Paul Farrell
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Not really sure how I should have titled this post. A friend and I decided to make up a simple identical (or at least as close as we could make it) scenario in Awakening the Bear and Old School Tactical. We love both games and wanted to see how each felt in a comparable situation. The Scenario was as follows: German objective was to take a small walled farm. They had one Tiger II tank, three infantry units and a machinegun unit. The Soviets had one anti-tank gun, one mortar and three infantry. Both sides got one round of artillery support. The terrain was lightly wooded with the Germans starting behind a hill and the Soviets occupying the farm. In ATB the Germans won easily. In OST it was a draw.

Now for the differences and conclusions!

Off board artillery works very differently in each game. In ATB your artillery hits the chosen target hex the round after you designate the target. In OST it is immediate but potentially very inaccurate. Both simulate artillery support well. I would say the OST way is more fun.

Mortar fire is done as an off board strike in OST and seems potentially much more powerful. I think for mortars I prefer having the unit on the board as in ATB. It forces you to plan a little more.

Distance covered by a unit in a round can definitely be greater in ATB. Is that good or bad, more or less realistic? I don't know but each game seems to have gotten it right for it's rule set.

Cards are definitely more of a factor in ATB assuming you get one per round as seems to be the standard in ATB. We could have used a card each round in OST but felt it didn't adhere to the game's philosophy. There is, I believe, more uncertainty in OST to start with so extra cards might make it a bit too wild.

In this scenario we ended up with several close combat/assault situations in ATB but none at all in OST. I think that was partly because of the starting distance as it was a short scenario and the units were just getting close in OST as the last turn was played.

Flanking proved highly effective in both games and I think is well simulated.

One of the biggest differences I found between the two games was that in ATB if you scored a hit on a unit it became priority number one in the hopes of getting an easier second hit and thus a kill whereas in OST you knew a bit more about what damage a unit suffered(reduced/shaken/broken)but it was often just better to leave it damaged and move on to another target. Good or bad difference? Not sure.

Rallying units felt different in the two games. In ATB rallying quickly is critical to avoid a quick kill on a second hit. In OST rallying is usually less important unless you are going into hand to hand combat.

Okay, here's the big difference - in ATB you normally get 7AP per unit plus some CAP for each round. in OST you roll dice each round (in our scenario we got two dice) and that determines your ability to do something. In our particular scenario the Soviets had fantastic combat dice but ended up with atrocious impulse points. So if you like a bit more control and predictability go with ATB. if you want a bit wilder ride go with OST. Either way you'll probably have fun.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin Gallo
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree about the onboard mortar units.

I thought you only got 1 Luck card in OST, not a whole hand of them?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Farrell
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
martimer wrote:
I agree about the onboard mortar units.

I thought you only got 1 Luck card in OST, not a whole hand of them?


Hi Martin,

Another reason why I don't write rules. I can see how you misinterpreted my comment. What I meant to say was something like "You only get one card per game in OST but we could have introduced a house rule to take a card each round..."

Thanks for spotting that and Kudos to all those who design games with comprehensible rules.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Miller
United States
Saint Charles
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

That was an awesome post! I'd love to see it done with Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles, as well. And also, as long as I'm being greedy, I'd love to see a report where each game was played twice with the players switching sides for each play, before compiling the report.

Anyway, a few comments:

- About the distances... some of the designer's notes in AtB talk about how the ranges are based on actual real-world historical tactics, and not on weapon capability. FWIW.

- I'd love to hear others' comments wrt your comment about prioritizing firing against already hit units. Doing so certainly makes sense from a tactical perspective. As the game models, you're not exactly sure of how much damage the defender took from your last fire, but you know that he took some. So do you attack again in hopes of finishing the job, or move on to another target without finishing the job?

- Finally, while you're very correct that AtB uses a set 7AP, one of the rulebook's official variants is to also roll dice to determine APs. It sounds like you already know this since you purposely inserted "normally" before "get 7AP". But still, as it is an official method presented in the rulebook, I'd think that you could legitimately compare both games using their random dice roll procedures for determining APs.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Farrell
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Hi Barry,

I agree with all your points and we are planning to do multiple trials. We are also adding BoB to the comparison.

Happy gaming,

Paul
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Fliss
United States
Sterling
Virginia
flag msg tools
Damn fine soldiers, Cottonbalers by God! -- US 7th Infantry Regiment
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Never2manygames wrote:
Okay, here's the big difference - in ATB you normally get 7AP per unit plus some CAP for each round. in OST you roll dice each round (in our scenario we got two dice) and that determines your ability to do something. In our particular scenario the Soviets had fantastic combat dice but ended up with atrocious impulse points. So if you like a bit more control and predictability go with ATB. if you want a bit wilder ride go with OST. Either way you'll probably have fun.


Paul, have you ever played ATB with the optional AP dice roll rule (3.0.1)? A player rolls three dice and sums the high and low die for the total number of AP for that activation. Keep the dice roll hidden (we usually use opaque cups) from the opponent and reveal the roll when the APs are used up or the unit is flipped to its spent side. Not only does it add AP variability to the game it keeps your opponent in the dark as to how many APs remain for the activated unit. This is my group's preferred method for AP.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
FWIW there is also the random mechanism introduced in Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion: after each action, randomly determine whether the unit becomes spent, and the more AP spent for the action, the more likely it is to become spent.

In the solo expansion this is done by drawing a card which has a number from 1 to 6: if the AP spent was greater than or equal to the number on the card, then the unit is spent.

The numbers are almost equiprobabable, so you could do it essentially equivalently by just rolling a d6 (if you don't care about reproducing the fact that the distribution continually changes slightly with each card drawn).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Farrell
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Bezmozgu wrote:
Never2manygames wrote:
Okay, here's the big difference - in ATB you normally get 7AP per unit plus some CAP for each round. in OST you roll dice each round (in our scenario we got two dice) and that determines your ability to do something. In our particular scenario the Soviets had fantastic combat dice but ended up with atrocious impulse points. So if you like a bit more control and predictability go with ATB. if you want a bit wilder ride go with OST. Either way you'll probably have fun.


Paul, have you ever played ATB with the optional AP dice roll rule (3.0.1)? A player rolls three dice and sums the high and low die for the total number of AP for that activation. Keep the dice roll hidden (we usually use opaque cups) from the opponent and reveal the roll when the APs are used up or the unit is flipped to its spent side. Not only does it add AP variability to the game it keeps your opponent in the dark as to how many APs remain for the activated unit. This is my group's preferred method for AP.


Hi Steve, and Russ as well,

My concern with using the hidden and variable AP option was that it would introduce a different variable at the same time as it removed one. You trade knowledge (known AP and known impulse points) for variability (hidden AP and known impulse points). I suppose we could have gone either way but since variable AP is not the standard ATB method I chose not to. For what it's worth I do think it adds realism to ATB by using variable AP. It is a bit artificial when you start saying "Okay, I know he only has one AP left and he takes two to fire so I'll run across open ground." We hope to do many more game comparisons in the future so will probably try variable AP in some of them.

Happy gaming,

Paul

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Mooney
msg tools
I was the other player in Paul's test and doing a comparison of the games with random rolls makes the accuracy of the test more difficult to assess.

On a side note Paul and I were very pleased that the transition to the OST rules was easily done. We had expected more confusion.

Patrick
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.