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War theme Problem: How many sides.

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Triktrak
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I'm having a theme problem. Does anyone know historically of wars where there were more than two sides fighting? I can't think of a one. When I mean sides, I mean a force fighting independently for their cause, rather than teaming up with one of the two sides. In "Wallenstein" they kind of BS that it was really every general for himself, instead of just the Catholics versus the Protestants (which was much closer to the truth). Is real war a two player game?

phpbbadmin
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Re: War theme Problem: How many sides.

Triktrak wrote:
I'm having a theme problem. Does anyone know historically of wars where there were more than two sides fighting? I can't think of a one. When I mean sides, I mean a force fighting independently for their cause, rather than teaming up with one of the two sides. In "Wallenstein" they kind of BS that it was really every general for himself, instead of just the Catholics versus the Protestants (which was much closer to the truth). Is real war a two player game?

I can't think of anything that truely fits your description, but there are tons of stories in the Old Testament where the Jews fought totally distinct enemies from different fronts at the same time. I.E. they might be fighting off attacks from their northern, southern and eastern borders, all at the same time.

Not technically want you requested though. Also you might want to scale it down a level, perhaps where you have clans/warlords fighting each other instead of at the country level.

-Darke

jwarrend
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Re: War theme Problem: How many sides.

Triktrak wrote:
I'm having a theme problem. Does anyone know historically of wars where there were more than two sides fighting? I can't think of a one. When I mean sides, I mean a force fighting independently for their cause, rather than teaming up with one of the two sides. In "Wallenstein" they kind of BS that it was really every general for himself, instead of just the Catholics versus the Protestants (which was much closer to the truth). Is real war a two player game?

One solution is to have only two sides, but allow players to switch which side they're fighting for. This, I believe, is how "Struggle of Empires" works. I'm actually working on a more historically accurate game about the 30 Years War that attempts to fill in some of the political intrigue that Wallenstein abstracts. There were definitely more than two factions in that war -- the war was definitely more complicated than simply Catholics vs Protestants (after all, the latter half of the conflict was mostly France vs Spain, both Catholic nations) -- but for the most part, only two sides fighting at a time.

Another thing I'm trying in a totally different non-wargame, but which might work here as well, is to have two sides but each player has a slightly different goal that creates tension within the alliance.

I think the key to making a plausible multiplayer wargame is to define a plausible goal. For example, perhaps it's a war of succession and every player is trying to secure control of the empire for himself. This, I believe, is what happened after Alexander the Great died; of course, there have already been a few games on that subject. Samurai Swords has players fighting as warlords for control of Japan, which may be historically accurate. And of course, you can go to non-historical source material; the Dune boardgame has 6 different factions, and it's reasonable that each faction would be in it for himself primarily.

Good luck!

-Jeff

Scurra
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Re: War theme Problem: How many sides.

Triktrak wrote:
Is real war a two player game?

Ultimately, I think it probably is (although "game" isn't *quite* the word I'd use for it ;-)) It's certainly true that it's rare for both sides to be entirely homogenous (to take a topical example, the term "insurgents" has been used to describe a whole array of groups in Iraq, many of whom have never talked to each other!) But in the end a war* is almost always "Us" against "Them" - it's simply too hard to sell the concept as anything else.
(*not just wars, of course; any sort of rivalry - religion, philosophy, economics, even race and gender - is usually depersonalized in this fashion.)

jwarrend wrote:
One solution is to have only two sides, but allow players to switch which side they're fighting for. This, I believe, is how "Struggle of Empires" works.
That's not quite how SoE works. You don't switch sides, you are a member of one alliance or the other. Member of the same alliance can't attack each other (obviously!) so if you want or need to attack a certain country you need to be in the other alliance. This has a surprisingly strong thematic feel which happens to have a terrific game impact as well (although obviously global alliances weren't shaped through a simple auction system :-)

Hegemon
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War theme Problem: How many sides.

Quote:
I'm having a theme problem. Does anyone know historically of wars where there were more than two sides fighting?

Actually, most wars fit this pattern. Even the Axis powers in WW2 were basically fighting three distinct wars with [fortunately] minimal co-operation between them - Hitler was focused on the Eastern Front, Mussolini on the Med, and Tojo on the Pacific. In the 30 Years War, you have a major period of time where the reigning Pope, (Urban VIII I think) was anti-French, but who of course, were very Catholic at the time.

Perfectly aligned and harmonius coalitions in war are very rare. You can always find mulitple points of view on the same side on how the war is to be waged, peace terms, etc.

Johan
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War theme Problem: How many sides.

Actually nearly all wars have several sides that ally during parts of the war and then fight against each others. The political situation can change dramatically and there will be another situation.

One of the best example of this is the WWI when we had the Russian Revolution in the War and it becomes a completely different political situation (and Italy that changed team midstream). Otherwise, the political part of WWI where set before the war.

The 30-year war had so many different fractions and alliances. That is a good war to use for a political war with different fractions.

The English Civil War is also a good example of different fractions in a war. Our members from Great Britain do probably know a lot of this war.

A more modern example is the Bosnia war with 3 parts that both lived together and fighted against each other.

One of the best examples is WWII in Europe where we actually had 4 different large fractions.
- England-France-Poland: They are allied to fight the Germans.
- Germany: Partly allied with Soviet in the start of the war, but then become enemies of all.
- Soviet: Allied with Germany and then allied with England/US but wanted to take as much of Europe as possible.
- US: Strong interests in US wanted to ally with Germany to beat the communists. A strong president manages to maneuver so US instead joined the Allied. Still, 1944-1945 there where a race against Soviet (and the first steps to the cold war had begun).
A "what if" game could be very interesting.

More then two parts in a battle, the only war I heard of where a war in Japan (around 1500). On the battlefield there where 3 Generals that fighted each other and all there solders had yellow uniforms. Since I'm not familiar with Japanese history, I don’t know if this is a true battle, a story or a legend.

// Johan

katie
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English Civil War

The ECW did in fact feature more than two sides at a time.

Parliament, who thought Parliament got to run the country. The King, who thought he should and in various places, the (armed) local population who just wanted the various armies to stop stealing everything not nailed down.

In addition, it's fairly notorious for things like;

The sides being unable to tell each other apart. More than once, someone gave orders to a unit that was on the other side, and they obeyed them. Several cavalry units were noted for wearing colours associated with the other side and getting themselves into trouble that way.

Units who turned up to battles and picked the winning side to be on for this one... Along with units who turned up and accepted bids as to which side they'd be on...

Then later on, the New Model Army had to be sent off to "have words" with the London Trained Bands who were technically on the same side, but didn't see eye to eye on some matters of "who was in charge".

larienna
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War theme Problem: How many sides.

Not all wars are 2 sided. For example, in china, in romance of the 3 kingdom, the battle is 3 sided.

Still a two sided is some kind of cliche. It comes also from the good vs evil point of view.

Personnaly, I prefer many sided wars.

Triktrak
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War theme Problem: How many sides.

Thanks for the insights and history lessons. The perception does seem to stem from the perception of US against THEM. Maybe also the saying: The enemy of my enemy is my friend (and vise versa). I guess in war that everyone is really in it for themselves and this may or may not cause them to change their status during a war. Some links may naturally ally 1 group with others, such as in the Crusades, where it was the Christians against the Muslims. When things are scaled down to a lower level and an overarching value such as religion no longer plays a part, then culture, economics and politics take the forefront and can become the friction for war.

Anonymous
War theme Problem: How many sides.

One interesting civil war was that of Rep. of Congo, 1960-65.
Three sides fought in the war, the UN-backed government forces, the left-wing, Soviet backed simbas and the Anglo-belgian backed Katanga state.
Actually, there were one more side in the conflict, the small region of South Kasai which also sought independence from Congo.

lgkr
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Most basic example

The basic war with many sides at one time is tribal warfare. The british isles is an prime example. Scores of tribes fighting for domination.

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