Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
They probably just wanted to make a distinction with, say, first
person shooter games or RTS or MMORPG or whatever. When I do reviews
for my magazine, which is mainstream PC magazine, with similarily
mainstream gaming section, every wargame I review is primarily
classified as "strategy" or "strategic game".
Then it's up to me to waste an opening paragraph to explain
that, in fact, Close Combat is a tactical "strategic game" as opposed
to tactical FPS (Ghost Recon for exaple) or brainless FPS (Quake Wars
for example) etc. Simply put - strategy exists as genre, tactical
games are not a genre on their own, just a subset of strategy games
(for most people at least).
Post by BP
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
Norm Koger gave excellent definition of tactical-operational
divide, I believe it was in the first TOAW manual. He said tactical
ends, and operational begins, when the ranges of individual direct
fire weapons do not matter anymore. I think it's an excellent
definition as when the tactical "realm" ends. The TOAW scale was
designed around this definition, as he specifically made hexes and
scales so that individual direct fire weapon ranges would not matter.
(IIRC there were some problems with TOAW 2 end extremely small
scales, because some modern direct fire wepons can be effective at
1km+ ranges, most older weapons can't.)
Today we have some hybrid games, like HTTR/COTA, where
individual weapon ranges DO matter, but the game is still low-level
operational in nature IMO. Even in grand strategic monster like WITP
we have some tactical elements, however it's still a strategic game,
just that it chooses to model as sorts of crap, including tactical
elements (which is usually a wrong decision).
For good definition of "operational" we should consult some
Soviet literature as IMO, late war Soviets were unsurpassed masters of
the operational level warfare.
This is the rule of thumb I use to classify the operational
level games - it's totally unscientific :o) If the game involves
player issuing mental orders like "take that city!" or "take that hill
by 0900 tomorrow!" - it's probably an operational level game LOL :o)
IMO, "strategic" games begin with the production. When
production, natural resources, railway network, alliances with other
states, raising new units etc come into play - it's strategic.