Author Topic: TSR's Hunt for Red October  (Read 513 times)

bayonetbrant

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on: September 22, 2021, 04:34:27 PM
Analyzing the TSR 'classic' Hunt for Red October

Is it a wargame if it's all 'theme' without understanding? Or do you need the "why" explicitly spelled out for you?
And are you going to try to answer those questions without bothering to read the article first to understand what the author is getting at? 😆

https://www.armchairdragoons.com/articles/analysis/hfroanalysis/

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BanzaiCat

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Reply #1 on: September 22, 2021, 04:50:56 PM
Good article. The game was somewhat underwhelming to me back in the day (a friend of mine had it), but it grew on me a bit with play.

You can combine this with the TSR Red Storm Rising game as well. I have a copy of HfRO myself and RSR maybe in the near future.



bbmike

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Reply #2 on: September 22, 2021, 06:23:16 PM
From first look, The Hunt for Red October does not appear like a “typical” wargame.

In 1988, when this game was released, I would agree with that statement. Today, I'm not so sure.
That said, BC is right. Good article!  :bigthumb:

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GROGnadsUSA

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Reply #3 on: September 23, 2021, 02:24:18 AM
Hoi y`alls also, as 'moi' "Games Groupies" had delved/dwelled upon THESE at the concerned times for their releases. The ONLY other 'Modern/Contemporary' Naval Series  sort of 'Games' we engaged 'into' was: "Modern Naval Battles". We were reminded for such due to either having 'Vennish Diagrammatical' sequence of "Combats" allocations, if 'moi' recollections ARE: "Correctiveiffimentally" purported? That 'Combo'-type 'Game' took well over 2-3--hours per 'Turn' because you have to complete 2-of-ONE and still proceed unto the other ONE!  Mostly whenever we got into some 'Naval Engagement Encounters' then, we'd break out the combined "Victory at Sea"-("War at Sea-II and V.i.t.P."), or "Jutland", and perhaps several copies for "North Cape"-( based on "G.Q. I & II) with copious 'Ships'-(just NO 'Carriers'!). They were omitted/avoided since almost everyone desired devoutly 'purest purist puerile' tendencies, so, yes their "Toys Factoring-in" with 'Ship-to-Ship' battles! Certainly, we also had 'P.B.'--"Conflict", or them 'American Heritage' assortment, and once "Axis & Allies" arrived, then there were plenty of others; nee 'TSR'--"Buck Rogers etc.", 'XENO'-"A&A"--series, "Mid-East Combat"-(more modernized "A&A" set up circa 1950/1960?), or much more recently for "Superpowers"-(up to 8-Players). The last there even features 'National Special Abilities' of which provide extra specific capabilities/builds each 'Faction' shall employ.     



bayonetbrant

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Reply #4 on: September 23, 2021, 12:18:05 PM
Some different comments from FB groups

Quote from: John David Salt
Certainly it would have been better if the game had been able to include extensive designer's notes; I'm always ready to read more designer's notes. But I think the piece rather over-eggs the allegations of disconnection from the theme. Yes, the game is more about naval war in the north Altlantic generally than about the plot of the film -- and a good job too, I reckon. While the presentation -- big flat box, stand-up counters, big mounted map -- is decidedly Eurogamish, to me the game looks like a very good job of representing the essentials of modern naval warfare in a nicely simplified form. Most modern naval games -- Harpoon, I'm looking at you -- are pretty dreadful, perpetuating the lamentable tradition since Fletcher Pratt of excessive niminy-piminy detail, while missing the core essential of all naval operations -- find, fix, and strike. The game manages to put the proper emphasis on search in a playable way, and also gives players the concepts of task force organisation, AAW and ASW screens, and order of attack. Even without designer's notes, I think most players are going to pick those up, though their naval experience may be limited to once round the pier in the "Saucy Sue". I don't think it would be unfair to say that "Hunt for the Red October" does a better job of capturing the essentials of modern naval tactics than VG's popular "Fleet" series or SPI's old "Task Force", and is streets ahead of "Harpoon".


Quote from: David Manley
I agree that naval wargaming does have some of the most pernickety rules out there (although not exclusively so, I recall having "fun" with Challenger, and then there SPI's "Air War".....) I was not impressed with Fletcher Pratt, despite its historical significance, mainly because it had players having to make decisions that they as ships captains would not have been involved in, without aids that their subordinates would have enjoyed. I was told off by an umpire in an FP game for turning up with a 1 metre rule with protractors and simple sights on the ends so that I could mimic the rangefinder with which my ship was fitted - not allowed (so I hacked them of by asking whether we had to set speed by engine revolutions and boiler pressures, and course by rudder angles 🙂 - "shut up Manley")


Quote from: Renaud Verlaque
I enjoyed the read. I think the vast majority of "eurogamers" would react with a blank stare at the idea of playing this game, and not just because the designer fails to explain the rationale for the mechanisms. The topic would be a turn-off for most of them. That leaves the rare person who liked the book and bought the game, thinking it'd be a fun way to reenact the book, but who would probably regret their purchase because it's just too damn complicated! Designer notes might help a few persevere, but not most, I think. I personally welcome designer notes, but I do not require them. I almost like it better if I can perceive on my own (as you did) how the game design smartly models what I think I know to be relevant and important on the topic.


Quote from: Andy Pain
Interesting article that makes me want to dig this one out and finally get to play it. I spent many happy hours reading Red Storm Rising and then playing the sister game of the same name in this series. We also used to play A Line in The Sand which worked for us as a multi player war game back in the day.


Quote from: Andrew Palmer
I think you have to be careful in associating more detailed/more complex with being a better simulation of the role the player is placed in (or roles, since many games fail to have focus on a single role).
The Harpoon example might sound as if you are "learning more" about how modern naval warfare works, but it's also dependent on you having levels of detailed knowledge about the engagement mechanics and your enemy's capabilities, often topics that are practically an unknown - or are erroneous - for the real combatants.
Playing a WW1 or WW2 battleship encounter in a detailed tactical game where I can look up armour charts and penetration data and I know what affects the to-hit percentages and what they are - is enlightening about the engineering challenge of fighting a battleship but is misleading as to the questions asked of a captain in that situation. That's also a problem i have with many tactical ground games - to operate the system in the game I have to have perfect knowledge of ballistic performance and tank armour etc. etc. But the average Sherman gunner had nothing like that godlike knowledge of what was going on - he fired and he hoped.
What I am geting at is that a game where much of what goes on is "behind the curtain", obscured and unexplained, may yield a better simulation of the role a player is taking than an over-accurate modelling which leads to "leaking" of information the player should not really have access to.
Maybe the subject game is overly simplified and the mechanics opaque - I don't know, I've nevr played it. And I am not arguing that "Battleships" is beter simulation of naval combat than Harpoon just because it is simpler, there IS such a thing as too simple (at every level). But I don't believe increasing complexity of mechanics necessarily correlates to increased realism.



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mcguire

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Reply #5 on: September 23, 2021, 03:37:05 PM
As a fan of Fletcher Pratt,...  >:(  :tickedoff:  :steamed:  :angrytongue:  :nerd:  :-X

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GROGnadsUSA

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Reply #6 on: September 23, 2021, 05:47:29 PM
As a fan of Fletcher Pratt,... >:(  :tickedoff:  :steamed:  :angrytongue:  :nerd:  :-X
Hoi with thanks for the 'remembered reminder rejoinder' for this 'Guy' as 'moi' has his "Rules Booklet"-reissue of circa  late-1980s/early-1990s? We decided that there were much more easier 'implementations' where 'Playing' of any were greatly increased and I never did partake of them "Seastrike" sort, or, whatever else was around then-(early 1980s). About around this same 'times' we would delve into the likes for "Battlewagon", "Fire When Ready", "Ironclads", "W.S.a.I.M.", "Trireme", or even "Broadsides"!  There weren't too many 'Modern/Contemporary' kind, while "Fast Attack Boats" gave us "mucho machismo" and 'stoked' our "Overtboilers" into crafting 'larger crafts' for inclusion of this. I forget just precisely WHERE were 'Ship Stats' consulted-(NO 'intarwebs' around) in order to present theirselves unto 'Vessels' depictions, but these had been "Handdrawn" versions once 'envisioned', or "dreamt up't". Today/lately 'moi' will take 'scraps' and "Scratch Build" that into 'Ships', or with 'Carrier Decks' they become instant "Airfields" after some portions removal for 'aesthetics'/looks. Starting from circa late-1990s, we added onto them "OGRE Miniatures Rules" with 'Planes', 'Ships', 'Units', 'Concepts', etc. W-A-Y past/beyond what those concentrated and were concerned about.