from the bigger ones with a specific challenge or two to achieve - a bit like chess problems. Take Rome, Gettysburg, or Paris by any route within ten turns.


I have long felt this to be a problem (since buying Pride of Nations and realising I would never play a 1600 turn game - let alone the 300 or so for "The Spanish Ulcer" in Napoleon's Campaigns) but this post today is prompted by a remark by someone else on another company's forum.

It is almost criminal to put the huge amount of work into these making these games and then deliberately cut down the sales by restricting their appeal on presumably some concerns about dumbing down or non historical outcomes. All of history is a series of coincidences occurring, or not occurring.

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Durk
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Re: Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:00 am

You know, Taillebois, I totally agree with you, but then find myself explaining why your desire is not at the top of anyone's agenda.

I love the scenarios of Birth of America or WIA and play them all and especially appreciate the player created scenarios. One thing I find in PBEM play is that most players only want to play the longest Grand Scenario and have little desire to play even a shorter Grand Scenario game. You must weigh this player demand as you think of your own desires. I am lucky in that I have a long time opponent who enjoys playing all scenarios, but few players do.

So many AGEOD games have almost infinite scenarios if players invest in the expansion packs. Bloody Road South for the ACW has dozens of new play options as does the Breaking the Deadlock for To End All Wars. You could not ask for any more Roman era games than those provided in the various AJE games.

With Pride of Nations, I have the currently available Scramble for Africa which is a nice post nation formation game, as well as Franco Prussian War and Spanish American War. I am also lucky in that I snagged the American Civil War and Russian Japanese War scenarios while they were available.

So the thing is, any game company needs to balance players desire to only play the grand campaign game with others who enjoy the smaller scenarios. It must be a challenge.

But here is one solution, create some mod options for others. You must have a nice feel for the games, create new shorter scenarios. It is a challenge, but very doable. I would say in my final comment, what glorious options we have from this game company. I am always deep in play.

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WallysWorld
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Re: Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:41 pm

I mostly only play the long campaigns and not much the small scenarios. The exception being the smaller AJE scenarios which I am playing through in historical order. But for games like CW2, TYW and TEOW, I only play the smaller scenarios to learn the game. Once that's done, it's only the big campaigns for myself.

I do understand how you would like more small scenarios though.

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Re: Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:58 pm

Small scenarios? Fine. But, never ever take away the long campaigns. They are what makes Ageod great!

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JacquesDeLalaing
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Re: Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Sun May 06, 2018 4:05 pm

I have to say that I share Taillebois' opinion. For me, any scenario/campaign that exceeds 30-40 turns is a pass. I don't even touch it as I know I'm never going to finish it. Especially since I'm that kind of gamer who feels bad whenever he gives orders without thinking them through. And the huge scale of the grand campaigns often comes with other things (besides the obvious micromanagement horror) that greatly mitigate my fun: most importantly I need to mention turn-intervalls longer than 7 days and all the implications they bring - increased region size = lower "resolution" of the campaign area, which in turn dumbs operational gameplay down to shoving around giant doomstacks, turn-exegesis becomes even harder (e.g. cohesion might go up and down quite drastically from movement and recovery without the players noticing it; one needs to filddle around with the replay in order to see enemy movements). Add to this the performance problems that the engine has on larger maps.

As a fan of the series, it really makes me sad but I simply can't help the feeling that the quality of AGEOD's titles is decreasing. In addition of 30 days (!) intervalls, the latest title, Wars of the Succession, offers a weird mix of period artwork+music and modern artwork+music, a GUI that strikes me as lackluster and unprofessional (bad usage of screen-space, things unnecessarily hidden behind button-clicks, no coherent art, collide-rects for buttons don't always match to what you see), un-immersive map-aesthetics (just compare the map to the maps of WiA, RUS & Espana, RoP) and incosistent artwork in general (e.g. it seems as if no effort was made to bring the leader-portraits into a coherent style). A lack of scenarios is just a small piece in this list. :( Also, I don't get it why the "decisions" and "battle-plan" features were added. Especially the first one strikes me as the opposite of elegant slender game design. There were already a siege system and a recon system (evade/patrol, hide/detection) rooted in the core mechanics, so why not improve and embrace those?

I hope that this is not perceived as an angry rant, and also I don't want to speculate about the reasons behind the perceived drop in quality. I just hope that the games for the new engine will focus on a slightly smaller scope, offer more short scenarios, and in general re-discover the operational (rather than the strategic) dimension. I I also hope they'll offer the same great immersion which made the earlier AGEOD titles so precious to me.
Last edited by JacquesDeLalaing on Mon May 07, 2018 10:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Durk
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Re: Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Mon May 07, 2018 5:26 am

Well, my dear JacquesDeLalaing, I could not disagree more with your conclusion. The most recent AGEOD titles can not have been better in design and play. The decisions is such a nice method of adding historical options which expand player engagement. I am a pbem player so the battle plan feature is not important to me, but I have heard from many players the when they play against AI they love this additional l option to engage the game.

The Wars of Succession game is absolutely unique in all wargames, all of the engagements of the era about which almost all players are only vaguely aware are so expertly presented that I can lose as Sweden and as anti-Sweden. Cool game.

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JacquesDeLalaing
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Re: Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Mon May 07, 2018 10:33 am

It might be true that people who like 30-day-intevalls (and all their implications) and long-term campaigns have fun playing the game. I'm still buying the games to support AGEOD, but I have to say I could not bring myself to play any of the 30YW, English Civil War or WoS. Apart from gameplay issues, my opinion that the prodcution value of the artwork has decreased and that the UI is unprofessional still stands.

Case in point - UI (not even touching the aesthetical side of it...)

Image

Compare this to one of the "old-style" titles like this and tell me it's on the same level ;)

Image

PS: Most of my reflections in this post are about my gripes with long turn intervalls: viewtopic.php?f=267&t=35358

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Re: Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Tue May 08, 2018 10:05 am

Way-Back-When™ when I used to eat ASL for breakfast (if you don't know what Advanced Squad Leader is, you'll not be able to appreciate that statement), although the community playing ASL was fairly small--kind of like the AGEOD community--my greater worry was not finding enough time to play all the scenarios I wanted to play, and not the other way around.

The community created many of the dozens--nee hundreds--of scenarios available, very often publishing them in fan-zines--player-created magazines--accompanied by articles on history and pertinent rules. A few of the fan-zines eventually went professional, and in fact, Multiman Publishing, which now owns not only ASL but also bought nearly all of the remnants of Avalon Hill's intellectual property, but a large number of other series and stand-alone games as well, started out publishing the fan-zine Backblast, which was at the time one of the most respected.

So why does ASL enjoy such great community support and such a proliferation of playing aids and material?... I believe, because It was fairly easy to do. One aspect which AGEOD will never have the ability to enjoy is the simple fact that ASL deals with squad tactics. Any major or minor battle from 1936 to nearly into the '50's could provide a source for an handfull to dozens of unique scenarios, from short 5 turn chess-puzzle like scenarios, to mini-campaigns. It is fairly easy to define the boards being used and 2 OOB's, possibly a couple special rules to put a scenario together.

So, why does the same thing not happen in the AGEOD community? IMHO this first issue with smaller scenarios is that they often don't feel right. AGEOD games are strategy games, which means in a grand campaign spanning an entire war, a campaign the player creates within a grand campaign scenario play-through ALWAYS has to consider the position it will put the player's forces in, once the goal of the campaign has been achieved--the Win-the-Battle-but-Lose-the-War™ conundrum--which to my knowledge could only be reflected in a small scenario in AGEOD games with great difficulty.

The other major issue is that it is an huge amount of work to create even the smallest of scenarios. The game engine simply does not lend itself to creating a scenario on-the-fly--aside from the fact, that there is a fairly large learning curve to even learn how to create a scenario. You cannot simply take the set of defined units in the game and Drag-n-Drop™ them onto the map and define this as the starting setup of your scenario.

Also, thinking ahead to what if it were much easier to create a scenario, is that scenarios in general are very inflexible. You can only create a fixed setup of units, over which the player has zero influence. The player is always confronted with a situation, in which he might often say to himself, I would never have my forces organized like this, or positioned here in this fashion. With a board game you can easily simply state, these forces setup with x regions of region A, or within this area, or enter the board between this hex and that one on turn Y. And I haven't even mentioned victory conditions... :blink:

Creating a good scenario is simply a huge amount of work. The things which might make creating scenarios much simpler and far more accessible to every player I've mentioned above. With the right tools, we would likely see a large number of community created scenarios, and not constantly wait for the AGEOD devs to put things together for us, for which they really have very little time, nor motivation, IMHO.

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Khanti
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Re: Not enough scenarios - biggest problem of Ageod games

Thu May 10, 2018 5:33 pm

Taillebois wrote:Birth of America had lots of short scenarios. ECW has three medium/long ones,

Historical wargaming is a pretty niche market but I feel Ageod restricts the appeal of its games by making them too long, difficult and complicated for casual players.
(...)
I have long felt this to be a problem (since buying Pride of Nations and realising I would never play a 1600 turn game - let alone the 300 or so for "The Spanish Ulcer" in Napoleon's Campaigns) but this post today is prompted by a remark by someone else on another company's forum.
(...)


Posted on 1st of April, right? ;)

Small, short scenarios? You are kidding. I never bother playing scenario that has less than 40+ turns!
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