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Band of Brothers: Old Breed South Pacific» Forums » General

Subject: Head-To-Head Match up: BoB v. ASL rss

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Dean Halley
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Head to head matchup: Band of Brothers vs. Advanced Squad Leader

I can still remember the first time I played Squad Leader almost 40 years ago. I was the Russians in the Guards Counter Attack, and I was hooked. I mean who can forget those red colored Russian berserk counters and the tension of crossing that street into German machine gun fire? From there it was onto Cross of Iron, Crescendo of Doom, and G.I. Anvil of Victory. But by the time Squad Leader reached G.I. Anvil of Victory, it was a mess. The system had evolved significantly over the four different modules and the errata in G.I. for the previous games outweighed the actual rules (at least in my mind). Only the truly diehard fans could make heads or tails out of it.

Avalon Hill owned Squad Leader at the time and decide to fix it by publishing Advanced Squad Leader. And what a “fix” it was. ASL was Squad Leader on steroids. The entire system was broken down and built back up with an overwhelming amount of detailed rules in a large three-ring binder that covered everything from basic Firepower to vehicles breaking down from excessive abuse. And it kept growing as the world- wide ASL community contributed home-grown scenarios and fanzines, and Avalon Hill added more and more nationalities, historical modules, and scenarios to the fold until all of World War Two was covered. It was quite an achievement and arguably the best simulation out there on Tactical combat. At least that is what the ASL fanatics said. After all lots of detailed rules equal reality, right?

I loved it and played ASL for 15 years. But by the end of that time, I had become disillusioned with it. I found myself playing against grognards who knew the hundred-plus pages of ASL rules forward and backward and the nuances of the system that allowed you to game your opponent. I never absorbed ASL to that level, because I played to gain a better understanding of history and to pit my skill as a tactical leader against my opponents without running the risk of actually getting shot . Against these guys and occasional gal, I found myself losing more often than winning when I should have at least been breaking even. I mean good, historical infantry tactics should be rewarded in a tactical game that is touted as the greatest simulation of all time, right? Nope. At least not in ASL. I will give you three examples of what I am referring to.

The first one is that sleazy ASL tactic of “skulking.” If you have never played ASL, you have no idea what I am talking about. But if you have played ASL and you are reading this, then you probably despise this gamy tactic too. In a nutshell, you can move your units out of harm’s way in your Movement Phase and then move them back into their original positions in your Advance Phase. This prevents your opponent from firing at your units before he/she gets to move. In real life terms, your soldiers are running from one side of the building to the other side to avoid being shot at by the enemy and then running back in time to shoot at them when they move. Now, how realistic is that?

The second one is broken squads. In ASL, squads and leaders that suffer FP damage are either eliminated or broken (don’t squabble with me over being Pinned. That is the exception). Seems reasonable. But once a unit is broken, it needs a leader in the same hex to rally it during the Rally Phase. That is a tall order when you only have three of four leaders for the entire scenario and the broken units are scattered all over the map. As time went on I couldn’t help wondering what ever happened to the inherent leaders that are present in every squad (for example, USMC squads from 1944 on have a squad leader and three fire team leaders). What are they doing during this time? Nothing I guess. Which allows anyone the opportunity to waltz up to a broken squad and kill it. And that is exactly what happens. Broken squads become prime targets and an easy way to gain VPs since there is zero risk in it (although reaching Broken squads can be problematic, but I am talking general principles here). This same flawed broken routine is repeated in Lock n Load and Old School Tactical (although OST’s version is a bit more realistic).

The third example is the massive rule book. I love the chrome (minute details) that ASL has. It just adds to its tactical theme. For example, when firing at a tank you have to roll a “To Hit” dice roll (two 1d6). If the result on the white die is lower than the red die it’s a turret hit and vice versa. And if the “To Hit” dice roll is snake eyes (two ones) it’s a critical hit, which doubles the attacking units AP FP. On a bad day for a Russian T-34, it means that a 37mm Anti-tank Gun can actually take it out. And that is just one example. There are hundreds of other chrome saturated rules like this that add to the tension of playing ASL.

But all of this chrome comes with a cost. Mainly a massive rule book that takes a standard sized three-ring binder to store it. And each new module/nationality that was added to ASL added its own chapter to the rule book. And with so many detailed rules there is an unintended ripple effect of sleazy, a-historical tactics that crept into the system over the years that are perfectly legal… and perfectly silly. The Skulking example above is just one of them. Another one is the “rule on page 53, paragraph three, subparagraph A that doesn’t allow me to do that even though I could in real life” exception. This type of silliness always came up when I was playing against grognards who knew the exception was there, could determine from my level of experience if I knew if it was there or not, and game me with it if they judged me to be a non-grognard. And they would always gleefully point out this obscure exception to me when I tried to do it, and every time I would think “yup it’s there and I guess I can’t do that. Too bad I didn’t find that sentence in the 100+ pages of rules before playing the scenario.” I could go on, but you get the idea. I was losing more often that winning because I was playing against the rules as much as against my opponent.

If you are interested in more examples of ASL sleaze, check out this website: http://www.ths85.net/zekesaslparadise/sleaze.html. It’s all in fun, but it’s a good read too.

So I quit ASL and started searching for a game that rewarded real infantry tactics, played in a reasonable amount of time (an hour or two for small scenarios… even when looking up the rules), avoided the grognard trap, and provided a tense gaming experience. My search over the years included The Tactical Combat Series by the Gamers (now owned by MMP), Lock n Load, Combat Commander, Fighting Formations, Conflict of Heroes, Old School Tactical, and Band of Brothers. IMHO, Band of Brothers towered above them all, and Conflict of Heroes came in as a distant second choice.

Band of Brothers avoided all of the pitfalls of ASL that I described above and the hundreds of others that I didn’t talk about. O.K., maybe not hundreds, but you get my point.

For instance, there are only four phases in a Band of Brother’s turn instead of the 14 in ASL (in ASL, each side gets a Rally Phase, Prep Fire Phase, Movement Phase, Defensive Fire Phase, Rout Phase, Advance Phase and Close Combat Phase). In Band of Brothers, units must either fire, move once or be marked as Op Fire. Wala, no mores skulking. So, now you must face your opponent’s fire if you want to hold onto contested terrain. It is a game changer from ASL.

And as for broken units... Band of Brothers has Suppression instead. Now this is way cool because a Suppressed unit might still be able to put a world of hurt on an approaching enemy unit. It’s not as likely for a Suppressed unit to do that compared to an Unsuppressed unit, but the threat is real (unlike a broken unit in ASL). So, in BoB, there is no more waltzing up to an incapacitated enemy unit to eliminate it without taking a risk, and no more leaving broken enemy units behind to die on the vine. I guess those inherent leaders finally woke up for BoB.

This Suppression instead of broken status is another game changer that is very real. How many times in history has a handful of die-hard soldiers held out against overwhelming numbers? Pavlov’s House in Stalingrad comes to mind. Now it’s possible to do the same thing in BoB. Additionally, if you leave a Suppressed unit alone it recovers from its Suppression automatically (no leader counter needed). Just like in life, you must find the enemy, fix them, and then eliminate them to remove the threat.

On a related issue are the leaders, or lack of them in BoB. The leaders have been replaced with Command Points and the side’s Operation’s range. Spending a CP represents a leader modifying an attack or rally attempt. The Operations range represents many things, and one of them is the number and quality of leaders a side has. So, the leaders are there, just not in such an obvious way.

One of the things the absence of leaders and fire groups in BoB does is eliminate the killer stack in ASL that dominates the battlefield. In ASL, if you have a killer stack of three elite squads with SWs led by a 10-3 leader in the second story of a stone building, you own the map. Barring a lucky shot, there is almost no way to take them out except in close combat (Melee)… and getting into ASL Melee with a stack that includes a 10-3 leader and using skulking sleaze is almost impossible.

And finally, the rule book. In 20 pages of rules, Band of Brothers forces player to use realistic tactics, prevents players from gaming the system, avoids sleazy tactics like Skulking, forces me to pit my tactical skills against my opponents, and play larger scenarios in just a few hours (while still looking up rules). There are no obscure rules to hide behind, and grognards have the same chance of winning and losing as anyone else.

I do miss the chrome of ASL. But the tradeoff is a better, tighter game that rewards tactical skill instead rules fatigue. And that is/was literally a game changer for me.

I am looking forward to Battle Pack 1 to find out how much time a Band of Brothers monster scenario takes to play. Why it might even prove that a Band of Brother’s adaptation of an ASL Historical module like Red Barricades might be feasible in a lifetime. A gentlemen named Si Brooks on BGG is already testing this theory. You can check it out at https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1663392/red-barricades-....

That is all for now. Everyone have a great day!
Dean Halley
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Pete Frederick
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I appreciate your perspective Dean. Thank you for that write up. I've purchased a ton of ASL stuff, but have only really played the ASLSK #1 a few times. I hold on to the ASL stuff thinking when I retire (~20 more years), I'll conquer it and have a great experience. However, more and more, I find folks who have "been there, done that" with ASL, and have chosen less rules density for playability, without too much sacrifice on simulation/realism. I've invested in BoB as well as a few other tactical systems like LnLT, OST, and CoH. I generally play solo, so that is a big factor in the games I invest in.

What are your thoughts on LnLT vs. BoB when comparing to ASL?
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Dean Halley
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Good afternoon Peter!
I am a tactical junkie, so I have played all of the games you mentioned. in fact, I am the designer for CoH Guadalcanal. Although to be fair, the Bushido Point rule was Gunter's idea, not mine. I think it is cool.

I have enjoyed aspects of all of these games, but I keep coming back to Band of Brothers. IMHO you just can beat it for all of the reasons I mentioned, no matter what game system I am playing.

I eventually plan on doing head-to-head reviews for LnL and CoH too.

take care,
Dean
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David Tsui
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On skulking:

You're not alone. Below was my submission for a geek list of "logical inconsistencies" in board games. It's item #465.

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/18878/illogical-captain-lo...?

I gave up on ASL when I realized that to play competently with minimal reference to the rules, I needed to constantly play the game. And that's just infantry only. Throw in armor, and now I'm spending more time checking the rule book than actually making decisions and playing the game.

There are too many brilliant games out there to play, and sticking with one game was too much of a sacrifice.
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Mike Hoyt

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I like everything about your post Dean, except the references to "Grognards" when I think you mean "Rules Lawyers".

Granted, your point is perfectly clear, and "Rules Lawyers" is often more used to mean those annoying fellas who quibble about what the rules mean, whereas you are describing people who are more gaming the rules (especially if they do things they know are against the rules but figure you don't know it...maybe "cheaters" for that one?).

But Grognard is really just a more experienced "veteran" and not necessarily a bad sport...

Well, I'm in danger of quibbling with an essay I enjoyed and agree with,so I'll fade away..... Good job!
 
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Dean Halley
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Quote:
I gave up on ASL when I realized that to play competently with minimal reference to the rules, I needed to constantly play the game. And that's just infantry only. Throw in armor, and now I'm spending more time checking the rule book than actually making decisions and playing the game.

There are too many brilliant games out there to play, and sticking with one game was too much of a sacrifice.


I agree 100%.

Quote:
I like everything about your post Dean, except the references to "Grognards" when I think you mean "Rules Lawyers".


I always thought that grognards were people who lived and breathed a particular game to the exclusion of everything else in life. I stand corrected. I am looking forward to Battle Pack 1. Care to share any details?

Take care,
Dean
 
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Neal Durando
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Hmm. I just happened to be blogging about the design differences between ASL and BoB.

"ASL and ATS invent new systems for new situations; they do not address these needs in terms of existing rules opting for a maximalist approach. They take a stab at splendor at the cost of adding distinct procedures, rather than taking an exacting look at previous rules and grinding out some elegance."

http://defling.com/blog/?p=318
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Dean Halley
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Neil,
Nicely done. I am looking forward to what you come up with to finish your upper-level rule.

Dean
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Martin Gallo
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Defense Linguistics wrote:
Hmm. I just happened to be blogging about the design differences between ASL and BoB.

"ASL and ATS invent new systems for new situations; they do not address these needs in terms of existing rules opting for a maximalist approach. They take a stab at splendor at the cost of adding distinct procedures, rather than taking an exacting look at previous rules and grinding out some elegance."

http://defling.com/blog/?p=318
I think you might be wrong about ATS. The rules have changed over time to incorporate some different ways of handling basic mechanics - MGs and Morale come to mind. ASL is, however, fairly stuck.
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Neal Durando
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martimer wrote:
Defense Linguistics wrote:
Hmm. I just happened to be blogging about the design differences between ASL and BoB.

"ASL and ATS invent new systems for new situations; they do not address these needs in terms of existing rules opting for a maximalist approach. They take a stab at splendor at the cost of adding distinct procedures, rather than taking an exacting look at previous rules and grinding out some elegance."

http://defling.com/blog/?p=318
I think you might be wrong about ATS. The rules have changed over time to incorporate some different ways of handling basic mechanics - MGs and Morale come to mind. ASL is, however, fairly stuck.


Greetings Martin! I'll have to go back to my copy of ATS. You've long been an articulate advocate of the system and, if were back in St. Louis I'd insist on playing it with you. Part of ATS's problem is the shifting sands of the various editions.

But, then again, that's true of the whole tactical niche, isn't it? I've always admired LnL's approach of incorporating SSRs once they've been invoked enough. Not sure if it works, though. Rules drift is an interesting design and editorial problem. On one hand, you don't want to scotch it because drift is a (the) major reason why new games are designed. Too much of it, though, and you get different products. Say what you will of ASL's rules set, its curation over the years has been really remarkable.
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Martin Gallo
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Yes, there is a bit of drift in all these games. At least the systems still being published.

If you ever pass through this area, I would be happy to play a game with you. Been a loooong time.
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Alfy Burger
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Thanks for this head-to-head, Dean. I can't wait for the LnLT-BoB one. Actually, I litterally can't wait: I'm hesitating between both for Christmas and time is getting short. LnLP might make it easy as their reprints are still unavailable, but BoB is making it difficult with its awful counters and it's lack of solo module...

I fully agree the inclusion of proper suppression fire overwhelms all the amount of Chrome ASL has at its disposal when it comes to realism. I guess ASL is a product of its time. But as you say, not having a proper suppression mechanism is still a feature of more modern systems, and I have even read here on BGG Mark Walker saying he did not quite buy that MGs were mostly used for suppressing fire during assaults.

I am frankly amazed that this is still open for discussion among WWII wargame designers. One just has to open FM 7-10 '42 (the infantry manual for the US army), which was heavily borrowed from the Brits, who had in turn borrowed from the Germans in the 30s. I'd also fully agree that equating "suppressed" with "shaken" is a very poor solution, in the one key respect you highlight: a suppressed unit comes back to full efficiency as soon as suppressing fire stops. Troops were actually trained in being ready to react as soon as the shooting stopped, as when the suppressing fire stops, it means the close assaults is about to begin. So good for BoB, it makes it sole king of the hill in that respect.

But where I would disagree with you is with the lack of on-board leaders. First, I would not equate a grizzled 1st sergeant or a trained lieutenant with a fire team leader when it comes to their capacity to rally a shaken unit: a broken team with no support from its platoon leaders would often remain inefficient. Secondly, while there are differences between sides in BoB's command system, there are no differences between commanders, which contributes to the blandness some have complained about. And of course, you don't have to think about placing your leaders properly (a key element in any field manual) and you can't hunt and kill the commanders.

It's certainly less frustrating than an ASL killer stack, and you could argue not too much realism is lost through abstraction, but I personally feel you're starting to lose some key elements of tactical combat. I'd also point out that all the cardboard wargames I know off are miserable when it comes to representing C2, and keeping leaders off the board just compounds that weakness (LnLT has one feeble saving grace: leaders can only rally counters of their own unit. As far as I know, that's about it when it comes to command structure among tactical wargames...)

And a,final remark (sorry, I did not mean to match the size of your original post!), when you talk about units making famous last stands, like at Pavlov's house, I really feel BoB is missing the ASL concept of a hero. Some people dislike it as being to Hollywoodian, but anyone who has read accounts of WWII knows how often individuals have taken over the narrative of small-scale engagements of the like depicted in BoB, even if only for a moment. Completely removing SMCs was I believe BoBs biggest mistake, not because it makes the game less fun, but because it hurts the realism it strives so much for.
 
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Neal Durando
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AlfyB wrote:

And a,final remark (sorry, I did not mean to match the size of your original post!), when you talk about units making famous last stands, like at Pavlov's house, I really feel BoB is missing the ASL concept of a hero. Some people dislike it as being to Hollywoodian, but anyone who has read accounts of WWII knows how often individuals have taken over the narrative of small-scale engagements of the like depicted in BoB, even if only for a moment. Completely removing SMCs was I believe BoBs biggest mistake, not because it makes the game less fun, but because it hurts the realism it strives so much for.


I like how JK went back to first assumptions, even questioning deep tactical game subsystems like leadership. I think in the aggregate (which is how I understand BoB) individual leaders come out in the wash, especially once you start thinking about how best to play your CPs. It seems obvious, perhap even bland, but there's a trick to it. A simple random events system does admit for some heroism. Not the super fun and mostly unstoppable ones in LnL but squads losing their used counters and recovering morale. The dynamism of specific rules effects can't be seen by a rules comparison, but in play. The killer for me is that you can finish a BoB scenario in half the time it takes a similar ASL scenario to resolve. Just in case you read this in a timely fashion, I'll be running a live drop-in game on VASSAL tonight (7 Dec) at 2000-0100 UTC. You can get the module here: http://defling.com/blog/?p=336
 
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Alfy Burger
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But I think individual leaders can't come out in the wash, because where they are should matter. No game today - FoF being a bit of a perennial exception here - properly cares for c2 and formation, despite these aspects being both vital and a true headache in WWII.

Imagine if you will - and I am not proposing this as a game system, although I have some ideas as to that, that your platoon, 3 squads and 2 MGs, is under command of your on-board leader when either in the same hex or one hex away (they can hear him), or up to 3 hexes away when in LOS (they can see him and follow visual commands). Now, in addition to everything you usually do (move under cover, find the best firing lanes, etc), you also have to keep your 5 counters in a 7 hex radius and in command, while still keeping your leader as safe as you can. And then imagine doing the same in an urban environment, with limited LOS all around. I'm sure you can see how much these elements change the way tactical wargames are played.

BoB's designer made the include suppressing fire because he realised the added complexity was worth the added realism. I just think the same leap should have been made for leadership, as I find the current fashion of "command points on a track" disappointing.

Thanks by the way for the Vassal invite, it was timely but my internet connection decided not to play along, as it often does in the evenings. Let me know if you ever do it again. And by the way, I'm a fan of your blog.
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Martin Gallo
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AlfyB wrote:
BoB's designer made the include suppressing fire because he realised the added complexity was worth the added realism. I just think the same leap should have been made for leadership, as I find the current fashion of "command points on a track" disappointing.
I am curious about what you have in mind for c2. Other than the command range, which is good, what sort of mechanics do you have in mind?
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Alfy Burger
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Well I did not mean to high jack the thread with this, I hope Dean will not mind. Note I'm not a game designer, and what follows is just something I thought up yesterday, after my first reply in this thread, but it's also simple enough to fit BoB's and similar games' general philosophy:

First, and just to get this out of the way, you need some organisation, and hence simple markings on the squads to separate them into platoons (1/1, 1/2, 2/1...). No game does that right now, except FoF, even those who include on-board leaders, and it's rather silly.

Next, let's take a standard US platoon, with 3 rifle squads and 2 MGs. We give it 2 leaders, the lieutnant and the 1st sergeant. We give each a number of available orders, let's say 3 to the lieutenant and 2 to the sergeant. So you have some flexibility, and some choices to make in how you divide your platoon. Now, instead of directly activating units, players activate individual leaders, who then give the orders.

I'll go back to my previous post: to receive an order, a unit must be in the same hex or one hex away (it can hear its leader), or up to 3 hexes away and in los (it can see its leader). The later condition can be modified if chrome is desired to reflect different conditions such as night, fog... Units can only receive orders from the leaders that belong to their platoons (can be provided by the scenario, and no gaming around with the leaders! )

Orders are spent one at a time, only one order per unit, and BoB rules for moral checks apply, so the unit might simply not obey (it might interesting to allow for a leader to spend an order again on the same unit after a failed roll though: "I said GO, GO now, damn it men, GO!).

If the the leader was stacked with a unit when it was activated, it can move with it but that unit must receive its order last. Otherwise the leader can move by itself, after it gave its orders (no moving then giving orders, units in command range are determined at the moment the leader is activated).

No orders are required for opportunity fire or going into opportunity mode.

If a leader dies, a new leader appears on the unit closest to where it was at the end of the next recovery phase. That leader is "from the ranks", a generic leader that can only give 1 order.

There. Although I have a few more ideas, I think this is long enough. It's not a system, it's not tested, I don't even know if it's playable, or even enjoyable. And there's nothing about AFVs. But I still think something of this kind might be interesting. Better than a command track, I would think.
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Neal Durando
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AlfyB wrote:
But I think individual leaders can't come out in the wash, because where they are should matter. No game today - FoF being a bit of a perennial exception here - properly cares for c2 and formation, despite these aspects being both vital and a true headache in WWII.
BoB's designer made the include suppressing fire because he realised the added complexity was worth the added realism. I just think the same leap should have been made for leadership, as I find the current fashion of "command points on a track" disappointing.


It's an interesting question. One I mulled over a lot with Brendan Clark, who wanted to see command stands for platoons and companies. I work really hard to keep the divergences in my game to a minimum not because I don't think it couldn't be improved but more that the game seems to have established itself and variantism is a real rabbit hole. I'm talking above my pay grade here, so maybe Jim will weigh in.

I did however, write some troop quality caveats to evoke some of these C2 problems which become so evident when you walk the battlefields. I remember, particularly, at Gourbesville coming through a tree line where, doubtlessly, a company commander would have to halt to organize and choose which corridors to advance along and to ensure subordinate leaders were correctly positioned to ensure lateral communication. 357IR did not have tactical maps at Gourbesville, so I assume these halts were as common an occurrence as individual platoons pushing one field too far and/or failing to bring enfilading fire on an adjacent field. This latter happened in three of the four engagements I've studied. Partly because of this, second-line US units may not move into a hex that is not already observed by a friendly infantry unit.

AlfyB wrote:
Thanks by the way for the Vassal invite, it was timely but my internet connection decided not to play along, as it often does in the evenings. Let me know if you ever do it again. And by the way, I'm a fan of your blog.


Thank you! I'll do it again soon. I have it in mind to do it twice a month. Drop me a line here or on my site if you want to play sometime at your convenience (especially after mid January.)
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Martin Gallo
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Interesting ideas. I do fear that most gamers will game the leaders as a natural result of no fog of war.

AlfyB wrote:
No orders are required for opportunity fire or going into opportunity mode.
Also, I thought going in to OpFire posture would require orders (to prepare positions, etc.)
 
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Alfy Burger
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I meant gaming in the sens of moving leaders wherever there are needed the most, notwithstanding organisation of one's units. But sure, there will always be some gaming.

For op fire, it depends how you read it. If you see it as units being purposely organized to aim at incoming enemy down a firing lane, then I would agree it should be an order. However, this is rather unfavorable to a player playing a static defense: you'd assume his units are all set to cover firing lanes from the get go, yet he has to give op fire orders again and again. I thus prefer to see it as each unit's natural vigilance and training, settling down to cover their surroundings when they are not called upon, hence the absence of order.

 
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Martin Gallo
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Yeah, once a unit takes an opfire posture, it should require an order to get out of that posture.

Then there are those "meeting engagement" situations where it is all chaos and confusion - how to issue orders for that situation - I think it is more of a reaction situation, which opens up a need for more rules (two types of opfire).
 
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Andy Skinner
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I don't want more complexity, but I do wish the organization was more represented. I didn't know I cared until miniatures games made me more aware.

andy
 
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Neal Durando
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andyskinner wrote:
I don't want more complexity, but I do wish the organization was more represented. I didn't know I cared until miniatures games made me more aware.

andy


For certain echelons, I agree. As I said upthread I had to struggle with this idea myself. Ultimately, especially for short scenarios, I don't think it makes much sense. The actions depicted are usually very small and would have been highly task organized from the git go. That is any ad-hoc cross attachments would have been established. The heart of BoB, for me, is in what happens after this stage, the pin, pivot, punch of combined-arms WW2 tactics.

That said, a good command of task organization really improves play and enjoyment of any wargame. My civilian eyes were so surprised when I first saw how task organized a wargame run by the military could be. Being very picky about who does what when doesn't necessarily need explicit support from the game system. In fact, doing such mechanisms badly is worse than not doing them at all. Even without explicit mechanisms and materialized command pieces, BoB can certainly be used to illustrate the concept.
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Alfy Burger
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andyskinner wrote:
I don't want more complexity, but I do wish the organization was more represented. I didn't know I cared until miniatures games made me more aware.

andy


Alas, you cannot represent anything without additional rules. However, I do not believe the overhead needs to be large. I actually appreciate BoB's philosophy in that regard: suppressing fire is not represented in that much detail, but what is there is enough to produce great results.

Note that I outline a system with leaders because that's what I feel is important. I do think it's half a page of rules to make it work (I'll probably prove it some day, if LnLT ever gets reprinted: it'd be the perfect medium for a homemade variant). But if you just want formations, which would already be a step for tactical board games, you can find simpler solutions.

For example, you could have your squads with platoon markings, define an area - say a 4-5 hex radius, and a command marker. As long as everyone is within the radius, everyone is in command, but if the platoon splits, you put the command marker on the board with one squad to show which squads are in commands and which are not. Units not in command are affected on their moral rolls.

Something along those lines could be done with a few paragraphs of rules, but with the importance of morale in BoB, it'd could be enough to make you want to stay in formation.
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Dean Halley
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Great discussions everyone.

Alfy , I am working on head-to-head with LnLT. I have just been very busy with fine-tuning OBSP. It is next up after the Battle Pack and I want to make it as ready a possible for Jim. OBSP is a new theater and a new nationality (the Japanese) for BoB. You could say the Marines too, but that would be prideful.

But in a nutshell I like LnLT, but I it suffers from the "Broken" squad syndrome that ASL has (its just called Shaken") and units, including MGs, can only fire once. Now all units are "broken" in the sense that they can't defend themselves if an enemy unit walks up to them. Again where are the inherent leaders and high rate of fire for MGs?

This is subject to change, but most of the scenarios use one or more company-size formations. Barring special ops and missions, companies in the USMC and Japanese Imperial Army was/has always been the basic formation of maneuver. Platoons and squads just did not venture out alone. There are exceptions obviously, but they were exceptions. The cool thing about this approach is the players will be able to see the evolution of the USMC squad and company from Guadalcanal to Okinawa (Old Breed Central Pacific)and The Japanese tactical doctrine as it switched from the offense to the defense. For example (teaser here)... in 1942 each USMC company had two MMGs WTs. In 1945 they had six! And in Peleliu and Okinawa, the Japanese have tunnel-cave-bunker complexes that constantly spew Japanese infantry from the bowels of the earth.

I have written some optional rules for OBSP that will spice things up. One of them is Ambush Op Fire. Another is Company Command Group squads for use in the campaign game. They are not individual leaders but they do influence the effectiveness of their companies.

Anyway, I will try to get my head-to-head with LNLT done soon.

Dean


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Dean Halley
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Quote:
This is subject to change, but most of the scenarios use one or more company-size formations. Barring special ops and missions, companies in the USMC and Japanese Imperial Army was/has always been the basic formation of maneuver. Platoons and squads just did not venture out alone. There are exceptions obviously, but they were exceptions. The cool thing about this approach is the players will be able to see the evolution of the USMC squad and company from Guadalcanal to Okinawa (Old Breed Central Pacific)and The Japanese tactical doctrine as it switched from the offense to the defense. For example (teaser here)... in 1942 each USMC company had two MMGs WTs. In 1945 they had six! And in Peleliu and Okinawa, the Japanese have tunnel-cave-bunker complexes that constantly spew Japanese infantry from the bowels of the earth.


I was in to much of a hurry last night. What I meant to say is that "In OBSP (which is subject to change in final play testing) most..." Sorry for the confusion.

On a side note, the first draft of the rules for tunnels in BoB have been written. But were no tunnels at Guadalcanal, so you will have to wait for Old Breed Central Pacific to see them.
 
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