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Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! (second edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Reducing importance of CAPs rss

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Juhan Voolaid
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I have one problem in this game that I would want to try to solve. It is that situation at the end of the turn where one player has waisted all the CAPs and other player then has risk-free opportunity to make some very bold moves.

The problem here is not this situation particularly. In the given example, the first player should have know better and should have saved some CAPs to react properly.

The problem I find, is the anticlimactic mind game that takes place the whole turn, where I must constantly compare the CAPs to have the meta-game advantage. I don't want to worry about some points in this game. I just want to look at the battlefield and apply the best tactic I can find.

In general, I like the idea of CAPs - having a pool of bonuses for a whole turn and if I do badly, it reduces over time. But I don't want to have those CAPs drive the whole strategy.

I think this could be achieved by restricting some of the actions you can do when spending CAPs. The first thing that comes to mind is denying moving closer to enemy by spending CAPs (or deny only when unit is spent?).

There is also good variant for more realistic opportunity fire that I also like and should change the game quite a bit.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/357239/realistic-simple-oppo...

I wonder what impacts these rules would bring to the game.
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Norman Smith
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CAPs is a useful way in a scenario of demonstrating the command advantages that one force may have over another by giving the player greater flexibility and greater reactivity.

It seems that CAPs are sort of baked into the system, so changing their influence is likely to change the balance of scenarios that have been designed around them.

I am not the worlds greatest fan on AP / CAP as for me it disrupts the flow of play, especially when trying to play solitaire, but it seems like an essential ingredient of the design and of what the designer is trying to achieve and it certainly puts a brake on the players ability to be too influential - raw tactics are one thing, but it has to be tempered by realistic command and control, anything that loosens the players grip on the game is generally a force for good.
 
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Lewis Karl
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Spending your CAPS early on, I assume in a daring attempt to deal a big blow to the enemy, is the equivalent of sending your squad leaders into the fray to attempt some heroic action, or at least having them spend all their time planning a half-baked action in an isolated section of the battlefield. Afterwards, chaos ensues because your leaders were busy elsewhere rather than paying attention to the course of the overall firefight.

CAPs seem perfectly fine to me. Don't spend them and you don't have a problem.
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Roger Reisinger
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pisqueeter wrote:
Spending your CAPS early on, I assume in a daring attempt to deal a big blow to the enemy, is the equivalent of sending your squad leaders into the fray to attempt some heroic action, or at least having them spend all their time planning a half-baked action in an isolated section of the battlefield. Afterwards, chaos ensues because your leaders were busy elsewhere rather than paying attention to the course of the overall firefight.

CAPs seem perfectly fine to me. Don't spend them and you don't have a problem.


I agree,

CAPs represent better leadership and communication. If you start a scenario with less units/ CAPs it should be clear that you cannot match your opponent move for move, you must pass a few turns to keep the balance... Which translates to your opponent having better leadership in game terms.

If you blow all your actions and all your CAPs when in the scenario you are clearly in a defensive position, then you are going to get punished by allowing your opponent unhindered movement/ actions at the end of the turn.

I will say however that a weakness in the game is the dependence on attacker/ defender scenarios, which lead to these CAP gaminess situations. Id definitely appreciate more scenarios where opponents were clashing over central objectives with balanced forces, kinda like a king of the hill or recon scenario.
 
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Lewis Karl
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Good points.

I dislike a little bit how CAPs can eventually be lost totally depending on how many units are lost. I suppose this is scenario specific, but it might be nice if there were always some minimum CAPs available (e.g., 2) regardless of how many units were killed. Or if CAPs were computed based on how many units on the board with a maximum cap.
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James C
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I'm going to try to fiddle with the AP rules to address this somewhat.

As others have suggested and as is the case in the PC version, I'm not going to force a player to exhaust one unit before activating their next unit. Instead I'm going to keep track of each individual unit's remaining APs via a little six-sided die placed on the unit. (You can pick up bags of such dice at Hobby Lobby), that way you aren't left with a whole swath of exhausted units halfway through a turn.
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Haakan Henriksson
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Maybe borrowing from Advanced Squad Leader, by introducing a Final Protective Fire option? That is, if an enemy unit moves within one hex you may always fire at it (given the time factor possibly with some sort of drm), irrepectively of the firing unit being spent or not having CAPs available. Just a thought. /H
 
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Professor X wrote:
I'm going to try to fiddle with the AP rules to address this somewhat.

As others have suggested and as is the case in the PC version, I'm not going to force a player to exhaust one unit before activating their next unit. Instead I'm going to keep track of each individual unit's remaining APs via a little six-sided die placed on the unit. (You can pick up bags of such dice at Hobby Lobby), that way you aren't left with a whole swath of exhausted units halfway through a turn.


Without also having fog-of-war like in the PC game, I predict you will get a very boring game, because you have too much control. How to activate units and spend APs/CAPs is what the game is about. Take away that, and you have no hard decisiona left to make. Spending APs to opportunity fire will suddenly be a no-brainer.

Besides, it does not solve the OPs problem.
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Jux_ wrote:
I have one problem in this game that I would want to try to solve. It is that situation at the end of the turn where one player has waisted all the CAPs and other player then has risk-free opportunity to make some very bold moves.

The problem here is not this situation particularly. In the given example, the first player should have know better and should have saved some CAPs to react properly.

The problem I find, is the anticlimactic mind game that takes place the whole turn, where I must constantly compare the CAPs to have the meta-game advantage. I don't want to worry about some points in this game. I just want to look at the battlefield and apply the best tactic I can find.

In general, I like the idea of CAPs - having a pool of bonuses for a whole turn and if I do badly, it reduces over time. But I don't want to have those CAPs drive the whole strategy.

I think this could be achieved by restricting some of the actions you can do when spending CAPs. The first thing that comes to mind is denying moving closer to enemy by spending CAPs (or deny only when unit is spent?).

There is also good variant for more realistic opportunity fire that I also like and should change the game quite a bit.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/357239/realistic-simple-oppo...

I wonder what impacts these rules would bring to the game.


What the game needs, IMO, is a better way to end the turn. I think it should still end when both players pass, because that puts pressure on the attacker, but I think it should also end when the attacker is finished with his turn. Let's say the turn ends if the attacker is completely spent. In more symmetrical scenarios, the turn could end when one side is completely spent. The idea, in both cases, is to avoid one side passing too much, so that he can run circles around the enemy at the end of the turn.

There may be better ways to do it. One weakness with this rule, is that one side can share activation among all his units, if he wants to become quickly spent and end the turn before his opponent can do anything. This could happen when the attacker has secured his objectives, or when one side is in the lead in symmetrical scenarios. Maybe some other way of keeping track of time? Maximum number of turns, perhaps?

This could unbalance the scenarios, of course, so there is that to consider.
 
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Another solution is to play ASL, of course.

I'm only half-joking, BTW. The thing I like about Conflict of Heroes, is how simple it makes dealing with both infantry and vehicles, but in the end, the classic IGOUGO of ASL, with different phases (prep fire, movement, defensive fire, etc.), has still not been beaten, after 30 years. There is no running circles around the enemy with impunity in ASL, because when I move, all of your guys can fire. When you move, all of my guys can fire. It just works. I have given up trying to fix other systems, because I have a system that works already, and doesn't need fixing. ASL > ASLSK > the rest... Just my $0.02.
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Ben Bosmans
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oivind22 wrote:
Another solution is to play ASL, of course.

I'm only half-joking, BTW. The thing I like about Conflict of Heroes, is how simple it makes dealing with both infantry and vehicles, but in the end, the classic IGOUGO of ASL, with different phases (prep fire, movement, defensive fire, etc.), has still not been beaten, after 30 years. There is no running circles around the enemy with impunity in ASL, because when I move, all of your guys can fire. When you move, all of my guys can fire. It just works. I have given up trying to fix other systems, because I have a system that works already, and doesn't need fixing. ASL > ASLSK > the rest... Just my $0.02.


Actually in - MECHANICS - (not data), ASL is in many cases less realistic than Conflict of Heroes.

Here is why :

1. I have been into FIBUA training for years (both as a participant and as an organiser - even for war correspondents) and there is NO way you can "coordinate" attacks in squad level fighting like you could in ASL.

2. The CAP system put an end to a very odd system of having +/- factor on so called "leader" counters, which is yet another layer of tweaking artificially a very odd "game" mechanic.

3. If you are in a building as a platoon or even company leader and you have your 0.50 at a few meters near you laying covering fire on the enemy some 50 meters in front of you, there is no time to seek to rally or coordinate much, but to yell through your radio "more fire" "now", "group A get out" "move". At least you don't even hear things, you just shout in the (vain) hope someone will listen.

For hours you are deaf if that 0.50 starts shooting beside you.


That's about it. And the very limited CAP system in CoH is incredibly simple and at the same time awesome as a new simulation mechanic in firefights that mostly last 10/15 minutes at the MOST.


Of course it stays a game and there are still huge drawbacks, but here we have in ONE hand an 18 page rule set that goes smoothly form infantry combat to all kinds of armory and you have this 620 bible pages of ASL stuff that only can be played if you would stick to it night and day.


On every level of this CoH game they made so many fresh angles I find it simply stunning.

Take the Commander series for example: you can rally endlessly troops. You know what ? Rallying troops doesn't exist in present day firefights.

It is break or leave. That's it. And bullets just fly around without much leaders interfering. I never saw anyone raising his head ONCE if that HMG starts to fire, hitting everything and everyone

I could write and analyse the CoH system endlessly, from the random "hit" to the running out of steam attacks and how every form of covering, spraying, prep fire is covered so smoothly with a booklet that's thinner than the popular abstract games ...

It is a work of ART really from top (components) to bottom (mechanics).

The only thing is that Academy Games is simply too small to exploit its potential. But I even like it that way. Just like a rare jewel, you need to look at it and just admire and play it.

It must have been since my early days of wargaming a game could hit me right between the eyes. And I love it.
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Ben_Bos wrote:
Actually in - MECHANICS - (not data), ASL is in many cases less realistic than Conflict of Heroes.


I doubt that. Not because ASL is so ultra-realistic or anything, but the extreme control you have from second to second in CoH is certainly not more realistic. CAP is one thing which gives you way too much control. But who cares? Play the game you think is fun. I've never said I play ASL because it's realistic, I play it because it is fun. CoH is fun too, but ASL is more fun (to me). And it does at least evoke the theme (as does CoH). I'm not going to start an argument over which system is best, so if that's what you want, find someone else. All I wanted to say here, is that ASL does not have an end-of-turn problem in which one player can act with impunity. I really don't know how often this is a problem in CoH, but if someone is annoyed by it in CoH, they could give ASL (or at least the starter kits) a try.

Ben_Bos wrote:
I have been into FIBUA training for years (both as a participant and as an organiser - even for war correspondents) and there is NO way you can "coordinate" attacks in squad level fighting like you could in ASL.


You mean like you can in ASL and CoH and almost every other squad level system? Making fire groups in CoH can be a big deal. Each +1 increases your chance of hitting quite a lot. But still, in both games, there are situations in which your chances of hitting are higher if each squad fires separately. I just don't see how this point is relevant in a comparison between CoH and ASL.

Ben_Bos wrote:
Of course it stays a game and there are still huge drawbacks, but here we have in ONE hand an 18 page rule set that goes smoothly form infantry combat to all kinds of armory and you have this 620 bible pages of ASL stuff that only can be played if you would stick to it night and day.


I hear you keep saying that, but it just ain't true. You can play everything from starter kit #1 (only simplified infantry rules, about 8 pages in total) to big historical modules with all kinds of vehicles and equipment. Even full ASL is not too complex if you only play infantry, and you can have a lot of fun with just infantry in ASL. It's not like you ever have to learn to use ordnance or vehicles to have a lifetime of fun.

Ben_Bos wrote:
Take the Commander series for example: you can rally endlessly troops. You know what ? Rallying troops doesn't exist in present day firefights.


And yet CoH also has rallying, so what's your point? Or are you only talking about post-WWII settings now?

Ben_Bos wrote:
I could write and analyse the CoH system endlessly, from the random "hit" to the running out of steam attacks and how every form of covering, spraying, prep fire is covered so smoothly with a booklet that's thinner than the popular abstract games ...


Except that everyting isn't covered in CoH. There's lots of chrome in ASL which is not covered in CoH, but this is as it should be. No bypass, no dash, no snapshots, etc. Some people like to have all those possibilities, and they are willing to live with a larger rulebook to get them. Not 620 pages though. That is an absurd statement. There is no scenario which requires you to know 620 pages of rules. And anyway, if you want to compare to the level of detail that CoH has, you should compare to the starter kits. Starter kit 3 has rules for infantry, ordnance and vehicles, and is about 20 pages of rules, if I remember correctly. That is comparable to CoH. Comparing CoH to full ASL is really like comparing apples and oranges.
 
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Haakan Henriksson
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Hm, yeaah, I was thinking about leaving out mentioning ASL in my post. Kinda suspected something like this might happen. Ok, still, the main problem (as I understood it) was that in CoH one player can move around "with impunity" once the opponents units start becoming spent.

Final Protective Fire is the ability in another game system hereforth not mentioned by name, of any infantry squad to react to an enemy unit entering their adjacent hexes (no matter how many times that unit has fired in that game turn). There are distinct draw-backs though as this is a near panic response to being overrun.

In the case of CoH, why not add a simple rule stating that units can always fire at an enemy unit spending action points in adjacent (and same?) hexes, irrespective of the firing unit being spent or not. But if it is spent, add a suitable drm to reflect that this is a panicky last ditch response.

As for the ASL or CoH thingy, well, these days game designers often use the word 'storytelling' and I think they may (unawares) be on to something. Games, just like books, have a certain "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" to them, but excatly what will lower your guarde (making the game plausible) will naturally vary. For some people it will be ASL, to others CoH. All the while, this will say absoletely nothing about whether or not the game system is more realistic. In this case, just as with writers, I belive games are 'designed for effect' (even if unawares). Or something like that. /H
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Hakhen01 wrote:
Hm, yeaah, I was thinking about leaving out mentioning ASL in my post. Kinda suspected something like this might happen. Ok, still, the main problem (as I understood it) was that in CoH one player can move around "with impunity" once the opponents units start becoming spent.

Final Protective Fire is the ability in another game system hereforth not mentioned by name, of any infantry squad to react to an enemy unit entering their adjacent hexes (no matter how many times that unit has fired in that game turn). There are distinct draw-backs though as this is a near panic response to being overrun.

In the case of CoH, why not add a simple rule stating that units can always fire at an enemy unit spending action points in adjacent (and same?) hexes, irrespective of the firing unit being spent or not. But if it is spent, add a suitable drm to reflect that this is a panicky last ditch response.

As for the ASL or CoH thingy, well, these days game designers often use the word 'storytelling' and I think they may (unawares) be on to something. Games, just like books, have a certain "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" to them, but excatly what will lower your guarde (making the game plausible) will naturally vary. For some people it will be ASL, to others CoH. All the while, this will say absoletely nothing about whether or not the game system is more realistic. In this case, just as with writers, I belive games are 'designed for effect' (even if unawares). Or something like that. /H


My opinion (which some people disagree with) is that it's best to play a game as it is. I think it's fun to discuss house rules, and I often do, but I rarely use them. If you're not happy with a game, move on to another one. In this case it would be cheap to try that other system (through starter kits), to see if that is more to one's liking. For the record, I play both.
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Lewis Karl
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Hakhen01 wrote:
Ok, still, the main problem (as I understood it) was that in CoH one player can move around "with impunity" once the opponents units start becoming spent.


IMO this is not a problem. This is integral to the game and is the result of imbalances in the opposing forces, either because one side is out-numbered or because one side concentrated their resources on certain actions that just didn't pan out.

The flow of CoH actions do not correspond to the flow of real actions over time. One turn of actions in CoH represents the sum of all actions occurring at roughly the same time in the battle. The fact there are some actions left over for one side to use at the end of the turn does not mean these occur at the end of the battle. These actions represent the consequence of either superior numbers of more effective allocation of resources.

For example, the Russian units are all spent and the German player has one unspent unit left within striking distance of a Russian unit (or has enough CAPs for the same effect). It moves up and close assaults the Russian unit with impunity. Although this is an isolated action in the game, it is not an isolated action in the context of the turn. The action is the consequence of the Russian unit spending its actions on something else, maybe another unit or movement, while unbeknownst to it, simultaneously in the abstract (not as a game action) another unit assaults it, outflanks it, overwhelms it or surprises it.

Quote:
Final Protective Fire is the ability in another game system hereforth not mentioned by name, of any infantry squad to react to an enemy unit entering their adjacent hexes (no matter how many times that unit has fired in that game turn). There are distinct draw-backs though as this is a near panic response to being overrun.


I bet this capability would probably fundamentally change how CoH games are played, not to mention causing imbalances in the scenarios.
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Hakhen01 wrote:
these days game designers often use the word 'storytelling' and I think they may (unawares) be on to something. Games, just like books, have a certain "Willing Suspension of Disbelief" to them, but excatly what will lower your guarde (making the game plausible) will naturally vary. For some people it will be ASL, to others CoH. All the while, this will say absoletely nothing about whether or not the game system is more realistic. In this case, just as with writers, I belive games are 'designed for effect' (even if unawares). Or something like that.


I think you're into something here but I think (hope) that most designers are clued into it as well.

I see a promisingly wide consensus lately that "realism" is an impossibility in board games and that (if it's even important for the game) the goal should be a FEELING of realism...or an active suspension of disbelief.

That feeling, unlike actual realism, is purely subjective. And that's why it's so fantastic that there are so many great systems around these days...each person can pick the subjective experience that suspends their specific brand of disbelief.

Now back to practicing for my Yu-GI-Oh! tournament.
 
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Daniel
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The biggest "gamey" issue I have with CAP usage is in modifying firepower (up to two CAPS for two additional FP). I feel like spending 2 CAPS to increase FP by one might be alright. It just seems too easy to score hits when you can modify your firepower so much. But then I guess the argument is if you are using CAPs in this manner, you leave yourself open to close combat somewhere else maybe.
 
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