RE: JTCS - Viet Nam
This is an interesting thread guys. First, let me say, I really love all of the CS games. I've been playing CS for 20 years and just started designing Mideast scenarios for the last couple of years.
I never really paid attention to scale until I started creating my own scenarios. I believe HSL makes a great point about the six-minute scale thing.
Although I really enjoy large, division-sized battles, it's challenging to fit these types of engagements into the CS parameters. For example, one of my favorite CS MiddleEast battles is the 1967 Abu Aghelia scenario. The stock scenario is a 50 turn monster that is fun and challenging but requires a lot of abstractions to make it work. I agree that the "six-minute rule" can be abstracted a bit; how far can we take the abstraction though.
First, assuming each side's turn equals 6 minutes, 50 turns represent approximately 4 hours of actual time. In actuality, Abu Aghelia was a complex battle with a lot of moving parts. Jason's rendition does a really good job of modeling that complexity in a very abstract way. Jason's battle incorporates the actions at Tarat Um, Um Tarpe, Hill 181, Matt's para assault on the Egyptian artillery positions, the infantry and armor assaults on Um Katef, as well as the armored assault on Abu Aghelia position. Historically, this fighting occurred over the course of 24 hours (June 5/6).
The cool thing is that Jason also created smaller scenarios that depict the fighting at Hill 181, as well as the main infantry assault that ultimately decided the fighting at Um Katef.
With all that said, it's virtually impossible to depict the actual fighting time or scale of casualties in these battles. The Israeli offensive in the Sinai would have disintegrated if they lost 1000 casualties at Abu Aghelia or Rafah or during the fighting for Jerusalem.
I've created three or four different versions of the Battle of Chinese Farm (especially the drive to the canal and the first crossing). It's challenging to do within the scale of the game. I really love the massive battles but they are not very realistic with respect to replicating the actual battle time and casualties. I probably will have to break the battles into segments because that is what most battles really are. For example, Lt. Colonel Reshef commanded the IDF Tank Brigade that was tasked with exploiting a gap between the Egyptian lines to the Canal, expanding the gap, and defending the gap against Egyptian counter-attacks. This happened over the course of multiple day and night timeframes. The CS platform doesn't really model multiple-day battles well at all.
In my humble opinion, that doesn't mean the battles aren't fun. It just means the battles aren't to scale. Playing an out-of-scale battle can be really enjoyable but you won't be able to really replicate the conditions of the battle.
One last thought about scale. Rarely do we ever discuss the impact artillery has on the scale of the battle. Large battles that include a lot of road movement mean the moving force incurs massive casualties from the bombardments while traveling toward their embarkation point. I doubt, the Israelis would have pushed forward if they incurred hundreds of casualties just maneuvering into position. Scenario designers probably should account for the impact artillery had on the actual flow of the battle instead of adding artillery because it's part of the order of battle.
Sorry for the long diatribe. That's just my two cents. I love the game and respect the hell out of the Design Team's efforts.