Mark Mokszycki
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Several of you are probably already aware of this change since you received an email from me including a multi-page doc summarizing the proposed revisions and requesting your feedback. The consensus was unanimous. Everyone felt that the German player would be better served with off-map artillery units.

I just spent the past 4 days implementing this fairly extensive change to the game whereby all German artillery units (not including mortars and infantry guns) are now handled as off-map units which do NOT track ammo. Instead they roll for turn of return, just like the Soviet big guns in Red Winter. The number of turns required increases on and after June 26th. Why two sets of values? Here's some text from the designer notes (subject to change):

12.3.2 German Artillery
Players may wonder why there are two ranges of values on the flip-sides of the German artillery units dictating when they become available to fire again. British air superiority made the movement of supplies to the front very difficult for the Germans. Ammo was becoming scarce as well as being diverted to resist the British Epsom offensive that kicked off on June 26. From that date onwards it becomes more difficult for the German player to commit his increasingly scarce artillery resources to the battles being gamed.


Why revise the rules at all? This seemingly small change will really streamline game play because it allows us to drop a host of associated rules: Nebelwerfers "shoot and scoot" (which was basically its own mini-movement phase), minimum range requirements for certain units, ammo tracking, Low/depeleted ammo markers, and several other rules/markers that can simply go away as a result of the change. Tracking which artillery units moved as opposed to fired is also no longer necessary. And the optional rule for counter-battery fire can now be greatly simplified.

One of the playtesters said it best in the following blurb she wrote for the designer notes (edited by me):

Quote:
While the game shows all the German non-mortar artillery units operating from off map, in reality some of them did operate somewhere within the area of the game map. Operation Dauntless uses an off-map system for all of them as a quick and simple way to reflect the effects of German artillery availability and ammo shortages, without resorting to markers, extra die rolls or bookkeeping. Historical sources are silent or unclear about the precise locations of some of these units during the battle. Also, playtesting showed the units had little to no chance of becoming involved in direct fire or assault situations. Migrating all these German units off-map allowed us to cut down on counter clutter and, more importantly, it allowed us to streamline the game


In all, we shaved about 2 pages from the written materials and freed up 4 counter spaces which will be better used as 4 more German Dug-In markers. More importantly, the game play is now faster and cleaner.

While it is admittedly late in the design and development process for this kind of change (I hope to hand in final versions of the rules and playbook by Jan or Feb), don't let it worry you! The same kinds of last minute changes occurred with Red Winter mere months before pushing it out the door. It's part of the natural culling process that makes for better games.

Here's a sample of the new playtest counters for the affected German artillery units: towed 105mm, SP 105mm "Wespe", SP 152mm "Hummel, towed 152mm (captured Russian artillery), and Nebelwerfer rocket artillery.



As you can see, these units now have only a Ranged Attack Strength. The infinity symbol indicates that they are within range of every hex on the map (formerly their ranges were 17-28 hexes). It's an abstraction in the interest of decluttering the map, reducing bookkeeping, removing the need to count hexes (for the ranges), and dropping a host of associated rules.

Here's a sample of some of the backs:



In general, 105mm guns will get to fire more frequently than the 152mm guns or (especially) the rockets. I reasoned that the 105mm units were more common and should have more ammo available, comparatively speaking. These are also the least effective units, with RAS values ranging from 5 (towed) to 6 (SP 105mm Wespen). Red Winter players will note that units with a RAS of 5-6 still pack a decent punch.

Once again, this is all playtesting artwork - not final versions! Charlie Kibler will be doing the final versions in the near future.

I'm happy to share more info + pictures regarding to the German artillery revisions if anyone is concerned or interested.

Thanks for looking!
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Awesome! Thanks for letting us fans in on the process.

I am 100% behind anything that is consistent with the style and gameplay of Red Winter.
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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzy┼╝ Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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asmodeos wrote:
Awesome! Thanks for letting us fans in on the process.

I am 100% behind anything that is consistent with the style and gameplay of Red Winter.

It is, and it's shaping up to be another spectacular title in the series.
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Mark Mokszycki
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. fyi, the newly simplified counter-battery fire rules are now posted here for your review:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1052560/revised-counter-batt...

 
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