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Breakout: Normandy» Forums » General

Subject: Simplifying the Rules rss

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Mike Kent
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Recently, I just finished re-reading the rules of the game. I am in the process of using Vassal to follow the old replay from the general.

Has anyone thought of re-writing the rules to considerably simplify the game? I think it could be done without losing the tension and flavor of the game, but make it more accessible to other gamers.

I do not have a good enough grasp of the rules to contemplate any such task, but surely they could be streamlined without ruining the game.
 
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David Bohnenberger
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Have you tried Storm Over Stalingrad? It basically uses a simplified version of this system. Plays in a couple of hours, too.
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Iain K
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The game is not complex in and of itself. The rules are just written in a style that adds to the learning curve of the game.

If the game were re-released with re-written rules I think it would be a big hit.

The rules are well worth learning as BK:N is the best of the Area Impulse games.

On a related note. The second best Area Impulse game in my opinion is Not War But Murder (NWbM). It has a much better presentation of the family's core ruleset - and it's a very dynamic situation for both sides. Perhaps the most dynamic of any Area Impulse game. I'm not sure how dynamic Storm over Stalingrad is given it's milieu and I'm wary of it's cards and reported "gameiness".

My gateway to Area/Impulse was NWbM - and I recommend ti to others.

It's also the most affordable one of the family.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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The original game that launched the system, Storm over Arnhem, was pretty easy to learn. Perhaps you should start there.

I would say that looking for ways to simplify a given system isn't a hallmark of wargaming culture. It is far more typical to see optional rules suggested which add complexity, in the hope of increasing simulation value, than it is to see proposals for simplification.
 
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Matt Harvey
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Truth be told- I've thought about doing the exact same thing...

I'm actually doing what you've mentioned for my copy of Streets of Stalingrad 3rd ed. in order to make it a bit easier for my Dad to get into. Other wise there's no way I'm getting another F2F opponent (let alone myself) to understand it's the sprawling structure, yet fairly straightforward game play. Cleaning up and simplifying language (w/o snipping core rules) helped my comprehension of the rules as written, and concepts that once seemed disjointed now make total sense.

B:N doesn't seem like a very difficult game (I own it, but yet to play), but the rules are just so obtusely organized in that "old style", it's hard to piece together how everything meshes. So it sits until I take a stab at reorganizing this one for myself too. :/




 
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Peter Stubner
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I too had struggled with the rules. It took me about 3 games to get comfortable with the but now in retrospect I find them very well done.

So, don't get discouraged, study the examples of play again, use the index and play the game again. I suspect you will find the rule set very useful in a short itme.

P
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Mike Kent
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Understanding the rules is not a problem for me. I have been playing AH/SPI since way back when. I have played everything from the ST issue games to the Longest day.

What I am saying, is that this game screams for a simplified and streamlined set of rules.... I do not have enough experience with this game to judge what could be done.

One thought I had last night was to use the same cost for casualties points for both bombardment and assaults. To make this work, adjust the bombardment value of artillery units down and keep the restriction that bombardment can only cause one step. Or leave the artillery values alone and just limit the loses to one step.

To me, bridging is by far the most complex part of the game... there are so many aspects to it... bridge seizure attempts, demolition, rebuilding, and all the subtle nuances that go with it in regards to movement and assaults.
 
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Peter Stubner
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Ahh, I hear ya now. I don't know if streamlining would enhance the game or not. It seems to me a very mature design that may break down with streamlining tweaks. This reminds me of the first time I played, I mistakenly applied AP's the same as CP's and the game broke. The Allies bombardment was brutally effective and invasion was far to easy. But I don't have that much expereince with trying what you are suggesting so I really do not know.

Interesting bridge comment. By far, the most trouble I had was with the bridge rules. I have to re-read that everytime. I think if I learned with someone who already knew the game, the bridge stuff would have been much clearer. Conceptually I knew why defenders want to blow bridges and attacker secure them but I couldn't see at first the gaming advantage was in Brk:N.
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Kevin Hammond
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"there appears to be a lot of devil in the detail, especially concerning artillery, bombardment ( I'm trying to wrap my head around the different between attrition points and casualty points), the rules exceptions for various units (Nebelwerfers for example),"

The difference between AP and CP (Attrition points - from bombardments, and Casualty Points - from assaults) is not that bad.

In an assault, the DEFENDER gets to choose their 'primary defender' - which is usually the highest DV unit so that the area's defense is maxed out. When the defender takes CPs, the primary defender takes the first one, and then has full freedom to assign all remaining CPs to other units in that area - which means something like this:
If the defender has a fresh 6-7-5 Lehr panzergrenadier unit as the point unit, and a fresh 2-3-2 weak infantry unit there as well, and finally a D2 2-3-2 infantry uniut, and takes 6 CP: they could be assign (1 CP per step loss) to
CP # 1 - must be applied to the primary defender, so the 6-7-5 unit could flip to spent for 1 CP
CP # 2,3,4,5 : the fresh 2-3-2 unit goes from fresh to D2 and retreats (or is eliminated, but it's rarely wise to choose that)
CP # 6 : the D2 infantry unit just retreats.
In doing so, the defender avoided taking more than one step loss with the powerful 6-7-5 unit.

In a bombardment, the attacker gets to choose the first unit to take AP if the bombardment is successful. Unlike CPs where 1 CP ALWAYS equals one step loss, it can take more than 1 AP to inflict a step loss:
3 for fresh armor
2 for spent or disrupted armor
2 for ALL coastal artillery (fresh, spent, disrupted)
2 for fresh non-armor
1 for spent or disrupted non-armor

In a bombardment, each unit can take at MOST only ONE step loss, now matter how many AP are the result of the bombardment. Also, artillery can NOT be the primary target unless ONLY artillery is present in the area being bombarded (because artillery is well-hidden and camoflauged)

Nebelwerfers - can only target units INSIDE the same area the Nebelwerfer unit is in. Also, they don't add to the DV of an area if that area is bombarded (because unlike other artillery, they don't to "counterbattery fire")
 
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Michael Lucey
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I learned BKN the hard way back when it first came out ( by myself re-reading the RB) and I had a heck of a time wrapping my head around the impulse track until the General replay came out then it just clicked. I imagine this game taking about 5 minutes of FtF teaching (ok maybe 10 ) to learn 90% of the rules and about 1 turn with the cheat sheet (the player cards) to differentiate APs from CPs from MPs and bridge blowing from fixing from seizing.

The game itself has good flow and easy to see units and boundaries and VP locations. It does have a few very fine details (air attacks do not move the impulse marker for instance) which are not difficult just tedious. I'd rather the level of detail because it add's a lot of flavor without the ASL RB syndrome I always read about ( I have mine memorized whistle. )

Looking at the RB right now, its only 12 pages so its not like its a monster of a RB. The cheat sheets are great for play and really display just about every major sticking point. My biggest problem is not using rules from other area / impulse games when they don't apply to the one I'm playing.

moved an emoticon to get it to display correctly
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Adam Ruzzo
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I'm just reading the rules for the first time myself. I will have to agree that once i learn what a given paragraph is saying it's very intuitive and easy to understand, but boy to they lay on the lawyer speak extremely thick! I'm sure they worded it very carefully so as to be as clear as posible, but it's not written in such a way as to be understood easily.

I much prefer rules written in a style that repeats itself. It introduces a rule in an easy to understand format, and then clarifys it in lawyer speak. That way you can use what you understand to be the purpose of the rule to understand the nuances of the rule, for example:

"The impulse track is designed to provide a variable end to the daylight phase. The longer a turn lasts, the higher the chance it will end. Each allied turn, the first DR that is rolled is the "sunset DR" and compared to the current impulse number. If it is lower than the current impulse number, the turn is over. If it is the same as the impulse number, the weather changes (see rule whatever), and if it is higher than the impulse number, play proceeds to the next impulse. If the allied player makes no DR on his/her turn, he will have to roll a sunset DR anyway."

In plain english it tells you the intent of the rule and what it does mechanically for the game, then in the later part of the paragraph it goes into the details for clarification. It feels like every section of the BO:N rulebook is missing the first part, and only has the hard to understand rules clarifications, which is great for referencing but hard as hell to learn from.

The best wargame rules set i've ever read is from [GAMEID=21050Combat Commander]. Chad and his team did a fantastic job making the rule book extremely easy to read the first time, and extremely well documented and easy to reference as well, with a fully stocked index at the back.
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Mike Kent
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The rule are really written in that 70's SPI style. I just keep thinking that some the nuances of the rules as far as bridges and Attrition points vs causality points could be simplified...
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