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The Sands of War» Forums » Rules

Subject: smoke and gas rss

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Can someone plz clarify these rules for me? E.g. how long does smoke stay, how fast does it spread and how far, does each hex have its own dispersion time? As far as gas is concerned, in the rules it says that e.g. 4 field arty salvos are required for light concentration but in most scenarios u get only 3 salvos of gas in total for the field arty! So how does gas work at all?
 
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Andrew Cozzi
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- how long does smoke stay, how fast does it spread and how far:
Depends on who is producing the smoke: armour and infantry only their hex one turn [pag 15], if from artillery: depends on type of artillery and force of wind: always pag 15 has a grid with all possible combinations, the grid is also reproduced in the Movement and Visibility chart. Plus remember: strong wind --> doesn't cover and dissipates immediately. Smoke is instantaneous.


- does each hex have its own dispersion time?
No all hex are the same.


- As far as gas is concerned, in the rules it says that e.g. 4 field arty salvos are required for light concentration but in most scenarios u get only 3 salvos of gas in total for the field arty.

For political reasons Gas was very seldom used, only in one occasion I think between Iraq and Iran. The game correctly limits this possibility for historical reasons but the rules allow gas usage for fiction campaigns between players.
In my Campaign games we make use of Gas and chemical weapons as unpalatable as it should be in real life. Not only on an humanitarian bases but also on a political level. We don't forbid it but we "charge" a cost in asset point reduction [pag 72] caused by international condemnation and embargo.
 
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Thank you for your prompt reply. So in the Final Fire Phase the arty smoke lands on the target hex and instantly spreads downwind, which means that we immediately place the corresponding number of smoke markers according to the matrix chart? How long do these stay on map? On p15 it doesnt say anywhere about how long smoke stays, arty or tank/inf made.
Gas is used in all Iran-Iraq scenarios (just like in reality) except the first two but in most of them the situation I pointed out arises (that is not enough salvos to achieve even light concentration according to the rules). So if the amount of gas salvos given in the scenario setup can have no effect on gameplay, why given at all?
 
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Andrew Cozzi
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Yes I was referring to the "Essential Histories series - The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988" from Osprey written by Efraim Karsh.

He writes that although both sides had gas at their disposal, they chose not to use it except for a 2 battles.

About the game I would have to go to the rule book but I'm busy this week.

Hope you find all the answers.

We played this game extensively specially our own designed campaign.

One of my favorite games!

 
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I've played this game a lot, but have thus far avoided scenarios with gas. He's correct, in most of them you can't actually create a gas cloud even once! I'm still vague on the gas movement rules. Also, what is the difference between "Moderate variable" and "Moderate" wind? Are there missing wind change rules (like in ASL, direction and intensity)?
 
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Another question. Unit is attacked by mustard gas, but survives. There is no wind so the mustard gas stays in the hex. But so does the unit (in this case infantry). Does the infantry get attacked again next turn? Or only on the initial attack?
 
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Marc Hanna
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your questions illustrate exactly how badly the rules are written. there are dozens of other unanswerable questions.... sorry! cry
 
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Andrew Cozzi
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chris99 wrote:
I've played this game a lot, but have thus far avoided scenarios with gas. He's correct, in most of them you can't actually create a gas cloud even once! I'm still vague on the gas movement rules. Also, what is the difference between "Moderate variable" and "Moderate" wind? Are there missing wind change rules (like in ASL, direction and intensity)?


The rules are written well but the game is complex so you need to go and dig for information (all info on smoke and gas are on page 15).

Gas movement rules:
There are two types of gas and they move differently:
- Mustard gas: moves downhill [one hex per turn] and downwind one hex per turn in light wind and 2 hex in moderate. No effect if strong . It persists in the hex and doesn't dissipate.
- Nervine gas: Non-persistent.
a) In light wind -> downwind 2 hexes and dissipate on a roll 1-3.
b) In moderate wind -> downwind 4 hexes and last one turn.

Mustard gas last longer (better) but is easier for soldiers to protect themselves from it "chemically protected" [-2] {see scenario}. Terrain has modifiers for both types of gas.


Wind direction and strength:
- Wind direction: one roll of die according to picture on pag 15 bottom left {wind may changes direction}
- Strength: is given in the heading of each scenario


"Moderate variable" vs "Moderate" There are only 3 possible wind strengths: light, medium and strong. {If strong there is no effect}. Wind is always Variable 1-6 sides of a hex. 7-10 roll again.

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Andrew Cozzi
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chris99 wrote:
Another question. Unit is attacked by mustard gas, but survives. There is no wind so the mustard gas stays in the hex. But so does the unit (in this case infantry). Does the infantry get attacked again next turn? Or only on the initial attack?


This is quite obvious IMMO:

If a unit remains an a hex where poisonous gas was released they will keep "breathing" poisonous gas. -> Keep rolling for possible 'damage'. That is if the gas persists/remains and is not dissipated.

The same principle is valid for some types of artillery that continue battering the same hex over multiple turns (usually to deter enemy movement).





 
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So there is only Light, Moderate, and Heavy wind? Not "No wind"? That would mean the Smoke/Gas always moves...
 
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Marc Hanna
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chris99 wrote:
So there is only Light, Moderate, and Heavy wind? Not "No wind"? That would mean the Smoke/Gas always moves...

That the game does not address the status of no wind is one of those missing details that tell us the rules were written on the fly.
exactly.


Plus many scenarios don't address the details of these sorts of things. It's really a shame. The rules need a clarity rewrite.

The game is not that complex. What makes it complex is the lack of clarity requiring constant interpretation.

It may seem obvious in how to interpret the rule, but it would be easier were the rule to be written with more clarity, because others do see the gaps and problems. The rules for artillery are particularly unclear because there are various ways to interpret how to calculate odds and damage.

 
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Marc Hanna
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Here is a good example of poor rules clarity:

page 15: Length of smoke. Nowhere is it describled that the numbers on the table referring to length mean the number of hexes of drift. One has to inteprete this

Apparently, in this game, the wind direction is dependent upon the hex the smoke lands in, not upon a general prevailing wind direction for the battlefield. Does this make sense? No.

Combat results: page 8. Nowhere is it described how terrain effects the odds ratios. One has to assume that the defense of the unit would be added to the terrain bonus from the chart. Would this be easy to explain somewhere in the rules? Yes. Is it? No.

There are more examples of this nature. While I think all of these issues can be fixed with better rules, one can't unilaterally indicate they know a better interpretations because so much is missing in the gaps.

This could be a great game. One, I think, could make some money on taking this design and spending some time upgrading it a bit and writing some rules that don't have so many holes.

 
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Well, I think the basic rules are pretty good and, after playing, clear enough. It's all the Advanced rules that seem to be pretty brief and not well-defined. Which is frustrating because then you tend to avoid certain scenarios to avoid a rule you don't understand...
 
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chris99 wrote:
So there is only Light, Moderate, and Heavy wind? Not "No wind"? That would mean the Smoke/Gas always moves...


No. As I said with heavy wind gas dissipates immediately and there is no effect.

Yes you are write there is no no-wind only Light, Moderate, and Heavy wind.

Probably in desertic areas with very little natural obstacles there is always at least a very light wind.
 
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Honosbinda wrote:

page 15: Length of smoke. Nowhere is it described that the numbers on the table referring to length mean the number of hexes of drift. One has to interpret this.


Sorry but I must disagree. Even if in the paragraph 'Length of smoke' doesn't state that the numbers refers to hexes, the preceding paragraph "Armour or infantry smoke" does [twice].

Anyway at the start of the rule book it states that all distances are 'measured' in hexes.
 
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Marc Hanna
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annibale35 wrote:


Sorry but I must disagree. Even if in the paragraph 'Length of smoke' doesn't state that the numbers refers to hexes, the preceding paragraph "Armour or infantry smoke" does [twice].

Anyway at the start of the rule book it states that all distances are 'measured' in hexes.


The 'armor or infantry smoke' section does not refer to anything but in-hex generated smoke but does not at all indicate that the 'length' of such smoke is one hex. I am starting to wonder if there is more than one rules set out there. Otherwise, you should at least admit that interpretation is necessary, where clarity would be preferable.

This variable wind rule also makes no sense. so one hex 250 meters away from another could have wind blowing an entirely different direction, possibly drifting 'a length' of smoke across a previous 'length' of smoke going a different direction from an adjacent smoked hex. What nonsense. So, when confronted with rules that make no sense, we again start interpreting what the designer really wanted to simulate with the rule.

'At the start of the rulebook' and where exactly? what page? what paragraph? I looked and could not find your reference. And where does it say that 'all distances' also means the same as 'all lengths?' You see, this a classic example of lack of clarity in rules combined with a lack of ability of two players to cite rules excerpts with any ease or congruence.

The rules have no indexing nor enumeration allowing us to refer back to what is being explained from one section to the next. And why should the wind rules be embedded in the smoke rules? Why not make it clear by having a 'wind effects' section? I could go on and on.

chris99 wrote:
Well, I think the basic rules are pretty good and, after playing, clear enough. It's all the Advanced rules that seem to be pretty brief and not well-defined. Which is frustrating because then you tend to avoid certain scenarios to avoid a rule you don't understand...


I don't disagree with you about the basic rules being pretty good as long as they can be interpreted with mutual facility, but where is to be found an example of calculating combat odds wrt the terrain the defender sits in? Nowhere I can find.

On page 8, the rules indicate 'modifications are made for terrain' and refer us to the CRT and to calculating odds based on attack vs defense factor. Fair enough. But the CRT does not refer to any procedure to implementing terrain effects.

Flip the chart over and it tells us that direct fire attacks on airfields, for example, yield +1 def. So what does 'def' mean? No idea! does it mean +1 to the defense factor of a unit? does it mean +1 to the attack effects roll? We have to evaluate this and decide that the only thing that could make sense is that the terrain 'adds' to the defense factor. But why not a rule indicating that exactly? Is that too much effort to write down? It seems it must have been the case.

By all means, if you find it printed in the rule book somewhere, let me know.

All of this would be mute, though, if the section on attacks had an example of calculating odds with terrain involved. But apparently the designers had no time for explaining and illustrating basic procedures.

It's a shame really because the game could be so good. But as it stands, the game has no real following on BGG (2 people ranked 5,888th?!?!), and I am explaining exactly why that is the case. Because in spite of how much we can admire a classically creative design, and it is, the rules need some amendment for clarity in order to play the game with all the advanced features and further, no two players are going to easily agree to the same interpretation of this stuff.






 
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