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Subject: A mild rules lament . . . rss

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Bill K
United States
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. . . then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead, and weaponless, and saw the broken sword, hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand, and ran and snatched it, and with battle shout lifted afresh, he hewed his enemy down . . .
See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field . . . will he not much more clothe you? (NIV)
AWAW is an achievement, especially the ruleset. I think it's the best strategic WW2 boardgame out there--if you have the time to invest in learning it.

However that doesn't mean that I don't wish the rules were written my way. It's not going to happen and I'm not lobbying for it, but in an alternate universe I'd wish for a few more abbreviations (like SB, GS, NNDRM, DAS, BH) and a few more defined terms (like troops, planes, ships, encumbered DDs), and that some of the repetition were replaced with cross-references, and that the rulebook used a more active style. Doing this could, I think, reduce the verbiage of the rulebook considerably.

Here's an example of what I mean...

Rulebook as written:
A. INVADING GROUND UNITS: Any number of ground units may participate in an invasion, up to the capacity of the invading destroyers, but no more than two of those ground units may attack the target hex by sea (EXCEPTIONS: Marines and commandos may participate in invasion combat in excess of this limit).
B. ADDITIONAL GROUND UNITS: Airborne units which drop on the target hex and ground units adjacent to the target hex by land may join with the invading forces in attacking the beach hex, although this would not affect the DM for defending against an invasion.
C. SHORE BOMBARDMENT: Invading ground units may be assisted by shore bombardment from naval factors not engaged in carrying ground units. If destroyers which originally had been carrying invading ground units engage in combat with intercepting enemy air or naval units and incur losses which result in the loss of one or more ground units, any excess destroyer factors may be used for shore bombardment to support an invasion by surviving ground units. The total number of combat factors added by shore bombardment is limited by Naval Nationality DRM, and may never exceed three times the total number of ground factors involved in the invasion attack (21.526).
D. GROUND SUPPORT: Invading ground units may receive ground support from any air units within range, including ground support from carrier-based naval air units and CVEs. The total number of combat factors added by ground support may not exceed three times the total number of ground factors involved in the invasion attack.
E. DM OF DEFENDING UNITS: Ground units defending against invasion receive a +1 DM, even if simultaneously attacked from an adjacent land hex or by airborne drop (15.32B), unless at least half of the invading force consists of marines (10.71). The defenders also receive the defensive benefit of any other terrain in their hex.
F. STRENGTH OF DEFENSIVE AIR SUPPORT TRIPLED: The strength of defensive air support flown against seaborne invasions is tripled (18.611C).
G. RESOLVING INVASION COMBAT: Invasion combat is resolved in the same manner as normal ground combat.
H. INVASION COMBAT LOSSES: Ground combat losses may be taken from ground units which took part in the invasion combat, air factors or CVEs which provided ground support or fleets which provided shore bombardment. The attacker may not take ground combat losses from embarked units which did not participate in his initial attack or from destroyers which carried the invading ground units. Uncommitted ground units and the destroyers carrying them are not affected by the results of invasion combat.
I. PLACEMENT OF A BRIDGEHEAD COUNTER: If the invasion hex was enemy-controlled and at least one initially invading ground unit survives invasion combat and occupies the invasion hex, a bridgehead counter may be placed on the invasion hex. If the target hex contained no enemy ground units, success is automatic and a bridgehead counter may be placed (EXCEPTION: Invasions of friendly hexes - 31.22).
J. OCCUPATION OF INVASION HEXES: All invading ground units which survive the invasion must occupy the invasion hex. Ground units aboard the invasion fleet which did not participate in the attack are also placed on the invasion hex. Up to five non-specialized ground units may occupy the invasion hex if a bridgehead counter has been placed (12.13), plus three specialized units (12.12) (EXCEPTIONS: No more than one non-specialized ground unit may occupy an invaded non-port Pacific one-hex island, plus three specialized units; no more than two non-specialized ground unit may occupy an invaded Pacific one-hex island that contains a port, plus three specialized units (12.11B, 12.12)).
K. SURPLUS UNITS RETURN TO PORT: Ground units may return to any port within range of an invasion hex in order to avoid overstacking. If an invasion hex is overstacked at the end of the combat phase, excess units of the invading player’s choice are eliminated.

My rewrite:
A. INVADING TROOPS: Assuming sufficient DDs, several ground units may invade a beach hex, but no more than two ground units may attack it (EXCEPTIONS: marines, commandos, 10.7-.8).
B. COMBINED ATTACKS: Airdrops onto a beach, and ground units in hexes adjacent to a beach, may participate in an invasion attack against that beach, but the invasion DM still applies (15.32B).
C. SHORE BOMBARDMENT (SB): Unencumbered ships (including DDs that have lost their cargo) may bombard a beach (21.52) to assist invading troops, as restricted by NNDRM (21.526).
D. GROUND SUPPORT (GS): Invading troops may receive GS from land- and carrier-based planes, and from CVEs (18.55).
E. DM: Defending troops get a +1 DM against seaborne invasions unless at least half of the attacking invasion ground factors are marines (10.71). Defenders also benefit from other terrain in their hex.
H. INVASION LOSSES: Losses may come from invading troops, from GS planes or CVEs, or from SB fleets. Losses may not be taken from embarked troops that didn't participate in the initial invasion attack, nor from encumbered DDs: these units can never be lost in invasion combat. (15.6)
I. BRIDGEHEADS (BHs): If the invasion hex was enemy controlled and an initially invading ground unit advances into it, a BH may be placed. If the enemy hex was undefended, success is automatic and the BH may still be placed. (31.22)
J. AFTER-COMBAT ADVANCES: All invading troops which survive must occupy the invasion hex, including any that didn't participate in the attack. BHs, if placed, can accept up to five non-elite ground units plus three elite ground units (12.12-.13). (EXCEPTIONS: Pacific one-hex islands have special stacking restrictions, 12.11B, 12.12).
K. SURPLUS UNITS RETURN TO PORT: To avoid overstacking, troops may return to any port within range (21.33). If the invasion hex remains overstacked at the end of the combat phase, the owner eliminates the excess.

Per Microsoft Word, that's a reduction from 644 words down to 332 words.


Even a change like simply swapping "naval units" for "ships", "air units" for "planes", and "ground units" for "troops" would make a difference. In rules 17 through 23 alone, the word "unit" appears 1341 times. Doing a blanket Replace command to make these three substitutions in those seven rules removes a full page from the length of those rules.
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