Taming The Skulk

Jim McLeod

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OK gents, like a certain other activity we all do but seldom admit to in polite conversation, we all like to Skulk.

Nothing wrong with that, the rules allow it and we've been doing it practically since the first GT.

That said, it does not really pass the sniff test as far as being realistic goes.

Therefore, the question to you becomes, what, if anything, would you do to counter the perceived benefits of the Skulk?

Me, I would require the skulkers to become something akin to being Pinned/TI'd due to the period of disorganization a unit would experience from moving about as skulkers do within the time frame of a GT.

Thoughts and ideas?
 

Michael Dorosh

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My "cure" would be to allow Defensive First Fire in the first hex (only) a moving unit occupies even if it moves directly out of LOS of an opposing unit.



I'll borrow Tuomo's image and bandwidth for purposes of illustration. :)

Assume all river hexes are open ground at Level 0. A friendly unit is in I8 and an enemy unit is in K9. In the enemy MPh, enemy unit moves from K9 to L9. Normally he would be out of LOS and ineligible to be fired on. I'm suggesting that in the first hex he declares movement from, he be subject to Defensive First Fire. So he'd still get the TEM for wooden building, and if he declared AM, would not get any movement penalties - so no different than if he stayed in the building.

There is no real world rationale I can think of for running out the back door, then running back in - that logic simply escapes me, unless someone wants to explain it.
 
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Ronnblom

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Permitting or even encouraging the defender to maneuver as one of the great things with ASL. Skulking is a part of that.

If you don't like it, there are plenty of other, more static, wargames which effectively forbid skulking.
 

Bob Holmstrom

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Jim,

How does it not pass the sniff test?

There are many ways to look at it from a "realism" stand point that make sense.

However, i know you are looking for a discussion so i'll shut the hell up. :)
 

Michael Dorosh

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Permitting or even encouraging the defender to maneuver as one of the great things with ASL. Skulking is a part of that.

If you don't like it, there are plenty of other, more static, wargames which effectively forbid skulking.

How is it maneuver? Please explain.
 

Bob Holmstrom

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Disagree completely. Please name one.
I said i'd shut the hell up, but...

One skulks in ASL to avoid fire. It can be viewed as soldiers "keeping there heads down," grabbing cover. When a unit can't skulk, it's because the attacker has flanked or surrounded their position, making them vulnerable to breaking/dying/surrenduring. A force that is not flanked is much less vulnerable to breaking/dying/surrendering. Hence, maneuver is key for the attacker i.e. to flank a defensive position to prevent skulking, and for the defender, to maneuver units to prevent a position from being flanked, or to abandon a position that is going to be flanked.

So maybe i've answered both your questions about realism and maneuver. ASL is a great design for effect game in this regard.
 

Michael Dorosh

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My example above assumes that at some point, the enemy squad has deployed within that 40 metre hex to face the friendly unit, so at some point when it went to move away, it was exposed to fire. I think my suggestion is perfectly realistic, perfectly simple, and would quash a lot of "realism" problems. I also doubt I'm the first one to suggest it so anyone who has also suggested it before, please make yourself known.

If there is a reason not to include such a rule, I'd be interested in that discussion. I suppose it all comes down to what we are imagining is going on in those 40 metre hexes, or should be going on, and a basic desire to not want to micromanage things at that level. I think we can all agree that we would prefer to think that our squads instantly deploy for instant action - there are no facing rules for infantry. That being the case, it is not inconsistent to automatically assume what I've just outlined.
 

Treadhead

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Jim McLeod said:
... it does not really pass the sniff test as far as being realistic goes.
Perhaps you are measuring realism with too fine of granularity.

Therefore, the question to you becomes, what, if anything, would you do to counter the perceived benefits of the Skulk?
Nothing.

I would require the skulkers to become something akin to being Pinned/TI'd due to the period of disorganization a unit would experience from moving about as skulkers do within the time frame of a GT.
Perhaps you are viewing it from too close a perspective.

Personally, I think it is a mistake to get down to such a fine level of regulation.

The move itself is a normal move from one terrain location to another. It only becomes a "skulk" if there are enemy units with LOS to the first location, but not to the other.

To regulate to the level that you are suggesting, you in effect have to create another activity on the ASOP (we'll call it "Skulking"), which now would have to be regulated and noted during play so that specific actions could be taken with regard to the Skulk activity.

I understand that the objection is to the manner in which the unit moves about on the cardboard. It doesn't seem "realistic".

But look at the situation as it develops from player turn to player turn. How does the board stand at the end, when the next player turn then begins. The ebb and flow, the ebb and flow. Design for effect.

In "reality", there could be many, many reasons why that unit did not fire across the street at the enemy that "in reality" would be there the whole time. Taking cover, firer being distracted. The game system can't account for such fine detail, and still be playable.

So within the game structure, this tactic called "skulking" evolved. Or more likely it was there all along, and nothing much thought of it.

Hey, the whole "phase" concept is abstract.

I got no problem with it. The abstraction is fine with me.


Hey, two Hypothetical Advanced Squad Leader topics in one day! Cool. It's fun to dabble in fantasy once in a while...

Regards,
Bruce
 

Michael Dorosh

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I said i'd shut the hell up, but...

One skulks in ASL to avoid fire. It can be viewed as soldiers "keeping there heads down," grabbing cover.
That's what a terrain TEM is for, though.

You can't "maneuver" and "avoid fire" simultaneously. You're either exposed to fire, or you're not. You want it both ways.
 

Michael Dorosh

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Units are moving out of the line of fire--or, not moving into the line of fire.
For 10 seconds and then running back into exactly the same fire positions. And doing this potentially 2, 3 or 7 times in a row.

I'd love to see a real world example of that, if you have a quote handy...

Troops running out of the line of fire are generally exposed to fire. My proposed rule amendment would simulate that. Currently, in ASL, there is no simulation of it whatsoever, and therein is the problem Jim has outlined.
 
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Sparafucil3

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I tame skulking (or at least try) every time I am on the attack. You tame skulking by how you maneuver. One of my objectives on the attack is to cut your rout paths. If I am doing that, then chances are I am limiting your skulking options as well. Each of us has an inherent capability to tame skulking with sound play. Only the weak blame the rules for their lack of ability. :devious: :whist: If you want something fix, focus on prisoner rules and leave skulking alone. ;) -- jim
 

Michael Dorosh

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I'll also add that if troops are "getting out of the line of fire", it is because they are exposed to fire...skulking has no hazards.

On my basic training, I was told not to take cover in an advance unless under EFFECTIVE enemy fire. That was distinct from simple enemy fire. The difference being that EFFECTIVE enemy fire means bullets are splashing at your feet, or men are dropping.

So why in ASL would you allow men to shift position without modeling the effects of EFFECTIVE enemy fire (by permitting them to dodge return fire)? It's a cheat. You're saying they are moving out of the line of fire, but in the game they are not exposed to fire at all. So where is the logic in that?
 

JD Sullivan

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Rearrange the turn sequence so that "?" gain is available to both sides and earned at the end of the movement phase.
 

Sparafucil3

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For 10 seconds and then running back into exactly the same fire positions. And doing this potentially 2, 3 or 7 times in a row.
I would posit that if your opponent is able to skulk out and back into the same position >3 times, you are likely getting diced, not using all the means at your disposal to reduce/eliminate the position, moving too slow, or the position is not a tactical threat to you. With most of today's scenarios, you can not afford to sit and shoot for that many turns. You generally have too far to go and not enough time to get there so you likely should have long since taken your chances and moved passed it. I could be wrong, and I know that not every scenario plays out this way, but I would hazard a guess and say I am likely to be right more often than wrong [EXC: Red Baricade or other HASL]. -- jim
 

Bob Holmstrom

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That's what a terrain TEM is for, though.

You can't "maneuver" and "avoid fire" simultaneously. You're either exposed to fire, or you're not. You want it both ways.

Most of my "argument" was the rest of my response which you didn't address. A non-flanked defensive position is much more stout. Your statement that you are exposed to fire or not is not true in the game as by skulking, you will return to your position and will be vulnerable to Prep Fire.
 

Michael Dorosh

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In "reality", there could be many, many reasons why that unit did not fire across the street at the enemy that "in reality" would be there the whole time. Taking cover, firer being distracted.
That's what the TEM represents. Please provide reference to an infantry unit in the midst of a firefight that ran outside of a solid structure, hid in the garden for 60 seconds, ran back inside the solid structure, and repeated that several times in order to "take cover"...not exactly the best way to maintain contact with the enemy! Just keeping the enemy under observation (or if not the enemy then certainly the street or ground in front of the building) would be a prime consideration in such a case. Running behind the building to hide would run counter to that.

None of the "avoid the line of fire" arguments have any grounding in reality in my opinion. Movement to avoid fire is generally done once fire is taken - and we're not seeing that with skulking. It's a simple fix - simply expose the moving unit to fire in the hex in which he declares movement from, and the "problem" is solved.
 

Michael Dorosh

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Most of my "argument" was the rest of my response which you didn't address. A non-flanked defensive position is much more stout. Your statement that you are exposed to fire or not is not true in the game as by skulking, you will return to your position and will be vulnerable to Prep Fire.
Fixed positions are not more stout, though. True maneuver is more stout. Which is why actual maneuver involved more than just running back and forth... The SL Clinic article on Fallback Defence comes to mind in this case. "Stand or Die" defences rarely worked - which is why a defender should be subject to both Prep Fire and Defensive Fire, without the "cheat" of skulking available to him. If he wants a stout defence, he needs Fortified buildings or bunkers.
 
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