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Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe» Forums » General

Subject: Map Details rss

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Olof Sundin
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First of all, I have to admit that I so far only have played Unconditional Surrender Case Blue and played around a bit with the Vassal module, but I have pre-ordered the reprint and the mounted maps (since mounted maps really is the only way to play if you ask me). Since I am a bit of a map geek, I have spent my time waiting for the reprint to arrive by studying the map from the first edition and have a few comments and questions.

I’m afraid it might be too late to incorporate any changes at this point, but in that case it would at least be interesting to hear the reasoning behind some of the map-related choices that were made. I am mostly concerned with the Nordics region, partly because that is where I’m from and partly because that’s an area that often tend to get overlooked. Some of my proposed changes are purely cosmetic, in fact most of the discussed changes have a very limited impact on play. If you’re like me however, you appreciate if the map looks right even where there is no action. I would also like to stress that the only reason that I can comment on these things is that the map is so good to begin with.

Here is my crude draft of a revised map of the Nordics and the Baltic Sea:

The most notable changes in approximate order from north to south:

Torneå River
The Torneå (Finnish Tornio) river follows the border between Sweden and Finland.

Finno-Norwegian Border
The border looks more like the real border and some additional land have been added furthest to the north (in Norway and USSR) in order to get less distorted distances here.

Railways/Roads in Northern Finland
The railway and roads in northern Finland have been adjusted to match the surroundings better.

Lofoten
The Lofoten peninsula (hex 0331) extends into 0330.

Second Swedish Factory
The second Swedish factory is moved from Sundsvall to Kiruna since that is where most of the iron ore exported to Germany was mined.

Added harbours in Finland and Sweden
Turku is added at hex 1436 and Umeå at 1034 (made possible by changing hexes 1033, 1034, and 1132 to land and shifting the railway slightly towards the coast). Furthermore, Karlskrona (which has been the main Swedish naval base since the 17th century) has been added at 2028. This is definately where the Swedish navy would appear if it would have been included in the game. Similarly, Hanko has been added in Finland at 1638. You may notice that I have made this part of the "Soviet Karelia". This is because the base was leased to the USSR for thirty years as part of the Moscow Peace Treaty after the Winter War. This way this can be represented in the game without additional rules.

Position of Oslo
Oslo is relocated to hex 1523 at the innermost tip of the Oslo Fjord. I suspect that it’s position at 1623 may be due to some technical reasons like the range of German aircraft in Denmark, but it still seems a bit artificial.

Position of Stockholm
Similarly, Stockholm is moved to hex 1731 and lake Mälaren is decreased such that there is a river between 1631 and 1731 instead. Hex 1732 is changed to water.

Missing Railways in Sweden
Added railway from Gothenburg to the northeast and then continuing to the north. This means that the hexes 1726, 1727, and 1826 are not shaded anymore, which perhaps isn’t a bad thing. One of the reasons that Sweden managed to stay out of the war was probably that it was difficult to cover its relatively large area and you would get relatively little in return. While on the railway subject, it seems like many other railways on the map has been excluded as well, for example from Hanover to Bremen and Hamburg. Is this an active choice to make supply a bit more tricky?

Missing Islands in the Baltic Sea
Added the islands Gotland in hexes 1932 and 2031, Saaremaa/Hiiumaa in 1738, the Åland islands in 1634, and Bornholm in 2228. Part of southeast Sweden has been split into the island Öland as well. The southern part of this island could possibly be a shaded hex as well, but since Sweden suspected a German amphibious invasion here it might be interesting to include. You might argue that some of these islands are to small to hold an entire army but all of them are bigger than Malta (which is included without a faded hex). Some of these islands could play an important role as air bases in less historical scenarios.

Position of Aalborg
Aalborg is relocated to the south side of the Limfjord.

Missing Rivers
A bunch of rivers have been added. Skien, Drammen, Namsen, and Pasvikelva in Norway. Lagan, Göta älv, Klarälven, Ljusnan, Indalsälven, Ångermanälven, Ume älv, Skellefte älv, and Lule älv in Sweden. Kemijoki, Kokemäenjoki, and Kymijoki in Finland. Narva on the border between Estonia and the Soviet Union. Memel/Nemunas in Lithuania. I guess all of these rivers don’t have to be included, but including them would for example reflect the outspoken Swedish cold war strategy to defend the northern parts of the country by using the rivers as natural obstacles.

Diacritical Marks
Diacritical marks have been added where applicable. For example Luleå instead of Lulea, Malmö instead of Malmo, Glåma instead of Glama, Düsseldorf instead of Dusseldorf, etc.


Comments regarding other parts of the map:

Where’s Cologne
I’m missing Cologne in hex 2819. I guess that it was removed due to too many cities in the Rhineland, but in that case I would argue that Cologne is a more important city to include than Aachen and probably Düsseldorf as well.

Swiss Hexes
The outline of Switzerland looks a bit wonky compared to a real map, shouldn’t the Swiss territory include either 3219 or 3420? I guess the reason might be to provide maneuverability in Alsace-Lorraine and northwest Italy, but it still feels a bit weird. And while on the subject, why is Switzerland prohibited territory? Are there no plausible scenarios where Switzerland would get involved in the war? The terrain isn’t that much rougher than western Austria, right?

Position of Alexandria relative to the Nile
Shouldn’t Alexandria be well to the west of the western bifurcation in the Nile delta? Perhaps the western bifurcation should be moved to follow the eastern edge of hexes 5445 and 5546 instead of the west or does this make the Nile delta too small?


Please let me know what you think and feel free to add other map-related comments as well.
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Salvatore Vasta
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Wow. There is so much to cover there. It will take time of which I have little now. I'll get to it at some point. Please be patient.
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Olof Sundin
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At least it seems like I have gotten a hold of the right person. Great! Anyway, take your time. In the meantime, I have updated the post above with a slightly modified version.

But do you think that it's too late to incorporate any changes to the second edition/printing? Although you may have intended the map to be the same in both versions?
 
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Salvatore Vasta
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olofsundin wrote:
At least it seems like I have gotten a hold of the right person. Great! Anyway, take your time. In the meantime, I have updated the post above with a slightly modified version.

But do you think that it's too late to incorporate any changes to the second edition/printing? Although you may have intended the map to be the same in both versions?


Any changes that may affect game play and balance (e.g. islands with ports) will most likely not happen. There is no time to playtest them before I have to turn in the materials for the next printing with the next month or two.

Other changes may be possible. I have to look at them in more detail.

Oh, I forgot to say thank you, Olof, for doing this. I appreciate efforts to provide a better representation of the geography. I may not always use them, but I do consider them.

Sal
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Olof Sundin
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No problem! As you might have guessed, I do think this stuff is kind of fun.

That you consider the changes is probably more than I would have hoped for. And even if you only include the ones that don't affect game play at all, I would consider that a significant improvement!

By the way, if you're worried about game balance, I guess the islands could be included as shaded hexes. That way they won't affect the game play, right?
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Enrico Catanzaro
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since someone took this topic I'll add a few points about the board I noticed at glance:

Sicily:
it misses River Simeto, just south of Catania, it flows between hexes 4728 and 4628. Everyone knows that around the Simeto Germans and Italians fought hardly. Primosole Bridge, for example, was a primary objective and the bloody theatre of one the most famous battle in Sicily. In my opinion if a river was ever strategically important in Italy, it was the Simeto. Also I would not put any Railroad in hexes 4626 and 4627 since central Sicily at that time (and still nowadays btw) was very short of good roads and rail.

Brindisi, hex 4231;
the hex is right, but the port should be on the Adriatic Sea (SZ 23)only, never in the Mediterranean sea (SZ 24). The Taranto Gulf is too far to even eventually consider Brindisi as a two-SZ port.

Sardina & Corsica:
with the exceptions of the two ports Cagliari and Ajaccio should be both totally shaded. but I understand the reasons why they were'nt
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Salvatore Vasta
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Let's see if I can quickly address this. Before I speak specifically, I'll say that when I put together the map, as with the rules, I tried to maintain the overall philosophy of the game. That is, try to keep it simple when possible.

Also, it was no easy task trying to make a map using a different projection than one used during the period. Scandinavia, in particular, was very difficult given it is the most distorted and so much of it is out of play.

olofsundin wrote:

Torneå River
The Torneå (Finnish Tornio) river follows the border between Sweden and Finland.


This is certainly an easy enough change with no game impact.

Quote:
Finno-Norwegian Border
The border looks more like the real border and some additional land have been added furthest to the north (in Norway and USSR) in order to get less distorted distances here.


The border change is easy. I won't add the extra land hexes because space is already tight up in that area and all those hexes (that I found) are Faded-Dot hexes and so don't impact game play. The less changes made to the map, the less chance for an mistake to happen.

Quote:
Railways/Roads in Northern Finland
The railway and roads in northern Finland have been adjusted to match the surroundings better.


I won't add the extra rails as that will impact game play, especially to trace supplies lines around what, in my opinion, would be the major avenue of approach and military/political targets.

Quote:
Lofoten
The Lofoten peninsula (hex 0331) extends into 0330.


I won't make this change because it is strictly cosmetic. I do appreciate the desire for more geographic accuracy. However, that entire coastline of Norway with all its little peninsulas is already abstracted to limit the number of Faded-Dot hexes on the coast.

Quote:
Second Swedish Factory
The second Swedish factory is moved from Sundsvall to Kiruna since that is where most of the iron ore exported to Germany was mined.


I will contemplate this. I like the representation. However, adding another city impacts Sweden's ability to defend itself and potential National Will loss.

Quote:
Added harbours in Finland and Sweden
Turku is added at hex 1436 and Umeå at 1034 (made possible by changing hexes 1033, 1034, and 1132 to land and shifting the railway slightly towards the coast). Furthermore, Karlskrona (which has been the main Swedish naval base since the 17th century) has been added at 2028. This is definately where the Swedish navy would appear if it would have been included in the game. Similarly, Hanko has been added in Finland at 1638. You may notice that I have made this part of the "Soviet Karelia". This is because the base was leased to the USSR for thirty years as part of the Moscow Peace Treaty after the Winter War. This way this can be represented in the game without additional rules.


These I can't do because they impact game play too much, especially because major powers with amphibious invasion capability would be able to exploit them. And a place like Hanko may seem relatively harmless, but I can imagine some strange play that would be beyond reasonable given the game's scale. As I mentioned in another post, there is no time to adequately playtest changes like this. I might consider Karlskrona to house the Swedish navy , if I remove an already existing port.

Quote:
Position of Oslo
Oslo is relocated to hex 1523 at the innermost tip of the Oslo Fjord. I suspect that it’s position at 1623 may be due to some technical reasons like the range of German aircraft in Denmark, but it still seems a bit artificial.


This is a situation of game play taking precedence over geography. I'm sorry for the inaccuracy, but Olso needed to be within 3 hexes of a German air unit so that the German Airdrop could be placed in it.

Quote:
Position of Stockholm
Similarly, Stockholm is moved to hex 1731 and lake Mälaren is decreased such that there is a river between 1631 and 1731 instead. Hex 1732 is changed to water.


Interestingly, this is not the first suggestion I had to change the Stockholm area. I had one from a Swedish playtester quite a long time ago. I took his suggestion back then. I'll think about this change, but at the moment I'm leaning against it as I don't see much reason for doing so. Again, the less changes we make for the next edition, the less chance for a mistake to occur.

Quote:
Missing Railways in Sweden
Added railway from Gothenburg to the northeast and then continuing to the north. ... While on the railway subject, it seems like many other railways on the map has been excluded as well, for example from Hanover to Bremen and Hamburg. Is this an active choice to make supply a bit more tricky?


Yes. Many railways are missing on the map for a variety of reasons. At this scale, nearly every hex in France and Germany would have rail in them. The rail/roads on the map are a compromise of major infrastructure areas that can supply armies. In places like Scandinavia, it is intentional to limit space and supply lines. Without it, it becomes too easy for larger countries to simply outflank opposing armies.

Quote:
Missing Islands in the Baltic Sea
Added the islands Gotland in hexes 1932 and 2031, ... You might argue that some of these islands are to small to hold an entire army but all of them are bigger than Malta (which is included without a faded hex). Some of these islands could play an important role as air bases in less historical scenarios.


Except in the Mediterranean, I intentionally left out islands on the map. At the game's scale, I felt they would impact game play too much, again, being exploited too easily by the major powers. Size was not the reason. Even in the Med, the islands are only major ones. Malta for its obvious strategic importance rather than its size. I also did not include islands, making them Faded-Dot hexes, because they would visually clutter the map.

Quote:
Position of Aalborg
Aalborg is relocated to the south side of the Limfjord.


Again, a change I won't do to avoid possible mistakes.

Quote:
Missing Rivers
A bunch of rivers have been added... I guess all of these rivers don’t have to be included, but including them would for example reflect the outspoken Swedish cold war strategy to defend the northern parts of the country by using the rivers as natural obstacles.


The comment I made above about railways in every hex seems to me to be applicable to Scandinavia in regards to rivers. I won't do this because there is no time to playtest it. It is difficult enough to fight in the terrain and limited hexes up in this area of the map. A -2 DRM can be quite insurmountable for all except major powers.

Quote:
Diacritical Marks
Diacritical marks have been added where applicable. For example Luleå instead of Lulea, Malmö instead of Malmo, Glåma instead of Glama, Düsseldorf instead of Dusseldorf, etc.


You'll have to excuse my USA/English typing and naming. No diacritical marks exist on any location on the map and I'd rather not go down that road.


Quote:
Where’s Cologne


There are a lot of cities missing on the map. It's been a long time since I thought about which city to include or exclude. Game play was critical, but in some cases I simply picked one over another.

Quote:
Swiss Hexes
The outline of Switzerland looks a bit wonky compared to a real map, shouldn’t the Swiss territory include either 3219 or 3420? I guess the reason might be to provide maneuverability in Alsace-Lorraine and northwest Italy, but it still feels a bit weird.


Yes, the space was needed to provide maneuverability in those locations.

Quote:
And while on the subject, why is Switzerland prohibited territory? Are there no plausible scenarios where Switzerland would get involved in the war? The terrain isn’t that much rougher than western Austria, right?


Early playtesting did have it playable. It affected diplomacy game play too much. It could be picked by Germany or France to mitigate a Political Failure early in the game. It could be picked to outflank the Maginot Line. Things like that.

Quote:
Position of Alexandria relative to the Nile
Shouldn’t Alexandria be well to the west of the western bifurcation in the Nile delta? Perhaps the western bifurcation should be moved to follow the eastern edge of hexes 5445 and 5546 instead of the west or does this make the Nile delta too small?


This is a compromise to represent the delta.

Sal
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Salvatore Vasta
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ecz67 wrote:
Sicily:
it misses River Simeto, just south of Catania, it flows between hexes 4728 and 4628. Everyone knows that around the Simeto Germans and Italians fought hardly. Primosole Bridge, for example, was a primary objective and the bloody theatre of one the most famous battle in Sicily. In my opinion if a river was ever strategically important in Italy, it was the Simeto.


I'm quite familiar with it. For a long time I've wanted to create scenarios for the Primosole Bridge battles using the Lock 'n Load Tactical World War II Era Core Rules series or other tactical system. In terms of the game's scale, the Sicily campaign was over in a turn. Adding a river there I think would just foster more Allied invasions of Palermo rather than the historical area closer to Catania.

Quote:
Also I would not put any Railroad in hexes 4626 and 4627 since central Sicily at that time (and still nowadays btw) was very short of good roads and rail.


I understand. It is there to represent the coastal roads and supply lines used by the American army moving northwest toward Palermo. Given the relative size of the island, the line is probably not not needed. At this stage, however, I will leave it to avoid unnecessary changes that may result in a reprint mistake.


Quote:
Brindisi, hex 4231; the hex is right, but the port should be on the Adriatic Sea (SZ 23)only, never in the Mediterranean sea (SZ 24). The Taranto Gulf is too far to even eventually consider Brindisi as a two-SZ port.


This is a situation of needing a multi-SZ port in Italy between the Adriatic and Mediterranean. It allows for better access and tracing between the two seas.

Quote:
Sardina & Corsica:
with the exceptions of the two ports Cagliari and Ajaccio should be both totally shaded. but I understand the reasons why they were'nt


I am actually thinking of making more of these hexes Faded-Dot hexes. However, I still want an over land movement capability between them.

Sal
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Olof Sundin
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Thanks for taking the time to look at this and I'm very satisfied with your response overall. Although you give perfectly understandable explanations in most cases, I feel that I must comment in some of the cases:

svasta wrote:
Finno-Norwegian Border
The border change is easy. I won't add the extra land hexes because space is already tight up in that area and all those hexes (that I found) are Faded-Dot hexes and so don't impact game play. The less changes made to the map, the less chance for an mistake to happen.

That sounds good, but make sure that Finland only reaches the sea at Petsamo and not for example at hex 0344, since that would look strange. In that case it is probably better to leave 0344 as a Norwegian hex (even though that means that the lake there erroneously extends into Norway.

svasta wrote:
Added harbours in Finland and Sweden
I might consider Karlskrona to house the Swedish navy , if I remove an already existing port.

In that case I would probably leave it as it is, considering that the other Swedish cities with a port are much larger than Karlskrona.

svasta wrote:
Missing Islands in the Baltic Sea
I also did not include islands, making them Faded-Dot hexes, because they would visually clutter the map.

My reason for including them was mostly to fill out what I considered an "empty" Baltic Sea, so it seems like it's simply a matter of taste and there's probably no point in arguing about that.

svasta wrote:
Position of Aalborg
Again, a change I won't do to avoid possible mistakes.

Since it's relocated within the same hex it wouldn't affect gameplay, but it's such a minor change that the people of Aalborg hopefully can accept the current location on the map.

Anyway, if you include the changes you've mentioned above I would consider that a major improvement.
 
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Olof Sundin
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Now that the second edition is finished it would be interesting to hear the reasoning behind which changes were incorporated and which weren't. I haven't received my copy yet but from an uploaded picture I could spot four new rivers (two each in Norway and Sweden). Is there anything else that has been changed?

I have to admit that I was hoping to see the Torneå river follow the border on the other side of hex 0538 since that was one of the things that bugged me the most about the original map (I'm crazy, I know), but that doesn't seem to be the case.
 
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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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Birmingham (in the UK) apparently lies parallel with London on the River Thames. I'm not prone to using WTaF as an expression, but this was definitely one of those cases.

No idea what map of the UK this came from.
 
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Salvatore Vasta
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Quote:
I was hoping to see the Torneå river follow the border on the other side of hex 0538


Sorry, I meant to do this and missed it.

Quote:
Birmingham (in the UK) apparently lies parallel with London on the River Thames. I'm not prone to using WTaF as an expression, but this was definitely one of those cases.


Yes, it could be in a better hex location. In my weak defense, it is partly due to the distortion of the projection software I used long ago and it did not receive complaints during all this time.

When it is time for the Super Deluxe Edition, please remind me to fix these. Until then, I offer my apologies.

Sal
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Øivind Karlsrud
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I'm late to this discussion, and it's too late to do anything about the new edition, but I don't think one should go too far down this rabbit hole. At the scale of the game, there's probably a river in or between almost every hex. How many places in Europe can you drive for 100km without seeing a river? That doesn't mean every river should be on the map. A river which is drawn on the map should be a strategically significant defensive line. I'm not sure Drammenselva in Norway would qualify. I'm assuming the extra movement cost and modifier to attack across rivers is supposed to be for major rivers like The Danube. If you're going to include smaller rivers, you need a more granular system, because I'm pretty sure Drammenselva is not as powerful a defensive line as The Danube or The Dnieper.

As for the placement of Oslo, that looks strange to me too, as a norwegian. But moving it would mean that it's 8 hexes from Germany and 4 hexes from the tip of Denmark (as the OP hinted at, the placement of Oslo might have to do with ranges for aircraft). It is more important to consider the effects on the game, than to draw an accurate map.
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Olof Sundin
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oivind22 wrote:
... I don't think one should go too far down this rabbit hole.

Generally I agree. It's just that by omitting details in areas that didn't see much action during the actual war one is also rendering many interesting what if scenarios impossible, something I feel is a missed opportunity.

Still, you're right that playability probably is the most important thing and it seems like that has been the priority in this game.
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Øivind Karlsrud
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olofsundin wrote:
Generally I agree. It's just that by omitting details in areas that didn't see much action during the actual war one is also rendering many interesting what if scenarios impossible, something I feel is a missed opportunity.

I can see that. But on the other hand, you would also need to divide units into far smaller pieces to really do those other areas right. Even one land unit in USE is bigger than the force which invaded Norway, and that force was divided up and sent to different cities. The attack on Norway always looks strange to me in games at this scale.
 
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Olof Sundin
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Yes, I suppose you're right. The perfect WW2 game simply doesn't exist (which probably is a good thing for game publishers).

On a side note, I recieved my copy today and noticed that there is an additional river added just north of Stockholm, so that makes it five new rivers in total. Also, the back of the box still shows the map from the first printing although that might be less important.
 
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