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"Differences between CoC and BA?" Topic


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TacticalPainter0102 May 2018 10:50 p.m. PST

And why is that? Comparison of the two rule sets asked for and delivered. Now people can make their choice of which they prefer.

You are the man.

kevanG03 May 2018 11:37 a.m. PST

I can't wait to find out if bolt action gives a better match than CoC for spitfires over BF109's?

SeattleGamer Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2018 12:14 p.m. PST

@kevanG … That was funny, but since you brought it up …

Bolt Action has Experimental Rules for treating aircraft like another unit (where you draw a die and assign it to a plane). And in these rules, you can have your Spitfire intercept that Bf 109 (or vice versa).

link

Does Chain of Command have rules for aircraft? I only just bought them, and have not played, and do not remember if FAOs and aircraft are included.

VVV reply03 May 2018 1:05 p.m. PST

Only rules for aircraft in CoC are in random events p26. Jabos, it came up in the test.
But CoC does allow your troops to get drunk also in random events.

TacticalPainter0103 May 2018 1:51 p.m. PST

Does Chain of Command have rules for aircraft? I only just bought them, and have not played, and do not remember if FAOs and a

No, not really, mainly because ground support was not carried out at platoon level during the period. A 6x4 table represents a very small area of perhaps around 300x200 yds, with opposing units in very close proximity.

That said, it is factored in abstractly. The pregame barrage represents events like air attack that happen either prior to the game or further back beyond the table. While they don't interfere directly with events on the table, their disruption can hamper your ability to deploy your units. It's a very simple and clean mechanic that I think works very well.

Remember CoC doesn't try to be all things, it is about low level platoon combat at close range. If you want air support, or lots of armour, then you would want to look at a company or battalion level set of rules.

kevanG04 May 2018 6:57 a.m. PST

Other Things I would like to see use CoC or Bolt action to assess beyond Spitfires v Me109's

Hood v Bismark

U boats V convoys

AA fire v B17's

MTB's v coastal patrols.

Cowboys v Aliens.

Duck & duck V goose

Pickled Herring v beef jerky

VVV reply04 May 2018 8:46 a.m. PST

Other Things I would like to see use CoC or Bolt action to assess beyond Spitfires v Me109's

You had better start writing some new rules for CoC and BA then :)

Last Hussar04 May 2018 8:36 p.m. PST

"But CoC does allow your troops to get drunk also in random events."

Citation needed. Because I've gone through my searchable PDF copy with various search words, and I can't find it.

VVV reply04 May 2018 10:21 p.m. PST

Happy to do so again. CoC p26 Random events, roll a 6. Your troops find a cache of wine and their morale improves!
Random events is also the only reference to weather in CoC. Apart from rain, your troops can expect only clear sunny skies. Oh the joy.
Weather/night in BA. Could not find any reference to it (of course an index would be nice) but its there in some of the BA supplements.

TacticalPainter0105 May 2018 2:57 p.m. PST

Citation needed. Because I've gone through my searchable PDF copy with various search words, and I can't find it.

It's not quite as VVV's trolling would have you believe. Pg26, 6.3, if you roll four sixes then a random event can occur, one of which is an improvement in your force morale. In Lardy style this is attributed to the discovery of a hidden stash of wine, but that's purely a bit of descriptive colour, they could just have easily attributed it to the arrival of a hot meal or a superhero. For what it's worth it doesn't even say the wine is drunk by the men, simply that it's "liberated" by them, but as this has no impact on game play you are free to interpret as you wish.

Personally, I insist my opponent immediately consume an entire bottle of wine, I tend to find I win more games this way……..

VVV reply05 May 2018 10:56 p.m. PST

Oh trolling now, how nice :) Interesting that a factual test of the rules could be described so. Perhaps Tactical Painter would like to do his own test and report back on it?
But that aside I will point out that Tactical Painter did in a roundabout way point out that I got my text of the Coc rules wrong. I thought 800 yards would be 40 inches but in CoC its 240 inches, so my first thought that moving to close the distance was correct, it is. The game would have been long over before the Shermans got anywhere near the Tiger.

TacticalPainter0106 May 2018 2:16 a.m. PST

Oh trolling now, how nice :) Interesting that a factual test of the rules could be described so.

That wasn't a factual test of anything. A 'factual' test based on a fictional film, where the players are forced to stick to the movie script, was a test of nothing other than our patience.

You are trolling because you insist on making snide contributions based on your limited knowledge of Chain of Command. To what end?

But that aside I will point out that Tactical Painter did in a roundabout way point out that I got my text of the Coc rules wrong.

Now, what was I just saying? The rules wrong? Really, what again? Well bless my cotton socks.

VVV reply06 May 2018 3:25 a.m. PST

That wasn't a factual test of anything. A 'factual' test based on a fictional film, where the players are forced to stick to the movie script, was a test of nothing other than our patience.

Nope, Scenario played through with both sets of rules, highlighting the differences between them, which of course is the purpose of this thread.
The one thing I did not cover is close combat. Not much difference there (although in CoC you throw more dice). The big difference is that in BA the losers are all removed (it really is a fast and brutal set). Results in CoC are more nuanced, different results based on the margin of victory.
And any contributions I make are based on the reality of the rules. Reason, to show the differences in the two sets, which is why we are here.
You of course can say that you like this or that, but it does not tell us what is happening in the rules.
And indeed thank you for making me realise that under the CoC rules, the tanks should have been placed 20 feet apart.

jdginaz06 May 2018 12:13 p.m. PST

"And any contributions I make are based on the reality of the rules."

No, it's based on your interpretation of the rules, which as we can see through out this thread is highly flawed. BTY from "Big Chain of Command" supplement that covers the possible use of a armor platoon along side of a infantry platoon if you have three or more tanks on a side they get a Senior Leader which allows activation on 3 and 4.

"Reason, to show the differences in the two sets, which is why we are here."

No since neither set is designed to handle your scenario it doesn't highlight any difference in the rules. All it shows is that they don't handle well scenarios that they aren't designed to handle it the first place.

VVV reply06 May 2018 12:53 p.m. PST

No, it's based on your interpretation of the rules,

No the reality of the rules. Dice rolled (and shown) with the effect that has on choices. I don't see how thats an 'interpretation'.
Both sets of rules CoC and BA are trying to do the same job but they do it in different ways.
So we know that CoC uses a lot of dice (really a lot of dice) and the dice control how you can move your units. Certainly more subtle than BA.
BA faster and more brutal. Results are generally you are OK or you are not. Although there is a gradual addition of pin points.
And you don't like my scenario, there is a simple answer, run one yourself and stop moaning about someone who actually compared both sets. Instead of saying that they only play CoC and are not interested in BA. You have made a choice, others have not.
BTW (although I did not know it before I ran the tests) I think the scenario illustrated perfectly the difference between the two sets. The latest part of that is the extreme short range that CoC is played at, 6 feet on a table = 240 yards game scale.
Oh – since you did not notice – the Sherman platoon leader was a Senior leader (Brad Pitt) who was able to issue radio orders to other tanks in his command. Junior leaders activate on a 3, senior leaders on a 4 but you can use lower value dice to make a die roll up to a 3 or a 4, it just did not help much to get units activated but that was down to the dice rolled.

jdginaz06 May 2018 3:44 p.m. PST

I've never said that anybody should play one or the other. All I did was attack a link to a blog where there a good comparison of the rules.

You seem to be the only one who thinks you scenario is viable as a comparison. Are you unable to see how other posts are making fun of your so called comparison?

VVV reply07 May 2018 12:39 a.m. PST

I've never said that anybody should play one or the other

What you said was that you had no interest in BA and so could not run a comparison of the rules. Thats OK you have made your choice, other people have not. The best way to compare the rules – as has been mentioned earlier – is to play the same game with both sets. The differences then are clear. Its a quantitative test, where you can see by the dice thrown, what the player can do and the effect of the dice thrown. You are right, lots of people are happy to say that they like a set of rules or they don't. I thought originally that Chain of Command was heavily dice driven and oh boy it is.
Make as much fun as you like, your (and others) remarks about the scenario are pointless. As I have said, its units that are available in both rules, played under both rules. If you think you can do better, I invite you to do so. That at least would be a worthwhile activity.
The expansion of CoC (Big Chain of Command) was an interesting read. One of the points I made as a result of the original test was that there simply no point in having more units, because the player already could not activate all of the ones that they currently had, so what would be the point in having more? My thought was how could more units be managed, more dice? Well that is precisely what they did, consider the extra troops as separate forces (commands), each rolling their own activation dice. That is a solution to the number of extra 6's that will be rolled – which can change who takes the first phase of new turn, starts a new turn or generates the random events. But the sad part is that all of the players units (in CoC) are activated before the other player gets to activate their own units. I consider that makes for an unbalanced game. Does not make much of a difference in a one command vs one command game but where you have multiple commands (forces) that allows commands to be combined to attack a single enemy command and inflict significantly more damage. A real return to the Warhammer system, where one army takes its turn before the other.
I would also say (for balance) that expanding BA is easier, you just put more chits in the bag and each side will activate a unit, when the appropriate chit is selected. So an uneven activation of each sides units but very unlikely to all of one side before the other.
But that said, basic Chain of Command has its plus side, I think the combat results (in the case of the test, shooting Shermans at a Tiger 1) are more historically accurate. Mostly harmless (Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy) but the odd shot is able to cause damage. But what you have to do to get there is, crazy. But that of course is an opinion :)

kevanG07 May 2018 12:44 a.m. PST

"No since neither set is designed to handle your scenario it doesn't highlight any difference in the rules. All it shows is that they don't handle well scenarios that they aren't designed to handle it the first place."

So They cant handle Hood v Bismark?????

I feel sooooooo misled! I had expected from this thread that these ww2 rules must be able to model the whole of the war across the entire world in all theatres, in any terrain at any time of day incorporate all technologies and accurately involve all areas of command from logistic to strategic. I had never realised the extent and influence of wine drinking in combat but I would expect this to be fully included too. I have to say that I am disappointed in both rule writers not to consider the impact of the strength of the wine.

I'm a buckfast man myself

VVV reply07 May 2018 6:28 a.m. PST

So They cant handle Hood v Bismark?????

No not in the rules, either set. No space machines from Mars either.
Probably champagne.General Patton captured a ton of the stuff in his campaign in France.
BA have expanded their range with a variety of theatre and campaign sets.

Northern Monkey07 May 2018 6:09 p.m. PST

Isn't this thread a re-run of an earlier one where VVV expressed precisely the same opinions?

VVV reply07 May 2018 10:00 p.m. PST

Not opinions of course, facts as demonstrated.
Main difference is that in BA you get to move/fight all your units, CoC some of them, depending on dice rolled. Obvious to all of course.
The big surprise, to me at least, not to those who actually play CoC was the number of dice rolls.
BA faster and more decisive (brutal if you like) and more capable of expansion to larger battles.
Now anything wrong with any of that?

TacticalPainter0107 May 2018 10:43 p.m. PST

Not opinions of course, facts as demonstrated.

Well actually, that's just your opinion.

Main difference is that in BA you get to move/fight all your units, CoC some of them, depending on dice rolled.

No, I disagree, that's not the main difference, a long way from it. There are some profound philosophical differences to how they each approach the mechanics for gaming WWII warfare at this level. These relate to the idea of friction; to means of command and control, and, to fog of war. You seem overly fixated on this one mechanic.

Does the fact the BA mechanic allows all units to eventually activate make it a better reflection of the command issues at platoon or company level? Or does it just reflect your need as a gamer to have greater control over all your units?

What part of the CoC command phase roll fails to reflect some of the command problems at platoon level? Was command and control always a smooth and seamless process that makes the CoC system a poor reflection?

Obvious to all of course.

Uh, no, just your opinion again.

The big surprise, to me at least, not to those who actually play CoC was the number of dice rolls.
BA faster and more decisive (brutal if you like) and more capable of expansion to larger battles.

So what does that analysis tell us about how well either reflects combat in WWII? These are just the game mechanics, but game mechanics without purpose are, well, just game mechanics.

Now anything wrong with any of that?

Yes.

In my opinion, of course.

toofatlardies07 May 2018 10:48 p.m. PST

I think "What a Tanker!" sums it up nicely.

Snowcat08 May 2018 1:16 a.m. PST

VVV reply08 May 2018 3:01 p.m. PST

Well actually, that's just your opinion.

Only if you think seeing the dice rolls and what they allow you do is an opinion. I see them as plain facts.
These relate to the idea of friction

I am happy to accept the idea of friction, when the enemy does something. 'No plan survives contact with the enemy'.
But just walking down a road. As someone else said 'You cannot be serious'.
You seem overly fixated on this one mechanic.

I am fixated on all mechanics because that is what is happening with the rules and yes it is fairly basic when you don't get to use all the troops under your command because you have to get the right die rolls to get them to do anything. But you are right, it is a popular way to play games these days but its not the only way to play. So long as people know what they are getting into, let them play that way I say.
Does the fact the BA mechanic allows all units to eventually activate make it a better reflection of the command issues at platoon or company level?

I would say yes. Take the example scenario, does anyone think that all of the tanks were not on the same radio net and heard all the commands the platoon leader gave (as per the film). Or that any of them would sit around twiddling their thumbs whilst under attack from the enemy? And that is how the Germans were beaten, by superior numbers of troops, using their numbers to outmanoeuvre and outfight the enemy. Chain of Command stops that from happening, dead, because of its requirement to roll the right dice to get units to do anything. I don't see how anyone would even think of saying that was not the case.
Now to come at it from the other side, in Bolt Action both sides are chosen from a shopping list of available units, for given points. An individual unit might not be as good as the enemy units but it will be cheaper, so you can have more of them. And you know that each of your units will get a chance to do something, so you can use superior numbers to win with. That is a big difference between the two rule sets.
But an important thing about this thread was not to get into why rule writers have done what they have done but rather cover the actual mechanics of whats going on. The the players will know what they can expect from the rules. I don't think anyone is going to be unclear about how CoC and BA play, now.
So what does that analysis tell us about how well either reflects combat in WWII?

My view is that in CoC you are getting closer to real combat results. Example, I was horrified in my first game of BA when a simple win in close combat wiped out all of the losers. Too extreme for my tastes. But the benefit, it speeds the game up. So for example the scenario only took 5 minutes to play through under BA, compared to 15 minutes under CoC. And in BA the Shermans easily killed the Tiger where as in CoC all the Shermans died (I think the rule was in WW2 it takes 5 Shermans to kill a Tiger and you can expect to lose 4 of them).
Want to really test the combat mechanics of CoC then dump the silly die rolls for activation and let each unit do its own thing. Then you might see how 'realistic' the rules are.
The big surprise, to me at least, not to those who actually play CoC was the number of dice rolls.
BA faster and more decisive (brutal if you like) and more capable of expansion to larger battles.

Since you do think there was something wrong with that, would you care to share with us what you think was wrong?
Certainly could not be the number of dice rolled, that cannot be argued with.
BA was faster, that cannot be argued with.
And you can add more units in CoC but you still won't get to use them all, so whats the point? That cannot be argued with.
I think "What a Tanker!" sums it up nicely.

And I agree. When someone refuses to accept the reality of the rules that they are playing and makes up imaginary points about mythical 'opinions', that being restricted by die rolls encourages superior play and that having a scenario based on a film (which actually had historical precedents, check out lieutenant peter balfour watching Shermans being blown up by flanking Panthers 400 yards away from him or you might think of Wittmans action at Villers-Bocage) means it is invalid, you have to wonder what planet they live on. That the writer of the rules encourages them, is even stranger. But hey ho thats life and people chose how they want to behave,

TacticalPainter0108 May 2018 9:27 p.m. PST

I am happy to accept the idea of friction, when the enemy does something. 'No plan survives contact with the enemy'.
But just walking down a road. As someone else said 'You cannot be serious'.

This is where I believe you have a major stumbling block with CoC. Why assume friction only happens because of enemy action? I can think of a myriad things that might happen that have no bearing on enemy action. Take Omaha Beach on D-Day, probably one of the most detailed planned operations of the war and yet many of the things that went wrong that day had nothing to do with enemy action DD tanks released too early; rougher water than expected; landing on the wrong part of the beach none of this related to enemy action.

Friction can be in the most simplest of things a misunderstood order ("take your squad to the wall"……"not that wall, that one over there"); an order that's never heard; an unexpected piece of terrain…..

I walk to work every day, I take the same route and I allow myself 25 minutes, which on a 'normal' day is about enough. Some days it takes me longer, why? Because every street I cross I've just missed the lights; or the council are repairing the footpath, or, as was the case the other day, President Macron of France and the Prime Minister of Australia were laying wreaths at the war memorial I normally walk past, but excessive security meant an unexpected detour. I was, as you say, 'just walking down the road'. Not only that, I wasn't expecting to be shot at, nor was I in an unfamiliar environment. I was walking familiar streets on a peaceful day. Friction. Your car won't start in the morning. The field that looked flat from a distance has just been ploughed, now it's muddy and furrowed and won't be quick to cross. I could go on.

First hand accounts of WWII are full of stories like this. I read one the other day, where a platoon was sent around a flank to join an action, they had to cross a hedge (not bocage) and they found it impenetrable and insurmountable and despite their best efforts they couldn't get through it. By the time they had sent men up the hedge in both directions, located a gate and made their way to the other side, the action was over. "What happened to you?" asked the company commander. Friction, but not the result of enemy action.

Take the example scenario, does anyone think that all of the tanks were not on the same radio net and heard all the commands the platoon leader gave (as per the film). Or that any of them would sit around twiddling their thumbs whilst under attack from the enemy?

Good example, let's take a scene from exactly the same film. The new crew member has joined Fury and he's assigned the role of bow machine gunner. In his first action the tank is threatened, the driver shouts 'hey, start shooting?', 'who do I shoot at?', 'The Nazi's, dumb Bleeped text'. Yet he still can't bring himself to shoot frightened, confused, unsure, who knows? You would call it twiddling his thumbs, but I could point to plenty of much better reasons why people don't do what they are supposed or trained to do.

SLA Marshall made a study of just this, and he's not the first. The reports of men with 5 or 6 musket balls in their barrel after an action, having loaded multiple times but never actually fired. Twiddling their thumbs? No, but not firing either.

Want to really test the combat mechanics of CoC then dump the silly die rolls for activation and let each unit do its own thing. Then you might see how 'realistic' the rules are.

What do you mean 'let each unit do its own thing'? Is this a war run by corporals all telepathically in unison with some overarching plan? If so, then why bother with sergeants or lieutenants, never mind anyone higher? In wargames we don't let units 'do their own thing', we control them and so they do 'our thing', if the rules allow that. So you might ask, who are we? who do we represent in the chain of command? what does this game mechanic teach us about command and control at this level in WWII? I'd suggest a mechanic like that is purely a game mechanic, because as far as I know no one in WWII was able to exercise command and control to this extent.

When you say, let each unit do its own thing you are really saying, let me the gamer do everything with every unit. In a real command situation the commander says, this is what I'd like these units to do, but how well they do it and when they do it (if they do it at all) is not under his total control. He must use his subordinate commanders and himself to try (and I mean 'try') to put this plan into action. If you really wanted to let units 'do their own thing' then you, the gamer, should be prepared to step back and see things unfold away or out of your control. Your units might have other ideas about how they do 'their thing', which is why you are really saying 'let each unit do MY thing'.

My view is that in CoC you are getting closer to real combat results. ……. Then you might see how 'realistic' the rules are.

I suspect for you the 'realism' in the rules equates more to the mechanics of gunfire. It is unrealistic to expect an anti tank rifle to penetrate the frontal armour of a Tiger I. If that same Tiger can take out a T34 at 1,000 yards, then you are happy the rules are 'realistic'. Yet, good tank that the Panther was it's combat ability declined with time as the war went on. The tank itself was fine, in fact it improved with the later models, but the quality of the crews, in particular their lack of training and experience led to a lowering of performance. It isn't just the weapon, it is more often than not the man behind it. Men are not mechanical, they are complex and fallible in more ways we could possibly imagine. When our little toy men on the table shoot, the outcome should be determined not only by the weapon fired, but all the human qualities that may impact that outcome.

For me at least, this is what the CoC activation dice represents. They are not 'silly die rolls' that should be dumped, they are what makes the game interesting and challenging. Your mileage clearly varies.

VVV reply09 May 2018 12:41 a.m. PST

Why assume friction only happens because of enemy action?

And why assume it does not? I gave as my example, simply walking down a road as you might do when walking the dog. I certainly don't experience 'friction' by doing that. There is no justification for general die rolls limiting what units can do activate or indeed limiting what they can do. So yes its a silly rule but hey its how CoC works and what the rule writers chose.
As for untrained crew, look at the link in the scenario. Yes the US did use untrained crew in their tanks but not in the critical roles of commander, driver or gunner. And yes the rest of the crew would quickly whip them into shape, after all their own lives were on the line.
Now I did think about what could happen in the way of happenstance, could a vehicle breakdown (unlikely in the 15 minutes or so of real time that a game of CoC is covering) or a weapon jam (it does happen), like most rules CoC ignores that.
First hand accounts of WWII are full of stories like this. I read one the other day, where a platoon was sent around a flank to join an action, they had to cross a hedge (not bocage) and they found it impenetrable and insurmountable and despite their best efforts they couldn't get through it.

Good example and I think covers it nicely. Want to have a hedge impenetrable in a game, then do so. But don't have the same level of difficulty in walking down an open road. Repairing a footpath, having a police cordon, thats your enemy action. Ploughed field (or a beach, I hate beaches :) ) well thats the terrain that you have deal with. No friction there. So a general rule limiting what your units can do is pointless and unrealistic. Its a popular rule mechanic and you can see it in DBx, Black Power and others. But it does not make it the right thing to do. When I see people supporting it, I think of people praising the Emperors New Clothes.
In wargames we don't let units 'do their own thing', we control them and so they do 'our thing'

Well spotted. Command of a wargame is nothing like real life – remember I have been there and done that. With the 'gods eye' view of the battlefield and controlling each unit, every turn yourself. Corporals, sergeants and officers, your clue is there. You want realism, then limit what actions commanders can take (as CoC does, p18). But of course you should allow for the occasional hero, who gets the unit to follow his lead.
I suspect for you the 'realism' in the rules equates more to the mechanics of gunfire.

I know I have seen a lot of your speculation and you keep getting it wrong – you get told but you don't listen, hey ho its a choice.
Gunfire is very important in WW2 but its not the end of it. Morale, how men react under fire is also important and lots of people have written about it. SLA Marshalls views have mostly been discredited. But if you look around you will see other works and it generally starts looking as if training matters, experience is also vital (although troops can also be 'worn out'). My definition of realism is that you can take an historical battle, play it through as as game and get something like the historical result, then you have rules which are 'realistic'. And I apply that test to all my rules. So now you will not have to speculate on what I consider realistic in rules, its the gestalt.
In the case of the Panther (if you look it up) you will find that what it could do was also limited by ammunition supply, as well as the technical details of the vehicle. But look at why the Germans were more effective in battle , man for man than their opponents, better and more realistic training.
Now I took both rules, played through the same scenario under both rules and reported the results. Thats a quantitative test. I reported the real differences in the rules. Not my opinions. Now if you want to do the same, under a scenario of your choice, feel free. But your comments of what I have done and the points you have brought up (backgammon as an example) are wrong. Admit that and move on and you might start living in the real world.

TacticalPainter0109 May 2018 2:35 a.m. PST

I have absolutely no idea what you have just written. It's the most self-contradictory, rambling and barely coherent diatribe I've ever read on TMP, and boy, that's saying something. I really don't know whether to laugh or cry.

No doubt, as usual, you will want to have the last word, so there you go, over to you. I'm off to find this real world you are talking about……

toofatlardies09 May 2018 4:52 a.m. PST

Okay, well, I was planning to avoid getting involved in this thread, but when someone starts being offensive about a game I designed then I feel obliged to step in and point out some basics about game design.

1. Movement in Chain of Command is NOT random. Normal movement uses 2D6 added together. As already pointed out, that presents a predictable bell curve of results. As a result the movement is technically variable as opposed to random. It is highly unlikely you will move 12" or 2". It is very likely that you will move between 6" and 8". That allows the gamer to judge how likely he is to move a certain distance and base his decisions on that.

But hold on. More importantly, what we are modelling with variable movement is not simply the friction of the battlefield. Yes, of course, when an order is given to advance into ground that the enemy "owns' there may be some circumspection and men will naturally take care. When considering a period of 10 to 20 seconds (which is roughly a Phase of play in CoC) is it not possible that a section begins to move off when some one says "What was that?" and they all go firm for a moment while the Corporal scans the terrain ahead? I think that is a far more reasonable representation of reality that men always moving a set distance.

Indeed, if we consider a situation where a section of infantry is next to a building on the edge of a road. The road is 5" across, so if we have non-variable movement there is no risk of that section getting hit when it runs across the road. With variable movement, the player wishing to move that section has to weigh up the chances of success. On 2D6 the chances of rolling 6" or more are pretty good. But actually, this isn't just about how far a section of men move in x number of seconds. That is only one side of the equation.

When your section moves to cross that road, there is someone else involved in the equation: the enemy. The variable movement system actually encompasses both HOW QUICKLY YOU MOVE with the other key factors HOW QUICKLY THE ENEMY REACTS.

Now, we could, of course, deal with that in a different manner. We could introduce some kind of reaction test so that if my MG team sees your infantry cross that gap we could roll to see if we got to fire. But why do that? Why add a test which would need to be rolled almost every time anyone moved when our system of variable movement already covers that in a simple way that most people can relate to.

2. Command Dice Dictate What You Can do
No. Actually, Command Dice determine the choices you can make to get things happening. I noted that earlier in this thread that Seattle Gamer said the following:

"Roll a couple of times really low for your command points, and the situation may be too bleak to continue. Whereas at least in Bolt Action, you are guaranteed that every unit will get to do something."

Well, the fact is that it doesn't work like that. You don't get command points, you can't roll low. Indeed, a Command Dice roll of 1,1,1,1,1,1 is one of the most flexible rolls you can have.

How does that work? Well, rather than thinking of rolling for command points, think of the Command Dice as a hand of cards which you can play in any number of ways. A roll of 1 allows you to activate a Team, a roll of 2 a section. So, imagine that you DO roll 1,1,1,1,1,1, the lowest possible roll, you can still add two 1's to make a 2 and, with six of them available, activate al three sections or squads in your platoon. Now, bearing in mind that the platoon is your core force, getting to activate pretty much ALL of its key components in one Phase of play cannot be described as bad, surely? Indeed, unlike Bolt Action which Seattle Gamer mentioned, where you'd get to activate one unit, here you can fire with two while covering the advance of the third section. So, rather than advancing on its own you are putting together some coherent fire and movement.

But let's not leave that roll there. Let's look at some alternatives. Imagine you had your Platoon Sergeant activated with a 4. You could use four of your 1';s to add them together to activate him. Now, if he had two sections and a 2" mortar within 9" he could get all of them to fire and then you use the remaining two 1';s to get that third section advancing.

But hold on. How about you use two 1's to get the two Bren teams to fire. That' a decent amount of firepower (okay, not as good as two whole sections, but not bad), and then use the four 1's to get the platoon sergeant moving with the third section. He could get them to throw a couple of grenades and then assault the enemy position.

Or…well, or just about any combination you'd care to make up with those command dice actually. As we can see, the Command Dice are not dictating anything, other than providing you with a set of building blocks which you then put together to get the best possible result for that phase of play. To suggest that these dice are limiting is only true in as much that a hand of cards at limit what you can do when playing Bridge. In fact there is ample room in there to allow you to make decisions, good, bad or indifferent. Indeed, rather than limit you they present you with opportunities which you can then decide if you take or not.

3. Tigers versus Shermans.
Chain of Command is a game centred around a platoon of infantry. A core force in the game is just that. It is not a single tank. If you are testing the effectiveness of any product then it is advisable to test them in doing the job they are designed to do. One does not say "this paint brush is terrible, I can't knock nails in with it." or "This hammer is useless for applying paint to a wall." However, what VVV's test game did achieve was to tell us that he had never played Chain of Command before. I cannot say I am surprised as his comments have always tended to suggest that was the case, although I do find it odd that someone should have such a pronounced dislike of a game he had never played. That, however, is his business. But if you want to play a tank versus tank game, go to What a Tanker, not CoC.

4. Rudeness
If you want to tell me that a game I have designed is "Silly", especially when you haven't even played it, then please do so to my face. It will make it more interesting.

David Brown09 May 2018 8:16 a.m. PST

VVV

Command of a wargame is nothing like real life remember I have been there and done that.

Really?

I didn't realise that you were a veteran?

It would be fascinating if you could elaborate upon the extent of your command experience, (British Army, I assume?) and how you've incorporated your combat experiences directly into your rules design.

DB

VVV reply09 May 2018 10:30 a.m. PST

It would be fascinating if you could elaborate upon the extent of your command experience, (British Army, I assume?) and how you've incorporated your combat experiences directly into your rules design.

Well I have been asked not to comment about my rules here, so I won't. My experience of the British army, several years in the TA (infantry) rising to the rank of sergeant. Our training was very much like WW2 indeed with some of the same manuals. So I base my views on my own experiences on exercises and what I have read about WW2. Other people including ex-officers chipped in with their views during play-testing. Wargaming 47 years experience.
1. Movement in Chain of Command is NOT random. Normal movement uses 2D6 added together. As already pointed out, that presents a predictable bell curve of results.

No a bell curve just gives you more probable results but it is still an exercise in probability between fixed limits. Movement in CoC can be D6, 2D6 or 3D6 plus in some cases a fixed bonus (I appreciate that I don't have to tell you that since you wrote the rules but there are others reading this as well). But its also no different than if you count each one as a separate move and rolled for each separately. All you are doing is rolling the dice together to get the result in one roll.
Yes, of course, when an order is given to advance into ground that the enemy "owns' there may be some circumspection and men will naturally take care.

As mentioned I have been there and done that. Everyone is looking around and will let the rest of squad (section) what they have seen, then the squad halts whilst the observation is checked. That would probably take 30 seconds+, so that would be 3 phases in CoC (from what you tell me). So thats simply a halt, not part of reduction of moment. Generally the squad moves as a group and at a fairly constant speed when not actually 'in combat'. You do get smoke breaks and for longer moves the chance of a brew up although I don't see anyone gaming those and certainly not in a game that is only covering 15 minutes of combat, which is really an assault on a position.
Well, the fact is that it doesn't work like that. You don't get command points, you can't roll low. Indeed, a Command Dice roll of 1,1,1,1,1,1 is one of the most flexible rolls you can have.

Yes and I pointed that out in the report of scenario run under CoC rules. Actual dice rolls and the limitations that the die rolls produced, in what the player could do with troops they had under their command. Sorry its just not realistic, if you have troops there you expect them to participate (yes we all know the story of Gen Cota, rallying pinned down troops and getting them to advance but I put it to you that that was leadership, not a random event). So die rolls for units to activate, simply not realistic it also takes away the advantage that the Allies had, superior numbers.
Glad you mentioned cards because that is a different experience. All the results are in the cards and they are going to come up eventually. Different things may happen at different times, but if you go through the entire pack, all those events will be played through. A die can simply keep on rolling the same number time after time (unlikely but it can happen, thats what probability is all about).
Chain of Command is a game centred around a platoon of infantry.

As is Bolt Action, in that respect I treated both sets equally unfairly. They are both designed to do the same thing. They just do it differently (the point of this thread) From the test I found that CoC used a load more dice (5 dice to get your activation's each phase, dice to move, however many dice your firepower adds up to, to hit, more dice to do damage, more dice to save, plus some more dice here and there. Bolt Action no dice for activation, no dice for movement, a die for each shot (so same as CoC), rolls for damage but no saves. Far fewer dice used in BA so why anyone would disagree with the statement "Chain of Command is heavily dice driven." beats me
One does not say "this paint brush is terrible, I can't knock nails in with it."

And nothing like that was said, no opinion on how the rules worked (originally) just the facts on the differences between the two sets. But lets add to that, if you are told that a paint brush can paint stuff and it doesn't, you have grounds for complaint. Tigers and Shermans in both sets of rules, so being told that you cannot actually use them feels just weird.
But if you want to play a tank versus tank game, go to What a Tanker, not CoC.

And anyone who wants to record and publish the results of their own scenario is welcome to do so. It just takes a bit of effort please publish the command dice rolled so we can see what the dice allowed the player to do.
4. Rudeness
If you want to tell me that a game I have designed is "Silly", especially when you haven't even played it, then please do so to my face. It will make it more interesting.

Happy to do so. Although I don't see you changing your rules. Lets remember you are wrong about me not having played the game (although I had to make my own judgement on whether you could 'split' the roll on a command die, to get the result I needed).
And also to remember that what is silly about CoC is the activation dice roll (thats all), its not realistic and is pointless. If it was simply removed, a player could use all their units each and every turn. It would also make it easier to make the game bigger, adding more units. And you can have that advice for free, no charge.

Northern Monkey09 May 2018 12:45 p.m. PST

Shades of Walt.

jdginaz09 May 2018 12:59 p.m. PST

" Ploughed field (or a beach, I hate beaches :) ) well thats the terrain that you have deal with. No friction there."

You obviously haven't been around too many ploughed fields. I grew up in farming community and have walked over a lot of them and even helped plough a couple and can say with total certainly that none of them are the same. You simply can not know how long it will take to cross each one until you cross that particular field.

In a game of CoC the troops know that they are already in a combat situation and wouldn't simply be walking down a open lane.

"SLA Marshalls views have mostly been discredited"

I'm no fan of Marshall and am very critical of him, but his views haven't been discredited, his lack of actual data and methods have discredited but not his views.

"But of course you should allow for the occasional hero, who gets the unit to follow his lead."

I have seen "heroic" actions played of in several CoC games. In our last game a Senior Leader was activated, he then used three dice to run across a open field. Mid-way through the field the opposing player interrupted and fired on the leader missing him. The leader continued on and got close enough to activate a squad to close assault a pinned enemy squad. Seemed to be pretty "heroic" to me.

"(I think the rule was in WW2 it takes 5 Shermans to kill a Tiger and you can expect to lose 4 of them)"

No that is total BS. There is no evidence to support that. No reports where that claim is made, no verifiable quote from the time of the war and no study were that claim is proved or even suggested. It is only a made up claim probably by some random wargamer.

".. have been there and done that."

No you haven't, you participated in drills nowhere near the same as being in combat. One of the guys I game with is a veteran of Iraq and he keeps saying how well the command dice work to simulate the decisions a leader has to make in real life

"No a bell curve just gives you more probable results but it is still an exercise in probability between fixed limits."

I'm impressed you know what a bell curve is, even tough you don't seem to understand how it applies. If you looked at a curve that was based on how many inches a unit could move rolling 2d6 die you would see that the vast majority of the data points would be centered around 6,7 and 8 inches with 2 and 12 being outliers proving that the movement distance would be not random but predictable. The outliers representing the odd event that happens in real life.

"Yes and I pointed that out in the report of scenario run under CoC rules. Actual dice rolls and the limitations that the die rolls produced, in what the player could do with troops they had under their command. Sorry its just not realistic, if you have troops there you expect them to participate (yes we all know the story of Gen Cota, rallying pinned down troops and getting them to advance but I put it to you that that was leadership, not a random event). So die rolls for units to activate, simply not realistic it also takes away the advantage that the Allies had, superior numbers."

I'm not sure what to say about this paragraph. It boggles the mind that you think troops will always do what the leader will wants them to do when he wants them to do it and that they might be hesitant or have other ideas is unrealistic. And then you give a perfect example of what CoC is designed to replicate, Leaders being the key getting the troops acting.

"And nothing like that was said, no opinion on how the rules worked (originally) just the facts on the differences between the two sets."

That's a major load of BS, all you've been doing this whole thread is your opinion on how the you think the rules work.

And then there is your ridicules scenario. Despite several posters pointing out how inappropriate it is as a test of how the rules work, some with humor, you still cling to it like a drowning man to a piece of drift wood.

Your scenario is analogous to drug company testing two similar drugs on cancer patients to see if they will work for hay fever sufferers.

VVV reply09 May 2018 9:25 p.m. PST

That's a major load of BS, all you've been doing this whole thread is your opinion on how the you think the rules work.

No.
Despite several posters pointing out how inappropriate it is as a test of how the rules work, some with humor

Indeed anyone can say the Moon is made of green cheese. They just have to justify the statement. So lets assume there is actually loads of infantry somewhere around, possibly drinking some tea but what we are seeing is the tanks fighting, would that make you happier?
And anyone who wants to run their own (better) scenario, they are welcome to do so as I have already mentioned. It just requires them to put some effort in.
You obviously haven't been around too many ploughed fields.

Yep done that as well, when out shooting. Group of us walking from drive to drive, crossing fields and barbed wire fences (sometimes getting stuck on the wire, so there is your 'friction). So you got it wrong, again.
It boggles the mind that you think troops will always do what the leader will wants them to do when he wants them to do it and that they might be hesitant or have other ideas is unrealistic.

Let me me clear (again), no they don't but they have to have a reason not to follow their orders. Walking down a road on a clear sunny day, not a problem. And adding in imaginary 'friction' as a basic part of the game is well, silly.
"(I think the rule was in WW2 it takes 5 Shermans to kill a Tiger and you can expect to lose 4 of them)"
No that is total BS. There is no evidence to support that.

As always, let Google be your friend. The truth is out there, if you look.

Northern Monkey10 May 2018 4:48 a.m. PST

May I ask a question here? (although getting involved in this discussion does seem to be a risky business).

Let's assume that you are correct VVV, and that friction is indeed just a silly myth. How would you improve Chain of Command in order to allow troops to "do their own thing" as you put it?

Also, in your experience on training exercises as a part time soldier, would you say that Clausewitz was wrong to highlight the effect of friction on military operations as, from what you suggest, it is just a silly myth?

Emilio10 May 2018 1:49 p.m. PST

Well, Zaloga in this article

link

says that the five Shermans for every one German tank is totally apocryphal.

And I would like to know how to improve Chain of Command too.

TacticalPainter0110 May 2018 2:19 p.m. PST

Nice link Emilio, I've read that one before but it counters several of VVV's points. Not only the Tiger v Sherman issue, but Zaloga's reference to the battle of Arracourt highlights the poor performance of the Panthers due to the relative inexperience of their crews. Talks much to the point that it's as much about the men behind the weapon as the weapon itself.

And anyone who wants to run their own (better) scenario, they are welcome to do so as I have already mentioned. It just requires them to put some effort in.

You've said this repeatedly and I've pointed you to the AARs on my blog. This is not a one off test, you will see there lengthy AARs of about twenty games of CoC, all in linked campaigns. It's not dice roll by dice roll (I don't aim to bore the reader to death), but it is phase by phase and you can follow how the activation dice impact the game. As Too Fat Lardies points out, it's about making good command decisions with what you have (back to my Backgammon analogy you so dislike) and sometimes things don't happen the way you wish (much like a game of BA, where all your opponents activation dice come out first…..from time to time, bad things happen).

VVV reply10 May 2018 2:54 p.m. PST

Let's assume that you are correct VVV, and that friction is indeed just a silly myth.

Lets get this right, friction for no reason is like the Emperors New Clothes. They are told that is simulating command and control, then everyone nods sagely and say that they are sure that it is an excellent idea.
If you see my earlier comment above I have already said how I would improve CoC, remove the activation dice. Then every unit you have, gets to do something every turn. Friction is there in Shock (p62). Better leaders still get to do more things (p18). You have to do something about still being able to generate Command Dice and Phase sequence rolls (p.25) but thats not a biggie. The biggie is do you allow one side to activate all their units, then the other (I don't like that method) or in a sequence.
would you say that Clausewitz was wrong to highlight the effect of friction on military operations as, from what you suggest, it is just a silly myth?

No I would say it is precisely as he said it, 'no plan survives contact with the enemy', he did not say 'no plan survives marching along a country lane'.
Now lets look at history and see the situations where armies got themselves into a mess with no enemy involved; the German advance in Poland, General Horrocks in the battle of Reichswald, self inflicted delays but the exception rather than the ruie but strategic problems rather than tactical. We are gaming that the troops are already there and fighting. Weapon jams more appropriate (esp in Japanese and Italian armies) but no rules I know do that, perhaps not considered important enough to be included (of course all rules have to balance realism with playabiliy, our perfect rules will come when we have holo figures, with a computer controlling all the background activity like ammunition supply.
One of the biggies that most rules seem to miss out on is the phenomenon of the 'empty battlefield' where units come under fire from an enemy you cannot see (and yes I have experienced that on exercises) fairly obvious really, you are moving, whilst the enemy is stationary in cover, they can see you and you cannot see them.
Well, Zaloga in this article

Yep that link was in the scenario notes I have referred to it earlier. It says that Steven does not know that he does not come from, but he thinks is apocryphal not that it is 'totally apocryphal'. But yes it is out there, it seems to have been a contemporary remark. Try reading the book 'Tank Men' I think its in there.
And for SLA Marshall, try reading this (BTW if your data is not correct, then your conclusions won't be either)
PDF link
Brennan's account also reinforces the contention of critics of Marshall's use of statistics, who conclude that Marshall was unscientific in his methodology and that his figures about the percentage of troops firing their weapons were either sloppy, fabricated, or simply guesswork.

I'm impressed you know what a bell curve is, even tough you don't seem to understand how it applies.

You should not be, its basic maths. These days of course there are lots of computer programs, that give you the percentage probability of an event involving a given number of dice and the numbers required. I use them to rough out if a mechanic is 'fair' or not but play testing is the final judge. But then I got my maths degree in 1984 and then went on to be a systems analyst, so you would expect me to know a little maths.
The bell curve in CoC for movement just the addition of up to three die rolls. As I mentioned earlier you could do the same by adding the results of three separate moves. The rule is (provided the die give even results, so I use Gamescience dice) the more dice you roll, the more the results will tend toward the average. There is even a formula which tells you the number of dice you have to roll (tends to be in the hundreds) to get a result which is statistically valid. In fact I thought that could be the reason for so many die rolls in CoC, to even out the results. Does not work of course because the die rolls are for different things, so you could get lucky for bringing your troops on the table and have lousy luck for shooting anything. Bad rolls in one event will not be evened out by better rolls in another.
I really liked your view earlier in the discussion that in CoC units would come on automatically after a certain number of turns or that it got easier as the game progressed. It was a shame it was not true. It is a mechanic used in other rules, so that units are not prevented from coming on the table at all.
You've said this repeatedly and I've pointed you to the AARs on my blog.

Well spotted. I have repeated it, repeatedly. But your AAR don't do it. What you need to do is report the activation die rolls so we can see the choices the die rolls allows. This is not about the game you played but rather about how each set of rules work. So then you need to play the same game through under Bolt Action, and compare how the two rules did it differently. (loved the pictures on your AAR BTW).
(back to my Backgammon analogy you so dislike)

Not dislike, its just wrong (so pointless), so I will give you a better one, chess. So you decide to improve your game of chess (which has two equal sides of course), you then add die rolls to decide which pieces you can move, if any at all. Now I agree it makes playing the game more difficult but I don't see any improvement in the way that you would have to think to play the game.

TacticalPainter0110 May 2018 5:36 p.m. PST

Not dislike, its just wrong (so pointless), so I will give you a better one, chess.

Neither wrong or pointless. I don't think you understand what I'm getting at. Backgammon is a game of skill, entirely driven by luck. A contradiction? No.

Each turn the player is limited purely to the action of two dice. The player cannot move all pieces in a turn, generally only two. This is a game of skill and tactics, where the roll of a dice determines the options available to you and the players makes choices based on those. As I said before, good Backgammon players are not lucky, they know how best to manage the circumstances that befall them. Backgammon has stood the test of time as a brilliantly balanced, tactical game about managing the circumstances that befall you.

CoC uses a very similar, but much more nuanced model. The premise being that each phase you will be faced with circumstances that you cannot always anticipate. How well you deal with those, where you place your units and leaders and how you plan for the unknown will do much to determine the outcome of the game. Good CoC players are not lucky, so the game is not determined solely on the random outcome of dice. CoC not only offers the result of five D6 to give you options, but you the gamer are a decision multiplier, because you can organise your units and leaders in ways that add additional options and possible uses of the activation dice. CoC is not about what you cannot do, so much as about how best to do all the things you want to do.

What is pointless is your chess comparison. Chess has no luck, just the simple mechanic that each player move one piece in each alternating turn. Adding dice rolls is to create a new game with a different mechanic. To what end? The gaming parallel with Backgammon is closer. Both CoC and Backgammon are tactical games of resource management in an unpredictable environment. Backgammon is abstract, where as CoC nuances its rules to reflect something more tangible that can be referenced in the real world.

The point is, what game mechanic can best reflect the uncertainties of a WWII battlefield?

I don't believe commanders were able to command with 100% success and I don't believe units responded with training manual precision at all times. How to reflect this in a game?

BA opts for the random draw of a dice from a bag, to allow one unit of choice to activate. That is a viable mechanic for unpredictable turns. That's fine, but then you ask, how well does that reflect command issues or tactical doctrine of the period? Units were trained to work in fire teams, as squads in platoons and draw on fire support – in other words in unison as combined arms teams. BA's version of this, with one unit at a time, in a random fashion doesn't quite work for me.

CoC opts for five dice, with options to use them individually or in a number of combinations. As was mentioned in an earlier post, this allows for squads and support weapons to work with each other in a coordinated fashion. Not always perfectly, not always like robots, but in a way that feels more akin to the training and tactical doctrine of the period.

And yet it's not just about command and control. Men perform like men, that is in different ways for different reasons. If I issue a command I cannot be certain how it will be performed. The unit may respond much quicker than I anticipated and I should be ready to exploit the sudden advantage, on the other hand they may show undue caution and move slowly (even down the road on a sunny day….man, there are nasty men with guns lurking around). I don't know this and so my leadership skills are put to the test.

In BA once activated a unit instantly responds in an entirely predictable way and sets off on the mission you have assigned it. In CoC the unit responds but I will have to keep an eye on their progress, I'm not 100% certain what will happen.

If you want to make a comparison using Chess and Backgammon, then its a choice between the methodical and predictable (Chess), or fluid and unpredictable (Backgammon). I know which version of WWII I would want to game.

TacticalPainter0110 May 2018 8:20 p.m. PST

Weapon jams more appropriate (esp in Japanese and Italian armies) but no rules I know do that, perhaps not considered important enough to be included (of course all rules have to balance realism with playabiliy, our perfect rules will come when we have holo figures, with a computer controlling all the background activity like ammunition supply.

I could name a few that do. Advanced Squad Leader includes a malfunction on a roll of double 6 (on an 11 or 12 for some weapons). That's one mechanic that's easy to play and unpredictable.

In CoC I'm happy to put this down to one of the reasons I can't activate at a particular moment. Clean, easy rule, but reflecting a real world event. I can't activate the MMG, perhaps that's because it's jammed? By abstracting it into the activation you have found a simple way to balance realism with playability. Several things may prevent the MMG from firing, rather than roll a dice for every single one, why not just have a simple mechanism that says, it can't be operated as planned right now? Jammed, no ammo, can't see the target properly, distracted by movement to the right…..we don't need an explanation, just a playable way of representing those type of events.

It requires a mental leap that you are not prepared to make. You are obsessed with the idea that CoC sets out to make a walk down the road some trial of luck. Would you prefer that before a unit moves it makes several 'task' die rolls, one to check if the order is understood, one to see if it knows the correct destination, one to see if there's anything that spooked them or make them cautious, one to see if there are any pot holes in the road.

One of the biggies that most rules seem to miss out on is the phenomenon of the 'empty battlefield' where units come under fire from an enemy you cannot see (and yes I have experienced that on exercises) fairly obvious really, you are moving, whilst the enemy is stationary in cover, they can see you and you cannot see them.

You need to not only read the CoC rulebook, you really need to play. The Jump Off Points in CoC do this incredibly well and for many are one of the greatest innovations that the Lardies have brought to this rule set. It's exactly why, as the defender, I choose to pass on my activation rolls. It's not that I can't deploy to the table, it's that I don't want to. I want to emerge and surprise the attacker, who only has a vague idea where I might be. It's exactly as you describe it above.

Northern Monkey10 May 2018 9:08 p.m. PST

"No plan survives contact with the enemy" was Von Moltke, not Clausewitz.

Clausewitz said the following (which seems to be relevant to walking down a country lane):

"Action in war is like movement in a resistant element. Just as the simplest and most natural of movements, walking, cannot easily be performed in water, so in war it is difficult for normal efforts to achieve even moderate results."

Now, are you, an ex Sergeant in the TA, right, or is Clausewitz correct? I'm intrigued as when I was trained they quoted Clausewitz a lot, but they never mentioned you.

VVV reply10 May 2018 10:39 p.m. PST

Clausewitz is right. You are not going to function as well; wearing the the clothes that you have been in for several days, eating lousy food (although in the British army it can be good, I recommend the cooking at Shorncliffe), sleeping on the ground and no TV. Compared to living in your nice comfortable house.
But thats simple, you take being a soldier as the baseline for your soldiers, not living in a comfy house.

The Jump Off Points in CoC do this incredibly well and for many are one of the greatest innovations that the Lardies have brought to this rule set

Sorry I don't rate them either, simply moving on the table should do the same.
I could name a few that do. Advanced Squad Leader includes a malfunction on a roll of double 6 (on an 11 or 12 for some weapons). That's one mechanic that's easy to play and unpredictable.

I am sure it is. But is it really relevant (does it really make a difference to real battles). Yes a rule writer can all sorts of stuff. I work the other way round, take out as much stuff as I can.
Clean, easy rule, but reflecting a real world event.

You appreciate that I don't agree (primarily because it is making occasional events a general rule). And the problem I see with activation rolls (as pointed out) is that a player with a superior number of units, cannot take advantage of that because what they can do is limited by dice rolls.

Northern Monkey10 May 2018 10:49 p.m. PST

Sorry, I'm slightly confused here. Clausewitz is correct about friction, but equally incorrect as it doesn't actually affect troop performance in reality. What's more, friction equates to not having a TV.

This thread gets funnier and funnier.

VVV reply10 May 2018 11:02 p.m. PST

Whats unclear. that soldiers don't perform to the same level as someone who is rested and well fed. Thats easy (as said) you just define, soldier as the baseline of your activity. So soldier is your 100% level, from there it can go down of course.

Northern Monkey11 May 2018 12:55 a.m. PST

But you are suggesting that soldiers operate at a predictable, constant and consistent level in all circumstances. Their movement rates never vary, even in combat. Does that not strike you as absurd?

What about the point made that variable movement represents the reaction speed of your opponent. So how far you move represents how far you get across the field before they open fire. As an experienced NCO, albeit one who hasn't been in combat, surely that makes sense to you?

VVV reply11 May 2018 1:26 a.m. PST

But you are suggesting that soldiers operate at a predictable, constant and consistent level in all circumstances.

Nice of you to put forward what you think I am saying, I generally write myself what I am saying and in this case I am saying that limiting what your units can do on the table each and every move, is silly. Its saying that something is going wrong all the time (cart before horse).
Rolling die for movement, yep waste of time. Just take an average movement and that will do the trick. Of course if you like rolling dice, then thats one of the things you can roll a dice for, so if it floats your boat go for it. Now thats for the 'moving down an open road on a clear sunny day' (basic unmodified move). Combat then you might get some friction; being shot at, mines etc. But those are events, generally you can plod along. Oh and before you go off on another one, your plodding along is keeping an eye out for the 'enemy' and generally expecting trouble. You can speed up if it is safe to do so or indeed if you want to run between points. But most rules have different move rates in them. Mine also cover bicycles and horses :)
You raise a good point, how you allow for the enemy reacting to what your troops are doing and the answer is opportunity or over-watch fire. Yes we are playing games, trying (in some cases) to simulate warfare, so as I said earlier, you write rules to cover it. You can put in everything you can think of or keep the rules tight and only the stuff that you think is really important.
And I did get shot at once for real. Visiting South Africa under the old regime as a guest of the Bureau of State Security, they were taking me round the battlefields of the Zulu and Boer wars. We were machine gunned but there were some nice rocks to hide behind, I was not armed but my guides were. I was also invited to go hunting terrorists, but (thankfully) it was deemed not appropriate. Also had a visit to China (TacticalPainters report of visiting the Peoples Military museum brought back old memories) as a 'military observation group'. No problems in China.
Neither wrong or pointless.

Its an interesting way to think, one that I don't share obviously. I have explained precisely why it is wrong and pointless, so I will leave that one there.
Yes I would expect Backgammon to involve rolling dice. Now how about this (to make it more like CoC), you roll a die to see if you can roll any dice when it comes your turn to play. You don't get the right dice, then you forgo your turn. Do you think that would improve backgammon?

David Brown11 May 2018 11:39 a.m. PST

VVV,

"how you allow for the enemy reacting to what your troops are doing and the answer is opportunity or over-watch fire.

After reading through all 96 replies, many of dubious politeness, if that's the pinnacle of your WW2 wargame rules design….I'm rather disappointed to say the least.

DB

Wolfhag11 May 2018 3:54 p.m. PST

DB,
I've read through all of them too. Personally, I think they are discussing the differences between "design for cause" and "design for effect".

Design for Cause: When a game's design has players follow all of the logical steps and procedures (detail) to obtain an outcome; when players experience a methodology and must consider its many facets.

Design for Effect: When a game abstracts complex procedures for simplicity's sake so that the players can get straight to the "boom."

I view it as taking a train ride. "design for cause" allows you to take your time and enjoy the scenery and wildlife. "Design for effect" is all about getting to the destination as soon as possible.

VVV Reply seems to like "design for cause". His opponents seem to be in the "design for effect" camp.

I'm with VVV Reply for small 1:1 scenarios with game turns of 15-30 seconds as at that level I like to see what exactly "caused" the delay, SNAFU, jam, etc. However, in a platoon or company game with 1-2+ minute turns it's not really feasible to recreate that level of detail.

Regarding VVV Replys comment about overwatch and opportunity fire; I could not agree more if he's pursuing the "design for cause" system. He nailed it. At a 1:1 level all units should be considered "active" at all times and have the ability to react to enemy threats. I do it the same way with a minimum of abstraction and a maximum of detail of what I think is important (not detail for EVERYTHING).

I use a turn timing mechanism with delays caused by C&C breakdowns, poor tactical situations (overwatch), fog of war, troop training, equipment performance and some small randomness determining initiative and the OODA Loop. I can get what "caused" the poor reaction with a minimum of abstraction in a 1:1 vehicle and team/squad level game. However, I would not use it if the stands represented platoons as I'd use "design for effect".

You can have it both ways.

Wolfhag

Northern Monkey11 May 2018 6:34 p.m. PST

I have to say, Wolfhag, that I don't see it like that at all. It seems to me to be much more simple than that, being a case of whether the gamer should have 100% control of his force all of the time or not. Whether troops robotically respond to their leader's every wish, or whether command and control in battle is a challenge.

I find it very odd that this discussion is happening at all as it seems entirely obvious to me that the latter is the case, based on the training I received which warned us and prepared us for the challenges of Command in actual war (as opposed to the theoretical exercise), from personal experience and on simply reading first had accounts which consistently highlight the chaotic nature of conflict at the sharp end right across history.

However, I was never invited to go "terrorist hunting" by the deeply unpleasant people at BOSS, which must surely change your perspective on the world.

jdginaz11 May 2018 6:56 p.m. PST

Jdginaz-"That's a major load of BS, all you've been doing this whole thread is your opinion on how the you think the rules work."

vvv reply-"No."

You can say no all you want but the facts are there.

"Indeed anyone can say the Moon is made of green cheese."

You should know. Nobody is better at it than you.

"Let me me clear (again), no they don't but they have to have a reason not to follow their orders. Walking down a road on a clear sunny day, not a problem."

I would think that self-preservation and fear would provide sufficient reason. Sunny or cloudy walking down a road in the battle zone where you can be shot at any moment is a problem. I've watched videos of troops in Iraq & Afghanistan where patrols are moving down a road and their NCOs have to prod them to move up/keep moving from time to time.

"If you see my earlier comment above I have already said how I would improve CoC, remove the activation dice. Then every unit you have, gets to do something every turn. Friction is there in Shock (p62)."

That statement show how little you understand the concepts in CoC. Removing the command dice would in fact remove much of the friction. Shock is more about stress on the troops.


" It says that Steven does not know that he does not come from, but he thinks is apocryphal not that it is 'totally apocryphal'."

Actually he total does say that, "No, that whole business about five Shermans for every one German tank, I don't really know where that comes from, that seems to be totally apocryphal."
TacticalPainter01-"The Jump Off Points in CoC do this incredibly well and for many are one of the greatest innovations that the Lardies have brought to this rule set"

Vvv reply-"Sorry I don't rate them either, simply moving on the table should do the same."

Which goes to show that you can't know the rules just by reading them, they need to be played. If you had played the rules you would understand that just moving on the table doesn't do the same thing as the jump off points.

"And the problem I see with activation rolls (as pointed out) is that a player with a superior number of units, cannot take advantage of that because what they can do is limited by dice rolls."

Ah, yes you can you just need to use your Senior Leaders well.

" Just take an average movement and that will do the trick."

So, giving all troops an average movement rate is better than rolling die, ignoring that fact there being an average is because all troops don't in fact move at the same rate? That's just lazy rule writing.

BTY out of curiosity how well are/did your rules sell? I'm curious because I had never heard of them before.

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