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Military Tactics

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Ark1t3kt
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Hey everyone, I'm currently designing a small-scale war game in which both players' units are completely hidden from each other until they gain line of sight. (See my earlier post.)

Since I believe that this core system has the potential to realistically simulate small-scale battle, I am brainstorming various military tactics that have been used throughout history, and how to apply them to the game. The kind of tactics I'm looking for are not hyper-specific - more general concepts such as ambush, or feint.

By the way, how would one feint in a small-scale combat situation (5-on-5 skirmish)?

Can you think of any interesting/fun tactics that players should be able to employ in my game?

X3M
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Is something like flanking

Is something like flanking possible?

Best way to do this is to have a modifier to damage when the opponent is attacked from a side or the back.

It isn't original. But widely accepted.

The Professor
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Additional tactics

Actually, if you can perfect this idea of not seeing the opposing side until line of sight is established, you'll have something rather revolutionary. I've been playing military wargames for more than three decades and have served as a developer for nearly 10 years for both Compass Games and Decision Games and this is not a core mechanic which has been introduced with any success. Most of the time wargames are executed with full knowledge, which makes "intelligence" and other matters related to unknown information a bit tricky.

From a military perspective, you have a few other options, namely:

Assault: One element (possibly comprised of 2-3 units provide constant suppressive fire on the enemy, while the second group moves forward (in a leap-frog type way) and then provides the same suppressive fire for the other group.

Entrenchment: THis provides ease of carrying off wounded, repairing damage to weapons, is easily evacuated, and possibly used for the purpose of a counter-attack.

Defensive: A weak line is presented as bait to an enemy. In reality, the area usually in front of the defending force is littered with land mines and just out of range of the enemy, but a location known to those defending/evacuating possesses machine gun nests for overwhelming firepower.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,
Joe

Ark1t3kt
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Excellent Ideas!

Yes something like flanking is definitely possible, thanks for remembering that classic. Fortunately, I don't think my core system will necessitate creating specific rules for flanking...

...as far as I know (and I am by no means an expert on military tactics) flanking was primarily a way of getting double the firepower on a unit from two different directions. The players will be able to do this organically through the game's core systems.

@The Professor It's great to hear that my idea could be original from a person with a great deal of expertise! Also, all of these ideas for tactics are exactly what I am looking for. If you happen to think of any more, let me know!

FrankM
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5v5 is definitely small-unit tactics

I'm curious why five per side? An infantry fire team has three or four members: one heavy gunner, sometimes an assistant to the heavy gunner depending on the weapon, one rifleman, and one corporal as team leader (who is also a second rifleman).

Two fire teams plus a sergeant as squad leader makes up a prototypical squad.

Anyway, if the system can reveal a soldier without revealing who saw it, then you have all the makings of camouflage and sneak attacks. Despite the presence of a "flash suppressor" on assault weapons, anyone who actually fires should be considered to reveal their position.

Soldiers under fire basically move in three ways:

Rush: Running like hell from one covered location to another. Rushing for more than three seconds is very risky. More than five is a deathwish.
High-crawl: Getting around on knees and elbows with some speed while staying under waist-height.
Low-crawl: Basically dragging oneself across the ground, which is obviously very slow. The rucksack might be dragged behind, so the soldier's highest point is determined by the width of their helmet.

To answer your question about feints, at a tactical level, a feint would be firing a shot intended as misdirection. It might be toward a place you have no intention of advancing upon, or from a place that you intend to vacate immediately in an unexpected direction.

Ark1t3kt
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You've Read My Mind!

The justification for only five on five is that since players will have to write down their orders and not have any physical representation of units on the map, it will probably be difficult to keep track of more than five units.

I intend to make firing a shot reveal your position, exactly as you described. Thus, this opens up the possibility of feints and decoys, as you said. I also intend to allow melee attacks, which do not reveal your position.

Hmm, the difference between rushing and crawling is something that I may have to think about implementing... Perhaps I can abstract it by saying your unit can move up to a certain amount of spaces, but the more spaces they move, the higher chance of revealing their position... Thus moving at greater speed carries greater risk...

Thanks for all the great feedback!

FrankM
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A question of scale

A weapon that can be devastating or pointless depending on the size of a hex would be the M18 Claymore. When I trained on them, the standard remote-detonation cord was not long enough to get you out of the kill zone, so you had to be in a trench or behind something. The modern successor is about the size of a big smartphone, and I hope it has a wireless detonation option.

It always struck me as hilarious that the kill side of a Claymore literally says "FRONT" on it. And just in case that wasn't clear enough, right underneath it says "TOWARD ENEMY".

The Professor
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Oh, that's right

Frank...thank you for that. A friend of mine, a former Army Sergeant Major told me about the Claymore's tagline...that did make me laugh.

Ark1t3kt
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Scale Clarification

Haha, yes the claymore signage is pretty hilarious...

On a more serious note, I am envisioning quite a small scale for this game. (The entire map would be about the size of a large building.) Players will move there units orthogonally on a grid interspersed with various terrain. Therefore, a claymore would indeed be most devastating!

Although I'm leaning towards a sci-fi theme and therefore a claymore will probably not be featured, I do indeed to include options for several types of traps. (This concept really excites me, because usually traps are not that effective in board games - but since both sides are completely hidden from each other in this game, you wouldn't even know if your opponent was setting traps, let-alone know where they were.)

Are there any other ways of indirectly interacting with the enemy that you think would be applicable to this game?

X3M
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Various trap mechanics.

Traps are sometimes very visible indeed. However, you can place them as being a wall. The enemy has to go around them or gets hurt by them. I have this in the form of various mines that are placed as "walls" around the bases.

In your case, what if you could drop something when your unit tries to run away? Would that justify the trap?

I don't know if you know about spider mines from Starcraft. These mines have a sight radius. And actually cover a wider area. No need to step on them. Maybe you can do something similar. That is the sci-fi factor.

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