As an owner of AtB, AtB Solo, AtB Firefight Generator and now Guadalcanal, I 've been playing a lot and really enjoy the games. In my opinion a perfect mix between tactically depths, enough rules to make it challenging and a fast paced thriller of a game. I am also working in the editing team for the COH-series and enjoy helping out with developing these games.
I always like to analyze games to see if there are variants that could work better, or at least give game play enough variation and excitement, in certain scenarios. I believe I have found a new way to use AP, which gives a few interesting benefits. But first a summary of the different ways of using AP's:
1. Classical 7 AP per Unit; a predictable but a fair way of playing. It gives the enemy too much info about what you are able to achieve with each Unit, each turn. The upside is that it gives both sides the same amount of AP's.
2. 2D6/3D6; using two or three dices to decide what each Unit has got each turn. Gives an interesting element of randomness and therefore insecurity among the military leaders on the battlefield. The downside is that it can be too unbalanced in terms of AP given to one side. Even if statistically it will even out during a game. But I have played games where there has been big differences in AP given.
3. The fog of war; using a cup to hide the AP numbers given by method above. It really adds to the insecurity (and fear) among the players.
4. Some also has opted to use the Solo Order cards and the AP check to see if your Unit is spent. I think it can be used when playing solo both sides but I think in general it is too random and the Unit is often spent after 2-3 Ap's, which gives you too little room for actions, and therefore the tactical planning element is hurting. In the AtB Solo version playing against the AI, it works superb of course.
So, what is the new variant I have tested and found very interesting? It manages to combine number 1-3 above and also added a new tactical decision making layer, which I really enjoyed. Each Player has got 5 small pieces cut out of cardboard with one AP number written on it. I went with 5,6,7,7,and 10. In average the AP pieces has a value of 7, and this is the AP numbers a player uses when choosing his Units.
When he picks a Unit he secretly chooses one AP piece, places it close to the AP track and start to count AP from "1" and up. The enemy don't know how strong the active Unit is and thematically describes to me how strong the squad is equipped for action, this actually Round. As a commander you get the opportunity to play an active role in deciding which Unit will be better equipped than the others. "Which squad gets this extra rounds with ammo?" When all the AP is spent the player shows the opponent the chit with the AP number. Now, he knows what the other has spent and what is still left...Each AP piece must be used before you gather all 5 again and the process starts all over. When next Round starts you always start with 5 pieces again to choose from.
In play testing solo both sides it worked great and it can only be better when used in a 2-4 player game, I believe. The benefits are:
1. A fair way of using AP's since both sides has got 35 AP (7 in average), before you start all over again. You're not seeing a 3 and a 12 here which can be devastating an unbalancing a whole Round and therefore the game. A 3 is 4 times lower than 12. In my system 5 AP is the difference between the lowest and the highest AP given. I think that is enough.
2. Saves time and give faster game play without the need for constantly dice throwing and cup hidings
3. Gives the randomness and the uncertainty of fog of war.
4. Gives new dimensions of tactical decisions you as a commander have to take. "Do I equip my Marines with 10 AP or only 6, and how strong is this berserk Japanese infantry running towards me...? That's a cool new way of decision making I think.
So, I really recommend it for a try and will definitely use it more myself.
There is a similar thread on the AtB forum where this thread will continue ,so that we gather all relevant posts one place:
- Last edited Thu Sep 8, 2016 2:41 pm (Total Number of Edits: 5)
- Posted Tue Sep 6, 2016 3:25 pm
Looks interesting, Ill have to give it a try. I know among the people I have played with the usual complaint about the game is the AP system.
5,6,7,7,10 looks like a good choice as far as distribution, if you experiment with other combinatations make sure to come back and let us know how it went. If I get a chance I'll try 6,6,7,7,9.
Thx for the variant.
This might be 1 of the new interesting way to play!
Currently, I'm using 1d6 dice to mark every unit (all unit have 7 AP). So I can ignore the activation rules.
I prefer to play with the "Persistent Action Points" option, as in the electronic game, by using a D6 on each unit.
That really changes the dynamics of play.
IMO it more accurately represents the combat values of opposing units.