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Subject: Combat results tables, an agonizing affair... rss

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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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As wargamer (like me) you can't go around a combat results table with a decent wargame and I can accept that.

However, what I can't accept is the sometimes -imho- agonizing ALL or NOTHING results: AE - all Attacking units eliminated or DE - all defending units eliminated.

Yes I understand if the odds are aginst you it is likely to loose more and if the odds are 2-1 or 3-1 or even more against you, it is possible that a successfull attack forces you to surrender or so. However, to me the AE is very agonizing and I feel the the combats results table just don't feel right.

A bad roll that evaporates the Panzer Lehr division on a bad role (Bitter Woods)?! At least some troops remain that pul back right?!
A fresh French Division plus cavalry support that stop to exist on their first ever attack against a Prussion stronghold (1806 - Rossbach Avanged).

The primitive nature of some combat results tables is for me one of the most disturbing elemnts in most wargames and I am trying to find a way to balance it more.

Any thoughts on why game designers keep using 'primitive' combat results tables?

Thanks for the input.
 
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Philip Thomas
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In For the People, the table just gives number of casualties on each side. The number of casualties is usually less than the number of troops in the army, and in many battles it will actually be impossible for there to be enough casualties to eliminate one side. In addition, you can only inflict casualties equal to twice your starting strength. This has the advantage of not leading to AE situations. (DE can still happen if there is nowhere to retreat to). However, it does make for some pretty indecisive warfare, and it wouldn't work in a combat environment with low numbers of troops.
 
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Peter Vrabel
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As far as I know, they don't. None of the games I play have and DE or RE results.

/Ponders

Well, actully, Roads To Leningrad does. But it only happens at very high odds and on a very lucky die roll. And never on an attack.
 
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M St
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Harae wrote:
Any thoughts on why game designers keep using 'primitive' combat results tables?


The answer seems to be (a) long tradition - the AE/AR/EX/DR/DE tables go back to the Avalon Hill classics more than 40 years ago, so the validity is not really questioned, and (b) many people will buy them.

Personally, I find that most tactical games that use these tables (many quite successful holdovers from the 70s) test my gag reflex. There's just too many better alternatives around today.

That said, these alternatives are used - if one wants to play games with more modern combat systems, it's not hard to find them.

 
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Hans Kishel
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This is why I like games with step loss (The Gamers). Or even a more abstracted game like most of the SCS where the loss on most units will flip the counter to its reduced side.

I think that games that are more abstract and of a lower difficulty use the all or nothing system to reduce the amount of complexity. And I think this fine and sometimes it is nice to play a game where things just get killed and go away. But I like the more complex systems that give me more of a feel for warfare. This is why I love OCS. Even though units can get killed out right, I can get the good ones back if I roll well for my replacments. I also get to decide who is going to lead the attack and defense and thus take the first loss.
 
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Ed Holzman
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Keep in mind that results like DE and AE do not mean that every single man in the unit is killed. Rather, the unit has been rendered "combat ineffective" as men cease concentrating on acting as a cohesive unit and concentrate on saving their own skin. You might as well try and give orders to the trees...your men are not listening.
 
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Hilary Hartman
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Yeah, but you can't help but squirm when you're on the receiving end of a AE or DE. I'd much more prefer to see a unit "break" like in Squad Leader than to see the whole group decimated before my eyes.

Old or new, CRTs are a staple of the hobby. Sometimes there's no better way to determine how combat would've played out, and I can understand why the older games relied upon them so much. Also, the older wargamers were used to the CRT and the hobby did pretty well for a few decades based upon tried and true mechanics.
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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hkishel wrote:
This is why I like games with step loss (The Gamers). Or even a more abstracted game like most of the SCS where the loss on most units will flip the counter to its reduced side.

I think that games that are more abstract and of a lower difficulty use the all or nothing system to reduce the amount of complexity. And I think this fine and sometimes it is nice to play a game where things just get killed and go away. But I like the more complex systems that give me more of a feel for warfare. This is why I love OCS. Even though units can get killed out right, I can get the good ones back if I roll well for my replacments. I also get to decide who is going to lead the attack and defense and thus take the first loss.


Thanks for the tip, will have a look at OCS, seems very interesting!
 
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John Brady
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Yeah, this does seem to be a throw back to the days of Tactics II, Afrika Korps, etc. Over the years, though, it seems as though some companies did try to work around the all or nothing approach.

This is probably why I gravitated to smaller scale games over the years, where you tend to see step loss/demoralized types of results as opposed to getting completely wiped out because you rolled a 2 rather than a 3.
 
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Tom Hancock
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It sounds like you just ran across a crappy CRT. Try some OCS games, the step loss CRT with options for retreat/losing troops is fantastic. You rarely have crazy unpredictable situations unless you get some combination of a really bad die roll and surprise, and surprise is often caused by poor unit training more than luck (although luck plays a big role)

Edit: For first timers, I would start with tunisia, korea, or burma. Burma is on preorder over at MMP right now. I think Korea is still easy to find.
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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hancock.tom wrote:
It sounds like you just ran across a crappy CRT. Try some OCS games, the step loss CRT with options for retreat/losing troops is fantastic. You rarely have crazy unpredictable situations unless you get some combination of a really bad die roll and surprise, and surprise is often caused by poor unit training more than luck (although luck plays a big role)

Edit: For first timers, I would start with tunisia, korea, or burma. Burma is on preorder over at MMP right now. I think Korea is still easy to find.


Actually Burma is on my wish list and sounds like an excellent alternative.
 
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David Brown
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I too am a bit fed up with some CRT and their extreme results

I tend to prefer the bucket of dice method use in block games (Europe Engulfed). Yes extremes can happen (like in real life) but they are less likely and because so many dice are being rolled they have more chance of evening out

David
 
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Mike Pranno
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Quote:
I tend to prefer the bucket of dice method use in block games (Europe Engulfed). Yes extremes can happen (like in real life) but they are less likely and because so many dice are being rolled they have more chance of evening out

Unfair mechanic vs. age comparison... Europe Engulfed is a new design. Comparing EE to a 1970's CRT is being unfair to a 2000's CRT. Besides the fact that EE had a built in CRT included with the game.
 
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Ken Feldman
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Quote:
A bad roll that evaporates the Panzer Lehr division on a bad role (Bitter Woods)?!


I'm curious about how this happened. In Bitter Woods, Panzer Lehr is the only division with 4 subordinate units, each with two steps. Did the Americans surround it and hit it with 4 armored divisions? Did you attack at less than 1 to 2 odds? Either way, it sounds like the rest of your game may have been quite unusual.

Ken
 
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Michael Von Ahnen
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Consider the converse, however. A unit fights for the entire battle (or war) and never looses any of its combat strength. A DE for unit is abstract, many of its remaining formations survive, but because it is so significantly depleted, they have to operate with another unit to maintain the same level of strength.

It is like step reduction without all the book keeping. If I loose half the combat effectiveness of two units, why is that better than loosing one unit and having another unit at full strength?

DE and AE results are bad when the unit density is too low for the game. Afrika Korps is an example of this. But when there are sufficient counters in the game, the AE and DE results make sense.
 
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