Suggested uniform house rules for free setup (Full Version)

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Rufus T. Firefly -> Suggested uniform house rules for free setup (4/28/2012 9:46:05 PM)

Hi, this is my first post so I hope it doesn't seem too presumptious of me to jump right in and start making suggetions, but here goes.

In reading various threads on this forum it's not hard to pick out a couple of common themes. First, players are getting board because between experienced players the game seems to play out the same way too often. Second, without spectacular success in 41 Germans are pretty much doomed to be crushed by the Russian juggernaught much sooner than the historical outcome, despite the Lvov opening that many Russian players resent.

I think these problems can be dealt with through experimentation with the editor. The post 41 thrashing is another subject entirely, but both the boredome from playing the same game too many times and the Lvov opening can be dealt with by allowing a free setup within reasonable house rules.

I've always been a big fan of free, non historical setups. After all we play the games to see if we can outperform history, why not start at the begining and try to improve on the historical dispositions. The historical dispositions in the game are pretty bad for the Russians who have some pretty big holes for the Panzers to drive though with minimal opposition. On the German side free setup opens up the possibilities for a variety of different strategies which could make the game play out differently.

Moving your units around with the editor is really very easy (easier than actually playing the game!). If players can agree on reasonable constraints I don't know why you wouldn't want to do this.

The general idea is that the Russians can move units laterally north and south but not farther from the border than they start historically. Germans the same but not closer to the border. I am about to start a solataire (I find that more interesting than playing against AI) GC game using these setup rules. Some pictures of the Russian setup below, but first my proposed house rules (I would love to hear your comments on these).

General Concept

The Map is divided into a very rough checkerboard of “Areas” which are defined on the East/West axis by distance to the boarder
and on the North/South axis by hex rows or geographical features. Units may be freely placed within their historical area,
however, except in very limited numbers, Russian units may move no farther from the border and German units no closer.
In addition a limited number of units may be moved out of their historical area laterally with respect to their distance from the border.
Again, Russians may freely choose to move closer to the border and the Germans farther from the border, but not the other way around.

Russian Setup

1. Units in border hexes may be freely moved within their area but must remain on the border.
Up to 25% of units in border hexes may be moved to another area but must also be deployed on the border in their new location.
2. Units in the hex immediately behind the border must stay in the same area and stay within the same distance to the border (2 hexes or less)
3. Units in the 3 to 20 hex-from-border areas may move freely within their N/S zone but no farther east of the border than in
the default set up except with the following exceptions:
a) 1 unit from each area may be moved farther from the border within its original area
b) 25% of units in an area may be moved to other N/S zones but may be no farther from the border in that area than they were originally.
Units may always move closer to the border.
4. Units farther than 20 hexes from the border may be moved freely within their areas. In addition 10% rounded up of these units
may be placed anywhere on the map. However units in the Far East Area may not be moved except for the 10% free placement.
5. HQ units may not be moved unless the majority of their assigned units are moved, but units may be reassigned to other HQs.
Support units may not be reassigned. Any HQ units that are moved can be placed anywhere within 5 hexes of all their assigned elements.
6. Frozen units cannot be moved. (This one is certainly debatable).
7. Units may only be placed in clear or light woods hexes unless there is a town present or between hex rows 69 and 72 inclusive. (Central Pripet Marshes)


Historical Russian Unit Locations
E/W dividing lines below as follows:
Line 1: R. Volkov, Lake Ilmen, R. Lovet, Smolensk, Dnepr
Line 2: Volgoda, Yaraslovl, Vladamir, Ryazan, R. Don
Hex 1 means the hex containing a border hexside and so on back from the border.

Note that in the below table I couldn't preserve the formatting, the numbers next to the "total units" and "transferable units" should line up under the unit distance headings but they don't. I think you'll get the idea. Hexes from Border or Line: 1 2 3 to 5 6 to 10 11 to 20 21 to Line 1 Line 1 to 2 Far East

North of Leningrad
Total Units 13 2 4
transferable units (only if not fzn) 4 0 1

Baltic Rail Zone then R. Devina, then hex row 41, and including Vitebesk, North to Leningrad
Total Units 12 1 7 5 5 14 3
transferable units 3 0 2 3 3 1 1

Central Zone: Hex Row 71 to Baltic Rail Zone, etc.
Total Units 22 1 11 7 20 3 17
transferable units 6 0 3 2 5 0 2

Southwest Zone: Hex Row 94 to 70
Total Units 19 2 9 16 24 18 21
transferable units 5 0 2 4 6 2 2

Southern Zone: SE of the Dnestr & HR 94 excluding units South of Rostov
Total Units 21 2 8 9 6 3 2
transferable units 5 0 2 2 2 1 1
Note: units north of the Dnestr are considered oriented to the Polish Border, not Hungary or Romania.
South of Rostov
No Movement Allowed
Transferable unit means maximum number of units allowed to be transferred to other areas, but no farther from border.

German Setup

1. Maximum number of total divisions on border is no more than in historical setup.
2. Maximum number of Panzer divisions on border is no more than in historical setup.
3. Maximum number of German divisions in Romania is historical +3.
4. No additional German divisions in any other Axis allied country.
5. Same number and type of divisions must be frozen and/or held in off border hexes the same distance as equivalent units in historical setup.
6. HQs may be freely moved. Combat units and Support units may be freely reassigned to any HQ.
7. Units may be moved farther from border but concentration of units towards the border may not be greater than historical.
8. 2nd army remains frozen in their historical location.

Hexes from border 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10 12 13 14 17
In Poland
Panzer 10 4 1 1 1 fzn
Motorized 0 4 2 3.3 2 0.3 1 fzn 1 fzn
Infantry and other 65 4 4 6* 4 1 1 fzn 3 1
*(1 inf, 2 mot fzn)
In Romania (all frozen)
Infantry and other 4 1 1 1 1

This post is too long now so I'll upload pictures of my Russian setup a littlle later in another post.

Thanks for taking time to read all of this and I look forward to your comments. And maybe someone can instruct me on how to correctly upload a table

Rufus T. Firefly -> RE: Suggested uniform house rules for free setup (4/29/2012 9:28:42 PM)

Here is a picture of the Soviet SW front setup after redeploying the Russians according to my house rule. I am curious to see how this will hold up in the game I'm about to start. I did not put a lot of effort into calculating potential German moves. I just eyeballed it and tryed to close gaps and put enough ZOCs in the way of the Germans to slow them down. It will be interesting if a Lvov pocket will still happen. I kind of doubt it. Interestingly I ended up getting somewhat carried away and moving several units forward closer to the border to try to forestall the German advance. I would have thought that this is the last thing I wanted to do, but I'll see if it works or not.


Rufus T. Firefly -> RE: Suggested uniform house rules for free setup (4/29/2012 9:56:16 PM)

Here's the central front


Rufus T. Firefly -> RE: Suggested uniform house rules for free setup (4/29/2012 9:59:07 PM)

And the Northern front. I moved a few units laterally to bolster the right flank of the Russians in the center facing PzG 3.


morleron1225 -> RE: Suggested uniform house rules for free setup (4/29/2012 11:48:32 PM)

Your ideas are certainly interesting. I've seen comments in several threads regarding allowing a certain amount of "free setup" for the Russians and I'd think that at least some of the PBEMers will give your suggestions a try. As for me, I'm still trying to get a handle on some of the "mechanical" aspects of the game so it'll be a while before I'm ready to try this.

Good luck,

bcgames -> RE: Suggested uniform house rules for free setup (4/30/2012 4:12:10 AM)


Your houserules are certainly within the bounds that limited GDW's Drang Nach Osten/Fire in the East board game. All you need is the players willing to give it a try.

Rufus T. Firefly -> RE: Suggested uniform house rules for free setup (4/30/2012 5:51:30 AM)


Although its been a looooong time since I played those games my thinking is certainly influenced by them. If my setup turns out to be too successful in slowing the Germans I am thinking of adopting a house rule something like the Russian 1st turn confusion rule from DNO, which if I recall was something like roll 1D6 for each Russian division, on a 1 it is out of C&C and can't move on a 2 it blunders off in a random direction for 1/2 move and must attack if it comes in contact with a German, otherwise on 3-6 it can be moved normally.

governato -> A simple solution to the Lvov pocket. (4/30/2012 6:31:57 PM)

I like the idea, but I doubt that many players will have the patience (and skills) to go to the editor an do this. However, my main concern with this approach is that one SU player will eventually find an ideal set up that will make the 'Lvov pocket' very hard, if not impossible. Then why use anything different? This approach will just create the mirror image of the current problem of the German players having found the the perfect opening move that makes creating the pocket *consistently* doable. Both outcomes do not make for realistic play.

I think a good solution would be to automatically randomize the starting position of the SU units close to the border, BUT by just an hex or two. Some units should be forced to stay on railroads or towns if they historically did so. This is 1) hopefully easy to implement by the designers, 2) realistic (I doubt the position of units can historically be pinpointed to less than 10 miles anyway, and a division takes a lot of space) and 3) it makes it difficult for the German player to replicate the same opening moves as every new game will have subtle changes that will require different moves with poorly known outcomes.

This will definitely *not* stop the Lvov pocket from happening, but it will make it uncertain, while requiring good player skills in the face of fresh challenges every time the opening turn is played. It changes the opening of the game from being 'chess like' to be a simulation of the operational problems historically faced by the Werhmacht and the Red Army.

Rufus T. Firefly -> RE: A simple solution to the Lvov pocket. (4/30/2012 6:53:35 PM)

I like my approach better than a randomization because it gives the player more flexabililty and the chance to introduce some skill and careful planning into the setup. One thing I forgot to mention is that not only would the German's get a free set up but they would get to look at the Russian setup first or at least do a recon phase before setting up their opening positions. The Russians just don't have enough troops to adequately fill all the gaps given the German first turn surprise advantages. Therefore, I don't believe that there can be such a thing as a perfect Russian setup. If it proves to be so the rules can alway be more restrictive. Furthermore giving a free setup to the Germans opens up the possibility of several different German strategies, which will hopefully go someway towards relieving the problem of too many games playing out exactly the same way.

As far as the editor goes it is really quite easy to use for this purpose. All you have to do is open up the map and "teleport" units to where you want them. It takes a lot less time than an actual turn.

governato -> RE: A simple solution to the Lvov pocket. (4/30/2012 11:20:31 PM)

I see 'randomizing position' vs 'relocating' units as serving two different purposes: the first approach stays close to historical and requires no effort from the players. The second approach
allows players to play with interesting 'what ifs'.

Rufus T. Firefly -> RE: A simple solution to the Lvov pocket. (5/1/2012 2:12:30 AM)

Well put governato. It occurs to me though, that if you use pure randomization you are setting yourself up for some very unsatisfactory results. One unit moves south a hex, the next one up the line moves north, and where there was a 1 hex opening with 2 units zocing it there is now a wideopen space. With the large number of units involved this is bound to happen in several places. I think you end up with minor variations on the same situation that currently exists.

bcgames -> RE: A simple solution to the Lvov pocket. (5/1/2012 4:18:10 AM)


ORIGINAL: governato
This will definitely *not* stop the Lvov pocket from happening, but it will make it uncertain, while requiring good player skills in the face of fresh challenges every time the opening turn is played. It changes the opening of the game from being 'chess like' to be a simulation of the operational problems historically faced by the Werhmacht and the Red Army.

Sound analysis governato. +1

governato -> RE: A simple solution to the Lvov pocket. (5/1/2012 7:06:22 AM)

bcgames, let's make it happen then!

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