Question & Answers - January 2022

Hi all, our survey feedback post last week garnered an overall positive response from you all. Thank you for all the encouragement.

There were quite a few comments and unfortunately with the current comment system it’s hard for us to reply directly. There were some very pertinent observations and we though we could dedicate this week’s blog to answering some of these as we believe most would be interested in the replies.

We have received to date; thirty-three comments and we have answered these below where applicable. Please note we have corrected a few spelling errors in the comments, otherwise they are all as received.

STEFAN BUSS     Jan 15, 2022

“We also plan to revisit the current Panzer Campaigns Demo (Mius ’43) and either add or change the content to show off more of the game series.”

Yes, great idea. Mius’43 has huge potential inside, as it could have easily been expanded. And it fits well with Rumyantyev ’43…

Answer: There is a lot of applicability to the Rumyantsev ’43 title looking at the operations on the Mius River and in the Donbas region. For any revision to the Panzer Campaigns demo, we will be looking at different content, probably outside of the Eastern Front to better highlight the game system.

 

JOHN                     Jan 15, 2022

Love the data-driven approach. I just have to contain the excitement now.

 

MARC                   Jan 16, 2022

Excellent work. I’m very impressed with the effort you’ve put together to share these comprehensive results!

 

CHRISTOPHE      Jan 16, 2022

Very interesting and more or less the same I believe of a studies done few years ago. Good Luck for the new step to go ahead and congrats to take in charge these greats historical games.

Answer: That is correct. We have received significant feedback in the past during prior surveys. We are in a better position to start to action concerns or wish lists now than previously. It is a lot easier to make changes when you have control over the source code and other infrastructure.

 

GORDON KENNEDY         Jan 16, 2022

I’m so happy that you reached out to the community to solicit input and, more importantly, that you shared the results with the community. Please keep up the outstanding work.

 

TODD                    Jan 16, 2022

If the survey numbers reflect your customer base, we should all thank you even more for creating these games. Thank You.

Answer: The number of respondents does not reflect our customer base, just the engaged ones, or those that were aware of the survey and responded. We are in the process of combining our customer databases (and customer entitlements) back from the time distribution was through HPS. Having an integrated customer list will allow us to interact with and message you all more effectively going forward.

 

BRETT KOLCUN Jan 16, 2022

More Naval and Air games. Would love to see modern Naval/Air campaigns.

Answer: We hear you! We have mentioned the breadth of the various engines John Tiller created and we have teams looking at what can or cannot be done. The Naval & Air series are part of that review.

 

KARL MCENTEGART        Jan 16, 2022

Excellent to read the survey results and that WDS show sufficient customer focus in providing it….well done. Looking forward to good things in the coming year from you in continuing John Tillers legacy of original style board wargames (i.e. SPI/Avalon Hill/GDW/GRD etc.) on PC. The hex and NATO counter style wargames in the IGOUGO fashion remain a faithful reproduction of some of the finest games ever IMHO aka your Panzer Campaigns series.

Answer: There has been a slow evolution of the various graphics across the series. We are not done yet for some, but at least the 2D graphics in Panzer & Modern Campaigns is considered final. We took inspiration from some of the more recent boardgames being released to keep the graphics as ‘clean’ as possible. The other important feature of the computer games vs the paper and cardboard boardgames is the inclusion of more complex rules, ‘under-the-hood’ which helps with the simulation overall.

 

FRIEDRICH M HELISCH    Jan 16, 2022

I love your games! I own all but one Panzer Campaign and all Panzer Battles and all Modern Campaigns.

One area where improvement needed: APC’s/IFV’s cannot keep up with tanks movement wise, unless in vulnerable travel mode. I know that you do not want to separate the infantry from their mounts (I would not mind!), so tweaking the movement rates in combat mode will help. These vehicles were specifically designed to keep up with tanks.

Suggestions for PC’s/PB’s: Poland ‘39, Malaya ’41, MC Balkans ’85, MC India v. Pakistan.

Also, the air component of PC’s/MC’s can be improved (optional rule?): give each player their full air forces and let them divide into CAP, strike/bomb/escort each turn. Then let the AI sort out losses in air-to-air combat and you have the rest of the ground attackers available to play with. AAA/SAMs are now ground based and opportunity fire.

I think the Squad Battle engine is flawed: losses are completely random and a squad in the open at point blank range should be wiped out.

So, there is my two cents, or three, or…

Answer: Thank you for the support, Friedrich! For the APC/IFV’s, I am assuming you are talking about the Modern Campaign games. We would have to look at the extent of the issue with these hybrid units. I expect that adjusting movement rates may impact these units when dismounted in urban environments for example so we would have to look at the implications.

Interesting suggestions for future PzC/PB. We have a long wish list too!

For your suggestion re air in PzC/MC that is exactly how air works in the strategic war engine. We think that is the right model for that scale. In the operational series we think only providing direct ground support aircraft is a better reflection of both the scale and doctrine.

For Squad Battles, we are just starting to review what will or won’t be looked at in the upcoming refresh. More on that in the future, but we will try and make certain everything is logical.

 

FRED GREER       Jan 16, 2022

This is an excellent, and fast, summation of your survey. Perhaps I have missed the news somewhere, but what is to become of the Android mobile games? Perhaps they are not as favored by others as they are for me. Thank you for your work on all these titles!

Answer: For the App based titles (Android, Amazon & Apple) it is an open question regarding their future. These were all programmed by John Tiller, and we don’t currently have the resources to update/create new ones. They are on our to-do list but are secondary to other work. Also, please note that the three App stores also have certain update requirements that if not satisfied means the apps are removed. Until we have resources, some may become unavailable.

 

JOHN KESSON      Jan 16, 2022

Would be great if you could obtain rights for Norm Krogers Age of Rifles which was a great game. As well more balanced scenarios would be appreciated. BTW customer service is great. Thanks for all your help

Answer: Norm Kroger’s game covered a very interesting period in history. We certainly would like to have a closer look at the period to see if any of our game engines could support these conflicts. More balanced engagements and scenarios that are fun to play is also a priority and something we want to focus on more.

 

PETER JACKSON                Jan 16, 2022

Very encouraged by your approach. Reminds me of the old Strategy & Tactics, SPI. Giving away my age there. Would like to see Napoleon in Italy 1796/97 and 18th century battles.

Answer: Many of us remember the SPI era! Napoleon in Italy 1796/97 is covered in Campaign Marengo Campaign Marengo Link We also are planning to look at additional conflicts in the 18th Century beyond our current Musket & Pike Seven Years War title Seven Years War Link

 

JOHN M PIRMAN             Jan 16, 2022

Very nice presentation on the survey results! There were some surprises in what I thought would be the norm. Good surveys like this one are always constructive, if for no reason they give real data as to what the customer base is thinking! Thank you, Wargaming Design Studio!

Answer: SurveyMonkey the web software we use for the survey has decent analysis and presentations built in. Much of what we shared was their default layouts. As mentioned, we plan to do regular surveys on a range of topics across the year. We plan to share the results as we did with the most recent survey.

 

FRED R EDENS    Jan 16, 2022

It would make game play much easier and reduce time if there was some way you could always highlight Headquarters units and have the correct symbol for the level of the headquarters easily recognizable. For example: X = Brigade XX = Division XXX = Corps XXXX = Army. Seeing a bunch of flags helps but I spend so much time clicking each one to find the level of headquarters that I need to access. Your games are great, and your staff are very nice and professional. Great Job!!!

Answer: You are correct that there is not an easy way to highlight HQs in some series, beyond using the organisation identifier. There is some work ongoing in the Napoleonic titles to better identify both headquarters and their level. More on that soon, but we hope to be able to migrate that across to several other game series.

 

C WOOD              Jan 16, 2022

Given the American based nature of most games’ designers, I’m amazed that over the last 35 years or so, a few games have had it as a sub scenario, and I remember one very old title, but there has not been a single, standalone military / Naval, campaign and tactical War of 1812 game. The options for game play and terrain are both vast and varied, especially given the capabilities of modern graphics and AI. Given that WW2 and Napoleonic’s (my favourite era) have been pretty much done to death, you’d think somebody might do just one decent game of this conflict?

Answer: We do have a War of 1812 game as part of the Early American War series here: Link to War of 1812 This title is primarily focused on the land engagements, but some naval units are included.

 

CLINTON N MATTHEWS Jan 16, 2022

wow……….great stuff. Thank you for posting

 

TIM        Jan 16, 2022

There is no pleasing some people and no pleasing everyone. But please, more Pacific War Panzer Battles!

Answer: Taking Panzer Battles to the Pacific has been discussed, as shown by the included scenarios in the Panzer Battles Demo. Discussing and delivering are two different things though!

 

BOB BEATON     Jan 16, 2022

Thank you so much for the great survey and follow up! I read everything! AI improvement seems like a tough challenge. I have been war gaming since 1959. What you have here is the best I’ve seen! One question that could have been included is what are the three biggest problems you have playing the games. My biggest problem is with PBEM trying to figure out is of the 6 or so games that I am playing I don’t know which ones that need a turn from me or a turn completed and which ones that I have completed and sent out without searching through my email box. Second is the difficulty reading some of the text, mostly to do with unit identification. Third is keeping units organized and under command control, despite the color coding. Fourth would be the use of supply units, which are very slow moving (realistically true) cumbersome and tend to clog up the map. I doubt if I actually used them more than once or twice to actually supply a unit. I feel like supply could be abstracted more to clean up the battles. I liked the old SPI method of being able to trace a line of supply free of enemy units and their ZOC to a map edge rather than numerous supply units desperate trying to keep up with front line units and cluttering up transportation routes. Plus, it is boring chore to move them all.

You are no more ‘money grubbing’ than the rest of us who have bills to pay and put food on the table. I can’t believe that guy said what he did. You could come up with a cure for cancer and there would always be at least one person who thought it was a bad idea!

I have some emotionally trying times right now and your games are keeping me focused.

I have an enormous miniatures project right now for our local museum that is based on your Gettysburg Campaign of Heth’s Division marching down the Chambersburg Pike towards Gettysburg. It involves hundreds of 10 mm figures on a foam hexagon battlefield that will be an exact copy of the game map and unit placement. If you are interested, I’ll send some pictures when I’m done!

Thanks again for all you do!

Bob Beaton

Answer: Thanks Bob, your miniatures project sounds amazing! Tackling your comments, interesting issue with PBEM files. There are things that could be done to provide a default file name that picked up the scenario, player side and turn for example. This could then be altered or annotated by the player if further information was needed. We would need the programmers to have a look at this though.

Readability of text is an issue as monitors become larger with a higher resolution. There are some possible fixes we could do, but there are also options available through windows with magnification, text and app scaling or other operating system features. It is an area we would like to do further work on, but there are other solutions.

Keeping units under command control is part of the point of the game systems. Its one of the best ways to force players to look at the scenarios historically. Regarding supply units and assuming you are talking the pre-20th century series, I don’t believe there is a plan currently to change the current rendition of supply. In the 20th century titles, supply can work as you suggest, but the question is what is appropriate for the scale that is being simulated.

 

WALTER LUCAS WILLEN                 Jan 16, 2022

On the modern games side, I just purchased North German Plain. It seems great so far. Considering current events in Eastern Europe and the far East there seems to be scope for developing the series to cover scenarios such as a Russian invasion of the Baltic States/Poland, a Russian invasion of Ukraine (unless real world events erupt into war) or Chinese military action against India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea

Answer: Glad you are enjoying North German Plain. There is no shortage of contemporary conflicts hypothetical or real to choose from currently. Our bigger issue is having the teams who understand what is needed to encapsulate the historical event into a game. To be honest, it is a little unsettling to live in a time when military tensions are heightened (Ukraine/Russia and China/Taiwan) and it brings home the uncertainty that all who have lived through a period of potential conflict in the past.

 

DAVE F                  Jan 16, 2022

Two items. First, please continue the 2-D graphics upgrade to the World War I series. The new graphics have a classic SPI look. However, that make the current WWI games look primitive and hard to look at. Second, could you add a capability to draw lines and symbols on the map. I like to play Panzer Campaigns with a military atlas open trying to study the actual campaign. It would be marvellous if you could mark unit boundaries and deployment areas on the map and save them for that scenario. It would also make the games useful teaching and learning. Might even get some war college interest.

Answer: We always say graphics are in the eye of the beholder. I have seen posts asking for the First World War Campaigns (FWWC) graphics to be the standard for Panzer Campaigns (PzC). We don’t plan to change the FWWC graphics but may consider providing the PzC version as an alternative in the future. As far as unit boundaries and deployment areas there is an area function that we currently use to designate different countries in a scenario. This function is only in the scenario editor, but there maybe an option to use it within the game exe if there is enough demand.

 

STEFAN S.            Jan 16, 2022

Sorry, that I missed the survey but all major aspects seem covered. For me important would be more campaign options for panzer campaign series. Any possibility to set up a reasonable hex based naval game? Real time games tend to stress me. This made me avoid current naval battle series..

Answer: Not certain what you mean by campaign options for Panzer Campaigns? There are large campaigns included in every title and we are proposing to include a multi-title, player only mega-campaign as an offshoot of the coming Rumyantsev ’43. Dependent on the support for that, we have several other mega-campaigns up for consideration. As far as hex based, turn-based naval – not currently. That said, our current Naval and air titles are being developed further and they are pause able allowing turn like behaviour when played.

 

JERRY ROBERTS                 Jan 16, 2022

I am a big fan of your Civil War games and especially the campaign design of Gettysburg. The one complaint I have with Gettysburg is with supply wagons. The Gettysburg game has less than 1/2 the supply capacity of your other games (I have four). In Gettysburg there is one supply wagon per Conf div and Union Corps. All other games have two per plus additional Army trains. The limited resupply available in the Gettysburg game has a great impact. Additionally, Gettysburg is the only game where supply wagons move at 1/2 speed on secondary roads. This also has a tremendous impact on maneuvering across the large battle areas in the campaign scenarios. I would like an update that brings the resupply capacity and movement to be more in line with other games such as Chancellorsville and Antietam.

Answer: We will have a chat to the development team and see whether this warrants changing. Gettysburg is a very popular title so there is value in looking at whether the supply is off or not.

 

MR.L      Jan 16, 2022

I agree that the game should be able to open the jump map and the order of battle menu at the same time. This may be useful in some big map.

Answer: We will continue to look at the User interface and see what is and isn’t possible. We understand the utility having multiple boxes open may give but the issue is whether they are static informational boxes or clickable. Your example highlights this difference. The jump map is clickable to allow quick map navigation and that directly conflicts with the static nature of the order of battle menu. This may prove a hindrance in what can and can't be open.

 

STEVE R.               Jan 16, 2022

Would like to see games ported to Linux (Mint). Avoiding Windows to the maximum extent feasible.

Answer: We have done some tests with Linux as Berto one of our programmers is more Unix than Windows! We have seen the games run under Linux Wine, so it may pay to try that under your Mint operating system and see how it goes?

 

PAUL                     Jan 16, 2022

Thanks for publishing these results. always interesting to see what other gamers and the developers have in mind. Fact/ data based decision making is always a good way to kick-off.

Answer: It is interesting you mention fact/data-based decision making. One of our new team members called us out on this and said we need to confirm (or otherwise) our beliefs by polling the users. It is very easy, in any endeavour, to build in bias and we want to ensure we get as much input as possible as we make decisions for the future.

 

ALLAN D FOOTE                Jan 16, 2022

Hope to see more WWI titles; Middle East and Africa 1914 – 1918 and new Victorian era titles… Crimea, Sudan, South Africa, for example. As another respondent stated… along the lines of the fondly remembered Age of Rifles. Thanks!

Answer: If you could only see the wish lists on our development forums! We are looking at all our game series and have titles in development for nearly all of them.

 

EMIL P.                 Jan 16, 2022

I think that the main staple of good AI is it’s ability to retreat and form another frontline. My experience with JTS games is that the AI too often fights to the death and afterwards it often leaves huge gaps in the frontline rendering it completely open for breakthroughs or encirclements as there are simply not enough units to cover it. Gary Grigsby’s newer games don’t suffer from this problem, which makes them seem a lot more realistic.

Answer: There are so many facets to ‘good’ AI. You highlight it doing believable actions that is obviously one, another is to ensure it operates under the same rules as the player, i.e., doesn’t cheat. We must look at a plethora of different factors to see what can be done. We are confident that with some of the tools we already have we can craft something that is better than what is there today.

 

AHMET DEMIRCI

Jan 16, 2022

The one who wants the games to be released on Steam is probably from Russia or Turkey since games are much cheaper there on Steam ($40 games are below $10 if the publisher doesn’t set another specific price.). I am not saying that your games are expensive or it should be on Steam, but there definitely are some people who doesn’t want to buy your games just because they are expensive relative to them.

Answer: A lot of people have asked whether we will distribute our games on Steam. This and a range of other channels are under consideration. We understand Steam and other online portals like Epic are very convenient way to own games and keep them up to date. There are a couple of reasons we have not gone that route yet. We have only just launched our new website and associated marketing and would like to see how that performs. You may not be aware, but Steam takes a 30% cut of all revenue and that means we must sell 42% more games to earn the equivalent amount. Secondly, there is a programmatic overhead as each portal has integration requirements. That is not inconsequential, particularly with a current catalogue of 100 titles. Finally, we wanted to have the various improvements that were introduced with the 4.0 versions before we went to a broader market. As it stands today, we would prefer to see what volumes we can do organically before we move to a channel like Steam, but it and others are definitely under consideration for the future.

 

TOM MCCARTHY              Jan 16, 2022

Fascinating and so democratic to read positive and more critical comments. Is there a forum to find opponents as the AI kinda sucks. I was playing Normandy 44…and it was all over from either side after a week. It would be nice to meet older gamers…I think the bulk of John Tiller fans are Dads …and could be cool to create a worldwide network of friends to talk about and play wargames…visit battlefield sites etc.

Answer: Our titles shine when played against human opponents. There are a range of gaming clubs that run forums and other programs for multiplayer play. We would recommend that you visit our JTS/WDS Wargame Opponent Group on Facebook here: Link to  JTS/WDS Opponent Group or alternatively the Blitz is highly recommended as one of the longest running and most comprehensive communities where opponents, education and discussion on our titles and others can be found: Link to The Blitz Club There are other specialised clubs and many of them advertise themselves on the aforementioned Facebook page on the first of every month.

 

GK          Jan 17, 2022

As a pro game dev developer I know first-hand how painful it can be to ask your community for critical feedback. There are always some really cutting comments. It’s really great to see how constructive the responses are as a whole. You seem to have fostered a really healthy community. Thanks for sharing the results. I’m excited for what’s coming next.

Answer: We are very fortunate that John Tiller had been building games for a long time and more importantly supporting his work over that period. We believe that is one of the factors that has fostered a constructive community and something that we hope we can maintain. We plan to be as open and interactive as possible going forward and feedback (critical or otherwise) is important to shape where we need to put more effort in.

 

LYNN R NEWELL                Jan 17, 2022

Need to do more Pacific land campaigns. Japan 45 and 46 are a good start.

Answer: We agree! Watch this space…

 

ANTONY CHANDLER AKA ICKIE(STEAM)

Jan 21, 2022

Hi Rich Hamilton and Co. I’m Very impressed with the new website by the way. What a great survey and I don’t think you could ask for better replies/responses from your community, and let’s say this you DO have a Great Community here, one of the best IMHO. Tom McCarthy above points out that most of us are "Dads" he’s probably spot on with that too, I’d like to mention this if you don’t mind at all, RH is aware that a couple of years ago I set up and now run Steams Only Fans of John Tiller Group. It is the Only one on Steam and it’s getting bigger (Membership) all the time, now we are over 100 members and if Tom checked us out on Steam, he would find answers to most of his questions he’s asking. Plenty of Dads there/here too! Regarding the future of WDS Wargames my only 2pence worth is this, as I’m also getting older 50+ my eyes too are not what they used to be so adding another level of zoom in/out(i think some of your games have it?)is all I’m asking for already I absolutely adore the Artwork on your in game Counters please keep that up and also I too would like to see stats etc too on these counters, pretty much same as GG WitE for example, I mean many wargames these days come with this included, also maybe adding silhouettes to your Counters as more and more I’m seeing these same silhouettes being used in more and more wargames, so that when you first lay eyes on them you know straight away what Tank that is, again Gary Grigsby uses these very same silos and I’m sure they are readily available and not copyrighted etc so it wouldn’t cause you guys a problem, correct me if I’m wrong there though. Regards Ickie.PS-If you were to implement some of these ideas you could easily add them to preferences so we could just as easily turn them off/on at our own pleasure. Then we wouldn’t have to go searching through all the Mods that are out there just to add say “Classic and correct insignia” many thanks WDS. Over & Out.

Answer: Thanks, Ickie, I was not personally aware of a community on Steam – appreciate the heads up. For all here is the link to the page: Link to Fans of John Tiller Software (Steam)

As far as your other comments. Zoom levels, as shown with several series we have been improving the graphics on each zoom level, but your request for additional levels is noted. As mentioned, using scaling within Windows may be another alternative that achieves the same thing. Have a look at that under Display settings, Scale & Layout. As far as stats on counters. Again, something we can discuss as part of the user interface reviews that are ongoing. The Strategic War titles use a variation of this and there may be a few ways to tackle information on counters. One issue is the actual size of the largest current counters. We are restricted to no more than 50 x 50 pixels currently and that really limits putting legible characters and an image onto the available space. As far as silhouettes, some game series already include these, Panzer Battles for example and newly introduced into the Civil War Battles series. There are options in some series to include graphical symbols, so that may allow more silhouettes in the future.

 

We appreciate everyone’s response and comments to the survey results. We are planning to continue to poll the community going forward and think it’s a real benefit for all. We hope the answers above help a little more to educate and share our current thoughts.


25 comments


  • Romain Ducoulombier

    Hi
    Playing right now a major Normandy’44 campaign as the Allied, I wonder why there is no feature to modify the aspect of hexes where rubble has been removed rubble from the map. Would it be possible to make an update about that ? Thanks.


  • Keith Robinson

    When will “Conflict in the Ukraine” be available??? I kid I kid. . .


  • Craig A Brosius

    I’ve been playing PZC games since Smolensk and certainly appreciated all that has gone into keeping the system growing and interesting. The continuing upgrades have certainly improved the system as well as helping the players understand the history and game. What I have never seen is an explanation of the victory point system/rational. While looking at the ongoing score sheet in each game it’s easy to see a different point value applied to Axis units vrs. Allied units (men, guns, vehicles, air, naval) but not within each category. For instance, does a 37mm AT gun score the same as an 88mm flak gun; does a Pz III equal a T34 or KV1? Is the point scale determined for each game, scenario, or is a units value universal within the PZC system? Scoring by a units morale value (A – F) seems reasonable but what about is base value?


  • Todd

    Players of the new 4.0 version of the Civil War Battles series have noticed some problems. Specifically, trenches being allowed to be built in scenarios where they were not permitted before the update, hex visibility in fog of war where players can see from an enemy unit’s perspective, and fatigue recovery by attackers when they should not recover. The details of the discussion and data on the fatigue are in the ACWGC forum, but some are saying that these problems, and I wonder if there might be others that have not been caught yet, rise to a level where WDS really should address these code problems immediately. Players are already talking about reverting to the previous versions of the games until these problems are fixed. I’m not speaking for anyone but myself, but I would urge you to put checking and fixing unintended changes in the 4.0 games as a top priority. I don’t know if there are also problems in the other game series.


  • J.M. LORENZO HERVAS

    Hi.
    I suggest a change in the dynamics of the games, from the IGOYGO system to the WEGO system (like the old SSG games for “SPECTRUM”.
    This change would introduce greater unpredictability in the results of the movements and would introduce common situations in real wars such as ambushes.
    That change would also make us regain interest in playing old titles again.


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