Really Useful Boards

bprobst

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Yes, it is a River - not a Stream. My point isn't whether it's one or the other - the point is that such exists and can represent a 'waterway' of 2 hex width.
The point is that as it is 2-hex wide it's no fucking use as a canal, which was where this discussion started: "there are no canal overlays". You were the one who brought it up as being useful as a stream -- it isn't.

The frequency of usage so far in published scenarios with Rivers/Canals/Streams is relatively little to my count*.
The instances of "opposed river crossings" during WW2 are few, and most of those have probably also had scenario treatment. You can add other situations where a river was present but wasn't being crossed and that will bump up the numbers a little. That being true, I don't think we really need more river boards, but can always be convinced otherwise by a suitably smart design. I didn't think we needed the Rv1 overlay.

Streams seem fine as is to me ... there seems to be a good number of possibilities with the existing boards and overlays, and even more if you flood a gully. Again, more "stream boards" are probably not really required, but there are plenty of other board types where a stream could be added in a useful fashion.

Why aren't we seeing more canal scenarios? Could it have anything to do with the ridiculously few options for depicting them? Do you think that might be a factor? (I'm not suggesting that it's the only reason.) A bunch of simple canal overlays would cost relatively little and expand the available options -- which was the only point I was making before being accused of trying to stop new boards from being designed.

I talk with and have talked with lots of designers - the main guys who work on these. Ask them yourself whether new boards encourage design.
Sure. I never suggested otherwise? What are you talking about? What does that have to do with canals?
 
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bprobst

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I've pet peeved about this before but no reason not to continue the tradition. Bitd they came out with the board with the airfield on it. Included in the module were overlays, including one to cover up the airfield. This was silly to me. Why didn't they just print the airfield cover up overlay as an airfield overlay? Obviously could be used on many boards then.
Trivia note: all of the overlays included in GI:AoV (and reproduced for no good reason by MMP in RttR) are clip-outs of already-existing boards reproduced as overlays. None of those overlays were "designed" in the sense of being new artwork. So looked at from that perspective, adding the airfield as an overlay would be out of place. Otherwise your point is perfectly valid.

Btw I don't recall using the airfield in a lot of scenarios.
Because as an airfield it's as useful as a 2-hex wide meandering canal. It doesn't represent anything found in actual history. (Same for the dirt one on Bd38.) Good for flying model aircraft off of, precious few full-size ones could make use of them.
 

sswann

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Maybe... Instead of river boards we should have a few different river or stream overlays. Large one in size.
 

von Marwitz

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Maybe... Instead of river boards we should have a few different river or stream overlays. Large one in size.
Dunno.

With numerous geo-boards published each year, I believe that overlays do become even more unpopular. This might apply especially to large overlays. It might be one thing to place one to three small ones (the odd building, orchard, or some such), but who really wants the fuss of correctly aligning an fixing large overlays, possibly even having to be fixed on more than one board?

I remember proposing such an idea for larger hill masses (horseshoe hill type overlays connecting hill masses of two geo boards to become one). With the proliferation of geoboards going on unabated, the better approach might be the concept of Double Wide boards (as pioneered by BFP in 'Crucible of Steel').

These Double Wides can either be used in conjunction creating terrain features that cannot be realized on a single geo board or a single 'Fort' style board. Or they can be used singly each on the border(s) of the playing area, which makes them fairly versatile despite being Double Wide and eliminating the need for large unwieldy overlays at the same time.

von Marwitz
 

DonWPetros

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Sure. I never suggested otherwise? What are you talking about? What does that have to do with canals?
Look, I wasn't the guy bringing up canals. I last said: "I have to say I have little interest myself in more River / Stream / Canal boards."
If you're looking for an argument about canals, streams, rivers or goldfish, please take it elsewhere.
 

DonWPetros

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This was something I did with my SPDE (Solutions to Problems that Don't Exist) River overlays for boards 1-6, 9-15. On a smaller scale, I made Mountain overlays that allowed the hills of 2, 15, & 50 connect to each other over the board edges.

View attachment 21328
I think these are good ideas - appreciate your showing them. It's along those lines I was thinking too, though not specifically about waterways. Hill overlays - great.

I recently prepared 6 new geoboards; 3 designed for the ETO, 3 designed to be either ETO or WTO. Playtesting scenarios for the first 3 ETO boards, and am now hunting for a good set of scenarios for the second 3 ETO/WTO boards. The second group was decided based on looking at the frequency of all the boards 1-88 (?) and Fort-boards and seeing what might be missing in our mix. They're intentionally 'bland', meaning without highly specific terrain configuration and hopefully giving designers a more 'open palette'. (ie. Board 4 is by far the most used board in the system - including recent design).
We'll see how all that goes.
 

volgaG68

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With numerous geo-boards published each year, I believe that overlays do become even more unpopular.
I for one still love the transformative powers of overlays! I recall playing a LFT scenario years ago that only used board 1 and I was not particularly enthused about dragging that old warhorse out again. However, the handful of overlays they used (shellholes, orchards, brush, wooden bldgs, etc.) completely changed board 1 into something altogether new and refreshing. For the most part it did not even feel like #1 anymore, but a new board. That is the prime example I always recall to defend my taste in overlay use.
 

von Marwitz

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I for one still love the transformative powers of overlays! I recall playing a LFT scenario years ago that only used board 1 and I was not particularly enthused about dragging that old warhorse out again. However, the handful of overlays they used (shellholes, orchards, brush, wooden bldgs, etc.) completely changed board 1 into something altogether new and refreshing. For the most part it did not even feel like #1 anymore, but a new board. That is the prime example I always recall to defend my taste in overlay use.
I don't contest the usefulness of overlays at all. On the contrary.

It never crossed my mind not to play a scenario because it used a couple of overlays. Of course, there are some limits: There are a couple of scenarios that use a dozen overlays or so. Unsurprisingly, most of these don't see much play. But I believe that scenario designers have more or less grokked what players find acceptable with regard to the extent of overlay-usage.

On top of that, when you play VASL, even numerous overlays are a non-issue, because they can be most easily implemented.

von Marwitz
 

footsteps

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I did a quick troll through the standard boards 1-88 applying the canal overlay I posted earlier, primarily testing the bottom half with the greater portion of the overlay. Though I specifically designed it with only a few boards in mind, I discovered that 13 boards work when laid in one direction, and a further 21 boards work when laid in either direction. The top portion of the overlay works with many, many boards, simply because only a corner area is affected. There are some awkward results with Road fragments unconnected to anything, but generally nothing that would be considered "game breaking".

I guess another way to look at it is the canal overlay creates 55 different "canal boards" for designers to work with.
 
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Faded 8-1

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That sounds like a good approach to canals and streams to me then.
 

Tuomo

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I was thinking about a double wide city board with a river and some canals. And it occurred to me: Canals are really weird. You really can't enter them except by boat (only Rivers can be Forded), but I can't recall any scenarios that enable boats to be used on board 23 - the Canal is only 1 hex wide, so it seems like overkill.

Given that, Canals seem like even more of a "no-op" hex than Marsh, even. Has anybody ever entered a Canal in the entire history of the game?

And yet, the Canal is a huge central feature of board 23, one of the foundational boards of the ASL system. Looking back, I gotta wonder if it would have been better to depict that waterway as a narrow River instead. Rivers and Canals can be SSR'd into each other, of course, but given how much more versatile Rivers are, I think that should have been the choice.

Were there really many Canals in urban Europe?
 

Robin Reeve

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A river in a town is very similar to a canal, with regular banks.
Impassable except across bridges.
So a canal in an urban setting is frequent, as it can represent a river.
 

bprobst

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You really can't enter them except by boat (only Rivers can be Forded)
Unless, of course, a scenario designer says otherwise in an SSR. Presented as evidence: scenario DB154 "Saint-Georges". Fording that canal (represented by stream and pond hexes in this particular scenario) is not only permitted but is probably a good idea.

, but I can't recall any scenarios that enable boats to be used on board 23 - the Canal is only 1 hex wide, so it seems like overkill.
It sure is. However, if you're a squad who has to get from one side of that narrow and yet deep waterway over to the other side, and no bridges of any kind are presenting themselves, boats are how it's done, because swimming is rarely practical or desirable. Which is, in fact, why boats were provided to many (most?) Allied divisions as standard kit. (I suspect also true for the other nationalities, at least those planning to do a lot of cross-country.)
 

von Marwitz

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Were there really many Canals in urban Europe?
It depends. Some cities have numerous canals:
Venice anyone?? Amsterdam, Brügge.

I could imagine that many normal cities have bodies of water somewhere that would best be represented in ASL by a canal.

So in itself, I would not call canal-type terrain a rarity in urban Europe.

The question is rather if these have been relevant in ASL terms.

von Marwitz
 

Tuomo

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I could imagine that many normal cities have bodies of water somewhere that would best be represented in ASL by a canal.
Yeah, I think that's the lesson here for board design - recognize that unless Canals are SSR'd into fordable Rivers, their main impact is to separate one side from the other and channelize everything to a Bridge. I'm sure there's a time and a place for that. Personally, though, I'd rather use River artwork and rely on the normal infrastructure of B21 to specify how (non)Fordable it may be for that scenario.
 

Eagle4ty

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A board, or series of boards, that I would like to see is a ridge-line cut by a a series of ravines and having the slopes terraced and covered by Orchards, Grain or Brush (perhaps on a diagonal to extend the ridge). This could represent terrain in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Southern France and Southern Germany as well as many locations in Hungary and Romania in the ETO. In the PTO many locations in Saipan, the Philippines and Okinawa would fit the bill also to name but a few. Throw in a cluster of buildings here & there as well to represent the occasional small village or farm complex. There are a few that come close but Bd #2 is probably the closest I can envision but perhaps needing a few double crests to properly represent the terrain.
 

von Marwitz

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Yeah, I think that's the lesson here for board design - recognize that unless Canals are SSR'd into fordable Rivers, their main impact is to separate one side from the other and channelize everything to a Bridge.
Exactly to the point!

Canals in ASL in 95% of the places means these two things:

Either/or - and/or

  • separation of areas
  • fight for bridges
I recall only one scenario which involved the crossing of a canal using rafts. The hope of winning that scenario went up in the air with that which hissed out of my rafts that were holed my enemy MG-fire and went down.

von Marwitz
 

DonWPetros

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Here's a 'really useful board' (IMO):

1) on one side - a substantial village / 2) on the other side - small crossroads. Can split at row Q and use separately. Bland - check. But it's size and flexibility should be useful for both East and West fronts.

Thoughts? (there are 2 more but want to see reactions)
 

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