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Topics - Bobsalt

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Rules Questions & Clarifications / French AT guns
« on: October 01, 2016, 06:29:12 AM »
As I'm working on getting my stuff painted, I'm almost finished with the Soviet stuff I have on hand, and next up will be the French. As I was looking through the counter sheets I noticed the French don't seem to have AT guns. Same thing when I looked at the production charts. I'm assuming this is a deliberate design decision to Nerf the French armor strength to make German armor more effective vs. the French? If so, it makes sense, given some of the issues that came up in the First Edition game with blunted German offensives into France.

Just want to be sure it's correct before I start painting. If it is, I'll use the French AT guns as German ones (captured) or as French artillery (fewer additional units I have to buy).

General Discussion / Miniature pics
« on: September 06, 2015, 03:55:50 PM »
I don't know how much interest there would be in this, but here are some photos of what I've painted up recently. First up - some Pz IVDs in 1942 Eastern Front pattern. German AFVs at the start of the war were painted grey because the theory is that would make them less visible when stopped in shadows. On the plains of Russia, however, the grey color made them very visible. They began to use a two tone system, such as this one, and eventually moved to a base color of dunklegelb, with camouflage patterns over this. These are PFC-CinC models (from their Axis & Allies special) and a true pleasure to paint.

General Discussion / Questions about getting the game ready to play
« on: June 04, 2015, 05:11:07 PM »
I’ve got some questions for you guys.

How did you make the really sturdy counters (airbases, damage) for the first edition game? I’d like my counters for this game to be sturdy like those. I know you said you made the counters for this game by gluing the counter sheets to thin Styrofoam sheets, but I’d like something heavier than that. If I can’t duplicate the counters from the first edition I might try gluing the sheets to some matte boards.

What program did you use to create the counter pages? I have already come up with additional units and I’d like the counters for them to match yours. To do that I either need to come up with a way to create new counters or edit the existing counters.

Miniature painting is going slow, so we’re going to start out by just using the counters and add miniatures as I get them painted. Hopefully we’ll get to start playing in the next couple of weeks.

General Discussion / Gen Con?
« on: July 19, 2014, 04:09:58 AM »
Hey guys - it's been a long time since I've been on, but I've never forgotten about the game. I was just wondering - will you guys be at Gen Con in Indy this summer? If so I might be able to get loose for a day to try out the new version.

General Discussion / Miniature Pics
« on: July 30, 2009, 12:59:28 AM »
We haven't played in almost two months. There was a Bible study at church that fell on our usual night to play so that's kept us from conquering any more ping pong tables. Tonight we have a dinner to wrap up the study and hopefully we'll get back to it next week. I've also been doing a lot of painting for new units we're going to start using. I need to get the photos up for those.


Here are some shots from our current game. We’re going into the Spring 1941 turn, and in the last couple of turns the game has gotten a little weird, as you’ll see.

Photo 1

Here we see the British ands Axis (mostly Italian) forces glaring at each other in the Western Desert. Each side has a level 3 and a level 5 airbase. The Axis player (Jason) is making a much more concerted effort against Africa this game (as you’ll be able to see with the other photo of North Africa).

Photo 2

Here’s the Italian fleet. They have 5 transports to shuttle troops back and forth. From the commitment it’s apparent that he’s going for either the Suez or Gibraltar – but which one?

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Game Design / Victory Point Spreadsheet
« on: April 22, 2009, 03:45:05 PM »
Hey guys,

This is something I've been meaning to do for quite awhile and finally got around to doing last week. It's a spreadsheet that lists all of the VP sites on the map, who originally controls them, and how much each site is worth. The idea with this is that you can print it off and have a checklist to help keep track of both how many VP's the Axis have captured as well as which ones. I did it as an Excel spreadsheet, then converted that to a Word document so that I could post it here; hopefully no one will have any trouble using it. I hope it's a help to everyone.

Thanks - Bob

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Rules questions from first edition / Damaged ships
« on: March 30, 2009, 05:45:50 AM »
Another thought occurred to me today (after I’d already made my last post) concerning damaged ships. If a ship is damaged, what do you think about saying that their combat factors (and possibly tactical movement rate) are all -1? This is similar to what is already being done with damaged fleet carriers, which have their aircraft capacity reduced. Most games I’ve played have some sort of penalty (other than the increased vulnerability to damage) when ships are damaged, and not doing it here just seems a little odd to me.

General Discussion / Access to the board
« on: May 28, 2008, 01:45:06 AM »

I sent you an e-mail with Jason & Peter's e-mail addresses last week and haven't heard anything back. Both of them have tried repeatedly to sign up to use the board without success. What do we need to do to make this happen?

Game Design / Elite units
« on: May 23, 2008, 07:59:15 AM »
Something I’m toying with once I get the right miniatures is to give the Japanese elite fighters at the beginning (+1 to attack/defense values, 3/3/3 or 4/4/2 to build). I wondered whether you are considering something like this for the next generation game. It’s kind of hard to do this in a D6-based system, but with a D10 or D12 system you have more room between units to play with the values a bit, and having elite Japanese naval fighters, Guards units, SS, etc. would add more flavor to the game.

Game Design / 6 turns per year instead of 4
« on: May 23, 2008, 07:58:48 AM »
Jason brought up a good point at our last session. He pointed out that using seasonal turns doesn’t mirror reality as well as using something like WiF that has 2-month turns. He said that if Germany were to invade Spain (which he did once) it will usually take at least two turns (two seasons) to completely take them, whereas in real life it would likely have taken only a month or two. Has any thought been given to going with a different scale for turns in the new game?

Game Design / Attcaks across rivers
« on: May 23, 2008, 07:58:07 AM »
This is one I’ve brought up before. It hasn’t been a huge issue in any of our games, but we have had situations where an attack was made across a river with a few infantry with a lot of heavier units ready to hit on the next round. All of the infantry that were able to attack on the first combat round were wiped out by the defender – and then the defender had to retreat to avoid getting crushed by the second wave. I know this is being addressed in the next game by using the idea of combat fronts, but I think that an optional rule for this game might be that if the defender is able to clear all of the first wave of attackers coming across the river (or amphibious landing), it is then assumed that the attacker didn’t secure a sufficient beachhead or crossings, and they have to fight the next round with only half of the infantry again getting across.

Game Design / Gaming the system with the Soviets
« on: May 23, 2008, 07:57:43 AM »
We’ve started to see abuses similar to the airbase rules with the Soviets. What’s happening is that as the German player builds up on the border of the USSR, when it looks like Barbarossa is about to happen the Soviet player pulls his forces back from the border, leaving a single infantry in each border territory, with strong forces in the next territory eastward and all of the aircraft consolidated into one territory (of course) to cover this second line. This causes the discard of a card each turn, of course, but the logic stated here is. “So what if it costs me the card? I’m not going to be able to declare war before Germany anyway, and saving those front-line units is more important.” This creates an issue for the Germans, since they would have to hit the second line in the Mechanized Phase, and thus any casualties they take against this second line (which, thanks to the withdrawal, is stronger than it should be) will be more costly, since they’ll be taken against either Pz Grenadiers or armor.

This not only runs against history, since Stalin would never have done such a thing, but also makes things much more difficult for Germany, since the Soviets do not take anything close to the number of casualties they normally would on the first turn at war, Germany takes higher casualties in their mechanized forces, or both.

While this is a logical tactic within the game, as I said, it’s totally unhistorical. The ideas I’m considering are:

1) The Soviets MUST maintain the 5 ground unit, 1 aircraft garrison in each of the listed territories after achieving Tension Level One, period.

2) Make the current rule tougher by saying that the Soviets do not draw any cards for any reason on any turn that the border garrison is not met. Or make it even tougher by saying they don’t draw any cards for any reason until the turn after they achieve border garrisons. Making it this tough will give Germany a lot of leeway to make mischief in other areas, and in games with more than one Allied player will cause whoever is playing other Allies to really pressure the Soviets to toe the line (or at least garrison it).

3) Add a rule that states that if Germany attacks the Soviets after Tension Level One on any turn in which the Soviets could have met the garrison minimums but didn’t then ALL German ground units may move and attack in the mechanized phase of the first turn of the war. This could be justified by saying it represents the total surprise the Germans achieved at the start of Barbarossa.

Of these I think I like the tougher option of the second one best, since it’s the one that would give the Axis the most flexibility. I like the third idea as well, but the Soviets could circumvent that merely by dropping back yet another territory.

Game Design / Problems with airbase attacks
« on: May 23, 2008, 07:57:09 AM »
I’m not one who’s prone to calling something “game-breaking”, but I’ve pretty much concluded that the way airbase attacks works at least approaches that territory.

To be fair, there is some disagreement here. Of the four of us who regularly play here, Jason thinks the airbase attacks are fine. As far as I know John really doesn’t have an opinion, and Peter and I think there are problems – problems enough that we’re talking about going back to allowing airbase attacks only in conjunction with a ground attack in or adjacent to the base being attacked, or even doing away with them altogether.

Quite some time back when I asked why the movement rates for ships were less in the Pacific than in the Atlantic, the response was that invariably the games wound up with two large fleets eventually going at each other instead of the more historical island hopping. This is pretty much the same thing we’re seeing now in Europe – two great big stacks of airplanes going at each other. Instead of air battles being waged across the front you have one large stack of aircraft trying to corner a smaller stack (as the owner of that side frantically tries to grow his stack); if he refuses contact the side with the larger stack uses them as ground support in attacks with sometimes 15-20 aircraft. It’s gotten to the point where it’s really dropped the “fun factor” down a couple of notches. In real life you had to have aircraft spread out across the whole front; with the airbase rules as they are now players just try to have a bigger stack of aircraft than the opponent.

I think one of the issues here is the scope of the game. An air system like this one works in a game like World in Flames because with the far greater number of hexes covering the same geographic area you can’t concentrate too much without leaving large areas of the front uncovered (I can’t remember since it’s been too many years since I’ve played – was there a stacking limit for planes in WiF?). In The Struggle, there are territories in Eastern Europe where you can have all of your aircraft in one territory and have almost the entire front covered, which when combined with the airbase rules gives an incentive to bunch them up. Having so few territories (compared to the hex grid of WiF) artificially increases the operational range of aircraft (especially fighters). A Me 109 in the Battle of Britain only had about ten minutes of loiter time over a given target, and this was within 200 miles of its home base. A fighter in The Struggle in the right spot might be able to hit a target well over 1000 miles away.

Another thing I remember about WiF is that planes were a lot harder to kill than they are in The Struggle – you were far more likely to generate an abort than to get a kill. I remember quite some time back there was discussion on here somewhere (Craig, if you’re reading this was that you?) about changing the rules so that air combat had the possibility of generating aborts instead of kills. This was before the airbase rules were introduced, and I was against the idea at that time since the defender had the ability to refuse combat if too badly outnumbered. With airbase attacks now in the rules I think perhaps something like this needs to be revisited.

Some of the ideas I’m kicking around:

1) Defenders do not have to fly against the attackers. This way they’re prevented from being used, but can’t get slaughtered the way they are now.

2) All aircraft (attacker and defender) have a -1 to their values in making airbase attacks. I’m not sure that this would really do much, but it’s an idea.

3) Say that any AA units in that same territory get to shoot normally at any attacking aircraft in an airbase attack. Again, this probably wouldn’t change much.

4) When the attacking planes roll, any result of a 5 or 6 results in an abort for the defender; aborts are scored before any kills can be recorded. In other words, if there are two defending aircraft and the attacker rolls two 5’s or 6’s, it doesn’t matter how many other dice result in kills – the aborts mean that the defender may retreat his aircraft.

5) Building on the present airbase rules, say that every clear territory is a Level 3 airbase and every flag territory is a Level 5 airbase. I don’t know if this would solve the problem or not, but it would at least force players to be a little more historical in the deployment of aircraft. I know some might carp about it, but this wouldn’t be the first time stacking limits were used in a game to force historical play. If this limit is too harsh, you could allow Level 5 airbases to be built in clear territories and Level 3 airbases to be built in flag territories; this would up the stacking limits in a clear territory to 5 and 8 in a flag territory.

Of these I think the last might work the best. I really like the idea of aborts, but in a D6 system where a fighter has a 50% chance of a kill I don’t think a one out of six chance is enough to have much effect, but a two out of six chance may be too much.

In our games we are currently using all of the airbase rules, with the addition that aircraft on a coast or island block supply into or through that sea zone unless there is a combat ship in that zone. We also allow the defending aircraft to react to an amphibious assault, and allow the attacker to send aircraft into the sea zone containing transports for the amphibious assault to fly CAP.

I’d really like to hear everyone’s thoughts on airbases. I think airbase attacks are realistic, but I’m real tired of the unrealistic situations they’re causing in our games due to the way aircraft are being deployed – enough that I’m to the point of sacrificing a little realism to get back some of the playability.

Game Design / Oil & Supply for fleets
« on: May 23, 2008, 07:51:09 AM »
The topic about the DEI transitions nicely into a related issue, which is the treatment of oil and supply for ships in the game – or rather, the lack thereof.

It has bothered me from about the third or fourth time I played the game that Japan was able to undertake so many ambitious naval campaigns that historically would have been very difficult, if not outright impossible to accomplish. It bothers me even more that a fleet can be cut off, have no supply line, and yet suffer no ill effects for it.

Ships simply couldn’t go steaming around wherever they pleased. They were limited to a certain operational radius from a base of supply. Having an oiler with the fleet could extend their range somewhat, but at some point the fleet is going to have to go somewhere to be replenished.

I’m attaching an article titled, “Oil Logistics” that was published in the Spring 2004 Air Force Journal of Logistics that gives a very good analysis of the part that oil played in the Pacific War. Among the points the author discusses is how if the Japanese had destroyed the oil tank farm during their attack on Pearl Harbor it would have crippled the US’s ability to operate in the Pacific. Regarding this, Chester Nimitz is quoted as saying, "Had the Japanese destroyed the oil, it would have prolonged the war another two years.” The reason why is simple – the US fleet would had to have been based out of the west coast, which would have meant they would had to have gone 2000 miles just to get to Pearl Harbor. Until the fleet base could be repaired and oil stocks built back up the Pacific Fleet would have been incapable of engaging in large-scale offensive operations.

I saw a really good game recently being played at our local game club called, “Asia Engulfed.” I watched about 8-10 turns and I really like the way they have handled supply and oil in this game. Basically, there are several oil resources marked on the map – Japan draws oil points each turn based on how many resources they control. Each fleet burns an oil point whenever they move. In addition, Japan has to commit transports in order to keep their holdings in supply. The closer a location is to Japan, the easier it is to keep supplied; the further away it is the more difficult (and it also takes more transport points – keeping Okinawa in supply only costs one point; Guadalcanal requires 3 points). The US can interdict with submarines, with any hits scored reducing both transport capacity and the amount of oil available. What happens in the game is thus quite realistic. Japan runs wild early on; later, as the supply and oil requirements increase Japan is faced with some difficult decisions, and often has to forgo opportunities for the simple reason that they can’t produce the needed supplies, don’t have enough oil – or both.

I know there is some debate on this subject. Some feel that oil needs to be factored into the game in some way; others feel that it’s either unnecessary or too complicated for the scope of the game. I don’t want a lot of complicated rules; at the same time, I think the level of realism that the game is shooting for requires at least some discussion about how to make things a little more realistic regarding ships and supply. An excellent article on how shortages of oil may have impacted the Japanese in the Guadalcanal campaign can be read here:

It may not be possible to do much on this subject in the current game without having to re-write too many things, though possibly something along these lines could be included in the next game. Mark/John – I do think buying “Asia Engulfed” and seeing how the rules work might be a worthwhile investment for you for future game development.

Here are a couple of ideas I’ve been kicking around that I’ll toss out for discussion.

1) The first idea is probably the simplest. A fleet must trace supply in the same way as land units. A fleet that cannot trace supply will be considered out of supply and subject to the same limits as land units (-1 to attack and defense rolls, each ship has one less AA roll (but not less than one)). Ships out of supply could also not make amphibious assaults or take part in offshore bombardments.

2) The other idea I had was to create a new unit for the game – naval bases. A naval base would be a counter similar to the current airbase counters. A naval base could represent a port facility, but also just a location to which a dedicated effort was made to build up sufficient supplies to allow a fleet to operate. My thought is that similar to airbases there would be two levels – Level 3 and Level 5. The level number would represent the number of hits it takes to destroy the base (or just to destroy the stockpiled supplies). Enemy units could attack a naval base just as they can any other unit. Two hits on a level 5 base would reduce it to a 3; three more hits would destroy it. Building a naval base would be the same as an airbase – you must first control the territory where you want to build it. A level 3 base costs 5 points, and 5 points more to upgrade to level 5. Ships could only operate tactically within so many zones of a naval base (4 Europe/2 Pacific? – this would have to be discussed), though they could strategically redeploy from within the operating radius of one base to within the operating radius of another base.

This would probably also require the creation of oilers to take into account where fleets operated beyond their normal operating radius – the Pearl Harbor attack comes to mind. The simplest way to handle this is to allow a player to spend one income point to buy an oil resource. The Oil resource can be loaded on a transport. Placing this transport with a combat fleet provides one full turn of supply to a fleet that is outside the operating radius of a naval base.

Just as with airbases, some naval bases would start already on the map. Again, for simplicities sake it might be best to say some areas (for example, the US West Coast) have intrinsic bases and not be represented with counters.

I realize that this second idea is fairly complex, and would require discussion – there may be any number of things I’m not considering here.

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