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Tide of Iron: Stalingrad» Forums » Rules

Subject: Veteran Actions rss

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Marcus A
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In the Stalingrad rulebook there are 3 very interesting “Veteran Actions (Optional)” rules on page 14.

I’m trying to assess the impact these 3 rules would have on play in a Stalingrad scenario—or any other scenario for that matter.

One of them is “Cautious Advance,” which is an interesting action that certainly has an actual combat parallel. If a squad is willing to crawl, for instance, then it decreases its exposure to enemy fire at the cost of slower movement. And -2 movement would cut a typical squad’s movement in half in exchange for +1 cover throughout that movement. A perfectly sound and realistic approach in certain tactical situations in TOI or actual combat.

But I wonder if this rule should be limited to squads? Perhaps that was the intention since, the rule states that the action, “…represents soldiers moving slowly and carefully...” But, as written, it is available to vehicles as well and so a T-34 (7 movement) could gain +1 cover and still be able to move 5 hexes. Now that doesn’t seem to me to adhere to the spirit of the rule.
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RomanLegions wrote:
In the Stalingrad rulebook there are 3 very interesting “Veteran Actions (Optional)” rules on page 14.

I’m trying to assess the impact these 3 rules would have on play in a Stalingrad scenario—or any other scenario for that matter.

One of them is “Cautious Advance,” which is an interesting action that certainly has an actual combat parallel. If a squad is willing to crawl, for instance, then it decreases its exposure to enemy fire at the cost of slower movement. And -2 movement would cut a typical squad’s movement in half in exchange for +1 cover throughout that movement. A perfectly sound and realistic approach in certain tactical situations in TOI or actual combat.

But I wonder if this rule should be limited to squads? Perhaps that was the intention since, the rule states that the action, “…represents soldiers moving slowly and carefully...” But, as written, it is available to vehicles as well and so a T-34 (7 movement) could gain +1 cover and still be able to move 5 hexes. Now that doesn’t seem to me to adhere to the spirit of the rule.


Please keep in mind that the use of the optional rules listed on page 14 of the Stalingrad rules of play can affect or completely disrupt the play balance of some scenarios. In addition, they can increase the complexity of the game or scenario being played. It is recommend that players only use one optional rule per scenario.

The optional rules are intended for social play only, and are not normally used during official tournament play.

As for the Cautious Advance special rule, it was test played with the intent that only squads can use it, but some arguments can be used to justify its use with vehicles. Again, both players must agree to the use of the optional rules, and how it will be used.

A note about Group Movement:
A machine gun team can use its Rapid Fire ability in Op Fire to fire multiple times at units in the group, but a squad cannot be the target of the same MG more than once. In short, the MG attacks must be against different targets. See Machine Gun Crew on page 6 of the Tools of War book.
 
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RayGuns wrote:
Please keep in mind that the use of the optional rules listed on page 14 of the Stalingrad rules of play can affect or completely disrupt the play balance of some scenarios.

Yes, they would certainly affect the tactical balance of some (most?) scenarios. Although I’m not sure how important that is, because, in our experience here, several official TOI scenarios have balance issues, as published. Added to that is the fact that balance has as much (or more) to do with the relative skill of the players as it does the unit mix, map features, or rules. So balance disruption would have to be assessed one scenario at a time—with some perhaps favorably affected and others unfavorably, to varying degrees.

RayGuns wrote:
In addition, they can increase the complexity of the game or scenario being played. It is recommend that players only use one optional rule per scenario.

Now that is unquestionably true, whatever the scenario. But some rules are more intuitive than others. Cautious Advance (for squads) strikes me as a very natural rule and, thus, easy to remember and incorporate. I don’t think “instinctive” is too strong a term for it. If a squad has, more or less, twice as much time to reach a certain point, it can, often, move with less exposure to enemy fire. I believe such a rule folds right into the original ruleset. I believe the same could be said for Group Movement.

RayGuns wrote:
As for the Cautious Advance special rule, it was test played with the intent that only squads can use it, but some arguments can be used to justify its use with vehicles. Again, both players must agree to the use of the optional rules, and how it will be used.

If you’ll allow me to play devil’s advocate, I simply can’t fathom how a bellowing SU-122 or Panther clamoring through 5 hexes could be considered a “cautious” advance, deserving of extra cover.

RayGuns wrote:
The optional rules are intended for social play only, and are not normally used during official tournament play.

I didn’t know there were official TOI tournaments. How are these events fairing? I hope well.

RayGuns wrote:
It is recommend that players only use one optional rule per scenario.

By the look of the TOI expansions, both Fantasy Flight and 1A games tried to move the game in the direction of slightly richer and more complex, rather than keeping the complexity level the same. I suspect they were probably right, generally speaking. As long as it doesn't go too far.

RayGuns wrote:
A note about Group Movement:
A machine gun team can use its Rapid Fire ability in Op Fire to fire multiple times at units in the group, but a squad cannot be the target of the same MG more than once. In short, the MG attacks must be against different targets. See Machine Gun Crew on page 6 of the Tools of War book.

This is another rule that has much to recommend it and seems somehow missing in the basic ruleset. I’ve thought that for some time and referred to it as Combined Movement; and then I ran across this optional rule in the Stalingrad rulebook.

In any case, I fully agree with you that, yes, to remain in line with the core ruleset, a Rapid Op Fire MG should only be permitted to fire at any given squad but once during a round.

That leaves the other rule, Hand-to-Hand Combat, which I’m not sure what that mechanic offers the game. It’s essentially a simplified variation on the Assault Attack, which I haven’t been able to justify.

As I see it, if an attacking player is struggling with supporting an assault, this rule gives that player an unwarranted out, if you will. That is, it offers an easy way to make an assault work, without the usual coordination we’ve come to associate with effective assaults against well defended positions.

And it stands to reason that a defending hex of 2 or 3 units would likely counterattack with no less force against 1 assaulting squad as they would against 2 or 3 assaulting squads. Thus, it seems counterintuitive, so, unless I’m missing something, I can’t recommend it.

I really appreciate the assault rules in the core ruleset.
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