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Battle for China (first edition)» Forums » Rules

Subject: Civil War scenario - some questions rss

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A. Reger
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Hello,

We've tried the Civil War scenario of BfC. We liked the easy rules and the complex choices created with the game. Want to play again.

Our game raised a few questions, some on minor points, some on deeper strategy.

1) Setup: should there be an "initial control" phase?

It's not clear whether zones are under control of anyone at setup. We decided to add an "initial control" phase, that is putting CCP/KMT control markers where such control existed.
We realized it was better to control as few zones as possible to get the "+2 PSP" per new controled zone at the end of turn 1. We are not sure what this simulates but all seems to point the game is designed that way.
This also means that KMT Political support raises above CCP's at the end of turn 1 and that KMT gets to move first on turn 2 (KMT gets a "double play"). We did not feel this was a problem: it is actually more benefical to move second than to move first. Except at turn 1, CCP does not want to move first until late in the game.

2) Dynamic of AGO: 2 questions


The game developed with CCP guerilla spread across the map. The KMT player usually used a single corps to conduct AGO, because is was way more effective than piling up corps:
- case 1: 2 KMT corps available, each with 2 CF, against a lone guerilla => roll to hit is 1d6-3 each, making it 75% chance to kill a guerilla. Reply from CCP at 1d6-4 has 1/9 (11%) chance to kill both KMT
- case 2: pile up the 2 corps, total CF=4 => roll to hit is still 1d6-3, 50% chance to kill a guerilla. Reply from CCP at 1d6-4 has 1/6 (=17%) chance to kill both KMT

I am no sure this is the design intention.

More troubling is the impact of supply on AGO. Penalty for being out of supply is halving attacking combat factor. There no other limitation on attacks. Therefore the standard 2CF faction unit becomes 1 CF, which changes absolutely nothing to its AGO effectiveness. What then happened was faction units very far from their HQ to hunt guerilla.
I wonder if the AGO chart should be updated to split the "1-5 CF" line into "1CF" and "2-5 CF". It would do the job of giving a penalty to oos units doing AGO.

(Also: we quickly realized it was a very bad idea for CCP to pile up many guerilla. This would attract a strong 11 CF KMT BG, with an 1d6 hit which could eliminate all the guerilla at once. Hence in our game there were never more than 2 guerilla in a given zone).

3) Is the combat table useless?

Let's put aside combat involving an army.

When only corps are involved, the ratio ranges from 2CF against 6CF to the opposite. Whenever CRT column stays between 1:3 and 4:1, this results into some losses on each side. Because there is no "change", it means each side has to remove one corps counter from the table.

Similary, the +1 bonus given by AP has strictly no impact on results. Same goes with the "1 column shift" linked to PSP>80. The Air AP given at setup was hardly ever used because it did no have any impact

We quickly realized rolling the dice was not necessary, so linear is the table.

=> What is the CRT meant for? Is it there only for army-level fights?

(Yes, APs can be used to absorb 1 loss. True. But no one ever builds APs because they are far too expensive compared o a corps.)

4) Should players avoid controlling regions?

Controlling a region can be a liability.
When you get control, you earn 2 PSP. When it becomes contested, you lose 1d6/2, which is an average 1.5 PSP [because of the round-down rule]. But if you directly lose it to the other side, you lose a full 1d6 PSP, and that usually exceeds the 2 PSP you earned to start with.

Our CCP player delayed taking control of regions as late as possible, to avoid this "counter insurgency" problem. One key benefit of moving last was the ability _not_ to end up controling regions. The KMT could have (but did not in our game) let some regions under CCP control only to get them bacck the turn after and inflict the -1d6 hit on PSP.

If that simulates anything, it would be that players must first hit the opposite armed forced until these get so low they cannot attempt at "controlling back" any region.

Again, not sure it's the design intent.

5) Winning the game

We played only 6 or 7 turns and we lack a feel for the end game dynamic.

However, if winning the game is putting the other side at zero PSP, we are sure it can even happen. The KMT PSP goes up very quickly in the early turn (thanks to the "1 PSP per 3 controled regions" effect) and in the best case it stabilizes at 85 or so. Making this go down significantly does not seem possible. The CCP PSP tends to stabilize around 60. Again, moving it down to zero seems to be problematic.

There is no mecanisms to change this equilibrium in 1948 or 1949. If there was something like "fewer USA support", then the KMT may face a more difficult second-half of the game. But this is not built in.

***

Thanks for all comments.
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Brian Train
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I have to say, my first thought was, "wow, someone besides me and Edward Hung played the Civil War scenario?"
No one has asked me about this in years.... which makes sense because the game was designed nearly 20 years ago.

I think the first thing you should do is go to

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/38827/battle-china/files

and download the materials I made available for the expansion kit to be played with the Strategy and Tactics edition which was released in 2009, and is derived from the "Deluxe Battle for China" which was produced in very limited numbers (<125) by Fiery Dragon Productions in 2008.
You will be interested in the rules and charts and counters; the maps which fit the MDG/ FDP editions are available in the More Battle for China file area and you have obviously already printed them out.

The rules are integrated so all three versions of the game (1937-41, 1942-45, 1946-49) are presented side by side, with particular rules added where appropriate in the book.
They also incorporate many changes in processes or clarify points that may address some of your questions.

You should go and do that, because my answers to your questions and comments will be referenced in that expansion/ integrated rulebook and charts.

Edward Hung asked some similar questions 8 years ago here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/473428/set-and-first-turn-p...

Initial control phase
There is none; per 15.0 initial para, after setting up units as listed in the setup chart, players place control markers as indicated by the situation. It should be obvious who controls what at this point. No one gets the +2 PSP for controlling a zone at the end of the first turn unless they have taken it from the other player (who also loses the points, as usual).

Anti-Guerrilla Operations (AGO)
Granted, it is risky for the KMT to do AGO, because of the political unreliability of his troops. It's really best for neither side to bunch up too much.

In your case 1, if I understood you correctly, we have two AGO conducted by two 2 CF KMT faction corps (one each) against a single 2 CF CCP guerrilla. In a clear terrain area (no -1 CF modifier), yes it is a 50% chance for a lone KMT corps to kill the guerrilla, but it is also a 17% chance for the guerrilla to kill the corps (1d6-5, because there is an extra -1 because there are equal CF involved).

In case 2, if you pile up 2 corps for 4 CF and do one AGO, then sure the odds are no different to kill the guerrilla, and it's still a 17% chance to lose one corps. It's just one die roll for each side, not two as in Case 1 (though if the first AGO in case 1 killed the Guerrilla, there would be no second roll).

If you want to be effective in fighting guerrillas, either pile up a lot of troops or use better troops (since the KMT cannot do "Three All" operations). Get three 2 CF corps together (or two 3 CF Central Army corps) and you make a big jump to 1d6-1, making it 83% likely that you will kill that lone guerrilla (and again, only a 17% chance that one of the three corps will die).

Supply in AGOs: this does halve the CF for the AGO troops, but guerrilla units are always in supply so the -1 modifier for the guerrillas would now not apply in case 1 (since it is now 1 effective KMT CF to 2 CCP CF) and there would now be a 33% chance of the KMT corps getting killed (1d6-4). Unsupplied, very far from home, and unmotivated, those poor KMT faction forces would be quite liable to mass desertion I think... come and join us, comrades!

Combat results table.
In the Civil war the KMT is fighting a different kind of enemy: instead of the Japanese who can break down and make "change" when they lose CF, they are facing equally brittle 2 CF corps - but instead of being eliminated the CCP player can just "go guerrilla" (which will reduce losses to the KMT, but is just a loss of an EP to the CCP player if he wants to convert the guerrilla back to a regular corps).
Also note that the CCP has a one-column Cadre Level advantage over the KMT, in attack or defence.
(Also, reminder that there is a -3d6 penalty if a side has no regular units on the map, so there is an incentive for the CCP to maintain some kind of regular forces.)

Controlling regions.
It's good to take ground and worse to lose it all at once to the enemy; that's the basic lesson and surely that's intuitive. I'm not sure what the point of your remark is, except that to try and hold large amounts of terrain with minimal troops in each area is bad because they can be easily retaken by the enemy with superior force... and I agree with you there.

Winning the game.
At the beginning of the Civil War scenario the KMT controls probably about 16 areas and has a PSP of 50. The CCP controls probably about 10 or 12, depending on where they set up. As I said above, there is no "initial control" and, if no areas changed hands during the turn, the KMT would gain about +5 PSP for its controlled areas and lose 3 or 4 because of the CCP controlled areas (-1 KMT PSP for every 3 CCP controlled). CCP would gain 3 or 4, at the same time. So the trend will be, as the CCP takes ground via guerrillas or conquest, CCP PSP rising and KMT slowly falling.

One other reminder: in the Civil War game, The Foreign Support Phase is skipped entirely (rule 3.0, B). Britain provides no support at all to the KMT, and the US provides Strong support - however, the KMT gets no PSP benefit for that, it is only there to allow him to collect EP and build/ convert Armies (this is made clear in the PSL adjustments chart for the Civil War, but not specifically repeated or excepted in the rules in 5.3.1 - forgot to add that, mea culpa).

Also, per 14.3, the Civil War game runs until one side's PSP reaches 0, or if at the end of any turn, one player has no units on the map and therefore no areas under Control - and players agree to end the game.

Thank you for your questions, I hope I have answered them to your satisfaction, but you really should play the game with the most recent (2009) rules.

Brian
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