[messages] [Feature Requests] Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

blachorn at comcast.net blachorn at comcast.net
Tue Apr 17 17:30:51 MST 2012

Hummm.......  actually I do a good bit of training with my job, what I have found is that if you don't explain/make the person understand the basic concepts and let a program simply do it for you - they never learn the basic concepts.  Yes the program makes it quicker/easier but the learning is not there.  To your point if a card says you "must" do something it speeds play, but does the person pickup on the reason. 

Case in point, ASL - if some one could write the mod so all the rules are enforced [which current state of the art I don't believe is possiable], a great deal of the learning curve would be lost.  Talke a simple LOS with height variations in the terrain, let alone a cave in a cliff face.  :-) 

Not saying the enforcements are incorrect or do not help learning - just have the feeling they can be used as a crutch in some cases. 

Point B - like I said some companies will have issues. 

Point C - missed my point here I believe, not looking to tweak the mod, just the rules.  Take for example A3R, there are lots of variants that people have developed that having rules enforced would keep them from using. 

Actually I wasn't aiming the comments at TS, which someday I hope to break the shrinkwrap on and acutally learn how to play.  Currently just sitting on my game shelf for lack of time.  :-( 

Just my thoughts on what I saw as the over all conversation. 

Regards, Jeff 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Michael Kiefte" <mkiefte at dal.ca> 
To: "The mailing list for VASSAL" <messages at vassalengine.org> 
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 6:42:43 PM 
Subject: Re: [messages] [Feature Requests] Feature requests.. simple ones,        I think 

> From the user end, I'd perfer not to have the rule's enforced; 
> A. it forces me to learn them 

40% of my job is teaching and I've found that reading books and lecturing is next to nothing compared to hands-on experience. 

I believe that learning a game comes from playing it, not reading the rules.  Personally, I can read the rules two or three times and still not get all the nuances until I play it.  When I reread the rules afterwards, then it finally sinks in.  Having a module that speeds the pace of play accelerates this process.  Paths of Glory is a perfect example.  The rulebook is much longer than you'd expect given the actual game.  And reading the rulebook is hopeless without actually playing it. 

In any case, the TS module is not fully rules-enforced; For example, if you play a card that says you must place 2 influence in Vietnam, then the program places the influence in Vietnam for you.  However, if the card says that you must place 5 influence in Eastern Europe, the program doesn't stop you from placing it in Asia.  Why the difference?  In the first case, the player would have to manually place 2 influence in Vietnam, which is silly, because the game knows this must happen and doing it yourself is a waste of time.  However, in the latter case, you have to manually place influence anyway, so there is no speed efficiency in disallowing the player from placing influence in Asia.  This is the big difference between this module and Wargameroom's implementation. 

Similarly, if you are required to discard a 2-Op card, the module enumerates them and lets you click on one to discard -- again it's just to speed it up. Not really to enforce the rules -- although it does that too. 

The other enforcements are more like reminders.  For example, I often forgot to place influence from NORAD when DEFCON went to 2, so the module tells you to.  So the rules enforcement is largely to speed the game up.  I can play TS online in about an hour.  On the table, it can take 2 at least. 

So back to your original point, the module is a great learning tool.  In addition, when debates regarding subtle rules interactions have come up on BGG, the implementation in TS has often been correct.  There was a particularly controversial debate that was finally decided by Jason Matthews that fell in my favour (regarding the samantics of "if" clauses on the cards)! 

> B. it would mean you don't need the rulebook, which I have the feeling a few publishers might have an issue with 

GMT supplied me with the original graphics and posted the module on their website.  They know it's a very popular module and they have been very encouraging. 

That's not true of another company I've dealt with, but I don't talk to them any more. 

> C. I can tweak them as I feel needed. 

Go wild.  Someone asked me for the code once.  It's all there.  The source is not in the module because of its size, but I'll give it away.  Programming traits and properties is not really that easy anyway!  It's not really harder to make custom traits. 

- M. 

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