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RE: 'stuffing' the border

 
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RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/19/2009 11:05:14 AM   
hakon

 

Posts: 298
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Hi, Breunor, and welcome to the forum.

You may wish to read the entire thread, because all your arguments have already come up. If you go to the yahoo groups called wifdiscussion, you will find even more material on the issue, based solely on the boardgame.

I'll give you a short summary, though.

1) Your esimate of Russia being able to stuff 65% is a bit low. By doing whatever it takes, the number would usually be over 80%, or even more if they are willing to DOW someone ot keep the garrison up.
2) Russia can act AS IF they are going to stuff the border up until SO 1940 at no significant extra cost, and up to this time they may also have a significant force vs Japan. If they have good chits at this time, their odds are going to be much better than average, and if they have bad chits, they can just pull back at no cost. If they reach this conclusion at the end of SO1941, they can still build 3 artillerists, 3 extra pilots (beyond those needed to fill their starting aircraft) and 5 fighters before the summer of 41. The only downside that I can see of doing this, is that Russia should not demand the Finnish borderlands if they want to be able to stuff the border.
3) Germany, on the other hand, starts to get opportunity costs from planning a Barb41 quite early, provided that they are not able to go through with it. There will be no room for starting TRS or AMPH, building a sub fleet, finishing Tirpitz, building units like MAR, NAV, FTR3, and other units that are useful in the Med or in a sealion. This is kind a big sacrifice, since they will be unable to do a 41 barb in more than 50% of games if Russia plays like outlined above. (Even when assuming Russia pulls away from the border if their chits are below average in SO40).
4) Still, in a game where Germany plans a 1941 barb, it is practically suicide for Russia to fight a full blown war vs Japan, so if Japan wants the far east, there is little Russia can do about it. (They can try to hold chita, though, at least for a while.) So no real loss there, by stuffing.
5) Finally, if Russia decides to stay at the border, they always have the option of DOW-ing someone, in order to get the reserves and to be able to build cheap MIL, or even to be able to quickly pull back if they pull extremely low chits in 1941, for instance. While this costs some US entry, it is still an important safetly fuse for Russia, making it very unlikely that Germany will actually be able to catch them at the border (provided they don't make mistakes).

All of the above does assume, of course, that the Russian player is able to roughly calculate the probabilities that the stuff will hold in any given situation, which certainly excludes a large number of less experienced players. And if your groups is not very good at fully exploiting the combined attack potential of the Axis countries (or if you play with 1d10, or 3d10 or something), your russian players may not see the need to avoid a 1941 barb, so it may not come up very often.

Personally, I have the experience that a concentrated 1941 Barb is too strong, and I would really like to see a real solution that restores the balance of the 1941 barb. Unfortunately, though, it seems like many people are satisfied by having the the stuff tactic work as a "counter" to a 1941 barb, something I don't find satisfying at all.

If you want details about the points above, please read the thread. All of the points have been discussed in very extensive detail.

Cheers
hakon

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 301
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/19/2009 4:44:15 PM   
darune

 

Posts: 15
Joined: 5/25/2009
From: Denmark
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quote:

For the situation of the Germans taking the Netherlands, Poland, and Yugoslavia all on the first turn with no losses ... just surrender your Allies and start over if you can't set up minors and the BEF well enough to prevent that. Hint: Defend Zagreb's flanks to the max and just leave one weak unit in Belgrade, cover the North Sea with a strong Home Fleet and threaten an intervention in Rotterdam.


Surrender on the first turn ? I guess you are joking.

Yoguslavia is hard to defend with only 4 corps being set up initially in 39. Align rumania on impulse 3 and then align hungary on impulse 5 to go around zagreb flank.

An intervention in rotterdam can be avoided if you are willing to risk a cruiser and an inf div. against the home fleet. Do a combined, sail to the sea with the inf div. and hope no one finds, so you are able to attack rotterdam on the surprise impulse (or land safely with the division if notional is not set up). Of course this plan will not succeed always, but the odds are better than 50% i guess.

So all in all I think it can accomplished with a long first turn and a little luck. Netherlands is not that all important anyways, if the turn ends earlier.


(in reply to brian brian)
Post #: 302
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/19/2009 6:49:22 PM   
composer99


Posts: 2923
Joined: 6/6/2005
From: Ottawa, Canada
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I personally used the division invasion to help secure the Netherlands in Sept/Oct 1939 in my current game.

I only wish I hadn't flubbed the French campaign & taken 'till May/June '41 to finish them off - I'd be starting a '41 Barb controlling East Poland.

_____________________________

~ Composer99

(in reply to darune)
Post #: 303
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/19/2009 10:29:47 PM   
Zorachus99


Posts: 1054
Joined: 9/15/2000
From: Palo Alto, CA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: composer99

I personally used the division invasion to help secure the Netherlands in Sept/Oct 1939 in my current game.

I only wish I hadn't flubbed the French campaign & taken 'till May/June '41 to finish them off - I'd be starting a '41 Barb controlling East Poland.


I've seen things like this happen. Very painful.

_____________________________

Most men can survive adversity, the true test of a man's character is power. -Abraham Lincoln

(in reply to composer99)
Post #: 304
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/20/2009 12:28:00 AM   
Breunor

 

Posts: 21
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Thanks Hakon!

Well, your points look well founded. I haven't read through the whole thread, but my main point is whether what I said is 'right' or not - my point is that in my experience, the people I play with and have a lot of influence with WIFFE haven't viewed forward defense (stuffing) as a problem.

That is, I don't want to get into a debate on who is right, I realized that the arguments have gone back and forth quite a lot. I wanted to say what the 'conventional wisdom' is. Again, conventional wisdom isn't necessarily 'right'. But specifically, if Harry Rowland doesn't think it is a problem, it is not likely to get a lot of attention.

You've gone to a few of the conventions. I've gone to some of the US ones - have you seen the stuffing as a major straetgy in the games at EuroWifcOn? I just haven't seen it a lot.

One issue that we have with 'right' is that in my experience, it depends a LOT on exactly which options you play and sometimes on rules' interpretations. One nice aspect of WIFFE is that there are so many options that you can tailor your games to your liking; conversely, it makes discussing the 'right' strategy hard. It is especially hard given how long it takes to play a game WIFFE, so it is hard to get a good scientific study.

As an example, does your 80% figure apply to WIFFE Classic?

It is interesting that we have different views on 'stuffing' since I also, like you, find that a combined attack by Japan, Italy, and Germany on Russia in 1941 is too hard to stop (and indeed we usually play 1 D 10 for that reason). But you and I are in the minority, I find most fo the WIFFE crowd seems to think the game is pro-Allied. (And here I don't think they are right).



Good gaming,

Breunor

(in reply to darune)
Post #: 305
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/20/2009 10:08:57 AM   
hakon

 

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Breunor

I've only been to the Eurowifcon once, and that was this year. On that con, I not a lot of people were doing 1941 barbs. Now, this could eier be because they are afraid to get stuffed (in which case I would consider stuffing to be an issue), or it could just be because they preferred other strategies.

In my game, we had agreed beforehand that Russia would not stuff the border, which our opponents had no problem with, in fact I got the impression they preferred it that way themselves.

In fact, I suspect that most groups that don't like stuffing, come to some such agreement internally.

As for how easy it is to stuff the border in Classic, I haven not calculated this. I don't think it would make such a huge difference, though, since stuffing mostly requires building corps, anyway, and most of the corps are available in classic, too. The biggest change that I can think of, is that the extra planes in flames starting aircraft are not in the setup, which takes away some cheap garrison units on each side. (It takes only 2bp to fill them with a pilot). Classic also means that you play without the extra CBV, which clearly makes a big difference.

Of course, in classic, Germany losses may be a bit higher early on, due to the lack of divisional losses, meaning that each loss on a blitz attack in France is likely to kill at least a MOT, and maybe even a MECH (for the extra armor bonus). 1d10 will just increase the German losses further.

I'm not too concerned about classic, though, since I'm not likely to ever play it. And within deluxe, there are not THAT many options that affect stuffing probability, apart from the CBV (which are usually included when calculating stuffing probabilities). So I really don't think the optional rules are a big factor in this discussion. (At least as long as one plays with the core options of deluxe, including PiF, SiF and divs.)

Finally, I would like to point out that this forum is for the computer game. By turning the game into a computer game, some changes will usually start to occur. Specifically, once players start relying on the game engine as the final rules arbiter, the tendency to come up with house rules, local interpretations, etc, is likely to decrease. Also, playing over the internet will tend to increase player tolerance to "gamey" tactics, both because a computer game is less personal, and also because people will be less likely to play the same people over and over again.

One thing I've noticed by "gamey" tactics, is that once people have had them used against them, they tend to be more likely to use them themselves. In a way, this make them infectious, in the Richard Dawkins/meme theory kind of way. This means that when you start playing a more diversified group of people, the tendency to (ab-)use such rules will tend to spread, at least when they provide an increased chance of winning.

Having an official option that makes stuffing hard (or impossible) in 1941, would enable players to deal with this problem before the game, instead of during the game.

Now, if you haven't experienced "stuffing" as a problem in your group, then lucky you. Then again, you've also stated that more people prefer a 42 barb in your experience than a 41 barb. Do you think this could have something to dow with the risk of being stuffed, or is it a real preferrence for a 42 barb in all cases?

Cheers
Hakon

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 306
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/20/2009 10:56:02 AM   
BallyJ

 

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2) Rebalance Russia as needed, to prevent 1941 Barbs from being blow outs so often.

I have to say that in the games I play a 41 invasion of Russia is not always a "blow out"
Some are put just as many are hard cheese for the Germans.
Most are in the middle.
Regards John

(in reply to hakon)
Post #: 307
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/20/2009 11:34:49 AM   
darune

 

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From: Denmark
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Have you considered the fact that one of the reasons the seal med. strategy / 42 barbarossa gets so much attention (as a strong axis play) could exactly be because of USSR ability to prevent the 41 war ?

From a metagame analysis this basicly puts the 41 barb. as a risky strategy (on par with france first or attempted 40 barb.) as long as the war can be prevented for the entire 41.

However I think there should also/still be a mechanic that prevents germany from a big lend-lease to italy if it wants to do the 41 barb.

The chit and pact rules are good for that. Just the garrison should be changed so USSR, by itself, could not get more than around 40%-50% (maybe even 60% also ok since its very risky if fails) chance of a stuff in MJ 41.

I like the proposed option (only 3:2 needed in JA 41, very elegant), however im a bit concerned about the lend-lease to italy with that. Because if the option effectively removes the stuff as a strategy on the USSR part, then GE dont have to be concerned with building its own stuff.

(in reply to BallyJ)
Post #: 308
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/20/2009 7:49:27 PM   
Froonp


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Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
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quote:

ORIGINAL: BallyJ
I have to say that in the games I play a 41 invasion of Russia is not always a "blow out"
Some are put just as many are hard cheese for the Germans.
Most are in the middle.
Regards John


Exactly.
Same for me.
Each Russian blowout I saw, was because of a severe experience difference between the German and Russian player.

(in reply to BallyJ)
Post #: 309
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/20/2009 7:54:26 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7995
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From: Marseilles, France
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quote:

ORIGINAL: darune

Have you considered the fact that one of the reasons the seal med. strategy / 42 barbarossa gets so much attention (as a strong axis play) could exactly be because of USSR ability to prevent the 41 war ?


Maybe you could also consider the fact that the close the Med strategy is the one with the highest ratio between easiness and cashback.
It is very easy to win using that strategy (Spain is undefendable and if the stuff the border strategy has 90% chances of success, Gibraltar have at least a 99% chance of falling to a determined German), and it gives you a lot of objective cities, and a very good position to defend them.

Barb is not that easy, and it can fire back at you easily. A stroke of bad luck when assaulting key cities, or a flank too much exposed, and you may find yourself bogged down before having severely hurt Russia, and then you're toast.

(in reply to darune)
Post #: 310
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/20/2009 11:25:13 PM   
Breunor

 

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Darune,

I can tell you with virtual certainty that 42 Barbrossa's performed by the WIFFE crowd rarely are performed because they think a Soviet forward strategy is too strong.  The 41 vs. 42 Barbarossa is perhaps the single most discussed strategic topic, and I don't think avoiding border stuffing has been listed as a top 5 reason.  I've had these discussions with WIFFE players for years and they have been posted on WIFFE boards. The main reason to favor a 42 Barbarossa are the obvious, strategic benefits; Italy's factories and considerable air force are very important and taking Gibraltar makes it very hard for the Wallies to strike back at Italy, taking Gibraltar de fact knocks the CW our of Africa once Japan sorties in the Indian Ocean, The USSR can now be attacked from the south through Persia close to the Soviet production center, etc. 

Please believe me - Hakan and you and maybe a few other people here consider it an overpowering, broken strategy - the bulk of the WIFFE world, including Harry Rowland, do not.  It is NOT the centerpoint of all strategies and before I saw this forum, I have never heard major complaints about this issue.

Indeed, almost without a doubt the most debated rules are the Soviet production multipliers, and that is why we have 'Hitler's Warí, the regular rules, etc.   In all of these cases, the impacts of these rules have had their impact on the ability of the Germans to break the pact assessed by Harry Rowland and his main group of playtesters and even generally the people on the WIFFE discussion boards.

There are always people in a game this long and complex with so many options that feel the game is 'broken' for some reason - probably some combination of optional rules used, rules interpretations, playing style, etc.  Indeed, in the history of WIFFE, game breaking mechanics have been discovered and fixed - for example, some of the actions that the Soviets had been allowed to do before the war started. 

In most cases, though, these issues are absolutely applicable to the people playing and discovering these issues, with their rules, options etc - but when brought to the 'powers that be', most players don't find the 'game-breaking' issue to apply.  This cycle will often lead to frustration by the people reporting the issue, but it is important to recognize that the WIFFE community has a lot of different views and voices.

Hakon, I strongly disagree with your supposition that the rules won't impact the ability to break the pact.  Classic, for instance, is quite a lot different from deluxe especially because of limited number of units available, I would be very surprised if calculations made from deluxe would apply to classic.  Any rule or rule set that impacts the force pool (city based volunteers as an example) can impact the calculations.  Over the years, the 'broken' strategies have usually come down to a set of rules being used that individually work well but in combination cause balance to get out of equilibrium.

I recognize that this forum is for the computer game.  The reason I'm posting here is to say why the WIFFE board game community has not changed the rule here.  I can assure all of you that the game designers and players and main tournament players over the last decade know about the rule Ė you havenít discovered something that hasnít been thought of or examined.  It apparently has not been considered a major issue in the forums up until here.  It has not been a major strategy at any WIFFE tournament that I know about. 

So, unless the computer game is quite different from the board game, I want to let people reading this forum to know that the mainstream crowd does not view that there is a flaw that has been discovered on this forum that hasnít been discovered on the board game forums; that there not a strategy that someone here has thought of that slipped through the cracks and hasnít been considered by the game designer or by the major playtesters..

I think it is great that the computer game will allow far more testing, so we can know for sure if mechanics are Ďbrokení.  Of course, in the board game, it isnít so much of a problem Ė people finding a rule they donít like simply house rule it.  A computer game canít be so easily house ruled, all of the options have to be programmed Ė so if the programmers put in alternatives to stuffing, all the better, nobody is harmed. 

But Iím sorry if this comes across the wrong way Ė I think you have assumed the game is Ďbrokení, or think you have proven it; found a strategy that is too strong that slipped the designers notice.  You are sure you will be vindicated.  Perhaps you will.  I hope you donít mind that I am trying to put in a voice for Ďmainstreamí WIFFE.  Most of the WIFFE crowd knows this strategy and have reached different conclusions.  Iím trying to let the computer WIFFE community hear this voice.

And I want to repeat, you may be right.  Iíve played a lot and donít mind this rule, that is just my opinion.  But Iím going to trust the mainstream opinion given how many people have played and reported over the last decade.  The computer game should help determine who is correct here, and clearly if WIFFE play increases because of the computer game and more trials prove your point, I suspect Harry Rowland will change the rules. 


But I think the debate gets back to the first point.  I said in my experience, a 42 Barbarossa is most popular.  You are saying it must be because people are afraid of stuffing.  This isnít the case.  The WIFFE crowd knows about this and right now isnít worried. 

So if you guys keep saying that the rest of the world is just plain wrong, well, there really isnít any more to say.  That is your opinion, I can respect that.  The bulk of the WIFFE crowd disagrees.

Good gaming!

Breunor

(in reply to darune)
Post #: 311
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/21/2009 12:10:44 AM   
Ullern


Posts: 1837
Joined: 5/28/2006
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Breunor

One issue that we have with 'right' is that in my experience, it depends a LOT on exactly which options you play and sometimes on rules' interpretations. One nice aspect of WIFFE is that there are so many options that you can tailor your games to your liking; conversely, it makes discussing the 'right' strategy hard. It is especially hard given how long it takes to play a game WIFFE, so it is hard to get a good scientific study.

As an example, does your 80% figure apply to WIFFE Classic?




Actually. One of the cases I calculated in post 281 was Classic + PiF only + City Based Volunteers (so no SIF, no Mech in Flames Gar, no divs or artillery). But I still assumed the USSR DOWed Italy and produced MIL. With these options the results was pretty much the same as Haakons calculations. But I did assume no losses, and that would be different. Also if the USSR was not allowed to produce MIL, it would make a big difference.


In my many WIF games I've seen the stuff only once. And I don't believe it was really planned, but the USSR had DOWed Italy to be able to take land impulses and produce MIL. I played Germany and planned a MJ41 Barb. But in late MA41 I found I would be better off to expel some British in Denmark and take Yugo in MJ41 and postpone the Barb to JA. Well in MJ41 the USSR decided he wanted to go from a medium backward set up to a forward set up, and he was quite off to make any stuff, so I didn't think it would cause any problems, and I didn't align all countries I could align, but I did align Romania which proved to be a mistake. When I got to fist impulse JA41 I had exactly ONE point too little to break the pact. Man, was that annoying!

(Me aligning Romania was a mistake because much of the USSR forces in Ukraine would not have made it to the border zone if I had not shortened the distance they had to walk by aligning Romania.)

We were able to strike a deal out of that one. He was allowed to spend a few impulses reorganizing his lines, and I was allowed to DOW later in JA41. But in hindsight I should have declined the deal. Because we play with the "Hitlers war" option, which gives the USSR extra production once Germany DOWs, and I was not able to take that much in 41 that it justified the extra production he got. If those impulses I had to wait made the difference or not is hard to tell. But what would have made a difference is if May/Jun had been an impulse shorter and I had got to DOW on a USSR that was halfway between one defence and the other. (I would not have dared such a move as the USSR, because I count, but I think these guys didn't. They just gambled and got lucky the turn lasted long enough.)

***

But back on track.
I've played a huge number of campaigns and never seen the stuff except for that weird situation I described above. And I do have some thoughts on why not. It's because we're always four for five players in our group. So one guy is playing USSR and France. And France get beat early, and then that player starts meddling: Oh! Can't you other guys speed up a little. Do you really have to fight that BoA and can't you just attack me now instead! And then finally: OK OK! I get to bored of this "Stuff strategy" of mine. I admit it! I DOW Persia/Finland/Japan now!
_ And stuff problem solved.

And while I am at it. I could not understand who would want to Sitz either. I mean I understand it's possible to win. But the campaigns I am used to takes a real year to finish if we are to play into '45. So what a way to spend my free time! I'll just plan to play Germany next to every week for a year doing nothing! That's my kind of fun.



< Message edited by ullern -- 11/21/2009 12:15:27 AM >

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 312
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/21/2009 12:38:19 AM   
BallyJ

 

Posts: 142
Joined: 5/25/2008
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Breunor

Darune,

I can tell you with virtual certainty that 42 Barbrossa's performed by the WIFFE crowd rarely are performed because they think a Soviet forward strategy is too strong.† The 41 vs. 42 Barbarossa is perhaps the single most discussed strategic topic, and I don't think avoiding border stuffing has been listed as a top 5 reason.† I've had these discussions with WIFFE players for years and they have been posted on WIFFE boards. The main reason to favor a 42 Barbarossa are the obvious, strategic benefits; Italy's factories and considerable air force are very important and taking Gibraltar makes it very hard for the Wallies to strike back at Italy,†taking Gibraltar de fact knocks the CW our of Africa once Japan sorties in the Indian Ocean, The USSR can now be attacked from the south through Persia close to the Soviet production center, etc.†

Please believe me - Hakan and you and maybe a few other people here consider it an overpowering, broken strategy - the bulk of the WIFFE world, including Harry Rowland, do not.† It is NOT the centerpoint of all strategies and before I saw this forum, I have never heard major complaints about this issue.

Indeed, almost without a doubt the most debated rules are the Soviet production multipliers, and that is why we have 'Hitler's Warí, the regular rules, etc.†† In all of these cases, the impacts of these rules have had their impact on the ability of the Germans to break the pact assessed by Harry Rowland and his main group of playtesters and even generally the people on the WIFFE discussion boards.

There are always people in a game this long and complex with so many options that feel the game is 'broken' for some reason - probably some combination of optional rules used, rules interpretations, playing style, etc.† Indeed, in the history of WIFFE, game breaking mechanics have been discovered and fixed - for example, some of the actions that the Soviets had been allowed to do before the war started.†

In most cases, though, these issues are absolutely applicable to the people playing and discovering these issues, with their rules, options etc - but when brought to the 'powers that be', most players don't find the 'game-breaking' issue to apply.† This cycle will often lead to frustration by the people reporting the issue, but it is important to recognize that the WIFFE community has a lot of different views and voices.

Hakon, I strongly disagree with your supposition that the rules won't impact the ability to break the pact.† Classic, for instance, is quite a lot different from deluxe especially because of limited number of units available, I would be very surprised if calculations made from deluxe would apply to classic.† Any rule or rule set that impacts the force pool (city based volunteers as an example) can impact the calculations.† Over the years, the 'broken' strategies have usually come down to a set of rules being used that individually work well but in combination cause balance to get out of equilibrium.

I recognize that this forum is for the computer game.† The reason I'm posting here is to say why the WIFFE board game community has not changed the rule here.† I can assure all of you that the game designers and players and main tournament players over the last decade know about the rule Ė you havenít discovered something that hasnít been thought of or examined.† It apparently has not been considered a major issue in the forums up until here.† It has not been a major strategy at any WIFFE tournament that I know about.†

So, unless the computer game is quite different from the board game, I want to let people reading this forum to know that the mainstream crowd does not view that there is a flaw that has been discovered on this forum that hasnít been discovered on the board game forums; that there not a strategy that someone here has thought of that slipped through the cracks and hasnít been considered by the game designer or by the major playtesters..

I think it is great that the computer game will allow far more testing, so we can know for sure if mechanics are Ďbrokení.† Of course, in the board game, it isnít so much of a problem Ė people finding a rule they donít like simply house rule it.† A computer game canít be so easily house ruled, all of the options have to be programmed Ė so if the programmers put in alternatives to stuffing, all the better, nobody is harmed.†

But Iím sorry if this comes across the wrong way Ė I think you have assumed the game is Ďbrokení, or think you have proven it; found a strategy that is too strong that slipped the designers notice.† You are sure you will be vindicated.† Perhaps you will. †I hope you donít mind that I am trying to put in a voice for Ďmainstreamí WIFFE.† Most of the WIFFE crowd knows this strategy and have reached different conclusions.† Iím trying to let the computer WIFFE community hear this voice.

And I want to repeat, you may be right.† Iíve played a lot and donít mind this rule, that is just my opinion.† But Iím going to trust the mainstream opinion given how many people have played and reported over the last decade.† The computer game should help determine who is correct here, and clearly if WIFFE play increases because of the computer game and more trials prove your point, I suspect Harry Rowland will change the rules.†


But I think the debate gets back to the first point.† I said in my experience, a 42 Barbarossa is most popular.† You are saying it must be because people are afraid of stuffing.† This isnít the case.† The WIFFE crowd knows about this and right now isnít worried.†

So if you guys keep saying that the rest of the world is just plain wrong, well, there really isnít any more to say.† That is your opinion, I can respect that.† The bulk of the WIFFE crowd disagrees.

Good gaming!

Breunor

Thank you for taking the time to post.
I agree with you 98.9%
regards John

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 313
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/21/2009 2:42:36 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 21622
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Breunor

Darune,

I can tell you with virtual certainty that 42 Barbrossa's performed by the WIFFE crowd rarely are performed because they think a Soviet forward strategy is too strong.† The 41 vs. 42 Barbarossa is perhaps the single most discussed strategic topic, and I don't think avoiding border stuffing has been listed as a top 5 reason.† I've had these discussions with WIFFE players for years and they have been posted on WIFFE boards. The main reason to favor a 42 Barbarossa are the obvious, strategic benefits; Italy's factories and considerable air force are very important and taking Gibraltar makes it very hard for the Wallies to strike back at Italy,†taking Gibraltar de fact knocks the CW our of Africa once Japan sorties in the Indian Ocean, The USSR can now be attacked from the south through Persia close to the Soviet production center, etc.†

Please believe me - Hakan and you and maybe a few other people here consider it an overpowering, broken strategy - the bulk of the WIFFE world, including Harry Rowland, do not.† It is NOT the centerpoint of all strategies and before I saw this forum, I have never heard major complaints about this issue.

Indeed, almost without a doubt the most debated rules are the Soviet production multipliers, and that is why we have 'Hitler's Warí, the regular rules, etc.†† In all of these cases, the impacts of these rules have had their impact on the ability of the Germans to break the pact assessed by Harry Rowland and his main group of playtesters and even generally the people on the WIFFE discussion boards.

There are always people in a game this long and complex with so many options that feel the game is 'broken' for some reason - probably some combination of optional rules used, rules interpretations, playing style, etc.† Indeed, in the history of WIFFE, game breaking mechanics have been discovered and fixed - for example, some of the actions that the Soviets had been allowed to do before the war started.†

In most cases, though, these issues are absolutely applicable to the people playing and discovering these issues, with their rules, options etc - but when brought to the 'powers that be', most players don't find the 'game-breaking' issue to apply.† This cycle will often lead to frustration by the people reporting the issue, but it is important to recognize that the WIFFE community has a lot of different views and voices.

Hakon, I strongly disagree with your supposition that the rules won't impact the ability to break the pact.† Classic, for instance, is quite a lot different from deluxe especially because of limited number of units available, I would be very surprised if calculations made from deluxe would apply to classic.† Any rule or rule set that impacts the force pool (city based volunteers as an example) can impact the calculations.† Over the years, the 'broken' strategies have usually come down to a set of rules being used that individually work well but in combination cause balance to get out of equilibrium.

I recognize that this forum is for the computer game.† The reason I'm posting here is to say why the WIFFE board game community has not changed the rule here.† I can assure all of you that the game designers and players and main tournament players over the last decade know about the rule Ė you havenít discovered something that hasnít been thought of or examined.† It apparently has not been considered a major issue in the forums up until here.† It has not been a major strategy at any WIFFE tournament that I know about.†

So, unless the computer game is quite different from the board game, I want to let people reading this forum to know that the mainstream crowd does not view that there is a flaw that has been discovered on this forum that hasnít been discovered on the board game forums; that there not a strategy that someone here has thought of that slipped through the cracks and hasnít been considered by the game designer or by the major playtesters..

I think it is great that the computer game will allow far more testing, so we can know for sure if mechanics are Ďbrokení.† Of course, in the board game, it isnít so much of a problem Ė people finding a rule they donít like simply house rule it.† A computer game canít be so easily house ruled, all of the options have to be programmed Ė so if the programmers put in alternatives to stuffing, all the better, nobody is harmed.†

But Iím sorry if this comes across the wrong way Ė I think you have assumed the game is Ďbrokení, or think you have proven it; found a strategy that is too strong that slipped the designers notice.† You are sure you will be vindicated.† Perhaps you will. †I hope you donít mind that I am trying to put in a voice for Ďmainstreamí WIFFE.† Most of the WIFFE crowd knows this strategy and have reached different conclusions.† Iím trying to let the computer WIFFE community hear this voice.

And I want to repeat, you may be right.† Iíve played a lot and donít mind this rule, that is just my opinion.† But Iím going to trust the mainstream opinion given how many people have played and reported over the last decade.† The computer game should help determine who is correct here, and clearly if WIFFE play increases because of the computer game and more trials prove your point, I suspect Harry Rowland will change the rules.†


But I think the debate gets back to the first point.† I said in my experience, a 42 Barbarossa is most popular.† You are saying it must be because people are afraid of stuffing.† This isnít the case.† The WIFFE crowd knows about this and right now isnít worried.†

So if you guys keep saying that the rest of the world is just plain wrong, well, there really isnít any more to say.† That is your opinion, I can respect that.† The bulk of the WIFFE crowd disagrees.

Good gaming!

Breunor

Thanks.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 314
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/21/2009 6:43:47 AM   
paulderynck


Posts: 7863
Joined: 3/24/2007
From: Canada
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Breunor

Darune,

I can tell you with virtual certainty that 42 Barbrossa's performed by the WIFFE crowd rarely are performed because they think a Soviet forward strategy is too strong.† The 41 vs. 42 Barbarossa is perhaps the single most discussed strategic topic, and I don't think avoiding border stuffing has been listed as a top 5 reason.† I've had these discussions with WIFFE players for years and they have been posted on WIFFE boards. The main reason to favor a 42 Barbarossa are the obvious, strategic benefits; Italy's factories and considerable air force are very important and taking Gibraltar makes it very hard for the Wallies to strike back at Italy,†taking Gibraltar de fact knocks the CW our of Africa once Japan sorties in the Indian Ocean, The USSR can now be attacked from the south through Persia close to the Soviet production center, etc.†

Please believe me - Hakan and you and maybe a few other people here consider it an overpowering, broken strategy - the bulk of the WIFFE world, including Harry Rowland, do not.† It is NOT the centerpoint of all strategies and before I saw this forum, I have never heard major complaints about this issue.

Indeed, almost without a doubt the most debated rules are the Soviet production multipliers, and that is why we have 'Hitler's Warí, the regular rules, etc.†† In all of these cases, the impacts of these rules have had their impact on the ability of the Germans to break the pact assessed by Harry Rowland and his main group of playtesters and even generally the people on the WIFFE discussion boards.

There are always people in a game this long and complex with so many options that feel the game is 'broken' for some reason - probably some combination of optional rules used, rules interpretations, playing style, etc.† Indeed, in the history of WIFFE, game breaking mechanics have been discovered and fixed - for example, some of the actions that the Soviets had been allowed to do before the war started.†

In most cases, though, these issues are absolutely applicable to the people playing and discovering these issues, with their rules, options etc - but when brought to the 'powers that be', most players don't find the 'game-breaking' issue to apply.† This cycle will often lead to frustration by the people reporting the issue, but it is important to recognize that the WIFFE community has a lot of different views and voices.

Hakon, I strongly disagree with your supposition that the rules won't impact the ability to break the pact.† Classic, for instance, is quite a lot different from deluxe especially because of limited number of units available, I would be very surprised if calculations made from deluxe would apply to classic.† Any rule or rule set that impacts the force pool (city based volunteers as an example) can impact the calculations.† Over the years, the 'broken' strategies have usually come down to a set of rules being used that individually work well but in combination cause balance to get out of equilibrium.

I recognize that this forum is for the computer game.† The reason I'm posting here is to say why the WIFFE board game community has not changed the rule here.† I can assure all of you that the game designers and players and main tournament players over the last decade know about the rule Ė you havenít discovered something that hasnít been thought of or examined.† It apparently has not been considered a major issue in the forums up until here.† It has not been a major strategy at any WIFFE tournament that I know about.†

So, unless the computer game is quite different from the board game, I want to let people reading this forum to know that the mainstream crowd does not view that there is a flaw that has been discovered on this forum that hasnít been discovered on the board game forums; that there not a strategy that someone here has thought of that slipped through the cracks and hasnít been considered by the game designer or by the major playtesters..

I think it is great that the computer game will allow far more testing, so we can know for sure if mechanics are Ďbrokení.† Of course, in the board game, it isnít so much of a problem Ė people finding a rule they donít like simply house rule it.† A computer game canít be so easily house ruled, all of the options have to be programmed Ė so if the programmers put in alternatives to stuffing, all the better, nobody is harmed.†

But Iím sorry if this comes across the wrong way Ė I think you have assumed the game is Ďbrokení, or think you have proven it; found a strategy that is too strong that slipped the designers notice.† You are sure you will be vindicated.† Perhaps you will. I hope you donít mind that I am trying to put in a voice for Ďmainstreamí WIFFE. Most of the WIFFE crowd knows this strategy and have reached different conclusions.† Iím trying to let the computer WIFFE community hear this voice.

And I want to repeat, you may be right.† Iíve played a lot and donít mind this rule, that is just my opinion.† But Iím going to trust the mainstream opinion given how many people have played and reported over the last decade.† The computer game should help determine who is correct here, and clearly if WIFFE play increases because of the computer game and more trials prove your point, I suspect Harry Rowland will change the rules.†


But I think the debate gets back to the first point.† I said in my experience, a 42 Barbarossa is most popular.† You are saying it must be because people are afraid of stuffing.† This isnít the case.† The WIFFE crowd knows about this and right now isnít worried.†

So if you guys keep saying that the rest of the world is just plain wrong, well, there really isnít any more to say.† That is your opinion, I can respect that.† The bulk of the WIFFE crowd disagrees.

Good gaming!

Breunor

"the WIFFE crowd ..." "the bulk of the WIFFE world..." "it is important to recognize that the WIFFE community has a lot of different views and voices...." "the WIFFE board game community ..." "the mainstream crowd does not view..." " I hope you donít mind that I am trying to put in a voice for Ďmainstreamí WIFFE. Most of the WIFFE crowd knows..." "Iím going to trust the mainstream opinion..." "The WIFFE crowd knows about this and right now isnít worried." "So if you guys keep saying that the rest of the world is just plain wrong..."

Your points are well written and credible, but really, I'd like to see the credentials that appointed you the spokesman for this massive silent majority.

I speak from my own experiences and from what I read, so do Hakon and others who have posted here. I object to you assuming some overall mantle of "WiFdom's vast majority" to support your own opinion when you are unlikely to have had any greater experience of playing the game than those of us who are rabid enough to participate almost every day on this and the other forums. You admit you haven't read the whole thread, but you are quite sure your view is the most popular one.

You're entitled to your opinion but portraying it as though it is the view of 90% of the game's fans is at the least: disingenuous.

< Message edited by paulderynck -- 11/21/2009 6:45:02 AM >


_____________________________

Paul

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 315
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/21/2009 7:21:14 AM   
Zorachus99


Posts: 1054
Joined: 9/15/2000
From: Palo Alto, CA
Status: offline
As many of us here, I'm simply trying to make sure the product that Steve produces is of good reviewable quality.†This game could be dead-panned by critics as having rules that make Operation: Barbarossa nearly impossible (I certainly would point it out).

Imagine a critic and new player simply try to re-create history by making the historical choices.† The game†flavor†WIF provides is that no game will ever play out the same.† Things can and will radically change.

However the largest operation of the war can be prevented until the arbitrary date of J/F 42 by knowledgeable soviet play.† The pact was signed July 22, the anniversary is no long feat for the change of the garrision ratio as proposed in Steve's optional rule.

Many can debate whether Barb should be possible... wait, why are we debating whether Barb '41 should be possible anyway?†

I've always felt the rule was designed to prevent an early barb until a large majority of the army was on the border...† who could have guessed I was wrong

< Message edited by Zorachus99 -- 11/21/2009 7:24:36 AM >


_____________________________

Most men can survive adversity, the true test of a man's character is power. -Abraham Lincoln

(in reply to paulderynck)
Post #: 316
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/21/2009 7:39:20 PM   
Breunor

 

Posts: 21
Joined: 11/19/2009
Status: offline
Paul,

These are fair points. I do not speak for the WIFFE community nor do I have any official status, and I apologize if I'm over reaching. I cannot read minds and I haven't taken polls.

I hope people don't mind that I actually do want to maintain anonymity (and I especially don't want continuance of this thread in a personal e-mail) but I am not an employee Of ADG. I am one of the dozens of active WIFFE players who have been around the game since it came out. (Of course, nobody really knows how many active players are WIFFing in their basement without participating at tournaments and forums.)

My main concern and point is that in the zeal that people have to improve the game here, which I think is very beneficial, some readers on this forum who haven't played the board game may get the impression that a new mechanic that breaks the game has been discovered, that ADG is sleeping on the sidelines, and that refusing to make design changes will perpetuate a broken, unplayable game.

So, let's be objective - what I'll do is to tell each one of you reading this post to go to the board game forums yourself. Go to the archives. Look up the reports on the tournaments; look up the hundreds of posts on 42 Barbarossa vs. 41 Barbarossa; this is the best way of getting objective data on the state of the game from the majority of posters. I'm a lurker there. When I report that the majority of community views something, it is my subjective summary of these reports and posts. Since Paul is correct that I don't have any status to 'report' these officially, go look at them yourself. I think I did a good job of summarizing, but it is hard to be objective about yourself.

Even better is to look at the reports and results from the actual tournament games. I don't know the EuroWifcon results as well, but issues from forward defense just haven't been mentioned from the reports I have seen especially from the US tournaments.

Also, take a look at the rule proposal changes in the annuals; some of these are potential fixes (again, sometimes 'fixes' are specific to game communities that have different issues from others) and sometimes they are just 'neat' - but again, we haven't seen much about changing this rule about forward defense.

Also, look at the progression of game rule changes. Many of these have come from weird stuff that the designers never thought of. An example was early was that when Germany DOWed a minor, like Greece, players would align Greece to China (to make the CP's hard to attack). So this rule was changed. Germany would go through France, not take Paris, go into Spain with their army, and then after the army was already in Spain, take Paris and declare Vichy. So the surrender rules were developed. Of course, there have been some changes to main rules, like the 2 D 10 table, although 1 D 10 is still an 'official' rule (it seems that 2 D 10 is played far more commonly). Forward defense is more akin to this; it is a 'main mechanic'. It was CLEARLY put there on purpose as a major, central rule.

As I said, you guys might be right and I have no problem with people reporting their impression of a game breaking game problem - so I hope you don't mind my (admittedly subjective) culling of the discussions on the boards for the last decade. Indeed, personally, I find your arguments pretty convincing and I'm starting to question the conventional wisdom for myself.


So the bottom line for me is that anyone interested in computer WIFFE who has read this forum, I encourage you to go to the board game boards and read what they say over there if you don't trust me as a reporter of them. There is an active community. I can also say without contradiction that the game designers, ADG (Harry Rowland), is still active in maintaining the game. Sometimes computer games are made long after the board game is supported, that isn't the case here. Sometimes people find issues that the collective whole has not - that may or may not be the case here. I reported my interpretations, I think they are good, but I'm human like everyone else. I'm just another long time WIFFE player at the end of the day.

Paul, you say that your view of stuffing comes also from you have read and seen. I just haven't read and seen these; of course I haven't been to all of the tournaments and read every post on every WIFFE forum. If these issues have posted before, then I apologize. Have there been tournaments where this has been a major issue? If so, can you say why ADG didn't change the rule?


My other concern here is that I think it is a little unfair to the Matrix design team - when an active group asks to change a major, central rule to the game that Harry Rowland hasn't changed. You put them into a tight spot. Do they listen to their 'constituents' or to the game designer? As I said, there are a lot of other voices out there. You are right, I don't speak for them, I did however try to summarize my view of them. A very large part of the WIFFE crowd (whom I am defining as the people posting on the boards) won't consider any rule 'official' unless sanctioned by Harry Rowland. I'm 'old school' here - I think the best way to get a rule changed is to take it to Harry Rowland, not put pressure on the Matrix design team and put them in a position where they are effectively asked to override ADG. Isn't that unfair?

One counter to my argument is that by the nature of how easy it is to house-rule, maybe people had problems but didn't report them or deal with them at tournaments. This is possible, although given how vocal the boards are I personally think it is a bit unlikely. As I said before, no one is harmed by having the computer game have an option to allow Germany to break the pact any time they want, or with a different ratio, etc. Why not?


Zorachus99, my impression of the reason for the rule is a little different. And just to be clear, yes, this is my understanding of reading, discussions with other WFF players, hearing from Larry Whalen and Harry Rowland talk about it, etc. Please read disclaimer.

Ok, my impression was the fact that the Soviet Army was placed forward in real life, most WIFFE players would not allow the Soviet army to be caught at the border, and certainly nobody should be within range for a groundstrike. Therefore, the mechanic was included to produce two results - one, the real life result is possible, and two, that the mechanic of forward vs. rear defense has a strategic element to give players strategic choice and variability. The design idea (disclaimer: this is my interpretation) was to make the choice 'roughly equivalent'. Therefore, the probability of holding the pact for the Soviets is supposed to produce the weighted average result of [probability of holding pact x benefit of holding pact] + [(1 - probability of holding pact) x cost of getting caught if it fails] is roughly equal to a rear defense.

My view is that if the probability of holding the pact really is 80% it probably is out of kilter, but it is supposed to be pretty high (certainly above 50%). Conversely, saying that it is high means that the game will get bad reviews may not be correct - there have been many game reviews of the board game, it has the exact same mechanic, and I don't recall this point as ever being a major issue in board game reviews where the crowd tends to be a bit more 'realism' based.


The oddest part about this entire thread for me, and the reason I'm posting here, is when I read it I started scratching my head - because my impression had always that the mechanic wasn't working for the opposite reason! I practically never see the tournament games with a forward defense in 1941 (obviously 1942 is a different story). That is, I thought the mechanic was broken the other way! (I'm also not counting forward defense when Germany has busted in France and their army just isn't strong enough to conquer the USSR - this is the accidental sitz strategy and often it is then the USSR that is trying to break the pact.)


At any rate, like everyone else here I am trying to do my best to help the game and the game process. I admit to a little bit of arrogance in that I do think I've played longer and followed the game more than some of the other people disagreeing with the 'stuffing is broken' crowd and I thought I could add my part, both to design philosophy and to strategy.

Mostly, I especially thought it unfair that a computer game designer be asked to override Harry Rowland when Harry Rowland is active in maintaining the game.

Anyway, I think I've failed, I've become more divisive than helpful. I pretty much don't have any more to say on this topic.

All the best.



(in reply to Zorachus99)
Post #: 317
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/21/2009 9:02:46 PM   
WarHunter


Posts: 1209
Joined: 3/21/2004
Status: offline
Breunor,
I'm glad you came and wrote about your years of playing the boardgame. Many of those you met have no doubt shaped a view of the game, which you did relate very well.
The view you expressed while not a mirror of mine exactly, i'd say it reflected much of what i have experienced in playing. The fact you don't actually speak for all those who don't frequent this forum, does not take away from the truth you have written. No one expects an opinion to be written eloquently with all the honeyed words which seek to satisfy all players all the time. The Truth should be enough.
As far as i'm concerned your posts were no where near as arrogant or antagonistic as some have been.

With 5 posts in this forum, you have spoke volumes compared to many with over 100.

Your opinions are valued and on topic about 'stuffing' the border.
Something you addressed most successfully. I stand at your side and in your corner.


_____________________________


ďWe never felt like we were losing until we were actually dead.Ē
Marcus Luttrell

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 318
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/21/2009 10:29:27 PM   
lomyrin


Posts: 3741
Joined: 12/21/2005
From: San Diego
Status: offline
Breunor,

If I am not mistaken I recollect you from the old pipex game forum days and your involvement with the FAQ and rules back then.  As for the Nazi pact breaking chances the new option can be used by those players that are very upset with the stuffing tactic but when not used it does not change the game in any way. Likely most players will not use it.

Lars 

(in reply to WarHunter)
Post #: 319
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/22/2009 12:05:14 AM   
Breunor

 

Posts: 21
Joined: 11/19/2009
Status: offline
Good to hear from you Lars. Well, I guess it isn't surprsing that I've been 'discovered'. That was a long time ago!

Ok, now that you know who I am, for those of you who used to be interested in what I'm saying, I'll be a little more granular. Obviously, again, for all reading this, just my opinion.

I LIKE the optional rule for the computer game, but for the opposite reason - I like the rule to protect the computer player from the human player! Indeed, I actually like it for the regular game also! I actually think that the central idea of the thread is actually a very good discussion for WIFFE, but more for the main WIFFE boards.


To me, the main issue is: since garrison value is determined by unit type and not unit factors, can we exploit the garrison value calculation by buying the low quality units that most USSR players scrap or ignore and dedicating everything to buying them for garrison value and stop a 41 Barbarossa?

Of course, by buying these units, maybe not even buying your HQ(!), you have pushed the ability to maintain the pact from the 'normal 60% - 65% to 80%. This is very logical, since the army is now built for garrison value instead of being built for fighting.

In some ways it is similar to the back-up fighter issue; since in the standard rules all back-up fighters added the same amount, very weak fighters were overpowered (and then we have the obsolete fighter rule, etc.) Of course, breaking the pact is a more serious issue than the value of back-up fighters.

So, by pursuing this strategy, the USSR probably has too high a garrison value based on combat strength. I suspect that Harry and the gang wouldn't be worried about it, though, since a human player will spot the strategy as soon as the crappy planes are piloted and the crappy units are bought. So once they see the strategy is in place, they will go from Paris to Madrid, take Gibraltar, and go for a 42 Barbarossa - now much stronger because the Soviets have wasted substantial numbers of build points on crappy units. Furthermore, the Soviet ability to do anything pre-war is greatly reduced.

Now, that would be the 'mainstream' view. (Disclaimer: Ok, Ok, this is my opinion of that view.) However, there ARE players that find defending a 41 Barbarossa is too hard, feel they are OK with a 42 Barbarossa, so for players like this, it may be a good strategy - and so adapting this strategy may be an exploit then becuase purchasing crappy untis for garrison value only should be (in my opinion) discouraged. Indeed, a reasonable rule would simply be to let Germany break the pact any time they want (do we think Hitler cared about diplomatic niceties?) in which case we just live with the fact that the Soviets will never use a forward defense strategy.

Now, would the COMPUTER AI be able to figure this out that once the USSR started to make these builds, they immediately work for a 42 Barb? Probably not. On the other hand, will the human player really need boosts against the computer AI's?

Fundamentally, I agree with Hakon and the crowd that this is a gamey tactic and shouldn't be allowed, so having the option stop it is a good idea; the garrison rules are made to be simple but I think this thread has shown that this similification can lead to unintended results. Indeed, I would vote that this rule should be in the standard board game rules for the reasons that they stated.

So for the record, I have no problem with the option.

However, I disagree strongly that it breaks the game, and I think this should be debated on the main WIFFE boards. I'm not scared of it as Germany, since Ihave confidence I would be able to 'spot' it in time, even though I favor a 41 Barbarossa. I just don't want people reading here think that this strategy is a game killer.

Good gaming,

Breunor

(in reply to lomyrin)
Post #: 320
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/22/2009 12:24:18 AM   
lavisj

 

Posts: 89
Joined: 10/17/2006
Status: offline
Breunor,

I do not believe anybody on this thread has argued that if Russia stuffs in 41, that Germany has not other options. Indeed a close the med followed by a 42 Barb is very powerfull.
The argument that was made, and where people think that the game present a major flaw, is that the decision on the major german strategic drive is actually in the hands of Russia, and not Germany, due the fact that Germany needs to prepare early for its strategy. And the fact that Germany has to make its decision before it knows wether Russia will stuff or not, means that a Germany is better off always going for a 42 Barb.... of course if the 80% probability is correct.

As for sporring, at least early on, all Russia has to do is build his units, which are always the same, unless it scraps some.... but does Russia really want to scaps units when a 41 Barb is coming..... it seems to me, that it needs all the units it can get. So, really, finishing the GAR and building all the INF does not seem like an indication of anything.
Agreed that building the pilots, is a better indication, but Russia can start those in late 1940, which would not help Germany for early warning..... again my impression.

Jerome

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 321
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/22/2009 1:41:50 AM   
Breunor

 

Posts: 21
Joined: 11/19/2009
Status: offline
Jerome,

I agree with everything you say! (Well just about. )! I do think an optional rule, or rule change, may be good for the reasons you have said. Maybe the only difference is that I think it is a BAD strategy in that it makes 42 Barb VERY strong (with Siberia lost at no cost to Japan is, I think, a very bad result).

I also think I could easily spot what is going on and adjust and most of the 'tournament' players can also. This area is where we probably disagree - the strategy here does seem to use different builds and a way of using them. If the USSR has no tanks or mechs, is building pilots for its crap planes, I'll see it. (I think I even saw one post saying not to build the HQ!) So I don't think there will be a period where the USSR is 'hiding' this strategy and I think I can adjust fairly easily.

Similarly, if I am preparing for a 42 Barb, but the USSR and Japan get into a very heated land war with lots of casualties, I'll instantly change my strategy and go for a 41.

I suspect it the nature of the 'tournament' player - if my opponent uses a bad strategy I'll change mine to defeat him. I would agree that giving the choice is important especially for people who don't play so often.

Maybe there was some talking past each other here. I like the optional. My objection was to the implication that the game is 'broken' and if Matrix didn't fix it, the game was horribly flawed. Now, saying it is flawed from a 'strategic flexibility' standpoint, OK, no problem, I agree.

But I guess my feeling from reading the thread was different. I suspect that this comes form the fact that different people have disparate views on the importance here. If the thread was only about limiting German options when it shouldn't, then I clearly over-reacted and we are just talking flexibility.

But my (potentially flawed) reading was that some posters felt the issue was more serious, that it was an actual game breaker. When I mentioned that 42 Barbarossas seem to me to be slightly more common than 41 Barbarossas, the comment was that it was to avoid the stuffing issue. Guys, that is just crazy. This has NOT been the defining rule issue dominating tournament WIFFE for years.

I hope we are coming to some common ground here. As I've said, I like the option. Will you guys agree that WIFFE isn't broken without it? I was especially worried about the impression of people who read the boards but haven't played a lot of board WIFFE.

Ultimately, to me the question is:

Should we change a rule that allows the USSR to play poorly but forces Germany out of their preferred strategy? My conclusion: well, why not allow it as an option?


Good gaming,

Breunor


(in reply to lavisj)
Post #: 322
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/22/2009 4:58:18 PM   
lavisj

 

Posts: 89
Joined: 10/17/2006
Status: offline
Breunor,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Breunor
I also think I could easily spot what is going on and adjust and most of the 'tournament' players can also. This area is where we probably disagree - the strategy here does seem to use different builds and a way of using them. If the USSR has no tanks or mechs, is building pilots for its crap planes, I'll see it. (I think I even saw one post saying not to build the HQ!) So I don't think there will be a period where the USSR is 'hiding' this strategy and I think I can adjust fairly easily.


Well, if Russia wants a forward defense it will have built all its ARM (3BP/GAR) all its MECH (2.5 BP/GAR) all its GAR (2BP/GAR) all its INF (3BP/GAR) all its HQ (There is only one in 40 anyway) and so the only difference is builing some pilots for the old planes. But those can be delayed until later in 40. And of course Russia can adjust production depending on what Germany has built and what they do.

quote:


Similarly, if I am preparing for a 42 Barb, but the USSR and Japan get into a very heated land war with lots of casualties, I'll instantly change my strategy and go for a 41.

I suspect it the nature of the 'tournament' player - if my opponent uses a bad strategy I'll change mine to defeat him. I would agree that giving the choice is important especially for people who don't play so often.


Yes that seems logical, and I think most players will adapt their strategies to the situation. The issue here is not wether it can be done or not.... it is an issue as you say, of flexibility.

quote:

Maybe there was some talking past each other here. I like the optional. My objection was to the implication that the game is 'broken' and if Matrix didn't fix it, the game was horribly flawed. Now, saying it is flawed from a 'strategic flexibility' standpoint, OK, no problem, I agree.

But I guess my feeling from reading the thread was different. I suspect that this comes form the fact that different people have disparate views on the importance here. If the thread was only about limiting German options when it shouldn't, then I clearly over-reacted and we are just talking flexibility.


Well, some people here, and I am one of them, consider that the removal of that flexibility IS a major flaw. The game is not broken in the sens that both side can still win and play the game, but it feels flawed in the sens that it put the choice of the German strategy in the hands of Russia for all practical consideration. Because IF Germany decides to pursue a 41 Barbarossa, they know when they start preparing for it, that they will have between 80 - 95% of failure depending on what Russia does and that Germany is putting its fate in the hands of the draw of pact chits.
Of course, Germany can still win even if foiled from starting its Barb in the summer of 41..... but I would think to be highly unlikely.

quote:

But my (potentially flawed) reading was that some posters felt the issue was more serious, that it was an actual game breaker. When I mentioned that 42 Barbarossas seem to me to be slightly more common than 41 Barbarossas, the comment was that it was to avoid the stuffing issue. Guys, that is just crazy. This has NOT been the defining rule issue dominating tournament WIFFE for years.


Well, this is the very reason why I have yet to do a 41 Barbarossa with Germany. I have shyed away from it until then, just because I do not want to have Russia stuff the border and have to switch strategy mid course. And I do not believe I will ever attempt one unless I have an agreement with the Russian player that stuffing will not happen..... or I will have Italy conquer Hungary. I personnaly have no objection to a gamey tactic to cancel what I consider a gamey tactic itself.


quote:

Ultimately, to me the question is:

Should we change a rule that allows the USSR to play poorly but forces Germany out of their preferred strategy? My conclusion: well, why not allow it as an option?


Well.... is stuffing the border bad play for Russia? I am not sure. To know that we would need a little more statistics....a good start would be how many 42 Barb result in Axis victory compare to 41 Barb.

Jerome

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 323
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/22/2009 6:23:57 PM   
coregames


Posts: 470
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quote:

ORIGINAL: lavisj
Well.... is stuffing the border bad play for Russia? I am not sure. To know that we would need a little more statistics....a good start would be how many 42 Barb result in Axis victory compare to 41 Barb.

I would only stuff the border if the Germans were making dangerous progress against the CW, in an attempt to pull Axis forces away from that theater. The problem with trying to fend off a '41 Barbarossa is that pulling those forces back from the border before campaign season '42 using only combined impulses might leave the garrison denuded and the front chaotic during the winter, and the Germans might jump the gun even in bad weather to take advantate of this. I guess ultimately it's a matter of taste, but I prefer to leave only speed bumps and keep the quality forces behind the river lines to either side of the swamp. I don't like leaving Siberia weak, and stuffing seems to call for that.

< Message edited by coregames -- 11/22/2009 6:33:26 PM >


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Keith Henderson

(in reply to lavisj)
Post #: 324
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/22/2009 6:49:24 PM   
Breunor

 

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Jerome,

Nice post, I don't have a lot to add but I do want to clarify my (again personal) view here where I may not have been as clear as I want.

Specifically:

'Stuffing' is supposed to be a 'good' tactic. The idea (again, my understanding) is that the benefits from stuffing weighed with its drawbacks should be roughly equivalent to a rear defense. For a game as complex as WIFFE, it is pretty hard to say if it is working 'properly', but my guess is that stuffing is a reasonably good option.

However, when I say that, I'm talking about 'normal' stuffing. Reading through this thread, not surprisingly, people have different ideas on exactly what 'stuffing' entails - but with 'normal' forward defense, poorer units aren't purchased and usually Siberia isn't abandoned to Japan for free. In that case the chance that Germany can break the pact is much higher than 20%.

My take is that stuffing is 'poor' if you pursue your strategy to abandon Siberia and build weaker based on their garrison values and not their combat strength.

Your question about 41 Barb vs. 42 Barb, well, now, that is interesting, isn't it? That was probably the most debated strategic topic when the game came out, and it probably still is! To me, it is one of the concepts that makes WIFFE a fun game - this debate is effectively endless. Obviously, the options, rules, modules, and styles played can have a huge impact on this issue, so it is virtually impossible to get a 'right' answer. It may be like asking whether e4 or d4 is a better first move in chess, indeed, it is harder because of the variety of options. (Personally I'm a 41 guy; I also play e4.)

But my take is that if the USSR abandons Siberia to force Germany to a 42 Barb, then the 42 Barb swings to the 'much better' position. Germany gets a lot of advantages in a 42 Barb - but one major drawback is that the Soviets are stronger and can make trouble in the Far East and Japan has to be real careful. So, if we compare a 'normal' 41 Barb to a 'normal' 42 Barb, let's say they are dead even - but a 42 Barb where the USSR has abandoned the Far East giving Japan a free hand against China and developing for the war against the US is a bad option. Added to that the (at least in some of the posts here) USSR has made what I consider weak builds to use this strategy, I think the 42 Barb is now 'much much better'. Furthermore, by buying the weak units the ability to withstand the onslaught if stuffing fails is reduced.

I understand your last point. Indeed, I have usually seen the same logic on the opposite side. That is, I don't see forward defenses that often, because I think the Soviet player has the same thoughts. Say the probability of a 'normal' stuffing preventing the pact from being broken is a little over 50% - most Soviet players don't want a 50% chance of being destroyed matched with a 50% chance of a huge benefit (no doubt if Germany goes for a 41 Barb and fails to break the pact it hurts them.) Your point is the same from the German side.

From a competitive game point, it may be that the option, even though it is balanced, is just too important and game changing, and nobody wants to play a game for 100 hours and have one calculation decide it. This calculation/logic may be a little different for the veteran who has played the game 40 times than somebody new to the game trying to get his hands on the options and mechanics but I totally sympathize with this position. This kind of issue is why these threads can get off - kilter; somebody may say it is 'broken' because it is too important in an individual game while someone like me says it isn't a problem because it is fair ON AVERAGE.

One item here that may help a little bit is that you can often see how well you are doing as you pull your chits. That is, it isn't simply a matter of the odds when you get to M/J 41 - you kind of know how well it is going as you get your chits. So if I'm Germany and I'm getting bad chits, start for 42 Barb immediately and if I get good chits, well, then go for 41 and HOPE the Soviets try stuffing! (And old time players like me may have to be careful in the computer game because in the board game, if I get good chits it almost automatically means that he has bad chits - that mechanic appears to be different in the computer game.)


So, basically, I think I've seen what you are advocating done in practice by 'gentleman's agreement'. I usually see Soviet players NOT stuffing partly because the mechanic is so defining. If I understand you properly, your view is the same from the German side - you don't want the game decided by the stuffing percentage so choose a 42 Barb. In my mind, this view makes a very logical argument.

To be honest, (here I'm talking for myself only), if you want to make an optional, I think you should probably just let Germany break the pact any time they want. If you are going to make an option, I would advocate making it simpler and I think we can argue it is more realistic. If you use this option, then, you have to live with the fact that the strategic choice of a forward defense for the USSR is abandoned. If you simply increase Germany's chances of breaking the pact, then it becomes too risky for the Soviet player so you will get to the exact same place anyway.


Good gaming,

Breunor

(in reply to lavisj)
Post #: 325
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/23/2009 1:43:21 AM   
brian brian

 

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WiF is a great big water balloon. Squeeze one part of it and it just bulges out somewhere else. The pact rules are a good example of this. Both the Soviets and the Germans have to decide if they can forgo some things to do another thing.

Hitler may have been able to break the pact at will but we will never know for sure. What if the French had stationed DeGaulle and an armor concentration on the west side of the Ardennes (maybe even if not expecting an attack there maybe it could have been a handy place to hold some reserves or something)? Would Hitler have had the political capital amongst the army high command to do it then?

Stalin had some historical political constraints as well. The New Soviet Man could hardly defend the Motherland starting on the east bank of the Dnepr could he?

(in reply to Breunor)
Post #: 326
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/23/2009 12:50:50 PM   
hakon

 

Posts: 298
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Breunor:

I think your argument against "stuffing" being a weak strategy vs a 1942 barb is very much flawed. (You even write that when stuffing, you will not build, mech....)

In fact, when preparing to stuff the border, I would build more or less exactly the same units early on as when preparing for a rear defense. Early on, I will build ARM, maybe a few pilots, garr and inf. If there is any difference, it will be in how many units I scrap pre game, when compared to preparing for a 1941 defense, but in a 1942 defense, I would not want to scap very many land units at all. Besides, when playing with the newest counter sheets, Mech in Flames no longer contains all those poor units that you may want to scrap in some games.

In mid 1940, I would build mostly inf and mech, and any remaining arm and gar. And this would be about the latest time when you are likely to be able to shift to a 1941 Gibraltar/42 Barb without sacrificing a lot.

So what would I have build unit this time?
3 ARM
all mech
all garr
0-3 pilots
the rest infantry

All the units above are very useful in a 1942 barb, imo, and all also happen to maximize the garrison ratio, even the 2-1 garr. If nothing else, these can be used as Garrison vs Japan. The lowest factor inf and mech can be broken down to divisions in 1942, if you dont want them. In fact, the 3-3 inf can even be built for 2 build points each if you abuse the break down/recombine divisions rules.

The main units that I'm missing, are the AT guns, their HQI's and some fighters. These can easily be built during 1941 if you stuff the border, especially if Germany is busy in the west.

So please tell me precisely what units you are thinking of when you claim that Russia is stuck with building lousy units if they want to be able to stuff the border? (Given that Germany goes west early enough for it to be effective.)

Because as far as I can tell, preparing to stuff at least until Germany commits to turning west, gives more or less exactly the same units that I would have wanted anyway.

Btw, if you'd followed the yahoo groups wifdiscussion list, you would have known that I've been posting much more on that forum, than here on the mwif boards, and that my opinions are based on quite a few WIFFE games.

And as for any experience prior to FE (or even prior to 2d10), it's not very relevant any more, imo, since the game has changed so much. Playing with 1d10, Barb was so weak anyway, that the Russians had no REASON to want to stop it, something that made the stuffing rule a non-issue. In my experience, it is actually often a lot easier to play against people who have played a lot of pre 2d10 WiF, since it seems that these tend to put too much trust in the tactical defensive, and are often not very good at waging the kind of mobile warfare that 2d10 allows. In other words, a lot of experience can even be a bad thing, if you try to apply experience that isn't valid any more.

Cheers
Hakon


(in reply to brian brian)
Post #: 327
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/23/2009 1:00:34 PM   
hakon

 

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Btw, I you want to see what can happen when Russia gets really entangled vs Japan in 1940 in the face of a 1941 barbarossa, you may search the mwif forums for my games vs Tobias Vinterheimer from this spring. I've probably never played any easier games than those two, and Tobias has been a con player.

As a matter of fact, I believe that it is much more realistic for Russia to be able to wage effective war vs Japan when starting out preparing to stuff the border, since that will make it less probably that Germany will actually try to go for a 1941 barb. And once it is clear that Germany is going elsewhere, Russia can turn around....

Cheers
Hakon

(in reply to hakon)
Post #: 328
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/23/2009 1:06:12 PM   
hakon

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ullern

Actually. One of the cases I calculated in post 281 was Classic + PiF only + City Based Volunteers (so no SIF, no Mech in Flames Gar, no divs or artillery). But I still assumed the USSR DOWed Italy and produced MIL. With these options the results was pretty much the same as Haakons calculations. But I did assume no losses, and that would be different. Also if the USSR was not allowed to produce MIL, it would make a big difference.



When I was saying that classic (or most other options) wouldn't change much, I meant of course, that it would not make it EASIER to break the garrison, than when playing with deluxe, with most of the chrome.

I generally assume that CBV are used, when I present numbers, so playing Classic (ie without CBV), it is probably actually harder to break the garrisonf for Germany, making stuffing even easier. On top of this, comes the fact that all German pre-barb losses must be corps, aircraft without pilots, etc.

Cheers
Hakon

(in reply to Ullern)
Post #: 329
RE: 'stuffing' the border - 11/23/2009 1:33:58 PM   
hakon

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: darune

However I think there should also/still be a mechanic that prevents germany from a big lend-lease to italy if it wants to do the 41 barb.

The chit and pact rules are good for that. Just the garrison should be changed so USSR, by itself, could not get more than around 40%-50% (maybe even 60% also ok since its very risky if fails) chance of a stuff in MJ 41.



As I've written time and time again, I don't think the pact rule is good for this purpose at all.

There are several problems with that approach:
- The number of garrison points that Germany loses by giving Italy 6 resources per turn from M/A 1940 is very low (only 4 or so points, compared to not giving a single resource).
- This difference is the difference between russia pulling a 1 or a 3 in ONE draw. The overall uncertainty in the chits is MUCH greater.
- The axis can achive a reasonable Super Balbo even without lending anything to Italy before Russia starts pulling back. (And if they can break the pact without Russia pulling back, they don't need it.), so not much is solved anyway.
- And imo, the Axis should not be forced to build exclusively for a Barb in able to get one. For instance, they should be able to build some fleet, send a few units to Africa and also build a synth plant or two and STILL be able to DOW Russia imo. Mixed strategies may not be the most effeictive ones, but to not even be able to try one, is too restrictive imo.
- It provides no help vs a 1942 Super Balbo strategy (regardless of what Germany does in 1941).

So, if you think that it is a problem that Italy participates much in the east, you should really try to find some other method ot stop it, than to rely on stuffing.

Ideas that have come up, are:
- Take away cooperation between Germany and Italy (maybe have Rommel being able to be a HQ for both).
- Reduce the Italian aircraft force pool.
- Change the impulse system, so that it doesn't lend itself so much to abuse.
- Introduce individual victory conditions for each power, to try to draw the Italians south. A system simmilar to the one in Britannica (the board game) could be effective.

All proposals have pro's and con's. My favourite is the latest one (which also happens to be my idea).

Alternatively, one could just make Russia strong enough to withstand a Super Balbo strategy, for instance by using the Great Patriotic War option that I proposed further up in this thread.

Cheers
Hakon

(in reply to darune)
Post #: 330
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