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Author Topic: Counterattack at Belle Fontaine  (Read 2757 times)

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Offline choppinlt

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Re: Counterattack at Belle Fontaine
« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2017, 04:48:51 PM »
Hey CK, great to have you back!  :) You don't have to apologize, I know how these things can happen. I have been preoccupied myself the last few months. Don't worry you haven't slowed the scenario, because that has primarily been my fault!

So when I read your pursuit comment, I have to admit I get a funny visual of you on your knees begging your opponent "PLEASE don't chase me, I BEG OF YOU!" :pray

Casualty reporting - As discussed above, there is a dialectic to be worked out between ASL, TO, and casualty reporting.  But I think the "Lazarus roll" is a solid way of dealing with it, we just have to fine-tune the sliders, as it were.  One point is with splitting casualties between units.  I don't think dividing equally is too big a deal, most will not want to track individual unit casualties, and so long as we force equal division people won't be able to take all their casualties from crappy units, and none from the elites.  One thing is I had not thought about how TO tracks crew casualties for Armoured units.  I have lumped all the crew and infantry casualties together, but it is easy on my side to separate them.
Casualties in TO are tracked for each element. What that means is that an infantry company is tracked, plus any support platoons that are attached from the battalion level. E.g. the German Fallschirm Co has a MG platoon and a mortar section that were all attached battalion assets. Additionally it has a company of Stugs as part of the battle group. So losses are tracked for each of those elements (4 total). So dead crews matter (from the Stugs). When inputting back in TO, you can list the losses per element, if you have that information. Other times it may be cumbersome to do it that way... For instance if you were attacking with a full battalion of Fallschirm, OR you had a battlegroup of units cobbled from 2 different Fallschirm battalions, you could just split casualties as proportionally as possible rather than try to keep close track. I think it will be fairly easy to track different unit types with the Americans being a good example in this scenario. They have an infantry battalion attacking with an engineer co and tank co attached. It is fairly easy to tell which casualties belong to each of those units. Big picture, it is my current estimation that in most cases it is going to be reasonably easy to differentiate where casualties were taken. If it comes down to it I think it would be perfectly acceptable to SWAG it (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess). I don't want to force players in to taking copious notes...unless they want to. Does this answer your question CK? Am I making sense to everyone, or am I talking in circles? This is good CK, you hit on an area (varying options of inputting battle losses) where I have not thoroughly fleshed out all the details.

Persistence and casualties - Much discussion above, so I won't repeat it here.  I think that we will have to adopt some sort of normalization in terms of both casualties and advance to end up with meaningful battles that don't end too quickly, as this one did.  But the more we normalize, the less effect that playing the engagement out has, so why play the engagement, etc...  This is the biggest issue we have right now, and I think we are going to have to work out different options in terms of selecting a "normalization level" and let players choose.
I just want to reiterate that there will be a significant range of casualty "allowance", but once it reaches a certain point then players may want to normalize results to some degree (or not based on player preference at taking everything at face value regardless of outcome). In your latest battle, we may end up taking everything at face value and moving on. As for "why play the engagement" in terms of normalization I would respond "because they want to". If you go through the trouble of setting up a battle and things go badly very fast, then why not play it out more for fun? OR like Cat did, they reached a conclusion for TO after substantial play time, then continued to play it out strictly for fun. OTOH, if a battle ends prematurely the attacking player may well want to say"note to self: don't do that again!"  :-[, and then move on to the next engagement. I don't think we need to completely confine ourselves, and we can make it work to suit our preferences...and our preferences may change from battle to battle. In my humble opinion, the key will be mutual agreement between players on how to handle results before a particular battle commences.

Artillery - Much of the discussion above related to how to incorporate artillery without making it totally unbalancing.  So I tried a mechanic to reduce the amount of OBA on the board.  Even so, the arty was overpowering for the defenders, although it must be admitted that my opponent was quite lucky, and I quite stupid to give him a target.  But still, artillery is VERY powerful in ASL, and the number of modules on board is, although historically consistent, currently far too high.  It is kind of a rule of thumb in ASL campaign games that no more than 2 OBA modules may be used per side per day, and I am thinking about adopting this.  But then how do we align this with the high amounts available in this TO operation, especially to the Americans?  I am open to suggestions here, frankly, but am currently thinking that for each TO battery available for support, a roll will be made to see if it translates into the battle, with bonuses for lighter calibres, which must roll first.  Once 2 modules are "received", then that's all the side gets.  Another way to do it is to allow all the modules, but vastly change the ASL chit system for battery access to make actually getting a fire mission quite a bit less likely.  I am loath to do this, however, as it involves changing core ASL rules.
Artillery...yes this is an important aspect to discuss. As you mention, there is a careful balance. One thought for ASL would be to allow the arty limits you discussed, and then if you possess artillery in excess of this you could consider a few different options like: 1. increase your force size proportionally (i.e. trading artillery power for more on-field units); 2. Decrease the amount of enemy forces based on artillery proportions. These are just some quick ideas to get the juices flowing.  8)

This brings up a question: Canadian Cat, how did artillery work out in your battle using CM? My impression is that it went fairly well in that there were plenty of assets to use, but it did not totally dominate the battle. Is that a fair assessment?


Offline A Canadian Cat

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Re: Counterattack at Belle Fontaine
« Reply #46 on: September 19, 2017, 07:12:22 PM »
This brings up a question: Canadian Cat, how did artillery work out in your battle using CM? My impression is that it went fairly well in that there were plenty of assets to use, but it did not totally dominate the battle. Is that a fair assessment?

I think so. I dropped some pre-planned artillery and called some on the fly. I did not use it all up and while I am not sure of how much damage I did it definitely do not think it over powered the defenders.

Offline Christian Knudsen

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Re: Counterattack at Belle Fontaine
« Reply #47 on: September 20, 2017, 02:26:37 PM »
I will have to caution myself here and not go too overboard in making changes for the next round.  My gut tells me that for ASL at least, more than 2-3 artillery modules per side will be unbalancing and not fun to play.  Artillery is a bit too responsive and powerful in ASL, especially for the defender where the attacker has to attack over open or light cover.

However, in this case, two things happened that might have skewed the results a bit.

1.  I played poorly.  I knew the Amis had lots of powerful artillery, and I still moved my StuGs into positions where they were in sight of places where it was smart for my opponent to put his spotters.  I could have left them in the bocage on the right side, and while that would have caused other problems, it would have forced the Americans to get a lot closer to call in their barrages.

2.  There were a LOT of lucky rolls for the barrages, the whole way.  Accuracy performed better than statistically expected, and when inaccurate, drift was  beneficial, moving the barrages onto my troop concentrations that were actually out of sight to the observer.  Then the actual effect rolls were spectacular - more than a few DR below 5, and focused on my units, not the terrain.

So with that in mind I think for the next test I will leave the sliders as is, in terms of artillery, persistence, and loss reporting, barring Matt asking me to change something.  If we run into the same issues again on the 3rd iteration, then we will look at changes going into the 4th test.

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Counterattack at Belle Fontaine
« Reply #48 on: September 20, 2017, 04:11:24 PM »
CK, as someone suggested earlier, do you want to consider replaying this particular scenario and see how differently it goes as a test case? Just a suggestion, obviously time and interest factors apply here.  :) As for changing anything, I have no suggested changes at this point. I defer to your judgements regarding ASL conversion.

This experience is great! It brings up a number of different considerations for the community, such as:
1.) Different tactical systems and their balance. In this case CK mentions that artillery is extremely powerful in ASL with how the game mechanisms work. Other systems may throttle back or exagerate artillery, or other aspects. Some systems may have more or less emphasis on morale, cohesion, command and control, etc. Some systems are going to have a much higher mortality rate too. You all get the point...this is why we are testing various systems and trying to figure out rules for conversion.

2.) Human factors-let's face it we all have a bad day when comes to playing games.  :( Then there is the player's understanding and experience coupled with their overall ability in playing a particular game. I imagine a scenario where a player is excited and interested in playing a battle out, but lacks experience with the tactical system. In this case I don't like the thought of discouraging someone from playing a battle out, so normalizing results may be a reasonable way to handle this.

This is all just food for thought...

Canadian Cat, thanks for the input! I would love to hear what Mad Mike had to offer from his perspective. Mad Mike, do you have any sort of after action thoughts and considerations about anything regarding the engagement? What about offensive and defensive artillery?


Offline Christian Knudsen

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Re: Counterattack at Belle Fontaine
« Reply #49 on: September 24, 2017, 05:01:21 PM »
CK, as someone suggested earlier, do you want to consider replaying this particular scenario and see how differently it goes as a test case? Just a suggestion, obviously time and interest factors apply here.  :) As for changing anything, I have no suggested changes at this point. I defer to your judgements regarding ASL conversion.

I'm not really in a hurry to replay this one, tbh.  I'm willing to accept it as a slightly outlying data point and move on at this juncture.

Quote
1.) Different tactical systems and their balance. In this case CK mentions that artillery is extremely powerful in ASL with how the game mechanisms work. Other systems may throttle back or exagerate artillery, or other aspects. Some systems may have more or less emphasis on morale, cohesion, command and control, etc. Some systems are going to have a much higher mortality rate too. You all get the point...this is why we are testing various systems and trying to figure out rules for conversion.

Agreed!

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2.) Human factors-let's face it we all have a bad day when comes to playing games.  :( Then there is the player's understanding and experience coupled with their overall ability in playing a particular game. I imagine a scenario where a player is excited and interested in playing a battle out, but lacks experience with the tactical system. In this case I don't like the thought of discouraging someone from playing a battle out, so normalizing results may be a reasonable way to handle this.

Agreed, but to a degree and with less enthusiasm.  I think offering normalization options is a good way to go, but there are pitfalls here, as well.  For instance, my opponent would likely not be as happy to normalize in this situation as I would!  Keep in mind I am talking engagement-specific normalization here, not a system based one like I am using with a Lazarus roll or with trying to mesh artillery and air support from TO onto ASL, as these mechanics, once agreed upon, would be applied universally.

Offline choppinlt

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Re: Counterattack at Belle Fontaine
« Reply #50 on: September 25, 2017, 04:14:46 PM »
I'm not really in a hurry to replay this one, tbh.  I'm willing to accept it as a slightly outlying data point and move on at this juncture.
No issues!  :) Just thought I would ask. I understand your point.

Agreed, but to a degree and with less enthusiasm.  I think offering normalization options is a good way to go, but there are pitfalls here, as well.  For instance, my opponent would likely not be as happy to normalize in this situation as I would!  Keep in mind I am talking engagement-specific normalization here, not a system based one like I am using with a Lazarus roll or with trying to mesh artillery and air support from TO onto ASL, as these mechanics, once agreed upon, would be applied universally.

I understand your view on this. And yes, I understand that we are talking about the engagement results, NOT the system conversion process (e.g. Lazarus roll). Again this is all up to players and how they want to use engagement results. You are correct that in this case your opponent may be less enthusiastic to lessen results, HOWEVER that is why these types of situations should be agreed upon prior to playing an engagement out.

I will give an example. Say I am commanding Side A against Asid who is commanding Side B in TO. We have an engagement that we are willing to let tactical players resolve. Say you (CK) and A Canadian Cat (ACC) volunteer. CK prefers ASL, but can do CM (CK, IIRC you posted a few months ago that would be willing to play a CM battle, but you indicated you weren't real proficient at it). ACC has no clue how to play ASL, but is very good at CM. As a result you guys agree to play CM to resolve the battle. So you two are controlling the tactical engagement, but there is a player profiency issue that is probably not indicative of the engagement situation. In this case me and my TO opponent would have a conversation if we want to normalize results due to circumstances. We can say "no, we are gonna let ride!" or "we are going to normalize results to prevent skewed results". CK, I know you get all this, I am just going to  :deadhorse to make sure people reading understand some of these nuances players will find.