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Author Topic: Creating a Area Control Model that could be tailored for different periods  (Read 647 times)

Offline terrement

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 140
Area Control Model
When helping a guy with his KS project for 1970's style gang battles in NY (see "The Warriors" https://www.imdb.com/video/vi272284185?playlistId=tt0080120&ref_=tt_pr_ov_vi )

His concept was to have two maps - a "strategic" one covering the neighborhoods of NYC, and a tactical one for the hand to hand battles.  I fed him some ideas but he never made a decision on what he actually wanted to accomplish with the strategic map other than a general concept of territorial ownership and in the end, his non-commitment to (or non-identification of) that part of the KS collided with the end date, so he only did the minis and the tactical map.
Search for "Street Wars NYC: 1970's Street Gang Miniatures Game" on KS.

In thinking about the concept, generically it could be used for a wide range of periods - Roaring 20's with different gangs, later with "The Godfather" and the five families, gang wars like The Warriors, Bloods vs Cripps, drug gangs, generic "authorities vs rebels", post apoc survival vs other groups (military, law, gangs, disorganized civilians and of course, Zeds) - with only minor tinkering.

Some of the questions I had were:
Level of detail -
Trade-off of detail vs impact on game
Bookkeeping vs gaming
And some concepts I had were:
Control of an area is essential – source of revenue, gang members, your reputation, etc.
Events that occur in any area impact those in the area directly
Events that occur in other areas impact your decisions whether they are positive or negative
Firm control increases your rep which in turn affects your influence over the area and your ability to prosper and spread your influence
Loss of control is the adverse opposite in effect
Certain actions or events will trigger events driven by lesser role forces.
Lesser role forces can be influenced by actions you take

Is there an actual niche for this or is it just a conceptual "good idea" but too hard to nail down?

Let's start with Level of Detail or "Scope"
In any of these, there will be some identifiable group who nominally should be in control.  They could be a player operated group, or AI.  So as an example, the NYPD, & City of NY Govt (Mayor, Borough) or similar.  The competing forces would be the five families and their minions.  Lesser roles could be included such as news organizations, TV, neighborhood organizations, the church, "outside voices" whether protestors, guys like Al Sharpton (not necessarily racial, just a 'name' guy who will run you over if you get between him and a TV camera and microphone, etc.).  The lesser roles can't win or lose.  They are just road bumps that could affect play. 

Now, this could be done just on a "big picture" level by borough (Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, etc.) like nations are in Empires of the Middle ages.  At the start of a turn, an event card is pulled and the effects of the event are applied before any player.  It could be something like “Increased police presence in areas X, Y and Z”. Any Street Actions in these areas shift # levels down in probability of success” So things would be more difficult there but not impossible.  Or “You score a major drug deal with a new source in Central America.  Income increased by $$$ for ## turns.  Reputation increases by #, Probability of News Coverage increases by ## and trigger level for Increased Police Patrols increases by ##”.  There would be a variety of cards that could be positive, negative, or situationally dependent.  Perhaps that last card would only come into play if your Don has a Reputation > X, otherwise, no effect.

Or, you could drill down and play it at the neighborhood level.  Perhaps having a generic neighborhood for each mob.  Head of the mob needs $$$ and Influence to function – these are needed to recruit and retain gang members.  Funding for (whatever) which could include money spent on bribes, opportunities like an outsider with “merchandise” that could be sold – guns, drugs, merchandise, information.  Money can be raised by protection rackets applied to businesses in your area, income from your regular illicit activities (gambling, vice, drugs, smuggling etc.), and any businesses you can take over (unions, and the trades they represent), successful raids in opponents neighborhoods, contracts you are paid to do (from the mild like roughing up a target in a threatening but non-lethal manner all the way to a double tap followed by a pair of concrete overshoes for the “lucky” individual).

Gang on gang contact could be played out with miniatures.  From the minor leagues where you send a group of teen thugs (bats, chains, knives, Molotov cocktails) to wreak havoc of some sort in a neighbor’s area for whatever reason to the major leagues where your heavy hitters are looking to take people out.  “Rules of the World” on the street is generally understood to be that the norm is to match proportionately, so street thugs vs street thugs, heavies vs heavies.  Not required but crossing that line  would have repercussions across the board – opposite mobs, police, city hall, newspapers, citizens, etc.

Reputation combined with money provides Influence.  There would need to be some mechanism where the Influence each Don has is limited but directly proportional to their power.  Influence could be spent as needed to try to bribe city officials, pay off cops, change the coverage in the news, attract outside sources.  Deals will likely be made with the more successful groups.  Hires and recruitment will have a percentage of better people.  Businesses will be more easily persuaded to cooperate up to and including being bought out.  Likely other ways as well.
The catch is, you need to maintain spending influence to keep it.  Failure to do so will cause a drop in your Rep, have an effect on your level of control.  So you’ll need to not overreach with your efforts, keep if not increase your Influence, and take actions that will lower the influence of your opponents.

I used NYC gangsters and the Mob in this example, but I think the concepts could be modified to cover the other examples I gave where this sort of thing might be useful.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Comments?  Criticisms?  Worthwhile thing to pursue as an adjunct to your ongoing game setups/campaigns as well as a generator of scenarios?  Could work but would require constant tinkering as flaws in design and generation of unexpected consequences adversely affect your game? More trouble than it is worth?
I really like the idea but getting my arms around it has been problematic and much as I hate to say so I suspect the combined wisdom of the good folks here will be what I’m thinking – more trouble than it is worth.  Still, I'd like to hear what others think.

Offline S_P

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 516
Re: Creating a Area Control Model that could be tailored for different periods
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2021, 02:44:19 AM »
It is something I'm looking at myself but from a COIN perspective... there are lots of interesting boardgames you can draw on, also it reminds me of this pbm game I played as a teeen: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Crime_(play-by-mail_game) you could see if the rules are about anywhere.

To really get into it the 'campaign' side would probably take precedent over the 'skirmish' side, as well as the perennial problem in these such things of a single 'campaign' turn generating too many 'skirmishes' to be played out on the tabletop in sufficient time to keep things moving along....

Offline terrement

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 140
Re: Creating a Area Control Model that could be tailored for different periods
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2021, 04:35:14 AM »
Thanks for the reply.  If you can suggest any boardgames I'll see what I can dig up.

Don't know how much we can get from it but ran down your lead on It'sles  a Crime.  Found the page with working links for the rules.  Haven't checked all of the links but the ones I did all worked.  Some of the functionality doesn't function  - like generating orders for submission - but I don't think that would be a problem.

I'll try to read what's there over the weekend.

If you want to LMK what you are trying to do in your COIN games, I'll look for that in my research as well.  For gameplay, what you suggest is a good point.  For a regular gaming group if you have the equivalent of an RPG GM, they could "do the math" between gaming sessions.  But getting bogged down is a concern of mine.  In the movie (remake) of Sabrina, at some point the actress tells another actor uncertain about what he should choose, she tells him that sometimes more isn't better...it's just more.  Some years back, I was providing some analysis of a homegrown set of Old West rules for an online group.  The gent with whom I was communicating had set up a detailed nightmare of logistics and bookkeeping that would take a great deal of time and effort for no appreciable benefit.

Part of it included considering different firearms as completely different animals.  A Colt .45, a Walker .44, (and some others) were all called out individually.  Ammo for each was unique and only stocked in certain towns.  So if you had a .45 you had to buy it in Bishop, or Santa Rosa.  .44 was at Fort Lewis, or Sandbridge.  The guns had marginal performance differences which more often than not made no appreciable difference.  If you got shot with a .44 or a .45, the result on your body would be essentially the same.  A lot easier to not split hairs on bullet availability, and grouping weapons into common groupings.  Both of the referenced six guns would be heavy handguns. Mediums would be the .32-.38 range and smaller like .20, .22, .25 pocket pistols as light handguns.  Logical differentiation could include reloading a cap and ball as opposed to cartridge gun of the same caliber, and a pocket pistol / derringer of a given caliber would have a range and accuracy difference from longer barreled guns.

Close for now but more to follow.

Offline Easy E

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1674
  • Just some guy who does stuff
    • Blood and Spectacles
Re: Creating a Area Control Model that could be tailored for different periods
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2021, 03:22:25 PM »
When if comes to campaigns and strategic maps, less is more. 

Since the focus of the game is Minis on the table anything outside of that is an area that needs abstraction.
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