Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

1985: Under an Iron Sky» Forums » General

Subject: 1985 Integrated Battlefield issues rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Janne Kemppi
msg tools

I did a quick reading to see how well 1985 supports integrated battlefield and to my disappointment nuclear aspect is rather primitive in the game. The rules talk about SSM units yet I could not see them in the counter mix?

From design standpoint there are also numerous issues to be ponder, some of which exist in game and many which are not. First there should be two different levels of nuclear warfare, both of which give very different game play mechanics.

TACTICAL NUCLEAR WARFARE

The tactical level is "a super artillery fighting" between divisions where attacker needs to think should she want to strike front-line units, supporting arms or division's rear with logistics units. Artillery units can naturally strike only first two zones while SSMs (like FROG and Honest John) can hit third zone. Seldom discussed factor here is that smallest warheads are best in first zone as they cause least chance of hitting (and causing damage to) own troops.

a.1) Perhaps this should be revisited in future rules iteration as all three zones have entirely different effect on division's future fighting ability?

a.2) The neutron warheads shine in first zone and interesting what if option could be added here.

Tactical level has additional consideration of intensity of nuclear strikes. The more you pound, the more you kill but there is also added problem of creating terrain obstacles hazards that slow or practically prevent unit movement through such terrain.

a.3) Here I'd like to see complex terrain (forests and cities) being particularly nasty in terms of towards attacker and bigger warheads being nastier than smaller warheads.

While both sides had several thousand warheads (NATO perhaps 7000, WP 4000 according to CIA) it is good to think that fooling with warhead sizes and tuning warhead sizes (available option to NATO) can mean running out of those precious golden babies.

a.4) Ultimately there should be a separate tactical warhead stockpile that is distributed to divisions.

a.5) The question of fate of tactical nuclear weapons when unit is overrun is also interesting. Shelford Bidwell's excellent "World War 3" book (1978) had scenario where unit fearing this launched nuclear weapons on its own initiative to prevent its own destruction. I think it would be wonderful idea that tactical nuclear warfare in Europe could start by accident!

a.6) Alternatively theater commander could simply order that only few troops would get nuclear weapons increasing troop vulnerability on enemy surprise strike. Remaining weapons would be stored in nuclear dumps which could be attacked by special forces, air strikes and other means. This would add entirely new layer of risk and reward to game.

THEATER NUCLEAR WARFARE

The theater commander's headaches are curiously missing in this game. Ultimately single most important job he has is to maintain theater nuclear plan (given by his superiors) with certain assets off the battlefield at all times (while waiting for armageddon).

Sir John Hackett's delightful "Third World War" book had precisely this situation where NATO kept 20% of its nuclear capable air units at standby while dropping this to mere 5% at critical juncture of campaign while allocating rest to support concentional fighting. Similarly both NATO and WP have forces dedicated to nuclear duties. Protecting and upkeeping them would add plenty of thinking for commander.

b.1) Interesting thing could be generation of theater intelligence requirements where certain matters should be using dedicated reconnaissance assets. Failing that the enemy supplies, reserves and nuclear forces would eventually become "invisible" (and thus impossible to hit) until re-acquired.

b.2) The holding back of nuclear forces (like F-111 and SU-24 bombers) as well as weakening of fighting power of dual use units that have some forces in permanent standby could create interesting problems to both sides. Vietnam war had excellent descriptions of difficulties of maintaining units in permanent standby for leaving immediately (although with conventional payloads).

b.3) Interesting dilemma comes on question of how one should respond to loss of nuclear assets in theater level. Some thought it was escalation while others thought it was not.

It would be more believable if nuclear release request by theater commander would be made based on preset conditions. It is easy to see NATO asking this based on serious breakthrough or when nuclear capable aircraft unit number falls below safety thresholds. However, movement forwards towards final defensive line of NATO (politically set) either too quickly for NATO or too slowly by WP are also cases when theater commander would believably ask for nuclear release. Naturally enemy use of nuclear weapons is major reason too.

b.4) It would be intriguing to have a militarily reasonable reasons to ask for nuclear release and only roll when those activities are in force. While this removes nuclear release from player's hand it would be far more realistic for all parties involved.

Once nuclear release is secured Theater commander could start pulses to fix problems. It is easy to see initial warhead numbers being low and then gradually increasing for campaign use while trying to guess what enemy is doing. Naturally guidelines and employment options and especially limitations exist based on each situation.

b.5) Would it be fun if these guidelines would be secret from other player for the duration of game and based on some kind of randomness?

Just few ideas of my head when planning my first campaign...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fabrizio Vianello
msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I did a quick reading to see how well 1985 supports integrated battlefield and to my disappointment nuclear aspect is rather primitive in the game. The rules talk about SSM units yet I could not see them in the counter mix?


SSM units have the NATO SSM symbol on them, as depicted in the unit legend chart N06 or W06.
An example of SSM unit is US 1/56 Battalion, on countersheet 1, row 3, column 3.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Read & Watch at www.bigboardgaming.com
Avatar
aitolasamies wrote:

I did a quick reading to see how well 1985 supports integrated battlefield and to my disappointment nuclear aspect is rather primitive in the game. The rules talk about SSM units yet I could not see them in the counter mix?

From design standpoint there are also numerous issues to be ponder, some of which exist in game and many which are not. First there should be two different levels of nuclear warfare, both of which give very different game play mechanics.

TACTICAL NUCLEAR WARFARE

The tactical level is "a super artillery fighting" between divisions where attacker needs to think should she want to strike front-line units, supporting arms or division's rear with logistics units. Artillery units can naturally strike only first two zones while SSMs (like FROG and Honest John) can hit third zone. Seldom discussed factor here is that smallest warheads are best in first zone as they cause least chance of hitting (and causing damage to) own troops.

a.1) Perhaps this should be revisited in future rules iteration as all three zones have entirely different effect on division's future fighting ability?

a.2) The neutron warheads shine in first zone and interesting what if option could be added here.

Tactical level has additional consideration of intensity of nuclear strikes. The more you pound, the more you kill but there is also added problem of creating terrain obstacles hazards that slow or practically prevent unit movement through such terrain.

a.3) Here I'd like to see complex terrain (forests and cities) being particularly nasty in terms of towards attacker and bigger warheads being nastier than smaller warheads.

While both sides had several thousand warheads (NATO perhaps 7000, WP 4000 according to CIA) it is good to think that fooling with warhead sizes and tuning warhead sizes (available option to NATO) can mean running out of those precious golden babies.

a.4) Ultimately there should be a separate tactical warhead stockpile that is distributed to divisions.

a.5) The question of fate of tactical nuclear weapons when unit is overrun is also interesting. Shelford Bidwell's excellent "World War 3" book (1978) had scenario where unit fearing this launched nuclear weapons on its own initiative to prevent its own destruction. I think it would be wonderful idea that tactical nuclear warfare in Europe could start by accident!

a.6) Alternatively theater commander could simply order that only few troops would get nuclear weapons increasing troop vulnerability on enemy surprise strike. Remaining weapons would be stored in nuclear dumps which could be attacked by special forces, air strikes and other means. This would add entirely new layer of risk and reward to game.

THEATER NUCLEAR WARFARE

The theater commander's headaches are curiously missing in this game. Ultimately single most important job he has is to maintain theater nuclear plan (given by his superiors) with certain assets off the battlefield at all times (while waiting for armageddon).

Sir John Hackett's delightful "Third World War" book had precisely this situation where NATO kept 20% of its nuclear capable air units at standby while dropping this to mere 5% at critical juncture of campaign while allocating rest to support concentional fighting. Similarly both NATO and WP have forces dedicated to nuclear duties. Protecting and upkeeping them would add plenty of thinking for commander.

b.1) Interesting thing could be generation of theater intelligence requirements where certain matters should be using dedicated reconnaissance assets. Failing that the enemy supplies, reserves and nuclear forces would eventually become "invisible" (and thus impossible to hit) until re-acquired.

b.2) The holding back of nuclear forces (like F-111 and SU-24 bombers) as well as weakening of fighting power of dual use units that have some forces in permanent standby could create interesting problems to both sides. Vietnam war had excellent descriptions of difficulties of maintaining units in permanent standby for leaving immediately (although with conventional payloads).

b.3) Interesting dilemma comes on question of how one should respond to loss of nuclear assets in theater level. Some thought it was escalation while others thought it was not.

It would be more believable if nuclear release request by theater commander would be made based on preset conditions. It is easy to see NATO asking this based on serious breakthrough or when nuclear capable aircraft unit number falls below safety thresholds. However, movement forwards towards final defensive line of NATO (politically set) either too quickly for NATO or too slowly by WP are also cases when theater commander would believably ask for nuclear release. Naturally enemy use of nuclear weapons is major reason too.

b.4) It would be intriguing to have a militarily reasonable reasons to ask for nuclear release and only roll when those activities are in force. While this removes nuclear release from player's hand it would be far more realistic for all parties involved.

Once nuclear release is secured Theater commander could start pulses to fix problems. It is easy to see initial warhead numbers being low and then gradually increasing for campaign use while trying to guess what enemy is doing. Naturally guidelines and employment options and especially limitations exist based on each situation.

b.5) Would it be fun if these guidelines would be secret from other player for the duration of game and based on some kind of randomness?

Just few ideas of my head when planning my first campaign...

fantastic write up..but mate, re read the game rules, look at the counters...they are there. Now may I have that 10 minutes of my life back lolol.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Andrerson
United States
Hampton
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Having worked in Nuclear Operations for CENTRAL Army Group during the year 1985 - 1987, I can attest that FOR THIS GAME DESIGN the nuclear rules sufficiently portray the effects of nuclear weapons on the operational level. This is not a tactical game.

That said, there are some modification I think could be made, however, I want to confirm a few things before I pass along my thoughts to Fabrizio.

Can't wait to get this on the table, more likely a VASSAL or Cyberboard game, due to space considerations.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Wilson
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
mb
Jim Anderson wrote:
Having worked in Nuclear Operations for CENTRAL Army Group during the year 1985 - 1987, I can attest that FOR THIS GAME DESIGN the nuclear rules sufficiently portray the effects of nuclear weapons on the operational level. This is not a tactical game.

That said, there are some modification I think could be made, however, I want to confirm a few things before I pass along my thoughts to Fabrizio.

Can't wait to get this on the table, more likely a VASSAL or Cyberboard game, due to space considerations.


Same here. I've played TNW quite a bit...but this update/revamp? A dream come true!

Tim W.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.