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How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
01-04-2020, 07:58 PM, (This post was last modified: 01-04-2020, 08:18 PM by Mowgli.)
#1
How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
Having absolved my first couple of PBEMs, there is one thing I keep wondering. Maybe the veterans can give me their opinion on this. 

My question is: How much am I supposed to know about a scenario when/before I play it? In particular, I'm refering to the enemy units' initial dispositions and composition, supply/command levels (perhaps even locations of supply sources), reinforcements, nuclear/chemical weapon allowances, etc. etc. All the stuff you can see when you load a fresh scenario from the opposing side's perspective. Obviously the things that can be found in the parameter data are common knowledge for both sides, but what about this other stuff?

It is obvious that knowledge or the lack thereof can make a huge difference. For example, in one of my PBEMs, I didn't know whether the opponent had a supply source on the near side of the river, so I cautiously assumed he had and therefore didn't dare to defend against his crossing. 

It is also an important question for balancing (in particular: time limits). I sometimes get the impression that some scenarios might be balanced based on the assumption that both players know the starting positions and capabilities of the opposing side but of course I could be wrong. 

How do you handle this? Do you try to go into your games totally blind? Do you expect it of your opponent? Unfortunately, the scenario-descriptions never give players any instructions on this. And it's also just natural that the evil (?) temptation to take a look is always there. And I've even found myself taking looks without any evil afterthoughts at all - when I had to pick a scenario and I needed to check whether a scenario had a suitable size and would be fun to play for both sides (e.g.checking the number of "fixed" units...). It's hard to "unsee" things.
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01-05-2020, 01:09 AM,
#2
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
Great question.
I was wondering that as well and thinking about creating a thread for it - I'm really looking forward to the responses.

Until now I always played blind but as soon as I played a scenario a second time I had some knowledge about initial positions, especially with mirror games.

By now I think having a look at the starting situation of the opponent is the way to go to "even the playing field".
"Tapfer. Standhaft. Treu." - PzGrenB.13 Ried/Innkreis
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01-05-2020, 03:01 PM,
#3
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
There are some old threads about this question, and varying opinions. I believe the overall consensus was agree with your opponent on this, maybe. I know for myself, first off I playtested quite a few scenarios in the games, so I had some knowledge, although I haven't played much recently, outside of playtesting. I focused more on playing blind, although I would generally look at the strength dialog, and maybe a quick glance at the strategic map, but not anything down to the hex by hex level.

Rick
[Image: exercise.png]
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01-06-2020, 09:04 AM,
#4
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
(01-05-2020, 01:09 AM)KAreil Wrote: Great question.
I was wondering that as well and thinking about creating a thread for it - I'm really looking forward to the responses.

Until now I always played blind but as soon as I played a scenario a second time I had some knowledge about initial positions, especially with mirror games.

By now I think having a look at the starting situation of the opponent is the way to go to "even the playing field".

This really depends on the scenario and historical situation. As the germans drove towards Smolensk the Germans had no idea what was ahead of them and the soviets no idea what was comng, hence should be played blind by both players. The battle of Stalingrad and operation Uranus the soviets had a good idea what was in front of them as did the Germns so some knowledge would be reasonable. With Minsk 44, the lines had been stable for a long time and the Russians would have had a very good idea of enemy deployement but as the Soviets had operational surprise the Germans should be played blind.
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01-06-2020, 10:56 PM,
#5
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
Hm, indeed one way to go about it is to stick to the knowledge that both sides had "historically". The problem is that you never know if this was also the apporach around which the designer has balanced his scenario. 

I don't want to come off as overly competitive. It's just that games in which both players have a chance to win (points-wise - even very asymmetrical scenarios can be balanced) are more exciting to play.
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01-07-2020, 06:06 AM,
#6
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
We have had a whole host of views on this topic when it was discussed at various points in the past, just reading the scenario description does not give nearly enough detail especially when the opposing forces depicted in the scenario have been in contact over a period of time and opening the scenario and having a detailed look at the opposition side provides way too much information, unfortunately there is no middle ground to default to!

So unless agreed by players before the scenario is started you should assume your opponent has a level of knowledge of your forces greater than what can be gleaned from the scenario description and is not playing "blind".

The situation in the WW1 titles in slightly improved as for many scenarios Ed has comprehensive notes that add more "flesh" to the description, as I don't have many PzC titles I can't comment if the situation is similar in this regard but I suspect a percentage of players do not take the time to read the additional scenarios notes contained in the designer notes where they do exist.

One last comment I would add is that it viewing your opponents units prior to the start of a scenario has never been considered cheating provided there was no agreement between opponents not to do so.
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01-07-2020, 08:59 AM,
#7
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
Interesting question Mowgli! I don't consider it cheating, but I've never discussed it with an opponent (or been asked not to) and have always assumed my opponent did the same? Many of us have played some scenarios (the good ones) multiple times, so I don't think it's an earth-shattering change to the play balance?

Personally, if I am playing a scenario for the first time, I will usually look at initial dispositions so that I understand what's there, or what's coming, especially if it's a shorter scenario since time will be of the essence, either thru speed if I'm attacking or delay if I'm defending. In my experience, much of it will change after the first turn anyway!

Since we have played (and are currently) I guess we will have to clarify for the future my friend!
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01-07-2020, 06:52 PM,
#8
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
(01-07-2020, 06:06 AM)Mr Grumpy Wrote: So unless agreed by players before the scenario is started you should assume your opponent has a level of knowledge of your forces greater than what can be gleaned from the scenario description and is not playing "blind".

One last comment I would add is that it viewing your opponents units prior to the start of a scenario has never been considered cheating provided there was no agreement between opponents not to do so.

(01-07-2020, 08:59 AM)larsonney Wrote: Personally, if I am playing a scenario for the first time, I will usually look at initial dispositions so that I understand what's there, or what's coming, especially if it's a shorter scenario since time will be of the essence, either thru speed if I'm attacking or delay if I'm defending. In my experience, much of it will change after the first turn anyway!

Thanks for your answers!

Indeed it seems to me that some of the small and short scenarios in particular are not supposed to be played fully blind, as any reasonably cautious approach would simply not be fast enough.

So from now on, I can take a quick look at the initial dispositions of the enemy and not feel too dirty about it? Big Grin
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01-14-2020, 12:49 PM,
#9
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
Play it blind, but set yourself a "stage".
What I mean and what I usually do is read wiki article or another good source covering this battle, and read it up to the point where the detailed description of the battle starts. From that point on I play. That in combination with the scenario description is enough to bring you more or less on the same level of knowledge that the commanders had back then.
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01-15-2020, 12:56 AM,
#10
RE: How much of a scenario do you ought to know (when you start playing it)?
I try to play them blind but there are not many which I have not played or playtested over the years.
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