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"Designers Notes" Topic

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UshCha18 Sep 2023 12:40 p.m. PST

Designers notes.

As a rule writer I have been against publishing these as they would be larger than the rules themselves and be of interest to only VERY dedicated rule writers.

As a case in point these are some notes made for recent discussions on how the rules should treat modern vehicles that require missiles to be loaded/reloaded externally i.e at least requiring a hatch to be opened and some manual intervention being required while the missile is reloaded externaly.

This is a VERY small part of the rules but the underlying principals take far longer to explain than the final result.QED

Here are the relevant notes, only folk with a passion for vehicles need read on.

Designers notes are not a practical thing to publish.

AFV's with ATGW requiring to be loaded externally.
Designers notes.

Some vehicles currently have been identified as essentially being reloadable from Under Armour but requiring a hatch to be opened as some manual intervention are as follows. BMP2, Bradley, Marder. The BMP1 with saggeer is perhaps an extreme example requiring more exposure but has been lumped in with this set.
This memorandum effectively covers vehicles that are reloaded in more than about 12 seconds (see reload definition)
The current rules assume that it takes a phase to reload (half a bound in more typical wargames terminology). Our rules say that the system cannot be re-loaded when suppressed. This may not be a sufficiently well-defined set of rules to reflect reality sufficiently well for the purposes of the game in the author's opinion so thought is needed as to what is appropriate.
So using the following benchmark rules are provided as guidance for timescales for this event.
• A vehicle can move along a per-determined route a distance of 320m including a 180 degree turn in a single Phase (Half a move). This involves the vehicle unbuttoning in the process. (Slow Transit in Maneouvre Group rules)
• An impromptu move from stop to stop is 50m taking 1 Phase.
• A vehicle may fire a high caliber gun 3 times in a Phase when reactions are included before a high penalty for additional firing is applied if further reactions are required. This is accepted as assuming approximately 7 to 12 seconds reloading time so overall about 30 to 40 seconds including sighting and firing the gun.
• Buttoning up or unbuttoning can be included as an addition to a Change Speed command (note error in rules omitted the asterisk from the Change speed command in Local Commands but it is already present in Global Commands. It is implicit in a Transit command.
The current Reload command stating a unit cannot reload while suppressed is not entirely all encompassing. The small arms fire on an element is assumed essentially instant so a vehicle hit by small arms fire is considered to be in the final state at the end of its Phase, so if a reload has taken place in its last phase it would be buttoned up again, by the end of it's Phase so the enemy phase of fire would be by definition ineffective.
The loading vehicle could be subject to reactive fire on the basis of spotting new enemy, as the state of the vehicle changes from buttoned up to at least partially unbuttoned. However if the enemy is not in Gaze mode the reaction fire would again be ineffective as the target would go from Buttoned up to unbuttoned and back to buttoned up.
It could be defined for the vehicle that it was unbuttoned for say ½ to ¾ of a phase but the into and out of sight penalty and the cover benefit of the re-loading vehicle make this an unattractive technique. Total negative of -10 to -14, at the level where fire is to be discouraged as it wastes valuable speed of play, with minimal return, so is not to be encouraged, so a definition would not be supplied by the authors so the rules as written could not be used to this end.
The application of continuous suppressive fire on the vehicle is by definition in our rules not effective against bunkers, pillboxes and unbuttoned AFV's so this is also not a solution.
So the key is that the vehicle should be vulnerable to small arms while reloading if it's visible or preferably the vehicle should withdraw to a safe place to reload.
Final Definition of the solution
The vehicle must be un-buttoned before it reloads. That means that the vehicle needs to use a Phase to un-button. However if the rules are amended/corrected (it was an error in publication) by adding an asterisk to the speed change in Local commands, it's there in the Global command to allow buttoning up/unbuttoning as part of a Local Command speed change, this allows the vehicle to withdraw in Halt Mode (back 50m), effectively out of sight in most cases, and unbutton and then in the next phase reload. The vehicle will be given a special drill allowing the reload to include returning the vehicle to buttoned-up status as part of the Reload Local command
This is consistent with Slow Transit and Transit, rules that allow/require unbuttoning as part of the action

Current rules set definitions
Suppressive fire

This represents speculative fire directed at likely buildings, hedgerows, hill crests etc. to keep the enemy infantry's head down, should he be present.
It is directed at a strip of terrain likely to hold enemy, 60m long by 20m deep by one contour high. Note: it is ineffective against Bunkers and Pillboxes or unbuttoned vehicles; these must always be attacked by direct fire.

Local Command.
Reload – This covers reloading of missiles, or other large projectile weapons that have significantly longer reload times than about 12 seconds.

Vehicles must be stationary and un-suppressed to reload manually. This also applies to any crew external to the vehicles that are conducting the reloading.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2023 5:20 p.m. PST

Designer's notes are not meant to be bloviating missives.

UshCha19 Sep 2023 1:23 a.m. PST

I had to look that one up. Now who is bloviating, not me. If you really want to understand how a game works and the detailed understanding of how an issue is resolved you need detail. Designers notes like "it really reflects the period" is as bout as usefull as a snowflake in hell.

If you want to understand how the system reflects the real world and equally the authors percived flaws/approximations in herant in any simulation you need the detail to assess it.

Words of Motherhood are not substanciation of anything.

Wolfhag19 Sep 2023 7:01 a.m. PST

Here is a short video of a Bradlry crew loading a TOW: link

But it is a lot more involved than that. Check the manual for all of the steps: PDF link


Personal logo Inari7 Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2023 7:17 a.m. PST

UshCha I love reading the Designers notes in a game sometimes I read them first before reading the rules. It let's me know where the designer is coming from. Also lets me know if he/she had any idea of what they are doing LOL

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2023 1:37 p.m. PST

Usually designer notes are along the lines of "I did it this way because short description" which is really useful

I would love to see the level of detail you have shown. Perhaps it should be on a website, rather than printed as part of the rules.


Zephyr119 Sep 2023 2:47 p.m. PST

Or just print it as a separate book…

Wolfhag20 Sep 2023 6:56 a.m. PST

If the designer notes tell you why, how, and what was left out and abstracted then you know what to do to make custom rules and die roll modifiers to improve his game <grin>


UshCha20 Sep 2023 9:37 a.m. PST

Wolfhag <grin>. Plus thanks for the link and the PDF they seem to confirm I have done about as good as the rules will allow. I am no lover of overcomplex games, (well I don't think Maneouvre Group is over co0mplex), but there again I am certainly no roll the die and Kill stuff type, as it does nothing for me.

Dave Crowell22 Sep 2023 6:06 a.m. PST

Phil Sabine's "Lost Battles" is a full book of designer's notes accompanied by a very short rule set.

Personally I enjoy reading designer's notes. I like the insights into the "why" of rules. For periods I enjoy digging into the "what" is also enjoyable.

UshCha's notes above would be right up my alley for a different period or subject. I don't game Moderns so they are wasted on me.

UshCha22 Sep 2023 8:29 a.m. PST

Dave Crowell, Thanks.

For those interested in the period, We found a better solution, tow Asterisks! :-). The other asterisk is in the Move to Position command. That is all that is needed. There are a few changes even to Issue two which is disappointing but Alex has agreed to update the SI FI rules based on MG an said he will issue an updated file for the Main rules, that means you will get an option to upload the revised version for free if you already have the base rules and are an an account holder.

However we are getting into interesting territory, where definitions are a key issue. Probably of zero interest to the "Throw dices and Kill stuff" brigade but it does begin to highlight the need for players to be interested in the real thing not just as toys on the table if you want to be a "serious" player.

It does beg the question should there be a "training manual" for the vehicle and it's weapon systems. Not so much how to use the vehicle in the rules as to how you would use the real vehicle. There is a bit in the original rules where we describe hull down, turret down and hide positions for AFV's and some basic advice on fighting in Built up area. Wasted of course on the infrequent players.

So not designers notes, but how to fight the real world vehicle/infantry . One thing many AFV's game lack is any definition on formations. In the real world manuals this takes up quite a space.

So to serous players only, who may be interested, is this a good idea or are you the type that has read books on the real world so understand the basics of real world tactics?

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