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Subject: Movement question rss

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James Fung
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So I've started pushing pieces around. From my reading of the rules, this is allowable:

- Situation: The Entente player has the following armies: UK1 entrenched in Artois; UK2 entrenched in Flanders; UK3 unentrenched in Artois.
- During a Pass round, the Entente player can shift infantry and auxiliary type units from UK1 to UK3. These are free. (1.2.2 A)
- Move UK3 to Flanders. This is the single movement of the Pass round.
- Shift infantry and auxiliary type units from UK3 to UK2. Because UK2 is already entrenched, the infantry transfered also become entrenched (I can't find this rule, but I thought I read it somewhere.), though any remaining with UK3 are unentrenched.

So, effectively, a player can shift a large number of units from an entrenched army to an adjacent entrenched army if he has a 'shuttle' army (of the same nationality) to go between them. This makes sense if UK1 and UK2 occupy trenches, and UK3 is using its staff to help organize the move of men between the two. But does this violate the intent of the 1 movement per Pass rule?
 
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Tim Taylor
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This is an excellent question.

First, the 'free' move you mention is free only when an offensive card is played. Plus, you must remember that each individual unit can only be moved once. Using your example (and assuming an Offensive card has been played), units may shuffle between UK1 and UK3 without expending movement since they're in the same area, then either army may move one. However, a unit moving from UK1 to UK2 would not be able to move with UK2 later in the player turn (unless it had a movement greater than 1 like cavalry or biplanes).

I hope I've cleared that up. Now onto what moving one unit during a Pass move means.

Players may move one unit when Passing. What this means is that a player may only move one unit -- movement points don't even enter into it. So, to continue with your example, a player could move one unit from UK1 to either UK3 or UK2 and that's it! Of course, a player could move the whole UK3 army (as one unit) into UK2's area, but there is no subsequent shuffling of units between the two armies afterward. A Pass move is actually quite limited in nature.

Hope this helps. Enjoy the game!
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James Fung
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Herr Niemand wrote:
First, the 'free' move you mention is free only when an offensive card is played.

I must have missed that. I was misled by this paragraph (1.2.2 A):
Quote:
Infantry and auxiliary type units may move freely into or
out of Armies during the Movement Phase or when
Retreating. In addition, Army contents may be altered
during Production and Reinforcement Phases but no
movement is allowed.

Thanks for the reply!
 
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Tim Taylor
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I used the word "freely" to mean "without restriction" rather than "without counting against Pass Move limits".

I'm not entirely sure how to word this so that it's more clear.

Perhaps substitute the words "without restriction" for "freely"? Perhaps include a clarifying paragraph mentioning that a unit moved from army to army still counts as a unit moved for purposes of Pass Move limits?

Do you have any suggestions on how to make the meaning of this rule more clear?
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James Fung
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Herr Niemand wrote:
Perhaps substitute the words "without restriction" for "freely"? Perhaps include a clarifying paragraph mentioning that a unit moved from army to army still counts as a unit moved for purposes of Pass Move limits?

I think those two cover it. Part of the problem may be that, in the units descriptions, you specify movement limits in terms of areas moved. In 5.0, you say "Movement must be from area to adjacent area." This led me to infer that shifting units within an area is not a move. I can't find a rule saying that moving a unit from one army to another army in the same area is a move in either 2.0-II-2 or 5.*. Actually, I'm not sure if you define what a move (one that counts against the move limit of a Pass round) is, just list restrictions on moves.

My suggestion is to add a paragraph in 5.*, the main rule section on movement, saying: a move is movement of one unit a number of areas up to its movement limit. For infantry and auxiliary type units, this may include any number of transfers into and out of army templates.

Or in terms that more traditional wargamers understand: moving 1 area is 1MP. Moving into and out of armies is 0MP. However, the unit must use a move to be able to do either.
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Tim Taylor
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I like your latter formulation better.

As I said elsewhere, I'm collecting all clarifications and will update the rulebook when I get enough of them.

Thanks James for your help.
 
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James Fung
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A second movement question: Is this allowed? Here is the position:



- The player has played an Offensive card.
- The French 7th army detaches a cavalry, which moves Somme-Boulogne-Artois. Artois is now Disputed.
- Any or all of the 4 Entente armies can now move into Artois.

Is this what you meant by keeping an offensive card just in case? Is this an acceptable use for cavalry?
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Tim Taylor
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Believe it or not,the answer is 'Yes' to all your questions.

Retreat is very important in this game, or rather knowing when to retreat. In your example, if the Entente forces in Artois had retreated before being blown away, they'd be in a position to counterattack and re-establish the frontline (all it costs is .25 BP for each lost entrenchment).

Historically, that's what happened in 2nd Ypres in 1915. The Germans did a lot of damage with their gas attacks and the Entente retreated. The Germans did not have enough reserve troops to capitalize on this breach and the Entente quickly recovered, sealing the gap. They even retained control of Ypres!

Another idea, rather than being lucky enough to have a cav in the right position or retreating at the right time, would be to maintain a reserve army (or two) behind the lines -- just an infantry in an army. Even if the front is breached some distance away, a Strategic Move or Strategic Reserves card could then be used to later seal the breach.

I could go on and on like this about my design decisions. Cal Stengel used to say, "Put a nickel in, get a buck's worth out." Rather than ramble, I'll just say that a lot of thought went into making the game seem to have a lot of movement going on even though it's a static situation. Fostering the illusion of movement is important in a game like this.
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James Fung
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Herr Niemand wrote:
Retreat is very important in this game, or rather knowing when to retreat. In your example, if the Entente forces in Artois had retreated before being blown away, they'd be in a position to counterattack and re-establish the frontline (all it costs is .25 BP for each lost entrenchment).

...

Another idea, rather than being lucky enough to have a cav in the right position or retreating at the right time, would be to maintain a reserve army (or two) behind the lines -- just an infantry in an army. Even if the front is breached some distance away, a Strategic Move or Strategic Reserves card could then be used to later seal the breach.

I hadn't thought of the retreat thing. That's a good trick, as long as you have the offensives.

I'm not sure if I understand the reserve army thing. A Strategic Reserves card can move an army from a disputed area (like a pull a frontline army from a quiet area of the map) but can't move it into an enemy area. Do you mean keep a reserve army behind the line, use a normal move to turn the newly enemy area back to disputed, and then move other armies in so it's not just one infantry standing in the way?

By the by, the Entente player wasn't really expecting the German player to roll three or four 1s on 10-12 F1 in 5 different combats.
 
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Tim Taylor
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Quote:
Do you mean keep a reserve army behind the line, use a normal move to turn the newly enemy area back to disputed, and then move other armies in so it's not just one infantry standing in the way?

Yes.

The reference to StratMove or Strategic Reserves! was in the case where the reserve army was not adjacent to the breach and unable to immediately initiate a battle.

In this game, one of the great abilities of cavalry is to plug holes in the front. Interestingly, this was cavalry's chief occupation during the war.

Quote:
By the by, the Entente player wasn't really expecting the German player to roll three or four 1s on 10-12 F1 in 5 different combats.

Ouch!
 
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James Fung
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Herr Niemand wrote:
Retreat is very important in this game, or rather knowing when to retreat. In your example, if the Entente forces in Artois had retreated before being blown away, they'd be in a position to counterattack and re-establish the frontline (all it costs is .25 BP for each lost entrenchment).


Okay, sorry to be thick, but how does retreating stop you from losing units? If defenders retreat during the retreat phase, they still have to take the full force of offensive artillery and offensive fire. Does "Retreat instead of Firing" decision and movement occur during the defensive fire phase, so those units are hit by artillery but skip their fire and can't be hit by offensive fire? If this timing is detailed anywhere, I can't find it.
 
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James Fung
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Addendum: Isn't the retreating and then reentering very dangerous for the retreating side? They would have to declare a combat and get blown away then.
 
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Tim Taylor
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Quote:
Okay, sorry to be thick, but how does retreating stop you from losing units? If defenders retreat during the retreat phase, they still have to take the full force of offensive artillery and offensive fire. Does "Retreat instead of Firing" decision and movement occur during the defensive fire phase, so those units are hit by artillery but skip their fire and can't be hit by offensive fire? If this timing is detailed anywhere, I can't find it.

Sorry I have caused such confusion.

When I wrote retreat what I meant was 'retreat' not movement out of battle. Yes, I was refering specifically to 'Retreat instead of Firing'. Your issue with timing is implicit in the player turn order.

For example:

Let's consider two powerful German armies attacking a fairly weak French army.

- German Player Turn 1: Offensive Artillery fire causes the French two hits. Let's say that that's a lot of losses for them in this one place and so they don't want to lose a lot of cards on what could possibly be a blow out. So the French discard an Ersatz 2 card. Before the German player can unleash his devastating attack in his Offensive fire phase, the French player 'Retreats instead of Firing' during the Defensive Fire phase. The German player swings and hits nothing but air.

- Entente Player Turn 1: Now the French player has several options depending on how good of a hand he's got. The French player could:
A- Counter-attack with an Offensive card, gathering together additional forces in the breach area, and reforming the front line.
B- Attack with an Offensive in one or both adjacent frontline areas, threatening to cut off the two German armies if they advance.
C- If Offensives are few and far between, the French player could Pass and simply 'retreat instead of firing' again in German PT2. This method is how the Entente can survive in 1914.


Please don't take this the wrong way, James, but if I elucidated all the implications in the rules -- if I made everything that's implicit explicit -- the rules would be at least triple their length.

To the Last Man! is not Magic Realm; such a simple game does not warrant a massive rulebook.

Besides, rules simply aren't written that way. When I sit down to read the rules for Arkham Horror, for instance, they don't even hint that you should always seal gates instead of just closing them, if at all possible. That lesson is learned by playing the game (or reading strategy articles here on BGG). That's part of the fun of learning how to play a game. Discovering strategies and tactics that work -- as well as ones that don't -- that's why I play games.

TT
 
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James Fung
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Herr Niemand wrote:
Please don't take this the wrong way, James, but if I elucidated all the implications in the rules -- if I made everything that's implicit explicit -- the rules would be at least triple their length.

I don't mind you leaving things for the player to discover, but I'm still trying to figure out what's allowed and not allowed by the game. For instance, the player aid goes:

Quote:
NOTE: Any or all of the Defender’s Units may Retreat
into adjacent Friendly or Disputed Areas instead of Firing.

...

c- Defensive Player’s Fire Phase. All units fire, except
Dogfighters. Attacker takes losses.

Listing it at the top implies the defender has to make the decision to Retreat instead of Firing at the start of the battle rather than after seeing the offensive artillery fire. Nor does it say anywhere that the Retreat instead of Firing occurs during the Defender fire phase instead of the retreat phase. Had the player aid or the rules simply stated:

Quote:
c- Defensive Player’s Fire Phase. Any or all of the Defender’s Units may Retreat into adjacent Friendly or Disputed Areas instead of Firing. Then all remaining units fire, except Dogfighters. Attacker takes losses.

There would be no confusion.

I'm all for putting in a nickel, getting out a dollar; my favorite games are those that achieve a lot with a minimum amount of rules. My game design philosophy is: "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." -- Antoine de Saint-Exuper.

However, if I play your game wrong, I'm getting the wrong implications. Which is why my questions have been directed at clearing up rules I'm finding confusing. If you don't mind my saying so, I feel your rulebook (not the game, which I believe works as you intended, but the wording of the rules) could use a blind beta playtest. I've playtested for a few companies, including GMT Games. Right now, I'm not sure I could play a season correctly. Oh, I'm pretty sure I won't play it expertly, but I'm only partly sure I'll play every rule correctly. That's not what you want in a rulebook.
 
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Tim Taylor
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Quote:
10.2 RETREAT INSTEAD OF FIRING
The Defending player may retreat any number of units from a battle area instead of firing. The defender can retreat any number of units and leave any number to fight normally.

Retreating units can move to any adjacent Friendly or Disputed area, and multiple units may retreat separately into different areas.

If all units retreat and the opposing player has cavalry in the area, the retreating units may be subject to Pursuit Fire (see Section 1.2.2 under Cavalry).


Seems pretty clear to me. As the defender, you decide when and if to retreat at the moment. You need not be psychic and state it before combat. In fact, I can't figure out how you got that idea.

Please don't tell me how you got that notion.

If you continue to have such difficulties, please GM me rather than continuing a thread which may not be of general interest.
 
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Tim Taylor
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New players may find this full turn example of play helpful:



http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/46114
 
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