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Subject: I don't like Retreat After Combat. rss

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Rusty McFisticuffs
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There are three reasons I don't like 10.3, Retreat After Combat.

First, it doesn't make sense to me that, with one play of a card (and barring rail or strategic movement), a unit can either move one space, or move one space, participate in a battle, and move a second space. If anything, it's the guys who don't attack who should be able to move farther!

Second, it doesn't make sense to me that units can move from Flanders to Artois, fight a battle in Artois, and Retreat After Combat back to their entrenched positions in Flanders before you have a chance to attack there. If I deliberately weaken my forces in an area long enough to fight a battle (plus travel time both ways), you ought to have a chance to attack there while I'm weak! Removing 10.3 achieves this.

The third reason (most important to me) is that it takes the risk out of concentrating your forces for an attack, which removes a tough decision, which makes the game less fun.

When I attack, I like to hit as hard as I can, which means pulling units from adjacent areas. With this rule, if I have the 4th Army with 3I and 2A in Flanders, and the 6th Army with 2I and 1A in Artois, it's a no-brainer: I can throw everything but 1I from the 4th Army into the 6th (or vice versa), attack, and then return those guys to the 4th. Without the rule, there's a decision to be made: anyone I take from Flanders for an attack in Artois leaves Flanders that much weaker on your turn, which means every unit moved from Flanders is done with a trembling hand and a furrowed brow.

I can see the argument that 10.3 leads to a more dynamic game because it enables the attacker to concentrate his forces without risk, but I don't buy it (or, I don't think it's necessary): every game I've played has been without this rule (simply because it's one less thing to explain to people when teaching the game), and I have been very pleased with the number of breakthroughs & other disasters which have resulted.
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Tim Taylor
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Hi Rusty, thanks for chiming in.

Of course you don't have to play with any rule that rubs you the wrong way.

A lot of thought and testing went into the rules of this game. I don't intend to justify every one of my design decisions.

On the other hand, I will mention that the example of attack you bring up happened all of the time on the western front. Armies on the flank of an offensive would lend support to the main attack, then settle right back down in their former positions adjacent to the battle area (the adjacent armies' HQ would not relocate). It's all part of maintaining the front line. Nearly all of the major battles featured this flanking support operation.

I feel that this mechanic nicely illustrates this tactic.

A designer decides what is worthy of simulation and what is not. I wanted to allow for, even encourage, these sorts of attacks by flanking armies since they were an important part of WW1 "mobile" operations.

However, perhaps illustrating this aspect of WW1 is of no interest whatsoever to you? If that's the case, and you really dislike the retreat after combat provision, simply don't use it. Whatever makes the game more fun for you is how I think you should play.

Of course, you'll see a lot more fluid game play, too.

TT
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Well, if it's more realistic, then I feel a little better about it, but:

Herr Niemand wrote:
the example of attack you bring up happened all of the time on the western front. Armies on the flank of an offensive would lend support to the main attack, then settle right back down in their former positions adjacent to the battle area (the adjacent armies' HQ would not relocate). It's all part of maintaining the front line. Nearly all of the major battles featured this flanking support operation.

Couldn't this be simulated by moving them with one card, and then moving them back (either with a card or a pass) on the next turn? (Or was the move-out-fight-move-back pattern more rapid than that?) As it is, it's not possible for the enemy to attack Flanders while the bulk of the troops normally defending Flanders are off fighting in Artois; that doesn't seem right to me, although I don't know much about it.

Also, just out of curiosity, if this was a common tactic historically, how come there's the everyone-must-retreat-to-the-same-area restriction? Was it too difficult to coordinate support from both flanks or something?
 
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Justus Pendleton
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Herr Niemand wrote:

A lot of thought and testing went into the rules of this game. I don't intend to justify every one of my design decisions.


As an alternate viewpoint, while I don't think you need to "justify" them (which implies a defensive response) I do find it illuminating and interesting when a designer "explains" the design rationale behind certain rules.

Of course, you don't need to spend your free time doing that, either, but I did find your explanation interesting. Eventually I'll free up some time on my reading schedule for some WW1!
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Tim Taylor
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Thanks Justus for your interest in the design as well as your suggestion. Christophe and I are busy making a full turn example of play and I will take your request for explanations to heart. We'll use the Spring 1915 turn to illustrate how to play, how TTLM! models history, and include explanations for some rules. This is a pretty complex task, so please be patient. This should be uploaded sometime in early August.

Thanks again for your great suggestion.
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Tim Taylor
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/46114
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Jari Kemppainen
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kuhrusty wrote:
When I attack, I like to hit as hard as I can, which means pulling units from adjacent areas. With this rule, if I have the 4th Army with 3I and 2A in Flanders, and the 6th Army with 2I and 1A in Artois, it's a no-brainer: I can throw everything but 1I from the 4th Army into the 6th (or vice versa), attack, and then return those guys to the 4th.


Hi. According to rules, do you have to leave any unit inside the 4th Army when moving them to the adjacent battle area, if Flanders was a friendly area in that point of play?

Also, are you allowed to move an empty Army from a Friendy area to an empty Enemy area, and conquer that?
 
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