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Subject: Some Questions and Clarifications rss

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Jim Scheiderich
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I was lucky cool enough to snag a copy of SotE at Origins and recently got to play the Intro and half of #2 Scenario.

I have some questions/clarifications that the rule book, while generally being very clear muddles a bit:

1 Does a 1 SP unit that Forced Marched into battle count? 1/2 x #SP and "round down"; I think it counts but rules could be explicit and state, "to a minimum of 1 SP".

2 At the bottom of section 7.32, it states that a "A block with a Forced March or Move order that cannot move because it is completely surrounded, stays in place." Unless the unit had been Out of Supply it should be able execute a FM or Move order - into battle, of course. Supply is determined at the end of an OP. Even if it is Out of Supply, it should be able to execute a Move Out order. (Out of Supply units may only Defend, Withdraw or Move Out.) Please explain.

3 Related to 2: While executing a Move Out order, may an Out of Supply unit enter into an attack?

4 Section 1.2 Fortifications states "Defending blocks ignore 1 flanking penalty (= -2 SP) and lose one less SP in battle if all attacks come from fortified directions." Section 7.34 Flank Attacks states "Fortifications and Defend Area (order) each negate 1 flank attack penalty." So do Fortifications act in a general way that cancels 1 Flank Penalty regardless of the direction of attack? 1.2 seems to clarify that Forts cancel a Flank Penalty ONLY if all attacks come via fortified approaches. Which is the case?

5 Clarification: Both 7.4.1 Resolving Battles, sub-section 4. and the Play Aid agree that a defending unit's SP loss (NOT its battle SP level) is reduced by 1 for Fortifications. So if there are any Fortifications in the location, the defender gets this benefit regardless of what direction(s) the attacker arrived?

6 If you battle with more than 4 blocks and have to retreat (assuming none are destroyed outright) then any blocks above four blocks in the retreated to location must be destroyed. Correct? Must any lost blocks come from those retreating or may a (perhaps weaker) block in the destination area be destroyed (opponent still gets the VP)?

7 Clarification: 7.42 states that retreating blocks must go to the area closest to a friendly key city regardless of entry direction. It then states that "..if this is not possible, due to stacking limits or the presence of enemy units, then choose the next shortest path..." So I am retreating 4 blocks; if the shortest route has 2 friendly blocks but the next closest area is open, do I can move all four there?

8 Clarify: Since Cavalry may move 2/3 spaces (and Force Marching Infantry 2 as well), may they move through friendly areas that have 4 blocks?

Thanks! This is a very neat system and am looking forward to Rommel...
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James Palmer
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I'll answer these as best as I can.

LHIM wrote:

1 Does a 1 SP unit that Forced Marched into battle count? 1/2 x #SP and "round down"; I think it counts but rules could be explicit and state, "to a minimum of 1 SP".


The unit would fight with a strength of 0 SP. Of course, there are ways in the battle to increase the total attack value, but the unit would only have 0 SP, as 1/2 of 1 rounded down is 0.

Quote:

2 At the bottom of section 7.32, it states that a "A block with a Forced March or Move order that cannot move because it is completely surrounded, stays in place." Unless the unit had been Out of Supply it should be able execute a FM or Move order - into battle, of course. Supply is determined at the end of an OP. Even if it is Out of Supply, it should be able to execute a Move Out order. (Out of Supply units may only Defend, Withdraw or Move Out.) Please explain.


This text specifically refers to a unit that "cannot move because it is completely surrounded." This would not include units with a Move Out order.

Quote:

3 Related to 2: While executing a Move Out order, may an Out of Supply unit enter into an attack?


Yes.

Anyway, I'm on vacation right now and have limited time - I'll get back to the rest of your questions soon (provided no one else beats me to it.)

Hope that helps,
James
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Jim Scheiderich
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On the 1 SP FM units, I was thinking that if you halve 1 you get 0.5 which normally rounds to 1 hence my "...to a minimum of 1 SP".

It also occurred to me that half SP units would still work in the Combat resolution - you could go from 3 to 3 1/2 thus getting a loss on your opponent.

If it's zero, it's zero.

Thanks
 
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Brian Bennett
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Hello! I will try to add to what has been stated above to clarify. I would normally refer to the applicable rule section while clarifying rules but I am sitting in e airport waiting for a flight, so please forgive me.

1) A 1SP unit which was forced marched and ended up involved in a battle would fight at 0SP, 1SP/2 = 0.5 rounded DOWN to 0. This unit still COUNTS towards battle resolution though, as in, this unit could create a flanking bonus if the unit was the attackers unit and caused the attack to come from more than one location. It could negate a flank attack as well if it was the defenders unit.

2)Yes, a unit that is either in or out of supply could execute a move out order into a location containing enemy units. The wording on the rule may not have been ideal, the case where you would not be able to execute a move out order would occur when the order was given in a location where all e units in that local are pinned by enemy units. A "pinned" unit is a unit that has enemy units in the same location as it. Enemy units pin as many units in a location as they have, as-in, if I move two units into a local that you have 3 units in, then 2 of those units are pinned and cannot move, the the third unit could move but could not move out of that local by a direction that I came in from.

3)Yes, an out of supply unit can be given a "move out" order that leads them into battle.

4)A fortification ALWAYS negates 1SP loss in battle, it will only negate 1 flank bonus if ALL attacks are coming across a Fortified direction. Yes, ere are several fortified cities which only have one direction fortified, these locations would not be able to negate a flank bonus. The defend order works like the fortification but it always negates 1 flank bonus and allows you to ignore 1SP loss. Keep in mind that these each negate at most 1 flank bonus, the attacker receives 1 flank bonus for each additional area they attack from. For example, attacking from 4 directions would allow 3 flanking bonuses.

5)Yes, see above.

6)If, as the Loser of a battle, you have to retreat from the battle with more than 4 blocks you would following the following sequence-
Determine which adjacent area has the shortest path the friendly supply. All blocks must retreat to is location. If multiple locations are equal distance to friendly supply than you must choose one of these locations to retreat to, you cannot split the retreat between those locations as you see fit. After this location had met the stacking limit of 4 blocks than you determine the location with the next shortest path to friendly supply and retreat as many blocks to is location as possible, continue is process unit all units have retreated or until there is no where else to retreat to. Any blocks that are unable to retreat are removed from the game and the other player scores 1VP for each block removed in this way. Units cannot exceed stacking limits, cannot retreat by a path that the enemy used to enter the battle from, each unit can only move one space during retreat regardless if they were forced marched in or if they are Cavalry. Units cannot enter a location that is occupied by the enemy either of course. No, you cannot sacrifice a weaker units that was not in the battle to make room for the retesting units. This is a tricky part of the game but it also make players plan carefully and take care to not over commit to a battle without leaving a path for retreat. If you over commit, lose the battle and already moved units in behind those retreating units, you may find yourself with no where to go!
7)I think I answered this in 6 above, but to reiterate, no, 2 blocks would go to the shortest path to supply, once that location reached it's stacking limit, the remaining two blocks would go to the next shortest path to supply. You do get to choose which two go to the first location though.
8) Yes, as long as you do not end an operational phase with units overshadows you are OK, but again, keep in mind that those cavalry may have no where to retreat if they needed to since they would only have one movement if they had to retreat.
I hope this has helped and thanks for the thoughtful questions. Again, I wish I had the rule book on me so that I could refer to the exact rule for each of these answers. My flight is boarding now, so that's all for now. Take care and enjoy the game!
Brian Bennett
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Tom Jones
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LHIM wrote:
On the 1 SP FM units, I was thinking that if you halve 1 you get 0.5 which normally rounds to 1 hence my "...to a minimum of 1 SP".

It also occurred to me that half SP units would still work in the Combat resolution - you could go from 3 to 3 1/2 thus getting a loss on your opponent.

In the rules for Forced March Out (p4), it states "blocks that forced march fight at half-strength rounded down". An example immediately follows where two 3SP blocks that forced march fight with a combined strength of 2, clarifying that the values are rounded down for each block.
 
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Tom Jones
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EGGR0LL wrote:

2)...The wording on the rule may not have been ideal, the case where you would not be able to execute a move out order would occur when the order was given in a location where all e units in that local are pinned by enemy units. A "pinned" unit is a unit that has enemy units in the same location as it.


The rule reads, "A block with a 'Forced March' or 'Move' order that cannot move because it is surrounded by enemy blocks, stays in place." this is not unclear, it is wrong. It is not logical for the reader to infer that surrounded is the same as pinned. This needs to be deleted. And in the paragraph where you talk about "pinning", make it clear that pinned units cannot move even if under orders to move. (The meaning of 'pinned' is clear to me, but I think I'm unfairly drawing upon previous game experience.)

Quote:
4)A fortification ALWAYS negates 1SP loss in battle, it will only negate 1 flank bonus if ALL attacks are coming across a Fortified direction.


This is a surprise. The rules text needs to be revised. Rule 1.2 states, "Defending blocks ignore one flanking penalty (7.34) and lose one less Strength Point (SP) during battle if all attacks come from fortified directions". Even assuming sloppy and ambiguous punctuation, one can't parse this rule to mean what you state here.

Rule 7.34 doesn't clarify this, instead categorically stating that "Fortifications (1.2) and 'Defend Area' orders (7.2) each negate one flank attack penalty". Further, your running example in the bottom left of page 6 fails to reduce the Polish losses by 1 SP due to the fortification. Those 7 Polish steps suffer all 4 hits that are inflicted. I assumed this reinforced the concept that Fortifications didn't aid the defender if a non-fortified connection was used in the attack. Finally, this same example *should* highlight the fact that the Soviets obtain one Flank on the defenders in Zlobin, and that this is negated not by the fortification (the fortification symbol is absent on the northern connection from Rohachev from which a Soviet blocked entered battle), but this one Flank is negated by the Polish blocks that entered Zlobin from the west for one Support.

Quote:
After this location had met the stacking limit of 4 blocks than you determine the location with the next shortest path to friendly supply and retreat as many blocks to is location as possible, continue is process unit all units have retreated or until there is no where else to retreat to.


This is a fine point that is not perfectly clear in the rules, and would helpful to have this addressed in the next version. I should also point out here that the example associated with 7.44 has an incorrect retreat. This example follows the Polish defeat at Zlobin where they retreat to Charyshi "which is the shortest path to a friendly key city". Charyshi is two spaces from the key city of Babruysk. Instead, the Polish should have retreated to the just captured Kalenkovichi, which is only one space from the key city of Mazyr. Of course, if this current interpretation of the Fortification rules were used, the Polish would have won the battle at Zlobin (3 losses to 3 and defending), and not need to retreat. So revising this example is a little tricky.

I sound like a Rules Prude here, but I'm just trying to be clear so that the rules can be effectively revised. I've played once, and have another game scheduled for later this week. I enjoy the game so far. I'm very happy to see such a new approach with a block game; it demonstrates that square blocks don't have to be Hammer of the Fill-in-the-Blank. I'm also impressed with the sumptuous physical presentation of the game. The blocks have the most uniform finish that I've seen in many years (though it would have been nice to include 1-2 extra blocks per side, I have two blue blocks that are got miscut). What is disappointing is to have the software, the rules text, not receive the same attention as the physical components. Though as seen in my previous post, not all questions reflect a shortcoming of the rules. I have a few additional rules questions of my own, but that should be a separate entry.
 
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uwe eickert
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I wish to clarify that the following is incorrect.

'4)A fortification ALWAYS negates 1SP loss in battle, it will only negate 1 flank bonus if ALL attacks are coming across a Fortified direction.'

Tom was correct in his interpretation of the rules. All attacks must cross a fortification in order to negate 1SP loss in battle.
Uwe
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