From: Houston, TX
Thus far, I haven’t seen anything to suggest that there’s anything wrong with Norm’s formula. It only concerns hex-scale, nothing else, and it handles that about as well as it can be handled. The adjustment it contains for the smaller hexes is justified. Clearly, the density penalty has to be dependent on hex-scale, regardless of whether it is also dependent on any other factors, and that is what Norm’s formula addresses.
Now, if there is any justification for further adjustments due to terrain (or anything else), those adjustments would be in addition to, and independent from, the current hex-scale formula. Personally, I only think there are a few cases where that will be an issue. Those would be the cases where the hex can only be entered via a road.
For example, consider relief. In TOAW relief is modeled via three terrain types: Hills, Mountains, and Alpine. A certain amount of relief above a minimum gets modeled as hills. It can be entered by all units and has some defense benefits. Increase the relief and it becomes modeled as mountains. Again, it can be entered by all units and has even more defense benefits. Finally, if the relief is so great that the terrain can’t be entered at all, it is modeled by Alpine. But Alpine can still be entered via a road through it.
A similar situation occurs for flooded marsh. Most units can only enter it via a road (although amphibious units are an exception). There are a few terrain types that can’t be entered by motorized units (badlands, dunes, etc.), except via a road. Super rivers and canals are similar to flooded marsh, except their movement prohibition can be overridden by fording ability, so I would omit them from this list.
In the cases where a unit can only enter a hex via a road, perhaps there ought to be some modeling of the impact of that fact. We can consider how to do it later. (A density penalty increase might be part of it. Also, the unit might be prohibited from incurring traffic penalties to enter the hex).
But, beyond those cases, I don’t think there is reason for any other terrain adjustments. Unusable terrain is terrain that can’t be entered. TOAW has specific terrain types to cover those cases (Alpine, Flooded Marsh, etc.). By definition, if the terrain can be entered, it can be used. (There’s some abstraction there, but that’s standard-operating-procedure for wargaming).
Should scenario designers have the ability to adjust the density penalty rate for their scenarios? Of course! Item 7.10 in the wishlist is one of my favorites (after all, I’ve designed both a Waterloo and a Gettysburg scenario, not to mention two WWI scenarios). For those who haven’t downloaded the wishlist, here’s what that item says:
7.10 Density combat penalties applied to all units, not just stacks.
7.10.1 Density combat penalty rates editable by designer. (Density movement penalties due to traffic jams are not affected by this.)
Note that one important part of that item is to apply density penalties to single units, not just stacks. (I actually still consider this to be a bug fix, not an enhancement).
< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 11/15/2007 3:55:29 PM >