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Thunder at the Crossroads (second edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Doubt on Orders mechanics rss

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Fran Guasch

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I played (4 or 5 friends) this game 20 years ago, and we had no problems around the mechanic of the order system. Tho Recently I tried play with another people, and the vagueness of the system was a problem.

I believe game is flexible enough to allow a nice game, but some people needs very strict an exact rules to enjoy the game.


1.- It is clearly stated in game than COMPLEX orders are required to ATTACK.

I understand ATTACK means MOVE into the enemy positions. Just FIRE to the enemy is not ATTACK.

2.- Lets say a unit is ordered to DEFEND a position with a SIMPLE order.

I understand you can move your units freely, even advance (lets say to range 1) to fire closer to the enemy, or advancing a few meters (lets say a couple hexes) the exact defensive area but not ASSAULT the enemy position. However, I understand you could ASSAULT the enemy to recover the lost position.

HOWEVER... If same unit arrives to the area and it is yet occupied by the enemy, then... unit CAN NOT ASSAULT the enemy, although it can close to the areas as much as possible to defend the (now lost) position a few meters back. Once position lost, I understand you can decide to form your new defensive line 2 or 3 hexes back, not a must to close range.

3.- Lets say a unit has an order to occupy some position, attack or just move to it, with a COMPLEX order.

I understand, you dont need to move 100% of your movement allowance to exactly do it as a mad every turn.

For example change to line in front of the enemy as quick as units arrive or delay a bit some of the brigades in column mode, hidden in the woods for a few minuts, then next turn sprint (i.e. column mode, road, whatever) to get a few meters farther.

For example avoid put your units in range, wait to start your attack when all the brigades are yet ready in line mode, or just avoid an assault for a few rounds, in order to repel the enemy just by sheer "long" range Firepower (So just FIRE range 1 or 2 instead of close combat).

***
What is the way it should be? Comments?

Extract from rules 3.2
""Simple Orders will be less frequently used. Simple orders are designed to allow troops to be shifted from one position to
another within friendly lines, etc. Arriving reinforcements, for example, often are ordered simply to report to the army HQ.
Assigning these units a position in a defensive line, so as to shift other troops elsewhere, is a simple order. The key questions
to ask here are: 1. Is the end-point of the route still in friendly hands, and 2. Does the route specified involve conflict? An order
directing a command to move between friendly controlled points, but specifying a route that is blocked by enemy forces, requires
a complex order, not a simple order.

As a rule of thumb, a simple order that has its instructions negated by enemy activity is considered unfulfillable and new orders must be issued. For example, suppose the Federal player controls Little Round Top— hereafter LRT—Cemetery Hill, and the Taneytown Road between those two points.

The Union player orders some troops off LRT and moves another force south along the road to occupy LRT instead. Suddenly, the CSA player captures LRT—which was just left vacant—and the Union force moving south along the Taneytown Road cannot finish its original simple order without attacking to recapture LRT. The current order cannot be completed. New orders or initiative must be used in order to allow an attack on LRT. Note that simple orders do not completely prohibit combat—if the above force had been able to occupy LRT without contest, but then was attacked, there would be no problem in fulfilling the
order as written. As a quick rule of thumb, simple orders prohibit offensive not defensive combat.

No Orders is a condition rather than a positive order. Troops without any orders should be considered to be defending in place. Forces without orders are still allowed considerable latitude in order to fight off attacks. Implied in this condition is the ability to counterattack on a limited scale, which is why the rules state that units do not need orders to move and fight. It is fully within the scope of the rules to allow units, once attacked, to counterattack to
recapture lost ground. Of course, units under orders (complex or simple) in this situation are still obligated to try to fulfill
(or alter) previous instructions. The mere act of being assaulted while under orders does not automatically void existing commands.
Once attacked, however, units without orders should be free to move and fight without restriction up to the limits of command radius. Of course, any action which calls for the movement of the Corps HQ
must be triggered through orders or emergency corps retreat. In trying to decide if a given combat is legal in the current framework
of a unit’s orders, remember that a no -orders force cannot initiate attacks in the larger sense of that word. They can fire during “offensive” fire and conduct close combats. They can conduct counterattacks and other such limited offensive actions needed to defend their position."
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Tom Stearns
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You appear to have a good grasp of the "spirit" of the rules. CWB and RSS games need to be played with a certain type of person or group of people. There is certainly latitude in how to interpret and implement the order rules. There has to be a certain level of trust that your opponent will play by the "spirit" of the rules. It's definitely not for everyone. Not a game to play with rules lawyers for sure.
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Kyle Seely
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I believe ATTACK orders allow some latitude in determining how to conduct your attack on an enemy position. This means you can mass troops, make sure they're in the best formations, and otherwise tailor their movement to result in the most advantageous assault on the enemy position.

What you cannot do is use this latitude to dither around and AVOID attacking a position that circumstance may have dictated you no longer want to attack. So if you sit there with your guys making minute movements and formation changes turn after turn waiting for new orders to arrive instead of carrying out the assault, then your opponent will likely call bullshit.

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Roger Sjögren
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gohrns wrote:
You appear to have a good grasp of the "spirit" of the rules. CWB and RSS games need to be played with a certain type of person or group of people. There is certainly latitude in how to interpret and implement the order rules. There has to be a certain level of trust that your opponent will play by the "spirit" of the rules. It's definitely not for everyone. Not a game to play with rules lawyers for sure.

This is very true. When you start up with a new partner (exerienced or not) you will have to do a little syncing between you on how you play your units under different orders so you act the same under similair conditions (even though it will be a quick sync between experienced players).

If you just read the rules and play by what they actually allows you, you will find that they are full of holes and your games will be very unhistoric and "unfun".

If you enjoy exploring the order system and try to get your formations to behave in a historic fashion based on what orders they have then it can be a great experience.
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Chris Appel
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I had a similar curiosity about opposing units that are ordered (through pre-set historical orders, or those given by the player) to defend different sections of the same landmark (i.e. Unions troops are ordered to defend the northern half of Smith Road and confederate troops are ordered to defend the southern half).
Can those two groups commence in battle or are they restricted from even entering into range of one another because the orders are to defend?
 
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Roger Sjögren
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If they cross paths en route to their defend areas or they have been ordered to defend the same area and arrive at the same time they will stop and get "no order state".

They will not attack when under defend or no order. That is the guideline here is that it should not be possible for them at least to fire small arms at each other under these circumstances or someone probably have misunderstood something.

If you are under complex order when encountering obstacle they will try going through it but when under simple they will stop and wait for futher instructions and only actions by the formation that could be construed as defensive measures is allowed.
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Tom Stearns
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That is interesting because my experience is the opposite. I have found people with whom I regularly play war games who are of the mind set that that "playing" the game and the experience is more important than who wins. Through the use of Vassal and BGG I have greatly expanded my pool of opponents (and friends) beyond my immediate area. Almost to a man they are of similar makeup as I. We have great times playing the war games and who wins is secondary. Maybe you need to swim in my pool?...


Gunny1 wrote:
gohrns wrote:
You appear to have a good grasp of the "spirit" of the rules. CWB and RSS games need to be played with a certain type of person or group of people. There is certainly latitude in how to interpret and implement the order rules. There has to be a certain level of trust that your opponent will play by the "spirit" of the rules. It's definitely not for everyone. Not a game to play with rules lawyers for sure.


It is just as important to spend time understanding each players "intentions" as it is playing the game. I had a similar experience 20 some years ago (has it really been that long already?) that went well, but am hard pressed to duplicate it today. Seems what remains are hardcore, "win at all costs," types and all the fun players have moved on to bigger and better things...
 
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Bill Lawson
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gohrns wrote:
That is interesting because my experience is the opposite. I have found people with whom I regularly play war games who are of the mind set that that "playing" the game and the experience is more important than who wins. Through the use of Vassal and BGG I have greatly expanded my pool of opponents (and friends) beyond my immediate area. Almost to a man they are of similar makeup as I. We have great times playing the war games and who wins is secondary. Maybe you need to swim in my pool?...;


This has also been my experience Tom , with only a couple of exceptions. I don't play with those types again. shake
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Chris Appel
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Svarthand wrote:
If they cross paths en route to their defend areas or they have been ordered to defend the same area and arrive at the same time they will stop and get "no order state".

They will not attack when under defend or no order. That is the guideline here is that it should not be possible for them at least to fire small arms at each other under these circumstances or someone probably have misunderstood something.

If you are under complex order when encountering obstacle they will try going through it but when under simple they will stop and wait for futher instructions and only actions by the formation that could be construed as defensive measures is allowed.


Thanks, that's how we've been playing it. We figured neither could come within small arms range of each other as that could draw fire and therefore not be a defensive move. We realize that being in artillery range is a little different, but haven't been firing them either.
 
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