Rules I dont like

WaterRabbit

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About BI

I played with BI for about 2 years straight. I was also playing about 4 days per week at that time. In many scenarios, BI never really changed anything since they were too short for either side to really loose ELR. On the main, BI doesn't really start in until a side has lost about 50% of its forces. At that point you usually have a +4 DRM (+5 losses, -1 ldr).

In most of the scenarios I played, the Russian player was on the short end of the stick for three reasons; (1) their ELR was initially lower, (2) they were on defense and German firepower is substantial, and (3) the Germans have the 2nd line intermediate step between 1st line and Conscript.

However, until a sides' ELR drops to 1 or lower things are still cooking. At an ELR of 1 (and 0 for sure) just about every Morale check seems to scum your units.

By the time ELR starts to drop, the scenario is usually decided. All the BI does is to reinforce that point. In this thread, Edison's Ridge CG, Jazz says he likes the variable scenario end because it keeps people from "doing silly-ass shit because they know it is the last turn of the scenario and they won't have to live with the consequences". This is what BI also does. The difference is that BI is based upon what is occurring in that game and not some arbitrary random influence.

So, BI rules are not about historical simulation per se. They are about keeping players from doing 'silly-ass shit'. It would difficult to determine if a scenario has been playtested with that in mind. However, if both side loose forces at about the same rate, BI probably will not unbalance a scenario. It is only in scenarios in which one side takes a preponderance of losses with respect to the other does BI have much of an effect.

That being said, BI will favor the German player more often than his opponent until German troop and leadership quality drop in 1945. I haven't played BI with American versus Japs, but I suspect it will really hit the Japs hard even with the -2 drm. I would expect they loose their first step at 60% losses. That could occur fairly early as well.

In general, if a side's ELR is 3 or better to begin with and they have two or more replacement steps BI doesn't look so bad. However, I would lobby against BI if I was playing the Italians since they have low ELRs and go to conscript in one step.
 

Jazz

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The Purist said:
I play with BI anytime my opponent is in agreement and have used it quite a lot over the years. While there is the 'potential' for the BI rules to have a major effect on a game I haven't really noticed it until one side really begins to fall apart and then it really doesn't matter.

Of course, one mught argue there is always the possiblilty of those last turn hold outs hanging on by the skin of their teeth. But I think BI adds another touch of realism in that a unit that gets shot to pieces is more likely to melt away or stop attacking. This has the effect of making players think twice before making risky moves(or moves a real squad would be unlikely to do, ie. suicide attacks) ,...a pseudo casualty cap, if you will. Besides, in small scenarios (< 10 squads per side) BI is not used so it won't effect the micro games.
There are a number of scenarios (like Poles in '39) where you KNOW that the Poles are gonna get spanked. It's just a question of how much they can hurt the German while getting spanked. There are more situations like this than one would first imagine and they are incredibly sensitive to something like BI.

Just my $0.02....
 

The Purist

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Hello, Jazz,

Actually, back home, myself and a chap who used to play ASL went through all the 'official' ASL scenarios covering the Polish Campaign (12 of them up to that point, I believe) in chronological order using BI. I was the Poles and had great fun pulling some victories out of defeats. BI actually help me defeat the attacker in "The Rattle of Sabres", "The Weigh In" and "Round One". Once the Germans got shot up and their ELR dropped, they just couldn't press the attack.

I was thrilled to win 10 of the 12 games but admit that more than a few were real 'squeakers'.

*NB - I highly recommend playing a series of scenarios covering a specific campaign in chronological order,...gives a good feel for the flow of the battle. I've done Poland and Stalingrad (June 42 - Feb 43) and will be starting France 1940 after KGP I is wrapped up.
 

CPRad

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The Purist said:
But I think BI adds another touch of realism in that a unit that gets shot to pieces is more likely to melt away or stop attacking. This has the effect of making players think twice before making risky moves(or moves a real squad would be unlikely to do, ie. suicide attacks) ,...a pseudo casualty cap, if you will. Besides, in small scenarios (< 10 squads per side) BI is not used so it won't effect the micro games.
I like BI but as a newbie this extra morale dimension really hurts when you're learning.

Still I'd rather play with it .... best to learn the proper way to sharpen my killing instincts ..
 

'Ol Fezziwig

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The Purist said:
Of course, one mught argue there is always the possiblilty of those last turn hold outs hanging on by the skin of their teeth. But I think BI adds another touch of realism in that a unit that gets shot to pieces is more likely to melt away or stop attacking. This has the effect of making players think twice before making risky moves(or moves a real squad would be unlikely to do, ie. suicide attacks) ,...a pseudo casualty cap, if you will. Besides, in small scenarios (< 10 squads per side) BI is not used so it won't effect the micro games.
When I first started playing ASL, I always used BI. It was only when I started playing ftf that I found out almost noone uses it and have dropped my use of it by default. I find it strange that many hit ASL with the lack of C&C, yet won't use this simple force morale benchmark. With so many players keeping 'sidenotes' for HIP/boresighting etc, I really look askance at the 'book keeping' claimants. There are many players who keep scenario sheets to track CVP/EVP/HIP/SAN/turn, yet ticking off losses is cumbersome? Heck, I know a player who literally bogs down play by his O/C record keeping of DR and the scenarios' progress and _he_ doesn't use BI!
Use of BI would roughly parallel the battalion morale system of the Tactical Combat Series, keeping track of the effect of cumulative losses during the period of the scenario in play, while still being a supportive, not primary factor. In that sense, I'd think it'd be a good thing if for no other reason that whenever any two (or more) people sit down to play ASL, you never know just what is going to happen. The most 'balanced' scenario could play like the worst, most unbalanced dog; losses may be grossly disparate. Will the use of BI factor in the decision making process? If the answer be 'yes' then I think its' use worthy. Anything that adds additional weight to the decision making process is good, IMHO.
 

da priest

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[QUOTE='Ol Fezziwig]....Anything that adds additional weight to the decision making process is good, IMHO.[/QUOTE]
Like the decision to time the attack in a CG scenario for 7 instead of 6 turns vs planning for 6 when the scenario could end?, cause the dice just won't end the scenario on 6, they just won't!:devil:
 

Harold

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I can't say I really dislike any of the Chapter A-D rules. The two red card/chit rule that eliminates OBA is a bit extreme especially if you draw them back to back without drawing a black. Some scenarios are doomed when this happens but lately designers seem to mitigate it with the auto black for a first draw. Vehicle overruns are too complex IMO. Get into some E, F and G rules though and it gets a bit iffy. Aerial combat does not belong in ASL. Wadi's I mean sheesh. Just call them gullies with HD opportunities. Also everything from rice paddies to the tropical weather conditions in section 16 are as overdone as a hot dog on a BBQ for an hour. I mean come on. Who here has ever driven a cycle on a rice paddy bank? ;)
 

Roy

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commissarmatt said:
Roy, I don't know why you can't be
convinced that the special ammo rules are okay.
Yo Matt!

How the heck are ya.

About special ammo. I have learned to accept it, and use it myself. Don't mean I gotta like it though. Yeah, I know bad things can still happen, gack the gun..etc... It just irks me when a tank with a 1 ROF tries for APCR, and rolls a 10 with a 5 on the colored die. Then rolls regular AP, gets the hit and and a kill. Two shots, with no ROF, because even though you declared the shot, rolled the dice, and missed, none of it actually happened. But yet, you depleted your ammo, so something had to have happened.

I think a better way would be to declare your shot. If you roll under your ammo number you have it. If you roll equal, you have one round. If you roll higher, you ain't got none and you don't get another shot because your stupid loader spent all that time looking for a non-existent round! :D

Like I said, I accept it, and have moved on. But no amount of explainin' is gonna fix it for me.

Are we on for some more Texas cavalry crossing dry rivers into the teeth of Kansas machine guns again next summer? :D

Ok, just kidding, man that was a horrible scenario! :crosseye:
 
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commissarmatt

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Hey Roy. If you're up for it I'd certainly play you any time! As to problem rules,
I agree OBA is often a game loser if you draw 2 reds right away. I did that as the
Americans in In the Bag and still won, but I think that's because ItB is so big.
I don't think OBA rules are broken though. Scenario designers just need to be careful.

Why didn't they make foxholes just like shellholes for movement purposes?
 

cujo8-1

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Human Wave and Night Rules

I don't fully understand the human wave or banzai charge rules so I can't ever take advantage of one of the strengths of the Japanese when I play them.

I also don't really like 'night' rules either based on the drubbing my poor german troops took during the first scenario of the Pegasus Bridge module. Not much I could do as the Brits ran across the bridge and into my foxholes.

I'm still willing to play night however, as much of the Stalingrad (Red Barricades)battle took place at night and I expect some of the night pacific scenarios between the marines and the japanese would be fun.
 

Pitman

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Roy, you didn't deplete your ammo by taking that APCR shot. You just found out you had already depleted it (either pre-game, or by that earlier APCR shot you took).
 

WaterRabbit

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Depletion Rolls

I too think that the Depletion Rolls are rather clumsy. I think a better mechanic would for this could have been employed. However, it is much like the PF mechanic, so I don't have that big a problem with it.
 

Pitman

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You can't avoid every idiosyncrasy or gamey side-effect without having a rulebook three times the length of the current one. I'm willing to forego that.
 

WaterRabbit

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Clearly I disagree. An elegant mechanic is an elegant mechanic and does not necessarily increase the verbiage. ;)
 

Robin Reeve

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Ammo depletion rule adaptation proposal...

Another problem with depletion : you don't know if you have the ammo before you fire...
In some cases, it is a question of survival (e.g. lacking APCR [or HEAT for a HE only Gun] can result being a sitting duck in front of the enemy). Will your tank remain in harm's way to squeeze its shot, or scoot away?
A solution could be a "pre-roll" system : you roll before setup for every ammo depletion.
You now know if your Guns have special ammo (for one only shot or more) or not.
When you fire the special ammo, the DR counts for depletion of the next shot with that ammo...
It could also stop the "free shot" as, if there is depletion, it concerns the next shot... You never fire "for nothing"...
Of course, it can take time to test all your special ammo availability before game start.
This doesn't take long stretches of text to explain...
 
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Pitman

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Jeff, you are assuming that somehow an "elegant mechanic" is available in every circumstance that would be playable and realistic and not have any gamey abuses. That is simply not possible.
 

Legion

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cujo8-1 said:
I also don't really like 'night' rules either based on the drubbing my poor german troops took during the first scenario of the Pegasus Bridge module. Not much I could do as the Brits ran across the bridge and into my foxholes.
Thats what they are supposed to do, dont sweat it! Just make sure you hold the Chateau! (see me AAR in the AAR Section) Rule #1 with HASLs the initial defender needs excellent Personal Morale!
 

'Ol Fezziwig

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Robin said:
Another problem with depletion : you don't know if you have the ammo before you fire...
In some cases, it is a question of survival (e.g. lacking APCR [or HEAT for a HE only Gun] can result being a sitting duck in front of the enemy). Will your tank remain in harm's way to squeeze its shot, or scoot away?
A solution could be a "pre-roll" system : you roll before setup for every ammo depletion.
You now know if your Guns have special ammo (for one only shot or more) or not.
When you fire the special ammo, the DR counts for depletion of the next shot with that ammo...
It could also stop the "free shot" as, if there is depletion, it concerns the next shot... You never fire "for nothing"...
Of course, it can take time to test all your special ammo availability before game start.
This doesn't take long stretches of text to explain...
Unfortunately, this adds too much certainty beforehand, something ASL likes to avoid on the whole. The free shot deal really is just a mechanism to show availability-not just onboard, but logistically as well. I understand the point of "well the crew would know if they had APCR or not" and can sympathise with that PoV. The biggest beef I've heard with the free DR is when the subsequent shot breaks the gun or misses, when the prior DR would have hit. I don't have a beef with it as it stands; it seems to work well enough.
Of course, nothing prevents scenario designers from SSR'ing "side A has 'x' auto APCR shots"
 
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WaterRabbit

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I should point out that many mechanisms used in ASL were based upon reducing 'bookeeping'.

While I was at first indiferent to the posiblities of VASL, if have moved to an area where I am forced to use it. In many ways it plays better than Ftf. The ability to HIP units and move them works great for Night scenarios. It is also an excellent tool for CGs. Setup and clean up are farily painless and writing down a multisession game is simplicity in itself.

I think it is due to VASL that a large amount of rules mechanics are being mentally revisited. The abliity to add a note to a unit on the fly makes record keeping fairly trivial.

For example, instead of rolling for smoke grenade placement the smoke exponent could represent how many times that unit can place smoke in a game. WP could cost two uses. Trivial to note on the counter.

The same could be said for ammo depletion rolls.

How about if all of the units in a multihex fire group belong to the same platoon, the platoon leader can add his leadership modifier to the attack roll. In ftf ASL that would be a hassle to keep track of which unit belongs to which platoon, but in VASL the note feature makes it simple -- just code them all the same. Plus this would reward more 'realistic' play. Realistic in the sense it rewards players for following C&C doctrines instead of imposing a penalty.

At this point, if a person was to come over to my house I would be tempted to just use to computers to play ASL via VASL. It would be even better if I could setup a local server for that purpose since the Internet server is sometimes unreliable.

Point is that many people mistake certain mechanics as Fog of War when they were really a compromise for game play purposes. With the use of VASL, one could imagine a purchase chart for each side for things like Special Ammo, Smoke Grenades, etc. Then each side has the ability to buy a couple of items. It is these kind of things that make scenarios even more replayable -- not random mechanics like random force pools.

Now VASL notwithstanding Robin's suggestion is a little cumbersome. However, if he had the option of purchasing 2-3 rounds of a APCR and assigning them -- well then you might have something. Then he might have to choose between 2-3 rounds of APCR or 2-3 rounds of Smoke or Heat.

Now I don't know squat about commanding a real tank, but when I have played tank sims, I horde my special ammo until I found a worthy target -- i.e. don't shoot Heat or APCR at trucks. So in a sense I could see a mechanic like this working.

Now all of these are options for scenario designers and I am not suggesting some drastic overhaul of the system. However, I would like to see scenarios that are tilted toward play using VASL. For example, the optional PF rule works great with VASL (when and if they put a PF counter in it will work even better -- hint, hint).

Oh, and Mark I couldn't disagree more. Maybe that is how it is in your world view, but not in mine. :cheeky:
 
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