2. Operational: The planning level that constructs campaigns and
major operations in order to accomplish the theater goals articulated at the
strategic planning level; the intermediate planning level that integrates
tactical efforts and events into a campaign.
A campaign is a series of related joint actions (air, sea, land) designed
to achieve theater goals. A major operation is defined as a subset of a
campaign - the link between specific battles and the overall campaign. Thus
the strategic goals set determine the planning for the theater (campaign)
and with that determine the tactical (battles) that are intended to be
You, as the player, are primarily concerned with this part of the
process, guiding the campaign to achieve the strategic goal assigned to your
forces. Fail to achieve that, and no matter what else you may do, you have
3. Tactical: The planning level that deals with battles and
engagements. In the game actual combat actions.
A battle is a direct conflict between large tactical units (corps,
divisions) that have been committed as part of a major operation. An
engagement is a subset of a battle, fought by divisions and smaller units on
a scale that develops incidentally (even accidentally) in relationship to
the plan. For example, an engagement can occur unexpectedly as two forces
are moving. The key concept (for the players) is that in order for a battle
or engagement to be relevant, it must be directly related to the campaign
plan. Indeed, history abounds with examples of battles that should have not
been fought and that were irrelevant to the outcome of the campaign.
The player is responsible to ensure that the correct forces are used to
accomplish missions, to further the campaign. You (to use the cooking
analogy), ‘season’ the basic force with the ‘spices’ provided by
non-divisional units to make the chance of success as high as possible, at
the lowest cost in losses to your own forces. The actual deployment, force
structuring (in the battle), and conduct of the actual tactical actions are
‘below’ your level and handled by the corps and lower level commanders not
shown in the game. You ‘give them the tools’ in effect.
The impact of planning: A study of military history makes clear that
the demands of the three planning levels of war are often in competition.
Indeed it is fundamental to recognize that for example, what is good for the
tactical plan may be counterproductive for the operational plan and that
planning in warfare must deliberately prioritize among the objectives of the
three levels. The priorities are clear for the player, what the strategic
plan demands, the operational art must supply. Likewise the tactical
objectives must slavishly submit to the operational plan, or they lead to
ineffective, and often costly, diversions.
The player should make plans, and conduct actions, remaining constant
with this architecture which will lead to attaining the ‘victory’ goal set.
Effective planning, organization, and maintaining of the objective are vital
to success in the game as in real life.
Players should note that maneuver is as vital a tool for the commander as
is direct combat. Reduction in enemy combat power by supply reduction, or
increasing friendly combat power by attacking from multiple directions are
part of the change in emphasis in this system from others. Maneuver is
elevated to parity with pure combat power to reward superior planning and
execution of operations more than just the ability to mass firepower against
The map and ‘detail’: The map is NOT a detailed study of the terrain,
but instead is focused on the areas of concern for the operational
commander. Thus general terrain features, and transportation routes are
shown, but terrain is ‘graded’ as to the relative ability to pass through it
for large forces (the presence of a single road would render the area almost
impassable due to the funnel effect on a large force). Note that towns and
such have NO effect on combat at this level, while large urban areas do.
Transport lines, and ports are of high importance to large scale operations,
and have a greater level of representation accordingly.
Comments on specific rules:
Stacking in the series is designed to show the numbers of units that can
be easily fitted into the areas the hexes display. The three (3) stacking
types help point this out as well, making the planning ‘fit’ to the real
world space situations. We are dealing with some pretty wide variations in
space representations, (the full hex is 250.28 square miles, while Betio
island (the main action inthe Tarawa operation) is 0.45 square miles!). It
is vital to show a scale for stacking to eliminate many of the ‘gamer’
options that emerge when ‘land is land’ and the land mass of the hex is
clearly NOT the same as the full hex.
The game divides time into 15 day increments. There are 365.25 days in a
year, so division here provides for 24.35 ‘turns’. This does cause some
minor changes in months, (February picks up a couple days), other lose a
day. This ‘packaging’ is accepted to maintain the turns as half a month for
ease of historical reference (not just a turn sequence number). Think of it
as part of the ‘skewing’ that is mandated by having the rivers follow hex
sides. Just as we cannot actually invade the USSR on the 22nd of June, or
France on 10 May, but have to skew to the closest turn ‘date’ for play
Please remember that this is a ‘I go - You go" game system, so it is the
entire game turn that covers 15 days, with the player turns showing events
in the EXACT same 15 days, not one nations forces acting and another acting
in the next few days. The mechanics of the game create an artificial
separation of activity.
The unit movement ratings are based on the 5 day period, with the ratings
scaled to show the best movement rate the unit can obtain in clear terrain,
and friendly territory. ALL movement then scales from this starting point.
Instead of tracking the movement rate from the tactical view, it is from the
‘administrative’ viewpoint. The change over to this system eliminates all
this ‘fuss’ and makes movement much simpler.
The system now integrates movement of troop units, with the transport of
supplies. It also allows the integration of the impact of transport system
damage on national production systems. The system shows consistency for
material shipment by land, sea and air. It also brings into bear the impact
of actions such as air attack, and partisan activity on all aspects of
railroad operations, and the resulting impact on military operations.
The traditional ‘automatic victory’ attack by overwhelming odds is
presented with the more accurate ‘hasty attack’. The moving force tries to
‘bull’ its way through the enemy force without stopping and fully deploying
(as in a ‘combat’ type attack). The change gives the defenders the option to
‘delay’ or ‘DIP’ (die in place) based on force committed to the hex.
Limited intelligence and Deception units:
This brings the "fog of war" into the game at a recognized and official
level. The limiting of the ability to "be sure what is on the other side of
the hill", which brings that delightful element of uncertainty to the
players experience. This element is part of the requirement to place the
player into place as representing the historical commanders. It also
increases the realism felt by the player as it reduces the ‘omniscient’ view
point that players can exploit.
Based on the work done by Trevor N. Dupuy, Martin Van Creveld, and many
other analysts, its clear that there is an effect involved in combat that is
greater than the impact of the physical weapons involved. The bulk of this
impact comes from ‘soft factors’ which change, and cannot be easily measured
(compared to the rate of fire of a weapon for example). They are judgments,
and as such can be explained and justified more than hard shown. In this
system the factors are the result of my own research on the relative impacts
over time on each nations forces. The effects are NOT a mathematical change
to the combat ratings, but instead show column shifts. The effects are also
internal to each nation, rather than being subjective by the opposing force.
This system also allows variations in the various units (the ‘up or down’
marking) which brings even greater texture to the units in the game, without
artificially creating larger unit ratings and such. Thus identical TO&E
units can be shown to be more or less effective than their ‘kin’, without
creating a mess for play.
The ground combat system makes use of basic odds (force strength vs.
force strength) modified with column shifts for the effects that impact
combat. No change to the actual numbers (math) is needed.
The "mobility" rating is a measure of the tactical (battlefield) maneuver
capability of the force, where the movement rating shows their ability to
move over long distances.
The change over to making the "anti-tank" factor an ‘add on’ makes it
simpler to show that aspect of many AT weapons (they can fire at lots of
targets, they are just better at armored ones).
The whole concept of the ‘converging attack’ is to reinforce the size of
a hex, and the multiplication of force strength through the attack from the
flank or rear of an opposing force. This shows that the effective use of
‘maneuver’ can be a force multiplier.
The supply system is designed to show the need for adequate logistical
support to have successful operations, and how reduction the enemy supply
capability leads to less combat capability for them. The system also
incorporates the movement of supply in areas covered by the continental
system, a vital component in bringing more realism into the game. This
system ‘opens up the box’ better, making the impact of supply more graded,
and shows that while it is possible to sustain forces by air, but to sustain
large forces is most difficult. I have set the ‘value’ of cargo points to
‘375 ship tons’ to eliminate much of the cross confusion over the multitude
of weights and measures you get into when trying to find this type of
The rule is designed to bring the features of the partisan war, and the
security forces, to light. The combat system is designed to further
highlight that this type of operations requires a far greater manpower
commitment to fight, than to sustain. The security forces are really so
small and lightly armed that they rate nothing in pitched combat with
regulars, but they can provide ‘bodies’ in emergencies. Most of the time
they are operating in small packets dealing with the partisan forces, and
the special force elements sent into the rear area by the opposing forces.
The air system is designed to highlight the factors vital to air combat
and operations, Altitude, performance, weapons load, as well as doctrine,
experience, and many more. This system brings air operations into a level
equal to those of the land, in effect an ‘air commander’ specialty is now a
valid one compared to that of purely ground operations. Doing all this while
retaining the level of play ability required has been a challenge, but one
well worth the effort. The final step in this concept is the ‘full’
strategic air system (which brings the national production and strategic
bombing war into the game), including the en-route interception and AAA
combat, making planning of air operations a skill set rather than just an
The naval system currently is a simplified one, allowing only the effects
of naval action impact on ground campaigns to be portrayed. The effort is to
limit the player involvement regarding naval action to a bare minimum. The
full naval system module ‘inserts’ into all the games bringing the "naval"
command element up to par with the Ground and Air command levels.
The weather system is now closely linked with real world climate zones,
and with the variable nature of the internal weather effect of a player
turns weather (unknown until the beginning of the player turn, as to what
impulses will be impacted). The player is again looking forward with the
‘climate’ chart, and trying to plan in accordance with the ‘probable’
weather, and dealing with the actual (just like the real counterpart would
In the games, a defined set of conditions or goals to be achieved is laid
down to provide guides to the players as to what their goals are IN that
"Victory" in all the games in the series, and the total system, is really
a matter for the players to decide. The game will provide both sides with
the political guide as to the objective set out by the national command
authority, and the players will discuss the final state of things set
against the national goals, history, and their own views of these things.
The purpose of this exercise is to enjoy and learn, ‘victory’ from our view
point is this process.
Final design comments:
There is an introduction game ("Auspicious Beginning") for the OCMS
system, and as such it is using a battalion of heavy artillery to engage a
squad of infantry (‘just a little excessive’) in terms of the machinery
involved. However, it was felt that having a ‘low cost’ way to examine and
test the product was something people would desire. Once you have, you can
feel much more confident investing the funds and time into the large games
that make up the system. All the physical components are the same so you get
a good look at all of them for the lower price as well.
General tips for players:
In "The Maneuver Warfare Handbook" Contributors: William S. Lind -
author. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of Publication: Boulder, CO.
Publication Year: 1985.) German General Hermann Balck is quoted that in
warfare: "Therefore, one of the first principles has to be: There can be no
fixed schemes. Every scheme, every pattern is wrong. No two situations are
identical. That is why the study of military history can be extremely
Another principle that follows from this is: Never do the same thing
twice. Even if something works well for you once, by the second time the
enemy will have adapted. So you have to think up something new."
Balck is speaking of the real world, but it holds also for the games.
Your efforts are not in a vacuum, but are interacting with the opposing
player. You both have abilities, and both will experience learning curves.
Just as with anything that can be done over and over, experience on both
sides will lead to changes in play. Expect this, anticipate it, and you will
gain one advantage over the one who does not. You will be better able to see
and plan alternative means to the end state of the game. In the final
analysis it is you against the other player, (plan vs. plan, execution vs.
execution) that the game is showing you.
In the end, you should study history, and operational art to provide you
with the working tools to analyze the situation, and plan your campaign to
lead you to the stated end goal of your team. All else is waste and leads to
failure. BUT - it is YOUR plan, and YOUR execution of it that is being
‘tested’. This is why ‘leadership’ markers in a game are worth nothing in
the final analysis, since its still YOU that is making the plan and
executing the orders.
This is a game, the purpose of which is to provide you with both a
product that is enjoyable, educational, and rewarding;
- Enjoyable, in providing many hours of enjoyment;
- Educational, in providing you with understanding of the military
process, and history;
- Rewarding, in doing all this for a price that makes this a very cost
We hope that these objectives have been obtained, and you are both
enjoying and learning by playing the game, and predict that it will take
many plays before anything like the ‘doctrine’ or ‘sure fire’ play methods
You are most earnestly solicited to comment, and make play reports to the
discussion list on ‘Yahoo’
) to get a wider assortment of comments on the end state of your game, and
issues that arise in it. Answers to your questions will also be available
For the entire design team.