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"Representing suppression and pinning in games" Topic


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Gamesman628 Aug 2013 3:07 a.m. PST

It seems that rolling for the WIA/KIA from the Suppression hits and then rolling again for a Saving throw. However the saving throw is one way to factor in the different interactions of weapon fired and the cover the targets are in. Though of course this could perhaps be factored in as the 2nd stage of of the equation

donlowry28 Aug 2013 7:17 p.m. PST

As you say, not easy to get my head around. I'd have to play it a few times, but it sounds reasonable for that level of game (platoon). Maybe too involved for me taste, but worth contemplating. But I'm not really an infantry kinda guy.

Ark3nubis10 Sep 2013 8:37 a.m. PST

It seems that rolling for the WIA/KIA from the Suppression hits and then rolling again for a Saving throw. However the saving throw is one way to factor in the different interactions of weapon fired and the cover the targets are in. Though of course this could perhaps be factored in as the 2nd stage of of the equation

Yeah, the procedure we follow is;
1. – Roll to hit
2. – Roll for saves
3. – Roll for effect
It makes sense to get the saves out of the way and be left with whatever is left. I forgot I switched steps 2 and 3 around and played them as 3 and 2 initially.

I take it you are a tread head then Don? Sounds like CoC may be a good intro into the world of 28mm Platoon gaming?..

donlowry10 Sep 2013 10:17 a.m. PST

Yea, for WW2 I'm more into AFVs than foot-soldiers. But CoC does sound like an excellent game, and I'd get it if I had a FTF opponent.

Ark3nubis10 Sep 2013 4:04 p.m. PST

What's an FTF opponent? How does it work with predominantly vehicle based games? Is it simply destroy more of theirs than yours? Is there morale involved at all for a vehicle platoon that's taken casualties? Whets your favoured system?

donlowry11 Sep 2013 6:00 p.m. PST

FTF = face-to-face. I only play online.

Our online games generally have objectives; not just shoot 'em up. We almost always have SOME infantry. I have my own home-baked rules that do have morale considerations for the AFV crews. The other GMs have their own rules, either home-made or published. IDK.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2013 5:24 p.m. PST

Wow! I can't believe this discussion is still active.

One of the things we've been finding in the "To Hit Cover Save" games is that too often the results were unrealistically skewed. I know that all comes out even eventually as the game goes along but when a substantial % of your units gets wiped out in one turn that's not going to help when you are severely outnumbered but getting good die rolls and some experienced players were really complaining. We were also descending into "DRM Hell" where to increase realism and accommodate players we were throwing in DRM's for different aspects, training, etc and found that there was really a point of diminishing returns because on some occasions the DRM would be almost what the die is equal to (example DRM +7 on a D10). After much discussion we came to the conclusion that what we were talking about was a % of something happening or a unit performing in a certain manner so we started pursuing that. This would be for Platoon/Squad/Fire Team level units firing. I don't think this won't work for 1-1 battles.

For the example we'll use a 12 man Veteran Squad (training/experience level) unit with Steady morale firing semi-automatic rifles conducting Sustained Fire (6-8 rounds/minute/weapon) at 200 yards. Different types of weapons and firing put out different volumes. Units rarely fired at max ROF. Target is a dispersed Squad in a tree line with a Normal Morale.

The first thing we considered training level and the % of troops who will actually do something and contribute in the turn. Let's say a Veteran unit would have 90% effectiveness (90% of the guys actually do something under normal circumstances) so 90% of 12 = 11.

Next we consider morale. We've tried to take into account the psychological aspects of morale. That is when getting shot at how much of the time am I going to expose myself to danger while shooting and how much time am I going to spend in self-preservation (ducking and hiding using available cover/suppression). Here we leave it up to the player to assign a morale "status" to their unit. They can choose to lower the players "morale" by giving them better dispersion and cover but lower their effectiveness. Taking cover/dispersion lowers your morale but increases your chances for surviving. The more his unit hides and disperses the less chance of causalities but the less effective their return fire is. It's a tradeoff and a decision for the player, not the dice. For a unit in Steady Morale they are 60% effective. So 60% of 11 = 7 effective. It's a proven military fact that the more a unit fires the higher their morale is and vice versa.

Next we consider the weapon type and how the unit is firing it and range (separate charts for weapons). For this example it is 40% so 40% of 7 = 3. The weapon "effectiveness" is defined as the amount or the volume of fire actually landing in the target area (in this case a squad taking cover in a tree line). It's not the Squad Leader ordering, "Pvt Fubar, fire at the enemy on the far left. L/CPL Schumckatelli, fire at the guy with the white turban on his head. PFC Goofoff, switch to automatic and fire at the guy with the RPG". That's a 1-1 game. The final value is "Level 3 Effective Fire" would be considered "Light Fire". The defending player is told he's receiving "Light Fire" (turns are about one minute so the defender would be able to sense to amount of fire coming at him and the danger level it represents). Light Fire would be from level 3-7 (he is not told the number, just the level so there is some FOW) and has the option of having his troops disperse and take better advantage of cover. We can randomize the "3" where it would have a slight chance of being up to 50% higher or lower. The defender has his Squad in Normal Moral for a 70% cover/dispersion which means 70% of the 3 or 2.1 would be "saved" by hiding and dispersing leaving a 90% chance for one causality. The charts for all of this cover 2 pages, mostly the math charts for getting the % of any number. No calculators needed.

Summary: What the players seemed to like was being able to adjust to the level of incoming fire rather than sitting and watching his unit getting shot at and do nothing. We don't have morale checks because as danger increases the player disperses his troops more to preserve them which drops morale. If not they die. As they become less effective/suppressed the enemy can maneuver on them. We have morale and suppression built in so no checking and die rolling speeds up the game. Things like taking flanking fire, HE rounds impacting, getting assaulted, etc automatically lower a units morale so if the player set his morale too low and takes fire that automatically lowers it he may have to automatically fall back. Once lowered Leadership can "rally" the unit but leaders are rated so they can recover only 1-3 levels of morale in a turn and there are 6 levels total and we developed an easy way to track it. Dispersing a unit with poor leadership will take a lot of time to recover their morale. Again, no die roll but you could if you wanted. The more intense fire a unit takes the more causalities it will have unless they disperse (suppression) which lowers morale. They all work together. The player has some effect on this just like a Squad Leader may order his unit to take cover. If it gets too intense the player chooses to pull back, not the dice. It's not perfect and a WIP but it's a departure from most war game systems but I doubt if its original as I'm sure some other system uses a % rather than DRM system. The percentages can be tweaked to give the right amount of feel for the desired outcome rather than adding various DRM's.

Anyone working on something like this too?

Wolfhag

Ark3nubis14 Sep 2013 5:56 a.m. PST

Hey Wolfhag, I'm determined to get this thread up to 300 posts!

I think I get the jist of what your system does, I have in my game that units can be in dispersed formation (squads at double spacing if you like) and at -1 to be hit in shooting, but – to their Command/morale value. If they get dug in it can bobwhite effective, but in light cover they just get humped if you're not careful. I really like the idea of the unit's RoF affecting their morale, but at the expense of their ammunition. That's a really great choice for you to make in game.

Gamesman614 Sep 2013 8:24 a.m. PST

Well here is one more post to the tally…
Yes like the ideas Wolfhag..
I might borrow something from it…. my current thinking is along similar ish lines with units trying to suppresst he enemy with higher volumes of fire… higher value more likelihood to suppress, but also with the higher chances of ammo loss. But adding in that players often like throwing lots of dice, so higher rates of fire more dice.

i like the ides of moderating "morale" to gain more safety. Though I can't help but feel that the mechanics as much as I like the sound may not have a loophole of an optimal strategy that will emerge through more play, though I could be wrong, it is just a gut feeling.
Lets keep the posts coming in.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2013 10:48 a.m. PST

I ran these rules for the first time as a GM at a recent convention for a Civil War "Battle of the Crater". All attacking Union forces were less than 300 yards away with the Rebs in defensive breastworks. The defenders had the choice of opening musket fire at over 100 yards or holding it. Once they fired their first "volley" they could only perform Fire at Will which is less effective but they fire every turn. Holding Volley Fire until the attackers were less than 50 yards away was more lethal and automatically dropped the attacker morale one level but they only got to fire once before engaging in melee. The Union player was faced with moving quicker with less dispersion and more causalities or dispersing and moving slower (which means getting fired at more) but less causalities and arriving with lower morale. Morale was one of the most important factors in assault/melee so you needed to keep your morale high but that meant more causalities going in. Since no one had seen the rules yet there were no loop holes spotted but I'm sure they are in there somewhere. I'm sure there is a sweet spot in there somewhere.

Each regiment has a regimental flag/colors. The location of the flag (front center, left flank, right flank, rear, etc) denoted the morale level of the regiment. This gave the opposing player an idea or picture of the enemy regiment. A regiment in lower morale is going to be more dispersed more with some gaps in their line and lines more ragged moving a little slower. A high morale unit is in close order elbow to elbow with lines dressed and moving rapidly.

The whole idea of the system was to make firing interactive with the defender responding somewhat and let the player decide how hard to push his regiments. We let the player disperse his regiments any number of levels. However, he could only improve/rally morale based on the regimental commander leadership. So a poor leader leading a veteran unit will have rough time. An excellent leader leading a trained or green regiment can make them perform above their expected level. Leadership does not effect firing or melee so a green regiment will always perform poorly reflected in the % of troops that are going to do something worthwhile in the turn. We had certain events that altered morale. Planting your regimental colors on the enemy defenses raised your morale. Capturing the enemy colors increased your morale. Leaders could get in front of the troops and attempt to inspire them but may also get killed. No guaranteed DRM for leaders, they have to put themselves in harms way first.

One of the morale levels is "Wavering" where only 30% of the troops will do something worthwhile and the unit cannot advance. Waiting until the attackers were close and volley fire and canister could force an attacker to Wavering and stopping the assault. The Union player had no choice but to fire one volley and then fall back. At a certain point the commander will lose control of his troops.

Frank Chadwick (the game designer, GDW guy) was one of the Union players and said he very much liked the system, especially the morale part. If I made statements about the commander "lowering the units morale" what I really meant is the troops dispersing for more safety which means they are hiding more and firing less which will bring down your morale. The player will generally only disperse his troops if the enemy has fire superiority. When the enemy has fire power superiority it is a morale killer. I wanted a system that left it up to the player rather than die rolls. Bottom line the player needs to make decisions on how hard to push the troops and how much he is willing to expose them to enemy fire. The downside is the safer he plays it the worse they perform. There is a big difference in the dispersion save between Open and Closed formations. This system also gave a better prediction of causalities with a bell curve result rather than all or nothing cover save die rolls. It seemed to work pretty well for Civil War but I don't think as well for WWII Squad/Company sized games.

Gamesman6: I agree about the die rolls. I've attended conventions for 15 years and it seems the players rolling a lot of dice are getting a big kick out of the game. I got into WH 40K with my kid and experienced that system first hand and it's playable and fun. In the Civil War game when we did the melee battle we diced off figure against figure and the guys liked that.

Thanks,
Wolfhag

Gamesman616 Sep 2013 7:30 a.m. PST

Wolfhag, That sounds Interesting and certainly seems to fit well with the ACW type of action and I can see that it would fit with earlier Horse and Musket wars with a little modification.
I like it and will play around with it, thanks

Regards dice I like them have a relation to the action… in WH variants, where all the dice, IMO actually become a hassle. In relation to volume of fire, more or less shooting becomes part of the action of the game.

Kierto11 Oct 2013 6:46 a.m. PST

Sorry I haven't read the whole thread so please excuse me if someone else has mentioned this.

I think you are all putting to much weight on the words "being pinned" and "being suppressed". In reality they are both on the same scale and ultimately come down to a risk assessment of the situation.

A well designed game should not have a "pinned" or "suppressed" option. The more incoming fire you take, the reduction of options and choices you have, the very essence of getting suppressed and pinned is just the lack of options you are now presented with.

As for it being a modern subject is fairly bizarre statement, I think its recently been coined but even in chess your pieces effectively suffer suppression and you lose the game when your king is "pinned" ;D

Dragon Gunner11 Oct 2013 7:26 a.m. PST

At 4:05 in this video captures the concept of suppression quite well.

YouTube link

Lion in the Stars11 Oct 2013 10:02 a.m. PST

@Kierto: I disagree, as do former infantrymen. The problem is that gamers have it in their minds that "suppressed" is a less-severe result than "pinned," when the military uses "suppressed" to mean "unit is incapable of returning fire or moving" and "pinned" to mean "unit is incapable of moving but is still capable of returning fire". They are terms of art, with specific meanings to those in the field. It's not unreasonable to have those results in a game's fire combat system.

The challenge is how to model that. I like the blast marker system that Epic:Armageddon uses (the more blast markers on the unit, the smaller the chance of getting the unit to do ANYTHING). It's an easy visual reference as to how much incoming fire a unit has taken.

In Ambush Alley rules, the result of a failed morale check is 'Pinned', which forces a unit to seek cover. Pinned units lose one step on their Troop Quality die (going from d8 to d6, for example), and if their Troop Quality die is reduced to below a d6, the unit is incapable of firing.

donlowry11 Oct 2013 10:43 a.m. PST

the military uses "suppressed" to mean "unit is incapable of returning fire or moving" and "pinned" to mean "unit is incapable of moving but is still capable of returning fire".

That's the way I always understood, though when pinned, in my WW2 rules, a unit fires at only half effectiveness -- figuring that some individuals are more interested in taking cover than in returning fire and others are only popping up occasionally to get off a shot or a short burst.

I don't like the idea of markers. 1st because they spoil the look of the table; 2nd because that way the other side knows the exact results of their fire, which seems unrealistic.

I've been looking for some mechanism to represent an initial exchange of maximum fire power to see which side forces the other to take cover (get pinned/suppressed). Haven't found a mechanism that suits all situations yet.

Lion in the Stars12 Oct 2013 9:59 a.m. PST

I don't like the idea of markers. 1st because they spoil the look of the table;
Depends on whether you put a piece of paper on the table with the word 'pinned' on it or a small strip of dirt puffs from rifle and MG fire, doesn't it? And don't you put smoke/flames effects on destroyed vehicles?

2nd because that way the other side knows the exact results of their fire, which seems unrealistic.
There was a friendly fire incident mentioned earlier in this thread, where the troops involved realized that it must be friendly fire because they were not able to suppress the other side. After all, it should be pretty obvious when you're putting enough fire on a squad/fireteam to keep them from shooting back!

donlowry13 Oct 2013 12:54 p.m. PST

Depends on whether you put a piece of paper on the table with the word 'pinned' on it or a small strip of dirt puffs from rifle and MG fire, doesn't it?

Yes.

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