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Combat Commander: Mediterranean» Forums » Variants

Subject: Using a Vichy French OB rss

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John DeWolfe
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Hello all.

I'm currently fooling around with trying to design a scenario based on a really interesting, but little known battle from an equally interesting, but little known campaign, the Syria-Lebanon Campaign (aka Operation Exporter). I've pretty much finished the research/planning stage, and think I've come up with a decent set of historically accurate OBs, map, and a few special rules. I haven't done any playtesting yet - that's the next thing to happen.

Here's my question - the Allies in this case were fighting against Vichy French troops, so I need to somehow deal with the difficulties in gameplay of using the French as an Axis force. I don't see any particular problem in using French units, but the French and Allied Minor deck presents two problems that I can see:

1) Distribution of random hexes for events and sniper attacks will be affected.

2) There is no French OB available for 1941 normally (thought there are some Allied minor ones), so there may be some skewing of units available if an event causes the Axis player to roll on their support table.

In my opinion, these are both minor enough issues to ignore when compared to the next most likely fix, using the Italian deck and treating Vichy OBs as an Axis Minor. However, I could be wrong and I could be missing something obvious. I'd be really interested to hear feedback on this as I start looking to set up some face to face playtests - has anyone else tried using a Vichy French order of battle? How did it work out? What problems do you see with using the French deck as an Axis deck?
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Mike Szarka
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Interesting...I don't see any significant problems with using the French deck for an Axis power. The ones you mention are not a big deal.
 
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Brent Pollock
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For what it is worth, the ASL equivalent of the Syria-Lebanon match ups uses French pieces for the Vichy and British pieces for the Free French. (There is nothing special about this as it is all stipulated in ASL rule A25.5). Up Front/Desert War does the same thing. As for the date restrictions on the French for post-1940, just let them use the 1940 date.

Can't help much with the random hex stuff other than to suggest you make a conversion cheat-sheet.
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Simone dalla Chiesa
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mcszarka wrote:
Interesting...I don't see any significant problems with using the French deck for an Axis power. The ones you mention are not a big deal.


The problem is that Axis decks only have odd hex numbers, while Allied decks have even hex numbers. So using the French deck against an American deck won't do, because all random hexes will be even.

Solution 1: use an Axis deck as a side deck.
Random hex? Flip a French card, ignore the hex number. Then flip the top card of a shuffled Italian/German deck, read its hex number, apply the result.
This is what I'm planning to do for my (still unborn) all-Axis scenarios (Italians vs Germans in Cefalonia, for instance).

Solution 2: drive Vichy troops with a an Italian deck, as John suggested. If, the battlefield performance of French Vichy troops warrants such a change. Remember you also have to decide whether giving Vichy a 2-discard (original Italian deck) or a 1-discard (French deck) limit. Probably the latter.
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John DeWolfe
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WBRP wrote:
For what it is worth, the ASL equivalent of the Syria-Lebanon match ups uses French pieces for the Vichy and British pieces for the Free French.


Good to know, and I have no problem on the Allied side as there were no Free French units involved in this action, just Aussies and Brits.

Professorelm wrote:
The problem is that Axis decks only have odd hex numbers, while Allied decks have even hex numbers. So using the French deck against an American deck won't do, because all random hexes will be even.


Yes, that's exactly what I'm worried about. I really like your proposal of keeping an Axis deck on the side for random hex draws - it seems like the minimal amount of extra work to get a fair result. I definitely would prefer to use a French deck rather than Italian for the battle itself if I can make it work, just seems more realistic to simulate the tactics and abilities of a French army.

And I really am intrigued by the idea of all Axis scenarios. The first time I ever heard about Operation Herring my first thought was that it would make a great CC scenario.
 
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Russ Williams
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Professorelm wrote:
mcszarka wrote:
Interesting...I don't see any significant problems with using the French deck for an Axis power. The ones you mention are not a big deal.


The problem is that Axis decks only have odd hex numbers, while Allied decks have even hex numbers. So using the French deck against an American deck won't do, because all random hexes will be even.

Maybe I'm missing something, but why would that actually be so bad? I get that it's altering the distribution of random hexes, but would that actually cause some real problem? Note that many/most of the events that involve "a random hex" involve "a random hex or a hex adjacent to it" or "the closest occupied hex to a random hex" etc anyway.
 
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Brent Pollock
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Weapon repair numbers.
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Richard Pardoe
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russ wrote:
Maybe I'm missing something, but why would that actually be so bad?


Weapon repair is also tied to the random hex draw (specifically the number.)

(Edit: Brent beats me as I decided to flesh out the response with the following.....)

As an example - the French Heavy MG is repaired on a draw of 1~5 and eliminated on a draw of 8~10. But if only the odd (or even) hex numbers are available - the odds of both are affected. In an all Allied deck set-up (only even random hexes), the repair chance drops from 50% to 40% and the elimination chance increases from 30% to 40%.

On the flip-side, in an all Axis deck set-up (only odd random hexes), the repair chance increases from 50% to 60% while the elimination chance drops from 30% to 20%.

Granted the number of times a weapon breaks is in itself a small occurrence in the game (sustained fire probably being the most likely method for it to occur) and as a result, the perturbation on the game system by this tweak might be considered minor, this is one real problem (as you put it) when random hex draw pool is altered.
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Russ Williams
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Cool, I indeed hadn't thought of weapon repair. So that would have a small but indeed annoying/bothersome effect. Thanks for the enlightenment!
 
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Professorelm wrote:


The problem is that Axis decks only have odd hex numbers, while Allied decks have even hex numbers. So using the French deck against an American deck won't do, because all random hexes will be even.


Why don't you just subtract one, whenever you draw a random hex from the french deck (e.g. C4 would be C3, K10 would be K9,...) with the only exceptions beeing: A2,H2,O2. Those would be A9,H9,O9 respectively.

By doing that, the random hex distribution should equal the one of an axis deck.
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