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Battle of the Bulge» Forums » Variants

Subject: Danny Parker Variants, Feelings rss

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Matthew Rauh
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St. Peter
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Just came upon a General (v.23)article by Danny Parker. I find some if not much of what he says intriguing and sensible. I want to bounce off a couple variants he suggests in the hopes you can tell if they are good or not. Or maybe your advice is to simply buy Bitter Woods.

NO MANDATORY ATTACK AGAINST UNITS IN YOUR ZOC. Rationale? He argues the scale is a little too big (two mile hexes) and units didn't have to attack. Also, he was concerned some units would be forced into those 1:7 suicide counterattacks. I see this as a game changer. Yes, American units can hold out longer, but I can see Germans moving into a ZOC, no attack, and next turn move away and behind the enemy, almost like a free Blitz attack. I agree with the argument here, but after playing a game with this rule, I can't help but feel that the entire CRT needs to be re-visited, that adjacent units must attack is incorporated into the CRT and to change it throws things off. So I will drop this suggestion.

DIVISION INTEGRITY. Because it is tempting to zip units all over the place, and because, he argues, units are less effective when they are not close to each element in a division, he suggests that on offense, if two of the three divisional regiments are in the same attack, it is a -1 die roll modifier. Same for defense, but it is a +1. I kinda like this. It does seem gamey to me to take your three best armored units and stack them in Bastogne. I decided to drop this one. Tempting, but it gives too much of an advantage to the attacker, and besides, it gives me a headache with the math.

GERMAN ROAD CONGESTION: I like this one. On the 16Am and PM turns, the German units have movement allowances of two. Also, on the 16 AM turn, the road bonus is one point per hex, not 1/4, and on 16 PM it is 1/2. This seems very right to me, but it really is pro American. You will have to counter it with something pro German, like Divisional Integrity above, or limit the Americans to 2 movement points these turns, too. I like. Will keep. But to balance things a little, I am going to fiddle with limiting the American movement during these turns, at least 16 AM, that the road movement bonus would be 1/2 instead of 1/4. They had their own congestion to worry about, and the confusion.

SURRENDER. He has a way of seeing if units, isolated behind German lines and totally surrounded by ZOCs, have to check to see if they surrender. Airborne and SS are exempt. I like this one. It takes some mental work to remember which units are "green," but it works for me.

ADVANCE AFTER COMBAT. These two seem fair and real to me. If a unit is on a river hex, it can only advance two hexes total in advance after combat. Also, infantry, US or German, can only advance a max of two. I like. Will keep.

NO DIE ROLL MODIFIERS FOR 20+ ARTILLERY FACTORS. His argument is to stop a gamey tactic of moving all your artillery to one section for the modifiers. I personally like it; that many shells would scare me. But I understand a reversion to the gamey tactic. I want to keep the modifier, but to avoid any unusual tactics with artillery, I will fiddle with artillery supporting only units within their corps (or maybe better, army).

I got the game on the table, and will try these, but curious if you think some of these changes will really imbalance the game.

A couple houserules I like to use.

MOVING INTO OR OUT OF AN ENEMY ZOC. If using using a road to move into our out of an enemy ZOC, the road bonus is one, not 1/4 or 1/3. You can use the road to move through rough terrain or forest at one movement point. Why? It takes a little time to disengage or engage from a road formation, load into trucks, etc.

GERMAN ARTILLERY ROAD BONUS. I allow German artillery a road bonus of 1/2. They can still move and shoot in the same turn. Why? The artillery had difficulty keeping up.

MR
 
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