Just a quick note on this, to answer a question for our newest member to the small club that is wargamers.
Chess is to me a highly abstracted wargame. We have in Chess, 2 sides ‘at war’, units or pieces with unique abilities, and the ultimate goal of forcing the surrender of the enemy King.
You must plan, think ahead, know your objectives, understand the rules of engagement and how each piece works alone and in concert.
So the thought of chess versus Chess is one of experience and understanding or wisdom..perhaps?
As a chess player we can all move bits on a board and secure some level of competency But a Grand Master Chess player develops stratagems, openings, coup de grace moves, feints etc etc. Few achieve that state of ‘awareness’, few would likely want to?
Ultimately all the games we play are abstracted at various levels. We cannot simulate the horror of actual war. Thank goodness. So wargames are like chess at the macro level. But wargames in their thousands are expressions of a designer who desires to capture a moment in history and share it through their understanding of what happened. Some love to tinker, with ‘mechanics’ – how can I write a rule to make what happened on DD/MM/YYYY come to life? The reasons are varied, the results effectiveness are varied too.
What system best reflects the experience of commanding a platoon of soldiers or a squadron of Dragoons or an Apache Helicopter? Depending upon the period we have different tactics, different technology in weapons and different management styles (command). Those factors influence a games design, and how it plays also.
The mechanics of a game are one thing. Playing it well like a Grand Master another. Given there are so many games. We cannot master all of them. Let alone one! We have the blessing of many points in history to explore and many people sharing their view of what happened in an (hopefully) entertaining manner. So we can move through history or fantasy or the Star Trek series, relive, replay and review what happened, why and how it may have turned our differently.
Over time, many ‘mechanics’ or game ‘system’s or ‘procedures’ will become 2nd nature. Movement, CRT’s, ZOC’s, Reinforcements, and Supply. They will all have a connotation and inherent meaning. HOW they are implemented in a game is what people look for in new systems. Is there a better way than the tried and true Strike Force One ruleset ? Or Jena 20 series? Lots of failures, a few alluring success and the occasional masterpiece bubble to the surface to be discussed, played and feted upon by the Grognards ( defined & here traditional ) .
For now tho in order to be a player who progresses to the state of not only ‘knowing the rule’ for movement but knows WHEN to move and WHERE to move and WHY to move to A versus B; requires playing, exploring and if in a historical situation using or trying to use, some of the strategy and tactics of the time in question.
There are lots of knowledgeable players and writers and books and youtube videos on strategy and tactics. http://www.armchairgeneral.com/tactics-101-the-importance-of-mission-analysis-in-planning.htm is a place. Some of the articles here are an interesting spot to start for ‘ fundamentals’ of why and how soldiers, armies and forces in general do what they do. (I like this one too: decisive point ) I’m not saying you want to read all of these, but some of the high level ones will give you some flavour for some of the games you might play in the future.
Another place to lose hours of your day is www.boardgamegeek.com. There are even lists for new players to read about ‘how to get started’ Lots of reviews and articles there, lots of welcoming folks, but stick to your guns and make your own mind up as opinions are like….well we all know that saying.
The gaming world will take you where ever you want to go in time and space and as simple or complex as you desire. All you need to do is explore! If it is not fun, or engaging you then move on, trade it away or sell it.
Is wargaming like chess?
Yes, and No.