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Hungarian Rhapsody» Forums » General

Subject: Alternative OCS counters design rss

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Dmitry Klyuykov
Russia
Moscow
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Hey OCS Fans!

Nine months ago, Stéphane Acquaviva invited us to take part in OCS Hungarian Rhapsody playtest. We (Igor Luckyanov and me) are dedicated fans of OCS and such invitation was great honor and a new and significant challenge for us. The challenge was not only in thoughtful long-distance playing and analytics - that's what we were self-confident about. As we had to make our own test counters in any case, we decided to try to implement our ideas, regarding several shortcomings (in our opinion) that we discovered in the OCS games throughout quite long gaming experience. That was a true challenge.

In our work we were inspired by Mark Simonitch numerous designs. On the other side, we tried our best to leave as much as possible of original design, things like font, colors of combat/movement parameters, so players familiar with the system could painlessly use our design without any confusion. And it worked for two different teams of our opponents (two players each)!

Our main objections concerned to the counters design. We considered several graphical design features as design flaws. Here are some problems, as we saw them, and solutions:

1. Problem: Multiformation unit colored stripe printed through the counter almost always provides the location of multiformation unit or marker, because stacks are never perfectly aligned.
Solution: Belonging to multiformation is marked by unit type box coloring. As in original design unit type box coloring was reffered to AT effects, we transferred AT effects to the combat factor color.

2. Problem: Separate colors for SS and Guards units breaks the uniformity of frontline perception.
Solution: Guards and SS notation is also moved to the unit type box coloring.

3. Problem: White borders of the supply and step loss markers make their presence obvious in the stack.
Solution: Supply and step loss markers of national colors.

4. Problem: Common colors of generic counters like DG and Hedgehogs make perception of the frontline more difficult
Solution: DG and Hedgehogs of national colors.

5. Problem: Artillery range can be easily confused with Action Rating.
Solution: Highlight the range by putting it inside hexagon symbol. It's also symbolic, as range is measured in hexagons.

6. Problem: For several units presence of ZOC is not obvious.
Solution: No-ZOC band tells everything about ZOC of the top unit in stack.

7. Problem: In several OCS games, such as Blitzkrieg Legend and Baltic Gap, color of German units is very light, so units simply got lost on the map.
Solution: We picked up the units colors in accordance to the map colors.

On the picture you can see our counters design decomposition, that, as we think, solves the problems described above. We are playing the second iteration of campaign playtest now and like the design very much.

You can also see some cosmetic changes we applied to make counters more uniform, such as combat stats on HQ counters, substitution of brackets to underlining in the case of defense-only units.

Thank you for the attention. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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Tonny Wille
Belgium
9310 Meldert
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1. I actually like the current way. It makes it a lot more obvious where my own multiformation units are. I'm a bit afraid that your system will make it harder to spot them (especially in bigger scenarios)

2. I don't mind that my luftwaffe or SS counters have a different colour

3. I think your overestimanting this effect on gameplay. I wouldn't change it

4. DG in each sides colour could be handy. I would leave the hedgehogs

5. This change I like the most

6. No idea what you mean here

7. I didn't had any trouble with it but if people do... I don't have any problem with making the German counters a bit darker
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Forest Webb
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Edgewater
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What does the Yellow Armor symbol of the T-34 unit symbolize?

You use two different methodologies for multi unit formations and SS multi unit formations.

Why are some unit type symbols gray and others white?

What is the Red Artillery Symbol?
 
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Dmitry Klyuykov
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fgwebbjr wrote:
What does the Yellow Armor symbol of the T-34 unit symbolize?

You use two different methodologies for multi unit formations and SS multi unit formations.

Why are some unit type symbols gray and others white?

What is the Red Artillery Symbol?


1. Yellow Armor symbol of the T-34 unit symbolize yellow multiformation: 23rd Tank Corps

2. Yes, we are. But it's intuitive in both cases.

3. Unit with gray symbol is from another "gray" multiformation (7 Mech Corps). White symbol - independent unit.

4. Red artillery unit belongs to red multiformation unit (1 Pz Div)
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Myk Deans
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Rotonda West
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Some interesting ideas. I especially like your proposal for HQ counters. However, I have two main concerns.

1. How will the unit type box handle the large number of multi-unit formations, as well as the SS/Guards identification, in larger games like GBII? I already find it hard to differentiate between some formations when the identifying band spreads across the whole width of the counter, so restricting it to the unit type box may make this harder.

2. Having markers in specific army colors will likely lead to more markers required. I.e. Rather than 50 generic markers you might need 30 in each of 3 colors. This means more counter sheets and higher cost.
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Dmitry Klyuykov
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mcdeans wrote:
Some interesting ideas. I especially like your proposal for HQ counters. However, I have two main concerns.

1. How will the unit type box handle the large number of multi-unit formations, as well as the SS/Guards identification, in larger games like GBII? I already find it hard to differentiate between some formations when the identifying band spreads across the whole width of the counter, so restricting it to the unit type box may make this harder.

2. Having markers in specific army colors will likely lead to more markers required. I.e. Rather than 50 generic markers you might need 30 in each of 3 colors. This means more counter sheets and higher cost.


Myk, thank you for the constructive comment and good points!

1. Large number of multi-formations can really become an issue, as quantity of different useful shades can be limited. Hungarian Rhapsody is two-mapper with number of counters roughly equal to Baltic Gap and we had enough colors there. So, we'll need to figure out something for the big games like GBII. I hope Igor will propose some ideas right off the bat.

2. You are right about the cost, but I don't think we are going to propose our design for MMP production. What we can do, is to make counters for other playtest (or released) games and one set of generic markers should be enough for all games.
 
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Dmitry Klyuykov
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mcdeans wrote:
1. How will the unit type box handle the large number of multi-unit formations, as well as the SS/Guards identification, in larger games like GBII?


The problem is very interesting and Igor Luckyanov, proposed one of the possible solutions off the bat: to differentiate multiformations using geometric shapes in the top right corner (like card symbols in the following example).

We would also try to take into account historical area of operations, to distribute similar colors all over the map evenly (but of course they can end all in one place).

P.S. Red stripe of the unit size means Guards unit.

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Antonello Salvatucci
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Hi Dmitry,

There are a lot of great ideas in there, thanks for sharing. I agree on most, except perhaps the multiformation unit

My comments:

1. Multiformation unit colored stripe:
I would leave this one as it is now, actually. It better accommodates larger games and I like to be able to distinguish formations easily more than having a little extra fog of war.

2. Guards/SS indication in unit type box
Agree!
Edit: I also agree on moving the AT effects to the combat factor.

3. White borders of the supply and step loss markers
Not a big problem for me. It may sometimes be useful to know to whom a supply dump belongs to, but I think I'd actually prefer to be able to spot my own supplies more easily.

4. Colors of generic counters like DG and Hedgehogs
Agreed. (But it might make games more expensive AND it might make cleanup phase slightly more difficult)

5. Artillery range can be easily confused with Action Rating.
Agreed -- the tiny hexagon solution is very elegant IMO.

6. No-ZOC band
Agreed! (and it will also make it obvious whether a unit is in combat or move mode PLUS it in an hypothetical OCS 5.0 it might provide a way to exceptionally give a ZOC to a few selected move mode units)

7. Bland german unit color
Agreed. Not a big problem for me, but I am fine with whatever playability improvement.
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Antonello Salvatucci
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MoriQuessir wrote:

You can also see some cosmetic changes we applied to make counters more uniform, such as combat stats on HQ counters, substitution of brackets to underlining in the case of defense-only units.


I am ok with combat stats on the HQ, however the combat range should be far more prominent IMO -- that's the number which is used all the time.

Regarding underlining vs brackets, I prefer the brackets by far. The underscore is far more difficult to spot and provides no advantage to gameplay.

Best,
Antonello
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Dmitry Klyuykov
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Hi, Antonello! Thank you for interesting feedback!

We are still testing different multiformation units approaches. I hope Kursk OCS will give us a good stress test, as it should use a lot of multiformations.

I think we used underlining instead of brackets to unload the counter somehow, as the brackets took too much space, in our opinion. But that's more a matter of taste of course!

By the way, Igor created another great demonstrational picture with different type of units we use right now!

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Dmitry Klyuykov
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And one more picture for "live" comparison

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