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Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe» Forums » General

Subject: CRT Discussion rss

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Salvatore Vasta
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The following discussion about the CRT design decision philosophy was posted on ConsimWorld. I thought it might be of some interest to those curious about why USE doesn't use a more typical CRT system. The gamer's questions/comments are in quote boxes.

Post 1
Quote:
I've been thinking a bit about USE's CRT and am curious about the reasoning behind some design decisions:


Quote:
1) What're effects you're going for with the rule that die rolls (and modifiers) are halved in severe weather? (Am I correct in thinking that it makes strategic bombing more effective?)


If you mean strategic bombing is more effective because it is interdicted less, that may be a result but not a specific intention. As currently written, interdiction of bombing simply isn't happening because German air is suppressed before bombing runs are made. Hopefully the revised rules will change this.

Combat results are halved in severe weather to simulate the reduced number of days available for effective fighting (relative to say the summer months) and mitigate the extreme combat results (such as complete breakthroughs or eliminations) which were more prevalent in better weather conditions than poor ones. Even winter successes that are well known, e.g. the Russian Moscow counterattack, achieved only limited success in terms of the game's scale.

Quote:
2) Why is attacker attrition so rare in ground combat?


So a player will not be afraid to attack out of fear that an attacker attrition result will leave them vulnerable to counterattack. This mainly affects the Axis since the Allied factions go after it and can take advantage of an Axis attrition loss. But it also affects the Allies to a degree when they are on the ropes and production points are scant for replacements.

Quote:
3) It seems that in getting to your CRT, you must have made a decision between some closely related options: a) What you have -- d6xd6 shared CRT, with a given result meaning different things in different kinds of combat. b) d6xd6 individual CRTs. c) 2d6 shared CRT, with a given result meaning different things in different kinds of combat. d) 2d6 individual CRTs.

It seems to me that the (b) or (c) wouldn't be a net advantage over (a) or (d), but assuming that it was in fact a conscious decision what led you to (a) over (d)? Was it presentation/UI considerations?


If by 2d6 you meant adding them together (7 being the highest chance result), I chose against that because I didn't like how the DRMs affected the outcome. It just didn't fall into place well.

I decided against individual CRTs for several reasons.

I originally only had one CRT and the results were the same for everything. That is, every unit in the game suffered "Friction" (from Clausewitz). Simply put, apply the current Sorties system to every unit (incl ground). While it made for great simulation (especially for ground units fighting over a long campaign), it was too unwieldy. That system took forever to play. Too much time was spent fiddling with Friction markers. If I were designing a computer game, something like this would stay.

When I dropped Friction for ground units, I still liked the ergonomics of one CRT for all combat. I just didn't feel the need to hop around searching for different CRTs when one was enough given the simplicity of the combat results. You have a result that either affects neither side, or it affects the attacker or defender. And if it affects a side, you have a second layer - the result. The second layer is different for ground or non-ground combat, but short enough that I put them side by side rather than create two separate CRTs.

I liked the selling point of one CRT and one combat resolution system. It fits the "relatively simple" design philosophy. Players I've shown and demo'd the game for have liked it also.

Quote:
The widening of the "*" zone that comes to dominate in the rare cases of high defender DRMs?


The widening of the * (no effect) zone dominates when both the attacker and defender have high DRMs. If only the defender has high DRMs, AR and AA results dominate.

The widening of the * (no effect) zone tries to represent the attrition/go nowhere state that happens when both sides are relatively equal and throw everything at each other. Causalities are so high and come so fast on both sides that initial offensives fizzle out very quickly. In the follow up attacks, the advantage then starts to swing to the side with deeper resources or skill (as expressed via DRMs).

Now that wide * zone would be an issue if combat after combat both sides could achieve high DRMs. But that doesn't happen because achieving high DRMs often requires one use events which won't be available for the next battle, which could very well involve the same units.


Post 2
Quote:
Interesting.

For ground combat, at least, it seems like you already have that modelled by other effects -- additional MP to attack in bad weather, reduced Air Support in bad weather, reduced tank/shock attack DRMs in bad weather.

...and the way the CRT "narrows" as the expected die rolls shrink means that you've got two mechanics working at odds to each other: your CRT structure means that as DRMs pile up it takes wilder and wilder die rolls to produce results; meanwhile, halving rolls+DRMs means that you're simultaneously shrinking the DRM and the variance of the rolls.

Quote:
If by 2d6 you meant adding them together (7 being the highest chance result),


Yeah. If it weren't for the spreading of results as DRMs rise, the CRT would be indistinguishable from a 2d6 table.

Quote:
The widening of the * (no effect) zone tries to represent the attrition/go nowhere state that happens when both sides are relatively equal and throw everything at each other. Causalities are so high and come so fast on both sides that initial offensives fizzle out very quickly.


Right, one thing I keep on failing to wrap my head around when thinking about the design is the extent to which you're not modelling casualties in this game. To represent a titanic clash with high casualties, you increase the chance of a "No Result" coming up and dramatically reduce the chances of a step loss on either side -- that's not something that came to mind for me. (...and I'm not being snarky here -- like No Retreat, USE is not a game about attrition.)


Post 3
Quote:
...and the way the CRT "narrows" as the expected die rolls shrink means that you've got two mechanics working at odds to each other: your CRT structure means that as DRMs pile up it takes wilder and wilder die rolls to produce results; meanwhile, halving rolls+DRMs means that you're simultaneously shrinking the DRM and the variance of the rolls.


The combination drives the combat result into the top left of the CRT where the results tend to be spread more along a 50%-25%-25% line. That is, there is about a 50% chance nothing happens, and a 25% chance either the defender or attacker is affected.

Quote:
Right, one thing I keep on failing to wrap my head around when thinking about the design is the extent to which you're not modelling casualties in this game. To represent a titanic clash with high casualties, you increase the chance of a "No Result" coming up and dramatically reduce the chances of a step loss on either side -- that's not something that came to mind for me. (...and I'm not being snarky here -- like No Retreat, USE is not a game about attrition.)


Yes, that's the concept and outcome. There are plenty of games out there with lots of counters or steps which come and go every turn to simulate attrition. But in the grand scheme of things the front line barely moves unless the attacker gains a significant edge of some kind. Or on the flip side the defender gets a big enough edge (say through high attacker attrition coupled with low defender attrition) that the attack is called off or beaten back completely.

USE strives to simulate that without all the counters or steps. Instead multiple Mobile Attacks drive the combat system to possibly get a wide range in each side's combat roll/value. That represents when a side has gotten that edge (either through attrition and/or maneuver) and either the attack stops or the defense cracks.

If that wide combat result range doesn't happen, both sides have beaten themselves to a standstill. Whether they each have 10,000 men or 100,000 men, it doesn't matter in USE.

Now I know it matters in reality in terms of replacements, supplies, etc. But as you say, USE doesn't model attrition that way. It focuses on the big picture of whether or not one has force projection in an area.
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