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Subject: Historical combat resolution & siege guns/biplanes rss

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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Arcata
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We played twice tonight (hey, the first game was over quickly, ha ha), both times with the historical combat resolution optional rule, but we ran into a couple of situations which we weren't sure how to handle.

The first was siege guns. The historical combat resolution example includes a siege gun, and its F3 is included in the rest of the attack. So, we said that as long as a fort was present, the siege guns added F3 to the attack (just as in the example), and hits were resolved normally, rather than doing something like considering the siege guns a separate attack which affected only the fort. So, in both games, the German player put two siege guns in Verdun (with a 2-step fort) for two guaranteed hits per turn. As there was a larger-than-2-step Entente army present, the army was taking the hits; this led to the Entente player wanting the fort destroyed, to neutralize the siege guns which were tearing up his army. Were we doing that correctly? (I'm thinking the siege guns should be a separate attack.)

The second was biplanes and Reaction, which says "Reacting causes the attacker to re-roll any one successful hit by an infantry unit (not Stosstruppen)." How does that fit with historical combat resolution, where six attacking infantry will automatically be getting one hit, and not rolling at all? (Probably the easiest solution, which didn't occur to us during the game, would be to subtract one F1 from the attack. So, six attacking infantry against a Reacting Biplane would be a 5 in 6 chance of one hit, rather than an automatic one hit.)
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Tim Taylor
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So glad you're enjoying the game!

You were using Siege Guns correctly. This is the classic Verdun trap that von Falkenhayn employed in 1916. As the French you have several options: retreat and let the Germans eat the forts, then counter-attack; attack elsewhere (like the Somme) in order to distract your opponent; buy lots of cards and be content to "suck it up"; or simply get the hell out of Dodge. Historically, the Entente attacked in the Somme and the Germans had to deal with that, so the Verdun attacks slacked off.

Siege Guns should not be treated as a separate attack -- that would make it even more painful for the French. They would have three or four occasions per battle (depending on your house rule) to take hits instead of the current two.

Reacting Biplanes are specifically designed for use with the standard "Buckets of Dice" combat system. I would suggest never using this aspect of biplane units when using the near-diceless "historical combat resolution" option.

Actually, I seldom play using the near-diceless combat option. To my mind it makes combat too subject to mathematical analysis, that is it makes the outcome of combat too easy to ascertain. I love chaos in games!

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Kris Van Beurden
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Leuven
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We have always played siege guns as attacking separately! I am happy to see a rule here for that optional rule, because we love the near-diceless-aspect! This is one time period in which I don't want miraculous succesfull attacks .

For the reacting biplanes, we eventually ruled yesterday to have them count as -3 firepower for the attacker. That worked pretty fine actually. There's not much sense in buying them otherwise, in this variant.

Had a nice game yesterday - Plan Michel vs Von Waldersee. My french were all ready to stop the German juggernaut crossing Belgium ... with Von Waldersee's plan not even considering/allowing such an attack. I could keep out the germans until the arrival of the 17/18/19th german army, whose Stosstruppen forced the line - just as the first British & US units started landing.

Did we play that right, in fact? Do I, as Entente player, get the "roll-a-1-in-the-reinforcement-phase" rule for assisting British & US in the case of plan Michel. It sounded like it. We played it as such, and it took me 18 turns to roll a 1 for the British (2 turns after the US entered the war!). Eventually, their artillery was crucial in winning the war for the Entente.
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