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Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe» Forums » Variants

Subject: House Rules: Alternate Victory Conditions rss

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Jonathan Yedidia
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Timo Kellomaki and I began discussing house rules for alternate victory conditions, primarily for the main campaign, at this thread:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1280865/aftermath-main-e...
which was originally about a session report. Sal Vasta suggested we start a new thread summarizing our thoughts, and continuing the discussion here, so I'm doing that. My latest suggested house rules for the main campaign would be as follows (these are a modification of Timo's "Victory Point" rules, which he has still not endorsed):

1. If the the Axis ever ends a turn having conquered France and either the Moscow treaty is in effect or the UK has collapsed, they achieve "Axis High Tide."

2. Starting 13 months after the USA enters the war (e.g. Jan 43 historically), the USSR cannot collapse.

3. The game is continued until Germany is conquered. When Germany is conquered, the Axis is awarded 8 Victory Points if High Tide was achieved.

4. The month during which the conquest of Germany occurred is compared with the month the end-of-scenario counter is on (it's never removed). The Allies are awarded 2 victory points for each month earlier than end-of-scenario that the conquest occurred (how many months they've shortened the war). The Axis are awarded 1 VP for each month they have extended the war.

5. The winner is the one with the most victory points. Players should play to maximize their VP advantage; e.g. the winner receives a pay-out from the loser in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate.

One goal of these rules is to give the Axis player more incentive to achieve a collapse of the USSR (or UK), while still enabling the Allies to make a come-back if that happens, and still enabling the Axis player to win if he fails in that goal. Another goal is to keep games from being abandoned before the conquest of Germany. A third goal is to prevent late collapses of the USSR (e.g. in 1943) because it is involved in a slugfest when Stalin would not have surrendered just because he lost some men. A fourth goal is to keep interesting games from being abandoned just because the game outcome is obvious. A fifth goal is to put more tension in a critical part of the war around the time of the Battle of Stalingrad, to give the Axis player a kind of timer by which he must achieve the collapse of the USSR. A sixth goal is to achieve a kind of automatic self-balancing mechanism: if players believe that one side or the other is favored according to these rules, they can bid ahead of time for the two sides using victory points, and automatically get a balanced game.

I also previously made some suggestions for similar house rules involving the A-bomb, but I currently prefer the rules above. I will put my A-bomb rules in a separate post.
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Jonathan Yedidia
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The following are my "A-bomb" rules. They have more flavor than the Victory Point rules, but games can end suddenly because of a die roll. Still, some players may prefer them.

1. If the the Axis ever ends a turn having conquered France and either the Moscow treaty is in effect or the UK has collapsed, they achieve "Axis High Tide."

2. Starting 13 months after the USA enters the war (e.g. Jan 43 historically), the USSR can no longer collapse.

3. There are 5 levels of game victory: Axis Total Victory, Axis Victory, Draw, Allied Victory, and Allied Total Victory. From the Axis point of view, you can think of these as +2, +1, 0, -1, or -2 points.

4. The war is continued until Germany is conquered or either the Allies or Axis obtain the A-bomb. If Germany is conquered on or before the turn when the end scenario marker is removed (July 45 if things go historically), it is considered an "early conquest." If Germany is conquered on or before 7 turns before the end scenario marker is removed (December 44 historically), it is considered a "Christmas conquest" ("the boys are home for Christmas").

5. If Germany is not conquered in the turn when the scenario end marker is removed, at that end of turn phase, a die roll using a 10-sided die is made for A-Bomb development. On a die roll of 1 or 2, the "early war winner" (Axis if it achieved High Tide, Allies otherwise) obtains the A-bomb. On a die roll of 3, the early war loser obtains the A-bomb. On a die roll of 4-10, the game continues. If the A-bomb is obtained, the game ends immediately; otherwise the same procedure is followed on each subsequent turn until either Germany is conquered (a "Late Conquest") or the A-bomb is obtained by one of the sides.

6. Victory conditions for the game are as follows:
No High Tide, Christmas Conquest: Allied Total Victory
No High Tide, Early Conquest: Allied Victory
No High Tide, Late Conquest or Allied A-bomb: Draw
No High Tide, Axis A-bomb: Axis Victory
High Tide, Christmas Conquest: Allied Victory
High Tide, Early Conquest: Draw
High Tide, Late Conquest or Allied A-bomb: Axis Victory
High Tide, Axis A-bomb: Axis Total Victory
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Jonathan Yedidia
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One advantage of these house rules is that they suggest new scenarios for the early or middle part of the war. For example, one can play from September 39 until December 42, with the victory condition that the Axis wins if it achieves High Tide, and the Allies win otherwise.
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Jonathan Yedidia
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In the other thread, Sal Vasta wrote:
svasta wrote:
jed2000 wrote:

Hopefully we're coming to a consensus. You haven't commented on the rule that Soviets can no longer collapse starting 13 months after US entry.


FYI, the USE design team is considering errata that states the USSR cannot collapse starting in 1943. We are also discussing other changes in relation to USSR collapse. Whether they become official or not has not yet to be decided, but I believe we are close.
...
Sal


Thanks Sal, as you see, I took you up on your suggestion about moving the discussion.

I'm curious, when you say "1943," do you mean the hard-coded date 1943, or 13 months after US entry? I originally proposed 1943 in the other thread, but Mycroft suggested tying it to US entry, and I now think the 13 month option would be better. But perhaps you have some reason to prefer a hard-coded date.
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Timo Kellomäki
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For this overlong post, I'm mixing quotes from several previous messages. Sorry if that's confusing.

jed2000 wrote:
Timo, that's impressive work on the plot.
the case of Christmas conquest with HT is incorrect


Thanks, and sorry for the mistake. I guess it didn't affect the point, though.

jed2000 wrote:
My latest suggested house rules for the main campaign would be as follows (these are a modification of Timo's "Victory Point" rules, which he has still not endorsed)


Overall, I am satisfied with your latest suggestion and would happily play with those rules. So I think we have indeed reached a consensus.

I am undecided about the doubling of allied points. I see the reasoning, but it still troubles me is that if the collapse should be a rare event (10%? 20%?), Germany has a hard time winning with more than a point or two. It might be OK, though, because it is also probably quite hard for the allies to collapse Germany before the good weather in 45. One possibility would be to make the collapse more likely by tampering USSR national will or such, but that would be quite a divergence from the original game.

I guess the underlying difference between us is that I apparently find a very non-historical game where Germany plays defensively much more interesting than you do. In general, I would rather want to endorse as different approaches as possible. That's one thing I really like about USE: it is not too tied to what happened in the actual war (just look at the diplomacy), so you can try different approaches.

jed2000 wrote:
Players should play to maximize their VP advantage; e.g. the winner receives a pay-out from the loser in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate.


It didn't even occur to me that somebody would play with such a VP system in any other way (such as treating a difference of 1 as the same as a difference of 10).

jed2000 wrote:
I also don't know exactly what caused the double-kink around the end of turn scenario date in your version of VP, but I don't think it's desirable.


That's because there was no draw in my suggestion: the difference between consecutive months was 1 VP except that on the borderline (July 45 - August 45 in a historical game) the score suddenly goes from -1 to +1. In the curve for the official rules, there would be a similar double kink at the same place (though the curve on both sides of it would just be a flat line). I still prefer this to the possibility of drawing.

Here's a suggestion to get rid of the draws in your version: give 1 point for the allies for a July conquest and 1 for the Axis for August. The months after that are still worth 2 and 1, respectively. Since the HT bonus is even and any allied score from conquest is odd, there cannot be a draw. I don't know if this is desirable for you (or desirable enough for the added text).

jed2000 wrote:
You haven't commented on the rule that Soviets can no longer collapse starting 13 months after US entry.


I haven't really thought enough about this especially when it comes to the games with timelines that don't go nearly historically. With that caveat, a few thoughts:

Timing the no-collapse according to when Barbarossa started (= directly connected to US entry in most west-first games) has the benefit of giving a fixed time for the invasion. But maybe the no-collapse should also depend on when Russia feels strong enough. Thematically, tying this on US again makes sense. Another reason is the Russian economy getting better due to Urals factories, which is based on east invaded, which I suppose is again in most games caused by starting Barbarossa.

On the other hand, much of the balance on the battlefield also depends on when the better Russian units start to appear, and that is decided by the calendar (e.g., Jan 43 is exactly the month when the first very annoying guard tank unit enters).

On a related note, I still think that this is connected to that the Moscow treaty seems to get better for Germany the later it happens. This is because the other rewards for it are somewhat fixed, but the later the collapse happens, the more powerful is the Russia that is kept from fighting for those 9+ turns. This is at odds with it being an objective that Germany should reach with good play as fast as possible. To make a crude analogy, this feels to me a bit like having a race where the last one to finish wins. It does not help if you forbid finishing after a certain time.

For my preferences, the game would still benefit from at least your suggested rule that after US entry, Russia can self-collapse at will. But with the race analogy, this would be equal to something like letting the referees move the finishing line closer at will: it still does not solve the fundamental issue with incentives.

I had a discussion with Jay Muchnij in July at CSW on this (around #2268 to give a pointer for those interested). There were also a couple of more radical suggestions in our discussion earlier: vary the amount of will bonus to Germany so you get more for an earlier collapse, or make the treaty last until the same point in time no matter when it is triggered.

With the VP system, the first one could actually now be modified to give more VPs for an early collapse, with the bonus going very low for a 43 collapse. For the latter, I think we never worked out a fully satisfying version that would not talk about fixed months and would work for differently timed games. It seems to me that either could work very nicely together with a VP-based score system.
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Salvatore Vasta
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jed2000 wrote:

I'm curious, when you say "1943," do you mean the hard-coded date 1943, or 13 months after US entry? I originally proposed 1943 in the other thread, but Mycroft suggested tying it to US entry, and I now think the 13 month option would be better. But perhaps you have some reason to prefer a hard-coded date.


Hard code because it is easier to remember and seems to work well with the other changes we are considering for USSR collapse.

Sal
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Jonathan Yedidia
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Daemou wrote:

Overall, I am satisfied with your latest suggestion and would happily play with those rules. So I think we have indeed reached a consensus.

I am undecided about the doubling of allied points. I see the reasoning, but it still troubles me is that if the collapse should be a rare event (10%? 20%?), Germany has a hard time winning with more than a point or two. It might be OK, though, because it is also probably quite hard for the allies to collapse Germany before the good weather in 45. One possibility would be to make the collapse more likely by tampering USSR national will or such, but that would be quite a divergence from the original game.



Thanks as always for your comments. I'm glad we're reaching consensus. I think in fact with the current balance, Soviet collapse is not as rare as 10 or 20%. Some people might think it should be, but not me; I'm happy that it's quite possible. It might be that the current scoring favors the Allies, but with the easy ability to bid for the two sides, I don't see a problem with that.

Daemou wrote:

I guess the underlying difference between us is that I apparently find a very non-historical game where Germany plays defensively much more interesting than you do. In general, I would rather want to endorse as different approaches as possible. That's one thing I really like about USE: it is not too tied to what happened in the actual war (just look at the diplomacy), so you can try different approaches.


I agree; I am very interested in non-historical alternatives, but I like it if the game "explains" the highly risky behavior of the Germans. The Axis still has many possibilities very different from the historical one that I could easily imagine a Hitler pursuing, like an approach using Turkey or Spain or a Sea Lion, but it's hard for me to imagine Hitler going for a reasoned, defensive approach to try to survive as long as possible. It's still possible in these rules of course, just not encouraged. I think it's clear that Germany could have done better if Hitler wasn't a madman, and I think that any game about the ETO needs to use rules that make the historical German strategy a plausible approach.

Daemou wrote:

Here's a suggestion to get rid of the draws in your version: give 1 point for the allies for a July conquest and 1 for the Axis for August. The months after that are still worth 2 and 1, respectively. Since the HT bonus is even and any allied score from conquest is odd, there cannot be a draw. I don't know if this is desirable for you (or desirable enough for the added text).


I like that suggestion.

Daemou wrote:

On a related note, I still think that this is connected to that the Moscow treaty seems to get better for Germany the later it happens. This is because the other rewards for it are somewhat fixed, but the later the collapse happens, the more powerful is the Russia that is kept from fighting for those 9+ turns. This is at odds with it being an objective that Germany should reach with good play as fast as possible. To make a crude analogy, this feels to me a bit like having a race where the last one to finish wins. It does not help if you forbid finishing after a certain time.

For my preferences, the game would still benefit from at least your suggested rule that after US entry, Russia can self-collapse at will. But with the race analogy, this would be equal to something like letting the referees move the finishing line closer at will: it still does not solve the fundamental issue with incentives.

I had a discussion with Jay Muchnij in July at CSW on this (around #2268 to give a pointer for those interested). There were also a couple of more radical suggestions in our discussion earlier: vary the amount of will bonus to Germany so you get more for an earlier collapse, or make the treaty last until the same point in time no matter when it is triggered.

With the VP system, the first one could actually now be modified to give more VPs for an early collapse, with the bonus going very low for a 43 collapse. For the latter, I think we never worked out a fully satisfying version that would not talk about fixed months and would work for differently timed games. It seems to me that either could work very nicely together with a VP-based score system.


I was thinking along exactly the same lines. I wanted to bring back the ability for the Soviets to surrender, both for the reasons you discuss, and so that in case of a game where everything is going the Axis way, the Soviets can use the Moscow treaty to have a chance to reset. It also seems to me that tying the ability of the Soviets to sue for peace to the US entry makes sense historically: Hitler would have been more willing to accept a treaty after US entry because he generally hoped to fight one enemy at a time.

I thought that a VP bonus of around 4 VPs for an early Soviet collapse, combined with the ability of the Soviets to surrender, would give the effects we wanted. It also gives additional encouragement to an East-First strategy, which I think needs all the encouragement it can get. On the other hand, the bonus is one more rule.

About the timing of the impossibility of Soviet collapse, I think the fact that the design team is considering errata that uses 1943 trumps any other consideration (Thanks, Sal, for the info).

Finally, I've been thinking about various scenarios (e.g. the 1939-1942 scenario), and I want to make sure the Axis only get High Tide when they still control France, so I've edited the High Tide rules slightly.

In summary, here is my current proposal, and as always, I welcome comments or counter-proposals:

1. If the the Axis ever ends a turn with no city in mainland France under Allied control, and either the Moscow treaty is in effect or the UK has collapsed, they achieve "Axis High Tide," and receive a bonus of 8 victory points (VPs). This VP bonus can only be received once.

2. The first time the Moscow treaty comes into effect, if the USA has not entered the war, the Axis faction receives a bonus of 4 VPs.

3. Starting in 1943, the USSR cannot collapse.

4. The Soviet faction may voluntarily collapse the USSR at any time if the USA has entered the war and the date is earlier than 1943.

5. The game is continued until Germany is conquered. When Germany is conquered, the current month is compared with the month the end-of-scenario counter is on (it's never removed). The Allies are awarded 1 VP for conquering Germany by the end-of-scenario turn, plus 2 additional VPs for each month that they shortened the war compared to the end-of-scenario month. The Axis are awarded 1 VP for each month they have extended the war.

6. The winner is the player with the most VPs.

Notes: The spirit of these rules asks the players to maximize their VP advantage; e.g. imagine the winner receiving a pay-out from the loser in the difference in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate. If desired, the players can agree ahead of time to some maximum pay-out; a player who resigns the game ("unconditionally surrendering") will pay the maximum payout. If players feel the game is unbalanced, they should bid before the game begins for the two sides using VPs.
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Quote:
5. If Germany is not conquered in the turn when the scenario end marker is removed, at that end of turn phase, a die roll using a 10-sided die is made for A-Bomb development. On a die roll of 1 or 2, the "early war winner" (Axis if it achieved High Tide, Allies otherwise) obtains the A-bomb. On a die roll of 3, the early war loser obtains the A-bomb. On a die roll of 4-10, the game continues. If the A-bomb is obtained, the game ends immediately; otherwise the same procedure is followed on each subsequent turn until either Germany is conquered (a "Late Conquest") or the A-bomb is obtained by one of the sides.


I think that whoever develops the A-Bomb should win the game. I also don't think it's really thematically appropriate for the Allies to have developed the A-Bomb and used it on European soil.

So I would respectfully arrange the victory conditions this way:

There is no Allied A-Bomb option.

Axis A-Bomb: Axis Total Victory (no matter any other game condition).

Otherwise:

No-High Tide, Christmas or Early Conquest: Allied Major Victory
High Tide, Late Conquest: Draw
All other outcomes are an Allied Victory.

Rationale:

I would suggest that the Allies obtained the information for the A-Bomb *from* the Germans and even used their scientists for its development. Therefore, in the game, only the Axis can win an A-Bomb victory . . . a die roll of 1 on the last turn of the scenario will give the Germans an A-Bomb victory. Then each successive turn, the Germans "get closer" to obtaining the A-Bomb . . . so each successive turn, the success number increases by 1. So the second turn after scenario end is 1-2, then the next is 1-3, etc. Which means the Allies are pressured to conquer Germany as quickly as possible, or lose the game.

Just a suggestion.

 
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Timo Kellomäki
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jed2000 wrote:
Thanks as always for your comments. I'm glad we're reaching consensus. I think in fact with the current balance, Soviet collapse is not as rare as 10 or 20%. Some people might think it should be, but not me; I'm happy that it's quite possible.


Actually, after assuming that most games end during the good weather turns around the scenario ends marker and then thinking about the numbers for a while, the collapse actually probably shouldn't happen much more than 10 % to keep the system balanced. 8 points is quite a lot.

jed2000 wrote:
It might be that the current scoring favors the Allies, but with the easy ability to bid for the two sides, I don't see a problem with that.


Yes, but it is even better if it is roughly balanced before bidding. For example, bidding may force you to play a certain faction, but players may have preferences for factions in a more casual game, but still want the game to be fair.

I'm curious to see what Sal & the team come up with. Depending on the changes, our rules may also need changing. It may be a good idea to then try and gather some data on the distribution of end dates, and set the parameters based on that. Of course, whether people use the official rules or some version of a VP system affects the distribution.

jed2000 wrote:
I agree; I am very interested in non-historical alternatives, but I like it if the game "explains" the highly risky behavior of the Germans.

it's hard for me to imagine Hitler going for a reasoned, defensive approach to try to survive as long as possible.


Sure, it's a valid point, though I always assume I'm also replacing Hitler at the helm, and hope I can do better than him by using some alternative strategy. And, after all, he was only playing for the first time

But of course no German supreme ruler, be it Hitler or someone more competent, would have started the war with the sole goal of trying to survive in it until a certain date. Thus it makes sense to give quite a lot of VPs for HT. I just don't want this thematic reason to rob me of a possibility of the interesting gameplay provided by sometimes going for a more organized German defense.

jed2000 wrote:
I was thinking along exactly the same lines. I wanted to bring back the ability for the Soviets to surrender, both for the reasons you discuss, and so that in case of a game where everything is going the Axis way, the Soviets can use the Moscow treaty to have a chance to reset. It also seems to me that tying the ability of the Soviets to sue for peace to the US entry makes sense historically: Hitler would have been more willing to accept a treaty after US entry because he generally hoped to fight one enemy at a time.


Good points.

jed2000 wrote:
I thought that a VP bonus of around 4 VPs for an early Soviet collapse, combined with the ability of the Soviets to surrender, would give the effects we wanted.


Better than nothing, though I suppose it's not going to happen in many west-first games. I also don't think that's enough. The bonus should decrease every month. Otherwise, the problem remains: failing to collapse Russia before USA entry, the optimal case for Germany is to fool Russia into thinking it can survive, but then surprisingly achieve the collapse anyway (in Dec 42 if possible). I would like the optimal case for Germany to always be to get the collapse as soon as possible.

For example, instead of giving a fixed 8 VP for the high tide, do something like this instead of allowing Soviet self-collapse (again adds to the complexity, but at least for me it might be worth it):

* When Nazi-Soviet pact ends, set a high tide VP counter at 36. After every weather phase, reduce the counter by two if the weather in the cold zone is fair and by one otherwise. The amount of VPs awarded for Axis high tide is equal to the value of this counter divided by two (round up) when it happens.

As an additional bonus, this gives more points if you manage do the collapse despite bad weather and thus slightly removes randomness without removing variability from the game.

Unless I miscalculated, if you start Barbarossa in May 41, you are still guaranteed 1 VP even with the luckiest possible weather (fair May-Nov) and latest possible collapse. A typical weather with a Sep 42 collapse would give something like 6 VP.

It might be better to again scale the VPs by two to avoid situations where Germany can delay one month in guaranteed bad weather without losing anything, but I don't think Germany can be sure to achieve that. And I wouldn't want too large numbers for the VPs. Another downside is that draws are again possible, and circumventing that would need another VP multiplication round.

jed2000 wrote:
It also gives additional encouragement to an East-First strategy, which I think needs all the encouragement it can get. On the other hand, the bonus is one more rule.


I still have no experience on east first games, so e.g. my rule above might not work for that. But at least with these systems, the two approaches can be semi-balanced by tweaking the VP numbers after getting some data.

jed2000 wrote:
About the timing of the impossibility of Soviet collapse, I think the fact that the design team is considering errata that uses 1943 trumps any other consideration (Thanks, Sal, for the info).


Agreed. It's not a big difference anyway.
 
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Daemou wrote:

Better than nothing, though I suppose it's not going to happen in many west-first games. I also don't think that's enough. The bonus should decrease every month. Otherwise, the problem remains: failing to collapse Russia before USA entry, the optimal case for Germany is to fool Russia into thinking it can survive, but then surprisingly achieve the collapse anyway (in Dec 42 if possible). I would like the optimal case for Germany to always be to get the collapse as soon as possible.

For example, instead of giving a fixed 8 VP for the high tide, do something like this instead of allowing Soviet self-collapse (again adds to the complexity, but at least for me it might be worth it):

* When Nazi-Soviet pact ends, set a high tide VP counter at 36. After every weather phase, reduce the counter by two if the weather in the cold zone is fair and by one otherwise. The amount of VPs awarded for Axis high tide is equal to the value of this counter divided by two (round up) when it happens.

As an additional bonus, this gives more points if you manage do the collapse despite bad weather and thus slightly removes randomness without removing variability from the game.

Unless I miscalculated, if you start Barbarossa in May 41, you are still guaranteed 1 VP even with the luckiest possible weather (fair May-Nov) and latest possible collapse. A typical weather with a Sep 42 collapse would give something like 6 VP.

It might be better to again scale the VPs by two to avoid situations where Germany can delay one month in guaranteed bad weather without losing anything, but I don't think Germany can be sure to achieve that. And I wouldn't want too large numbers for the VPs. Another downside is that draws are again possible, and circumventing that would need another VP multiplication round.


I'm afraid I'm unconvinced that there's a problem, or that your solution is a good fix if there is. First of all, about your solution, it assumes that high tide is happening in a West-First game with a collapse of the USSR. It doesn't make much sense for East-First or Sea Lion. It would work better if it was tied to US Entry rather than Nazi-Soviet pact and a number of months rather than the Cold Zone Weather, but before investigating that I would want to understand better why there's a problem to fix.

Suppose we accept the premise that a late Soviet collapse is better for the Germans than an early one (which I think is not self-evident). In that case, it's really Stalin who decides in early 42 (assuming a historical timeline) whether he should make a separate peace (voluntarily collapse) and get the Moscow Treaty now, or fight it out and try to avoid collapse. Stalin can't really be "fooled" because he has all the information; it's just that he has an important decision to make. As it happens, in the real war, the Americans and British were indeed very worried about the possibility that Stalin would make a separate peace in 42.

If Stalin rejects the separate peace, then you're likely to have a desperate battle at the end of 42 for a very valuable High Tide, as occurred historically. If Stalin takes the separate peace, we get a cool alternative history where Stalin first betrays the Allies by taking the separate peace, and then betrays Hitler by breaking the Moscow treaty.

If you think that the terms of the Moscow Treaty and the VP weight for HT are too much in favor of taking the separate peace (I don't really), one could adjust that by saying that if the Soviets voluntarily collapse, the Germans get additional VPs.

 
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jed2000 wrote:
your solution, it assumes that high tide is happening in a West-First game with a collapse of the USSR. It doesn't make much sense for East-First or Sea Lion. It would work better if it was tied to US Entry rather than Nazi-Soviet pact and a number of months rather than the Cold Zone Weather


First of all, there are really two parts to my suggestion: (a) the part that references weather, and (b) the part with getting more VPs for earlier high tide. (a) tries to balance luck similarly to your system in another thread. (b) tries to address the problem of weird German incentives regarding Russia. I just thought they might work well together.

Of course referencing to only the cold zone weather is a problem if fighting happens on both fronts. You could try to take both weather zones into account, and it would still probably be at least as simple as your balanced weather. But if you wish, you can remove (a) completely and just give one point per month.

As said, I don't have a good idea how the typical east-first game goes. Can you explain in what way does the proposed system not work with it (except the weather zones)? But really, I was trying to inspire people with more experience on east-first to come up with a more balanced alternative

Sealion would admittedly be a problem, since I suppose if would happen in 40 and give too many points. So instead maybe replace the 36 with values that depend on which two major powers were conquered/collapsed.

jed2000 wrote:
but before investigating that I would want to understand better why there's a problem to fix.

Suppose we accept the premise that a late Soviet collapse is better for the Germans than an early one (which I think is not self-evident).

In that case, it's really Stalin who decides in early 42 (assuming a historical timeline) whether he should make a separate peace (voluntarily collapse) and get the Moscow Treaty now, or fight it out and try to avoid collapse. Stalin can't really be "fooled" because he has all the information; it's just that he has an important decision to make.


For the discussion, assume that it is June 42, and Germany has done quite well and think they will get the collapse in Sep 42 if they want.

I'll first consider whether there is, at least sometimes, an advantage for Germany to postpone the Moscow treaty. I also don't think it's self-evident, but quite plausible at least in many games. I imagined you also thought there is, since you included the rule for Russian voluntary collapse (what use is the rule if an earlier collapse is always good for Germany? Russia would never use it).

My experience is the armies become about evenly matched during the first half of 43. During 42 Germany should make some progress and during summer/fall 43 Russia should. A June 42 treaty usually ends in Mar-May 43. Russia has all summer free for advancing. A Sep 42 treaty usually ends in June-August 43, and Russia loses many more of the good weather turns, possibly even all of them with bad luck on the treaty. The Western faction is also able to cause some problems already in 43 if they synchronize an amphibious assault (in e.g. France) with a big Russian attack (though less now with the 1 amph assault per surprise attack errata). With a later Moscow treaty, these also have to be delayed, because during the treaty it is trivial for Germany to push the invaders back to sea.

The balancing factor is that in the June option Germany gets some temporary help in the Mediterranean a bit earlier, but I think this is a minor benefit compared to having to sustaion a few months of additional attacks from Russia in 43. Additionally, there may be some games where the help is only needed later.

Some of my assumptions may be wrong, but currently I think there are at least a significant portion of games where Germany wants to delay the collapse. It may be a small edge, but why not take it?

Whether you buy the previous argument or not, let's now also assume it is beneficial for Germany to get the treaty as late as possible and examine why that might be a problem.

I strongly feel that the treaty should be mutual. It should not be up to Stalin alone to decide whether Germany suddenly magically stops fighting and retreats to Russian borders, whether Germany itself wants that or not. With other collapses there is no such problem, because it is a good assumption that Germany always wants them earlier, because their troops are then free for something else (and the conquest doesn't end in 9 months after the collapse).

Without the voluntary collapse rules, Germany withdraws their attacks in order to not collapse Russia too early (see my AAR where I did this for a whole year). With the rules, the German player still secretly hopes that the Russian player misevaluates their chances to survive and makes the mistake of not collapsing in June (because this way Germany thinks they would get the better Sep collapse). It just feels very wrong that you are hoping your opponent to make the mistake of *not* conceding yet. An opponent conceding should be a good thing that you try to make happen.

Maybe an analogy helps. Think of a variant of chess that has the rule that winning is worth one point for each game turn that has passed (= the assumption that Germany's win - collapsing Russia - is worth more the later it happens), but your opponent can concede at any time (= the voluntary Russian collapse alternative rule). Very good players would probably intentionally play in weird ways to give their worse opponents false hopes of winning, hoping they only concede a few turns later. At least I would find it better to give more points for winning as quickly as possible.

And whether it is beneficial to delay the collapse or not, I still think players should be rewarded for good performance by more points. A soviet collapse in June 41 is a better achievement from the German player than one in September 41. The current rules punish, or at least don't reward in any way for that.

jed2000 wrote:
If Stalin rejects the separate peace, then you're likely to have a desperate battle at the end of 42 for a very valuable High Tide, as occurred historically. If Stalin takes the separate peace, we get a cool alternative history where Stalin first betrays the Allies by taking the separate peace, and then betrays Hitler by breaking the Moscow treaty.


I am not saying the Moscow treaty itself is a bad idea, quite the contrary. I agree with all these historical arguments. I'm talking about a situation where Germany does not want the separate peace (yet), because they (think they) could do better. There is no problem of Stalin offering the treaty in June, if the game is set up so that Hitler actually has a reason to accept it.

jed2000 wrote:
If you think that the terms of the Moscow Treaty and the VP weight for HT are too much in favor of taking the separate peace (I don't really), one could adjust that by saying that if the Soviets voluntarily collapse, the Germans get additional VPs.


The advantage Germany gets from a Sep collapse instead of a Jun collapse is very small compared to VPs. This would probably just result in Russian not voluntarily collapsing in June, and Germany then idling until September as in the official rules.
 
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Timo, thanks again for your comments. I have also been thinking about it, and have a new proposal. Some of the criteria I had were:
A) Don't lose any advantages we already had.
B) Rules should not assume West-First; Soviet Collapse, and should at least not be obviously problematic for East-First or Sealion.
C) Weather should not enter, because if people are bothered by weather luck, they can solve it separately.
D) Germans should still have incentive to go for High Tide even in late 42 so that Stalingrad can be "explained".
E) Simplicity should be preserved as much as possible.

Here's what I came up with:

====================

1. If the the Axis ever ends a turn with no city in mainland France under Allied control, and either the Moscow treaty is in effect or the UK has collapsed, they achieve "Axis High Tide," and with it an associated victory point (VP) bonus. The High Tide VP bonus can only be received one time.

2. The High Tide VP bonus is worth 14 VPs if the US has not entered the war. Otherwise it is worth 12 VPs, minus 2 VPs for each season since the US entered the war, down to a minimum of 4 VPs. The number of seasons is computed by taking the number of months since the US entered the war, dividing by 3, and rounding down.

3. Starting in 1943, the USSR cannot collapse.

4. The Soviet faction may voluntarily collapse the USSR at any time if the USA has entered the war and the date is earlier than 1943.

5. The game is continued until Germany is conquered. When Germany is conquered, the current month is compared with the month the end-of-scenario counter is on (it's never removed). The Allies are awarded 1 VP for conquering Germany by the end-of-scenario turn, plus 2 additional VPs for each month that they shortened the war compared to the end-of-scenario month. The Axis are awarded 1 VP for each month they have extended the war.

6. The winner is the player with the most VPs.

Notes: The spirit of these rules asks the players to maximize their VP advantage; e.g. imagine the winner receiving a pay-out from the loser in the difference in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate. If desired, the players can agree ahead of time to some maximum pay-out; a player who resigns the game ("unconditionally surrendering") will pay the maximum payout. If players feel the game is unbalanced, they should bid before the game begins for the two sides using VPs.

 
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By the way, I imagine that there might be an objection that there might still be some German incentive for "micro-idling" for 1 or 2 months.

I don't have a big problem with that because it can easily be explained from the historical point of view as the result of armistice negotiations. For example, Hitler told his army and air force not to provoke the French during the Sitzkrieg, and during the 1918 German-Russian negotiations, there were pauses in the fighting followed by continuations which forced a final conclusion.

A system where you lost 1 VP per month after the US entered was harder to make work in terms of its beginning and end points, and also re-introduced ties.
 
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Great work, Jonathan! I think this is set of rules achieves all the goals I was looking for. Just a few comments on the details.

jed2000 wrote:
C) Weather should not enter, because if people are bothered by weather luck, they can solve it separately.


Right, it was stupid of me to muddle the discussion by mixing two separate things.

jed2000 wrote:
2. The High Tide VP bonus is worth 14 VPs if the US has not entered the war. Otherwise it is worth 12 VPs, minus 2 VPs for each season since the US entered the war, down to a minimum of 4 VPs. The number of seasons is computed by taking the number of months since the US entered the war, dividing by 3, and rounding down.


Since this confused me on the first reading, I'll suggest an alternate wording (I don't like it either, but I have a feeling a clearer one exists):

The High Tide VP bonus is worth 14 VPs until the turn before US enters the war. After that the bonus is reduced by the number of months since the turn before the US entered the war, divided by 3 (the reduction is rounded up). The minimum bonus is 4 VPs.

jed2000 wrote:
4. The Soviet faction may voluntarily collapse the USSR at any time if the USA has entered the war and the date is earlier than 1943.


Is there still need for this? On the other hand, maybe any country should have a similar possibility (as you suggested after seeing what I did to Lithuania in my AAR game).

In theory, I guess we could also drop the rules that say you cannot voluntarily eliminate your own units until they are out of supply, and don't lose will for units lost when attacking/dying of no supply/voluntary elimination (I suppose those were artifacts of Russia being incentived to collapse early, correct me if they have some other purpose). But I guess simplicity is defined as minimum number of changes to official rules and not minimum number of total rules.

I'm not sure how the game would go if Russia was able to self-collapse in 1939/40, but I suppose it would be hard to win against the additional 14 VPs

jed2000 wrote:
By the way, I imagine that there might be an objection that there might still be some German incentive for "micro-idling" for 1 or 2 months.


Well anticipated I don't really like it for gameplay reasons, but I can live with that. I'd still be drawn to use a die roll to see whether Germany gets the higher or lower bonus to get rid of that, even if it adds some complexity.


 
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Daemou wrote:
Great work, Jonathan! I think this is set of rules achieves all the goals I was looking for. Just a few comments on the details.

Thanks!

Daemou wrote:

jed2000 wrote:
2. The High Tide VP bonus is worth 14 VPs if the US has not entered the war. Otherwise it is worth 12 VPs, minus 2 VPs for each season since the US entered the war, down to a minimum of 4 VPs. The number of seasons is computed by taking the number of months since the US entered the war, dividing by 3, and rounding down.


Since this confused me on the first reading, I'll suggest an alternate wording (I don't like it either, but I have a feeling a clearer one exists):

The High Tide VP bonus is worth 14 VPs until the turn before US enters the war. After that the bonus is reduced by the number of months since the turn before the US entered the war, divided by 3 (the reduction is rounded up). The minimum bonus is 4 VPs.

Your wording forgets to multiply by two. I gave it another try.

Daemou wrote:

jed2000 wrote:
4. The Soviet faction may voluntarily collapse the USSR at any time if the USA has entered the war and the date is earlier than 1943.


Is there still need for this? On the other hand, maybe any country should have a similar possibility (as you suggested after seeing what I did to Lithuania in my AAR game).

In theory, I guess we could also drop the rules that say you cannot voluntarily eliminate your own units until they are out of supply, and don't lose will for units lost when attacking/dying of no supply/voluntary elimination (I suppose those were artifacts of Russia being incentived to collapse early, correct me if they have some other purpose). But I guess simplicity is defined as minimum number of changes to official rules and not minimum number of total rules.

I'm not sure how the game would go if Russia was able to self-collapse in 1939/40, but I suppose it would be hard to win against the additional 14 VPs

I do think there's still a need for this in case of a total Axis blow-out, where the Allied player just wants to be able to reset and get a chance to play a competitive game.

And yes, I've been wanting to take the opportunity to let any country collapse. It seems very artificial that you can't surrender a country like your Lithuania, but I was having trouble figuring out how to do it in a way that doesn't take too many words to handle special cases. I think I found a way though.

I think it's true that we no longer really need to worry about the Soviets invoking the Moscow treaty even before the US enters the war being unfair to the Axis, at least after Barbarossa. If the Soviet player wants to try that strategy, it can be rationalized given the real Soviet peace feelers in Fall 41. I don't want to think about or allow a Soviet voluntary collapse before Barbarossa though.

Also, you're probably right about why some of the other will change rules exist, but I'd rather not change rules whose rationale I'm not sure of, and yes, I would count simplicity of house rules by total rules changes in the house rules, not remaining total rules in the game.

So here's my latest summary:

=======================

1. If the the Axis ever ends a turn with no city in mainland France under Allied control, and either the Moscow treaty is in effect or the UK has collapsed, they achieve "Axis High Tide," and with it an associated victory point (VP) bonus. The High Tide VP bonus can only be received one time.

2. The High Tide VP bonus is worth 14 VPs if High Tide is achieved in any turn up to and including the turn before the US has entered the war. After that it is worth 14 VPs, minus 2 VPs for each "season" since the turn before the US entered the war. The number of seasons is computed by taking the number of months since the turn before the US entered the war, dividing by 3, and rounding up. However, the minimum possible High Tide bonus is 4 VPs.

3. A faction may voluntarily reduce the will of any of its countries that has an enemy unit inside its mainland area, down to any value including zero.

4. Starting in 1943, the USSR cannot collapse, even if its will is zero.

5. The game is continued until Germany is conquered. When Germany is conquered, the current month is compared with the month the end-of-scenario counter is on (it's never removed). The Allies are awarded 1 VP for conquering Germany by the end-of-scenario turn, plus 2 additional VPs for each month that they shortened the war compared to the end-of-scenario month. The Axis are awarded 1 VP for each month they have extended the war.

6. The winner is the player with the most VPs.

Notes: The spirit of these rules asks the players to maximize their VP advantage; e.g. imagine the winner receiving a pay-out from the loser in the difference in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate. If desired, the players can agree ahead of time to some maximum pay-out; a player who resigns the game ("unconditionally surrendering") will pay the maximum payout. If players feel the game is unbalanced, they should bid before the game begins for the two sides using VPs.

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jed2000 wrote:

3. A faction may voluntarily reduce the will of any of its countries that has an enemy unit inside its mainland area, down to any value including zero.


I'm honestly flip-flopping again; I think this should be replaced with:

3. A faction may voluntarily reduce the will of any of its countries that has an enemy unit inside its mainland area, down to any value including zero. The USSR's will may only be reduced in this way after the US has entered the war.

The point being we know that Hitler rejected peace feelers in fall 1941 but presumably would have been more amenable to something like the Moscow treaty after the Russian winter hit and the US entered the war. So a Soviet voluntary collapse before US entry seems like something to rule out.
 
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I'm just trying to wrap my head around the practicalities of the last set of rules two posts above.

So in the case where High Tide is not achieved, the Allies will win if they end the game at any point prior to the end of the scenario, but will tie if they take one extra turn, and lose if they take two extra turns?

And in the case where High Tide is achieved and a full 14 points are awarded, the Allies will only win (in the best case) if they can conclude the war two months early?

I wonder what might the point be to playing the game past the first couple turns of the end of the scenario? The Allies have to win, if at all, by the turn after scenario end, right? So - I suppose I don't understand all the mental acrobatics.

If the goal is basically to incentivize the Axis to attempt High Tide, the penalty for failing doing so should be a prolonged period for the Allies to complete the conquest of Germany and still win.

So it makes sense to me to award VPs to the Allies if the Axis fails to reach High Tide, and then Germany has to "earn those VPs back" by prolonging the war long enough for Germany to win the scenario.

As it is, Germany either gets a boatload of points for reaching High Tide, or they can just try to perform okay, take fewer risks, and try to hold out until two months after scenario end (something it seemed like the OP in the original thread could have done easily).
 
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cmontgo2 wrote:
I'm just trying to wrap my head around the practicalities of the last set of rules two posts above.

So in the case where High Tide is not achieved, the Allies will win if they end the game at any point prior to the end of the scenario, but will tie if they take one extra turn, and lose if they take two extra turns?

No; if they take one extra turn, the Axis will win by 1 VP, because the Allies don't get their 1 VP for conquering Germany by end-of-scenario.

cmontgo2 wrote:

And in the case where High Tide is achieved and a full 14 points are awarded, the Allies will only win (in the best case) if they can conclude the war two months early?

No, they need to conclude the war 7 months early. Then they will get 1 VP for concluding the war on time, plus 7*2=14 victory points for shortening the war by 7 months, for a total of 15 VPs. If they only concluded the war two months early, the Allies would only have received 5 VPs, not enough to make up for the Axis 14.

cmontgo2 wrote:

I wonder what might the point be to playing the game past the first couple turns of the end of the scenario? The Allies have to win, if at all, by the turn after scenario end, right? So - I suppose I don't understand all the mental acrobatics.

If the goal is basically to incentivize the Axis to attempt High Tide, the penalty for failing doing so should be a prolonged period for the Allies to complete the conquest of Germany and still win.

So it makes sense to me to award VPs to the Allies if the Axis fails to reach High Tide, and then Germany has to "earn those VPs back" by prolonging the war long enough for Germany to win the scenario.

As it is, Germany either gets a boatload of points for reaching High Tide, or they can just try to perform okay, take fewer risks, and try to hold out until two months after scenario end (something it seemed like the OP in the original thread could have done easily).


These "Victory Point High Tide" rules only give the right incentives if the players are playing to maximize their victory point advantage. As the notes say at the end "imagine the winner receiving a pay-out from the loser in the difference in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate." If you are just playing to win or lose without worrying about the VP difference, the Victory Point High Tide rules don't give enough incentive to achieve High Tide, as you're pointing out.

If you don't like these rules because of that, you might want to use something like my original High Tide rules, which I will present now, in a slightly updated form. We can refer to these rules as "Classic High Tide." Some people didn't like various features of "Classic High Tide," in particular that it can end in a draw, and that the game ends at end-of-scenario (as does the game under standard rules). But I think other people liked them, and I still think these are a good set of rules, which may be more to your taste than the "Victory Point High Tide" rules. They are simpler and they certainly give enough incentive for the Axis to go for High Tide.

==============================
Classic High Tide House Rules:

1. If the the Axis ever ends a turn with no city in mainland France under Allied control, and either the Moscow treaty is in effect or the UK has collapsed, they achieve "Axis High Tide."

2. Starting in 1943, the USSR cannot collapse.

3. A faction may voluntarily reduce the will of any of its countries that has an enemy unit inside its mainland area, down to any value including zero. The USSR's will may only be reduced in this way after the US has entered the war.

4. The Allies win the game if they avoid High Tide and the conquer Germany by the end-of-scenario turn. The Axis wins the game if they achieve High Tide and avoid the conquest of Germany by the end-of-scenario turn. Otherwise, the game is a draw.



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jed2000 wrote:
cmontgo2 wrote:
I'm just trying to wrap my head around the practicalities of the last set of rules two posts above.

So in the case where High Tide is not achieved, the Allies will win if they end the game at any point prior to the end of the scenario, but will tie if they take one extra turn, and lose if they take two extra turns?

No; if they take one extra turn, the Axis will win by 1 VP, because the Allies don't get their 1 VP for conquering Germany by end-of-scenario.


So it's even harder for the Allies.

jed2000 wrote:
cmontgo2 wrote:

And in the case where High Tide is achieved and a full 14 points are awarded, the Allies will only win (in the best case) if they can conclude the war two months early?

No, they need to conclude the war 7 months early. Then they will get 1 VP for concluding the war on time, plus 7*2=14 victory points for shortening the war by 7 months, for a total of 15 VPs. If they only concluded the war two months early, the Allies would only have received 5 VPs, not enough to make up for the Axis 14.


I meant "best case" in which the Axis only has the 4 VPs, so we are saying the same thing.

jed2000 wrote:
cmontgo2 wrote:

I wonder what might the point be to playing the game past the first couple turns of the end of the scenario? The Allies have to win, if at all, by the turn after scenario end, right? So - I suppose I don't understand all the mental acrobatics.

If the goal is basically to incentivize the Axis to attempt High Tide, the penalty for failing doing so should be a prolonged period for the Allies to complete the conquest of Germany and still win.

So it makes sense to me to award VPs to the Allies if the Axis fails to reach High Tide, and then Germany has to "earn those VPs back" by prolonging the war long enough for Germany to win the scenario.

As it is, Germany either gets a boatload of points for reaching High Tide, or they can just try to perform okay, take fewer risks, and try to hold out until two months after scenario end (something it seemed like the OP in the original thread could have done easily).


These "Victory Point High Tide" rules only give the right incentives if the players are playing to maximize their victory point advantage. As the notes say at the end "imagine the winner receiving a pay-out from the loser in the difference in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate." If you are just playing to win or lose without worrying about the VP difference, the Victory Point High Tide rules don't give enough incentive to achieve High Tide, as you're pointing out.


Thanks for the reply.

The original thread was a post by a player who had played through the campaign, and felt that his Axis did not have a very hard time winning because he didn't feel compelled to go for a Soviet collapse, and in any case, he rather easily held off the Allied defenders. A discussion ensued on how to incentivize the Axis to behave more historically - basically by going for Russian collapse or for a conquest of Britain. These rules, I thought, were meant to prod players in that direction, but it seems to me the rules just make it harder for the Allies to win.

Thanks for the discussion though! I won't try to hi-jack your thread any more than I have. It just seems to me that the rules you have set up here will make it relatively easy for Germany to win - either course he chooses make it easier for his to win the game; either he achieves High Tide and the Allies have to conquer Germany earlier to win or he doesn't, and the Allies still have to conquer Germany by the end of the scenario.

In any case, enjoy these rules and please let us all know how they turn out. I think it is merely a case of differences . . . VPs help me to gauge how well I did vis-a-vis the historical outcome, but at the end of the day, I don't really care about VPs if the final outcome is victory for "my side."

Cheers! And thanks for the discussion.
 
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cmontgo2 wrote:


Thanks for the reply.

The original thread was a post by a player who had played through the campaign, and felt that his Axis did not have a very hard time winning because he didn't feel compelled to go for a Soviet collapse, and in any case, he rather easily held off the Allied defenders. A discussion ensued on how to incentivize the Axis to behave more historically - basically by going for Russian collapse or for a conquest of Britain. These rules, I thought, were meant to prod players in that direction, but it seems to me the rules just make it harder for the Allies to win.

Thanks for the discussion though! I won't try to hi-jack your thread any more than I have. It just seems to me that the rules you have set up here will make it relatively easy for Germany to win - either course he chooses make it easier for his to win the game; either he achieves High Tide and the Allies have to conquer Germany earlier to win or he doesn't, and the Allies still have to conquer Germany by the end of the scenario.

In any case, enjoy these rules and please let us all know how they turn out. I think it is merely a case of differences . . . VPs help me to gauge how well I did vis-a-vis the historical outcome, but at the end of the day, I don't really care about VPs if the final outcome is victory for "my side."

Cheers! And thanks for the discussion.


You're not hijacking the tread; you're raising perfectly valid points. One of the ideas behind the Victory Point High Tide rules was that if people felt that the rules are unbalanced in favor of one player or the other, they could bid for the two sides using VPs, or simply adjust them by giving one side some VPs. So since you think the Axis is favored by these rules, you might prefer to give the Allies something like 4 VPs automatically. That way, if the Axis does not achieve High Tide, they need to hold out for an extra 4 months, while if they do achieve an early High Tide (say 10 or more VPs) they will win even if the allies conquer Germany 2 months early compared to end-of-scenario, (e.g. May 45 on a historical timeline). I think that would give something like what you are looking for.

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cmontgo2 wrote:
I won't try to hi-jack your thread any more than I have.


Please do, it helps make the rules better if we get more opinions.

cmontgo2 wrote:
I wonder what might the point be to playing the game past the first couple turns of the end of the scenario? The Allies have to win, if at all, by the turn after scenario end, right?


This is intriguing, since I have exactly opposite feelings, and find this to be one of the greatest advantages of a VP system. No matter how unbalanced the players are, you still have a reason to fight until the end to maybe save that last VP. If all we cared about was who's going to win, many campaigns could as well be abandoned in 1944 when it becomes clear who's going to win. The losing side is half-heartedly playing to the end out of politeness instead of doing his best to get a better result.

cmontgo2 wrote:
If the goal is basically to incentivize the Axis to attempt High Tide, the penalty for failing doing so should be a prolonged period for the Allies to complete the conquest of Germany and still win.


The penalty for failing to do so is that the allies get double the VPs for any additional months they gain. I think it is typical to get no high tide and end near the scenario end date. This system will have about the same result as the official rules in that case. But when one side is doing much better than the other (especially Germany), I imagine these rules should create a more interesting game.

It is easier to incentivise things with VPs than in a game with only a win/lose result. One other option of giving Germany a reason to try the collapse is basically to change the probabilities of victory. In this case this would mean that instead of VPs, you give Germany something that helps them survive longer, and make it vary on the turn of collapse similarly to what this system does with VPs.

In the official rules the prize is 10 national will (and some other things), but it feels too small and does not give an incentive for Germany to go for an as early collapse as possible. This sometimes results in stalling the collapse. Jonathan earlier suggested things like giving axis the otherwise unused triangle counters. I think it is possible to use something like that to create a system that people who don't like VPs can use.

I kind of agree that the scenario end date might need to be adjusted, say, one month forward. But that's for data to decide.

jed2000 wrote:
Some people didn't like various features of "Classic High Tide," in particular that it can end in a draw, and that the game ends at end-of-scenario (as does the game under standard rules)


In addition, I specifically didn't like that Germany either has to be hugely successful or be completely denied of victory. Basically, if you play very well as Germany and almost get the collapse, and then play an awesome game to the end and have no trouble defending, all you get for the excellent play is a draw. The classic high tide rules are only fair if high tide has the same probability as allies getting there in time.

It also doesn't do anything to prevent the stalling mentioned earlier.
 
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jed2000 wrote:
So here's my latest summary:

=======================

1. If the the Axis ever ends a turn with no city in mainland France under Allied control, and either the Moscow treaty is in effect or the UK has collapsed, they achieve "Axis High Tide," and with it an associated victory point (VP) bonus. The High Tide VP bonus can only be received one time.

2. The High Tide VP bonus is worth 14 VPs if High Tide is achieved in any turn up to and including the turn before the US has entered the war. After that it is worth 14 VPs, minus 2 VPs for each "season" since the turn before the US entered the war. The number of seasons is computed by taking the number of months since the turn before the US entered the war, dividing by 3, and rounding up. However, the minimum possible High Tide bonus is 4 VPs.

3. A faction may voluntarily reduce the will of any of its countries that has an enemy unit inside its mainland area, down to any value including zero.

4. Starting in 1943, the USSR cannot collapse, even if its will is zero.

5. The game is continued until Germany is conquered. When Germany is conquered, the current month is compared with the month the end-of-scenario counter is on (it's never removed). The Allies are awarded 1 VP for conquering Germany by the end-of-scenario turn, plus 2 additional VPs for each month that they shortened the war compared to the end-of-scenario month. The Axis are awarded 1 VP for each month they have extended the war.

6. The winner is the player with the most VPs.

Notes: The spirit of these rules asks the players to maximize their VP advantage; e.g. imagine the winner receiving a pay-out from the loser in the difference in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate. If desired, the players can agree ahead of time to some maximum pay-out; a player who resigns the game ("unconditionally surrendering") will pay the maximum payout. If players feel the game is unbalanced, they should bid before the game begins for the two sides using VPs.



I'm completely happy with these The upcoming changes in the official rules might still change things, but barring that, I'll be trying these out in the near future.
 
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Jonathan Yedidia
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I decided to tinker one more time with these rules, to simplify them. I think the desire to avoid the possibility of draws (which were very unlikely anyways) made them excessively complicated. So I decided to not worry about that. I got rid of the "seasons" and the difference in VPs between lengthening the war and shortening it. Also, I took advantage of the fact that January 1943 is likely to have a special hard-coded significance in the up-coming errata, to work more off that date.

I think this version improves on the previous one in that it is simpler and easier to understand, avoids any incentive for the Germans micro-idling one or two months before achieving High Tide, and is better balanced.

Because it also gives the Allies an explicit bonus for avoiding High Tide and gives the Axis the same bonus for lengthening the war as the Allies get for shortening it, it is also more obvious that it has a balance similar to the standard rules.

The historical result using these rules is that the Allies received 3 VP for avoiding High Tide, plus 4 VP for shortening the war by 2 months compared to July 45, for a total VP advantage of 7.

So here's my latest version of the Victory Point High Tide Rules.

Timo, are you also happy with these? Because I like them even more than the ones you said you were completely happy with.

======================

1. If the the Axis ever ends a turn with no city in mainland France under Allied control, and either the Moscow treaty is in effect or the UK has collapsed, they achieve "Axis High Tide."

2. If the Axis has not achieved High Tide by January 1943, the Allies receive a one-time bonus of 3 VP. If the Axis do achieve High Tide before January 1943, they receive a one-time bonus of 1 VP for each month before January 1943 it was achieved, up to a maximum of 13 VP.

3. A faction may voluntarily reduce the will of any of its countries that has an enemy unit inside its mainland area, down to any value including zero. The USSR's will may only be reduced in this way after the US has entered the war.

4. Starting in January 1943, the USSR cannot collapse, even if its will is zero.

5. The game is continued until Germany is conquered. When Germany is conquered, the current month is compared with the month the end-of-scenario counter is on (it's never removed). The Allies are awarded 2 VP for each month they have shortened the war compared to the end-of-scenario date. The Axis are awarded 2 VP for each month they have extended the war.

6. The winner is the player with the most VPs. In the unlikely event both sides have the same number of VPs, the game is a draw.

Notes: The spirit of these rules asks the players to maximize their VP advantage; e.g. imagine the winner receiving a pay-out from the loser in the difference in VP's converted to some currency at some agreed exchange rate. If desired, the players can agree ahead of time to some maximum pay-out; a player who resigns the game ("unconditionally surrendering") will pay the maximum payout. If players feel the game is unbalanced, they should bid before the game begins for the two sides using VPs.
 
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Jonathan Yedidia
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I realized that this rule:
jed2000 wrote:

3. A faction may voluntarily reduce the will of any of its countries that has an enemy unit inside its mainland area, down to any value including zero. The USSR's will may only be reduced in this way after the US has entered the war.

unfortunately doesn't actually let you surrender a minor country like in Timo's game where the Allies wanted to surrender Lithuania, because the country isn't conquered if the enemy faction just avoids occupying a city. So it needs to be changed to something like this:

3. A faction may at any time voluntarily "surrender" any of its countries (except for the UK, which shall never surrender) to an enemy faction that has a unit inside the country's mainland area, in which case the enemy faction is considered to have conquered the country. If the USSR is voluntarily "surrendered," it collapses rather than being conquered; the USSR may only voluntarily collapse in this way after the US enters the war and before 1943.
 
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Timo Kellomäki
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jed2000 wrote:
Timo, are you also happy with these? Because I like them even more than the ones you said you were completely happy with.


Some thoughts on these:

-Most goals are achieved at least as well as in the previous ones
-I very much like the added simplicity
-Let's assume HT happens in Sep 42 with probability p, and Germany collapses on either July or August (i.e., evenly around the scenario ends). In the original game, this is a 50-50 situation. But with this version, the value of p that makes the expected VPs equal comes from the equation 4p = 3(1-p) => p = 3/7 (that is, the Axis needs to achieve HT in three games out of seven to do neutrally). My assumption is that the actual value of p is clearly smaller. I would be inclined to bid about 2 VPs to get to play the allies with this system (testing may reveal otherwise).
-To avoid draws, maybe give Germany half a point (the wording can be "in case of an equal VP count, Germany wins")
 
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