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Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal – The Pacific 1942» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Is Firefight 1 Broken? rss

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Mike Richardson
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The following situation leads me to believe the victory conditions for firefight1 mean that this FF is broken:



The current VP situation is +1VP Japan.

Now my intention as the US player is to move all three marine units in the upper part of the board adjacent to the LCP and spend an action to evacuate those units. This would earn the US 6VPs.

Now if the other two marine units remain on the board that will cost the US 8VPs giving the Japanese victory at +3.

If, however, those two US units are eliminated that will only cost 4VPs and result in a US victory at +1.

This leads to the situation where the US player is trying to eliminate his own units as that is less costly in VP terms than leaving them on the board.

The Japanese meanwhile are trying to avoid killing the US units for the same reason.

This seems absurd, and if correct means the FF is broken.

Am i missing something?
 
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Jon Pessano
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gasha1 wrote:
The following situation leads me to believe the victory conditions for firefight1 mean that this FF is broken:



The current VP situation is +1VP Japan.

Now my intention as the US player is to move all three marine units in the upper part of the board adjacent to the LCP and spend an action to evacuate those units. This would earn the US 6VPs.

Now if the other two marine units remain on the board that will cost the US 8VPs giving the Japanese victory at +3.

If, however, those two US units are eliminated that will only cost 4VPs and result in a US victory at +1.

This leads to the situation where the US player is trying to eliminate his own units as that is less costly in VP terms than leaving them on the board.

The Japanese meanwhile are trying to avoid killing the US units for the same reason.

This seems absurd, and if correct means the FF is broken.

Am i missing something?


I haven't played the scenario yet but it does seem odd. Curious what other people think.

Thx
jonpfl
 
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Lewis Karl
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The LCP can't depart until Round 3. If the Japanese have not assaulted the units on the beach by then and killed at least one US unit, they deserve to lose.
 
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Dave Webster
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I've played this scenario three times now (once solo to learn the changes from AtB, twice against an excellent opponent) and I think the scenario is neither broken nor unbalanced (an opinion another gamer expressed in a different post).

One of the things I see in CoH is that the scenarios are often quite asymmetric in terms of victory conditions and strategy, which is somewhat unusual in tactical wargames. Most often the two sides are relatively balanced after factoring in posture, troop & equipment quality, etc., and the goal is usually something along the lines of one side occupying more designated locations than the other or inflicting more casualties. But this is less common in CoH. I believe that the designer's motivation is to entice the players to employ tactics that were actually employed and more accurately recreate the historic battles via creative victory conditions, even though the forces may not be balanced and the goals may be entirely different.

In this particular scenario, the goal of the marines is to escape and report, but marines didn't lack bravery and it is their motto to never leave a man behind. So the victory conditions encourage your reinforcement marines to move rapidly towards the LCP while their comrades lay down suppression fire, or to aggressively engage the Japanese units that are jeopardizing the mission and the other marines. Similarly, the VPs encourage the Japanese to act aggressively (banzai!) without explicitly requiring it. The marines are going to take a serious beating, but that was historically correct. The balance lies in the victory conditions.
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Mike Richardson
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But if the US can turn a 4VP loss for leaving units behind into a 2VP loss for having them eliminated, then the scenario encourages suicidal play from the US player after turn 3 (assuming the "gain" of those VPs would swing the outcome of the scenario, which it did in my game).

If someone can explain how that doesn't constitute broken then be my guest...
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Mike Richardson
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pisqueeter wrote:
The LCP can't depart until Round 3. If the Japanese have not assaulted the units on the beach by then and killed at least one US unit, they deserve to lose.


That's my point: they don't need to. All the Japanese need to do is avoid killing the US reinforcements (and make sure they don't make it to the LCP) and they will pick up 3 x 4VPs at the end of the game. Enough to win the game.
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Max
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Change it to 3VPs per eliminated/isolated unit. this one's supposed to be an up hill battle for the US.
 
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Dave Webster
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gasha1 wrote:
But if the US can turn a 4VP loss for leaving units behind into a 2VP loss for having them eliminated, then the scenario encourages suicidal play from the US player after turn 3 (assuming the "gain" of those VPs would swing the outcome of the scenario, which it did in my game).

If someone can explain how that doesn't constitute broken then be my guest...

Refer to my previous post. The marines were a recon unit that was ambushed and suffered about 90% losses. Remaining behind was simply not an option (marine code and "no quarter"). So the VP encourages the US player to sprint for the LC or go hand-to-hand with the JP.

If it still seems broken for you, I suspect you are going to hate a couple of the later scenarios as well.
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Lewis Karl
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gasha1 wrote:

pisqueeter wrote:
The LCP can't depart until Round 3. If the Japanese have not assaulted the units on the beach by then and killed at least one US unit, they deserve to lose.


That's my point: they don't need to. All the Japanese need to do is avoid killing the US reinforcements (and make sure they don't make it to the LCP) and they will pick up 3 x 4VPs at the end of the game. Enough to win the game.


One conclusion you draw is the US is going to win by 1 point by some broken tactic (suicide). The inevitable loss could have been avoided if the Japanese actually succeeded in eliminating at least one unit on the beach. The fact they didn't means they probably lose. So your point "they don't need to" is wrong. They do. In fact the Japanese should take control of the beach if you are worried about the thematic element.

As for the thematic element, which is what you think is broken, the Japanese only need to prevent the Scouts leaving. They will be prisoners anyway (and probably of higher value as prisoners). That is thematic. Why should the marines attack the Japanese as the LCP prepares to leave? To protect their comrades on the beach.

I see your point though if you are playing with someone who's only goal is to win. But as Japanese player I would immediately crush the marines on the beach from all directions.

Perhaps some adjustment of the VPs will fix this for you. Maybe the 4VP should be for off-board units only then some other adjustment (e.g., +1 VP for each Japanese eliminated and Scouts killed worth +3 VP).
 
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I do wish there was a Bushido Point schedule for FF1, as that is the very next section of rules, and all other FFs have one.
 
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Mike Richardson
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I understand what this scenario is trying to model, I have read about this patrol; I understand the history of the Marines on Guadalcanal.

All I am saying is that, there is a certain situation in round 3, strictly from the point of view of VP awards and winning the game, where the US player is better off deliberately sacrificing his units than attempting to get them off the island, since he will win the game if they are dead; he will lose it if they are alive.

Yes, strangely enough, when I play wargames, I do try to win them. It's a game. They aren't real marines. It's gamey, it's horrible. And it's why the scenario is broken.

Yes I could house rule this, of course, but I am not a great fan of house ruling. I can't help thinking this should have been spotted in playtesting.

I agree about the bushido rules; they are very simple and it is surprising they aren't included in scenario 1.


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Lewis Karl
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Its not surprising that FF1 does not include Bushido rules. Typically the first FF is introductory in nature and not the best of the lot.

For the rest, enjoy your misery, if possible.
 
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Josiah Leis
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Full disclosure, I have this game on Pre-Order from CSI (being held up by other games) but have not yet played it.

That said, this does seem really stupid. Can someone please explain why it is a good idea that the marines are better off to literally shoot themselves (remember that attacks target all units in a hex so there is no "rule" against shooting your own units) then they are to end the mission alive? And that the Japanese player has literally no incentive to shoot at them?

If my understanding of the situation is correct (which it may very well not be as I don't have the game in front of me yet), then I would agree with the OP that the scenario is indeed broken. And please spare me the "Well you shouldn't have your units act that way because it isn't thematic" argument. It is the GAME'S job to encourage me to behave in a thematic way, not to actively encourage the opposite. If this is lacking then it is the game's fault, not the players.

Between this, complaints about the hex lines, and Academy Game's constant need to "update" rules and re-release games with new editions I am starting to wonder if I should cancel my pre-order.
 
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Mike Richardson
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Kartigan wrote:
Full disclosure, I have this game on Pre-Order from CSI (being held up by other games) but have not yet played it.

That said, this does seem really stupid. Can someone please explain why it is a good idea that the marines are better off to literally shoot themselves (remember that attacks target all units in a hex so there is no "rule" against shooting your own units) then they are to end the mission alive? And that the Japanese player has literally no incentive to shoot at them?

If my understanding of the situation is correct (which it may very well not be as I don't have the game in front of me yet), then I would agree with the OP that the scenario is indeed broken. And please spare me the "Well you shouldn't have your units act that way because it isn't thematic" argument. It is the GAME'S job to encourage me to behave in a thematic way, not to actively encourage the opposite. If this is lacking then it is the game's fault, not the players.

Between this, complaints about the hex lines, and Academy Game's constant need to "update" rules and re-release games with new editions I am starting to wonder if I should cancel my pre-order.


Josiah

I know some people have an issue with the thinner counters and mapboards (they are considerably thinner than 2nd edition ATB), and I know some people are unhappy with the visibility of the hexes.

I have to say, I don't really have any issue with these things. I find the hexes easy enough to see, and the maps are superb, some of the best you will ever see.

Ok so I have an issue with FF1 but it is only the first (introductory) scenario. There are 11 others (12 if you count the army one) so it's far from a game-breaker in my book.

As for AG re-releasing games, I am afraid that is not just AG. All board game companies, in my experience, will revisit their most popular games, and, where necessary, do an upgrade. That is often due to the fact that with repeated play, flaws will sometimes appear. That is not necessarily a bad thing; certainly it shows AG's commitment to the CoH series.

Overall it's an impressive package, and I would still thoroughly recommend it.
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Martin Gallo
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I am not an expert on these matters but it seems like there may be some confusion as to what FF1 is trying to be. First off, this is a game and not a simulation of real life. The game certainly tries to simulate real life events but playability and "fun factor" are more driving considerations for all AG products. Personally, I think that is a good thing and all the AG products I have played have been fun for me.

Enough background and now for a possible answer to the problem. The first scenario in most tactical game is, as has ben mentions, a learning situation. An attempt at getting the base rules to make sense. It is entirely likely that the situation chosen for FF1 was "form first" into this framework and so, much like the rest of the game, it is "gamey" rather than historically perfectly accurate. Yes that will wrinkle some people.

One of the very good features of AG games is that the company is quite happy to have player created firefights floating about the internet. So for those who feel that FF1 could be better history than learning scenario PLEASE do make that happen.
 
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Steven Anderson
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I don't see the problem, personally. The U.S. side controls when the firefight ends, so you just have to plan ahead to get the majority of your forces to the boat and away before they get eliminated. You shouldn't be in a situation where they are still far away towards the end of the firefight, unless you are unlucky and get pinned down far from the beach, leave them off the map too long, or spend too many APs firing instead of running for your life. You only get VPs for evacuating units and gambling by holding the reinforcements back, anyway.

The 4 VP penalty for evacuating before all your troops are back is to discourage that from ever happening if you can help it, and support the "No man left behind" motto of the Marines. Saying a 2 VP penalty for death over a 4 VP penalty for remaining on the map is broken ignores the fact that you can turn that into a 2 VP bonus by simply getting your units to where they need to be.

For example, if you hold a single unit back the first round, then eventually evacuate at least half of your forces before they are killed, you win.
 
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Lewis Karl
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FF1 is not broken. What is broken is the OPs decisions for the Japanese. Why are all units aiming away from the beach at the scouts? Why isn't the MMG in the jungle hex closest to the beach firing on the U.S. Units on the beach? Moving the MMG up toward the beach to get the starting positions of the U.S. Units in LOS is one of the first moves that should be made.

The U.S. Scouts can only commit suicide if the Japanese player allows it, which won't happen for any sane Japanese player. The scouts are only worth 2 VP if not on the beach. The beach marines are Effectively worth 4 VP. So, OP has played poorly.
 
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Josiah Leis
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pisqueeter wrote:
......

The U.S. Scouts can only commit suicide if the Japanese player allows it, which won't happen for any sane Japanese player. .....


Can you explain why this is the case? Can't the Marines just shoot each other (or at least do that until there is only 1 left)?
 
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Lewis Karl
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No marines can't shoot each other. Read the rules first, play the FF several times, and then judge the merits of the FF. don't start off thinking about how to game the system.
 
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Mike Richardson
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pisqueeter wrote:
FF1 is not broken. What is broken is the OPs decisions for the Japanese. Why are all units aiming away from the beach at the scouts? Why isn't the MMG in the jungle hex closest to the beach firing on the U.S. Units on the beach? Moving the MMG up toward the beach to get the starting positions of the U.S. Units in LOS is one of the first moves that should be made.

The U.S. Scouts can only commit suicide if the Japanese player allows it, which won't happen for any sane Japanese player. The scouts are only worth 2 VP if not on the beach. The beach marines are Effectively worth 4 VP. So, OP has played poorly.


In this situation the initial Japanese group, after having eliminated one of the US beach units, turned to face the scouts to avoid the latter getting in flank shots against them. The intention was that the Japanese reinforcements would take care of the beach units. This seems sensible.

Yes it is possible that with superior play the Japanese should be able to eliminate most of the beach units. But then the scenario is broken because it is unwinnable as the US.

You seem to be saying that with competent Japanese play, it is impossible for the US to have the opportunity to use gamey, suicide tactics. Really? Have you played this scenario enough to be able to make that statement? Because if it turns out that the US can use this tactic, even only occasionally, then for me that makes it broken.

Which begs the question: can the US win at all? If they can't win with my gamey tactics they sure as hell aren't going to win playing to the "spirit" of the rules. Which means the scenario is unbalanced. Broken either way.

Frankly the idea that somehow it is poor play that led to this situation is risible. There should never be a situation, no matter how unlikely, that encourages the US units to commit suicide. And by the way, I have seen this situation come up in at least two other AARs so it's not just me.
 
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Lewis Karl
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After thinking about this FF, I actually now think this FF is very well designed. Quite a clever design as well.

The Japanese VPs are set up to encourage them the attack the marines most likely to escape as they are effectively worth 4VP (kill and preventing the escape) vs 2VP.

The US VP conditions encourage the Scouts come on the board (possibly after a delay), then make one of two choices: either go to the beach to escape or attack the Japanese units that are themselves attempting to prevent others from escaping.

Other poor decisions are possible, such as doing nothing with the Scouts or having the Japanese units focus on the Scouts that have no chance of escape.

The idea of Scouts committing "suicide" was invented by one dissatisfied player. In fact, the marines cannot commit suicide. Its not permitted in the rules. The most they can do is engage the Japanese in combat, perhaps getting into close combat and then having their compatriots fire into the CC hex. The Japanese merely need to continue to concentrate attack on the marines most likely to leave (or avoid Scout attack until other Japanese take care of business).

The US victory point conditions encourage the Scouts to escape, if possible, and otherwise engage the enemy.

So, "suicide" appears to be a tactic but its really a fantasy of a pessimistic individual trying to game the FF. The OP may think his Scouts are committing suicide, but they aren't.

Why? Imagine there is a neutral spectator watching the OP play his game and the spectator can't hear any discussion or complaints. The spectator only knows roughly that Japanese are doubly rewarded for preventing escape and US is rewarded for getting marines off the island and penalized for leaving them behind.

Now, the OP begins his "suicide" tactic, presumably because the Scouts can't reach the beach in time and the Japanese, rather than face the Scouts, turn to attack the US marines on the beach. (To win, the Japanese should probably avoid killing the Scouts that are inland and unlikely to escape and focus on killing the escaping marines on the beach - the VP conditions encourage this).

Will the spectator conclude the Scouts (that have no chance of escape) are attempting to commit suicide. I say no, probably not (its not the most likely conclusion to draw). The spectator will see the Scouts as either attempting to reach the beach or giving their comrades a chance to escape. What if a Scout manages to catch up to a Japanese unit and get into CC (unlikely, but lets say it happens)? The spectator will merely see the Scout as attempting to tie up the Japanese unit, which otherwise would be attacking units on the beach.

What if the Japanese player does not move his units to attack the marines on the beach. Then either the Japanese is preventing the Scouts from escaping or making a very poor choice of hanging back for no reason (against the best interest of maximizing VP conditions). What will the spectator conclude when the Scouts attack the Japanese in these cases? In the first case, the conclusion will be either they are trying to reach the beach or tie up the Japanese. In the second case, if the Scout has no escape route, the likely conclusion will again be to prevent the Japanese from reaching the beach (the Japanese unit merely has to evade the Scout until the game comes to an end). Perhaps the spectator will conclude the players are not very experienced or the Scout is already a goner and might as well try to take out an enemy unit before its captured.

Hence I conclude this "suicide" tactic does not really exist (except as a cynical concept in the mind of someone trying to find holes in the FF). Its not permissible in the rules and from a rules perspective, the Scout is merely engaging the Japanese in combat while the other marines make their escape. From a FF design perspective, the Scouts are supposed to engage the Japanese in combat if they have no chance of escape.
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Blorb Plorbst
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I would argue that your Japanese have played poorly in your scenario. Against an aggressive opponent, the Marines need to grab every point they can and shouldn't be able to give up a couple points to the enemy and still win.

Given your situation I agree that it looks a bit absurd but I wouldn't call it "broken". "Gamey" might be more correct as it stops being about winning the situation and starts being about using the rules to score points.
 
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Josiah Leis
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pisqueeter wrote:
No marines can't shoot each other. Read the rules first, play the FF several times, and then judge the merits of the FF. don't start off thinking about how to game the system.


Don't start off thinking about how to game the system? It's a game.....of course I start out thinking how to "game" the system. I will look at the situation and try to think of how I can use the rules of the game to increase my chances to win. Isn't this the entire point of all games?

This is not an RPG where I am playing to "tell a story". It is supposed to be a competitive war game with rules governing who "wins". Of course winning is not everything but it is the whole point of playing the game. If I want a nice story why not just go read a book or watch a movie about the war? If they have designed the rules in such a way as to actively encourage bizarre and anti-historical behavior from the players then it is the fault of the game, NOT the players.

I will reserve judgement about the FF until I get a chance to play it. It is good to hear that the rules do not allow the marines to shoot each other unless they are in CC with the Japanese.
 
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Lewis Karl
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Kartigan wrote:
pisqueeter wrote:
No marines can't shoot each other. Read the rules first, play the FF several times, and then judge the merits of the FF. don't start off thinking about how to game the system.


Don't start off thinking about how to game the system? It's a game.....of course I start out thinking how to "game" the system. I will look at the situation and try to think of how I can use the rules of the game to increase my chances to win. Isn't this the entire point of all games?

This is not an RPG where I am playing to "tell a story". It is supposed to be a competitive war game with rules governing who "wins". Of course winning is not everything but it is the whole point of playing the game. If I want a nice story why not just go read a book or watch a movie about the war? If they have designed the rules in such a way as to actively encourage bizarre and anti-historical behavior from the players then it is the fault of the game, NOT the players.

I will reserve judgement about the FF until I get a chance to play it. It is good to hear that the rules do not allow the marines to shoot each other unless they are in CC with the Japanese.


The point I'm trying to make is you haven't even played the scenario yet, nor had you read the rules. IMO that's far too early to worry about whether FF1 is "broken". Just my recommendation.
 
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