From: Manchester, UK
ORIGINAL: Joel Billings
In the early 90s SSI published Gary's Western Front game. IIRC, it had 10 mile hexes and 4 day turns. Like WitW, it included the strategic bombing campaign as well as France and Italy. It used the system that had been used to do Second Front (and later War in Russia), which had been 20 mile hexes and 7 day turns. WitW will indeed feel different in some ways from WitE, and we will no doubt face challenges during development (always do), but it's more than just Normandy, and we believe it will make for an enjoyable game. We're going to give it our best shot.
I don't doubt Gary and 2by3's heritage, track record or quality, my point is that your scale here cannot produce an operational wargame.
I accept that it will be more than just Normandy, but surely you would accept that if it can't operationally simulate Normandy, then that is a grave issue for an operational wargame.
On the night of 5th/6th June, the Americans dropped 2 airborne divisions into a box roughly bounded by Carentan-the coast-Montebourg. They then put 4th infantry onto the beach at Utah. In WitW terms, this all happened within a single hex. A hex that must also contain German forces in the shape of a reinforced Regiment from 709 Infantry Division.
From one end of Gold to the drop zones of the 6th Airborne (three beaches and 6th Airborne's landings on the other side of the Orne) is about two hexes.
I can only repeat what I said in my initial post. Operationally, WitW 1944 summer Campaign will be about 8-10 hexes of dense combat in Normandy and 6 across the Gustav line. In WitE terms, the two combined are about the distance between Riga and Daugavpils. Once the Allies breakout and the battlefield becomes the length of France, the Germans are done for anyway so at no point is there any prospect of an operational wargame appearing before the miracle in the west. At that point, assuming he can get bad weather (which for non random will be pretty predictable), the German player has a single (largely pointless) 4-5 hex offensive to launch for 3-4 turns starting in December.
To put this into a little more context, the Velikie Luki scenario in WitE (a scenario described in the blurb as "a very small tutorial scenario") is five hexes wide and 10 turns long. In size, if not unit density, it is what the "American 12th Army Group in Normandy" scenario will look like in WitW.
You've mentioned the addition of a new air model for strategic bombing.
By the summer of 1944, the Luftwaffe had all but shot its bolt. Allied loss rates were declining, German replacements were not keeping up with losses and the Mustangs and Thunderbolts were escorting bombers all over the operational area taking out increasingly inexperienced and poorly trained Luftwaffe pilots as they went.
In other words, the addition of the strategic air model for the 1944 campaign basically just gives the Allied player some decisions to make on what targets he will hit (with relative impunity) within German occupied Europe on a weekly basis. It'll become largely formulaic after the first wave of AARs.
We don't need to discuss the naval rules as AXIS options in 1944 amount to "deploy Canoe?"
At these sorts of scales, I don't really see a campaign game there.
1943 is in some ways more problematic. The bombing campaign will be a bit more interesting (although the result will never be in doubt) but for the first 50 turns, land combat will never consist of much more than a 6 hex slugfest across the Italian Peninsula and another hex (or possibly two) eventually at Anzio.
Indeed, if Anzio is deemed two hexes, the Germans end up probably having to cover a front line around 20 miles longer than they did in real life for the same bridgehead at these scales.
One week turns will mean that wherever the Allied player puts his 6 infantry and 3 airborne divisions when he lands in France in May-June 1944 (it will never be any other time), the AXIS player will rope it off in his week turn and you'll end up with a second small scale slugfest for about 10 turns until the AXIS player turns and runs.
Indeed, I'd probably finish by asking what is the AXIS experience going to be like?
By the summer of 44, you're only shuffling deckchairs in the bombing game. In the land game, your operational choices amount to (in France) which of your Panzer Divisions go in which of the 3-4 hexes that face the British, and (in Italy)...well... you've nothing to do once your units are in place.
In France, defeat for AXIS is completely unavoidable, since once you've roped off the bridgehead, you don't have enough forces left to prevent Dragoon a few weeks later however well things go against the main landing.
As the AXIS player, there are no replacements to speak of (outside of replacements from the damaged portion of your forces), movement costs will be double what the Allied player's are (since German units largely moved only at night). Alternatively, you can move normally, but be relentlessly interdicted in every hex. You've no air power, no chance of defeating the landings when they come and only a steady attritional battle for around 10 turns to look forward to before fleeing for the Rhine.
All of this is well intended comment, since I want to play this game, and the ones that will follow it. However, at these scales, it is more WaW than WitE.
You can only pad this out as an operational game, and give the AXIS player more freedom, more choices and more possibilities, by reducing the scale to Regiments/battalions, 2 miles a hex and a day or two turns.
Or put another way, exactly how operational will 50 turns of attritional combat, involving 20 divisions across 6 hexes in the 1943 campaign feel to an AXIS player who, in his other game, has just shifted around 200+ divisional units across 75-120 hexes.
Very respectfully yours,
P.S. I include what I originally said below as it gives more examples and detail on the perceived issue.
ORIGINAL: Joel Billings
2. Scale is the same for WitW 43-45 and all WitW/WitE/WiE games, 10 miles per hex, weekly turns.
I'm not a wargame designer, so I am not best placed to comment, but I don't think you'll pull it off at this scale.
I sincerely hope (and don't doubt given your track record) that you'll prove me wrong, and this is a well meaning, well intended and very respectful comment, but...
In the summer of 1944, the Germans didn't have enough forces in western Europe to defend any length of front. They held onto France for 3 months because they could rope off and contain a bridgehead, which meant they could generate a high unit density against the Allies and their overwhelming firepower with the limited forces they had.
At your distance scales, the Germans and Allies face off against each other across 8-10 hexes in Normandy.
If the Germans spread out across France to gain more operational room, then they are overwhelmed in short order. For there to be any sort of western front campaign, therefore, the Germans need to rope off a bridgehead and I don't know that WITW 43-45 can get truly operational within your time and distance constraints. In other words, the entire Normandy campaign at these scales is ten turns across ten hexes. Once the Allied player broke out and gained room for some manouvre in France, the Germans would be essentially beaten anyway, so it becomes slightly beside the point. 10 hexes is not an operational wargame IM (very) HO.
Italy is even more problematic. You can have operational timescales here (100 turns?), but the Gustav line makes for an operational wargame around 8 hexes wide. In other words, the game is going to be largely devoid of any form of manouvre, and instead be generally single or dual hex offensives with Corp sized counters.
As a follow up, I think the widest part of the Bulge the Germans created in the Ardennes was about 4-5 hexes across on your scales.
In short (and I repeat very respectfully) there's no manouvre at these scales for WITW. To get some semblance of manourvre, you can't give the Germans more forces and you can't somehow make Normandy bigger, but you can make the scale smaller so creating the manouvre by making 100 miles cover more hexes, and making 30 divisional counters become 150 regimental ones or 500 battalion sized ones.
I fully appreciate that would give you some issues when you came to synchronise and join up the various titles, but with computing power what it is, these days, those would surely not be insurmountable.
WitW 40 and WitW 41-43 will include a much more detailed naval game, but not at the level of detail of WitP-AE. Gary will be designing an entirely new naval system for those games that will provide a major naval component necessary to do the a possible Sea Lion, actions in the Med, and eventually an entire War in Europe.
For Sea Lion to be possible, you will need a "disband the RN" option available to the AXIS player. Allied fanboys will create quite a stir about that...;-)
Very, very respectfully yours,
< Message edited by IronDuke -- 3/3/2012 11:21:50 PM >