[Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles... - Page 8
  1. #71
    Thinking more on this interesting topic and how it relates to my 4e game...

    I feel like the players only go full bore CaW anymore when they have a suspicion their normal bags of tricks won't be enough, or be too risky. Which doesn't happen a lot. Or when they're so mad at a villain characters(s) that they feel the need to try and straight up shame them. Which happens a bit more often.

    Now thats not to say that they won't try and get an advantage before a fight (trying to get people in advantageous positions, split up the enemy a little, activate anything they can before their actual turn, etc), but thats basically just too get a little boost before they start fire bombing the place with their go to powers.

    And even then, they still just walk into a majority of standard seeming fights with a big grin on their faces and no plan, trusting in their high level of kick-butt-ness.

    Interestingly they have switched over to a more RaW mindset- Roleplaying as War. In which they will spend a pretty healthy chunk of time investigating, researching, and all around nit picking over their interactions with important seeming NPCs, always trying to go in as well armed as possible with information.

  2. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by KidSnide View Post
    This has been a consistent balance flaw for CaW games, but I don't think it is inherent to the genre. If you want to play a CaW game that is balanced between spellcasters and non-spellcasters, the non-spellcasters need access to resources (armies, spies, political influence) that are outside the normal combat and adventuring. These resources can come through "kingdom" management rules (for a broad definition of "kingdom"), or through rules that provide the resources without requiring hands-on management.

    Similarly, this kind of powerful out-of-combat spellcasting is only balanced with a hefty time/resource limitation so the spellcasters don't just recruit kingdoms of their own. In other words a tower should be a limitation, not a benefit. It's not that the wizard gets the tower, but that the wizard needs the tower so the wizard can store his difficult-to-procure ritual components and cast 8 hour long spells without interruption.

    -KS
    I'll agree with this. If the game provided significant non magical means of accomplishing things, AND specified that the non magical players MUST get them in the course of a regular game, THEN explicitly prohibited the wizard from using them, it would be at least possible in theory for magical and non magical characters to be able to contribute equally to a combat-as-war scenario.

  3. #73
    Member
    Guide (Lvl 11)



    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kendall Keep, Bissel
    Posts
    2,591
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block haakon1


    Ý Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by GSHamster View Post
    In many ways, CaW is about resource-management more than tactics.
    . . .
    But logistics also happens to encompass elements that are often the first elements to be singled out as "not-fun".
    Reordered your sentences to put it my way -- CaW requires resource managment, but the 4e WOTC staff largely wrote it out of the game as "unfun". Fascinating observation.

    This thread seems really good at parsing out why some people love 4e and others hate it. CaS v. CaW seems like a really deep differentiator! It even goes towards explaining the pejoratives people threw at each other during the edition wars -- 4e as being "video gamey" perhaps was a rough attempt at saying it's CaS and I don't like CaS, 4e anti-fans as "grognards" seems like a very apt description, but not for "people stuck with old ways", but for the original (well, second) meaning of the term, people who like wargaming, or people who prefer CaW.

    Is it just me, or is it amazing it took this long to figure out the root cause of the edition wars, and finally for each side to see WHY they couldn't get along?

    So it's even possible to fully support CaS and CaW in 5e?

  4. #74
    Member
    Guide (Lvl 11)



    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kendall Keep, Bissel
    Posts
    2,591
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block haakon1


    Ý Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagol View Post
    Where balance comes into play is internal contribution meters that people seem to run. CaW works extremely well as a team game. Some people want to feel they are contributing equally and can feel they are under-performing compared to other specialists depending on how the situations evolve.
    Interesting. I think for extreme role players, storytellers, or CaW players -- like most of my group -- folks don't typically care much about balance, since that's not what they came for.

    But a more CaS oriented player is really going to care about balance, even in a CaW oriented group, because he really wants to "keep score", even if he's only allowed a fair competition intraparty.

    And when you have multiple CaS players, and the system isn't balanced, or one of the players is better at builds, the "lesser" CaS player gets pissed. Whereas the CaW player in a mostly CaS group (i.e., me in the 4e group I'm player in) mostly just gets bored and looks like a casual, not very interested player.
    XP Hemlock gave XP for this post

  5. #75
    Member
    Gallant (Lvl 3)



    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Southern IL
    Posts
    98
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block Melhaic


    Ý Friend+
    Man. Read this last night and emailed the link to several people: it was like the ideas I have floating unformed in my head were made explicit. As many have said before in this thread, CaW vs. CaS may be the very reason that 4e has been so divisive. To some, balance is everything. To me, it is basically nothing. I was the guy sitting perplexed as folks were over joyed at the idea of perfectly balanced classes: it just never really seemed to matter that much to me from either side of the screen.

    The CaS/CaW divide also seems to mirror closely the character skill/player skill divide: if you want well balanced encounters where the characters are expected to be able to prevail based on personal power, the scheming and resource management side of combat is pointless. The guys I play with (and myself as DM) felt bored and short changed by the "consistent" nature of 4e combat. Combat should be swingy, and reward heavily the side that came up with the nasty rat bastard plan.

    Oh, and as an addition that you can take or leave: almost everyone I play with is in the military, and most of us have seen actual combat. It isn't very sporting, FYI.

  6. #76
    Member
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    London England
    Posts
    17,165
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block S'mon


    Ý Friend+
    Very interesting analysis; I might quibble with the terminology (Clausewitzian/Greek/Western 'War' traditionally shows characteristics of your combat-as-sport), but this is a very insightful discussion which puts the 1e to 4e difference in a revealing new perspective.

    I guess I enjoy both, but I don't like giving up the 'war' for the 'sport', as can often happen with 4e, so if I had to choose it would be the 'war'.

    I think this explains why high level 3e combat does not work - it's totally situation/advantage dependent, a 'war' game, but is very very crunchy and lengthy, which only works in a 'sport' game. Also explains the issue with 4e 'grind' - sport combat is only interesting while the outcome appears in doubt.

  7. #77
    Member
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    London England
    Posts
    17,165
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block S'mon


    Ý Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Cadfan View Post
    I
    In a "combat as war" game, unless you have rules for combat as war, and you generally don't, if the game is players "versus" anything, then that anything has to be the DM. The DM may be seriously trying to come up with reasons the PCs plans don't work, or the DM may be play fighting with the PCs, coming up with just enough complications to make things difficult, but no more. But that's what's going on. There's nothing else that COULD be going on.
    ??? NO.

    The normal Combat-as-War DM's role is to create the situation, then objectively arbitrate what happens when the PCs act, without favour to either side. This is made clear in the 1e DMG, which I would encourage you to read, especially the discussion of what happens when PCs attack a crypt, an orc cave, a bandit camp and an organised fortress.

    The DM acts in the tradition of the judge in the Prussian kriegspiel, in this case D&D Combat-as-War is semi-free kriegspiel. He is not there to favour either the PCs or their foes.

  8. #78
    Member
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    London England
    Posts
    17,165
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block S'mon


    Ý Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by haakon1 View Post
    Indeed. That works OK for me (as a CAW DM) because I DM very slowly -- over email, nobody has to see the prep that goes into it, and in my live game (a separate game) we can only meet 2-3 times a year.

    CAW also typically requires you to use modules (to cut back on the work) and they need to be pretty deeply written, with a Simulationist approach for it to work. (Paizo is pretty good at putting the extra love in for that.)
    I certainly find that DMing 1e AD&D, over text-chat, while using Gygax's "Yggsburgh" sandbox, is perfect for the combat-as-war style. It's a far cry from DMing 4e, which works best at the tabletop with minis, props, and a set of balanced encounters I can run.

    Good Things for Combat As War:
    1.Simple rules that lend themselves to DM adjudication - 1e not 3e or 4e.
    2. Time and space to think strategically - for CAW Text Chat at home is easier than DMing in a noisy pub after work.
    3. A pre-created environment in a broad style that lends itself to easy adjudication, like Yggsburgh. NOT a linear string of pre-written encounters like most any WoTC adventure.

  9. #79
    Member
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    London England
    Posts
    17,165
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block S'mon


    Ý Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Target View Post
    I think one of my problems with CaW is that its so biased towards spell casters in the older editions.
    IME in pre-3e non-casters could hope to get the drop on casters, in which case they'd typically kill them quite easily (M-Us especially), or even meet them on an even field, in which case they'd have a good chance of success although the casters might escape. Casters had good options to get the drop on non-casters, but above 4th level (Sleep) it was very hard to reliably take down non-casters with spells. It was a well-balanced game.

    3e destroyed this balance above about 4th level - massively boosted spell power, spells becoming harder not easier to save against, reliable in-combat casting, powerful buff spells, et al, so that non-casters could only compete vs fellow PCs in the 4-balanced-encounters-daily dungeon crawl, and were far less effective in PC vs NPC struggles. It quickly became so that only NPC casters could threaten PCs, and those NPCs had to be DM'd kindly, not really using their high INT and resources, to give the PCs a chance.

  10. #80
    Member
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Seongnam (Seoul, South Korea suburb)
    Posts
    547
    Reviews
    Read 0 Reviews

    Ý Block Daztur


    Ý Friend+
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Well, balance in the game. A DM can imbalance an encounter in 4e, it's just more likely that if he does, he's done so intentionaly.

    Those resources don't exist at a game level, not just an encounter level. It's not just combat, it's the whole game that's different. Game as Sport is pretty nearly tautological. Sports are Games. Really, on one hand you've got Game as Game - which is to say, balanced, with rules that actually work and provide for a challenging & engaging (hopefully fun) play. What's 'Game as War,' really? A game where the rules are just an obstacle to be overcome? Who are you at war with? Or just a game veryone's taking way too seriously...?
    As for what I mean by the difference between CaS and CaW, itís based on an analogy to online PvP games, as I said in the OP. Sport Player vs. Player combat (PvP) includes World of Tanks, League of Legends, Counterstrike, MMORPG arena play, etc. basically any game in which thereís PvP between two equal teams with a definite start and end. Itís like a sports match. Hereís a MMORPG blog post by someone who likes that kind of game: Tobold's MMORPG Blog: World of Tanks balance

    War PvP is like PvP in Eve Online, Ultima Online and open world PvP in any MMORPG or MUD. There are no set teams, no matches, so set start and end of combat (Eve has had wars with thousands of players on each side that lasted over a year). Actual fights in these games are often turkey shoots and a lot of the gameplay (especially in Eve Online) revolves around the strategy/logistics/economics/politics necessary to make sure that youíre on the right side of the turkey shoot. Hereís a MMORPG blog post by the self-aggrandizing leader of the Goon (Something Awful forum members) alliance about how he won a recent war: Sins of a Solar Spymaster #73: Painful Lessons - Branch Falls | Ten Ton Hammer

    Makes sense? I think the same kind of split in gameplay applies to tabletop games.

    Just having the DM set up unbalanced encounters doesnít turn CaS into CaW, thatís just crappy unbalanced CaS (like setting up a high school team against an NFL team doesnít make it stop being sports). Whatís important to make CaW tick is that whether the encounters are easy or hard in the first place depends radically on actions that the PCs take before the combat starts. When you start to figure in those kinds of actions balance thatís focused solely on tactical power falls to pieces.

+ Log in or register to post
Page 8 of 47 FirstFirst 123456789101112131415161718 ... LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Similar Threads

  1. New Ranger combat styles
    By Logan in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR Gaming
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Wednesday, 12th August, 2009, 11:53 AM
  2. combat styles for fighters
    By Kerrick in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR Gaming
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: Saturday, 18th June, 2005, 04:12 PM
  3. New Ranger Combat Styles
    By A2Z in forum Older D&D Editions (4E, 3.x, 2E, 1E, OD&D), D&D Variants, and OSR Gaming
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: Monday, 14th March, 2005, 02:48 PM
  4. Ranger Combat Styles?
    By dagger in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Monday, 8th December, 2003, 10:37 PM
  5. 3.5 Ranger Combat Styles
    By Merlion in forum Roleplaying Games General Discussion
    Replies: 68
    Last Post: Saturday, 15th March, 2003, 08:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •