Daniel Berger
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So, Fury and I played our first game yesterday. While we liked the game overall, there were definitely some rough edges we felt needed smoothing out.

First and foremost, fortress supply. The ability to provide unlimited supply not only to its own area, but to each adjacent area, felt completely outlandish in the context of the game's otherwise tight foraging and supply rules and low counter density. This is especially true when you consider that even the largest cities could provide a maximum of 8 supply if the region is friendly.

Variant: A fortress provides +3 supply in the locale it's in, and +1 supply to each adjacent area.

This is still powerful, and provides some defense against partisans without being completely broken. This is how we played it and it worked well.

Second, fortress garrisons. There's some contradictory rules in the rulebook about this (28.4 and 28.5). The FAQ addresses it, but badly in our opinion.

Variant 1: Change 28.4 to say that a fortress is eliminated if it is not garrisoned at the end of the Campaign phase.

This allows you to temporarily leave the fortress without it going poof, so long as you get units back into the fortress at the end of the turn. Again, this is how we played it, and it worked fine.

Variant 2: Fortresses are not eliminated if ungarrisoned, but they do not count for control (for political points) if ungarrisoned. Simply orient the counter in the direction of the owning player to indicate which player owns the fortress.

We didn't try this but it keeps 28.5 intact. That said, I think it would necessitate the increase in cost from 5 to 8 or so for building a new fortress. Maybe they should be more expensive anyway.

Third, initiative. It is not always beneficial to go first, especially because of the way Partisans work, since you essentially kill partisans by building a counter-partisan. The mechanic is weird, but nevermind that for now.

Variant: The player that wins the initiative roll determines turn order.

A simple change that allows you to go second if you wish.

Fourth, combat and fleets. Those 3-strength fleets in coastal locations are just too powerful. These are long turns (1 year) and presumably each "battle" is really a series of campaigns. But, equally presumably, I don't think the defending force would sit in naval artillery range during the entire campaign.

Variant: Naval strength is only added in the first round of combat.

This still makes them useful for that initial round of an amphibious invasion, but limits their effect for longer battles.

Fifth, combat and retreat. Because of the way combat works, the player that wins the initiative will roll twice before the other player gets a chance to retreat. This is just too brutal, as whole armies are likely to be completely destroyed if one side gets an edge. It just didn't make sense in the context of the game, either historically or mechanically, especially given the low counter density.

Variant 1: After each round of combat the players, starting with the defender, have the option to retreat. If neither player retreats, then proceed with combat normally.

Variant 2: Withdrawal and Pursuit: Before the battle begins, an army with a leader may retreat before combat if there is at least one empty or friendly adjacent area. The procedure is similar to interception. You must spend a tactics chit and roll less than or equal to the leader's rating. If successful, retreat one space. The enemy force takes control of the locale just vacated. The enemy force may pursue, but only if they have a force with a leader, have enough movement to continue, spend a tactics chit of their own, and roll less than or equal to their leader's rating.

Sixth, partisans. We found the partisan rules to be quite strange. In short, there's no way to get rid of partisans except during mobilization, and then it's by placing a partisan of your own! The only exception is the optional Massacre rule, but for that to work you must win a battle in the area. If the enemy doesn't oblige by moving into that space, then there's no chance to massacre them. The problem, beyond the mechanical weirdness, is that partisans not only prevent your opponent from collecting political points in an area, they reduce the foraging level to zero, too! We felt this was overly brutal given the lack of ways to get rid of them. We really hadn't come up with a solution, but here's one possibility.

Variant: A player may activate a force for "suppression" (instead of movement) if it started in the same location as an enemy partisan. This requires the expenditure of one tactics chit (or the 'spare' tactics chit). Roll a die. If the die roll is less than or equal to the number of units (not strength), the partisan is removed. However, on a roll of "1", a massacre is considered to have occurred. Place a massacre marker there. The owner of the partisan unit that was destroyed gains campaign markers equal to the political value of the locale.

Seventh, Honors of War. We both read the rule and were confused. Neither of us could see any benefit to offering Honors of War the way the rules are currently written.

Variant: If the besieged player accepts Honors of War, the besieging player gains one campaign marker.

Well, that's it for now. Feedback welcome.
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Daniel Berger
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Mark Herman brought up a good point on CSW, and suggested what sounds like a good variant.

Variant: If there are no enemy forces in a region, and it's pro 1 or 2 on your side, receive half (rounded up) of the combined political value of any unoccupied locales. If it's pro 3, then receive the full value.

His rationale had to do with a quirk of the enlistment check rules. Because enlistment checks only happen if there are no enemy units in the region, it makes it more difficult to garrison (and thus receive the political points for) other locales in a friendly region! You're actually better off leaving one enemy unit in the region than attacking it.

I agree with his solution. This resolves some weirdness with Canada that the Brits experienced in our game, and seems like a good general solution.
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Adhika Widyaparaga
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djberg96 wrote:

Fifth, combat and retreat. Because of the way combat works, the player that wins the initiative will roll twice before the other player gets a chance to retreat. This is just too brutal, as whole armies are likely to be completely destroyed if one side gets an edge. It just didn't make sense in the context of the game, either historically or mechanically, especially given the low counter density.

An excellent list of variant rules. I'll adopt them in my next game.

I played a game with
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and we also found battles with the side winning the initiative causing the complete destruction of the opposing army without a single casualty of its own. One round of fire by a large army is apparently enough to totally obliterate an evenly sized army. This resulted in a lot of hesitation to attack.


So we juggled a few ideas we got from A Most Dangerous Time and tweaked with them a little:
- if the initiative difference is less than 2, fire and taking casualties is simultaneous for both armies.
- for initiative difference for 2-4, half the winning initiative army fires first. Remainder is simultaneous.
- for initiative difference larger than 4, the entire winning initiative army fires first.
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Daniel Berger
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Glad you like them!

adhikayev wrote:
So we juggled a few ideas we got from A Most Dangerous Time and tweaked with them a little:
- if the initiative difference is less than 2, fire and taking casualties is simultaneous for both armies.
- for initiative difference for 2-4, half the winning initiative army fires first. Remainder is simultaneous.
- for initiative difference larger than 4, the entire winning initiative army fires first.

I like this, though I might get rid of the half & half just to keep it simple and just say if it's 3 or higher, the higher side fires first, otherwise it's simultaneous.

EDIT: Though I do wonder if this would hurt the Americans more, as Washington will often have the initiative. Another option would be to re-roll every round.
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