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Peter Karis
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I've played the game several times now and I love it, feels like the designer has managed to achieve a very "realistic" feel to the platoon/company-scale warfare, but with a relatively simple and intuitive ruleset. I especially like how the game supports up to 4 players, instead of the more wargame-typical 2.

But can the attacker actually win any of the scenarios? I recall having seen the first or second scenario go either way, but in all other scenarios the defender just seems to win pretty much hands down every time. There seems to be two reasons why this happens: 1) the attacker has to use his AP for both moving and firing, while the defender can use all his AP for firing since he doesn't need to move so much (if at all). This is especially pronounced if the Russians are the attacking side, since their firing costs are much higher than the Germans'. 2) The defending side keeps on clocking constant victory points for holding the Victory hexes. The victory hexes are usually so hard to reach, that even if the attacker is successful and takes the hex or hexes before the end of the fight, it happens on round 5 and then it's already too late (unless it's a hex that only gives you points at the end of the fight. Usually it isn't, though.)

You might say that attacking is difficult in real war too - that's correct, but in reality the attacker should always have at least 3-to-1 advantage in numbers, whereas in this game the forces are more or less equal in the scenarios.

So, are we doing something wrong? On Saturday for example we tried "the Bunker"-scenario which I won as the Russians with something like 13 VP against the Germans 4 VP. I didn't actually even have to do much, I just fired every time there was a unit in the LOS of one of my units. Both players had some lucky shots as well as unlucky ones, so the overall result wasn't because either side got smitten by bad luck. (we are using the optional rule of hidden and random AP).
 
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Brian Berg Asklev Hansen
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All scenarios are balanced but the attacker must be focused.

In the Bunker scenario there is no need to waste time on the village as the VP location behind the hill is far move important. The Germans should group move with CAPS and take that VP location in round 2 or 3.
Then the bunker itself should be taken in from the rear in Round 4 or 5.
This forces the bypassed soviets to reveal themselves and move to rear, while the Germans can sit back and fire.
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Martin Gallo
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MacKaris wrote:
You might say that attacking is difficult in real war too - that's correct, but in reality the attacker should always have at least 3-to-1 advantage in numbers, whereas in this game the forces are more or less equal in the scenarios.
Try not to focus too much on this. Napoleon was referring to an operational art of war far above the level and tactics of this game.
 
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Peter Karis
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martimer wrote:
MacKaris wrote:
You might say that attacking is difficult in real war too - that's correct, but in reality the attacker should always have at least 3-to-1 advantage in numbers, whereas in this game the forces are more or less equal in the scenarios.
Try not to focus too much on this. Napoleon was referring to an operational art of war far above the level and tactics of this game.


That wasn't a quote from Napoleon, it's what I was actually taught in my military service and it referred exactly to the level and tactics of this game.
 
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Peter Kossits
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I played through 2 of 4 scenarios and the German campaign and was a little bothered that the AI pretty much almost always had more guys than me and I was attacking more often than not. Was it necessary to do that to balance things - ie. the AI does not do well if outnumbered? Computer wargames used to do this all the time back in the day. Or did it just work out that way in designing that first campaign? I never could decide.

 
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Lewis Karl
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The FFs are designed in such a way that reinforcements for Russians balance out the disadvantage of being a largely static force against more mobile German units. The Germans can have attack superiority, provided they don't attack every enemy unit at once.

In general, German foot units have higher FP and lower firing cost than Russian foot units. Hence more Russian foot units are needed.

Mission 1: Although the Russians have 9 units vs Germans 8 and Russians have potential for reinforcements, the German is not supposed to plod through the territory activating every Russian unit. Its supposed to be a surgical strike. There are penalties (e.g., reinforcements) for going slow.

Mission 2: Both sides start with 7 units that have fighting potential. The Russians have occasional rifle reinforcements. The Russian forces are split between two areas on a fairly large map and the bunker units are static. Hence the Germans really have the advantage, certainly from a mobility perspective, and can easily destroy the village units. Attacking the static artillery and tank units are going to be tough.
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Benny Bosmans
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peterk1 wrote:
I played through 2 of 4 scenarios and the German campaign and was a little bothered that the AI pretty much almost always had more guys than me and I was attacking more often than not. Was it necessary to do that to balance things - ie. the AI does not do well if outnumbered? Computer wargames used to do this all the time back in the day. Or did it just work out that way in designing that first campaign? I never could decide.



The OP is not talking about the solo expansion but about the basic Awakening the Bear 2-4 player game.

As to answering the OP: I played Awakening the bear over 50 times now and I didn't find huge balance problems.

The only thing I found out was that the smaller scenarios are a bit less balanced when using the solo AI card number system instead of the fixed or random AP default system.

But the AP by card draw system adds so much more uncertainty, push the luck element and long term planning (trough alternate unit play) that I would always advice using this card spend mechanic in ANY scenario.

As to the solo expansion remark, that simply doesn't hold true either since I experienced with the Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear – Firefight Generator and the AI does not need more units to win per se.

The thing is CoH is simply put the best simple gaming system of Ww2 tactical combat by a wide shot. It takes zero effort to come back to its mechanics when you leave it for weeks or months.

There is no equivalent in a more manageable WW2 tactical game where you still see the difference between a Pz 3 or 4 without getting 2 more Master degrees and 64 pages of extra bible text.

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Peter Karis
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So is there like a basic, fundamental strategy to all the of the scenarios that I'm somehow missing? It would seem that in order to even reach the victory hexes in 5 rounds, the attacker must forget about caution or fancy tactics, and instead just make a mad dash across the board with his tanks, trucks or other fast units. This results in those units getting shot to bits by the defender's units who are just sitting in those heavy wood hexes and who can use all their AP to fire at the moving attacker's units.
 
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Dan Carey
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I wonder how the hidden/random AP affects things? I've never had a problem with winning as the attacker in AtB. However, we have always used the standard 7 AP. I wonder if it helps the attacker more to know exactly how many AP they have to work with?
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Lewis Karl
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First of all, sorry for responding about the solo expansion.

I have played The Bunker as Germans and won and no you shouldn't forget all caution and fancy tactics.

The first response in this thread answers your question about fundamental strategy pretty well.

Think about your use of CAPS. Just as an example, and not recommending this approach, but the starting 8 German CAPS could potentially group move all three tanks 16 spaces. Then you have 7 AP to spend on each tank for 14 more spaces or firing. This is a potential 30 spaces for each tank in round one. Now I wouldn't necessarily spend all CAPS on the tanks in the first round to do an end run around the hill, but you see how there is easily a potential in 5 rounds to approach the bunker from the rear.

When I played this scenario, I used CAPS to group move onto the board and approach the town or other objectives as nearly as possible. Then I mostly ordered individual units or smaller groups. I probably split infantry and armor, using slower infantry to probe forward (e.g., the town) and tanks to clean up/encircle/etc. Eventually, you need tanks to swing around the rear and as I recall I approached from at least two directions. Probing causes Russians to use AP/CAPs and splitting forces and encircling gives potential for approaching flanks and wasting APs on pivots etc. But your mileage may vary.

The point though is this scenario is clearly winnable and not by rushing your forces headlong into enemy fire.

I always play with the 7 AP rule as that was how the game was designed and I assume how the FF's were play tested. I don't particularly care about additional realism or whatever the rationale is for variable AP, not that there's anything wrong with that. Certainly to start, you should play with the 7 AP rule.
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Peter Karis
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So as a general rule of thumb, should the CAPS be used only for group moving the units? We usually end up using all the caps for boosting the dice rolls, firing with a unit, and moving a unit or a group of units maybe once per round. Yeah I guess if you dedicate them solely to moving the units as groups, it will get you a lot further.

The hidden AP rule is actually in the rulebook as an optional rule, it's not something we just made up, so I figured using it would not break the game mechanic too bad.
 
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Koen
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MacKaris wrote:
The hidden AP rule is actually in the rulebook as an optional rule, it's not something we just made up, so I figured using it would not break the game mechanic too bad.


I always play using this rule, adds to the fun.
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Brian Berg Asklev Hansen
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CAPs are often best used for group moves.

The hidden CAP rule is just as balanced as the standard rules although it does of course hurt more if you roll consistently low for your best units.
 
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Lewis Karl
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There is no recommendation to always use CAPS for movement. I mostly use them at the start of the FF for movement then later in the FF for other purposes as I see fit. Employing them for movement also means your opponent must do the same, pass more often, or run the risk of units being spent sooner.

As for the variable AP rule, one thing I'm trying to express is if you perceive there is some sort of inherent imbalance in the FF favoring the attacker, perhaps not employing optional rules for your first few games will help nail down whether the problem is the game or something else. Perhaps not.
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Dan Carey
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My opponents and I mostly use CAPs to modify die rolls. That really helps in games with fewer pieces, where taking out a critical unit can make a big difference. Still, there are a variety of ways to use them, but use them carefully.
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Brian Berg Asklev Hansen
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agree! :)
 
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Capt. Winters
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Nobi wrote:
MacKaris wrote:
The hidden AP rule is actually in the rulebook as an optional rule, it's not something we just made up, so I figured using it would not break the game mechanic too bad.


I always play using this rule, adds to the fun.


Agree. Playing with hidden AP gives so much more to the game; both in tension and uncertainty.

If you use my new "5-10 Fixed AP system" it also gives another new dimension of tactical challenges. You can find it here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1634191/new-and-dynamic-way...

I've tried it a lot and have to say it really works and gives even more to the game system. Another good thing is that you can tweak it to your own taste, if you want more or less control over AP management.
 
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Patrick Mooney
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I find it is very difficult for the Germans to win when the Soviets surround the German entry point. Placing the tanks, anti-tank gun and MMG in the woods around the entry points make it difficult for the Germans to make it past the 1st crossroads.
If they do they are often to weak to finish the job
 
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Lewis Karl
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Use your group moves as Germans wisely.

Germans can group move all four tanks onto different hexes in the first move. Whatever Russian unit fires, if they do, on the next turn, can only hit one tank. The rest can fire at Russian target as a group.

Otherwise, they can all four fan out on next move.

Not saying you should start with tanks, because you can group move everything on at once or nothing.
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