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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey"

 
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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 1:57:50 AM   
Flaviusx


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Michael, the thing that I'm getting out of your much lobbied alt VP scenario is this: it's not making a lick of difference.

I have yet to see a single game being decided by the new conditions. The vast majority of games aren't even making it to 1942. One side or the other usually is throwing in the towel early. We simply do not have many close matches. Like turtles, it's all blowouts to the bottom.

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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 2:01:32 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx
Fundamentally I do not believe in sudden death rules for games such as this, BG. Furthermore, I think people would be a lot less happy in practice with them than they themselves think.

I note the new Case Blue game has them, and people have complained about it. I.e. games ending prematurely when Voronezh doesn't fall in time, etc.

It's too much of a straightjacket for my tastes. Everyone will be forced to optimize their play according to an arbitrary VP schedule.


It's more about getting out the feeling of pointlessness the GC's tend to have.

Haven't checked Viktor's game, but if the sudden death conditions are just 'Voronezh must go down by turn XXX' then it's indeed a bad thing. What I'm talking about is about a 'soft' criterion (the VP ratio) which depends directly on what the players are doing. I would point to you the spreadsheets I kept during my game with Q-Ball (hi, Q-Ball, how are you doing buddy? Chime in if you're still playing Wite), to get a taste of how such a soft criterion might look like.

And even if you totally disagree with sudden death rules as a matter of principle, I'd love to know your opinion on which - given what WitE has and will have for the foreseeable future - could be meaningful parameters to measure player performance (since we all want that winning is a direct consequence of good play - or opponent bad moves).



< Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 8/7/2012 2:05:46 AM >

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Post #: 62
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 3:24:55 AM   
Michael T


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BG I agree with your take entirely. I have been a vocal advocate for SD rules for some time. Count me in if you get some solid interest from others. The thing to remember Flavious is this, just like the Alt scenario, its entirely upon the agreement of both players using the said alt condition. No one is saying people are forced to use an alt method of determining a winner and loser.

People use the alt scenario because its conditions are more to their taste, in the event the game goes that far. Its not detracting from the game in any way. It was a positive step.

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Post #: 63
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 3:51:06 AM   
76mm


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I was in favor of the Alt scenario and indeed am playing it now, but as Flavius says, I haven't seen any AARs in which it makes a difference. I suppose might generally be in favor of some kind of sudden death criteria if they could be done right, which I have doubts about. But any kind of sudden death criteria would have to be coupled with a house rule not to use the Lvov opening--I assume that is what you have in mind?

Otherwise, to allow the Lvov opening AND to force the Sovs to defend forward, that would be a disaster and unplayable.

As far as criteria for sudden death conditions, I don't see why you need any APIs, etc., you could simply use remaining (or more precisely, captured) manpower, which is readily available via the interface. I'm not sure that adding troop losses or industry adds much--if you are forcing the Sovs to hold cities I don't think you should then penalize them for the resulting troop losses, and while industry should not be a factor if the Sov player is evaccing properly, I would not want to lose a game in SD because I failed to evac some arbitrary factory.


(in reply to Michael T)
Post #: 64
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 4:31:45 AM   
Klydon


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

Changes to the Lvov pocket will not occur in a vacuum, or indeed, at all, prior to WitE2. WitE may be regarded as a finished product at this point, with no more fundamental changes, only the occasional bug fix. When I'm talking about fixing the pocket, I'm very clearly looking to the second iteration of the game, which will include many other changes.

The runaway in the south is product of the Lvov pocket; absent that SW Front can put up a fight there and should do so. A stock AGS will get nowhere very fast down there with a historical opening until AGC is threatening its rear. I don't understand why people refuse to believe this, but it is true and easily confirmed by playtesting. The fashion du jour nowadays, alas, seems to be to run for the hills more or less everywhere and as fast as possible.


Sad, but not surprised to hear that WiTE is essentially "done". I also want to second Flaviusx observation about stock AGS vs Russian forces down there. It can be slow going if the Russians fight smart there, etc. Just playing the Road to scenario for the south will likely provide quick evidence on that.

The game as it stands, has some fundamental flaws in the way of "fixing" it and a lot of it is interlinked of course. One of the things the Russian looks at is trying to preserve as much of his force as possible to a point. Part of the issue with defending forward is that you still have a tough time stopping the Germans AND that coupled with non historical replacements/reenforcements (the Russians are way short on what they actually should get) make it virtually impossible for the Russians to do anything but head for the hills.

While you can do a fair amount with the editor, you can't fix some of the more glaring issues or make adjustments in some critical areas. (Like fixing the Russian replacement rate and how fast shells come back, etc). You can do some work arounds (have extra divisions show up as reenforcements for example), but they are somewhat less than optimal and would be hard pressed to be grounded in historical accuracy as to when what divisions showed up when, etc and if extra divisions were needed to be formed with the balance of manpower available.

So how does this all work together since I basically mentioned several things to help the Russians on a substancial level. Well, they simply can't be allowed to run for the hills without paying a price. Given they can't really stop the Germans worth a lick as it is and they don't get what the Russians got for historical replacements/reenforcements, etc the Russians just really don't have a lot of choice. Fix those points AND allow the Russians to run on top of it would wind up with a very one sided game against the Germans. Instead, the Russians must be forced to make a stand. The Germans must have incentive to not run like crazy either.

The result would be a better game I think. One of the best AAR's I have seen in awhile was the Tarhunnas/Michael match up. It was two great players for starters, but the fact that Tarhunnas fought forward made the game far more exciting imo. He was able to launch some counter attacks as well in that game too, so its not like he just shoved a pile of counters in the Germans face. Now imagine the Russians being able to take the beating better in terms of having more to work with in trying to make that stand.

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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 4:48:25 AM   
Walloc

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon

Sad, but not surprised to hear that WiTE is essentially "done". I also want to second Flaviusx observation about stock AGS vs Russian forces down there. It can be slow going if the Russians fight smart there, etc. Just playing the Road to scenario for the south will likely provide quick evidence on that.

The game as it stands, has some fundamental flaws in the way of "fixing" it and a lot of it is interlinked of course. One of the things the Russian looks at is trying to preserve as much of his force as possible to a point. Part of the issue with defending forward is that you still have a tough time stopping the Germans AND that coupled with non historical replacements/reenforcements (the Russians are way short on what they actually should get) make it virtually impossible for the Russians to do anything but head for the hills.


Exactly.

quote:


While you can do a fair amount with the editor, you can't fix some of the more glaring issues or make adjustments in some critical areas. (Like fixing the Russian replacement rate and how fast shells come back, etc). You can do some work arounds (have extra divisions show up as reenforcements for example), but they are somewhat less than optimal and would be hard pressed to be grounded in historical accuracy as to when what divisions showed up when, etc and if extra divisions were needed to be formed with the balance of manpower available.

So how does this all work together since I basically mentioned several things to help the Russians on a substancial level. Well, they simply can't be allowed to run for the hills without paying a price. Given they can't really stop the Germans worth a lick as it is and they don't get what the Russians got for historical replacements/reenforcements, etc the Russians just really don't have a lot of choice. Fix those points AND allow the Russians to run on top of it would wind up with a very one sided game against the Germans. Instead, the Russians must be forced to make a stand. The Germans must have incentive to not run like crazy either.


Exactly, but most seem to have stopped at: Just make em fight forwards that will solve every thing. Instead of looking to why they run, as it is currently. Glad u dont.

quote:


The result would be a better game I think. One of the best AAR's I have seen in awhile was the Tarhunnas/Michael match up. It was two great players for starters, but the fact that Tarhunnas fought forward made the game far more exciting imo. He was able to launch some counter attacks as well in that game too, so its not like he just shoved a pile of counters in the Germans face. Now imagine the Russians being able to take the beating better in terms of having more to work with in trying to make that stand.


Yes, but it also shows why just making some VP to make russian fight forward wont solve any thing in it self. As u descripe above. Add to what u descripe, having a more accurate replacement rates for german side too, so u will see a much more depleted force come later in the 41 campaign and again come summer 42 would help.

Kind regards,

Rasmus

< Message edited by Walloc -- 8/7/2012 5:03:24 AM >

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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 5:36:07 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

I was in favor of the Alt scenario and indeed am playing it now, but as Flavius says, I haven't seen any AARs in which it makes a difference. I suppose might generally be in favor of some kind of sudden death criteria if they could be done right, which I have doubts about. But any kind of sudden death criteria would have to be coupled with a house rule not to use the Lvov opening--I assume that is what you have in mind?

Otherwise, to allow the Lvov opening AND to force the Sovs to defend forward, that would be a disaster and unplayable.


For me, yes, if alternate VP conditions are in place.

The idea about alternative VP tracking is that opponents agree not to push the game model of second world war operational warfare too far. But this is, and will be, a private agreement between the parties involved with the game. With no code changes in the engine and the virtual impossibility of tweaking GC41 scenario so that the SW Front doesn't collapse in turn two, as soon as the Surprise effects take place during first Sov logistics phase, that's the only thing which we can do.

quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm
As far as criteria for sudden death conditions, I don't see why you need any APIs, etc., you could simply use remaining (or more precisely, captured) manpower, which is readily available via the interface. I'm not sure that adding troop losses or industry adds much--if you are forcing the Sovs to hold cities I don't think you should then penalize them for the resulting troop losses, and while industry should not be a factor if the Sov player is evaccing properly, I would not want to lose a game in SD because I failed to evac some arbitrary factory.


The things to keep track of would be - for starters:

* Number of vanilla Victory Points
* Number of extra points in a few carefully selected major cities
* Infantry, Arty, Tank, Airplane losses
* Amount of industry lost (each kind of point lost would incur in a different VP cost)
* Amount of resources lost (each kind of point lost would incur in a different VP cost, including Manpower)

From personal experience, keeping track of losses manually - alone - gets old really soon.


< Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 8/7/2012 5:37:26 AM >

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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 7:06:07 AM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
The idea about alternative VP tracking is that opponents agree not to push the game model of second world war operational warfare too far.


In my view, the crux of the problem is that these sudden death proposals cannot fix the game's basic problems, one of which is that the 1941 campaign simply does not play out anything like my understanding of the historical campaign. This is not meant as an argument about "historical determinism" in wargames, but rather that the games does not "feel" like the historical accounts which I've read, and no amount of tinkering will fix that.

The game would arguably be even more broken if not for various hacks introduced by the devs, such as the 2:1 rule, the 41 blizzard, etc., which seem to have a rather dubious basis in reality and which seem to have been included solely in an attempt to help balance the game.

This is a long way of saying that I think this game has really serious issues and I don't intend to start any more games.

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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 7:26:31 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
The idea about alternative VP tracking is that opponents agree not to push the game model of second world war operational warfare too far.


In my view, the crux of the problem is that these sudden death proposals cannot fix the game's basic problems, one of which is that the 1941 campaign simply does not play out anything like my understanding of the historical campaign. This is not meant as an argument about "historical determinism" in wargames, but rather that the games does not "feel" like the historical accounts which I've read, and no amount of tinkering will fix that.

The game would arguably be even more broken if not for various hacks introduced by the devs, such as the 2:1 rule, the 41 blizzard, etc., which seem to have a rather dubious basis in reality and which seem to have been included solely in an attempt to help balance the game.

This is a long way of saying that I think this game has really serious issues and I don't intend to start any more games.


Indeed, this won't fix the game. I just pretend to make it more enjoyable. See my (upcoming) answer to Rasmus for my reasoning.

Regarding the 41 blizzard. After thinking quite a bit about it, yes it's broken. But not in the way we used to think. The major problem I see is that attrition is not based to the (voluntary) activity of German forces, but rather to the the (involuntary) activity that springs from being engaged in combat.

What killed the Grande Armee in Russia was the fact that they were retreating over a ravaged countryside in murderous climate conditions. And what we get in WitE is the converse: the more the Germans run around in those summer fatigues across frozen forests and deep snow, the better the lot of the German army.

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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 7:48:15 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Walloc
quote:


The result would be a better game I think. One of the best AAR's I have seen in awhile was the Tarhunnas/Michael match up. It was two great players for starters, but the fact that Tarhunnas fought forward made the game far more exciting imo. He was able to launch some counter attacks as well in that game too, so its not like he just shoved a pile of counters in the Germans face. Now imagine the Russians being able to take the beating better in terms of having more to work with in trying to make that stand.


Yes, but it also shows why just making some VP to make russian fight forward wont solve any thing in it self. As u descripe above. Add to what u descripe, having a more accurate replacement rates for german side too, so u will see a much more depleted force come later in the 41 campaign and again come summer 42 would help.


Fixing the game itself is out of the question. What we can try to 'fix' is what we get out of what we have.

I disagree with this - too simplistic, in my opinion - view because of my personal experience with scenario games. To be honest and with hindsight, I have enjoyed those games far more than any of the GC's I have played (and I've played something like four times Case Blue as the Soviets, which is borderline masochism). There we have sensible victory conditions, which entice players into engaging into more 'likely' behavior. The best example I have in mind is the Red Army Resurgent server game I currently have going on (btw, kudos to Trey, he made an excellent job on this scenario).

A very concise AAR follows:

* My opponent fails to encircle 6. Armee, although delivers a lot of damage to 3rd and 4th Romanian armies during the first turn. Stalingrad wasn't isolated, but for all practical purposes, the situation was really bad.

* Taking a look at the Victory Conditions, it was obvious that all I needed to do in the Caucasus in order to obtain a comfortable 'cushion' of points was to hold fast with the 17. Armee protecting Krasnodar, while extricating 1. PzArmee and using it to bolster 6. Armee right flank. In the north, it was very clear that I needed to fight really, really hard for Voronezh. That would mean that I would have to give up relatively easy Boguchar and Stalingrad itself (but not too easily).

* I reinforced heavily 48th PzCorps (with 6. Pz and 11. Pz) and fought a very tense elastic defense around Boguchar, shoring up the beleaguered Italians and Romanian forces. I also committed the puny infantry reinforcements there.

* That allowed 6. Armee to slowly disengage from the Volga line, using XIV. PzKorps in the north and 29. Motorized in the south, as fire brigades (reserve mode is your friend) putting the hurt in the not so powerful Soviet mechanized formations that start close to Stalingrad.

* After 6 weeks of a slow and bloody fighting withdrawal, 6. Armee is about at 30% strength level, with German inf divisions becoming shells and Pz/Mot divisions which don't have any tanks. Boguchar fell right in time for the main body of 6. Armee to get on the 'safe side' of the River Chir.

* Things were looking shiny - 17. Armee was holding fast south of Krasnodar and 2. Armee/2. Hungarian Army parring the many attemps of my opponent to encircle the infantry Korps around Voronezh - until the forces that launched the Rossoh operation became available. Things were a bit crazy - the Voronezh sector is really light in German mechanized forces - but I barely managed to resist long enough to reform and reinforce 1. PzArmee and redeploy it between Kharkov and Voronezh.

* At the same time, my opponent - which seems to me to have been dragging his feet too long south of Stalingrad - got his act together and 4. PzArmee/4. Romanian Army forces started to feel a lot of pain. Fortunately, I was within reach of the Lower Don bend.

* I realized that I have stayed for too long around Krasnodar: 17. Armee is conducting a hasty retreat towards Rostov, before the massive Soviet forces concentrating west of Kotelnikovo are ready to strike and cut it off.

* Right now, it's late February 1942 and I have a 1.8:1 advantage in the VP track. 1. PzArmee has now II. SS PzKorps and the final battle for Voronezh is in sight. I am not sure of being able to hold Rostov nor Voroshilovgrad, and probably neither keep him far from Stalino. 6. Armee is about to cease to be an effective fighting force, the Italians divisions are in the 2,000-3,000 men range and 48. PzKorps is already depleted.

This would just not happened in a GC game. Any rational German player facing that situation would have just evacuated to the Crimea - leaving two stout German divs in Kerch - and retreated to the Belgorod - Kharkov - Stalino - Taganrog line. In the GC, there's no reason at all to do a fighting withdrawal like the one I did. I can just run east, strike with my PzDivs Soviet mechanized formations that advance too much and hide them behind a stout wall of counters when necessary.

In other words, your usually frustrating and boring GC mid-war situation.

(in reply to Walloc)
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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 8:31:54 AM   
Flaviusx


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Ah, but BG, VPs for a scenario are a whole different animal. They are much easier to define. A Grand Campaign, on the other hand, is practically a sandbox mode game, where the stakes are much higher and therefore much more vague. In a WW2 context, you're aiming for nothing short of total defeat of the enemy. Over several years if need be. Total victory (or defeat) doesn't leave a whole lot of room for subtleties.

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RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 10:42:00 AM   
janh

 

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In a sense I need to agree with your example, BG. I think the GC mid-war isn't as boring as you make it sound, but your example shows a different dynamic: both sides are operating at their limits, constantly near their breaking points, and yet the balance is still near-enough to the mid-ground that no side is immediately facing obvious defeat (and quitting).

I think this situation is naturally easier to achieve with a limited scope scenario with a proper force ratio to start with, which renders late 42 and 43 good years since both sides where more or less in strategic stalemate. In the GC, this criterium would be out of question: ultimately we don't want to play chess, but a good representation of that war and it was just not balanced for most part. 1941 needs to be dis-balanced for the Axis to be able to create a stunning offensive, blizzard 41 was dis-balanced to recreate the Soviet counter-offensive, and beyond 43 the game slowly shifts to favor the Soviets to recreate the surge backwards (though most AAR shows that the German Army remains too powerful to really get back far and fast, which I believe still shows that Micheals suggestion of just running as a Soviet in 41 and 42 is still giving away victory -- Michael still has to get his units to Berlin in any AAR, if I am not mistaken).

However, your example shows a major difference to the GC: The GC presently is fought in a political vacuum, there are no soft factors from home front morale, political bickering to the world's opinion driving the VP's or sites. The GC can be played with utmost hindsight, as the generals on both sides themselves would have wanted to fight it if they were left to. Force preservation is the key to both sides, not terrain. Both sides do best to balance their advances and(!) retreats against the costs to get their optimum. It is kind of "an academic" course, kind of sterile.

Time-based VPs as in the smaller scenarios would make more sense, I totally agree. That could chance the dynamic of the GC fundamentally. But unless G&G can be convinced to put another effort into this title, which seems unlikely, it is not going to happen. Yet as a word of warning, we still need to balance the force ratios as well! Else, a new type of VP system won't help the game at all.

As long as Lvov occurs, the Soviet player simply looses the option to hold the south and naturally focuses on the Leningrad delay tactic, and holding Moscow -- focuses on presently somewhat realistically achievable goals against most Axis players. With no forces, but lots of terrain to trade for saving Moscow, this is a no-brainer. Even if you made the VPs costlier there, he'd not have an option: sending more Soviets into the fray south where the terrain makes the Panzers much more dangerous than up north currently means weakening the Leningrad/Moscow match -- he basically would put all on one card, and with the current balance in the game... as unwise as an Axis player putting everything on one card.
Similarly, the 41 blizzard must be discussed. Currently it is just used as an artificial rule to swing the initiative and re-balance from Axis supermen to Soviet supermen for two month, and do so almost independently of the true course preceding this phase. Unless the Soviet side has lost terribly, which happened in a few AARs, the blizzard offensive must take place. And if the Axis player holds fast, it is going to cost him dearly. If the Soviet side is strong, then an Axis running is the only choice.

The effects of this rule are much too strong (for my taste), and for keeping the natural flow of the game. The Soviets ought to be stronger in summer 41 (both units, as well as the issue with the melting pockets), have more replacements to be able to counterattack and fight forward without simultaneously forfeiting the chance to hold Moscow. In essence, they ought to have enough spares to waste units at a high cost -- and in that course make the Axis side overextend and suffer enough casualties so a blizzard offensive becomes viable in first place. And if the Soviets chose the Sir Robin, the blizzard rules ought to be "weak" enough (maybe only affecting attrition, supply, replacements and movement, not CV's at all? Or at max with the February parameters?), that a blizzard offensive against a strong Axis army ought to be less successful, as it probably would have been.

< Message edited by janh -- 8/7/2012 10:46:18 AM >

(in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
Post #: 72
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 12:10:21 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx
Ah, but BG, VPs for a scenario are a whole different animal. They are much easier to define. A Grand Campaign, on the other hand, is practically a sandbox mode game, where the stakes are much higher and therefore much more vague. In a WW2 context, you're aiming for nothing short of total defeat of the enemy. Over several years if need be. Total victory (or defeat) doesn't leave a whole lot of room for subtleties.


That's the very reason why figuring this soft SD rule VP ratio (and which components to take into account) isn't a job for one man alone

Regarding the interpretation of SD: as I said before, if one changes his mindset from - absolute defeat of my country - to rather - absolute failure of the player which leads to him having to step down from his position as the Head Honcho - then it all makes click.

Indeed, there are quite a few subtetlies - again, another reason for this necessarily requiring to be a "community effort" (did I use the word "community"? Frack, I was trying to avoid that). And if we can be certain about something is that the community here - I hope it hasn't entirely disbanded already - is composed by a fair number of intelligent, very opinionated, people.

I will ellaborate a bit more on what I have been thinking of on my reply to janh.

< Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 8/7/2012 12:11:02 PM >

(in reply to Flaviusx)
Post #: 73
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 12:34:25 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


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Hi janh, long time no see, man

quote:

ORIGINAL: janh
In a sense I need to agree with your example, BG. I think the GC mid-war isn't as boring as you make it sound, but your example shows a different dynamic: both sides are operating at their limits, constantly near their breaking points, and yet the balance is still near-enough to the mid-ground that no side is immediately facing obvious defeat (and quitting).


Yes, perhaps I was picturing things in a slightly more bleak overtone than I actually wanted to. More than boring I would say "pointless". There's little to no sense of purpose in what one is doing, it's all about getting a reward which lies far, far, far down the road (survival by May 1945). One needs to get some reward from his efforts in a more frequent basis (not too frequent, you don't want those rewards to lose value, either). Otherwise keeping faith after seeing your forces being rolled over time and again becomes quickly a sad thing: imagine yourself in a marriage where there's no love, it's all fights over meaningless things and there's the shadow of a huge mortgage looming over you. The most likely outcome is that one of the two in the relationship decides to move on and try something different

quote:

ORIGINAL: janh
I think this situation is naturally easier to achieve with a limited scope scenario with a proper force ratio to start with, which renders late 42 and 43 good years since both sides where more or less in strategic stalemate. In the GC, this criterium would be out of question: ultimately we don't want to play chess, but a good representation of that war and it was just not balanced for most part. 1941 needs to be dis-balanced for the Axis to be able to create a stunning offensive, blizzard 41 was dis-balanced to recreate the Soviet counter-offensive, and beyond 43 the game slowly shifts to favor the Soviets to recreate the surge backwards (though most AAR shows that the German Army remains too powerful to really get back far and fast, which I believe still shows that Micheals suggestion of just running as a Soviet in 41 and 42 is still giving away victory -- Michael still has to get his units to Berlin in any AAR, if I am not mistaken).

However, your example shows a major difference to the GC: The GC presently is fought in a political vacuum, there are no soft factors from home front morale, political bickering to the world's opinion driving the VP's or sites. The GC can be played with utmost hindsight, as the generals on both sides themselves would have wanted to fight it if they were left to. Force preservation is the key to both sides, not terrain. Both sides do best to balance their advances and(!) retreats against the costs to get their optimum. It is kind of "an academic" course, kind of sterile.

Time-based VPs as in the smaller scenarios would make more sense, I totally agree. That could chance the dynamic of the GC fundamentally. But unless G&G can be convinced to put another effort into this title, which seems unlikely, it is not going to happen. Yet as a word of warning, we still need to balance the force ratios as well! Else, a new type of VP system won't help the game at all.

As long as Lvov occurs, the Soviet player simply looses the option to hold the south and naturally focuses on the Leningrad delay tactic, and holding Moscow -- focuses on presently somewhat realistically achievable goals against most Axis players. With no forces, but lots of terrain to trade for saving Moscow, this is a no-brainer. Even if you made the VPs costlier there, he'd not have an option: sending more Soviets into the fray south where the terrain makes the Panzers much more dangerous than up north currently means weakening the Leningrad/Moscow match -- he basically would put all on one card, and with the current balance in the game... as unwise as an Axis player putting everything on one card.
Similarly, the 41 blizzard must be discussed. Currently it is just used as an artificial rule to swing the initiative and re-balance from Axis supermen to Soviet supermen for two month, and do so almost independently of the true course preceding this phase. Unless the Soviet side has lost terribly, which happened in a few AARs, the blizzard offensive must take place. And if the Axis player holds fast, it is going to cost him dearly. If the Soviet side is strong, then an Axis running is the only choice.

The effects of this rule are much too strong (for my taste), and for keeping the natural flow of the game. The Soviets ought to be stronger in summer 41 (both units, as well as the issue with the melting pockets), have more replacements to be able to counterattack and fight forward without simultaneously forfeiting the chance to hold Moscow. In essence, they ought to have enough spares to waste units at a high cost -- and in that course make the Axis side overextend and suffer enough casualties so a blizzard offensive becomes viable in first place. And if the Soviets chose the Sir Robin, the blizzard rules ought to be "weak" enough (maybe only affecting attrition, supply, replacements and movement, not CV's at all? Or at max with the February parameters?), that a blizzard offensive against a strong Axis army ought to be less successful, as it probably would have been.


Your answer contains quite a few of the subtetlies that Flavio was pointing at. Let me address the one I have a clear idea how to deal with, which is that of force preservation.

Let's take a look at how scenarios keep the tally of VP's awarded due to enemy losses. From what I can gather - if someone thinks know better, please chime in - it basically amounts to keep track of this amount:

quote:

# infantry losses (KIA) x Inf Multiplier + # AFV losses x AFV Multiplier + #Arty losses x Arty Multiplier + #Aircraft losses x Air Multiplier


The trick here is to handle the Multipliers in a dynamic way. And it all boils down to the "quality" - or rather, the maximum quality your forces can attain. In other words, experience. And what's the upper bound on experience? The much hated and little understood notion of National Morale. Why not have those multipliers to depend on the ratio of NM levels of the respective sides? (In the case of the Axis, late-war soviet, NMs should be weighted according to the relative importance of each country in the OOB).

In this way, at the beginning of the war, the German player has two competing goals - regarding maximizing VP's. On the one hand, to avoid losing too many troops whose quality he won't be really be able to recover. On the other hand, exposing himself to suffer losses trying to destroy the Red Army and capture key Soviet cities, resources and facilities.

This needs to be calibrated so that the Soviet player has an incentive to go "balls to the wall" and throw the kitchen sink at the Germans. And people sending kamikaze PzDivs to take out key airplane factories think twice before doing that. Perhaps - given the German inability to create new counters - the number of unit destroyed needs to be taken into account somehow.

As the war progresses, and the NM levels vary accordingly, the name of the game reverses. Losses for the Soviet side become a concern for the Soviet player because, comparatively speaking, they're more valuable. Somme-like operations need to be prohibitely costly in VP terms, forcing the SU to use more finesse rather than purely attritional frontal tactics (and he should be able to do so, if the SU player is really good).

In other words, it's very easy to be as good as Chuikov and very hard to be as good as Rokossovsky

In "special periods of the game" (Summer 1941 surprise rules, Blizzard 1941, 1:1->2:1 rule) we should come up with special conditions that ameliorate the distorting effects of these special rules.

< Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 8/7/2012 12:36:31 PM >

(in reply to janh)
Post #: 74
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 1:52:17 PM   
gingerbread


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Seems like all straight jacketing is to be done to the Soviets. To balance this, I propose:

Reduce the At Start Axis vehicle pool with 100k, from 250k to 150k.
The Axis cannot disband any unit during '41 (no harvesting of vehicles from spare HQ:s & Air Bases)
The Axis cannot change the TOE% setting of any unit until December '41 (no Manpower or ARM pool surplus build up)
Sevastopol must fall '41 (the intent is to force the allocation of one FBD unit to fix the rail to the Crimea)
Smolensk must fall during July '41 (burn those trucks )

This will put the Axis player in a more historical situation as in: Yes, it's possible to bag those 10 divisions, but is it worth it in terms of vehicles destroyed? Waiting until the rail catches up a bit more is perhaps better?
The Gorilla can still move anywhere he wants, but not everywhere at the same time. The HQ Chaining (a very good move as it is now) will have a very high opportunity cost, and that cost will be felt in '42 as well. Putting AGN on static could be the only way to get an offensive going.


A Soviet forward defence becomes more viable, since an Axis pocketing operation will cost them where it hurts.

(in reply to janh)
Post #: 75
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 2:01:05 PM   
Offworlder

 

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Well ground in itself should also be a great factor - in the end, the capture or loss of a given city was what made headlines in WWII. Rarely did NM rise or fall because new resources etc was captured.

Therefore I would suggest that ground or cities recieve different VP during the course of the war. In the begining, the SU should not feel the pinch and losses should be minimal - though they should recieve a body blow if places like Moscow/Leningrad or other large cities are lost. The Axis should also recieve the present rate of points though VP should be apportioned if possible amongst the Axis states (ex Odessa was not very important from a German point of view but was a veritable war aim for the Rumanians - thus capture of Odessa by Romanian units should boost Romanian morale).

As the war is prolonged, the heat should be on the SU to regain its territory and drive into axis lands. Thus, for both sides, the possession of real estate should be more important so that even the Axis would be willing to fight to preserve territory. (this would simulate a little what happened during the war. It should be noted that Kursk was a disaster not only because of the material losses themselves, but also because the Russian counterattack netted them significant cities like Orel and Belgorod).

Finally, National Moral and overal army morale should be tied to the gain or loss of territory. Very few states evein in WWII fought to the bitter end but the writing was on the wall for those states who lost big chunks of territory with their armies becoming rather dispirited.  

(in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
Post #: 76
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 5:40:51 PM   
Flaviusx


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Japan and Germany fought until the bitter end. So to would have the USSR given the alternative. Britain famously refused peace in 1940. The USA was perhaps the least committed of the major powers but also the least threatened with national extinction. The stakes were very high in WW2, total war amongst great power doesn't lend itself to compromise peace. Unconditional surrender was the name of the game.

I don't think you can compare any of these powers to a gaggle of Axis minors just looking for a piece of the action (including Italy.)


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Post #: 77
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 7:14:48 PM   
IdahoNYer


Posts: 1192
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quote:

Japan and Germany fought until the bitter end. So to would have the USSR given the alternative. Britain famously refused peace in 1940. The USA was perhaps the least committed of the major powers but also the least threatened with national extinction. The stakes were very high in WW2, total war amongst great power doesn't lend itself to compromise peace. Unconditional surrender was the name of the game.


Got to disagree here Flaviusx. Soviet Union was ripe for collapse in late 1941. Militarily, no - it had the capability to continue. Politically, yes. Had Stalin abandoned Moscow with his government, or worse, died, the Soviet Gov't COULD have collapsed, fragmenting the Soviet Union - look at 1917 and 1991 for other examples of Russia fragmenting.

Stalin's will, and his regime, kept the Soviet Union fighting in late 1941 - had the Germans been more succesful (and in our WiTE they can be) and took Moscow, who know's what would have happened. And I'm referring to taking Moscow before the onset of Winter - no diversion south.

Nothing guarranteed of course, but plausible. Just as plausible if the plot to take out Hitler succeeded (at any time), German would have capitualated, perhaps with other than unconditional surrender if his death occurred prior to 1944.


After 1941 when what was going on in the German "liberated" areas become known, and the intial German attack held, I agree - no possibility of collapse. But that first summer and fall, yes. And it should be built into the game - as a variable.

As should Finnish activation beyond the no advance line be a variable - who's to say the Finns would have advanced further?

In WiTE, there needs to be more incentive to taking Moscow, and less incentive to taking Leningrad (and some way to prevent a guarrantee of the Lvov opening).

(in reply to Flaviusx)
Post #: 78
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 7:48:57 PM   
Flaviusx


Posts: 6415
Joined: 9/9/2009
From: Southern California
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Idaho, I guess this is the key disagreement, between those who think the Soviet Union was set to implode and those who disagree.

Surrender was simply not an option for the Soviets. Reasonable peace terms were not on the table. It was an issue of national, cultural and personal survival. Hitler intended to massively depopulate the whole area, settle it with Germans, and reduce the remaining people to helot status. Stalin couldn't even hope to wrangle a brutal armistice along the lines of Brest Litovsk, which was positively mild compared to Hitler's genocidal program.

All this was well understood by the Soviets by the end of 1941.

Losing Moscow would have been a terrible blow, to be sure, but they would have kept fighting. What other choice did they have? Nor would the loss of Moscow been permanent in any case, they would have taken it back during the 41-2 winter, just as in 1812.



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Post #: 79
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 9:47:18 PM   
Tarhunnas


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quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

Seems like all straight jacketing is to be done to the Soviets. To balance this, I propose:

Reduce the At Start Axis vehicle pool with 100k, from 250k to 150k.
The Axis cannot disband any unit during '41 (no harvesting of vehicles from spare HQ:s & Air Bases)
The Axis cannot change the TOE% setting of any unit until December '41 (no Manpower or ARM pool surplus build up)
Sevastopol must fall '41 (the intent is to force the allocation of one FBD unit to fix the rail to the Crimea)
Smolensk must fall during July '41 (burn those trucks )

This will put the Axis player in a more historical situation as in: Yes, it's possible to bag those 10 divisions, but is it worth it in terms of vehicles destroyed? Waiting until the rail catches up a bit more is perhaps better?
The Gorilla can still move anywhere he wants, but not everywhere at the same time. The HQ Chaining (a very good move as it is now) will have a very high opportunity cost, and that cost will be felt in '42 as well. Putting AGN on static could be the only way to get an offensive going.


A Soviet forward defence becomes more viable, since an Axis pocketing operation will cost them where it hurts.


This is a very interesting suggestion IMHO!

(in reply to gingerbread)
Post #: 80
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 11:13:25 PM   
Walloc

 

Posts: 3071
Joined: 10/30/2006
From: Denmark
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: IdahoNYer
Stalin's will, and his regime, kept the Soviet Union fighting in late 1941 - had the Germans been more succesful (and in our WiTE they can be) and took Moscow, who know's what would have happened. And I'm referring to taking Moscow before the onset of Winter - no diversion south.

Nothing guarranteed of course, but plausible. Just as plausible if the plot to take out Hitler succeeded (at any time), German would have capitualated, perhaps with other than unconditional surrender if his death occurred prior to 1944.

After 1941 when what was going on in the German "liberated" areas become known, and the intial German attack held, I agree - no possibility of collapse. But that first summer and fall, yes. And it should be built into the game - as a variable.


Hi Ed,

Apart from that we are on the disagreeing side here. I think 1917 and 1991 are poor examples. Those had the population in a "revolution" sentiment, i see from stories about the ordinary russian very different in 1941. Much more of 1812/1709ish sentiment. Fighting an external enemy that unifies not divides the population. Church going is way up as its allowed, artist/intelletual retoric is not anti goverment, but anti fasists. To me these are among other things good indicatiors of the popular mood. Making it as Flavio says a fight to the death.
Are there exceptions sure. The baltic countries have just "become russian", the polish part of white russia the same and ofc to some extend Ukraine. I do think in reality that the germans shoots them self in the foot alrdy in the summer/fall of 1941 in regards to ukraine. They are in german mind as much untermensch as the rest of the USSR. Which means the chance is over before it starts. Any how we disagree on that and no need to go to lenghts in that.

My question is from a purely gaming POV. If the russian side should be able to collapse. Should as u point the same be possible on german side if any random assasination of Hitlers lead to an arministic. Does that mean at any time randomly u should for game purposes have an event says. Turn 12. Hitler died, Game is over?

I could be wrong, but i see such pissing off ppl in a huge way. If and underling if not, why only allow such for one side and not both. As u say its just as plausible. Arent u inheritly biasing the game one way?


Kind regards,

Rasmus

< Message edited by Walloc -- 8/8/2012 2:21:22 AM >

(in reply to IdahoNYer)
Post #: 81
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/7/2012 11:59:06 PM   
Bletchley_Geek


Posts: 3070
Joined: 11/26/2009
From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

Seems like all straight jacketing is to be done to the Soviets. To balance this, I propose:

Reduce the At Start Axis vehicle pool with 100k, from 250k to 150k.
The Axis cannot disband any unit during '41 (no harvesting of vehicles from spare HQ:s & Air Bases)
The Axis cannot change the TOE% setting of any unit until December '41 (no Manpower or ARM pool surplus build up)
Sevastopol must fall '41 (the intent is to force the allocation of one FBD unit to fix the rail to the Crimea)
Smolensk must fall during July '41 (burn those trucks )

This will put the Axis player in a more historical situation as in: Yes, it's possible to bag those 10 divisions, but is it worth it in terms of vehicles destroyed? Waiting until the rail catches up a bit more is perhaps better?
The Gorilla can still move anywhere he wants, but not everywhere at the same time. The HQ Chaining (a very good move as it is now) will have a very high opportunity cost, and that cost will be felt in '42 as well. Putting AGN on static could be the only way to get an offensive going.

A Soviet forward defence becomes more viable, since an Axis pocketing operation will cost them where it hurts.


Does anybody has experience trying to vary the initial Logistic levels? What can one expect from, say, setting up the Axis to 50% and the Soviets to 50%? But indeed, what you suggest makes a lot of sense.

I'm however reluctant to consider trucks destroyed/loss as a factor in the alternate VP tracking I was suggesting. Truck damage/loss is influenced by pretty much any kind of action the player does, either being a sound decision or a bad one.

(in reply to gingerbread)
Post #: 82
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/8/2012 12:02:46 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


Posts: 3070
Joined: 11/26/2009
From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Offworlder

Well ground in itself should also be a great factor - in the end, the capture or loss of a given city was what made headlines in WWII. Rarely did NM rise or fall because new resources etc was captured.

Therefore I would suggest that ground or cities recieve different VP during the course of the war. In the begining, the SU should not feel the pinch and losses should be minimal - though they should recieve a body blow if places like Moscow/Leningrad or other large cities are lost. The Axis should also recieve the present rate of points though VP should be apportioned if possible amongst the Axis states (ex Odessa was not very important from a German point of view but was a veritable war aim for the Rumanians - thus capture of Odessa by Romanian units should boost Romanian morale).

As the war is prolonged, the heat should be on the SU to regain its territory and drive into axis lands. Thus, for both sides, the possession of real estate should be more important so that even the Axis would be willing to fight to preserve territory. (this would simulate a little what happened during the war. It should be noted that Kursk was a disaster not only because of the material losses themselves, but also because the Russian counterattack netted them significant cities like Orel and Belgorod).

Finally, National Moral and overal army morale should be tied to the gain or loss of territory. Very few states evein in WWII fought to the bitter end but the writing was on the wall for those states who lost big chunks of territory with their armies becoming rather dispirited.  


The problem with dynamic NM levels is that we can't influence that from the outside. However, the idea of variable VP's, say, using different tables according to the turn number, makes a lot of sense and is easily doable. For instance, the Axis VP value of Baltic States, Belarus and Ukraine cities should go up during 1944, remaining lower during 1941-43.

(in reply to Offworlder)
Post #: 83
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/8/2012 1:38:33 AM   
carlkay58

 

Posts: 2428
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BG- I have played around some with the starting resources - it really does not change much because both sides are operating with surpluses through most of 41. I have a GC with HI reduced to half of starting levels. It does make a difference on both sides - the Axis start to have some supply problems in late July and early August and really need the rail heads to catch up. The vehicle production seems to be the most hit production wise - the Soviets also see less a/c being built.

I have not played around with the starting truck pool but that does sound intriguing. Remember that the large portion of Axis units were supplied by horse and wagon. The Axis reported that they had lost over 800,000 horses in December 41 alone. This put a major crunch on their supply capability to pull supplies from the rail head to the front lines. I think WITE 'converts' all of the horse drawn stuff on both sides to 'truck' equivalents - but this may be a portion of the supply problems in the game.

(in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
Post #: 84
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/8/2012 1:59:53 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


Posts: 3070
Joined: 11/26/2009
From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
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quote:

ORIGINAL: carlkay58
BG- I have played around some with the starting resources - it really does not change much because both sides are operating with surpluses through most of 41. I have a GC with HI reduced to half of starting levels. It does make a difference on both sides - the Axis start to have some supply problems in late July and early August and really need the rail heads to catch up. The vehicle production seems to be the most hit production wise - the Soviets also see less a/c being built.


Interesting carlkay58. Would you say that a GC with a 50% level reduction to each side does really constrain players in a significant way? Or is it just a relatively minor nuisance?

quote:

ORIGINAL: carlkay58
I have not played around with the starting truck pool but that does sound intriguing. Remember that the large portion of Axis units were supplied by horse and wagon. The Axis reported that they had lost over 800,000 horses in December 41 alone. This put a major crunch on their supply capability to pull supplies from the rail head to the front lines. I think WITE 'converts' all of the horse drawn stuff on both sides to 'truck' equivalents - but this may be a portion of the supply problems in the game.


I have always thought - since December 2010 - that supply flows too far, far too easily. Indeed the conversion ratio horse carrying capacity -> truck carrying capacity might have something to do with this. The Red Army really needed those L&L trucks to sustain its offensive operations from 1943 onwards. Perhaps combining logistic levels reductions and editing starting truck pool we might find a sweet spot for 'hardcore logistics'. Because, to be honest, they aren't much of a concern with vanilla settings (beyond that of avoiding having units isolated).

(in reply to carlkay58)
Post #: 85
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/8/2012 2:07:21 AM   
Walloc

 

Posts: 3071
Joined: 10/30/2006
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek

quote:

ORIGINAL: carlkay58
BG- I have played around some with the starting resources - it really does not change much because both sides are operating with surpluses through most of 41. I have a GC with HI reduced to half of starting levels. It does make a difference on both sides - the Axis start to have some supply problems in late July and early August and really need the rail heads to catch up. The vehicle production seems to be the most hit production wise - the Soviets also see less a/c being built.


Interesting carlkay58. Would you say that a GC with a 50% level reduction to each side does really constrain players in a significant way? Or is it just a relatively minor nuisance?


I think what he is saying, but feel free to correct me Carl is that it doesnt matter in 41 cuz of the starting pools of supply. So u can use up that pool in 41. Come 42 the situasion would be different. If u halved SU HI by half in 42 there would be no game. U cant turn off factories(well, directly. There are ways around it for the creative minded) so they would eat up all the supply made leaving nada for the army. That would affect the CV in way u cant even imagien. Aka my comment of no game. The same would happen to german side tho it might set in a bit futher into the game. U ofc cant get creative on german side as u cant evac fac's. In short and without the full nuances on SU side u could choose between no production or supply for the army or the opposite with a significant lag in effect.

Kind regards,

Rasmus

< Message edited by Walloc -- 8/8/2012 2:22:42 AM >

(in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
Post #: 86
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/8/2012 2:13:26 AM   
Michael T


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From: Queensland, Australia.
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It’s a pity you can't set the Morale, Fort build, Logistics, Transport and Admin levels on a per year basis. Then you could really sort a few issues out.

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Post #: 87
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/8/2012 2:23:00 AM   
Klydon


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Another thing that would be handy is the ability to have the VP's change over time or more flexiblity in what you can do with them. IE, take it by turn 8 and its worth 100 VP. After that, not worth anything.

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Post #: 88
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/8/2012 4:34:45 AM   
IdahoNYer


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From: NYer living in Boise, ID
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Rasmus - I fully agree an external threat unifies, and the situation in the Soviet Union in 1941 was different than 1917. However, while not PROBABLE, it was POSSIBLE that the Soivet Union disintegrated if the Stalin Regime disolved. Wasn't that the premise of success to the German plans? Valid or not, especially with hindsight, it should be included in the game - if not, why - as the Germans, invade?

The Alt victory is a step in the right direction. Taking away the auto Finnish activation if Leningrad falls would balance the chance of Soviet collapse if Moscow falls - and I'm talking maybe a 10% or chance - in 1941.

And no I don't want a Hitler assasination check every turn.....

(in reply to Klydon)
Post #: 89
RE: The Lvov Pocket and why its "gamey" - 8/8/2012 9:41:29 AM   
janh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon
Another thing that would be handy is the ability to have the VP's change over time or more flexiblity in what you can do with them. IE, take it by turn 8 and its worth 100 VP. After that, not worth anything.


Yeah, that would be great. Imagine how you could manipulate the dynamics of the campaign with that!

(in reply to Klydon)
Post #: 90
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