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PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-1943» Forums » Rules

Subject: Fuel Rules rss

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Niko Ruf
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I'm still waiting for the game to arrive, but I finally had the time to read the rules in some detail. The game is a bit daunting - not because the rules are overly complex, but because there are several new concepts that I believe I just have to see in action. It doesn't help that this is my first naval wargame. The individual parts all seem to make sense, it's just the interaction I can't visualize yet.

Now, there seem to be a couple of oddities with the fuel rules, or maybe I just don't understand them correctly. I know the rules are supposed to be an abstraction, and I don't mind that combining TFs means that you effectively lose some fuel (dumping it into the sea - as a rule war is not environment-friendly ). But there seem to be a couple of situations where you can actually gain fuel out of nowhere. Let's see:

11.1.1 tells you that a combined force uses the leftmost fuel marker from all forces that join up. But this isn't always the worst fuel status, as you move a marker 3 turns into the future when a TF goes to low fuel. For example, assume TF 1 left port on the day 1 AM turn with its fuel marker on day 7 AM. TF 2 left port on day 2 AM with its marker on day 8 AM. It is now the combine forces segment of day 7 AM and both TFs are in the same hex. During the fuel phase of the previous turn, TF 1 reached 'low fuel' and put its marker 3 turns ahead on day 8 PM. So if I combine the two TFs, the leftmost fuel marker is the one for TF 2 on day 8 AM, which is still on 'fuel warning' and not 'fuel danger'. Does this mean the combined TF no longer has 'low fuel'?

11.1.2 tells you that a TF you split off gets +8 turns of fuel if it contains only heavy ships. That rule could be abused to partially 'refuel' a TF of heavy ships if you combine them with a TF that has some light ships for a single turn. For example, assume TF 1 containing only heavy ships left port on day 1 AM with its fuel marker on day 11 AM. TF 2 containing some light ships left port on day 5 AM with its fuel marker also on day 11 AM. It is now day 8 AM, and the forces are in the same hex. If you combine them now and split the heavies off again on the next turn, the task forces have the exact same composition as before, but TF 1 now has fuel until day 15 AM.

I suppose these effects have minor consequences, because players are rarely in a position to abuse them consistently. Still, I wonder whether these concerns came up during playtesting. The first situation is easily avoided if you use the worst fuel condition instead of the leftmost marker, which is probably the intent of the rule anyway.

Another question I have is with the swapping of units in 11.1.1. How many units of which type(s) do I have to swap to be able to swap fuel markers. The rule says 'some units', the example talks about all destroyers and torpedo boats. Could I just move a single destroyer CS from one force to the other to swap fuel markers?
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Chris Janiec
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Congratulations, Niko, you've come up with only the second real erratum in the game so far. These issues didn't come up in testing, and need to be addressed.

Quote:
11.1.1 tells you that a combined force uses the leftmost fuel marker from all forces that join up. But this isn't always the worst fuel status, as you move a marker 3 turns into the future when a TF goes to low fuel. For example, assume TF 1 left port on the day 1 AM turn with its fuel marker on day 7 AM. TF 2 left port on day 2 AM with its marker on day 8 AM. It is now the combine forces segment of day 7 AM and both TFs are in the same hex. During the fuel phase of the previous turn, TF 1 reached 'low fuel' and put its marker 3 turns ahead on day 8 PM. So if I combine the two TFs, the leftmost fuel marker is the one for TF 2 on day 8 AM, which is still on 'fuel warning' and not 'fuel danger'. Does this mean the combined TF no longer has 'low fuel'?

No. The original version of the rules said "worst," but because it's a new concept for most players I decided to define it more explicitly. Obviously, I got it wrong.
Change 11.1 to read, "..., the combined force always adopts the worst (upper leftmost if all are Fuel Warning, otherwise upper leftmost Fuel Danger) marker position..."

Quote:
Another question I have is with the swapping of units in 11.1.1. How many units of which type(s) do I have to swap to be able to swap fuel markers. The rule says 'some units', the example talks about all destroyers and torpedo boats. Could I just move a single destroyer CS from one force to the other to swap fuel markers?

You must swap all the ships that require fuel (i.e., not the Convoy Ships, Escorts, and subs). This normally occurs when one set of ships arrives to relieve another, so the former can join the force while the latter head off to refuel. If these swaps weren't allowed, the force would have no escorting warships while moving, and would risk becoming unescorted when using the Optional combining rule.
Change 11.1.1 to read, "Forces may swap all units requiring fuel [see 11.2.1] during the Combine Forces Segment,..."

Quote:
11.1.2 tells you that a TF you split off gets +8 turns of fuel if it contains only heavy ships. That rule could be abused to partially 'refuel' a TF of heavy ships if you combine them with a TF that has some light ships for a single turn. For example, assume TF 1 containing only heavy ships left port on day 1 AM with its fuel marker on day 11 AM. TF 2 containing some light ships left port on day 5 AM with its fuel marker also on day 11 AM. It is now day 8 AM, and the forces are in the same hex. If you combine them now and split the heavies off again on the next turn, the task forces have the exact same composition as before, but TF 1 now has fuel until day 15 AM.

You're right, this is subject to abuse, though I've never seen it happen. I'll have to think about it, as there's no obvious simple solution.

Thanks very much for your questions and observations, Niko. Be sure to read the Extended Example of Play in the Play Book (also posted in three files here on the Geek) to see how the concepts work in practice, and enjoy the game when it finally arrives!
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Niko Ruf
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Thanks for the quick reply!

I'm really looking forward to the game. I hope the GMT convoy makes it to Europe (I know that joke's been made before ).
 
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Niko Ruf
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Chris Janiec wrote:

Quote:
11.1.2 tells you that a TF you split off gets +8 turns of fuel if it contains only heavy ships. That rule could be abused to partially 'refuel' a TF of heavy ships if you combine them with a TF that has some light ships for a single turn. For example, assume TF 1 containing only heavy ships left port on day 1 AM with its fuel marker on day 11 AM. TF 2 containing some light ships left port on day 5 AM with its fuel marker also on day 11 AM. It is now day 8 AM, and the forces are in the same hex. If you combine them now and split the heavies off again on the next turn, the task forces have the exact same composition as before, but TF 1 now has fuel until day 15 AM.

You're right, this is subject to abuse, though I've never seen it happen. I'll have to think about it, as there's no obvious simple solution.


I can think of one solution that is consistent in so far that forces can only lose fuel if they combine, and that is also easy to implement: if a TF consisting entirely of heavy ships joins a force containing light ships, move the former TF's fuel marker 4 turns to the left before you determine the fuel status of the joint force.
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Chris Janiec
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Quote:
if a TF consisting entirely of heavy ships joins a force containing light ships, move the former TF's fuel marker 4 turns to the left before you determine the fuel status of the joint force.

Appreciate the suggestion, but this has the disadvantage of penalizing the Light Ships in your example, which isn't what we want, either. The crux is that the Heavy Ships should only get the +8 turn "bonus" once without refueling, but the rules as written place no limit. We could have players record this on their log sheets, but that's inelegant and against what I'm trying to accomplish with the fuel rules in the first place.

More thought required. soblue
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Niko Ruf
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The penalty is the same as the one you already have in the game if the first convoy contains light ships and never got the +8 in the first place.

It's not perfect, but it beats tracking fuel for individual ships.
 
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Matt R
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Niko Ruf wrote:
The penalty is the same as the one you already have in the game if the first convoy contains light ships and never got the +8 in the first place.

It's not perfect, but it beats tracking fuel for individual ships.


Yeah, I could see it being pretty easy for someone to introduce a variant rule to tracking fuel for each ship for people who are *that* concerned about the whole issue and don't mind the extra book keeping.
 
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Chris Janiec
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Quote:
The penalty is the same as the one you already have in the game if the first convoy contains light ships and never got the +8 in the first place.

Except in that case you could swap out the Light Ships, sending the "first wave" home and keeping the "second wave" with the force without forfeiting any fuel. Which takes us back to one of your original questions.
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Matt R
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Chris,
From the playtesting that happened for this game, did you ever even see any opportunities for this situation or "rule misuse" even come up?

From just reading the rules and seeing how "tight" most of the movement is in this game, I'm truly doubtful of how often such a situation for fuel rules misuse could even come up in actuality. But I'm only going off of my own reading of the rules and the example of play...
 
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Chris Janiec
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Quote:
From the playtesting that happened for this game, did you ever even see any opportunities for this situation or "rule misuse" even come up?

No (or I'd have come up with some sort of solution). But since Niko raised the issue, my devious mind sees situations where an unscrupulous player could take advantage of this loophole. I'll be pondering it while I run later this morning (where I do some of my best game design thinking).
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Matt R
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Chris Janiec wrote:
Quote:
From the playtesting that happened for this game, did you ever even see any opportunities for this situation or "rule misuse" even come up?

No (or I'd have come up with some sort of solution). But since Niko raised the issue, my devious mind sees situations where an unscrupulous player could take advantage of this loophole. I'll be pondering it while I run later this morning (where I do some of my best game design thinking).


I'm thinking that outside of perhaps a tournament that this shouldn't be an issue so long as both players agree not to do it intentionally. After all, there's still quite a bit of "trust" on both sides not to cheat with most games anyway...
 
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Niko Ruf
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I see you found a better solution in the official clarifications.

BTW, my copy arrived yesterday. I only had time to check the contents, sticker the blocks, and sort the counters, so all I can say for now is that this is a very attractive looking game.
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Chris Janiec
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Quote:
I see you found a better solution in the official clarifications.

Running is great for clearing and focusing the mind -- I commend it to all of you! cool
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