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Old 01-13-2021, 07:14 AM   #1
PBarone714
 
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Default GURPS Mass Combat Question

In the GURPS 4th ed. Mass Combat System outlined on:
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/Rolepla...mbat-Land.html
why does the Force Roster at the end of the webpage list the Leader's Strategy for EVERY Troop Type? I thought each side has only ONE Commander who rolls in the Contest of Strategy.

In the Battle Example: Caliburn the Bravo Goes to War sample, ONE commander on each side rolls the Contest of Strategy.
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Old 01-13-2021, 07:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

To quibble, that's 3rd edition, not 4e. That article was published in 1993, about a decade before 4e came out, and was essentially duplicating rules in even earlier books. 4e's mass combat rules are published in GURPS Mass Combat.

As to the substantive question, I don't know, but I suspect that's a convenience for the players and GM should parts of a larger force have to go off and fight on their own.
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Old 01-13-2021, 09:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
To quibble, that's 3rd edition, not 4e. That article was published in 1993, about a decade before 4e came out, and was essentially duplicating rules in even earlier books. 4e's mass combat rules are published in GURPS Mass Combat.

As to the substantive question, I don't know, but I suspect that's a convenience for the players and GM should parts of a larger force have to go off and fight on their own.
Hello,
Are there any changes between the 4th ed. Mass Combat System and the 3rd ed. Mass Combat System? What are the updates, briefly?
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBarone714 View Post

Are there any changes between the 4th ed. Mass Combat System and the 3rd ed. Mass Combat System? What are the updates, briefly?
"Briefly" would be tricky . . .

They're two completely different systems whose only overlapping mechanic is a Quick Contest of Strategy (or Tactics), which takes different modifiers and produces different results in each edition. Everything else is handled utterly differently, too: the strength, training, equipment, special abilities, and mobility of forces; logistics; reconnaissance; the effects of terrain, fortifications, and strategic decisions; and the aftermath of battle, which now encompasses casualties, "position," and misfortunes. The Fourth Edition system takes a lot more factors into account, and gives players a lot more decisions to make. None of the stats or modifiers are easily translated between systems, beyond leader Strategy skill level.

The goal of the Third Edition system was to tackle fairly large-scale battles, even wars, in which PCs were most likely to be very powerful "super units" who added a lot of punch to their side in battle. A PC might command; that brought in their Strategy skill and not a lot else. The other PCs generally remained fighters, albeit impressive ones. Outcomes were decisive in most cases.

The goal of the Fourth Edition system is to tackle battles too large to play out tactically on a battle map; it can go up to entire fronts and wars, because it's highly scalable, but its "sweet spot" is between squad scale and battalion scale. In battle, PCs take on roles closer to staff officers, handling intelligence, logistics, planning, and leadership with a variety of skills. Those who fall outside those roles can still contribute, but do so by trying heroic actions and side-missions. Combat proceeds in rounds, with choices of strategies similar to maneuvers in personal combat, and there's ebb and flow as forces gain and lose advantage.
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

I'd say that if we rated Third to Fourth Edition changes on a scale from 1 (nothing in common, you have to relearn from scratch) to 10 (no change at all, nothing new to learn), mass combat is in the 1-2 range. To give you some basis of comparison, tactical combat and character-creation are up in the 7-8 range.
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
"Briefly" would be tricky . . .

They're two completely different systems whose only overlapping mechanic is a Quick Contest of Strategy (or Tactics), which takes different modifiers and produces different results in each edition.
I'd go one step further, and say that they both use troop strength via a relative troop strength plus a table for special troop type relative strength to modify that quick contest.

But Kromm is otherwise right: The numbers for Troop strength look very different, are calculated in different ways, and don't use the same base units. The systems spend their word count on very different things.

The 4th edition version is very much bigger and more polished, covering the full range of tech levels, a battle that progresses in steps with various tactics, a smoother presentation of its system, and a more refined system for logistics and pay.
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Old 01-13-2021, 02:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post

I'd go one step further, and say that they both use troop strength via a relative troop strength plus a table for special troop type relative strength to modify that quick contest.
This is true. So perhaps where I said:
TOTALLY DIFFERENT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 COMPLETELY THE SAME
It's more like:
TOTALLY DIFFERENT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 COMPLETELY THE SAME
But it's the sort of "same" that, say, Third and Fourth Edition GURPS Psionics have: Yes, the powers have the same names and some things are still rated in levels, but the levels mean something totally different, the ranges and effects are vastly divergent, the skills work very differently, the point costs are nothing alike, . . .
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
3rd edition.. published in 1993, about a decade before 4e came out, and was essentially duplicating rules in even earlier books.
Originally Horseclans (1987), IIRC.

(One of the reasons I bought that book. I wasn't particularly interested in the setting, but there were some interesting new rules and traits there.)
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The goal of the Fourth Edition system is to tackle battles too large to play out tactically on a battle map; it can go up to entire fronts and wars, because it's highly scalable, but its "sweet spot" is between squad scale and battalion scale. In battle, PCs take on roles closer to staff officers, handling intelligence, logistics, planning, and leadership with a variety of skills. Those who fall outside those roles can still contribute, but do so by trying heroic actions and side-missions. Combat proceeds in rounds, with choices of strategies similar to maneuvers in personal combat, and there's ebb and flow as forces gain and lose advantage.
By the time other events caused my Fantasy Mass Combat game to end, we we running fights ranging from a rag-tag column of refugees being overtaken by a reinforced light cavalry company to multi-front sieges involving a dozen or more regiments/battalions on each side. The "sweet spot" was pretty wide, really, and in something like 30+ major battles over 70+ sessions, it did a nice job of giving us mostly predictable results with a few surprise upsets here and there. Definitely a great book to build a campaign around.
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Mass Combat Question

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post

By the time other events caused my Fantasy Mass Combat game to end, we we running fights ranging from a rag-tag column of refugees being overtaken by a reinforced light cavalry company to multi-front sieges involving a dozen or more regiments/battalions on each side. The "sweet spot" was pretty wide, really, and in something like 30+ major battles over 70+ sessions, it did a nice job of giving us mostly predictable results with a few surprise upsets here and there. Definitely a great book to build a campaign around.
Yeah, in the fantasy campaign that inspired GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, I used it to run conflicts of several sizes, from raids and sieges up to and including a huge war involving some 22,000 elements. The latter required a lot of spreadsheets to do right, though. ;)
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