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David Janik-Jones
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Barry, just some quick observations, praise and questions I have after reading through the ruleset. First off, really nice system, I enjoyed the rules a lot. It may be the system that comes closest to matching my long list of needs.

Can I assume that, for the most part, real-life tactics play out in the game correctly (I'm impatient ... I have yet to print a set and and play which I will do tomorrow)?

Is there a reason that Smoke 2 doesn't actually block LOS until it turns to Smoke 1? Is that something that if house ruled would throw out the game's balance in your opinion as designer?

Is there any reason to not house rule severe weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow? Or strong winds that actually drift smoke one hex as it goes from 2 to 1? Or, again, is there a need to do so based on in real time short scenarios? Or possibly would throw out the game's balance in your opinion as designer?

Is there a reason that spotters for on-board mortars can be anywhere in the target's like of sight? Shouldn't they be within a certain distance to the mortar team itself or are you assuming radio communications?

What is your rationale behind the rule that states that pinned units may not be reduced?

In 16.3 when attacking AT are terrain modifiers/obstructions factored into the attack roll?

In 16.6 when a vehicle is immobilized but abandoned, could it not be left on the board? Or are you considering that in some way it has been moved from anywhere where it might block movement/affect stacking etc? (Picky, I know). On second thought Im probably wrong here but decided to leave the question anyway. I might leave a destroyed vehicle on the board for one turn with a 1 Smoke for fun.

Do you feel any need for a rubble marker that might provide some cover for units in/on it, but with protection less than an urban/building square? Is that something that if house ruled would throw out the game's balance in your opinion as designer?

Finally, I love the art and boards. Are the files available (EPS/AI etc) for us to contribute new maps, etc? AS a designer I'd be happy to develop a few scenarios and maps for players.

Very nice work ... once I get the thing printed at work tomorrow and do some testing I'll continue to add my comments. Thanks very much for contributing this enormous effort to the community.

PS. Did you just post new rules today? My lucky day!! What was updated?
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Heroic Monkey
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I can't answer all of these questions, but I'll try some of them.

DaveyJJ wrote:

Is there a reason that Smoke 2 doesn't actually block LOS until it turns to Smoke 1? Is that something that if house ruled would throw out the game's balance in your opinion as designer?

Smoke never blocks LOS. Smoke 1 adds a +1 hindrance mod, while Smoke 2 adds a +2 hindrance mod (according to rule 11.5).

DaveyJJ wrote:

In 16.3 when attacking AT are terrain modifiers/obstructions factored into the attack roll?

Yes. The last sentence in 16.3 says "Cover modifiers apply to the to-hit roll." There's also a little reminder in the Anti-Tank To-Hit Numbers chart which is found on the Quick Reference Tables page.

DaveyJJ wrote:

AS a designer I'd be happy to develop a few scenarios and maps for players.

That sounds great.
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DaveyJJ wrote:

In 16.6 when a vehicle is immobilized but abandoned, could it not be left on the board? Or are you considering that in some way it has been moved from anywhere where it might block movement/affect stacking etc? (Picky, I know). On second thought Im probably wrong here but decided to leave the question anyway. I might leave a destroyed vehicle on the board for one turn with a 1 Smoke for fun.


An alteranative would be to create a "abandoned" counter and hence forth count the vehicle as a minor obstruction to LOS. Ooh, I feel the urge to start Paint Shop...

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Mr Mahon
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DaveyJJ wrote:
First off, really nice system, I enjoyed the rules a lot. It may be the system that comes closest to matching my long list of needs.


Same here: easy, playable, enjoyable, pretty realistic outcomes

DaveyJJ wrote:
Can I assume that, for the most part, real-life tactics play out in the game correctly (I'm impatient ... I have yet to print a set and and play which I will do tomorrow)?


The only thing I noticed which I consider a bit 'quirky' is the fact that adding a MG to a squad usually doesn't help much.

Usually a full squad with a MG doesn't get any more firepower than the same squad without the MG. It changes when you manage to split the squad into half-squads and give one of them the MG.

Example:
A squad (APFP 5) with a MG (APFP 3) has total APFP of 8.
This squad rolls on the second row of AP combat table.
But when you split the squad into 2 half-squads (APFP 2 each) and give one of them the MG (APFP 3), you get one half-squad with APFP of 2 and one with total APFP of 5. This way you roll once on the second row - as you did before, but also the other half-squad gets to roll on the first row of the table.


Of course it may be intentional, or just accidental. But it was slightly too abstract for me to see a squad with a MG and a squad without it to have equal firepower....

I even considered to change the way MGs work:
- all MGs shift you by 1 column to the left in the table
- LMGs add no firepower though
- HMGs (or MMGs?) add some firepower in addition to the shift.

But I didn't test these ideas....
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Barry Doyle
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Thanks for the kind words, David. I'll try to answer what other folks haven't, but if I miss anything let us know. The guys here on the forum are great!

DaveyJJ wrote:
Can I assume that, for the most part, real-life tactics play out in the game correctly.


That's a tough question, and probably could be the subject of a more lengthy debate -- one for those more qualified or knowledgeable than I.

However, the folks who are familiar with Squad Leader and other games have often commented that your end results in V&V aren't far from those games. So, if you feel the results you get from games such as SL accurately reflect real-life tactics, then yes, V&V does as well. But, V&V is more of a game than a simulation, and especially compared to the others. Fun, fast gameplay with easy rules always took precedence over realism when I was designing the system, but being a fan of WWII ground combat I didn't want something too abstract or unrealistic.

DaveyJJ wrote:
Is there a reason that Smoke 2 doesn't actually block LOS until it turns to Smoke 1? Is that something that if house ruled would throw out the game's balance in your opinion as designer?


I know this one has been answered, but I wanted to interject a bit of a design note. Early in the design and playtesting (of the first edition) one of my developers, who is a veteran, pointed out that real-life smoke was never as effective as often portrayed in games. That was the reason Smoke went from blocking LOS to a +1 and +2 hindrance. You'll soon find out, though, that in this system even a +1 modifier is effective, and a +2 is VERY effective.

DaveyJJ wrote:
Is there any reason to not house rule severe weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow? Or strong winds that actually drift smoke one hex as it goes from 2 to 1? Or, again, is there a need to do so based on in real time short scenarios? Or possibly would throw out the game's balance in your opinion as designer?


Basically, simplicity. I avoided rules like weather to keep the flow of the game moving. A variant rule for weather effects may appear, in some form or other, in a future issue of V for Victory, but it will never be an "official" part of the core system.

DaveyJJ wrote:
Is there a reason that spotters for on-board mortars can be anywhere in the target's like of sight? Shouldn't they be within a certain distance to the mortar team itself or are you assuming radio communications?


You got it -- radio communications are assumed. Back in the day when I was playing other tactical games the system of establishing radio contact and dialing in your mortars or artillery seemed to take forever. Like morale, it slowed down, or ruined, an otherwise tense combat situation.

DaveyJJ wrote:
What is your rationale behind the rule that states that pinned units may not be reduced?


Two reasons, really. First, to force the owning player into making tough decisions. Since he has total control over how CPs are spent, I was trying to avoid abuse of the system -- which is also why you can't pin and then eliminate a unit by the same attack (effectively giving yourself one additional CP). If you pin a unit, and are allowed to reduce it, you are likely going to reduce that unit later as opposed to applying the CPs to a good order unit. Second, to show -- in some small way -- the effects of "desperation morale". A pinned unit is essentially broken, and if hit again they are more likely to surrender or run from the field of battle.

DaveyJJ wrote:
In 16.6 when a vehicle is immobilized but abandoned, could it not be left on the board? Or are you considering that in some way it has been moved from anywhere where it might block movement/affect stacking etc? (Picky, I know). On second thought Im probably wrong here but decided to leave the question anyway. I might leave a destroyed vehicle on the board for one turn with a 1 Smoke for fun.


Ah, you've got the right idea here. I've always encouraged folks to add whatever house rules they feel necessary for more enjoyment of the system. This, and weather effects, are two great examples. And feel free to submit any variant rules for an upcoming issue of V for Victory. Like I said, it may not become a part of the "official" system or core rules, but if it increases your enjoyment so much the better!

DaveyJJ wrote:
Do you feel any need for a rubble marker that might provide some cover for units in/on it, but with protection less than an urban/building square? Is that something that if house ruled would throw out the game's balance in your opinion as designer?


Maybe. I've thought about Rubble many times, along with Cliffs, which will eventually make an appearance as a counter (not a specific terrain type). Since cliffs are seldom needed I felt a counter, applied to hills showing which hexsides are cliffs, was more appropriate. More on that later...

DaveyJJ wrote:
Finally, I love the art and boards. Are the files available (EPS/AI etc) for us to contribute new maps, etc? AS a designer I'd be happy to develop a few scenarios and maps for players.


That would be awesome! The one thing I've neglected, for various reasons (mostly time), has been scenarios. That'll change with the upcoming V for Victory magazine, but for now we need more scenarios. And, I would be more than happy to provide whatever maps needed for player designed scenarios.

DaveyJJ wrote:
Very nice work ... once I get the thing printed at work tomorrow and do some testing I'll continue to add my comments. Thanks very much for contributing this enormous effort to the community.


Thank you, and welcome to the V&V crowd!
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Barry Doyle
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mahon wrote:
The only thing I noticed which I consider a bit 'quirky' is the fact that adding a MG to a squad usually doesn't help much.


I think that happens in a lot of squad-level games. Even Squad Leader suffers from this. The variant Incremental Fire Table helped a little, but you still had ranges where multiple units or those using support weapons fell under a firepower range that yielded almost identical results.

But, there are also plenty of examples in V&V where it does help, even with a single squad. A regular Russian, German or British infantry squad does benefit from having an MG. The US regulars are the exception here, and that was one of the reasons I added multi-hex firegroups back into the game.

Also, without tipping my hand too much, another variant system will be introduced in an upcoming V for Victory magazine -- Ammo -- that will allow you to add to your firepower, jump to the next row up, or add to your attack dice roll (the system is still being playtested). Basically, you're "pouring it on", but there will be a detriment to using your Ammo...
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AnglePark wrote:
But, there are also plenty of examples in V&V where it does help, even with a single squad. A regular Russian, German or British infantry squad does benefit from having an MG. The US regulars are the exception here, and that was one of the reasons I added multi-hex firegroups back into the game.


Ah, right.
My experience was limited to US units or Panzergrenadiers - because they have MGs in the 'messenger' scenario. The latter benefit from better range if they get a MG, but in close range it's not of much use.

As for US units and increased firepower, you got it quite right.
As far as my limited knowledge tells me, US doctrine was based on increased firepower from their Garand rifles, while Germans heavily relied on the MG and used it as the most important element in the squad. The other squaddies were more like supporting the MG, while the BAR couldn't be a match for German MG34 - but they had better rate of fire from their Garands, so they were less dependant on their BAR than the Germans on their MG34 or 42.

So it's not so very strange that US troops are not really so hard-pressed to use their MG, as they should rely on their rifles, while Germans and other units armed with bolt-action rifles should need their MGs much more.

And for panzergrenadier units - I assume they're armed with automatic weapons, and that's why they have shorter range but higher AP firepower.
Right?

AnglePark wrote:
Also, without tipping my hand too much, another variant system will be introduced in an upcoming V for Victory magazine -- Ammo -- that will allow you to add to your firepower, jump to the next row up, or add to your attack dice roll (the system is still being playtested). Basically, you're "pouring it on", but there will be a detriment to using your Ammo...


I just realized that my suggestion was so close to leader rules: the 'column shift' would be exactly what leaders do when they aren't coordinating firegroups.So what I was thinking about was in fact making MGs act like leaders instead of adding firepower. But with only 2 games of V&V under my belt, who am I to comment on that?

Thanks for the game!
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David Janik-Jones
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AnglePark wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:
Finally, I love the art and boards. Are the files available (EPS/AI etc) for us to contribute new maps, etc? AS a designer I'd be happy to develop a few scenarios and maps for players.


That would be awesome! The one thing I've neglected, for various reasons (mostly time), has been scenarios. That'll change with the upcoming V for Victory magazine, but for now we need more scenarios. And, I would be more than happy to provide whatever maps needed for player designed scenarios.

... welcome to the V&V crowd!


Thanks again for the answers, Barry!

I would be happy to make up some maps and small scenarios after I've played through several times to make sure I have the system down really well. I was thinking specifically of making a few maps as well as scenarios, in which case having the terrain pieces or map files in Illustrator AI or EPS format, if available, would be great. I could then simply use the components to make new maps for you as well as scenarios ideas.
 
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Barry Doyle
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DaveyJJ wrote:
I would be happy to make up some maps and small scenarios after I've played through several times to make sure I have the system down really well. I was thinking specifically of making a few maps as well as scenarios, in which case having the terrain pieces or map files in Illustrator AI or EPS format, if available, would be great. I could then simply use the components to make new maps for you as well as scenarios ideas.


Honestly, I really don't want to start handing out my source art, patterns, or palettes. A major part of my enjoyment of V&V -- since it's a hobby -- is doing the art. In fact, I think I enjoy that more than anything else!

By popular demand, I am going to make a blank map available this weekend for folks to draw their own maps, and I'm more than happy to do an "official" map for a scenario that'll be posted on the website or in V for Victory.
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David Janik-Jones
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AnglePark wrote:
Honestly, I really don't want to start handing out my source art, patterns, or palettes. A major part of my enjoyment of V&V -- since it's a hobby -- is doing the art. In fact, I think I enjoy that more than anything else!

By popular demand, I am going to make a blank map available this weekend for folks to draw their own maps, and I'm more than happy to do an "official" map for a scenario that'll be posted on the website or in V for Victory.


I fully understand and will be happy with the blank map template. I'm sure I'll be able to mock something up. Printing counters as I type (nice to have access to a colour printer at work that handles cardstock).
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Printing counters as I type (nice to have access to a colour printer at work that handles cardstock).


That is nice! My printer will handle basic cover stock, but that's about it. I print my counters on full-sheet label paper, then mount them on magazine backing boards. They're not quite as thick as regular counters, but close enough.
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David Janik-Jones
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AnglePark wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:
Printing counters as I type (nice to have access to a colour printer at work that handles cardstock).


That is nice! My printer will handle basic cover stock, but that's about it. I print my counters on full-sheet label paper, then mount them on magazine backing boards. They're not quite as thick as regular counters, but close enough.


Done and they look really good! Basic scenario this evening after a game of Kill Dr. Lucky with the kids.

What changed in the new rules posted yesterday, Barry?

Also a question about game design ... why do we, in your opinion, rarely see WW2 tactical war games done using areas like in Storm Over Stalingrad instead of the traditional hex? It would allow better map design without the artificial constraint of 60 degree edges for hedges, streams, roads, etc. Any thoughts?
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Done and they look really good! Basic scenario this evening after a game of Kill Dr. Lucky with the kids.


Cool! If you get the chance, post a picture or two of your components and game.

DaveyJJ wrote:
What changed in the new rules posted yesterday, Barry?


The only noteworthy change was adding a Survival Roll for Guns, just like vehicles in rule 14.64. Other changes were just minor edits.

DaveyJJ wrote:
Also a question about game design ... why do we, in your opinion, rarely see WW2 tactical war games done using areas like in Storm Over Stalingrad instead of the traditional hex? It would allow better map design without the artificial constraint of 60 degree edges for hedges, streams, roads, etc. Any thoughts?


Oh, you are a man after my own heart. I had a lenghty debate with myself (at the beginning) between areas or hexes for my maps. I think areas provide much more historically accurate, and aesthetically appealing, maps.

Alas, hexes won out for a great number of reasons. The least of which was a greater amount of realism. It's far more difficult to measure when using areas, and lends itself to more abstractions. And LOS is also an issue, unless you simply label each area a certain terrain type. I could go on, but I think this covers just a few of the reasons why hexes, IMHO, win out over areas in tactical games.
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David Janik-Jones
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OK, played through FNH1's starter scenario as the Yanks.

That was tough ... but managed to defeat the German leader who'd been at J3 but done a dash around the north side of the map and had holed himself up in the house at D4 on turn 4. Didn't read the rules well eough though to realize that a melee assault does a ton of damage to the attacking unit and so would have perished myself as well.

Must have another very thorough read through of the rules and do a summary sheet for myself of the little stuff I missed.

Things worked out firepower-wise about the way they should have though I would summarize, based on the fact that it was near impossible for the Germans at K3 to get the Yanks out of G5 even with the MG they had.

Later edit ... I actually played a second time this afternoon ... this time with the correct units on the board. First time around I'd misread the setup badly, missing the Yank MG in the G5 hex and, err, also the rifle squad at G3 (I'd read the later as a "rifle squad leader only" in the first game, very tired today). Much more fun the second time. I had backed up the main US force to the house at D5 allowing my 11 year old to mass all his remaining units at E5 for a 2-1 close assault. He'd managed to gain a valourious Panzer Grenadier squad on a natural 2 and a sweet close assault roll (4) basically wiping me out. My remaining half infantry squad from G3 has lost it's leader and wasn't able to op fire with enough power down the road at C5 as the German's jumped the wall on the last turn and into the house.

Was excellent though. Very streamlined, exciting gameplay, and enjoyable ... making even LnL's rules that include spotting seem cumbersome. Great work Barry. I must contribute maps and scenarios to the community, as well as a wreck/abandoned counter and a rubble counter.
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