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Subject: Optional rules rss

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Alvaro Diaz-Arce
Spain
Sopela
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Which optional rules bunch do you think helps the game without imbalancing or crippling it?

Oil rules are quite cumbersome and several people doesn't use it or use a simplified version. The no-ZOC on surprise is pro-Axis and is a 'no-no' by some yet other groups use it.

I'd like to have a list of which optionals should be used to 'improve the feel' of a grand strategy and which ones avoid.

Thanks all
 
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Bruce Jurin
United States
Great Neck
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I don't think any optional rules 'imbalance or cripple' the game. We often have people asking what is a 'good' optional or 'bad' optional'.

I tend to view that optionals are rules intended for you to tailor the game in some way that is more to your liking. In general playing with fewer of them simplifies the game and more adds to time and complexity.

Some optionals clearly help one side or the other - so use them if, in your games, you are having trouble with balance.

Your gaming experience won't be hugely different if you play with or without most options, like 'limited supply across straights', or ‘flying boats’, or fighter bombers.

But there are a few optionals that REALLY change the game and you should be aware that they do indeed change the experience.

I'm sure I'm going to forget some of them (I always do) but here are some of the really key optionals:

Planes in Flames - Playing with Planes in Flames changes the game quite a lot since if you use classic planes only you will almost always build them all out and the air war is then dominated by the size of the force pool. With Planes and Flames you get into fighter/production wars and achieving air superiority can be harder

Ships in Flames - Changing the 5/10 convoys to allowing any denomination has a very large impact on the convoy war. Again, a large availability of ships can also matter. In particular the extra transports and amphibs have a very major impact on the game.

Offensive chits - these have a huge impact on the game since they allow breaking a logjam by blowing holes in the other player’s lines. They also have a lot of other impacts like super-combined impulses (especially for the US).

Oil – Oil can change the game – WHICH oil rule doesn’t matter as much but playing with oil and without oil can change things quite a lot. With oil, Germany must protect Rumania, etc.

Light Cruisers in Flames – this is a very pro-Allied kit. Many people will combine it with German Surface raiders (a very pro-German rule)

Divisions – Divisions allow breakdown of corps into divisions, and allow a third unit to stack. They have a profound impact especially on invasions and in taking –soak-off losses.

Amphibs –I highly recommend using amphibs, they dramatically limit invasion capabilities. Without amphibs substantial sea-lift can be accomplished

No ZOC’s on surprise – Allows the Germans to blitz through the low countries. Forces the USSR to use a backward defense. Pro-German.

Limited Overseas Supply – beginners may not appreciate that this rule totally changes the game. Forces a continuous convoy line to stay in supply so overseas invasions (and keeping the invaded territory) is much harder. LOS forces players to leave convoys in the 0 box and the naval war can be dominated by sniping at the convoys.

2 d 10 combat table – maybe not a huge strategic difference, the 2D 10 places more emphasis on modifiers and less on straight odds. Losses in some ways are bloodier.

Honorable Mention:

Bounce combat – this subtle rule allows the stronger side to get air superiority quicker. A very popular rule, without it may be too easy to break off from air combat

In the Presence of enemy – A subtle rule that can slow down raiding especially against Japan and can force fierce fights over staying in sea boxes

Siberians and Guard Banner armies – Adds punch for the Soviets

Other very commonly used optionals (even by relative beginners)

Partisans – usually viewed as a ‘nice’ mechanic

Emergency HQ supply – Can get you out of a jam! Strongly recommended if you play limited overseas supply. Otherwise simply sniping a convoy may be too powerful

Compulsory Japanese-Soviet Peace – Gives players a bit of a respite is something really goes wrong there

Pilots

I’m sure there will be many other opinions here. Some people swear by Factories in Flames, personally I like Leaders in Flames but very few other major players do. Of course, peopel who love 'en route interception' absolutely insist on it! And so on ......
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Ryan Witmer
United States
Burien
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We've picked out the following rules for our next game. Note that I've never played with any of the options, but these seem the most interesting to me:

Partisans: These seem too cool to not use, and I particularly like the idea of the CW having to deal with Indian freedom fighters.

Offensive chits: I guess these are pretty standard. Expensive, but I like the idea of the extra punch when needed.

Carpet bombing: Not sure how much of an impact this will have, on the other hand we'll be combining it with...

Atomic bombs: They don't show up until 1945, but they look too awesome to ignore.

City based volunteers: I don't think this will have a huge impact, but hey, SS Paris!

Heavy weapons units: These will provide some more interesting late game build options.

Kamikazes: I doubt these will see use, but we're throwing them in there.

America in Flames/Patton in Flames units: Mostly air cavalry, heavies, and the para-armor corps. We might use Walther subs too.

America in Flames map: Probably no real game impact, but a lot easier to manipulate US units.

We're going to give most of these rules a test run by playing the America in Flames campaign with them in place. Should be interesting.
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Joseph Moore
Canada
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A lot depends on what kind of a game you want. WIF lets you play historically unrealistic games in the interest of permitting either side a relatively balanced opportunity to win. The ridiculous capabilities of Italy are probably the biggest example of this aspect. This does, however, make sessions fun, especially in multi-player games where someone gets stuck playing a lesser power like Italy.

The alternative approach looks to use modules and rules that make the game more historically accurate, and players try to achieve better results than their side or nation did in the actual war. This is the approach preferred by most of us who primarily play solitaire.

While certainly specific rules, such as Guards Banner Armies, Heavy Weapons Units, warlords, etc, etc, can help a weaker player against a more experienced one, my general opinion is that the biggest differences occur as a result of what modules are used. And in that regard, the more modules you incorporate in your game, the more historically accurate it becomes, and the more unbalanced it becomes in favour of the allies. WW II was not a fair fight. The only countries that were ever conquered by the Axis were minor powers (yes, and except for the numerical size of its army, France fell into that category too). There have been a few good recent histories that dispel the myth of a battered and beleaguered Commonwealth holding on by the skin of its teeth until the US entered the war. The UK and its empire was an economic powerhouse in its own right, certainly not as robust as the USA, but more diverse and sustainable than the notoriously inefficient Nazi attempt at a Euro autarky. The Germans were pretty damn good at making war, but they had a whole year to defeat British arms alone and they never came close even with the help of the Italians.

Enough digression. In short, if you use PIF, SIF, Convoys in Flames, Cruisers in Flames, and CV Planes in Flames, you get a much better (and pro-allied) simulation of the war, but a much less balanced game. They also make the game sessions way more protracted.

Anyway you slice it, WIF is an enduring classic that lets you cherry pick your preferences.
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Jesper Noget
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I am on my second global game and we have in both my games played with tons of optionals.

Some I like, some I don't.

Limited overseas supply is changing the game and it makes it harder for the axis attacking North Africa and Japan also needs to be more careful. But it is really fun and adds a lot to the game.

If playing with cruisers in flames, then do not use the double damage optional. It is way too damaging, but do play with german AUX. The german AUX and cruisers in flames should go hand in hand. We have a current game without cruisers in flames but with german AUX and that is hard for the CW.

Guard Banner armies and CBV should also go hand in hand, so if including one then the other comes along.

Bounce combat can be devastating but it adds some risk to air combat and makes it more unpredictable which is good.

Kamikaze is FUN! I am playing Japan and we are at J/F 43. I have all ready blasted 3 CVP as kamikaze and there are more in hand for the US player. So the rationale is that the US CVP get better then the Japanese but the Japanese can expend them and ensure that if you get just two CVP through the aircover and flak then they are going to HURT the american TRS/AMPH/CV.
IRL one in nine kamikaze airplane hit a ship. So they did hurt the american navy in the pacific.

Warlords help the chinese and are a good option.

I have only played with divisions.
Same goes with pilots.
Both options are good and adds counters to the board, which is good.

Only ever played with RAW7 oil.

Some comments from a newbie.

Yours,

Jesper
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Alvaro Diaz-Arce
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Sopela
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Breunor wrote:
I don't think any optional rules 'imbalance or cripple' the game. We often have people asking what is a 'good' optional or 'bad' optional'.


I like more the Good/Bad Optional system. I'd like to create a list of "Recommended" optional rules. Like Offensive Chits, Partisans or 2d10 CRT.

Everyone likes Divisions, I concur they are useful for taking losses. But I find them to be out of the scope of a grand strategy game.

Thank you for your replies, I want to hear from you all!
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Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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Kucarain wrote:


Everyone likes Divisions, I concur they are useful for taking losses. But I find them to be out of the scope of a grand strategy game.


Also useful for invasions. Quite a few groups use divisions, but ALSO use a house-rule that the first loss must be a corps (perhaps with an exception for engineers).
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