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Subject: Letting the Attacker get just the right total AF slows our games down. rss

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Steve
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Players have gotten used to the luck that comes from the CRT.

However, odds CRT introduce the problem that Players are rewarded for never wasting an Attack Factor (AF). This slows down the game because the phasing player [who will be the Attacking Player] needs to figure out how to get just exactly enough AF to get exactly the right odds in each of several battles/fights.

Panzergruppe Guderian in the late '70s showed that if even one side's units were not known exactly then the phasing player tended to just send as many AF into that battle/fight as he could and hope for the best. The PGG CRT didn't have any A Elim results at above 1-2 odds, so disasters were very rare [at least if the Ger. Player was careful].

I think that speeding up the game by doing "something" is a good thing even if it increases the luck element a little. At least as long as the A Elim disaster only applies to small attackers.

Therefor, I propose that game designers use a rule like this example:

Note: Instead of terrain doubling the Defender this would work better if terrain gave the defender a 1 column shift to the left (= down odds).

After an attack is announced and all units participating in it are determined, the attacker rolls a die to see what changes are made to the Combat Factors of the battle.
. . The number rolled is even then the roll is the number of DF the Defender gains.
. . If the number rolled is odd then the roll is the number of AF the Attacker gains.
. . Neither the Defender nor the Attacker can gain more than half his DF or AF.

After the change is made to the AF or DF, the odds are calculated, and the die rolled again to get the final result.

. . There needs to be no A Elim results except if the attacker is small. Therefore, change on the PGG CRT all the AE results into AX3&AR1 [which means Att. must lose 3* steps and must retreat 1 hex].
. . The die roll result stays with the battle/fight as long as the defender holds the hex, therefore the die is not rolled again until the defender is forced out of or chooses to move out of the hex.

You will notice that there is no way to tell how many CF the attacker will "waste". We can be sure that getting the exact necessary AF will be a waste of some because either the Att. or the Def. gains some. There is no "No Effect" roll. But the worst that can happen is he loses 3 steps and retreats 1 hex. A tiny die could be placed on top of the stack of Defending units to indicate what the die roll was.


. * . This number of steps lost can be changed by the designer depending on how many steps are in a typical stack. I think it should be about half to 2/3 as many steps as a full defending infantry stack would have in it. The 3 I chose above means that I'm imagining a stack of 3 Inf. Div. with 2 steps each is the typical full Inf. stack.
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Neal Durando
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Alternately, design should support the consequences of using too much force (expenditure of supplies, friendly fire, and who knows what else.) See the designer's version of Third Lebanon War (unnecessarily developed and republished by DG as Next War in Lebanon) for an example. In the designer's version of the game the IDF player has a great deal of force available but must carefully calibrate according to the effect he desires. Too much force has negative consequences in terms of direct VP (collateral damage) proportional to the excess.
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Jon Gautier

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You should check out the combat system in Enemy Action: Ardennes.
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Robert Stuart
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The Armored Knights system (e.g., Armored Knights North Africa: Operation Crusader) has this type of variable combat built into the system.
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Russ Williams
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Or do proportional random rounding up or down to determine the odds.

E.g. if you attack at 11 vs 6, that's a 5/6 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 1/6 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

If you attack at 4 vs 3, that's a 1/3 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 2/3 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

Etc.
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Jim F
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OCS doesn't allow you to look beyond the first unit in the stack. It also uses the action rating of the units to create potential column shifts.

There are very few 'no risk' type attacks.
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Tony Doran
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Both the originsl Desert Fox and the newly released Desert Fox Deluxe use a crt which is based on the terrain the defender is in, combined with unit morale rating. Combat strength is just one of several factors and it is quite difficult to predict outcomes, which effect attackers on different results columns than those used to effect the defenders.
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Barry Harvey
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russ wrote:
Or do proportional random rounding up or down to determine the odds.

E.g. if you attack at 11 vs 6, that's a 5/6 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 1/6 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

If you attack at 4 vs 3, that's a 1/3 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 2/3 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

Etc.

What you would need is a table that links Attack Factor Surfeit against Defence Factor for all those strange dice throws.

Weirdly enough, this is likely to result in the opposite to the current gamey method because players will avoid an exact ratio.
 
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Erwin Lau
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There are many ways to 'enhance' ratio CRTs.

VCS, Proud Monster, Fall Blau .... use Untried unit.
Gulf Strike has differentials within ratio CRT.....

But after all they are still Ratio CRTs.

If Ratio CRTs bother you (they bother me), you should try games using Differential CRT (Unconditional Surrender, Triumph & Glory, GBOH, BCS) or Fire-based CRT (Hell's Highway, ASL, ...)
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Mike Smith
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Also, you could use a timer. You need to think carefully what time is appropriate for the game/side/phase of operations in question. The Yanks at the start of a Bulge game are not going to need as long as the Germans.

If time is tight, counting factors becomes vastly less prevalent, being saved for the really crucial combats.
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Rex Stites
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Is this really a problem in modern game design? There have already been plenty of examples of how newer games typically handle this to mitigate such factor counting.
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Carl Paradis
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rstites25 wrote:
Is this really a problem in modern game design? There have already been plenty of examples of how newer games typically handle this to mitigate such factor counting.


In my own designs I use, even if I have CRTs:

- Event cards to change the Attack and combat values so yo never know for sure what the total will be.

- All the terrain are combat shifts and not changes in unit's values.

- You cannot do more than 5 attacks per turn. Sometimes less.

- I try to design the said unit's values so that those "missing just one factor" will happen not very often.

- My games use as little counters as possible, large counters, and little or no stacking to ease the computations of attack/defense factors and the shuffling of counter piles.

- I have NO "Attacker Eliminated" results on my combat tables, but lots of "Counterattack" results where the defender becomes the attacker: in that case extra "wasted" factors of the attackers come into play when they become the defender. Ex: 5vs4 is 1:1 odds, but when a "CA" result happens, the defender now attacks back at 4vs5, so 1:2 odds.

I think all these in combination work exceedingly well.

Edit:

- I have also an optional rule in a few games featuring a "support counter" that you can use in case you are missing one or two points to get your perfect odds. whistle


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June Hwang Wah
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russ wrote:
Or do proportional random rounding up or down to determine the odds.

E.g. if you attack at 11 vs 6, that's a 5/6 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 1/6 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

If you attack at 4 vs 3, that's a 1/3 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 2/3 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

Etc.


I like this method best, as it requires minimal modifications to systems in most existing games.
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Andrew N
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Block games and games with bucket of dice style combat resolution both mitigate this. The Fast Action Battles Series (FAB) uses both. There is always risk to attacking, as the attacker can always take damage and there is also limited intelligence as to what your attack will be facing. The attacker can also call off the attack if he takes too much damage from defensive fire.

It makes for an interesting, tense dynamic.
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I don't know Steve Fitt - but most of his posts are like those of a new gamer who is claiming discovery of old problems as if they are new and only he discovered them.

It's a time Machine thing.. a weird Time Machine loop. Like I am reading posts from the 1980s.

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Carl Paradis
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grognard wrote:
russ wrote:
Or do proportional random rounding up or down to determine the odds.

E.g. if you attack at 11 vs 6, that's a 5/6 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 1/6 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

If you attack at 4 vs 3, that's a 1/3 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 2/3 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

Etc.


I like this method best, as it requires minimal modifications to systems in most existing games.


Well, this method requires some major computations and extra dice rolling; so even MORE work! Plus I am not sure its very realistic anyway. With that system I would still try to get "perfect odds", while enjoying the extra chances of getting better odds if I just can't get them. I saw it tried on some monster games in the 80's: it just did not really work. shake

Anyway, if the game is just slowed down too much by odds-counting, just forbid odds-counting. Problem solved. Put the blame of non-optimal attacks on the fog-of-war. Unless one side it always attacking all the time, this should not matter much; and if one side is attacking all the time and the game "breaks" because of this odds-counting stuff, then IMHO it's not a very good game design anyway.

Edit: In my experience it's always the exact same players that slow the games down, odds-based CRT or not. These persons will always find a way to agonize over some newly-found game unimportant micro-managing decision; and these are not the ones that will win a game.
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M St
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Best way to do this is not to use an odds-based CRT in the first place. Other options have been around for decades.

At tactical level, odds-based CRTs have been superseded since the 1980s.

At operational level, systems like the Der Weltkrieg Series have been using non-odds CRTs since the 1990s.
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Russ Williams
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licinius wrote:
grognard wrote:
russ wrote:
Or do proportional random rounding up or down to determine the odds.

E.g. if you attack at 11 vs 6, that's a 5/6 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 1/6 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

If you attack at 4 vs 3, that's a 1/3 probability of rounding up to 2:1 and a 2/3 probability of rounding down to 1:1.

Etc.


I like this method best, as it requires minimal modifications to systems in most existing games.


Well, this method requires some major computations and extra dice rolling;

"Major computations" seems an exaggeration to me (it's rather trivial arithmetic to me once you're used to it), but given that some people have trouble even computing basic odds in the first place, I'll grant that this is a subjective judgment call.

In any case, doing one more die roll (which has no decision-making!) as part of combat resolution is surely still much quicker than someone agonizing over various combinations to decide how they can attack in a way to get that 11:6 = 1:1 up to 12:6 = 2:1...

Quote:
so even MORE work! Plus I am not sure its very realistic anyway.

Why not? If we're in a game with odds-based combat, then to me, it seems clearly far more realistic to me to have smoothly interpolated combat results between the columns 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, etc with tiny incremental changes with each additional attack or defense factor, instead of (the usual) situation of no change for many additional attack or defense factors (6:6 = 7:6 = 8:6 = 9:6 = 10:6 = 11:6 all are 1:1...), but then a sudden big stair-step jump with significant changes due to 1 additional factor added in (suddenly one more factor makes you 12:6 and 2:1).

Quote:
Anyway, if the game is just slowed down too much by odds-counting, just forbid odds-counting. Problem solved.

Huh, what? Forbid people from using their brains while they play? I must be misunderstanding you. Someone who computes quickly and makes their attack decision in less than a minute is indistinguishable from someone who is not computing and makes their attack decision in less than a minute. How would you prove the first person is breaking the rules against odds-counting? I can see forbidding taking too long on your turn (e.g. by using a game clock), but I can't see how you can possibly propose forbidding doing arithmetical calculations during your turn.
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Carl Paradis
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russ wrote:

Why not? If we're in a game with odds-based combat, then to me, it seems clearly far more realistic to me to have smoothly interpolated combat results between the columns 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, etc with tiny incremental changes with each additional attack or defense factor, instead of (the usual) situation of no change for many additional attack or defense factors (6:6 = 7:6 = 8:6 = 9:6 = 10:6 = 11:6 all are 1:1...), but then a sudden big stair-step jump with significant changes due to 1 additional factor added in (suddenly one more factor makes you 12:6 and 2:1).


Your system makes the same jumping. Just one more factor extra can make the odds jump one column higher too, but have to roll a percentile die to do it.

In the long in a whole game this effect will even out anyway.

Way more trouble than it's worth. If not the odds-system would have completely vanished a long time ago, replaced by the system you are talking about. IMHO in most cases the basic CRT is a very good compromise, especially since the "luck of the dice" as a way more important influence in most games than this stuff anyway.
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Carl Paradis
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russ wrote:

Huh, what? Forbid people from using their brains while they play? I must be misunderstanding you. Someone who computes quickly and makes their attack decision in less than a minute is indistinguishable from someone who is not computing and makes their attack decision in less than a minute. How would you prove the first person is breaking the rules against odds-counting? I can see forbidding taking too long on your turn (e.g. by using a game clock), but I can't see how you can possibly propose forbidding doing arithmetical calculations during your turn.


Well, This was the premise of the question asked, right? Too much time and brain power needed to compute odds... Ok, so please give me what "brain function" is acceptable for you to use for a wargame, and I'll try to design a wargame with those limitations:

Obviously knowing how to count seems to be out. I do hope that knowing how to read is OK. What about knowing how to plan your strategy, is this out too? What about short-term memory?

I do know of a perfect game that should cover all comers, you have a 50% chance of winning even if your opponent is a genius!:

Snakes and Ladders




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licinius wrote:
russ wrote:

Why not? If we're in a game with odds-based combat, then to me, it seems clearly far more realistic to me to have smoothly interpolated combat results between the columns 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, etc with tiny incremental changes with each additional attack or defense factor, instead of (the usual) situation of no change for many additional attack or defense factors (6:6 = 7:6 = 8:6 = 9:6 = 10:6 = 11:6 all are 1:1...), but then a sudden big stair-step jump with significant changes due to 1 additional factor added in (suddenly one more factor makes you 12:6 and 2:1).


Your system makes the same jumping. Just one more factor extra can make the odds jump one column higher too, but have to roll a percentile die to do it.

No, it does not have the same occasional big jumps. Each additional strength point causes a small incremental effect, unlike the traditional mechanism. The random rounding in effect dynamically creates an intermediate interpolated CRT column on the fly. That is implemented by randomly rounding up or down to a printed column. But the effect is very different from the big sudden stairstep jumps of a traditional system.

E.g. if your CRT has:

1:1 2:1
1 - -
2 - D
3 D D
4 D X
5 X X
6 X X


then 6:6, 7:6, 8:6, 9:6, 10:6, and 11:6 are all definitely treated as 1:1. 12:6 is definitely treated as 2:1. If you can get 1 more attack factor, then you know there is no point to it if you have 6 through 10, but if you have 11, then 1 more attack factor will give you a significant boost.

In contrast, with random rounding, each additional attack factor gives you a small boost. E.g. consider the (easy because it's halfway) case of 9:6 which turns out to work as if you had a finer-grained D12 instead of D6 roll with an intermediate 3:2 column. I.e. the random rounding method is equivalent to having this CRT if you're attacking with 9:6, for example:


1:1 3:2 2:1
1 - - -
2 - - -
3 - - D
4 - D D
5 D D D
6 D D D
7 D D X
8 D X X
9 X X X
10 X X X
11 X X X
12 X X X


The 3:2 column is exactly what you'd expect to see as an interpolation halfway between the 1:1 and 2:1 columns.

You can similarly see what finer grained columns result via the random-rounding method for "trickier" odds, e.g. 7:6 or 13:5 or whatever. The point is that each additional strength point has a small non-zero effect, instead of (in the traditional approach) most additional strength points having literally no effect except that certain additional strength points have a disproportionally large stair-step effect.

Quote:
In the long in a whole game this effect will even out anyway.

A commonly made point which neglects that certain individual battles are often way more crucial than others. It may also ignore that in some games, one side may have units worth slightly more than the other side's and thus gain a disproportionately large advantage with the traditional big stair-step rounding mechanism.

Quote:
Way more trouble than it's worth. If not the odds-system would have completely vanished a long time ago, replaced by the system you are talking about.

Quite possibly many people feel that way due to the additional calculation, I agree. No problem; I'm just mentioning it as a possible solution for OP to consider. Whether it's too arithmetically cumbersome for some or even a majority of players is a separate issue from the mathematical fact that it does smoothly interpolate, and thus does eliminate the sudden big jumps which the OP is talking about.
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Carl Paradis
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russ wrote:

A commonly made point which neglects that certain individual battles are often way more crucial than others. It may also ignore that in some games, one side may have units worth slightly more than the other side's and thus gain a disproportionately large advantage with the traditional big stair-step rounding mechanism.


Agreed! Very true.

his is why there is much more to putting values on the counters when designing a game than just "counting bayonets".

Also, the way the combat results are designed has a huge impact in the game. Not all CRT's are equal, event if all using and odds-based system. Plus there are numerous other factors involved, as I explained earlier. meeple
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In Roads to Moscow: Battles of Mozhaysk and Mtsensk, 1941, the issue is solved in a different way. Instead of the defender waiting for an eternity while the attacker runs the potential results through his brain before making an attack, the defender has the option of making three or four different responses during the construction of the attack. In this way there's less waiting around and no way for the attacker to know for sure which CRT column he'll be rolling on.

Some critics think this makes the game more finicky. Personally, I like getting involved in decisions at that level.
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Dieroll Honker wrote:
You should check out the combat system in Enemy Action: Ardennes.


I was going to mention this. I REALLY enjoy this system, works great. I hope we see it used in more games.
 
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licinius wrote:

Edit: In my experience it's always the exact same players that slow the games down, odds-based CRT or not. These persons will always find a way to agonize over some newly-found game unimportant micro-managing decision; and these are not the ones that will win a game.


micro-managing... like this:

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