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Subject: Step Loss Mechanics rss

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Andrew Kluck
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To show fatigue, casulties, disorder and the like wargames usually have some mechanic to keep track of it. I'm interested in different ways designers go about doing that in their games. The ones I'm familiar with so far are:

-Classic Chit Flipping sometimes with additional replacement counters for further reductions. Most Wargames published do it this way.

-Block Rotation found in your Columbia block games, Pax Baltica.

-Block Replacement strength is listed on the block, when reduced just grab another. Bowen Simmons designs are the only ones I know that do it this way.

-Strength recorded on a piece of paper Maria first comes to mind, but I think there are many other older examples.

-Miniature Base Rotation a units stats are listed on a disc with only a few of the numbers visible at any one time. As the figure gets hurt the disc is rotated. Hero Clix comes to mind and either there are more grognardy examples out there or there soon will be.

-Miniatures are removed or 'casualty caps' are used most miniature games, Tide of Iron.


That's all I can think of, but there must be more. If you know of something else please add it and if it's really strange would you explain how it works? This seems like old ground but I can't find this question asked in the archives, if it was would you link to it?
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Hunga Dunga
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La Batt and BAR use numerical chits that are placed underneath counters to track reduced strengths.
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Ground Pounder
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As does The Third World War, with its disruption markers.
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Peter Collins
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Frederick the Great: you stack troop strength chits under your leaders, adding and removing them through game play. I think you could have a maximum of 10 strength points (SP's) per leader. Numerous of the CDG's do a similar thing:

Sword of Rome
The Napoleonic Wars
etc.

Then you have The Struggle of Nations and its ilk, where unit strengths are kept track of on a separate OOB display.

EDIT:
In Titan (the Victory Valley Games version), you place blood droplet chits on your units as they take hits--the more hits, the darker red the chits are.

2nd EDIT:
Thanks, Enrico.
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I am also familiar with games that substitute counters with reduced capabilities (Squad Leader did this with their half-squads, and it was not really uncommon). But the most interesting version was used by a game dealing with the North African campaign during WW-II that was produced during the late 1960s that required you to keep track of unit strength on a separate piece of paper (it was not public knowledge but could be revealed by combat or certain forms of reconnaissance, like aerial recon) and as you wore out your unit due to supply, disorganization, and combat losses it reduced step-by-step. But not in block steps. You'd have a 10-point unit that became 9, then 8, then 7, etc. etc.

Mogadeet
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Andrew Kluck
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PeteyWA wrote:
Frederick the Great: you stack troop strength chits under your leaders, adding and removing them through game play. I think you could have a maximum of 10 strength points (SP's) per leader. Numerous of the CDG's do a similar thing:

Sword of Rome
The Napoleonic Wars
etc.

I suppose, but SPs are units in their own right as they can be left on the board without another formation so I figured that fell under the first example.
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Peter Collins
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Mogadeet wrote:
I am also familiar with games that substitute counters with reduced capabilities (Squad Leader did this with their half-squads, and it was not really uncommon). But the most interesting version was used by a game dealing with the North African campaign during WW-II that was produced during the late 1960s that required you to keep track of unit strength on a separate piece of paper (it was not public knowledge but could be revealed by combat or certain forms of reconnaissance, like aerial recon) and as you wore out your unit due to supply, disorganization, and combat losses it reduced step-by-step. But not in block steps. You'd have a 10-point unit that became 9, then 8, then 7, etc. etc.

Mogadeet


Sounds like Tobruk: Tank Battles in North Africa 1942. The fire strength of the units was also related to how many casualties there were. One of my favorite games growing up.
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Enrico Viglino
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PeteyWA wrote:

EDIT:
In Titan (the Victory Games version), you place blood droplet chits on your units as they take hits--the more hits, the darker red the chits are.


Valley Games, no?


This is the same basic concept as War at Sea/Victory in the Pacific.
Units aren't weakened, they just accumulate a certain number of hits.


Somewhat similar is the Friction Point system used in Fifth Corps
and the rest of its series - accumulated points have little effect, but
the unit just collapses at some moment.


There are also designs where units have subsystems which are individually
hit. Usually one-on-one vehicle engagements. The iconic example here would be Ogre.
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Alan Sutton
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Hungadunga wrote:
La Batt and BAR use numerical chits that are placed underneath counters to track reduced strengths.


So did the old GBACW games I have played. This method tends to get very fiddly. The strength markers double the size of all stacks as the game goes on.

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Enrico Viglino
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Moruya23 wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
La Batt and BAR use numerical chits that are placed underneath counters to track reduced strengths.


So did the old GBACW games I have played. This method tends to get very fiddly. The strength markers double the size of all stacks as the game goes on.



Luckily, in GBACW, you're usually not talking about big stacks of such units.

Still, in TSS at least, they could get painful, due to ammunition also
being tracked with number counters on the board.
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Andrew Kluck
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calandale wrote:

Somewhat similar is the Friction Point system used in Fifth Corps
and the rest of its series - accumulated points have little effect, but
the unit just collapses at some moment.
How does it work, does either player know how close a given unit is to breaking?
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Enrico Viglino
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Sitnam wrote:
calandale wrote:

Somewhat similar is the Friction Point system used in Fifth Corps
and the rest of its series - accumulated points have little effect, but
the unit just collapses at some moment.
How does it work, does either player know how close a given unit is to breaking?


I think it's open information. Each time you move, you take a hit.
You also get them off the CRT.

Might be interesting to have a secret damage draw that only one side was aware of.
 
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Michael Sommers
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Moruya23 wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
La Batt and BAR use numerical chits that are placed underneath counters to track reduced strengths.

So did the old GBACW games I have played. This method tends to get very fiddly. The strength markers double the size of all stacks as the game goes on.

Then there's GDW's Port Arthur, which uses the same markers to represent supplies and hits on units.
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Bill Lawson
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tms2 wrote:

Then there's GDW's Port Arthur, which uses the same markers to represent supplies and hits on units.


Pacific Fleet uses exactly the same kind of markers on ground combat units. They represent hits and supply.
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Bill Lawson
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Peso Pete wrote:
1914 used to have separate counters for step losses. I may be wrong, but I think it was the first wargame that had step losses.


I'm pretty sure Blitzkrieg did it first. 1914 was however the first game with back printed counters, although for FOW not step losses.
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Steve Arthur
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My prehistoric copy of Anzio has multiple counters for most of it's units..probably because the technology for back printing counters didn't exist back in 1969..

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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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A related mechanic, but perhaps not quite in the sense you mean, is used in Asia Engulfed. When a ship is damaged after combat, you roll a d6 to determine the extent of the damage. Then a "damaged unit" counter goes to the appropriate space on the build/repair track. On future turns it can be repaired and put back in service.

Simply: When it becomes damaged, take a step loss (it's a block game), but the damaged unit goes on a notional "track" and can be repaired.
 
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Bill Lawson
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Atraxrobustus wrote:

My prehistoric copy of Anzio has multiple counters for most of it's units..probably because the technology for back printing counters didn't exist back in 1969..



1914 was published in 1968.
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Roger Hobden
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Guadalcanal, published by Avalon Hill in 1966, was the first wargame with step-loss reduction, which was recorded on a paper sheet.

When the game came out, it was considered "very complex"…

Two year later, we were hammered with 1914 !
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Charles F.
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Sitnam wrote:

-Block Rotation found in your Columbia block games, Pax Baltica.


I have a game - The '45 - which does much the same, albeit with chits. To my mind, this makes for somewhat fussy gameplay. But it does of course give you the finer granularity 3-4 strength steps give you.

Much better to simply then go all the way and use blocks. Though that of course is not an option with tons of units in the game. But then you don't really need that finer measure in the first place.
 
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Enrico Viglino
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charlesf wrote:
Sitnam wrote:

-Block Rotation found in your Columbia block games, Pax Baltica.


I have a game - The '45 - which does much the same, albeit with chits. To my mind, this makes for somewhat fussy gameplay. But it does of course give you the finer granularity 3-4 strength steps give you.


Ugh - almost as bad as the RSS' rotating strength point counters.
I really dislike that kind of solution.
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Christian Sperling
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In Das Opiz'sche Kriegsspiel from 1806, the troop strength for each unit (battalion) is noted on a separate troop roster.

The units used in the game look similar to those in Napoleon's Triumph:

Now, if the strength is reduced to 50%, a collar made out of paper is put over the flag to indicate the reduced combat efficiency.
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Dan Nunuyerbiznez
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Hitler's War has armies (off-board) that have from 1 to 10 points, added by the player during reorganization, subtracted by losses during combat.

I was trying to work on a game that used color-coded 1D6 in trays as strength indicators (e.g., air-armor-infantry etc.), along the lines of HW, but with the accounting done on the board. Never seen it in published game.
 
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Mike Hoyt

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and the mention of flags reminds me of Red Storm Rising which has upright units that consist of two sides of cardboard folded over and placed into a plastic base. then casualties can be shown by inserting a flag into the crease with either one or two hits showing. The unit on the left has suffered two hits, the other units are undamaged.



Same system in The Hunt for Red October and A Line in the Sand: The Battle of Iraq
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Michael Sommers
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billyboy wrote:
Peso Pete wrote:
1914 used to have separate counters for step losses. I may be wrong, but I think it was the first wargame that had step losses.

I'm pretty sure Blitzkrieg did it first. 1914 was however the first game with back printed counters, although for FOW not step losses.

Blitzkrieg had replacement units to represent losses; if, for example, a strength 4 division took a loss, it was replaced by a strength 2 brigade and a strength 1 brigade.
 
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