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Subject: Battle For Arnhem - playtesters needed rss

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Jim Bourke
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Here is a link to the final version of Battle For Arnhem, my low complexity Operation Market-Garden wargame.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/iuzv4svtbue1pq6/Battle%20For%20Arn...

Here is a link to the Vassal module: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zas1v8ny0ubt0mw/Battle_for_Arnhem_...

I first designed this several years ago and decided to share it after seeing the Print & Play Contest thread.

It is designed to be very simple to set up and get going. There are two pages of rules (four if you are printing single sheet). Start positions are printed directly on the counters.

The license is completely reserved right now but of course you have my permission to make copies for playtest purposes. Please do not distribute this incomplete version.

I am grateful for any comments you have. Please share your thoughts here or by private message.

Yours,
Jim


***EDIT***
I discovered an error in a counter. The 82/504 unit should set up on hex 1806, not 1805 as listed on the counter.

***EDIT 12/24/2015***
The file is now updated to playtest version 0.2. This incorporates many of the changes suggested in this thread.

***EDIT 12/28/2015***
I've made numerous changes to the game and have uploaded playtest version 0.4. The game is much simpler now and hopefully more clear. Some game balancing work still needs to be done.

***EDIT 12/29/2015***
Here is a link to the Vassal module for playtest v.04
http://www.mediafire.com/?5l4iht4sl8ws0z1

***EDIT 1/2/2016***
I've updated the download file to playtest version 0.5
...and due to an error in the files I've uploaded 0.5a.

***EDIT 1/6/2016***
I've uploaded version RC1.

***EDIT 1/12/2016***
I've uploaded the final version.

Links to previous versions:
Version 0.1
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5jtkxgbxvb6vzwa/Battle%20For%20Arn...

Version 0.2
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lephfzjanubrbep/Battle%20For%20Arn...

Version 0.4
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2ba9eur7ri3198k/Battle%20For%20Arn...

Version 0.5
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ghqoqf8se2x18sm/Battle%20For%20Arn...

Version RC1
https://www.dropbox.com/s/sekeijl2rn58h6v/Battle%20For%20Arn...
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todd sanders
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wow. old school hardcore war game right down to the icons and rules layout. but very nicely laid out and clear to understand. will try and read through your rules to see what you have come up with
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Got 2 different prototype playtests coming up this week, but I'll give this a go early next year.
 
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Just printed it out. Beautiful map, the counters are on the small side for my taste. The rules look like they are well done. I will get back with you once I play it a few times.
 
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will print and play and send my comments, looks very Professional on first impression.
 
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Nice!

Is there a work in progress thread for comments (or is this it?)

Q:
Regarding "German units in German Entry Zones may move to another adjacent active Germany Entry Zone."

Is E adjacent to F adjacent to G (for example), or does adjacent require literally touching on the map?



 
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Carl Paradis
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Very interesting game!

I find the difference between the 2:1 and 3:1 odds on the CRT extremely significant. Can you care to explain the design rationale here?

I can understand the difference between 1:1 and 2:1 (100% more attackers), but not between 2:1 and 3:1 (50% more attackers). Same rationale between 3:1 and 4:1, or 4:1 and 5:1, etc...

Thanks! meeple
 
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Jim Bourke
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d2necro wrote:
Is there a work in progress thread for comments (or is this it?)
This is it!

Quote:

Regarding "German units in German Entry Zones may move to another adjacent active Germany Entry Zone."

Is E adjacent to F adjacent to G (for example), or does adjacent require literally touching on the map?
Yes, that is the meaning of adjacent. Thank you for the question. This could be made more clear, perhaps by adding the word "alphabetically" before "adjacent".

Jim
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Jim Bourke
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licinius wrote:

I find the difference between the 2:1 and 3:1 odds on the CRT extremely significant. Can you care to explain the design rationale here?
Thank you for the question. I have tried several CRTs and so far I like this one the best. I'm interested to see what the playtesters uncover.

Of course the CRT, the Terrain Effects Chart, and the individual unit ratings all go together in a complicated system, so it's hard to isolate the design rationale behind one single item in this system.

It begins with the polder terrain. Only about half of the hexes are polder on the map. In reality almost every clear hex also has some amount of polder. Clear and polder hexes also contain a dense network of roads. Movement off the road was very difficult for the allies, and the road network was complicated.

I worked with the idea that pinning down and flanking an enemy would be difficult in this situation. I chose 3:1 as a minimum for a decisive attack. Adding additional attackers makes the attack more certain because it closes up escape routes for the defender. Without those additional attackers the defender can wiggle out.

This is all intentional and is meant to reflect the chaotic nature of the German effort to stop the Allies. From the Allied viewpoint the Germans were just about everywhere but in mostly small numbers. Gaining reliable control of a sector of the battlefield proved elusive. The resources needed to fully eliminate a German unit will often be needed elsewhere.

Quote:

I could understand the difference between 1:1 and 2:1 (100% more attackers), but not between 2:1 and 3:1 (50% more attackers). Same rationale between 3:1 and 4:1, or 4:1 and 5:1, etc...
Yes, considering only the strengths I can see what you are saying. The CRT just considers additional factors.

It's quite possible that it won't all work out in playtesting, but I think once you see how all the rules work together you'll see that the system holds up.

I do have several alternatives we can try out, but the important thing right now is to play it just as it is. Give it time so you understand all the rules. Missing even a single rule dramatically changes how the game plays, particularly in the final two turns.

Unless someone finds a way to break the game you should find that there are several keys to unlock as you play. On the first play it may seem that the Allies have no chance. On further plays you might find it hard to win as the Germans. Eventually it should sort itself out so the Allies can manage a minor victory only if they manage the Link Up.

At least that's what I'm going for. I've only solo'ed it so far.

Jim
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jtbourke wrote:

At least that's what I'm going for. I've only solo'ed it so far.

Jim
Thanks for the extensive rationale, very interesting and compelling. I'll try to test the game with whatever hobby time I have left. Fascinating battle.
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Since you are so explicit in the other descriptions of combat (like calculating odds), I'm assuming you mean these rules to be newbie friendly, or at the least quite explicit.

In this case, I think you should add more to the descriptions of combat shift.
1) define what a shift is (ie, something like "A shift to the right means use the odds column of the CRT to the right of the column based only on the calculated odds")
2) clearly define whether shifts are to the right or left -- combined arms is defined in the chart as going right, but in the rules and chart it is up the the player to figure out (for example) air points shift to the right (at least that would be my assumption)
3) define what happens when there are multiple shifts. In particular, are all the shifts "added up" and then applied, or are they applied in order.

NOTE: I am reasonably sure I get what to do, but I think this will help the clarity you seem to be going for.
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Okay I didn't get to section 3.6 when I made the comment. So you do get to it clearly and explicitly in 3.6 (great job by the way). To foreshadow 3.6 and not make the reader think he/she is missing something, I would give a little teaser in 3.5 like "Next section explains how to apply the Attacker and Defender shifts."

3.6 Final Combat Ratio
Note the column on the Combat Results Table that matches the Combat Ratio you determined earlier. Now move to the right one column for each Attacker Combat Shift. Then move to the left one column for each Defender Combat Shift. If a shift would cause you to move off the table to the left or right, ignore it.
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Questions on A1 combat result:

#1 Is the "highest attacking strength" criteria altered by the "bridge factor"?
Example: Units A and B attack:
Unit A, strength 8, attacks across bridge = 4 strength for combat
Unit B, strength 5, attacks normally = 5 strength
Which unit (A or B) must be take the loss?

#2 If two attacking units have the same highest strength, how is the unit that takes the loss chosen (is it by the attacker's choice? the defenders choice? randomly?)

Questions on retreat combat result:

#3 Can you retreat a German unit at the edge of the map to an "off map" area (into one of the lettered areas)? For example from Hex 0405 into "J".

#4 On a retreat 3, can you retreat that German unit in Hex 0405 all the way to "H" (Into "J", into "I", into "J")?
 
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Rules say combined arms bonus is for Allied armor plus infantry, while charts say Guards Armored plus infantry. These "armored" units are all actually combined arms task forces, so I'd remove the rule.
 
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d2necro wrote:
Okay I didn't get to section 3.6 when I made the comment. So you do get to it clearly and explicitly in 3.6 (great job by the way). To foreshadow 3.6 and not make the reader think he/she is missing something, I would give a little teaser in 3.5 like "Next section explains how to apply the Attacker and Defender shifts."
Thanks for the suggestions. The rules are written this way on purpose, with no foreshadowing or reference to rules from other rules.

The intent is that everything is stated exactly once, and in as few words as clarity allows.

That doesn't mean that I won't act on your suggestion. Just giving you some insight into the design restrictions I gave myself.

Jim
 
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Jim Bourke
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d2necro wrote:
Questions on A1 combat result:

#1 Is the "highest attacking strength" criteria altered by the "bridge factor"?
Example: Units A and B attack:
Unit A, strength 8, attacks across bridge = 4 strength for combat
Unit B, strength 5, attacks normally = 5 strength
Which unit (A or B) must be take the loss?
The unit with the highest attacking strength rating would take the loss. Do you think I should add the word "rating"?

Quote:

#2 If two attacking units have the same highest strength, how is the unit that takes the loss chosen (is it by the attacker's choice? the defenders choice? randomly?)
The acting player makes the decision.

I debated whether it was necessary to spell out how a tie of this sort should be settled. Do you think it is necessary?

Quote:

Questions on retreat combat result:

#3 Can you retreat a German unit at the edge of the map to an "off map" area (into one of the lettered areas)? For example from Hex 0405 into "J".
Yes. Your question makes me realize that I must have dropped a line from the rules somewhere. There was a statement that German Entry Zones act as Clear terrain for this purpose in the concepts section.

Quote:

#4 On a retreat 3, can you retreat that German unit in Hex 0405 all the way to "H" (Into "J", into "I", into "J")?
No. Thanks for bringing this ambiguity up. I'll address it.

For now play it that entering a German Entry Zone simply ends the retreat.

Jim
 
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fredthomas wrote:
Rules say combined arms bonus is for Allied armor plus infantry, while charts say Guards Armored plus infantry.
The rule sheet is correct. The chart is outdated. The chart should say "Shift right when Allied armor units combine an attack with infantry or airborne units."

Quote:

These "armored" units are all actually combined arms task forces, so I'd remove the rule.
Thank you for the suggestion. You are right about the composition.

Jim
 
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I just noticed an errata item. The 82/504 unit should set up in hex 1806, not 1805 as shown on the counter.
 
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Assembled the game as i got home, played first 2 turns

1- can you move out of ezoc during movement?during exploit?
2- if 1 stack attack from across bridge and another attack from a clear hex,do i halve the total strenght or just the one attacking across?
3- Even though i figured it out, polder is a swampy kind of hex right? I had prior to reading the rules heard that term...
4- Which units are XXX units for linking up?
5- the counters are pretty neat but the different colour arent very distinctive, the dark gray and light gray look similar
6- i love how the rules are well laid out

I hope you don't mind my questions and comments, so far i really like it...
 
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ranchero wrote:
Assembled the game as i got home, played first 2 turns

1- can you move out of ezoc during movement?during exploit?
Yes, there is no rule to restrict movement from an EZOC.

Quote:

2- if 1 stack attack from across bridge and another attack from a clear hex,do i halve the total strenght or just the one attacking across?
Rule 3.4. Each unit attacking across a river has its strength halved.

So, therefore, only halve the strength of the unit attacking across the bridge.

Quote:

3- Even though i figured it out, polder is a swampy kind of hex right? I had prior to reading the rules heard that term...
Do a google image search for "polder". It's a very low-lying farmland with many canals and seasonally swampy areas.

Quote:

4- Which units are XXX units for linking up?
in "Designations" it states "XXX Corps units belong to either Guards Armored (GA) or the 43rd Wessex (43) divisions."

That means any counter with a division (the text to the right of the NATO icon) of "GA" or "43" qualifies.

Quote:

5- the counters are pretty neat but the different colour arent very distinctive, the dark gray and light gray look similar
German are black and gray and that should be distinctive.

Some Allies are a darkish blue which I agree can look like black if printed on some printers.

Is there another color issue?

Quote:

6- i love how the rules are well laid out

I hope you don't mind my questions and comments, so far i really like it...
It's great to hear your questions. Thank you for trying it out.

We played a game today and the Germans won a Minor Victory. The Allies held Eindhoven, Veghel, Grave, and Nijmegen, but the Germans had Arnhem and captured Oosterbeek on the final turn for the win.

I haven't seen an Allied victory in a bit so we might need to balance that out. Let me know what you come up with. It might take a few plays to see how to play the Allies in the first few turns.

Jim
 
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A couple of items came up in playtesting today.

The situation came up when a player had to assign defender losses and two units had the same defensive strength.

The rule states "The first loss must be taken by the unit with the highest defense strength."

In a situation where two units have the same defense strength the situation is unclear.

A better wording, then, would replace "the unit" with "a unit". So it would read "The first loss must be taken by a unit with the highest defense strength".

However, after some discussion it seems like this restriction isn't helpful, anyway. It might be better just to remove this restriction and leave it up to the active player entirely.

The same restriction appears in attacker losses.

An issue also came up with the Turn Track. The Charts show "N/A" for active Germany Entry Zones. What does this mean? The answer is simply that none of the entry zones are active this turn. German units cannot enter them or use them for off map movement. Basically its saying that units entering on this phase have to actually enter the map. I feel like the rules cover this well enough, but they do need to be fully digested for this to be understood.

Jim
 
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jtbourke wrote:
Is there another color issue?
I prefer to have divisions distinguished by color inside the unit symbol box rather than the whole counter.
 
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Nice job, Jim, great graphics. Love the low-complexity idea for Market Garden. I'm printing it out now and will try to give it a go over the holidays!
 
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Another few things that just hit me

Does weather affect anything? Or is it just historical info?

The rule says there can only be 2 bridges out, thats for the duration of the game correct? Even if an engineer repairs one... Do you still have to check for exploded bridges after turn 5 or do you just assume they will be blown up if you havent reached the 2 bridges limit? Do you have to check for blown bridge if you are tracing line of supply?


Can you use more than 1 ap per attack?

 
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7downup wrote:
Hi Jim,

I'd very much like to do a playtest, but my ****ing printer refuses to deliver in anything but illegible shades of pink and purple.
Should be perfect for printing counters of The Battle of the Bulge

Board Game: The Battle of the Bulge
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