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Why Tractics now?

Most of the buyers of one of the nearly identical print versions of Tractics came from the Facebook fan group for Tractics. Most were familiar with Tractics. So when we released the PDF version, Gene S. made a reasonable

suggestion. Change your description of your game. Describe the game, not the changes.

Indeed, we focused so much on the Updated rules and how they evolved, Mike and I added more to the Wargame Vault description.

Click the WV link to see what we wrote.

When it comes to Pro & Con, the biggest "pro" is the detailed outcomes of the DFM and the Observation & Detection. The latter is inherent in hidden setup and movement. With few rules to support it, O&D provides a lot of suspense and excitement. Admittedly, it only works with a Judge or a Defender who performs the same process.

DFM, the Direct Fire Mode, helps to write the narrative of the game as it tells exactly what happened to the shot that hits a vehicle. This detailed resolution is much more memorable than a single roll of, say, a "6" and your Tiger tank is knocked out.

OTOH DFM used to be viewed as a "con" to some of the early generation of wargamers. It's detailed and takes a while to learn how it works. Even then the process takes a bit of time to resolve. This is not all bad! The anticipation of waiting builds suspense and that was always part of the enjoyment for us. Especially when we were on the attack, and waiting in an adjacent room then hear dice rolling!

Of course, there is a practical limit to how big one can make the order of battle in a game including detailed resolution. This is always a problem with what I call Grandiose Gamers—a phrase I coined to describe myself first. Bigger is not necessarily better. Our smaller scenarios with tweaks, surprises, and oddities were more memorable. How to dream those up? I suggest browsing through the US Army "Green Books" especially the photo volumes (which I was lucky enough to have physical copies of) or Handbook on German Military Forces—both free online now. One photo and its caption could launch a scenario idea for me.

Gene S. reports in:

Hi Bill. Thanks for listening. I took the risk and picked it picked up the book. I'm really liking it so far. I like the layout. I'm just trying to figure out how to get started. Any good ideas on soloing it would be appreciated. No AI I will assume but it would be great ;). I understand the concept of a ref but It's just me and a barely interested wife. Lol.

This question is a good one and both Mike and I working on it. Probably will appear in the next Duckbills.

My final "pro" for Tractics is that it recommends the benefits of a judge & "hiddenness". Many contemporary rulesets are oriented to getting one's forces on board quickly or from the beginning. "TOT" all Toys On Table is an understandable desire for gamers who did a lot of work modeling beautiful tanks and troops. However, this makes the gamers 5000' Generals who see all, know all. That is certainly unrealistic. How rulesets combat this excess knowledge is to build in a lot of "grit" to throw in the gears. But these phase rolls of lots of dice are abstract rather than representing clearcut probabilities. Tractics doesn't do that. The hiddenness puts a lot of that back in without rules or rolls.

Another benefit to having a judge is the ease with which one can introduce new players who don't have to learn the contemporary rulesets abstractions. One can find many more players without having that rules learning hurdle.

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