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Richthofen's War» Forums » Variants

Subject: Fixing the "trading shots syndrome" rss

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Kevin Munoz
United States
Georgia
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I was doing some thinking about the problem last night and a solution came to me that was so ridiculously simple that I can't imagine someone else hasn't already thought of it and summarily rejected it. So I'm posting it here in the hope that someone will be able to explain to me if (and why) the solution doesn't work.

I don't like the five-second game variant because it too greatly reduces the differences among the planes. I don't like the maneuver cards variant because it breaks physics.

So here's my idea: any aircraft going at or above speed 10 must sight its target for 3 hexes instead of 2 (as in the tournament rules). This is a reasonable addition because it takes into account the fact that a speed 10 aircraft is going to spend roughly the same slice of the ten-second turn moving 3 hexes as a slighty slower aircraft is going to spend moving 2 hexes. The pilot will need essentially the same amount of time to aim going speed 10 as going speed 8 (for example), so the sighting requirement should be correspondingly larger.

Based on my limited testing of the trading shots syndrome, it looks to me that even the most maneuverable planes can't move from in front of the target to the rear of the target and fulfill the 2-hex sighting requirement with anything less than speed 11. Thus, a sighting requirement of 3 hexes makes such a maneuver impossible, even at the maximum speed allowed in the game. Even if I am wrong and it can be done at speed 10, the 3-hex sighting rule for speeds 10 and up would force the aircraft to go speed 11, just to get that extra hex. If it can be done at speed 9, then just change the rule to 3 hexes at speed 9 and up - forcing the airplane to go at least speed 10 to fulfill the requirement.

I'd appreciate it if someone could tell me whether or not I'm missing some trick of maneuvering that allows the trading-shots syndrome in anything under speed 10!
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Kevin Munoz
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Georgia
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Actually I just realized that a switch to 3-hex sighting forces the trading-shot aircraft to go faster by 2 movement points, not just 1... because it must first double back an extra hex in addition to flying in behind the target for that extra hex. In other words, even a speed 10 aircraft pulling off the maneuver (if it's possible) would have to go speed 12 in order to fulfill the 3-hex requirement... which is impossible under the rules.
 
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Brad Miller
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Get the "Unexpected Maneuvers" variant article from the old General magazine and make yourself some cards. Helps RW a lot.
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Kevin Munoz
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Georgia
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Windopaene wrote:
Get the "Unexpected Maneuvers" variant article from the old General magazine and make yourself some cards. Helps RW a lot.


Yes, I've seen them, but from the reviews I've read and my quick perusal of the variant, it appears to really break the "physics" of how movement is accomplished. Plus, it adds a significant layer of complexity to an otherwise elegantly simple game mechanic.
 
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After all these years, I'm still looking for a simple rule that eliminates the Trading shots syndrome. I wonder how the following "experimental" rule would work:

A pursuit situation exists when an aircraft fires its front-firing machineguns during the Attack Phase at an adverse aircraft that is not facing him.

The attacker must roll two dice immediately after the attack. If playing the Advanced Game, add the following modifiers :

-1 if the target aircraft is piloted by an Ace
-2 if the target aircraft is piloted by a Double Ace
+1 if the firing aircraft is piloted by an Ace
+2 if the firing aircraft is piloted by a Double Ace

A result of 6 or less has no effect. If the result is 7 or more the target aircraft must fly a penalty move of six hexes straight in its next Movement Phase before it may move as he wishes. As a reminder, place a Dummy counter in the 6th hex to be entered by the aircraft. If during the Movement Phase the aircraft has not enough MPs to fly this penalty move of six hexes, it must spend all its MPs flying straight.

IMPORTANT: An aircraft may climb, dive, accelerate or decelerate normally during the Movement Phase it is flying this penalty move.


Best regards
 
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Matt Danison
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Kevin, you’re right. It’s a 10 year old question and I believe this is a pretty good response:
David Bottger, in The General, Vol. 11, No. 5 (Jan-Feb 1975), “Richthofen’s War Analysis” says “A look at the Aircraft Capabilities Chart reveals that most Allied fighters are more maneuverable than most German fighters…. …However, while it is relatively easy for the German to use his firepower advantage, the Allied maneuverability advantage is more difficult to exploit. Unfortunately, this is the one and only area where RW falls short. The simple but illogical sighting rule allows a fast plane to use its speed to compensate for a lack of maneuverability, rather than keeping speed and maneuverability in their proper places in the game. Basically, the sighting rule requires that the firing aircraft spend its last 2 MP’s with the target in its field of fire. This requirement represents the time a pilot needs to accurately aim his guns. But the rule as it stands implies that the time a pilot needs to aim his guns decreases as his aircraft’s speed increases. An example will best illustrate this point. Each turn represents 10 seconds of actual time. If a plane is travelling at a speed of 10 MP’s per turn, each MP represents 1 second. For a plane at this speed, the 2 MP sighting requirement converts into 2 seconds. In contrast, a plane flying at 4 MP’s per turn, so that 1 MP equals 2 ½ seconds, needs the equivalent of 5 seconds to sight its target. The same plane, at a speed of 8, would need only 2 ½ seconds for sighting. There seems to be no logical reason why a pilot’s sighting time should decline as his speed increases. If anything, sighting time should increase with speed. Of course, the designers of RW may have based the sighting rule on considerations other than logical symmetry, perhaps to promote ease of play. But logically, the rule is untenable. Admittedly, mere illogic does not make a rule bad. But the sighting rule unjustly favors less maneuverable planes (generally German) while harming more maneuverable ones (generally Allied). The advantage of maneuverability is the ability to change direction at a low MP cost. A faster plane can compensate for poor maneuverability by its speed. So far, no problem. However, when the faster plane increases it speed it should logically have to spend more MP’s to sight its target. In other words, speed should not be a substitute for maneuverability. Speed and maneuverability should each provide a distinct advantage, as each did in World War 1. Faster planes can cover more hexes per turn, allowing them to join combat faster and escape pursuit if necessary. In a dogfight, however, speed should be a relatively slight advantage. There, the more maneuverable aircraft should have an edge. The solution is to change the sighting rule from a fixed number of MP’s to a number that increases as speed increases. Sighting should require a fixed fraction, say one-half or one-third, of the firing aircraft’s MP allowance for the turn. Adopting this rule would restore speed and maneuverability to their proper positions.”
So, a fast moving aircraft would need to sight its target for 3 hexes.
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