Escaped Prisoners in Melee (2)

jrv

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I have been ruminating over the rules for escaping prisoners. Consider the following situations:

First:

Two enemy prisoners are guarded by a broken friendly guard with another unbroken friendly unit in the Location. During the CCPh, one prisoner passes his escape attempt NTC while the other fails. The escaping prisoner attacks his guard but fails to affect it. The unbroken friendly unit attacks the escaping prisoner and eliminates it. Is there a Melee, i.e. is the prisoner that failed its NTC considered escaping because there was a CC attack in the hex?

Bonus question: can the unbroken friendly unit attack both prisoners?

Second:

An enemy prisoner is guarded by an unbroken friendly unit with no other friendly units in Location. Another enemy unit advances in, but is eliminated in the CCPh while the guard survives. Is there a Melee, i.e. is the prisoner that couldn't take a NTC considered escaping because there was a CC attack in the Location?

Third:

Two enemy prisoners are guarded by a broken friendly guard with another unbroken friendly unit in the Location. During the CCPh, one prisoner passes his escape attempt NTC while the other fails. The escaping prisoner attacks his guard but fails to affect it. The unbroken unit attacks the escaping prisoner but also fails. Clearly there is a Melee at the end of the CCPh (per the A20.55 EX). If there were no change until the next CCPh, both prisoners could attack freely, i.e. without NTC. But during the next PFPh the escaping prisoner is eliminated by a Sniper result. Does the Melee continue, i.e. is the second prisoner considered escaping too as soon as the Melee marker is placed? Because there is no way to distinguish the two prisoners (e.g. an "escaping prisoner" counter) I'd have to guess that the answer is, "yes," a prisoner is considered escaping as soon as the Melee marker is placed.

JR
 

SCK40

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Just IMO, shooting from the hip. Clarification, or even some changes, to A20 would be nice.

Conceptually, I view prisoners as either being "possessed" or "unpossessed" by their Guard. A "possessed" prisoner has almost no autonomy - it can be passed from one Guard to another, can be combined with other prisoners by its Guard, moves with its Guard and can be forced by its Guard to do various labor tasks. The only action a "possessed" prisoner may initiate is an attempt to Escape from a broken Guard by initiating CC after passing an NTC. An "unpossessed" prisoner has a larger degree of autonomy in that it may freely initiate CC with enemy units in its hex and may attempt to Withdraw from Melee.

Each prisoner is "possessed" by its Guard until:

1) there is no longer any unit eligible to Guard it in the hex occupied by the prisoner (this assertion derived mostly from 20.5), or
2) during the CCPh, the prisoner passes an NTC when its Guard is broken, or
3) its Guard is held in Melee, or
4) it is Abandoned.

A determination of whether the prisoner is "possessed" by its Guard is done on a counter-by-counter basis.

Once "unpossessed" a prisoner will only be again "possessed" if recaptured in CC (either in the CCPh or MPh). Otherwise it is simply an Escaped or Abandoned unarmed unit (or dead).

Of course the terms "possessed" and "unpossessed" appear nowhere in the ASLRB with regard to prisoners, but the ideas they represent can largely be supported by the rules as supplemented by the Q&A.

Using the above framework:

Case 1: No Melee, no attack on the second prisoner. At the start of the CCPh, one prisoner becomes "unpossessed" when it passes its NTC and attempts Escape. The other fails to attempt Escape and remains "possessed". In the ensuing CC resolution, the "unpossessed" prisoner is eliminated, and no Melee counter is placed as "Infantry of both sides does not remain in the same Location" as per A11.15.

If you want to argue the other direction here you can. Per A11.5: If Infantry of both sides remain in the same Location after all initial CC attacks have been resolved at the end of a CCPh, they [EXC: bicyclists, skiers] are considered to be locked in Melee and may not leave that Location or attack except as part of CC. One can argue that by definition, prisoners (even if "possessed") are still Infantry. Infantry is defined as "All SMC & MMC counters on foot". Using that definition, after all the initial CC attacks have been resolved in the hex, Infantry of both sides remain in the Location, and thus a Melee counter should be placed.

I reject that argument. A1.12 states that there are three types of MMC: squads, half-squads and crews. A squad, and/or its component HS, is defined by its nationality and type (A1.121). A prisoner, until it is rearmed, it has no type. A crew is defined by a number of abilities, all of which are permanently lost upon being captured and exchanged for a HS-sized unarmed unit. A prisoner may be squad/HS-sized, but it is not a squad/HS/crew. Therefore, a prisoner is not an MMC and thus it is not Infantry. Likewise, A1.11 states that there are two types of SMC: leaders and heroes, both of which are further defined as "elite". A leader prisoner may retain some of his leadership characteristics, but none of the secondary characteristics associated with elite status. Thus a leader prisoner is not a leader nor a hero, and thus no longer an SMC. Each is simply an unarmed prisoner "unit" - a "game piece or counter with its own MF/MP allotment capable of movement".

One might ask, if prisoners are not Infantry, how can they be held in Melee as part of an Escape attempt? The answer is simply that A20 (specifically A20.55 and its Examples) specifies that they may. Which is probably a better answer to the Infantry argument than all the semantic hand-waving above. Prisoners are just sort of a breed apart, ruled primarily by A20.

As to the bonus question, under this framework the second unit may not be attacked in CC, as doing so would violate the Massacre rule, which governs the elimination of prisoners not in the process of Escape.

Case 2: No Melee, since the prisoner never became "unpossessed".

Case 3: Yes. As soon as the Melee marker is placed, all prisoners in the Location become "unpossessed".
 

klasmalmstrom

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My take.

Two enemy prisoners are guarded by a broken friendly guard with another unbroken friendly unit in the Location. During the CCPh, one prisoner passes his escape attempt NTC while the other fails. The escaping prisoner attacks his guard but fails to affect it. The unbroken friendly unit attacks the escaping prisoner and eliminates it. Is there a Melee, i.e. is the prisoner that failed its NTC considered escaping because there was a CC attack in the hex?
No Melee.


Bonus question: can the unbroken friendly unit attack both prisoners?
No - there is a Q&A saying that one can't attempt to capture such a Prisoner, and I think the same answer would be given if the question was about attackin to kill it.

A20.5
...
In each situation, there is a broken Guard with a prisoner and no enemy units in the same Location.
...
3. May another friendly (to the broken Guard) GO MMC attempt to Capture the prisoners?
A. Only if the prisoners are attacking the guard or are in melee. {2}


An enemy prisoner is guarded by an unbroken friendly unit with no other friendly units in Location. Another enemy unit advances in, but is eliminated in the CCPh while the guard survives. Is there a Melee, i.e. is the prisoner that couldn't take a NTC considered escaping because there was a CC attack in the Location?
No Melee.


Two enemy prisoners are guarded by a broken friendly guard with another unbroken friendly unit in the Location. During the CCPh, one prisoner passes his escape attempt NTC while the other fails. The escaping prisoner attacks his guard but fails to affect it. The unbroken unit attacks the escaping prisoner but also fails. Clearly there is a Melee at the end of the CCPh (per the A20.55 EX). If there were no change until the next CCPh, both prisoners could attack freely, i.e. without NTC. But during the next PFPh the escaping prisoner is eliminated by a Sniper result. Does the Melee continue, i.e. is the second prisoner considered escaping too as soon as the Melee marker is placed
Melee continues.
 

jrv

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Each prisoner is "possessed" by its Guard until:

...
2) during the CCPh, the prisoner passes an NTC when its Guard is broken, or
3) its Guard is held in Melee, or
...
Per A20.55 and the EX following I think prisoners remain prisoners as long as there are units capable of guarding them in the Melee. Passing the escape attempt NTC or the existence of a Melee does not end their prisoner status, and they must continue to attack their guard (only or in combination with other units) until there aren't sufficient guards. At that point, i.e. when there are insufficient guards in the Location, they are no longer prisoners. But the A20.55 example shows prisoners in Melee, and it says the prisoners attack their broken guard and a halfsquad at 1-2. Even though it is the second CC after a turn spent in Melee, these prisoners still have guards.

JR
 

SCK40

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Per A20.55 and the EX following I think prisoners remain prisoners as long as there are units capable of guarding them in the Melee. Passing the escape attempt NTC or the existence of a Melee does not end their prisoner status, and they must continue to attack their guard (only or in combination with other units) until there aren't sufficient guards. At that point, i.e. when there are insufficient guards in the Location, they are no longer prisoners. But the A20.55 example shows prisoners in Melee, and it says the prisoners attack their broken guard and a halfsquad at 1-2. Even though it is the second CC after a turn spent in Melee, these prisoners still have guards.

JR
Certainly. They are still Prisoners until they successfully Escape (either through CC or abandonment). Maybe it would be better to denote prisoners as either "controlled" or "uncontrolled" by a Guard, and apply the terms "possessed" and "unpossessed" to unarmed units generally. Again, none of these is an official ASL term of art, and are used only to organize my thinking in an area where the rules do provided for easy organization.

An unarmed unit that is "unpossessed" by the enemy is simply an unarmed unit that may undertake the full range of actions available to unarmed units at the behest of the player controlling the unarmed unit.

A prisoner is an unarmed unit "possessed" by the enemy is a prisoner. Its range of action is determined by whether the prisoner is "controlled" or "uncontrolled" by its Guard.

A "controlled" prisoner acts as determined by the player controlling its Guard. The prisoner moves with the Guard, works as directed by the Guard, etc. The only action a "controlled" prisoner can take is at the behest of its original owner to attempt Escape, and then only if its Guard is broken.

A prisoner becomes "uncontrolled" by its Guard

1) when the prisoner makes a successful NTC enabling an Escape attempt,
2) when its Guard becomes locked in Melee, or
3) when the Guard voluntarily abandons the prisoner (in the RPh/APh).

A prisoner that becomes "uncontrolled" will remain so until it either a) completes its Escape or b) it eliminated/recaptured before it successfully Escapes.

An "uncontrolled" prisoner's actions are not determined by the Guard. A Guard cannot force an "uncontrolled" prisoner to move/rout, or labor or recombine, or withdraw with him from Melee. Nonetheless, the unarmed unit is still a prisoner and its actions not fully determined by the unarmed unit, either, in that it still lacks freedom of movement. Simply put, an "uncontrolled" prisoner is still a prisoner, but it need not take an NTC in an effort to attempt Escape in the CCPh.

IF the framework is correct, this goes to answer some of the other question that raised in the first thread about prisoners. If a Guard has lost "control" of a prisoner, it may not force it to labor, or split/combine that prisoner with other units, nor can it force it to move, or voluntarily pass it off to a different Guard (or even voluntarily abandon it).

Escape is characterized by an unarmed unit no longer being "possessed" by the enemy. Per A20.55, "Escape is successful only if there are no enemy units in the same Location (other than prisoners) or by successful Withdrawal from Melee (11.2) or Infiltration (11.22), in which case the former prisoner unit has freedom of action thereafter until recaptured." Practically speaking, this means that a prisoner is no longer a prisoner only when there are no longer any enemy units in the same Location as the prisoner, since Withdrawal/Infiltration into hexes occupied by enemy units is NA. (See 11.2). Further, the final sentence of 20.55 implies that abandonment is not itself the same as Escape - abandonment simply allows Escape (which may nothing more than simply walking away).

This does raise interesting questions. Let's say a Russian Guard wishes to abandon it Prisoner, an action that may only take place in the RPh/APh. The Russian abandons the prisoner in the RPh and intends to complete the abandonment process by leaving its Location in the ensuing MPh. Before it can do so, it is pinned/broken as a result of sniper fire activated in the PFPh and unable to "complete" the abandonment. What is the status of the "abandoned" prisoner? Is it still a prisoner? Using the proposed terminology, is the unarmed unit still possessed? Or is it merely "uncontrolled" and not yet "unpossessed"? Would the unarmed unit/prisoner be required to take an NTC to attack its broken guard? If the guard were only pinned, would it even be allowed to attempt Escape?

What if another Russian unit already present in the Location is instead broken/pinned in the Location with the prisoner and the original Guard leaves as he planned to do when he abandoned the prisoner in the RPh? What is the status of the prisoner? What are his options in the ensuing CCPh?

What if the Guard abandons his prisoner in the APh, but then is unable to advance out of his Location later in the APh? What is the status of the prisoner and what are his options in the ensuing CCPh?

If a Guard is of insufficent size for all the prisoners in a hex, are the excess still prisoners in any sense ("uncontrolled"), or are they simply "unpossessed" unarmed units? Must the excess unarmed units attempt to leave the hex with the Guard and its prisoners? May they stay and attempt to engage the Guard in CC?

How does all this affect how the rule treats abandonmet and Escape differently in places? The Massacre rule states that, generally, "unarmed units not in the act of escape" cannot be eliminated except by certain troop types Is this supportive of the idea that there is a distinction between prisoners who could be defined as "controlled" or "uncontrolled"? Abandoned prisoners are protected by the Massacre rule, and teh elimination of abandoned prisoners can trigger No Quarter, but how are abandoned prisoners differentiated from Escaped prisoners? Are abandoned prisoners simply "uncontrolled" prisoners who have yet to successfully Escape?

Again, I don't know to what extent any of the above is "correct". This is a useful thread for trying to find a way to organize these rules in my head and identify where the holes are.
 

Cpl Uhl

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I'm going to add a recent event to this thread, since I've searched for my particular case but not found it and the cases in this thread are similar.

Situation: HS Guard w/Prisoners breaks along with a friendly leader and squad in same hex. Prisoner squad was casualty reduced to a HS by the attack that breaks the others.. All rout. In CC the Prisoners pass their Escape NTC and attack the Guard, no effect.

Questions:

1 - Is the entire stack of broken units + prisoner now in Melee? (We played it yes.)
2 - In the following Rally Phase, could the Leader attempt Rally or, if that fails, the non-Guard broken Squad attempt Self-Rally? (We played it no, since they are not Good Order.
3 - In the following CC phase, do the non-Guard broken units have to attempt Withdrawal from Melee? (We thought yes.)
4 - In the following CC phase, could the Guard unit attempt Withdrawal from Melee? (Frankly, no idea. Does the Guard still "possess" the Prisoners it is Melee with, therefore making withdraw n/a?)

This situation was just sh*t for the Guarding player. If the Prisoners won the Melee and automatically Re-armed, the broken leader and squad were goners, far from other friendly troops and the victory buildings they were in would get re-possessed by the rearmed prisoners. Disaster. In the actual game, a kill stack friendly to the Guards fired into the Melee, got a 2MC, killed half of the friendly troops, turned the leader Heroic + GO and, phew, killed off the prisoners.

This is why I hate the prisoner rules and taking prisoners. I admit that I declare No Quarter most of the time just to prevent deep study of the Prisoner rules from bringing the game to a standstill.
 

JoeArthur

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When you figure it out Sam, please explain it all to me:) I hope that we got points 1-4 right - it all appeared sensible at the time. That was stone cold firing your kill stack into your own men.................
 

jrv

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1 - Is the entire stack of broken units + prisoner now in Melee? (We played it yes.)
Yes. All units except concealed ones, units on conveyance and vehicles become enmeshed in Melee.

2 - In the following Rally Phase, could the Leader attempt Rally or, if that fails, the non-Guard broken Squad attempt Self-Rally? (We played it no, since they are not Good Order.
No, but being broken is not Good Order by itself. Not being Good Order can't be the reason. The reason is because they are in Melee. A11.15.

3 - In the following CC phase, do the non-Guard broken units have to attempt Withdrawal from Melee? (We thought yes.)
Unless disrupted. A11.16.

4 - In the following CC phase, could the Guard unit attempt Withdrawal from Melee? (Frankly, no idea. Does the Guard still "possess" the Prisoners it is Melee with, therefore making withdraw n/a?)
The guard may attempt withdrawal but is not required to. It might be better to leave the guard as a covering unit to prevent the prisoner from eliminating everyone.

JR
 

jrv

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As a tactical comment, this might be a good case where routing to separate locations might be a good idea. The prisoner/guard might even low crawl if that helps. It might not be possible, but it should be considered.

JR
 

Cpl Uhl

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As a tactical comment, this might be a good case where routing to separate locations might be a good idea. The prisoner/guard might even low crawl if that helps. It might not be possible, but it should be considered.

JR
Good point. I still think the best tactic is Kill 'em All. But in this scenario it was disadvantageous to invoke NQ.
 
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