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Subject: Stacking limits and time/space scales in WW2 strategic games rss

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Subatomic Birdicle
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Hoping you guys can help me out with your knowledge of WW2 strategic games. I am curious what the space scale, time scale, and stacking limit is for WW2 games of the strategic variety. If you can add any data points I would appreciate it.

I am only interested in strategic level games (division scale and up) because I think for operational games, the map scale is so small that it is easy to just "go around" an overstacked enemy, or surround him and starve him out, or bombard him with artillery etc so there is a natural disincentive to make big stacks even if it is allowed. No hex is critical enough to merit it, or the system will punish you for doing it. In strategic games the number of hexes is a lot smaller so it is quite possible someone will want to stack sky-high in certain places if allowed (e.g. London, Moscow, Berlin, Paris), particularly if the stack is sitting on a supply source, so artificial limits have to be imposed to keep stacks reasonable when the real-life reasons for it are below the scale of the game.

For example,
- Proud Monster is 20 miles per hex, weekly turns, 5 divisions per hex, except 10 divisions in a city hex (but only 5 can attack out).
- War Without Mercy is 30 miles per hex, two-week turns, 3 corps per hex.
- The Mighty Endeavor is 15 miles per hex, ten-day and fifteen-day turns, 4 divisions per hex.
- Third Reich is 60 miles per hex, quarterly turns, 2 corps per hex.
- Totaler Krieg is 60 miles per hex, one or two month turns, 3 units (2 of which can be armies) per hex

(I dislike the term "biweekly" because it is ambiguous, i.e. it means "appearing or taking place every two weeks or twice a week" which makes it useless as a descriptive term.)

I am trying to get an idea of how designers have approached the time/space/unit scale problem in games I have not played.

My reason for wanting to know is I am about to sit down and start tinkering with "War Without Mercy" to try to make it play more like "Proud Monster" but at the corps scale. I think this will require some serious surgery of the ZOC-removing and stacking-limit-changing variety.

Thanks for any info you care to provide.
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Darrell Pavitt
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The word for every two weeks is fortnightly.

I am unclear as to why you are fiddling with WWM and what you feel needs changing.

If you dislike ZOCs at this level, try changing to Armour ZOCs only.

If you treat 1 corps as approximately 3 divisions, PM has 5 divisions per 20 miles and WWM has 6 (3x3 x20/30).
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Jon Gautier

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If a game uses divisions as the largest formation, I usually think of it as operational, no matter the map scale or the area covered. I'm pretty sure PM and TME are operational, not strategic, games. As for trying to make WWM play more like PM, that sounds like trying to make an apple taste like an orange.
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Kent Reuber
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Holdfast: Russia 1941-42 uses armies as the basic units. Only one unit (block) is allowed per hex, but units can have up to 4 steps.
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Subatomic Birdicle
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kentreuber wrote:
Holdfast: Russia 1941-42 uses armies as the basic units. Only one unit (block) is allowed per hex, but units can have up to 4 steps.


Thank you for this data point. Do you know the map scale or time scale of the game?
 
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Cisco Serret
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the concept of how many units fit in hex, and in some games, how many units or strength points can attack from that hex, seem to vary quite a bit. I think the decisions are based on how many divisions/corps/whatever were historically present in places. I read that in combats, between forces of similar capability and experience, that up to 3-1 in numbers gives great benefits, but after 3-1, the benefits of having more troops in an attack goes down dramatically. So in some games you can stack quite a bit in a hex, but you are limited on what can actually attack from that hex. Its up to the designer's interpretation, or how he "approximates" reality to an abstract set of rules.

In most "hexes" of games, you could probably cram lots of troops into a space. But it would be chaotic and reduce the commanders abilities to manage. Attacks would be more difficult to control with troops crammed shoulder to shoulder, trying to use the same paths and same bridges and same avenues of attack, and with more formations and commanders and personality (defects and egos) to try to coordinate with and to avoid crossing paths or point the guns in the wrong direction.
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Subatomic Birdicle
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Hoping to get some more game data points here...

Regarding force ratios, there have been some good convos here on BGG about it. I think the bottom line was increasing the number of attackers beyond a certain point increased attacker casualties, but also increased the chance of taking the piece of land targeted. The Soviets typically used 10:1 force ratios at the point of attack during the period of the war when they were winning. They took tremendous casualties but won the war.

Of course in mobile warfare the casualties you take at the point of attack cannot be directly compared to the defender casualties in that battle, since you are hoping to pocket a lot more defenders "for free" from exploitation. In this respect force ratios from earlier wars cannot be compared to those of WW2 since those "rewards" from a successful breakthrough were never so dramatic. It seems clear the Soviets found 10:1 to be a very effective force ratio for attacks. Note I am talking about force concentration here at the point of attack, often achieved by maskirovka, not overall force ratios up and down the entire front.

War Without Mercy (hereafter WWM) has literal hordes of Soviet units, due to its unusual decision to model both sides at the corps scale instead of corps for Germans and armies for Soviets as is usually done. Among other changes I am thinking of giving increased attacker losses as a penalty when more than so many attackers are used in an attack, to simulate the Soviet tendency to use overwhelming force and take high casualties as a result. As it is now, higher odds always means lower attacker casualties, which just isn't realistic.
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Subatomic Birdicle
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Was hoping to get some help here, oh well.

In case anyone in the future has the same question, my findings so far:

Proud Monster 20 miles, weekly turns, 5 divisions/hex, except 10 divisions in a city hex (but only 5 can attack out).
War Without Mercy 30 miles, two-week turns, 3 corps/hex
The Mighty Endeavor 15 miles, ten-day and fifteen-day turns, 4 divisions/hex.
Third Reich 60 miles, quarterly turns, 2 corps/hex.
Totaler Krieg 60 miles, one or two month turns, 3 units (2 of which can be armies) / hex
Trial of Strength 45 miles, 10 days per turn, 5 corps/hex (3 of which mech)
The Dark Valley 20 miles, 1 or 2 months per turn, 3 corps/hex
The Russian Campaign 50 miles, two months, 3 Corps/hex
Russia Besieged 50 miles?, two months, 3 Corps/hex
Russian Front 25 miles, monthly, no stacking limit, but corps attack singly
Stalin's War 60 miles, 3 months, 4 corps/hex
Red Star Rising 22 miles, 2 weeks to 2 months, 2 corps/hex
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