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Jena 20» Forums » Rules

Subject: Rout: each retreat hex closer to LOC? rss

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Yani
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During a rout movement, must each retreated hex, if possible, be closer to the chosen LOC, or just the end hex be closer to LOC than the starting one? 9.8.6 seems to suggest the latter, but this seems to me gamey.

Thanks in advance.
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Lance McMillan
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coralsaw wrote:
During a rout movement, must each retreated hex, if possible, be closer to the chosen LOC, or just the end hex be closer to LOC than the starting one? 9.8.6 seems to suggest the latter...


You're obviously working from an older/outdated version of the rules, because the current version has [9.8.6] is "Exhaustion." I suggest you visit the VPG website and download the most recent version of the rules.

That said, the question of retreat direction priority is governed by a combination of [9.7.3] and [9.7.7]. These rules say...

[9.7.3] "Whenever and wherever possible, you must Retreat units into and through vacant hexes not in an EZOC."

and

[9.7.7] "While always yielding to Rule [9.7.3], whenever and wherever possible, you must Reteat you units in such a way that, with each hex they Retreat, they move closer to a friendly LOC hex than the hex Retreated from."

As you can see from [9.7.7], the intent is that each hex of the retreat be closer to the LOC, not just the final hex. What's important to understand, however, it that the "whenever and wherever possible" clause often results in the direction of retreat being further away from the LOC rather than towards it. Typically you'll find that there isn't a lot of flexibility in what the first hex or two of the retreat are going to be: the unit's usually forced to dodge occupied and EZOC hexes, forcing the retreat along a fairly narrow path. The flexibility occurs later, in longer retreats, where the requirement to "retreat closer to a friendly LOC" becomes the overriding factor in which direction you can go.

Hope that answers your question.

Lance McMillan
Developer for VPG's "Napoleonic 20" series
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Russ Williams
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One subtlety in this kind of rule about moving "closer" to something is whether it means:

(1) "closer" as the crow flies (i.e. decreasing the number of hexes between the unit and the LOC)

or

(2) "closer" in terms of paths the unit could actually move by (i.e. if there is an impassible river in the way, don't move toward the river, but rather move toward the bridge (increasing the number of hexes as the crow flies but decreasing the number of hexes which the unit will actually move if it moves to the LOC).

I don't remember for sure how Napoleon 20 is supposed to work, but I think in some forum post, you (Lance) or someone clarified that the 2nd meaning was intended, i.e. "closer" along a feasible path, not as the crow flies. (Right?)

(But worrying about "closest" in the sense of fewest movement points is not necessary, right?)
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Lance McMillan
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russ wrote:
...worrying about "closest" in the sense of fewest movement points is not necessary...


Correct. Remember that per [9.7.1] "Retreat is not regular movement. Retreating units simply count hexes Retreated through, one at a time, regardless of terrain..." (that includes Roads)

russ wrote:
One subtlety in this kind of rule about moving "closer" to something is whether it means...


True, but in most situations that doesn't make a difference. Unfortunately, as you note, it's that very small (probably less than 10%) number of cases where it does that cause so much confusion/difficulty. The reality is that there's very little flexibility in the direction your unit's going to end up going (once you've chosen which LOC you're headed towards).

To be honest, the Retreat rules are probably the single largest cause of questions I have to deal with about the series. It's not that the Retreat rules aren't clear -- we've re-written them several times now to get the wording "just right" -- rather, it's that there's a kind of an initial "learning hurdle" that you need to clear early on. After that, once they're familiar with how it works, the process almost becomes second nature and you can tell where a unit is going to end up almost as soon as the Rout distance roll is made.

Part of the problem, I think, is that a lot of folks, especially those who are new to the system (not trying to single out Yani here), try to force the Retreat rules to be more than they're intended. They're in an odd/nebulous middle ground as compared to a lot of other Retreat rules, where they're neither so rigid that they effectively prohibit the retreating unit from having any flexibility about where it can go, but at the same time are so controlled that those choices are quite tightly defined.
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Yani
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Thank you both for your comments, I think the rule is clear now. My issue was that indeed I was working iff the old C3i rules.

I do believe that precision in the retreat rules in this system seems very important, due to the low counter density and accompanying tactical 'puzzly' considerations that it carries.

Many thanks.
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