$10.00
Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
1 Posts

Panzer Armee Afrika» Forums » Variants

Subject: "Ralph Vickers" Command & Control VARIANT rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Robert Wesley
Nepal
Aberdeen
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
mb
From the "grognard.com" LINK of this there: http://www.grognard.com/zines/ph/p0308.txt
as well with being presented here "just in case":

#######################################################################

Command Control

Ralph Vickers

Wargamers have been grumbling about one of the latest 'breakthroughs' in game design the Command Control rules.

(Perhaps the remarks I'm about to make could also apply to Panic rules. I don't know beause the only experience I've had with Panic rules was the time I set up Kampfpanzer for an initial try-out. I rolled my die and saw a column of my tanks--still over two cannon shots distant from the battle-- scatter in six directions like a barnyard of silly chickens. In disgust I folded up the map and haven't seen a Panic rule since.)

Command Control is a different matter. The way it's applied in games like Panzer Armee Afrika and American Civil War is almost a great idea. It's just that the idea has never been developed beyond the germinal stage.

The major flaw about CC is that it depends on a unit's location. How many times have you placed units in second-best positions merely to minimise CC effects? This just isn't realistic. Worse, the system doesn't even compensate this defect with improved play ability. CC isn't even 'fair' because some numbers appear less times than others. In PAA 8 and 9 are the 'good' numbers. They only appear once on the Command Control chart while the others appear twice. In other words, this idea should never have got through the play-test stage in the shape it's in.

Instead of depending on location, why not assign a CC number to each unit?

Let's see if this looks like an improvement: In PAA if you have ten units each placed on a different hex numbered from 1 to 10, each time you roll for CC three units will be eff,ected. Call this a 'pure average 30% result' Of course, as every Allied player knows, if two of your ten units are on a 2 and two others are on an 0, you inevitably roll a CC 6 - a 50% result. Fair enough. The point I'm making is that the CC result varies with circumstances. But it's all a matter of luck. The more the element of luck is built into a game the less the average wargamer likes it.

We can get exactly the same effect by throwing out location and assigning each unit a CC number. (Instead of actual numbers I suggest neat white or black dots on the upper right hand corner of the PAA units.) Take the first ten 2-50's to appear in the game. Mark one with one dot. Mark two with two dots, three with three dots and four with four dots, For simplicity we'll use ten chits marked one-to-ten (this idea can be easily adapted to single die rolls but how to do this is a bit complex to explain and it's a subject beyond the scope of this discussion.)

Here's how the system works: Draw a chit. If it's a 1, only the one-dot unit is CCed. If you draw a 2 or 3, both two-dot units are CCed. A 4,5 or 6 chit effects all three-dot units, and the 7,8,9 and 0 the four-dot units. This gives us a CC result ranging from 10% to 40%. Let's check to see if we've distorted the 'pure average 30% result' built into this game. Draw all the chits and add up the total number of units CCed. Chit 1--one unit CCed, chit 2--two units CCed, chit 3--two units CCed, chit 4--three units, etc. When all ten chits have been drawn a total of 30 units have been CCed. In other words, an average of three units per chit have been effected--an average 30% result. There is no distortion. You have ten units on the board and an average of 30% of them are going to be CCed--exactly as the game designer intended. But what are the advantages?

First of all, you are free to deploy these units to maximum advantage. No more worrying about the artificial factor of whether you're stacking too many units on 2 hexes or whether you can risk placing a couple of units on those 8 and 9 hexes. This eliminates the major objection to the present CC system.

But there's an added dividend. Play interest is increased.

For one thing your units begin to take on 'personalities'. "The good old 16th Infantry Brigade", the Allied commander thinks fondly as he deploys that one-dot unit. "You can count on the 16th nine times out of ten".

"Oh dear, here's the four-dot 24th Aussies. Lots of elan in the ranks, but a terrible Signals section. Order them to patrol the ridge south of Sidi-Barrani--that's a good job for them well behind the lines".

If you're an Allied commander who is convinced that Tobruk should be held at all costs, then you naturally assign to it's garrison a crack division composed of three one-dot brigades.That division will faithfully sally out on orders to cut Axis supply lines nine times out of ten. Or if you believe Tobruk is doomed anyway, then obviously you garrison it with expendible four dot units. Isn't this converting CC into a game element that you can manipulate and use?

If the Allies suffer heavy losses, they can start to rebuild a smaller army but a better one--a careful mix of heavy on one- and two-dot units with enough three- and four dot brigades scattered about to keep the army operational when inevitably the low numbered chits turn up. Naturally, the Axis forces will try to destroy the best units, so a prudent Allied commander will often keep them behind his lines as his reliable mobile reserve. Doesn't this all sound more realistic than a system based purely on luck and a unit's location?

If you prefer to play PAA with the actual units designated on the Reinforcement Track, then probably the best way to number the units is strictly numerically. This procedure isn't 'fair' to the Axis because at the start of the game the Allies, out of twelve initial units, will have two one-dot units. This does distort the 'pure average 30% result'. However the distribution will quickly even out as the game progresses. If you insist on being strictly 'fair', then before the game starts draw ten chits at random. This will give you a random order of appearance for the dotted units, an order that should be repeated exactly for every group of ten units.

This is not the 'final answer' to the problem, but maybe this discussion will set someone to thinking about how CC can be improved.

Reprinted from Europa

#######################################################################
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.