Brevity Assault AAR

Pitman

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Mark,

Would you elaborate a little further on why you feel this product is so innovative and will be so impactful to the ASL community? What kind of fruits could you imagine falling from this tree amongst other ASL publishers? I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on the pre-order and just looking for a little more insight to push me over the edge.
I think it is innovative and has the potential to be quite impactful (if it turns out to be well thought out, well playtested and well developed), in that it would be the first published marriage between the squad level tactics of an ASL scenario and the broader picture of operational campaigns. It can allow scenarios to be generated on the basis of players' prior actions, and the outcomes of those scenarios will affect the nature of future operational decisions. It can provide a "strategic" element to ASL in a legitimate but very different way that campaign games, with their "grand tactical" outlook, contribute.
 

TopT

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I think it is innovative and has the potential to be quite impactful (if it turns out to be well thought out, well playtested and well developed), in that it would be the first published marriage between the squad level tactics of an ASL scenario and the broader picture of operational campaigns. It can allow scenarios to be generated on the basis of players' prior actions, and the outcomes of those scenarios will affect the nature of future operational decisions. It can provide a "strategic" element to ASL in a legitimate but very different way that campaign games, with their "grand tactical" outlook, contribute.

I was looking at it and the first thing that popped into my head was the battles around Smolensk (IE: the battles were spread over a large area, early war AFV's, lots of Human Waves) :)
 

Michael Dorosh

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This is clearly a very well-thought-through idea, there is nothing like it in the ASL world (or really anywhere in wargaming, as far as I know)
The concept being discussed here is sometimes called a "meta-campaign" in other communities. I don't know that anyone has done this for ASL, but it is quite common in the computer wargaming world. We were doing something like this for Combat Mission nearly 20 years ago, usually "manually" - meaning a game master had an operational map and then used the scenario designer to put together tactical engagements in order to determine the outcomes of movement in the operational layer. You could do it with a 3 or 4 players, or literally dozens. They tried to formalize the process with a number of third party applications (anyone remember COCAT?) and then the publishers married up with Hunting Tank Software to do a bonafide operational layer to weld to the tactical level CM:BB title which unfortunately never went anywhere despite the best efforts and wishes of us playtesters.

The system here looks a lot like the campaign layer for the Close Combat PC game series. Which is a good thing.

As far as ASL goes, it does seem innovative. It may have taken a while to reach ASL land, but I think it is certainly an appealing concept that has proven successful and popular in other communities.

The old Gulf Strike boardgame also had a similar concept - only it was one level up - a strategic master map and operational maps that zoomed in on combat areas.
 
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Thunderchief

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I think it is innovative and has the potential to be quite impactful (if it turns out to be well thought out, well playtested and well developed), in that it would be the first published marriage between the squad level tactics of an ASL scenario and the broader picture of operational campaigns. It can allow scenarios to be generated on the basis of players' prior actions, and the outcomes of those scenarios will affect the nature of future operational decisions. It can provide a "strategic" element to ASL in a legitimate but very different way that campaign games, with their "grand tactical" outlook, contribute.
Like Kampfgruppe Commander (is that the right name - so long ago I can;t remember) was going to be?
 

Michael Dorosh

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Like Kampfgruppe Commander (is that the right name - so long ago I can;t remember) was going to be?
This is being discussed on the new ASL Facebook group now (yes, another one).

The link to the Heat of Battle KG page where KG was discussed in detail:


And if so inclined, the ASL Enthusiasts group:

 

Michael Dorosh

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First I've heard/seen of this. Is this project dead? The page looks very old. Looks interesting tho.
Some of the HOB project team members post here, I should probably let them respond. But yeah - when your website has a 'web ring' on it, you kinda have to think its a legacy site....
 

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Like Kampfgruppe Commander (is that the right name - so long ago I can;t remember) was going to be?
I think there were some similarities but also differences.

Back then I have seen the material for Kampfgruppe Commander but I have not been involved in playtesting.
Common elements seemed to have that there was a choice to either select an "operational" option to resolve a batte or to do it in an ASL-style scenario.

IIRC in Kampfgruppe Commander, you took some of your units with you throughout the entire game (inclusive of losses, reinforcements, and repairs) while some others were "attached" only for the duration of a scenario. To represent these units you had cards representing an infantry platoon, a battery of guns, etc.

I would have very much liked to see its completion. But as far as I remember, the playing process of the game turned out to be too cumbersome. The mechanics were then redesigned. But I believe this is about where the project was eventually suspended.

von Marwitz
 

von Marwitz

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First I've heard/seen of this. Is this project dead? The page looks very old. Looks interesting tho.
As far as I know it is. It was the brainchild of the late Christian Koppmeyer, founder of GRENADIER tournament in Germany. I believe that Michael Koch, current TD of GRENADIER has the stuff, but for years nobody has worked with the stuff.

von Marwitz
 

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It's Operational Turn 3 in Brevity Assault CG III “CAPUZZO-SIDI AZEIZ SECTOR” playtest, all Allied units are on the map, an Australian en-portee cannon unit has been eliminated in Ridotta Capuzzo and the 11th Hussars unit 2 (Armored Cars) has rolled too high on the TC due to his Reduced status, so it is also eliminated. Fights are developing on the three main routes, namely Ridotta Capuzzo, Bir Hafid and Sidi Azeiz. On the left, a clash between German and Allied mechanized troops is developing in an intermediate area. On Bir Hafid, two German Kradschützen companies are defending with a troop of IG cannons and are about to be attacked by light and cruiser tank units supported by an AC troop. Around Ridotta Capuzzo the battle ignites, Matilda and Carriers are reinforcing the Allies, and a troop of German AC the Axis. The Residual counters indicate that units have already fought for a turn without pausing; when a certain residual value is reached, the forces have their ELR lowered and can incur Ammunition Shortage.


11853
 
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sebosebi

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The players choose to play an ASL scenario in Bir Hafid. This is a screenshot of the beginning of the German ASL Turn 2, the British and the Australians have entered with all their strength, they are trying to encircle the German positions in the center, the two German 75 IG Guns have not yet revealed themselves, the two German companies have a significant number of ATRs that are quite effective against all allied AFVs, since they have small AF (0 or 1). An Australian Mark VIB has disabled the MA and is Recalled.

11854
 

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I am interested in how this turns out. Long story short, a few years ago I worked on a ruleset that would allow ASL to be used to resolve an operational level computer game. I ran into a few problems, however.

The biggest one involved casualties. The operational level game rightly set limits for when an attack or defense would break off after hitting a casualty threshold, usually somewhere around 10%, which is pretty realistic if you think about it. But in ASL, a squad is eliminated completely, and if you only have 12 squads attacking, ending the scenario when 2 of them are KIA is not really fun to play out, which ruins the whole point. So a layer of rules had to be grafted on both to extend the scenario if the attacker felt there was momentum, and then have some sort of mechanism to reflect that a lost squad in ASL certainly does not translate into 10 KIA soldiers.

The second problem involved scenario objectives. The operational game, like IRL, rewarded possession of terrain and casualty ratios. Casualty ratios as a scenario objective were problematic because with the limitations outlined above, scenarios tended to end too quickly to be fun to play. Terrain was problematic because the map used for the operational level were not zone but rather (hidden) hex based. This meant that advances had to be measured on the ASL map and then fed back into the operational game for resolution onto the game map. This required some finagling, but was achievable. But without scenario objectives other than to generally take terrain and inflict casualties, the scenarios tended into a lot slower paced efforts centering around carefully taking or denying ground while minimizing risk. Super realistic, but not really fun to play, especially given the low casualty thresholds. I did briefly consider a sort of scenario pack a-la Warhammer 40K or FOW, whereby you would fight a generic "Attack" or "Defend" or "Ambush" scenario, but I figured it would be too limiting and too difficult to graft onto ASL maps in a satisfying way.

The third problem was OBA. A Normandy '44 operational campaign has a massive amount of artillery available, especially for the Americans. An operational level system was in place to limit a unit's on-call artillery, but even this was way too powerful in ASL terms. A fix was instituted whereby scenarios were limited to 2 modules per side per scenario, weighted so that heavier modules were less likely to appear, but even then scenarios fell into a pattern that involved OBA getting lucky enough to cause enough casualties to trigger defender retreat without the attacker having to do much else. Not super realistic, as ASL OBA is overpowered just a bit, and also not fun to play.

So I am really really interested in how the designers solved the above problems here, as well as others that I'm sure didn't come up in my testing. I suspect that things are simplified by an operational layer that seeks a lot less detail and fidelity than the one I was trying to deal with - no need to track how the cohesion and leadership values assigned by the operational game translate into the scenario ELR and troop quality, for example, and working in zones eliminates a lot of fiddling with figuring out how much ground was gained/lost for the battle report. Another problem that I can see developing is snowballing, and I am interested to see how that is handled.

I hope that these and other issues with making ASL "operational" are overcome, and this system is the breakthrough that people hope for! I know that I would definitely love to play ASL on both an operational and tactical level, and I'm sure I'm not the only one!
 

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I am interested in how this turns out. Long story short, a few years ago I worked on a ruleset that would allow ASL to be used to resolve an operational level computer game. I ran into a few problems, however.

The biggest one involved casualties. The operational level game rightly set limits for when an attack or defense would break off after hitting a casualty threshold, usually somewhere around 10%, which is pretty realistic if you think about it. But in ASL, a squad is eliminated completely, and if you only have 12 squads attacking, ending the scenario when 2 of them are KIA is not really fun to play out, which ruins the whole point. So a layer of rules had to be grafted on both to extend the scenario if the attacker felt there was momentum, and then have some sort of mechanism to reflect that a lost squad in ASL certainly does not translate into 10 KIA soldiers.

The second problem involved scenario objectives. The operational game, like IRL, rewarded possession of terrain and casualty ratios. Casualty ratios as a scenario objective were problematic because with the limitations outlined above, scenarios tended to end too quickly to be fun to play. Terrain was problematic because the map used for the operational level were not zone but rather (hidden) hex based. This meant that advances had to be measured on the ASL map and then fed back into the operational game for resolution onto the game map. This required some finagling, but was achievable. But without scenario objectives other than to generally take terrain and inflict casualties, the scenarios tended into a lot slower paced efforts centering around carefully taking or denying ground while minimizing risk. Super realistic, but not really fun to play, especially given the low casualty thresholds. I did briefly consider a sort of scenario pack a-la Warhammer 40K or FOW, whereby you would fight a generic "Attack" or "Defend" or "Ambush" scenario, but I figured it would be too limiting and too difficult to graft onto ASL maps in a satisfying way.

The third problem was OBA. A Normandy '44 operational campaign has a massive amount of artillery available, especially for the Americans. An operational level system was in place to limit a unit's on-call artillery, but even this was way too powerful in ASL terms. A fix was instituted whereby scenarios were limited to 2 modules per side per scenario, weighted so that heavier modules were less likely to appear, but even then scenarios fell into a pattern that involved OBA getting lucky enough to cause enough casualties to trigger defender retreat without the attacker having to do much else. Not super realistic, as ASL OBA is overpowered just a bit, and also not fun to play.

So I am really really interested in how the designers solved the above problems here, as well as others that I'm sure didn't come up in my testing. I suspect that things are simplified by an operational layer that seeks a lot less detail and fidelity than the one I was trying to deal with - no need to track how the cohesion and leadership values assigned by the operational game translate into the scenario ELR and troop quality, for example, and working in zones eliminates a lot of fiddling with figuring out how much ground was gained/lost for the battle report. Another problem that I can see developing is snowballing, and I am interested to see how that is handled.

I hope that these and other issues with making ASL "operational" are overcome, and this system is the breakthrough that people hope for! I know that I would definitely love to play ASL on both an operational and tactical level, and I'm sure I'm not the only one!
Regarding casualties, we made rules for which if an operational unit goes below 30% of its initial DVP value, it is eliminated. And if it goes below 50% of its DVP value, being above 30%, it is "Reduced" and must pass a TC at the end of every Turn to remain in play. Obviously simplifications must be implemented (but ASL does it too).

We think that the desert enviroment favors this generation of casualties, due to poor covers, which is functional to game dynamics. We don't think that this is the definitive model for similar games made in ETO or even in PTO.

Regarding terrain, we chose to use zones and not a direct relation between ASL hexes and Operational terrain .

We limited OBA as total number and as applicable number in a scenario.
 

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I get it if you decline to answer - you do need to keep some things under wraps! But if you are willing to discuss, how do you resolve scenario setup ie map/overlay selection and side setup, as well as VC and scenario end?
 

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Any designer should keep in mind that ASL "casualties" are not equivalent to casualties in real life. A squad in ASL might be "KIA," while in real life that squad might have only suffered a KIA, a heavy WIA, a light WIA, and the rest of the squad disorganized, separated, scattered, occupied helping evac a casualty back to battalion aid station, etc., etc., etc. The "design for effect" casualties in ASL are not literal casualties but merely an aggregate of situations (inclusive of casualties) that could render a squad completely ineffective within the limited time frame of the remainder of a scenario.
 

Michael Dorosh

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The biggest one involved casualties. The operational level game rightly set limits for when an attack or defense would break off after hitting a casualty threshold, usually somewhere around 10%, which is pretty realistic if you think about it. But in ASL, a squad is eliminated completely, and if you only have 12 squads attacking, ending the scenario when 2 of them are KIA is not really fun to play out, which ruins the whole point. So a layer of rules had to be grafted on both to extend the scenario if the attacker felt there was momentum, and then have some sort of mechanism to reflect that a lost squad in ASL certainly does not translate into 10 KIA soldiers.
...
The third problem was OBA. A Normandy '44 operational campaign has a massive amount of artillery available, especially for the Americans. An operational level system was in place to limit a unit's on-call artillery, but even this was way too powerful in ASL terms. A fix was instituted whereby scenarios were limited to 2 modules per side per scenario, weighted so that heavier modules were less likely to appear, but even then scenarios fell into a pattern that involved OBA getting lucky enough to cause enough casualties to trigger defender retreat without the attacker having to do much else. Not super realistic, as ASL OBA is overpowered just a bit, and also not fun to play.

So I am really really interested in how the designers solved the above problems here, as well as others that I'm sure didn't come up in my testing. I suspect that things are simplified by an operational layer that seeks a lot less detail and fidelity than the one I was trying to deal with - no need to track how the cohesion and leadership values assigned by the operational game translate into the scenario ELR and troop quality, for example, and working in zones eliminates a lot of fiddling with figuring out how much ground was gained/lost for the battle report. Another problem that I can see developing is snowballing, and I am interested to see how that is handled.

I hope that these and other issues with making ASL "operational" are overcome, and this system is the breakthrough that people hope for! I know that I would definitely love to play ASL on both an operational and tactical level, and I'm sure I'm not the only one!
It sounds like you were heading in the right direction, though. You mention tracking cohesion and leadership - some of the operational layers I've seen for other games went as far as to track artillery rounds, supplies, etc. They usually fell apart from lack of enthusiasm for tracking all that stuff on multiple spreadsheets, as well as the herding cats aspect of keeping multiple players engaged over a period of weeks and months as the operational layer resolved itself. The ones with role playing elements were interesting but tended to emulate the Stanford Prison Experiment quickly - i.e. Russian and German commanders tended to go dark fast, sacking their subordinates after a single poor showing in the tactical layer, threatening to shoot people, etc.....
 

Michael Dorosh

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If it wasn't in the desert, I would seriously consider buying it.
I'm unfortunately of the same mind. Adding the rules overhead of a new operational system to the unfamiliar desert rules makes this a no-go for me, but I'm eager to see what the desert fans do with this.
 

CTKnudsen

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Any designer should keep in mind that ASL "casualties" are not equivalent to casualties in real life. A squad in ASL might be "KIA," while in real life that squad might have only suffered a KIA, a heavy WIA, a light WIA, and the rest of the squad disorganized, separated, scattered, occupied helping evac a casualty back to battalion aid station, etc., etc., etc. The "design for effect" casualties in ASL are not literal casualties but merely an aggregate of situations (inclusive of casualties) that could render a squad completely ineffective within the limited time frame of the remainder of a scenario.
And this proved relatively easy to graft onto the operational layer - SMC casualties were irrelevant due to the fact that ASL leaders were generated per battle anyway, and each MMC lost had a basic "Lazarus" roll to see if it counted for casualty purposes. The op layer took those "final" losses and divided them into WIA/KIA, some of which (probably from the WIA) might come back as the campaign wore on. Vehicles were easy, the op layer tracked individual vehicles, just dealt in vehicle casualties, and then repair would happen in the op layer.

I suspect that had I kept working on this, the way forward would have been to handicap the casualty tracking within the ASL scenario somehow, but this would have gotten complicated fast. What would the proper ratio of ASL to op layer casualties be? How do you adjust this to get an outcome that dials into the op layer's desire for "realistic" casualty levels, while giving the player a bit of elasticity and chance to try and go for the win, but still allows the ASL battle to be fun in and of itself?

TBH the reason I stopped working on it was I felt these problems were not totally resolvable within the context of the op layer project that I was working within. Hence my interest in seeing what Advancing Fire has come up with.
 
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