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Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 and balancing the game

 
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Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 and b... - 5/21/2012 9:53:26 PM   
Tarhunnas


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I just came up with a (I think) workable idea on how to get a more realistic start of the game.

1. All panzers of AGS get a 5 MPs reduction on turn 1 (to stop unrealistically large southern pockest).

2. Soviet setup is slightly randomized (a chance units behind the front are moved one hex in a random direction) when playing both sides human.

3. Any Soviet unit moving east, northeast or southeast pay 2 extra MP per hex (to prevent runaways and simulate initial orders to hold positions and counterattack).

4. No Soviet rail movement on turn one for units west of Smolensk.


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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/21/2012 10:19:17 PM   
carlkay58

 

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Comments:

1) If you really want to, I don't think it would be a major slow down on the whole pocket, taking Tarnopol will form the pocket (cuts the only rail line out) and can easily be done with five less mp.

2) Probably the best way to do it, just shifting it by a single hex randomly each game would have a great impact on the starting turn. I would limit it to Soviet units 3 to 10 hexes from the border though. Don't change the border setup or there may have gaps in the line and the deep stuff would be okay - it is the intermediate reserves that would block the advances of the panzers best.

3) Soviet units are already based at half movement during turn 1 anyways. If they move over the defender having to spend mp while defending, then this whole topic goes away pretty quickly in my opinion.

4) I could see that as being possible - although the Soviet should be able to rail units up past Smolensk that started to the east of it.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/21/2012 10:21:47 PM   
Flaviusx


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Band aid measures.

Needs a total redesign with WITE2.



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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/21/2012 10:40:47 PM   
glvaca

 

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I actually like the idea. It might not stop the "normal" Lvov pocket but it will keep it for becoming to big.
I also like the other points although I don't the randomness is something that is easily implemented.

All the rest could actually be done by house rules or through the editor?

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/21/2012 11:44:49 PM   
Farfarer

 

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So, you can imagine an axis player winning (not a 1945 draw) without Lvov ?

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/22/2012 12:05:54 AM   
glvaca

 

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To be sure Farfarer, I'm not advocating making the "standard" Lvov opening (which means a big pocket) impossible. I do it too. We're talking about excess here, ie. the Michael T variant.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/22/2012 4:40:37 AM   
Rufus T. Firefly


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I am a proponent of going a step (or three) farther than Tarhunnus has suggested and doing a free set-up for both sides via the editor, subject to a few reasonable rules. You can read my thread on this subject in the "Scenario Design and Modding" section if you are interested http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3091767. I have posted suggested rules and maps of an alternate Russian setup.

Basically the rule is that, with certain minor exceptions, Russian units can be moved parellel to the border but no farther from it than in the standard set up, and the reverse for the Germans. German player gets to view the Russian set up before determining his.

This would not only make the Lvov opening problematic but allows for a lot of interesting explorations of alternate German strategies in 1941. I think this would require additional house rules along the lines of what Tarhunnus has suggested to keep the game balanced, but it does cure another complaint I have frequently read by those who have played many campaigns: that the game has become too formulaic with one game playing out too much like another.

The editor is actually quite easy to use if all you want to do is move units around to new locations.

I do not like the frequently suggested random moving of Russian units a hex or two, because I think it highly likely that you will end up in some games with an initial deployment that you will like even less than the current one. You could end up with a huge hole the panzers could drive right through unopposed. Besides, the free setup allows players to exercise their skill and creativity. Sounds like fun to me.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/22/2012 6:05:46 AM   
Tarhunnas


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quote:

ORIGINAL: carlkay58

4) I could see that as being possible - although the Soviet should be able to rail units up past Smolensk that started to the east of it.



Yes, I meant units starting west of Smolensk. The idea is to prevent rail movement being used for runaway and unrealistic major reshuffling of forces, while still allowing units from the rear to be brought forward.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 3:26:32 AM   
sath

 

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I think we must at once take away the Lvov pocket from the Germans and at the same time make the rail conversion in the baltic states more difficult while ignoring anything ahistoric that the Russian players are able to do.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 5:51:17 AM   
76mm


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I have to admit that I have no idea how to "fix" this, and I'm not even sure if anything is "broken". As a Sov player I have to say that I hate the Lvov Opening, but I'm not sure what about it should be fixed.

The fact is that the Germans didn't use it, presumably because they figured that they couldn't make it work, or because some other objectives had higher value. So why is it the universal opening in this game? That's what I don't like...

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 6:09:11 AM   
Aurelian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

I have to admit that I have no idea how to "fix" this, and I'm not even sure if anything is "broken". As a Sov player I have to say that I hate the Lvov Opening, but I'm not sure what about it should be fixed.

The fact is that the Germans didn't use it, presumably because they figured that they couldn't make it work, or because some other objectives had higher value. So why is it the universal opening in this game? That's what I don't like...


Movment rates are too high for such a short turn. The consequence of IgoUgo. Can't recall ever seeing it in any of the board games I've played over the years.

I think it's a "Working as designed, but not as intended." thing.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 6:19:02 AM   
Michael T


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Half week turns and 10Km hexes would be much better, IMO anyway. Smaller time steps would prevent Lvov and other massive type encirclements and 10Km hexes would make it harder to stop mobile warfare.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 6:28:14 AM   
Flaviusx


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I believe it does come down to a time and scale issue, which is why I don't see an easy fix for it. The surprise turn isn't scaled correctly given the fact that it is a 3 day time period. What's needed is an abbreviated attack and reaction movement phase with limited MPs for both sides (and possibly no rail for the Sovs) to compress the surprise factor without it slingshotting out of control. The present system allows way too much leverage (and spotlights the weaknesses of IGOUGO generally.) This would prevent both crazy runaways and crazy pocketing by compressing everything in proper relation to the scale of time involved.





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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 7:06:44 AM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx
I believe it does come down toI believe it does come down to a time and scale issue, which is why I don't see an easy fix for it. The surprise turn isn't scaled correctly given the fact that it is a 3 day time period. What's needed is an abbreviated attack and reaction movement phase with limited MPs for both sides (and possibly no rail for the Sovs) to compress the surprise factor without it slingshotting out of control. The present system allows way too much leverage (and spotlights the weaknesses of IGOUGO generally.) This would prevent both crazy runaways and crazy pocketing by compressing everything in proper relation to the scale of time involved.


This all makes sense to me. I too am not hopeful for a fix, even in future games. I think introduction of additional phases, while eminently sensible, would slow down PBEM games too much. I would probably rather just have shorter time periods for turns.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 7:19:15 AM   
Aurelian

 

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IIRC, isn't WiTE 2 suppossed to come after WitW but before WiEu. If so, I don't see them changing the scale from 10 miles to 10K a hex.

And I don't see a reduced time scale for a turn. Not for WiEu if the Axis can attack Russia when he wants to.

I dunno. maybe the tried and true First move phase, then combat, then mech move phase for the tanks/mech/cav would work better.

That probably isn't in the cards though.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 1:14:38 PM   
jaw

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

I believe it does come down to a time and scale issue, which is why I don't see an easy fix for it. The surprise turn isn't scaled correctly given the fact that it is a 3 day time period. What's needed is an abbreviated attack and reaction movement phase with limited MPs for both sides (and possibly no rail for the Sovs) to compress the surprise factor without it slingshotting out of control. The present system allows way too much leverage (and spotlights the weaknesses of IGOUGO generally.) This would prevent both crazy runaways and crazy pocketing by compressing everything in proper relation to the scale of time involved.


The whole reason we put in the shortened first two turns was to allow for AGC to pull off the encirclement west of Minsk and then move off to the East on something close to the historical performance. Lvov is an unintended consequence of giving AGC the mobility it needs to execute an historical opening.

My own completely speculative solution to the Lvov gambit would be to remove all the first turn surprise benefits for moving and attacking south of the AGC -AGS boundary. This change might slow down 1st Panzer Group enough to make the gambit impossible.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 1:37:34 PM   
Ron

 

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In my experience the Lvov opening is only possible if sufficient forces from AGC are committed to AGS. Without them I don't think it is doable, and I don't recall seeing it done with AGS alone in any AAR. I don't see any reason why not historically if the Germans wanted to commit the required forces they couldn't have made it happen in WitE's timeframe - Minsk being the obvious example. It seems like a plausible what-if in my mind and a lot more believable than many other ahistoric 'features' in the game.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 1:39:55 PM   
invernomuto


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm
This all makes sense to me. I too am not hopeful for a fix, even in future games. I think introduction of additional phases, while eminently sensible, would slow down PBEM games too much. I would probably rather just have shorter time periods for turns.


It's really a pity that WITE use a fixed time scale for turns. I think it would have been interesting to have scenarios with 3.5 days per turn, halving MPs and combat cost for each units on map. A smaller turn lenght may have mitigated the distortions of a IGOYOUGO system.


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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 1:42:49 PM   
Flaviusx


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JAW, as long as the mobility remains as it is, and AGS can borrow panzers from AGS on turn 1, then very little is going to change merely by removing the surprise penalties in the AGS area.

Also, right now on turn 1 in 3 freaking days AGC can pull up just short of Minsk. (It is even possible with a bit of luck to actually take it on turn 1.) It doesn't even need all of its forces to do this. That's why the armor is getting peeled off north and south from the getgo. I get that you want to allow for the Minsk encirclement, but we overshot the mark by a wide margin here. It's not even close. AGC is under little or no pressure to duplicate the historical accomplishment, it can do so comfortably. That's the problem, along with the scaling issue.


< Message edited by Flaviusx -- 5/23/2012 1:43:18 PM >


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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 1:59:33 PM   
janh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ron
In my experience the Lvov opening is only possible if sufficient forces from AGC are committed to AGS. Without them I don't think it is doable, and I don't recall seeing it done with AGS alone in any AAR. I don't see any reason why not historically if the Germans wanted to commit the required forces they couldn't have made it happen in WitE's timeframe - Minsk being the obvious example. It seems like a plausible what-if in my mind and a lot more believable than many other ahistoric 'features' in the game.


Especially against AI, but judging from Michaels experiments, you can do it off with a bare minimum of GD (1 Reg) and 1 division. Or send more if you want to make it a done deal.

The issue simple is not that it is doable in the game, Ron. I think most players on both sides see it as a plausible opening for Axis to try, and most would agree that this kind of "realistic" flexibility is the strength of a game versus a static replication of all actions. The origin of the debate is just how easy it is and how little can be done against it as opposed to the historic context that showed AGS being hard pressed by Soviet counterattacks and defenses and suffering comparably sizably, esp. in PzGr 1. Compare how far they got by late August in comparison to AGC, and how much it cost them.

My guess is that it would feel more reasonable that even in the case of one extra Panzercorps detached to AGS, Lvov should probably not always succeed, and if, the resistance should at least be noticeable and it should perhaps take more than 3.5 days, maybe sometimes even more than the initial 2 turns? Right now, Lvov feels rather uncontested because the Soviets never even get the chance to move or react while still in supply (or out even for <=3.5 days...).

You could say that this is just hindsight and that the Axis player would have to intentionally make huge mistakes and ignore Lvov in order for the AGS area to play out at an anywhere near historically slow pace, but I think this wouldn't do it justice.

quote:

ORIGINAL: invernomuto
It's really a pity that WITE use a fixed time scale for turns. I think it would have been interesting to have scenarios with 3.5 days per turn, halving MPs and combat cost for each units on map. A smaller turn lenght may have mitigated the distortions of a IGOYOUGO system.


+1, surely does since the lack of a chance to react depends on the time-frame you are looking at. 3.5 day turns would surely also favor AI performance. But then, with 3.5 day turns, the game might take a lot longer to play out. Or not? Perhaps not that much longer? Hard to say, but thinking about the time spend playing these monster games, it is already very time-consuming..

quote:

ORIGINAL: jaw
My own completely speculative solution to the Lvov gambit would be to remove all the first turn surprise benefits for moving and attacking south of the AGC -AGS boundary. This change might slow down 1st Panzer Group enough to make the gambit impossible.


Not sure this would be the right trick. Maybe an improvised solution, but I think the root is still the static behavoir of the non-phasing player that already plagued the naval intercepts in old PacWar.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 3:07:25 PM   
Panzer Meyer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: janh

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ron
In my experience the Lvov opening is only possible if sufficient forces from AGC are committed to AGS. Without them I don't think it is doable, and I don't recall seeing it done with AGS alone in any AAR. I don't see any reason why not historically if the Germans wanted to commit the required forces they couldn't have made it happen in WitE's timeframe - Minsk being the obvious example. It seems like a plausible what-if in my mind and a lot more believable than many other ahistoric 'features' in the game.


Especially against AI, but judging from Michaels experiments, you can do it off with a bare minimum of GD (1 Reg) and 1 division. Or send more if you want to make it a done deal.

The issue simple is not that it is doable in the game, Ron. I think most players on both sides see it as a plausible opening for Axis to try, and most would agree that this kind of "realistic" flexibility is the strength of a game versus a static replication of all actions. The origin of the debate is just how easy it is and how little can be done against it as opposed to the historic context that showed AGS being hard pressed by Soviet counterattacks and defenses and suffering comparably sizably, esp. in PzGr 1. Compare how far they got by late August in comparison to AGC, and how much it cost them.

My guess is that it would feel more reasonable that even in the case of one extra Panzercorps detached to AGS, Lvov should probably not always succeed, and if, the resistance should at least be noticeable and it should perhaps take more than 3.5 days, maybe sometimes even more than the initial 2 turns? Right now, Lvov feels rather uncontested because the Soviets never even get the chance to move or react while still in supply (or out even for <=3.5 days...).

You could say that this is just hindsight and that the Axis player would have to intentionally make huge mistakes and ignore Lvov in order for the AGS area to play out at an anywhere near historically slow pace, but I think this wouldn't do it justice.

quote:

ORIGINAL: invernomuto
It's really a pity that WITE use a fixed time scale for turns. I think it would have been interesting to have scenarios with 3.5 days per turn, halving MPs and combat cost for each units on map. A smaller turn lenght may have mitigated the distortions of a IGOYOUGO system.


+1, surely does since the lack of a chance to react depends on the time-frame you are looking at. 3.5 day turns would surely also favor AI performance. But then, with 3.5 day turns, the game might take a lot longer to play out. Or not? Perhaps not that much longer? Hard to say, but thinking about the time spend playing these monster games, it is already very time-consuming..

quote:

ORIGINAL: jaw
My own completely speculative solution to the Lvov gambit would be to remove all the first turn surprise benefits for moving and attacking south of the AGC -AGS boundary. This change might slow down 1st Panzer Group enough to make the gambit impossible.


Not sure this would be the right trick. Maybe an improvised solution, but I think the root is still the static behavoir of the non-phasing player that already plagued the naval intercepts in old PacWar.
In the actual war the 39. Panzerkorps of Panzergruppe 3 was 18 miles north of Minsk by June 26th even though it was subject to several counter attacks by the Russians while in route. Not far from the abbreviated opening turn time-frame. I think that the first turn is fine. We are lucky enough to have hindsight to see what mistakes the German's and Russians made and the game gives you the flexibility to try other options. The Lvov pocket opening came about because of the aHistorical decision of most Russian players to run for the hills instead of standing and fighting.

If a change is made to eliminate the Lvov opening, I think other changes need to be made to make the decision to run instead of fight have negative consequences for the Russian player.


< Message edited by Panzer Meyer -- 5/23/2012 3:10:38 PM >

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 4:05:34 PM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer
The Lvov pocket opening came about because of the aHistorical decision of most Russian players to run for the hills instead of standing and fighting.


You of course realize that since the Lvov opening happens on Turn 1, the Sovs do not have any choice about whether to "run for the hills instead of standing and fighting"?

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 4:18:51 PM   
Panzer Meyer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm


quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer
The Lvov pocket opening came about because of the aHistorical decision of most Russian players to run for the hills instead of standing and fighting.


You of course realize that since the Lvov opening happens on Turn 1, the Sovs do not have any choice about whether to "run for the hills instead of standing and fighting"?

Of course I realize that. However, given the design of the game, it would still be the best strategy for Russia to run away even without the Lvov opening.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 4:24:39 PM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer

given the design of the game, it would still be the best strategy for Russia to run away even without the Lvov opening


Your logic is circular. Given the design of the game, it would still be the best strategy for Germany to do the Lvov opening, even if the Russians wanted to stand and fight. The problem is that if the German do the Lvov opening, the Russian cannot stand and fight because they don't have sufficient troops to do so. Do you recognize that as a problem?

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 4:33:01 PM   
Panzer Meyer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm


quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer

given the design of the game, it would still be the best strategy for Russia to run away even without the Lvov opening


Your logic is circular. Given the design of the game, it would still be the best strategy for Germany to do the Lvov opening, even if the Russians wanted to stand and fight. The problem is that if the German do the Lvov opening, the Russian cannot stand and fight because they don't have sufficient troops to do so. Do you recognize that as a problem?
Yes it is a problem. I'm just saying that solving this problem could possibly create another.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 4:42:54 PM   
Flaviusx


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer

Of course I realize that. However, given the design of the game, it would still be the best strategy for Russia to run away even without the Lvov opening.


No it would not. Why do people keep saying this?

Given a more or less intact SW Front fighting against a stock AGS, it is absolutely in the Soviet interest to fight it out down there and slow down AGS to a crawl...and force the Axis to do what they had to do historically, namely, divert 2. PG south to pocket Kiev.

Then, and only then, should you run in the south.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 5:02:09 PM   
Ron

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx


quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer

Of course I realize that. However, given the design of the game, it would still be the best strategy for Russia to run away even without the Lvov opening.


No it would not. Why do people keep saying this?

Given a more or less intact SW Front fighting against a stock AGS, it is absolutely in the Soviet interest to fight it out down there and slow down AGS to a crawl...and force the Axis to do what they had to do historically, namely, divert 2. PG south to pocket Kiev.

Then, and only then, should you run in the south.



Because it is the truth... In spite of your continued agenda and your insistence otherwise.

The Russian has no reason to stand and fight, delay yes, but no reason to stand and fight, and the addition of Lvov forces will not suddenly change that. The issue is the combat engine, not the loss of the Lvov forces. Without any historical imperative to stand and fight, the Russian player simply needs to keep the bulk of his forces intact for Blizzard so he can then put the hurt on the German. Conversely the German is required now to eliminate the Lvov forces because he will rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to pocket such again except against a green opponent. If he doesn't take that opportunity he will be faced by the ahistorical Red monster in the Blizzard and suffer accordingly.

Some people cannot, or will not, see the forest for the trees. Eliminating the possibility of the Lvov pocket will not solve anything except add another nail in the German-on-rails coffin.

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RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 5:07:27 PM   
Flaviusx


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It's not propaganda. Look at Bob's recent game against Targunnas, for crying out loud.

SW Front against an unreinforced AGS can put up a very tough fight. No reason at all to run away. It is in the Soviet interest in these circumstances to fight it out. This gives you the time and space needed to raise more manpower, to prevent the panzer from roaming freely past the Dnepr, to conduct factory evacuations in a deliberate manner rather than as pure crisis management, and to prevent the Axis from concentrating on Moscow too early. (The very same reason why putting up a stiff fight by Leningrad is a good idea, btw.)

It's the Lvov opener which forces the stampede in the south.

Look, I will fight a forward defense in the Ukraine every time against a stock AGS.

< Message edited by Flaviusx -- 5/23/2012 5:08:17 PM >


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(in reply to Ron)
Post #: 28
RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 5:16:26 PM   
Tarhunnas


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Joined: 1/27/2011
From: Hex X37, Y15
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer

If a change is made to eliminate the Lvov opening, I think other changes need to be made to make the decision to run instead of fight have negative consequences for the Russian player.



Did you read my original post? It contained suggestions to limit Soviet runaways as a balance.

I have repeatedly, in other threads, argumented for a better VP system that encouraged the holding of terrain for as long as possible.

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(in reply to Panzer Meyer)
Post #: 29
RE: Stopping the Lvov pocket, getting a better turn 1 a... - 5/23/2012 5:24:50 PM   
Panzer Meyer

 

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Joined: 5/15/2012
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tarhunnas


quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzer Meyer

If a change is made to eliminate the Lvov opening, I think other changes need to be made to make the decision to run instead of fight have negative consequences for the Russian player.



Did you read my original post? It contained suggestions to limit Soviet runaways as a balance.

I have repeatedly, in other threads, argumented for a better VP system that encouraged the holding of terrain for as long as possible.
Yes I did read the original post. I was responding to another member, because it seems that very few are concerned with the implications of just eliminating the Lvov opening and making no changes to the Soviet side. I didn't intend to imply that your suggestions were not a good option.

(in reply to Tarhunnas)
Post #: 30
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