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Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943» Forums » General

Subject: Flamethrowers and shooting up 2 levels rss

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Jesse LeBreton
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This came up over in the Tide of Iron forum. A poster complained that he thought it was impossible for American flamethrowers on a beach hex to shot up at an adjacent bunker 2 levels higher. Flamers on level 0, bunker on level 2. I read somewhere that the effective range of flamethrowers was about 50 feet horizontal. Sound about right? The German bunkers at the top of the cliff are say 80 feet high, maybe more, maybe less, but level 2 regardless. It seems unlikely to me that the flamers could shoot vertically this high so I agreed with the OP. The problems is that Tide of Iron allows this attack to take place and as far as I know it would also be possible within CoH's system too.

Engineers basically have a fixed number on their counter to represent attack strength. But perhaps in the rules it should be mentioned just how much of this number is from a flamethrower. The reason why is so that you can subtract this number when it can't be added to the total, like in the above situation, when the defender is beyond the range of the flames.
 
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James Palmer
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Conflict of Heroes just doesn't really look into these sort of things at that level of complexity.

However, a unit that is higher gets an additional +1 DM, which takes it somewhat into account.
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David desJardins
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Most "cliffs" are climbable to some extent, they are not sheer faces of rock.
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Jesse LeBreton
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I think adding an additional rule to reflect flamethrower range would be welcomed by many. What I have in mind is really simple and uses CoH's existing mechanics to display stats.

For engineer squads with flamethrowers add a white circle with red border around the infantry FP value. This indicator would tell the player this:
White circle with red border under FP= +2FP to short range and close combats normal values. Additionally this bonus can't be applied when firing at units 2 levels higher.


In essence this simple rule could add realism by not allowing flamers to shoot up vertically to high and also allow for the integration of true flamethrower squads into the next design. Currently if you add a flamethrower squad and make its FP say 5, that 5 would be the same at any range which would be silly. Under my proposed system you could place a value of 3FP on this squad and then at close and short its FP would then be +2 higher because of the white circle with red border would serve as the reminder to players to add +2. Seems simple to me.
 
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William Crispin
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seems like adding un-needed complexity to me. I do not think this is even modelled in ATS. My memory is foggy on ASL.
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Jesse LeBreton
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Complex????? What???

It's easy. Just like in Tide of Iron, flamethrower equipped squads get extra firepower when within one hex. Beyond one hex only the rifle firepower of the squad is taken into account.

Nobody playing Tide of Iron is saying it's complicated.

When and if we get flamethrower squads I don't want some high attack value that reaches all the way out to 6 hexes. That would be silly. Better would be to design such a squad to have a basic FP value that would be considered it's normal attack. Good for ranges 2+ hexes. But when at 1 hex or less the flamethrower can be used for additional lethality.

Above I already described a simple way to place this reminder stat on the counter. The only additional rule to remember would be the vertical limitations to this attack. Is it hard to remember you can't shoot the flamethrower up beyond 1 level higher? I bet if I asked you tomorrow you could still remember this little fact. This is in no way beyond the scale of CoH to simulate correctly. I could find several examples of similar exceptions on squads to make the simulation better. Squads shooting as AA, 360 degree reminders on the counters, etc etc. And you know what we like it because it makes sense. Same goes for doing flamethrowers right.

 
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I think Labatron is right... it is just as easy to remember flamethrower rules as close combat and short range rules. I don't see a difference in complexity here.
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Jesse LeBreton
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Rick, you get a pat on the back
 
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David desJardins
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rfoth wrote:
I think Labatron is right... it is just as easy to remember flamethrower rules as close combat and short range rules.


Sure. Each additional rule isn't any more complicated than the existing rules. But every extra rule you add is an extra rule, it makes the overall game more complicated. I'm not speaking for or against this rule, but the art of designing a playable game is to cut out as many rules as you possibly can.
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Captain Planet
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One thing to note is that Flamethrower units are currently modeled as cards.

Quote:
In Sos, the card says "May attack with just this Card as an action. Terrain modifiers and smoke do not affect a flamethrower. May not be used at a range over 1. Flamethrowers may not be part of a firegroup".


All that needs to be added to that description is to include max height and specify units that can use the weapon (i.e. engineer). Then the firefight would suggest that the weapon can be used once per turn per engineering unit or something to that effect.
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Jesse LeBreton
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I didn't even know there was a flamethrower card. I have only played to FF3 so far and hence have not messed around with weapon cards yet. Well I'm rather pleased CoH does have flamethrowers right now and the stats look good to. But as you pointed out the card is missing a statement about how high you can shoot up. A height difference of 2 should be out of range. This small additional note would go a long way to preventing gaminess. Someday soon we are going to be getting D-day scenarios, and I don't want to see flamethrowers shooting up from the beach at bunkers located on level 2 ground. This problem is already present in Tide of Iron as I mentioned in the very first post.
 
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Captain Planet
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Ya, I hear you. At Kursk it was probably a non-issue since I don't think there were any cliffs like at the beachhead in Normandy. I also don't think that it will be an issue in the first Normandy game since I don't think Uwe is planning on putting beach scenarios in. I have read that the first Normandy game will be about the paratroopers and their actions.
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G K
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Lebatron wrote:
Complex????? What???

...

Above I already described a simple way to place this reminder stat on the counter. The only additional rule to remember would be the vertical limitations to this attack. Is it hard to remember you can't shoot the flamethrower up beyond 1 level higher? I bet if I asked you tomorrow you could still remember this little fact. This is in no way beyond the scale of CoH to simulate correctly. I could find several examples of similar exceptions on squads to make the simulation better. Squads shooting as AA, 360 degree reminders on the counters, etc etc. And you know what we like it because it makes sense. Same goes for doing flamethrowers right.

I really think Uwe says it best in the designer's notes at the end of the AtB rulebook

Uwe Eickert, CoH Awakening the Bear rulebook wrote:

In developing any new system, there is the temptation to add
more and more rules in an attempt to make the game more “realistic”.
Unfortunately, this often can have the opposite effect as the big picture
becomes lost in a forest of heavy detail. I wanted the system to stress
the flow of battle and quick reaction to adversities and opportunities. It
had to contain just the right level of abstraction so more time could be
spent fighting the opponent and exploring unique tactics than fighting the
rules. Staying true to these goals was quite challenging as the developers
constantly came up with new ideas. In the end, we relied on a rule of
thumb that required a proposed rule to apply in more than 10% of relevant
situations and add important period flavor to be included in the game. We
operated under the belief that mountains of detail do not make a good
game; a clean and easily implemented core system does.


Making this adjustment makes sense and maybe a good house rule, but how often does it come up and how much does it really affect the gameplay?
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Jesse LeBreton
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Of coarse it would effect gameplay if the flamethrower card was not update to limit how high they could flame. It would make all the difference. In the Bloody Omaha scenario for Tide of Iron the American flamers can walk up to the edge of the cliff shoot up to the bunker and kill the Germans nested there way to easily. This ruins the feel of the scenario. I can't imagine them being able to do this. However, as we have all seen in movies, you could imagine the flamers shooting into the bunker via the back door to kill the Germans in there. The HUGE difference here is the position of the flamers. First they had to scale the cliff and get behind the bunker before they could unleash their super attack. But without adding a note on the card about height limits the American player would not need to get to the back door. This problem is so obvious I can't understand the resistance here.

I'm predicting here and now that when Uwe and company get around to making beech scenarios there are going to see this problem first hand if they include the flamethrower card in the scenario. They will either not use the card to avoid this problem, or make up new rules to make the gameplay feel right, or could just adopt my suggestion. I think disallowing flamers to shoot up 2 levels would do much to avoid these future problems. Of coarse I am assuming here that the bunkers will be at level 2. If they don't consider the cliffs high enough and make them level 1 well, then I guess the flamers will be able to attack the bunkers with a -1 height penalty as per normal rules. But I doubt the bunkers will be placed at level 1.
 
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uwe eickert
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Jesse,
You make a lot of good points with the height differential. The current flamethrower card has a range of 1.
When we make a flamethrower unit its stats will probably be:
5FP, 1 Range, 3APs.

This would translate to 9FP in CC, 8FP at range 1 and 3FP at range 2.

Fortifications do not add their defense modifiers to units being attacked by flamethrowers.

I will have to do a little more research on the different flamethrowers to see if they could reach a second story building or up a slight incline. So one could say that they can reach up 1 level, with the defender getting his +1DM for height advantage. That would keep everything consistent in the game.

How does that sound?
 
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Kai von der Aa
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Uwe, for me it sounds good. But listening to all your points about the bunker on the cliffs and so on, I think with that discussion not only the flamethrower should have problems with cliffs. If you have a "real" cliff, also small arms short distance attacks would be problematic and even moving from one hex to the higher bunker hex on the cliff shouldn't went easy.

So don't change existing weapon rules, but do it like with the balkas in SoS. Normal L1 or L2 hills have their rules and balkas have the rules. I could imagine the cliff as new terrain type on coming map boards or just cliff overlays.

Like with balkas you have a certain height (L2 for example) but some of the hex borders are designed as steep cliff edges with terrain rules. For example: You can't move over the cliff edge and you don't gain the short distance bonus for attacking. Maybe with some special rules for certain firefights are special units like rangers with the ability climb the cliff with ropes and so on.

Just some thoughts about your discussions.
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Wulf Corbett
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"Sudden changes of 2 levels of elevation or more over over a single hexside count as one additional hex of range"
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Jesse LeBreton
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uweeickert wrote:
Jesse,
You make a lot of good points with the height differential. The current flamethrower card has a range of 1.
When we make a flamethrower unit its stats will probably be:
5FP, 1 Range, 3APs.

This would translate to 9FP in CC, 8FP at range 1 and 3FP at range 2.

Fortifications do not add their defense modifiers to units being attacked by flamethrowers.

I will have to do a little more research on the different flamethrowers to see if they could reach a second story building or up a slight incline. So one could say that they can reach up 1 level, with the defender getting his +1DM for height advantage. That would keep everything consistent in the game.

How does that sound?


If your going to replace the card with an actual flamethrower counter for future games these stats look good to me. However one thing does seem a little confusing. If you say this engineer squad is going to have a FP of 3 for range 2+ are you going to place the 3 on the counter of the 5FP you said just above that. The 5FP seems like a redundancy to me. I see it more simply like this. Base 3FP for ranges 2+ then 8FP at short range, and 9FP in close combat. The 5FP is not needed. But I guess it all depends on how you choose to list this on the summary sheet.
One method could be like this located inside the pink combat box of summary sheet:
Close Combat +4FP -2FP if blah blah blah. If flamethrower +6FP
Short Range Fire +3FP Target is one hex away. If flamethrower +5FP
Listed like this you would have your base of 3FP and 8FP and 9FP respectively.

The other method which I first described would involve using a counter symbol like the round white circle with a red halo around it placed under the 3FP value. Then where the bullet points describe the different meanings of these symbols you could add a new definition like:
White circle with red border under FP= +2FP added to normal short range and close combats values. Additionally this bonus can't be applied when firing at units 2 levels higher.
Again even with this method you still get your base of 3FP and 8FP/9FP.

However you choose to list this it will in the end be a great addition to the system.

And as you say allowing them to fire up one level or to a second story would be fine. I never argued that. It's the two level difference in height, think cliffs and such, that I'm trying to stress should not be allowed. In this way German bunkers located on the cliff could not be cleared out from the front with flamers. These flamethrower engineers would need to climb up and get behind the bunkers to attack via the back door.


 
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Jesse LeBreton
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
"Sudden changes of 2 levels of elevation or more over over a single hexside count as one additional hex of range"


Sure that's one way to put it. However the final wording turns out the final result should not allow the use of flamethrower attacks to reach 2 levels above. A very simple restriction that I think is very realistic and works well within COH LOS and hex elevation system.
 
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Jesse LeBreton
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I just checked the rules about buildings. Basically there are considered a level 1 obstacle. So the question becomes when would they be considered a level 2 obstacle. At 2 stories? No way. A level 1 hill IMO is more like a 4 story building or more. So in other words a flamethrower could reach the 4th story windows but would fall short of the 5th story and above. So until CoH introduces very tall buildings there is no issue yet concerning buildings and flamethrowers. If it ever comes up, I'm sure it could be covered by special notes in the scenario.
 
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uwe eickert
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Jesse,
If the range for a flamethrower is 1, then 2 hexes is considered long range. That is how I came up with the flamethrower having a 3FP at 2 hexes (5FP - 2 long range modifier). This keeps consistency in the rules and actually works quite well.
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Jesse LeBreton
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Ok I see it now. However, the flamethrower weapon can't shoot that far. It's max range should be 1 hex. From hex range 2 and up it should only be the engineers rifles that provide the FP number. I would assume that the engineer squad equipped with the flamethrower would have rifle men included too. Accordingly then you have to list a range of 6 or 7 on the counter not 1. This is a major problem with listing the flamethrower equipped engineer squads range as 1. How then could they shoot at something beyond 3 hexes? That's beyond 2X range. Surely the rifle equipped men should have the usual range. So in reality what you have is a rather weak squad of say 3FP for up to ranges 6 or 7 depending on nationality. Then if within 1 hex the extra FP of the flamethrower would kick in. See what I'm saying? Range 2 would not be long range for this squad but would be normal range and the attack power would be the base of 3FP. 3FP from 2 hexes all the way out to 6 or 7.

To avoid any confusion by listing a flamethrowers range as only 1 it should be stated that the bonus to FP only applies to close combat or short range fire as I stated before.

Of coarse everthing I say above would not matter if you decided to keep the flamethrower as just a card. In this case the squad using this card would still retain their normal range attacks. However since you stated you are going to introduce a flamethrower counter then the problem I described would apply. You can't stick a range of 1 on that counter because then you neuter the rifle men in that squad.
 
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uwe eickert
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We will have to crunch the numbers. If we lower the FP to a red 4FP, short range would equal 7FP and long range only a 2FP. Remember that we have to factor in the effect of a unit and from what I have read, flamethrowers are scary.

If a unit is in a defensive position and they see flames being shot their way, they may still being affected. Maybe not physically, but psychologically. (Wow, I had to think a while on the spelling).

I appreciate working out the kinks at this stage.

Uwe
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Quote:
"Sudden changes of 2 levels of elevation or more over over a single hexside count as one additional hex of range"


I like Wulf's suggestion. You could even generalize it and make it an optional rule for all ground weapons (like the cautious movement optional rule for increased realism):

"Height differences of 2 levels of elevation or more between ground units count as one additional hex of range for the unit firing upwards, and one less hex of range for the unit firing downwards."
 
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uwe eickert
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Wulf's suggestion is subtle and very effective. I would like to implement this rule in the current rules set, but do not like the complications involved with how it is currently written.

How about:

A sudden change of 2 levels of elevation or more over a single hexside negates short range FP bonuses for units firing upwards.

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