House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (Full Version)

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heliodorus04 -> House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 10:04:44 PM)

So I have an opportunity to play Axis against a new Soviet player who hasn't played vs. human yet.

My colleague is concerned with the Lvov pocket, and with discussing house rules that can affect that and related house rules that would restrict the Soviet as a result.

I honestly have NO idea how to manage that because Lvov is so instinctive to me now. If I assume that the first house-rule of Lvov is simply that you forbid bringing down AGC assets to fight in AGS, that does a reasonable job as a start.

But thereafter, you can STILL activate the Romanians and 11.Army even if you don't seal the pocket.

Ideally, you want to prevent the early activation of Romania and 11.Army (I don't even know what turn they activate on normally! I think it's 3.) for realism's sake. But how do you manage this constraint on Turn 2.

And more importantly, if you 'force' the German not to do Lvov, what do you make the Soviet give up in return?

I am hoping Flavius and the veteran alpha/beta testers can help us out here.

We're also talking about my WAG Armament/Heavy Industry ratio of 5:1 (for every 5 Arm you move, you must move 1 HI) and sane rules for buildup (no division switches to new HQ for Buildup, 1 buildup per Army Group or maybe Panzer Group).

Thanks for any ideas you can provide. Please refrain from continuing the debate on whether or not Lvov is 'realistic' etc. We WANT to see how the game plays without the Lvov pocket and with the historical activation of 11.Army/Romania.

Thanks!




Klydon -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 10:15:05 PM)

I am not Flaviousx or a veteran alpha/beta tester, but here is my 2 cents.

Would limit 1 buildup by the PG vs army group as a suggestion if you are going to limit them.

I would say the swamp line is more or less a hard line. If it starts south of the swamp it stays south. This would prevent a Russian from sending forces up north to either slow down AGC or AGN. A Russian player will almost always do this with some of the reserve armies just behind or in front of the Dnepr because if the Lvov pocket doesn't happen, they really are not needed for a successful defense in the south and are urgently needed up north. Even with a Lvov pocket, some players will send at least 1 army north. At some point, this would likely set up a situation where the Germans have to decide to make a move south with AGC as they historically did or push on to Moscow.

I also think 5 to 1 is too generous of a ratio. Perhaps 3 to 1 is more appropriate.




heliodorus04 -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 10:16:44 PM)

Thanks Klydon, that makes sense.




BletchleyGeek -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 10:53:12 PM)

3 to 1 ratio means that in order to move 140 ARM points - more or less, those lying to the east of the Cherepovets, Moscow, Voronezh, Rostov line - one needs to move about 50 HI points as well. That's about 840,000 + 500,000 = 1,340,000 railcap points. In other words, consuming all railcap for 10 or 12 turns, depending on the Axis pace of advance.

Moving 66% of all the ARM points at risk took me something like 14 turns. I wouldn't accept any such house rule, you're rigging him up for the long term. Moreso when we don't really know how the game is going to play in 1942 (not yet).

A reasonable HR would be that he must move Kiev Military District within five hexes of the frontline after your Turn 1 moves. That would be pretty historical.




entwood -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 11:01:23 PM)

I would say require attachment of whatever AGC units move into AGS's domain to AGS HQ's! 




BletchleyGeek -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 11:12:41 PM)

Another HR, which wouldn't rig the whole affair could be the following:

Each turn, between Turn 2 and Turn 10, the Axis player chooses a city. The Soviet player won't be able to evacuate any industry from that city.

That should give you a game I think both of you would enjoy.




Aurelian -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 11:25:20 PM)

I can see it know.

The phone rings in the Kremlin. Stalin picks it up.

"Hello."

"Hi Joe, this is Adolf. Would you mind terribly if you don't move that huge T-34 factory in Kharkov till after Turn 10.? That way we can use HQ build up and take it from you."

"Sure Adolf. Happy to help."




entwood -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 11:44:23 PM)

Another idea is to disallow Axis units to breakdown into regiments the 1st turn, so no little guys going to say hello to Romania.




heliodorus04 -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 11:44:28 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Aurelian

I can see it know.

The phone rings in the Kremlin. Stalin picks it up.

"Hello."

"Hi Joe, this is Adolf. Would you mind terribly if you don't move that huge T-34 factory in Kharkov till after Turn 10.? That way we can use HQ build up and take it from you."

"Sure Adolf. Happy to help."

Me, I'd choose Leningrad until I isolated it, then Moscow if it still had anything left.
But I see your point Bletchley.




entwood -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/19/2011 11:57:02 PM)


Kudos for playing the game according to some form of doctrine, using a deployment designed for forces to go in certain general directions within a chain of command; rather than look what the game allowed me to get away with.




Klydon -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 12:01:59 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek

3 to 1 ratio means that in order to move 140 ARM points - more or less, those lying to the east of the Cherepovets, Moscow, Voronezh, Rostov line - one needs to move about 50 HI points as well. That's about 840,000 + 500,000 = 1,340,000 railcap points. In other words, consuming all railcap for 10 or 12 turns, depending on the Axis pace of advance.

Moving 66% of all the ARM points at risk took me something like 14 turns. I wouldn't accept any such house rule, you're rigging him up for the long term. Moreso when we don't really know how the game is going to play in 1942 (not yet).



Remember that the point of no Lvov pocket is to slow the German advance down, especially in the south. We have some talented German players around, but I don't recall seeing one getting to Rostov/Voronezh/Moscow by turn 12 against even an average Russian opponent and certainly not a German who has given up early activiation of the Rumanians and entrapping a ton of units on a giant Lvov pocket. In addition, there are likely going to be restrictions on HQ buildups, further slowing the German advance.

Until some testing is done, the ratio is just picking a number, but even with what you say, I still would have no issue with 3:1 as a starting point. Do you expect the Russians to have the ability to evacuate all armaments except Minsk and maybe one or two other spots? Make it 4:1 if you want, but I think 5:1 is a bit too generous and the Russians will have no issue at all moving armaments out of the way, even with a good advance by the Germans.





2ndACR -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 12:05:00 AM)

Just don't do the Lvov pocket turn 1. But the Russian cannot do a Sir Robin with those forces in the "Lvov Pocket". No rail movement of troops west of Kiev for 4 turns to the east. He can rail troops going west all he wants, but no east rail movement. Now he has to march all those troops east.

Now he has his cake and you can eat some cake too.




76mm -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 12:22:06 AM)

I wouldn't use a house rule for this, he should just get used to it or stick to AI games...




2ndACR -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 12:28:57 AM)

I would be willing to not use the Lvov move but only with the above stipulation. Only to give the Russian a chance to "fight" back.

But I don't use HQ build up excessively so will not limit myself there any more than I already do. Not going to tie my hands about what troops and where either.

If you don't limit his movement, he will just rail all those troops behind the river. And you will slam into the wall until your rail catches up and you have to force your way across level 2-3 forts.




vlcz -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 8:27:43 AM)

If your only concern is Lvov (and do not want to begin musing about HQ build/fact evac)you can represent soviet historical offensive behaviour forcing that every unit asigned to Kiev MD that moves must do so ending its movement nearer to (any) german unit than it was at movementīs start, until Rumania activates as an axis minor (of course no unit can be desasignated from kiev MD till then).

Iīm sure I borrowed that from an old cardboard wargame...cannot remenber which one now [:(]




janh -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 11:03:16 AM)

2ndACR's suggestion seems sound, and could make for an interesting game.  I would suggest not to entirely prohibit the pocket, yet only to prohibit closing it entirely on turn 1. 
A compromise would be leaving 3-5 hexes open at the southern end, and in turn do a few "unnecessary" hasty or deliberate attacks with the Panzers on the way there to mimic that the Russians had given you a hard time ;-)  Actually the same "advanced realism house rule" might be applied to the Minsk pocket.

In return, no rail transfers or far withdrawals for any troops to the rear, and only after turn 4 to other trouble spots -- fighting forward, and counterattack if possible as Stalin's doctrine required.

For the factory evac, I would suggest no fixed ratio between HI and ARM, but rather mimic the time needed for evacuation a large facility: Allow only 50% of a facility to be moved per turn, until a minimum is reached that can be moved readily (e.g. 10 of 20 starting pts, then 5 of 10, and anything <=5 can be moved directly). Then the Soviet would have to do a more complex balancing act and evac also cities in the rear simultaneously, or maximize what he can withdraw by also taking HVY from immediately endangered cities.  However, with the present multiplier having tuned down to 130%, this rule may lead to such ARM losses that a Soviet player perhaps cannot recover to the same level as the Russians did under transferable circumstances -- maybe.




janh -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 11:40:05 AM)

On a side note...

quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon
Remember that the point of no Lvov pocket is to slow the German advance down, especially in the south. We have some talented German players around, but I don't recall seeing one getting to Rostov/Voronezh/Moscow by turn 12 against even an average Russian opponent and certainly not a German who has given up early activiation of the Rumanians and entrapping a ton of units on a giant Lvov pocket. In addition, there are likely going to be restrictions on HQ buildups, further slowing the German advance.


Hmmh, it would seem as if the dynamics of the op-tempo has some strange skew? In the early days, the German rush is apparently fast, but then it seems to slow more rapidly than it did once past the initial phase, when the rush through disorganized Soviet forces in the south should happen?

It could have two reasons: For one, both side appear to be husbanding their forces a little better than it perhaps was the case back then. Perhaps not actually not in "permanent losses", although the Soviets and Germans were quite worn down at the time of Typhoon (for example many of the German Divisions were rather skeletons of their former self, esp. the Panzers, and the Soviet Army was also down to less than 3 Mio men, or was even below 2.8 Mio?). I think this is something you commonly see in computer games compared to actual history, likely in part because sitting here you have a perfect picture and control of everything, and if at all, the enemy numbers are off by FOW -- you commonly know your forces and losses in detail, and there is no missing or delayed reports, no commanders returning wrong numbers or making mistakes in assessing the combat state of his forces etc. Same in WitP. In part this saving of own forces seems to be due to having no real consequences here for the player, versus the quest for success, promotion or fear of reprimands of any sorts for commanders back then.

A second reason could be the generally totally different dynamics in the South induced by a totally different opening. Historically, the forward movement was characterized by a lot of Russian counterattacks against the advancing spearheads as well as the Infantry, usually during their movements and less so when settled down to prepared defensive positions (such as the deliberate and hasty attacks mimic in the game more closely than the ambush or meeting engagements on more even terms -- see the Glantz Book "Standing Fast: German Defensive Doctrine on the Russian Front...", http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/resources/csi/wray/wray.asp#orgin that talks about he Soviet's early counterattack doctrines, the resulting defensive fighting of the German columns, or the tank fright of the Infantry attacked by KV or T-34 etc).

During the first phase, the situation for the Russians in the South remained rather stable. Some chaos and mingling of the frontlines of both sides, due to the forth and back, but not a more complete breakdown as caused by AGN or AGC. Hence, up until the 2nd phase, the closing and elimination of the Kiev pocket, advance was comparably slow but steady for AGS (quite different from the fighting of AGN and AGC). Once the Kiev pocket was closed, the Soviet breakdown of adjacent sectors and rear followed suit and disorder gave a few weeks in which the Germans could again rush rather fast thru the vacuum and chaos of the retreating Soviet remnants, despite having themselves been attrited quite significantly in the first few weeks. I'd consider that the 3rd phase, which ended with the Soviets having had enough time to rally east of the Kursk-Rostov line. By stiffening Soviet resistance and the growing exhaustion and attrition of the Germans, and them outrunning their supply lines, the German advance was checked. So the dynamics was "steady advance, slow pocketing advance, a steady advance or even fast rush, and a grinding halt at the end".

What we see presently is "a fast closing of the Lvov pocket, a consequently fast rush towards the Djenpr through the chaos following immediately this evaporation of the Soviet Southern Armies (during which time the Soviets reorganize and stiffen resistance), and a slow but steady advance afterwards, yet in a sufficiently re-stabilized frontline situation, that a quick rush is not in plain sight. I suppose crushing blow must fall later and closer to the Djenpr if you look for an ensuing rout and vacuum to drive the Panzers thru fast and far towards Rostov.
Creating that rout and vacuum in the first week, and allowing the Soviets 3-6 weeks to send all reinforcements South (which historically probably went mostly north and center, as the Southern Russian Armies were still rather intact before Kiev compared to the others), probably changes the overall dynamics of the battle for AGS such that it cannot repeat the historical feat. That makes it indeed more interesting to see what happens if the Lvov opening is replaced by sharper fighting for a couple of weeks, before a breakdown occurs -- i.e. assuming, that the Soviet player will also not send exceeding reinforcements into the Southern rear with his hindsight of the Kiev disaster...




BletchleyGeek -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 11:58:36 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: heliodorus04

quote:

ORIGINAL: Aurelian

I can see it know.

The phone rings in the Kremlin. Stalin picks it up.

"Hello."

"Hi Joe, this is Adolf. Would you mind terribly if you don't move that huge T-34 factory in Kharkov till after Turn 10.? That way we can use HQ build up and take it from you."

"Sure Adolf. Happy to help."

Me, I'd choose Leningrad until I isolated it, then Moscow if it still had anything left.
But I see your point Bletchley.



Aurelian attempt at humour is a clear sign of lack of imagination. The idea is to simulate the chaos in the early stages of Barbarossa. Not to enact a gag from some British comedy act.




BletchleyGeek -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 12:07:48 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek

3 to 1 ratio means that in order to move 140 ARM points - more or less, those lying to the east of the Cherepovets, Moscow, Voronezh, Rostov line - one needs to move about 50 HI points as well. That's about 840,000 + 500,000 = 1,340,000 railcap points. In other words, consuming all railcap for 10 or 12 turns, depending on the Axis pace of advance.

Moving 66% of all the ARM points at risk took me something like 14 turns. I wouldn't accept any such house rule, you're rigging him up for the long term. Moreso when we don't really know how the game is going to play in 1942 (not yet).



Remember that the point of no Lvov pocket is to slow the German advance down, especially in the south. We have some talented German players around, but I don't recall seeing one getting to Rostov/Voronezh/Moscow by turn 12 against even an average Russian opponent and certainly not a German who has given up early activiation of the Rumanians and entrapping a ton of units on a giant Lvov pocket. In addition, there are likely going to be restrictions on HQ buildups, further slowing the German advance.

Until some testing is done, the ratio is just picking a number, but even with what you say, I still would have no issue with 3:1 as a starting point. Do you expect the Russians to have the ability to evacuate all armaments except Minsk and maybe one or two other spots? Make it 4:1 if you want, but I think 5:1 is a bit too generous and the Russians will have no issue at all moving armaments out of the way, even with a good advance by the Germans.


I do indeed see your point. But given the unknowns on the later stages of the campaign I'd be cautious. Especially with a house rule whose effects will be felt for so many turns. If it turned out to be over-cautious I'd compensate by offering substantially more generous victory conditions to the other side. It certainly depends on the kind of game one wants to play. I prefer to approach this kind of wargaming as a partnership in a hobby, rather than a boxing match where you sign a contract compromising to hold out for at least certain number of rounds.

Without a Lvov pocket the Red Army has a fighting chance in the south. And when I say a fighting chance I mean it can significantly delay the AGS onslaught. So it makes sense to compensate a House Rule which limits operational freedom with another House Rule limiting operational freedom for the other side. The strategic effects of the Lvov Pocket are highly debatable, as you're pointing out in your post.

Compensating a operational-level rule with a strategic-level rule is not fair, unless it has a clear operational implication (such as that of the Axis player putting a "chaos" marker on a certain Soviet city). The Soviet will know the Axis player is after that city, and he also knows that the effect will continue as long as the Axis player wants. I would commit to defend that, moreso if the Axis player chooses wisely the cities.




BletchleyGeek -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 12:09:36 PM)

Not to mention that having 2. PzGruppe in the center, has its good advantages. Germans getting megapockets on Soviet players comitting to a Dnepr defense aren't precisely unheard of.




76mm -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 12:12:28 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
Each turn, between Turn 2 and Turn 10, the Axis player chooses a city. The Soviet player won't be able to evacuate any industry from that city.
***
The idea is to simulate the chaos in the early stages of Barbarossa.


OK, I'll bite--why should the Axis decide which city will be non-evacuable? How does the Germans' ability to designate presumably the highest value city represent "chaos"? Looks like cherry-picking to me...

I don't particularly like the Lvov Gambit, but would never invoke a house rule against it; as this thread shows it is just too complicated.




BletchleyGeek -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 12:42:20 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek
Each turn, between Turn 2 and Turn 10, the Axis player chooses a city. The Soviet player won't be able to evacuate any industry from that city.
***
The idea is to simulate the chaos in the early stages of Barbarossa.


OK, I'll bite--why should the Axis decide which city will be non-evacuable? How does the Germans' ability to designate presumably the highest value city represent "chaos"? Looks like cherry-picking to me...

I don't particularly like the Lvov Gambit, but would never invoke a house rule against it; as this thread shows it is just too complicated.


You're my guest to bite me [;)]

Yes, it's sort of cherry-picking indeed. The point is to limit the Soviet operational freedom. And menacing an asset of strategic value is indeed a constraint on the operational freedom of the Soviet player: he has to choose to stand and fight or to forego the defense and give it away for a fraction of the potential cost for the Axis. That's a meaningful choice, and my suggestion was in that direction (I'm not saying it's perfect nor without flaws).




76mm -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 1:09:56 PM)

Sorry, it doesn't really make sense to have the Axis determine where the Sovs will stand and fight.




BletchleyGeek -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 1:16:13 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm
Sorry, it doesn't really make sense to have the Axis determine where the Sovs will stand and fight.


It makes sense when one wants to introduce a HR to avoid the Axis doing something, such as the Lvov Pocket Opening. Certainly, not in isolation.




veji1 -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 2:36:43 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

Sorry, it doesn't really make sense to have the Axis determine where the Sovs will stand and fight.


Ok we here you, but the point here is to try and make a positive contribution. I find 2ndACR's idea interesting and would welcome a game with a slightly exotic set of HR that might make it more interesting.




heliodorus04 -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 2:53:39 PM)

After reading all of this with interest, my sympathies for the Soviet player's position is over-shadowed by my sympathies for my own.

I'm starting to feel that it's better for both sides to do what the engine allows (with some minor house rules for buildup) than to get caught up in a discussion of how to roleplay the consequences of a hypothetical stratagem.  While the former leaves a bad taste, the latter, I fear, will lead to a lot of arguing over what is in fact 'realistic given the opening.'  I fear I'd feel like I'm getting into a marriage counseling situation where we have to argue over both our goals and our capabilities.  It seems like it would be a tremendous amount of work to figure out, and a relatively small oversight could lead to having to abandon the game because a downstream monster might have been created.

The game is what it is right now, and the Lvov tradeoff is reasonable (to me!) given the production issues the game has.




Q-Ball -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 3:25:04 PM)

While I acknowledge the impossibility of making the Romanian border in 3 days, even as Soviet player I am inclined to leave HR's alone, and let the Lvov pocket happen. The problem for both sides is that there just isn't the political pressure to "hold fast" on certain points, putting units at risk. The German pocketed huge amounts of Sw Front anyway, but not because of Lvov pocket, because of orders from Moscow.

The German players eventually halt for much the same reason the real Wehrmacht did: They outrun supply lines. It's very very tough keeping Panzers fueled past the Donbas.





Flaviusx -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 3:42:34 PM)

Q-ball, the big pocket down south occurred as a result of Guderian swinging south. Before that point, the Germans got very little. One medium sized pocket at Uman with 100k lost, and that was about it. They more or less just shoved back SW Front gradually. (But neither did the Sovs just immediately run away to the Dnepr. Nor should there be a need to do this. SW Front is perfectly capable of conducting a fighting retreat in the Western Ukraine against an unreinforced AGS.)

As for house rules, this is a matter of negotiation between the two players. I think giving up the Lvov opening in exchange for some kind of requirement to ship out HI is a rational enough bargain, but it's going to be difficult to enforce.

To some extent, this kind of bargain is otiose. Given a slow enough German advance, I actually would rail out some HI for the simple reason that I can do so. Cutting out the HI entirely and giving up all the stuff west of the Dnepr is my solution to the ahistorical advance rates down south resulting from the Lvov opening; I wouldn't handle my evacuation the same way under different circumstances.




BletchleyGeek -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 3:45:45 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Q-Ball
The German players eventually halt for much the same reason the real Wehrmacht did: They outrun supply lines. It's very very tough keeping Panzers fueled past the Donbas.


My Southern Front troops thank the [&o][&o][&o][&o][&o] Flying Spaghetti Monster for getting Southern Russia geography the way it is [&o]




Q-Ball -> RE: House-Rule Lvov Ideas Sought (10/20/2011 3:53:19 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bletchley_Geek


quote:

ORIGINAL: Q-Ball
The German players eventually halt for much the same reason the real Wehrmacht did: They outrun supply lines. It's very very tough keeping Panzers fueled past the Donbas.


My Southern Front troops thank the [&o][&o][&o][&o][&o] Flying Spaghetti Monster for getting Southern Russia geography the way it is [&o]


Well, now you know why I sat there for 3 turns. (Not the only reason, also to conserve tank strength and build forts). But I wasn't going to make it across any more major rivers with my supply situation.




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