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Subject: Personnal Comments on 3rd Fleet rss

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Ron Rodenburg
United States
Ohio
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(I hope I'm doing this right, because I couldn't find anywhere else to enter my personnal comments)

I consider 3rd Fleet to have the most sophisticated and realistic rules of any of the Fleet series, and whenever I play any of the other Fleet games I employ the rules of this one (I generally play solitaire). Once I overlapped the North Atlantic map from this game with the map from 2nd Fleet to simulate a larger campaign. I still have a few problems with the Fleet series in general, and here are some modifications I made:

1. I don't particularly like the activation method, i.e, one player moves ALL of his subs/ships/planes before the other can do anything; I think this leaves too much to chance. Instead, I compile a list of all Task Forces/Task Groups, air and sea bases, and individual submarines, and I assign a number to each (I think the list numbered 181 different units/bases in my last game). I roll a 10-sided die--actually THREE 10-sided die--and activate whichever unit/base comes up. If the number I roll is that of a unit that has already been activated (or has been destroyed) I skip to the next one. If ships detach themselves from TF/TGs, I add them to the end of the list (number 182 in this case). If two or more TF/TGs/ships want to move together, all must have been activated to do so. Likewise, if planes from different airbases want to perform a strike together, all of the airbases must have been activated.

2. T-26s and T-16s dominate the oceans, making it suicidal for ships without a carrier to venture out by themselves. To grant them a little mercy, in my game tactical detection isn't enough to call in these planes, the targets must have been strategically detected.

3. I like certain scenarios, like "Soviet Offensive in the North Atlantic", but the fighting gets predictable and repetitive when many units are always in the same hex when the shooting starts. So, I've made a change: units start out positioned as specified by the rules, but THE WAR HASN'T STARTED YET! There is no combat until one player or the other launches an attack (devise VP penalties for whichever side starts the fighting). Until fighting breaks out, ships move freely (as long as they don't do something blatant like enter a coastal hex of an unfriendly country). My alternate activation method makes it tricky to decide when to open fire--if some of your best units have already activated for this turn, should you initiate combat with what's left, or wait 'til next turn? Since it's still peacetime, aircraft can freely perform reconaissance before turn one. This system enables the Soviets to assemble task forces and send them towards targets in, say, Norway--if the fighting began immediately with the ships positioned according to the rules, they would never make it anywhere near their targets. Players jockey for position, trying to "block" the Russian TF/TGs with submarines and surface ships. How close can the NATO player let them get before he initiates hostilities himself?

4. In my experience, when the shooting starts submarines tend to attack, do a lot of damage, but then are probably destroyed themselves in rapid succession. Subs have such high VP values that they shouldn't be used so carelessly. The top priority is to SURVIVE--therefore in my game SOP is that subs should be in Deep mode whenever possible.

5. Airstrikes seem too difficult to complete with any success in the Fleet games. Usually, when engaged by an enemy CAP, they are repulsed with serious losses and without a single bomb striking the target. Therefore, I break airbattles up into a number of smaller actions--this way, SOME of the bombers may get through. For example, I recorded the results of a massive dogfight over hex 3620:
Action / Result:
F16(NE) vs. M29(SO),S22(EG) / F16(NE)Damaged
F4F(WG) vs. M29(SO) / F4F(WG)Damaged
M21(EG) vs. F16(NE) / M21(EG)Damaged, F16(NE)Damaged
M29(SO) vs. TORF(UK) / M29(SO)Damaged

There were four seperate sub-engagements determined by four seperate die rolls. Which aircraft tangled with which was determined at random. The Soviets (who were attacking) definitely came out ahead in terms of aircraft losses, since they suffered only two units damaged, and East German Mig-21s aren't exactly priceless assets. Nevertheless, the strike must have been repulsed, because my records don't show any damage to bases or ships caused by airstrikes in this turn. I think this sort of combat is much more exciting than the usual win-all-or-lose-all sort of action, which discourages players from risking their precious aircraft.

I hope these ideas are of use to someone...
 
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Pedro Barradas
Australia
Mackay
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Hi.

Regarding the activation sequence, I've come up with an idea that might be easier to manage.
Put all six phase counters on a cup (Air, Surf, Sub x side) and draw one by one.
Each time one is drawn, the respective player can activate one hex, wether it has an airbase, sub, task group, whatever (but respecting the phase counter drawn).

Once it is played, the counter(s) in hex are put sideways to mark them as being activated.

A player can pass, that is, if a Soviet Air counter is drawn, the player can choose not to activate it, and another counter is drawn.
It doesn't matter who draws them, cause they will come out either soviet or allied.

Once all six counters have been drawn, they will all be put inside the cup again.

This allows for the same "chance" in activation the original game has, and allows for a finer control without being too "un-simultaneous".

Once one player has finished activating all his units, the other side can stop drawing counters, and just activate as he sees fit.
 
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Ron Rodenburg
United States
Centerville
Ohio
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Here I am, replying to myself:

Optional Rule: Long Range CAP

I am often frustrated at the way ships at sea without an aircraft carrier are at the mercy of air launched SSMs. T26s and T16Gs, for example, have an SSM range of 4, so the moment ships move outside a hex containing a CAP, the planes can attack with impunity. So here's a rule which may grant the ships a little mercy:

Subtract 12 (the range needed to perform strategic missions) from an INT unit's movement value. Divide the remainder by two (to get there and get home). The result is a distance from their home base in which they can take up position to perform a CAP. These planes are treated as carrier based aircraft without AEW. Optional optional rule: For every hex from their home base, subtract one from the unit's air-to-air combat value, to a minimum of one.
 
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