Cole Biere
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Well, here's another play-through, with some comments and observations.. It's not my intention to tense apart RotD, but rather to provide the designer with valuable feedback, facilitate discussion, and cultivate interest in a game that I love and a "variant" that I would like to see published.


"So Seyffertitz, the seriousness of life begins. Now the hardest part for me comes - the endless paper work! Tomorrow you square away the boat until it shines" (von Trapp 26).


August, 1914

- First Patrol -

Linienschiffsleutant ( __________ )*, stares from atop the old petrol** boat's conning tower, as U-12 follows the Adriatic coast out to the Mediterranean sea..

days since leaving Pula.. no contact..

U-12 in fine operational condition, as we prepare to board the Albanian sailing vessel Figlio Preligiona (80) for inspection.. dispatch a Prize Crew*** to commandeer the ship..

no sign of enemy vessels or shipping..

an uneventful return to port..

October, 1914

- Second Patrol -





December, 1914

- Third Patrol -

in transit from Pola.. contact with Greek steamer Virginia (1100) in the Strait of Otranto.. mechanical failures prevent the possibility of engagement****..

"All repairs are made with materials at hand, and the man work day and night in order the keep the boat halfway ready for war. They have to economize everything, and the High Command seems to have no understanding of their needs" (von Trapp 14).




return to port, with no further contact..

February, 1915

- Forth Patrol -





April, 1915

- Fifth Patrol -

we seize a small Albanian sailing ship (Fiore del Mare - 13) off Kotor..

an uneventful transit North.. return to Pula for refit..

June, 1915

- Sixth Patrol -

sailing vessel spotted while on patrol in the Drin Gulf.. unable to vent excessive engine exhaust.. surface and approach the Fiore Albania (62).. the boarding party fumble about in the moonless night, still affected by gasoline stupor.. I let the men enjoy a reprieve on deck, as we side up to the ship.. with no threat of encroaching enemy escorts, the crew smoke and regain their senseless before taking the Albania as prize..

despite being plagued by exhaust issues for the remainder of the patrol, we engage and scuttle the Erzen (25) before returning to port..

August, 1915

- Seventh Patrol -

"The pilots have reported an enemy U-boat lying at Pelagosa for defence of the island. The Flotillas were fired at several times during the last shelling and now [U-12] is to bring down her Italian counterpart (von Trapp 41)."

upon successfully locating the Nereide*****, an untimely mechanical failure prevents further engagement..

October, 1915

- Eighth Patrol -

After a long and uneventful parol.. French cruiser Leon Gambetta (12,400)******* spotted 15 miles off Cape Santa Maria di Leuca.. nearly asphyxiated by engine exhausted, we're forced to surface and abandon our attack run..

December, 1915

- Ninth Patrol -

Watch Officer reports the distant silhouette of what appears to be Italian cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi (7200).. mechanical failure prevents any possibility of interception..





return to port yields a second run-in with the Greek steamer Virginia (1100).. attempts to evade boarding.. a salvo from the forward tubes sinks the ship..

February, 1916

- Tenth Patrol -



stop and scuttle the sailing ship Unione (25) in the Gulf of Drin..



April, 1916

- Eleventh Patrol -







June, 1916

- Twelfth Patrol -



we chance upon the Giuseppe Garibaldi yet again (and this time the boat is in sound working order).. set a course to intercept.. attack from a submerged position.. our torpedoes run too deep and fail to make contact with the ships hull..

enemy escorts close fast on our position - they must have spotted our periscope before we even fired!.. brace for ramming!.. we're taking on water.. damage to fuel tanks - dive! dive!..

curious muffled detonations can be heard from beneath the surface.. "They must have some kind of bombs that explode underwater."

a furious explosion shakes the boat violently..

- SUNK -

[rolled a modified "13" on chart E3.. detected on a "12" with fuel tanks out.. spells doom for SM U-12]


(*)
Who's in Command? / What's in a Name?

I'd like to see the inclusion of a Commander Name Chart (and Pre/Post-War Career..) specially designed for the Austrian Campaign. The existing chart [N1] might handle German nationals and Austrian commanders serving in the K.u.K. Kriegsmarine, but doesn't account for Hungarian officers or those of other non-Hungarian ethnicities (I've no idea the extent to which these groups were represented in the K.u.K..).

I did a bit of research in an attempt to "magyarize" a randomly generated German name in to a Hungarian form.. And, after stumbling across a PDF of Simon Telkes' HOGY MAGYAROSÍTSUK VEZETÉKNEVEKET?, for a moment, I thought that I might have grounds for an interesting, and contentious, variant.. A flash-in-the-pan, as I (google) failed miserably to translate even a small portion of the text..

"The engines are stopped, and absolute quiet reigns. Fore and aft a few men sit and dangle their feet in the water. From below waft the sounds of a harmonica that appartly changes hands as the melodies change from German to Hungarian to Italian, then to Slavic. Just a piece of the Austrian Empire, crowed together into a tiny space" (von Trapp 20).

(**)
The SM-U5 play mat engine damage boxes should read "gasoline" (or probably "petrol") rather than "diesel"..

(***)
I couldn't figure the Attack Damage DRM to the 3.7mm deck guns.. How would this affect boarding procedures? Not at all? If so, why would anyone ever fire deck guns "proper" at a negative DRM to damage?

This is all explained by the designer in a forum comment that I initially glossed over (wish I could figure out how to embed a hyperlink here - sorry - the relevant comment(s) can be found under the Raiders ZIP file heading..)

Anyway, the notion of the deck gun as having a certain "intimidation factor" is crucial to understanding the application of the DRM in the context of Boarding to Scuttle/Take as Prize (in that the ship does not yield as readily, and therefore takes longer/more effort to sink/capture)..

This could stand to be explicated somewhere in the rules or on the chart? (a la "Note for table U3")?

"The "artillery" is a small type 37-mm gun. It is not very formidable, designed more for sound effect" (von Trapp 53).

(****)
I repeatedly forgot (or remembered after-the-fact..) to check for "mechanical or medical problems".. A note/reminder/table on chart [T2] and/or on the SM-U5 play mat might be of value here..

(*****)
The "Nereide" could be identified as a submarine on Chart [T2]? - I think Silent Victory uses the notation ___(submarine), or ___(sub).. In the event that RotD goes to publication, it would be great to have specific counters for enemy submarines? And maybe warships/armoured cruisers?

(******)
I see there are no markers to represent Capital Ships as they appear in the Austrian campaign..


(*******)
What about separate victory conditions for the Austria Campaign? There's a huge disparity in results compared with the German commanders..

further observations and considerations:

Would it make sense for the SM-U5 patrol boxes to read "Adriatic" rather than "Med"? They were unable to patrol beyond the Straits of Otranto?

A mnemonic aid/DRM reminder (-1H) for the Green Crew marker?

I still think an image on the reverse side of the Ammo marker might work to convey "Boarding Parties: Scuttle/Take as Prize"? The text is great and functional (and really may be best for reasons already discussed..), but I just keep coming back to this picture:


"With the megaphone, the large mouthpiece, the captain is hailed; he is told to come on board U-5 with his papers" (von Trapp 54).

I enjoyed the pace of this optional campaign. Lots of fast dice rolling - a bit a of crap shoot, and a bit of a grind. Based on what little I've read - in conjunction with the designer's recent decision to reduce the number of patrol boxes for the K.u.K. boats - I suspect that I would have liked to have seen less ships (I did seem to get a lot of lucky encounter rolls..) I imagine the crux and hook of the Austrian Campaign should be one of frustration (FINALLY rolling up a ship or two and being UNABLE to engage due to mechanical breakdown /gasoline stupor..) - and then the anxious thrill of holding the boat and crew together long enough to capitalize on those rare opportunities to attack..



(excerpts are taken from Georg von Trapp's To the Last Salute: Memories of an Austrain U-boat Commander)
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Chick Lewis
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Nice report, and some interesting ideas.

I purchased and devoured 'to the last Salute' in February, and really enjoyed it.
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Cole Biere
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Thanks!

Yes, I really dug the von Trapp memoir myself. Paints a vivid picture. Very readable. Good flavour for Raiders Austrian and German Med commanders.. And a valuable insight in to submarine warfare of the era in general.
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Ian Cooper
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Hey Cole,thanks so much for the detailed reports! I will be sure to reference these very carefully and implement all the suggestions when I make the next update to the Austrian campaign (which I will do as soon as I get some free time).

On the issue of victory levels, I think I mentioned at some point, maybe only here in the forums, that I felt VPS for the Austrian campaign should be set to 1/10th of the German campaign victory points (alternatively,maybe I'm getting confused with my Black Sea campaign for The Hunters). Anyway, this actually fits kinda well with the Austrian campaign medals, so the following victory levels can be assumed to apply, until I get something written into the rules:

Defeat = No medal
Draw = Militaerverdienstkreuz
Marginal victory = Kaiserliche Orden der Eisernen Krone
Substantial Victory = Orden Leopold
Decisive Victory = Militaer Maria Theresien Orden


To be honest, the patrol log looks very much as I hoped it would. The Austrian campaign should indeed be a bit of a grind, and frustrating as hell, what with all the fumes and mechanical breakdowns. Personally, I was amazed at how close it came to the real von Trapp's experiences, which I drew from in making the campaign. The only real differences were in the luck of the dice, I think, as whereas von Trapp scored big on a couple of occasions, the dice were against you when you encountered those big ships, and again on that final patrol.

I may tweak the mechanical breakdowns to make them a 1/6 chance rather than 2/6, but I'm a little wary, as the game results seem so realistic (even though they must be a bit frustrating).
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Cole Biere
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Ah, cool. Thanks, Ian.

Also:

This just in!

https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/03/23/antisubmarine-war-w...
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Cole Biere
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Beery wrote:

I may tweak the mechanical breakdowns to make them a 1/6 chance rather than 2/6, but I'm a little wary, as the game results seem so realistic (even though they must be a bit frustrating).

NooooOOOo.. Keep them as they are! "Frustrating" is GOOD. To be clear, I feel that the frustration was what gave my patrols the authentic and distinct flavour of an Austrian U-boat campaign..

PS

Also, I need realistically-frustrating games to validate my experience of being-alive..

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Ian Cooper
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Bog Pig wrote:
"Frustrating" is GOOD.


Oh, okay, great! Well, then I'm glad it was frustrating enough.

By the way,on the issue of the Austrian campaign being limited to the Adriatic, I seem to recall that, when I was designing the campaign, I checked into where some of the major sinkings claimed by Austrian U-boats took place, and I seem to recall that some of them were in the actual Med (i.e. outside the Adriatic). I could be mistaken - I'll check into it...

...I just took a quick look at von Trapp's record at Uboat.net - quite a few of his victories (perhaps even most of them) took place outside the Adriatic, including Leon Gambetta, Teakwood and Milazzo.
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Cole Biere
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Ah, I see. I forget to always be wary of Wikipedia..

And I think I just love the word Adriatic
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Cole Biere
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I should have noted this right off the bat, but:

the above campaign play-through was done before the most recent update to the RotD file; reflecting results of 3 on-patrol Med. boxes - rather than the current 2..

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Ian Cooper
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Good point. I think this may a good reason to look at the mechanical breakdown die roll again (which I still think may be a bit overdone). Your results were what I would expect for an Austrian boat, so it would be nice if we could find some way of getting the results of the newer system to reflect your experience with the older system. Since I cut the patrol boxes by 1/3rd, I think it might work nicely if we also reduce mechanical breakdowns to 1/6, which will offset my patrol box adjustment to some extent.

So, if I do some quick and dirty math, what it means in practice is that, right now, because of the reduction in patrol boxes, potential sinkings have been cut back to about 67% of your experience. That's a bit too great a reduction, I think. If we make mechanical breakdowns 1/6 rather than 2/6, that will make breakdowns and medical problems happen only 1/3rd of the time rather than 1/2 of the time, increasing potential sinkings by 1/6th. This translates to potential sinkings being about 78% of what you got, which is good, I think, and we get there with less frustration in terms of breakdowns and suffocation due to petrol.

Let me know what you think.

By the way, I actually powered through a lot of my backlog of amendments to the rules this morning (the ones you and James Hebert sent me). Good stuff - much appreciated.
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Cole Biere
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I think.. this makes good sense. I'm not much of a numbers guy - and I'm not familiar enough with the historical data to speak directly to the odds as simulation.. HOWEVER, as I said in the report, I suspect I may have encountered too many ships in my campaign (taken care of now with the patrol box reduction - check). AND, probably, by his account, I suffered slightly more mechanical/health problems than were experienced by von Trapp's U-5 (handled with the potential odds tweak - check). Most importantly, as you say, it functions as a necessary balance to get the right results. I like it.

Multiple play-throughs would be helpful here, I think. I'll post up some all-bussiness Austrian reports (sans narrative embellishments) in the future.

And will endeavour to continue in the above format with the type UC-II..

Beery wrote:
By the way, I actually powered through a lot of my backlog of amendments to the rules this morning (the ones you and James Hebert sent me). Good stuff - much appreciated.

Ah, great news! I've only combed through about a quarter of the material - more to come..

PS

I hope you can forgive/ignore some of the more mirky suggestions (specifically concerning the unnecessary "capture"/"taken as prize"/"sunk" distinctions/qualifications..)
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Ian Cooper
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Bog Pig wrote:
I hope you can forgive/ignore some of the more mirky suggestions (specifically concerning the unnecessary "capture"/"taken as prize"/"sunk" distinctions/qualifications..)


Actually that was one of the best suggestions in there, as it clarified an important point that I had missed: in using the words "capture" and "taken as a prize" to mean the same thing (which I think I had done on at least one occasion), I risked confusing the player, as "capture" has a separate and specific meaning in the rules - it applies solely to the capture of the U-boat (rule 10.9.2).

In the new version, which I will post in the next day or two, "prize" or "taken as a prize" is the word/phrase used solely when the U-boat crew takes enemy vessels intact, while "capture" refers solely to the U-boat being captured. It just makes things super clear, which is essential in a rulebook. Also, on the back of the ammo marker, the words I've decided to use are "Scuttle, Sink, Take Prize", which is more along the lines you suggested.

The vast majority of the changes in the new version are cosmetic, or (like the above example) they are rules clarifications, but all of these new changes make the game much more polished, so your suggestions (and those of James Hebert, which I've also implemented in this latest version) make a big difference in terms of how easy the rules are to read and interpret. So these are very important contributions.

Also, I think you'll be happy to see that I've included markers for the Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Leon Gambetta. So no more substituting other ship markers when playing the Austrian campaign. Oh, and the SM U-5 now has a petrol engine, as was the case historically.

So we're really getting close to getting this project fully completed, and trust me, it wouldn't be as good as it is without your help and that of this great community. I really appreciate all your input.
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Cole Biere
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..happy to be of service!

cool
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Ian Cooper
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Bog Pig wrote:
Who's in Command? / What's in a Name?

I'd like to see the inclusion of a Commander Name Chart (and Pre/Post-War Career..) specially designed for the Austrian Campaign. The existing chart [N1] might handle German nationals and Austrian commanders serving in the K.u.K. Kriegsmarine, but doesn't account for Hungarian officers or those of other non-Hungarian ethnicities (I've no idea the extent to which these groups were represented in the K.u.K..).


The latest version of the game, which I just uploaded, contains an Austro-Hungarian commander name chart, which I just created this morning using data from uboat.net. As a result, I managed to get a name chart that accurately reflects the names of Austrian U-boat commanders. It includes every single name (well all but one - Leschanowsky just wouldn't fit) of every U-boat commander in the Austro-Hungarian navy, with first name, last name and noble prefixes randomly generated. I've also configured it so that the noble names are generated with the same ratio they cropped up in reality (the minor nobility was very well represented in the Austro-Hungarian navy - about 1/3rd of Austrian U-boat commanders had noble titles). Also, about 1/3rd were Hungarian - it really was a "melting pot" as von Trapp describes it in his book.

Note: I uploaded a version earlier this morning, but the Austrian name chart had a few mistakes in it (I hadn't had my morning coffee yet - or at least, that's my excuse), so I fixed that in the new version, which is out now.
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Cole Biere
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hot damn!

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Ian Cooper
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I'm working on pre- and post-war career charts for the Austro-Hungarians right now, though I'm having trouble finding much information to base them on. I usually find biographies of the top scoring aces and work from those, but with the Austrians, there isn't much to go on once you get beyond the top three or four aces. I'm hoping to get at least ten, so we can generate them with a 1d10 roll.

I'll keep plugging away at it. There's got to be more info on the net somewhere.

[Edit] I now have 7 out of the 10. We're getting there.
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Cole Biere
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Neat! I'll keep a lookout, myself.
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Ian Cooper
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I ordered a book from Germany yesterday, titled "Österreich-Ungarns U-Boot-Kommandanten: 1914 bis 1918" (Austria-Hungary's U-boat Commanders, 1914-1918), so with a bit of luck, that will give an overview of the commanders' pre- and post-war careers. It might also give me a lot more details that I can use to broaden the scope of the Austro-Hungarian campaign, which seems to be quite popular among players.
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Cole Biere
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I realize I forgot to include a final tonnage total: 1,470 (no medals earned - and another Defeat, gentlemen).

(thrilled about the above, by the way - I aspire to read the German language..)
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Cole Biere
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I'm still not sure it wouldn't make sense for the SM-U5 patrol boxes to be labelled "Adriatic"..

Beery wrote:

By the way,on the issue of the Austrian campaign being limited to the Adriatic, I seem to recall that, when I was designing the campaign, I checked into where some of the major sinkings claimed by Austrian U-boats took place, and I seem to recall that some of them were in the actual Med (i.e. outside the Adriatic). I could be mistaken - I'll check into it...

...I just took a quick look at von Trapp's record at Uboat.net - quite a few of his victories (perhaps even most of them) took place outside the Adriatic, including Leon Gambetta, Teakwood and Milazzo.


Yes, that covers his career in command of the SM-U14. From what I can gather, all sinkings (with the exception of one grey-area location - on the periphery of the Strait) associated with the Type SM-U5 (both for von Trapp and Lerch) are located within the Adriatic.

Of course, just because nothing was sunk outside that sea doesn't mean patrols didn't extend beyond the Strait? But, again, as far I can tell, they didn't/couldn't??

..I could be splitting hairs here..
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Ian Cooper
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As soon as I get some time, I'll look into it and see what I can do. Not gonna promise anything, but I'll see.
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Ian Cooper
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I was just looking into this again, and really, I guess the U-5 type does need to have just the Adriatic as its patrol area. The Leon Gambetta was sunk only just south of the Straits of Otranto, and the Entente blockade of the Adriatic was positioned further south than I had assumed. So making it just "Adriatic" does give a more accurate description of where these boats operated.

As you may have read by now (on the main "Raiders" page), the Austrian campaign is getting beefed up in the next version of the game, so I decided to give the Type SM U3 the designation "Adriatic/ The Med", since they also got a lot of sinkings in the Adriatic.

Anyway, I hope this will work.
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Cole Biere
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Quite cool, and should suffice..

Ya gotta draw the line somewhere, Ian - LOL -
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